Marking Time

21 07 2009

[You can listen to this episode here, or subscribe by searching ‘James Townsend’ on iTunes Store]

Perhaps inevitably, those few months that surround graduating from University tend to be a time when many people offer up advice. Some of this advice is tempting to follow, though I sense moving to the Caribbean and setting up a surf shack may have to wait a few years in my case.

Other advice is well meaning, and probably fair, but rather depressing. The main theme of the advice I have received recently has been something like this: Don’t waste time. Once you’ve left university, you won’t have very much of it. Read the rest of this entry »





Making Choices

12 07 2009

[You can listen to this letter here, or subscribe by searching ‘James Townsend’ on iTunes Store.]

Learning how to teach is a fascinating business. Just a few years ago, I was sitting on the other side of the classroom. It all seemed very straightforward then: explain something to the class and get them to copy down some notes about it. If there was any trouble, a bit of shouting and threatening body language would do the trick. Read the rest of this entry »





Notes from Synod (3)

12 07 2009

Crikey, I am exhausted. It’s amazing how active the role of ‘observer’ is.

Last night’s activities in the Synod Chamber were a pretty dry and straightforward discussion of the reports from the Church Commissioners and the Archbishops’ Council. Apart from the perhaps inevitable resentment towards the central institutions of the Church, nothing much to report.

Later, we moved onto the Fringe events. Us CEYC folk Read the rest of this entry »





Notes from Synod (2)

11 07 2009

Just finished a fish supper in Vanbrugh Restaurant. Very frustratingly, I was a nat’s whisker away from eating with the Archbishop of Canterbury (he was just in front of me in the queue) but somebody snatched him away as we put our trays down together. Read the rest of this entry »





Notes from Synod

11 07 2009

It really is rather surreal to be back on campus at the University of York, but not as a student. The General Synod of the Church of England hold their Summer session here every year.

Discussion this afternoon has been dominated by financial matters. Synod were given a dramatic presentation on how the Church’s pension plans have fallen apart as a result of the recession. Read the rest of this entry »





Synod consultation

6 07 2009

I’m delighted to have been invited to join the CEYC observer group at this weekend’s Synod. The General Synod is a sort of parliament for the Church of England, and debates all sorts of things ranging from the theological to the liturgical and the administrative. Ironically, the July meeting Read the rest of this entry »





Carrying On

5 07 2009

[You can listen to this radio letter here, or subscribe by searching ‘James Townsend’ on iTunes Store]

Balance is a great thing. Several correspondents have noted that the letter I broadcast last week focussed heavily, perhaps negatively, on ‘last times’. Well, without wanting to set a precedent of inviting listeners to drive the agenda, let me begin this letter with a first time. Read the rest of this entry »