Sunday, 30 June 2013


I came across a situation recently where a widow  has been told by the local council that she either moves from her two bedroomed flat or pays an increased rent of around £27 a week. As a recent widow under 65 she is only entitled to the job seekers allowance so there’s no possibility that she could afford this increase. She has lived in her two bedroomed flat for over 20 years. On talking to the Council who, it appears, have no one bedroomed accommodation available, the only option they offered was to put her into a hostel.She would have to put her furniture into store with no income to afford to pay for it.. Naturally enough she doesn’t want to be put into a hostel but what option does she, and I guess many others have. Fortunately, there is a happy ending to this otherwise very sad story;  a relative will pay the increase for her until she qualifies not to have this problem at 65 years of age.

David Cameron says we are all in this together; is this supposed to be ironic?


Today I concelebrated and preached at St. Augustine’s, Rush Green. My sermon  featured “vocation” especially at this time of year when ordinations to the Priesthood and Diaconate are taking place.

Saturday, 29 June 2013



Today we celebrate the Solemnity of St. Peter & St Paul

Friday, 28 June 2013



The AGM of the Friends of Ilford Hospital Chapel of St. Mary & St. Thomas of Canterbury is on Monday 1st July at the Chapel at 7.00 p.m.

Thursday, 27 June 2013


I listened to LBC on my way to Ilford Hospital Chapel this morning. The programme was concerned with the new “cuts” announced yesterday by the Chancellor George Osborne. One of these is that in the future instead of three working days wait before registering it will now be a week. The argument being that when people leave employment they are paid. But what happens when that is not the case?

One man who had worked all his adult life had gone to work as usual on a certain Friday recently. Towards the end of the day he was dismissed and, because the companies money had run out, they were not able to pay him. He went with his wife to register the fact that he was unemployed on the Monday and, never having completed the Benefit forms before, was given assistance by one of the staff. He then waited three weeks only to receive a letter saying he wasn’t entitled to any benefit as the forms had been incorrectly completed.

He went back to the office and saw the same person who had assisted him before but who hotly denied this until it was proved that this was the case. The forms were then correctly completed and now, a further three weeks later, he has received his back dated cheque. In the meanwhile, having no money and no income, he has been compelled to borrow from family and friends and has lived by donations from a food bank.

This is 21st Century Great Britain where there have been massive tax cuts for the really wealthy at the expense of the poorest in our society.

Sunday, 23 June 2013



On Saturday afternoon there was a wonderful concert with Soprano Deborah Aloba accompanied by Anne Reece and with light hearted expert narration by Vivyan Ellacott. Deborah sang arias from many operas and had the audience entranced by her wonderful renditions with the first class acoustics of the Chapel.There is to be another concert in October (more details later) again in aid of the Friends of Ilford Hospital Chapel.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013



I am very sad that the Girl Guides are to change their promise from "to love my God, to serve my Queen and my country" to “"be true to myself and develop my beliefs". In addition from September the 540,000-strong organisation will also promise "to serve the Queen and my community". I can see no good reason to make this change; Lord Baden Powell must be turning in his grave.

I gather the National Secular Society have already expressed their pleasure at this alteration. I’ve been a member of both The Scout Association and The Guide Association having served for over 10 years as Hampshire County Music Advisor for the Guides (until I went to Theological College and moved out of Hampshire). I have always felt that it was a key part of membership of both the Scouts and Guides that it was a religious organisation although not Christian, as such. In fact you could be a member of any religious organisation: Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Sikh, Jainism, Hindu, Baha'i etc. and still make your promise to serve God.

I believe this is a detrimental step of the Guide Association and not one in keeping with the ideals of Lord Baden Powell or his wife Olive

Monday, 17 June 2013


The tragic conflict in Syria where it is estimated that 93,000 people have died already and where there are thousands of refugees who have left the country, is featured daily in the media. It has prompted suggestions that Britain should intervene by supplying the rebels with arms. We are assured that this would not mean military intervention. However, some British military involvement would be inevitable to train the recipients to use the weapons supplied.

The conflict is basically an Islamic one between the Sunni and Shi’ite branches of the Islamic faith. Russia and Iran are already involved and it seems that fighters are now being imported from Lebanon. Our experience should show that intervention in a conflict which has nothing to do with us can only achieve very little; we have the examples of Iran and Afghanistan.

Our involvement should, I believe, be restricted to humanitarian aid. It worries me that any involvement in the supply of arms would ultimately lead to our military forces becoming involved. If there is to be any outside military action surely it should come from the United Nations? We should continually pray for peace in Syria.

Sunday, 16 June 2013


Today I played the organ for the Parish Mass at St. Augustine’s, Rush Green, Romford which I really enjoyed doing. During the Communion of the People the choir sang a setting of Faber’s wonderful hymn “There’s a wideness in God’ mercy” based on the the tune Corvedale by Maurice Bevan which fitted in really well with today’s Gospel on which I preached. Prior to ordination I had been an Organist & Choirmaster for some 23 years.When I went  for interviews at Salisbury & Wells Theological College the then Principal the late Canon Reggie Askew had pointed out to me that I might miss the role of Organist. I thought that meant I wouldn’t have the chance to play very much, if ever, in the future. How wrong can you be ! I accompanied many services at College and played for several at Salisbury Cathedral as well.

During my Curacy in Bristol I helped the parish organist of one of the two churches I was at get an excellent two manual organ installed in place of the totally inadequate instrument already there. As this was a church which had orchestral concerts I designed the portable organ for use with orchestras in conjunction with the organ builders for occasions when the organist needed to be part of the orchestra rather than use the super detached console. I took part in the opening recital on that instrument and also took part in recitals at the other church with it’s massive three manual instrument and also played for a number of service. I had a new organ installed when I was Vicar of St. Francis to replace the gallery instrument which was totally inadequate for the building and had started life as a one manual barrel organ of very dubious quality and had a second manual an pedals added poorly.

Over the years I have played for many services at various churches. My love of the organ reached its apotheosis when I took part in a Lunch Time Recital on the organ at the Royal Albert Hall with other clergy members of SSC.

Friday, 14 June 2013




The National Railway Museum based in York could reintroduce charges or suffer closure due to Government cuts. Admission charges were made up until 2001 when the then Labour Government abolished then as it wished to make the country's heritage accessible to all. Cuts could also affect the National Media Museum in Bradford

The BBC reported on the 6th of June that “In the letter to Culture Secretary Maria Miller, York Council's Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem and Green group leaders said they had serious concerns about the impact of any reduction in government funding for the Science Museum Group (SMG). They wrote: "It puts in jeopardy the vital contribution the National Railway Museum makes to the cultural, tourism and wider economy in this city".  The museum played a "critical part" in attracting tourists to York, who generate £443m for the city each year, they added. "As the finest rail museum in the country, and most probably the world, it would be a tragedy for it even to be under consideration for closure," they said.

The  (SMG) who runs the Science Museum in London and also the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, the National Railway Museum in York and the National Media Museum in Bradford, said it was in a "weak" financial position. A spokesman said that if a further cut of 10% was made it was inevitable that one of the museums outside London would have to close

In my opinion it would be tragic if any museum was closed but, in particular, the National Railway Museum is an important part of our heritage and very well-worth a visit. Tourists come from around the world to visit the York based museum.

Thursday, 13 June 2013


SATURDAY, 22nd JUNE 2013 AT 3.30 pm

Please come and enjoy our next Concert!


With Soprano Deborah Aloba accompanied by Anne Reece and with light hearted expert narration by Vivyan Ellacott

all followed by a piece of cake and a glass of sparkling wine

Tickets at £10 now available from the Chapel Office: 020 8590 2098 (accompanied children free)

and, also for your Diary:

CHAPEL END SAVOY PLAYERS are performing for us on



with numbers from the G & S canon but also songs from some of the ‘curtain raisers’ they gave at the Buxton International G & S Festival.

Tickets at £8 now available from the Chapel Office 020 8590 2098 (accompanied children free)

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

“THE PIONEER” - June Edition

Why not go to St Augustine’s Blog to read the latest extract from the church magazine (click here) by Father Martin Howse SSC. entitled “We Believe”

Sunday, 9 June 2013


Today I presided at the Parish Mass at S. Andrew’s Church, North Weald which is still in an interregnum. In my sermon I pointed out that St. Luke’s Gospel emphasised the compassionate nature of Jesus. Like Jesus we should love one another. He had shown his great compassion and love for people when he saw the funeral procession of the only son of a widow in Nain  and had seen how upset she was at her bereavement. Like Elijah who had restored a son to his grieving mother, Jesus restored her son to her. We must love one another even when it is difficult to do so.

After Mass I drove back to Rush Green so I could celebrate our daughter’s birthday in the refreshments after Mass. Her husband had bought a special birthday cake for everyone to share.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013


As I think the Holy Father's sermon addresses some issues of both national and international importance I am including it all.


Cultivating and caring for creation, countering "the culture of waste and disposable" - goods, food, but also people - to promote a "culture of solidarity and of encounter" that places the human person - which  "today is in danger" - at the center, because God has given the task of  cultivating and caring for creation to man and woman, and not "money", whereas today a child who dies of hunger " is normal, "whereas if the stock market falls it is" a tragedy. " And remember that " throwing food away is like stealing from the tables of the poor, the hungry."

"Human ecology and environmental ecology walk together" is the message that Pope Francis  sends out into the world, reflecting on today's World Environment Day at his general audience. 70 thousand people were present and as has become tradition, Pope Francis took a long tour among them in his open topped, white jeep: he kissed children, caught a rosary thrown to him by one of the faithful and, in addition to almost normal exchange of white skullcap, he also put on a red cap offered him by one of those present.

"When we talk about the environment, about creation, my thoughts turn to the first pages of the Bible, the Book of Genesis, which states that God placed man and woman on earth to cultivate and care for it (cf. 2:15). And the question comes to my mind: What does cultivating and caring for the earth mean? Are we truly cultivating and caring for creation? Or are we exploiting and neglecting it? The verb "to cultivate" reminds me of the care that the farmer has for his land so that it bear fruit, and it is shared: how much attention, passion and dedication! Cultivating and caring for creation is God's indication given to each one of us not only at the beginning of history; it is part of His project; it means nurturing the world with responsibility and transforming it into a garden, a habitable place for everyone. Benedict XVI recalled several times that this task entrusted to us by God the Creator requires us to grasp the rhythm and logic of creation. But we are often driven by pride of domination, of possessions, manipulation, of exploitation; we do not "care" for  it,  we do not respect it, we do not consider it as a free gift that we must care for. We are losing the attitude of wonder, contemplation, listening to creation; thus we are no longer able to read what Benedict XVI calls "the rhythm  of the love story of God and man." Why does this happen? Why do we think and live in a horizontal manner, we have moved away from God, we no longer read His signs".

"But to "cultivate and care" encompasses not only the relationship between us and the environment, between man and creation, it also regards human relationships. The Popes have spoken of human ecology, closely linked to environmental ecology. We are living in a time of crisis: we see this in the environment, but above all we see this in mankind. The human person is in danger: this is certain, the human person is in danger today, here is the urgency of human ecology! And it is a serious danger because the cause of the problem is not superficial but profound: it is not just a matter of economics, but of ethics and anthropology. The Church has stressed this several times, and many say, yes, that's right, it's true ... but the system continues as before, because it is dominated by the dynamics of an economy and finance that lack ethics".

"Man is not in charge today, money is in charge, money rules. God our Father did not give the task of caring for the earth to money, but to us, to men and women: we have this task! Instead, men and women are sacrificed to the idols of profit and consumption: it is the "culture of waste." If you break a computer it is a tragedy, but poverty, the needs, the dramas of so many people end up becoming the norm. If on a winter's night, here nearby in Via Ottaviano, for example, a person dies, that is not news. If in so many parts of the world there are children who have nothing to eat, that's not news, it seems normal. It cannot be this way! Yet these things become the norm: that some homeless people die of cold on the streets is not news. In contrast, a ten point drop on the stock markets of some cities, is a tragedy. A person dying is not news, but if the stock markets drop ten points it is a tragedy! Thus people are disposed of, as if they were trash".

This "culture of waste" tends to become the common mentality that infects everyone. Human life, the person is no longer perceived as a primary value to be respected and protected, especially if poor or disabled, if not yet useful -  such as the unborn child - or no longer needed - such as the elderly. This culture of waste has made us insensitive even to the waste and disposal of food, which is even more despicable when all over the world, unfortunately, many individuals and families are suffering from hunger and malnutrition. Once our grandparents were very careful not to throw away any leftover food. Consumerism has led us to become used to an excess and daily waste of food, to which, at times, we are no longer able to give a just value, which goes well beyond mere economic parameters. We should all remember, however, that the food we throw away is as if stolen from the table of the poor, the hungry! I encourage everyone to reflect on the problem of thrown away and wasted food to identify ways and means that, by seriously addressing this issue, are a vehicle of solidarity and sharing with the needy".

"When -  he concluded - food is shared in a fair way, with solidarity, when no one is deprived, every community can meet the needs of the poorest. Human ecology and environmental ecology walk together. So I would like us all to make a serious commitment to respect and protect creation, to be attentive to every person, to counter the culture of waste and disposable, to promote a culture of solidarity and of encounter ".

Tuesday, 4 June 2013




Forward in Faith  have now issued a Statement concerning Women in the Episcopate which can be read here

Sunday, 2 June 2013


I haven’t had the chance yet to study in any detail the new proposals from the House of Bishops for consideration for legislation by the General Synod. My initial reaction is that they will be far from either satisfactory or acceptable to either traditional Catholics or Evangelicals. I would recommend reading the blog by the Revd. John Richardson here