Blue sky thinking

This week I thought that I would start with a question:

How many days belong to the year 2019?
…325 as the rest are all Lent.

Yes, I know that I shouldn’t give up the day job for a career in stand-up comedy but it’s a neat segue into the first theme for this week’s blog. As Christians, the time of Lent provides an opportunity to be more contemplative as we reflect, pray and act. Many of us will be part of a Lent bible study and prayer group. Some of us will use the next thirty or so days to focus as individuals on our faith and the teachings of Jesus.

For the period of Lent I am drawing on the latest booklet published in the Pilgrim Journeys series. Titled 40 Days of Reflections on The Beatitudes it is written by Bishop Steven and provides a daily companion to the journey from Ash Wednesday to Palm Sunday. This booklet has been posted to all our church schools in the Diocese of Oxford and is also available as a downloadable app from Church House Publishing. Two of those schools, Beedon CE Primary and Compton CE Primary are embarking upon a Lent mission: 40 acts of kindness and generosity, one a day for the season. For me this really encapsulates the meaning of Lent.

click photo to enlarge

The opportunity to reflect and review has been a significant factor in my week. Having clocked up the miles last week, I have been back at base conducting mid-term reviews for members of Team ODBE. These provide a valuable opportunity to spend an hour individually with team members and reflect on the objectives they set in September and the progress made towards those objectives. It is a privilege for me to listen to colleagues articulate with such passion and conviction about the work they do to enable all to flourish.

Finally, at the beginning of the week we were able to engage in some ‘blue sky thinking’ with the ODBE strategic leadership team. In the delightful surroundings of Blenheim Palace, we shaped up a strategic vision for how we can serve our communities through Christian values. This was the first step in formally charting the direction of travel for our future work. As part of that process we have reflected through a combination of appreciative enquiry as well as problem solving. For us it is about what will carry on doing as well as what we will do differently.

On that note I will leave you with this final question: Why does Rick Astley not enjoy this time of year?

‘Never Gonna’ Give You Up’

They don’t get any better, ‘till next week.