Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Contemplating Advent.

Here are some images of the frosts and cold of the season which will arrive again in time for the start of the new Church year. A time for pausing, a time for reflection, a time for planning and putting right what is wrong. A time for sitting in the dark and waiting for the light of Christ. A time for decision perhaps and a time for staying or departing and  new beginnings. Contemplations on the new birth, a birth of God who will be among us, a new birth in faith perhaps, farewells to the old and the lovely, the familiar and some great hopes of young growth of something new. A time for reason and a time for calculation and adding up, a time for listening to the still small voice of our Saviour, a time for prayer, a time for thanksgiving and waiting upon the Lord. A time for repentance and confession. A time for new resolution and a time for belief and reinvigoration. A time for meeting new friends and appreciating those who will always stand with you and never waver in sharing the  responsibility to be guardians of the faith. A time for a new beginning at the start of a new year. Let the lovely time of Advent begin.. the best hymns.... the very best time of year.... let the Holy season begin!
Conditor Alme (6th.cent.)
 Creator of the stars of night.
Thy people’s everlasting light.
O Jesu Saviour of us all,
Regard thy servants when they call.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Requiem Mass

Here are some photos of the Requiem Mass for Remembrance Sunday at St. Deiniol's this year.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

France 1944

Some of these are the photos from our family holiday in August. We cycled with our two daughters 15 Km to make our pilgrimage to this allied war grave cemetery at Ranville which was full of mainly British troops killed in the first wave of the liberation DDay landings. We followed this, crossing near-by Pegasus Bridge with a visit to the excellent and 'must see' Museum of Peace at Caen where we met not only British, American and Canadian visitors but Germans and French all trying to learn the truth of what happened in the carnage of the two World Wars. The young ages on the Caen stone headstones tell their own story. Only if we understand fully what went wrong in those days can we avoid such a human tragedy again. Those who say 'it could never happen now' need to be the first to make these journeys of understanding and discovery. May the souls of those who gave their lives for freedom rest in peace + and rise in glory, Amen.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010


As I wrote (click here) last year (and again here) tomorrow is Armistice Day, the eleventh day of the eleventh month and Remembrance Sunday again arrives. One of the things one gets asked to do in the rural  ministry is do all sorts of outside events which is taking the Church to where people are. Last Saturday in anticipation of Remembrancetide I was asked to conduct a short Act of Remembrance for those fallen in war from the parishes within our local Hunt country here, and to bless the hounds. How could I refuse! The kennels are situated a few hundred yards from one of our parish churches in the group. The opening meet of the now joined Curre and Llangibby Hunts was hosted by a former Church Warden. St. Deiniol's, Itton was largely restored at the expense of the Curre family. Sir Edward Curre's white hounds of Itton being world famous for his introduction of the Welsh (long coated) cross hounds over an hundred years ago. These blood lines are found in kennels throughout the land and afar. And so it was that the rural tradition of the opening meet took place in the timeless surroundings of this most beautiful county of Monmouthshire. You can see the blowing of the horn by the Master following this Act of Remembrance and also the blessing of the hounds which took place beforehand in honour of St. Hubert's Day which was a few days earlier, who as all traditionalist churchmen will know, is the patron saint of La Chasse! Amazingly the hounds are so well trained nowadays that they instantly recognise the difference between the aniseed trail they are now commanded to follow by Tony Blair's most liberal of Governments and the fox which is their natural quarry. Amazing! Hunting folk are the most animal loving you could meet. I know numerous ones who even prefer dogs to the caring sharing liberal ecclesial and state legislators of their own race..bless them!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

To the Ordinariate-The Glastonbury Connection

Best wishes and prayers to the five Bishops who have declared their departure to set up the Ordinariate. These sentiments will come from all of us who have benefitted from their pastoral and sacramental care over many years. It can not have gone un-noticed that the Glastonbury Pilgrimage Association has been a great influence and grace to orthodox Anglicans in recent years, remembering as we do the soul of the late Bp. John Richards, a former chairman of the GPA, at this time. Glastonbury has been one of the few places where those of like-minded views and theology have until now been able to worship, pray and adore the Lord Jesus Christ in the Anglican patrimony reflecting the Universal and undivided Church. Bp. David Silk was our recent Chairman. All those Bishops and many of the faithful have made their annual pilgrimage to seek the power and the guidance of the Holy Spirit in challenging times. These prayers and the grace of God have, I believe, helped to bring things to this natural new starting point for mission and evangelisation, enabled of course by the amazing and empowering establishment of Anglicanorum coetibus by Pope Benedict XVI. The prayers, outreach and care generated by all of these Fathers in God have enriched the Anglican Church and the mission and witness of Christianity to the world. This witness has been in the best spirit and vocation of all Bishops, who are supposed to be guardians of the faith. In this these five deserve our gratitude, admiration and ongoing support. Over the years we have met at the Abbey there together for fellowship, guidance, worship and for working out a vision for the future. Never have I thought that the pilgrimage regardless of changing numbers was anything other than a great grace and vehicle for oecumenical advance overseen by the souls and prayers of those Abbots and Religious who continue to drench those old stones with their prayers and make them Holy in the apparent ruins and the destruction of that Abbey Church. May it ever continue to bring catholic Anglicans to share in the riches of the faith we share with the whole Church although it will be a shadow now in size since the departure of it's most influential members. May we also pray for a swelling in the ranks of the Ordinariate from those Bishops clergy and faithful, as yet not sure, and who have until now shared in the same fellowship and vision of unity of Christ's church in the journey of true pilgrimage.

Sunday, 7 November 2010


I apologise to my readers for wasting their time searching to see if I've written anything new over recent weeks. As you can see I have had a break and it's been some time since the last posting. I was able to take time off in the Highlands of Scotland during October and post  photos of a successful annual fishing trip, returning a noble Aberdeenshire salmon to continue it's quest to return home to spawn and ensure the continuity of it's family and it's magnificent species. On returning I had a number of mail items including correspondence from two Bishops. One from outside the Province, being very supportive and pastorally caring the other from South Wales objecting to a post on this blog. The result of the first was reaffirmation, renewal and  envigouration of vocation. The other...well you can probably guess. As the second was type-written on crested Diocesan Church in Wales notepaper marked 'private' and signed in the official way as +Sharky, Bishop of Samson and Buryan there is a presumption that this correspondence is not for general consumption and of course I may decide that this should be so. On the other hand I have been thinking. My blog is mine isn't it? I don't make you read it. It is the embodiment of my own life and expression of faith. If you read the posts for the most part I hope that they are for the furtherance of the Kingdom of God, flawed as they may be from time to time by the personal faults and sins of the author but they are in no way threatening to anyone. The libel laws remain in tact for those who wish to use them. The blogosphere posts can give an arrow-like directness to the issues of the day and I realise that and that not everyone is going to like what they read.  The fact that a post may have 'come to my attention' as the Bishop says won't clip my wings or threaten me. Nor do I feel that I shall reply or, let it be known, be stopped in future from reporting, just because I have a letter marked 'private' in response to a published blog. If you want to engage with a published blog should you not expect to reply even in disagreement in the published format and not behind the trappings of office? I know other Bishops who have at least made their objections known on the comments of a blog page and that seems right and proper to the debate. Anyway, as the editor with control of this blog I've made the decision not to reply other than here and to say that in future if you don't agree with what I've said, just leave a comment and I'll make the decision to reply, to publish or not. Thank you! Slippery fish can sometimes be difficult to handle.