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Say No to Marital Unfaithfulness January 25, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Current Affairs, Family, News.
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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.

Twishop Index March 15, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in Frivolity, News, Technology.
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We live in exciting times for the dear old Church of England with more and more (well OK, three that I know of so far, a Blessed Twinity perhaps?) Bishops joining the Twittersphere. Figured we’ll be needing a Twishop Index soon to keep twack of ’em, so I’ve created a dedicated page, Twishop Index, complete with its own Twitter ID @twishop.

Follow at your own risk:

H/T to the Church Mouse — @thechurchmouse — for @bpdt. If I was an ArchTwishop, Church Mouse, you’d get an honorary Twishopric for services to the Twurch.

Supporting Gaza January 24, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in News.
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So the BBC won’t broadcast an appeal to support Gaza, eh? Stuff the BBC and their so-called “impartiality”: I will. Specifically this one, from the real BBC who are there in the midst of it: Bethlehem Bible College.

Bethlehem Bible College Gaza Appeal (PDF, 8kb)

Bethlehem Bible College Gaza Appeal (PDF, 8kb)

BETHLEHEM BIBLE COLLEGE
(The Shepherd Society)
P.O. Box 17166
Jerusalem, 91190
Israel

January 11, 2009

Dear friends,

Greetings in the name of Jesus, our Savior and the giver of life.

We have been receiving several telephone calls and emails asking us how to help the people of Gaza. The latest news from Gaza shows that the death toll among Palestinians is over 900 and the injured has surpassed 4000. From all indications, it seems that this number will continue to rise. Many of the dead are women and children and non- combatant men. We are witnessing a great humanitarian crisis. The situation in Gaza is horrible. All the people need our help.

The Christian community in Gaza is very small; some reports estimate its population to be less than 3500 individuals. This community is suffering as much as the rest of the population. Three members of this community, all of whom are civilians, have lost their lives in this war

Some of you are aware that Salwa, Bishara’s wife, is from Gaza. She still has family there. Like most Gazans, they are out of electricity and gas, and most of the time they have no running water. There were days when they did not have any food to cook. The bombing has been very close to them. They are afraid, but have no where to hide.

This past December several families from the Christian community in Gaza were allowed to come and visit Bethlehem for Christmas. While here, the war broke out in Gaza and now they cannot go back. They number about 35 families. They are stuck in Bethlehem with very little resources. In addition there are 7 families that came a year ago and are afraid to go back to Gaza.

We are seeking your prayers. Please pray for the end of this terrible war and pray for wisdom to be given to both sides of the conflict to do what is right in the eyes of God. Pray for an end to the killing of Palestinians and Israelis and that both communities can live in peace.

  • Pray for the leaders on both sides that the Lord will give them wisdom.
  • Pray for all the families that lost loved ones to be comforted.
  • Pray for the Church in Gaza that it will be a Light in the midst of this darkness.
  • Pray for a peace accord that will end all hostilities between Israelis and Arabs

Bethlehem Bible College, in cooperation with the Shepherd Society, the Church of Missionary Alliance in Jerusalem, Musalaha (Reconciliation) and the Palestinian Bible Society are seeking and receiving funding to help the people of Gaza. We are in touch with the Baptist Church in Gaza who will do the actual distribution of food, medicine and other items. Please see the details below* for your contributions.

In His Name

Bishara Awad & Alex Awad
Bethlehem Bible College & Shepherd Society

*BBC Gaza Appeal: PDF (8kb)

decgazaappealThings have changed somewhat since this letter was sent out, of course, with Israel withdrawing its troops; but the apartheid continues and the devastation Israel has left in its wake is but another example of Israel’s crimes against humanity.

The BBC’s refusal to broadcast the DEC Appeal for Gaza is not impartiality: it is rather to aid and abet Israel in those crimes. Ben Bradshaw, Health Minister, has the right of it:

I’m afraid the BBC has to stand up to the Israeli authorities occasionally 

This is one such time.

In the meantime, it’s up to the rest of us to step into the breach left by the BBC. If you have a blog, I urge you: use it to support the DEC Appeal for Gaza; and give, give generously, to help the people of Gaza rebuild their lives and their community.

And in answer to the obvious question: yes, of course Hamas launching missiles in Israel was wrong, but that doesn’t make Israel’s brutal retaliation right.

GroomNews Christmas 2008 December 7, 2008

Posted by Phil Groom in News.
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Christmas 2007 | GroomNews Archives

GroomNews Christmas 2008 pdf Preview2008: What has it been for you?

A Year of Changes
For us, it’s been a year of changes, starting in February with the death of Sue’s Dad, leaving a huge gap in the family and in our lives. Thanks to everyone who has prayed for us, for Sue’s Mum and for Alison, Sue’s sister; and to those who have helped in many different ways. This Christmas will, of course, be our first Christmas without him and we’d be grateful for your continued prayers as we adjust to his absence.

Christmas TreeAnother Year of Uncertainty
It’s also been another year of uncertainty: at the end of last year it was announced that the Bishop of Kensington was moving on. Since Sue’s job as Director of Deanery Licensed Ministers was created by the Bishop as part of his vision for the Kensington Area, this inevitably left a question mark hanging over the project: will the new Bishop want to pursue his predecessor’s vision? GroomNewsNow, more than a year later, we’re still waiting for an announcement of a new Bishop…

Christmas CandleEven so, it’s been a very busy year for Sue as her role in the Diocese has expanded: as well as being on core staff for STETS (Southern Theological Education Training Scheme) in Salisbury, where her DLM candidates are training, she is now core staff at London’s new St Mellitus College, teaching Old Testament. Most weekends and many evenings she’s out & about preaching, teaching and fostering vocations at different churches and events or courses around the Kensington Area. Find out more online: www.dlmkensington.org.uk

There’s also been a sense of uncertainty at LST in a year without a Principal, following Derek Tidball’s surprise early retirement last year. The School was delighted, however, to welcome Simon Steer as its new Principal in September this year. Again, you can find out more online: www.lst.ac.uk

A Painful Hip
This autumn Sue’s left hip has been causing some concern. In November we went to the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Oxford, for an MRI Scan and arthrogram; we are now due to meet with her consultant to review the scan results. Meanwhile, thanks to the Archdeacon’s generosity, she has been receiving some excellent physiotherapy. By the time you read this we should have  a clearer idea of what’s happening and the way ahead…

Year of the Blog!
For me, Phil, it’s been the year of the blog. Wednesday April 2nd 2008 saw the launch of the Christian Bookshops Blog at christianbookshopsblog.org.uk, followed at the end of June by the launch of SPCK/SSG: News, Notes and Info, a blog dedicated to discussing, scrutinising and reporting on the controversies surrounding the handover of the former SPCK Bookshops to the St Stephen the Great Trust (SSG).

In July, whilst we were on holiday, J Mark Brewer, the Chairman of SSG, threatened me with legal action if I didn’t stop reporting on his activities: I’m now reporting even more! You can read all about it at spckssg.wordpress.com where, as I write this newsletter, we’re taking a long, hard look at the Durham Cathedral Shop. To describe things as ‘messy’ is putting it very mildly…

A New Home for Almost
But not the snowy spot on the card that you most likely received with this newsletter if you received a copy by snail mail: that photo was taken more than 15 years ago when we were moored in Tipton. Special thanks to the Tipton Civic Society for providing us with those cards.

For this year’s summer holiday we waved a final fond farewell to Yiewsley and Packet Boat Marina and set off down the Grand Union, up the Thames and onto the Kennet & Avon, a canal we’d never explored before. Almost is now snugly moored with the Newbury Boat Company — and with mooring fees almost £1,000 per year cheaper than they were in the London area, we wonder why we didn’t move sooner!

Congratulations!

  • To Phil’s Mum, who celebrated her 70th birthday this year;
  • To our oldest nephew, John, who announced his engagement to Laura: they get married in May 2009;
  • To Sue’s sister, Alison, who is now working as a Pastoral Assistant in the Chaplaincy Department at Marjon’s College, Plymouth;
  • To you, for reading this far: thank you!

Once again, this comes with our love, best wishes for Christmas and our prayers for peace in the year ahead,philsuesig

Welcome! June 7, 2008

Posted by Phil Groom in News.
2 comments

Welcome to the Groomsville blog: enjoy the ride!

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