A few highlights from the last year on St. Aidan to Abbey Manor:
Wannabe TV Critic: A couple of BBC programmes earlier in the year caught my eye, and we actually managed to watch all of them. Extreme Pilgrim featured a Sussex vicar trying a variety of spiritual practices, and it was interesting that most people hooked onto his experience in the Egyptian desert, on a solo retreat guided by monk Father Lazarus.
Closer to home, The Choir: Boys Don't Sing followed singing teacher Gareth Malone as he tried to introduce choral singing to a tough boys school in Leicester. The series finished with a triumphant piece in the Royal Albert Hall, and I was struck throughout by Gareths ability to motivate and inspire the boys. There were lots of lessons on discipleship and team building. Somehow my thoughts got picked up by BBC2, and a small torrent of visitors popped in from the series homepage.
The BBC's The Passion got a blow-by-blow account, a really interesting, and mostly faithful, take on the events of Holy Week, and the DVD is out in time for, erm, Christmas.
Wannabe Statistician: When the CofE attendance stats for 2006 were published in early 2008, I tried to compare them to Bob Jacksons work on Diocesan attendance changes in the 1980s and 1990s. So there are posts on change in adult weekly attendance, midweek attendanc & adult Sunday attendance, and some statistically questionable stuff comparing this decade with those gone by and asking if we're turning the corner or not.
Wannabe Activist: A couple of campaigns, one to mobilise the local church to get involved in our local District Council consultation on the future of South Somerset.
On a wider scale was the fiasco that is the Dave Walker Affair, and all the nonsense with the former SPCK bookshops which has followed it. That's been the dominant part of my blogging since July 22nd, and no doubt will continue as the whole sad business continues to unravel. Until Mark Brewer tried to shut down blogging about the former SPCK bookshops, I must admit I wasn't really following things, and hadn't got remotely involved. It took censorship threats to a blogger I respect and admire to galvanise me, and dozens of others, into action.
Wannabe Pundit: it's been a demanding, though very helpful discipline to have to write a weekly piece for the Wardman Wire. Touching Base (the name of the column) forces me to engage with politics and culture, and argue for a spiritual/Christian viewpoint in the language of the political and social marketplace. It's a blog that reaches a much bigger audience than this one, though it's slightly dispiriting that only my film reviews there have attracted much comment! It's also made me read a lot more reports - by church and government - than I would otherwise have done: having to engage with Moral But No Compass, Welfare reform, as well as the moral subtexts of party conference speeches has been fun.
Traffic: it's not about the numbers*, but having a bit of traffic has been useful for publicity about the blogger censorship issue. This time last year, after just over 12 months of blogging, there'd been about 8,000 visitors, and daily traffic was about 20 or so. That's quadrupled, with the main sources being SPCK-related searches/links, and 'The Choir:Boys Don't Sing'. It's also really nice to get linked from other blogs, feels like there's at least something vaguely worthwhile here, and that's taken off a bit this year too.
*ok, it is a bit.