The Second Sunday before Advent 2018

A great deal is being said in these days about the failure of the Church to attract the masses; and this is true not only of the Church of England, but also of other religious bodies. But it must not be thought on that account that it is Christianity that has failed. No, we must discriminate between Christianity and the … Read More

All Souls’ 2018 – Hope

The word ‘caravan’ has been in the news lately the caravan travelling through Mexico from Central America – all those people heading north to the United States in the hope of finding a better life in the wonderland that is Trump’s America. Whatever the wonders of Trump’s America may or may not be, there are a large number of people … Read More

Parry Centenary Sermon 7th October 2018

Exactly fifty years ago, on 7 October 1968, the 50th anniversary of Parry’s death, the composer Herbert Howells delivered a lecture – called the Crees Lecture – at the Royal College of Music in Kensington. In that lecture he said this of Parry: ‘He died on 7 October, 50 years ago. How many of us ever wished that death could … Read More

Trinity 17 2018

Here’s a little conundrum for you: The police are looking for a suspected murderer – they know his name is John, but they do not know what he looks like. But they do know where he lives. They raid the house, and find a fire officer, a mechanic, a lorry driver and a carpenter all playing poker around a table. … Read More

Trinity 15 2018

Yesterday, I’m very sorry to tell you, was ‘Buy your priest a pint’ day. I say, ‘sorry’, because no-one did. Although we had some very nice prosecco and some profound poetry courtesy of David Nash. Apparently, according to the website www.catholicgentleman.com (isn’t the internet a wonderful thing!?) – I quote: “On this festive day, faithful Catholics all over the world … Read More

Trinity 11 ~ Loaf and Debt

It’s five years now since Archbishop Justin Welby declared what the press decided to call the ‘war on Wonga’. You probably remember – Wonga were in the habit of advertising short-term unsecured loans with their 2 little old people saying in their cartoony way that this was the solution to all their problems. Ironic that they were shortsighted, and if … Read More

Trinity 10 2018

Last Sunday over coffee someone suggested that they had been looking forward to something juicy about David and Bathsheba. So I shall turn to that today, as that story reaches its conclusion and denouement. For the salaciousness of David voyeuristically spying a pretty girl bathing, having his way with her, marrying her and then disposing of the other man involved, … Read More

Trinity 9 2018

All this sweltering heat we have been having reminds me of the places in the world where I have been, where such temperatures are normal. Usually hot weather is associated with holidays – or pilgrimages – and for sure we have had Israeli and Jordanian and Egyptian temperatures these last few weeks. So having to work in the heat has … Read More

Mary Magdalene 2018

Today we celebrate one of, if not the most important woman in the New Testament. Having this church dedicated to her, and celebrating her every year, as well as on Easter Day of course, gives us a special relationship with someone who has become more and more interesting as the years go by. More or less consigned to oblivion in … Read More

Dances of Life and Death

If you go to Jerusalem you can visit what many people call the ‘Wailing Wall’. It’s what remains of the Temple that Jesus knew and which the Romans destroyed in 70AD. The piazza at its base is still a synagogue, and many Jews go there on a Friday evening to celebrate the beginning of the Shabbat – the Sabbath. But … Read More

Trinity 1 2018

I couldn’t resist picking that hymn this morning (Here I Am Lord by Dan Schutte), because of our Old Testament reading. You might like to keep it open in front of you. I know we have sung it a fair few times recently, and it will be sung at ordinations soon no doubt, because it speaks of calling, of sending, … Read More

Pentecost 2018

What a weekend we are having! A Royal Wedding, A Cup Final, a Parish Spring Fair, Jackie’s Birthday, Ken and Laura’s Silver Wedding Anniversary… It’s all happening. And, ah yes, I nearly forgot, it’s Pentecost too – another Birthday – the Birthday of the Church. I know some churches where they have birthday cake today and even sing Happy Birthday… … Read More

Fake or Good News of Resurrection?

Imagine the headlines: Exclusive! The man’s for turning: U-Turn from Doubting Didymus. Reuters: News just in from Jerusalem. The rebel religious fanatic Jesus bar Joseph, has, according to some of his followers, risen from the dead. Despite being crucified, some of his followers say they have seen him alive and kicking. Others doubt this. As reported by us last week, … Read More

Easter Sunday 2018

Alleluia – Christ is risen – he is risen indeed – Alleluia! It’s not every year that the first Sunday of April is not only Easter Day but April 1st, All Fools’ Day! In fact that hasn’t happened since 1327. (Only joking: it’s 1956 actually.) Although 1327 was the year Elizabeth de Burgh died: She was the wife – the … Read More

Passion Sunday 2018

I wonder if you recognise this quotation: “They know and do not know what it is to act or suffer. They know and do not know that action is suffering, and suffering is action. Neither does the agent suffer nor the patient act. But both are fixed in an eternal action, an eternal patience to which all must consent that … Read More

Lent 3 2018

1 Corinthians 1:18-25 ‘In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan’… On Tuesday, when the Lenten snow began to arrive, Classic FM played that Christmas Carol, and I have to say, I was delighted! If only the message of the Christ child could be heard all year round, I often say, and although it has to be snow days that … Read More

From Chocolate to Ashes

Today, St Valentine’s Day, is a feast day of chocolate. And chocolate is very important to a lot of people. How many of us would want to live without it? Chocolate, that wonderful substance, that can be drunk or eaten, without any physically or mentally destructive side-effects, and of which we consume thousands of tons a year. Chocolate is a … Read More

Candlemas Sunday 2018

Every year Jessica and Maria and I make a calendar for our family and friends, with a family picture above each month, and the dates on the calendar pre-printed with not only the major days of the year, but also some ecclesiastical dates (such as Ash Wednesday) and the various birthdays of members of the family. We have been doing … Read More

Christmas Eve ~ O Little Town of Bethlehem

O little town of Bethlehem,   How still we see thee lie! Have you ever been to Bethlehem? On December 30th 1865, at the age of 30, the American Bishop Philips Brooks went there and wrote these words to his father: Last Sunday morning we attended service in the English church, and after an early dinner took our horses and rode … Read More

Carol Service 2017

I’m dreaming of a White Christmas… Prosecco, Champagne, Chablis, Chardonnay, sherry… Whether you are dreaming of a White Christmas or not, we certainly had a bit of a white-mare last week, with showstopping snow, and icy pavements. Snow had fallen, snow on snow – and ice underneath! And then came the rain…. Come rain or snow, it’s been tempting to … Read More