Sunday 20 December 2015

New Appointment

It is with excitement and also sadness that I am able to announce that (subject to the usual checks and clearances) at the end of March 2016 the family and I will be moving to Gosport in Portsmouth Diocese.

In April 2016 I will be taking up the full-time, common tenure (exciting for Anglicans) post of Pioneer Minister for Leesland, Gosport.

Clare and I will be sad to leave the Crewe and Nantwich area. I'll be sad to see uproot family and I will be sad to leave so many good friends and artistic co-conspirators.

I will also be sad to leave Coppenhall and St. Stephen's Methodist Churches after such a short-time.
Clare and I are really thrilled about the possibility of establishing ourselves in a totally new area to us. We're excited to put down some roots and to begin praying for and with a totally new community.

Thursday 3 December 2015

Syria logo


The vote was passed last night. Airstrikes and bombs are following. Britain is involved in military action again (or still).

I don’t intend to write much, but just say a few things.

I have concerns. I’m tired of the lack of critical attention given to the role the UK plays in the global arms trade. This is sickening.

I have a deep worry that the military action will replicate actions from before, without paying enough attention to the collectivist shape of IS/ISIL/ISIL/Daesh. This is not Al Qaeda, it’s a different beast.

I have deep concerns that military action will lead to more contempt towards the west. More ammunition for a fundamentalist movement that relies on hate to feed and grow. That the civilian casualties from this military action (and there will be some), will be fuel for ISIS.

I am wary of what the aftermath will be in 10 years time, wary of the alliances that may be formed, wearied by the armaments which may be funded or shipped to Syria at a future time. I am concerned we stand at a precipice again.
I am confused by the UK’s response to Assad, to (don’t want to say it) coalitions that might be formed. I want to ask about how wide our targets are to spread.
I want to see peace reign.

And yet, I am aware that without military intervention, more will suffer.
With military intervention, more will suffer.

My friend Dave Young has written eloquently about this:

I am conscious that ISIS is a movement that Canon Andrew White (a tireless worker for peace) says may need to be dealt with military action:

I am frustrated by short-term politics with its binary distinctions and righteous rhetoric.

The view persists that there are clear goods and clear evils. That a course of action is either good or evil. I’m sure the Kurdish fighter airstrikes will support will have a different take to many in the UK.

And the problem with binaries is - it is murkier than that.

I will be brief in what I say below as I do not want to milk a ten year old experience, or make a voyeuristic show of “the other”, or have Edward Said shaking his head in disapproval, as genuinely, this is not my story to tell, but....

In 2006 I spent time in Kosova / Kosovo. I worked with a charity called Smile International and did some English teaching in villages around the city of Gjakova. One of the villages was Krusha e Madhe. The scene of a horrendous massacre on the 25th/26th/27th March 1999. This was apparently (according to Wikipedia) the day after the NATO air campaign began.

I don’t want to offer a reflection on the timing of the massacre. But I merely want to say, it was a privilege for three months to teach English to children between the ages of 8 and 16, whose fathers and older brothers had been murdered.

The story I heard recounted time and time again, in the village was that sometime after the massacre the women and children were told to leave the village. And that had it not been for a NATO airstrike those women and children would have died.

There is a picture of one of my classes below. I am not offering a reflection on the Kosovan massacres, the role of Serbian police, or the KLA. I am not wanting a discussion of “rights” and “wrongs”.  There are much better informed people to do that. I know that the massacre was an abhorrence. I’m also aware that NATO airstrikes did kill Ethnic Albanians.

Before I taught these children I think I was sure of my position about military intervention. Teaching groups of children who would all have been killed without military intervention suddenly makes what was black and white seem grey and sludgy.
The thing is, if I said “Tony Blair” many in the west might say “war criminal”, the response would be different in parts of Kosova where Blair is considered a hero. What will be said about “David Cameron” in the future? And all that might not matter.

And all of this proves nothing. This all points to nothing much and in this haze of sadness and fear and lament and weariness I want to end with four conclusions (nothing new under the sun here):

1. Military action will lead to death of innocents, whether directly or as a result of a long-process of radicalisation and future atrocities.

2. Lives will be saved by military intervention.

3. Arms companies will profit from this conflict........ think about that.

4. I lament. I’m a wannabe pacifist, a desperate-to-be-pacifist with memories of lives saved by military intervention (aware that I don’t have memories of the lives lost due to military intervention). I don’t believe the time is right for airstrikes, and I will protest against them. But I will do so with an aching sadness that I know peace is the answer. That I know a peaceful response is the answer. But that I am not sure how to live for peace in a non-binary world. I know for my part that I won’t support military intervention. And I do so knowing that without military intervention people will die. With military intervention people will die.

With that in mind I once again point you towards Dave Young’s blog.

Wednesday 2 December 2015

The Rising Winds

See the storms
feel the rising wind
carrying hurts
young and old
The trees; they sway
branches crack
Dead leaves crackle
Lashing down
the rain
it stings it burns

there is beauty
to be found
in the chaos of this sound

Rising wind
Thrusting paths
through tired streets
bursting in to
lazy windows
shadows loom low and
shadows of “truths” that
don’t belong

Grey, macabre
clouds fill sky and
No more sun no more
the storm has its way
Bringing to the fore
dreams of other days
Of times without plague
of grey filling to tipping
point eye’s so called

Limiting what was
and what could be
seen to be seen

New the lost dawn or
Lost in lack of light
to storms above, eternity’s

Call the boats home
For all left alone
will be lost

Ferocious the storm
Calling them home

Step inside to warm candle light
holding hands in prayer
as we wait for bombs to
for tumult and turmoil
to fail the faces of the
weary, weak and old

Watch the storm
Daughters, sons drop
the offerings you bear,

run to refuge, run
home for this storm
can never be appeased
hate is its menu and
greed its desire

Stay low


Cover tired, fearful eyes

This storm bears lies

Lies that destroy the world.

Torn the future
Ripped apart by fire
and rain
Wind and resentment

The lighthouse beacon
lost to ash and cloud

Call to home

In this storm
Call to home
feel the rising wind
hide within

This storm has no end.

Sunday 25 October 2015

Intercessions for tomorrow

Creator God,
This day we pray to you for the world you made,
For the places and peoples forgotten and hurt,
For the places and peoples left in the lurch,
We pray for the war ravaged, the savaged and pillaged,
We pray for the places torn apart by disaster and disease,
We pray the constant crisis found in the middle-east,
We call down your mercy and call down your grace
On the places we know needing your embrace,
We pause in the silence to hold before you,
The lands that are suffering and the lands without hope.
Lord we ask that you would bring your peace,
Lord we ask that you would bring your release.

Instigator God,
This day we pray for your Church in this world,
Your voice to the voiceless
And your hand of service for the poor
We ask Lord that you would raise up your Church,
To be a sign of your Kingdom
And a sign of your love
That from your Church would flow streams of living water
Riddled with good news
Help us stand as your people, to stand up from our pews
To embody your love Jesus and bring forth your good news.
We pause in the silence to hold before you,
Your Church at this time and all it could do.
Lord we ask that you would move your Church by your Spirit
Lord we ask that your Church would go to the people and draw the people to it.

Saviour God,
We thank you Lord for your work in our lives,
We thank you for the way you see past our pride,
We delight in you as you delight in us,
Help us Lord to do what we must,
And help us to live-out lives shaped by the cross
Help us to walk with the lonely and lost
We pause in the silence to hold before you,
The pains of those needing your grace and the pains on the hearts of those gathered in this place.
Lord we lay all these prayers at your feet,
Lord we know you can meet every need.

Help us to unburden ourselves at the cross
And give us your heart for the broken and lost
Show us a vision of your kingdom to be built
And help us to flourish by your Spirit, freed from past guilts.
We pray in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

And we are grateful that when we pray you hear it. AMEN.

Saturday 10 October 2015

rails, witnesses

This summer, I recorded an album for a project/band I'm part of (there are only two of us). It's called rails, witnesses and we have an album coming out sometime. I decided to create some images using tiny phrases from the song lyrics. They can all be seen below.

Thursday 8 October 2015

The New Parish - A Poem

Here's an image created, from the New Parish Conference I was at last weekend, as poet in residence. It's a poem I shared at the end of the conference. Written using words, images, phrases, repeated thoughts, encountered over about 12 hours. The writing process was swift and a "one take" piece with a few minor edits, I wanted to capture the flow of the conference.

Monday 7 September 2015

Who do you really say I am - a poem (probably for all age or a youth group)

“But what about you?”
“Who do you say I am?”
Well, that’s a very good question,
The kind I expect from you
It’s the sort of question that makes me feel uncomfortable
And puts me ill at ease
Because I think I know the answer
In fact I think I think I know several answers
There are answers from the Good Book
And there are answers from my prayers
There are words and phrases handed down from medieval sages
And friends on the phone
There are images on the gallery wall
And stained glass to help me with the answers
There are thousands and millions of songs
Hymns and chants that tell me different names
And different answers to the question,
“Who do you say I am?”
I could give any of those answers
Any phrase or any “I am” saying
I could give a thousand answers
And probably find a thousand more
But there are two troubling elements to your question
The first is that you didn’t ask me who the Bible says you are
And you didn’t ask me who the painter says you are
And you didn’t ask me for the opinion of the poet
The playwright
Or the priest
You didn’t ask me for the answer of my mother-in-law
Or the evangelist on the telly
You didn’t ask me what any of those people or artefacts had to say
You asked me
You asked me what I had to say
“Who do you say I am?”
And that’s a bit more personal, because that’s about my opinion
And my belief
And the way that I think about you
And feel about you
And dream about you
Well that’s a bit more awkward
But as noted before, there’s a second troubling element to the question
And it’s even more troubling than the first
Because from the question you ask
And as the person that you are
I get the feeling that you want to hear something more
I get the feeling that the way I see you
And the way I describe you
Should somehow make an impact
Not just on my view of you
That’s obvious
But that it should make an impact on how I see the world
And how I see its other inhabitants
That maybe how I see you
Should impact how I interact with the world
And how I respond to the world
I have a gut feeling that your question
“Who do you say I am?”
Will, if I allow it, take me on a journey
A journey to somewhere deep
And challenging
The kind of place where suddenly it’s hard to deny
That my reaction to the news needs to change
That I need to step beyond where I feel at home and take a bigger risk
That I need to hold up my hands open palmed, ready to receive
I’m frightened by your question because it challenges me
It challenges every part of me
It challenges everything I do and see
It challenges everything I believe
“Who do you say I am?”
You ask, not quite innocently but wanting me to think
And I have thought
And I have fought within myself to say aloud the things that I believe
And I have fought within myself to lay down the ways that lead to death
The ways that lead to nowhere good
The ways that lead to me being lost
Instead I’m unsettled, unfettered and regretting
Regretful and remorseful
For the failures in my past
And for my future failings just around the corner
“Who do you say I am?”
And “who do I say you are?”
You’re Jesus
And at the moment
With all the implications
And the challenges that this will lead me to face
You’re Jesus
And that’s just about all I can say

Sunday 6 September 2015

Here is the text for - Who do you say I am? Fifteenth Sunday after trinity Mark 8:27-38

Who do you say I am? Fifteenth Sunday after trinity Mark 8:27-38
“But what about you?”
“Who do you say I am?”
Asked the saviour to the disciples
Asked the saviour to the thieves
Asked the saviour to the tax collector
Asked the saviour to the refugees
Asked the saviour to the House of Lords
Asked the saviour to the surgeons
Asked the saviour to the saviour to the journalists
Asked the saviour to the lobbyists
Asked the saviour to the CEO’s
Asked the saviour to the workers
Asked the saviour to the slaves
Asked the saviour to the addicted
Asked the saviour to the deluded
Asked the saviour to the church goers
Asked the saviour to the arms dealers
Asked the saviour to the transgendered
Asked the saviour to the shepherds
Asked the saviour to the scared
Asked the saviour to the violent
Asked the saviour to the victims
Asked the saviour to the perpetrators
Asked the saviour to tourists
Asked the saviour to the priests
Asked the saviour to the artists
Asked the saviour to the dictators
Asked the saviour to the world

Asked the saviour to us all

Lectionary Image for Fifteenth Sunday after trinity Mark 8:27-38. The image is called, "who do you say I am?"

Here is a thought for the Lectionary reading for next Sunday morning, Mark 8:27-38

Thursday 25 June 2015

Lighting Beacons

Myself, Josh Walker and Dot Woods have spent the last month or so, working on a collaborative liturgical resource. It's certainly not a complete resource, but we're really excited as to where we have taken it.

There is a book.

There is a website.

Maybe one day there will be an app.

The idea is to produce a simple, easily accessible book/online portfolio of liturgies that will lead people through the week.

We're at the beta testing phase - if you like.

But as it stands I am excited to see what God will do with this.

Friday 22 May 2015

New Parish Conference

Really excited to be sharing at the New Parish Conference in October. It will be a great time of stories, challenges, worship, discussions and many many missional musings.

Wednesday 20 May 2015

News from me

Now seems as good a time as any to announce that at the end of June 2015 my contract as Pioneer Minister of Restore will expire and is not being renewed. My licence to minister also expires at the same time.

It is also pertinent to add that Clare and I had hoped that I would be able to continue as Pioneer Minister of Restore in a Self-Supporting Minister / Non-Stipendiary Minister capacity. However my request to become self-supporting has been denied.

Clare and I look to the future to what we will be doing and where we will be going next. Meanwhile, I continue to work towards my dream of being a successful Beyonce Knowles tribute act.

Your prayers are appreciated at this time.

Tuesday 19 May 2015


In passing seconds
And glances
Imagined romances
Life works
Its way
Through time's vein
To this day
God's way
With ticking seconds
On big old clocks
Telling stories
With hands on their
Ten thousandth revolve
Hours unfold
Stories are told
Truth's sold
Lives lived bold
Time enthroned
Existence honed
Lived alone
And in the presence
Of hosts
Memory's ghosts
Future's toasts
Words spoken
Shouted uttered and muttered
Tears shed
New life squealing
Leaves falling
Hours passing
Love and mourning
Dust and calling
Growing falling
Moment's passings
Moment's graspings
Moment's callings

Friday 8 May 2015


I feel like the following post, probably needs a bit of an introduction. I'm not usually much of a "swearer" in poetry, having only ever used one expletive in one version of one of my other poems. This poem was written as an ongoing response to an intense 24 hour period of reflection with a group of practitioners. It is in some ways, a summation of where we, as a group feel many of the missional and ecclesiological issues of the church are at. The poem was written in the midway point of the conference and shares the deeply held frustrations, limitations and challenges facing the body of Christ. Keep watching for more from #cmpfire.

Friday 27 March 2015

Fear and Dust: A Hymal for the Wild Vol. 1

I have a new book of poetry coming out. The pdf is available to download now, from and the physical books should follow soon after.

Wednesday 4 February 2015

A Letter To All Loved Ones

A Letter To All Loved Ones

Dearly Beloved,
Be-Loved and Beheld,
Broken-open and Born-anew
I long for you to heed this truth,
To hold it tightly to your delicate clay facade,
And to know it at the very centre of your being,
To grasp it in the very core of who you are;
The depths beyond which science shares no secrets,
I fitfully long for this word to bleed into your heart,
And plant a truth, a seed, bearing fruit in your understanding of yourself,
You are loved,
Beloved, you are loved,
You are loved, not for your achievements, though they are many,
And you are loved, not for your graciousness and compassion, though they are real also,
You are loved, beloved,
You are loved, not even because you simply, “are”,
The love with which you are loved is beyond quantifying,
And far beyond purport,
You are loved,
Whispered simply, you are loved,
Shouted from mountaintops, you are loved,
You are loved,
Let this truth soak deep into you,
Let it stain your self-respect,
Let it wash clean your notion of grace,
Let it cleanse the areas of your life that you’d rather forget,
You are loved,
I yearn for you to know a fraction of the artisan’s delight,
For you to grasp with unquenchable joy and enchantment, the love which formed you,
And the love which loves you,
For you are loved,
Time does not erode this love,
Disease can neither hinder nor diminish this love,
Guilt and fear and anger and grief and remorse are held by this love,
Not denied or ignored,
But embraced and understood by this love,
The grave shrieks and quakes insight of this love,
And the love knows the cost,
Dearly beloved,
Be-loved and Beheld,
Broken-open and Born-anew,
You are loved,
Beloved, you are loved.

A song of Plate and Cup

a song of plate and cup
there is noise
distractions and distortions

there is complexity
worries and concerns

there are conditions
expectations and stresses

there is fear
of what may be and what might never happen

there are temptations
trials and persistent damaging demands

there is worry
and there is peace
creator and sustainer
pioneer and saviour

give us your peace
held tightly in your love

bear us warmly
strengthen us when shadows lengthen

cultivate in us stability
rooted in your name

rooted in your word
rooted by your voice

give us deep roots
holding us together

keeping us firm
rooting us in our place

rooting us with you
rooted in our centre

help our roots build strong bonds
with the soil and fabric of our lives

strengthen our roots
with the nourishment we need

may our rootedness
interweave our lives together

and keep us ever onward
reaching towards your throne

keep us faithful and persistent
stable in fidelity

keep us creative and flexible
persistent in our searching

may our firm foundations
be yours and yours alone

that our deep entangled roots
would feed our hearts for life
help us to bear witness
to the journey that we take

and as we come to the plate and to the cup
as we have so many times before

feed us once again
with your flesh and with your blood

that plate and cup would root us in your story
rooted in earthly trouble and kingdom glory

build us up to tend your garden
shape our lives to grow for you

for your glory and in your name
to heaven’s son we pray, AMEN.

(c) Tim Watson, 2015

A song of Plate and Cup - a liturgy, used before the Eucharistic prayer, in a service thinking about "rootedness" - sly, unintentional nod to George R. R. Martin in the title!