Archives June 2009

Washed Clean Homily – the secret of how it is done!

I showed you this, were you impressed? I was when young Daniel Henderson showed me all those years ago.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPyfwtUecNk

Now, to reveal all and to know that I will never be able to use this outside of School Assemblies ever again!

Two bowls of water – one clean water and one filled with water 100-200mls of FILM FIXER. You can buy it at a photographic supplies shop – Jessops still have a few bottles at the back for those who still develop proper film: £9 for a litre which will last ages.

One white linen handkerchief, chopticks or tongs to handle them

One small bottle of Iodine Tincture from the Chemists/Dugstore (79p from Rowlands Pharmacy)

1. Add Iodine to clean water

2. Cloth in ‘dirty water’ so it becomes stained.

3. Transfer Iodine cloth into fixer solution -> the iodine is neutralised by the fixer and it goes back to white

4. Transfer cloth now soaked in fixer solution into bowl with iodine water in it, so that iodine is neutralised and both bowls appear clean

5. Dispose of carefully as the chemicals are poisonous.

There! You can dress up sin and redemption how your theology paints it (you can tell, I don’t do penal substitution) and you can explain it according to your audiences (Infant and Junior School Collective Worship love this!). Over to you all now – make the most of it!


So Stonewall actually meant something after all…

Via the Changing Attitude Blog

The Times commissioned a poll, conducted by Populus, to commemorate the Stonewall riots 40 years ago. The riots took place on 27 and 28 July 1969 were a spontaneous resistance to repeated police raids on the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York and it was the drag queens who led the resistance. It was a defining event that marked the start of the gay rights movement in the United States and Britain.

The poll reveals a revolution in attitudes towards gay men and lesbians. It shows that a majority of the public want lesbian and gay people to share identical rights to everyone else.

68% of the public back “full equal rights” for gay men and lesbians.

61% want gay couples to be able to marry, not just have civil partnerships.

51% want children to be taught in school that gay relationships are of equal value to marriage with 44% opposed.

49% believe that gay couples should have equal adoption rights.

The Times headlines the poll results “Church ‘out of touch’ as public supports equal rights for homosexuals” and names the Church as the final bastion of formal discrimination.

But I want to suggest not everywhere. There are at least some churches which welcome, and support and promote equality, who are not based on prejudice.

In a separate article, Peter Riddell shows that people have become far more tolerant in the past two decades. The British Social Attitudes survey shows that those who think that homosexuality is always or mostly wrong fell from 75% in 1987 to 32% in 2006.

Since January 2005 those agreeing that gay couples should have exactly the same rights as heterosexual couples has risen from 65% to 68%, the number disagreeing falling from 31% to 27%.

A 1999 Ipsos MORI poll found 37% in favour of gay people being allowed to adopt with 57% opposed. Now, 49% agree that gay couples should have the same rights to adopt with 47% disagreeing.

A year later another Ipsos MORI poll found people evenly divided about whether gay couples should be allowed to get married. Populus now finds almost two thirds support the equal right of gay couples to marry.

Less confident are parental responses to their children coming out as gay. 41% say they would embrace it while 45% would feel upset but try to understand and come to terms with it. 9% said they would not accept it and would reject the child.

There is still so much work to be done, centuries of prejudice (because frankly, until the Victorians started to have a problem with it, it wasn’t an issue) to turn around and a vigorous and honest hermeneutic of Scripture to be applied to counteract the crappy translations and narrow prejudices of a few so insecure about their sexuality that they feel threatened by an honest expression in others. I am glad that society is changing and pray that it might be the work of the Holy Spirit, and so it can be done with grace and charity. Despite the pronounciations of certain Housesof Synod, despite the political manoeverings of some Bishops (supporting Schismatics – be ashamed you Bishops of Lewes and Winchester) and putting Sex far above the Gospel, we will endeavour to continue to be an inclusive, family-friendly Parish, seeking to further shape society and show God’s love to all.


Blesséd: Washed Clean – Feast of Title for S.John Baptist, Winchester

fabulous night, and a powerful worship: so many positive comments from a diverse parish community.

DSC_4156DSC_4171DSC_4195DSC_4197DSC_4187

The whole church is sanctuaryDSC_4207

Sins confessed are disolved in the font

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Washed Clean – a graphic illustration of the power of baptism

DSC_4226

Above: Renewal of Baptismal Vows

DSC_4232DSC_4236DSC_4241

Typical comment: “Brilliant”

High points: Eucharistic Prayer working. Low point: dropping the tie mic twice as I got up to adminsister Communion

God is indeed good.

Blesséd Liturgy for St. John the Baptist, 24th June 2009

Gathering

Smokebelch Gathering: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFOGeOcgVCs

Entrance

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AndLNmeBlrI

In the name of the +Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

The Lord be with you

And also with you

Screen:      There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came to bear witness to the light, to prepare an upright people for the Lord. (Jn 1:6-7; Lk 1:17)

My dear friends, on this Solemnity for the birth of S. John, Baptiser we gather in this sacred space to offer this holy sacrifice, to burn incense before the Lord as John’s father, Zechariah did in the temple and to be refreshed by the waters of Baptism which John introduced and which our Blessed Lord sealed for us as the sign of our redemption.

God is here. Make yourselves at home. In this worship tonight we will explore in fire and water the mystery of salvation won for us by Christ and give thanks to God for the Baptister, the last of the Old Testament Prophets and the first of the New. We look, as he did, for the coming of the Lord in power and awe in our worship. So, my friends, immerse yourself in this worship and draw close.

However, Baptism marks a turn-around in our lives: repentance, metanoia, to face the other way and turn from those times when we have let ourselves, other and our Lord down.

Let us reflect on those times, write them on these special papers and then consign them to the waters of the font, where Christ will wash them away by the streams of living water that flow from his baptismal font.

Penitential Rite

Video: http://www.agnusdei.org.uk/fileadmin/video/Blessed%20on%20the%20Grass/Penitential%20Rite%20-%20Paper.mpg

Equipment: Dissolvo Sheets, Felt-Tip Pens, Paddling Pool, AquaJet

Screen: you are forgiven

Our Lord Jesus Christ, who has left power to his Church to

absolve all sinners who truly repent and believe in him, of

his great mercy forgive you all your offences; and by his

authority committed to me, I absolve you from all your sins:

+In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy

Spirit.

The Lord has put away all your sins, and of your charity, pray for me, a sinner also

Amen

Gloria

Van Morrison Gloria http://www.agnusdei.org.uk/fileadmin/video/Blessed/06%20Gloria/04_Gloria%20-%20Van%20Morrison.mpg

Collect

Let us pray…

God our Father,
you raised up John the Baptist
to prepare a perfect people for Christ the Lord.

Give your Church joy in spirit
and guide those who believe in you
into the way of salvation and peace.

we ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever Amen.

Word

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2eBEk2G4uY Mark 1:7-11

Renewal of Baptismal Vows

Video with Ritual: http://www.agnusdei.org.uk/fileadmin/video/Blessed%20Living%20Water/07_renewbaptism.mpg

Creed

God Waits Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXe3pQc2Sf0

Visual Intercessions

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7dOiV5aGM8

Peace

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjTebaBwGkk

In the dark catacombs, sheltering from persecution and the sword, the faithful met to bring Christ into their midst. They greeted their brothers and sisters in baptism with a kiss of peace, a further communion, a closer unity as community, and they share something special, unique and holy.

At this point a text message “The Peace of the Lord be always with you. Share this.” is sent to all those who have given their numbers at the beginning.

Offertory

Matt Maher – Litany of the Saints (sung a capella)

As the bread and wine are brought haphazardly to the front through the congregation

St. Andrew Pray for us

St John Baptist Pray for us

St Thomas Pray for us

Holy Mary Pray for us

Ora Pro Nobis Ora Pro Nobis

St Simon, pray for us

St Jude, pray for us

St Peter, pray for us

John Keble, pray for us

Ora Pro Nobis, Ora Pro Nobis

St Faith, pray for us

St John, pray for us

Blesséd Francis, pray for us

St Paul, pray for us

Ora Pro Nobis, Ora Pro Nobis

Ora Pro Nobis, Ora Pro Nobis

Ora Pro Nobis, Ora Pro Nobis

Eucharistic Prayer

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9FZpgdpYuA

1 The Lord be with you

and also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give thanks and praise.

2 Father, all-powerful and ever-living God,

we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

We praise your greatness

as we honour the prophet

who prepared the way before your Son.

You set John the Baptist apart from other men,

marking him out with special favour.

His birth brought great rejoicing:

even in the womb he leapt for joy,

so near was man’s salvation

3 You chose John the Baptist from all the prophets

to show the world its redeemer,

the lamb of sacrifice.

He baptised Christ, the giver of baptism,

in waters made holy by the one who was baptised.

You found John worthy of a martyr’s death,

his last and greatest act of witness to your Son.

In our unending joy we echo on earth

the song of the angels in heaven

as they praise your glory for ever:

4 Holy, holy, holy Lord,

God of power and might,

heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.

5 Lord, you are holy indeed, the source of all holiness;

grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit,

and according to your holy will,

these gifts of bread and wine

may be to us the +body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ;

who, in the same night that he was betrayed,

took bread and gave you thanks;

he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying:

6 Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;

do this in remembrance of me. +

7 In the same way, after supper

he took the cup and gave you thanks;

he gave it to them, saying:

Drink this, all of you;

this is my blood of the new covenant,

which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Do this, as often as you drink it,

in remembrance of me. +

8 Praise to you, Lord Jesus:
Dying you destroyed our death,

rising you restored our life:

Lord Jesus, come in glory.

cont

9 And so, Father, calling to mind his death on the cross,

his perfect sacrifice made once for the sins of the whole world;

rejoicing in his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension,

and looking for his coming in glory,

we celebrate this memorial of our redemption.

10 As we offer you this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving,

we bring before you this bread and this cup

and we thank you for counting us worthy

to stand in your presence and serve you.

11 Send the Holy Spirit on your people

and gather into one in your kingdom

all who share this one bread and one cup,

so that we, in the company of Our Blesséd Lady,

Saint Thomas the Apostle, Saint John the Baptist

and all the saints,

may praise and glorify you for ever,

through Jesus Christ our Lord;

12 by whom, and with whom, and in whom,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

all honour and glory be yours, almighty Father,

for ever and ever.

Amen.

Lord’s Prayer

My Friend Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tyT7IvcxGM

Agnus Dei

Rufus Wainwright Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVbdzqOrOjg

Communion Antiphon

Through the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us.

Distribution of Communion

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPX9clcLLAw

Post Communion Prayer

Let us pray…

Lord,

you have renewed us with this eucharist,

as we celebrate the feast of John the Baptist,

who foretold the coming of the Lamb of God.

May we welcome your Son as our Saviour,

for he gives us new life,

and is Lord for ever and ever.

Amen

Blessing and Dismissal

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14Ma-AodQ9I

EndMusic:  Polyphonic Spree

Amen


Children's "Sorry" Service – Celebrating God's Forgiveness

Celebrating God’s Forgiveness

part of the Admission to Holy Communion preparation

Equipment: Balti Dish, Flash Paper and Lighter, Felt Pens

Hymn: Seek Ye First

Introduction by Fr Simon:

Dear Friends, we are all happy that you are nearing the time when you will meet Jesus in the receiving of Holy Communion. Before you take that step, it is important that you remember how Jesus died on the cross to free us from our sins – from the things we do wrong – so that we can live as his sons and daughters.

To show how our sins come between us and God, we have placed a dish between us and the cross. During the service , we shall all be invited to write or draw our wrongdoings and those of the world on the paper provided and to put it into this dish.

By dying for us on the cross, Jesus broke down the barriers. To symbolise this, our sins will be destroyed in a special and magical way…

Now, we are going to think about Jesus’ friend Peter. Peter promised to follow Jesus, but he denied knowing him a few hours later. As the children learnt last week – Peter was very sorry when he realised what he had done. After the resurrection, Jesus forgave Peter and he became the great apostle who travelled all over the known world to teach people the good news.

First Reading.

Mark 14:27-31 (The Message)

27-28Jesus told them, “You’re all going to feel that your world is falling apart and that it’s my fault. There’s a Scripture that says,

I will strike the shepherd;
The sheep will go helter-skelter.
“But after I am raised up, I will go ahead of you, leading the way to Galilee.”

29Peter blurted out, “Even if everyone else is ashamed of you when things fall to pieces, I won’t be.”

30Jesus said, “Don’t be so sure. Today, this very night in fact, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.”

31He blustered in protest, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you.” All the others said the same thing.

Prayer – Fr Simon

Jesus, we want to be your friends but, like Peter, we make promises that we do not keep. We let you down by not loving God or other people. Help us to remember the things that we have done wrong that have hurt you and our friends, and to be sorry for them. Amen

Follow with any other petitions.

Second Reading (Based on Mark 14:26-31, 66-72)

Jesus was taken to the high priest’s house. Peter followed from a distance and went into the courtyard of the high priest’s house. One of the high priest’s servant women came by. She looked straight at him and said, ‘You, too, were with Jesus of Nazareth.’

But he denied it. ‘I don’t know him. I don’t understand what you are talking about,’ he answered and went out into the passage. Just then a cock crowed.

The servant woman saw him there and began to repeat to the bystanders, ‘He is one of them!’ But Peter denied it again.

A little while later, the bystanders accused Peter again, ‘You can’t deny that you are one of them, because you too are from Galilee.’

Then Peter said, ‘I swear that I am telling the truth! May God punish me if I am not! I do not know the man you are talking about!’

Just then a cock crowed a second time.

Then Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, ‘This very night before the cock crows twice you will say three times that you don’t know me.’

And Peter broke down and cried.

As quiet music is played, The Priest invites the people to move to a quiet place to write or draw their sins or the sins of the world on pieces of flashpaper. As each person finishes they come to the front and place their paper in the Balti dish.

Prayer – said together

Dear Jesus,

Like Peter, we have let you down by not loving you or other people. Like Peter, we are sorry. Please forgive us and make us your friends again.

Amen

Fr Simon

God of mercy and power, forgive our faults and give us your grace to walk with you today and every day, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen

A light is set to the ‘sins’ in the balti dish as our sins are forgiven. The Flash Paper disappears completely!

Hymn – God forgave my sin in Jesus name

Third Reading (Mark 16:1, 5-7; John 21: 15-17, 19b)

First reader

After the Sabbath, Mary Magdalene, Salome and Mary the mother of James brought spices to put on Jesus’ body… The women went into the tomb, and on the right side they saw a young man in a white robe sitting there. They were afraid.

The man said, ‘Don’t be afraid! You are looking for Jesus from Nazareth, who was nailed to a cross. God has raised him to life, and he isn’t here… Now go and tell his disciples, and especially Peter, that he will go ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there just as he told you.’

Second reader

When Jesus and his disciples had finished eating, Jesus asked, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than the others do?’

Simon Peter answered, ‘Yes, Lord, you know I do!’

‘Then feed my lambs,’ Jesus said.

Jesus asked a second time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’

Peter answered, ‘Yes, Lord, you know I love you!’

‘Then take care of my sheep,’ Jesus told him.

Jesus asked a third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’

Peter was hurt because Jesus had asked him three times if he loved him. So he told Jesus, ‘Lord, you know everything. You know I love you.’

Jesus replied, ‘Feed my sheep…’ Then he said to Peter, ‘Follow me!’

Fr Simon

Now go and tell his disciples, and especially Peter, that he will go ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you.’

Let us pray:

Risen Christ, thank you for letting us meet you here today.

All: Thank you, Lord

Fr Simon: As you forgave Peter, so too do you forgive us. Thank you for letting us experience your forgiveness. Lord, you know we love you.

All: Thank you Lord

Fr Simon: Thank you for calling us to follow you. Help us to choose to do right, rather than wrong.

All: Thank you Lord

Fr Simon: Now, just as for Peter, you have work for us to do. Let us go out to love and serve the Lord.

All: In the name of Christ. Amen


Sermon: Ordinary 12 Year B – Jesus in the midst

Hearing two better sermons than my own called for a complete rewrite this morning. With credit to Mother Margaret and Mother Kathryn, who set me on a new direction for this homily

Mark 4:35-41

In the name of the +Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen

The Sea of Galilee is, I understand, like Scotland, and the weather can change in an instant from benign to frightening. There are many ravines to the north and east of the lake which create wind tunnels. These can whip up the waves on the lake at a moment’s notice and strike terror into the heart of even the most seasoned sailors, as these fishermen disciples undoubtedly are.

The fishing boats are about 24 feet long, with a little cushioned seat in the raised part at the stern. At most they might accommodate a dozen men, but it would be very open to the elements.

In their fear for their lives the disciples go in faith to the one person who can help them. Jesus, we are told, is sleeping. Jesus the divine yet oh so human is sleeping because He is exhausted from the day’s preaching.

But, in an instant He is awake and meets them in their fear. With one sharp word, nature has obeyed its Creator, but the disciples do not get away scot free. They are told off for letting their fear rule

They forgot for a moment that He is their anchor.

Is Jesus your anchor?

Will your anchor hold in the storms of your life?

For yes, there will be storms in this life. Becoming a Christian does not shelter you from the challenges of life, in many cases it accentuates those challenges.

I’m hearing it more at the moment, as redundancies bite, as funds run out, as political and environmental upheavals dominate the news. Many people feel as if they are teetering on the edge of chaos, and so they ask “Where is God? Doesn’t he care? What’s going on?”

An illustration:

At the end of time, billions of people were seated on a great plain before God’s throne. Most shrank back from the brilliant light before them. But some groups near the front talked heatedly, not cringing with cringing shame – but with belligerence.

“Can God judge us? How can He know about suffering?”, snapped a pert young brunette. She ripped open a sleeve to reveal a tattooed number from a Nazi concentration camp. “We endured terror … beatings … torture … death!”

In another group a African lad lowered his collar. “What about this?” he demanded, showing an ugly rope burn. “Lynched, for no crime but being black !”

In another crowd there was a pregnant schoolgirl with sullen eyes: “Why should I suffer?” she murmured. “It wasn’t my fault.” Far out across the plain were hundreds of such groups. Each had a complaint against God for the evil and suffering He had permitted in His world.

How lucky God was to live in Heaven, where all was sweetness and light. Where there was no weeping or fear, no hunger or hatred. What did God know of all that man had been forced to endure in this world? For God leads a pretty sheltered life, they said.

So each of these groups sent forth their leader, chosen because he had suffered the most. A Jew, an African, a person from Hiroshima, a horribly deformed arthritic, a thalidomide child. In the centre of the vast plain, they consulted with each other. At last they were ready to present their case. It was rather clever.

Before God could be qualified to be their judge, He must endure what they had endured. Their decision was that God should be sentenced to live on earth as a man.

Let him be born a Jew. Let the legitimacy of his birth be doubted. Give him a work so difficult that even his family will think him out of his mind.

Let him be betrayed by his closest friends. Let him face false charges, be tried by a prejudiced jury and convicted by a cowardly judge. Let him be tortured.

At the last, let him see what it means to be terribly alone. Then let him die so there can be no doubt he died. Let there be a great host of witnesses to verify it.

As each leader announced his portion of the sentence, loud murmurs of approval went up from the throng of people assembled. When the last had finished pronouncing sentence, there was a long silence. No one uttered a word. No one moved.

For suddenly, all knew that God had already served His sentence.

We all react differently to the crises in our lives. They can bring out the best [and the worst in us. We can allow them to overwhelm us or we can take hold of them and, trusting God, the God who has experienced all of life in its joys and pains, to make the best of things. One thing is for sure, none of can expect to get through life without being tested and it all too easy to turn in on ourselves and say ‘Why me?’

In the presence of Jesus, the disciples see a storm turn into a calm. So, too, can we find His presence in a crisis if WE LET HIM.

His presence transforms even the darkness of death into the light of eternity.

His presence in our suffering CAN bring us peace because He has been there before us.

His broken, bleeding body on the cross and the empty tomb are witness to Him breaking the power of evil once and for all.

But it takes courage and faith to trust Jesus in our worst crises, and to recognise that he travels through the storm with us, through the teibulations with us. As we meet Him in the Mass, as we share the bread and wine that is His body and His blood, freely shed on the cross for us, so He reaches out to us with the assurance that no matter what the future holds, we can face it better with Him than without Him.

Julian of Norwich had her visions of God as she came close to death. She was almost overwhelmed by her own trials, but instead of sinking, she learned to float again, and offered her experiences as a gift to the church, a gift of faith and love still valued centuries on.

Listen to her

“He said not ‘Thou shalt not be tempested, thou shalt not be travailed, thou shalt not be dis-eased’; but he said, ‘Thou shalt not be overcome.”

May it be so.

Amen


Sermon: Mother Margaret Hay on Ordinary 12 – Storms of Life

preached by Mother Margaret

Text: Mark 4:35-41

In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen

The Sea of Galilee is, I understand, like Scotland, and the weather can change in an instant from benign to frightening. There are many ravines to the north and east of the lake which create wind tunnels. These can whip up the waves on the lake at a moment’s notice and strike terror into the heart of even the most seasoned sailors, as these fishermen disciples undoubtedly are. The fishing boats are about 24 feet long, with a little cushioned seat in the raised part at the stern. At most they might accommodate a dozen men, but it would be very open to the elements.

In their fear for their lives the disciples go in faith to the one person who can help them. Jesus, we are told, is sleeping. Jesus the divine yet oh so human is sleeping because He is exhausted from the day’s preaching. But, in an instant He is awake and meets them in their fear. With one sharp word, nature has obeyed its Creator, but the disciples do not get away scot free. They are told off for letting their fear rule

They forgot for a moment that He is their anchor.

Is Jesus your anchor?

Will your anchor hold in the storms of your life?

You have a lovely day with the family, a special happy gathering, one of the best who’ve known. You come home on top of the world to an answerphone message from your best friend. They sound a bit fraught but you don’t worry as they are prone to dramatise things. But you phone them anyway – and they tell you of a visit to the doctor who tells them they don’t have long to live.

Will you anchor hold in the storms of your life?

You’ve had good news at work. At long last the promotion you’ve longed for has come through. You’ve worked hard for it, long hours of overtime, maybe you’ve neglected the family a bit. But it’s worth it now. A bright future ahead. So you take the family out in the car for a day at the seaside. After a picnic lunch you suggest a walk along the cliffs. Everyone is so excited and happy you’re a family again. But you fail to spot an uneven patch of ground near the cliff edge, you stumble and fall several yards down the cliffs. When you regain consciousness it’s to be tod your neck is broken and you’ll spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair.

Will your anchor hold in the storms of your life?

You spend the weekend in the garden, it’s starting to come right, it’s taken years to get to this stage but all the hard graft is paying off. The mortgage is nearly paid off too only a few years to go, just so long as your job is safe and you’ll be fine. On Monday the boss calls you into the office, and tells you, very reluctantly, you have to be laid off immediately. At your age the prospect of another job is grim and the building society inform you they are going to foreclose and you will be homeless.

We all react differently to the crises in our lives. They can bring out the best [and the worst in us. We can allow them to overwhelm us or we can take hold of them and, trusting God, make the best of things. One thing is for sure, none of can expect to get through life without being tested and it all too easy to turn in on ourselves and say ‘Why me?’

In the presence of Jesus, the disciples see a storm turn into a calm. So, too, can we find His presence in a crisis if WE LET HIM. His presence transforms even the darkness of death into the light of eternity. His presence in our suffering CAN bring us peace because He has been there before us. His broken, bleeding body on the cross and the empty tomb are witness to Him breaking the power of evil once and for all.

But it takes courage and faith to trust Jesus in our worst crises. As we meet Him in the Mass, as we share the bread and wine that is His body and His blood, freely shed on the cross for us, so He reaches out to us with the assurance that no matter what the future holds, we can face it better with Him than without Him.

Amen

Sermon Ordinary 12 – Mother Margaret Hay

Mark 4:35-41

In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen

The Sea of Galilee is, I understand, like Scotland, and the weather can change in an instant from benign to frightening. There are many ravines to the north and east of the lake which create wind tunnels. These can whip up the waves on the lake at a moment’s notice and strike terror into the heart of even the most seasoned sailors, as these fishermen disciples undoubtedly are. The fishing boats are about 24 feet long, with a little cushioned seat in the raised part at the stern. At most they might accommodate a dozen men, but it would be very open to the elements.

In their fear for their lives the disciples go in faith to the one person who can help them. Jesus, we are told, is sleeping. Jesus the divine yet oh so human is sleeping because He is exhausted from the day’s preaching. But, in an instant He is awake and meets them in their fear. With one sharp word, nature has obeyed its Creator, but the disciples do not get away scot free. They are told off for letting their fear rule

They forgot for a moment that He is their anchor.

Is Jesus your anchor?

Will your anchor hold in the storms of your life?

You have a lovely day with the family, a special happy gathering, one of the best who’ve known. You come home on top of the world to an answerphone message from your best friend. They sound a bit fraught but you don’t worry as they are prone to dramatise things. But you phone them anyway – and they tell you of a visit to the doctor who tells them they don’t have long to live.

Will you anchor hold in the storms of your life?

You’ve had good news at work. At long last the promotion you’ve longed for has come through. You’ve worked hard for it, long hours of overtime, maybe you’ve neglected the family a bit. But it’s worth it now. A bright future ahead. So you take the family out in the car for a day at the seaside. After a picnic lunch you suggest a walk along the cliffs. Everyone is so excited and happy you’re a family again. But you fail to spot an uneven patch of ground near the cliff edge, you stumble and fall several yards down the cliffs. When you regain consciousness it’s to be tod your neck is broken and you’ll spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair.

Will your anchor hold in the storms of your life?

You spend the weekend in the garden, it’s starting to come right, it’s taken years to get to this stage but all the hard graft is paying off. The mortgage is nearly paid off too only a few years to go, just so long as your job is safe and you’ll be fine. On Monday the boss calls you into the office, and tells you, very reluctantly, you have to be laid off immediately. At your age the prospect of another job is grim and the building society inform you they are going to foreclose and you will be homeless.

We all react differently to the crises in our lives. They can bring out the best [and the worst in us. We can allow them to overwhelm us or we can take hold of them and, trusting God, make the best of things. One thing is for sure, none of can expect to get through life without being tested and it all too easy to turn in on ourselves and say ‘Why me?’

In the presence of Jesus, the disciples see a storm turn into a calm. So, too, can we find His presence in a crisis if WE LET HIM. His presence transforms even the darkness of death into the light of eternity. His presence in our suffering CAN bring us peace because He has been there before us. His broken, bleeding body on the cross and the empty tomb are witness to Him breaking the power of evil once and for all.

But it takes courage and faith to trust Jesus in our worst crises. As we meet Him in the Mass, as we share the bread and wine that is His body and His blood, freely shed on the cross for us, so He reaches out to us with the assurance that no matter what the future holds, we can face it better with Him than without Him.

Amen


New Bishop of Horsham is Mirfield Man: Fr. Mark Sowerby

The Diocese of Chichester have been permitted to announce the replacement for Bishop Lindsay, now at Walsingham. His name is Fr. Mark Sowerby who trained at the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield.

The release says:

An opera-loving Yorkshireman with significant experience in the field of vocations and ministry has been named as the next Bishop of Horsham.

The appointment of the Revd Mark Sowerby, currently Team Rector at St Wilfrid’s, Harrogate, was announced by Downing Street at 11am this morning (Friday, June 19th).

Fr Mark read theology at King’s College, London before training at The College of the Resurrection, Mirfield. He was ordained deacon in 1987 and then priest in 1988 in Ripon Cathedral where he had also been baptised.

He was curate first in Knaresborough and then in Darwen with Tockholes in the Blackburn Diocese. He remained in that diocese to become vicar of St Mary Magdalen’s, Accrington as well as chaplain to St Christopher’s CE High School and Accrington Victoria Hospital.

From 1993-1996 he was also Assistant Diocesan Director of Ordinands in Blackburn Diocese. In 1997, Fr Mark moved to London, serving as a Selection Secretary, running Selection Conferences (now called Advisory Panels) on behalf of the House of Bishops. He was also the Church of England’s principal Vocations Officer, supporting the dioceses of the Church of England in their work to foster vocations to ordained and authorised lay ministries.

In 2001, Fr Mark returned to his native diocese and to St Wilfrid’s, Harrogate (Ripon and Leeds diocese), where he became Team Rector in the newly established Team Ministry in 2004. Over the same period he has served on the Diocesan Synod, the General Synod, and the Ministry Council of the Church of England as well as on the council of the theological college at Mirfield. For the last five years, he has also served as one of the House of Bishops’ Inspectors of Theological Colleges and courses.

Fr Mark is married to Ruth, an experienced RS teacher, and they have three teenage daughters, Bethan, Pippa and Anna. Mark and Ruth enjoy cooking and operas – both musical and soap.

Fr Mark will officially become the new bishop at a service in Chichester Cathedral on July 25th.

He was introduced to diocesan staff and others at a welcome reception held at Church House in Hove.

The area for which Mark will be responsible as Bishop of Horsham includes churches in Horsham, Midhurst, Petworth, Westbourne, Worthing, Arundel, Bognor, Storrington, East Grinstead, Cuckfield, Burgess Hill, Haywards Heath, and Crawley.

The Bishop of Horsham is an area bishop in the Diocese of Chichester, which covers the whole of Sussex, and he works alongside the diocesan Bishop of Chichester (the Rt Revd John Hind) and the area Bishop of Lewes (the Rt Revd Wallace Benn).

Fr Mark succeeds the Rt Revd Lindsay Urwin, who left earlier in the year to become priest administrator at the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham and an assistant bishop in the Diocese of Norwich. He will be the fifth Bishop of Horsham since 1968.

The Bishop of Chichester, the Rt Revd John Hind, commented:

“I am delighted at the appointment of The Revd Mark Sowerby as Bishop of Horsham. Bishop Wallace and I look forward to welcoming Mark, Ruth and their daughters to the diocese.

“Fr Mark has long parish experience and has also served as an assistant director of ordinands in two dioceses as well as a vocations officer and selection secretary for Ministry Division. He is a member of the General Synod. All of these provide a solid background as he takes on this new role.

“Mark will bring significant gifts to the diocese based on his experience, and I am confident that his appointment begins an exciting new chapter in the ongoing life of our diocese.

“It is an especial additional gift that the Archbishop of Canterbury has decided to come to Chichester to ordain Mark bishop in the Cathedral on 25th July.”

Fr Mark Sowerby commented:

“I am absolutely thrilled to be offered this wonderful opportunity to move here and be a part of the Church at work in Sussex. I am as delighted as I am surprised to be moving to Chichester diocese as Area Bishop of Horsham.

“The Diocese of Chichester, like the Diocese of Ripon, was first founded by Saint Wilfrid, a man with a passion for church unity but little personal warmth. I am glad to be going to assist the present Bishop of Chichester who shares Wilfrid’s longing for Christian unity though also with the personal warmth that the Diocese of Ripon and Leeds has come to appreciate in Wilfrid’s successor here.

“I am very much looking forward to getting to know the people of West Sussex and to working with Bishop John Hind in the service of Christ and his people.”

My comment:

When someone I know said that he wanted to train at the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield, someone else said “Oh, I can see you don’t plan to be a Bishop then!” as Mirfield trained priests for parish ministry first. If you wanted a pointy hat, you went to Wescott or Cuddesdon. For that reason, Mirfield was right for me: a solid foundation of priestly formation. I know Fr Mark only peripherally, but our encounters have been good and believe he will be an effective Bishop, but of course his record on the ordination of women as either priests (Harrogate is A&B, although not affiliated to Forward in Faith) or Bishops (see voting record on recent synod vote) means that there will be little change in my neighbouring diocese and the vocations of women will continue to be stifled or mischanneled. I continue to pray for the diocese that sent me for ordination and eventually that there may be a small chink in the complete anti-women makeup of Chichester.