I haven't managed a writing blog today. There are some reasons for this, not least of which is that my head is really struggling after a couple of weeks of illness and glandular problems that send hormones and everyone else completely potty.
The other day I posted a few memories of my time connected with a Jesus Army community house.
Here's something posted today by someone who grew up as part of that household and is still a part of the church.
James has included a video in the post about the making of the church's latest DVD/CD. It contains songs and people from the church talking about the history of the fellowship and of the songs too.
The first person to speak in the video in this post is Olivia. I remember her - she was part of that household too. A memory:
There is a popular Christian song called "Shout to The Lord," written by Darlene Zschech of Hillsong Church in Australia. The first time I heard that song was in the dining kitchen of Vineyard Farmhouse. It was sung by Julie - the woman whose gorgeous flapjack making skill I mentioned. She played the guitar and accompanying her on vocals with some totally stonking harmonies were Olivia and Caroline, the sister of the person whose post I've just linked to.
Another of the good memories of Vineyard. I think too of walking in the countryside with a few of the sisters - how did I get away with that in mid-90s Jesus Army?! - and the absolute joy of one of them whenever she saw a beetle.
I think of the night we walked back from Cornhill Manor during a festival weekend, almost all of the way to Vineyard before a minibus appeared and picked us up. It was a stunning night. Totally clear and directly ahead of us for almost the whole walk was the clear light of Hale-Bopp comet.
I think of the time, with some of the brothers, we wandered out of the marquee during a service at one of the festival weekends and ended up in a field. Out came the weed. But they wouldn't let me smoke any of it. They didn't want to lead me astray. Eventually I walked back into the marquee, halfway through another long talk by Noel Stanton, the senior pastor of the church. And just at that moment he said something that hit me very hard. Twenty years later I haven't got a clue what it was he said.
Many memories. And most of them were good.
One more thing. This song. Written a couple of years ago and filmed by James. I no longer believe. But I still think this is pretty special.
So Jesus Army, Jesus Fellowship, New Creation Christian Community, to you I say thank you.
To the people who came and stayed at Vineyard Farmhouse and those who came and left, I say thank you.
For the laughter. For the honesty. For the tears. For the frustration. For the hospitality. For the friendships. For the times I thought the whole thing was ridiculous. For all the apple crumble I devoured, never sticking with one helping.
For the fact that you know mistakes were made. For the fact you can now hold your hands up and say so. For the fact you're putting right what you can and seek to continue to learn. I thank you for that.
Thank you for the red wooden cross I wore the other week when performing as a godly Christian who found far too much joy in strangling sinners. I still have the cross and probably always will.
Thank you for the memories. I wouldn't be without them.