Tuesday, 31 May 2011



Yesterday was the National Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in this its 950th year. We left Romford in the minibus at 7.00 a.m. and picked up some passengers at Barkingside, heading up the M11 and then the A11 etc. to Barton Mills for breakfast and a comfort stop. One of the highlights for me is stopping and having the famous bacon butty in the woods.

Suitably refreshed it was straight on to Walsingham and after a quick look round the various shops, a purchase of some Rose Mystica; I went to the Pilgrims Hall as I was assisting with the administration of the Blessed Sacrament. We formed in procession to walk to the Abbey Grounds for the Pontifical Concelebrated Mass presided over by Visitor to the Shrine Father Tony Robinson., the Bishop of Pontefract. The Diocesan Bishop Graham James sat in choir. A number of other Bishops were present including the Bishop of Chichester, the Bishop of Horsham, the Bishop of Burnley, and the Bishop of Beverley (I can’t put names to the rest I’m afraid). After Mass I was supposed to go to the Shrine Church to help with the Anointing but there was some sort of mix up and as I didn’t seem to be needed I returned to my wife and friends for lunch.

After lunch the Bishop of Whitby Father Martin Warner preached the sermon and then it was off in procession to the praying of the rosary and, this year, back to the Abbey Grounds for Benediction. I thought this change from the usual venue in the Shrine Grounds and Shrine Church was excellent and I hope this will be something that can be repeated in the future.

Quite a few of the familiar faces were, of course, missing as they have gone to the Ordinariate but I did see one of the new Ordinariate present amongst the congregation. Overall I think there were as many people present as previously and there seemed to be as many priests as well with a good sprinkling of birettas including one of Spanish design which I rather liked.

After Benediction it was back to the minibus and the short drive to Mother Hubbard’s Fish and Chip Shop in Swaffham for supper prior to the long drive back home. It was a wonderful day and the weather was quite reasonable despite the forecast of rain. Many thanks to Father Martin for organising and driving the minibus. We now look forward to the visit the Redbridge and Havering Ordinariate Exploratory Group will be making on the 16th July for the Pilgrimage of Reparation and Consecration which is being led by Monsignor Keith Newton. We will celebrate Mass at 12 noon in the Shrine joining with the others after Mass.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

6th Sunday of Easter

Yesterday, Ann and I went to the wedding of Vicky Howse and Mark Wheelhouse at St. Augustine’s. I played the organ before the service and for the entry of the bride I played Prelude to the Te Deum by Charpentier. Jon, the church organist and choirmaster, played for the service and I played Widor’s Toccata for the exit of the Bridal party. I concelebrated the Nuptial Mass with Fr Martin, Father Rowland and Father Graham. Afterwards we went to the Reception at West Lodge, Upminster.

Today I presided and preached at the Parish Mass at St. Augustine’s concelebrating with Father Martin ad Father Graham.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011


Yesterday evening I went to Chelmsford for a meeting organised by the Chelmsford Branch of Forward in Faith. After prayers led by Father Martin Howse, Chairperson of the Chelmsford Branch the Lay Chairperson introduced the two speakers Father Jonathan Baker Bishop of Ebbsfleet elect and Steven Parkinson, National Director of Forward in Faith on the subject of “Where we are now”.

Both speakers acknowledged that Catholics in the Church of England were in grave danger of being totally marginalised but one hopeful sign was the appointment of the new Bishop of Richborough and the new Bishop of Ebbsfleet. We were given news of what was happening at various Deanery and Diocesan Synods who were in the process of debating the motion to proceed with the Consecration of Women as Bishops. Both speakers felt that the society model as exemplified by the Society of St. Wilfrid and St Hilda offered Catholics hope for a secure future with sacramental assurance(provided, of course, that this is eventually approved by General Synod). It was suggested that should General Synod not approve it the Society could still go ahead.

After the talks, comments and questions were invited from the packed audience. I pointed out that should the Society come into existence without approval and the Catholic Bishops decide to declare UDI this was no better than forming a schism or, at the best I likened it to the non jurors. Either way, it would have a very limited lifetime and not provide the sacramental assurance needed for future generations. The point was made from the floor that more Catholic vocations to the Sacred Priesthood were urgently needed and we were encouraged by the platform to look to see what suitable candidates might be within our congregations

The Revd. David Banting of Reform was present and gave a short talk during the questions and comments. He pointed out that there were many points on which conservative Evangelicals and Catholics could agree and that we must work together.

It was a good meeting and interesting but at the conclusion I felt that Catholics in the Church of England are in the situation described by Steven Parkinson at the beginning of the meeting as being between a “rock and a hard place”.

Monday, 23 May 2011


The Prayer for England

O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God,
and our most gentle Queen and Mother,
look down in mercy upon England, your dowry;
and upon us all who greatly hope and trust in you.
By you it was that Jesus, our Saviour and our hope,
was given to the world; and he has given you to us
that we may hope still more.
Plead for us your children whom you received
and accepted at the foot of the cross. O sorrowful Mother,
intercede for our separated brethren that, with us,
in the one true fold, we may be united to the chief Shepherd,
the Vicar of your Son.
Pray for us all, dear Mother, that by faith fruitful in good works
we may be counted worthy to see and praise God,
together with you, in our heavenly home.


God of Glory, your Son Jesus Christ suffered and died for love of us,
and was raised from the dead on the third day as the scriptures foretold. Like Mary, his Mother, we share in his suffering: may we, like her, share also in his glory. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sunday, 22 May 2011












We arrived home from Devon yesterday evening stopping en route for a while to see our son as he prepares to embark for Afghanistan for a second tour of duty. It was lovely to see our other grandchildren as well. In fact there were 4 generations together for tea yesterday afternoon as Ann’s mum was brought to the Cotswolds by Ann’s brother and his wife and our daughter and family were also there.

This morning I concelebrated Mass at St. Augustine’s where we had a Baptism.

Sunday, 15 May 2011


Today we went to the Parish Mass at St. John the Evangelist, Bovey Tracey as we are staying for a few days break fairly near. In March their Parish Priest and some of the congregation joined the Ordinariate so we expected to find a depleted congregation but talking to the new elected Churchwarden we found that those remaining were in good heart. We were made very welcome.

We are staying in a lovely house in the grounds of Bovey Castle - a very up market hotel (5* and very expensive!!!!) in a very lovely area of Devon with our daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren. It is many years since we have been to Devon.

Friday, 13 May 2011


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

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Part of the Nairobi Statement from the GAFCON/FCA Primates Council 11th May 2011

We note the efforts of the Roman Catholic Church to offer support for those Anglican clergy and congregations who find themselves alienated by recent actions in the Communion. We believe that the provision of an Anglican Ordinariate is intended to be a gracious gift but sadly one that also points out that our own Communion has failed to make adequate provision for those who hold to a traditional view of the faith. We remain convinced that from within the Provinces that we represent there are creative ways by which we can support those who have been alienated so that they can remain within the Anglican family.




Hail sweet month of May!
Hail bright month of May!
Bring sunshine with thee,
Chasing clouds away.
March has left us sighing
In cold and chilly blast,
April's tears have fallen,
May has come at last!

I will wander in the meadows,
I will search in sunny bowers,
I will cut sweet-scented posies,
I will twine a wreath of flowers.
The lily and the rosebud
With May I will entwine,
And lay them for an offering
Upon Our Lady's shrine.

And there is another offering
Which at Mary's feet I'll lay,
I know that she will prize it more
Than all the flowers of May,
I will pray to her to keep it
And never from it part,
And my Queen will deign to take it -
My poor, yet loving heart.

I will pray to her to guide it,
In truth and wisdom's way,
And make it pure and balmy
As the flowers which spring in May;
I will pray to her to warm it
With the sunshine of her love,
And make it fit to deck a crown
One day in heaven above.

The Catholic Record
Volume 9. May 1875

Tuesday, 10 May 2011


Havering Deanery Synod met yesterday at St. Andrew’s Church, Romford and I decided to attend, as a spectator, as it was the debate on “Women in the Episcopate. “ Ann was elected to Deanery Synod at this year’s Annual Parochial Meeting of St. Augustine’s. (Of course retired Clergy have no place in Deanery, Diocesan or General Synod and are not allowed to vote on those who are elected to them.)

The speaker in favour of the motion was the Venerable Martin Webster, Archdeacon of Harlow and speaking against was the Revd. Corrine Brixton. After both speakers had made their points, contributions were made from Deanery Synod members and I was surprised at how many spoke against the motion. The Venerable Martin Webster summed up his arguments followed by The Revd. Corrine Brixton who pointed out that provision for those who cannot accept the Consecration of Women must have the approval of those for whom the provision is being made and that the provision must be universal and identical in all areas of the Church of England.

When the vote was taken on the motion: “That this Synod approves the proposals embodied in the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure and in draft Amending Canon NO 30” it was overwhelmingly DEFEATED.

Perhaps it will be defeated when it reaches Diocesan Synod!!!!

Sunday, 8 May 2011


Today I celebrated and preached at St. Barnabas, Woodford Green. The music was, as usual, of a very high standard. The setting of the Mass was Darke in E and the Anthem “O for a closer walk with God” arranged by Sir Charles Stanford. At the close of the Mass the voluntary was Sortie (Messe Basse op 30) by Louis Verne.

I preached on the Gospel which retold what happened on the Road to Emmaus, pointing out that the disciples knew it was Jesus by the Breaking of the Bread. Every time we come to Mass we meet Jesus in the same way. When the realised that they had been accompanied on their journey by Jesus and that he was raised from the dead they didn’t hesitate but went straight back to Jerusalem t o pass on the good news. It is our task to follow their example and take the good news out into the world.


Yesterday, I went with a group of students from the Chelmsford Course of Christian Studies to the Russian Orthodox Monastery at Tolleshunt Knights, where we were made very welcome. Ann has been undertaking this course of study for nearly two years and finishes in a few weeks time. For the final part of the course she decided to spend time studying Icons and this trip was arranged to explain a little about icons and their use in Orthodox worship. I was able to spend a bit of time with Philip, one of the Lay Brothers, whose family comes from Cyprus, a place Ann and I really enjoy visiting.



They grow most of their own vegetables at Tolleshunt and we were able to see the work they undertake on the farm they own. Anything they grow which is over and above their needs is given away. The monks and nuns lead a very frugal life with mainly vegetarian diet (meat being permitted at Easter if some one donates meat to them.)



We attended Saturday Vespers, a service which was mainly in English, before leaving after a most enjoyable and informative afternoon.




Thursday, 5 May 2011


It has been announced today that the new Bishop of Richborough is to be The Revd. Father Norman Banks SSC who is currently the Vicar of Walsingham


The new Bishop of Ebbsfleet is to be The Revd. Dr. Jonathan Baker SSC, Principal of Pusey House and Secretary of Foward in Faith.



Both of these new Bishops will need our prayers in the task that lies before them.

More information is available here

Wednesday, 4 May 2011


Writing in March I posed the question: would a turkey vote for Christmas or Thanksgiving? I don’t think so and therefore it is hardly surprising that so many of our politicians of all party persuasions are dead set against AV (the Alternative Voting System). After all many of them are in seats which the present first-past-the-post system preserves but which under the AV system would probably mean a different result and a loss of seat for them.

For years now we have been run by political parties which have a majority in the House of Commons but which don’t have a majority of the votes cast. Under the new system a candidate will need 50% of the total vote to win the seat. If no candidate succeeds then the second preference votes will be allocated from the least successful candidates until one of the candidates has obtained the necessary 50%. Whilst this system is not ideal it is a far fairer way of electing members of Parliament and could be the starting point for the introduction of a proper system of proportional representation. But if AV is defeated it will be many years, I suspect, before we have the opportunity to change to a more democratic electoral system.

The turnout at General Elections has often been pathetic with many people opting not to vote. One of the reasons for this could be that in many constituencies there seems little point in voting. One or other of the parties has such a stranglehold that it is impossible to unseat them. With the AV system there would be a good chance that predictable safe seats would no longer be predictably safe. A candidate would have to work to secure the necessary 50% of the vote needed. And that would be good for democracy.

The General Synod of the Church of England have used this system for some time now and, of course, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats elect their Leader using AV I hope that tomorrow the people of this country will vote for AV to inaugurate a new system of voting, fit for the 21st Century


Sunday, 1 May 2011


What a wonderful few days! Following the Royal Wedding Ann and I went to the St. Augustine’s Hall Street Party with our daughter, son-in-law and two granddaughters and enjoyed sandwiches, jelly and cakes. Then on Saturday at St. Augustine’s, Romford I baptised our latest granddaughter. The church was full with many of the usual congregation joining with the family for this most joyous occasion. Following the service we went to the hall for a wonderful party with a children’s entertainer to keep the children amused whilst the rest of us enjoyed champagne and wonderful refreshments. Then today after Mass we drove to Swindon to celebrate my mother-in-laws 95th birthday. Three parties in three days – fantastic.