Sunday, 30 March 2008

An old favourite

A classic Sunday newspaper competition returns

Answer will be published in a few days' time

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Spring Forward

Losing an hour of sleep tonight as we move to British Summer Time - just as well it's a 5th Sunday of the month tomorow, and there's just the one Eucharist at the later time of 10.30 a.m.!

Friday, 28 March 2008

Pinched from another Blog

Turbulent Cleric posted this, but having viewed this I wanted to share it appeals to my warped sense of humour.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

The Orange Olympics

Here's an idea that's gaining ground - that all who oppose the Human Rights abuses in China wear something orange at the event, or around the world during the event. China can ban people from speaking out, but can they ban a colour? It could be a massive and very effective protest.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Easter Day

The snow started at just after 8.00 a.m. and lasted through until about 2.00 p.m., which made travelling the lanes to the morning services quite interesting. However, it was fairly light, wet stuff, and the first service, a Common Worship Eucharist, attracted a congregation of 33 adults and 11 children, whilst the second, a BCP Communion, had 19 adults. This evening's Via Lucis in the church opposite the Parsonage had just 9 of us, but it was getting frosty at the time, and not a good night to be out. At 11.00 p.m. it's now snowing lightly again.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Easter ceremonies

I put it down to the weather ... wintry showers all day and a freezing night making the local roads quite slippery ... but there were only 6 of us at the Easter Eve service this evening. Still, the new fire blazed, the Paschal candle was lit, and we renewed our baptismal promises around the font. And our closing Gospel reading left us with the uncertainty of an empty tomb "while it was still dark, and Peter and the other disciple making their confused way home again. The resurrection appearances belong to the morning.

And since St. Michael's has no electric lights (apart from a desk lamp over the harmonium), the oil lamps and candles made it look amazing.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Location Location

The pictures in the Good Friday entry below were chosen to illustrate the day rather than the location of the services in this rural area. Just to clarify, here's the church in which we processed round the Stations of the Cross in the morning ...

with the crucifixion in its east window ....

and here's the church where we sang Evensong later in the afternoon.

with its Ascension east window.

And it really is that narrow between the choir stalls!

Still atmospheric, I hope.

Good Friday

Just into double figures for this morning's Stations of the Cross, and then 17 for the BCP Evensong this afternoon. I don't yet know about the middle hour (12-1), but no doubt I'll be told soon.

Six people for hot cross buns at 4.00 p.m., and we indulged in "seconds" and "thirds" as I had plenty to go around.

Now all is quiet until tomorrow evening and the Easter Ceremonies.

Living God, at this evening hour your Son our Lord Jesus Christ lay in the tomb and so hallowed the grave to be a bed of hope for all who put their trust in you; give us such sorrow for our sins, which were the cause of his passion, that, when our bodies lie in the dust, our souls may live with him, for he is now alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

The Office of Compline

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Maundy Thursday

Well, actually, yes they can.

There were 14 people for our 8.00 p.m. Eucharist this evening, which is the greatest number in the 7 years I've been here, and 12 of them stayed for the hour-long Vigil afterwards until 10.00 p.m. I have never had more than 6 or 7 stay on, so tonight was a real blessing. We sat in the candlelight and listened to a superb recording of Roger Mayer's setting of some of the words of Julian of Norwich, recorded in Norwich Cathedral. Wonderful music and soaring voices, and the time passed very quickly.

I don't do an all-night Watch in the Garden, nor do we have a decorated Altar of Repose, but we sit in front of the Sacrament remaining from the Eucharist, replaced on the bare altar and surrounded by small lights. Simple and reflective, providing a chance to pause before the drama of tomorrow.

No blessing to finish, just the words of Scripture that bring us to the point of the arrival of Judas and the mob. "Get up. Let us go."

Wednesday, 19 March 2008


Holy Week in church doesn't just happen - there are preparations to be made, and slowly the study becomes littered with service sheets for this, resources for that, and various little bits for the other, until it gets to the stage where I've run out of space on the desk and chair, and things have to be transferred to the hall table.

I think it's all there, from Common Worship Daily Prayer on Maundy Thursday morning, through to Stations of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday evening, (though the service sheets for that last have yet to be copied and compiled).

Is it any wonder clergy breathe a sigh of relief when it's all over, and actually look forward to Low Sunday when things get back to normal?

Of course, it doesn't last. We've Ascension Day looming, then Whitsun, and then Trinity.

O deep joy.

Friday, 14 March 2008

The day is past and over

Well, that was the Great Storm ... or was it the Big Wind? Come to think of it, maybe it was the Great Tempest? ....

(The trouble is, many of my PCC's are like this !)

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Another storm, another place

In the Comments to the previous post "Rural Rector" mentions that we missed the October 87 "hurricane" as we were abroad in SW France at the time. It certainly got dark and stormy in Biarritz that day as these two photos show.

This was our first view of the resort as we came out of the undergraound car park. One of our party is standing on the bridge.

In this second shot we are making our way along the beach with the deep dark storm clouds gathering behind! The heavens opened shortly after this was taken!

Back to the present, and it's been blowing all evening with heavy bursts of rain. The old apple trees are surviving so far, but the forecast is for another very stormy day tomorrow, with the Met Office warning of damaging gusts up to 85 mph.

March is certainly holding true to the proverb and "roaring in like a lion".

Monday, 10 March 2008

A plague upon this howling

So says the Boatswain in the opening conversation in Shakespeare's, "The Tempest".

The wind is fairly whistling up my chimney at present, and I've just had a phone call telling me that rain is blowing under the south "Priest's door" of one of the churches and has soaked the rather fine curtain hanging across it. The caller than told me he had lifted the curtain up over the adjacent pew so that it can drip-dry.

Certainly it's unusual here for us to have a southerly gale. Normally it sweeps in from the west and howls across the fields. Today it's hitting the front of the house, so it's just as well that yesterday some emergency repair work was carried out to the top corner of the front wall where the bricks under the eaves were falling out!

Hmm - the double-glazed windows just rattled with that gust, and the lobby door banged shut. Let's hope the old and hollow apple trees survive ...

"Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes spout
Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the cocks!"
(King Lear. Act 3. Scene 2)

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Heading for shelter

It looks as if the next 24 hours down here in the south of England is going to be a bit breezy! Since we lost power last week for 14.5 hours after a windy day, I will not be surprised it it goes off again tomorrow. I shall boil the kettle and fill some thermos flasks beforehand, and my single camping stove will allow me to cook basic foods such as eggs, beans and soups.

The winds are due to hit Cornwall in the early hours and be over here in East Anglia by 8.00 a.m. Though I was brought up on the coast, I don't regret being inland for this coming event.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Songs of Praise

Darn it - why didn't I find this first?

Thank you, Rural Church Ramblings, for posting it, so that I could pass it along in turn. The sub-titles really do seem accurate ....

Saturday, 1 March 2008


Refreshment Sunday, and a time for relaxing your Lenten discipline. So enjoy, rejoice, and, if you're lucky, indulge in a slice of Mothering Sunday Simnel Cake.

And if I had one, I'd be wearing this instead of the Lenten purple ...

An interesting 24 hours!

Howling winds that began yesterday evening, peaked last night, and at just after 1.00 a.m. there was a brilliant flash of light over the hills to the south and all the power went off. It wasn't restored until just after 4.00 p.m. this afternoon, which made the monthly Benefice Coffee morning that I host quite an exercise in logistics. Fortunately a helpful parishioner came forward with several flasks of hot water, and I dug out my single-burner camping gas stove, and so we were able to go ahead - with instant coffee though instead of the real stuff!

And now, at 7.15 p.m. I've just had a call from the Diocesan Exorcist asking my permission to come in to a house in one of our villages and do a "cleansing". Of course I've said "yes". But what is slightly interesting is that they seem to have been contacted by a previous incumbent. I know nothing about the situation at all. At least that call is a nod in the direction of protocol, but I don't think much of the former incumbent's lack of communication with me.

So from the Leap Day we move through St. David's Day and into Mothering Sunday. What a feast of celebration this Lent is proving to be!