Tuesday, 31 January 2012


After ten years of outstanding service as Chaplain of the ancient church situated in the middle of Ilford known as Ilford Hospital Chapel Canon John Barnes has decided to retire. Father Barnes was for many years the Vicar of St. Mary’s, Great Ilford until retirement and then became became the Chaplain.

The Trustees have appointed me as Chaplain in succession to Father Barnes and my first service will be on Thursday 2nd February Candlemass at 12.35 p.m. Father Banes will be a difficult act to follow but I will do my best.

You can read all about the Hospital Chapel here.

Sunday, 29 January 2012


In view of the fact that the Chief Executive of RBS has decided not to accept his bonus my previous article on this has been withdrawn and I am delighted that this is the case.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Prayers for Holocaust Memorial Day

Let us pray for God’s ancient people, the Jews, the first to hear his word – for greater understanding between Christian and Jew for the removal of our blindness and bitterness of heart that God will grant us grace to be faithful to his covenant and to grow in the love of his name.

From the Intercessions for Good Friday: Lent, Holy Week and Easter Services and Prayers, as commended by the House of Bishops of the General Synod of the Church of England

Lord, remember not only the men and women of goodwill, but also those of ill will. Do not remember all the sufferings they have inflicted upon us; remember the fruits we bear, thanks to this suffering – our comradeship, our loyalty, our humanity, courage, generosity, the greatness of heart which has grown out of all this. And when they come to judgement, let all the fruits that we have borne be their forgiveness.

A prayer found on a scrap of paper beside the body of a girl who died at Ravensbruck

Prayers said on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the death of Anne Frank: Reproduced with kind permission of the Anne Frank Educational Trust and the Council of Christians and Jews

God, you created us all in your own likeness.
We thank you for the wonderful diversity of races and cultures in your world.
Enrich our lives by ever-widening circles of fellow feeling and understanding;
show us your presence in those most different from us, so that in all our relationships,
both by what we have in common and by things in which we differ,
we may come to know you more fully in your creation;
for you are Father, Son and Holy Spirit for ever. Amen

Judge eternal, bringer of justice,
hear the cry of those who suffer under the lash of heartless political oppression;
those who languish in prisons and labour camps, untried or falsely condemned;
those whose bodies are shattered,
or whose minds are unhinged by torture or deprivation.
Meet them in their anguish and despair,
and kindle in them the light of hope,
that they may find rest in your love,
healing I your compassion
and faith in your mercy.
In the name of him who suffered, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Thursday, 26 January 2012


Today we went to the William Morris Exhibition at 2 Temple Place. This is an extraordinary building which was built for the Astors. Although designed as a house it has never been used as such; it was known for years as Astor House.  Rebuilt after WW2 it is very elaborate with the most wonderful panelling and carving. After the Astors sold it, it was occupied by Sun Life of Canada from 1922 to 1928, the Society of Incorporated Accountants and Auditors from 1928 to 1959 and Smith & Nephew from 1959 to the present time. It is now run and preserved by the Bulldog Trust; for more information about the trust click here. Only open occasionally it is well worth a visit. For more information and detailed photo’s about 2 Temple Place go here It opened in October 2011 as London’s newest public gallery.

During the refurbishing of the William Morris Museum in Walthamstow various articles, prints, designs etc. have been exhibited here in a free exhibition which finishes on Sunday. We had to queue for around 40 minutes but the wait was very worthwhile. After the exhibition we went to the Spaghetti House for lunch and then onto CTS and St. Paul’s Bookshop.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity


The Unity of all Humanity in the Charity and Truth of Christ

Father, we pray for the Unity of Christians. Forgive us the sin which separates us and maintains divisions among us. May your Spirit penetrate all our souls and draw us closer to Christ in holiness. Today we pray for the unity of all humanity in the charity and truth of Christ. Give all human beings, your children, an ever greater holiness; and lead us along your path, to unity in the love and truth of Christ.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Capitalists I Met and Liked

In this weeks Sunday times there was the following: “David Cameron’s defence of capitalism and the free markets doesn’t seem to have impressed parliament’s bookshop which is offering a title called “Capitalists I Met and Liked” For £4.95 you get 160 pages – all blank.”

Perhaps another title that could be considered is “Bishops I have Known and have Trusted”


The Sanctification of People in other Faiths

Father, we pray for the Unity of Christians. Forgive us the sin which separates us and maintains divisions among us. May your Spirit penetrate all our souls and draw us closer to Christ in holiness. Give us an ever greater holiness and lead us along your path, to unity in the love and truth of Christ. We pray today for people of other faiths. May we and they be enlightened by your Spirit, walk before you with a sincere heart, be made more perfect witnesses to your love and advance on the way of salvation.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

Monday, 23 January 2012


The Sanctification of the Jewish People

Father, we pray for the Unity of Christians. Forgive us the sin which separates us and maintains divisions among us. May your Spirit penetrate all our souls and draw us closer to Christ in holiness. Give us an ever greater holiness and lead us along your path, to unity in the love and truth of Christ. We pray today for the Jewish people. By faith may they continue with us to advance in love of your name and attain the fullness of redemption.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

See also: Holocaust Memorial Day, 27 January
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
Paul Couturier, Apostle of Unity

Sunday, 22 January 2012

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

The Sanctification of all Protestant Christians

Father, we pray for the Unity of Christians. Forgive us the sin which separates us and maintains divisions among us. May your Spirit penetrate all our souls and draw us closer to Christ in holiness. Today we pray for all Protestant and Pentecostal Christians. Give Evangelical, Reformed and Pentecostal Christians, with all Christians together, an ever greater holiness and lead us all along your path, to unity in the love and truth of Christ.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
Paul Couturier, Apostle of Unity

Saturday, 21 January 2012


There are times when I really wonder just what things are coming to; let me explain. Those people who have to send in their Tax Returns for Self-Assessment must do so by the 31st January otherwise they will be fined initially £100 and, after 3 months, this increases by £10 a day.. Some excuses are acceptable and will result in no fine. According to the HM Revenue and Customs website HMRC may agree you have a reasonable excuse if:

  • life-threatening illness, for example a heart attack that prevents you dealing with your tax affairs
  • the death of a partner shortly before a payment or tax return deadline
  • unexpected or unforeseeable postal delays
  • important documents lost, through theft, fire or flood, that can't be replaced in time
  • late receipt of your online Activation Code, User ID or password even though you asked for them before the tax return deadline

However my complaint is that no special provision is made for those in the armed forces despite the fact that they may be serving in Afghanistan; a representative from HM Revenue and Customs said, on Radio 4 today, that if the assessment is late they will be fined £100. He then went on to say that anyone in that position could Appeal against the fine. Usually the people who have to make Self Assessment are Officers. Perhaps I’m really thick but I would have thought being our of the country serving in HM Forces would have counted as a reason for not applying the deadline but apparently not.

(I am aware that soldiers in Afghanistan are only allowed a very short period of time using the Internet and the tax returns have to be made on line)


The Sanctification of Anglican Christians

Father, we pray for the Unity of Christians. Forgive us the sin which separates us and maintains divisions among us. May your Spirit penetrate all our souls and draw us closer to Christ in holiness. Today we pray for all Anglican Christians. Give Anglicans and all Christians an ever greater holiness and lead us all along your path, to unity in the love and truth of Christ.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer

Friday, 20 January 2012


The Sanctification of Orthodox Christians

Father, we pray for the Unity of Christians. Forgive us the sin which separates us and maintains divisions among us. May your Spirit penetrate all our souls and draw us closer to Christ in holiness. Today we pray for all Orthodox Christians. Give Orthodox and all Christians an ever greater holiness and lead us all along your path, to unity in the love and truth of Christ.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
Paul Couturier, Apostle of Unity


At long last, there is a report of the Working Committee on the Code of Practice which will come into effect after the passing of the legislation for the Consecration of women as Bishops in the Church of England, to make provision for those of us who cannot accept that women can be bishops. This can be read here.It is a long document and if you are an insomniac will soon send you to sleep.

On many occasions and in many places it has been said “that a Code of Conduct will not do” and after reading this I have to say I haven’t changed my mind on that – it will not do. Before commenting any further I will read the document again but my initial reaction is as above.

General Synod meet in early February and will be spending time discussing the legislation; it is not too late for the Measure to be rejected which would mean that it can’t be re-introduced for five years or for different and more satisfactory provision to be made for traditionalists. Please keep members of General Synod in your prayers.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012



Prayer for Unity

You, the one
From whom on different paths
All of us have come.

To whom on different paths
All of us are going.
Make strong in our hearts what unites us.

Build bridges across all that divides us;
United make us rejoice in our diversity.

At one in our witness to your peace,
A rainbow of your glory.


-- Br. David Steindl-Rast, OSB

Monday, 16 January 2012

Independence for Scotland?

The debate over independence for Scotland is quite frankly boring me to death and prompts a question I would like to pose to our politicians. Why can’t England have independence? Scotland will be having a referendum around 2014 when they will decide if they wish to abandon the United Kingdom to become a tiny, totally insignificant but independent country with the most wonderful scenery. And here’s another question (the West Lothian Question): Why can Scottish, Irish and Welsh MP’s vote on matters which are exclusively English? I would be sorry to see the United Kingdom fragmented by Scottish independence.

Saturday, 14 January 2012


Some time ago I was watching and listening to a religious TV programme on one of the digital channels. Usually I find them unhelpful but this was something different. It was a number of talks that had been delivered in the United States for a Ministers/Pastors Conference. Something a speaker said made me think very carefully. He was talking about church growth and he said it is important that we have a dream on what our churches can become and how they can develop. Have we got a dream? Or are our dreams shattered before we can even try to bring them to fruition?

One of the first things he spoke about was how every church seems to have people who try to kill off any idea or plans for change. “We’ve never done it like that” or “We want things to stay as they are” or “We tried that years ago and it doesn’t work” To attempt any form of evangelism you need a positive attitude and those statements are totally negative. I suppose he should know; recently his church which had a regular attendance when he went there of 200 now has such an increased congregation that they have rebuilt it to seat 7,500 people. And it is regularly full on a Sunday.

The other thing that was said during the time I watched is that we must value what we have been given rather than always talking it down. If, for example, we say things like “we haven’t got anything.” or “There’s no hope here.” or “The situation is hopeless.” or “there’s nobody who can do this job so I have to do it” we are in danger of being like the person who has nothing, (or who thinks he has nothing) so that the little he has “even that he has is taken from him” (see the Gospels). We must look on people positively. It is part of our duty as Christians to enable people to grow both spiritually and in responsibility. To give an example, I talked to a priest who told me that if he asked a member of his congregation to take on any task and they agreed he would never do that job himself. He quoted how the parish magazine was not published one month at the right time. He wouldn’t print it himself as that was somebody’s else’s responsibility. If it came out late that was their decision. If a reader failed to arrive on a Sunday, he would just sit in the priests chair until somebody actually got fed up with waiting and did it. I helped at one such service and after what seemed to me an eternity I (as an ordinand based in the parish) got up to do it and was very firmly told to sit down. After a short time, one of the congregation stood up, went to the Lectern and read the lesson. He explained that Christians have to take responsibility seriously. If he (or I) covered a lapse how would they ever learn and develop. I thought he was a bit tough on people but in fact the church was flourishing with 100/150 at Parish Mass and on Parade Sundays congregations of 2/300. He had an enthusiastic team of lay people undertaking all manner of tasks. Yes, sometimes he was let down but he regarded that as a learning experience both for the person and for himself.


Wednesday, 11 January 2012


Ever since he started writing in New Directions I have enjoyed, and admired Father Geoffrey Kirk who seems to be able to explain with clarity and humour any subject he is writing about. That is no less true of his latest article in New Directions where he argues that for Catholics in the CofE the game is up and that whatever provision is made by the “generosity” of General Synod it will be totally inadequate for those of us unable to accept either women priests or bishops. What he doesn’t say in his article is what he thinks the way forward should be for Anglo-Catholics.

In his blog Father Ed Tomlinson writes about Anglicans who still refer to themselves as Catholics but who haven’t taken up the offer of the Ordinariate. You can read the article here. What seems to escape many of those priests and people who have already joined the Ordinariate is that for those not yet ready to make the transition it is a matter which requires both prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. As I understand matters the Ordinariate is not like the January sales in local shopping centres “for a limited period only” but rather open and ready to greet those who decide that the Ordinariate is the place God is calling them to be, when they make that decision.

I have been saddened by what I can only describe as the arrogance of some of those priests who have taken the brave decision to join the Ordinariate in the first wave not knowing when or where either salary or accommodation would be available to them. Up until they made the move they regarded themselves as validly ordained; why do they now question the validity of the ordination of those who are staying, for the moment, within the CofE or doubt their integrity when they explain that they haven’t been able to make the decision to join the Ordinariate for personal or other perfectly valid reasons.

Around this time last year The Ordinariate came into being. On this anniversary let us pray for the Ordinary Monsignor Keith Newton, the priests and people who constitute the Ordinariate at the moment, let us pray for those who will be joining on Ash Wednesday this year and for the Ordinary and the Ordinariate of the Chair of Peter in the USA and let us pray for those who are considering their position with prayer and who may possibly join in the not too distant future.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Want to get ahead? Get a Hat!


I found this mitre on the Blog Bad Vestments which you can find here. This blog is always worth a visit.

I think the mitre will probably suit the Primates of either Saturn or Mars, or perhaps the first woman or male Archbishop of the Universe!!!!!! when they are appointed.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Time to stand and stare……………………..

“What in this life if full of care we have no time to stand and stare.”


I remember learning these verses as a child at school and they have stayed with me ever since. It’s only when we take the time to stand and stare that we appreciate the great beauty and wonder of God’s creation. One of the most beautiful experiences I have enjoyed in recent years was in Cyprus when we sat on a lonely stretch of beach watching the sun go down. The sky was breathtakingly beautiful.  Another was  in Galilee when I needed to go to the bathroom around 5.00 a.m. and on the way back to bed looked out of the window to see the sun coming up over the Sea of Galilee; it was magnificent.

We live in a busy world. There’s never seems enough hours in a day or days in a week to do all the many things we want. I’m convinced that the numbers of days between each Christmas diminish as the years increase. As a child I always thought Christmas would never, ever come. Now, no sooner than the cards and decorations come down than they seem to be going up again.

A few years ago we were being told that the hours of a normal working week would become less and that workers would inevitably have more leisure. Documents and reports were prepared to discus this situation and to give guidance on how this new found leisure could be spent. It was suggested that in the future world of work job-sharing would become the norm and that we would work for only three days a week. When I was at college the future of the world of work featured as a subject for a Pastoral Studies Dissertation discussing employment, unemployment, the work ethic and increasing amounts of leisure time. What ever happened? Now it seems workers in this country are expected to work longer hours with shorter annual and statutory holidays than anywhere else in the western world.

With all this ‘busyness’ the temptation is to cut short the time we should be spending with God: the time we spend in saying our prayers, in reading and studying our bibles and other religious works, in the time we spend preparing to make our Communion or in giving thanks after receiving Communion, and in attending Mass on Sundays, on Holy Days of Obligation and during the week. In our services we are often so busy saying or singing things that we rarely have any time of silent contemplation. Yet if we want to hear God speaking to us it is in “the small quiet voice of calm” that we can do so. 

Perhaps we should consider allotting say five/ten minutes every day for quiet reflection and meditation. One of the things we need to consider is that some of the busiest, most productive people spend time in quiet reflection every single day. Paradoxically they find in their busy, full lives that they can only achieve their great productivity if they have their daily time of prayer and reflection. Certainly this has been the case with many of our most illustrious saints.

Thursday, 5 January 2012


Yesterday, we celebrated our 42nd Wedding Anniversary and we went to London to Claridges for a Champagne Afternoon Tea which our son and daughter-in-law gave us last year and which we’ve only just managed to get a booking. It appears that December was fully booked by September.

We had a lovely tea and came away feeling very full. The staff were very attentive without being overpowering and nothing was too much trouble. The service was excellent.

Claridges have 46 different teas you can choose from and for my first I tried a tea grown in Cornwall and, I have to say, it was delicious. All in all I had three different teas and Ann two. We loved the art deco of the hotel and the really friendly atmosphere.


The staff discovered it was our wedding anniversary and brought us some special cakes!!!.


We had a lovely time and really enjoyed ourselves. Claridges has a reputation for being one of the best hotels in the world. It thoroughly deserves that and its five stars.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012


We didn’t go out New Years Eve until the evening so were somewhat surprised to find a Post Office Card through the door telling us the postman had called and had been unable to deliver a packet. I would be able to collect it on Tuesday from the local depot. When I arrived this morning at said depot I couldn’t believe how many other people were on a similar mission. Which leads me to the question: did the Postman try to deliver the package or did he just put the card through the door.

Before I retired my study was in the front of the Vicarage so I could see people coming and going and on one occasion.I saw a Post Office Van stop and the driver get out and put something through the letterbox: a card inviting me to go to the depot to collect a parcel which he had been unable to deliver because there was nobody in! Before he drove of I managed to get him and he then, some what reluctantly, gave me the parcel.When I said he hadn’t knocked he said I couldn’t have heard him. Rubbish! I was right by the front door and clearly saw him draw up and put the card through the letterbox and not even try to make a delivery. Sadly this was quite a frequent occurrence in that area but I thought those days had gone.

So, I just wonder, was this history repeating itself: We were certainly in, and when we found the card it was sandwiched between several other pieces of mail. Well, I suppose it doesn’t matter too much; I got the parcel this morning but it would have been nice to have had it when the sender intended.I think most Postmen and women do a great job but just a few spoil it for the others and for the rest of us.

Monday, 2 January 2012


Today, after a rather lazy breakfast, we went to Hainault Forest and enjoyed a walk around the lake, admiring the many different species of bird for whom the lake is home. Regrettably Redbridge Council now impose quite a substantial parking charge (£1 for an hour £3 all day) An hour isn’t really long enough and, this time of year, we hardly would want to be there all day. Hainault Forest is a wonderful asset which has been very well used and appreciated by people from all over the area and it seems such a shame that parking charges at the present high rate will deter people from using this wonderful facility to the full. I sometimes think that Local Authorities know the cost of everything but the value of nothing! We just had time before our hour expired to enjoy a cup of tea in the on site cafe…..we would have stayed longer but the cost, I’m afraid, put us of…..when you’re retired you have to watch the pennies!!!!!!

Sunday, 1 January 2012


We were delighted today when we heard that our son, a Major in the Army has been awarded a Two Star Commendation for his service in Afghanistan from where he has recently returned. Our congratulations to him on this great achievement.