From the Vicarage

Memories...   Monday, Jul 27

Churches can reopen; so there I was, kneeling on the floor. Training for ministry never covered this, I told myself. Not that I needed training to use a tape measure to lay strips of masking tape on the floor of a church 2 metres apart.

Being there on my hands and knees brought back a memory from my student days in South London, where I first became involved with the Church. The then Bishop of Southwark lived in the parish and would sometimes invite himself to take part in services at the church where I had become an altar server.

Keeping no score of wrongs...   Sunday, Mar 1

I must admit that I do enjoy visiting cathedrals – especially ones that I don’t know very well. Visiting Gloucester not long after Christmas, I took the opportunity to have a proper look around the Cathedral.

Let's celebrate February...   Monday, Jan 27

Cold, miserable February has never been my favourite month. But when I was a student and still discovering church, I encountered something that happens every 2nd February that changed all that.

Strange encounter...   Thursday, Oct 3

While visiting Durham recently even I was surprised to encounter a funeral procession, apparently making its way through a shopping centre.

In fact, it was a full-size bronze sculpture of some monks carrying the body of St Cuthbert. Cuthbert led a life of prayer and simplicity on Lindisfarne, just off the Northumbrian coast. When he died in 687 his brother monks buried his body at the monastery there.

The Story of a Lychgate...   Monday, Sep 9

Just one thing to write about this month. We are so grateful to those who have responded to the appeal for funds towards the restoration of the lychgate at St Mary’s, Capel’s old parish church, and also to those who have made offers of practical help.

Remembering...   Monday, Jul 29

I write this not long after attending this year’s Memorial Day at Capel’s National Memorial to the Few. I remember the first one that I attended: several veterans of the Battle of Britain were present. On spotting my collar one, Tony Pickering, told me proudly that he had been churchwarden at his local parish church. He and several of his comrades have since departed this life; just one, Paul Farnes, was there this year, one of the few remaining witnesses to events that are slipping from living memory into history.

Unstopping the ears...   Friday, Jun 21

The Old Testament prophet Isaiah looked forward to a time when the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. In later life my father suffered from hearing loss; and a couple of years ago I realised that it was happening to me, too.

A Herring Gull's Story...   Monday, May 27

Here’s a question: is life something just to be got through, or something to be explored?

In Richard Bach’s story Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, Jonathan is always being told that seagulls only fly so that they can eat. That doesn’t suit the young gull – he loves flying for its own sake, wants to know what a seagull can really do, and so sets out on a voyage of discovery. I sometimes refer to that story at christenings, the point being that baptism is also intended to mark the beginning of a voyage of discovery that starts in this world and ends in the next.

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