Good grief, it's been nearly a week since I last blogged ... and I find Blogger's gone queer. Ah well, hey ho, I'm sure I'll get used to it. Lots to catch up on but where to start? let's begin at the beginning with the prison carol service.
Minor panic on first night as one of the participants came into the room where the service was being held and had a wobbly. 'I can't do this! Not with all these people!' We talked him into it and he stole the show.
He's a lad from Liverpool with a truly scrumptious Scouse accent and as he was reading lines for Mary's father it added a certain something. In fact as soon as he spoke the audience burst out laughing.
The theme of the carol service was the ripple effect. A lot of the men have been doing a course on restorative justice - thinking about the victim and others affected by your crime - so we carried this on using the birth of Christ as the stone dropped in the water causing ripples. We heard from the shepherd who declared that going to see this newborn baby was more important than his job looking after the sheep, and then from his boss who didn't agree and, in true Alan Sugar style, said, 'You're fired.'
Our Scouser had gained so much confidence by the second night that, in his role as boss, declared, 'You're fired! Now p**** off out of here!'
As one of the 'congregation' said, 'F***ing h***l, you can't use that language in church!'
Not your average church carol service.
We continued on with the ripple theme and heard the story of one of the men who took part in our carol service last year. He's now in another prison but I went to see him the week before and got his story, which he was happy for us to use. I'll put it on my long bits blog if you'd like to read it; it is very moving and hopeful. And even better is the fact that the man who read it introduced it by saying how pleased he was because he could relate to a lot of it and is going through a similar 'conversion'. I don't like the word conversion; it's more like redemption.
Now let's see how I get this new-fangled blogger to post.