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A tiny child is born, who is a great king. Wise men are led to him from afar. They come to adore one who lies in a manger and yet reigns in heaven and on earth. When they tell of one who is born a king, Herod is disturbed. To save his kingdom he resolves to kill him, though if he would have faith in the child, he himself would reign in peace in this life and for ever in the life to come.
Why are you afraid, Herod, when you hear of the birth of a king? He does not come to drive you out, but to conquer the devil. But because you do not understand this you are disturbed and in a rage. To destroy one child whom you seek, you show your cruelty in the death of so many children.
You are not restrained by the love of weeping mothers and fathers mourning the deaths of their sons, nor by the cries and sobs of the children. You destroy those who are tiny in body because fear is destroying your heart. You imagine that if you accomplish your desire you can prolong you own life, though you are seeking to kill Life himself.
The children die for Christ, though they do not know it. The parents mourn for the death of martyrs. The Christ child makes of those as yet unable to speak fit witnesses to himself. But you, Herod, do not know this and are disturbed and furious. While you vent your fury against the child, you are already paying him homage, and do not know it.
To what merits of their own do the children owe this kind of victory? They cannot speak, yet they bear witness to Christ. They cannot use their limbs to engage in battle, yet already they bear off the palm of victory. - from a sermon by Bishop Saint Quodvultdeus about the Holy Innocents
Almighty God, who through your apostle John unlocked for us the hidden treasures of your Word, grant that we may grasp with fuller understanding the message he so admirably proclaimed. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.
Ann and I have both been under the weather for the last week or so; we seem to have caught a virus which won’t seem to go. You think you are better and then lo and behold, it’s back again. Still despite it, we’ve managed to keep going. I preached at Midnight Mass to a full house and we had an excellent congregation for the Mass of the Day which I celebrated. If you are interested you can read full reports here.
After Mass we went to our daughter and son in law’s for Christmas Dinner and to enjoy seeing to of our grandchildren opening the huge number of parcels they had. We had a lovely time; we will be seeing our other grandchildren on Wednesday
Today after a very lazy morning and brunch we drove to Broxbourne for a walk along the River Lee, a favourite pastime of ours. There’s always something interesting to see especially the many different species of birds. If I had enough money one of the places I would love to live is in one of the beautiful houses which line the banks of the river but that I’m afraid will remain in the realms of a pipe dream.
In a report The Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has said: “there were a ‘number of real scenarios’ during August’s youth uprising where greater force and the use of water cannon and even the use of firearms may have been appropriate. It says that if a building or property is subject to an ‘arson attack’ then ‘possibly firearms’ can be used.Situations arising include ‘Barricades and missiles used’, ‘petrol bombs thrown’, ‘Violent attacks on the public in the presence of the police’, ‘Arson attacks on buildings’ or ‘Threats to fire and ambulance’ which can all be responded to by use of water cannon or ‘possible AEPs’.”
Most readers of this blog, will I suspect, have been horrified at the deaths in Syria and Egypt caused by the use of firearms against the people of those countries. Are the Inspectorate of Constabulary really suggesting that police should shoot people in the UK? I really hope that action will be taken to prevent this ever arising; I don’t want to live in a police state where the local police chief can decided to shoot members of the public. I am the first to condemn the riots and the rioters but I’m glad they weren’t shot and hope the situation never arises where that could be the case.
God our redeemer, who prepared the Blessed Virgin Mary to be the mother of your Son: grant that, as she looked for his coming as our saviour, so we may be ready to greet him when he comes again as our judge; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Purify our conscience, Almighty God,
by your daily visitation, that Thy Son Jesus Christ,
at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself;
who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Lord, fill our hearts with you love and as you revealed to us by an angel the coming of your Son as man, so lead us through his suffering and death to the glory of his resurrection, for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, oneGod, for ever and ever.
who chose the Blessed Virgin Mary
be the mother of the promised saviour:
Fill us your servants with your grace,
that in all things we may embrace your holy will
and with her rejoice in your salvation;
through Jesus Christ our Lord
“My object all sublime
I shall achieve in time —
To let the punishment fit the crime —
The punishment fit the crime”
Over the last year or so many local churches, under and over ground trains, graveyards, cemeteries, war memorials, street and road signs, lightning conductors and many buildings have been targeted by unscrupulous metal thieves. In one local church enormous damage has been done not only to the roof but, by letting water in, to the very fine organ which will be very expensive to restore. And this church has been targeted several times and for a time members of the congregation slept in the church to deter the thieves.
Little seems to be done to apprehend the criminals who, up and down the country, commit this despicable act but perhaps even more important, what about the reprehensible scrap metal dealers who are happy to buy the metal “no questions asked”. If there were no scrap metal dealers prepared to accept stolen metal there wouldn’t be a problem.
But what punishment can be imposed on those who are guilty that might fit the crime and the misery it causes? One might have thought that War Memorials would be sacrosanct. What sort of penalty or punishment would fit the stealing of the brass plates commemorating those who gave their lives in two world wars? Or what would fit those totally heartless scoundrels who desecrated the local cemetery taking the brass markers from graves and cremation plots or those who are accessories in this crime by receiving the stolen plagues.
Perhaps the guilty should be made to compensate the bereaved, to pay for the restoration of the organ and so on but the problem is they will probably never be caught and if they were how could they make any payment as most of the thieves don’t work. Presumably the dealers could do so out of their ill-gotten profits. It seems to me that regrettably this is a low priority crime.
I am very grateful to one of St. Augustine’s congregation for sending me this. Apparently the White House referred to Christmas Trees as Holiday Trees for the first time this year which prompted CBS presenter, Ben Stein, to present this piece which I would like to share with you. I think it applies just as much to the UK and many other countries as it does to America. If you like it why not copy it and e-mail it to your friends
The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejewelled trees, Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are, Christmas trees.
It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a crèche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.
Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God ? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.
In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.
Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Hurricane Katrina).. Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?'
In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbour as yourself. And we said OK.
Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said okay.
Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'
Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.
Are you laughing yet?
Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.
Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.
Pass it on if you think it has merit.
If not, then just discard it.... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.
My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,
The problem is the majority of the public view Christmas as an excuse for a party where excess is the order of the day. This is so very far removed from the Christian view of the great Festival of the Birth of Jesus. That great Christian martyr of the 20th century, Oscar Romero expressed the Christian view like this:-
On this night, as we Christians have done every year for 20 centuries, we recall that God’ reign is now in this world and that Christ has inaugurated the fulness of time. His birth attests that God is now marching with us in history, that we do not go alone and that our aspiration for peace, for justice, for a reign of divine law, for something holy, is far from earth’s realities. We can hope for it, not because we humans are able to construct that realm of happiness which God’s holy words proclaim, but because the builder of a reign of justice, of love and of peace is already in the midst of us.”
We come together at Christmas to celebrate that Birth all those years ago, when Jesus came into the world as the baby of Bethlehem. For Christians Jesus is the main part of our celebrations and without him Christmas is pointless and futile.
4 I cannot tell how all the lands shall worship,
THE NEXT MEETING WILL BE ON MONDAY 17th DECEMBER AT ST. AUGUSTINE’S CHURCH, RUSH GREEN.
MASS 7.30 P.M. FOLLOWEDS BY SEASONAL REFRESHMENTS.
IT IS HOPED THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO ANNOUNCE DATES FOR MEETINGS IN 2012 BY THEN
PRAYER FOR ADVENT 3
Stir up thy power, O Lord,
and with great might come among us;
and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins,
let thy bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost,
be honour and glory, world without end. Amen
O Lord Jesus Christ, who at your first coming sent your messenger to prepare your way before you: grant that the ministers and stewards of your mysteries may likewise so prepare and make ready your way by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that at your second coming to judge the world we may be found an acceptable people in your sight; for you are alive and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
On Thursday I went to New Rush Hall School for their theatrical production “A Christmas Cowell”. It was quite brilliant and very funny; a shame that after all the hard work by staff and pupils there was only one performance.It was written by one of the staff who also took a leading role.
New Rush Hall is a special school for young people aged 5 to 16 years who have behavioural, emotional and social difficulties. Pupils attending the school have a Statement of Special Education Needs which outlines their behavioural, emotional and social needs as well as any learning difficulties.
Friday and some of the other Governors were entertained to lunch prepared by the pupils. . They have to devise the menu and cost it, send out invitations then do the purchasing prior to cooking it. We enjoyed home made Leek and Potato Soup, a buffet main course with turkey, smoked salmon, honeyed chicken salad, delicious finger sandwiches, and mixed salads. Then on to profiteroles, fresh fruit, mince pies, coffee or tea. After lunch we enjoyed a cabaret by a very talented magician who was one of the children who had prepared lunch and who had taken part in the previous day’s production.. The average age of those who prepared the meal was 13 – quite brilliant.
Today it was the Birthday Party for two of our Grandchildren in St Augustine’s Church Hall. They had a splendid time with their friends and to make the event special Father Christmas (Father Martin) came at the end and gave every child a present. Some very tired and happy children went home and some even more tired grandparents and parents, then tidied up before they went home totally exhausted.
O Virgin Immaculate, Mother of God and my Mother, from thy sublime height turn upon me thine eyes of pity. Filled with confidence in thy goodness and knowing full well thy power, I beseech thee to extend to me thine assistance in the journey of life, which is so full of danger for my soul. And in order that I may never be the slave of the devil through sin, but may ever live with my heart humble and pure, I entrust myself wholly to thee. I consecrate my heart to thee for ever, my only desire being to love thy divine Son Jesus. Mary, none of thy devout servants has ever perished; may I too be saved. Amen
Prayer of Saint Ephrem the Syrian,
O pure and immaculate and likewise blessed Virgin, who art the sinless Mother of thy Son, the mighty Lord of the universe, thou who art inviolate and altogether holy, the hope of the hopeless and sinful, we sing thy praises. We bless thee, as full of every grace, thou who didst bear the God-Man: we all bow low before thee; we invoke thee and implore thine aid. Rescue us, O holy and inviolate Virgin, from every necessity that presses upon us and from all the temptations of the devil. Be our intercessor and advocate at the hour of death and judgement; deliver us from the fire that is not extinguished and from the outer darkness; make us worthy of the glory of thy Son, O dearest and most clement Virgin Mother. Thou indeed art our only hope, most sure and sacred in God's sight, to whom be honor and glory, majesty and dominion, for ever and ever, world without end. Amen.
Yesterday I had the great pleasure of having 60+ children aged around 6 from the local primary school visit St. Augustine’s Church. I talked for a little about St. Nicholas, we made a Christingle, put together a crib, burnt some incense, had a walk round the church and sang “Away in a Manger”. It was a delightful time with some really delightful children.
Then it was over to Barkingside for H. L. Hawes Ltd annual Pre-Christmas Drinks. Hawes, an old established, well known and respected local firm of Funeral Directors holds this event every year for clergy and others and a very pleasant evening it is. When we leave every one is given a Christmas Hamper and a year's calendar.
In an article on the Catholic Herald Blog, by Father Alexander Lucie-Smith, he accuses some Anglican priests of practising deception when he writes: “Moreover the persons attempting to celebrate Mass are not recognised as priests by the Roman Catholic Church. In short, the visitor from France or Italy may see what looks like the Mass, but what is in fact not the Mass. Now, a question: they would clearly be deceived in thinking that what is going on before them is a Roman Catholic Mass. But is this because they have deceived themselves, or is it because the vicar has deceived them? Does the vicar tell them that they are in an Anglican church? Or does he leave them to assume that the church is, somehow or another, “Catholic”?
Over the years many “Roman” Catholics have worshipped where I have been the Vicar. I have never deceived them and have tried to make it very clear that we are part of the Church of England, practising the Catholic faith. We are not “Roman” Catholics but “Anglo” Catholics pointing out that whilst we are not under the jurisdiction of the Holy Father we pray for him as well as the Ecumenical Patriarch, the Archbishop of Canterbury etc. We had one family, from Italy, who whilst temporally living in the UK, regularly came to Mass. Their Italian priest, in charge of one of the leading churches in Rome, was well aware of the fact that we were an Anglican Church. He asked me to prepare one of the children for their First Confession and First Communion, which was to be made at their home church, which I willing did. In another instance an RC came to Mass, fully aware we were Anglicans, eventually deciding to go back to a local RC Church. She stayed just a few weeks before returning as she felt so unwelcome with little or no fellowship in the RC Church.
Fr. Lucie-Smith also comments: “the persons attempting to celebrate Mass are not recognised as priests by the Roman Catholic Church.” To which my answer is: am I that bothered? As far I am concerned my ordination is perfectly valid and the fact that Rome doesn’t recognise it is sad. It is one of the reasons that I am still debating the Ordinariate. As I have said many times on the Blog, it is a very generous offer from the Holy Father and one which I fully support and would like eventually to be able to take up but the question I have to resolve is, am I willing to deny that everything I have done previously is invalid and consequently of little or no value……..something I can’t believe……that the Sacraments I have celebrated, including the Blessed Sacrament, Penance, Ministry to the Sick and Dying etc. are totally valueless. If I accept the arguments advocated by Fr. Lucie-Smith that must be the case.
O Lord, raise up, we pray, your power and come among us, and with great might succour us; that whereas, through our sins and wickedness we are grievously hindered in running the race that is set before us, your bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, to whom with you, and the Holy Spirit be honour and glory, now and for ever. AMEN
Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. AMEN
Yesterday was Ann’s birthday, so after a late breakfast we made our way by train and tube to the National Gallery to visit the Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition. We bought our tickets several weeks ago and paid the cover price but we gather that such is the demand that for the daily tickets people are queuing from 6.00 a.m. for up to 3 hours to get one of the few daily tickets available. On E-Bay today I saw tickets being offered form £125 to £300.
I have to say that the exhibition is just wonderful and to see, in the same room, the two versions of The Virgin of the Rocks, one owned by the Musee du Louvre, the other by the National Gallery is just breath taking. I doubt whether it will ever by possible to gather together again such a collection of da Vinci’s works. For me the highlight was The Burlington House Cartoon where the Virgin is pictured seated on the lap of her mother St. Anne with the baby Jesus and the infant St. John, drawn in charcoal and white chalk.
It was also interesting to see Christ as Salvator Mundi which has recently been restored and acknowledge as a da Vinci masterpiece. We then went to the separate exhibition in the Sunley Room which featured “The Last Supper” which within 20 years of painting was judged to be ruined due to the technique used by Da Vinci. Fortunately a full-scale copy was made by a sympathetic pupil prior to the original deteriorating and this was a great help during restoration work which was carried out in Milan over a 20 year period from 1978 – 1998 and is now available to view by pre-booked tickets.
We both thoroughly enjoyed this exhibition and after a brief wander round the Constable pictures made our way to Oxford Street for a little shopping and then to Spaghettis House for dinner.
The Rev Dr Peter Mullen is Rector of St Michael, Cornhill and St Sepulchre-without-Newgate in the City of London. He is Chaplain to six Livery Companies of the City of London and has written for many publications including the Wall Street Journal.
By Peter Mullen
Women bishops are coming, and there's no protection for traditionalists.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, appearing before a parliamentary committee of the House of Lords, urges that, once women are consecrated as bishops – he is confident of their acceptance being voted by the General Synod – they should be fast-tracked to membership of the House. So real bishops – I mean male bishops – who have served in the episcopate for years will be sidelined by the incoming women.
Isn’t this what we used to call discrimination?
In 2010 the General Synod confirmed its determination to proceed to the consecration of women bishops. Disconcertingly, the resolution does not include any proposal to provide statutory provision for those who in conscience cannot accept women’s episcopacy. So the benign genius of Dr John Habgood, when Archbishop of York, which offered the notion of two integrities at the time when women priests were originally approved by the General Synod, has now been overthrown. The latest synodical resolution will also abolish the roles of the Provincial Episcopal Visitors – the so called flying bishops – created in 1993 to provide pastoral oversight for those conscientiously unable to accept the priesthood of women.
Thus, as John Broadhurst, former Bishop of Fulham, said on Radio Four when the inadequate synodical resolution passed: The Synod has lied to Parliament and it has lied to the Church.
We must understand clearly what the new draft measure amounts to. It is a plain denial that those unable to accept women priests or bishops have any integrity at all. Dr Habgood’s agreeable compromise has been arbitrarily done away with and now, by implication, there is only one integrity in the Church and it belongs exclusively to the supporters of women priests and bishops. But synodical approval for women priests was obtained in 1992 on the proviso that alternative pastoral arrangements be made for those opposed. It was this which ensured that women’s ordination became a reality, for it is very likely that many members of Synod would have rejected the innovation if the safeguard of the flying bishops, providing alternative pastoral oversight, had not been forthcoming.
Dr Williams should not count his chickens. It is still not too late to hope that this manifest injustice to conscientious dissenters from the consecration of women bishops will so stick in the craw of all but the most hardened feminist apparatchiks in the Synod that they will vote the measure down
I have taken the liberty in reproducing in full the above article which appear in today’s Daily Telegraph Blogs as I consider what it says to be of great importance.
The phone call came just after 8.00 a.m.; our Organist & Choirmaster had been taken ill so please would I play the organ. No problem I said and then it dawned on me that tonight is the Advent Nine Lessons and Advent Hymns/Anthems. So it was of to church early to have a Choir Practice prior to the Parish Mass with just enough time to look at a couple of items for tonight and to arrange for a short practice before the actual service. I hope it will be OK this evening!!!!!!!!!!
give us grace that we may cast away
the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light,
now in the time of this mortal life
in which thy Son Jesus Christ came
to visit us in great humility;
that in the last day, when he shall come again
in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost,
one God, now and for ever.
On Wednesday Ann and I were in Bath Abbey for the Thanksgiving Service to celebrate the return to the UK of the 21st Signal Regiment (Air Support) from Afghanistan. This was the occasion when the Regiment was presented with the Freedom of the City of Bath and paraded round the city.Later in the day we were present at the Medal Presentations at Colerne the Regiments present base in the UK. We were particularly proud when our son Major John Jennings led his squad of men into the Abbey. John has been in Afghanistan twice recently and we are very glad to see him home safe and well. Deo Gratias
Major John Jennings
The Freedom of the City
The March Past
After the Presentation of Medals when we were frozen stiff sitting outside for a couple of hours – (it was bitterly cold on the parade ground – they even bought out blankets for the VIPS!!!!!!) – we were served with chicken curry. which we really needed! The men who have been roasting in high temperatures in Afghanistan must have really suffered as they were still wearing their desert kit. It was a lovely day and wonderful to see John.
Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne.
Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own.
Awake, my soul, and sing of Him who died for thee,
And hail Him as thy matchless King through all eternity.
Crown Him the virgin’s Son, the God incarnate born,
Whose arm those crimson trophies won which now His brow adorn;
Fruit of the mystic rose, as of that rose the stem;
The root whence mercy ever flows, the Babe of Bethlehem.
Crown Him the Son of God, before the worlds began,
And ye who tread where He hath trod, crown Him the Son of Man;
Who every grief hath known that wrings the human breast,
And takes and bears them for His own, that all in Him may rest.
Crown Him the Lord of life, who triumphed over the grave,
And rose victorious in the strife for those He came to save.
His glories now we sing, who died, and rose on high,
Who died eternal life to bring, and lives that death may die.
Crown Him the Lord of peace, whose power a scepter sways
From pole to pole, that wars may cease, and all be prayer and praise.
His reign shall know no end, and round His piercèd feet
Fair flowers of paradise extend their fragrance ever sweet.
Crown Him the Lord of love, behold His hands and side,
Those wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified.
No angel in the sky can fully bear that sight,
But downward bends his burning eye at mysteries so bright.
Crown Him the Lord of Heaven, enthroned in worlds above,
Crown Him the King to Whom is given the wondrous name of Love.
Crown Him with many crowns, as thrones before Him fall;
Crown Him, ye kings, with many crowns, for He is King of all.
Crown Him the Lord of lords, who over all doth reign,
Who once on earth, the incarnate Word, for ransomed sinners slain,
Now lives in realms of light, where saints with angels sing
Their songs before Him day and night, their God, Redeemer, King.
Crown Him the Lord of years, the Potentate of time,
Creator of the rolling spheres, ineffably sublime.
All hail, Redeemer, hail! For Thou has died for me;
Thy praise and glory shall not fail throughout eternity.
Yesterday, 15th November, members of the SSC Chapter of St. Helena, met at St. Augustine’s Church for the annual Requiem Mass. The principal celebrant was Father Peter Walker SSC and Father Martin Howse SSC read the Gospel and preached the Homily. Father Mervyn Jennings SSC read the Old Testament Lesson and led the psalm; he also played the organ.
The Bishop of Chelmsford, The Rt. Revd. Stephen Cottrell came as a guest. He was present for the Mass and talked to the Brethren about the current situation in the Church of England afterwards. After his talk he answered questions before we adjourned to the hall for lunch which had been beautifully cooked by Jan Howse and Ann Jennings. Bishop Stephen just had time for lunch before leaving for a meeting at Lambeth Palace with the Archbishop. As Lunch was donated by St. Augustine’s Parish a collection was taken for Mission Direct which amounted to £45. Our next meeting, the AGM is in January 2012
The meeting of the Essex members of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament took place at the Hall of St. Augustine’s Church, Rush Green, Romford on Saturday 12th November. Father Christopher Pearson, the Superior-General of the Confraternity, came and took the chair. Fr. Pearson put forward several suggestions of what the future shape of the of CBS might be and these were discussed. He sought to dispel the doubts that many expressed about the future of the Confraternity now that he, the Secretary-General and the Treasurer- General who are all Trustees are also now part of the Ordinariate. He said that we should hold a further meeting to give the Trustees an indication of our opinion on the best way forward on the proposals he had suggested.
There was considerable disquiet about the £1 million grant that the Trustees had made to the Ordinariate and it was generally felt that this was too much and that any gift should have been spread over a period of time. Just as parishes and priests had, in the past, to justify any request for a grant so members of the Ordinariate should be subject to the same discipline.
A proposal was made “that we no longer have confidence in the Trustees” which was seconded but he refused to put this to the vote on the basis that he didn’t consider the meeting properly constituted.
When he left the meeting, the Acting Ward Superior suggested that the Proposal be put and it was passed unanimously. This will be sent to the Charity Commissioners for their consideration.
I read the other day that it is likely that FM radio will be switched of in 2015 if not before so that Digital Radio can take over. I’ve searched the net today to discover that this is probably right which means that for most people their car radio’s and their home radio’s will become obsolete and will have to be replaced by expensive DAB radio’s Although they have come down in price they are still quite expensive and in some areas not very efficient. As someone who listens to Radio 4 and Classic FM frequently both in the car and at home the thought of losing them is very galling and the thought of having to replace everything daunting. What infuriates me is that FM Radio works perfectly well so why do we have to change it – I suspect it is to boost the sale of DAB radio’s and for the benefit of Radio Stations. Please consider raising this with your MP.
November is the month when we remember; it starts with All Saints Day when we remember all those people who are God’s Saints but who have never been acknowledged. This is followed on 2nd November when we remember all our past relations, friends and benefactors who have died. And then on 11th November and on Remembrance Sunday this year on the 13th November we remember all those who have given their lives in two world wars and in many other conflicts since including Suez, Korea, Vietnam, The Falklands, The Gulf, Bosnia, Iraq and where they continue to do so in Afghanistan
Some people take the view that Remembrance Sunday is jingoistic but I believe that it is important to our present generation that we remind them of the great sacrifice made when men and women laid down their lives in the service of their country and which they continue to do in Afghanistan, for example. We might totally disagree with war nevertheless those who died are entitled to, and are deserving, of our prayers.
Those of us who lived through the terror of the Second World War remember the nights when enemy bombers did their best to destroy our country. We remember the sadness when someone we knew was killed in the air raids or who didn’t come back from the war. These people were parents, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters. Those of us who have visited the War Cemeteries and have seen the rows and rows of war graves understand that a generation of young men died in World War 1 defeating the expansionist policy of a corrupt empire and in World War 2 in defeating the evil of the Hitler Regime.
But if Remembrance Sunday is to be purposeful it must be the time when we recommit ourselves to work and pray for peace in our world. Our prayers are to a God “from whom all truth and peace proceed” a God who alone can bring his peace, a peace that passes all human understanding, into a world still torn apart by war.
I will be the first to support the abolition of Remembrance Sunday when all nations renounce nuclear and other weapons, when as the prophet says swords are turned into ploughs. Until that day comes we need to remind ourselves of the evil of war, the destruction and death and injury it causes. And to pray for those, our friends but also our enemies, who out of time, lost their lives that they may rest in peace and rise in glory.
The M5 motorway crash has caused at least 7 dead and 51 injured in 34 vehicles. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been injured and the families of those who have died and we pray for their repose of the deceased. The police, Ambulance Crews and the Fire Brigade have worked for 24 hours on this tragic incident.
Listening to Radio 4’s Today this morning I was intrigued to hear Bob Diamond, Chief Executive of Barclays Bank talk about “executive compensation“ which we normal mortals would call “pay” or “remuneration”. After prevaricating about his own “compensation” he finally admitted that, excluding his bonus which is up to the Board of Directors, his salary is in excess of £1 million per annum.
For me this presents the question as to whether anyone, anyone at all, is worth that sort of money and I include in that pop stars.TV personalities, footballers etc..No wonder those protestors are at St. Paul’s Cathedral. They see a world when those with very little are hammered into the ground when the very people who caused our present economic state of affairs continue to enjoy the sort of massive “compensation” bankers are getting. No wonder they are angry, very angry indeed.
“Dear Brothers and Sisters, today, the day after the Solemnity of All Saints, the Church invites us to pray for the faithful departed. This yearly commemoration, often marked by visits to the cemetery, is an occasion to ponder the mystery of death and to renew our faith in the promise of eternal life held out to us by Christ’s resurrection.
As human beings, we have a natural fear of death and we rebel against its apparent finality. Faith teaches us that the fear of death is lightened by a great hope, the hope of eternity, which gives our lives their fullest meaning. The God who is love offers us the promise of eternal life through the death and resurrection of his Son. In Christ, death no longer appears as an abyss of emptiness, but rather a path to life which will never end.
Christ is the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in him will never die. Each Sunday, in reciting the Creed, we reaffirm our faith in this mystery. As we remember our dear departed ones, united with them in the communion of the saints, may our faith inspire us to follow Christ more closely and to work in this world to build a future of hope.
By Thy resurrection from the dead, O Christ, death no longer hath dominion over those who die in holiness. So, we beseech Thee, give rest to Thy servants in Thy sanctuary and in Abraham's bosom. Grant it to those, who from Adam until now have adored Thee with purity, to our fathers and brothers, to our kinsmen and friends, to all men who have lived by faith and passed on their road to Thee, by a thousand ways, and in all conditions, and make them worthy of the heavenly kingdom. from the Byzantine Divine Liturgy
Catholic Collect from the Mass for the Dead
[for all our departed brothers and sisters]
hear our prayer and console us.
As we renew our faith in Your Son,
whom You raised from the dead,
strengthen our hope
that all our departed brothers and sisters
will share in His resurrection,
who lives and reigns
with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen
Benedictine Collect for All Souls Day
We suppliants, O Lord,
pour forth our prayers
for the souls of Thy servants and handmaids,
that Thou wouldst mercifully pardon
whatsoever they have committed
through human frailty
and graciously bring their sufferings to an end.
Through Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
Eternal Rest grant unto them,O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace.
Did you get caught out with the clocks going back an hour during the night? We took the precaution of changing all our clocks yesterday in the early evening but I do wish that we didn’t have the twice a year change i.e. first they go forward an hour and then, as last night, they go back an hour. This means that it gets dark much earlier.
There is a proposal to keep the winter time as the present summer time but to put that forward one hour. I can’t see the point of that change either. Why can’t we just keep the time as summer time all the year round. The excuse that it is bad for the famers and for Scotland doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. It is perfectly possible to operate with two time zones and as Scotland wants to be independent anyway here’s one way they can be.
I went to the Saturday Shop at St. Augustine’s, Rush Green as usual this morning and was asked by one of those present my position with regard to all that has been happening at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
I have been pondering this ever since it all started but have refrained from making any comment on the blog until I have formulated some sensible conclusions. I must begin by saying I think it was regrettable that the Cathedral shut up shop with the somewhat lame excuse of “Health & Safety” which now seems to be trotted out ad infinitum by all and sundry. The amount of money that the Cathedral says it has lost because of the closure beggars belief. I refuse personally to pay to visit a Cathedral and totally disagree with the idea of charging admission but I’m probably in a minority of one!
The reason for the protest has been brought into sharp focus with the announcement yesterday of the pay rises awarded to Executives and Directors of some FTSE companies.
Should the Cathedral seek to obtain an injunction to remove the protestors? Or join itself with others who are seeking an injunction? I think it would be terrible if we saw the same scenes at St. Paul’s as we witnessed recently at Dale Farm and this could very well be the outcome should an injunction be granted and the police attempt to remove the protestors. It was for this reason that The Revd. Dr. Giles Fraser resigned.
I think that every means possible should be used to get the protestors to move away peacefully and without any sort of violence. If violence does occur as a result of police action the resultant publicity for St. Paul’s and for the church generally will be appalling.
The news that directors and chief executives of the top FTSE companies have had pay awards averaging between 40% and 49% is an utter disgrace. If these awards were the result of a fantastic recovery in the nations finances it might be all well and good. But they are not.
At a time when our politicians assure us we are “all in this together” it appears that there are some who are exempt. Not that I believed we ever were “all in this together”. The usual victims are those in the middle and pensioners who have been, and are, being squeezed some thing rotten. Despite nearly 6% inflation, our pensions have hardly increased nor are they likely to, in the present financial climate. Instead, we are told to “tighten our belts” so why don’t the fat cats tighten theirs?
I was horrified today when I heard today on the local news at 1.20 p.m. on BBC1 that Emergency and Maternity services at King George Hospital, Ilford are to be transferred to Queen’s Hospital, Romford. For several years this has been a proposal that has been opposed by pretty well everyone living in either Ilford or Romford, by all the MP’s, local Councillors and by most of the local doctors Some years ago, I went as the Vicar of St. Francis, Barkingside to a Public Meeting which was supposed to be a “consultation” It was nothing of the sort; it was members of the PCT expounding the virtues of what they proposed and not giving any of the people present the chance to ask any questions. I was so disgusted that I walked out. Since then there have been many public meetings, protest marches etc.
To get all the local MP’s to agree to fight the proposals is something of a coup but that is what has happened in the Romford/Ilford areas. MP’s have worked together despite their different political loyalties in an attempt to defeat this crazy proposal.
Queens Hospital, Romford has come under severe criticism for the care, or lack of it, it has given patients in its Maternity Wards. The Quality Care Commission has today stated that, following an earlier inspection when various proposals were made to Queens they are still not up to standard and will be subject to a further examination early next year,
Key findings of THE QUALITY CARE COMMISSION
Despite some signs of improvement in recent months, patients still remain at risk of poor care, particularly those receiving maternity services.
Problems found in maternity services include:
Other areas of concern can be found below.
We have now made 16 key recommendations to the trust, which we will monitor through unannounced inspections.
We will then review evidence in March 2012 to determine whether it is delivering improvements or not.
I wonder just what Andrew Lansley, the Minster concerned, thinks the advantages will be of putting Queen’s Hospital under even more pressure having to take patients from a greatly extended catchment area when it can’t cope with those it has already. Earlier this year, Queens was “blue lighting” Emergency patients to King George Hospital because it was under such great pressure. Heaven above knows what it will do when A&E at King George is closed. Travel into and out of Romford is never easy and is even more difficult during the rush hours a.m. and p.m. I suspect that the delays in transporting emergency patients from the Ilford area to Queens will have a pretty deleterious effect on them even resulting in unnecessary deaths
David Cameron might have won the vote in the House of Commons last night on the EU but, in doing so and by imposing a three-line whip, he lost a lot of sympathy in the country. As one of the comments in todays Telegraph Blog says: “The more than 80 Conservative MPs who bravely defied a three-line whip in calling for a referendum on British membership of the European Union represent the views of seven in ten British voters, including 71 per cent of Conservative voters according to a new Guardian/ICM poll.” I don’t believe most people want to abandon the EU completely but I think the majority are fed up to the back teeth with the stupid rules and regulations that keep emerging from Brussels and which we, i.e. the UK, impose straight away unlike our European neighbours who are not so diligent in their obedience.
Whilst I remain convinced that our future lies within Europe I would like to see a return to the UK of many powers which have been delegated to Brussels and I would particularly like to see a substantial reduction in the amount we pay for the privilege of being members.
It was good to be back at St. Augustine’s this Sunday although I very much enjoyed being at St. Mary’s. I was very impressed by St. Mary’s new vestments which I understand they have imported from Poland. All the colours in both chasubles and copes and at very reasonable prices.
During the week I had the dubious pleasure of going to Queen’s Hospital for an audio test. I was impressed by the audiologist and the care and skill with which she dealt with me. I first encountered a hearing problem in my 30’s and had extensive tests at Southampton Hospital which resulted in me being prescribed a hearing aid. Sadly I could never get to grips with the thing and stopped using it within a very short space of time. If anything it made things very much worse! I’ve coped without it every since but just recently I’ve noticed my hearing deteriorating – sign of age! I sometimes find it difficult to discern speech although most of the time, fortunately, there’s been a minimal effect on hearing music. Well, after my visit to Queens I now possess a brand new digital hearing aid which I am trying hard to use, (from time to time.) I still dislike the thing but I must keep at it, I suppose.
Our new cat, Lenny, has settled very well. He was found wandering in Rush Green and despite extensive advertising including door-to-door leaflets nobody came forward to claim him after several weeks. He is a delightful tom cat and we told the cat rescue that we would adopt him if nobody claimed him. He has made himself very much at home and is anxious to be with either Ann or I all the time; he’s not too keen on being on his own although we’ve left him without any problems. After just about a year since our previous cat died it is great to have a cat in the house again.
I found this interesting information from a website called Virtueonline: “No Presiding Bishop has wielded more power in the history of The Episcopal Church than Katharine Jefferts Schori. She has deposed more bishops than any other Presiding bishop in American ecclesiastical history. She has spent more money (upwards of $22 million) on lawyers to litigate for properties that she and her bishops will ultimately be forced to sell than any other Presiding Bishop in history.” (to view the site click here) Virtueonline
Today I went to St. Michael and All Angels at Abbey Wood for the Funeral Service of Mary Macey. I met Mary in 1955 when she started coming to the church where I was a Sunday School Teacher: St. Wilfrid’s, Cowplain. Mary looked after the Infant Sunday School. After having assisted at the Organ for a few years I became the Organist and her son Michael joined the choir and over the years he became Head Chorister. Today Michael is a well known Organist and Choirmaster and directs several choirs. Recently he has been awarded the MBE for his service to music in Welling.
In those days we put on either a pantomime or something similar at St. Wilfrid’s every year which always played to full houses on several nights and Mary was a leading light in these theatrical endeavours.
Mary was very well loved as evidenced by the full church for her Funeral Service and the four clergy who were present together with the local MP. As one would expect from a musician like Michael the music was wonderful with some 45 men, women and children making up the choir – quite remarkable on a Thursday morning.
Mary moved to Welling in the 1980’s and soon became a well loved and respected member of the church and community. She had particularly requested that no black be worn and that flowers be used to decorate the church and the church was full of the most wonderful flower arrangements.
May she Rest in Peace
Maybe I’m stupid but I am at a loss to see how Basildon Council can justify spending an amount purported to be £18 million on evicting travellers from the Dale Farm site. The site itself was a scrap metal yard prior to the travellers purchasing it and they have now been in occupation for 10 years without planning permission on a site which is part of the Green Belt. The site where the evictions are taking place is right next to another site where the caravans/mobile h0mes etc. have planning permission and to complicate things even further there are legitimate mobile homes on the eviction site which do have planning permission.
Quoted in the Echo the Bishop of Chelmsford The Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell is reported as saying: “we should pray for a peaceful clearance of Dale Farm”, but warned the eviction solves no problems.The Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell said: "As we witness the sad and difficult eviction of the travelling community from Dale Farm, let us pray that it happens peacefully and that no one is hurt or injured. But let us also remember that this eviction does not solve the problem but moves it somewhere else. These families are going to have to sleep somewhere tonight.What is needed is a national solution to provide travelling communities with stable, permanent and, if they wish, settled sites so that their culture and community can be maintained and flourish within the law."
At one time it was the responsibility of local authorities to provide suitable sites for travellers but this was rescinded some years ago. I really think Basildon Council could find a better way of spending £18 million pounds just to move a problem out of their area into somebody else's.
Congratulations to the town of Wootton Bassett on being presented with Letters Patent which changed it’s name to Royal Wootton Bassett. The award has been presented to the town in honour of the 167 times it has turned out on the repatriation of British military personnel killed in war.
According to the Daily Telegraph: The decision to award the town with the royal prefix was the Queen's following a petition from David Cameron, the Prime Minister. The Queen said it was "an enduring symbol of the nation's admiration and gratitude". The town became famous as thousands of people began to turn out to pay their respects to the fallen service men and women who died in Iraq and Afghanistan who had been repatriated at nearby RAF Lyneham, starting in April 2007.
I wonder if someone can explain to me why buses in the Romford area think it is clever to dawdle at around 20 mph or slower on a fairly clear road with a 30 mph speed limit and travel in convoys of sometimes 3 or 4 at a time, makinbg it impossible to pass and holding up traffic and making many motorists come near to blowing fuses. Another wheeze they have is stopping at bus stops where it is difficult if not impossible to get by them and then wait for periods of time letting traffic accumulate, before sedately moving of. Today we followed two buses whose speed varied from 15 mph to 20 mph and accumulated a long queue behind them. WHY? There were many places they could have let motorists by but didn’t.
One of the ways you can judge a society is by the way that it treats its elderly. The report by the Care Quality Commission that of 100 hospitals they inspected one fifth of them were breaking the law with the care offered to the elderly should give cause for the greatest concern. According to the report in the Daily Telegraph: “After carrying out spot checks at geriatric wards in 100 hospitals, the commission found that 35 needed to make improvements, 18 were failing to meet legal standards and there were “major concerns” at two trusts.”
“Elderly patients in half of NHS hospitals are not being properly fed or cared for because of a lack of “kindness and compassion”, the health watchdog warns today.” Daily Telegraph 13/10/11.
Dame Jo Williams, the chairman of the CQC, said: “The fact that over half of hospitals were falling short to some degree in the basic care they provided to elderly people is truly alarming, and deeply disappointing. Too often, our inspectors saw the delivery of care treated as a task that needed to be completed. Those responsible for the training and development of staff, particularly in nursing, need to look long and hard at why the focus has become the unit of work, rather than the person who needs to be looked after, and how this can be changed. Task-focused care is not person-centered care. Often, what is needed is kindness and compassion, which cost nothing.”
I’m afraid that, in my experience this lack of care is not limited to care of the elderly in hospital. Emphasis is put on people being able to stay in their own homes which are obviously a good thing but to do so they will often need the care and support of “Care” workers. These days these are provided by private organisations, paid for by the people who receive the care and which range from the good to the totally terrible.
For example, an elderly lady, who needed daily care and help with using the toilet, was placed on a commode, stark naked, in her sitting room in full view of all who passed. As her house was situated on a busy road leading to the local Tube Station I suspect she was seen by quite a number of people hurrying to work at 8.00 am. My wife saw this and complained to the providers. Often this lady was left for hours on end in soiled clothes. There are many other examples I could quote which would demonstrate that the care of the elderly in the community is often no better, and often far worse, than care in hospital.
We should be ashamed that our elderly are subjected to this humiliating state of affairs; urgent action is needed to correct it.