Peter's Blog

STB Issue 12: The Final Cycle

Written by Peter Johnston on .

Spill the Beans Issue 12

And breathe... this issue, for some reason, has been a bit of a challenge to get finalised. We stretched it out to the middle of September as this fit with the themes we were following in Matthew's gospel and that seems to have made a bit of a difference. But... it is now here, resplendent in multi-flavoured creativity as befits an issue that begins with a Bang! A Big Bang! Or something like that...

Beyond Issue 12...

The mathematicians amongst you will have realised that this is now a full three years of the official Spill the Beans books (now that we are regularly 150 pages, it is hard to call these publications booklets any longer), not counting the pilot issues we also produced in the previous two years. So some of the Spill the Beans Team have been playing at this particular experiment in sharing resources and ideas for five years, and over these past 12 issues we have worked through a complete cycle of the three-year Revised Common Lectionary that we have used to source the Bible readings for each Sunday.

We are now at the point of deciding what we do for the next year. Do we do something different, perhaps using some form of homegrown lectionary plan (which has been an idea we have been toying with for the past 18 months), investigate other lectionary plans that are available or carry on with another cycle through the RCL. Whatever we decide to do does not just have implications for the next issue, but will set us on a trajectory for the next three or four years, so we have not rushed a decision.

On Monday, many of the team gathered to spend the day considering this. There are pros and cons to any decision we make. Sticking with the RCL for another cycle got mixed responses. For those of us who have been part of the team right from the beginning there was a definite desire to freshen things up for our own sakes. Interestingly, and not surprisingly, there was less desire from those who are new to the team. We also took into account some of the other issues like the fact that many folks who use Spill the Beans also use other resources for ideas and having the connection between them with the joint use of RCL as the basis for which readings are used is very helpful for that. We spent a lot of time and filled numerous flipcharts with thoughts and ideas.

One of which was a compromise that would see us move away from the RCL, but not to something completely of our own making. Instead we are exploring whether to move to a new lectionary called the Narrative Lectionary. Here's what they say about it:

The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. On the Sundays from September through May each year the texts follow the sweep of the biblical story, from Creation through the early Christian church.

The texts show the breadth and variety of voices within Scripture. They invite people to hear the stories of Abraham and Sarah, Moses and the prophets, Jesus, and Paul. Listening to the many different voices within Scripture enriches preaching and the life of faith.

I've been doing some reading about it and have looked at the bible plans for the four years and, I have to say, as someone who has more or less followed the RCL (there have been some diversions and a whole year on Matthew along the way) for the past decade or more, that I am quite excited about this different approach. The good thing for those who also like to look at other materials is that there are other people starting to look at this new lectionary (particularly in the USA) and sharing resources themselves to fit with it. There is a very active facebook group, for instance. So, we would not be alone, but yet we would be doing something with a fresh approach, and very much in the ethos of storytelling that has always been a focus of the team.

Most importantly for us, as a team, is that we are creating something that is for our own churches first and foremost. The rest follows...

Watch this space for more.

Back to Issue 12

As always, you will find a rich assortment of ideas and resources for worship and age groups. Have a particular look, if you are doing worship planning do have a look at the Through the Season ideas for the first half of this issue as it will take a bit of planning and organisation but will be well worth the effort.

A big shout out to all the creative team who added their contributions to the 'OneDrive' working documents before they were pulled together into the final form. This continues to be an incredible team effort and it is a real privilege to be a part of it. I am delighted to say that Diane Cumming, one of our members here at Ferryhill, wrote a hymn specially for this issue on the theme of God's creation.

Issue 12 is now available for download, and takes us through from Trinity Sunday to midway through the long Pentecost season (15 June 2014 to 14 September 2014).

If you have already used Spill the Beans, you will know what a fabulous resource this is, created by folks here in Scotland. If you have not yet, but are intrigued, have a look at this sample.

If you'd like to download a full copy of Issue 12 for use in your church or personally, then click the button below. The cost is only £12. You can make a secure payment via PayPal and then an email with secure link to the download should wing its way to you. Please note that you can only download the file using this link three times, so please make sure you save the file to your computer (or share to your book library if you are using an iPad).

Please follow the instructions carefully. The Adobe pdf file is approximately 10 MB so it will take some time to download.

Spill the Beans Issue 12

Spill the Beans Issue 12 Cover

Buy Now and Download

You can also get involved in feedback and discussion on the Spill the Beans blog, where we try to put up weekly PowerPoint backgrounds too.

Print Copies

If you would like a print copy of Spill the Beans, then this can be arranged. The cost is usually around £20+P&P and these can be arranged directly with the office at Lanark Greyfriars Church. Each issue is in full colour and comb bound for ease of use. We have had to raise the costs of the print copy from our initial issues as we have found the original costs were not covering the costs of producing the copies.

If you would like to order copies (which are all printed to order so there may be a few days to wait before you receive yours) then you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your order details. An invoice will be issued after dispatch of your order. If you prefer you can contact Greyfriars Church Office on 01555 661510 and place your order over the phone.