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Well, I had a lovely experience Friday night. After being forcibly retired from my beloved nursing job that day, I went to meeting of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a type of Amnesty International but for prisoners of faith. The worship leader was Ian White and I was bold enough to ask him if he would mind my friend and I using flags during his worship. To my delight he was delighted and even introduced us from the podium!

Now Sunderland Minster is a very old and very beautiful church and I have often visited the little coffee shop at the side and peered through the glass doors and thought how wonderful it would be to use flags in the transept. It seemd unlikely as the church is a fairly high Anglican church and very reserved! So I ewas sure my thoughts were little more than a flight of fancy.

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But Ian's music was brilliant - just he and his guitar, but boy, could he sing up a storm! He did "Blessed Be Your Name" and then "How Great Is Our God" for which not so long ago the Holy Spirit gave me a brand new and totally unique routine. Towards the end he concluded with "In Christ Alone" which had me going out all guns!! I dance my heart out before the Lord and it was totally awesome!

We had Deborah Xu as the main speaker, who had been imprisoned and tortured many times by the Chinese Cultural Revolution Army for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ but latterly she was placed under close house arrest with a constant military guard. Yet people came from all over to sit outside her house. She would preach to them out of a tiny window, shouting through the line of soldiers!!

At the end, her friend and spiritual mentor, Peter Xu, a venerable Chinese gentleman in his eightieth year, was asked to close in prayer. But he wanted to speak. The leader urged him not to as the meeting had already run over time by over half an hour but he kept saying "I must. I have a word, I must share it."

So he did and what he said was that he saw many people with 'halos' of white hair and that they should be proud for they were earning the halos by their age and experience. And he said "people would have you believe that you when you retire that your life is over - don't you believe it! Your life is beginning! Now you have time to do God's work and trust me, it is just the start of your new life!"

I was amazed and totally overwhelmed. I really felt that this lovely man had been sent all the way from China to give me that word!!

I have been meditating on it all weekend and today - my 65 birthday - I have decided that I am going to do a pilgrimage of flag worship in the cathedrals of Northern England! How's about that then!!
Wow...isn't it great that God gets us exactly what we need exactly when we need it! And cool that His message to you happened in a way that is unmistakably God, too.

The flag worship tour through the cathedrals should be a great adventure. Looking forward to your travelogue, because you know we want to hear ALL the details.! :ears:

:crossflag: :bishop:

What a wonderful testimony. One thing that really touched me about your story is the response you got from Ian White. So often I find that church leaders (clergy/pastors/ministers - call them what you want) and worship leaders seem to tolerate rather than encourage dance and will always think of excuses why dancing isn't appropriate in a given situation. (I've moaned about this elsewhere here). To receive both support and a public mention is sadly quite rare.

You probably know this, but Ian White is actually a very experienced guy who's been in music ministry (amongst other things) for 20+ years. It's been a long time since I've heard him, but I do remember that he was good both with and without a band. I probably have most of his Psalms albums on vinyl in a box in my parents' attic!

It's good that you took the trouble to ask permission beforehand. The question of whether or not to ask if it's OK to dance is an interesting one. I would generally say that you should ask first, but there are some situations where taking what I call the Nike approach - just do it - is the best option! What do others think? Is it wrong to dance at a meeting without asking first?

And I hope I'm still dancing when I'm 65!


It's amazing what a word in season can do for us, isn't it?'

I am THRILLED for you, Jo. Thrilled at Ian's joyful acceptance of your offer, thrilled at God's timing in all of it, thrilled at Brother Xu's insistance in giving that word.

My own white halo is growing. Not at retirement age yet, but it's not all that far away. And feeling as though I've been forcibly retired from a number of Christian, parish level enterprises, it's a good word.

Jo, you get to spread joy, to prepare those houses of worship for revival, to sow seed on some hardened ground, to plow some of that ground, to bulldoze some ground that has lain fallow for centuries, I fear. What exciting times are ahead for you!! As Helena shared, be sure to keep us apprized of your plans and adventures, so we can joy with you, and so we can pray for you!
Thanks for all your encouraging words.

As for asking permission, yes I always do. I make a point of it. Some churches just do not like flags (I hesitate to say that I dance!!) and I have always tried to ask in such a way as to make it easy for the other person to say no if that's what they want to do. I see it as part of the respecting/obedience to leadership thing. I have on a couple of occasions been denied permission and done my best - with difficulty - to accept the decision with good grace. Wasn't easy though!

As for Ian White - well, no - I'd never heard of him before! Which made it a bit disconcerting when my friend very pointedly told me he was "only a world famous, internationally renowned worship leader, that's all"!! To which I just said, "Well what difference does that make, we're all brothers and sisters in Christ!" But she clearly thought I had a perfect cheek in asking him!

And his reaction was not just delight it was sheer delight! He said "visual worship - oh, wow - yes please! Fantastic!" And when I said there was two of us he added "Even better!" And after he came and gave us both a big hug and thanked us for helping him out. :buds:

Now THAT'S humility!!

About the pilgrimage - I have decided to do it for Christian Solidarity Worldwide. Not as a fund raiser or anything but as an act of worship to minister to them. This just speaks louder and louder to me. I will not be able to do it in one journey but a visit at a time. I want to make a start in Durham Cathedral which is one of the oldest in the country and finish in Coventry Cathedral, one of the newest!! That's if I'm permitted, of course!


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<IMG content="http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b286/flagady15/CoventryCathedral.jpg">[Image: CoventryCathedral.jpg]
Dave Wrote:The question of whether or not to ask if it's OK to dance is an interesting one. I would generally say that you should ask first, but there are some situations where taking what I call the Nike approach - just do it - is the best option! What do others think? Is it wrong to dance at a meeting without asking first?

I'd have to say generally, yes...I would consider it wrong to dance without first clearing it with the leadership. And I agree with Jo that you should be gracious and make it easy for them to decline. However, I do think that there are instances when it's made clear that people are expected to offer spontaneous expressions, that it would be acceptable in those sorts of occasions.

And I also believe gender has a bearing here. It can be much more offensive to leadership, I believe, when women move out without permission than when do men. The church is so devoid of male leadership in expressive worship that the breath of fresh air that comes when a man spontaneously rejoices before the Lord can overcome any sense that protocol has been breached.

Such is the prevailing gender-role perception, that for the same action, women could be preceived as pushy, brazen, and attention-seeking, and men perceived as daring, passionate and unihibited. It's not particularly fair...it just is. It's the whole thing of responders and initiators again.
Right on, Helena!! <IMG content="http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b286/flagady15/smilies/I-Agree.gif">[Image: I-Agree.gif]
Well, this thing is gradually taking some kind of shape. I have been Googling for a couple of days and come up with some kind of an itinerary. I'm sticking with Anglican cathedrals and minsters as that is my roots though one or two of my friends have said they can't see what's the difference if they're RC. Hmm.... I'm still sticking with my roots!

So far I have pencilled in


Newcastle upon Tyne






Southwell Minster (Nottingham)






That's 13 - should I add one more or can one sin by being superstitious about numbers!!! Actually, some may say may not let me, so I'll wait and see.

They are all very beautiful places of worship and I can't wait to get started but there's a lot to be done before a flag is ever lifted!

I was seeking information from a tourist office today and the lady I was speaking to was so nice, we got into a real sharing natter during which she told me she's soon to be ordained as an Anglican minister. Can't help that was more than a coincidence that I should end up speaking with her in a totally non-church type situation!
I expect you'll have all kinds of interesting divine appointments along this journey. How are you planning to approach these places and gain entrance? I'm curious.
Fair question, Helena! I plan to phone the Chapter Office first and ask them who would be the appropriate person to ask permission from. Then I'll write to him, explain my mission and ask if I can be accomodated. I must do it in such a way that he can withold permission if he choses. However, I don't anticipate too much opposition. I walk in the hope of Christ!
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