Saturday, 30 June 2012

How shall I spend the time?

From: The Connexion - France's English language newspaper:

GET A long lie on Sunday morning as scientists add an extra second to atomic clocks to keep them in time with the rotation of the Earth.

The "leap second" will be added just before midnight Coordinated Universal Time on Saturday - at 2.00 in France. For a brief moment the time will be 01:59:60 before flipping to 02.00.

This is the 34th time that the leap second has had to be added to cater for the change in the way the Earth wobbles on its axis as it rotates round the Sun. The last one was in 2008.

Daniel Gamis, director of the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service which monitors timing systems at the Observatoire de Paris, said that the length of the day on Earth was slowing down.

This is because of the actions of tides and the reactions of the Earth's core, while violent earthquakes such as Fukushima can also upset the planet's rotation.

The Earth takes 86,400 seconds for a full 360-degree rotation but tides slow it down by 1.4 milli-seconds a day - meaning that in around 300 to 400million years the day will be just 22 hours long.

Since 1967 governments had agreed to move away from solar time and towards the precise measurements from atomic clocks but also agreed to adjust International Atomic Time to get rid of the discrepancy between the two.

The adjustment is generally every two years or so, but an unusual speeding up of the Earth meant it has not been needed since 2008.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Like sheep unto the slaughter

I was in Norwich yesterday with time to wander as my car was undergoing heart-by pass treatement with a 40k service (including cam belt change) and MoT test, and I decided to call in to the Cathedral where I unexpectedly had the opportunity to join their 11.00 a.m. BCP Holy Communion service. An interesting celebration, with bits missed out and no directions given and a priest who seemed to be saying the words by rote rather than by heart, but still a channel for God's grace to flow through. This was a refreshing stop for me by itself, but as I left the small circular side-chapel I found myself witnessing a walk-through rehearsal for the ordination service this Saturday. About a dozen ordinands dressed in their crisp new black cassocks were going through their paces for the service, and receiving instruction as to what to say, when to say it, where to stand and what they would be holding. It was a reminder of my own ordination rehearsal held 28 years ago in Salisbury cathedral when I started out on this slippery slope of ministry.

Leaving The Close I called in at the Tombland Bookshop and within minutes had found a volume by Baring-Gould on the development and change that was sweeping through villages at the end of the 19th century. There is a whole chapter on the parish church and how ancient screens, traceries, pulpits and the like were being hauled away in the name of "restoration". The book contains a timely reminder that once it's gone, it's gone, and calls for a more reasoned approach to heritage whilst balancing that with the worship needs. The words may be over a century old, but they remain bang up to date.

Then into the city centre to wander round a cheap CD and DVD store, get a coffee from a well-known Coffee House chain, and then to Cafe Rouge to use a 20% discount voucher against a wonderful main course of "steak/frites".

More wandering followed, up to the "Country & Eastern" emporium housed in the old skating rink, and its wondeful stock of oriental carpets, china, textiles and wood. On the way, passing through the Market Square, I saw something that restored my faith in human nature. An elderly gentleman walking with the aid of a frame on wheels had misjudged the shallow steps to one side of the square, and had fallen forward and was hanging on to the handrail unable to move. A group of youngsters - probably from the UEA - immediately went to his aid, helping him up, retrieving his scattered parcels, and checking that he was uninjured. Young people get such negative press, but here their help was instinctive and speedy.

And to top it all off, even though the car servicing was faily expensive, it was exactly as estimated and with no unexpected work required.

A good day off all round.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Not in my name

Here's the link for the Petition opposing the recent "Church of England" declaration against same-sex marriage.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Sorry - I may be thick, but ....

... who the hell is this "Church of England" that has made its announcement about marriage today? Having looked at the Cof E website and followed the link to the full statement and press release, its authors are no-where attributed. All it says in its headline and opening lines is:

A Response to the Government Equalities Office Consultation -“Equal Civil Marriage”- from the Church of England


The Church of England cannot support the proposal to enable all couples, regardless of their gender, to have a civil marriage ceremony.

The news media has therefore gleefully announced in every bulletin that the Church of England, i.e. every lay and ordained member, has said "No" to the Governement's same-sex marriage proposals.

Well, not here matey! Once again a statement is made from some unknown central source and on my behalf over which I have had no input, no debate, no reference whatsoever.

Along with many other Church of England clergy, this announcement does not reflect my position, and it was disingenuous of its authors not to mention that there are opposing views within the CofE.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Now there's a surprise

A fellow Blogger has published this little gem from THE CHURCH TIMES:

"No timescale is to be put on the adoption of the Anglican Covenant, the Standing Committee of the An­gli­can Communion (SCAC) agreed last week. The Covenant was discussed on the first of the three days of the committee’s talks, attended by the Archbishop of Canterbury and elected members of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ standing committee.

A statement released afterwards said: “The Standing Committee re­ceived an update on the progress of the Anglican Communion Covenant. It was noted that eight provinces had endorsed the covenant to date, in some cases with a degree of qualifica­tion. They were the only responses received so far by the secretary general.”

The Church of England, which rejected the Covenant when a majori­ty of dioceses voted against it in March, was not included in the responses received.

As he comments:

"If your team is losing and you are in charge of making up the rules of the game, you just get rid of the final whistle so that the game goes on for ever. That way, you need never admit defeat. Of course, if you have been well and truly defeated and there's no way to get around that fact, just pretend that you haven't. Ignore it. Act as if nothing happened."

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Ramblers and rabbits

A small group calling itself "The Ragged Society of Antiquarian Ramblers" paid a visit to St. George's church in the village of St. Cross South Elmham a couple of weeks ago, and were much taken by our churchyard sign warning people to take care when walking across the sward. They liked its humour and wished that more churches could be as light-hearted in their approach.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Take off dark glasses

With the cooler weather, and now the wind and rain, the fields of rape around us here in NE Suffolk have finally "turned". The yellow flowers have been replaced by the infant seed heads and we can finally take off our dark glasses, for when the sun was out it was somewhat blinding! This was Ilketshall St. Lawrence about a fortnight ago.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Diamond Jubilee

One church in this rural Benefice has connections to the anniversay celebrations sweeping the country this weekend, and that is St. Margaret South Elmham. Its altar frontal is made from cloth that was used in Westminster Abbey 60 years ago at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Since all it has is this blue frontal and a green one, it is used for every season except Ordinary Time.