Tuesday, 31 December 2013




Monday, 30 December 2013



The Bishop of Richborough presided at the Pontifical Concelebrated Mass at the Hospital Chapel yesterday evening. He preached an excellent sermon, we had an ad hoc choir from various churches who sang the service brilliantly, under the direction of the Organist and Choirmaster of St. Margaret’s Barking Abbey, Andrew Earwaker. Father Martin Howse read the Gospel and our Intercessions were led by Ann Jennings who also was the Thurifer. in addition to our own team of servers I was grateful to David from St. Mary’s, Ilford and Louise and Daniel from St. Augustine’s who assisted. In addition to Father Martin, Father Gareth Jones from St. Mary’s and Father Stuart Halsted from St. Alban’s and I concelebrated with Bishop Norman.

Refreshments were organised by Ann helped by Gwen and Shelia.It was really great to see the Chapel full for this celebration.


Friday, 27 December 2013


Yesterday, we went with our daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren to the Disney on Ice show "Dare to Dream. The show was excellent and quite spectacular. Apart from feeling totally frozen by the time we left (it was an ice show after all) I couldn't believe the prices that were being charged. e.g. £12 for a programme which included a plastic hat and anything from £6 to £9 for popcorn, drinks cup and candy floss. Even the ice creams were £4.60. The toys on the various Disney Toy Stalls had a tremendous mark-up. So today we took the grandchildren to Romford Disney Shop and they were able to buy some toys considerably cheaper than at the O2. The other unbelievable item was the price to park a car was a staggering £21. We parked at a tube station for £2 and took the tube

Thursday, 26 December 2013


We started our Christmas celebrations with our Christingle Service. During the service the children were asked to bring the Nativity figures to the crib. In the talk I asked Father Martin where Mister Monkey was (he is the mascot of our Sunday School – sometimes he’s very good and sometimes not) He had been left in the Sacristy so the servers went to fetch him. He came into church, complaining that he hadn’t been invited to the service so he had made his own Christingle. He used as the base a potato instead of an orange, a discarded post office red rubber band instead of a ribbon, he had five sticks: one with a brussel sprout, one with a baby sweet corn, one with a wiggly worm,  one with a mushroom and one with a piece of broccoli. He had an electric tea light instead of a candle.Father Martin explained how a proper Christingle was made and explained the significance of each part. Mister Monkey was then given a proper Christingle and then every member of the congregation came to collect theirs. Once lit we sang Once in royal David’s City and then the new Children Society’s hymn.


Sunday, 22 December 2013

Behold a Virgin shall Conceive

In his sermon at today’s Parish Mass at St. Augustine’s, Rush Green Father Martin invited a teenager, one of our teenage Christians in the congregation, to do an interview with him. He pointed out that “L” was slightly older than Mary would have been when the events recorded in the Gospel had taken place. In the interview amongst the questions Father Martin asked, he asked “L” how she would have felt if an angel appeared to her: “Scared “ she replied. “L” acted the part brilliantly and gave us much food for thought.


Many people regard Mary as a young woman and certainly not around the age of 14 as she probably was and she was probably very frightened when the angel told her that she had been specially chosen to be the mother of God’s Son. It was a task which not only Mary but Joseph had to come to terms with. As we prepare to celebrate the wonderful occasion of the birth of our Saviour we should always remember with the greatest affection Jesus’ mother Mary and Joseph, the Guardian of the Holy Family.

Thursday, 19 December 2013









Principal Celebrant & Preacher:

The Rt. Revd. Norman Banks SSC





Sunday, 15 December 2013




Today Father Martin presided at the Parish Mass whilst I concelebrated, read the Gospel and preached. Our Intercessions were led by Ann. In my sermon I pointed out that the colour of the day was pink or rose. I talked about how pink was a colour of Joy, a joy shared by all little girls who loved pink especially our 3 granddaughters. We are now half way through the Advent Season and this Sunday  the pink candle of the Advent wreath was lit to remind us of that. We need to remember that the word JOY reminded us that we should put Jesus first, others next and yourself last. John the Baptist put Jesus first as he proclaimed that we should repent and that he was sent to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah. This was our task; to prepare our contacts, the people we mix with day by day, so they, and we, would be ready when Jesus comes again. In the meanwhile we have opportunity to meet him every time we come to Mass for he is present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.

Sunday, 8 December 2013



Today I presided at the Parish Mass in a church which was very nearly full. Father Martin read the Gospel, preached and led our Intercessions during which we remembered Nelson Mandela and his family and South Africa. In his sermon Father Martin spoke about “I’m a Celebrity – Get me out of Here” which is currently on ITV and which finishes tonight. He talked about locusts and honey and reminded us of how the Israeli’s had diverted a small part of the River Jordan so it is on Israeli territory rather than Jordan and Lebanon. He reminded those who recently visited the area that it was in the River Jordan that John the Baptist carried out his ministry of calling people to repent very much in accord with the ministry of the Old Testament prophets looking forward to the appearance of the

Friday, 6 December 2013


I recently met a man who was the top sales manager in his company. He was rewarded for this prestigious attainment by being made redundant because “he was earning too much”. The mind boggles! It is this type of stupidity which has been the ruination of British business over the years.

Sunday, 1 December 2013



  1. Today I preached and concelebrated at St. Augustine’s, Rush Green and tonight Ann and I went to our Annual Advent Carol Service and 9 Lessons. We both read Lessons and I gave the Bidding Prayer and Led the prayers at the end of the service. Father Martin gave a brief introduction to each reading and carol.

Amongst the various choir solos I particularly enjoyed the choir’s rendering of Adam lay ybounden.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013


If it turns out to be true that one of our national banks has been forcing viable businesses into liquidation so that they could obtain the assets at knock down prices only to then resell them to make the bank a profit, it is totally unacceptable and quite possibly illegal.

Prior to Ordination I spent some years working in commercial lending as Manager of Commercial Mortgage Department, for a major British Insurance Company and worked with many banks to obtain finance for clients. I have never come across the likes of this in my time; in those days banking/lending was highly ethical and the bankers themselves had very high standards of ethics. What has changed?

I believe, that regrettably, we have exchanged ethics for greed as shown by the amount some banker’s now pay themselves.

Sunday, 24 November 2013



Today I presided at the Parish Mass at St. Augustine’s Rush Green, Father Martin read the Gospel, preached and concelebrated and Pamela led our Intercessions which included a sung response.After Mass a card was presented to Ken who is currently exploring his possible vocation to the Sacred Priesthood. He currently attends a church in the Evangelical Tradition and the DDO wanted him to experience Anglo-Catholic worship which he has been doing for a number of weeks. He leave us, with our prayers, as he continues this exploration.


Following a meeting at the Town Hall a compromise has been reached over the proposed Parking Restrictions which were  highlighted in the Blog last week. Father Martin attended the meeting on Thursday armed with the many signatures we collected at our Winter Bazaar and at Mass last Sunday; also the Council had received objections via the on-line petition we organised on our Web Site.

The new proposals introduce Free Parking Bays on both sides of the road, near to the junction with Rush Green Road, giving a maximum stay of 3 hours stay, Monday to Saturday 8.00 a.m. – 6.30 p.m. (with no return within 2 hours) There will be no restrictions on a Sunday. This will mean people attending Sunday and/or weekday Masses, Nursery School, Beavers, Rainbows, Cubs and Brownies or folk attending a funeral or wedding or the Saturday Shop will be able to park.

Please agree to these revised proposals which meet all our requirements by contacting Streetcare, at Havering Town Hall  by email to schemes@havering.gov.uk : stating you are in favour of the proposals and if you wish to add further comment please restrict this to no more than 100 words

Friday, 22 November 2013

“Change or face Extinction”

The retired Archbishop of Canterbury Lord George Carey recently forecast that unless the church changed it could face extinction within a generation. Is that true? Many commentators have agreed with this statement but what about those churches which are growing?

Certainly my experience at St. Augustine’s, Rush Green is that it has been consistently growing for the past five years. There are more communicants; the Sunday School flourishes; there are many members of the congregation who are in their thirties and forties – also many who are retired and quite a few teenagers. I believe that churches who preach the undiluted Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ are the churches that are growing and are either in the Catholic or the Evangelical sections of the church.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013


I, for one, an opponent of both ordination of women to the priesthood and the episcopate, am pleased that after all these years a decision has been made. The day women were ordained to the priesthood it was inevitable that they would, at some stage, become bishops. It was never a question of if but when. The sad thing really is that since the original proposal was made and promises were made to those opposed, they have been steadfastly broken. So what value is it possible to put on any promises now being made? Only time will tell.

Monday, 11 November 2013


Please sign the online petition to Havering Council objecting to the proposed restrictions which will have a very detrimental effect on worshippers and hall users:

Please click here to sign

This will go direct to Havering Council

Sunday, 10 November 2013


Members of the St Augustine’s congregation were horrified this morning when they learnt of the scheme by Havering Council to impose Residents Only Parking in the road by the church where there are no restrictions at present. These will be in force everyday from 8.00 a.m. until 8.00 p.m. Objections have to be with the Council by the end of November and the new restrictions, if approved, will be in force in February. Many people who regularly attend church will be unable to park here as before and there is no where else apart from a very small church car park which is impossible to expand. It will affect the Nursery Scholl and other day time activities in the hall. After a well-attended Requiem Mass for Remembrance Sunday a petition was launched to object to these new parking restriction and so many signed extra sheets had to be made. There is to be no “dropping of” provision and with very active “spy” cars operating in this area no one will be able to stop for just a moment or two. It could mean the end of our well-supported Saturday Shop and our weekday Masses and other organisations which, at present, use our hall..
Residents will have to pay for the right to park outside their homes and I believe this is just another example of the council using car-parking as a fund raising opportunity; as well as inconveniencing church goers and hall users as there are no residents in the road on either side of the road by the church. Much of the problem with parking in this area has been caused by Queen’s Hospital charging prohibitive amounts to park in inadequate parking on the Hospital site as well as making little or no provision for staff parking. As a result of this policy people visiting the hospital or members of staff, park in adjacent roads with little consideration for residents who are justifiable angry at not being able to park outside their homes. The answer is for the Hospital being made to provide adequate parking on their site and charging a reasonable amount to do so.

Friday, 8 November 2013

THE PILGRIMAGE TO THE HOLY LAND…………part 6 Sunday 27th October

This morning we went to St. Georges Cathedral for Mass followed by lunch in the Cathedral Refectory. After lunch we drove to Tiberias stopping at a site where the River Jordan has been diverted by the Israelis as the proper Baptism site is in Jordan.

Monday 28th October

Today we went to Mount Tabor and the Church of the Transfiguration where we celebrated Mass and then on to Nazareth and the YMCA Nazareth Village  which is a reconstruction of 1st Century life in Galilee. The young lady who took us round was extremely informative relating village life to the early years of Jesus. We had a magnificent lunch at the Holy Land Restaurant and then visited the Basilica of the Annuciation where we said the Angelus. We walked through the souk to the Synagogue Church which is in the care of the Greek Catholic Church. Our guide Johnny is a Greek Catholic and we were able to visit the Greek Catholic Church next door. We then continued through the souk to visit St. Gabriel’s Church which we were unable to visit as a funeral was under way. We then drove to Cana to visit the scene of Jesus’ first miracle. Tired, we got back to the hotel for a swim before dinner.

Monday, 4 November 2013

THE PILGRIMAGE TO THE HOLY LAND…………part 5 Saturday 26th October

Today we drove to the church and tomb of Lazarus and then paid a visit to Jeel al-Amal Boys Home which is a boarding school for boys many of whom are orphans. I is also a co-educational school for children up to secondary school age. Founded by Christians and funded by many Christian Charities and churches it now has only Muslim children and Teachers. (As we discovered in Bethlehem many Christian Palestinians have left the country). We had lunch at the Jerusalem Hotel and then visited The Dormition Abbey and the Tomb of King David. Before dinner we celebrated Mass on the hotel rood top overlooking the old city of Jerusalem.








Here we said The Angelus

Sunday, 3 November 2013

THE PILGRIMAGE TO THE HOLY LAND…………part 3 Thursday 24th October

This morning we joined the queue to visit El Aqsa Mosque and the Dome on the Rock on the Temple Mount. Whilst queuing we were able to witness several Bar-Mitzvah processions to the Western Wall; many of the boys were in very colourful outfits and all were accompanied by dancing and a small band. We just managed to arrive inside the gates before they were closed.


Afterwards we walked to the Pool of Bethesda and the Church of S. Anne’s and then on to the Ecce Homo Convent for lunch and Mass before following the Via Dolorosa for Stations of the Cross  which concluded at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

part 4  Friday 25th October

Today we visited the Vad Vashem Memorial to the Holocaust then we drove toAbu Guosh for Mass. In the early evening we went to the Western Wall for the start of Shabbat.


Saturday, 2 November 2013

THE PILGRIMAGE TO THE HOLY LAND…………part 2 Tuesday 22nd October

On Tuesday we went to Bethlehem for Mass in the Fields of the Shepherds and after some time exploring after Mass we went to the Olive Wood Co-operative Shop. Some examples of their beautiful handiwork are pictured below.
The picture above shows the wonderful Noah’s Ark.
The Christmas Crib
It was then on to the Bethlehem Rehabilitation Centre where Mary, one of the staff, talked to us about the important work they do as a local hospital with a Christian foundation.Then we went to the Church of the Holy Nativity and joined a very long queue to visit the Grotto of the Nativity and St Jerome’s Caves.
The Mass in the Shepherds Fields was wonderful and it was a very good day.

Friday, 1 November 2013

THE PILGRIMAGE TO THE HOLY LAND…………part 1 Monday 21st October

We set out for Israel from Heathrow on the 21st October and we boarded quite quickly and easily. And then we sat and waited………..and waited………………and waited for around an hour with the only information being one of the Stewards saying "we apologise for the delay and will be taking of as soon as possible. One hour late, we actually took off. It appears the delay was caused by a passenger from the USA arriving with excess baggage and not having the wherewithal to pay the extra required. By the time that had been resolved we had to wait for a suitable slot. As a result of the hours delay we arrived in Jerusalem an hour late, some when after midnight, knowing that we would be leaving the hotel at 8.30 a.m. as we were booked for Mass at the Garden of Gethsemane for 9.00 a.m.

It was a wonderful Mass and we then went to St. Peter in Gallicantu, the Pater Noster Church, Ein Karem, the Israel Museum with the Dead Sea Scrolls. At lunch time we stopped for a splendid lunch at St. Andrew’s Guest House and eventually arrived back at our hotel exhausted but exhilarated.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Who’s using food banks?

From MSM

By midday the volunteers are ready and waiting inside the door of the red-brick church. The kettle is boiling and there are plates of biscuits. The small room is dotted with tables covered with brightly coloured clothes and mismatched vases of fresh flowers.

Outside, a middle-aged woman and her young daughter wait for the door to be unlocked. But they aren’t waiting for a service or a church meeting group, they are waiting to be given an emergency parcel of food.

Food bank use is on the rise. According to the Trussell Trust, a charity that runs 400 food banks across the UK, the number of people relying on their services to survive has tripled over the last three years.

Between April and September this year, the trust says it handed out emergency supplies for more than 350,000 people. A third of those were children.

What are food banks and why do we need them?

In the red-brick church, the woman and her child have received several bags of food and left. She doesn’t want to talk about why she’s there, she just wants to get in and out as quickly as possible.

The bank has given her enough food to last each member of her household for three days, and also essentials like toiletries and toilet rolls. Food bags are made up on the spot depending on the recipient’s needs and what facilities, if any, they have for preparing meals.

John, the manager of this food bank in Warrington, in the north-west, explains that these food parcels are for people and families in crisis. “They can’t come every week, more like once every three months at the most. But we see most people just once, maybe twice. We couldn’t give regular parcels to everyone; we couldn’t keep up with demand!”

 Red Cross backs food help scheme

The food bank relies entirely on donations and is staffed by volunteers. John says that he needs volunteers who have compassion, but who can also keep “an element of detachment”. As the room fills up, it becomes apparent that some level of detachment is an essential survival trait for the staff.

At the door, 57-year-old Chris has arrived, clutching the referral slip he needs to access the food bank’s services. A brush with the criminal justice system has led to him finally being housed after 16 years on the street, but this has messed up his benefits payments and left him without money for basics like food.

The volunteers fetch him a cup of tea and ask a few essential questions. Does he have electricity? An oven? A kettle? Some customers don’t have such essential kitchen appliances and so there’s little point giving them tins of soup or instant noodles.

And Chris is being offered more than food. The volunteer sitting with him is referring him to the local clothing bank, and listening sympathetically as he talks about his alcohol addiction and the two daughters he has lost contact with.

Next there’s Jo, aged 42. She’s smartly dressed, with her hair tied in a neat bun, but she looks defeated. Jo lives alone with her husband and has been his carer while he struggles with mental ill health. However, he has been stripped of his Personal Independence Payment, a decision he’s appealing. In the meantime, there’s no food in the house and Jo has come to collect some emergency supplies.

“This government’s not got a clue about what it’s like for normal people,” she says in a resigned voice. If the food bank hadn’t been an option, what would she have done? “There’s nothing I could have done except try to borrow some money somehow.”

On the next table, 28-year-old Rose is talking to one of the volunteers. She’s explaining that she’s lost her benefits because she went into hospital and the evidence wasn’t passed to the jobcentre – it’s not clear if that’s her own fault or an admin error. “I had to go to hospital for a biopsy,” she reveals. “So I got sanctioned and lost my benefits. And now I have no food, but I have medicine I can only take with food. What do I do?” Rose says she is pregnant.

The volunteer helping her is Karen, and she works at the bank every week. “I want to see social justice,” she says passionately. “Society has to be made aware of how the welfare cuts are affecting the poorest people.”

Rose nods in agreement: “Cameron needs to get his arse in gear.”

The volunteers may try to distance themselves from the difficulties the food bank’s client’s face, but they all have stories that have affected them deeply. For one, it was the skinny man who had very little money left for food but had been using it to feed his dog rather than himself.

For another, it’s several clients on welfare benefits who they believe have been sanctioned for no reason, leaving them without money unfairly while they appeal.

Some of the people accepting food parcels are in work but have been hit by a crisis and left without cash. Others are undeniably chaotic, struggling to cope with issues such as homelessness and alcohol abuse.

And many have nowhere to turn but charities such as the Trussell Trust’s food banks. “Some people don’t have any safety net,” one volunteer comments. “You or I could go to family and at least get a meal, but for some of these people their families aren’t in a position to help them. They are just as chaotic themselves.”

David Cameron has come under pressure to look into the surge in demand for food banks, but the chancellor, George Osborne, has previously argued that the rise is simply because more people are aware of them.

When asked what they would do if the food bank wasn’t there, some say they would borrow money, others that they would beg or borrow food. But more than half, including possibly pregnant Rose, shake their heads and simply say: “Go hungry”


Thursday, 17 October 2013


1016222_553844577991324_1288035872_nToday, the Mayor of Redbridge together with the Mayoress, the Deputy Mayor and consort, Colonel Paul Acda, Deputy Lieutenant for Redbridge,our local MP Mike Gapes, present and retired Councillors, Past Mayors and other distinguished guests came to a Solemn Mass to celebrate the granting of the Charter to Ilford in 1926. The Mayor read one of the Lessons, I gave a short homily, Doreen led us in prayer and Ann, Tom and Stuart were servers. Guest Organist David Bailey played the organ and Jean led the singing of the Lourdes Gloria. After the Blessing we sang The Angelus and then, as today is the birthday of Warden Emeritus Richard, we sang “A Happy Birthday” we then adjourned next door to the Conservative Club for refreshments.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Tripling in foodbank usage sparks Trussell Trust to call for an inquiry

Wednesday 16th October (WORLD FOOD DAY)



Over 350,000 people received three days’ emergency food from Trussell Trust foodbanks between April and September 2013, triple the numbers helped in the same period last year. The Trussell Trust says that UK hunger is getting worse and the charity is calling for an inquiry into the causes of UK food poverty and the consequent surge in foodbank usage

Chris Mould, Executive Chairman of The Trussell Trust says: ‘We said in April that the increasing numbers of people turning to foodbanks should be a wake-up call to the nation, but there has been no policy response and the situation is getting worse. The level of food poverty in the UK is not acceptable. It’s scandalous and it is causing deep distress to thousands of people. The time has come for an official and in depth inquiry into the causes of food poverty and the consequent rise in the usage of foodbanks. As a nation we need to accept that something is wrong and that we need to act now to stop UK hunger getting worse.’

The Trussell Trust is writing to David Cameron asking him to look into the recently raised by the Government’s poverty tsar Frank Field MP.

Evidence from Trussell Trust foodbanks shows that rising living costs and stagnant wages are forcing more people to live on a financial knife edge where any change in circumstance can plunge them into poverty. Even marginal shifts in prices when people don’t have elasticity in their personal finances can have a major impact. Food prices have risen by 12.6% above inflation over the past six years and rising energy prices this winter are likely to see more people forced to choose between eating and heating. People at foodbanks have started giving back food items that need cooking because they can’t afford to turn on the electricity.

Many people on low-incomes are also being impacted by the implementation of April’s welfare reforms. Trussell Trust foodbanks are reporting increased referrals as a result of the spare room subsidy, sanctioning and confusion caused by the devolution of the Social Fund.

Chris Mould says: ‘Problems with welfare are not new, they have existed for years, but the reality is that when welfare provision breaks down, people go hungry. We’re talking about mums not eating for days because they’ve been sanctioned for seemingly illogical reasons, or people leaving hospital after a major operation to find that their benefits have been stopped or delayed. It’s not right that so many more people are now being referred to foodbanks due to problems with welfare, especially as much of this is preventable.

This is not about pointing fingers, it’s about finding solutions. That’s why we believe an enquiry is now essential’

Chris Johnes, Oxfam’s UK Poverty Programme Director, says:

"These figures lay bare the shocking scale of destitution, hardship and hunger in the UK. It is completely unacceptable that in the seventh wealthiest nation on the planet, the number of people turning to foodbanks has tripled.”

"Oxfam welcomes The Trussell Trust’s call for the Prime Minister to launch an urgent inquiry into why people are forced to turn to foodbanks."

Last week, British Red Cross announced that it will provide volunteers for the first time to support Tesco’s nationwide food collection for Trussell Trust Foodbanks and FareShare because it is so concerned by levels of UK hunger.

The Trussell Trust’s Chris Mould says ‘Trussell Trust foodbanks across the UK provide a much needed and vital lifeline to people facing hunger but far fewer people should be needing them and the rise in numbers we are reporting today  must sound an alarm.’



  • The Trussell Trust is a Christian charity that launches foodbanks to provide three days’ nutritionally balanced non-perishable food to people in crisis.
  • These figures have been released to coincide with World Food Day (16th October 2013).
  • 355,985 people received a minimum of three days’ emergency food from Trussell Trust foodbanks between April - September 2013, compared to 113,264 between April and September 2012. Numbers helped in the first six months of this financial year are more than the total number helped in the entirety of 2012-13 financial year (346,992). Of those helped in the last six months, over 120,000 (35 percent) were children.  
  • 65,177 people (19%) were referred to Trussell Trust foodbanks due to benefit changes between April and September 2013, compared to almost 14,897 (14%) in same period last year. 117,442 people (35%)were referred due to benefit delay, compared to 35,597 (33%) last year.
  • Whilst there are now double the number of foodbanks open this year compared to this time last year, numbers given emergency food have increased threefold and well-established foodbanks across the UK are reporting significant rises in numbers helped.
  • The Trussell Trust is launching two to three new foodbanks every week to help meet demand and has launched 400 UK foodbanks in partnership with churches and communities to date.
  • The Trussell Trust foodbank model aims to help people break out of poverty rather than create dependency on a foodbank. As well as providing emergency food, Trussell Trust foodbanks also signpost clients to other agencies able to help resolve the underlying cause of the crisis.
  • Trussell Trust foodbank users are referred by a frontline care professional such as a doctor, social worker, CAB or schools liaison officer. Over 18,000 frontline care professionals across the UK refer clients to Trussell Trust foodbanks, 50 percent of which are statutory agencies.
  • Foodboxes contain at least three days’ supply of non-perishable foods such as tinned fruit, vegetables, meat and fish as well as pasta, cereal, UHT milk, sauces, tea, long-life juice. The Trussell Trust works with dieticians to ensure that foodboxes are nutritionally balanced. Over 90% of food given out by foodbanks is donated directly by the public. In 2012-13, 3,492.44 tonnes of non-perishable food was donated.
  • Foodbank clients can receive up to three consecutive foodbank vouchers before our system flags that the foodbank should speak to the referral agent to make sure that their client is receiving proper support to help them out of their crisis. Longer term support is available at the discretion of the foodbank manager but our aim is to help people out of poverty and prevent dependency. Each voucher can be redeemed for at least three days food.
  • In 2008-09 Trussell Trust foodbanks gave three days’ emergency food to 26,000 people nationwide; in 2009-10: 41,000 were helped; in 2010-11: 61,468; in 2011-12: 128,697; in 2012-13: 346,992.
  • Foodbanks help to prevent housing loss, mental health problems, family breakdown and crime.
  • The Trussell Trust estimates that there would need to be 750-1,000 foodbanks to provide for people in crisis across the UK. Thousands of people are facing hunger today in towns with no foodbanks.
  • For World Food Day, The Trussell Trust is running an appeal called ‘Give it up for foodbanks’ to encourage more people to help stop UK hunger by giving up coffee, cake etc for a week and donating what they save.
  • The Trussell Trust receives no government funding and relies entirely on the generosity of the public, businesses and charitable trusts.
  • The Trussell Trust is a-political.
  • For more on foodbanks visit: www.trusselltrust.org/foodbank-projects
  • The Trussell Trust is a Christian charity that partners with local communities to provide practical, non-judgemental help to people in crisis in the UK and Bulgaria: www.trusselltrust.org
  • I am publishing this on my Blog to give it more publicity and as it is something which causes me great concern.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Housing charity Shelter said many households are on a financial 'knife-edge'

from msm money – The Press Association

As many as one home in every street in some places of England are at risk of being repossessed, according to a housing and homelessness charity.

Unemployment and the high cost of living are leaving many households on a "knife-edge", Shelter said.

The number of possession claims across England has increased, according to figures released by the charity which it says are based on a combination of Ministry of Justice statistics and 2011 census data.

The figures relate to possession claims, which are applications made to a court by lenders and landlords to repossess a house, the first step to get a possession order.

Between July last year and June the biggest increase in possession and eviction claims was recorded in Richmondshire, North Yorkshire, rocketing by 80.3%.

Newham in East London has the highest number of homes at risk of being repossessed, at one in every 35. That could be one house on every street in the area where a family may be made homeless, Shelter said.

Outside of London, Wolverhampton has the highest claim rate for possessions at one in every 59 homes under threat, followed closely by Nottingham, Salford, Peterborough and Luton where each place has one in every 63 homes are at risk of being repossessed.

In the London borough of Brent, 2,747 homes are at risk, as of June this year, rising from 1,997 in the same month last year, up 37.6%.

West Somerset closely follows Richmondshire with 65.7% more possession claims, while Watford has a 50.8% increase.

Following Newham, in the top 10 areas of England with the most repossession and eviction claims, are Haringey and Barking and Dagenham, each with one in every 37 homes at risk.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: "This research shows that thousands of families all over England are dealing with the devastating possibility of losing their home. In some places as many as one home in every street is now at risk."With less job security and the rising cost of living and housing these days, many more families are finding themselves living on a knife-edge. Just one thing, like a job loss or illness, could tip them into a spiral that puts their home at risk."It's right we create a welfare system that's fair but government changes to the safety net are leaving ordinary families exposed. We must protect the safety net so that if people fall on hard times, they can get the help they need to get back on their feet."

A Government spokesperson said: "Latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders show the numbers of home repossessions haven fallen 8% over the past 12 months and are at their lowest level for six years. "But we are not complacent. Our welfare reforms are ensuring that clear protection is in place, we've maintained the Support for Mortgage Interest scheme and our £470 million funding to councils means we continue to have a strong safety net against homelessness."We know times are tough and that is why we are taking action to help families with the cost of living by cutting income tax for 25 million people, which will save a typical taxpayer over £700, taking 2.7 million out of income tax altogether and freezing council tax for five years, saving a typical household £600.

Living in one of the wealthiest countries of the world with people losing their homes, not able to feed their families and relying on Food Banks, in this the  21st Century we should be really ashamed.

Saturday, 12 October 2013


I’ve seen it all. One of my congregation parked their car in the car park adjacent to the Ilford Hospital Chapel and got a parking ticket for being there 1 minute -  yes you read that correctly one minute without a suitable parking ticket. The warden was writing out the ticket whilst she was getting out her Disabled Badge Parking Permit which allows her to park for free in this particular car park. It makes you wonder just what sort of person the Local Authority employ. She now has to pay £30 unless she can appeal against this which I have strongly advised her to do. It is this sort of behaviour which gives Local Authorities a reputation for fining people as a means of fund raising. The sooner Rt. Hon. Eric Pickles sorts out this sort of disgraceful action the better.

Thursday, 10 October 2013


Good number for Mass today at the Hospital Chapel.

Next Thursday we will welcome the Mayor of Redbridge, the Deputy Lieutenant (Colonel Paul Acda), our local MP and many other distinguished guests including previous Mayors and Councillors for the Charter Day Service which will be a Solemn Mass at 12.35 p.m.

Sunday, 6 October 2013


In 1997 Ann and I went into the Church of St. Francis of Assisi at Barkingside where I was the Vicar. We left the church door open and our cat, Charlie, came into church something she had never done previously. She walked up the aisle of the Lady Chapel, crossed by the main altar and walked down the other side aisle to where the statue of St. Francis was situated. She then proceeded to howl; I can only describe it as a howl as I have never heard such a bloodcurdling noise before. I picked her up and took her out of the church; a few moments later she came back in and did exactly as she had before; up the Lady Chapel aisle, across by the main altar, down the other side aisle stopping in front of St. Francis and howling for all she was worth. I took her out of church and made sure the door was tightly closed. Later that day we discovered that Assisi had been the victim of a terrible earthquake and substantial damage had been done to the Basilica. Somehow our cat knew what was happening. After that she never came into church again nor did she try to do so.

Friday, 4 October 2013


Today we celebrate St. Francis of Assisi.


Where St. Francis died

where St. Francis died

The tomb of St. Francis

tomb of St. Francis

St. Francis pray for us.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013



Cameron 'regrets' redefining marriage

There has been a lot of interesting news about the marriage debate in recent days – most of it bad news for David Cameron, the chief architect of the redefining marriage policy. So I thought you might appreciate a summary.

Cameron’s regret

The Prime Minister privately admitted he should not have redefined marriage. According to a new book, David Cameron told an ally: “If I’d known what it was going to be like, I wouldn’t have done it.” Publicly, he has denied any regret, but he did go on the record to say: “I don’t think I expected quite the furore that there was.” This may be far from eating humble pie, but his comments do show a serious lack of judgement about the level of public support for traditional marriage.


Marriage tax break

The Conservatives have promised to recognise marriage in the tax system. Many countries allow one spouse to transfer their tax allowance to the other spouse. Not so in the UK. Here families with stay-at-home mums are, in effect, penalised. So recognising marriage in the tax system is a sound idea in principle, but the detail of the Prime Minister’s scheme leaves a lot to be desired. For one thing, Mr Cameron has already mangled the meaning of marriage. For another, it is not a full transferable tax allowance – it will only make married couples £16 a month better off. The policy won’t be implemented until just before the General Election in 2015, and it is opposed by Labour and the Lib Dems so it may not happen at all. The policy is too little, too late.


Grassroots woe

Recent official figures released by the Conservative Party show that membership has almost halved since Mr Cameron became leader. Many grassroot Tories are upset at the redefinition of marriage. An analysis of local party associations published today by The Daily Telegraph, shows many associations are running out of money with the unpopularity of redefining marriage a key factor.


Vote loser

A poll at the weekend for the BBC shows most Tory councillors think redefining marriage will be a vote loser. Almost two thirds (63%) think it will cost the party more votes than it gains. And Maria Hutchings, the Conservative candidate in this year’s Eastleigh by-election, told the BBC that she lost the race because of the Party’s policy to redefine marriage. Even though voters knew that she was personally opposed to it, they still voted against her because they were so angry at the Party’s policy.


We were right

All of this shows that we were right, and Mr Cameron was wrong. We said this policy was unpopular and a vote loser – as well as being wrong in principle. He refused to listen to us, to you, and to 700,000 people like you. He is wrong and out of touch with ordinary people about marriage

Yours sincerely,

Colin Hart

Colin Hart
Campaign Director
Coalition for Marriage

Monday, 30 September 2013



Today Ann and I filled her car with Harvest Gifts from St. Augustine's, Rush Green and delivered them to one of Havering's several Food Banks. Whilst there we heard a little about the work they are doing and how every person who receives three day's  food is referred by an agency such as School Welfare, Citizen's Advice, Clergy etc. At this one outlet they are giving 1.3 tonnes of food to hungry people a month. We were told how many local children are going hungry; we heard how one teacher takes packets of biscuits to school for kids in her class who haven’t anything to eat. We learnt how one teenager has just been given a job and a contract by a national shopping chain of 3 hours a week at the minimum wage. This, it appears, is considered a job by the Employment Agency. This youngster can only pay his rent and buy food if, and when , he is employed doing “overtime” which he sometimes gets taking his hours to 20 a week. Is he expected to starve in the meantime?


Today George Osborne our much-loved Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that nobody should expect something for nothing. Mr Osborne used his keynote speech to confirm plans for a new Help to Work scheme under which the long-term unemployed will be required to do community work, such as picking up litter or cleaning graffiti, in return for their benefits. He said that those who have been unemployed for more than three years would either have to work for their dole, attend job centres daily to search for a job or accept help for underlying problems such as illiteracy or drug dependency. Press Association.

Far be it from me to call anyone a hypocrite but I wonder how a person who inherits a large fortune dares to speak about people getting something for nothing.

Sunday, 29 September 2013


The Hospital Chapel were hosts today for the Ilford Town Churches 5th Sunday in the month Service which took the form of a Harvest Songs of Praise. At the service on Thursday we collected items and cash for the Ilford Food Bank.

I am pleased to say that we have raised £150 for the Food Bank.


Father Mervyn presided at the Harvest Parish Mass whilst Father Martin concelebrated, read the gospel, talked to the children and gave a commentary so people not familiar with the Mass understood what we were doing. The church was full to capacity with additional chairs brought in to accommodate all those who came. It was a Parade Service so the Scouts,Beavers Brownies and Rainbows presented their flags at the beginning of the service collecting them at the end. The Guides were not able to be with us as they had a prior engagement.
Gifts were collected for the Havering Food Banks and will be taken to them during the week to replenish what has been an unprecedented demand during the summer.
In his talk Father Martin asked the children what their favourite foods were and had a variety of answers. He picked one that seemed to be a firm favourite with both the children and adults: the pizza. He then talked about where all the various ingredients used to make a piazza originated and how we needed to show our thanks to God for all his gifts and our thanks to those who worked hard to harvest and supply them.

During the Notices Father Martin reminded people that the Harvest Tea is next Saturday

Thursday, 26 September 2013



Today we celebrated Harvest at the Thursday Mass at Ilford Hospital Chapel at which we collected items as well as cash for the local Food Bank. In my sermon I pointed out that usually we would be supporting one of the agencies like Christian Aid, Save the Children, Send a Cow, or CAFOD etc. but people in our local community were going hungry and depending more and more on Food Banks so that the amount they had available was quickly decreasing.

Celebrations at the Hospital Chapel will continue on Sunday when there is a "Harvest Songs of Praise" which the Chapel is organising on behalf of the Ilford Council of Churches. The service is at 4.00 p.m. & all are very welcome.

It seems to me to be a national disgrace that in the 21st Century we have people, including children in our country, who are going hungry. The irony for me is that today the papers are reporting that George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, is taking the EEC to court as they intend to limit Banker’s Bonuses and he wishes them to continue as in the past. The British taxpayer are funding this legal procedure. Many of the economic problems we have faced and continue to face during the recession have been caused by greedy bankers with their noses in the troughs. It is a great pity, a national shame, a national disgrace, that British children are suffering hunger whilst bankers count the earnings in millions and politicians do nothing to alleviate the problem.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013



Nature can be very beautiful – and very unkind – both at the same time. I caught this spider’s web with my camera the other day and wondered at the intricate work that the spider had undertaken to make such a magnificent creation but, of course, there was a purpose in all that work.Any unsuspecting insect or fly that went by too close  would then become the spiders lunch/supper

Sunday, 22 September 2013


This weekend is the once a year event called London Open House when various places of interest, many not normally open to the public, welcome guests. Ilford Hospital Chapel has been taking part in this for several years and we had a steady stream of visitors yesterday. What I don’t believe is that the Underground (TFL) has closed part of the Central Line, Bakerloo Line, Docklands Light Railway, and the Northern Line for “planned engineering “ work. Am I being totally naive when I think that liaison between Transport for London and the organisers of the London Open House could, and should, take place so that people can take advantage of this annual event, easily moving around the capital without the hassle of trains being replaced by buses.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Ask Nick Clegg to stop the insults


Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg used his Lib Dem Conference speech to mock opponents of redefining marriage, calling them “dinosaurs”. Watch it for yourself.

We think you should send a respectful email to Mr Clegg, telling him that cheap insults are not worthy of a British Deputy Prime Minister and asking him to apologise. If the remark makes you less likely to vote Lib Dem, please tell him.

The Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP

In his speech he said that while serious parliamentarians were debating the vital issues in the House of Lords, he thought the right place to be was outside Parliament with campaigners clapping along to Abba’s song, Dancing Queen.

Remember last year, his office issued a speech calling us all “bigots”. He hastily retracted the document, saying he would never use such language. He blamed his officials, and said he respected those who disagree with him.

There was precious little respect shown yesterday. If he wants to disagree with us, that’s up to him. But as Deputy Prime Minister he should not use insulting words to write off millions of people who believe in traditional marriage.

Here are some tips for what to say (please only use one or two points, and please use your own words).

Please be polite and respectful.

  • If his remarks make you less likely to vote for the Liberal Democrats, please say so.
  • Say you’re very disappointed that Nick Clegg would stoop to insults and name-calling.
  • Say there’s a lot of concern about the civil liberty of people who believe in traditional marriage, and this intemperate language will just increase the chances of traditional marriage supporters being sidelined.
  • Say the remark is unbecoming of a British Deputy Prime Minister, and he should show more respect for people who disagree with him.
  • Say you are personally offended by his ill-chosen remarks which display an intolerant attitude.
  • Say polls show millions of people did not support the redefinition of marriage, and they should not be written off in such insulting terms.
  • Say people of good will had sincere concerns about redefining marriage, including within Mr Clegg’s own party, and they deserve a little more respect.
  • Ask him whether he thinks people should throw around cheap insults on this highly sensitive issue.

Yours sincerely,

Colin Hart
Colin Hart
Campaign Director
Coalition for Marriage

Monday, 16 September 2013


St. Augustine’s Church, Rush Green, Romford where I am Hon. Assistant Curate now has its own website.

http://www.staugustinechurch.co.uk/   CLICK HERE

Sunday, 15 September 2013


womenbishopsThe Church in Wales has voted to have women as Bishops. Soon this innovation will be voted on in the Church of England and will no doubt, this time. be accepted. Ever since women have been ordained to the priesthood it was inevitable that they would, sooner or later, be elevated to the Episcopate.

It is to be hoped that suitable provision will be made in Wales for those who believe that women can not be either priests or bishops - traditionalists who believe that the Bible and two thousand years of tradition are not wrong and believe in the principle that any innovation must accord with Scripture, Tradition and Reason. It is also to be hoped that if, and when, this innovation happens in the CofE suitable alternative provision will be made for those of us who have steadfastly opposed this for many years.

Saturday, 14 September 2013


ssc cross

14th SEPTEMBER 2013


A very Happy & Blessed Holy Cross Day.


Whilst staying at Southport, we visited our friend Brian who has just moved there from Thaxted and also Peter Jebson who is the Organist at St Cuthberts. The organ is a four manual Copeman Hart instrument designed by Ernest Hart, Nigel Ogden (of the Organist Entertains fame) and Peter Jebson. It switches between a traditionally voiced to a theatre organ voicing at the throw of a switch. After Peter had demonstrated this wonderful instrument I played it for a while. As far as I know this organ is unique; it is a joy to play and I can’t wait to return to play it again for a little longer.

Pictured is Peter at the console.



Friday, 13 September 2013


We’ve been away for a few days, staying in Southport. As my granddaughter started school last week, our daughter took some leave to see her settled in so that meant that Ann was relieved of child-minding for few days so we decided we would have a few days away. Looking on the internet I found this cottage in Southport which looked ideal, and, never having been there, we decided it would be a great place to visit and we weren't disappointed. We had a wonderful time and we saw red squirrels at the nature reserve in Formby which is owned by the National Trust. A few years ago they were nearly all wiped out with a flu type bug but now they back in force and we must have seen getting on for a dozen or more and what lovely animals they are.

More tomorrow, when I’ll put some photo’s on the blog and tell you about the wonderful organ I played at St. Stephen’s Church in Lytham St. Anns.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

St. Andrew’s North Weald, 23rd Sunday of the Year

This morning I left home extra early to go to St. Andrew's, North Weald to celebrate their 9.30 a.m. Mass as today is also the day of the North Weald Airfields Air Day and I thought the traffic could be difficult. In the event there didn't seem to be any around where I had to go. After a long interregnum St. Andrews, together with the parish of St. Mary Magdalene, await their newly appointed parish priest.

The Gospel reading contains one of the difficult saying of Jesus in which he talks about “hating” our families. I pointed out that this had to be compared to his own concern for his mother when he was dying on the cross and gave her into the care of St. John. His own family had been against him; St. Mark reported that: “his family set out to take charge of him saying ‘He is out of his mind’” and St. John reports “not even his brothers believed in him” In St. Matthews Gospel Jesus says: “Anyone who loves his father or mother,son or daughter, more than me is not worthy of me”.Jesus is not asking us to despise our own flesh and blood but is comparing our mission with our priorities. This comparison means that we must love our families a great deal but love him more.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Pontifical Mass at St. Mary’s Ilford

P1000099Today I went to St. Mary's, Ilford for their Patronal Festival to take part in the Solemn Concelebrated Pontifical Mass at which the Principal Celebrant was Norman, Bishop of Richborough. The choir was excellent and sang Locus Iste by Bruckner and during the Communion they sang the motet Virgin Born by C F Waters. The Homily was by The Revd. Canon Jeremy Haselock, Chaplain to the Queen. Father Gareth presented Bishop Norman and Father Haselock with a bottle of gin after the Blessing,. After Mass there was a reception in the Church Rooms with Canapés and Wine. It was really great to see again so many people that we knew from the time of the interregnum and when I’ve been there when Father Gareth has been away.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013



We wish all our Jewish friends “L'shanah tovah” and all well for the fast.


Sunday, 1 September 2013


I cannot understand how David Cameron thought it wise to recall Parliament to consider some sort of limited military action against Syria before the United Nations experts had reported on their findings. Whilst it seems highly likely that the Assad Regime were responsible for this abhorrent attack it has yet to be proven. It must come as no surprise that action against Syria was rejected.

Now, President Obama has decided to ask Congress to approve military action and this will now wait until Congress reconvenes on 9th September. It seems unlikely that reports on the UN investigation will be ready by then. I think any military action by the USA and it’s allies will make the situation worse and could lead to the whole of the Middle East erupting in war. Iran is already threatening to bomb Israel.

I suspect I, and many others, are suspicious of the reports issued by the British and USA Governments about Syria  after the lies we were told about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Are we being fed similar fairy stories? Sadly it is the innocent of Syria who are suffering as a result of this civil war but the problem is that neither we nor the United States has any mandate to act as the police force of the world; that is the role of the United Nations and any action should be through them.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013


I am very pleased, that at long last, there is a campaign to improve the standards of food in hospitals which will bring England into line with Scotland Northern Ireland and Wales. It seems ironic that there are regulations in force regarding food and quality in prisons but not hospitals

A few years ago I wrote to the Chief Executive of one Hospital Trust about the awful food served to patients many of whom had been parishioners. I remember on one occasion seeing a plate of what was supposed to be fish in white sauce and was in fact a tiny piece of fish floating in a white translucent bowl of milk which the patient refused to eat. I had a reply to say that the hospital was changing its supplier and things would improve which they did ever slightly.

In theory food from a heated trolley was served to patients and there was a choice. In practice the problem was that if the patient happened to be in the wrong part of the ward by the time the trolley arrived there was no choice and the food was stone cold because the staff hadn’t bothered to plug the trolley into the electricity which they were supposed to do. In theory the trolley was supposed to start and finish at different points each day; in practice it just went round in the shortest possible way on some wards. All the food was imported because there were no facilities to cook in the hospital. I’ve known people bring food in for relatives as the food served was so dire and/or it was insufficient. On one occasion I witnessed a patient eating fish and chips which were stone cold and I seen many meal left uneaten because they were so uninviting/inedible.

Sunday, 25 August 2013


Ann and I travelled to Swindon on Friday so that I could take part in the rehearsal for my niece (and God-daughter’s wedding) on Saturday. I felt very honoured to be asked to conduct the Marriage Service by my God-daughter and by kind permission of the Rector of Holy Cross Parish Church, Chiseldon.

Whilst the east suffered tremendous rain on Saturday we enjoyed quite good weather and no rain at all in the Swindon area. In fact it was so muggy and hot that I had to remove the cope I was wearing to deliver the homily. The reception was at the Stanton House Hotel which is Japanese owned and run. The food was excellent and the ambience first class.

The Evening Reception and Barbecue were well under way when we had to leave as I was Presiding at the Parish Mass at Rush Green on Sunday We had a good journey home with no holdups or delays unlike our journey down which was terrible on the M25.

Today I presided at Mass at St. Augustine’s, Rush Green – for a report please go here.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Mary, Queen of Heaven

mary coronation~1

Today at the Ilford Hospital Chapel we celebrated Mary, Queen of Heaven.


Pray for us Holy Mother of God; that we may be worthy of the promises of Christ

Wednesday, 21 August 2013


I am very unhappy about the 9 hour detention on Sunday of David Miranda  and believe that the use of the Terrorism Act 2000 was an abuse of this legislation in that detention. His laptop, phone, USB’s etc. were confiscated. He was here on transit from Germany back to Brazil. The police required him to reveal all his passwords to his electronic devices. Now he is threatening legal action for wrongful detention and for the return of the items taken. Perhaps I’ve understood things wrongly but I was under the impression that the purpose of the Terrorism Act 2000 was to prevent terrorism and it is quite clear that Miranda is not a terrorist so why was he detained under those powers. Another question that concerns me is that it was for 9 hours.

I am concerned that, more and more, this country is becoming a police state where everything we do, write or say is being monitored. We are constantly monitored by CCTV cameras everywhere we go. Our emails are no longer private but can be read should they so desire to do so by GCHQ (with the assistance of the USA) . The freedom of the press is being challenged by the way hard drives at the Guardian were required to be destroyed.

From yesterday’s Guardian: ‘As Miranda’s lawyer from Bindman’s says:  "We have grave concerns about the decision to use this draconian power to detain our client for nine hours on Sunday – for what appear to be highly questionable motives, which we will be asking the high court to consider. This act is likely to have a chilling effect on journalists worldwide and is emphatically not what parliament intended schedule 7 powers to be used for." Bindmans say the police used the anti-terror laws in order to have "deliberately bypassed" the normal statutory procedures for seeking confidential journalistic material such as court orders under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984’

In my opinion this affair is a very worrying development of police powers.

Sunday, 18 August 2013


I met and had coffee recently with a clown. Although now retired he still appears at various events despite being quite unwell. He manages to make people laugh despite what I soon realised was his own personal unhappiness. Here was a person who exemplified the clown who despite appearances to the contrary was a very sad person. In fact despite his jokeness  his eyes betrayed his underlying sadness yet he kept up the illusion of a man full of fun. As soon as his make-up goes on he takes on a different persona, he becomes transformed; the sadness is still there but it is now hidden from the world and he becomes the clown that everybody loves.


This morning I presided at St. Augustine’s. Due to holidays we were a little short of servers and our choir was a bit depleted but they still managed an anthem. Attendance was quite good with quite a few children. To read a bit about my sermon go here

Tuesday, 13 August 2013


On the side of Bulbul Mountain, Turkey and 9 kilometers from the ancient Greek city of Ephesus, the small shrine of Mary is a place of pilgrimage for both Christians and Muslims. Tradition associates Mary with Ephesus because at the time of his death, Jesus put Mary in the care of John (John 19: 26-27) who then spent many years spreading Christianity in this region.
At the beginning of the 19th century, Anne Catherine Emmerich, a bedridden Augustinian nun in Germany, reported a series of visions in which she recounted the last days of the life of Jesus, and details of the life of Mary, his mother.Emmerich was ill for a long period of time in the farming community of Dülmen but was known in Germany as a mystic and was visited by a number of notable figures.  

An 18th century drawing of Anne Catherine Emmerich

One of Emmerich's visitors was the author Clemens Brentano who after a first visit stayed in Dülmen for five years to see Emmerich every day and transcribe the visions she reported.[6][7] After Emmerich's death Brentano published a book based on his transcriptions of her reported visions, and a second book was published based on his notes after his own death

Following the book's publication, ruins of a house were discovered at the present site and declared to be the house where Mary had lived the final years of her life. Known as the Panaya Kapula ('Doorway to the Virgin'), the site has been a much venerated pilgrimage destination since the late 1880's. Archaeological excavation has revealed that in the 4th century AD a stone building combining house and grave had been built but the foundations are much earlier around 1 AD. Originally a two-story house, it consisted of an anteroom (where today candles are placed by pilgrims), a bedroom and praying room (a church area now) and a room with fireplace (now a chapel for Muslims). A front kitchen room had fallen into ruins and was restored in the 1940's. At the present time only the central part and a room on the right of the altar are open to visitors. At the exit of the building is the Well of Mary, where flows a salty water with curative properties.
The Roman Catholic Church has never pronounced on the authenticity of the house, for lack of scientifically acceptable evidence. It has, however, from the blessing of the first pilgrimage by Pope Leo XIII in 1896, taken a positive attitude towards the site. Pope Pius XII, in 1951, following the definition of the dogma of the Assumption in 1950, elevated the house to the status of a Holy Place, a privilege later made permanent by Pope John XXIII. The site is venerated by Muslims as well as Christians. Pilgrims drink from a spring under the house which is believed to have healing properties. A liturgical ceremony is held here every year on August 15 to commemorate the Assumption of Mary.  Pope Paul VI visited the shrine on July 26, 1967, and Pope John Paul II on November 30, 1979. Pope Benedict XVI visited this shrine on November 29, 2006 during his four-day pastoral trip to Turkey. Each year on August 15, Muslims and Christians gather at the shrine to commemorate the Assumption of Mary.

Ann and I visted the shrine whilst visiting the Christian sites in Turkey a few years ago on a pilgrimage led by the then Bishop of Chichester who celebrated Mass here. Muslims visit this shrine to pray that they might be blessed with a child.

Saturday, 10 August 2013


I never thought when I wrote my article about the behaviour of some cyclists who ignore both the Highway Code and good manners that I would be subjected to abusive comments from some anonymous commentators. I made it clear, I thought, I was referring to some, rather than all, cyclists. As a result of receiving a number of these comments I have now restricted comments on this blog to people who identify themselves. I set the blog up so that comments could be made as contributors thought fit but I didn’t think for one moment that some would see this as Carte Blanche to be personally abusive. The interesting thing is that this has only happened on this one subject of “cyclists” despite all the controversial matters I have written about since the blog began.

Our deepest sympathy goes to the family of Hannah Smith who sadly committed suicide as a result of on-line bullying. What has happened to me is insignificant with what happened to Hannah and some other teenagers who have ended their lives because of it. However I have found it quite distressing and can fully understand how this can affect vulnerable teenagers. I want to draw attention to the responsibility of online sites, particularly those who are designed to attract teenagers, to ensure the safety of their contributors and not to permit the kind of bullying which seems prevalent.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Anonymous Comments

In future Comments from “Anonymous” will usually be deleted. If anyone wishes to comment they should be prepared to identify themselves. I’m taking this course of action following a particularly offensive comment with a commentator hiding under the cloak of “Anonymous”


What is it about cyclists that they think they are above the law which governs all other road users.? I have been watching the way some cyclists are conducting themselves recently and the blatant way they ignore the Highway Code. Here are a few examples:-

1, Cycling through red lights – I’ve seen this so many times.

2. Adults riding their bikes on pavements putting the elderly at risk including one instance where the cyclists shouted at a pedestrian to “get out of my ***************** way”

3. Cycling down one way streets the wrong way.

4. Riding on the wrong side of the road.

5. Hogging the middle of the carriageway so that motorists can’t get by even though there’s plenty of room. This happened on Sunday when I had to follow such a cyclists until I could go on the wrong side of the road to get by which would have been unnecessary if he had behaved differently.

Monday, 5 August 2013




21st – 30th October 2013

There are still a couple of places available for our comprehensive 10-day pilgrimage based in Jerusalem and Galilee fully escorted and with a Daily Mass.

led by




Fully inclusive (breakfast, lunch, dinner, gratuities, entrance fees)

organised on behalf of the Parish of St Augustine of Canterbury and Ilford Hospital Chapel of St. Mary & St. Thomas of Canterbury by McCabe Pilgrimages.

Contact Father Mervyn for more details

Sunday, 4 August 2013





Guided tours, refreshments, stalls

Admission free

The oldest building in Ilford

Thursday, 1 August 2013


It must come as little surprise that Local Authorities, especially in London; have made a large surplus in car parking charges and fines. As usual the motorist is the milch cow for local government exploitation.

Parking charges are providing huge cash surpluses for some English councils, according to the RAC Foundation. The 359 councils across England had a total current account surplus of £565m from on and off-street parking schemes in 2011-12, according to the figures. (BBC NEWS).

Close to where we live is a small shopping centre with a couple of banks, newsagents, charity shops, butchers, a library, a small but excellent Co-op, etc. The LA has just imposed parking fees for use of the car park, and also parking meters outside shops on the basis this will enable residents to park rather than commuters as they state that the car park is often full with them. This is complete and utter rubbish. The park is a couple of miles from the railway station and I’ve been there at various times of the day and have never ever had a problem parking. Less that two miles away is a huge Tesco which sells pretty well everything so people will drive there rather than pay to park. In my opinion this is a revenue raising scheme rather than any thought of helping local residents. I think it will kill of the shops; I know that several of them are already under pressure due to high and escalating rents and rates.Few people are going to pay to park to go to the newsagents for their daily paper!