• Sophie Whitmarsh

Doing a New Thing

You may or may not have noticed the new tab that has appeared at the top of the webpage, entitled Sackcloth & Coffee. This is the name of my new venture into podcasting. Over the coming months I will be recording many podcasts, with a view to publishing at least one podcast a week.

You may wonder what a vicar in training is doing starting a podcast... the truth is, I'm not entirely sure. As you know, we have all been in lockdown now for 10 weeks, and during that time I have spent a lot of time with God, and just being. The podcast is something I believe to have come from that, and I believe that it is very much God's idea.

I think that the podcast is very much about reaching out to people during a time when we physically cannot be together. Perhaps more than that, it is about doing a new thing. Stretching myself and my technical abilities, to find new ways of evangelising maybe, reaching out to those people who are searching, breaking down the misplaced assumptions about Christians. Perhaps it is all of these things and more.

My thoughts are that if I have a platform that I can regularly use from home, then it may become the new normal. I'm not suggesting that it will replace going to church on a Sunday. However, if someone can listen to testimonies, stories and anecdotes in their car on their way to work in the morning, when they normally would be too busy to come to church, maybe it will make a difference. Or maybe, it becomes extra food for those who find that going to church once a week isn't enough. Perhaps it can become a platform for questions to be asked, and faith to be explored. There are so many possibilities.

You may be asking why "Sackcloth & Coffee"? Well, if truth be known, to begin with I wasn't sure why I had stumbled into the title sackcloth and coffee. But the more I thought about those two things and the meanings they have for me, the more relevant they became, and almost formed the podcast itself. Sackcloth, is biblical. As I am sure you are aware, it was worm by many throughout the bible as a symbol of mourning, submission, repentance and it is particularly uncomfortable to wear. As we all grapple with having to do church differently, perhaps we are all going to have to do things we find slightly uncomfortable? Coffee for me is a luxury, I have a filter coffee every morning. It wakes me up, and is part of my routine, I sometimes have coffee with friends (when not in lockdown), so coffee is also a social activity. This paradoxical relationship between the uncomfortable and the comfortable, the new and the routine, is perhaps a good place to be exploring faith and life. To be transformed by the stories, testimonies and experiences that make us the people we are.

My prayer for "Sackcloth & Coffee" is that it becomes a platform for people to be transformed.

What would you like to see "Sackcloth & Coffee" become? What kind of thing do you like to listen to when you sit down for a coffee? When you drive to work in the morning, what would you like to hear? Perhaps you have some ideas? Please, please share with me, your ideas and thoughts about the podcast.

"Sackcloth & Coffee" will be published (hopefully) at the beginning of July.... enjoy!!


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