Wednesday, 27 February 2013


There has been a lot of speculation about what Pope Benedict will be remembered for after he retires tomorrow. In no particular order here are a few things I will remember him for:-
1. Anglicanorum Coetibus which has made provision for Anlicans to join the Catholic Church in the Oridinariate.and thereby promoting Christian Unity.
2. The beatifying of Blessed John Henry Newman, a hero of mine who worked with  another hero, John Keble, Professor of Poetry and Vicar of Hursley where one of my ancestors was the Organist. Newman and Keble were instrumental in setting up Tractarianism.and reviving the Catholic Faith in the CofE.
3. For coming to the UK.
4. For being a proficient musician and a cat lover.
5 For his books of great spirituality.
As Pope Benedict resigns we should uphold him in our prayers, as well as praying for those on whose shoulders rests the unenviable responsibility of choosing his successor that they will be guided by the Holy Spirit.


One of the most important precepts in British Justice is the presumption of innocence; a person is innocent until proven guilty. Regrettably this process is in danger with a media which assumes guilt on an accusation being made. Often this takes the form of guilt by innuendo. Of course the media have a right to investigate but it does not have the right to act as judge and jury particularly when either a case will come to court or is subject to a formal investigation.

Sunday, 24 February 2013


This morning I presided at the Parish Mass at St. Edwards, Romford. I was very grateful to the Curate who showed me around and assisted, and who preached on the subject of the Bishop of Chelmsford Diocesan Plan called “Transforming Presence”. A large choir sang the Mass to an equally large congregation which needed 2 Ciborium and four chalices for the numbers. At the end of the service the altar party went to the back of church to shake hands with folk and it took nearly a quarter of an hour. It is interesting that where the faith is faithfully preached congregations fill churches. I was interested to hear that some people travel quite a distance to be there whilst the majority live locally.

Friday, 22 February 2013


I recently discovered something I consider a matter of real concern especially at a time when the Government are considering help for people who have to go into Care Homes. It seems that one Local Authority sets a fee to pay for residential care for those who have no means to pay for themselves but the fee that has been set is considerably less than the amount the Care Home needs. The Care Home takes both fee paying guests and LA referrals; yet the amount the LA will pay for their referrals is substantially less than the actual cost. The result is that the other residents who have private means, usually from the sale of their home, have to pay more to subsidise those referred by the LA. Recently when the fees at one particular Care Home increased by more than the rate relatives considered to be reasonable or fair and queried the new amount being charged the owners reportedly said that they had no option but to charge private fee paying guests more to cover the shortfall on LA residents. In my opinion this is grossly unfair.

Sunday, 17 February 2013


Today I preached and played the organ at St. Augustine’s as our Organist is away this Sunday. (for a resume of my sermon click here) Next week I am celebrating at St. Edwards, Romford and then on Mothering Sunday I am going to be at St. Mary’s Ilford.


Since Pope Benedict announced his resignation the media have hardly stopped speculating about the name of the new Pope which I suppose is inevitable. In today’s Sunday Times the journalist and catholic writer John Cornwall has written, in my opinion, a totally unbalanced article about the present and the future pope. What we should be doing is praying for the Cardinals gathering now in Rome, that they may be led by the Holy Spirit choose a man who will give a strong Christian lead to Roman Catholics and to all Christians and advance the cause of Christian Unity.

Saturday, 16 February 2013


The following is from Linen on the Hedgerow

Hear me O God. Hear.
From the depths of my condemned cell I cry.
None will hear me but You because You see,
I have no vote.
I did not murder nor did I steal or wound.
Yet I am held here helpless before the sterile steel.
Or the poisoned needle.
A death too brutal for murderers is a death
reserved for me.
No comforting breast nor loving Mother’s arms await me.
My body will be given to be burned.
What have I done? I have not earned
this sordid unlamented end.
In sin was I conceived. Unwanted I die
before I shall be born.
O when the metal enters my brain,
when I shall kick my last convulsive agony,
take me, take me to Your arms.
None will console me, none cherish me.
None hear my last suffocated
shriek from the traitorous womb.
Save You, save only You.
O love me God.

John Francis Collins RIP

Friday, 15 February 2013



Every time you switch on the television for the News or listen to the news on the radio there seems to be even more breaking information about the contamination of beef products with horse meat. The Government say these are perfectly safe to eat; but I seem to remember not so long ago the same assurances being given about beef during the BSE crisis so why should we believe what politicians say now. I remember one Cabinet member in those days feeding a Beef Burger to his child to prove that they were safe.  Recently, it was almost de je vu when the Prime Minister was shown chomping a meat product. Does this prove supermarket meat products are all safe; of course not. Many are but equally many possibly aren’t and how do we, the consuming public, know the difference. For many people eating horse is very much a no-no. I ate horse meat, many years ago when Ann and I were in transit from East to West Germany. I have to say it was as tough as old boots. I was talking to some one recently who had spent a period as a student in Rome a few years ago when horse meat was regularly on the menu served to the students and was much enjoyed.

The point is, whether or not it is safe, these supermarket products are retailed as Beef not horse or for that matter pork as some it has been have been contaminated by pork. If the scandal over meat products containing horse meat is not bad enough even more disturbing is the fact that some meat products, served to institutions as halal, contain pork and has been served to Muslims.

Supermarket labelling is frequently misleading. A friend recently purchased  some “cod” fish cakes only to discover that 41% was other white fish. We learnt yesterday that some chicken pies now include feathers, suitably processed. Labels often say “100% British Beef” except the meat has come from a variety of different countries but can be called British because it has been processed in Britain.

However the greatest problem for the many consumers, in this time of recession, is how to feed a family on a limited income. Inevitably they look for cheapest products and one way of making cheap meat productSAC-GIFT05-cow-circles it now appears, is to use horse meat. It would be better for health and for the good of the community if we used our local butchers; we would then know what we were buying.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013


Lunch time found Ann and I at New Rush Hall School where Year 10 had prepared a wonderful International Lunch. We started with home made vegetable soup and followed this with a selection of dishes including jerk chicken, Thai vegetable curry, samosas, home made beef burgers. chilli con carne, rice and peas, plain rice, home made spicy potato wedges, various salads and dips, French bread, and a selection of pudding dishes. The food prepared and cooked by Year 10 was superb. After lunch one of the pupils, a talented magician, entertained us with a really first class cabaret.

Many congratulations to Year 10 and their teacher for a really magnificent meal. I feel very proud to be Chair of Governors of the New Rush Hall Group of School.



Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.—Genesis 3:19

Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel. —Mark 1:15

Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all them that are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we worthily lamenting our sins, and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.                                             from the Book of Common Prayer

Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting this campaign of Christian service, so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils, we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013


The media has been full of speculation about who will become the new Pope to be elected to replace Benedict XVI. On LBC this afternoon there was a programme devoted to what changes the new Pope should make. It was a phone in and, as often happens on these types of programme, various daft suggestions were made. Already bookmakers are issuing odds on various Cardinals. It is going to be a very interesting few weeks.

Monday, 11 February 2013


I heard the news of the Holy Fathers decision to resign driving to a meeting at one of the schools where I am a Governor/Manager. This is the first time a Pope has retired in around 600 years. I understand his resignation dates from 28th February and then I suppose the search will begin for a suitable replacement. I will be remembering him and those charged with his replacement at Mass and we will be praying for him and and our brothers and sisters in the RC church at this time, in the Ilford Hospital Chapel

Sunday, 10 February 2013


Perhaps somebody can solve a puzzle for me? Under the new regulations governing housing benefit for social housing tenants, benefit will be cut by about £14 a week if the Local Authority judge that you have a bedroom more than the Government has decided you need. If you have two, the cut will be greater. Adults will be allowed one bedroom each with the following exceptions:-

  • Children under 16 of same gender are expected to share
  • Children under 10 are expected to share regardless of gender
  • Disabled tenant or partner who needs non resident overnight carer will be allowed an extra bedroom

It has been estimated that this will affect around 660,000 people, so they will have to decided if they should move or face paying more for their accommodation. It has been suggested that folk affected should move but where to?. For example, a single unemployed person in a two bedroom flat will have his benefit cut unless he moves. But where will he move to as there are no one bedroom flats in the social housing stock so it will mean going to the private sector which will cost more in rent and would  therefore, mean that he will receive a greater amount of housing benefit than he does now. So hence my puzzle – where is the sense in this – I just don’t understand.

Friday, 8 February 2013


Eight senior women are to be added to the House of Bishops as non-voting members until such time as at least six women bishops have been appointed. This great piece of news emerged yesterday and is in the Church Times and Church of England Newspaper today, whoopee!!!!!

It seems to me that the House of Bishops is determined to have women in the episcopacy regardless of the clear vote against in General Synod so there will another run of the vote later this year. In the meanwhile we will have these “senior” women in the House of Bishops as a sort of bishop-designate. Those of us who believe in the faith handed down from the Apostles and maintained through 2,000 years wonder what our Bishops, the apostles successors, think they are up to by ignoring this.

I’ve no doubt, that in the fullness of time, the liberal agenda will succeed and women will become bishops. Wouldn’t it make senses to wait until then before inviting women into the House of Bishops. One can only hope and pray that when that time does come, suitable and acceptable provision will be made for those of us who cannot, in conscience, accept this novelty.

As an aside I came across a situation recently where a women vicar is insisting that her congregation call her Father. So here we have a female priest demanding to be called by a male designation – the mind boggles.

Thursday, 7 February 2013


Yesterday’s appalling report on the treatment of a number of patients in Stafford Hospital where elderly patients were left without food or water in filthy conditions is a national scandal. The treatment, or lack of it, led to hundreds and possibly 1,000’s of unnecessary deaths. Patients were having to drink filthy water from flower vases.

The author of the 3 000-page report, lawyer Robert Francis, said: “This is a story of appalling and unnecessary suffering of hundreds of people.They were failed by a system which ignored the warning signs and put corporate self-interest and cost control ahead of patients and their safety.Elderly and vulnerable patients were left unwashed, unfed and without fluids. They were deprived of dignity and respect. Some patients had to relieve themselves in their beds when they were offered no help to get to the bathroom,”

He said some patients were left in excrement-stained sheets and some who could not eat or drink without help did not receive it. Medicines were prescribed but not given. “Many will find it difficult to believe that all this could occur in an NHS hospital,” he said. Francis described a culture of secrecy and defensiveness in which whistle-blowers were silenced and bereaved relatives who asked questions were ignored.

Five other hospitals with a greater than expected mortality rate are now to be investigated:  Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust (FT); Tameside Hospital NHS FT; Blackpool Teaching Hospitals FT; Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS FT; and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.

In addition Queen’s Hospital, Romford is facing legal action by the relatives of 9 patients who allege that the treatment received at each hospital amounted to a breach of their relatives human rights and in some cases, may have contributed to their deaths. And Queens is already being monitored by the Care Quality Commission. In a recent report it said that there were:

  • Long waiting times in Accident and Emergency
  • Patients being nursed on trolleys, due to a lack of available beds
  • A and E is understaffed in relation to the influx of patients
  • A lack of personal washing and storage facilities

In the past the NHS has rightly been the envy of the world but over the last few years when every thing has been target orientated some parts have fallen well below the high standards of the past. The financing of the rebuilding of hospitals under PFI has caused many hospital trusts to be in a very precarious financial position.leading them to become finance orientated rather than patient orientated. It must be a matter which requires immediate action so that we can, once again, have a health service, second to none.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013


Yesterday evening the Hospital Chapel played host to the Guild of the Servants of the Sanctuary in their annual visit. They celebrated their Office, I preached, and this was followed by Benediction.Father Hingley, the Chapter Chaplain, officiated at Benediction. I was very grateful to Doreen, Dave and Richard who opened the Chapel at 6.00 p.m.(2 hours before the service) and put the heating on – it can be like a fridge in there – then proceeded to prepare for refreshments after the service. Many thanks to you for doing this. I am grateful to Father Martin for loaning the Chapel a monstrance and humeral veil which we don’t possess – perhaps when funds allow we might get one or the other – or even both.

Saturday, 2 February 2013


We live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, one that gives millions in aid to help feed people who are starving in the Third World, and yet our brilliant politicians fail to recognise the scandal that there are people in our own country who have insufficient resources to buy food or pay for heat. Many of these rely on help from Food Banks which have sprung up all over the UK.

Recently at the Ilford Hospital Chapel we received a request for supplies for the Ilford Food Bank and so, for the last few weeks, members of our congregation have been gathering together items for the Bank and we are pleased to help out but it leads to a question: should people living in the UK in the 21st Century have to rely on Food Banks? Those who need the help of the Food Banks are not “scroungers”; they have to be recommended by professionals like the clergy, doctors, Citizens Advice Bureaux etc. Recipients receive a voucher granting them three days supply of food.

In a recent sermon I described the situation as “a national disgrace” and I believe that to be the case. Politicians tell us that during this time of recession and austerity “we are all in this together” (except them, and members of the House of Lords who despite their £300 a day allowance have subsidised food in their two restaurants, as reported in the newspapers today)

As Christians we believe that Jesus came to bring “good news” to the poor and it is a responsibility that we, as his followers, have inherited. However, to my mind, this does not relieve our politicians for allowing this scandal to develop.