On Challenge and Common Sense….

Reading the news seems a minefield these days and when it is filtered by Social Media the possibilities for disastrous conclusions are amplified many times over. Only this morning, the Times reported that it had uncovered a Russian Fake News plot to discredit the Oxford Covid vaccine trials by spreading false rumours in the countries where it hoped to sell its own vaccine.

Each day friends of different political persuasions express opinions about  from how we deal with the current pandemic and the likely consequences to the efficacy of wearing a mask etc etc and many of them quote ‘scientists’ and other ‘experts’  to back up their often contradictory arguments. Without grinding any particular axe or position in the debate I would suggest that it is as well to remember that scientists and other experts are human too and just because science says something now does not mean that it will not be disproved in the future ….. or it might be confirmed. Take some of the following famous quotations from experts:

  • “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” — Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977
  • “While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially it is an impossibility.” — Lee DeForest, inventor
  • “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” —  M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.
  • “It will be years — not in my time — before a woman will become Prime Minister.” — Margaret Thatcher, 1974.
  • “I see no good reasons why the views given in this volume should shock the religious sensibilities of anyone.” — Charles Darwin, The Origin Of Species, 1869.
  • “There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.” — Albert Einstein, 1932
  • “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” — Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.
  • “Louis Pasteur’s theory of germs is ridiculous fiction.” — Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872.

Not only are people fallible, they are  also influenced by the world around them. A study on respiratory diseases by a tobacco company sponsored research project might lead us to be rightly sceptical of its findings, just as would a an environmental impact report by a Brazilian logging company.

My point? Let’s encourage people to question, to challenge and to use common sense. Arguing ourselves into a corner is not helpful and we need to be open to challenging ourselves and our own stances too. 

Is there a knock-on effect for preaching?

Licensing Service(s)


The Annual Service for the Readers (licensed Lay Ministers) of the diocese was very different this year being entirely online using ZOOM.  It proved to be a heart-warming and thought-provoking experience with much joyous chat both before and after the service.

Bishop Hugh led the service and licensed Roy Cooper from the Calllington Cluster and reaffirmed the licenses of those who had been able to attend the small service in the Cathedral the week before.

  • Debbie Crocker to the Tamar Valley Benefice
  • Matt Frost to the Benefice of St Germans and Sheviok
  • Penny Leach to the Roseland and St Mawes
  • Sandy Massie to St Keverne, St Ruan, St Grade and Landewednack and
  • Debbie Mitchell to All Saints Highertown and Baldhu.

Two Readers came into the diocese and were also part of the service

Chris Clark (PTO) and Michael Waring who is licensed to serve in Poughill & Killhamptonn with Morwenstowe as well as Stratton and LAucells.

Liz Lane, who was herself licensed as a Reader only last year preached the sermo and new Reader Roy Cooper led the intercessions.

It was also good to be able to thank the Readers who have served in the Diocese but whose services have been lost in the last twelve months. In the last year two Readers have died; Graham Hindle and Lesley Boyden  and a number of Readers are, through varying circumstances, no longer ministering 

  • Brenton Blandford,
  • Gloria Street,
  • Margaret DuPlessey,
  • Nina Batley,
  • Angela Hooper,
  • Molly Brown,
  • Tess Dean,
  • Miriam Jones,
  • Lyn Curnow,
  • Chris Kingshott and
  • Garth Wright.

Penzance.flyer.12.19 –  Link to an event in Penzance – Exploring mission, sharing ideas and finding support in Cornwall – A day with Sam Wells, +Hugh Nelson, Michelle Brown and guests.



The picture above is at the end of the service – the happy faces as Roy puts on his newly awarded Reader’s Scarf. (Roy is 2nd from the top on the far right! 

To the left is the video of the whole service. 

At about 12:30 I breathed a huge sigh o relief that the service had gone well, poured myself a beer and collapsed in the conservatory.  There were no major technical hitches, the internet, my wi-fi and my computer had all behaved themselves and the service seemed to have been well received with many cheery faces at the end. It is one of the delights of ZOOM that one can see faces rather than the back of people’s heads.

The next bit is the official ‘what happened and to whom’ section!

The Annual Service for the Readers (licensed Lay Ministers) of the diocese was very different this year being entirely online using ZOOM.  It proved to be a heart-warming and thought-provoking experience with much joyous chat both before and after the service.

Bishop Hugh led the service and licensed Roy Cooper from the Calllington Cluster and reaffirmed the licenses of those who had been able to attend the small service in the Cathedral the week before.

  • Debbie Crocker to the Tamar Valley Benefice
  • Matt Frost to the Benefice of St Germans and Sheviok
  • Penny Leach to the Roseland and St Mawes
  • Sandy Massie to St Keverne, St Ruan, St Grade and Landewednack and
  • Debbie Mitchell to All Saints Highertown and Baldhu.

Two Readers came into the diocese and were also part of the service

Chris Clark (PTO) and Michael Waring who is licensed to serve in Poughill & Killhamptonn with Morwenstowe as well as Stratton and LAucells.

Liz Lane, who was herself licensed as a Reader only last year preached the sermo and new Reader Roy Cooper led the intercessions.

It was also good to be able to thank the Readers who have served in the Diocese but whose services have been lost in the last twelve months. In the last year two Readers have died; Graham Hindle and Lesley Boyden  and a number of Readers are, through varying circumstances, no longer ministering 

  • Brenton Blandford,
  • Gloria Street,
  • Margaret DuPlessey,
  • Nina Batley,
  • Angela Hooper,
  • Molly Brown,
  • Tess Dean,
  • Miriam Jones,
  • Lyn Curnow,
  • Chris Kingshott and
  • Garth Wright.
The slides of the service can be found in PDF format at the following link. 

reader service 2020 PDF Slides


Liz Lane’s Sermon for Readers’ Service – 20th September and 10th October 2020 – St Neot and Zoom

 Romans 8:31-39 and Luke 12:22-34

 Lord, guide my lips, Lord open my heart, let written and spoken words reveal to us your Word.  In the name of our redeemer, teacher and friend, Jesus Christ.  Amen

 When I was first approached to preach this sermon, in Truro cathedral for the Readers’ Service, it was January.  Lots of ideas came into my head; I asked the class of 2019, all with strong opinions, for their thoughts on readings, and I had nearly made my mind up about what this sermon would be about.


Then…the world shifted on its axis, and I stopped thinking about a sermon to be preached in October and started worrying about shortages of flour and tinned tomatoes…


And when the first panic died down, we all began to find new ways to do stuff, new ways to be…I began to look around me and to think and what I saw was gaps.


Gaps between people. Great big six foot gaps.  On the street, in the shops, in our diaries (once full of things we had to do) and in families and between friends and neighbours.


And…in church.  For so many months I think we all of us had a gaping gap in our Sunday mornings – nowhere we had to be…And now we are here…but it is different.  No longer can we act as Anglicans are wont to do and all cluster towards the back – we have to distribute ourselves – carefully – minding the gaps.


If we were in the cathedral  –  there would be far fewer of us, and we would be far flung into the corners, chairs would be empty between us. Our bubbles would not bump against any other bubble, no gathering together in the undercroft, no processing.


And now I can see many many boxes, with smiling friendly faces shining out of them, but we are apart. Your bookshelves, your kitchen cupboards, your domestic backgrounds occupy more of the screen than most of you do.  There are gaps.


God of the gaps…I knew I’d heard that phrase somewhere, and it pinged into my brain like a text message somewhere around the middle of May.


I knew I’d heard it, but I’d no idea what it meant, so I turned to Google; most of you are much better theologians than me so you will be nodding sagely, but for the benefit of those who are as ignorant as me, the theology of the God of the gaps is not theology at all, but the idea that human beings use the idea of God to fill in where we don’t understand something, and as human knowledge increases, mankind no longer needs God, and faith is squeezed out.


But…look around us.  We are here both physically and virtually, with gaps between us, but we are not separated by them.  Churches may have been closed, we may not have been permitted to be together in the way we want to be, in our Christian communities, inn our groups of families and friends, but we are still here in the most important way, in the presence of God.


Separation.   One of the most painful elements of living with a pandemic during these long months has been separation, from family, from those in hospital, from loved ones in residential care.  We have not been able to be together in times of joy or in times of sorrow, but ..through it all we can hear the voice of St Paul:

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.


So what have the gaps been full of?  Taking care of our neighbours with shopping and a friendly word, doing stuff for each other, appreciating the best of what we have (remember clapping for the NHS on a Thursday night) slowing down, noticing the birdsong and the changes of the seasons.  Realising that people can make a difference where politicians are slow to – a young footballer can make sure that children do not go hungry. 


And we are living differently; maybe rethinking and realising that the lengthy commute to work is not the way we want to live – sales of smart suits have plummeted, but the comfy elasticated waist….! Consider the lilies….


And we have had time to, and it has been a joy, and a healing, and a coming back to being able to live just a little bit closer to the way that we always knew we should, but had forgotten how.


And with churches closed, we found different ways of being church, by joining together online, by watching and listening via lots of different mediums, and the sales of Bibles have jumped by 143%!

The message of hope to be found in the Gospels has been grasped, and read, and downloaded, and listened to, and taken to heart by those who have never found true nourishment from Sunday morning worship.


So maybe the gaps between us are nothing new, but it has taken a worldwide crisis to make us really see them.  And to get a glimpse of what God is doing in the spaces between us, and to begin to join in.


Faith begins when we realise we need salvation – this is what the gaps have shown us.


So…holding in our hearts the bereaved and the broken, and trusting that God will continue to show us the work we have to do, we will go on in faith and with faith.  And it will be different, and sometimes that will grieve us.  Mind the gap…bring to mind that the gaps are not an absence, a loss, or a lack of understanding  –   but are filled with the presence of God.


“So….. Jim….. you have done a lot on getting church services online…. we are thinking of trying it… can you give any advice?”

“Er……. yes…. well I’ll get back to you!”

The main thing about this venture is that it’smainly about experiment, patience and good humour…. what can go wrong will go wrong but the benefits far outweigh the potential mishaps. By far the best part of ZOOMing, live facebook and YouTube has been the love and friendship shown by those we are trying to reach who put up with the odd disasters and give much encouragement….. it’s the best of Christian church folk. 

the pictures are a bit of the collection of cables and gadgets which we tried…..

last Sunday Caspar and I were sure we had it covered with a hard wire link into the church broadband and a long cable…. it was dreadful….. what can go wrong will go wrong. Keep smiling.

So after reading that you still want to know about how to get your services on line- or at least to reach the congregation that traditional forms of church building services cannot reach......... read on.

In this little article I am going to look at the following things:

  • Zoom (and whether to zoom from home or from church)
  • Using FaceBook
  • Using YouTube
  • Equipment you might need and something about costs.

If you have a mobile phone with a 4G wi-fi connection and a reasonable amount of data on your contract- the simplest method is to use Facebook or YouTube point your camera at the church action broadcasting to those folks who can find the links. Alternatively you can record the service using a smart phone and then post it online on Facebook or YouTube…..  and once on YouTube you can send links to it by email or include it on your website much as I do every week with the hymns from Bob’s hymn of the week. 

What you do not get with either of the above is interaction. Viewers, for that is what they are, rather than congregation members, have the feeling they are looking in at what is happening without actually feeling part of the action. 

That is where ZOOM comes in! Our Morning Prayer Congregation which on most days is about a dozen faithful souls has been a joyous revelation but church buildings do not usually figure in the proceedings as it is nearly always folks logging in from home and led by a different member of the ministry team each day, usually from home.  The advantages of a comfortable chair, a hot drink, warm surroundings , no travel and no social distancing issues make it an attractive service! But….. how do you do it?

There is much written on ZOOM elsewhere so I wont go into detail but all you need is a compatible computer, laptop, tablet or phone and a ZOOM account. The host creates a link and lets everyone have access to it… you log on and worship / pray  and in our morning prayer….. laugh.  We could just read the morning prayer service but all of our team have at least a laptop so we usually have a PowerPoint or other office programme with the words we want to use to share on the screen. The advantage to that is that you can give things to do to volunteers. Mary, a regular at morning prayer had never read a lesson in Church before Lockdown but reads regularly in our ZOOM worship and when the church service resumed…. she read. Mary said without the morning prayer she would not have done it. 

Zooming a powerpoint with  video takes up a lot if computer resources so we have discovered that it is much better in places where there is fibre broadband and where equipment is not too old or too basic. (there are tablets which need operating system updates to run ZOOM…. where the manufacturers have stopped supporting them!! )



stuff you might need and how to link it up

A service from St Stephens Treleigh 

For this Service Curate Graham, and Rector Caspar were at St Stephens Treleigh.

Caspar has a little box that allows a wifi connection to his phone’s 4g signal.  For this service Grham had a linked laptop with the ZOOM window on it and there was a mobile hone linked….. picturing what else was happening in church. Meanwhile I was at home running the service PowerPoint.  About half way through we lost the signal from the church and I had to fill in…. realising that actually it would be helpful if ALL the service words were on the PowerPoint. Luckily the connection was restored in time for most of the sermon. You can see what happened on the link below which is incorrectly titled Harvest at St Andrews! 

The link on the right is a different setup for Lanner Church. Fr Peter, describes it well in his opening welcome- although he describes himself as Fr. Plank when it comes to technology!

More below!

For the Lanner service (above right) Caspar was at home operating the PowerPoint. The church was connected to the internet by a 100 metre ethernet cable that was plugged into a neighbour’s home hub.  Fr Peter is looking at a laptop with ZOOM on it and it is also being seen on a screen and projector by the congregation.  When the music plays the congregation heard something played locally. It seemed to have worked quite well….. probably because that was my week off. 

This service from St Andrews used Caspar’s hub. Connected to it were the laptop in front of the altar and my laptop which was projecting the zoom service and powerpoint to the big screen in church.  It worked pretty well that day except for my problems with the hymns….. which played well for the zoom congregation but had some problems with the speakers we were using in church. 

This last video is ZOOM from home for people at home which is the easiest thing to run if you want interaction from folks at home.  The service went down very well with those who attended. 

To sum it all up:

Although you can broadcast a live service from Church using a smartphone it is not ideal… if you saw the ordinations from the Cathedral you can see the problems with sound. #

Ideally, the church needs a fibre broadband link and a hub that equipment can plug into. Our St Andrews ordinary broadband has very slow upload speed which makes for problems if we do too much from church- but it receives ok.

There will be more added here as I think of it…. and I will put questions and answers here too.

St Martin-in-Meneage Mattins 11.10.20


My text today is taken from John 14, Chapter 1: Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. These words occur between the Last Supper and Gethsemane when Jesus is giving his final teaching to the disciples. He knows that the hour of his Passion has arrived but Peter won’t accept this. Jesus is saying ‘Let me do what is needful now. I do this for my Father in heaven and for the whole world. You don’t understand yet, Peter, but you will. It is only I that can do this work. So please, ‘Do not let your heart be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.


The period since March, when this pandemic first affected us, has been a time when many of us have felt troubled and sometimes afraid. The risks of catching Covid 19 are very different for different people, as we know. Some of us now have to live with the rather ominous label of being ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ in pandemic times and are still having to be very cautious. This in spite of the fact that others seem to have returned something like ‘normal life’, at least until the recent upsurge in infection Covid rates. Most people have been meeting with friends and family, going shopping, enjoying a meal out or a drink in the pub, or even going on holiday.


As is now being recognised, this is causing conflict and division in our communities and in wider society. And even between us Christians in the Church of England. Some people feel able to return to a gathering in church like this, whilst others think the risks are too high, especially when Covid cases are once again on the increase. It is just a fact that the risks are not the same for every person, so there is no cut and dried advice that can satisfy every member of society. This is a situation which we simply cannot completely control – which upsets all our apple carts and threatens our fantasies of human power and freedom.


Psychologically, and spiritually, this seems to affect us in three main ways:

  • I might turn inward, become worried, anxious, depressed. (GP diagnoses of depression have increased threefold during the pandemic period so far.) This can mean that I forget that God is with me. My heart is It’s hard to believe that God still loves this broken world. I have had times like this. Like when I got the dreaded letter telling me that I should ‘shield myself’ for three months; and when someone we knew died after catching the virus; or when Bob and I were trying to decide if it was safe enough for us to return to church on Sundays; and now when things look set to get worse again over the winter.
  • Another response is to turn my fears outwards and blame other people. It’s they who are responsible for spreading the virus, those university students or all those people out enjoying themselves on a Saturday night in the middle of a global pandemic. Or it’s the government’s fault for not managing our health services properly.
  • The third response is something like denial. I’m just going to carry on as though nothing was the matter; I will not let my personal freedom be restricted, just because of a bit of scaremongering. And of course Scripture tells us over and over ‘Do not be afraid’. So perhaps, if I am a real Christian, I should not be afraid of this virus. I should trust in God to protect me, even when the doctors warn that I would be very unlikely to survive a Covid attack. Even some clergy in our own church of England have highlighted the pressure they feel under to conduct services and do pastoral work, even when they are themselves ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’.


So how are we to respond to those words from John’s Gospel,

Do not let your heart be troubled’?

Well, one thing I’ve found helpful is to restrict the amount of TV and radio news I listen to! I believe we are just not cut out for this constant diet of ‘gloom and doom’.


Even so, I did catch the government’s recent Covid safety slogan ‘Space – Face – Hands’. When I first heard it, I had mixed feelings. On the one hand, I felt glad that this sensible advice was being spelt out clearly, so we can all try to take care of each other. On the other hand, it did stir up rather depressing feelings about our ‘new normal’ world and I can quite see why less vulnerable people find it hard to accept. Children have to go back to school, people have to be able to earn a living, we need to spend time with our families and friends. We can’t flourish as human beings without all these things that make life worth living .


So how could I try and draw something positive and uplifting out of this slogan ‘Space – Face – Hands’, and respond to Jesus’s message ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled’?

This is what I came up with:


First ‘space: Let’s create a special space in our lives where we can be with God each day.


It might be a physical space – a prayer corner or a special chair in our home; out in the garden or on a favourite local walk…even in the car, like a lady I know, who listens to hymns while she’s driving…

Or you can make a space by finding a special time of day when it suits you to pause with God – in the morning, having your first cuppa and thinking over the day to come; a little break in your busy day; a bit of time before sleep just to check in with Jesus…


Or there’s that space you keep in your heart, that place you can return to at odd times and remember that God loves you and wants the very best for all of us…


Next we come to ‘face: Jesus is the face of God. He shows us what God is like and how much God loves us. So you might want to have something to remind you of the face of Jesus.


This might be something visual, an image (like the postcard of the Blessing Redeemer in my prayer book) …


Maybe something tangible  can remind you – something like a pebble in your pocket, or a conker or an acorn. Julian of Norwich held a hazelnut in the palm of her hand. She said that it reminded her that ‘It lasts and ever shall because God loves it. And all things have being through the love of God.’ …


Or perhaps a favourite Gospel story can bring Jesus’s face to mind – when Mary meets the Easter gardener and then recognises the face of her risen Lord…or Peter out fishing who sees a man on the shore and just knows straightaway by the cut of him that it is Jesus…



Lastly, our ‘hands’ are important not just for Covid hygiene but are expressive of our relationship with God. Putting our hands together in prayer can really help our own hearts to be less troubled, as well as bringing comfort to the people we pray for.


So whatever happens, may we look after each other and behave wisely and considerately towards our neighbours during these difficult times.

But as well as this, let’s remember it’s not all down to us.

As Jesus says, ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.


Patti Owens        St Martin in Meneage Church      11th October 2020


Lots of folks are coming up for Safeguarding retraining and there will be lots of people who need training following APCMs -so here is where to find the training! ……..


The link to the Diocesan Safeguarding training courses.


Before doing the C2 online ZOOM course – the c0 and C1 self
study online courses need to be completed: https://safeguardingtraining.cofeportal.org

From the All Saints Highertown Newsletter:

Live-streamed  Reader Licensing 

SATURDAY OCTOBER 3rd AT 11am Debbie M , Debbie C, Matt, Sandy, and Penny

This event will be broadcast on the Diocese of Truro Facebook page 

St Euny Churchwarden Margaret was very taken by these words from a book she is currently reading:


May our legs be strong and steady

May our feet tread softly on the earth

May our stomach be small and soft

May our belly be full of fire

May our heart be large and loving

May our soul be simple and serene

May our mind be calm and clear

May our spirit be free of fear

May our mouth mint sweet words and kind kisses

May our eyes see beauty below, beauty above and beauty all around

May our ears hear words of praise and music of the cosmos

May hour hands be generous in giving and grateful in receiving

May our arms find joy in embracing

May our body be a temple of love.


I have been asked to remind you all of the Diocesan Continuing Ministerial Development (CMD) Offer. Please do have a look. We never stop learning. 

Training and CMD


The World in which we Give: Teaching and Preaching on Generosity, Tuesday 13 October, 09:30am-12:30pm

This half day session will visit the theology of giving and generosity and preaching on generosity.

Register here


Time Management, Tuesday 6 October, 09:30am-11:00am

Delivered by Sally Piper, Head of Ministry, this workshop session will offer tools, tips and practical skills for effective time management. Bring your ‘To Do’ list with you.

Register here


Franciscan Spirituality, Tuesday 20 October, 09:30am-11:30am

Franciscan spirituality has three key focuses, our relationship with God, our relationship with each other, and our relationship with the whole of creation. We will be looking at how these ideas were developed by Francis, Clare and the early Francsicans and how these ideas have found new meaning within our modern times and expression in the Anglican Church. This will all be set within the question of how do we pass on our spiritual knowledge, and within the Franciscan context of storytelling, how this makes an ever-changing and evolving spirituality. 

Register here


Billy Graham, the Cold War, and the revival of Evangelicalism in the Church of England, Tuesday 3 November 2020

Bishops Study Day, Tuesday 17 November 2020

Working in Teams, Tuesday 24 November 2020   


Churches, communities & buildings during COVID and beyond

This is an invitation to share your experience and insights in a confidential survey. The information and ideas gathered will help shape future planning and support churches across the country in caring for both congregations and wider communities in these very challenging and demanding times. It is supported by the Church of England/Historic England/Association of English Cathedrals/Historic Religious Buildings Alliance.


Click here for more information and to complete the survey.




Jonathan Rowe, Director of Ministry 

E jonathan.rowe@truro.anglican.org 

T 07517 100669 


Sally Piper, Head of Ministry 

E sally.piper@truro.anglican.org 

T 01872 274351 


Rebecca Evans, Ministry Development Officer 

E rebecca.evans@truro.anglican.org 

T 01872 274351 


Mel Pomery, Ministry Programmes Coordinator

E melanie.pomery@truro.anglican.org

T 01872 274351 


Melanie Pomery
Ministry Programmes Coordinator


The impact of the coronavirus outbreak on our lives as a church family over the past six months has been immense. Who could have thought that we would have to close our church building, or that we would resume worship in such strange circumstances? One of the things I’ve missed most about not meeting physically in church is singing hymns, and I know I’m not alone. I want to reflect for just a few moments on what it is about hymns that makes them such a special part of our communal worship.

I imagine that most of us grew up with hymns, and remember them in the deep and lasting way that we remember things learned in childhood. I can still hear my mother’s voice trilling away in the kitchen, ‘What a Friend we have in Jesus, / All our sins and griefs to bear!’ At the Salvation Army Sunday School I attended, we sang rousing hymns like ‘Stand Up! – Stand Up for Jesus’. On Sundays, metrical psalms were always part of the service, along with the great evangelical hymns.

One of the earliest hymn writers in England was Isaac Watts, at the beginning of the eighteenth century, and he realised that the power of hymns is emotional and psychological as much as intellectual. He wrote hymns, he said, to give voice to ‘our Love, our Fear, our Hope’. These words sum up beautifully why hymns are so important in our lives and worship as Christians.

In singing hymns, we express our love – for the Creator God, for our saviour Jesus Christ, for our fellow-Christians, and for our neighbours. We address through hymns our deepest fears – of suffering and death, of doubting our faith, of losing those we love. In singing hymns together, we find encouragement and hope. They strengthen our confidence that God cares about us and walks with us at every stage of life, and that a day will come when he will establish mercy and peace, truth and justice in his everlasting Kingdom.


For about the last twenty weeks I’ve been sending Mary our churchwarden a hymn to include in her weekly emails to members of the church. I write a little paragraph about my chosen hymn, give a link to a performance on YouTube, and provide the words. Watching and listening to hymns on YouTube cannot of course replace the experience of singing them together in church. But I believe that it does something to keep the hymns we love alive in our minds and hearts. It perhaps encourages us pay more attention to the words – hymns are a form of poetry, after all, and the words matter. It is striking how ecumenical many hymns are. Protestants and Roman Catholics happily sing words written by Charles Wesley as well as John Henry Newman: they unite us in a way that practically nothing else does.

I know from emails I’ve received that many people have appreciated these weekly hymns, and felt blessed by them. Sometimes a particular hymn awakens a memory of a loved one, or of a special occasion, but often people simply say how much they enjoy and feel uplifted by hearing the familiar words and music. Hymns allow us to express our collective faith, using our minds, our bodies, and our souls. I hope that when we resume full worship we will do so with a fresh sense of thankfulness for the great hymns that are such a gift to us as Christian people.

Having recovered from the stresses of the hybrid ZOOM from St Andrews, last week was back at home for a gentle ZOOM communion having abandoned St Euny as a ZOOM venue even with Bishop Hugh there! 

This Sunday is another experiment.  The Rector, (Caspar) will be with the curate (Graham) leading the service from St Stephen’s Treleigh. There will be a laptop in front of the Altar broadcasting all the spoken word, Caspar will be monitoring on another laptop which will also pick up a different view of the church and a portable loudspeaker will be attached for hymns. Meanwhile, I shall be at home with the ZOOM service, complete with hymns on a PowerPoint broadcasting to the folks at home and playing the hymns for those at home and those in church.  Or at least, that is the plan.


My desk set up for Sunday Service- weekday Morning prayer is rather simpler. I once joined in from my mobile phone on the top of Carn Brea…… I listened as I walked. The only problem was that the microphone unmuted in my pocket and all me cheery good-mornings were broadcast to the group until I realised and because it was my ZOOM account no-one could turn me off! oooops. I have not tried that again. 

The ZOOM services are worth working at and trying new things as I think they will be with us for the foreseeable future. While there are folk who cannot get to church but are able to get online there will always be a need. The future has to be breadth of provision and a move away from a narrow one service fits all diet. 


As I am always advising other folk to look after themselves  and to take a break occasionally, next week I am taking a break from all church activities and ZOOMing. (With the exception of a school governors ZZOM on Wednesday!)  The Monday Coffee and Conversation in Solomon’s Porch will continue as usual hosted by able volunteers who would love some company and good discussion- but I will be walking elsewhere 🙂 

I shall be praying on clifftops, across beaches  and along tracks! 

I love the Gospel tale this week- it reminds me so much of  my year six classroom…. “Its not Fair!”….

Colin by Allan Ahlberg

When you frown at me like that. Colin,
and wave your arm in the air,
I know just what you’re going to say:
‘Please , Sir, it isn’t fair!’

It isn’t fair
on the football field
if their team scores a goal.
It isn’t fair in a cricket match
unless you bat and bowl.

When you scowl at me that way, Colin,
and mutter and slam your chair,
I always know what’s coming next:
‘Please, Sir, it isn’t fair!’

It isn’t fair
when I give you a job.
It isn’t fair when I don’t.
If I keep you in
it isn’t fair.
If you’re told to go out, you won’t.

When heads bow low in assembly
and the whole school’s saying a prayer,
I can guess what’s on your mind, Colin:
‘Our Father… it isn’t fair!’

It wasn’t fair
in the infants.
It isn’t fair now.
It won’t be fair at the comprehensive
(for first years, anyhow).

When your life reaches its end, Colin,
Though I doubt if I’ll be there,
I can picture the words on the gravestone now.

They’ll say: IT IS NOT FAIR..

Th Workers in the Vineyard

Just like Colin in the poem…. 

Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; 

So it struck me that as ministering folk some of us can be a bit like that with our ministry…… just mull over some thoughts about how you feel about your vocation, your role and your skill, and then ask yourself, “How am I encouraging and developing the skills, vocations and capacity of others?”  They might not be able to do things as well as you yet but don’t we have a responsibility as Readers to foster the talents in others without thinking “it’s not fair!” because we feel we are not being used?  Perhaps someone would like to reply and we will post it next week. 

This is a link to Debbie’s Post on the All Saints Highertown webpage about her journey to becoming a licensed lay minister- A Reader! 

Please pray this week for all those fabulous folk who are being ordained or licensed in the the coming weeks as they prepare for their various ministries. 

A Rather Curious St Andrews View in a Zoomed Service.

Dear Colleagues and esteemed others, 

It has been another full week finalising the services for the Licensing next month, planning Post Licensing Training with Martin Adams and attempting to cope with the latest Corvid type news which, if nothing else, ensures that ZOOM services are needed to continue in one way or another.

Candidates Admitted and Licensed 2020

 3rd October in the Cathedral

v Deborah Katherine Crocker to serve in the Tamar Valley Benefice

v Matthew Terence Frost to serve in  “St Germans Group with Antony and Sheviock Benefice”.

v Penelope Jane Leach to serve in The Benefice of St Just in Roseland and St Mawes 

v Sandra Massie to serve in the Benefice of St. Keverne, St Ruan with St. Grade and Landewednack

v Deborah Anne Mitchell to serve in the All Saints Higher Town and Baldhu

10th October Zoom Service

v Roy Groves Cooper – to serve in The Benefice of the Callington Cluster

 To be Welcomed:

Christopher Harvey Clark who has PTO

Michael George Waring to serve in the Benefices of Poughill, & Kilkhampton with Morwenstow and the Parishes of Stratton and Laucells

The Cathedral Service is strictly limited to 30 souls including clergy so I hope someone will be able to video it to broadcast later. I am not planning to take up one of those vital numbers. 

At the ZOOM service those licensed in the Cathedral will repeat their promises along with Roy- of Roy’s Sunday Scribblings fame. All are welcome and the link will be sent out with the email. Should you miss it and wish to attend at 11 on 10th- just ask!

In your prayers this week please pray for Miriam and all readers who cannot currently minister in the way they would wish because of Ill-health or personal circumstance. 

Please pray for those about to be licensed and all who are preparing for those services. 


This week we had the first Post Licensing Training evening meeting so sort out the programme. Bishop Hugh dropped in at the beginning and asked everyone to introduce themselves and to say what they do when not in church, Readers, after all, have their feet both in church and in the community.  It set me thinking:

  • When I am doing stuff for school like governance – safeguarding and staff well being is that non church? I consider both tasks as being born out of Jesus command to love one another as he loves us and to love our neighbours as ourseleves. 
  • When I am walking most days between three and four miles and greeting people with a cheery ‘good morning’ and often stopping for a short conversation  am I doing something that is non-church? 

I know perfectly well what +Hugh meant….. but its the way my brain works! Anyone I meet is my neighbour, part of God’s world and worthy a smile as much as any pew-dweller.

Christ, as a light
illumine and guide me.
Christ, as a shield
overshadow me.
Christ under me;
Christ over me;
Christ beside me
on my left and my right.
This day be within and without me,
lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Be in the heart of each to whom I speak;
in the mouth of each who speaks unto me.
This day be within and without me,
lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Christ as a light;
Christ as a shield;
Christ beside me
on my left and my right.


Chaplains Blog – Stardate 13.09.2020

Jim’s further adventures in ZOOMLAND as we head ever deeper into Corvidtide.

Having had weeks at home running reasonably successful ZOOM services we headed to St Andrews Redruth this week to attempt to combine the church and ZOOM services, for which everyone I spoke to (both in the Church building and behind the computer screen) was universally  appreciative and supportive.

The best thing about the corvid-restricted season in the Redruth Team has been seeing the very best in people – Christians showing much love and compassion and desire to worship and to pray having a go at pretty much anything we have tried.  Of course there are always the odd dissenters behind the scenes like the person who filled in a recent questionnaire with contradictory  but entirely negative answers but thankfully I did not have to talk to them….. and anyway they would not be watching me or indeed read text on a computer so I am pretty safe.  

Last week I spent some hours rehearsing, testing sockets and leads and was all set for the service even with some praise from  the Amazing Malcolm, our octogenarian organist as he came into church to the sound of “Praise My Soul the King of Heaven” belting out of the church PA.

The set up was as follows:

  • Rector, Caspar’s phone as a ZOOM window pointing at the church congregation and
  • his laptop as another ZOOM window on the new lectern (which John Doble might actually have made for this very purpose from an old pew) in front of the nave altar ZOOMing the   president, the gospel reading and the sermon.
  • My laptop was attached to the large projector and screen and running the PowerPoint and YouTube videos of hymns for folks both at home and in the pews. One of the home ZOOMers was to read the epistle!

It was going to be wonderful: we had tested everything, found out how to get rid of the weird echoes and howling feedback and finding the perfect volume settings for the congregation to hum to behind their face coverings.

It was only once the service began that things went wrong. My laptop refused quite arbitrarily to reject any communication with the lead to the PA which meant that the hymn would only play through the tiny projector speaker, or the laptop speakers…… and we could not hear the reader at all. We had to resort to an emergency external speaker.  Folks at home however did get a reasonable experience even if they did have to endure the sight of me overheating and getting short of breath, patience and ideas behind my dashingly attractive lighthouse pattern mask. I nearly threw the wretched thing across the church at one point.  Thankfully, Caspar ‘forgot’ to record the first part of the service  for which I am most grateful so most of my public consternation does not appear on YouTube. 

We learned lessons and there was a much that was good. The home congregation loved being part of church and seeing folks come up for communion. They loved the personal welcome and the chat afterwards- especially when the Rector, the Church Warden and the Organist all  took time to come and talk to them.

So mightily encouraged, we decided we would try the same thing for Bishop Hugh’s visit to St Euny Church this Sunday for Mining Sunday. 



One Friday morning, a Rector a Curate and a Reader went into a church………  We discussed where to put the screen and the projector and how to tap into the P.A. for the sound and tested it all out. Phones and laptops were positioned, projectors angled and microphones tested. Brilliant!

The thought was that Caspar’s BT wireless hotspot hub thingumajig  would host a couple of laptops in church and I would operate everything else from my study at home.  So after an hour or so I went home to try out the links.

I got online.

I Zoomed

They Zoomed from St Euny

The gadgets all talked to each other

The video froze and unfroze, the sound spluttered and wobbled and the hotspot hub went on strike under the pressure of so much responsibility.  

We discussed…… this time on a stuttering ZOOM connection.  St Euny is down in a valley whereas St Andrews is high on a hill (this does not altogether accurately convey churchmanship) but probably goes some way to explaining the Wi-Fi issues.       We could not be sure enough of the reliability of the kit to risk it. Our Zoom congregation have been so wonderful that we did not want to chance leaving them in a zoom limbo at some point in the service, nor did we want a less than reasonable sound in church so we decided that for this week the church service and the Zoom service would be two separate entities. Curate Graham and I will be ZOOming as normal and Caspar will  video the church service for folks who want t catch up with it later. Or at least that is the plan…… J     

Next week back to St Andrews; Sue has given me a visor so I can escape the mask. Aren’t God’s people wonderful and worth making the effort for!              

The comfort of my study desk and a fibre optic broadband……. much easier than actually being in church with just the laptop…… but!!