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5 Quid for Life Banking Details April 9, 2011

Posted by Phil Groom in Life, Mental Health, News.
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5 Quid for Life: A Mental Health Safety Net

5 Quid for Life: A Mental Health Safety Net

IT’S BEEN A SLOW TRAIN COMING but we got there at last!

If you’re a regular here, you’ll already know about 5 Quid for Life — but for anyone who’s new: 5 Quid for Life is also new, a charity-in-the-making that’s been taking shape this year as an amazing group of people have responded to a shout-out I made back in January: 200 People to Save Ali Quant.

It was a wild, insane thing to hope for, a crazy dream. Here we are in the middle of the worst financial crisis the western world has seen in my lifetime, in a country run by a government that seems to be incapable of doing anything but cut and run from its responsibilities to its most vulnerable citizens whilst simultaneously allowing failed bankers to cut and run with vast swathes of our hard-earned money — and I put out a shout for support for someone who some (the Daily Mail springs to mind) would regard as being one of the lowest of the low, mentally ill, living on state benefits.

It shouldn’t have worked, if the Daily Mail’s account of life was right. Everyone should have laughed: they should have called me out for a fool, for a sucker, for dreaming a dream too far.

Thank God the Daily Mail account of life is a lie! Thank God that there are people can see beyond the blinkers of such a narrow vision of life — that there is a level of compassion and care that goes beyond the selfishness that so much of contemporary western society is built upon! Or as Rob Bell would say: LOVE WINS!

5 Quid for Life Inaugural Meeting

5 Quid for Life Inaugural Meeting: From left to right - Standing: Phil Groom, Paula Ann Walker, Kate White; Sitting: Johnathon Tinsley, Sam Jenkin

To all my friends in the madosphere, to all my friends who have supported 5 Quid for Life this far: I salute you! And for those who can, who are in a position to take that support to the next level, here are the banking details you need to make a direct donation or to set up a standing order:

Account Name: 5 Quid for Life
Bank: HSBC Woodbridge
Sort Code: 40 47 42
Account No: 2146 8928

Finally for now: if you’re not in a position to make a financial commitment, please don’t berate yourself or beat yourself up — just spread the word! Tweet it, facebook it, blog it. That, my friends, is how things grow — and with the spring sunshine upon us, what better time for that?

Thank you.

GroomNews Christmas 2010 December 18, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Advent and Christmas, Life, News.
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Archives2008 | 2009

GroomNews Christmas 2010

GroomNews Christmas 2010 (printer friendly version, pdf, 127kb)

Which Charity Would You Choose?
Like last year, instead of adding to the carbon-footprint chaos caused by billions of ultimately unwanted Christmas cards, we’re sending most of this year’s Christmas greetings without a card or by email only. But this time it’s your choice: where should we donate the money we would have spent on cards & postage? The charity which gets the most votes wins £50, as that’s the amount we think we might otherwise have thrown away: vote here today!

2010: All Change Again
We’ve settled in well to the semi-rural lifestyle and we made good friends with the wild birds last winter, but not sure where they’ve all gone this time around. If you see Bedfordshire’s bird population, please tell them there are seeds, fat balls and more waiting for them here.

Sue’s role has changed in the diocese following the retirement of her boss — no, not God, the DDO. Sue is now Interim Acting Diocesan Director of Ordinands, which keeps her very busy interviewing would-be priests and helping them as they find their way through the discernment process. At the same time she continues to be Priest-in-charge of Henlow and Langford. She does seem to have a habit of being appointed to jobs which subsequently double in size! Somehow, in between DDO interviews and parish work, Sue has also resumed her DMin studies, except it isn’t a DMin anymore it’s a DThM. Due date is 2012, which should be possible if she takes a sabbatical to write up. This should be feasible thanks to the arrival of the Revd Patsy Critchley as part-time Assistant Curate in November this year.

If you follow this blog or Phil’s twitterfeed @notbovvered you’ll know that he left LST in September. Things came to a head in July when LST initiated redundancy proceedings against him and several other members of staff, but rather than wait around to be shown the door Phil managed to find another job: he’s now working for Sainsbury’s in Biggleswade. Started in September: so far so good. A simple routine: go to Sainsbury’s, take stuff off the shelves, give Sainsbury’s money; go back to Sainsbury’s, put stuff on shelves, Sainsbury’s give Phil money. Less pay for less responsibility but immensely liberating and as Biggleswade is within walking distance of home, a substantial saving on travel. Please pray for others made redundant and for those left behind at LST battling their way through the education sector’s financial crisis.

Café Mocha, Biggleswade

Café Mocha, Biggleswade

Café Mocha
Before starting at Sainsbury’s, Phil spent a while working as a volunteer at Café Mocha, a Christian-run community café in Biggleswade. Whether you fancy an Americano, a Gingerbread Latte or Mocha Snowball, Café Mocha is the place to get yours: the friendliest and best fairtrade café in town! Find out more at cafemocha.org.uk or facebook.com/CafeMochaBiggleswade

Almost is now moored closer to home, at Milton Keynes Marina on the Grand Union. This year’s summer holiday took us from the Kennet & Avon, up the Thames and via the Oxford Canal to the Grand Union. Most enjoyable, especially catching up with a few friends along the way. It was too hot the first week and too wet the second: typical British weather — but at least it didn’t snow!

Phil’s Parents
It’s been an interesting year for Phil’s parents, with his Dad having a mini-stroke and his Mum having a hip replacement. The net result is that Dad has slowed down and Mum has got faster. Please pray for them as they readjust to one another’s strengths and weaknesses.

Afghanistan
This year Ed, one of our nephews, was posted to Afghanistan with the RAF. Please pray for a speedy resolution of the conflict and a safe return home for him and all the troops.

Thank You
Thank you for your friendship over the past year: this comes with our love, best wishes for Christmas and our prayers for peace in the year ahead,

Vote now for the charity you’d like to receive our Christmas card money! We’ve selected 5 but feel free to nominate another via the comments below: if other readers shout out for them then they might win instead!

Tears of Joy in Northwood as Deranged Christian Bookshop Manager’s Ten Year Reign of Terror Draws to a Close August 18, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Knockabout, News.
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From the Northwood and Pinner Herald:

TEARS OF JOY were shed in Northwood yesterday as news broke that Phil Groom, Bookshop Manager at London School of Theology, had handed in his notice. Hearing the noise from the street outside, our undercover reporter sneaked in to interview staff and students who were celebrating raucously in the corridors.

“He’s definitely insane,” said one student, who did not wish to be named. “He entices people into the shop with special offers then sells them something completely different. I came to LST with a healthy bank balance but by the time I’d visited his shop I had a massive overdraft and was walking with a limp caused by the weight of the books I ended up carrying. And that was just after the first day!”

“He’s a heretic,” said another. “I asked him a question about the Bible and he said, ‘It’s all true apart from the bits they made up.’ Then I asked him to to help me choose a book about the parables and he recommended Hans Christian Andersen. I said, ‘But that’s a book of fairy tales,’ and he told me to read between the lines. Then I asked him about the resurrection and he said, ‘Which resurrection?’ Finally I asked him about the story of Creation and he said, ‘That’s right, it’s a story.’ Every question I asked him, he dodged.”

“He was the biggest source of temptation in my life,” said a member of staff, who also requested anonymity. “It was terrible: I’d walk into the shop, planning to offer him some words of encouragement, but I’m sure he saw me coming because as I approached the counter he’d whip out a newly published book that was exactly what I’d been looking for. It was impossible to leave without buying it!”

“It was his jokes that were the killer,” explained another staff member. “Him and that other guy, Nick Aston, they sparked off one another. It was worse than the two Ronnies. You couldn’t hold a sensible conversation with them when they were on duty together.”

So why did he quit? No one knows, but rumour has it that he’s going to be working in a supermarket part-time terrorising the general public in much the same way as he used to terrorise the LST community, and when he isn’t in the supermarket he’ll be drinking coffee and working on some top secret web development projects.

Tough Decision Time 2 July 28, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in News.
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THIS POST is simply a follow on to my earlier password protected post, Protected: Tough Decision Time. If you’re one of my online friends, you are welcome to request the password and I’ll give it to you on the understanding that what I’ve protected must, for the time being, remain protected: in other words, it’s confidential and I’ll give you the password on the strict understanding that you maintain confidentiality.

Simply to eliminate certain things from possible speculation, it’s a work/employment related issue.

Thank you for being and thank you for reading.

Say No to Marital Unfaithfulness January 25, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Current Affairs, Family, News.
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4 comments
Church Times Blog, 25/01/2010

Church Times Blog, 25/01/2010 - Christians mount campaign against 'marital affairs' billboards

First, my thanks to the inimitable @davewalker for highlighting this issue on the Church Times Blog today: Christians mount campaign against ‘marital affairs’ billboards.

Now, please forgive my bluntness, but what on earth is going on in the heads of the plonkers running the Advertising Standards Authority? How can anyone possibly say that advertisements promoting unfaithfulness in marriage are unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence? That such advertisements do not offend against “widely accepted moral, social or cultural standards”??

Has our society really degenerated to the point where extramarital affairs are considered normal, harmless fun? Where were the ASA when things fell apart in Northern Ireland recently because of an extramarital affair? Enough families are wrecked by marriages falling apart as it is without promoting unfaithfulness as some sort of game.

Time for action! Here’s my letter of complaint to the ASA:

This advertisement is outrageous.

Publicly promoting unfaithfulness in marriage is offensive. This isn’t about fun: it’s about encouraging people to engage in lies and deception.

Nor is this simply a matter of ‘bad taste’ – it is promoting an attitude that undermines social cohesion, that will inevitably lead to family breakdown with all the concomitant effects upon innocent children.

I understand that you have already rejected complaints about these advertisements because you say that they are unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence. You are wrong: more than 1,000 people, myself included, are already seriously offended.

You have said “We can only act if the ad, in our judgement, offends against widely accepted moral, social or cultural standards.”

Faithfulness in relationships, in marriage in particular, IS a widely accepted moral, social and cultural standard, not only here in the UK but in all civilised societies. I put it to you that if in your judgement this advertisement does not offend in this way, then your judgement is at fault.

I call upon you to immediately review and reverse that judgement before any further offence is caused.

I regard this as a matter requiring urgent attention and look forward to receiving a prompt response from you.

Thank you.

I’ll let you know what response I receive, but in the meantime, if you share my concerns, please join the facebook group Stop marital affair .co.uk advertising publicly in the UK and send in your own complaint to the ASA.

From Dream to Nightmare to – where do we go from here? November 19, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in News.
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It seems only a short while ago that I posted about daring to dream. But sometimes dreams turn to nightmares and the whole world comes crashing in.

It’s not my dream I’m talking about this time: it’s the hopes and dreams of my friends and colleagues in the Christian book trade, particularly those working for STL, Wesley Owen and Authentic Media. Because everything fell apart around their ears this week as their parent company, Biblica, decided to pull the plug on their UK operations.

The announcement was made on Monday and you can read it in full over on the UKCBD blog as well as a whole host of other places including Christian Marketplace, the Church Times blog and STL’s own blog. It’s a sad story of incompetence in high places as some buffoons — they called them “IT consultants” — took STL UK on a one-way journey into a new software system called SAP back in October last year. Unfortunately it didn’t work and everything went pear-shaped in the warehouses, shops weren’t being supplied with goods, customers walked away and cash flow trickled down to … well, not quite zilch, but to the point where they couldn’t pay their suppliers so their suppliers stopped supplying which meant more bookshops weren’t being supplied … and I think you can see where this is going. Very, very sad: add a downturn in the economy and crunch, down comes the entire edifice.

The plan  is to find a buyer “within the next few weeks”, otherwise things start closing down. Unpleasant for all concerned, to put it mildly.

I’m spearheading a blog campaign to stage a trade/community buyout which has generated a certain amount of interest, but whether or not the level of interest will be sufficient remains to be seen. At the moment I’m waiting for the latest accounts and financial reports from the company, which I requested on Tuesday. No response yet from either Biblica or Baker Tilly, the company contracted to handle negotiations.

So time will tell. We watch and wait. Please pray, please take a look at the discussions so far, throw in your own ideas, pray some more, think about whether or not you’d like to become part of a buyers’ consortium — let me know as soon as possible if so, please — then pray some more.

Some interesting ideas over at Clayboy’s place: head across and throw in your own thoughts there too, please; and watch this space…

Gordon Brown, I Salute You November 9, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in Current Affairs, News.
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… and to all those jackals in the press heckling him over his handwriting and a simple mistake that anyone could have made, I say: you are but jackasses braying. Back off and give the man a break!

Gordon Brown, I salute you!

Related Posts (all far more eloquent than my brief salute: h/t to David Keen for pointing these out)

Nearly Famous October 31, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in News.
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Thank you to the good people at the Biggleswade Chronicle (yes, David, Biggleswade really is for real) for featuring both Sue and me in this week’s issue, welcoming Sue to the area and bigging up my dreams for a new bookshop for the area.

Sue made page 21 and online, I made page 31. That’s definitely nearly famous in my book.

Biggleswade Chronicle, p.21

Biggleswade Chronicle, p.21

Biggleswade Chronicle, p.31

Biggleswade Chronicle, p.31

Good News! July 26, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in Church, News.
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A message from Sue:

Dear Friends,

Thank you very much for your prayers and messages of support during recent months.

We are delighted to announce that I have been appointed the next Priest-in-Charge of Henlow and Langford and Assistant Diocesan Director of Ordinands in the Diocese of St Albans.

We hope to move during the second half of September and I will be licensed on Tuesday 13th October.

We will send more details nearer the time.

With our love and prayers.

Sue & Phil

For anyone is isn’t quite up to speed with our movements, this follows on from my post back in May: Life: It’s a mixed up muddled up shook up world.

Life: It’s a mixed up muddled up shook up world May 9, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in News.
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Title borrowed from MadPriest: thanks, mate! If you’ve not met MadPriest, you really ought to head on over there sometime; but preferably when you’ve finished here, not right now.

Two items of news broke yesterday:

1. The Charity Commissioners have, at last, taken action against the Brewer brothers and appointed an interim manager for the St Stephen the Great Trust: Brewers Skewered as Charity Commission Takes Action – Part 1

2. The new Bishop of Kensington formally announced that he was pulling the plug on Deanery Licensed Ministry as an option for ordination training in the area: Bishop Announces End of DLM Programme

The first made me want to whoop for joy: this is something that I and a group of others have been fighting for, praying for, for over two years. Mark and Phil Brewer are a pair of crooks who have been screwing over the former SPCK Bookshops in the supposed name of ‘Orthodox Mission’ ever since the SPCK board made the mistake of handing them over to them back in 2006. At last an outside agency is taking action!! If you’re new to the story, start here

The second, putting it rather less bluntly than my gut reaction, made me feel — let’s just say, a tad angry. The details of how I felt are unbecoming (oh, the joys of self-moderation!). If you happen to read this, my Lord Bishop, I do hope that you’ll take time to reflect upon the impact your approach to this matter is having, not merely upon us but more importantly upon the students currently training for Deanery Licensed Ministry, upon their families and the churches that have supported them in pursuing this calling.

Ironically, this too is something that has been part of my life for over two years, ever since Sue’s appointment as Director of Deanery Licensed Ministry. But ever since Bishop Michael, the former Bishop of Kensington, left the area to become a Residentiary Canon at St Paul’s — less than a year after Sue’s appointment — we’ve more or less known that it would come to this. But there’s a world of difference between standing on a railway line waiting for an approaching train and finally being hit by that train.

At first, there’s nothing coming: the railway line is as safe a place as anywhere else in the world; then you feel vibrations in the tracks, hear a noise in the distance; the train comes into sight over the horizon, a tiny speck in the distance; you’re aware of the danger, you want to move but somehow you can’t: your feet are stuck. Then it’s upon you, and it’s all over…

Except it isn’t. Sue and I are now in limbo. We’ve been in limbo for a while, but now it’s official. Where do we go from here?

As they say, watch this space; and please pray with us, for justice for the former SPCK bookshop workers, for those working in the remaining shops, and for wisdom for Sue, myself and all others affected by the demise of Deanery Licensed Ministry.

As I said, it’s a mixed up muddled up shook up world. Now, you can go visit MadPriest.

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