Showing posts from May, 2007

Few busy days, again...

Where do I begin? It was quite a weekend. Friday, as previously mentioned, was a trip to London with my daughter, apart from my philosophical misgivings about city life the trip was fun. Having promised her a treat we spent a bit of time with me revisiting my old stomping ground of South Kensington where I was assistant Priest and chaplain to Imperial College School of Medicine. I showed Kat, my baby girl, where we used to live and we then went around the Science Museum and the Natural History museum, followed by a trip to Pizza Hut (she was determined that that's where we were going to eat, and who am I to argue with a beautiful woman!??). Saturday was a pretty normal working day, wedding interview, visiting, sermon preparation, and a very enjoyable trip to friends for a barbie! Sunday was a good celebration of Pentecost - not a great turnout at my morning service, but a good service nonetheless. The main focus of the day was a Confirmation service for some of the members o

City living

I don't live in a city any more, and a trip to London yesterday with my daughter brought up very mixed feelings for me. I still enjoy the noise and the activity, to a certain extent, and I liked going to see a few of my old haunts, but the day left me with more of a sense of discomfort than I expected. Part of me thought that my transition into country boy had come to completion, and that I was just more at home in the fields than I have been before. But another part of me realised that there are lots of things about cities which make me think about life generally and some of the parts of life which disturb me, or cause me concern, or something. What struck me most was what a misfit I was - having lived 13 years in London it was a bit odd feeling a stranger in a place which was home for a third or so of my life. But I was aware of how trendy everyone seemed to be, or rather what a huge proportion of the people around seemed to be fashionistas! I don't have a problem with

When I know I'm trying to do too much

My body tells me that things have got a bit much lately, I had to go to the Doctors today with a siezed up shoulder and neck. He says its a strain to the muscle along my shoulder, probably exacerbated by tension - I've got some strong anti-inflammatories and orders not to overdo things. As I had to be tagged onto the end of the morning's list, I had to wait until the other visits were over at the Doc's, so had 45 minutes just to read, and quite enjoyed that, despite not being able to get terribly comfortable whilst sitting. The book I am ploughing through at the moment is a very good one by Brian McLaren called The Secret Message of Jesus which has a great DaVinci code ring to the title, but really goes over the message of Jesus that the Church is so very good at missing! In the chapter I read this morning he talks of Jesus' signs and wonders as pointers to the kingdom, which most Christians probably know, rather than 'miracles' to show off his power. Th

One day at a time

Things are very hectic indeed in our patch of South Cambridgeshire - hence the lack of postings over the past week or so. I'm finding that when I do have the chance to look at a few blogs I don't even have the energy to leave comments let alone think about putting something together to write here! So, apologies, i know that there are a few people out there who come to read and leave comments, normal blogging will be resumed as soon as possible!

This Week's Sermon

Not had time to write much this week, and this evening has been spent putting together services for tomorrow, so here is one of the sermons I will be using tomorrow... Again, a taster, and if you do want to continue then click at the end... Year C Easter 7, Sunday after Ascension, 2007 Ezekiel 36.24–28 or Acts 16.16–34 Psalm 97 Revelation 22.12–14, 16–17, 20–end or Acts 16.16–34 John 17.20–end A Time of Promise Ascension day, which was on Thursday just gone is an important time in the Church’s year. It’s one of those feasts which members of the Church often overlook., but I believe it to be a valuable time when we remember the reason behind who we are asChristians. Now many people have problems with the very idea of the Ascension – in our sophisticated technological world we wonder about the mechanics of it. We now know that the world is not flat with heaven ‘up there’ as our early Church brothers and sisters believed. Images of our Lord rising into the clouds to be rec


Having scoured my previous posts, not terribly vigourously, admittedly (just used the search box at the top of the page) I couldn't find any explanation of what Holy Joes is, so here's a very inadequate summary, tied up with my history of HJs in the 18 years or so I have been involved in one way or another... HJs started (or so folklore dictates) when Dave Tomlinson left one of the Charismatic Movements of the 80s (Harvesttime? Pioneer ? I think it was the latter) where he was in leadership, with the general feeling that the Theology of the movement was inadequate and he wasn't so keen on the style of leadership. I hope this isn't really misrepresenting the situation, but this is what I picked up on the way. Dave and his wife Pat decided that they wanted a place to explore faith which, apart from anything else, their kids (who were young adults) could get to grips with Christian faith, and which offered a safe place to believe, or not, but to examine and conside

Just a Holy Joe

First of all thank you for voting - I am now just above the poodle and dog blog in the Blog Village top 100! Next, a quick explanation of why I am so absent from the blogging world at the moment. We are down to two full time Clergy covering this thirteen village area, with very able help from two voluntary (ordained) ministers. One of our colleagues is on maternity leave, and another is signed off sick (long term) so having lost two very able ministers we are finding ourselves tied up with lots of cover and things which need doing - most of which is as valuable and important as all the stuff we were doing in our own 'patches' within the team anyway, so we don't want to neglect that and see it suffer for lack of clergy. It reminds me just how valuable the lay involvement in our parishes is, but also how much needs attention from those of us who are freed up to serve the Church full time. Anyway, that was a longer explanation than planned, but I don't seem to be able

Vote for me!

Just noticing that I have dropped completely from the ratings on Blog Village, so in a desperate effort to get back in at least the top 100, if you have a mo please click here:

The sermon I promised

This week's thoughts - see what you think of what's below and follow the link if you feel like it! Year C Easter 6 (2007) RCL Principal Acts 16.9-15 John 14.23-29 Going further Today’s readings are interesting, and I am afraid that I have no funny story or witty introduction to begin with this week because, really, the readings speak for themselves. Our Gospel reading contains words of Jesus from John’s Gospel – the section of John’s Gospel known as the ‘farewell discourse’ where Jesus – before his crucifixion, offers encouragement and comfort to his disciples as he tells them that the Holy Spirit will come and be with them, and that he gives his own peace to them as a gift to keep them steadfast through what is to come. For those of you intrigued as to why we are having this reading in the weeks following Holy Week and Easter, it is because in our Lectionary which runs over three years the Gospel of John is spread throughout the festival times of the year, such as the Ea

Way too tired

Yes, I know I said that I would post something yesterday, but having stayed up late sermonisificating (as George W might say) I found that after my services yesterday I could barely stay awake. Then I ended up going to bed in the evening at the same time as the kids. It must be my age! I have to say that even after lots of sleep I am still not at my best today - but that might be because of the amount I am trying to do at the moment! Anyway, I have lots of things to do this afternoon, so if I get the chance later I will let you know how to have a sedate and thoroughly enjoyable stag weekend, and post that promised sermon, but don't hold your breath. Unless swimming, or generally going underwater, obviously.

Did you notice?

I've not been here... Went away to York (beautiful city) for a very sedate, but extremely enjoyable Stag weekend. Got back this evening in time to put kids to bed (boy, did I miss them), tell wife I loved her (boy, did I miss her) and put on a clerical shirt (ie Dog Collar) in time to get to some of the Parish 'Barn Dance' in one of my villages. Good to be away, glad to be back. More about time away, and a sermon for this week (just finished) when i have more time and energy in the morning, or perhaps in the afternoon after services. ta ta for now

Blog talkers last week (only a week behind)

Here's a question for you! Blog talkers number 18. Who generally does the housework in your family? Do you say “Thank You” to your significant other when he/she does housework? Why or why not? Are you thanked when you do housework? Um....well neither my wife or I are too hot on housework, and exhibit ridiculous gratitude whenever one or other of us gets around to it! We don't let the place get terribly dirty, but things do get untidy pretty quickly, and though we blame the kids, its pretty much both our fault rather than the children. Jo (my wonderful wife) is better at putting things away than I am. She gets narked if the washing up is not done after a meal, where I like stacking up so there is a good amount to do in one go. Jo tends to work the spaceship that is our washing machine, though I am not averse to it, but she is definitely more conscientious than I am with doing laundry! We both do the hanging out of laundry and gathering it in, though Jo being at home more th

Last night's talk

Last night saw the return of our 'informal' service, which i get to play guitar at and lead sometimes. the music was great, uplifting and enjoyable. I did a talk, which I can't decide if I am glad I did, or whether it was inspired or cobbled together. Here's the start and if you want to read more then follow the link. Salvation and sanctification Following on from a conversation I had during our series of Lent talks I want to try and dig a little deeper into the issues of salvation and sanctification which both Paul Gildersleve and Mike Booker touched on when we talked about the Creed over a number of weeks. I think there is some confusion about what these terms mean and just what it means to be saved... In some traditions of the Church being saved is ‘it’ – that’s the purpose of what we do, that’s the purpose of being Christian. The focus of the work of the Church is to draw people in that they may be saved! Of course, that is what we all want to see, that peop

By the way

vis a vis my last post. It's raining, so the various little jobs around the place I was planning to do (strimming, grass cutting, trimming hedges) aren't going to happen. I might get around to putting the bike back together, though!

Blog talkers catchup

It's a bank holiday (public holiday) today and I should be taking the day off, though i have some stuff to do. It is a quieter day today, though, so I am going to take a few minutes to catch up on me blogging... Have three blog talkers to catch up on, including this week's. I may stagger them over a couple of days, or I may just do the lot today - that's the kind of crazy, spontaneous guy I am! Firstly number 17 : Why are people obsessed with the weather? And if you watch the Weather Channel, why? I thought it was just us brits who were obsessed with the weather. In the absence of all other conversation, and usually in an effort to avoid conversations of any real substance, we will talk about how much, or recently how little, it rains. At least global warming is causing some variety in the conversation as our weather patters do seem to be genuinely different to the usual. The bit of England I live in (East Anglia) is, I think, the driest part of the country, and also

A post for Sunday

As I have been rushed off my feet for the past few days, due to a colleague being ill, I've not really had time to post much, so just to give a change of page for those of you kind enough to return here here is a taster of this week's sermon, you'll need to follow the link to read the full text. Thanks by the way to those who leave comments on the sermons, they are a real encouragement, I don't usually respond to comments on the deep stuff site but they are noted and I am very grateful for them! Easter 5 (2007) Year C RCL Principal Acts 11.1-18 John 13.31-35 Letting the outside in and the inside out… Early one morning a young man received a telephone call, rather unusually God was at the other end of the line. Hello there, said God, I’m coming to see you today. Rather excited this young man set about clearing up his flat, tidying up, dusting, hoovering etc etc After a couple of hours of this the flat looked fantastic – and he sat down to wait. [more]

My Favourite Word

Grace We need more of it. Or rather we need to allow the Grace on offer from God to soak deep into our bones, our hearts, our lives. I always said that if we had children I wanted to call one Grace. I like the tradition of calling Children after virtues or Saints of the Church. In the end Katherine (meaning pure) got Grace as a middle name, not quite sure how that happened but giving her a very Irish name didn't fit so well with my wife, so Katherine it is. But Grace is a wonderful word. It is the reason I do all of this Christianity stuff, it's the lifeblood of faith, coming straight from God, through his Holy Spirit and due to the life and work of Jesus. Grace upon grace, that's the promise of the Bible. Grace is our reason for forgiveness, our inspiration for faith, our foundation for love. People who are grace-filled shine with the light and life of Christ. I long to be someone through whom grace may abound. I've been reading Miroslav Volf's book 


As I typed the phrase 'random thoughts of a hairy vicar' into a site to advertise this blog, i had a sudden thought that some (many?) people don't know what a Vicar is... Or at least might be interested in why ministers in the Church of England are called, usually, Vicars. Anyone who watches reruns of old Brit comedy will often see a rather comical character who pops up, usually completely ineffectual and often pompous, who is 'the Vicar'. But where does this funny name come from? Here is my understanding of it, ecclesiastical historians - and indeed anyone else - are welcome to correct me if I am wrong. First of all the confusion over 'Priests' and 'Deacons'. In the C of E we are ordained firstly Deacon (though I think the technical name for this is 'made Deacon') which, for most ministers, is a one year ministerial appointment - though there are more ministers deciding to remain in a 'permanent Diaconate'. Deacons have a past

Soaking up rays

the weather seems to make everything a little better at the moment - not for the poor dry farmers around here, but for most of us the early summer sun is creating generally cheerful vibes. Today we had a meeting all morning talking about 'all age worship', led by our very creative, very funny, very thoughtful Acting Team Rector. The great bit was not just sharing the different ways in which we are engaging various audiences in worship, and reflecting a little on best practice and what might need improving and resourcing, but that we met outside! the meeting took place in my garden, and we sat out in the sun (not too blazing yet) and I am sure the meeting was more productive for it. My afternoon meeting was in Cambridge, in a coffee shop, but by that time it was hotter and I didn't mind a couple of hours with a fellow minister talking about our 'Worship Leader's course' on which I assist. We were considering our session for this Thursday on 'Pastoral en