Thursday, 30 June 2011


I must admit I have a deal of sympathy with teachers, civil servants etc. who have been on strike today. I know what it is like to be let down on pensions. When I retired I expected to receive two retained pensions from my secular employment as well as my church pension. I discovered that one of the two was virtually worthless due to a certain Chancellor’s raid on pension funds and the other virtually worthless due to the particular company it was with. As a result using the open market option one gave me gave me a pension of around £400 a year instead of previous forecast of substantially more; the other gave me a small cash sum of just over £200 in final settlement instead of the annual pension which I had expected. These two pensions were for a working life from the time I left school, with a break of a year due to illness, until I attended theological college.

So I feel for those who have been told that they will have to work longer, pay more in contributions and get less when they do eventually retire. It seems like a very raw deal. After all these people have been employed on a contractual basis which was agreed when they commenced their employment. I can understand pension provision being changed for new employees. I could even understand negotiating a change but to impose such changes, as seems to be happening with the minimal amount of negotiation, seems to me to be totally wrong.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Ad Multos Annos

Today the Holy Father celebrates the 60th anniversary of his ordination to the Sacred Priesthood. We thank God for Pope Benedict and offer our prayers on this wonderful occasion.

O God, the pastor and ruler of all the faithful,

mercifully look upon thy servant Benedict

whom thou hast been pleased to set as pastor over thy Church:

grant him, we beseech thee,

to be in word and conversation a wholesome example

to the people committed to his charge;

that he with them may attain unto everlasting life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Sunday, 26 June 2011


After presiding at the Solemn Mass, Procession and Benediction at St. Augustine's it was home to change and then, this afternoon, after a quick lunch, Ann and I went to the Havering Mela at Hornchurch. Organised by the Asian Women’s Association this annual event is a day of great fun with food, live music, dance and stalls. There was a big bouncy castle for the children and entry was free. I was fascinated by several stalls which offered henna painting although I didn’t have one myself!!!!!!

A mela is a Meeting Place and this event is a meeting place for east and west. I fell in love with India when we went on holiday there in 2007. I was rather sad that there weren’t more non-Indian or non-Asian folk there.

There used to be a similar event when I was serving my title, some 25 years ago, at the Knowle Team Ministry (Holy Nativity and St. Martins) Bristol and I remember sampling some of their food then and which I did again today. Ann and I enjoyed the experience and will go again next year if we can.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Corpus Christi - Chelmsford Cathedral


Yesterday, Ann and I went to the annual Retired Clergy Tea which was hosted by the Bishop of Chelmsford in Chelmsford Cathedral. An excellent tea was served and this was followed by a Corpus Christi Mass sung by the Cathedral Choir. When we arrived at the Cathedral we saw a notice which announced a Corpus Christi Sung Eucharist at 5.15 p.m. (with Incense). in fact, as it turned out it was a High Mass with vested Deacon and Sub-Deacon set to Palestrina which was beautifully sung by the Cathedral Choir.

Bishop Stephen presided and preached an excellent sermon. He told of his experience, as a young curate, visiting the church in Deptford where Father David Diamond was the Vicar. He recalled how Father Diamond, standing at the back of his church, during the celebration of Mass by one of his curates, had proclaimed at the consecration of the Bread “My Lord and My God” and how he did the same at the Consecration of the Wine. He did this in a very loud voice which filled the church. The words “My Lord and My God” are the words of St. Thomas in the presence of the Risen Christ. Bishop Stephen said that at every Mass he says these words quietly to himself.

Saturday, 18 June 2011


When it was announced that the Olympics would be coming to London in 2012 I really thought there might be a chance that I could get some tickets. So when the Website opened for people to register their interest I registered mine. When the time came to apply for tickets I looked at the prices and decided there was no way I could afford tickets for most of the events. For example, I would have liked to have seen the Diving but to do so would have meant buying several tickets for what amounted to the same event, making it quite pricey in even the cheapest of seats. However I did apply for several tickets, and, of course, got zilch!

Why, I wonder, did the organisers use a ballot to allocate tickets to the public? Surely it would have been much fairer and a lot easier to have sold them on a first come, first served basis. As things stand a number of people managed to get large allocations and they did so by applying for hundreds if not thousands of tickets. The reason that most normal people did not use this tactic is the chance that they might just have been lucky and been allocated the tickets for which they applied. Those with pots of money could take the risk which most ordinary people couldn’t, so once again a system has been devised which unfairly favours the wealthy to the detriment of the average/poor.

What makes the whole thing so annoying is that tickets have been available on the Internet from Germany and, I suspect, sites in other countries. Whilst we had to go into a ballot with little chance of success unless we ordered £1,000’s worth of tickets, the German site were selling on a first come, first served basis. If one had been aware of this it would have been possible to have purchased them but, of course, we weren’t told by the British Olympic Ticket Office if we had secured tickets or not, or what they were if we found out we had been charged on our credit cards, and by then it was too late.

So, for me and for thousands of others, we will be watching the Olympics on television and dream what it would have been like to have been there.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011


Yesterday I went to the Annual Synod of the Society of the Holy Cross at St. Alban’s, Holborn. It was good to see so many friends but sad as well, realising that many who had been there in the past have now left the Church of England for the Ordinariate.

On Thursday morning the two new Provincial Episcopal Visitors, Father Norman Banks SSC who is to be The Bishop of Richborough and Father Jonathan Baker who is to be the Bishop of Ebbsfleet will be consecrated at Southwick Cathedral. We are grateful to Bishop Lindsay Urwin who has taken on the role of PEV whilst we have waited for the appointment of a new Bishop of Richborough. I will be offering Mass for them at 10.00 a.m. at St. Augustine’s, Rush Green.

Today I went for a further session with the Osteopath and have to go again in two weeks – what fun!

Sunday, 12 June 2011



This morning I concelebrated the Mass at St. Augustines and preached on this great festival of Pentecost. Tonight I officiated at Evensong followed this by celebrating Mass at St. George’s, Brentwood.

Saturday, 11 June 2011


Today, St. Barnabas, Woodford Green celebrated the Centenary of the Consecration of their Parish Church with a wonderful Concelebrated Solemn Mass. Father Donald May who is looking after the parish during the interregnum was the principal celebrant with Father David Moore and Father Mervyn Jennings. Father Roderick Hingley sat in choir with the Venerable Elwin Cockett, Archdeacon of West Ham who preached. The Mass Setting was The St. Barnabas Mass composed by Alan Thurlow, Organist Emeritus of Chichester Cathedral and sometime Chorister and Organist of St. Barnabas. Alan Thurlow was in the congregation. Also the occasion was honoured by the attendance of the Mayor and Mayoress of Redbridge amongst many other guests.

The service commenced with a Procession round the church to the Hymn “The Son of Consolation” to the tune Kings Lynn.

During the Communion the choir sang the anthem “Antiphon to Magnificat at the Feast of All Saints” by William Byrd. They were conducted during the service by their Organist & Director of Music Ray Chandler and the organ was played by Tim Storey, Deputy Organist.

After Mass we went to the Church Hall for a festival lunch with food from Cyprus the birthplace of St. Barnabas served with wine and soft drinks.

I’m please to say that after my visit to the osteopath I am now able to move around although the back is still painful – I have to have another treatment on Tuesday

Wednesday, 8 June 2011


I’ve been in agony since Monday morning when, for no particular reason, my disc at the base of my spine decided to pop out once again. This has happened at odd times over the years and there is usually no reason. I’m seeing the osteopath later today, thank goodness.

But despite this I really enjoyed yesterday evening when we went to the Church of the Assumption, Manford Way for a Holy Hour and Benediction. Monsignor Keith Newton presided and I played the organ (thank goodness for Brufen) You can read a report about the evening here

Sunday, 5 June 2011


I wrote the hymn “At Pentecost, God’s Spirit came” in 1993 for my induction as the Vicar of St. Francis of Assisi, Barkingside. It was later published by the Chelmsford Liturgical Committee in one of their booklets. I am very happy for it to be used and copied. It is sung to the tune Melita.
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

Friday, 3 June 2011



Ascension Day has always been very special to me. When I was a child I went to Horndean Church of England Primary School and every Ascension Day the children accompanied by their teachers would walk about a mile to the historic 12th century All Saints Parish Church Catherington for a Sung Mass taken by the then vicar Father Sheppard . We joined with the children from Catherington Church of England School for the service and afterwards it was on to the downs for lunch and games. If the weather was a little unsettled we had lunch in the Catherington School class room. (In those days there were only two classrooms, divided by a sort of sliding doors) My memory may be dim after all these years but I only remember once having lunch in school. As far as I can remember, the sandwich lunch was provided by the schools and we had BUNS!!!!!. Now to have a bun might not seem very special to today’s kids but this was just after the end of WW2 and buns were a rarity. After games on the South Downs we were let of early and it was then the walk back home. In those days you walked!!!!! In fact I don’t think buses ran into Catherington then. For many years Catherington was considered to be moderate Catholic but that now seems to have changed. Several years ago the beautiful Catherington Vicarage was sold and a new vicarage constructed.

The history of Catherington Church can found here

Thursday, 2 June 2011


Today, we celebrate the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ.


1 Hail the day that sees him rise, Alleluia!
To his throne beyond the skies. Alleluia!
Christ, the Lamb for sinners giv'n, Alleluia!
Enters now the highest heav'n. Alleluia!

2 There for him high triumph waits; Alleluia!
Lift your heads, eternal gates. Alleluia!
He has conquered death and sin; Alleluia!
Take the King of glory in. Alleluia!

3 See, he lifts his hands above! Alleluia!
See, he shows the prints of love! Alleluia!
Hark! his gracious lips bestow Alleluia!
Blessings on his church below. Alleluia!

4 Lord, beyond our mortal sight, Alleluia!
Raise our hearts to reach thy height; Alleluia!
There thy face unclouded see, Alleluia!
Find our heav'n of heav'ns in thee! Alleluia