Friday, 29 February 2008

Leap Year

Well, here it is - midday on February 29th, and still no offers of marriage, or even a civil partnership! I don't know which hurts most.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Suffolk Saints Earthquake Relief Appeal

An Earthquake measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale hit Market Rasen in Lincolnshire early this morning. The epicentre was just north of the town, and its effects were felt as far north as Dumfries in Scotland and as far south as the Isle of Wight. In Suffolk the tremor woke various residents of the small villages of "The Saints", and mid-morning survivors were seen wandering aimlessly around the lanes saying "Ar, that were un biggun," and "Did the earth move for 'ee then?"

The earthquake shook some houses to their non-exsistent foundations, and in one particular residence damage was sustained to the door at the foot of the stairs which, up until that time, had never closed by itself. Following the tremors it swung shut without effort. In the Parsonage House the Rector was woken from a rather interesting dream by the noise of pictures rattling on the walls. "I knew immediately what it was," he said. "It's the second earthquiake I have survived, my first being the 2.8 magnitude quake that hit Stoke-on-Trent 6th May, 1996. Then, house and car alarms went off and it was bedlam for half-an hour or so. But here," he continued, "in the country, apart from next-door's dogs barking, and the geese in the field at the back squealing, it was just as it always is. I soon went back to sleep."

"The earthquake sounded like distant thunder," said one bemused resident, clutching a cup of coffee in the Village Hall. "I thought one of the North Sea platforms had exploded," said another. "Why? What's happened?" asked a third, stirring her tea with a digestive biscuit.

One resident, a 15 year-old mother of four, said "It was such a ****ing shock, little Chardonnay-Destiny came running into my bedroom crying; my hands were shaking that much I could hardly make me roll-up, and I got tobacco all over me duvet."

The British Red Cross has so far managed to send 4000 crates of tea bags and biscuit selection boxes to the area to help with the crisis. Rescue workers are still searching through the rubble and have found numerous issues of "Farming Weekly", a dozen or so rusty sheep emasculating shears, scores of pension books, and several hundred copies of "Hymns Ancient & Modern".

How Can You Help?

The Suffolk Saints Earthquake Relief Appeal (SSERA) hopes to raise money for food and clothing parcels for those unfortunate enough to be caught up in the disaster. Clothing is most sought after. Urgently needed are shooting jackets, jodphurs, woolly hats, comfy cardigans and wellington boots. Food parcels are also needed. They include Farm-fresh free-range eggs, Suffolk ham, chicken portions and hand-picked mushrooms. Alcohol is also in short supply, especially St. Peter's English Ale, Adnams Bitter and Apple juice.

Cash donations are also needed. £3.50 buys a Fish & chip dinner in Bungay, £15.00 buys a large bag of dried dog food from the Country Superstore, and £28.00 buys a pub lunch for two at St. Peter's Hall. Your help is appreciated.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

One Way to Heaven

I learn from today's News that the Christian rock singer, Larry Norman, died on Sunday, 24th, aged 60.

I saw him perform on several occasions, the last at Hove Town Hall, Brighton, Sussex, in the early 1970's. Never had light blue denim and long blond hair looked so good. His style of singing was raw and the lyrics were stark, and he captured the apocalyptic mood of those days. His "One Way" upraised finger sign became our Christian version of the Black Panther clenched fist salute, and I saw it all around me in the Hyde Park Festival of Light rally in 1972.

His proclamation of the Gospel was influential on me as I came to a personal faith in Jesus Christ. His first album, "Upon This Rock" was a revelation to me that the Christian message could be proclaimed in a contemporary style without compromise.

I then bought the album, "Only Visiting this Planet" and both were played fairly continuously.

I then got hold of the "Bootleg" album which contained "unofficial" recordings and studio sessions, and many more songs from his repertoire. Then came "In Another Land", with more composed songs and less "in your face" production. I played it, but the first two remain my favourites.

Thank you, Larry, for your ministry of music and faith.

Last night I came to the gates
With invitation in hand
And my old life left behind
I came as soon as He called
But long before I had planned
Still I came prepared to dine

Enjoy the wedding feast!

Friday, 22 February 2008

Winter in New York

I see from fellow blogger "Hamptons Ramblings" that there was 3 inches of snow in his driveway this morning. In cases like this, there's only one course of action ... He needs to call:

A bit of fun

Back in the days when computing was all about typing lengthy paragraphs of code, and marvelling that you could get a small cursor to bounce a white dot backwards and forwards across the black screen, games were far less sophisticated and sometimes a lot more fun.

ASTEROIDS was one such game, allowing you to move a small triangular spaceship around the screen, blowing up hurtling asteroids and alien flying saucers, before getting hit and disintegrating into flying shards.

Scroll down to the bottom of this Blog and you will be able to recapture those moments when you were your own Starship Captain, boldly going .....

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Foggy and frosty

It's been a bit cold here over the last 36 hours, and I've even lit the open fire in the sitting room in the evenings. The church where the first service today was held was also very cold. The two calor gas heaters didn't make much impression, and my fingers were so numb that it was difficult to pick the bread off the paten at the distribution of communion. I've tried mittens, and they're no use at all. So at every opportunity I stick my hands inside the sleeves of my alb. It helps, but doesn't really warm them. Maybe it's time we brought back fur-lined albs and surplices ....

Thursday, 14 February 2008

I wish I'd said that

I get my copy of the "Church Times" a couple of days late since it is kindly passed on to me by someone else, hence it is only today that I have read the 8th February issue.

Giles Fraser hits the nail square on the head in his comments about the forthcoming Lambeth Conference. I have no hesitation in putting up the link to the article and declaring that I wish I'd said it.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Film in real life

In the wonderful film "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas", the Governor of that fine State has a great song all about letting people think he's saying something, when in reality he says absolutely nothing of any importance. One of the media reporters is asked by a colleague, "What did he say?" and gives the reply, "As usual, not a damn thing."

I feel a bit the same having read the address our Archbishop gave to today's meeting of the General Synod. (The full text can be read at -Mad Priest's blog ) I see the words, but I don't understand them. Another blogger has asked if the Archbishop is incapable of talking straight to the point, or if he always has to go round the houses? I think the answer is that he doesn't understand any other way of presenting his position or arguement. As an academic he uses the academic process. What we need is a pastor who speaks in the terminology and phraseology of the common people. Then we might be able to follow the thinking. As it stands, I switch off, and if I can't be bothered to struggle with this, what hope have others who have had no theological training? (That sounds a bit patronising, as if I, as a cleric, am better able, or should be better able to follow theological thought. I don't think that at all, but too often clergy fall into the trap of speaking and preaching in styles that just do not connect with the person in the pew.)

Friday, 8 February 2008

The Fall of the Empire

Just after my ordination as a Deacon, the Canon in charge of our "potty training" (POT = Post-ordination training) said to us that whilst following our call to ministry had meant sacrifices, we were assured of a "job for life" in the Church of England. Some 11 years later I found myself between posts and signing-on as unemployed for 6 weeks. The Benefits Office didn't have a "vicar" classification on their books, and I had to be put down as a "Methodist minister". But apart from this minor hiccup in employment, at least the Church appeared to be steady and continuing.

Now I look around and hardly recognise the church that nurtured my faith and vocation. The breadth and openness of the Anglican Church has all but disappeared as views are polarised and lines drawn. We have schism in the Episcopal Church of the United States as a couple of "traditional" bishops attempt to take their Dioceses and property out of ECUSA and into the Diocese of the Southern Cone. We have hard-line pronouncements coming from African Archbishops, and a meeting of "traditionalist" Bishops (GAFCON) in Jerusalem just before the Lambeth Conference this summer.

Making today's news is the Hereford Diocese being found guilty of sexual-orientation discrimination and facing a pay-out of £47k to the person affected, and an Archbishop who seems more concerned with making overtures to the Muslim faith rather than dealing with the blatant discrimination against women and gay Christians in his own church.

I sometimes wonder what I'm doing in the midst of all this.

And then I remember.

I am a servant of the Servant. That's my role and purpose. And for the present I am called to exercise that ministry in these rural parishes and their people.

Many years ago, as a child, I went to the cinema to see the film "The Fall of the Roman Empire". I was very interested in all things Roman then, and thought how exciting it must have been to live in the age when the known world was beginning to disintegrate.

I now know what it's like.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008


Maybe it's a reaction to Ash Wednesday and the thought of 40 days of Lent, but today I've chomped two of these -
(well, they are 92% fat free!)

and two of these
(which aren't!)

mmmmmm .... chocolate egg ...... *drool*


This morning I installed Internet Explorer 7, and so far ....

... but being Microsoft, something's bound to fall-over eventually. What with Tabs, buttons in different places, and a new graphics interface, my Lent is going to be a time of learning!

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Just a wafer-thin mint?

Shrove Tuesday, and I've just eaten 6 pancakes, five with Golden Syrup and one with sugar and lemon ....

... God, I'm stuffed ....


Get the hose and the cleaning lady ...

Monday, 4 February 2008

Service Pack 2

The last time I tried to install Microsoft Service Pack 2 on my computer, almost two years ago, it screwed up my Internet connection, so I removed it. I have held off re-installing it until this evening when I thought I'd give it another shot. So far, so good. I can still connect, as evidenced by this Post, and all seems to be working well. Now I shall try to update my Internet Explorer from version 6 to 7 with its added security measures.

It's a bit like my Sunday routine with a 9.45 a.m. service followed by an 11.15 a.m. one. By the time the first is over and I'm driving off to the second venue, I wonder if I will get it right this time, or if my sermon delivery will be better, or if I will manage to concentrate all the way through the Eucharistic Prayer without my mind wandering off to building problems, deaths of parishioners, upcoming meetings, faculty applications and the like.

If I could upload a mental Service Pack 2 that kept me fresh and aware that for those subjected to my second "performance" this is their first/one and only act of worship on this day, it might be better for all concerned.

But then the whole system might crash ......

Saturday, 2 February 2008


On the Feast of the Purification, a candle is lit in thanks for calmer weather.