Friday, 31 December 2010



We wish all readers of our blog every Blessing and much happiness in 2011.

Thursday, 30 December 2010


An interview with The Revd. Canon Maisie Frogmorton-Smith, founder & chair of the “I don’t Need to Go to Church” Church and a member of the Committee of the Meet People Where They Are Campaign.

I went to University and did my degree in Business Studies and it is there I met my husband. We started our relationship in a Trial Marriage just before he was ordained. I had debts in excess of £90,000 when I left University so entering a Trial Marriage with someone who had a house as part of their job specification was very useful. My first job was working for a London based Bank but I soon found that it was not fulfilling enough. It was tedious and boring so I decided I would take the distance learning course and become a priest myself. Finding the time to do the course, to run a family (by then I had two children) and continue with my job a little difficult but the demands upon my husband (by then we had married) at that time were not too demanding so he was able to offer me a lot of help.

We decided to take advantage of the right to polygamous/polyandry marriages to which the church has now given its approval and we both have taken an additional partner. My husband is still in a relationship with another priest Jessie whilst I have just split from my additional partner and am thinking of starting a new relationship soon.

I finished the distance learning course after three years and passed the exam being ordained soon afterwards. Visiting people in the parish I discovered there were many people who followed the ideology of “I don’t need to go to church to be a Christian” and many who stated that they could worship God just as well in their back garden or out in the fields and therefore didn’t need the church. They might not need the church, I said to myself, but the church certainly needs them if it is going to survive financially. I knew from the numbers of funerals I took when people assured me that the deceased was a good Christian but, who I knew, never entered a church except for Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals and perhaps the odd Christingle with grandchildren that here was an untapped market which I felt I could exploit. I also knew there were many people who came to the church, to put it in their words “to have the baby done proper” when they wanted Baptism and who had never darkened the doors before or after, until they wanted the form signed to get their offspring into the church school. There were also a number of people who would suddenly turn up at church a couple of years before they wanted to get their child into the local Church School. They just stayed long enough to get the form signed and once their child was accepted, we never saw them again.

It was from that humble beginning that I devised the” I don’t need to go to Church” Church. We met in the local pub, enjoyed a meal and a drink together and had a talk about all sort of religious and semi-religious things. It sort of snowballed from there. Soon groups of people were being set up all over the place and they would meet in local pubs and restaurants. We meet on any weekday but we avoid Sundays as people want to go shopping or visiting family then. I insist that we always take a collection for the church and this helps the local church where the people live. When they need a service like a Baptism, a wedding or a funeral they are considered to be part of the church and, of course, they qualify as regular members of the “I don’t need to go to Church” Church for admission to local Church Schools. We have our own Electoral Rolls. Altogether it is very satisfactory, the local church gains financially and the people gain as well, as I’ve just explained. As you know, the “I don’t need to go to Church” Church has now expanded all over the country and we’ve done a wonderful deal with the pub chain “Eat-a-Lot” who give us a percentage. It is a possibility that next year we will expand to the USA – isn’t it wonderful that instead of something coming from the States this has come from the UK. This is one example of the Church meeting People Where They Are, of course the Committee of which I am a member spends plenty of time in thinking about other ways we can fulfil our objectives.

We have three new schemes we’re exploring. The first is the idea that we will hold meetings at football matches. We haven’t worked out all the details yet but we are thinking that we could hire some seats at football grounds, invite fans to occupy them and meet at half time, providing refreshments and a little religious input – nothing too heavy, of course. There are still many details to work out but it seems to me that we have a winner in this scheme. The second is that we could hold parties in people’s homes like the old days of Tupperware Parties. People would be invited and the host, for a suitable remuneration would provide refreshments. We would chat, play a few adult games and then invite the people present to hold their own parties. I can see this spreading like wild fire because it will be such fun. Finally, we are looking to revise the Church’s Calendar to bring it into line with the way people regard church. We would feature Mothering Sunday, Harvest Festival, Remembrance Sunday, Christingle, Bereavement Sunday, Pets Sunday, Christmas, New Years Eve and May Day which with Easter and Pentecost would be festivals of the first importance.

Monday, 27 December 2010


I thought the version of the Nativity shown on BBC1 last week was very good. Whilst some poetic licence was inevitable this was no more than many of us clergy have done when we have tried to make the story come to life. I thought the girl who played the Virgin Mary was excellent; her portrayal underlined the fact the Mary was a girl of humble origins specially chosen by God to be the Mother of His Son.

Compare that with the dire programme on Boxing Day when we were “entertained” by the Songs of Praise Big Sing. Sugary, schmaltzy etc. it certainly was but there was nothing religious about it in my opinion and to see some of those in the large audience dressed up with Father Christmas Hats, with paper chains and tinsel wrapped round them really took the biscuit. Many others were in their shirt sleeves and there were many women with bare shoulders indicating that this programme must have been recorded when the weather was a lot warmer than now. Yet, the BBC can get it right: Kings College Nine Lessons and Carols on radio 4 and a Kings Carol Service on television.

When the BBC do something well it is exceptionally good but..............sadly, much of their religious output on TV is dreadful.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010


Despite the appalling weather, the Redbridge & Havering Ordinariate Group met yesterday evening for Mass and Mincepies and news about what is happening and a general discussion. Twelve people came, braving the conditions which were not very nice. 

The next meeting will be on Tuesday 11th January 2011: Mass at 7.30 p.m. followed by the Evangelium Course.

Sunday, 19 December 2010


We left home early having managed to get the car out of the drive which I thought yesterday would be nigh on impossible. Instead of using the back roads to St. Barnabas we used the main road which is a much longer route but at least it had been treated and although there was still some ice it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. However when we turned off to drive up Snakes Lane, where St. Barnabas is situated, we found that the road was still covered in snow and ice – not a pleasant experience – but we arrived safely just as the 8.00 a.m. Low Mass was leaving where the usual congregation had been totally depleted.

At the 9.30 a.m. Solemn Mass we had a full team of servers and a full choir and about three quarters of the usual 9.30 a.m. congregation. I preached on the theme of St. Joseph and how he had responded to the angel by fulfilling all that was asked of him. I reminded the congregation that whilst the birth of Jesus might still have been possible without the co-operation of Joseph it would have meant that Mary would not have had the vital support which she must have needed. God’s plan for the salvation of mankind had come about by the co-operation and the obedience of both Mary and of course, Joseph her “most chaste Spouse”.

We had intended to drive to the Cotswolds to see our son and his family, to deliver our Granddaughter’s birthday present and the Christmas presents. But with the driving conditions so hazardous we had to cancel that and we now hope the weather will improve sufficiently for us to go later in the week.


We meet tomorrow evening for Mass at 7.30 p.m. at St. Augustine’s Church, Rush Green, a round-up of news and some Christmas refreshments.

Saturday, 18 December 2010



A question was put to Synod by Sheridan Worsop (Gloucester): Could we please have an update of the sale of Lambeth Palace, Church House and Southwark Worship Centre (Cathedral) as I understand that an offer has been accepted for the Cathedral which was not the best offer received. And can we have assurances that the historic chapel and library of Lambeth Palace will be preserved. Replying for the Commissioners Sir Humprey Goodenough said: “The sale of Lambeth Palace is proceeding, subject to planning permission, to substantially extend it and turn it into a five start hotel and casino. We have accepted an offer on these terms from one of the premier hotel and casino chains of the United Arab Republic. The Archbishop will be housed in a flat to be built at the Palace and will have access to the chapel whenever she wishes. This will preserve the historic link between Archbishops of Canterbury and the Palace. The Library will be preserved and be moved to Church House which we have decided not to sell at the present time, until we can find another venue for General Synod to meet and a suitable place to house the very extensive library. With regard to Southwark Worship Centre we have accepted an offer from the Muslim Council and it will become the South Thames Mosque and Community Centre. Whilst the questioner is quite right that this was not the best offer received, we felt that the building would be ideally suited as a mosque whilst the other bidder, the Ordinariate wanted to retain it as a place of Christian Worship and it was felt that this would not be compatible with our views on this body. The sale to the Muslim Council will further our wish to come closer to the followers of the Muslim faith, an act if you like of ecumenism.”

Sherdian Worsop then asked for time to be allocated for further discussion on this but this was refused by the Chair.

More from General Synod in a later edition.

In the Bleak Midwinter

Snow started here yesterday but, al;though traffic was very slow, we still managed to get around. And this morning we were able to drive to Church for the Saturday Shop which, as expected was very quiet, however, coming home it was a different story. The snow had started to fall before we left and by the time we were well on our way home, it fell very heavily. We had a quick stop to see mother and baby who arrived home from hospital yesterday afternoon only staying for around 15 minutes. When we set of again for the short distance home the A12 was terrible and entry into our road a nightmare. Tomorrow I am supposed to be at St. Barnabas, Woodford Green, but, as things stand, it looks as though I won’t be able to get the car out of the drive. I will try but I’m  not too hopefull.

Friday, 17 December 2010


Today I went to the Brookside Christmas Lunch as a guest of the staff and pupils. Brookside is one of the schools run jointly by the NHS and the Education Authority and part of the New Rush Hall Group of Schools of which I am Chair of the Governors. The staff, medical and educational, are a wonderful team and I always enjoy paying them a visit. The only problem I had was getting there; it took me around three quarters of an hour there and the return afterwards took an unbelievable hour and 10 minutes – for a distance of no more than 8 miles. The A12 was just totally gridlocked – for what reason nobody seems to know. The snow was not very nice but the A12 was clear. Travelling in this part of the world is often a complete nightmare and a short journey can take ten minutes or an hour – it just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

From the blog of the Catholic League

The Foundation of an Ordinariate in England & Wales

The trustees of the Catholic League have agreed to make a grant of £65,000 over two years (£35,000 in 2011 and £30,000 in 2012) towards the foundation of the Ordinariate's central services and the establishment and operational costs of the Ordinary's office in support of his pastorate.

The Trustees view the Ordinariate as a fulfilment of their primary historic object, which is to promote the unity of all Christians with the Apostolic See of Rome. After almost 100 years of witness and encouragement to this end, the Catholic League regards the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus as the definitive form providing for that corporate union in the English situation for which we have prayed. Therefore, by means of this grant we wish to support Pope Benedict's in his intention that the new Ordinariate will contribute prophetically to Christian unity in this land, founded on none other than “unity ... in the apostolic faith” (as he said in his Address at Westminster Abbey during his Apostolic Visit) and the resulting “convincing account of the Risen Lord” which are both vital to a New Evangelisation in Europe.

New Granddaughter

We are pleased to announce the birth of our new granddaughter this morning at the North Middlesex Hospital.weighing 7lb 4oz. Mother and daughter are doing well and should be returning home tomorrow. Needless to say we, and our son-in-law, are delighted



The Marriage and Partnership Regulations Measure2040

Opening the debate about the rules governing marriage and relationships, The Venerable Dorcus Thorogood s proposed the Measure which will allow a couple, male and male, female and female, and male and female to enter a trial period before actual marriage. This will be known as a Trial Marriage whereby the couples cohabit prior to the date of their wedding. It was, she asserted, a way to prevent, or, at least minimise, divorce and would involve a service with a blessing in church. The fact that most couples these days did, in fact, live together before marriage meant that the church was now recognising, and responding in a pastoral way, to an existing situation. Moving on to the second clause M/s Throrogood expanded the view that there were no theological objections to polygamous marriage which this new measure seeks to introduce. To the contrary, she pointed to many references in the Old Testament that would justify this view. The Bishop of Ramsbottom supported the Venerable Thorogood saying he thought it was great that young couples could be together without the ties of formal marriage. He pointed out that he and his partner Stewart had been in this sort of relationship for many years and were now thinking about entering the state of marriage. However he didn’t rule out the possibility that he or his partner might take an additional partner in the future

Opposition came from Ted Sulky (Silchester) who reckoned one wife was more than enough. He had been married to the same woman for twenty five years and that had been bad enough. He regretted that he hadn’t entered a Trial Marriage all those years ago as that could have prevented his present situation. To laughter, he said he couldn’t envisage a situation where he would take another partner which could possibly double the amount of nagging he had to put up with plus the expenses he could ill afford. The Revd. Mary Oates (Chilworthy) proposed an amendment that would include polyandry or group marriages as well as polygamy. This she asserted was only fair. The amendment was accepted without division.

The Venerable Josie Stien (Liturgical Commission) said that the Commission was already working on the new liturgy that would be needed should Synod agree this innovation. The Revd. Sandra Dolittle supported the Measure saying that she knew of many couples who would take further partners if the church agreed it was perfectly all right to do so. It would save all those extra-marital problems that happened when one or other partner of the marriage had an affair. It was important though, that the other partner agreed that taking a further partner was agreeable to them.

The Bishop of Bransbury endorsed the new measure with some reservations. He wanted to know who would sort out the situation in a Group Marriage when one of the three or four partners wanted a divorce. He could foresee difficult situations arising not least if children were involved. The Rev. Michael Toogood said he objected to this new measure and that he spoke for a sizeable number of colleagues who would not be prepared to officiate at any ceremony which endorsed either premarital co-habitation or Group marriages. He asked for provision to be made for those, who on conscientious grounds, would never participate in such a travesty of the sacrament of Marriage. Several others rose to speak in support of Toogood.

In a compromise move the Archbishop of York Angela Duffy suggested that a Committee should be appointed that would work on this so that a Code of Practice could be implemented. She thought it was essential that Trial Marriages should be started with a church service as this would increase Fee Revenue. With funds in such a parlous state this would produce a substantial amount in any fiscal year. The Revd. Dr. Entwhistle (Silchester) objected to a Code of Practice. It just would not do. Synod, he argued must make some provision for those who found themselves in the unfortunate position outlined by the by a previous speaker which had the force of law. A Code of Practice would allow various Bishops and Clergy to invent their own rules

The Revd. Silas Goodpenny proposed an amendment which would allow people to separate without an actual divorce. This would run for a period of up to five years and this would give the various parties to try to settle their difficulties amicably. The amendment was narrowly defeated in all three houses.

In her final speech the Archbishop of Canterbury said that people had to realise that when General Synod made a decision like this which did have some controversial aspects to it, that those who would not, or could not, implement it in their parishes should have the right to not do so. But that didn’t mean that there could be some areas where people who wanted to avail themselves of these new rules could not do so either. A Code of Practice which allowed a priest to opt out should also make provision for a visiting member of the clergy to come in from a neighbouring parish to officiate. She hoped Synod would trust a committee to device a Code of Practice

The substantive motion was then put to Synod who approved the measure by a very small margin in all three houses even though a small but vociferous group chanted “A Code of Practice will not do”. It will come into effect at Easter 2041.

More from the latest meeting of General Synod in a later edition.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010



Parish Priest for the LEP of Great Misgivings

The duties involve the co-ordination of Worship in the Parish Worship Centre which is used by the Anglicans, Hindu’s, Buddhists, Muslims and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) every Sunday. Inclusive “All Faith” Services are held every month. During the week various organisations use the building including the Druids, Muslims for Friday Prayers, the local White Witches coven, the Mother Earth Society and the Great Misgivings Rosicrucian’s Lodge.

The person appointed will be licensed by the Hindu Society of Great Britain to take Hindu Services after a suitable period of training. She/he will become part of the Ministry Team comprising of ministers from each of the faiths which use the church. The Parish Profile, available on line at www. greatmisgivings /profile, states: “We are working together so that we can become one united body, a big happy family, respecting our differences and emphasising our similarities. Our Parish Motto is Compromise, Compromise and Compromise even further.”

We offer a salary of £75,000 plus fees. There is a modern House with four bedrooms.

Applications should be sent to The Diocesan Office for the attention of the Human Resources Department.

The Inclusive Parish of Much Grumbling, Maidstone

Musical Director

We are urgently seeking a replacement for our Musical Director who has just been appointed to a similar position at Canterbury Worship Centre (Canterbury Cathedral) The person appointed will be conversant with guitars, drums, tambourine and electronic keyboards. She/he will be able to train people to play the aforementioned instruments and be a competent guitarist and singer themselves, having the ability to lead the musical worship of the Parish. Also competence in preparing Worship Songs for us with the overhead projectors is required. Duties include weekly rehearsals and Sunday mornings and evenings services (No organ playing needed as we no longer have one) Experience with Liturgical Dance would be an advantage as we have a small Dance Team which is involved at every service.

Salary £10,000 plus fees

Sunday, 12 December 2010

WHAT ON EARTH???????????

As the site Bad Vestments says: can anybody find a reason for a blue chasuble with a chicken on it?

Advent 3

Today I presided at the Parish Mass at St. Barnabas, Woodford Green, whilst Father Paul Harcourt from All Saints, Woodford Wells preached and concelebrated. Sadly, with the continuing interregnum congregations have fallen and it is to be hoped that it will not be long before the problems concerning an appointment are resolved. I will be there again next Sunday.


I am disgusted by the behaviour of some of those taking part in the Student Protests. It seems to me that the students have a case but this is not the way to advance it. It seems that the protests have been infiltrated by anarchist’s intent on violence, mayhem and destruction.

Ann and I have both benefitted from a free education as have our two children and whilst I would support successful graduates making some contribution to the cost of their education I believe the current proposals will exclude many who will be frightened by the prospect of leaving university owing £27,000 or more.

Our tax system is complicated enough now without making it even more so with a “graduate” tax which is proposed by the opposition. Another suggestion, which I am warming to, is to get companies to sponsor universities and I know how beneficial sponsorship of this nature can be having experienced it in education in the past. It can be of benefit both to the donor and to the recipient.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010


Earlier this week my wife went shopping. In one Departmental Store she collected a number of items and went to the cash desk to pay for them. She had noticed that every single item was more expensive than a short while ago so she queried this with the girl who was serving. “It’s due to the increase in VAT” she answered. “But that doesn’t come in until January” my wife replied. “Well we had to do it now as we won’t have enough time to do it for January”. My wife left the goods on the counter and left the shop. So be warned. It seems that some businesses are acting unscrupulously in the busy run up to Christmas by increasing prices before they need to do so and thereby increasing their profits.

Sunday, 5 December 2010


Congratulations to Stacey Solomon, a girl from Dagenham, who has won the title “Queen of the Jungle” in the ITV programme “I’m a Celebrity – Get me out of Here”. Stacey who came third in last year’s X Factor went to school in King Solomon’s School, Barkingside which is just marginally outside the parish boundary of St. Francis of Assisi, where I was Vicar for 15 years. During her ordeal in the Australian Jungle, Stacey retained her great sense of fun and humour. She is a credit to her family, to her old school and to the Jewish Community to which she belongs. This is the time of year whilst Christians prepare for Christmas with Advent, members of the Jewish Community celebrate Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. So to Stacey – Mazel tov (Congratulations).

Saturday, 4 December 2010

A Strange World

For the first time for several days I was able to get my car out of the drive today. The local authority has kept the main roads fairly clear but the side roads and most of the pavements have been untreated. Although in Essex we’ve had quite a lot of snow it has been nothing like those in the North of England and there now seems to be a bit of a thaw. However, the temperature looks set to drop below freezing again tonight so there could be loads of ice to contend with tomorrow.

To add to the gloom of traffic being snarled up just about everywhere FIFA didn’t award the UK the world cup. I can’t in all truth say it bothered me but I know a lot of people are feeling disappointed and let down. I’m sure the newspaper reports about FIFA and the Panorama programme did not help the UK cause. I understand that the bid cost £15million and it grieves me that so much money should be wasted like this when the country is in such a dire financial plight and when that money could have been spent in relieving homelessness etc. What a strange world we live in!

Thursday, 2 December 2010


It was with a degree of sadness that I read an e-mail from Forward-in-Faith announcing that Bishop John Broadhurst had resigned as Chairman. Bishop John steered F-in-F from the beginning and he has been an inspiration to me, and, I am, sure to all those who have struggled to keep alive the Catholic faith in the Church of England since the decision was made to ordain women to the priesthood. When he announced that he was taking up Pope Benedict’s offer of the Ordinariate and resigning as Bishop of Fulham from the end of the year, I suppose that it was inevitable that he would resign from Forward-in-Faith. Sister Anne Williams CA will be acting Chairman until elections for a new chairman have taken place. I wonder if the Church of England will ever realise, or acknowledge, the calibre of those Bishops who are paving the way to the Ordinariate: Bishop Keith Newton, Bishop Andrew Burnham, Bishop David Silk, Bishop Edwin Barnes and Bishop John Broadhurst. A regular item in Forward Plus has been “There were Giants in the Land” These Bishops were certainly giants for the Catholic Faith of the CofE; they will now, I am sure, be giants for the setting up of the Ordinariate – the CofE’s loss is the gain of the Ordinariate. May they be blessed in the task they are undertaking.