Monday, 9 September 2013


I had the privilege of baptising a wonderfully active little lad in church yesterday morning. He had those shoes with the lights in the soles that flicker when you walk and he did a brilliant job of demonstrating them during the service. When it came to the actual baptism this little boy proved to be something of a moving target, however, I managed to connect water to forehead at some point during the rite so can confidently declare that he has been baptised. It was great fun and it got me thinking about what alternative strategies one might employ with non-compliant baptism candidates and here are a few suggestions.
  1. A water pistol or for the really uncooperative a large pump action super soaker. My weapon of choice would be the NERF Super Soaker Xtreme Switch Shot Water Gun Banana Ammo Clip Tank Blaster.
  2. Organise a game of head tennis with a water balloon.
  3. Wait until it’s raining.
  4. Arrange an outing to the local water park.
  5. Include a game of bobbing for apples in the sermon.
  6. Make an arrangement with the local hair dresser and offer a two for one haircut and baptism.
  7. Tell the candidate that the one thing they must never do in church is go near the font.
Other suggestions which comply with our church health and safety policy, have undergone an activity hazard assessment and conform to the good taste commensurate with the solemn sacrament of holy baptism (or as the C of E website likes to call it ‘Christening’) gratefully received.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013


Back from spending a couple of weeks in Picardie with the family. I confess I was looking forward to the holiday with some trepidation when I discovered, after booking, that our gite didn't have wifi. For the last five years I've been able to get online abroad and even in deepest Wales while on vacation. I did some research on getting a SIM card in France for my IPad but the process seemed to be both complicated and expensive and this was confirmed while I was there.

So how was I going to cope without access to social media and all the other online stuff that has become part of my everyday life. Well it turns out I was going to be absolutely fine. Not only did I not really miss it but when the occasional opportunity arose to log on thanks to free wifi in a cafe it was all rather half hearted. I quickly scanned my twitter timeline but had no real desire to tweet. I uploaded some photos so that friends and family could see what we were up to and that's about it. The only time I went out of my way to get Internet access was following my daughter's birthday so that she could check her Facebook timeline. That involved a trip to MacDonalds which I will never repeat. (Autocorrect just tried to change that last word to repent which is just about right).

So there you have it. I was wondering how I would cope without my digital umbilical chord and I can honestly say it was a surprisingly pleasant experience.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Conflicted... again!

I thought the Olympics last year were brilliant and I always look forward to the World Cup, even if it is a triumph of hope over experience when my team is involved. However, what is happening in Brazil at the moment leaves me conflicted and here is why...

With thanks to my friend Father Nick Wheeler who ministers in the City of God, Rio de Janeiro.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

My flirtation with heresy

I studied theology at Durham and my main doctrine lecturer was Professor Stephen Sykes who later became Bishop of Ely. One afternoon in a seminar he invited my fellow undergraduates and I to suggest different analogies to explain the Trinity. As each of us trotted out our explanations he reeled off the list of heresies we had just articulated. We ran the gamut from A - Z including: arianism, sabellianism, modalism, adpotionism, partialism, docetism, tritheism, ebionitism, macedonianism and patripassianism. Looking back I think the only thing we didn't cover was Rastafarianism. One by one our neat explanations were ground into the dust under the heal of orthodoxy. Is it any wonder I usually try and get someone else to preach on Trinity Sunday?

To be honest I don't really care too much how inadequate our explanations of the Trinity are, after all it is Almighty God we are dealing with so it's no surprise our accounts are going to be lacking. I'm much more concerned that we experience and live out our life with God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Anyway, if you haven't a clue what I've been writing about, here's a useful little video to keep us on the straight and narrow.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

2 minute Pectecost

Great little summary of what today is all about from the gang at Busted Halo.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

A simple job made complicated.

I was taking a school assembly this morning about Pentecost. We began by recalling the Ascension of Jesus which a colleague had taught the children about last week. I then asked them what job Jesus had left the disciples to do. They responded straight away: 'Go and tell everyone about Jesus'. That was it. Of course doing it is another matter and that's where the Holy Spirit comes in.

A few days ago the Church of England published its attendance statistics for 2011. There has been a mixed response to the figures and the stats have been spun in different ways; viewed by some as encouraging and by others as evidence of continued decline. The British Humanist Association sought to use the figures to bolster their argument for disestablishment.

David Keen has done an excellent job on his blog of analysing the figures in a post entitled Church of England: Not levelling out. David injects some hard headed realism into discussions, challenging some of the complacency that was doing the rounds when the figures were initially presented. He has continued to post related articles on the issue of church growth and strategy including one today about Archbishop Justin Welby's address to the Diocesan Church Growth Strategies Conference. ++Justin's priorities are summarised as:

  • prayer and renewal of the church's spiritual life 
  • reconciliation, within the church and as an agent in the world
  • evangelism
As I read this straightforward summary, I think back to this morning's assembly and the children's summary of the task Jesus has given his followers: 'Go and tell everyone about Jesus'. How have we made it so complicated?

h/t anglican memes for the picture.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

I could not bear being in my own head...

A few days ago Katharine Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury's daughter, wrote on her blog about her ongoing struggle with depression. Her blog post Hopeful Depression was picked up by the media and this morning BBC Breakfast ran a short piece in which Katharine speaks about her depression and what has helped her to cope. A powerful statement about the illness and a challenge to the church in how we support those facing this daily struggle. As Katharine wrote:
The church is the place where hope can be found, but this is only possible if the church is willing to accept that life is not always rosy. The stigma around mental health illness – of any kind, must be eradicated. The bible is full of people who screw up, who get miserable, angry, who hurt and who weep. Even Jesus, in the garden of Gethsemane found life a little too much to bear and pleaded with God.