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Showing posts from May, 2005

Joyful living

A few years ago the musician Frank Zappa asked the question ‘does humour belong in music?’ – actually it was the title of one of his albums. The only reason I mention this is because one could equally ask the question ‘does humour belong in faith?’. I hope that most people would answer ‘yes’ without having to think about it – but unfortunately a lot of people I meet seem to think that the Christian Church is a pretty humourless organisation. Sadly, Christians have a reputation for being serious and sombre most, if not all, of the time. I remember as a teenager someone saying that Christians were people with ‘black suits, black books and black looks’ – not really a very good advert for the Church at all. But Christian Faith certainly isn’t one that is meant to be overly-serious. We do take very seriously the problems and difficulties of the world. Most Christians have a concern for justice and a hope for peace which occupies a lot of our time and energy. We recognize the very re

Veni Sancte Spiritus

Pentecost was a great celebration in the Parishes i went to yesterday, a bit of a glimpse of what we can be as the Church when we let ourselves be open to the life of the Spirit! I only had four people in the tiny village Church i went to at 8.30am, but it was a great service of Holy Communion and i can honestly say that God was very much a part of our prayers and worship as the four of us gathered in a Church full of the prayers of the saints over many centuries. We may have been few, but the Angels and Archangels were having a party nearby and we got to join in... Then to a larger celebration (remembering that larger equals about 50 in these parishes) in another Church. In lots of ways it was a traditional, unexceptional Eucharist - but at the same time it was full of joy and life and touched by the Holy Spirit in such a way that made our liturgy and all of our worship come alive. No, there were no noticable tongues of fire, miraculous healings, speaking in tongues - but the life of

Reflection, Royalty and Rejuvination

Had a great time this week staying at Windsor Castle, or rather at St George's House in Windsor Castle. Yes, that Windsor Castle, where the Queen lives when she isn't at Buckingham Palace or Balmoral or Sandringham or wherever. Didn't get to see the Queen, but did get a few days of serious thinking about what this Church business is all about. A bit of time out of the Parishes to think about Parishes is quite a good thing from time to time. This time together was called a 'Parishes Consultation' and whilst ostensibly concerned with reflecting on 'Clergy Spirituality, Lay Spirituality, is there a difference?' actually offered the chance to reflect in some depth on many aspects of the church and her mission and ministry in our present day. We had some very nice, very traditional services, good food, comfy beds and some excellent talks by various Canons of St George's chapel, as well as the obligatory and enjoyable tours of the Chapel (which is the home

just tired and over-emotional ;-)

As i have carried on in ministry i have learned that i have limitations 'no, really?' i hear you cry! Well, obviously i've always been aware of my many shortcomings, what with having a natural tendency to low self-esteem and all that, but it is amazing how the training that many ministers receive and the attitude of those we minister to and with gives the impression that the ordained leadership of the church can and must be omnicompetent - as if we meet every job with a cry of 'this is a job for Clergy-man' (or -woman, -person, - squirrel or whatever) and rip off our normal clothing to reveal a shiny dogcollar that magically equips us for every situation, and our super shiny halo that lifts us above all we survey.... Of course it isn't like that. As a minister of the Church i hold tight, or rather i cling, to that wonderful phrase 'the Grace of Orders' (ie Holy Orders, what we who are ordained are called and subject to). It is this wonderful, sustaini