Smiling through

    Tomorrow evening, I must report to a church meeting that each of our very small parishes must register as an individual charity under the government;s proposed charity regulations. Someone at our church headquarters in Dublin decided this would be the best way in which to operate. It threatens to cause much confusion and many headaches and has nothing whatsoever to do with Jesus.

    Humour is necessary to cope with such moments and I turned to a piece written in an American newspaper more than twenty years ago –  it seems …

    [continue reading...]

Sermons

Sermon for the Conversion of Saint Paul 2015

"The Lord said to him in a vision, 'Ananias.' He answered, 'Here I am, Lord.' Acts 9:10 When we Scripture, it ...

Sermon for Sunday, 18th January 2015 (Epiphany 2/Ordinary 2)

"Come and see." John 1:46 In the brief conversation between Philip and Nathanael there is much about what it means to ...

Sermon for Sunday, 11th January 2015 (The Baptism of Jesus)

"And a voice came from heaven" Mark 1:11 The placenames Saint Mark uses in the story of the baptism of Jesus ...

Sermon for Sunday, 4th January 2015 (Covenant Service)

"From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace" John 1:16 At the beginning of a new year, as we ...

Sermon for Sunday, 28th December 2014 (Holy Innocents’ Day)

"Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted." Matthew 2:18 Why should she be comforted? The worst possible thing ...

Sermon for Christmas 2014

"I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people". Luke 2:10 A hundred years ago, Christmas 1914, ...

Sermon for Sunday, 21st December 2014 (4th Sunday in Advent)

"He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High" Luke 1:32 He was great, he is ...

Sermon for Sunday, 14th December 2014 (Third Sunday of Advent)

"He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, 'I am not the Messiah.' And they asked him, 'What then? ...

Sermon for the Second Sunday in Advent, 7th December 2014

"The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God". Mark 1:1 Saint Mark begins his account of ...

Sermon for Advent Sunday, 30th November 2014

"But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the ...

Sermon for Christ the King, Sunday, 23rd November 2014

"Lord, when was it that we saw you . . ." Matthew Chapter 25 Verse 37 The word "care" might provide ...

Sermon for Sunday, 16th November 2014 (2nd before Advent)

"For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who ...

Personal Columns

Greek wine moments

If heaven is a single moment, then, for me, heaven is to be found in an unlikely place. Heaven is standing up before the kick off in the Stade Jean Dauger in the French city of Bayonne. Heaven is a late summer’s evening, when the sky is a deep blue and the air is warm. Heaven is mellow with the smiles and laughter of those standing around and filled with anticipation as the first bars of “La Pena Baiona” begin. Heaven is that moment when 15,000 voices join in the …

Ireland

Ending up where we were heading

Lucinda Creighton is the culmination of the process of de-politicization of Irish politics. Her announcement of an intention to launch a new political party, without actually having any policies, is the logical corollary of a political system rooted in the loyalties of 1922

Interest in Irish politics or history amongst most of my lecturers at the London School of Economics ended with the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty. At that point Ireland had gone its own way and apart from the vexed question of the North/Northern Ireland/Ulster/the Six Counties, there was not …

Spirituality

Repeating stuff

This blog has been going so long that when it is 10.30 at night and there are a hundred and one things to be done and tiredness is closing in, it’s possible to pick something from ten years ago, like this post from January 2005.

Every Monday morning at about ten to ten I drive the road between Bray and Greystones, some of you will know the road. I don’t like Monday mornings anymore than anyone else does, so I tend not to be very happy as I drive up …

Ministry

Deprived, even, of a name

“Get the telephone directory and find out which undertaker is on call for stillborns”. Sister Evangelina’s businesslike manner was the conventional response to the deep grief of stillbirth.

Tonight’s episode of Call the Midwife had more pastoral sensitivity than might have been expected in the early 1960s. The vicar protests at there being a lack of any proper funeral rite for baby April, there being no liturgy, no prayers. In the convent chapel he improvises a service for the grieving parents and members of the nursing and religious community.

Sadly, …

Cross Channel

Seaside days

A butcher’s shop in Bridport was the focus for a BBC 4 history programme. In childhood days, Bridport would have possessed a great mystique, but not for any of its shops. Bridport meant West Bay and the seaside. In the years of my West Country childhood, the seaside had always a sense of the magical, the exotic; a place where reality was different. Being an obsessive classifier, the seaside in youthful perception fell into four divisions.

The fourth division was the Bristol Channel coast of Somerset; it ran from Weston-Super-Mare down …

International

The home of democracy experiences its flaws

On the eve of the Greek election, it is hardly surprising people have finally said “enough is enough.” Three years ago, the Nobel laureate, Paul Krugman was demanding an end to the self-inflicted world economic depression: Krugman’s calls went mostly unheeded, the policy of making the poor pay continued. A policy made possible because of the shape of Western societies.

Back in the 1930s in Britain, there was a political poster depicting four men at different heights on a ladder. The man at the top was sumptuously dressed; the man …

Church of Ireland Comment

Smiling through

Tomorrow evening, I must report to a church meeting that each of our very small parishes must register as an individual charity under the government;s proposed charity regulations. Someone at our church headquarters in Dublin decided this would be the best way in which to operate. It threatens to cause much confusion and many headaches and has nothing whatsoever to do with Jesus.

Humour is necessary to cope with such moments and I turned to a piece written in an American newspaper more than twenty years ago –  it seems …

Writing

Waking thoughts

Keeping his eyes closed, he tried to slip back into drowsiness. The day that awaited was uninviting, to drift into sleep seemed much preferable.

The dream had been odd. He was at the gathering of a family unknown to him, a gathering so large that they had moved from their house to be seated in the street outside of their front door. Different family members were performing ‘party pieces’, a song, a piece of music, an Irish dance. He could not remember why he had come to be there and …

Notice Board

Rector’s Letter – February 2015

Sitting with friends at eight o’clock in the evening on 19th January, after two days of skiing in Austria, there was suddenly a feeling of cramp in the back of my right leg. Standing up from the table, I tried to walk it off, though the pain did not go away altogether. During the night the pain worsened and by morning it was difficult to put weight on my right leg.

Going to the doctor in the town in the hope he might prescribe a pain killer turned out to …

Pop thinking

A dreamin’ morning

“The Mamas and The Papas versus The Boomtown Rats – it’s one of those days”: a friend’s words to accompany his photograph of a threatening morning sky on a Dublin winter’s day. It’s not about the ominous colours of an Irish morning, though, it’s a state of mind, an approach to life: buoyant optimism versus grim realism. “California dreamin” versus “Rat Trap”; being in L.A. or a “Banana Republic”.

“California dreamin” evokes imaginings of a mythical land where winter and gloominess have no place.  Perhaps being there on a December …