Thursday, 29 April 2010


The bishop took his place in the Cathedral, tapped his microphone and said: “There’s something wrong with this thing.” To which the congregation replied: “And also with you.” This story, possibly apochcryphal, came to my mind when I read about the blunder made by Gordon Brown in calling Mrs. Duffy a bigot in the privacy of his official car. He, or his aids, forgot he was wearing a microphone so his conversation was relayed to the listening media who, instead of doing the decent thing and respecting a private conversation, broadcast it over the television, radio and reported it in the newspapers.

No doubt Mrs. Duffy was hurt by this and it is to Gordon Brown’s credit that he phoned and then, in the middle of a very busy schedule, travelled several miles back to her house to personally apologise. We’ve all said things in privacy that we wouldn’t want repeated. How would you or I feel if our private conversation was broadcast for the world and his wife to hear? No doubt we would be as mortified as Gordon Brown seems to have been.

Will this incident affect the outcome of the election? Who knows?

Sunday, 25 April 2010

4th Sunday of Easter

This morning I played the organ at St. Augustine’s, Rush Green for the Parish Mass where I also preached. My wife and daughter augmented the Church Choir for the anthem during Holy Communion.

This afternoon I led the Ilford North Scout’s St George’s Day Parade Scouts Own at Barkingside and gave the talk. I am one of the Vice Presidents of the Ilford North Scout District. The Scouts and Cubs Scouts paraded from the Barkingside Recreation Ground via the High Street and Freemantle Road to Ilford County High School where the Scouts Own was to take place. There they were joined by the Beaver Scouts. Originally it was to be held in the school hall but due to preparations for exams this was not possible so it was held on the school playing field. Fortunately the weather was good this afternoon unlike this morning when we had quite a lot of rain. The organisers had managed to get amplification and a local organist provided music using a keyboard.

Friday, 23 April 2010


Today, at St. Augustine’s, Rush Green, I celebrated a Requiem Mass for the repose of the soul of Father James Brown SSC who was the Vicar of Holy Nativity, Knowle. Father James died recently and it was his funeral today.

I served my title at the Knowle Team Ministry which comprised then the parishes of Holy Nativity and St. Martins. After 4 very happy years, I left to become the Rural Youth Development Officer for the Bishop of Colchester and Vicar of Cressing.

When the Team Rector, Father John Bradley, became the Chaplain of St. Monica’s, Bristol the Team was divided and became two separate parishes again. Father Bradley was succeeded by Father (now Bishop) Keith Newton SSC, the Bishop of Richborough and Father James succeeded him. He was diagnosed with a brain tumour and recently died in a hospice in London.

May he Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory

Thursday, 22 April 2010



NO COMMENT !!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010



When I retired as Vicar of St. Francis of Assisi, Barkingside I was presented with some vouchers to enable me to purchase a magnolia tree for my new garden. I have always loved magnolias but have never had one growing in my garden so it had been a long held ambition that, one day, I would have my own. Fairlop Brass Band discovered this and it was due to their kindness that I now have a magnolia. It has taken some time to purchase the tree as my wife, who is in charge of the garden, wasn’t sure where we could put it and we had to wait until the building of the conservatory was complete. It will go in the centre of the lawn at the rear of our house. In the picture you see the magnolia with its first blooms and as soon as they are over it will be planted in the ground. The next thing we have to plan is where we plant a fig tree which was presented to me by New Rush Hall School where I am Chair of the Governors. Again this had to be put on hold but now we’re ready to buy it and plant it ready for next season’s figs.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Better late than never?????????

Yesterday I received a letter from the Acting Bishop of Chelmsford (Dr Laurie Green, Bishop of Bradwell) wishing me a Happy Easter. As Easter is now two weeks past and today we kept the Third Sunday of Easter, I though the letter must have been held up in the post – not an unknown phenomenon – but I was wrong. I gather Father Martin also received the letter at much the same time. I couldn’t help thinking it would have been rather more appropriate to have received it at Easter rather than two weeks later.


For four years I was the Vicar of the Parish of All Saints, Cressing which has the most beautiful medieval church circa 11th/12th century. Like most churches of that age it seemed to need constant restoration and local fund-raising was assisted by the generous support of English Heritage and the helpful advice given by their historic specialists.

In this month’s edition of the Chelmsford Diocesan Newspaper “The Month” there is a short article entitled “VAT CLAW-BACK PLEA”. It relates that at the end of March 2011 historic churches will lose the right to claim back VAT on repairs and maintenance. Pressure needs to be put on election candidates to ensure that this valuable and vital concession is renewed by the next Government otherwise it could put in jeopardy some of the most important historic churches.

More information, and a draft letter to send to prospective parliamentary candidates and/or MP’s is available to download at:

Saturday, 17 April 2010

The Televised Debate by Brown, Cameron & Clegg

The televised debate between Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg on Thursday evening was viewed by 9.9 million viewers. I must admit that having thought it would be as boring as watching grass grow I really found it most enlightening. It was fairly obvious that all three politicians were nervous to begin but as the debate warmed up they became far more relaxed. We have waited a long time for this to happen; both Thatcher and Blair refused to have anything to do with a televised debate between the political parties.

The nationalist parties of Wales and Scotland felt hard done by that they weren’t given the opportunity to appear but they have their own similar programmes in the future for people of their countries. I always feel there is something very strange about the fact that Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have devolved government but the poor old English have the three other countries participating in legislation for England which isn’t devolve.

In this first broadcast there is no doubt that the politician who gave the best performance was Nick Clegg but what is of interest is who will be the winner after the next two forthcoming debates. Regardless of who wins the debates overall it is the British Electors who are the ultimate winners because, for the first time, we are able to see and hear our three political leaders in a debate about policies rather than have to rely on the leaflets that come dropping through our letterboxes and listening to what the candidates say when they come visiting.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

John Keble

Ever since I was a teenager I have had an interest in John Keble. It started when I was given a most beautiful book, The Christian Year by John Keble, which had been presented to my Great Grandfather when he left the Parish of Hursley where he had been the School Master and the Organist of Hursley Parish Church. The book has wooden covers with lithographs of Winchester Cathedral and Hursley Church.
Keble a son of the Vicarage was born on 25th April 1792. Following home tuition he was admitted as an undergraduate of Corpus Christi College at 14 years of age. After a brilliant academic career he was elected a Fellow of Oriel College where he was a tutor and examiner. He was ordained deacon in 1815 and priest the next year. A curate first to his father he was later appointed to a curacy at Eastleach in Gloucestershire. The Christian Year was published in 1827 and resulted in him being appointed as Professor of Poetry at Oxford. He also published another book of poetry called the Lyra Innocentium. Some of the words from the Christian Year are used as hymns including:-
Blessed are the pure in heart.
New every morning is the love
When God of old came down from heaven
Glory to Thee my God this night
John Keble, John Henry Newman and Edward Pusey were the originators of the Tractarians or as it came to be known the Oxford Movement. It started with Keble’s famous Assize sermon on National Apostasy. Keble didn’t follow Newman when he departed to Rome and instead became the Vicar of the little country parish of Hursley. The money that accrued from his poetry helped build churches for the parishes of Otterbourne and Ampfield and also the rebuilding of Hursley Church itself.
Just before he died, Keble and Pusey were reunited with Newman who went to Hursley Vicarage to see Keble not aware that Pusey was there. John Keble was Dr Pusey’s confessor. After his death, Keble College was founded in his memory.
With the forthcoming canonisation of Cardinal John Henry Newman it is a pity that we have no way of recognising saintliness in the Church of England. I am very pleased that Cardinal Newman is to be canonised but regret that both John Keble and Edward Pusey won’t have the same recognition as Saints of God’s church.
Whether my ancestor ever knew Keble I’m not certain but I like to think that he did. Great Grandfather went from Hursley to Titchfield where he was appointed as Head of the School and Organist of the parish Church.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Thanksgiving for Holy Communion

It is indeed a tremendous miracle to see God taking flesh and becoming man, and a greater miracle still to see him suspended on the cross. But the highest of all miracles, O Christ our God, is your ineffable presence under the mystic species. Truly you did institute, through this Great Sacrament, a remembrance of all your marvels. How merciful of you, O God, to give yourself as food to those who revere you, to recall your covenant forever, and to remember your passion and your death until the day of your glorious coming! Let us, O faithful, receive our food and our life, our King and our Saviour, and cry out: 'Save, O Lord, those who worship your glorious and venerable presence'.

Greek prayer

Tuesday, 6 April 2010


At last the phoney election campaign which we have endured for many weeks is over. This morning Gordon Brown, Prime Minister went to the Palace to arrange the dissolution of Parliament and to call a General Election on 6th May when we will be electing, in many areas, our local council as well.

After all the revelations about the scandal of Parliamentary Expenses and the retiring MP’s who are prepared to market their connections, by lobbying, to the highest bidders it is no small wonder that many people are sceptical about the whole system. From duck houses to switching (flipping!) properties to avoid Capital Gains Tax it seems many MP’s were only in parliament for the personal gains they could make.

In many constituencies where a political party has a large majority voting can be seen as a waste of time – no matter how a person votes the status quo remains the same. But a democracy depends on the electorate using their vote and safe majorities have been over turned in the past and can be again.

It is a Christian duty to vote but it is also a duty to weigh up very carefully what each political party is offering the electorate. Christians also need to keep the prospective candidates in their prayers as the 6th May comes closer.

Monday, 5 April 2010

My Triduum & Easter

It’s been quite an unusual Holy Week and Easter for me. On Thursday I played the organ at St. Augustine’s Church for the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. On Good Friday I led the Devotion before the Cross at St. Augustine’s then went to St. Mary’s, Ilford to preside at the Liturgy of the Day. Yesterday I played the organ for the Vigil, then for the Solemn Mass and then Evensong & Benediction.I really enjoy playing for services but having only done so very infrequently for quite a few years, I have to keep my wits about me.

Today I went to St. Mary’s, Ilford to celebrate their 10.00 a.m. Mass. They are looking forward to their new incumbent’s arrival in May.

Saturday, 3 April 2010



May you have a very blessed and happy Easter

The remarks by the Archbishop of Canterbury about the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland

The unfortunate remarks concerning the Irish Roman Catholics by the Archbishop of Canterbury, at this particular time of Easter, are most regrettable. What we should be doing is praying for our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters as they endeavour to cope with the crisis in the Church in Ireland. If he thinks that the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland has lost all credibility he should reflect that there are also those of us who think that the Church of England has lost all credibility in particular by the cavalier way it seems to be treating those of us who, for conscientious and theological reasons are unable to accept the consecration of women to the Episcopate. If Archbishop Rowan Williams really believes what he says, that he considers very few will be taking up the Pope’s offer of an Ordinariate from the Church of England, he could be in for a very big surprise.

Friday, 2 April 2010



‘In the cross, and him who hung upon it, all things meet; all things need it. It is their centre and interpretation. For he was lifted upon it, that he might draw all things to him.’ (Cardinal John Henry Newman)