It has been an exhilarating 4 days. At the end of it, I am minded just to sit quietly and let the experiences they have contained wash over me, to allow the words that God has spoken through them all, mainly from the Psalms, to penetrate and change…before Monday comes and the whole hamster-in-a-treadwheel thing starts all over again.

Three days in the company of Steve Glowinkowski and Ian Wigston, learning to grapple with the tools we need to help people understand their predispositions and motivations in the workplace, and then a day playing music on the streets and cafes of Peterborough with a group of old friends from at least three of my “pasts”, has left me exhausted but deeply encouraged, ready to hold the wheel steady tomorrow so the hamster can get off, perhaps.

The patriarch Jacob, the father of the people of Israel, is said, at the end of his life, to have “worshipped as he leaned on the top of his staff” (Hebrews 11:21). It is what the four days have felt like. A good feeling, but a little rest, a little quietness in the presence of God would make it complete.

The three days in Colchester were a continuation with the work we have been doing with Ian and Hilary from Glowinkowski International, beginning with a Direction Setting Workshop back in March and then two days of coaching training in July. In order to base the work in the school, it was necessary that I was trained in being able to feedback and adminster the predisposition indicator that Steve Glowinkowski has developed. The workshop was a good balance of theory and practice, and we were a diverse group (an academy assistant head from Hampshire, two guys from professional rugby backgrounds and working with clubs, a Slovenian who is in the process of translating the workshop materials for Glowinkowski International, and the MD of the Edinburgh-based Future Factory). We got to work at a concerted level with three others of these, and by the end of the time together I had really developed the confidence to use the materials. More importantly, I could see several ways ahead for Christ the Sower as we begin to empower the staff here and make the links between leadership behaviour and climate, and then climate and school effectiveness. There is a lot to ponder over with the leadership team, as well as some startling opportunities that are beginning to present themselves…

The time in Peterborough today with Epiphany was just exhilarating. We had been invited there by Chris Duffett, leader of the Light Project, and current president of the Baptist Union of Great Britain. He is an indefatigable evangelist with a huge pastoral heart who I met when we worked with the chaplaincy team  in Shrewsbury prison about 3 years ago – he has an ability to talk to anyone who has a pulse. The idea was that we would play  in public spaces (the majority of Epiphany players being Christian professional orchestral musicians who could play me into a cocked hat), starting outside Costa’s by the town hall in Peterborough, moving onto a branch of Barista’s, then onto Starbucks and ending up at Caffe Nero on Long Causeway. We played free improvisations, light music, some Mozart, Pachelbel and Dvorak and some worship songs. We then de-camped to St John  the Baptist church in the middle of Peterborough, played for the congregation as they enjoyed their post-service coffee, and from there went down to the Drapers Arms, a Wetherspoon’s where we had the most interesting reception. More Dvorak, a high energy version of Riverdance and an opportunity to worship in the restaurant with “Faithful One” whilst the musicians went around the tables and played to the diners.

The reception everywhere we went was warm and appreciative, open and kind, willing to accept the blessing that we intended for them on a warm Sunday morning. Chris was fantastic – such a big heart for everyone and deep desire to bless all he was in contact with. This was a good example of how church can effectively raise good questions in a pastoral way using the arts. I was proud and delighted to be a part of it.

Richard has put some photos of the day here.

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About Huw Humphreys

I am a headteacher in the city of Milton Keynes, where I have been since April 2011, looking to make education effective for the whole child and keeping a distant relationship with the powers that be and their narrowing approach to education... but most of all I am looking to find out what it means to be both a follower of Jesus Christ and a passionate educator in the midst of an unsettled community. I am also a part time musician, part time linguist and lover of history and literature...committed both to freedom to learn and depth of learning for all our children. The views on this blog are all my own, and not in any way those of the school I lead!

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