Sunday, 31 October 2010

The best £10 for the appeal so far

Three youngsters came up to me in Church today with a donation for our appeal. Eleanor, Lottie and William got the idea after visiting the Roald Dahl Story Centre and Museum a few weeks ago. They made moneybox which they left near the Dahl grave in the Churchyard. They wrote a simple poem round the box and asked for donations for charity. The poem read “A Penny A Penny, anyone got a penny you could give it to me, out of genirosity. (You don't have to but it could be nice.)”

They decided to give the collection to the Appeal. Their pleasure when handing over their box was wonderful.

There was £2.28 plus €0.20 in the box. I told Eleanor and gang that I'd match their collection (fortunately there wasn't a cheque for £1000 in the bottom of the box) and our generous local donor will double this – making a total of £10!

Friday, 29 October 2010


Sue's Art Exhibition got off to a good start today.

The team had fun putting up the display boards this morning – any suggestions for what Sue and the team are saying?

Let's hope we get a good turnout tomorrow and Sunday.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Holy Land Pilgrimage

Not my material but there was a lot of interest in yesterday's descriptions of the recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land by members of our Church in the diocesan pilgrimage. The photos used yesterday can be seen by clicking on this image:

Here's Tricia's sermon from yesterday evening:


What does it mean to be a pilgrim? A journey to walk with Christ and to seek Him? Yes.
A journey to visit sites in the Holy Land and bring our worship in those sacred moments? Yes.
To leave inner self behind, live in the present and be open to the ever-changing scenes around us?
To be prepared ad not to be upset to find the inner-self changing...thoughts, impressions, ideas all impinging on our original selves? Yes.
To love and really love our “neighbours” whether residents of this Holy Land or visitors in their hundreds and thousands. Yes.

We were overwhelmed by the endless tourists visiting all the sites. There were coaches incredibly cleverly parked in narrow streets and car parks. (Our drivers were all excellent caring and expert people who managed to fling these large vehicles into tiny spaces.)
Everywhere there were long good natured queues standing in the boiling sun waiting to enter a site often with a security check first.

But we had tasks to do...getting from A to B from early morn to early was already getting dark by 5.30pm.
We had many special moments of worship in Churches, Basilicas, Caves, and Cathedral. With 116 + people there were many gorgeous voices singing in harmony often in very public spots! The crowds milling around sometimes stopped to listen, pray and worship alongside us.

But to be a pilgrim for most of us on this incredible journey was to have the privilege of meeting the 'Living Stones'...those who work, inspire, show extraordinary commitment, resilience to their particular passion. Some have shared their experiences with us, but we hope to give you all a fuller picture in November (23)

I felt that God was asking me to be empty..(I found this very hard as I longed to feel unending joy at being in this Holy Place.) Empty to listen; Empty to hear His voice and therefore to be led, probably, in time, to His longing for me.

We all had an extraordinary experience the Sunday we went to worship in St. Georges Cathedral in Jerusalem. The Bishop of Jerusalem and our Bishop John were presiding. The Service was in Aramaic. We were given a copy in English! It was similar to our own Eucharist and we recognised the parts of the Service we maybe able to join in. Also participating were a group of people from the World Council of Churches who came from countries around the world to be peacemakers at checkpoints, schools and in townships. They too spoke in many different languages. We reached the point where we could all join in saying the Lord's prayer in our own languages. It was a babel of prayer, exciting, thrilling and an uplifting Pentecostal moment. What power of the Holy Spirit moved in that place. What unity in liturgy brought people from around the globe together to worship our God, our Redeemer.

Yes, change was in the air. Bishop John was so right. Those sacred moments empower us to go out as His disciples to face settlements, the wall, people who need our love, help and support; families too who need to be able to eat, learn and be part of the human race without being ostracised.

This Parish alongside the whole Diocese raised over £5,000 to hand over to the 'Living Stones' we had had the fortune to meet, to enable them to continue their wonderful work. The overriding impression I have is the humility, generosity of spirit and total commitment of the 6 groups we came in touch with. ALL served people throughout that land whether Christian, Muslim, Jew, Arab, Greek Orthodox and so on. Our monies were handed over in person so we are all aware they are receiving a little help from us. Now it enables us to keep in touch with these remarkable people.

One of the heart rendering sights we could see from our bedroom window in Bethlehem was the new Jewish settlement on the hilltop across the valley. There were no water tanks on the top of their buildings, unlike the lower buildings who only receive water three times a week. It was these and many other facts given to us that found ourselves asking “ where does that leave us in such a world?” We have so much, we do not live in an occupied land which causes such hardship and difficulty.

Nevertheless, we were received with such kindness and joy in Bethlehem. We met a lovely family in Manger Square who ran a small business which had been handed down through the generations.
They sold olive wood statutes, cards trinkets etc. Their son had been in the UK but felt he must return to Bethlehem and continue the family business. He wanted us to know that as an Arab Christian he was needed to remain in Palestine. Too many of the young people are emigrating .
He said “ I must remain to encourage others so we might grow in strength”.

This journey has been an experience of a lifetime upon which I ponder daily. I thank God for the insights I have been given; the happy times such as swimming in the Sea of Galilee after a long day out; the trip on the boat as Jesus did and yet being face to face with the wall, the settlements and listening to stories of hardship and pain.
Christ lived in an occupied land, he walked with the poor; he knew anguish. He died that we might have life. He gave us hope for the present moment.
All the Christians worship daily, weekly, offering prayer, as we do, for their release to walk with Christ and bring hope to all people.
Worship underpinned all we did and gave us the energy, joy and strength to move on.

Mitri, our Palestinian Arab Lutheran Christian pastor wrote in the final chapter of his first book,”I am a Palestinian Christian”;I have a dream of two peoples who live side by side in peace with on another, so do not need to waste vast resources on weapons which will rust away. What a blessing this would be for the Middle East. What a seductive oasis could be created here attracting all nations. Piece by piece what Micah wrote would be fulfilled;”

In days to come
the mountain of the Lord's house
shall be established as the highest of
the mountains,
and shall be raised up above the hills.
Peoples shall stream to it,
and many nations shall come
and say;
'Come, let us go up the
mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the
God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.'
For out of Zion shall go forth
instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between many peoples,
and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away;
They shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more;
but they shall sit under their own fig trees,
and no one shall make them afraid;
for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.

Micah 4; 1-4


Saturday, 23 October 2010

Ely – first pictures

We've just had a couple of days in Ely and the surroundings. First pictures of the Ship of the Fens and the city:

Wednesday, 20 October 2010


The navy is still going. I received two Local Notices to Mariners from Queen's Harbour Master, Portsmouth today:



No 45/10


  1. NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN by the Queen’s Harbour Master Portsmouth that a Nuclear Powered Submarine will visit Portsmouth Harbour between the 23rd October and the 28th of October 2010.
  2. Timings (including a closed channel) will be promulgated by the usual movements signal.
  3. Mariners are advised that the Submarine whilst on passage between the Nab Tower and its berth is considered “a vessel constrained by her draught” as defined under the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea. Escorting tugs will display the appropriate signals for a vessel constrained by her draught. Vessels are to avoid taking any action that will impede her safe passage. LNTM 40/05 (Dormant Exclusion Zone for Underway Warships) will be enforced for this vessel during her transit into and out of harbour.
  4. Police craft will be in attendance with the Submarine to enforce the requirements of this Local Notice to Mariners. They will be clearly identifiable and will be acting on the authority of the Queens Harbour Master. All vessels are to comply with their instructions. Mariners attention is also drawn to LNTM 28/07 (Keep Clear of Warship Berths) regarding the mandatory 100 metres exclusion zone whilst submarines are alongside in the harbour.
  5. Cancel this Local Notice To Mariners Fri 29th Oct 2010 (9 days)



No 46/10


  1. NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN by the Queen’s Harbour Master Portsmouth that commencing Monday 25 October through Thursday 28 October 2010 a Naval Exercise involving major Warships will be taking place in the Eastern Solent and to the east and south of the Isle of Wight.
  2. A large part of the Exercise will be conducted between two major Warships in the vicinity of Stokes Bay and the beach at Browndown, with two Frigates and a Patrol Boat also in attendance for parts of the exercise. The exercise will be conducted during daylight hours only and will include a number of Rotary Wing Aircraft, Landing Craft and other small boats operating between the Warships in the vicinity of Stokes Bay and to or from the foreshore at Browndown. The firing of blank ammunition will take place for some of the exercises. There will also be some activity to the east of the Isle of Wight involving high speed craft and the firing of blank ammunition.
  3. Mariners are reminded of the requirement to remain at least 50 metres clear of any Warship at anchor as stipulated in the Dockyard Port of Portsmouth Order 2005 and repeated in LNTM 28/07 (Keep Clear of Warship Berths). For the duration of the exercise, this Exclusion Zone is extended to include all Landing Craft and associated Military Vessels transiting between the vessels in the vicinity of Stokes Bay and to or from the shoreline.
  4. Extreme care is to be taken when approaching the Area of operations and QHM Harbour Control is to be informed of any immediate concerns.
  5. For the duration of the Naval Exercise QHM Harbour Control will be kept informed of the area of operations and may be contacted on VHF Ch 11 or by telephoning 02392 723689 for the latest information.
  6. Cancel this Local Notice To Mariners Fri 29th Oct 2010 (9 days)

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


Silence for a couple of weeks: a week afloat and several days catching up. Is it really the run up to Christmas? And I still have nearly 200 e-mails in the inbox! Still, they'll be there tomorrow.

One suggestion I've had for Advent is based on the local Roman Catholic churches' activity: The Immaculate Heart of Mary, Great Missenden and St Anne's in Wendover have a giving tree. This is a bare branch on which are gift labels each bearing a gift idea. Great Missenden collects for the homeless looked after at Christmas at Emmaus House in Acton so ideas might be underpants , toothbrushes, socks etc whilst St Anne's sponsor Aylesbury Refuge and ideas might be children's colouring book and crayons for a 5 year old, coloured pencils or felt tips, or talcum powder or hand cream for the mums. We take a label, buy the gift wrap it up in fancy paper,tie the label back on and return it laying it beneath the tree. In that way it is quite clear what is in the parcel and so can be given to the appropriate person. Could you do something similar for your Wycombe night refuge and make this an activity for a day of your Advent calendar?
I attended a Churchwarden's day on Saturday. Lots of ideas, and the opportunity to meet others and see their problems and solutions. In Bishop Alan's session 'Sustaining the Sacred Centre' I was reminded of the lent activities suggested by him and Archdeacon Karen for Lent – I tried some of these last year. There may be some ideas for Advent here:

From David's Blog

So keep the suggestions coming. It's your chance to challenge me with some fun activities! Keep them in the spirit of Making Time for Christmas.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Advent challenge

Two years ago I started this blog by following Bishop Steven Cottrell's book 'Do Nothing for Christmas' This had a suggested activity for each day of Advent – the book was subtitled 'an Advent Calendar with a Difference' Having a set of things to do was great – and I think a number of readers tried themselves while following the blog. I also tried some of the Lenten activities suggested by Bishop Alan and Archdeacon Karen this year – but they were not on a prescribed calendar.

So here's the challenge: can you provide me with 24 things to do in the run up to Christmas?  I think they should be in the spirit of making time for Christmas: many of the Cottrell suggestions were about standing back from the rush and commercialisation.  I'll have the final choice, of course, assuming I get enough suggestions, but within reason, I'll try anything! Some of the Christmas '08 suggestions have stuck: I still keep in touch with the Wycombe Winter Night Shelter and shall be supporting them, with your help, in the new year. We haven't managed to meet up with my ex-work friend recently but it's still on my todo list.

So let me have your suggestions. Post them as comments here, e-mail me, phone, text or whatever. If you're not sure how to post there's a simple guide in one of the links to the right. I hope I'll collect enough during October to put a calendar together in November ready to start on 1st December.

Stonework continues

Work on the stonework around the clerestory windows continues. Glen reports no significant problems identified so far – good news!