Sunday, 28 October 2012


On Sunday’s I usually listen to the Morning Service on Radio 4 at 8.10 a.m. and the quality of both words and music is quite variable. Today the hymn “Be thou my vision” was sung to the beautiful Irish Tune Slane except it wasn’t beautiful at all the way it had been arranged. Who ever arranged it had set Slane to a South American type beat which I thought it was absolutely dreadful. Why do people feel they have to do this sort of thing with classical hymn tunes; it is totally unnecessary. It does nothing to enhance worship; quite the reverse in my opinion, it totally ruins it. Although I personally don’t like many of the modern worship songs, I suppose that they can be rendered that way – most of them are doggerel sung to music which has little, if any, musical merit anyway. 

Saturday, 27 October 2012

NOT THE MESSIAH (He’s a very naughty boy)

As part of their fund-raising to preserve the Kenneth More Theatre, Ilford they are presenting yesterday and today the oratorio “Not the Messiah” by permission and with the encouragement of Eric Idle. The five soloists, the choir and symphony orchestra have all given the services totally without charge in support of the effort the theatre are making to compensate for the loss of the council grant which I understand amounts to £50,000.

Ann and I went yesterday evening and we both thoroughly enjoyed this magnificent production which was originally staged in the Hollywood Bowl and later at the Royal Albert Hall. It’s very funny as well as being very entertaining. The final number is “Always look on the bright side of life” which the audience are invited to sing along and which they did with gusto.

The Kenneth More Theatre, Ilford is a beautiful small theatre which caters for both professional and amateur productions. The highlight every year is the pantomime which runs for several weeks and which this years is Cinderella.

Whilst I understand that the Council have to make cutbacks during this difficult economic time I would hate to see this theatre close because of it. As someone remarked to me; “the developers are there waiting with their cheque books”. It would be a real shame if Ilford/Borough of Redbridge lost live theatre. Its achievements were  brought home to us when we learnt that everybody appearing had been nurtured in this theatre. Can Redbridge afford to loose such a wonderful asset.

Thursday, 25 October 2012


One of the twice a year rituals I really dislike are putting the clocks forward in the spring and putting them back in the Autumn. We have a lot of clocks! I have never understood why we can’t have a time zone and leave it alone; I’ve heard the arguments that it is,supposedly, to please/help the farmers in Scotland, and else where, but please what on earth has that to do with the rest of us. Surely, for farmers et al, it’s just a matter of going to bed earlier/getting up earlier which need not effect the rest of us. By putting the clocks back we make the evenings darker a lot earlier……..why do we want to do that?

Next year the clocks go forward on the 31st March

They go back on the 27th October

In 2014 they go forward on the 30th March and back on the 26th October.


Monday, 22 October 2012


On Saturday, at the Ilford Hospital Chapel, we had a truly wonderful concert entitled “Aspects of Love” given by opera star Deborah Aloba. Deborah trained at Roehampton gaining a BA Honours in Music and also studied at Goldsmith University. Deborah has performed at recitals in Italy, Germany, the USA and the UK as well as starring in operatic roles including Carman, Delilah, Azucena, Amneris, Dido, the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors and Dorabella, She has performed in various oratorios including The Messiah, St. Matthew’s Passion and Faure’s Requiem. She has taught singing for the last 15 years and is working with children with special needs and behavioural difficulties and is studying to become a Music Therapist.

Deborah was accompanied by accomplished pianist Anne Reece who is currently Head of Instrumental Music at Surbiton High School for Girls.

The varied programme was introduced by Vivyan Ellacott who, until 2010, was General Manager and Artistic Director of the Kenneth Moore Theatre where was responsible for producing 28 operas,130 musicals and numerous plays and pantomimes. Vivyan gave a wonder introduction to each piece.

With its barrel roof the acoustics in the Chapel are suburb and Deborah used them to their fullest advantage. It was a truly magnificent concert and we are pleased that Deborah will be appearing again in another recital in the Spring on a date to arranged

Saturday, 20 October 2012


For ages and ages, since the start of the recession, banks and building societies have paid miniscule amounts of interest to savers, despite the fact that when they lend that money they charge considerably higher amounts to the borrower.Many mortgage lenders now add what they call a product or arrangement fee and this is often part of a scheme to reduce, by a small amount the interest charged. It seems to me that this is just another way of increasing profitability. I gather that some of these institutions won’t refund the fee if the mortgage doesn’t proceed.There is no doubt that the banks and building societies are raking in money from their clients but not paying it to their savers. It is high time that steps were taken to regulate banks and building societies. It sticks in my throat that millions are paid to their staff in bonuses (mainly in the banking world) yet the return to the saver is so paltry.

Friday, 19 October 2012


It has been announced today that the new Bishop of Whitby is to be Father Phillip North. Father Phillip is well known to many readers of this blog –  for a period he was the Administrator of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Please keep Father Phillip in your prayers as he prepares to take up his new responsibilities.

Thursday, 18 October 2012



Today a housing manager, Adrian Smith, is in court trying to recover his lost earnings because his employer demoted him and slashed his salary by 40 per cent …all because he said on Facebook that gay weddings in churches would be “an equality too far”.

Mr Smith made his comment on his personal Facebook page, outside of work time. His page was not visible to the general public. Only his chosen friends, and their friends, could see it. That included some of his work colleagues.

His bosses at Trafford Housing Trust in Manchester charged him with gross misconduct. The only reason he didn’t get fired was that he had been such a good employee over many years.

The press later found out that Trafford Housing Trust took action against Mr Smith because it was, in part, worried that it might lose a gay rights charter award if it didn’t take a tough line.

He has spent a great deal of time trying to reason with his bosses, but he has exhausted the internal appeals procedure and they have refused to see sense. Now a County Court judge will have to decide whether the Trust acted unlawfully.

Even Peter Tatchell, one of the chief activists pushing for marriage to be redefined, says Mr Smith has been harshly treated and should be reinstated.

Mr Smith’s case is the kind of injustice that I believe will happen more often if the Government goes ahead and redefines marriage. Supporters of traditional marriage will be punished in the workplace, particularly in the public sector. It’s wrong for someone’s career to be damaged just because they voice support for traditional marriage.

The serious implications for civil liberty don’t end there. The widespread impact has been outlined in a legal opinion, written by a top human rights lawyer Aidan O’Neill QC. You can download and read a one-page summary of it here.

All of this shows that the Government’s plans to rewrite marriage are divisive, illiberal, far-reaching and should be dropped.

Yours sincerely,

Colin Hart

Colin Hart
Campaign Director
Coalition for Marriage

Tuesday, 16 October 2012


If you are over 60 and live in London you are eligible for an Oyster Card which will provide free travel on the tube, bus and railway which is in the area covered by Transport for London.

You will need to provide:

  • A colour digital photo
  • An active email address
  • Proof of identification and address
  • £10 fee

You will not be eligible if you:

  • Have, or are eligible for, an older or disabled persons Freedom Pass
  • Have a Veterans Oyster photocard
  • Are under 60
  • Don't live in a London borough

Free travel on Transport for London (TfL) services for all Londoners when they reach 60 years old will be restored from 1 November when the 60+ London Oyster photocard scheme goes live.

The new scheme fulfils the Mayor Boris Johnson's pledge to bridge the gap for older Londoners since the age of eligibility for the London Council's Freedom Pass was raised by the Government.

To find out more click here

Saturday, 13 October 2012


After 19 years as Director of Forward in Faith Stephen Parkinson is to retire and is to be succeeded by Dr Colin Podmore, who is currently the Clerk to the General Synod of the Church of England. In a Statement Bishop Jonathan Baker F-in-F Chairman said:”It is thanks to the tireless work of Stephen Parkinson that Forward in Faith has been able to make such an impact on the life of the Church of England. As its Director, he has played a pivotal role in building Forward in Faith into the distinctive and dynamic organisation that it is today. It is a tribute to Stephen’s achievement that we have been able to attract so distinguished a successor.’

‘Colin Podmore will bring to the role a wealth of experience at senior level in the Church of England. He is passionate about the faith and order of the catholic Church as received by the Church of England and has long been committed to the visible unity of the one Church of Jesus Christ,’ Bishop Jonathan added.

Dr Lindsay Newcombe, Vice-Chairman of FiF, said: ‘Forward in Faith gives hope and confidence to the many young Anglicans of orthodox faith who need a structure in the Church of England within which they can thrive and share their faith with others. Colin is well equipped to support us in making that vision a reality.’

Colin Podmore, a Cornishman, read history at Keble College, Oxford, and trained as a teacher at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He taught German at S. Michael’s Church of England High School in Chorley, Lancashire, before returning to Keble to research for his Oxford DPhil in church history. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. His publications include Aspects of Anglican Identity (2005) and articles on Anglican ecclesiology. On the staff of the General Synod from 1988, he was successively Deputy Secretary of the Council for Christian Unity, Secretary of the House of Clergy, Secretary of the Liturgical Commission, and Secretary of the Dioceses Commission. He was also secretary of groups that reviewed the processes for choosing diocesan bishops and making senior church appointments and oversaw the publication of the Common Worship liturgy. As well as being Clerk to the Synod, Colin is also the Director of the Central Secretariat of the Archbishops' Council and Director of Ecumenical Relations.




To hear the various reports of the National Assembly click here

Thursday, 11 October 2012


Boris Johnson states that marriage is a relic of the stone age which needs to be redefined, by which he means he wants marriage to be changed to include gay people. But Christians understand marriage to be an unchangeable Sacrament of one man and one woman and not two men or two women. This is not some sort of bigotry but a statement of Christian Doctrine that none of our politicians can ever change nor redefine and neither should they try.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012




Hundreds of people packed into Birmingham Town Hall yesterday to attend the Coalition for Marriage fringe meeting at the Conservative Party Conference.

Rousing speeches were delivered by David Burrowes MP, Lord Carey the former Archbishop of Canterbury, and former MP Ann Widdecombe.

The speeches were peppered by rapturous applause from the audience. In a report about our event, the BBC said: "David Cameron could only dream of this sort of fervour when he delivers his big conference speech on Wednesday."

Lord Carey accused the Government of plundering the institution of marriage for political motives.

David Burrowes MP called for a referendum on the redefinition of marriage, confident that the public would support keeping marriage as it is.

Ann Widdecombe said the real extremists are those who believe the state should silence anyone who opposes the plans to redefine marriage.

And I tell you today what I also told the audience yesterday. There is all to play for in this campaign. We can win and keep the real meaning of marriage.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Women Bishops

The latest information is that the Catholic Group on General Synod and members of Reform are intending to vote against the legislation to inaugurate the Consecration of Women as Bishops following the Bishops revision of the Clause 5 (1)c. It also appears that the group WATCH (Women in the Church) who have so aggressively campaigned for Women Bishops are not taking an official position on the November vote because they are still unhappy with the revised Clause. I don’t think they will be happy until they have driven every Catholic male priest out of the CofE.

If the above information is accurate it could mean that the two thirds majority needed will not be reached and the current legislation will therefore be defeated.

This week on Friday and Saturday the National Assembly of Forward in Faith is taking place and, I suspect, that then we will learn a little more.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Breakfast at the Zoo

Today Ann and I went to Colchester Zoo making sure we were there before 11.30 a.m. when they stop serving their excellent breakfast. For £9.99 you receive two breakfasts plus freshly brewed coffee. Each breakfast comprises of two slices of bacon, two farmhouse sausages, two hash browns, baked beans, fried egg on a slice of fried bread, grilled tomato and mushrooms. Really scrumptious! Full of cholesterol, I know, but just occasionally, a wonderful treat.
However the main reason for our visit was to see the new baby. Recently my adopted baby hippo Venus gave birth and we wanted to see the new arrival. . It is beautiful and well worth the drive to Colchester. I took some pictures but I’m afraid they didn’t come out.

Thursday, 4 October 2012




Today, at the Hospital Chapel of St. Mary and St. Thomas of Canterbury, Ilford I celebrated the Mass for St. Francis of Assisi and offered the Ministry of Healing with the Laying-on-of-Hands with Prayer and Holy Anointing. In the Homily I focussed on how St. Francis received the message, from the figure on the Byzantine Cross which he believed spoke to him saying “rebuild my church” and how he initially understood this to mean the actual building of St. Damiano. Later he came to understand that it meant not a building but the People of God, the church Jesus came to build. St. Francis bore the marks of the Cross on his body when he received the Stigmata.











Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek

to be consoled as to console;

to be understood as to understand;

to be loved as to love;

For it is in giving that we receive;

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.

St. Francis of Assisi: Pray for us.