Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Wednesday 29 February

Today's poem "Before I got my eye put out" by Emily Dickinson, read by me. I've tried to find a picture to go with this. 

How about this - meadow (well, cornfield) and sky at Little Hampden - no mountains, I'm afraid!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Tuesday 28 February

Today's poem is an excerpt from "Confessions" by St Augustine. This picture of St Augustine is by Botticelli. There's more information about it on the Wikipedia web site.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Monday 27 February

Today's poem is "Homesick" by Carol Ann Duffy

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Saturday 25 February

Sorry this is a little late! I hope to get ahead of things and post poems first thing or late the night before.

This poem is "On a Theme by Thomas Merton" by Denise Levertov and it's read by Brenda.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Friday 24 February

Today's poem is Lent by Jean M Watt and it's read by me.

Here's a blackthorn in winter to go with it:

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Thursday 23 Feb

Yesterday’s poem was found on youtube but from now on, unless I can find poems from The Heart’s Time somewhere, we’ll be reading them. I can’t do apposite videos like The Bright Field yesterday but I’ll try to find an appropriate image to go along with the poem. Today’s is Trinity Sunday by George Herbert, read by Brenda, The picture is Michelangelo’s Holy Trinity Sunday.

Ash Wednesday – start of Lent

We’re following the poems in Janet Morley’s book “The Heart’s Time” It has a poem and commentary for each day of Lent. Here’s a good start, the poem for today  – The Bright Field by RS Thomas:

Monday, 20 February 2012

Spring and snowdrops

Spring is in the air: the mornings and evenings are getting lighter and the snowdrops are out. Did you see the reference to the rare bulb Elizabeth Harrison which was on offer on ebay? Bids were reported to be over £300 for one bulb. It was eventually sold for £725! Details here.

Here’s another beautiful example: Wendy’s Gold.

If you want to see lots more varieties of snowdrop, try

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Pancakes at The Zone – and postscript to Scouts’ C50

Great fun last Friday at The Zone – Church youth club. We only had three members – it was half term. But they had greet fun eating pancakes and making Chocolate Fudge. In retrospect it was probably good that we only had three! Philip and I spent the evening assembling the replacement Air Hockey game. The earlier one had been replaced because the wiring was faulty, and potentially dangerous. True to form, when the youngsters had consumed all the pancakes, they played with – not the air hockey table but the cardboard and polystyrene that it came wrapped in. They decided to make a boat, but we ran out of time so we have saved the box for next week.

A follow-on from the Scouts’ Challenge last weekend: the checkpoint team left a lovely ‘thank you’ note in the Church during the week. Thank you to the Hornsey Veterans team for taking the trouble.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Scouts’ C50 Challenge

We were one of the checkpoints for the Scouts’ C50 Challenge – an event organised by the Greater London North Scout County. The C50 Challenge is a walk starting at Dr Challoner’s High School in Little Chalfont and passing through Gt Missenden. I don’t know the rest of the route because it’s not published – the walkers are given it at the start. There are three possible routes for walkers of different ability. There’s more information – but no routes – on the Challenge web site. There’s also a list of entries and start times – the first at 06:00! Teams came from all over – Devon to Essex, Kent to Warwickshire.

The Churchyard and Church was a buzz of activity with most of the walkers enjoying the crisp air. One or two, however, were overtaken by the cold but the Scouts team were ready. We opened the kitchen: just as well because the Scouts’ gas had frozen so they were unable to heat anything outside. Be prepared!

The team was great and they cleared up and left the Church and Churchyard clean and tidy.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Risk management

After a weekend of snow, it seems like a good time to talk about risk assessment and management. We’ve had to make a few decisions about Church access during this weather so risk management is significant.
I started working with risks back in the ’80s. We developed a Risk Assessment Checklist to help people understand the risks associated with their IT projects. One internal department asked to review this tried to veto it saying “we can’t suggest there’s any risk in using our equipment.” Fortunately we prevailed. The checklist was only a start of the process to ensure that risks were understood and, more importantly, managed effectively.

The HSE and other bodies have increasingly introduced “Risk Assessment” to our lives over the last few years. The motivation is excellent but the details and practicalities are rather weak. In particular, they concentrate on assessment only, not management.  To be fair, the documentation does cover actions to address risks but very often this isn’t followed. A good example of bureaucratic risk assessment was the Young Enterprise company a few years ago. They were planning an X-factor event in the school hall. One of the students said to me when we were looking at their plans “Don’t worry about Risk Assessment – the office is doing this for us” When I probed, they were content that the office had filled in the forms. What about anything the students should do to manage risks? We see a similar cavalier approach to risk management in lots of incidents.

So my approach to risk management is to be aware of the risks, to understand the potential costs if the risks occur and, most importantly, take action to keep the risks at an acceptable level. There’s a simple diagram that I find helps. This plots the probability that a risk will occur against the impact or cost if it does occur. It’s not a precise process! There’s a line on the graph to help with decisions about the actions – the responses – to address the risks. Any risk whose probability/impact is above or to the right of the line needs to be fixed – a response agreed to either reduce the probability or reduce the impact. Responses can include doing something different from the original plan to having a contingency plan to operate if the risk occurs.

Another factor worth considering is the cost of the response. There are often low-cost responses that can reduce significantly the chance of a risk occurring. These are particularly appropriate when the potential impact is extremely high. There are some good examples of these when driving. For example, driving along the sort of roads we have around here where drives to houses are concealed there’s a risk that a car will come out of one of these into your path before the drive can see you. Small chance but very costly if it does occur. The chance of this occurring can be significantly reduced by driving nearer the centre of the road than one would otherwise do so. Clearly, you have to pull over if someone is travelling in the opposite direction but there’s time for this. So I tend to drive near the middle of the road in these conditions and, for example, when passing parked cars, the doors of which may open without warning.

So Risk Awareness is the essence. Awareness not aversion. And getting sensible responses in place to match the assessed risks. So we cancelled a planned meeting in Church this evening. The potential risks were injury to participants caused by slipping on the slippery snow or ice; small attendance numbers because of the poor weather; lack of attention during the meeting by people worried about walking or driving home. The cost of a postponement response was very low: there was no time-dependence on holding the meeting and the work to communicate, while not insignificant, was manageable. So we postponed. I hope, by the way, that nobody struggled up to Church because they hadn’t heard!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Fun at The Zone – and snow

Friday evening at The Zone, Church youth club – lots of fun. Very well-behaved youngsters, including one who wanted to draw. I think we can use one of his drawings as a poster.

Then the promise of snow. The forecasters were accurate enough so we were able to decide on the morning services and warn people in good time. I’ve resisted taking yet more pictures of Little Hampden in the snow.

As we’d cancelled two services, I decided to try to put some of the elements on the web for those who couldn’t make it. A bit of a technology challenge but eventually got an old cassette recorder (remember these) connected to the Skype call. Bishop Alan read the Gospel and Tricia Neale read a shortened version of the sermon she was planning to deliver at the cancelled 6pm service. The result is on the Church web site or you can link to it directly here.

The e-service has reached Jerusalem.