Sunday, 30 May 2010

Trooping the Colour

There is a saying that when policemen look young you are getting old. Yesterday a group of us from St. Augustine, Rush Green went to the rehearsal of the Trooping of the Colour at Horse Guards Parade. The weather was not kind and rained, soaking many of the people present. The people making up the Guards looked incredibly young and I was also surprised at how small they looked as well. Some of them couldn’t have stood more than about 5’ 4” and the towering busby’s on their heads made them look like toy soldiers. Of course, they weren’t ; many of them have only ecently returned from Afghanistan.

I always enjoy the massed military bands and despite the weather they played magnificently and I really enjoy seeing all the horses. It was a great day despite the weather.

Today, I preached at St. Augustine’s, Rush Green where I played the organ for the Mass. I was glad to learn that the official Organist is recovering from his triple bypass and hopes to return very soon.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

The Feast of St. Augustine of Canterbury

Those who have seen the abomination recently carried out in the USA of the consecration of the practising lesbian M/s Glasspool as a “bishop” will no doubt be as horrified as me. The whole thing seemed little more than a pagan festival and the Church of England is in Communion with the TEC (The Episcopal Church of the USA) which allowed this travesty to be conducted. It included Mother Earth, Pagan Rituals, Ancestor Worship and Dancing Girls. There seems to be a deafening silence from Canterbury condemning this!

To view the service go to:

Any wonder that many of us feel that the Church of England which we knew, loved and gave devoted service to, over many years, is no longer anything more than a sect. When I was a teenager it was explained to me by my then Parish Priest that the Church of England was a “bridge” church and that ultimately it would provide the bridge between the Roman Catholic Church on the one hand and the nonconformist denominations on the other. When it succeeded it would then cease to exist. In those days we lived in the hope of reunion with Rome for the whole church and I had no doubt that that day would come eventually, hopefully in my lifetime. Now that is not going to happen. In just a few years the Church of England and large parts of the Anglican Communion have cast aside the faith that St. Augustine brought to the UK to become such a liberal body that no orthodox Christian can take it seriously anymore.

The awful letters in last Friday’s Church Times show the depth of feeling against Anglo-Catholics who continue to endeavour to maintain Catholic Faith and Order. Their aim is for us to go and to go quickly so that they can continue their descent into heresy. We now await the day when the Ordinariate is up and running.

St Augustine, pray for us.

Saturday, 22 May 2010


Yesterday, we took my youngest granddaughter to Colchester Zoo where, with a wonderful sunny day, we had the most enjoyable day. I’ve always disliked Zoos as I don’t like to see wild animals in cages. However Colchester give their animals plenty of room and is in the forefront of animal protection and preservation.

Some year ago, when I was serving my title in Bristol we had some visitors from Uganda staying in the Diocese and one, a young girl called Grace, came to spend the day with us. We asked her what she would like to do and she replied that she would really like to visit a Zoo. I thought this was most odd as I thought she would have experienced many of the animals at home. In fact she said the reverse was true and that the only animals she had any contact with at home were baboons. So we took her to Bristol Zoo and it was there that, for the first time, I discovered Pigmy Hippos and found them fascinating and I have retained that fascination ever since. As part of my 70th birthday present, my granddaughter sponsored a pygmy hippo for me and gave me complimentary entrance tickets so I could go and visit her several times during the year.

It was a lovely day and made me glory in a God who created such a diverse and wonderful world.

When I got home I found this week’s edition of the Church Times. On the Letters Page there were many letters praising the work of the Revision Committee on the Consecration of Women as Bishops in the fact that no, or as good as no, provision was to be made for those of us, who, in conscience, are unable to accept this innovation. It strikes me that the most illiberal members of the Church of England are those on the Liberal wing who can’t wait to see Anglo-Catholics put in an untenable position so that they leave......more on this later, when I’ve calmed down a little!!!!!.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010


1. At Pentecost, God's Spirit came
In rushing wind and living flame,
It came with power to blaze abroad
The Good News of the Living Lord:
O Holy Spirit, Heavenly dove,
Send us your gifts of power and love.

2. The Apostles changed from weak to brave
And far and wide the message gave
Of Jesus Christ, God's only Son
Who on the cross the victory won:
O Holy Spirit, Heavenly dove,
Send us your gifts of power and love.

3. So people did the faith receive
And in Christ Jesus did believe;
Inspired in heart and mind and thought
They kept the truth th'Apostles taught:
O Holy Spirit, Heavenly dove,
Send us your gifts of power and love
4. And down the years until today
God's Spirit taught the Church the Way;
In danger's hour it made it strong
To work for right and challenge wrong:
O Holy Spirit, Heavenly dove,
Send us your gifts of power and love.

5. Come, Holy Spirit, in your power
To guide the Church and on it shower
Your sevenfold gifts, that it may be
A sign for all the world to see:
So shall our God be glorified
With Jesus Christ, the Crucified.
© Mervyn Jennings 1993
Tune: Melita
This hymn may be freely copied and used but please acknowledge the author.


Christians, it seems to me, are treated very poorly by the Television Stations. The football season is now over for a few weeks yet there are 6 hours and 35 minutes of football this week on terrestrial television compared to 1 hour 35 minutes of religious broadcasting (if you can count either “Songs of Praise” or ‘ How to live a simple life’ by the Revd. Peter Owen Jones as “religious broadcasting!”) . I gleaned these statistics from the Radio Times. Both the programmes mentioned are on BBC 1; there is nothing at all on ITV, Channel s 4 & 5 so no surprise there then.

On satellite you can watch the religious channels which, with the exception of ETWN, a Roman Catholic Channel which does some quite decent programme, by enlarge churns out absolute drivel 24/7.

What baffles me is that the numbers attending football matches on a Saturday are fewer than those attending church on Sunday so why the disparity? Surely there should be a better balance. What baffles me even more is that main stream Christians seem content not to have any input into satellite broadcasting with exception of the American Station ETWN and to leave it to fringe Christian Groups.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Why is May Mary’s Month?

In a poem, the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins asks why May is Mary's month. Mary's different feasts, he reasons, are liturgically "dated due to season." May as Mary's month, he continues, must have something to do with "Spring" which means "Growth in everything."

All things rising, all things sizing,
Mary sees, sympathising
With that world of good,
Nature's motherhood.

The poem continues, "Spring's universal bliss / Much, had much to say / To offering Mary May," and it concludes

This ecstasy all though the mother earth
Tells Mary her mirth till Christ's birth
To remember and exultation
In God who was her salvation.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010


Yesterday evening I attended the Licensing of Father Gareth Jones SSC to the Parish of St. Mary’s, Ilford. Father Gareth has been serving in the Parish of St. Michaels, Brighton and many of his congregation were present. In a service which took over hour and a half Father Gareth was licensed as Priest in Charge. We were given strict instructions in the invitation that Anglican Choir Dress was to be worn: Cassock, Surplice, Hood and Scarf. In my ministry I have only worn this on one occasion previously, when I took a Remembrance Sunday Service as a Curate in my first parish and had I to borrow the Scarf as I don’t own one and have no intention of getting one. The reception afterwards was great but here’s a question: why do these services go on for so long?

For several years I was a member of the Diocesan Liturgical Committee and one of our briefs was to devise a new service for Inductions for the use of the Diocesan and Area Bishops. I remember this went on month after month as draft after draft was turned down. In the end when I left the Committee it was still coming up at every meeting and eventually the present service was approved. The service itself is alright but far too long, needlessly so!

St. Mary’s is a Parish with a long Anglo-catholic tradition right in the town centre of Ilford. It has a daily Mass and a well attended Parish Mass and Solemn Evensong every Sunday. It pays its Quota in full. During the 18 month interregnum I have helped with both Sunday and weekday Masses along with several other priests and it has been a real joy to do so for a warm, welcoming and friendly congregation. Sadly, the Diocese in its inexplicable wisdom suspended the living six months or so into the interregnum, so Father Gareth has not been appointed as Vicar as he should have been but as Priest-in-Charge which to my mind is a travesty for such a thriving parish. St. Marys has passed resolution A and B but regrettably not C although the previous incumbent kept promising to do so. This meant that they were unable to seek the assistance of the Bishop of Richborough in this suspension of the living. Perhaps if they had, this situation would not have arisen.

I wish Father Gareth every blessing as he starts his new ministry at St. Mary’s.

Sunday, 9 May 2010


The reports emerging from the Revision Committee to enable women to become Bishops is that the only provision to be made for those of us who cannot accept that women can be priests and bishops is what is called a “Code of Practice” When the legislation for the ordination of women to the priesthood was passed Anglo-catholic’s who were unable to accept this innovation were told that they were assured of a honoured place within the family of the Church of England. This was ratified by the Act of Synod which gave parishes the right to pass resolutions restricting the appointment of a women as incumbent or in celebrating Mass; it also allowed parishes to pass resolution “c” which gave such parish alternative Episcopal care

Many Diocesan Bishops by devious means or blackmail during interregnums sought to get round the provisions of the Act. They would persuade parishes to rescind the resolutions as, they said, that would be the only way that a new priest would be appointed. Once they had succumbed it wasn’t long before a woman was appointed. Strong Catholic parishes have disappeared over night

A parish well known to me had a divorced priest appointed who gave assurances to the PCC that he had no intention of remarrying and that no woman would be permitted to officiate. Despite my pleas to one of the Churchwardens to persuade the parish to pass the resolutions they were quite happy to accept the word of their Diocesan Bishop. A bad mistake! Shortly after his induction, the new Vicar announced that he was marrying (Yes, you’ve guessed) a divorced woman priest. It wasn’t long before she was regularly celebrating Mass despite both the Bishop’s and Vicar’s previous assurances. When that man moved on his replacement was a woman. Even my home parish which has a catholic history going back to the 19th century now has a woman incumbent and many of the faithful members of that congregation have had to move to other parishes.

Many of us believed the promises we were given; after all, we thought, the Bishops were godly men who would not stoop to such levels. Many of us have continued to give loyal support to a church which seemed to be doing everything in its power to deny its Catholic heritage. But the net result of this loyalty is the unwillingness of the powerful liberal wing to give Catholics a structure which would enable us to continue within the Church of England.

A Code of Practice is not worth the paper it is printed on; it will be abused, ignored or not be implemented. The present Episcopal Visitors (the Bishops of Richborough, Ebbsfleet and Beverly) will have no position in this new arrangement as far as I can see.

As Bishop Edwin, retired Bishop of Richborough writes on his blog about the Code of Practice: - There will, alas, be some priests and parishes who are taken in by this. 'Oh, we shall still be able to have a male priest here, so that's all right!..' No, it is not. First, note that all bishops must participate in the consecration of women bishops. No conscience clause for them. And when a man is consecrated there will doubtless be women bishops joining in the consecration even before we have our first women Archbishop. And do you suppose any priest opposed to women's ordination could be instituted? And how could he swear allegiance to the Bishop of X and her successors...?

"But we will still have the PEVs to protect us!" Oh no you won't. The Archbishops will not have to retain the sees of Ebbsfleet, Richborough or Beverley for those opposed; and so any safeguard there is removed. How could a new PEV accept office in the first place, though? He would have to accept that he was part of a college of bishops which included women whom be believes are not bishops; but he would not be allowed to say that, and women bishops would participate in his consecration. Since at least three of those functioning as Episcopal Visitors are committed to joining the Ordinariate, there would just be the PEV of the Northern Province hanging on until forced to retire by reason of age just four years from now. This is not the provision we asked for, "for our children and grandchildren".

If that wasn’t enough to persuade you that a Code of Practice will not do, two of the leading women for consecration have said that when they are bishops they will do everything in their power to ensure that the Code will be a “dead letter”.

Saturday, 8 May 2010


The earliest recorded association of Mary with the month of May is found in the thirteenth-century Cantigas de Santa Maria of Alfonso X. St. Philip Neri, sometimes credited with beginning the May observances in Rome, encouraged young people to gather for floral and musical tributes to Our Lady. In Rome and other parts of Italy, customs and observances marking May as Mary's month spontaneously arose in families and religious communities.

Cardinal Newman observed that May belongs to the Easter season: the great feasts of the Ascension, Pentecost, and, not infrequently, the feast of the Holy Trinity are in May. "It is the time in which there are such frequent Alleluias, because Christ has risen from the grave, Christ has ascended on high, and God the Holy Ghost has come down to take His place. Here then we have the reason why May is dedicated to the Blessed Mary. She is the first of creatures, the most acceptable child of God, the dearest and nearest to Him. It is fitting then that this month should be hers, in which we especially glory and rejoice in His great Providence to us, in our redemption and sanctification in God the Father, God the Sun, and God the Holy Ghost" (Meditations and Devotions, Pt. I. The Month of May [London: Longmans, Green, 1920]).

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

May – Mary’s Month

Blooming flowers and singing birds
Hail the month of May;
The springing leaves and sunshine
Fairest tributes pay.
Every little bright-winged bird
Its sweet story sings;
Every flower and blossom
Richest perfume flings.
And every leaf upon the trees,
Every dewdrop fair,
Every whisper, hushed, and still,
Of sweet summer air,
Tells the same soft pleading story
To Mary, full of grace -
How her children so far from her,
Long to see her face.
The Catholic Record. Volume 5. May 1873.

Sunday, 2 May 2010



Christians around the world dedicate the month of May to Mary, the mother of Jesus. But why do we honour Mary in this way? There is the accusation made by some people that Catholics worship Mary. Nothing could be further from the truth. We honour Mary by dedicating a month to her in thankfulness for her ready and willing acceptance of her vocation to become the Mother of Jesus. Mary was always there, in the background, to help and serve Our Lord in any way she could and took her place at the foot of the cross, watching her Son suffer and die. As the hymn says:- Shall we not love thee, Mother dear, Whom Jesus loved so well.

During the crucifixion Jesus gave Mary to us all when he gave her to St. John to care for after His death. Mary is now our Mother and as such we honour her, and we love her, trying to emulate her example of perfect humility and ready, willing obedience. But we don’t worship Mary - we worship God and give our allegiance to Him, and like Mary, do all we can to serve him.

During Eastertide, insead of the Angelus we sing the Regina Coeli:-

Joy to thee, O Queen of Heaven. Alleluia!

He whom Thou wast meet to bear. Alleluia!

As He promised hath arisen. Alleluia!

Pour for us to God thy prayer. Alleluia!

V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.

R. For the Lord is risen indeed, alleluia.

Let us pray,

O God, who through the resurrection of Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ didst vouchsafe to give joy to the world: grant, we beseech thee, that through His Mother, the Virgin Mary, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life. Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saturday, 1 May 2010


May is the month of Mary, Mother of Jesus, Mother of God and Mother of us all



Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Áve María, grátia pléna, Dóminus técum. Benedícta tu in muliéribus, et benedíctus frúctus véntris túi, Iésus.[11]

Sáncta María, Máter Déi, óra pro nóbis peccatóribus, nunc et in hóra mórtis nóstrae. Ámen.