Showing posts from 2017

Two thoughts

My two thoughts for the morning. As the BBC moves to replace the CofE as the national church of no belief, as parts of the BBC becomes more irrelevant in the new world is it possible The BBC will consume itself with its left wing cynical view? When the issue of faith is shown the back door and told not to come back who will the new priests and priestess pour their cynicism on? Perhaps themselves? For we all need the other voice who we don’t agree with to gain a greater understanding of who and what we are.  History tells us every regime needs someone to bullySecondly, will The Church not be better without these platforms of privilege? When we are no longer welcome on the platform of privilege as will happen at some point, will we not need to shape up to redefine what we believe, what we have to share, what we don’t need? Privilege tends to make you slow on your feet, breed chummy inward looking relationships, privilege steals from people the ability to move under the defining culture …

Response To Bishop North

A while back Bishop Phillip North spoke to New Wine and caused a bit of a reaction one of it was a Tweet to my millions of followers. In response I had a phone call from The Church Times asking for a quote because I serve in a poor parish, I declined and said I would put a more considered response on my blog, so here it is with a link to The Bishops full talk.

1.One of the issues the church does not recognise is the exportation of people, talents and money from parishes like mine to middle class parishes which is draining and demanding on leadership. For 10 years I thought I was building a community, then it dawned on me I was building people up to go to other places.
2.Bishop Phillip talks of abandonment of the poor: I think it’s more complicated than that. When I came back to my Deanery in 2000 to my present post, we had 10 full ti…

The Big M

I have in my diary three dates for musical encounters. These dates are even more interesting than usual, as at the same time I explore and write about Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds for my MA. One of the issues that is rising our of my reading is the musical event as a pilgrimage and a deep desire for a sacred place, space and encounter. This essay is drawing me down a path where I am asking the question "has my hobby or pattern of going to concerts over the years (many in my younger day's) been a deep desire for a spiritual sacred encounter?" Tonight I will be listening to Mahler from the BBC Proms I have no idea why I started listening to Mahler but this piece of music The resurrection Symphony No2 crushes me and lifts me in unequal measure. Next time I'm allowed out to a concert is latter in the month and then NC&BS after that. I suppose the danger is I might over analyse the event and miss the Jig the dance the beat of life. Do you think your music is sacred?

Men of influence (and women)

In 1989 I walked into a garage/ workshop canteen for my breakfast, 10 o'clock, it was my first breakfast in this room. Sandwich in hand I sat at a spare seat. This seat would change my life. But today I say thank you for one thing. 
It is the 90th birthday of John Coletrian if he would have lived. The man who I sat opposite that morning introduced me to John Coletrain, not that morning amidst the sweet smell of diesel, overalls   and burnt toast but latter. Latter he gave a CD called Love Supreme, Acknowledgement 7.47, Resolution 7.22 Pursuance/ Part 4-Psalm 17.50. I didn't know it at the time but this invitation education allowed me to look above my loved rock and roll. His gift to me that day was a kind of love S, enhancing my love of music inviting me to dance to another rhythm.   We are all indebted to Coltrian I'm indebted to my friend Mike O'Connor. Thank you, Thank You. Good friends enrich you.

At Ian y mor

•  Trad. Arlan y moro Singer: Sir Bryn Terfel.  I have just listened to this piece of music. It did a number of things. As the hair stood up on the back of my head I was reminded of how I need something of the otherness of life, call is spirituality, but something beyond myself. Beside the sea red roses growing
Beside the sea white lilies showing
Beside the sea their beauty telling
My true love sleeps within her dwellingBeside the sea the stones lie scattered
Where tender words in love were uttered
While all around there grew the lily
And sweetest branches of rosemaryBeside the sea blue pebbles lying
Beside the sea gold flowers glowing
Beside the sea are all things fairest
Beside the sea is found my dearestFull the sea of sand and billows
Full the egg of whites and yellows
Full the woods of leaf and flower
Full my heart of love for ever.Fair the sun at new day’s dawning
Fair the rainbow’s colours shining
Fair the summer, fair as heaven
Fairer yet the face of Elin


17 years ago today we came to St Mary’s Pype Hayes to be their servant in Christ. My first parish as parish priest, vicar, servant, apprentice father and husband. It was the place we were called by God to bring our passion, make our mistakes and share our lives. We did not have a plan but we agreed not to move until our daughter left education, she had been in a number of schools due to our commitment to following our call as a family. When we came to look at the parish our daughter of 9 years refused to get out of the car saying “I’m not getting out at this tip” she was right we were surrounded by derelict houses used by drug dealers and vandals. Our vicarage was recommended by the local glaziers to have plastic windows fitted due to constant vandalism. My son was quietly calm about our move and the loss of his friends, he made his move into his new school with sense of confidence I have always admired. During the early years Erin and I regularly lay awake in bed listening to groups …

Just a thought

This whole Brexit deal no deal, what is interesting is that it has been has been framed around the image of human relationships, particularly divorce. Now I have never understood our or my relationship to and with the EU as a marriage, but more like a club with members who have similar interests.  I am well aware of modern relationships and their changing nature in society. It is not unusual now for couples and families after a divorce to say, we are happier now than when we were married. I know this is not the same for every relationship breakdown.  I know of families from both sides of a divorce who go out to dinner with each other and visit each go on holiday and support each in their needs. Life has changed and it seems life is ok, maybe even better. I have no moral judgement on any of this iv been happily married (not sure about Erin my wife ask her) for 32 years, just an observation on language and narrow preconceived ideas.I’m just saying not all divorces end in trashed wardrob…

Drop inns

I try to do church In a place where drop ins are rare. So when you look across the hall and see four young men (17-19 year olds) siting waiting I am taken back a bit. So during the conversation I discover they are Spanish speaking and I invite my professor over, he speaks Spanish and Russian. They are from Barcelona and stoping in town saw our banner and thought they would visit us. The cynic inside cried out but I ignore that cynic and get tea and coffee organised offer them care and hospitality. Just as the service starts they move table then leave and following them is my retired Colleague. So I go out the other door, me shouting to my colleague to stop he's far to old to be chasing young men. 
Well they stole his wife's purse, I chase them and they jump into a car and speed off. 
They stole a purse from a blind elderly woman we also find out they stole someone's phone someone who gives generously to our community day in day out. 
Last Friday an 80 year old man smoking out…

It's not all bad here

It's my day off but I have a excepted an invitation. At one of the local schools I take assembles at, they are celebrating Red Nose Day. I am one of three judges spotting talent, Schools Got Tallent show. We watch the children on the stage we clap , smile, inwardly mark the talent. Singers, dancers, gymnasts, strongmen, hula hoopers, keyboard players and very enthusiastic teachers and support staff. We watch we listen we clap we award. I see the same faces I present my assemblies to. Black, brown, white, dirty, clean, Muslim Shiek Christian, Jewish, Pagan, Humanist  non believers,. We cheer, we clap, we smile, we award a winner. Month in month out for 17 years I have shared with them my faith in following Jesus. I have encouraged them to care, to look for the one on the edge of the playground, to be generous too each other. 
I go home to wash the car and and waterproof its roof. A mom and daughter returning from the other school I take assemblies at wave at me and say Hi. But they …


A word I have been toying with this year is habit. Another time in my life I might have said God has given me this word. But I'm comfortable with toying. It sort of follows on from my Small but significant exploration.  So I will be inflicting or sharing with my people the possibilities of habit. 
A habit regular tendency or practice often interpreted as bad habit, picking your nose,  belching after dinner and inappropriate winking all which I'm guilty of and much worse. But there are much worse habits to be found guilty of. (Have a think) reflective moment over. As parents and teachers we watch the young grow through those distasful habits. But as a disciple of Jesus in some way means to understand some of those bad habits and begin to change them, and I hope to explore some of them through the year. But there are the good habits we ask of others to take up, I was sick to death saying to children learn your scales, make a habit of playing is what I meant, brush your teeth yes e…

Sorry Graham

Graham Taylor has died, he managed my team and did a good job and we were sad to loose him to the England appointment. I never meet him but enjoyed his company and insights through many football matches. By all measures it seems in the press today no dirt, no snipes but honest appraisal of a great man of football. So why am I disappointed in myself? I'm disappointed that when the press, mainly newspapers, used there privilege to put undermining highly offensive pictures and headlines focused on Graham's struggles with his job as coach. I'm disappointed that I did not go into the news agent buy up news papers and dispose of them. I'm disappointed that as a member of the football fraternity I colluded in silence and allowed newspapers to ridicule a great man. I wonder if today there are people sitting in newspaper offices reflecting on what they did and said of a great man? I hope those people of privilege in the press might learn that there were greater headlines to wri…