Showing posts from 2010

Last of the y ear

So all that time I though I would have for reflection and writing has zipped by, only to filled with the joy of family and lots of fun - so no regrets! Before I get to the next year though, I thought I should stop by and wish you all 'Happy New Year'  I hope 2011 is a good one for you and yours.  God bless, and I will leave you with my thought for the New Year from the Midweek Herald.... Listen!

Fifteen Films Meme

He's done it again, that Mr Ritchie over at Phil's Treehouse has lured me into a meme , this time on fifteen films - as Phil writes... The rules: Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen films you’ve seen that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen films you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes. Not in order of preference. 1 The Matrix 2 Star Trek VI 3 Crossroads 4 Saving Private Ryan 5 It's A Wonderful Life 6 The Wizard of Oz 7 Ferris Bueller's Day Off 8 This Is Spinal Tap 9 Angel-a 10 The Empire Strikes Back 11 Fargo 12 Sliding Doors 13 Sleuth (the original, with Michael Caine & Larry Olivier) 14 Roman Polanski's MacBeth 15 Condorman Yep, not a lot of high fallutin' stuff in there but in less than five minutes these are the films that most stand out for me mentally.  I could give a reason why for each one, but rather than waffle on, if anyone wants to know 'why?' then post a comment and I will respond. I didn't

And a though for the week too

You've never had it so good... Two posts in one hour (removes tongue from cheek).... Listen!

Before the end of the year...

I thought I really should put some thoughts down on, um, virtual paper before the end of the year, as this one time obsession of a blog has been repeatedly neglected in the past year.  It has been a funny old year for all sorts of reasons and either for reasons of sheer busy-ness or because my brain has been full of other things I have been less inclined to put things on paper.  I've had a few things going on that have distracted my thinking, feeling and doing processes in the past year or so as well so all in all the blog thing has been on a bit of a ropey footing lately! I find myself in a strange position, there are lots of things I would like to say, and lots I can't because of the very public nature of a blog.  Not that there is anything negative to say, but just that of the thinking out loud aspect of blogging I might find myself saying something that is simply unhelpful!  I am not trying to be a 'man of mystery' but find that some of the things I am wrestling wi

Something lighthearted

Phil Ritchie , over at Phil's treehouse , has posted a meme at his blog (at the time of writing this it was on the right hand side of the blog in my links) which caught my imagination!  It's a fifteen song meme, and I will cut and paste his intro here: First fifteen music meme 1) Turn on your MP3 player or music player on your computer. 2) Go to SHUFFLE songs mode. 3) Write down the first 15 songs that come up–song title and artist–NO editing/cheating, please. So here's my list (If the Song is highlighted, the link goes to the song on Spotify - though some of these may be linked to my own iTunes library and may come up blank - if so, sorry - , if the album is highlighted you can go and have a look at's listing): It's The Sun – The Polyphonic Spree ( The Beginning Stages Of... .) The Last Time – Talk Talk ( The Collection ) We Declare Your Majesty – Kate Miner/Derri Doughtery ( More...Best Worship Songs Ever ) River of Bass – Underworld

If I can't get around to writing anything

Perhaps adding my thought for the week as something spoken will fill this sadly slightly unloved space.... Listen!

The adventure continues

I realise that over the last few blog entries I have had a few polemical moments and thought it was about time for a more mellow and positive entry - particularly as this is the 'season of mists and mellow fruitfulness'! Even though its my day off (not really happening today as harvest festival for school, will try to take tomorrow instead) I want to say something about ministry and to get rid of the last less than cheerful heading for my blog :-) A funeral, a wedding rehearsal, village eucharists, schools services and various visits and events in this last few days have served to remind me just what a privilege this ministry is! Likewise a conversation with a gentleman who is congregational member, deep thinker, and deeply committed to the life of both the parish Church and community in where I live has helped me to see again just how fortunate (or blessed if you prefer) I am to be in this place, with these people, doing what I do. And grateful for dedicated members of ou

Feeling a bit sad

Don't worry, I'm not drowning in the depths of despair or anything like that. I am just a little bit less of my usually cheery self than usual (or as a newspaper recently described me - a bit less of a 'jolly Motorcycle-riding Vicar'). The news that has brought about this alteration to my disposition is that the friends with whom we share ownership of a property in France would like to 'buy us out' and in return for a share of our contributions over the past five years, less a few expenses. would have complete ownership of the property (which they pretty much have anyway). An odd thing to feel upset about, but on reflection I realise this is because of a number of factors which I do think its worth mentioning here - partly because this is meant to be a place of reflection and meaning as well as home to my occasional rants! Firstly this represents the end of a certain stage in our friendship with this other family. Not that we aren't friends still, but

I really should update my links

I haven't got around to putting up a number of good bloggers on my sidebar - or weeding out a few out of date ones... For now I would like to encourage you to visit good folk such as the Church Mouse , Revd Lesley , Charlie Peer and Phil Ritchie . I think Mouse might already be on my feed on the right but need to go into the list on the left! I can't bring myself to remove link to the late Dr John's blog though. Still missed....

We plough the fields and scatter...again....and again

Thanks to a bit of prompting from three excellent posts The Church Mouse , Charlie Peer and Red I have been inspired to add my bit about harvest festivals and their relevance in today's world.. I would recommend reading the above posts in the order I've put them, and look through the comments too, it's an interesting read. Harvest Festivals could be considered the bane of some Clergy lives! I have done around a hundred or so (by my rough guesstimate) in the past fourteen or so years since I was Ordained. We had a school one and a Church one in my first Suburban London parish, nice and simple. In my second parish in Central London we had a Church Harvest Festival, and I was chaplain to four schools who liked a good Harvest Celebration. Then I moved to a Thirteen Parish Team with four schools who all celebrated Harvest in our 'soft rural' setting in South Cambridgeshire and after eight years there I lost track of how many I covered... I usually did two of the sc

Another sermon, as it's been quite a busy week...

I've prepared quite a few sermons this week, and because of the unique nature of all the events I haven't even been able to reuse bits of older sermons, or the framework of older talks - so I thought I might as well get some use out of them and pass them on! St Michael & All Angels (2010) RCL Principal Genesis 28.10-17 Revelation 12.7-12 John 1.47-51 Problems with Angels Let me start with a confession. I have a problem with Angels… Not that I mean I have Angels under the bed or falling out of cupboards or anything like that, but I struggle with the whole culture of Angelic beings that has sprung up both within and beyond the Christian Church. Guardian Angels, Healing Angels, Warning Angels. New Age Spiritual Beings. All the Angelology (if that is a word) that I’ve heard about since I was a child. And this obsession with Angels isn’t a new thing – the Church wasted far too much time in the medieval era talking about how many Angels could dance on the he

A picture from the Ordination

Thought I should let you see a bit of what happened and what the last posting referred to - here's a picture of the Bishop of Crediton, Kate (our new priest) and myself after the service on Saturday last. With a bit of lovely Devon blue sky in the background...and the roof of my Vicarage in the background too!

An Ordination Sermon

It is very unlikely that I will ever get to preach at an ordination again - but last week I had the immense privilege of speaking at the ordination to the Priesthood of our Curate, the Revd Kate Woolven. It is worth following the link to the lessons for the day before reading the sermon here.... Isaiah 61.1-3 Ephesians 4.7-16 John 20:19-23 Ordination Sermon – Kate Woolven What a privilege it is to be here. Celebrating the ordination of Kate as priest within the Church of God as part of the people of God! Today is a good day, and a wonderful occasion. Already in the weeks Kate has been with us she has proved herself to be a competent, compassionate, warm, funny, thoughtful, faithful, spiritually mature and committed minister – and I still keep being told how good her sermon was at the last Mission Community service we held! Now we share in the next stage of Kate’s journey of being and becoming who she is called to be under God. We are here to support her as Bis

And now a sermon for this Evening!

Philippians 3.7-14 Song of Songs Chapter 8.6,7 St Giles Patronal 2010 Saintly Calling It’s a pleasure to be gathered here with the people of God to celebrate our patronal festival at this evensong this evening. A pleasure because our remembrance of Saints, and today we remember particularly St Giles of Provence, is an uplifting way of reminding ourselves our our heritage of faith, and because a patronal festival reminds us of our heritage and history in this place, and calls us to faithfulness as God’s saints here and now in our parish and as part of our Mission Community. As I said this time last year (though I would be interested as to who could remember that, I had to look it up). We have a good example for us in St Giles of Provence whose feast day was actually on Wednesday of this week just gone... [more]

A sermon from this Morning

It's about time I posted a sermon up here, so here's this morning's offering... or at least a taster, click [more] for the lot! Proper 18 (2010) Year C RCL Principal Jeremiah 18.1-11 Psalm 139.1-5 & 12-18 Philemon verses 1-21 Luke 14.25-33 Grow Up! One of the subjects that comes up again and again in our household, as is probably the case in any household with small children, is ‘growing up’. What do you want to be when you grow up? Is one of those questions that Katherine and Jack seem very happy to keep replying to, despite giving different answers most times its asked. Or there are comments about ‘how grown up they look’ or ‘aren’t they growing up fast’. Most of us have probably heard all this before and if we don’t remember people saying it to us, then we probably remember it being said to our children, or grandchildren, or other family members or friends... [more]

A Slight correction, addition, amendment, or something....

I am grateful for the feedback I've received on my post yesterday about ministry, and on reading it back (as you do after a bit of a rant) there was one statement I particularly wanted to say something about. Actually there are lots of parts I could expand on, but one thing I think bears a bit of scrutiny. I said that Clergy are 'defined by their education and the way they dress'. What I meant by this is that people often defer to me in 'matters spiritual' because they know that I have some kind of training for this ministry business. I also have a fair amount of experience, and have made my share of mistakes and hopefully learned from them. I think that trained and resourced members of the Church are crucial, though it isn't just Clergy that fulfil those criteria - we have gifted and dedicated Readers, and various members of our communities with oodles of training and experience under their belt. My experience of Readers in the three Dioceses I have worke


Nice bit of ASBO Jesus Taken from here ... thanks ASBO...

The Vicar is dead.....Long live the Vicar!

On return from holiday I had lots to deal with, a pile of mail that was nearly as tall as me, various calls to respond to, and an update on all that had been going on in my absence. All good, or rather everything went well, though it had been extremely busy and very well covered by my colleagues. In the week since I've got back though I have had a number of conversations where people have expressed disappointment that 'The Vicar' didn't do X or Y, or that Clergy haven't visited certain folk - despite the fact that I know I have extremely competent colleagues and very good lay pastoral visitors from all of the Churches who have handled things as well, if not better, than I ever could. It boils down to the erroneous belief that things are somehow more 'kosher' if a man (preferably a man in many cases, but that's another issue which I am not going to rant about today) with a 'dog collar' does it, be it opening fetes, visiting people or services i

Allo' Allo'

Bonsoir, Toute la Monde (not sure I got me le's and la's right there) ! I am winding down (though it feels a bit like winding up at the moment, there is sooooo much to do) for my annual holiday in France. I am pleased to say that over the next three and a half weeks for the most part I will be relaxing, maybe a bit of writing, plenty of reading and time with my beautiful wife and family. So I thought I would pop by and say that the potential lack of being around that this will bring is not evidence of further neglect of this blog, but the likelihood of a lack of Internet connection in the wilds of Sud-ouest France. So here's another of those pesky thoughts for the week... if I get time tomorrow between meetings, funeral, wake, visits and admin I might be back, but I make no promises! This one is from mid May... Strange Church Having a couple of days knocked out of this week by a stomach bug I realised how much I depend on my routines, the same things that crop up wi

Gotta be done

Another thought for the week.... catching up gradually... never realised I thought so much! Go to the Midweek Herald for current thought and local news from East Devon.... Pray? Do you pray? There’s an old quip that ‘there are no Atheists in a foxhole’ and I know that faced with difficult times, with nowhere else to turn, people often to try to ‘open negotiations’ with ‘someone up there’ in the hope they might be heard. But prayer isn’t just about asking God for things, like a kind of religious shopping list, but includes praising God for who He is, thanking God for all He’s done and trying to find God’s will and guidance for our lives. That means we can pray with music, with silence, with others, alone, by reading the Bible, by going to church, by walking in the fields, by laughing, dancing, sitting, kneeling, standing. Prayer isn’t about trying to get God to do stuff for us, but about making time to be with God – find your own way to pray, and ask others how they pray!

Words of wisdom

Me: Should I join group X? Gorgeous Wife (henceforth GW): No Me: Should I stand for General Synod in the September elections? GW: No Me: Should I offer to take over as Rural Dean when current one stands down? GW: No Me: Should I start a new....? GW: No Me: How about....? GW: No GW: Don't do too much. Some of the most sound words I have heard for a while, said by someone who cares...

Still thinking

Thanks for comments on last few posts, and conversations which have ensued on Twitter and Facebook! Whilst I am considering whether to write anything else on those particular themes here's another thought for the week... This one from the week before our General Election I’m not going to tell you how to vote but I am going to ask you to vote. Some people say “Faith and Politics shouldn’t mix”, but I would say “nonsense” to that. If faith doesn’t leak in to every part of our lives then it seems a pretty worthless faith. Being a Christian isn’t about ‘my’ belief or what ‘I’ want, but about holding to values which reflect God’s love for every one of us – so if we follow Jesus’ call to “love God with all your heart, soul strength and mind” and “love your neighbour as yourself” then when faced with a ballot paper we should think not just about what is good for ourselves, but what is right, good and best for those most vulnerable, the poor, the sick, the isolated. Let your faith

An answer to a comment

I tried to write this as a response to a really good comment on my previous 'don't make me angry' post - but it was a bit long. So here it is as a post... don't read on if you get wound up by wishy-washy liberalism of the Anglican variety, cos here it comes... And it's not terribly well worked out either, as it was an off the cuff reply to a comment... You'll soon see why it was a bit long to be a comment.... Thanks all for your comments! I really appreciate your thoughtful and thought provoking response so I'm going to address the third comment particularly. I may not do that very well and there are plenty who could respond better than me. And I do recognise that in our interpretation and understanding of Scripture I may well be far from you... and not necessarily right! My experience of Reformed doctrine (it's the tradition I came to faith in and one I grew up in) was that it made the Gospel exclusive - only to those who grasped on a certain inte

And another thought

Yep, as I seem to be on a roll, blog wise at least, I thought I would throw another 'Thought For The Week' out there, courtesy of the Midweek Herald. This one from 21st April... Stop Talking I have sat looking at my computer screen for some time and haven’t been able to think of anything to say. Which makes me think about saying nothing! What I mean is (and I’m sure you didn’t expect me to leave it there!) that often our world might be a better place if sometimes we said less… If politicians could stop pretending they have the answer to everything, if Christians (including Clergy) didn’t try to give trite responses to some of the most difficult parts of life, if all of us were willing to not talk our way through the world but occasionally leave a bit of space for silence. Sometimes, if we have nothing to say, its better to say nothing. Sometimes having the honesty to admit that we don’t know, that we have no answers, and to be quiet and listen would be by far the best r

Another sermon....

Year C Proper 5 (2010) RCL Principal Psalm 146 Galatians 1.11-24 Luke 7.11-17 The Big Picture I don’t know if you have ever seen the magic roundabout, a rather surreal children’s TV show from the 1970s that was made into a computer generated movie a couple of years back. It was a very strange show, but great fun, and even my children aged 5 and 8 enjoyed reading a book we found in a Church jumble sale about the characters going on a picnic – which I am happy to go through in detail if anyone would like to later! [more]

A sermon for you

It's been far too long since I have inflicted a sermon on you, and the New Kid Deep Stuff blog is looking sadly neglected. Here's a sermon from a few weeks back! I may well post a few more in the coming days. Easter 5 (2001) Year C RCL Principal Acts 11.1-18 Psalm 148 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]

Thought for the week - the saga continues

I should be writing this week's thought for the week, but am preparing for a wedding, so here's one from a few weeks back - three weeks after Easter to be precise. These 'thoughts' are, as always, from the local paper - the Midweek Herald . Still Easter So the choccy supplies which received such a great boost a few weeks ago are probably pretty run down now. The bank holiday memory is dwindling, the school term has begun and life will probably get back to something like normal. Easter feels a long time ago. Except it’s not. In the Church we formally celebrate Easter for 50 days until the day of Pentecost (also known as Whitsun, the birthday of the Church). Even more than that, though, Easter for those who are Christians is not just the one day, but every day. The new life that Jesus brings isn’t a one off, to be kept in a box and enjoyed with chocolate once a year, but a relationship which is ongoing. Christian faith is concerned with how we live our lives a

Don't make me angry

Of course pretty much everyone knows the rest of that quote... wouldn't like me when I'm angry! That is, as I think I've said before, one of my great concerns - not being liked. It's foolish and stems from some deep insecurities, I'm sure, but I like being liked. I suspect most of us do. But it does sometimes hold me back from saying what I actually think and feel, particularly in public forums (fora?) such as here, or Facebook, or Twitter, or even in conversation or around and about. There was an article a while ago in the Church Times about Clergy Stress and one of the notes said that many found it hard that they had to 'be nice to difficult people'. There's some debate as to what that might mean! Being 'nice' is, though, the perennial image - and perhaps failing - of the Clergy, and certainly a trap I find myself falling into. One of the problems is that when something does actually challenge the niceness culture, when someth

Tumbling Tumbleweeds

As the wind whistles around my blog and the tumbleweeds blow up the street you may be forgiven for thinking that I have given up on blogging altogether. I haven't, honest, and I do try and get around and visit as many of the blogs I link to as possible as frequently as possible! I still value the insight and food for thought I get from my blog buddies, I like the challenges I read from those who see things differently to me and I wish I had more time to offer my own reflections here for those who are kind enough to respond and react. It comes down to time - blogging takes thought and time (though you may not think so looking at the quality of some of my previous posts!). I have discovered that the time I have for blogs and twitter and Facebook, all of which I enjoy and appreciate, has had to take a back seat to the other things which fill my life - particularly my Ministry, my family and my friends. I am sure you'll all be pleased at my attempts to have some kind of work/l

A quick link

Am particularly enjoying Maggi Dawn's blog at the moment, especially this poetic reflection (from Stewart Henderson ) on Priestly ministry....

So Many Thoughts - So Many Weeks

It is my dream that one day I will catch up with all of these, and will be in sync with the local paper that prints them. It's called the Midweek Herald and can be found here . A Thought for the Week for the week after Easter! There are some things we tend to take for granted, some things that are so much a part of life that we don’t really notice them. Churches are like that, in villages they get used for special events, for the important parts of life and death, people use them in directions to get some place, every now and then you might even feel a need to go in, have a look around, take a moment of quiet or say a prayer. But on the whole they are just ‘there’. But the Churches I have been a part of are powerhouses, they work hard to make communities function as communities, they care for the sick, visit the lonely, help the needy. They run events and activities. They worship the God who made the universe. Churches are important, they will support you in need, and need

Allegri's Miserere

Having shared my rockier side with you, here's a gorgeous piece of music which I find profoundly moving.

Ministry in more than two dimensions

Despite all my experience, despite the joy of getting to know so many good people, despite hearing so many stories and taking part in so many special events - I still fall into the trap of sometimes failing to see people with all the depth, beauty, wonder, sadness, joy and humanity that they undoubtedly have. What I mean is that sometimes (hopefully vary rarely) I will look at one of my congregations and classify them almost by Mr Men standards: 'Mr Snoozy', or 'Mrs Long Winded', 'Mr Stroppy', 'Little Miss Loud And Somewhat Annoying', 'Mr Won't Shut Up About The Flipping Parish Share' etc etc etc. OK, it's an exaggeration, but it's easy to think of people in terms of how they behave or what they do rather than who they are, to reduce them to two-dimensional figures like characters in a bad novel... And then an encounter or a moment or an event occurs that makes me think again, and to remember that I am ministering to, or chatting w

A thought for a week

It's not THE thought for this week as I am still playing catch up due to my ongoing propensity to leave this blog for longer than I like and then come back with a flurry of posts... Here's the one from Easter - but as Easter should be a 24/7 - 365 experience for us as Christians I am happy to post it now... and you might get half a dozen more in the next couple of days :-) Have you ever been a part of something that has changed the world? Maybe you’ve given to a charity? Run in the race for life? Been a part of a world record attempt? Or perhaps you’ve been to Church? Yes, the Church has changed the world, or more accurately Jesus Christ changed the world. When he died on the first Good Friday he took upon himself all the evils and wrongdoing in the world from all time. An innocent man taking to himself the sin of the world. And when he rose again from the dead, as we celebrate on Easter Sunday, all of the effects of that sin, the death and brokenness of the world,

REZ Land of Stolen Breath - Mobile.m4v

I have a fondness for heavy rock - goes with the whole biker/guitarist/yobbo vibe that I succumb to every now and then (having spent day at Bishop's House in grubby jeans and clerical collar as I rode to my training day today). For me the epitome of well put together heavy music with a message is REZ aka Resurrection Band. They may have a somewhat different take on Christian Faith to me, in some ways, but the passion and the prophetic nature of their music and ministry inspires and challenges me, I love the music too - though I realise it probably isn't everyone's cuppa tea :-) This particular song is one of my favourites, with a very powerful message behind the slightly ropey 1990s video.... Just a little glimpse into my slightly odd, yet deeply committed to faith, world....

The best laid plans

Ok, so I thought I would get back into the swing of this blogging business and after that wee flurry of postings earlier in the week decided to hold off a day or two before the next round - then the lurgy struck! I think I picked up the same sickness bug that my children had at the end of last week, whatever it was/is it has taken two days out of my week and I am still feeling grim and not eating - though my wife says the not eating is a good thing! I am disappointed that I didn't feel well enough to take the Ascension Day service this evening and grateful that I have a very able and gracious Associate Priest who took on those duties. I think that in the past sixteen or so years I have only missed one other Asc Day service, so am a bit glum about it, but not only did I feel a bit ropey, I didn't want to be spreading any sickness around! When I did finally make it out of bed today I made myself sit in front of my PC and wrote all the articles and bits and bobs I needed to se