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GroomNews: May 2016 NewsFlash May 22, 2016

Posted by Phil Groom in Life.
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Hello and thank you to everyone who has been praying for us or otherwise cheering us on as we’ve settled into our new home and roles in Wiltshire.

Today it gives me (Phil writing) great pleasure to announce that Sue has passed the Viva (live examination) for her DThM (Doctorate in Theology and Ministry) with flying colours, not even minor corrections required! If you’re familiar with the way the academic world works, you’ll appreciate how unusual that is: doctorates are very rarely signed off without some revisions or rewriting required; and in this case as much as anything the immediate pass acknowledges the important contribution that Sue’s work makes to the ongoing conversations about training for ordination in the Church of England.

It’s been a long haul, just shy of nine years of research, analysis and writing, and we’re very grateful to everyone whose loving support and encouragement has made it possible, amongst many others the students who agreed to be her ‘guinea pigs’ and her supervisors in Durham, Roger Walton and Stephen Barton to begin with, then Jeff Astley and Richard Briggs. Once the official paperwork has been signed off, her official title will be the Venerable Canon Dr, but to friends and family she will, of course, always simply remain Sue.

Congratulations Sue!

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In action with Gary Redfern, K&A Fundraising Team Leader, at Caen Hill, Devizes

I’m also delighted to report some changes for me: after three months as a free agent (unemployed benefits scrounger if you subscribe to the government’s spin on things) I now have two part-time jobs to keep me occupied. Earlier this month I started work for the Canal & River Trust as a Towpath Fundraiser, which means I get to stand around on the towpath at Caen Hill Locks here in Devizes and welcome walkers, cyclists and other passers-by to the Kennet & Avon canal, tell them all about it and invite them to become Friends of the Trust. At this time of year and when the sun is shining, I think it must be the best job in the world! Please do take a look at the Trust’s website and consider signing up yourself: Canal and River Trust > Become a Friend

My second job is to work freelance on behalf of a Christian publisher as an advocate to raise interest in and promote sales of some of their more left-of-field books amongst potential readers who are not being reached by traditional trade channels. It promises to be a challenging role as I seek to work in a way that doesn’t trespass on the territory of existing booksellers, and liaise with authors to help them develop opportunities to generate sales through their own online activities. Look out for me in a social media space near you soon, and please don’t be offended if I tell you to support your local Christian bookshop rather than buy from me! It’s a new venture both for the publisher and for me so it’s initially on a trial basis, subject to review.

There’s much more we could tell you, of course: about the joys and challenges of being an Archdeacon in an area with lots of clergy vacancies and more clergy approaching retirement; or about the pleasures of looking after a wonderful garden where Spring has definitely sprung, the grass is reaching for the sky and all the trees and bushes are filling out with magnificent greenery; but we’ll save that for another time.

Thank you once again for your prayers and support. Please continue to pray for us as we shall continue to pray for you: we look forward to hearing your news in return.

With our love,

Phil & Sue

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The Final Week September 13, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Watching and Waiting.
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6 comments
LST Books & Resources

LST Books & Resources

This is it. My final week as Bookshop Manager at London School of Theology. Just three days, in fact, as I’ll only be working Tuesday to Thursday and then it’s all over, left with my colleague and good friend Nick Aston to run the show.

It’s been an interesting time, these last few weeks, trying to tidy up as many loose ends as possible, notifying suppliers and others of my departure and showing Nick the tricks of the trade. For Nick it’s going to be a challenging time as he attempts to do all that I’ve been doing as well as his own job in less than half our combined hours: if you’re minded to pray, please keep him in mind as he’s going to need all the support he can get; and if you’re ever in Northwood looking for a book or a bar of fairtrade chocolate, please go pay him a visit.

It’s going to be a different shop and a different approach to running it when I’m gone, with the stock profile largely driven by faculty recommendations and course reading lists alongside a proposed increase in non-book product. Whereas I’ve always aimed to maintain an extensive backlist beyond the reading lists, perused publishers’ catalogues and met with reps to select new titles, it’s unlikely that Nick will have time for that, although time will tell, of course: who can say how things will pan out?

As for me, a part-time job in a local supermarket to keep a few pennies rolling in whilst I reorientate and focus my attention and energies on various web projects. There’s more than enough to keep me busy: the question is whether I can make it pay.

I also plan to devote some time to blogging in support of my madosphere friends: there’s far too much stigma and misunderstanding attached to mental illness where there should be respect and support for those who are battling these traumas. If you missed it, go read my post Meeting the Mentalists: awesome people, each and every one.

And finally: to all at LST, my friends and colleagues: it’s been a good ten years: I salute you. Or as the dolphins would say, “So long, and thanks for all the fish.”

Some of my web projects…

Into the Madosphere: Some Mental Health Bloggers I Admire

Following Jesus? July 21, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Random Musings, Short Story, Theological Reflection, Watching and Waiting.
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JESUS was walking through the shopping centre in Galilee when he saw Simon and his brother Andrew at work stocking the shelves with books, for they were booksellers. Jesus said to them, “Come, follow me, and I will make you readers of people.” At once they left their bookshelves and followed him.

Going a little further, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in another bookshop unpacking their boxes. At once he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the shop with the hired staff and followed him.

Another bookseller named Philip was watching all this. “What about me, Jesus?” he asked. “Should I leave my bookshelves to follow you too?”

Jesus looked at Philip and smiled. “What do you see, Philip?” he asked.

“I see your name written on each book, I see the light in your eyes each time someone picks one up and turns the pages,” Philip replied.

“The light shines in the darkness,” said Jesus, “and the darkness has never put it out.”

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