Archives October 2009

On not coming to the altar for a blessing…

I was singing in a choir at the weekend, and again witnessed the celebrant offer a warm welcome and invite everyone to come forward for at least a blessing. The congregation was a usual mix of the churched and the non-churched and as usual, the same as happens at my church, virtually no-one from the non-regular part of the congregation came up for even a blessing.

I have been reflecting on this and how it made me feel, and how it always makes me feel. I know it will happen at the All Souls Requiem, and it will make me feel failed.

My reflection is that it is a little like when you offer someone a hand to shake and they turn their nose up at it: a rejection. I try so hard to make the welcome genuine, to emphasise that there are no barriers to this altar:

“Come and Receive
all are welcome at this altar”

says the slide on screen, but I reckon most of these punters have already made up their mind not to engage before they arrived at the church. I am reminded of my parish placement in Newcastle when an Ordinand as I watched a baptism and the absolute determination of the be-tattooed to and be-miniskirted to avoid participating in the Creed or the Lord’s Prayer. To engage with the Church is to show a weakness, and we never show weakness do we?

I will not back down from my welcome. I will try and find new ways of expressing that hospitality which is at the heart of faith. I will continue to believe fervently that the sacrament is there to heal and to reconcile, and whether it blesses, or it is communed, it will not matter, for Christ was present amongst them all, faithful and unfaithful alike.

I just wish that more would take me up on my proferred hand and be blessed at least.

From Dusk 'Til Dawn – Youth Evangelism in Action

It was a good night – 17 young people came together to watch movies, eat massive amounts of food, play on the big screen Wii and share a good time. Most couldn’t last the whole night, although some managed.

Thanks to the support of Steven and Chris, Emma and Lou we watched 5 films in all:

  1. Finding Nemo
  2. The Matrix
  3. Groundhog Day
  4. Chocolat
  5. Slumdog Millionaire

We were grateful for the contributions from Basil, Dave, Alison & Tony and Julie who provided a vast quantity of delicious food.

It was not outright or outrageous evangelism. We did not seek to thrust Jesus down their throats, and it was very much the desire of the Sundays group to provide an engagement without that sickly kind of forced-evangelism that makes most youthwork look a bit silly, really. It was, perhaps, a little more subtle than that.

It was interesting to note that although the YEF was conceived as evangelism by young people for young people, they did not have the time (A Levels and GCSEs loom) to really organise it, and they looked to adults to make their vision happen. It can’t really work in the organic way the YEF envision it when young people have to do the leg work themselves.

Did they leave with souls saved? Probably not. I apologise to those who only expect these things to be spun as outrageous success, but this was not intended to make little Christians. It was aimed at pointing towards something greater, to share stories and to begin a journey of faith which might well take these young people a lifetime to complete. God is the missioner, we are his tools.

A thoroughly good time was had by all. God be praised! It was worth going without sleep. Pray that it will spark something in the hearts of these young people.

(no pictures because of consent issues, sorry – you’ll just have to imagine beanbags, big screen and a thick coating of popcorn on the Nave floor!)

Blessing and Dismissal after an all-night youth event

I know that “we welcome it. bring it on” might send shivers down the spine of the more liturgically precious, but the context of this blessing is at the end of tomorrow night’s all-night youth event. It needs to speak in the language of them not of the church. If we are sending these young people out into the blearly-eyed world on a saturday morning, then it needs to be in their context. Bring it on.

Keep praying. Not a lot of consent forms at the moment. Pray for last minute rush.

From Dusk 'Til Dawn

Movie Night Ad A4Numbers are starting to pick up. Naturally the need to obtain parental consent has been a bit of a barrier, but you can’t undertake this kind of work without it. Need to keep praying for it. This isn’t for Churched young people at all, although organised by my older youth group all of whom have a wonderful grasp of faith. Anything could happen.

Call To Worship. New sunrise added. I think this one works.

Throughout the night and interspersing the films there will be small Blesséd-y bits of alt.worship, culminating in a blessing and dismissal. Food throughout the night generously provided by the parish, and a healthy breakfast donated kindly by the local Co-Op (thank you). Pray. Pray hard.

That's our MP they're referring to!

MP for Gosport: Peter Viggers

A series of videos have appeared on the web this week taking the mickey out of the ridiculous claims some British Members of Parliament have made on their expense accounts, after Boing Boing and others campaigned to have details of MPs expenses released back in January.

If you’re not from the UK and you’re wondering why they feature ducks a lot, read this.

The videos are directed by John Lloyd (the man behind British comedy classics like Blackadder and Spitting Image) and they’ve been made to support the Open Up! campaign for Parliamentary Reform. Watch the videos, and if you’re based in the UK, you can sign the petition calling for change.

Across the Tiber some will go… Carrying what with them?

with grateful thanks to Luke Coppen for pulling most of the information together

Firstly, the news itself, the quotes and the reactions:

This morning the Vatican has unveiled the mechanism by which traditionalist Anglicans can be received as a group into the Catholic Church.

The provision is much more far-reaching than previously expected. Rather than creating a personal prelaturefor the Traditional Anglican Communion, along the lines of Opus Dei, the Pope has decided to establish “personal ordinariates”, along the lines of military ordinariates, which could potentially serve all former Anglicans, both clergy and lay.

Disaffected Anglicans must now approach the Holy See, expressing their desire to take up the provision. The Holy See will then contact the local bishops’ conference to discuss whether it is possible to create the personal ordinariate.

Referring to an Apostolic Constitution to be released shortly in Rome, Cardinal Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, outlined the process that will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion corporately while retaining elements of the Anglican tradition.

The CDF said:

In this Apostolic Constitution the Holy Father has introduced a canonical structure that provides for such corporate reunion by establishing Personal Ordinariates, which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony. Under the terms of the Apostolic Constitution, pastoral oversight and guidance will be provided for groups of former Anglicans through a Personal Ordinariate, whose Ordinary will usually be appointed from among former Anglican clergy.

The forthcoming Apostolic Constitution provides a reasonable and even necessary response to a world-wide phenomenon, by offering a single canonical model for the universal Church which is adaptable to various local situations and equitable to former Anglicans in its universal application. It provides for the ordination as Catholic priests of married former Anglican clergy. Historical and ecumenical reasons preclude the ordination of married men as bishops in both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. The Constitution therefore stipulates that the Ordinary can be either a priest or an unmarried bishop. The seminarians in the Ordinariate are to be prepared alongside other Catholic seminarians, though the Ordinariate may establish a house of formation to address the particular needs of formation in the Anglican patrimony. In this way, the Apostolic Constitution seeks to balance on the one hand the concern to preserve the worthy Anglican liturgical and spiritual patrimony and, on the other hand, the concern that these groups and their clergy will be integrated into the Catholic Church…

The provision of this new structure is consistent with the commitment to ecumenical dialogue, which continues to be a priority for the Catholic Church, particularly through the efforts of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.

In London, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster issued a joint statement on the move.

It said:

Today’s announcement of the Apostolic Constitution is a response by Pope Benedict XVI to a number of requests over the past few years to the Holy See from groups of Anglicans who wish to enter into full visible communion with the Roman Catholic Church, and are willing to declare that they share a common Catholic faith and accept the Petrine ministry as willed by Christ for his Church.

Pope Benedict XVI has approved, within the Apostolic Constitution, a canonical structure that provides for Personal Ordinariates, which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of distinctive Anglican spiritual patrimony.

The announcement of this Apostolic Constitution brings to an end a period of uncertainty for such groups who have nurtured hopes of new ways of embracing unity with the Catholic Church. It will now be up to those who have made requests to the Holy See to respond to the Apostolic Constitution.

The Apostolic Constitution is further recognition of the substantial overlap in faith, doctrine and spirituality between the Catholic Church and the Anglican tradition. Without the dialogues of the past forty years, this recognition would not have been possible, nor would hopes for full visible unity have been nurtured. In this sense, this Apostolic Constitution is one consequence of ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.

The on-going official dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion provides the basis for our continuing cooperation. The Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) and International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) agreements make clear the path we will follow together.

With God’s grace and prayer we are determined that our on-going mutual commitment and consultation on these and other matters should continue to be strengthened. Locally, in the spirit of IARCCUM, we look forward to building on the pattern of shared meetings between the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales and the Church of England’s House of Bishops with a focus on our common mission. Joint days of reflection and prayer were begun in Leeds in 2006 and continued in Lambeth in 2008, and further meetings are in preparation. This close cooperation will continue as we grow together in unity and mission, in witness to the Gospel in our country, and in the Church at large.

Ruth Gledhill has a copy of a letter Dr Williams has sent to his fellow C of E bishops. He says:

I am sorry that there has been no opportunity to alert you earlier to this; I was informed of the planned announcement at a very late stage, and we await the text of the Apostolic Constitution itself and its code of practice in the coming weeks…

It remains to be seen what use will be made of this provision, since it is now up to those who have made requests to the Holy See to respond to the Apostolic Constitution; but, in the light of recent discussions with senior officials in the Vatican, I can say that this new possibility is in no sense at all intended to undermine existing relations between our two communions or to be an act of proselytism or aggression. It is described as simply a response to specific enquiries from certain Anglican groups and individuals wishing to find their future within the Roman Catholic Church.

Vatican-watcher John Allen says the announcement will have far-reaching implications:

In a move with potentially sweeping implications for relations between the Catholic church and some 80 million Anglicans worldwide, the Vatican has announced the creation of new ecclesiastical structures to absorb disaffected Anglicans wishing to become Catholics. The structures will allow those Anglicans to hold onto their distinctive spiritual practices, including the ordination of married former Anglican clergy as Catholic priests…

According to a Vatican “note” released this morning, married men may serve as priests in the new ordinariates, but they may not be ordained as bishops. The details will be presented in a new apostolic constitution from Pope Benedict XVI, expected to be issued shortly.
The Vatican note described the new “personal ordinariates” as similar to the structures created throughout the world to provide pastoral care for members of the military and their families. The structures are, in effect, non-territorial dioceses, provided over by a bishop and with their own priests and seminarians.

A personal ordinariate is also similar to the canonical status of “personal prelature,” currently held by only one Catholic group: Opus Dei.

The note said the ordinariates will be created in consultation with the national bishops’ conference of a given country.

Bishop John Broadhurst and Fr Geoffrey Kirk of Forward in Faith UK, an Anglican grouping opposed to women priests and bishops, say:

It has been the frequently expressed hope and fervent desire of Anglican Catholics to be enabled by some means to enter into full communion with the See of Peter whilst retaining in its integrity every aspect of their Anglican inheritance which is not at variance with the teaching of the Catholic Church.

We rejoice that the Holy Father intends now to set up structures within the Church which respond to this heartfelt longing. Forward in Faith has always been committed to seeking unity in truth and so warmly welcomes these initiatives as a decisive moment in the history of the Catholic Movement in the Church of England. Ut unum sint!

My reflection:

This has a number of implications, for the Roman Church, for those who wish to leave the Anglican Church and for the body of Christ. For the latter and the widest possible interpretation, this is a very good thing: those unhappy with the ordination of women, or homosexuals or anything else really, can have a get-out-of-jail card which gives them a spiritual home within the body of Christ and removes their root of disaffection. If we can see that the body of Christ is more important, agree to disagree and move together/alongside each other towards Christ and towards the proclamation of the Gospel, then unity will have been done a service. For Christian Unity is not conditional on homogenity.

I pray that those whom cradle-catholics often refer to as “plastic catholics” (which betrays a good deal of gracelessness in it) will find a free expression of their catholic (small ‘c’) faith, and that they do not find that suddenly, the grass is not quite as green as it might appear. Authority means something in the Roman Church, and despite the creation of quasi-Anglican structures, this means traditional bishops and you will do what you are told. Many will be happy to accept that, but some: especially clergy may find that difficult. We who hold an Anglican freehold have an unprecedented degree of autonomy which Roman Clergy simply do not have. Now from my reading of today’s outline documents, the opening of this gateway is at a personal level, and not a structural one. The structure of the Anglican Church remains intact, and this is not an opportunity for Churches to start behaving like the dissident TEC churches, grabbing the buildings and the silver and trying to cross the Tiber with them. It seems to me to imply that they must seek a personal oversight from Rome, an absorption into the Roman structure and this means that the parochial structure will have to be supported further by the (larger rump of) the remaining Anglican priests like me. This might mean more work.

By all means, if it means that the hugely rich devotional societies (like the CBS and SoM) want to move, take their cash with them then that is fine. If it means that Forward in Faith can have someone else to kick against then fine. If it means that Clergy can move to Rome and take their pensions entitlement with them, then again that is good. If it means that holes start appearing in the parochial structure because (names plucked at random) Paulsgrove or the whole of the Chichester Diocese march towards Rome, then this will be a very bad thing indeed for the Anglican duty of care, the cure of souls that it seeks to provide and which regardless of what the non-conformists or the Romans say, is unique: for Anglicanism is not a Congregationalist Church and is there as a beacon for the whole community, regardless of whether they want it or not.

It will probably also mean that the village of Walsingham will see some drastic changes; because not every pilgrim is destined for Rome with this announcement. I have been thinking about this for a few weeks, but it is difficult to express. As a progressive Catholic, I consider the place of Walsingham to be holy ground: the Anglican Shrine is only a part of that holiness, and if it chooses (as a structure and a building outside the parochial framework it is perfectly entitled) to Pope, then it will not and should not prevent those who wish to see women’s ministry exercised at Walsingham from finding another space within that holy village. Does this mean building a progressive Shrine? Perhaps. After all, the Anglican Shrine is built across the road from the Friary that housed the original, and the Anglican Shrine creates perfectly lovely sacred spaces out of barns and outhouses. There must be somewhere (maybe outside of the Anglican Shrine) that an altar might be set up, where women and men can concelebrate. It might not be as beautifully provided, or generously endowed (as SCP and AffCaff have only a miniscule amount of resources compared to SSC, CBS and SoM) but it will still be as much a part of England’s Nazareth as the Orthodox Churches. I believe the Shrine knows that the ‘traditionalists’ (such an inappropriate word, for I am more traditional than untraditional) are not their only customers and sponsors and that the future of the Shrine lies with progressive parishes (ugh, another inappropriate and ugly word, but we are stuck with these labels and out of convenience only will I use them). I love the Shrine with all my heart, and it is a major part of my spiritual life: I devote much of my energy to the mission and evangelism that is the Children’s and Youth Pilgrimages and promoting the work and witness of the Shrine, but if it moves onto the Left Foot, I will seek to find a space close or alongside where a progressive expression of Anglican worship might be made. I pray that this might not be necessary. I pray hopefully (but not aggressively) that the Anglican Shrine will one day permit me to concelebrate alongside both brothers and sisters in Christ but wish that process to happen organically, and not be forced upon those for whom there must be a lot of prayer and consideration in the months and (maybe) years to come.

I pray that whatever happens, our unity as sacramentally-focused Christians will be paramount and we avoid the hurt and unpleasantness associated with schism. It should not be played out as a schism, as a poaching or proselytising or a kicking-out, but as a mechanism for those with an integrity different to mine to find a proper spiritual home. It should make the deliberations of the committee and the General Synod on the Consecration of Women Bishops a little more straightforward: accommodations which were voted out  need not be reinserted and the Church of England need not be held to ransom by those who demand all kinds of accommodation with no intention of staying. This, at the end, might be a very very good thing.

I might lose a number of good friends from the Church of England in this process, which will make me sad, and I will lose a number of people who have been unnecessarily unpleasant to me since my time at college, which will make me less sad. If we maintain a unity as members of the body of Christ, then all will be well. Amen and Amen.

Sermon: Ordinary 29, Year B Mark 10:35-45

Text: Mark 10:35-45

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

“God did not call you to be served, but to be servants.”

Today’s gospel reading provides a remarkable contrast between being served and being a servant. In this reading we hear the story of two of Jesus’ disciples, James and John, who make the request to Jesus to receive a position of prominence in the Kingdom: “Let one of us sit at your right, and one at your left in Glory” they ask of Jesus.

The disciples’ impudence and lack of understanding is beyond belief. How could two people who are so close to Jesus miss the boat so completely? Did they forget the encounter with the rich man that occurred just before their request? Or the encounter with the little children? And have they not heard Jesus’ own prediction of what was soon to happen to him? In light of all of this, their request is truly astounding.

And it angers their fellow disciples. But what seems to anger the other disciples is not so much that James and John have misunderstood Jesus’ teachings – which could perhaps be justified – but that James and John went to Jesus requesting a place of power ahead of the rest of them.

The other disciples do not seem to be acting out of righteous indignation; rather, it appears that they are jealous. And Jesus’ loving response to them all is to take the opportunity to contrast earthly greatness with divine greatness. Earthly greatness is defined as having power over, whereas divine greatness is defined as being servant to.

Today, there are examples all around us of the secular quest for greatness and its often accompanying spectacular fall. The Credit Crunch has been a huge example of how secular notions of power, wealth and greatness are so flimsy, so fragile, so built out of a ‘confidence’ that has no true foundation. The wealth that as Jesus says will corrupt and decay.

In contrast to worldly greatness, to be great in God’s eyes is to be a servant modeled after Jesus’ own life of service. For many listeners, the story of James and John is disconcerting because if James and John, who knew Jesus personally, couldn’t incorporate his teachings into their lives, how on earth are we to do so?

These stories are a reminder for many of us that, try as we might, all too often our actions are more reflective of motivations of the secular world than the divine.

So how do we become better servants?

One way is by making sure that the motivation for our service is love. Eighteenth-century Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Secker said, “God has three sorts of servants in the world: some are slaves, and serve Him from fear; others are hirelings, and serve for wages; and the last are sons [and daughters, who serve because they love.”

In the week ahead, as you seek to serve God, check your motivation. Divine servanthood is always motivated by love.

Another way to become better servants is by being mindful of who it is that calls us to serve. We should remember that in all things we serve God, and God alone. By becoming more aware of God’s presence in everyday life, we can strive to understand that all we do is somehow of God. With this approach, even the most mundane tasks that might not usually be associated with our spiritual lives can be viewed as service.

Yet another way to become better servants is by ensuring that our church is a “servant church.” Theologian Karl Barth discusses such churches in his book Dogmatics in Outline. Barth describes the living church as one that:

“proclaims the Gospel to every creature. The Church runs like a herald to deliver the message. It is not a snail that carries its little house on its back and is so well off in it that only now and then it sticks out its feelers and then thinks that the claim of publicity has been satisfied. No, the Church lives by its commission as herald. Where the Church is living, it must ask itself whether it is serving this commission or whether it is a purpose in itself.”

Is this parish a living servant church? Does it have a clear understanding that it exists in service to Jesus? Do all actions stem from Jesus’ commission to proclaim the gospel? Does our worship, community outreach, and missional activities all have the possibility to transform those they touch? If not, then how can we make it so, for, after all, the mission of the church is the mission of Jesus Christ. We are a missional church and we must be a beacon in this place motivated – each and every one of us – to mission, evangelism and the spread of the Gospel in practical, prayerful ways.

The story of James and John is disconcerting because even the most pious listeners can see a bit of themselves in the story. How many of us are able to truly base our lives and actions on the divine definition of greatness – servanthood?

Fortunately, this story closes with a message of hope. Jesus proclaims that the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Jesus promises us that although we will all fall short, through his death we are redeemed.

And that is the Good News.

I am indebted to Mother Suzanne E. Watson who suggested the heart of this homily.

We have finally become a proper catholic parish… :)

There are a small number of litmus tests regarding a parish which is making a journey into the sacramental life (which is a better way of saying ‘going up the candle’). Some of these are profound, some are entirely trivial. I will leave it up to you to decide which is which.

Especially to annoy my colleague in the next parish, I have specifically excluded the wearing of maniples at the Mass because a) it is entirely trivial, the most trivial of the triviality which is vestments and b) it only applies to the Latin chasuble, which I never wear, being (ahem) the wrong shape entirely for that.

These are in no particular order:

1. Reservation

Without the eternal presence of Jesus in the form of the reserved sacrament, how can we profess a sacramental presence in our lives. Not just for the administration to the sick, but as an object of devotion, Jesus in our midst is a statement of where we believe Jesus to be now: present, active, dynamic. Look for the white sanctuary light and know that all is right in this space.

A corollary of this is the sanctuary light itself. If it is an electric bulb, then this is a parish which actually doesn’t care about having Jesus present. It must be a 7 day votive, maintained 24/7

2. Our Lady of Walsingham

Other devotions to the BVM are of course right and true, but let’s face it, in England, it belongs to England’s Nazareth and an image of Our Lady of Walsingham shows a connection both to the catholic tradition of the anglican church and a living connection with the devotion which inspires so many. If the parish is part of  a pilgrimage to the  Shrine in Norfolk then better. If it sends young people to the Children’s and Youth pilgrimages then it truly understands about the feeding of the body of Christ and the importance of mission. Say the Hail Mary, offer the Rosary and get the the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.

3. Stations of the Cross

Having them is nice. Using them is essential. Using them outside Lent is even better. STE fails on this one, sorry. Working on it.

4. Benediction

Having served my title in a parish where benediction was offered twice a week on Fridays and Sundays, this devotion to the Blessed Sacrament is a key test. It needn’t be showy or slick but it needs to be heartfelt. Our Benedictions are a bit ramshackle but devoted, and I’d far sooner have that than a super-production which didn’t actually worship Jesus present in our midst.

5. Prayer for the Departed

The company of heaven gather to pray for us, and we pray for them. Daily. It is not just for All Souls, but part of the daily cycle of prayer.

6. Daily Prayer

It doesn’t have to be the Divine Office, but it needs to be offered in Church twice a day, days off notwithstanding. This is my personal achilles heel, and I struggle with maintaining this discipline, but with God’s help, I try. I fail, and I try again. If the parish joins you for the Office, then you truly are creating a parish which takes the word of God seriously and which hence leads to a deeper sacramental devotion. Never either/or but always both/and.

7. Rose Vestments

Worn twice a year. What a waste. What a statement of devotion, and proof of your commitment to the worship of the Church. Rose is a wonderful teaching opportunity (as are all the liturgical colours) and although it might be a little superficial it says a lot.

We have just received in the post our Rose Vestments from a very good value company in Poland: They can provide a very presentable chasuble for less than £45, which makes it suddenly within our scope. When someone offers to make an extra donation, most of it in this parish goes on youth work, but once in a while we are offered funding for vestments, and this doesn’t exactly break the bank.

8. Dalmatics

If you take your deacon seriously, then you will have dalmatics. If you value the deaconal ministry, then you will have dalmatics in Rose. I know of only 3 places where this is true. I know you will tell me of more. We havn’t. Pity.

9. Bells and Smells

Apologies for putting these two together, but they both say “Look! Jesus!”. Incense burned (and burned well) symbolises the rising of prayers, and the presence of holiness. The bells contribute to the multisensory nature of sacramental worship. It isn’t just about the words on the page…

10. Youth Work

You take the body of Christ seriously? You believe in the Catholic Tradition? You want others to grow into Sacramental Worship? You need to work with unchurch youth. It’s hard. It’s taxing. It doesn’t get them into Mass immediately, but it is so incarnational. Just do it, right – start a group and see what happens. Youth Ministry should be the most defining attribute of a Catholic parish, for where you take young people seriously, there Christ is found in their midst. How much more Catholic do you want to be?

Do you see? The Catholic tradition in the Church of England is about incarnation, it is about mission. It comes from out of the Anglocatholic slum parishes and it reaches out to the unchurched; not like a social club or an esoteric mutual society, the Anglocatholic tradition is based upon Christ present, live, active and dynamic in our parishes. It doesn’t matter whether we use Roman Rite or Series 2 or Common Worship, whether incense clouds (and chokes when burned badly) the sanctuary, but it is about values, prayers, devotions.

What uses for the Twitter API

As you might be aware, I am an extensive Twitter user: sending out daily meditations and prayers from the BlessedAltW acoount (search that out and follow it) and microblogging through the day as myself: frsimon

As a programmer however, I am keen to be able to access the Twitter API and code something useful with it.

In future I see an application that will send the Tweets out automatically from a database, but for that I suspect the typo3 environment will not be right for that.

However, in the meantime, I have produced a small typo3 plugin which send a tweet whenever a certain page is accessed. This means I can track by following that tweeted account access. Its alpha code and called spr_twitter and can be found in the TER. (If this means nothing to you, worry not, and a parish-related post will be along shortly, I promise you)

Next step after that will be to connect some system monitoring code around it and send tweets out whenever a service or server goes down.

Any other ideas or needs?