Thursday, 31 May 2012



Today at Ilford Hospital Chapel of St. Mary and St. Thomas of Canterbury we celebrated the Visitation of Our Lady to her cousin Elizabeth with a Solemn Mass. At the Memorial Service on Saturday guests had been asked to bring a rose each. I was able to use the roses which were still OK to make a sort of shrine for the statue of Our Lady, which was surrounded by blue votive lights on this the last day of her month of May. People seemed to like this so I am hoping to do something similar, at or around, The Assumption.

After Mass we had the Annual Chapel Meeting during which it was decided to support the charity “Send a Cow” for a year. During the meeting I presented a framed certificate to Richard on his appointment as Warden Emeritus for his long service to the Hospital Chapel over very many years.


Tuesday, 29 May 2012


Over the last few weeks the world has witnessed the unfolding tragedy of the situation in Syria. It now appears that there have been wholesale executions of men, women and children and we have seen horrific pictures on television of the bodies in a mortuary awaiting burial. Despite the United Nations being present the wholesale killing has continued so my question is this: just what is the point of them being there if they are not going to stop the murder of innocent victims?

It is a matter of some consolation that Syrian Diplomats are being sent packing from several countries including our own. Today Koffi Annan is in Syria attempting to get the President to honour the agreement he signed recently and stop the daily massacres of men, women and children. He denies that his troops have taken part in these war crimes; my hope is that he and the other butchers responsible will be tried for the war crimes they have committed.

In the meantime the only thing we can do is pray for the people of Syria and that they may know peace and justice..

Sunday, 27 May 2012




Yesterday the 26th May, the Chapel was host for the Memorial Service for the late Frank Longcroft who had been closely connected with the local charity “Sue’s House”. Frank had been a Trustee and the Group Administrator. To read more about the important work Sues House undertakes click here.

To cater for the numbers extra chairs were brought in and a full Chapel celebrated the life of this local well liked and generous man.. Amongst the many tributes, there was moving one from his son Peter and the service included several poems. Afterwards everybody was invited to the Ilford Conservative Club which is virtually next door to the Chapel for an excellent buffet..It was a service of thanksgiving for a life well lived

It had been suggested that people might like to bring a rose each in memory of Frank. From the many roses collected a  vase of flowers was then taken back to Sues House and the rest remained to beautify the Chapel.

Friday, 25 May 2012


I was a little puzzled the other day when I journeyed on the infamous M25 and approached what appeared to be road works (there are always road works on the M25). Signs told me that the average speed limit was 50 mph. On overhead gantrys it was easy to spot the multiplicity of speed cameras waiting for the defaulting motorist.. EXCEPT there were no road works; all the cones had been moved and for several miles the speed limit continued despite the fact that the road works had finished. I heard this afternoon that this had “confused” many motorists who, believing that the speed limit no longer applied had been caught for speeding. The M25 has a reputation for misleading signs and is one of the best money spinners in terms of fines but surely this is one step too far.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

“The Battered Bride of Christ” ?????????

In case you haven’t seen this article from the Telegraph I am reproducing it below and I am grateful to Father Michael Gallop’s blog for bringing it to my attention. You can read Father’s Blog here

In an article on her blog titled “The Battered Bride of Christ”, The Rev Miranda Threlfall-Holmes, questioned why women should stay in an “abusive institution”.Her comments follow moves by bishops to alter proposals to allow the ordination of women bishops.The Church's House of Bishops met behind closed doors in York to finalise long – awaited legislation designed to clear the way for a vote at the General Synod in July enabling the ordination of women as bishops.But the bishops added an amendment that would allow traditionalist parishes that refused to accept the authority of a woman not only to opt out but also to have an alternative bishop chosen to be "consistent with the theological convictions".Following the move, Dr Threlfall-Holmes, acting principal of Ustinov College at Durham University, wrote: "The question for women priests today is: do we stay with this abusive institution?“Do we stay, hoping it will get better? Do we stay, because we feel called by God to be in this marriage? Do we stay, thinking we can continue to try to change it from the inside? Or do we flee to the nearest refuge (let's ignore the fact for now that they rarely exist) — leaving home, family, community, and our dreams behind?"She later removed the post, which also compared the bishops to a man who gouged his wife's eyes out and then kept her in the house for 12 hours to stop her getting medical attention."

What a sad state of affairs that a Christian feels so angry that they find it necessary to be so vitriolic about fellow Christians. What a paradox that today’s Gospel reading highlights the prayer of Jesus just before his Crucifixion: “Father, may they be one in us as you are in me and I am in you, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me.”

I believe women are unable to be priests or bishops and I have come to that conclusion through theological reasoning. It is not because I am a misogynist or a woman hater but because I believe that scripture, tradition and reason, the three guides for making decisions of this nature, are not met. However, I have always tried to treat women priests with courtesy as I believe this is the right way to behave. Despite disagreeing with much that some of our Bishops and women priests do, and say, I have never felt it necessary to be as insulting as this blog.

If the article on the Rev. Miranda Thelfall-Holmes Blog is, in any way, indicative of the future Church of England. may God help us, and have mercy on us. She poses the question “Do we stay” My reply is NO – go in the peace of Christ.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012


Perhaps the right way for Anglo-Catholics to proceed who do not intend to go to the Ordinariate either now or in the foreseeable future is to fight tooth and nail to see that the motion to enable Women Bishop’s is resoundingly defeated at the July General Synod. It will then give a breathing space of five years before the matter can come back. Perhaps after a five year cooling of period it might be possible to arrive at an acceptable compromise with the caveat “a code of practice will not do” either now or then.

Despite all attempts to meet with some reasonable compromise, these have been opposed by WATCH every step of the way. And the way they treated the appointment of the Father Martin Warner as the Bishop of Chichester was, in my opinion, inexcusable.

Women Bishops

You can read Forward in Faith’s comments on the Bishop’s amendments here.

You can read the views of Reform here


I am grateful to the THE ANGLO-CATHOLIC blog for the article from The Telegraph.

The thought came into my head as I read it “we asked for bread but you gave us a stone”


From The Telegraph
By John Bingham, Religious Affairs Editor

In a meeting behind closed doors in York, the Church’s House of Bishops gave its approval to legislation to admit women to the episcopacy and rejected a series of attempts to significantly water down the powers of future female bishops.

But they also agreed a key protection for conservative evangelicals and Anglo Catholics who object to women bishops on theological grounds.

In theory the vote clears the way for the church’s General Synod to have a final vote on the issue in July.

But there were signs it has plunged the Church into further uncertainty amid fears that the compromise failed to satisfy either side in the debate.

It remained unclear last night whether the compromise would be enough to see off the prospect of a large-scale exodus of traditionalists to the Roman Catholic Church or a new breakaway Anglican group.

Equally campaigners for women bishops privately voiced disappointment at the compromise. They fear attempts to make women “second class bishops”

Parishes and dioceses have already signalled strong support for ordaining women as bishops.

But a significant minority of traditionalists cannot accept the authority of a women bishop on theological grounds.

Complicated arrangements have been drawn up to allow to request to opt out and answer to a specially chosen male bishop instead.

The House of Bishops agreed last night that the alternative bishop’s authority would be “delegated” from the woman rather than independent from her and that this arrangement would have legal force.

But they also agreed that traditionalist parishes would have more say in who the alternative bishop would be – potentially undermining the powers of the woman bishop.

In statement the House said: “The legislation now addresses the fact that for some parishes a male bishop or male priest is necessary but not sufficient.

“The House rejected more far- reaching amendments that would have changed the legal basis on which bishops would exercise authority when ministering to parishes unable to receive the ministry of female bishops

Monday, 21 May 2012

Report from the House of Bishops

You can read the decisions of the House of Bishops here

I hope to be able to comment on this after considering it for a day or two


Today the Bishops begin their deliberations in York when they will discuss what, if any, further provision is to be made for those who cannot accept the consecration of women. I suppose the thing to say is: don’t hold your breath. Never-the-less, please keep them in your prayers.

Sunday, 20 May 2012


After being away for several Sundays helping in local parishes, I was back today at. St. Augustine’s where a full church celebrated the Ascension. This year, for practical reasons, we couldn’t hold the celebration on Thursday but I thought holding it on Sunday meant that far more people could take part in this major Solemnity. I concelebrated, led the Intercessions and preached; if you want to reads a resume of my sermon click here.


After tea and coffee, we drove to Upminster for a Sunday Dinner with several friends at West Lodge. It was excellent: a choice of starter, a carvery with roast turkey, gammon and roast lamb (or fresh salmon cutlets) and you helped yourself to Yorkshire puddings and freshly cooked vegetables. Afterwards there was a choice of puddings from the sweet trolley including champagne jelly, Eton mess, fruit salad or biscuits and a wide selection of cheeses followed by coffee or tea. The waitresses couldn’t do enough for you; it was lovely to have a proper Sunday Dinner as often we don’t bother too much just being the two of us. It was good to be with such great company too. Afterwards we went to tea at our daughter and son-in-law’s house. They’ve just returned from a holiday in the West Country so we’ve been looking after their house and cats and although we saw them and our grandchildren at Mass this morning it was good to be able to spend a little time with them this afternoon.

Thursday, 17 May 2012


Today, I celebrated a Solemn Mass, at Ilford Hospital Chapel, in honour of the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It was an opportunity to use for the first time a thurible which has been given to the Chapel and which Tom has refurbished. We also received two new kneelers for the Sanctuary beautifully embroidered by Pamela with insignia of Our Lady on one, and the insignia of St. Thomas of Canterbury on the other.


Yesterday I attended the SSC Chapter of St. Helena which was held at St. Alban’s, Ilford. We had a very interesting talk by a local Registrar about “sham” marriages of which there have been a proliferation in the greater Ilford area.

The Redbridge & Havering Ordinariate Exploratory Group Meeting

Yesterday evening there was a meeting of the Redbridge & Havering Ordinariate Exploratory Group which started with a Mass offered for the Ordinary Monsignor Keith Newton, for all those who have joined the
Ordinariate and for all those exploring if the Ordinariate is right for them. After tea and coffee we had a meeting in two parts: the first considered the impact of the Passover Meal we shared on Palm Sunday and then, in the second, we considered our future programme which will include spending some more time on the Evangelium Course


Tuesday, 15 May 2012


Evening Prayer to Our Blessed Mother

Night is falling, dear Mother, the long day is o'er,
And before thy loved image I'm kneeling once more,
To thank thee for keeping me safe through the day,
To ask thee this night to keep evil away.

Many times have I fallen today, Mother dear;
Many graces neglected since last I knelt here.
Wilt thou not in pity, my own Mother mild,
Ask Jesus to pardon the sins of thy child?

I am going to rest, for the day's work is done,
Its hours and moments have passed one by one.
And the God Who will judge me has counted them all;
He has numbered each grace, He has counted each fall.

In His book they are written against the last day
0 Mother, ask Jesus to wash them away;
For one drop of His Blood for which sinners was spilt
Is sufficient to cleanse the whole world from its guilt.

And if e'er the dawn I should draw my last breath;
If the sleep that I take be the long sleep of death,
Be near me, dear Mother, for Jesus' dear sake
When my soul on Eternity's shore shall awake.

Sunday, 13 May 2012


Today I officiated at the Solemn Mass at St. Paul’s, Goodmayes. I preached on the theme that Jesus told us to love one another. I used as an illustration the German soldier Anton Schmid who saved 250 Jews from being deported to the Gas Chambers by hiding and feed them and arranging for them to have forged papers. Caught and arrested he was tried, found guilty and executed in 1942. Schmid laid down his life for people he didn’t know; never-the-less he considered them to be his friends and neighbours. Schmid’s courage and sacrifice was recognised by Germany in 2000 and Germany's Defence Minister said, "Too many bowed to the threats and temptations of the dictator Hitler, and too few found the strength to resist. But Sergeant Anton Schmid did resist."

Ilford Hospital Chapel


In the picture above the 6 brass candlesticks which normally stand on the shelf behind the Altar, have been removed so that visitors can see, and photograph the beautiful reredos.They will be back in position for the Solemn Mass on Ascension Day details below

Yesterday was one of the monthly Open Days when visitors can have guided tours of this historic building and enjoy home made cakes etc. This month we made £140.



12.35 p.m.

Friday, 11 May 2012


Prayer of Saint Augustine to the Blessed Virgin

maryqueenO blessed Virgin Mary, who can worthily repay thee thy just dues of praise and thanksgiving, thou who by the wondrous assent of thy will didst rescue a fallen world? What songs of praise can our weak human nature recite in thy honor, since it is by thy intervention alone that it has found the way to restoration. Accept, then, such poor thanks as we have here to offer, though they be unequal to thy merits; and receiving our vows, obtain by thy prayers the remission of our offenses. Carry thou our prayers within the sanctuary of the heavenly audience, and bring forth from it the antidote of our reconciliation. May the sins we bring before Almighty God through thee, become pardonable through thee; may what we ask for with sure confidence, through thee be granted. Take our offering, grant us our requests, obtain pardon for what we fear, for thou art the sole hope of sinners. Through thee we hope for the remission of our sins, and in thee, O blessed Lady, is our hope of reward. Holy Mary, succour the miserable, help the fainthearted, comfort the sorrowful, pray for thy people, plead for the clergy, intercede for all women consecrated to God; may all who keep thy holy commemoration feel now thy help and protection. Be thou ever ready to assist us when we pray, and bring back to us the answers to our prayers. Make it thy continual care to pray for the people of God, thou who, blessed by God, didst merit to bear the Redeemer of the world, who liveth and reigneth, world without end. Amen.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

IN THE ROYAL BOX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yesterday, Ann and I were privileged to have our lunch in the Royal Box at Sandown Park Race Course. But before anyone gets the wrong idea, we had gone to the Christian Resources Exhibition at Sandown Park and the Bible Society had acquired the use of the Royal Box as a place of peace and quiet where free refreshments were available as well as a selection of the daily papers. I haven’t been to the CRE since I retired but as we were given some free tickets we thought we would go. I don’t think there were so many exhibitors as previously and it was noticeable that some quite famous church suppliers were not there. All in all we enjoyed the day and I was able to purchase one or two items I needed.


Today I celebrated Mass at Ilford Hospital Chapel and I was pleased to see some new faces amongst the usual congregation. Afterwards I went to the Conservative Club who are our next door neighbours to meet the Manager who had suggested we meet. As there are no facilities at The Chapel, people who use the Chapel for occasional services and concerts and need a convenient venue for refreshments other than tea or coffee which we can offer, are able to go next door for more substantial refreshments.


Tuesday, 8 May 2012



The daffodils dance at the dawning,
The may bells make clamor and sing;
What, then, is this season, good mother,
When flowers such loveliness bring?
It is the sweet month of Our Lady,
Whose Son is our Savior and King.

The violets waft their faint incense,
In glory the gillblooms blow;
What, then, is this season, dear mother,
That lilies are sisters of snow?
It is the rich month of Our Lady,
When beauty and loveliness flow.

The south wind's a song of love's triumph,
Twined round a child's laugh in the lane;
What, then, is this season, O mother!
When fragrance grows vocal in rain?
It is the lush month of Our Lady,
Madonna of bliss and of pain.

Like cordons of honor, the poplars,
That stand, rigged in green, in the night,
Let us form, then, for Mary, O mother!
Our own little pageant of white.
It is the glad month of Our Lady,
Earth's fairest, and Heaven's delight!

J. Corson Miller
The Magnificat. Volume LXX. Number 1. May 1942

Monday, 7 May 2012


Salve Regina
Hail Holy Queen

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy!
Our life, our sweetness, and our hope!
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve;
to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn, then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us;
and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

Sunday, 6 May 2012


Today I presided and preached at the Solemn Concelebrated Mass at St. Alban’s, Ilford. It was a real pleasure to be at St. Albans. I based my sermon on the Gospel and especially the words of Jesus: “I am the true vine.” I recalled how surprised I had been, when some years ago, I had visited a parishioner who told me that he never darkened the door of the local church because the Vicar had upset him. As I had never met him before I knew it wasn’t me so I enquired when this had happened to be informed it was thirty years previously. I pointed out that you can’t be a real Christian without being part of the Church and without being grated on to the true vine which gives us the nourishment we need, through the Mass.

After Mass I returned to St Augustine’s to pick Ann up and for coffee.  Next week I am going to be away from St. Augustine’s again as I am going to St. Pauls, Goodmayes.



May is so beautiful:
Orchards are fair;
Branches of fruit trees
Make gardens of air.

Flowers of fragrance
Bloom in the light;
Fall like the snowflakes
Showering white.

Orchards of heaven
Grow with a grace,
And like a blessing
Perfume the place.

Each tree in blossom,
Each lovely spray,
In this month of Our Lady,
Bring glory to May.

Helen Maring
The Magnificat. Volume LXVIII. Number 1. May 1941.

Saturday, 5 May 2012


I’m not sure how any politician can claim to have a mandate when they are elected by just 32% or less of the total electorate. Yet, for years, we have been quite happy in the UK to allow this state of affairs to continue. Surely the time is now right to introduce compulsory voting with fines for those with inadequate reason for not voting.  After all the sick and those unable to attend a Polling Station in person can now easily obtain a postal vote. It used to be quite a complicated process to be able to vote by post but not any more.

In my opinion it is a Christian duty to use one’s vote.

Friday, 4 May 2012


Those are the only words I can use about the appalling numbers voting in the Elections yesterday which, according to all reports, numbered around 32% of the eligible electorate. I hardly think that those people who can’t be bothered to vote can complain about local politicians.

The problem is that there is a great deal of disillusionment about local councils and councillors as there is with MP’s and Parliament and sadly much of it is very deserved. We see local authorities drastically cutting back on services whilst councillors continue to draw their allowances and expenses with impunity. We see exorbitant rises in the cost of parking whilst the most minor of parking infringement's is fined at high levels. Spy cars, whilst ignoring the rules themselves, sit in wait, for the most minor of offences to be committed.

Up until quite recently, the house we live in was in road which had not been adopted by the council. The day it was, the spy car was here, catching people for blocking their own drives and for parking partially on the pavements – something which had been p[racticed for the ten years the development has been here and which is allowed all around the area. Despite asking for this to be allowed, it has not been approved. The result is that visitors used to the provision of partial pavement parking all around, are unaware that this is not permitted in our particular roads and lay themselves open to be caught by the “spy” car and to be fined. It seems to me that councils are using these means not to correct illegal behaviour but as a money spinning operation.


Yesterday I celebrated Mass for the Feast of SS Philip and James at St. Augustine’s Church, Rush Green where there was an attendance of 16 and then on to Ilford Hospital Chapel for the 12.35 p.m. Mass which, for the first time, included the Ministry of Healing. We had a congregation of 27 despite some of our most regular members being away on holiday. Like Father Edwin Barnes (see here) I too regret that we no longer keep this feast on 1st May as I too like the hymn by Percy Dearmer for this. I first heard it in Exeter Cathedral 43 years ago when Ann & I had a touring holiday of the West Country. Sadly you can no longer sing: "So God doth bring the world to spring; and on their holy day, doth the Church proclaim her Apostles' fame to welcome the first of May". (In fact, sadly, it is no longer in the New English Hymnal)

Yesterday evening we enjoyed beef cheeks for the first time and I have to say they were delicious. We saw them at the butchers and thought it would be good to try them, having seen them prepared and cooked by some of the TV chefs. Ann cooked them slowly and I can understand why they are very popular in some of the top restaurants.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012


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.

Anonymous  The Catholic Record Volume 9. May 1875

Tuesday, 1 May 2012





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 Sun, and God the Holy Ghost" (Meditations and Devotions, Pt. I. The Month of May [London: Longmans, Green, 1920]).