Dec 23

Everyday Advent















I’ve always been fascinated by advent. I love that we have an entire season in the church calendar devoted to waiting. This year I really wanted to reflect on it more, so I decided to set myself the challenge of taking a photo every day in December until Christmas, that made me think of waiting. These were often boring, mundane moments of my daily life, but through it I learned so much more about what it means to wait. I’ve written before about waiting so I won’t say much more, but below are all the images, and below that, my listed thoughts of what each one taught me. Do feel free to download and use them if they’re useful – you should be able to do so through my Flickr page.

Advent Photos 2015
We wait all the time.
We wait to be taken somewhere new.
Sometimes, it’s worth the wait.
Some waits are short waits.
Waiting makes the end result better.
Some waits remind us of other waits.
Some waits feel longer than others.
Sometimes we’re not the only ones who are waiting.
We wait for black and white to be filled with colour.
Waiting is nearly always preparation for something.
Sometimes we need to create things that are important enough to wait for.
In the waiting there are always glimpses of what is coming. Sights, smells, sounds and tastes. Waiting can be beautiful if we choose to see them.
Sometimes when we stop and wait, we enable others to go.
Waiting is never forever.
Waiting can bring us rest. We can embrace that rest, or resent it.
Waiting is only a temporary stop. Don’t worry, you’ll go again soon.
In a waiting time new things grow, often in unexpected places.
Sometimes, others are waiting for us.
In a waiting time we can often go from serving, to being served.
When you wait, you start to notice the beauty in ordinary things.
Waiting can be a warning. It might not be safe to go yet.
Waiting times remind us that we’re often not in control.
Waiting time is never wasted time.
In a waiting time we learn to let go of the things we no longer need.


Dec 01

Ethos – ‘Try Again’

A film commissioned by YFC’s ‘Ethos’ project – a series of short films for young adults.


Aug 27

Bristol Baptist College – Spotlight Films

One of my jobs is based in Bristol Baptist College, and this last year I’ve been working with the staff and students there to create a set of films called ‘Spotlight’. These films aim to tell the story of some of our students, and to provide a snapshot into life as a student on placement. Here are two finished films featuring congregational based students Anne Dunn and Luke Mansfield.

Spotlight – Luke Mansfield from Bristol Baptist College on Vimeo.

Spotlight – Anne Dunn from Bristol Baptist College on Vimeo.


Jun 22

Youthwork Summit 2015

I recently had the privilege of speaking at the Youthwork Summit on Re:verse – a spoken word poetry project for young people I run. Here’s my talk, with two of our young poets giving some amazing performances…


Mar 18

These Are Things That Can Go Together

A poem inspired by a blog written by Danielle Strickland –

I am in hospital corridors.
White walls, white floors,
Dropped jaws.
Good news, baby born.
Bad news, treatment withdrawn.
First breath, last breath ever,
These are things that can go together.

I am in prison chains.
Blameless, the only one to blame.
I walk free but I’m crippled with shame,
That sticks and stains,
Despite life regained.
Righteous judgement, grace unmeasured,
These are things that can go together.

I am on battle ground.
Broken, beaten I will not back down.
Weakness is where real strength is found.
In failure, in loss, when enemies surround,
Mercy will come and justice abound.
Hard as a soldier, soft as a feather,
These are things that can go together.

I am in wooden pews.
Abusers seated beside the abused.
Unity, oneness, polarized views,
Wounded healers, beautiful, bruised,
Teachers, preachers, prophets, fools.
Honoured kings, forgotten beggars,
These are things that can go together.

I am under a broken tree.
A man hangs, bleeds for me.
He gives, I live, He dies, I’m free.
God and flesh, crushed seed,
Emptied, defeated, victoriously.
Death and life, now and never,
These are things that can go together.

These are things that can go together.


Mar 03

Talk from The Table – ‘What is Paradox?’

It was a great privilege to be involved in ‘The Table’, an event co-curated by CYM (Institute for Children, Youth and Mission, FYT (Frontier Youth Trust) and CMS (Church Mission Society). The Table is a series of events aimed at pioneer youth and community workers, of which this was the first. We explored the idea of ‘Tensions Around The Table’ – things we often find clashing and contradicting and how to find balance in all that uncomfortable tension. I gave a short lecture on what paradox is, which you can listen to below. We’ve got another event coming up in April, where we’ll be exploring how to create church with young people. You can find out more about that here.


Feb 25

Ethos – ‘Arrows’

A film commissioned by YFC’s ‘Ethos’ project – a series of short films for young adults.


Oct 19

Re:verse – ‘The Glass’ by Lana Ayres

I get to work with some talented young poets as part of my youth work role for BANES Council’s Youth Connect, running a spoken word poetry project called ‘Re:verse’. This is an amazing poem called The Glass, by Lana Ayres, who is part of the group.


Sep 03

Welcome to The Table

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 11.42.34The Table is a space for pioneering youth and community workers to gather together for conversation, sustenance and learning. It’s being curated by CYM (Institute for Children, Youth and Mission), FYT (Frontier Youth Trust)’s StreetSpace community and CMS (Church Mission Society).

Using creative and participative processes, we want to learn from each other, dream new dreams and explore some of the specific issues related to working in pioneering contexts. We hope it will be a place where theory and practice collide, where ideas can be discussed openly and rooted back into the every day.

We’ll be running a series of events throughout the year, kicking off with ‘Tensions Around the Table’ on Monday 13th October, 10am – 4pm at Bristol CYM. Tickets are £15 (plus a small booking fee) which includes lunch, and are available to buy here –

Youth and community work has always been at the forefront of pioneer practice. Tensions Around the Table aims to facilitate conversations to keep pushing effective and inclusive pioneer practice and thinking forward.

Jonny Baker (CMS), Richard Passmore (FYT), Sian Hancock (CYM), Jo Dolby (CYM) and many others will be helping us to explore the many things we have to hold in tension in pioneering practice. How do we respect the existing tradition but pioneer away from it? How can we plan and organize but remain spontaneous and flexible? Is our work about revolution or socialization? We’ll be looking at the role paradox plays in pioneering practice, the tensions that arise within it as well as unpacking the paradox of being a young person. We will develop a creative space to explore how these paradoxes and tensions can be imaginatively rooted into practice.

The Table is a place where all are welcome, where grace is more important that manners and where no one voice is louder than another. It is an open table with a place set for you. Come and join us!


Jul 13

Grandad Hands

A poem written in memory of my Grandad, Lesley George Dolby.

I remember your hands, Grandad hands
Hands holding chalk in the classroom in which you taught
You stood tall, on feet that helped others find their feet
Feet standing on your shoulders and as you got older
Chalkboards were replaced with the digital age
But the impact you had would forever remain
Adults once pupils still remember your name.

I remember your hands, Grandad hands
Hands that toiled over plants and soil
Trimmed edges and once wayward hedges
Well-watered lawns and harvested veggies.
Not a weed to be seen, grass greener than green
Every inch of it ordered and clean
The most beautiful garden I’ve ever seen.

I remember your hands, Grandad hands
Hands holding a glass as you laughed
Reminiscing of days that had passed.
You told me about sports you used to play
You told me about skiving off school for the day
The places you’d been the things you’d seen
Made great bedtime stories when I couldn’t sleep.

I remember your hands, Grandad hands
Hands that held the boy that’s now a man
The man I call Dad, who made me who I am
He’s your richest biggest legacy
The most precious thing you’ve left to me
A Dad who’s always there for me
A Dad who’s Dad you were proud to be.

I remember your hands, Grandad hands
Hands grasping mine as we prayed you’d be fine.
God met our request and you were back to your best
With a smile on your face and a scar on your chest.
But this life’s end isn’t if but when
Because of your faith this isn’t the end
Your Grandad hands, I’ll hold them again.