Church, Manchester, Faith, Punk

Archive for October, 2010

The story so far

Lets talk church.

CCM:City properly rebooted at the end of September and we are slowly building some momentum as well as settling down into some sort of reality. I don’t know how other church planters feel but I kind of expected the whole of Manchester to turn up to our meeting because we are that freakin’ awesome and I had got myself unreasonably hyped. It hasn’t actually worked out like that, yet.

However, it has been a great time. The band are ripping it up every week. In fact last Sunday they almost had a post-hardcore feel (think Gang of Four meet The Bronx), except with an acoustic guitar.

More important than the sound of the band is the sense of community and the presence of God in these meetings. It is beginning to feel like a bunch of friends coming together to work out a mission. Beautiful.

We get new people every week and sometimes these new people come back! Apparently that is an important phenomena.

So we are a long long long way from being viable but we take small steps every week. Our average number is double this time last year, which isn’t difficult but is heartening none the less.


I just want to thank…

This is a difficult blog to write. Potentially this could be incredibly self aggrandising so I need to lay down some humility first!

Last night my lovelevenshulme blog won two awards at the Manchester Blog Awards. I write this blog with Helen Power with the aim of being very positive about the area we live in. I got involved on a whim and it has turned into something that has gone way beyond anything I could have imagined. In real terms Helen has done the majority of the writing on the blog and I have beefed up its connectedness to twitter and facebook whilst occasionally writing about kebabs and sandwiches.

I had a vague inkling that we might win the best City and Neighbourhood blog but never imagined that we would win the blog of the year! The other nominated blogs are a wonderful representation of Manchester because they are so imaginative, entrepreneurial and ooze passion! So with that in mind, winning felt like a big deal and genuinely humbling!

So last night myself, Vix and Helen went along to the Deaf Institute in Manchester for an award ceremony. It gave me the opportunity to meet a whole bunch of Mancunian Bloggers, tweeters and social media types. It was a genuinely fascinating evening with some incredibly interesting people.

So I met someone who runs a blog about electronica, someone who writes a film blog, a story writing blog, a blog about parks, a blog about beards, a blog about music, another writing blog and a whole bunch of others I cannot remember.

To be honest I felt like a bit of a fraud because these guys and girls are all very good writers and I can barely spell. Anyhoo, we had a great evening and it felt like we learnt a great deal about the culture of Manchester just by sitting there and listening to people talk.

Manchester has provided so many incredible opportunities in this last year and we have met some very talented people. What will I be writing about in October 2011?

I really really really #lovemanchester

A massive favour

Today is the last day of voting for the Manchester Blog Awards.

Why not vote for my lovelevenshulme blog?

This blog has given me the opportunity to learn about my locality and to meet people who I would never otherwise have met. I run the blog with my friend Helen Power who, if the truth be told, does most of the work and the writing. However I am more than happy to claim at least 50% of the credit.

Anyhoo, vote for me. Do it now.

And the Nominees are…

Manchester has been good to me. We have been here for over a year and an eventful year it has been.

This week has been a high point for two reasons.

  1. We  own a house. Home ownership is a very middle class thing to be excited about, but it makes me happy. I finally feel like we may be here until I die (or God moves me to Hawaii)
  2. I got nominated for an award. That’s correct, I got SHORT LISTED for a Blog award!!

Let me explain. I live in Levenshulme, which is a thriving part of Manchester. It doesn’t have the reputation of Didsbury or Chorlton but it is continually improving and growing as a community. As a family we love living here.

Anyways, I discovered a blog called Lovelevenshulme before we even moved to Manchester and read up on Levy as we knew we would soon live there. Then a few months ago I saw that the blog owner was moving out of the area, so I offered to take it on. To cut a short story shorter, I am now a writer at It has been an amazing way to quickly learn my city and locality, as well as get to hang out with people who are way cooler than me.

Manchester is addicted to social media and blogs, so to be short listed for a blog award in this city feels like a big deal.

So, go to the Manchester Blog Awards website and vote for the lovelevenshulme blog.

(Just sitting here creating culture)

Sounds Good To Me

I have a brother. He once threw a stone at my head and knocked me over. We got past that stage and now I can go to a music festival for three days with him without punching him in the face. Progress.

Anyhoo, we love music and we now have a proper website where we write about music – Follow us, put us into your feed reader and always believe what we tell you.

We are the musical snobsguys from Hi-Fidelity, who look down from on high at everyone else and sneer. See the clip below (Sensitive Christians – Jack Black may use the work “fudgecake” so tread carefully).


There is no other reason to post this apart from the fact its beautiful and oddly worshipful.


I fear pointlessness

Well, for the first time CCM:City bounced. I mean we really shook the room last night. The band were really very good indeed and are beginning to move towards the sort of sounds that we need to see Manchester changed.

Sonically it would have killed my Granddad and it even made me flinch a couple of times as I was stood right next to a speaker, but the guys rocked hard. It is also worth noting that God happened to be in attendance as well. I always get nervous that I will end up with a church that sounds and looks good but which God doesn’t show up to because he thinks it is rubbish/pointless. Anyways, last night God represented and did his thing. I fear pointlessness.

I remember as a teenager in early 1990s Bedford we would go to the Kings Arms church on a Sunday evening (nothing else to do in Bedford apart from going to church – I do not miss that town). The church was, at the time, led by David Stroud and was reaching a bunch of 18 – 30s who were really quite a broken bunch. All I remember is watching worship that was passionate, and broken people falling to pieces and God putting the back together again. Every Sunday evening.

Even as a slightly stupid 15 year old these experiences had an affect on me and these memories resurfaced a few weeks ago and I wonder if we may be going in that direction. Manchester is a messed up (and beautiful) city. Please God.


One hour church plant

So Sunday looms large again! We don’t live and die by our numbers because I would have died a long time ago. In fact I feel genuinely at ease about the whole deal. What’s the worst thing that could happen? I’d look stupid and lets be honest I have plenty of experience of dealing with that already.

I was in a leaders meeting yesterday evening when Colin Baron started telling a story about a previous church plant he had been involved in. Colin is my boss and leader of Christ Church Manchester. When Colin says JUMP I pretend I didn’t hear him.

Anyways, one day Colin gets a phone call from a Christian leader in Manchester with a simple request “Colin, you are the only person I know who could do this, can you plant a church for me and can you do it tomorrow?”. One hour long meeting in a Mexican restaurant latter and the church is planted. Ten years later and the church is doing well with a strategy for reaching Manchester.

So what is the point in living and dying by the weekly turn out? In 10 years we will still be here, with 5 people or 500.

There is no actual pressure at all. We are the church. We are meant to be here.