GroomNews Christmas 2016 December 10, 2016Posted by Phil Groom in Advent and Christmas, Life, News.
Tags: Archdeacon of Wilts, Darton Longman and Todd, Devizes, DLT Books, GroomNews, Phil & Sue Groom, Phil Groom, Sue Groom
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WELCOME to GroomNews Christmas 2016 — and what a year it’s been! We’ve moved home, moved boat, both started new jobs, met lots of new people, lost and found the Christmas wrapping paper… but that’s getting ahead of ourselves: back to the beginning.
Farewell to Henlow & Langford
A huge thank you, first of all, to the wonderful people of Henlow and Langford, not only for giving us a very generous send-off but also for taking the time to travel to Devizes and join us for Sue’s collation and official welcome as Archdeacon of Wilts back in February.
Discovering the Archdeaconry of Wilts
Sue is thoroughly enjoying exploring Wiltshire, visiting the 123 churches in the archdeaconry and getting to know so many different people. Much of her time is spent on appointments: it’s vital to find the right priest for each post. She’s also now making a point of visiting the area’s 53 church schools, where she loves leading collective worship and meeting pupils, staff and governors. Other responsibilities include taking the lead on Safeguarding within the diocese and attending various regular meetings about finance and buildings.
Forget Doctor Who: Here’s Doctor Sue!
Sue submitted her DThM thesis in January before we moved, then came the viva in May and—yes!—she passed with flying colours, not even minor corrections required. The graduation ceremony followed in Durham in July and Sue now enjoys the title of Venerable Doctor. A chapter from the thesis is due to be published in the Anglican Theological Review in Spring 2017. What comes next? If the plan comes together, an LLM in Canon Law at Cardiff, studies commencing next autumn.
Swimming the Channel…
Virtually, that is, 22 miles length by length in our local pool! Sue took up the Aspire Channel Swim Challenge in September, swam the width of the Channel twice, and raised over £1,200 in the process to support people with spinal injuries. A huge thank you to everyone who sponsored her.
Onto the Kennet & Avon
We moved Almost onto the K&A in the summer, cruising up the Thames to Reading and across to Devizes, where Almost is now moored, just a short walk from home. It’s a lovely 87 mile long waterway that stretches across the south of the country to Bath. Phil is getting to know the canal well as he now works part time for CRT, the Canal & River Trust: look out for him at the Caen Hill welcome station if ever you’re out on the towpath!
Back into the Book Trade, and still baking!
Phil is also working part time with DLT Books (Darton, Longman & Todd), helping with publicity and promotions to raise awareness and reach out to people and groups that traditional trade routes aren’t reaching as well as they might. You can find out more and read excerpts from lots of books on the DLT Books Blog, and right now the entire backlist—everything published in 2015 or earlier—is half-price in the Christmas Sale: simply use the discount code xmas in the online shopping basket to activate the discount!
… and yes, Phil is still head chef, baker, bottle washer and gardener, as well as collector of firewood for our lovely open fireplaces!
With our love, prayers and very best wishes for Christmas and the coming year,
— Phil & Sue
GroomNews Christmas 2015 December 14, 2015Posted by Phil Groom in Advent and Christmas, Life, News.
Tags: Almost, Archdeacon of Wilts, Christmas, Christmas Greetings, GroomNews, Phil & Sue Groom, Phil Groom, Preparing to move, Sue Groom
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WELCOME to GroomNews Christmas 2015! Another year almost over as we wonder where the time went as we prepare to celebrate the wonder of God With Us as we prepare to move home and boat as we — phew: got all that? Exciting times here on Planet Groomsville!
Introducing the Next Archdeacon of Wilts
If you saw the announcements in November, you can skip this; but for those who missed it, we’re delighted to announce that Sue has been appointed as the next Archdeacon of Wilts in the Diocese of Salisbury.
So what, you may wonder, is an Archdeacon? Think of it as the Church of England’s equivalent of an Area Manager: instead of looking after her own parish, Sue will be working with lots of parishes, supporting their mission and ministry and helping clergy and PCCs as they deal with various administrative, legal and other issues. Want to know more? See the press release on the Salisbury diocesan website: A New Archdeacon for Wilts
What about Phil?
Good question! He’s handing in his notice at Sainsbury’s with a transfer request to Devizes, where we’ll be based (our new home is only 100 yards or so from the Kennet & Avon Canal) but there are no vacancies there right now so we’re looking at a period (hopefully brief) where he’ll be Archdeacon’s Estate Manager. In other words, baking cakes and looking after house & garden until he finds paid work. Baking cakes? Yes indeed: his new hobby — here’s his latest, this year’s Christmas cake:
His other creations (or concoctions, depending on your point of view) this year have included cheese scones, apple cinnamon cakes, apple & apricot cakes and a cherry-lemon loaf.
In the meantime, he’s as busy as ever with various other projects including 5 Quid for Life, the UK Christian Bookshops Directory and a miscellany of church and community websites: paid work or otherwise, he’s not about to run out of things to do!
Research News: almost there!
The end is in sight for Sue’s research as she works on her final chapter (the conclusion, of course) and pulls everything together before submission next year—gulp!
No edition of GroomNews would be complete without an Almost update, so here it is: our fridge died. Sob! After 25 years loyal service, no less, on the first night of this year’s holiday! Boat fridges don’t come cheap, alas: a replacement would have cost at least £600; but after much asking around, we found someone who could fix it and it’s back in action, cool as ever, for only £60.
Finally, a HUGE thank you to everyone who has encouraged and supported us along the way, with special thanks to the people of Henlow and Langford. It’s been wonderful to see the two churches grow in confidence, faith and love: long may that continue! If you’d like to know more about either or both churches, visit their websites or facebook pages — or even better, visit in person: you can be sure of a warm welcome!
- St Mary’s: henlowchurch.org.uk | facebook.com/StMarysHenlow
- St Andrew’s: langfordchurch.org.uk | facebook.com/StAndrewsLangford
With our love, prayers and very best wishes,
PS: Want to keep up with us in between issues of GroomNews? Connect with Phil on facebook and twitter:
Introducing the next Archdeacon of Wilts November 3, 2015Posted by Phil Groom in Church, Life, News.
Tags: Archdeacon of Wilts, Church of England, Devizes, Diocese of Salisbury, Good News, Henlow and Langford, St Andrew's Langford, Sue Groom
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TODAY it gives me immense pleasure to introduce the next Archdeacon of Wilts, someone most readers of this blog will already know: none other than my wonderful wife, the Revd Canon soon-to-be-Venerable Sue Groom.
Sue’s present dual-role post as Priest-in-Charge of Henlow & Langford and St Albans Diocesan Director of Ordinands (DDO) requires her to give three months notice, so the lovely people of Henlow and Langford haven’t seen the last of us yet: we don’t leave until the end of January 2016; but both of us would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has welcomed us and made our 6+ years here in Bedfordshire so enjoyable and worthwhile — it’s been a genuine privilege to share this part of our lives with you.
Sue’s last service in the Benefice is scheduled for Sunday 31st January, a combined service with the two parishes together at St Andrew’s, Langford, and we’d love to see as many people there as possible: please do join us if you’re in the area. Her licensing as Archdeacon of Wilts is scheduled for Monday 22nd February at St John’s, Devizes — close to where we’ll be living, a superb location on the Kennet & Avon Canal — followed on Thursday 25th February by a diocesan welcome service for both Sue and the new Bishop of Sherborne at Salisbury Cathedral: look out for more details of these services nearer the time.
The news was announced in both parishes on Sunday 1st November 2015, and further announcements and a press release are being issued today via the official St Albans and Salisbury diocesan news channels; all that remains for me to say now is:
- St Albans: DDO to be New Archdeacon for Wilts | Archdeacons Abound
- Salisbury: A New Archdeacon for Wilts
- BBC News Wiltshire: Reverend Canon Sue Groom to be Archdeacon of Wiltshire
- Salisbury Journal: New Archdeacon of Wiltshire named
- Swindon Advertiser: New Archdeacon of Wiltshire named
- Wikipedia: Archdeacon of Wilts
5 Quid for Life Banking Details April 9, 2011Posted by Phil Groom in Life, Mental Health, News.
Tags: 5 Quid for Life, Bank Details, Mental Health
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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!
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:
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?
- Read the full story: Thunderbirds – sorry, I mean 5 Quid for Life – are go!
GroomNews Christmas 2010 December 18, 2010Posted by Phil Groom in Advent and Christmas, Life, News.
Tags: Biggleswade, Café Mocha, Christmas Cards, Christmas Greetings, GroomNews, Henlow and Langford, LST, Phil & Sue Groom, Phil Groom, Sue Groom
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.
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!
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.
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 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, 2010Posted by Phil Groom in Knockabout, News.
Tags: Bible, Book, Booksellers, Coffee, Creation myth, Fairy tale, Hans Christian Andersen, Insane ramblings of a deranged Christian, Literature, London School of Theology, Northwood, Shopping
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, 2010Posted by Phil Groom in News.
Tags: Password Protected, Tough Decision Time
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, 2010Posted by Phil Groom in Current Affairs, Family, News.
Tags: Faithfulness, Family Breakdown, Marital Breakdown, maritalaffairs.co.uk, Marriage, Relationships
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.
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, 2009Posted by Phil Groom in News.
Tags: Authentic Media, Biblica, Buyers Consortium, Christian Bookshops, Christian Retail, IBS-STL, STL, STL UK, Trade buy-out, Wesley Owen
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, 2009Posted by Phil Groom in Current Affairs, News.
Tags: Afghanistan, Gordon Brown, Respect, Sun Newspaper
… 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)
- Afghanistan letter controversy: Gordon Brown has my sympathy and my support: Matt Wardman, 10/11/2009
- Bloody Shameful: Lanky Anglican, 10/11/2009
- Where the Sun don’t shine: Nick Baines, 10/11/2009