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Showing posts from 2008

Happy Christmas everyone

The title says it all really! It's about 1.40am and I have just got back from the last of my 'midnight' services - which started at 7.30pm! It has been a great evening, with lots of people taking part in the celebrations. As you might have guessed, the last few days has been very busy, so apologies for not posting, the next few days may well be quiet too as I gently conk out and spend some time recovering. But to all of you, a Blessed and Peaceful Christmas to you and yours!

Carol services - to preach or not to preach?

Some of the Parishes in the Mission Community have decided to stick with the very traditional (and very long) nine lessons and carols, though two have decided to go for a shorter version of the service with a talk included (still about 20/30 mins less than other version so a sermon in the trad version is probably too much and I will forgo a talk!). Here's the talk I did last night, I may use it again tomorrow at the other church which has gone for a pruned down version of the lessons and carols! Christmas Carols 2008 Turn away from the lights Many of you will know that i am a biker. I do like motorbikes, and take the opportunity to ride whenever i can – and I’m not one of these fairweather bikers, oh no, I will ride wherever and whenever, whatever the weather. And today I got to ride my bike for a couple of hours, which has topped me up, fix wise, for a few days, though you will all, I am sure, be pleased to know that I am riding extra carefully due to the slippery roads at

Tired but happy

It's continued busy, but it's going well, the feedback from the events & services we have put on in the Mission Community has been very good, and people seem to be enjoying our Christmas celebrations in these Parishes. Tomorrow sees three more carol services led by myself, one of which is shared with our Methodist friends in Dalwood (there are two other services in the Mission Community, presided over by other Clergy), then next week sees four services I am taking (with two I'm not taking as well) on Christmas Eve (one Crib service, three communions for Christmas) and two on Christmas Day I am leading (three being ably handled by other ministers). We do Christmas big time in these Churches, but then that's how we always did it in PapworthTeam as well, so its not a surprise. Yesterday was a good day too - I had Christmas lunch at the local primary school, then a very well supported and enjoyable carol service at Stockland in the evening, followed by a fun even

Sermon for a cold morning

This was the sermon last week (10 days ago, this Sunday was Christingle, so I spoke about Christingles and being lights to the world in our own ways) ... Some of it was recycled from a previous year, which I rarely do, though I did rewrite much of it. It seemed too good a theme to waste, really! It was incredibly cold on the way to church that morning, as previously related , (not cold compared to some of my blogging buddies around the world, though) with frozen roads making it all very exciting! Here's the sermon, I leave it up to you to decide if it was worth recycling Year B (2008) Advent 2 Isaiah 40.1-11 2 Peter 3.8-15a Mark 1.1-8 Preparing The World This week I watched a movie about Father Christmas which I enjoyed very much, it was the third one in the series known as ‘The Santa Clause’ movies – called the ‘the escape clause’ and had a very positive message about love being the focus of Christmas, and that the true magic of Christmas wasn’t about toys or commerc

time for a stolen meme

It's been a while since i swiped a meme, as usual it comes from Dr John who in turn got it from everything and nothing 1.Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper 2. Real tree or artificial? Real, both at home and in all the churches I serve 3. When do you put up the tree? Mid December for Churches, when my wife nags me to get it sorted at home 4. When do you take the tree down? Epiphany 5. Do you like eggnog? I like eggnog latte, but not sure I have ever tried eggnog itself 6. Favorite gift received as a child? Bicycle 7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, a very nice carved olive wood set from Bethlehem 8. Hardest person to buy for? My lovely wife 9. Easiest person to buy for? Mum 10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I couldn't bring myself to be ungrateful for anything, people are so generous! 11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Both 12. Favorite Christmas Movie? A Muppet Christmas Carol or It's a wonderful life 13. When do y

All I want for Christmas

...is the ability to be in two places at once... If you got the idea that things were busy in my last blog posting (which was, I admit, a little while ago) then you ain't seen nothing yet. It's busy here, to say the least, and I am looking forward to a little break after Christmas. I have endeavoured to be at most events I have been invited to, but even then a couple have slipped through the net due to other commitments, and simply not having enough time or energy to do everything. I decided I really had to have an evening with my wife and not be rushing out from the family on Monday night, as I have done every other night for the past week or so, but it meant missing a village event that I would have liked to be a part of. I simply couldn't do any more, or I would probably be little use to anyone when we get to the Carol services this weekend and the Christmas celebrations next week. I am giving up half of my day off to do a carol service and then head off to a local

What a weekend

Ice skating, Jazz Musicians, Singing workshops, Christingles, it's all happening here.... I am overwhelmed by just how much is going on in these villages, and how much effort people put into making community. As a minister, and particularly as a 'Parish Priest' I am a great believer in community, and feel that bringing folk together is part of our calling as the Church, in an effort to stem the 'dis-integration' that makes up our western society. In these villages, though, I find myself swept along with the tide of those who are already working hard to keep people together, to build up friendships and to offer to our communities reasons to meet, to share, to be together.; Of course, in my role as Vicar, I also have the calling to proclaim the deeper community that comes from being a part of the body of Christ, the binding together that comes with faith in Jesus, in whom all things hold together - so I believe part of my role is to be at these events that celebra

So, what's been going on...

I must admit to a fair amount of heartache on moving away from Bourn a few weeks back. To see the house that had been our home for the past four years empty and set off to a place which the family didn't know was quite a daunting experience. After the frustration of our ISP shutting down my account a day early (and then completely cancelling it rather than transferring as requested so it ended up taking six weeks to get back online and to have our phone service up and working - as both are tied in together) I was annoyed at not being able to send out changes of address to my online contacts or to tie up the last few ends I planned to. Our moving weekend was split - packed on the Thursday and Friday, then we stayed with the lovely wife's sister for a couple of nights and went to a friend's wedding which was a great way to distract us from all that was going on. The wedding was a great day, with a Priest who looked like Father Jack from Father Ted! Then a reception at an

Another sermon, this one for Advent Sunday

We had a service on Sunday for all of the five Parishes in the 'Five Alive Mission Community' which was an advent Carols service, most enjoyable with a very good choir indeed and lots of 'lusty singing' as Wesley might have said! So here's the words I offered, or the taster anyway! Genesis 1.1-5 Psalm 43 Isaiah 45.2-8 Isaiah 9.2-3,6-7 Psalm 36.5-10 1 Thessalonians 5.1-11, 23-24 Isaiah 60.1-5a Matthew 5.14-16 Advent 1 2008 Year B RCL Looking for the Light Have you started dreaming about what presents you hope to get for Christmas yet? Have you started thinking of the wonderful reaction hope to see on the faces of friends and family as they open up the gifts you bought them. Are your expectations high? Us human beings are pretty good at building up our expectations - a theme that is particularly pertinent as we dream of the wonderful gifts we hope to receive and as we tell ourselves that we’ve finally found the perfect present for the person who has every

Catching up with sermons and stuff

I thought I would share my first sermon in these new parishes, preached a couple of weeks ago it was something of a nerve racking experience! As always, it starts here and is carried on at New Kid Deep Stuff Zephaniah 1.7,12-18 1 Thessalonians 5.1-11 Matthew 25.14-30 2 before Advent (2008) Year A RCL Principal Risking our Talents It’s somewhat nerve racking to be preaching a first sermon anywhere – but especially in one’s new parishes. This is the point where people could start thinking ‘oh my goodness, what kind of Vicar do we have?’ – Which may or may not be a good thing! And it doesn’t help that the reading set for today, the Parable of the Talents, is one of the more difficult parables we could encounter! It’s not difficult to understand, the two servants who were willing to take a risk with the talents they were left with are rewarded, the one who lost his bottle and buried his talent in the back garden is punished. That’s clear enough, it’s what it might mean for us th

Never believe what you read in the papers

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I managed to get a whole page in the local rag, which you can view here (28mb and only available until 9th December) or I will try to get the relevant page uploaded here, so if you can see it below then it's worked! I don't have tattoo's and piercings, though! Bit of an exaggeration, I have one tattoo on my bicep (done when I had biceps) and a pierced ear! Other than that they did report most of what I said pretty fairly....spelt my name wrong, or rather both names (Christian and Surname), but I think that's compulsory - something to do with tradition, or an old charter, or something... Oh, and the picture is dreadful - probably because it actually looks like me :-)

Back at last

Well, we're here, beautiful, often sunny, friendly, Devon. It was a surprisingly easy move, not least due to the excellent removals firm we had (Pooleys of Suffolk) and the exceptional welcome we have received on arrival. We have, though, been offline and off the phone for over a month, and I have started to get the jitters. I have missed being able to blog, or even to be able to ring around with change of address details for credit cards etc etc. It has been driving me crackers. Not that I have had much time to sit down at the computer and blog anyway, the initial rush of events, services, meeting people, meetings, pub visits etc etc has been overwhelming, and its only now that I can sit down and get to grips with some admin, and take some time out to blog. Not that I'm going to say much today, as I have to get on with putting together Advent and Christmas services. For now I just want to say 'it's good to be back' both in terms of online and being here in

As promised, again

A follow up to the Moan Moan Moan sermon...perhaps a bit more sympathetic! Year A Proper 21 (2008) RCL Principal Exodus 17.1-7 Philippians 2.1-13 Matthew 21.23-32 Seeing from the other side… Last week I preached on moaning, and talked about how good we, and by we I mean most human beings, are at moaning. It doesn’t matter what our usual temperament, or whether we are generally happy, give us the chance and we will be away, grumbling about the weather, the economy, the government, the way things aren’t what they used to be, the Church, the world, whatever. This train of thought was inspired by the Israelites in this amazing story of the Exodus. Freed from Egypt following the 10 plagues, brought through the red sea without even getting their feet wet, they seemed to follow that up with a protracted campaign of complaint. At least that’s what the text seems to say. First of all we have complaints over bitter water, which is sweetened by God and made drinkable, then complaints over

As promised!

A longer talk, part of a series on parables, as always continued on New Kid Deep Stuff Luke 15 Coming home – the parable of the lost son Jesus was a consummate storyteller. It may seem obvious to us now, but the way he used parables was, though not unusual in the ancient world, certainly striking and filled with a depth and meaning upon meaning that even now through the ages resonates with us as we try and know him more and seek his will and the Kingdom of God that he proclaims. And today we are faced with one of the most striking and, in some ways to the leaders of his day, disturbing parables that he told. The parable of the prodigal son, as it is known, or perhaps more accurately the prodigal father or the lost son (as it is headed in the New International Version that we have here). Of course, like most Biblical passages, it helps to have a bit of background, a bit of context to add to our understanding and, whilst we could probably never know the definitive meaning of an

The incredible disappearing Vicar

As you might have guessed, the painful process of moving has been preoccupying me for the past few weeks so blogging has gone right out of the window! In fact I am sitting here in my study, empty except for my PC and junk on the desk, surrounded by boxes, whilst the removal company men are stopping for lunch. It's an odd time, a certain sense of excitement at moving on, with some trepidation about what's next and a huge sadness at what we are leaving behind. There's much that is good and worth celebrating about this Team of Parishes and the clergy colleagues I have, we have made great friends here and been very happy, though we have had lots to do and it has been very hard work much of the time.... I think that the most striking thing had been, looking back, how much I've learnt, how my life has changed, and how I have discovered much of who I am as a minister and as a person. These revelations haven't all been easy, and there's been some heartache and stru

Ironies in preaching

Did a big sermon about moaning which is posted below, as you may wish to read it is all about people complaining, and not getting just how much God loves us, and that our attitude should be one of gratitude rather than moaning. After the sermon my first comment was 'you started the service three minutes late and it went on too long...' hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha Year A Proper 20 (2008) RCL Principal Exodus 16.2-15 Philippians 1.21-30 Matthew 20.1-16 Moan Moan Moan We are all very good at moaning. Lets be honest. There’s nothing most of us like better than a good moan. We might not naturally be inclined to moan, we may be quite happy with our lot, we might be the type of personal who is settled with what she or he has, but if we get the chance, nearly all of us like to really let rip at a good moaning session. PCCs have a reputation for being such events. In your average stereotypical PCC meeting, the Vicar moans about wanting to change lots of things and not

Oi be doin' me blog, yarrr

Well, ye scurvy dogs, 'tis international talk like a pirate day and I be celebratin', a keg o' rum and a boiled parrot, i reckon....

Crossing the Red Sea

Struggling with Biblical stuff, a sermonic reflection! Year A Proper 19 2008 Exodus 14.19-31 Psalm 114 Romans 14.1-12 Matthew 18.21-35 Set free! One of the frustrations of reading through the Bible the way we do Sunday by Sunday is that we often, like this week, have three amazing, awe-inspiring and challenging readings and then don’t have time to address all of them in the sermon – or rather if I tried to, then we would be here for most of today, if not most of the next week and maybe beyond… Not a great way to be remembered, as the Vicar that went on and on and on and on…. Which of course I am never guilty of – ahem. So it falls to me to try and pick perhaps one theme or idea from these readings and use that! [more]

Small endings....

Life at the moment is a series of small endings, final PCCs, final services in some Churches, last visits to people, a huge amount of sorting out. In the midst of this we had a new beginning, as our new Team Rector took office at a rather lavish ceremony in one of our Team Churches on Wednesday evening, we had the Bishop of Ely , our Archdeacon , the Rural Dean and a host of civic dignitaries come and and mark the beginning of this new phase in the life of our Team. I have tried to avoid talking too much about my leaving until this point, as I didn't want the two to be confused - as I have said countless times, the appointment of a new Team Rector is nothing to do with my moving on, in fact it was one of the factors that made it harder to think about moving as she will be a real boon for the team, and having worked with her for four years I am constantly impressed by her vision, her pastoral skills and her energy and sensitivity in ministry. So we had a great service, at which I

Word of the day

Today's word is 'blearghhhh' because that's how I feel - bit nauseous, bit tired, glad I don't have a meeting tonight. I'm not moaning, its partly because I've been trying to catch up on various things, including writing magazine letters, shredding lots and lots of bits of paper I don't want to take with me when I move, meetings (some better than others) and various admin bits - I'm just doing lots of things and have got lots done, not a bad thing at all. Right now, as well as feeling slightly ropey, I've also got a bit of a caffeine overdose which a couple of hours with the children will soon deal with. I do like the fact that being with my gorgeous offspring (I am biased, I know) completely takes me out of myself and I just get on with playing, readings stories, feeding, bathing or whatever needs doing. I think that every now and then (well, most days) I need something that takes me 'out of myself' and makes me just get on with stuf

We're still here

Glad to see that the startup of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) hasn't reduced us all to our constituent molecules or otherwise ripped the fabric of time and space apart. It was quite fun listening to the radio this morning as the reporter sought to make the start up exciting! There is a good, short reflection, on this event (or number of events, as that's what its for - to create a number of observable 'events') from a Bishop in Europe here - and a great rap too (not by the Bishop but embedded from YouTube). May it 'rock you in the head' - as it says in the rap... Or perhaps that should be 'rock thee, verily, in the head' to put it in religious language...

Another Sermon! Two in one day....

Year A Proper 18 Matthew 18:15-20 Romans 13:8-end Exodus 12.1-14 Being Church I don’t know what your perfect Church would look like!  A lot of people who call me about baptisms and weddings in the team mention how much they want their service to take place in this building or that building because it is such a lovely Church.  And their concern in many ways is about the building… I think many of those who visit our churches, though, are pleasantly surprised that what makes our Churches such good places to be a part of is not how well kept they are, or whether they are architecturally wonderful, or even if they look like Churches are meant to look.  It’s the warmth of the welcome, the genuine love that many of our congregations have for each other, and a desire to follow Jesus that makes our Churches special. [more]

Sermon catch up

There are obviously hoards of folk out there who are lost without my words of wisdom, so I thought I would get the last couple of week's sermons posted.  Here's the one from 9 days ago, not one of my best, written with brain determined to function but not quite achieving that aim.... Year A Proper 17 Principal Exodus 3.1-15  Romans 12.9-21  Matthew 16.21-28 Struck A few weeks back I talked about how we picture Jesus – some of us seem to be stuck with a ‘gentle Jesus meek and mild’ picture – all tied up with Victorian Kitsch and nicely scrubbed children gathered around a blue eyed saviour – some picture a revolutionary, shouting insults are the Pharisees, whipping traders from the temple courts, others prefer a more intellectual picture, with Jesus debating with scholars and scribes.  The list goes on – and having preached on this once I don’t plan to save myself the trouble of preaching by just saying the same thing again. One of the points I wanted to make, among others

Where we are and where we're going

To be honest, that last post was a bit useless, so much to say and little motivation - due to the whole 'catching up' thing that sometimes makes holidays feel like and intrusion rather than a liberation. I have actually been back at work for a week, and don't really seem to have achieved much at all - it feels as though I've been paddling madly and getting nowhere... The reality of the fact that we are moving in seven weeks is really hitting home, when we were the other side of our holiday it all seemed a very long way away, now its only a few weeks off I find myself thinking about how much I need to get done before I start packing let alone thinking about packing and moving and starting again. The announcement of my move has had one effect that, though not a great surprise has been quite overwhelming, the number of people who have expressed regret that we are going. I knew a few folk would be disappointed that we were leaving, but the strength and the sincerity of

I'm back

Just thought I'd let you know

normal service will be resumed

as soon as plausible.... Off for a few weeks, might not be able to blog in the meantime, if not then have a good time this August folks! Oh, and its our fifteenth wedding anniversary today, so am spending it doing admin before I leave :-)

Another stolen Meme!

As Dr John said, Melli's blog is a goldmine for memes. I like this one 1. If I could travel back in time, I'd go to the gym more as a young man (or tell myself to go to the gym more, whatever makes sense!) 2. Give me truth or give me nothing 3. I am listening to the Resurrection Band . 4. Somewhere, someone is thinking what's the Vicar doing? 5. I'll always be in love with my family 6. My idea of a good time includes motorbikes, music, worship, God, friends and family - though some of these are incompatible with others 7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to seeing the batman movie tomorrow my plans include working and getting things ready for holiday and Sunday, I want to celebrate my mother's sixtieth birthday, followed by a trip to France I know that it's meant to be a Friday meme, but by then I will be gone down to Devon, another look at the Vicarage and meet a few Parishioners, then party with mum for the weeke

Monday thoughts and a sermon

Good day yesterday, Sunday, only two services and both were encouraging and energising (which can't always be said about Sunday worship services!) A simple Holy Communion from the book of Common Prayer (1662) to start my day and a contemporary language Parish Communion for our mid-morning service, two Churches not far apart so no rushing about trying to get there on time, both well attended and both with a feeling of worship and friendship and prayer. Like one of the parishioners said about another event a little while ago 'it's like we turned up and God made sure he was there too'! I preached on the Old Testament reading which I had preached on before, it felt right to use some material which I had used previously again, which rarely happens. I'll put that sermon at the end of this post with a link to the full text at New Kid Deep Stuff . Today has been spent mainly in the company of the Rural Dean, who was undertaking the Archdeacon's visitation (ie check

New Blog!

I found a cracking new blog today , written by a buddy of mine in Milton Keynes, another Anglican Priest and all round good chap - he's written some very good reflections from his time on sabbatical over the past few months and I highly recommend a visit. I must now put his blog on my sidebar, and had I known he would have been one of the magnificent seven yesterday... Though I'm not sure who I wouldn't have had from the list! find Tim's blog here

Reading

It's been fun catching up on the blogosphere, and following a link from Quilly I ended up at insanity prevails where was posted a reading meme, so here's my version.... 1. Do you remember how you developed a love of reading? I can't remember a time when I didn't love reading, at school I used to (metaphorically) devour books, and read them again and again - I used to love the imagination that went into comic books (especially Marvel & DC) and just read and read and read and read. 2. What are some books you loved as a child? I used to read the professor Branestawm books, Harry Harrison's 'Men from p.i.g. and r.o.b.o.t', there was a lot of sci-fi in my early reading, and I had read H G Wells' 'The War of the Worlds' about a dozen times before leaving Primary School. I did like Roald Dahl books, though I tended to read things like his short stories rather than his children's books! As mentioned above I read lots of comic books and par

Quick link

Sank has responded to my comment about his groovy guitar playing with a post of a song called 'The Cape' .... Enjoy

nearly there

According to my archive, 09/08/04 was my first blog post ( for those who do it the wrong way round, that translates as 9th August 2004) and as I know its unlikely that I'll get to post that day, as I am travelling down to see my mother for her birthday celebrations and then off to France, I thought I would just mention it as I'd thought of it! I'm only on 576 posts, so it will be a while before I get to give out some tremendous prize when I get to my 1000th, which seems like more of a crucial milestone really.....

The magnificent seven

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As promised, here are seven blogs worth visiting, as well as the ones mentioned in my previous post - ah, heck, go and visit all the ones in the sidebar, they are all worth a visit! But here's the pick for today.... Old and in the way - I love Sank's blog, home grown wisdom, funny stuff he and his family are up to and lots of great stories about their various adventures. Gary himself comes across as wiser and funnier than he probably thinks he is. He's good on the guitar too - check out his flikr link! Nick's Sanctuary - Nick is a Christian who thinks deeply and writes powerfully about pretty much everything and anything. He knows how to have a good rant every now and then, but he's always measured, considerate and often able to point out things in an enlightening way - very good on Doctor Who and sci-fi and faith generally, I like his recent thoughts on Roboboy too! It's Kinda Confusing right now - Tom himself has admitted he's been a bit flakey lately

On feeling encouraged

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Bill at The Old Fart's Blog has given me the great honour of awarding me the Brillante Weblog accolade which he, in turn, has been awarded by Dr John... He says its because I can make him laugh and think - which is one of the most encouraging things I think anyone could ever say about my blog, so many thanks Bill There's a condition attached, which says that I too must nominate seven blogs to receive the same and say why - though Dr John and Quilly and Bill, three names which would naturally come in those seven have already been nominated, so go visit them anyway as the award is deserved by all three - Bill because of his warmth, thoughtfulness and honesty, Dr John because he always has something good to say and Pigeon Falls is wonderful, Quilly because she is funny and thought provoking.... But with those three out of the running I will scour my links list (to the right) and think again.... More later today! The second encouragement was probably the most moving and profoun

Neither here nor there

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It's a funny thing being appointed to a new Parish - whilst still very much concerned for the wellbeing of my current Parishioners and with carrying on as regardless as possible in living out and developing the vision of our Team, I am also starting to drift in focus towards what needs to be done, and all the exciting possibilities of my new role down in the Wild Westcountry... I say this because we (the family) have just been down for a few days to meet up with the Diocesan Surveyor, who cares for and supervises the work on Clergy homes for the Diocese of Exeter. We talked bathrooms and kitchens and carpets and curtains.... New windows and doors are being fitted, gates fixed, gardens sorted etc etc, knowing that this place will be our home, and seeing more of it is making our move in October more and more a reality. For those of you who don't know about the system of Clergy housing in the Church of England, let me enlighten you. Part of the role of a Stipendiary Parish Prie

Made me laugh

Every week into my email box drops another edition of Ralph Milton's Rumours - an often insightful and thought provoking look at the week's readings with a sense of humour, and a few general comments on life. Rumours is available by email subscription at rumors-subscribe[at]joinhands.com (its free!) and by checking out the Rumours Blog here ... Anyway, enjoy.... The panicky world learns that a giant meteor will crash on earth's surface in 10 days and end it all. Reaction? * Roman Catholics: converge on Rome for solemn papal prayers. * Episcopalians: stage one last cocktail party before the end. * Lutherans: “ein deutsches Bierfest” for the same reason. * Baptists: hold biggest revival in history for one last attempt to turn the whole world Baptist before the end, whether the world wants to or not. * Methodists: organize small groups for heart-burning prayer and testimony. * Quakers: sit quietly and await the end. * Mormons: plunge into the Great Salt Lake in earth'

Fun, but profound!

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A half dozen questions about how i take my Ice-cream, but it seems to say quite a lot about me! I am always very sceptical about these blogthings and online quizzes and yet this one seems to be pretty spot on! Usually they say something which I might like to be true - that I am extremely creative or able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but this one actually makes some sense.... Your Ice Cream Personality: You like to think of yourself as a fairly modest person. And it's true that you don't talk yourself up... but you're also pretty happy with who you are. You are incredibly cautious. You rather miss out on something than make a mistake. No one would ever call you wild... but they would call you responsible. You are a somewhat open minded person, but deep down you're fairly conservative. You don't like trying new things very much. And if you do find something new you like, you stick with it. You tend to have a one track mind. You prefer not

A sermon! A bit about Samson

This is out of the usual pattern of sermons, we have been covering Old Testament figures under the very broad title 'Heroes of Faith' - seeing in these often deeply flawed individuals inspiration for our own journey of faith. This is the end of the series.... Heroes of Faith - Samson Judges 13-16 We probably know a number of stories about Samson, perhaps like me you heard the stories of Samson in Sunday school and were presented with a great hero of faith, almost a kind of Old Testament ‘Superman’ – missing only a cape and pants outside his tights. He is renowned for his strength and his long hair – and being tricked by the dodgy Delilah! My My My Delilah… [more]

All quiet over here....

So, why no news? Well its partly been because I have no idea who reads or might stumble upon this blog, so I have had to keep my news off the radar until an official announcement! I have taken up the offer of a job in the South West of England, as Vicar of Six village Parishes on the Devon/Dorset Border! It's all been announced, and subject to me fulfilling the statutory formalities and conditions of the offer I will be off in October to pastures new... ...or rather pastures old, I was born six miles from where I am about to become Vicar and one of the villages which I will serve is a village I spent a lot of time in during my teens at with my brother's family. Even going back there on interview it felt very different to see everywhere from an 'adult' perspective, and it was exciting to hear about all the things which are going on in the churches in these villages - as well as the potential for more to happen in terms of outreach and of serving these communities.

A meme

Not done one of these for a while, so whilst visiting Dr John (great blog, go visit) I half inched this from him 1. Any nickname? Big Al 2. Mother’s name? Martha (actually it's Pauline, but no one has ever called her that, Martha is her middle name) 3. Favorite drink? Real Ale or Dr Pepper Zero 4. Tattoos? One, Cross on bicep (or where bicep used to be before it got padded out in a wobbly manner) 5. Body Piercings? Ear, boring but as far as I was ever willing to go....must find my earring.... 6. Do you love your job? Yes, but might be looking at doing it somewhere else soon 7. Birthplace? Honiton, Devon, the wild westcountry of England 8 Favorite vacation spot? France, preferably the Dordogne (only area in the world that sounds like a Tigger sound effect) 9.Ever been to Africa ? No 10. Ever eaten cookies for dinner? No 11. Ever been on TV? Yes, and I was in a rock video once (you can just about see my arm) 12. Ever steal any traffic sign? No 13. Ever been in a car acci

`Hooray for the boys in blue'

Got stopped by the police tonight on the way home from a Church interview evening where we were interviewing candidates for the lay training courses on offer from the Diocese. I had been out for a pint of beer following the interviews, so i was a bit nervous about whether or not this would make me a candidate for drunk driving! It seems that my front headlight had blown sometime this evening, so they stopped me to let me know, and I suspect that anyone pulled over at 11pm is routinely breathalysed - i blew into the little tube and was informed that i was less than half the legal limit, which was fine, but that I shouldn't take it for granted that I was OK just because I was! Hooray for the police, keeping the world safe from squiffy vicars! On a serious note, though, I was reassured that those who are out and about who have got themselves tanked up from a night on the booze need to watch out. I am not in favour of drinking and driving, and if I had had more to drink then I cer

Amidst all the chaos....this week's sermon

It's time for another sermon... This one was written for my interview on Thursday, or at least the basis of it was (preaching a sermon at the start of an interview is definitely a first for me, and I was more nervous than i have ever been at the start of a sermon! And during!) I fleshed it out a bit for Sunday, and extrapolated more as I went along, but here's the basic text, or rather (as always) an introduction with more to be found at New Kid Deep Stuf f... Matthew 11.16-19, 25-30 Tricky Jesus In my wife’s room as she was growing up there was a picture of Jesus surrounded by animals and children – a wonderful example of Victorian Kitsch, all soft focus and shiny blonde Jesus – around it was a line from a well known hymn which said ‘all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all...’ It was a meant to be a comfort, a picture of a Jesus who welcomed the vulnerable and who projected an aura of love and acceptance. It didn’t possess any particular artistic

Now the truth can be told

Not been blogging, and been quite distracted lately, due to the last week where I went around the country and had two job interviews! I have been thinking very seriously about 'discernment' and how I find out God's will for what I should be doing - normally I just get on with things and hope they work out (that sounds like a very Godless statement for a Vicar, but do remember things get prayed about on the way too!) This week i went for two sets of job interviews, and found myself in the position of being offered both! I have, after prayer and some serious thought and talking things through, declined one of the offers - there were lots of good things about the position, and it was in a wonderful location, but it simply 'felt wrong' as I prayed about it, and various little bits of the process made me less easy about accepting it. I am sure the 'right person' will make a very good job of it and will find it both challenging and enjoyable - but certain aspe