Thursday, April 30, 2009



(backposting) For reasons which I can't go into at this point, this has been a day of ups and downs - and ending on a down. I'm not down myself, particularly - and a good session with other curates from the diocese helped - but rather cross, and certainly frustrated.

On a positive note, however, Jim and Nina had an offer accepted on a house today: they hope to move around August time. Great news, as they need to be moving out of rented accommodation and settling down: this is their chance.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009


InfoSec 2009

(backposting) Moo and I shared a car to Witham station this morning and caught the train in together. Moo never likes this very much, as I'm of the opinion that talking on the train is quite acceptable, whereas she - who has done lots of London travel for a past job - is of a very different (some might say "diametrically opposed") opinion. I think she was pretty happy that I bought a paper and kept fairly quiet.

I was going to InfoSec Europe 2009, which was quite interesting, but had fewer areas of interest to my current job than I'd hoped. It's a show which is really aimed at IT security managers, rather than architects and the like, but there was some interest. I also met a number of ex-colleagues for catch-ups, which is always interesting. I also made contact with some RIM people - the first I've met since the take-over.

We got home a little before 1800 - strangely, Moo had lots to talk about on the train after her meeting during the day - and I barbecued some marinaded pork steaks, which we had with foccaccia ("I do love a good focc." is always a good way to get your mother-in-law wound up on the phone).

Still in significant pain from the ridiculous runs that I've been doing. I think I've learnt my lesson now.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009



We've not watched any of the The Wire (we're currently on Season 4) and I spent lots of time this evening watching that and ironing. Lots of ironing. Must remember to take it up this evening so that the kids don't knock it all over tomorrow morning.

I did another run this morning. It hurt rather more than yesterday, but I kept running, of which I'm inordinately proud.

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Monday, April 27, 2009


And back we come...

(backposting) So, I'm a godfather again, this time to Mischa, a lovely little 4 month old. After the service, a number of us headed over to Mentieth Lake, and took the little boat across to the island on which the ruins of Inchmahome Priory are situated. Well, some of us took the ferry - but others decided that the hotel bar was a better bet, and therefore didn't get wet in the driving rain. But it was fun, and I'm not complaining, and we did rib the others about it.

After lunch, we headed on the mammoth drive back home. About 8 and a half hours, with a break at Kate and Mac's. We got home, tired, around 2330.

And we have the two best girls in the entire world.

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Going for a run

(backposting) It's been quite a while since I went for a run. But today I did, to the soundtrack of The Prodigy. It didn't hurt as much as I'd thought it might, as I've been taking lots of other exercise, and so I didn't need any of the excuses that I'd been preparing before I headed off. Not running that much faster than I tend to walk, but it's a different type of exercise, and that's all good.

I spent some of the evening inviting people to my ordination and 1st Eucharist on Sunday, 28th June - if you'd like to come, and I've not been in touch, please let me know.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009


Up we go...

(backposting) All the way up to Kippen, just north of Stirling. It took us something over 6 hours plus stops - the weather was bad at times, and so was the traffic - but the girls did very well. We got there for around 1600, and Jo started getting to know Anoushka, Matty and Harriet's elder child, who's around 6 months older than her. Kids make friends so easily at this age: it's great. And Jo even had the chance to ride a horse, which went down very, very well, I can tell you.

It was great to catch up with Matty, and to spend some time with Harriet, who we've only met once before: at the wedding 9 years ago, when she had quite a lot of other people to talk to, and things to worry about (being married to Matty would be top of the list, I think).

Went to bed pretty early in a lovely B&B, given the amount of driving we'd done. Moo insists I snored, but luckily I'd had some wine, so didn't wake myself up. Miri woke up in the middle of the night, and came in to Moo, so I went in to the room with Jo - who didn't seem to notice the (alleged) snoring.

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Friday, April 24, 2009


All ready for a long drive

(backposting) So, we're at Kate and Mac's, and tomorrow we have a long drive up north of Edinburgh for a baptism. Stopping off with the parents-in-law (who the girls adore) seemed like a good plan, and the children are very happy to see them, as always. This weekend is going to be a write-off in terms of diet and exercise...


Thursday, April 23, 2009


Miri's mouse

Originally uploaded by MikeCamel

A present from Poll and Lee, and she loved it immediately: within seconds of this photo, she was feeding it (_her_) water from the cup in front of her.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Meeting a colleague

Another member of the clergy, that is. Si and D have asked me to baptise their youngest in Charlotte, in their local church, and wanted me to meet John, their incumbent. So I came over and had supper with the three of them, while Moo very kindly stayed at home and looked after the girls. We had a good chat and a good meal, and it was a very pleasant evening.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Anglicans and authority: William Beveridge

Although written around 1699, the first (incomplete) version of Discourse upon The Thirty-Nine Articles wasn't published until 1716, and this (complete) edition in 1840: Beveridge, William (1840) Ecclesia Anglicana Ecclesia Catholica or, The Doctrine of the Church of England consonant to Scripture, Reason and Fathers: in A Discourse upon The Thirty-Nine Articles agreed upon In The Convocation Held at London MDLXII, Oxford University Press, Oxford. (A bit of a mouthful!).

The clue here is very much in the title: it's about combining Scripture, Reason and the Church Fathers. There is a very strong argument from reason, and an enormous amount of footnoting in Greek, Latin Syriac and other languages. It's a work of considerable scholarship, though I think that much of the evidence presented would these days be felt to be weak, and sometimes misused. The care that is used, and the style of argument, can be seen in these excerpts from Article 6 (On the sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation):

Thus we can see how careful the Fathers are to bring the canonical books into the scriptures, and truly they are as careful to keep the Apocryphal out. They acknowledge them, indeed, lawful to be read as we do, but not of the same authority with the former. (Beveridge, p. 286)
And thus we see how clear and express the Fathers are, not only in determining the same number of canonical books that is in this Article determined, but also in passing their judgment upon the Apocryphal books as this Article doth. Even that though the church reads them "for example of life, and instruction of manners," yet it doth not "apply them to establish any doctrine."

On a sidenote, the copy of the book that I borrowed from the relevant library seems to have been printed in 1840, had no other names in the borrowing list (it looks like it was acquired from the Lightfoot Library in 1977), and a good number of the pages had never been cut. Not a very popular book! That neither volume was fully cut means that I've not had a good chance to read it, and this is something I want to remedy. in particular, Articles 20 ("Of the Authority of the Church") and 21 ("Of the Authority of General Councils") deserve more attention than I could give them (as I couldn't actually open most of the pages...)

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Monday, April 20, 2009


Anglicans and authority: John Jewel

The second piece of reading that I've done, and really very much enjoyed, is Archbishop Jewel: Jewel, John (1564) The Apology of The Church of England, trans. Bacon, Anne, ed. Jelf, Richard W. (1852), Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London. This book is in and of itself a jewel, and full of some fantastic theology and statements about the Church of England. Jewel, writing earlier than Hooker, is mainly concerned with defending the Church of England against the Church of Rome. A central statement of his position is this (Jewel, p. 21):
Furthermore, we believe, that there be divers degrees of ministers in the church: whereof some be deacons, some priests, some bishops: to whom is committed the office to instruct the people, and the whole charge and setting forth of religion. Yet notwithstanding, we say that there neither is, nor can be any one man, which may have the whole superiority in this universal state: for that Christ is ever present to assist his church, and needeth not any man to supply his room, as his only heir to all his substance: and that there can be no one mortal creature, which is able to comprehend or conceive in his mind the universal church, that is to wit, all the parts of the world, much less able rightly and duly to put them in order, and to govern them rightly and duly.
Here, Jewel is arguing against the claims of the Pope. A little later, he comes up with a brilliant argument against the supposed authority of the Roman Church over men's souls, which, though long, is worth quoting in full (Jewel, pp. 23-26):
Moreover we say that Christ hath given to his ministers power to bind, to loose, to open, to shut. And that the office of loosing consisteth in this point: that the minister should either offer by preaching of the gospel the merits of Christ, and full partdon to such as have lowly and contrite hearts, and do unfeignedly repent themselves, pronouncing unto the same a sure and undoubted forgiveness of their sins, and hope of everlasting salvation: or else that the same minister, when any have offended their brothers' minds with a great offence, with a notable and open fault, whereby they have, as it were, banished and made themselves strangers against the common fellowship, and from the body of Christ, then after perfect amendment of such persons, doth reconcile them, and bring them home again, and restore them to the company and unity of the faithful. We say also, that the minister doth execute the authority of binding and shutting, as often as he shutteth up the gate of the kingdom of heaven against the unbelieving and stubborn persons, denouncing unto them God's vengeance, and everlasting punishment: or else, when he doth quite shut them out from the bosom of the church by open excommunication. Out of doubt, what sentence soever the minister of God shall give in this sort, God himself doth so well allow of it, that whatsoever here in earth by their means is loosed and bound, God himself will loose and bind, and confirm in heaven.

And touching the keys, wherewith they may either shut or open the kingdom of heaven, we with Chrysostom say, "They be the knowledge of the scriptures:" with Tertullian we say, "They be the interpretation of the law:" and with Eusebius we call them, "The word of God."

Moreover that Christ's disciples did receive this authority, not that they should hear the private confessions of the people, and listen to their whisperings, as the common massing-priests do every where now-a-days, and do it so, as though in that one point lay all the virtue and use of the keys: but to the end they should go, they should teach, they should publish abroad the gospel, and be unto the believing a sweet savour of life unto life, and unto the unbelieving and unfaithful a savour of death unto death: and that the minds of godly persons being brought low by the remorse of their former life and errors, after they once began to look up unto the light of the gospel, and believe in Christ, might be opened with the word of God, even as a door is opened with a key. Contrariwise, that the wicked and wilful folk, and such as would not believe, nor return to the right way, should be left still as fast locked, and shut up, and, as St. Paul saith, "wax worse and worse." This take we to be the meaning of the keys: and that after this sort men's consciences either be opened or shut. We say, that the priest indeed is a judge in this case, but yet hath no manner of right to challenge an authority, or power, as saith Ambrose. And therefore our Saviour Jesu Christ, to reprove the negligence of the Scribes and Pharisees in teaching, did with those words rebuke them, saying: "Woe be unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, which have taken away the keys of knowledge, and have shut up the kingdom of heaven before men." Seeing then the key whereby the way and entry to the kingdom of God is opened unto us, is the word of the gospel, and the expounding of the law and scriptures, we say plainly, where the same words is not, there is not the key. And seeing one manner of word is given to all, and one only key belongeth to all, we say, that there is but one only power of all ministers, as concerning opening and shutting. And as touching the bishop of Rome, for all his parasites sate, and ringly sing these words in his ears, "To thee will I give the keys of the kingdom of heaven, " (as though those keys were fit for him alone, and for nobody else,) except he go so to work, as men's consciences may be made plaint, and be subdued to the word of God, we deny that he doth either open, or shut, or hath the keys at all. And although he taught and instructed the people, (as would God he might once truly do, an persuade himself it were at the least some piece of duty,) yet we think his key to be never a whit better, or of greater force than other men's. For who hath severed him from the rest? Who hath taught him more cunningly to open, or better to absolve than his brethren?

A long section, indeed, but it sums up rather well Jewel's theology, I think. For him, the Word is paramount, and the Church of Rome has tried to claim far too much authority. He is again attacking those of the Church of Rome when he writes:
Therefore the holy scriptures, which our Saviour Jesus Christ did not only use for authority in all his speech, but did also at last seal up the same with his own blood, these men, to the intent that they might with less business drive the people from the same, as from a thing dangerous and deadly, have used to call them a bare letter, uncertain, unprofitable, dumb, killing, and dead: which seemeth to us all one as if they should say, "The scriptures are to no purpose, or as good as none."
Jewel, at the end of the book, shows an interesting side to the argument. He's not necessarily suggesting that the Church of England has everything right, but he feels that the Church of Rome has moved away from God (Jewel, pp. 154-155):
Wherefore if the pope will have us be reconciled to him, his duty is first to be reconciled to God. For from thence, saith Cyprian, spring schisms and sects, because men seek not the head, and have not their recourse to the fountain (of the scriptures), and keep not the rules given by the heavenly teacher. For, saith he, that is not peace, but war; neither is he joined unto the church, which is severed from the gospel. As for these men, they use to make a merchandise of the name of peace. For that peace which they fain would have, is only a rest of idle bellies. They and we might easily be brought to atonement, touching all these matter, were it not that ambition, and gluttony, and excess did let it. Hence cometh their whining, their heart is on their halfpenny. Out of doubt their clamours and stirs be to none other end, but to maintain more shamefully and naughtily ill-gotten things.
Jewel's position (which does sometimes fall into the invective), then, is that the Church of Rome has moved away from the true church, and holds on to its position of error partly - or largely - through the corruption of the Pope. It is _we_ who are Catholics he says, in yet another piece of brilliant theology (Jewel, pp. 16-17):
Wherefore, if we be heretics and they (as they would fain be called) be catholics, why do they not, as they see the fathers, which were catholic men, have always done? Why do they not convince and master us by the divine scriptures? Why do they not call us again to be tried by them? Why do they not lay before us, how we have gone away from Christ, from the prophets, from the apostles, and from the holy fathers? Why stick they to do it? Why are they afraid of it? It is God's cause. Why are they doubtful to commit it to the trial of God's word? If we be heretics, which refer all our controversies unto the holy Scriptures, and report us to the self-same words which we know were sealed by God himself, and in comparison of them set little by all other things, whatsoever may be devised by men; how shall we say to these folk, I pray you, what manner of men be they, and how is it meet to call them, which feat the judgment of the holy scriptures, that is to say, the judgment of God himself, and do prefer before them their own dreams, and full cold inventions: and, to maintain their own traditions, have defaced and corrupted, now these many hundred years, the ordinances of Christ and of the apostles?
Jewel sees himself as a reformer: someone who is trying to re-form the church into what it once was: a body built on the word of God, and informed by that above all things. It is writing such as this, with its rhetoric and theology, that convinces me that I am, in many things, a Protestant - and a Reformation Protestant, at that.

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Anglicans and authority: Richard Hooker

For a while, now, I've been doing some preparation work for a possible PhD around Anglican understandings of authority. This has involved a bunch of reading, and I've really enjoyed it. What I've started with has been some reading of the early theologians of the Church of England. I thought I'd record some of the reading I've been doing, as if all goes well, I'll need to be coming back to my thoughts.

The first piece of reading I did was some Richard Hooker, one of the Church of England's great theologians: Hooker, Richard (1593) The Folger Library Edition of The Works of Richard Hooker, Vol. 1: Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, ed. Speed Hill, W., Belknap Press, Cambridge, Mass.. Best is probably to set out some of the chapter synopsis provided by Hooker for his first book (Hooker, pp. 55-56):

9 Of the benefit of keeping that lawe which reason teacheth.
10 How reason doth leade men unto the making of humane lawe, whereby politique societies are governed, and to agreement about lawes whereby the fellowship or communion of independent societies standeth.
11 Wherefore God hath by scripture further made knowne such supernaturall lawes as doe serve for mens direction.
12 The cause why so manie naturall and rationall lawes are set downe in holie scripture.
13 The benefit of having divine lawes written.
14 The sufficiencie of scripture unto the end for which it was instituted.
15 Of lawes positive conteined in scripture, the mutabilitie of certaine of them, and the generall use of scripture.
16 A conclusion, shewing how all this belongeth to the cause in question.

From chapter 16, we have (Hooker, pp. 138-139): "In reasonable and morall actions another law taketh place, a law by the observation whereof we glorifie God in such sort, as no creature els under man is able to doe, because other creatures have not judgement to examine the quality of that which is done to them, and therfore in that they doe, they neyther can accuse or approve themselves. Men do both, as the Apostle teacheth, yea, those men which have no written lawe of God to show what is good and evill, carrie written in their hearts the universall law of mankind, the law of reason, whereby they judge as by a rule which God hath given unto all men for that purpose." He's keen on the importance of natural law, clearly. Slightly further on, he is talking about the importance of laws within nations - and between nations (Hooker, p. 56): "The publique power of all societies is above every soule contayned in the same societies. ... [E]xcept our owne private, and but probably resolutions be by the lawe of publique determinations overruled, we take away all possibilitie of sociable life in the worlde. A plainer example whereof then our selves we cannot have. How commeth it to passe that we are at this present day so rent with mutuall contentions, and that the Church is so much troubled about the Politie of the Church? No doubt if men had beene willing to learne how many lawes their actions in this life are subject unto, and what the true force of ech law is, all these controversies might have dyed the very day they were first brought forth." Hooker is writing not just about the contentions between the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church, but also about issues within the Church of England, where he was battling against Puritan elements.

In the second book, he is arguing against those who "urge reformation in the Church of England: Namely That Scripture is the onely rule of all things which in this life may be done by men." He wants to show that God's rules come from beyond solely scriptural teaching (Hooker, p. 147-8): "To teach men therfore wisedome professeth, and to teach them every good way: but not every good way by one way of teaching. Whatsoever either men on earth, or the Angels of heaven do know, it is as a drop of that unemptiable fountaine of wisdom, which wisdom hath diversly imparted her treasures unto the world. As her waies are of sundry kinds, so her maner of teaching is not meerely one and the same. Some things she openeth by the sacred bookes of Scriture, some things by the glorious works of nature: with some things she inspireth them from above by spirituall influence, in some thinges she leadeth and trayneth them onely by worldly experience and practice. We may not so in any one speciall kind admire her that we disgrace her in any other, but let all her wayes be according unto their place and degree adored."

There are some interesting issues raised in chapter 6:

Our question is, whether all be sinne which is done without direction of scripture ...? (p. 169)
For in truth the question is not, whether an argument from scripture negatively may be good, but whether it be so generally good, that in all actions men may urge it. The Fathers I graunt do use verie generall and large tearmes, even as Hiero the King did in speaking of Archimedes, From hence forward whatsoever Archimedes speaketh, it must be believed. His meaning was not that Archimedes could simply in nothing be deceyved, but that he had in such sort approved his skill, that he seemed worthie of credit for ever after in matters appertaining unto the science he was skilfull in. ... Let any man therefore that caryeth indifferencie of judgement, persuse the Bishops [the Bishop of Salisbury's] speeches, and consider well of those negatives concerning the scripture, which he produceth out of Iran&aedigraph;us, Chrisostome, and Leo ... They mention no restraint in the one then in the other. ... (pp. 173-174)

In chapter 8, he helpfully (for our purposes, at least), lays out two contrary positions:

Two opinions therefore there are concerning sufficiencie of holy scripture, each extremely opposite unto the other, and both repugnant unto truth. The schooles of Rome teach scripture to be so unsufficient, as if, except traditions were added, it did not conteine all revealed and supernaturall truth, which absolutely is necessarie for the children of men in this life to know that they may in the next be saved. Others justly condemning this opinion growe likewise unto a daungerous extremitie, as if scripture did not onely containe all thinges in that kinde necessary, but al thinges simply, and in such sorte that to doe any thing according to any other lawe were not onely unnecessary, but even the opposite unto salvation, unlawfull and sinfull. Whatsoever is spoken of God or thinges appertaining to God otherwise then as the truth is; though it seeme an honour, it is an injurie. ... [W]e must ... take great heede, lest in attributing unto scripture more then it can have, the incredibillitie of that do cause even those things which indeed it hath most abundantly to be lesse reverendly esteemed. (Hooker, pp. 191-192)

The third book is "Concerning their second assertion, that in Scripture there must be of necessitie contained a forme of Church-politie the lawes whereof may in no wise be altered." It's fairly clear from the arguments above that Hooker looks beyond Scripture for rules - and rules are very important here, as he's writing around the time where Puritans are arguing that the nation should be ruled according to their views - based, they argue, on Scripture - and that the Church should also be separated from the state's tradition exertion of authority. Hooker, who wishes to keep the church as an Established church, is arguing against this strongly.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009


The garden

(backposting) I'm not a gardener - at all. But I don't mind cutting, hacking and strimming, and yesterday afternoon, after 2 services, lunch and a lovely swimming session with the girls, I decided that I'd have a go at the patio area. Moo (and the girls, briefly) joined me, and after around an hour's work, we now have a proper patio area for barbecuing, which is about half as large again as it was, and a reclaimed border which we hadn't seen for about 4 years. What a great way to spend an hour! I celebrated by barbecuing, of course.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009


Wimpole Hall

(backposting) Off to Wimpole Hall (National Trust) with the girls and Moo. We went on a horse-drawn wagon, which they very much enjoyed (Miri kept bursting out laughing when the horses broke out of a walk into a trot), and also looked round a number of tents that were selling clothes and other accoutrements for historical reenactors. Jo seemed to enjoy talking about all the different historical costumes, and was particularly taken by the chain mail. Not quite sure why.


Friday, April 17, 2009


Preparation for my priesting and first Eucharist

Scarily, these two events are only 2 and a half months away, and I really have to start thinking about them. The ordination will kind of just happen (God willing, of course - the bishop already seems willing), although we need to choose some music. My first Eucharist (does that sound like "My First Pony" to anyone else?), however, requires quite a lot of planning. They're both going to happen on the same day - Sunday, 28th June, 2009 - the first at 1030, the second at 1500. I'd love to welcome any readers of this blog who would like to come, but please let me know first, as I need to plan numbers for the different services.

Today, I booked a preacher for my first Eucharist: Ian McIntosh, principal of my theological course, ERMC. He's an excellent preacher ("I'm an excellent driver..."), and I really look forward to seeing him there. I'd considered a number of other people, but rejected them for a variety of reasons, and I know that he'll preach very well, which really matters to me. Also to be arranged:

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Thursday, April 16, 2009


The funeral

So, the funeral was today. In the end it went better than it might have done. These things certainly aren't easy, and this was particularly hard because the husband of the lady whose funeral it was had died on Tuesday. So, very difficult for the family. I didn't preach as well as I would have liked - I think the theology could have been firmer - but the service went well, and hopefully it helped. That's what the ministry is about.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009


More walking

I'd be losing some serious weight if it weren't for all the food around from Easter and Miri's 2nd birthday...


Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Difficult news

(backposting) Not for me, but to me, if you see what I mean. I'm due to be taking a funeral service at a crematorium on Thursday, for a a fairly elderly woman who died before Easter. Her daughter, who's been arranging everything, phoned me this morning to tell me that the husband (widower) died today. It's going to make for a very difficult service for the family, and I'm thinking (and praying) very hard about how to manage things. God will provide.

On a happier note, I walked for around 4.75 miles today, at an average of over 5.25 mph. I'm chuffed.

On a less happy note, Liverpool lost to Chelsea in the second leg of the European cup. Darn.

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Monday, April 13, 2009


Two barbecues - and back home

(backposting) The weather was so good today that Mac barbecued twice (sausages first time, chicken the second). As always, the girls had a great time, and (as often) I snuck a little sleep in the morning: justified, I felt, as I would be driving back in the evening. In the event, we had a good drive back, and Jojo settled well back in bed. Miri, on the other hand, didn't, so Moo had to go to bed a little early with Miri in the bed with her. Moo didn't complain _that_ much...

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Sunday, April 12, 2009


Easter Sunday

(backposting) Yay! Easter Day: one of the great joyous festivals of the Christian year, and I was full of joy, I have to admit. I started the day off with an 0800 service, at which I preached on how absurd Easter is, but how we can't not believe anyway, and then we had a 1000 service, to which Moo brought Jo and Miri. Si and D also came with Morgan and Boo, which is the first time they've come to a service in Halstead. Given how well Jo did at Gosfield last week, I decided to allow her to move around a bit and spend some time with me. It was OK while she was with Moo, the other kids, or colouring with a girl in the choir, but she wanted to be with me during the preparation of the elements, and bothered me twice while I was administering the sacraments. I wasn't cross - she just doesn't understand when it's appropriate and when it's not - but we're going to have to re-evaluate the whole thing, rather.

John had the kids over to the Easter garden, which was great, and then also preached quite a long sermon. This made the service rather long, and I know that a number of the kids (beyond mine) struggled. It's a difficult balance though: it's such an important day to preach the Word, but how to manage with the youngsters? I need to give this some thought.

After the service, we stopped off home briefly and then got ourselves into the car and drove up to Kate and Mac's. Jen, Jake (not well), Turtle and Mouse were also there, so much fun was had by all, including an Easter egg hunt. Unluckily, the cousins had to leave after supper, which led to some sadness...

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Saturday, April 11, 2009


Yet more bishop

(backposting) Not saying this is a bad thing, of course: bishops are good. I just seem to be getting quite a lot of episcopal exposure at the moment. Oh, that sounds dodgy. You know what I mean.

After a lovely day with the girls - joined by one of Jo's godfathers, Simon, with whom we went to Clare Country Park for some small child bicycle time - we had a confirmation service in St Andrew's Halstead. I'd not realised before today that it was normal practice in the early church to baptise, confirm and ordain _only_ on Easter Eve (because, like all major festivals, Easter actually starts the evening before the day itself). So, this is a good time to be confirmed. I deaconed for the service, and apart from a few glitches (the thurible went out, the bishop left his microphone on whilst giving instructions to fix it, I headed down for the gospel reading before the bishop had had a chance to read the collect, I forget to offer him the lavabo - stuff like that), it all went off very well. And, to my great surprise, I found myself genuflecting towards the East end (not the East End - that would be silly) at the end of the service. Hmm.


Friday, April 10, 2009


Walk of witness

(backposting) Today, I took Jo to the Methodist hall at the bottom of town, where a number of people were due to meet from the different churches in Halstead for a Walk of Witness. I think it's important to witness to our faith, particularly on a day like today, and I encouraged people, for instance, to have "I am a Christian" as their first status of the day today. I found the walk difficult, though. Jo was the only child there (out of around 40 mainly middle-aged plus Christians), and as we walked through the town, stopping for prayers and readings - through a megaphone - I felt uncomfortable, and deeply ambivalent. One of the things that I feel called to do as part of my ministry is to examine whether if I were myself - but outside the church - I'd feel interested in being within it. Today was one of those occasions. It didn't feel right to me. That doesn't mean that it shouldn't happen - maybe it's right for other people - or that I shouldn't be involved - my ministry is broader than just to people "like me", after all - but I struggled with it.

In the evening, we went to Si and D's for supper with Andy and Zae. We were pretty tired though, so left soon after we'd finished watching Red Dwarf: oh, the joys of parenthood...

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Thursday, April 09, 2009


Originally uploaded by MikeCamel

After our Agape meal and communion, we stripped the main altar and closed the triptych.


Wednesday, April 08, 2009



I'm currently looking at internal opportunities within RIM, and I was very flattered to hear that our current Certicom CTO, Bill, has asked to be my referee.


Tuesday, April 07, 2009


A good day

It really was.


Monday, April 06, 2009


Chat with the bishop

The Bishop of Colchester, who's the person who will - or won't - ordain me to the priesthood at the end of June, likes to meet each deacon a few months before the ordination to see how it's all going and check, one assumes, that he's happy with everything. We met tonight, and had a really good chat about a wide-ranging set of issues and questions. We did some good theology, and had a good evening. He's a very good bishop, and we're very lucky to have him.

Oh, and he seems happy that all should go ahead in June.

Sunday, April 05, 2009



On Good Friday, the churches in our town have a march of witness through the town, and driving to our service this morning, I suddenly thought: "what can we do as online Christians?" I'm going to encourage all Christians I know who have an online presence using Twitter, or Facebook, or similar, to make their first status of the morning of Good Friday a simple one. I'm not asking that it stays the same all day, though I'd suggest that it's kept for an hour or so.

On Good Friday, make your status simple:

I am a Christian.


Saturday, April 04, 2009



We've got Kate and Mac with us today - they arrived last night while Moo and I were at Jo's dance show. Moo got to watch it, as I watched the dress rehearsal, and this time I got to be backstage doing costume changes. Had a couple of beers and chatted to another Dad while Jo was doing her thing, and it all went well, by all accounts. We got back and grabbed a little food, and I slept rather badly, so this morning, while they headed off to Freeport, I had a bit of a sleep. Afterwards, I went for a lovely 4 mile (well, 4.945 mile) walk in the beautiful North Essex countryside. The sun was out, it was warm but there was a slight breeze, and I walked hard. I really love walking - just taking the exercise - and tend to listen to either podcasts or music while I do. Today it was Arvo P&adia;rt (various) and Bach (motets). Moo's backstage tonight and Kate, Mac, Mel and her mum are watching Jo.

And I've heard in the past few minutes that Liverpool won today against Fulham, and are back at the top of the Premiership table (where they ought to be).

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Friday, April 03, 2009


A new phone

(backposting) Today a got a new Blackberry Curve from work. I'm getting my head round it and it's pretty good, I have to say. Clear screen, generally easy to use, and fast. I've not used a full qwerty keyboard on a phone for a while, and it does a good job, and the trackball is simple to use and responsive.


Thursday, April 02, 2009


Bishop on a train

Originally uploaded by MikeCamel

Who should I give up my seat for on the train to London this morning but the Bishop of Chelmsford. And, what's more, I gave it up _before_ I realised it was my boss there. We had a good chat with a pensions lawyer who was on his way to the City. The picture is used with his permission!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009



Started taking some proper exercise again today: a 3+ mile walk, over which I averaged over 4.4 mph (GPS on the phone provided the details). It was a lovely day: sunny, but not too warm, and I listened to a podcast on my phone as I walked.


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