Sunday, June 29, 2008

Forgot to mention

Today is the twelfth anniversary of my ordination - this day 12 years ago i was togged up in a Dog-Collar, Cassock, Surplice and Stole for the first time ever and was made Deacon in the Church at St Paul's Cathedral, London.

So much has happened since then, and time really does fly!

Sunday's here!

I’ve done two services this morning and have written a sermon for them, now i have to put together some thoughts for this evening when we have a special service for a flower festival! We’ve not had such a festival for a few years in this parish, certainly not since I came, but part of the recognition of different ages and interests in our churches is to do things which appeal to a certain constituent of villages!

Despite being the hip and groovy Vicar i am - I do like flower festivals, not just for the time, effort and creativity that goes into creating the arrangements and displays, but for the sense of community and friendship that is present at such events. I’m looking forward to my trip to Eltisley this afternoon and my service this evening!

So, on with the sermon! As always, the text continues at New Kid Deep Stuff!


Lousy Choice (of followers)?

I am not in the habit of hanging around with Bishops or Archbishops – I have a healthy (Biblical) respect for those in authority, but I don’t make a thing of trying to meet up with them, or catch their attention. At the Bishop’s annual garden party I always say hello and make small talk for a minute then make myself scarce and chat to colleagues.

There is one exception to this – I used to know an Archbishop quite well. He was a very unprepossessing man, diminutive in stature, though very much great of heart. I knew him in the last years of his life, having been the Archbishop of Uganda, predecessor and friend of the African Martyr and Ugandan Archbishop Janani Luwum Bishop Leslie had returned to the UK and became Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich before returning to Cambridge. [more]

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Catching up on sermon stuff

Here's a sermon from a couple of weeks back....time to catch up again!
Genesis 6.9-22; 7.24; 8.14-19
Psalm 46
Romans 1.16,17; 3.22b-28[29-31]
Matthew 7.21-29

Preparing for the floods

Flooding is an uncomfortable subject at the moment, and our hearts go out, I’m sure to those who have experienced the terrible flooding and devastation in Burma and who have not been helped by the reluctance of the military rulers to allow any help. Likewise the threat of flooding for those victims of the Chinese earthquake who may find themselves in the path of a deluge from either the unsafe dams in the Sechuan province or the rising lake waters due to heavy rains is a cause of concern for all of us and our prayers and donations towards aid funds are very necessary at this time.

And its this kind of reminder that can make our Bible readings for this Sunday all the more powerful and distressing as we consider them today.

Not that I want to make a simplistic leap from the very real and painful realities of our world today and the Bible stories set for this week. Nor am I lessening what is happening to our brothers and sisters in Burma or China by comparing the events – on the contrary the real power of the story of Noah in our Old Testament reading and the ever-so-familiar parable of the wise and foolish builders are made even more striking when we consider the genuine danger that floods and the power of water pose even in our technologically advanced world where we seem to think that we are safe from the powers of the natural world. If only that were the case! [more]

A Saturday reflection

It's been a busy day, funeral visiting, sermon writing a renewal of wedding vows service in a garden, some attempts and trying to get my car sorted (I blew something in the engine management system by not sending it to the garage earlier!) alongside the usual collection of phone calls and looking despondently at my study (see last picture and add lots of mess).

I was thinking about writing sermons - I never liked writing sermons early in the week, which I had to do as a curate - as I think they are meant to be dynamic, responsive and open to what is going on at the moment, offering perspectives on a truth that we as Christians believe to be eternal in a way that speaks to the everyday and even to the moment. I have a meeting later in the week where I have to preach a 'trial sermon' to a panel which I am spending more time putting together as it is a special event but usually I like to read the Bible verses set for the Sunday early in the week and leave them to percolate for a few days before actually sitting down on a Saturday evening and writing a text. As anyone who visits my 'new kid deep stuff' blog will know I write out a full text, as usually I construct the reflections quite carefully and don't want to forget anything - though I tend to deviate from the text quite a lot!

So that's my justification for writing my sermons today rather than earlier in the week... It's not just my natural inclination to do things at the last minute (though that is very much my natural inclination) but in order to try and continue making my sermons as dynamic, responsive and open to the prompting of God's Spirit as i possibly can. Not that I can judge whether this happens or not - but we live in hope....

Friday, June 27, 2008

This is getting freaky


Despite the fact that there is a woman vicar in the picture below, this is in fact a snapshot of my study.... spooky. Apologies if this is fuzzy, it doesn't seem to have saved very well, perhaps worth going to see the original here

Thanks again Dave for summing up the clerical mind so very accurately

Dave Walker sums up my life

I wanted to post this week's Dave Walker Guide to the Church cartoon but unfortunately its only available to subscribers of this august organ... I get the CT every week from my local newsagents, a surprisingly good read for a church newspaper! Website here...or you can visit the blog here, well worth bookmarking/adding to favourites etc etc

Anyway, whilst looking for one of Dave's excellent cartoons to blog, I found this - freely available on We Blog Cartoons, one of Dave's many worthwhile sites - which sums up exactly how my desk looks at this very moment.... It's uncanny how he does it, really...

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Man, there are some weirdos around

Just been reading some comments on posts at New Kid Deep Stuff, where all my sermons - or most of them - end up and its amazing how people feel the need to complicate religion by making up stuff to add to it! There's only a few comments like that on the blog, this is more of a reflection on some of stuff I have read around the place and blogs I've ended up browsing....

It's not like Theology isn't complicated enough, but how do folks have time to look up obscure Bible verses and then interpret them in a way that is entirely contradictory to the witness of the early Church, of those who actually knew and shared life with Jesus? It gets worse the more I look out and about on the internet, so I don't think I'll waste time with that today!

Keep the faith!

The bounce has gone out of his bungie

I really seem to have lost momentum with regards to blogging lately - as if you've not noticed - due to a whole load of things going on here in the wild and wacky world of the west of Cambridge. It's not as though there has been a lot happening, in fact things seem very quiet indeed in many ways, and I've used the time I would have spent blogging to have a very relaxed and easy life when not working.

I can't quite put my finger on what's going on, after feeling so thoroughly rooted in this place following my trips to France and some exploration of other ministries there has been a feeling of listslessness in the household, as if I need to look around a bit at what's going on elsewhere in the C of E - perhaps with an eye to moving on, perhaps to re-vision myself for some kind of renewal of my ministry here.

There have been some good things happening, and some of the parishes are really getting to grips with what it means to be 'mission communities' - a process that should be the focus for the rest of the year. There is a stability in the staffing for our team which we have lacked for a couple of years, the appointment of my fellow Team Vicar as Team Rector (the 'senior partner' in our ministry team') has been a great relief and joy to all of us and we hope now for a sense of renewed vision and collaborative ministry to begin.

The daily needs of the Parishes are still being looked after, and any sense of losing momentum hasn't affected our pastoral care and concern. I think we are perhaps at the cusp of something and this strange sense of disconnection which I am feeling may be because we are about to launch into something new, or perhaps I am about to launch into something new (I don't know what yet!)

Anyway, thank you again for your comments and I will endeavour to say more in the coming days.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A sermon for Trinity Sunday

I said I would post a sermon or two, so here's some catch-up....

This is for the Sunday that Clergy dread preaching on


How does the Trinity help?

Today is Trinity Sunday, so I am going to talk about the Trinity. But I am not going to try to explain the nature and meaning of ‘God in Trinity’. I am not going to tell you that God is like a Shamrock with three leaves, or explain one of the Church’s profoundest teachings using the image of a Triple Decker chocolate bar or of toothpaste with three stripes in - all of these things do not do justice to the depth and wealth of theological thought around what exactly it means to describe God as ‘The Holy Trinity’

Neither, you will be pleased to know, am I going to try and explain any of this theological discussion around themes such as ‘what is the trinity’ or ‘how do the persons of the trinity exist together’ nor will I be exploring the words ‘consubstantial’ and ‘co-eternal’.

The reason I won’t be looking at the doctrine of the Trinity is because, if we’re honest most of us, myself included, would say that the idea of the Trinity is somewhat confusing...[more]

Been so long

It's been quite a month, with so much going on, yet at the same time I have really not had the energy or inspiration to write. So apologies for those who are gracious enough to visit and comment and reflect on what I write, nothing seems to be transferring itself onto paper, or into pixels, at the moment, I've preached a few sermons and might post them.

Interestingly (to me), my mind has been racing for the past few weeks, its just that the effort of creating coherence on a page is beyond me. Perhaps this is what writer's block feels like! Not an experience I've had before....

So, to the few who've not given up, I hope life is treating you well and love to you and yours! Normal service will be resumed as soon as feasible.