family matters

The best quote of the morning goes to a small child in family worship today, in whose mind something had triggered a feeling of belonging. Who, amid scissors, paper and general messiness between the choir pews (no, we have no tables, chairs, separate Sunday School room, only lovely mess on the floor), announced to all…

hidden agenda

Your parish priest has a hidden agenda, and I’m about to reveal what it is. You know that seemingly innocent coffee you were having with your caring minister? The one you offered when your vicar said ‘I haven’t seen you for a while – shall we have a coffee?’ and you replied ‘yes, that’d be…

when imagination helps and hinders

Being a minister is a double edged sword. I went into this ministerial life with sky high hopes and the ability to dream. I’m good at imagining wonder and magic, even when everything around me looks, smells and sounds unimaginably dreary. I imagine all the people who’ve ever connected with the church in this place…

meditation and beyond

I’m still meditating. I don’t know if I’m getting anywhere, but I do feel a certain calm, and at least now it’s habitual. My favourite meditation time of day at present is midwinter sunset, around 4pm. It’s that pivotal time between early afternoon, when there was still time to ‘do ministry’ (a pastoral visit or…

have an adequate Christmas

An interesting phenomenon happens around two days before Christmas. It may have been happening even before that – the vague feeling that you haven’t got enough… Not enough food in the house: this rises to ridiculous siege mentality proportions on Christmas Eve – when you dash out to stock up on vegetables enough to feed…

consuming Christmas

I can feel the tug of it stronger each day now. The pull of those appetites which all the adverts for perfume, Christmassy food and designer knitwear want to pander to. Every time I switch on the TV I’m just getting into the story line and that tug pulls me every 22 minutes – 25%…

when doing nothing is something

Some years ago one of our UK Bishops wrote a book called Do Nothing, Christmas is Coming, a catchy title for this time of year when, although in the church we are trying really hard to slow down, take stock and reflect on the sombre Advent themes (death, and judgment, heaven and hell, in case you…

why failure is good

No one likes admitting to failure but I’ve been reading a lot lately about its undoubted spiritual benefits, which, although they don’t yield themselves up immediately, are hidden in the tapestry somewhere, if we can unweave some of their more difficult threads. Failure comes in may guises, and mainly we go through life trying to…