Sunday, 26 August 2012

Friday and a day off!

August has been quite a busy time: last week, for example I had: three Masses plus two large funerals. So we decided that Friday would be a day away from home and phone. We started by going to Cant’s Roses at Colchester and spent a very enjoyable hour exploring various roses, making notes of those we liked so we can make a choice for delivery in November. The problem is going to be choosing which to have from so many we really liked.
After a brief stop for lunch, we drove to Coggleshall to visit the National Trust Merchants House Paycockes. I was interested to discover that the well-known, one time vicar of Thaxted, known as the Red Vicar The Revd Noel Conrad had been a visitor, related to the tenants and was involved in Patcocke’s restoration. Another famous visitor was Gustav Holst who for a short time was Organist & Choirmaster at Thaxted.
We then drove down the road to Grange Barn, one of the oldest timber-framed buildings, it has a cathedral-like interior and is linked to a local Cistercian abbey. In an adjacent village are the Templars Barns at Cressing where I was Vicar for four years. We were fortunate to find that one of the people on duty was a historian and we were able to talk about the connections between the church at Cressing, the Templars Barns and the Cistercian Abbey.
It was a really fascinating day which we both thoroughly enjoyed.

Friday, 24 August 2012





Well, you didn’t really think you would have pictures of him naked did you?

I think the person who sold/leaked his picture to the press is totally despicable. No doubt his grandmother and father will have something to say about this as well as his army commander. But he was very wealthy young man on holiday and, regrettably, he didn’t choose the company he kept very wisely. You would really think he would know better than to get himself in that position in the first place. His photograph is now widely available on the internet as well as in the Sun newspaper who decided not to respect his privacy despite being asked to do so. What Prince Harry did was very, very stupid to say the least but what his”friend” did was a betrayal of the worst possible kind.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Jean’s Funeral

Jean died unexpectedly the Saturday before last at the age of 91 just before her 92nd birthday. Her funeral took place yesterday with a crowded church, with people packed in every conceivable space . As Father Martin is on holiday I had the privilege of taking the service. Jean had left instructions that it was to be a straight forward Funeral Service and had chosen the hymns to be sung. (We hope to arrange a Requiem Mass for Jean when Father Martin returns from his holiday. A Requiem was celebrated by Father Martin in Spain at the same time as the funeral was taking place in the UK)

At the beginning of the service I read out a letter which I had received from Father Martin welcoming people to St. Augustine’s,  celebrating Jean’s life and saying the important role she had played in the life of St. Augustine’s since she first started attending in 1953 .This was very much appreciated by the family and those attending

I used the reading, 1 Corinthians, 1-13 as the basis for my sermon and appreciation of all the Jean had done in the life of the parish. Later in the service there was a moving Eulogy written by members of the family. At the end of the service I gave the Final Commendation, sprinkled the coffin with Holy Water and blessed it with incense before the cortege left Rush Green and went to the South East Essex Crematorium for the committal.

There was a really wonderful buffet in the hall when the family and other mourners returned to the parish

Tuesday, 21 August 2012


On Sunday after the Parish Mass we went to Thaxted for Peter Jepson’s Organ Recital. Peter came to Thaxted last year with a wonderful recital and he did another equally as good this year. There is a 3 manual Makin organ in the church which belongs to the the Thaxted Musical Festival. Recently it has been revoiced and new speakers have been added and it now has a most glorious sound. Afterwards we went to the local pub for a meal. Excellent!

Yesterday, I celebrated Mass at St. Mary’s Ilford and today took a funeral at Upminster. Tomorrow another funeral for a long standing member of St. Augustine’s congregation. Then Thursday Mass at St. Augustine’s and later in the morning Mass and sermon at the Hospital Chapel. So it’s quite a busy week!

Saturday, 18 August 2012


There is no doubt that Pussy Riot’s performance in the Russian Orthodox Cathedral was, to say the very least, sacrilegious. The words were quite obscene. Yet I don’t think they deserved a two year prison sentence which was out of all proportion to the crime they committed. A punk rock group that nobody had ever heard of, and a pretty poor one at that, has shot in to becoming world famous. If the Russians had been really clever they wouldn’t have given this mediocre band the publicity they have received by their over-the-top prosecution.

Friday, 17 August 2012


I always believed that embassies were places which were considered to be part of the country which owned them and were. therefore, sacrosanct. The safety of diplomats around the world has depended on this understanding. So it comes as no little surprise that we, the British, are threatening the Embassy of the Ecuadorians in Kensinggton with the violation of their territory  to arrest a man who has sought refugee status in their Embassy which has now been granted.. Whilst, so far, no action has been taken on the little known law, quoted by the Home Secretary, to justify such an action I believe that by threatening to do so so we put into jeopardy the safety of our diplomats in many unstable countries who, in the past, have respected the status of Embassies. If it is alright for the British to ignore the status of Embassies others can argue that it is alright for them to do so. Or could it be the case, that as Ecuador is a small country we feel we can ride roughshod over them with no consequences?

Wednesday, 15 August 2012



The Angel of the Lord brought tidings to Mary.
And she conceived by the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with Thee;
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen

Tuesday, 14 August 2012


I was surprised and quite annoyed by the biased BBC2 broadcast several evenings ago, on Newsnight, about the charity “Help for Heroes”. I believe the report was misleading and gave little credit to the outstanding work this wonderful charity has done since its inception.

The particular gripe of the programme was the amount of money that Help for Heroes has spent on restoring Tidworth House so it can be used as a rehabilitation facility for injured service personnel. This amounts to £20million but what the programme did not reveal was that to build a new facility would have cost this amount or more and the accommodation would not have been of the same high standard. Officers have really superb accommodation; Tidworth House will provide a similar standard for ordinary service men and women. How do I know what officers have? Because I’ve been in many army, navy and air-force bases over the years and have been a guest in officers Messes and Ward Rooms.

I believe that Help for Heroes is a first class charity which deserves the support of everyone. It compliments the work of the Royal British Legion and frequently they work together. I wear my Help for Heroes bracelet with pride and will continue to support them when I can.

Sunday, 12 August 2012


Tonight the Olympics will close and we have every reason to be proud of the number of medals Team GB have won. The big question is what is the legacy that will justify the enormous expenditure that has been made for the games. I’ve no doubt that the Olympic Park will be well used and further development take place for housing but regrettably only a small amount will be for affordable housing. More importantly, what about the Sports legacy? The Prime Minister has already outlined some of the hopes i.e.  school children in compulsory sports. However over the last few years many school playing fields have been sold so where will children be able to take part in sport?

The Independent reports: The legacy of the London 2012 Games has been thrown into doubt after figures reveal that Education Secretary Michael Gove has approved the sale of over 20 school playing fields since the coalition government has been in power.Among the pitches approved for disposal is a 1.6 acre playing field at the Winchcombe School, a state primary in Newbury, Berkshire, which has been put up for sale with outline planning permission for housing, the Guardian reported. It is understood that the previous Labour government approved the sell off of just over 200 playing fields over 13 years. And an estimated 10,000 were disposed of between 1979 and 1997.

Friday, 10 August 2012


This afternoon we decided to go to Hainault Forest for a stroll. When we go there we often walk round the lake admiring the ducks,and geese and other wild life and we did this today although getting to the lake was far from easy and involved a long walk from the top car park as, of course, the other park is now used by the contractors.. This was the first time we have been there since both Snoozebox and the British Army moved on site, to house some of those staffing the Olympics. Hainault Forest has always been a favourite of ours and we were concerned when we heard that it was to be used for accommodation for the Olympics. Were we right to be concerned? I think so; it will take years for the area to be restored to how it was and an enormous amount of money if, in fact, it can be restored.. We have been reassured that restoration will be a priority. We wait to see.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Saint Teresa Benedict of the Cross

Today the Church keeps the Feast of St. Teresa Benedict who was born Edith Stein and who died on the 9th August 1942 in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Born a Jew she converted to the Catholic faith and was Baptised on the 1st January 1922. An academic, one evening Edith picked up an autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila and read this book all night. "When I had finished the book, I said to myself: This is the truth." Later, looking back on her life, she wrote: "My longing for truth was a single prayer." She joined the Carmelites in 1934. On 7 August 1942, early in the morning, 987 Jews were deported to Auschwitz. It was probably on 9 August that Sister Teresa Benedict, her sister and many other of her people were gassed. “When Edith Stein was beatified in Cologne on 1 May 1987, the Church honoured "a daughter of Israel", as Pope John Paul II put it, who, as a Catholic during Nazi persecution, remained faithful to the crucified Lord Jesus Christ and, as a Jew, to her people in loving faithfulness." (from the Vatican Website)

I celebrated Mass today at St. Augustine’s Rush Green and at Ilford Hospital Chapel.


Saturday 11th August 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.

Free Guided tours of this historic building dating from the 12th Century.

Stalls and Refreshments


If you haven’t yet visited the oldest, most historic building in Ilford why not do so. The chapel is on Ilford Hill.

Every Thursday at 12.35 p.m MASS to which all are welcome. Refreshments are served after Mass.

Chaplain: Father Mervyn Jennings SSC

Sunday, 5 August 2012

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

With a full church, I presided today at the Parish Mass at St. Augustine’s, Rush Green where Father Martin concelebrated and preached (a brief resume of his sermon can be found here).

Yesterday, Ann and I went to Swindon to visit Ann’s mother for the Garden Party and Hog Roast at the Residential Home where she now lives. It was a pleasant afternoon especially when our son, daughter-in-law and our two grandchildren arrived.

Thursday, 2 August 2012




The Comper Reredos in the Lady Chapel

Today I celebrated the regular weekly Mass at Ilford Hospital Chapel and, as it is the first Thursday of the month, it was with the Ministry of Healing. In the homily I talked about the man with paralysis who had been brought to Jesus by his friends and then had been lowered through the roof. I pointed out that it was the faith of the men who had carried the paralytic rather than his own faith which had enabled his healing.We were slightly down on numbers today possibly due to folk staying away due to the Olympics at Stratford (some of our people come from that area.) We are always pleased to see people so why not come on a Thursday at 12.35 p.m. and, if possible, stay for refreshments afterwards.

Tomorrow the Friends of the Hospital Chapel are meeting at 2.30 p.m. and our new Chairperson Councillor Mrs Joyce Ryan will be taking the Chair for the first time..

The Mayor of Redbridge will be visiting the Hospital Chapel on Saturday 8th September during our September Open Day.

Our next Open Day is Saturday 14th August which will include Guided Tours explaining something of the history of this wonderful gem in the middle of Ilford