Happy Birthday -97 today
To Gladys: Ann’s mum and Mervyn’s mother-in-law
MANY HAPPY RETURNS ON THIS SPECIAL DAY AND LOTS OF LOVE
FROM TODAY’S EDITION OF THE SUNDAY TIMES:-
SOME of Britain’s best known charities are being used by offshore trusts to shelter hundreds of millions of pounds from the tax authorities. A cache of 2.5m leaked documents from one of the world’s biggest tax havens reveals that rich investors are naming charities as the main beneficiaries of offshore trusts that in reality have been created to benefit themselves. By naming charities as the purported beneficiaries of a trust, the real owners can avoid scrutiny by the tax authorities. Cancer Research UK, the NSPCC, the National Trust, Greenpeace and Amnesty International are among organisations whose names have been used by trusts in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), a British overseas territory, and the Cook Islands in the Pacific. The charities say they were never told of the existence of these trusts and have not received any money.
The revelation in today’s edition of the Sunday Times that some of wealthiest are using charities as a device for saving themselves taxation is totally disgusting and abhorrent. It seems that charities are named as the beneficiaries of a trust which effectively hides the identity of the real owner; the charities do not, it appears, garner any benefit whatsoever whilst the real owner avoids massive amounts of taxation.
O blessed Mark, your book so brief
was first to give the Gospel form:
the catechesis Peter preached
you penned in language unadorned.
So close in time and to the source,
your hand reveals those early years;
Christ’s messianic secret is
proclaimed to anyone who hears.
Christ is the great Messiah-King,
yet Isra’l's hopes had been misplaced:
he came to serve, and serving, die
- but he, the “Son of Man”, God raised.
Great Alexandra claimed you hers
as founding bishop for her faith:
tradition holds that your remains
and holy name, both, Venice, grace.
Your legacy, a precious link
with what occurred in Palestine:
the Lord you loved and served as scribe
still lives through you to our own time.
O Judah’s Lion, Lord of Life,
to whom the four great creatures bow:
the one who claim’s the lion’s share
shall ever praise you, then, as now
by Brother Aelred
Tonight I am going to St. George’s Church, Brentwood where, with many local Anglo-Catholic priests we will be joining the parish as they celebrate their Patronal Festival with a Solemn Concelebrated Mass.
Father Martin Howse SSC, Vicar of St. Augustine’s, Rush Green is the guest preacher.
The Mass begins at 8.00 p.m. and is followed by a reception in the hall.
The tragic bombing by two terrorists at the Boston Marathon left 4 dead and 100 wounded, some with amputated limbs. Yet, sad as this event was, the annual death rate in the USA from guns, is totally unbelievable. Even more unbelievable is the attitude of politicians who refuse to do something/anything positive to reduce this number. In today’s edition of The Observer one of their USA reporters writes:-
At the same time that investigators were in the midst of a high-profile manhunt for the marathon bombers that ended on Friday evening, 38 more Americans – with little fanfare – died from gun violence. One was a 22-year old resident of Boston. They are a tiny percentage of the 3,531 Americans killed by guns in the past four months – a total that surpasses the number of Americans who died on 9/11 and is one fewer than the number of US soldiers who lost their lives in combat operations in Iraq. Yet, none of this daily violence was considered urgent enough to motivate Congress to impose a mild, common-sense restriction on gun purchasers. Michael Cohen The Observer Sunday 21st April.
Today there was news on another stabbing in London. Whilst the Americans could, if they had the will, ban the sale of guns, we seem helpless to stop knife crime.
For the last 24 hours my email provider has had a problem which has meant I’ve been getting some emails but haven’t been able to reply most of the time. The problem seems now to have been resolved, hopefully! It’s quite surprising how much I’ve come to depend on emails despite all the spam (advertising rubbish) that seems to come through which I’m for ever deleting.
I watched the funeral yesterday of Lady Thatcher, really only because I wanted to hear the singing and listen to the organ. And I was not disappointed; I thought the music from St. Paul’s was magnificent. I am particularly fond of Brahms German Requiem from which the choir sang: “How lovely are your dwellings” As a teenager I went on a Hampshire County Music Course at which we studied it, and then sang the Requiem for an audience.
I understand that around the same time the organ was installed at St. Paul’s the organ at Salisbury was also installed.. Sir John Stainer was the organist at St. Paul’s and on a visit to Salisbury played the organ and he is reported as saying that of the two, Salisbury was the better instrument. It is certainly magnificent and I’ve played it on a number of occasions mainly to accompany the Salisbury & Wells Theological College Choir who used to sing Evensong there every term. One of those occasions was the Evensong for Ascension Day.
I thought the Bishop of London’s sermon hit just the right note and I was impressed by the way Lady Thatcher’s granddaughter Amanda’s read some of the Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians.
I am puzzled! Big Ben is to be silenced for the funeral of Margaret Thatcher tomorrow. It wasn’t silenced for Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s funeral nor for the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales and in fact the last time it was silenced was for the State Funeral of Winston Churchill. So why is it being silenced tomorrow?
We keep being told that this isn’t a State Funeral but a Ceremonial Funeral. It seems almost impossible to tell the difference.
“The scale and the cost to the taxpayer of the funeral has been criticised by public figures including the Bishop of Grantham, Lord Prescott and George Galloway. It has been widely reported that the event will cost £10m. Previous ceremonial funerals have included "opportunity costs", which would have been incurred anyway if staff were assigned to other operations.” The Guardian 16th April
To the cost of the funeral must be added the cost of the absurdity of bringing MP’s back from their holidays early to pay tributes to Lady Thatcher in the House of Commons at an amount up to £3,700. It seems that there are moves afoot to hide the true cost. In today’s Guardian it is reported that Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office Minister in charge of organising Thatcher's funeral – Operation True Blue – has …. come under fire amid accusations that he is planning to conceal the event's true costs from the public by omitting the wage bills of police officers and service personnel. Maude said the money paid to uniformed officers should not be included when calculating the overall costs to the public purse, an accounting manoeuvre that breaks with precedent. Calculations of the costs of the Queen Mother and Princess Diana's funeral included the costs of paying police and the armed services.”
It seems to me to be ironic that in a period of financial stringency we, as a country, can afford to spend this sort of money on a semi-state funeral whilst people are so impoverished that they have to rely on food banks.
I have received the following communication from The Coalition for Marriage which I am publishing on my blog to give it as wide a publicity as possible.
The elites who are pushing for marriage to be redefined want you to give up. They are promoting the myth that redefining marriage is ‘inevitable’. They hope you’ll just go away, sit in a corner, and keep quiet.
But we know your commitment to marriage is stronger than that. We are not going away, and neither are you.
The local elections are under a month away, and we intend to make sure that candidates realise how voters feel about politicians meddling with marriage.
Also, the Bill to redefine marriage has yet to reach the Lords where it is sure to face strong opposition. It is possible the Bill could fall in the Lords. Together we can keep the real meaning of marriage.
This morning I drove to North Weald to celebrate Mass for St. Andrew’s. In my sermon I talked about how we, as Christians in the 21st Century are being challenged by Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin to make the good news of the Gospel available to people we mix with. We, like St. Peter, are asked “do you love me” and if we answer yes then it is our duty to make Jesus known and to spread the good news of the Gospel far and wide.
“The Work and Pensions Secretary was today accused of misrepresenting government statistics in order to claim his cap on benefits was driving people to find work.” ITV News 13th April.
Ian Duncan Smith has claimed that his policy on capping benefits is working because the number of people expected to suffer benefit cuts was originally 56,000 but has seemingly fallen to 40,000. However this figure has been contested by Jonathan Portes, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and a former chief economist at the DWP, who said "there was no evidence at all" that the cap had affected people's behaviour.
According to Ian Duncan Smith the point of capping benefits is to get people back into work; but my query is how can people get back into work when there are no jobs available. I am aware of one graduate with a 1st Class honours degree who is still out of work nearly two years after graduating. Another person has tried for over two years to find paid work and is filling in her time volunteering in a charity shop and undertaking unpaid clerical and reception work. There are many similar examples. Of course, there are some who are just plain bone idle but the greater majority who find themselves unemployed want to get back into work as soon as they can.
SATURDAY 13th APRIL
10.00 a.m. – 2.30 P.M.
Guided tours of this 11th century masterpiece – the oldest building in Ilford
Stalls, refreshments etc.
I’ve discovered a new LITURGICAL CEREMONY for Maundy Thursday evidenced by the following from the Church of England Newspaper: While the Rt. Revd. Chris Edmondson, Bishop of Bolton, polished shoes in Victoria Square, Bolton, the Rt. Revd. Paul Butler, Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, joined the Rt. Revd. Tony Porter, Bishop of Sherwood, to polish shoes in Mansfield town centre. The Rt. Revd. Paul Butler told the CofE Newspaper that “this is a modern twist on the tradition of foot washing”! I understand that this has happened in many places round the UK
Well, there you have it. Instead of preparing a bowl of water, tying a towel around yourself and washing the feet of 12 folk at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Maundy Thursday get some black, brown and possibly neutral shoe polish, some brushes and cloths and possibly a small stand for those volunteering for this innovation to comfortably place their feet and shoes. Ask for the volunteers to come forward and perhaps the organ and choir could sing "Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy".
We expect a lead from the Bishops but, on second thoughts, I think I’ll stick to the original liturgical practice.
After a quick visit to St. Augustine’s for Ann to see to the flowers, we drove to North Weald to see how long it took and how many miles it is from where we live. Starting next Sunday I’m going to be helping with their interregnum which has now been going on for around 18 months. I will be going there every second Sunday in the month until August when I will be at St. Augustine’s Rush Green every Sunday. We then made a visit to the Harlow Garden Centre to get some bits and bobs and have a spot of lunch.
On the way back we called into a wonderful Farmers Market and amongst other things bought something I haven’t seen since I was a child – a goose egg. Not cheap at £2.10 and as my wife said we had better enjoy every mouth full – I’m sure we will.
Yesterday, Ian Duncan Smith, Work & Pensions Secretary, in answer to a question by an interviewer on the Today Programme said he could live on £53 a week. A previous caller, David Bennett, a market trader said that after his housing benefit had been cut, he would have to live on that amount could Duncan Smith do so. I personally don’t think it is possible but, as the saying goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so an on line petition has been set up challenging him to do so and after 24 hours it has attracted over 142,000 signatures.
If you would like to sign the petition go here
The last 8 days have been quite something. After preaching on Palm Sunday, on Monday the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral, and Mass & homily at St Augustine’s, a Civic Service on Tuesday at the Hospital Chapel, on Thursday a Mass of the Last Supper at the Hospital Chapel followed by the evening Mass and Watch at St. Augustine’s ,at which I gave the homily, on Good Friday a service prior to the March of Witness and Stations of the Cross at the Hospital Chapel, playing the organ for the Devotional Service at St. Augustine’s followed by the Solemn Liturgy, on Saturday the New Fire and first Mass of Easter at the Hospital Chapel and on Easter Day the Easter Liturgy (New Fire, Vigil etc.), at 5.00 a.m. followed by the Solemn Mass of Easter and finally Prayer Book Evensong & Benediction at which I played the organ; this has been a rather busy time. But it has also been a wonderful time as well, even though I’m feeling a little exhausted.
Both my wife Ann and I feel that this has been a very inspiring and moving Triduum. The Solemn Mass of Easter at St. Augustine’s at which I presided was wonderful. Every year, for the last 5 years, the attendance at this service has increased and once again it did so this year to give us a full church including 21 children. After Mass we adjourned to the hall for refreshments (this is the first time we’ve done this at Easter) and it proved to be very successful with most folk coming. It meant that those making the tea and coffee worked really hard.
If you haven’t done so why not look at the St. Augustine’s blog click here