What an interesting last few weeks!


After my time out following my stays in the stroke ward at Treliske Hospital I am now back story telling in a local primary school, church duties and supporting the training of the safeguarding leadership course.  

I have included the links to a couple of short videos about how the leader of the Anglican Soul Survivor Church used psychological and spiritual bullying to abuse those in his church who were volunteering to work there. They are well worth watching and give a real insight into just how abiuse need not be sexual or physical and what to look out for. As readers we are in positions of influence and I think of myself in my church role as I did as deputy headteacher – a critical friend to the head in school and the Rector in church. 

"Soul Survivor" - Spiritual / psychological abuse

Last weekend I attended the ordination service which was a delight especially as one of those being ordained had come back to faith at one of our parish churches in Redruth.  It is worrying that there are less people being ordained than there are priests who are retiring which makes the paid staffing of Parishes very tricky in some places. 

My prayers are very much with those who have been testing their vocations for ordained ministry recently  and for those places who are in transition hoping that they will be able to appoint someone suitable. 

In the meantime Sens Kernewek, local Worship leader Training and Reader Training are all very worthy initiatives attempting to plug the gaps.  In Redruth we use the Service of Holy Communion by Extension very rarely and have relied upon changing the service patterns and on the  hard work of our retired clergy and the curate. 

Personally, I would be happier with more services that were not communion based (and have to rely upon an ordained service leader) but I completely understand how hard it is for some people to change their preference.  I do not really like doing HCBE and would much rather use the opportunity to be more creative while I still have the motivation and the energy! 


A Cartoon found on Facebook.

The General Election

The last piece on this blog takes me back to the beginning of it with a focus on safeguarding and bullying.  I have never been short of expressing an opinion, hopefully in a fun and gentle way but I was a bit shocked at the strength of verbal attack from someone on Facebook when I posted a cartoon making a dig at the Reform Party’s Nigel Farage.  The comments section beneath the post quickly became a battle ground with different people joining in and the Reform supporters using phrases describing migrants as “human detritus.”  It just shows what sort of feelings lie just below the surface.  I shall be around from 10 on Zoom on Monday of anyone would like to contribute to any of the issues above! 


Having been asked the question, “how are you?” countless times since my stroke late on the 26th March and my return to the Phoenix stroke ward a fortnight later, I have gone from “I’m ok” to “oh very well thank you, miraculous really!”  At the same time metaphorically touching wood, crossing my fingers and actually offering up prayers of thanksgiving! I am back to attending meetings, training sessions and leading ZOOM services and I am back on the rota to preach from next week. So thank you very much to all who prayed, send cards and messages or asked after me… I am very grateful. I have been very very lucky….. I hesitate to use the word ‘blessed’ because it implies that friends who have been desperately unlucky with their health have not been blessed and I don’t believe that God picks and chooses and nor do I believe that everything ‘happens for a reason’. Should anyone want debate that, join us on Zoom ay 10am on a Monday morning 🙂 

My specsavers scans showed no deterioration and I await the results of my MRI scan with interest, and being able to re-apply for my driving license late in the Autumn but until then I am enjoing the novelty of my bus pass and wring out how to get to Epiphany Huse for various things.

I am looing forward to CMD training in September which I advertise here, not just because you might be interested too but in the hope of cadging a lift 🙂 : 

Thursday 19 September, 9.30am-3.30pm, Epiphany House, Truro
Led by Revd Howard Peskett

At the end of the (English) Old Testament are twelve prophetic books, commonly called “The Minor Prophets”, mainly because they are shorter in length than the “major” prophets. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is 272 words and lasted two minutes; but it is doubtful whether many people remember a word from Edward Everett’s two-hour speech which preceded it. In this workshop/retreat we will “helicopter” over these twelve books (were they ever intended as one book?), observing their main themes and reflecting on their relevance for our lives and work today. Rev Howard Peskett was Senior Hebrew Scholar of Cambridge University. He is a Cornish Bard and the Coordinator of the Cornish Bible Project. He has been a teacher in Singapore, Bristol and Rural Dean in Penwith. He has spent a lifetime encouraging believers that they can discover for themselves the meaning and wonder of the Bible as they seek to love and follow Christ.

You can download the whole CMD programme  for 2024 here 2024-CMD-Programme.pdf 


Last week I attended the session with Rev Mark James on AI in the church which was informative, fascinating and worth investigating as well as a great conversation piece.  This is worth a whole blog piece on its own but I would like some more study and conversation first! 


Chaplain’s Blog Stardate May 2024

The last six weeks has been an interesting journey (to put it mildly) beginning with a haemorrhagic stroke in the last week of March and the first of two short stays in phoenix Ward in Treliske Hospital.  The second stay was a little over a week later with a mild seizure apparently caused by the stroke!  The result was an interesting array of pills, a number of scans and tests, a sheaf of paperwork from the DVLA and instructions about surrendering my driving license and how I can re-apply in six months time. On Monday 13th I have to report for an MRI scan which means I will not be hosting Readers in conversation on ZOOM and some time after that a chat with the consultant.

In that time praying has been tricky and I have felt carried by the prayer of many others for which I am very grateful. My recovery has been relatively quick as these things go and I am back leading our house group, Morning Prayer on Zoom and seeing various folk for things like spiritual direction….. I am also back to clocking up ten thousand steps a day with the dog although I am a bit slower than before and have to stop every now and then to do some physio!

 The prayer time gets longer by the day, as does the desire to be more active and the frustration of discovering that the energy required to do things, including writing things like a blog, is limited!

Now I am not a person who thinks that ‘everything happens for a reason’ – rather, I am a person who believes in the philosophy of “stuff or s**t just happens.”  God does not want me to have a stroke- and I could probably have insisted that the doctor should have upped my blood pressure medication. What I do hold onto is that trough the tricky things we face God helps us through. That help might well teach us a lesson or two, it might give us an encouraging healing (as it has for me thus far), but for others it might not! I went for my last MRI scan several years ago – going in worried and very nervous and leaving at the end of 40 minutes of counting clicking magnets calm and spiritually refreshed- I hope the scan next week will go as smoothly!

In the meantime, although restricted to lifts and public transport, I am pretty much back to normal and looking forward to being able to contribute more as the weeks go on.

In my prayers are the patients and staff on Phoenix ward and the wonderful paramedics I met over the last month.

It is ironic that I have been writing “visit the carwash!” on nearly every to-do list through february and March, the car getting ever green with moss and road dirt only to have to wash the beast by hand in the driveway yesterday because I am not allowed to drive to the carwash. The chauffeur was garening and i did not want to disturb her! Those little inconveniences remeing me of how fortunate I have been, whether lucky or blessed and give thanks for all the prayers, good wishes, genral enquiries and especially to the folks who have filled in while I have been away from my duties.  

Reader Recruitment

Discernment of vocation is important all year round but it is high on the list of priorities at this time of year with deadlines looming for applications and tutors wondering if courses will be running.

More about Sens Kernewek further down the page!

FICM Foundations in Christian Ministry  is the starting point for many types of ministry and a great place at which to point people who are exploring, or should be exploring the possibilities of Reader ministry, ordained ministry, Pioneers, parish nurses, worship leaders and so on. The link is the title in this paragraph will take you to starting points

As Readers/ Licensed Lay ministers we are well placed to spot those folk in our churches who might need some encouragement to take another step! People often need encouragement  and someone saying, “have you thought about…… “ and “you know you have a real talent for that have you thought about…….” Gives them the nudge that sends on the next stage of their faith journey.

The Parish of Redruth has a new rector.

In Redruth, now five churches, six settings and one parish, we have a new Rector, Rev’d Becca Bell and we await her arrival with enthusiasm. I await the arrival with a sense of relied that I don’t have to collate any more parish profiles, consult any more committees of position and border any more photographs!!  The licensing is not until September so in the meantime the Ministry team is  working hard and not only keeping the show on the road but also making sure that our new priest will have some space to discern the skills and qualities in her team and to get to know the congregations and spot talent that is as yet hidden! 

Across the diocese we have many long serving Readers / LLMs who have seen many incumbents come and go…. what three pieces of advice would you give to a new incumbent? 

Sens Kernewek

Part of the preparation for the new incumbent is for our two readers (Jason and me) to enrol on the Sens Kernewek course with the aim of providing greater flexibility and capacity should it be required.  Having said that, my main motive for doing the course was so that I could talk about and answer questions about it!

For the official information and application form click here: Sens Kernewek Archives – Truro Diocese : Truro Diocesee:

Last Monday evening was the last session of what has been an uplifting course with an eclectic group of people that somewhat miraculously managed to please everyone and send them away looking forward to the reflective practice groups.

When Sens Kernewek was first recruiting I was reluctant to take part thinking that as  Reader, and an experienced one at that, that I would learn little and that it was not for me because I had no intentions of leading a particular church. Our Parish is not set up that way! Over time, however, I have spoken to people who have been in the other cohorts who were invariably positive about it and my application was put in on the grounds of wanting to learn what it was all about so that other Readers/ LLMs could decide its usefulness to them.  I also wanted to provide some extra capacity for the ministry term in case a new incumbent wanted / needed to arrange things differently.

Although there was some cross-over the reasons for taking part were as varied as the people. There were several church wardens leading services and indeed churches in the absence of a minister, someone was pioneering a night church and pondering next steps, and there were four readers all seeking training opportunities to keep themselves informed.

Whether or not folk are commissioned as local lay leaders with a ready-made situation, the course was and is relevant to all those taking part.

One of the thoughts that crossed my mind was about leadership outside of ‘church’ situations such as the ZOOM  daily morning prayer and making sure that it serves the faithful group who gather from the churches around the parish and visitors from elsewhere in the diocese. The leadership also applies to house groups and study groups which are a vital part of encouraging the exploring of vocations of all sorts.

 If you have been in any of the Sens Kernewek cohort’s let me know what you would say to someone thinking of doing. 

Annual Reader Day

Is on Saturday 13th April at St Petroc’s in Bodmin. Some fantastic things have been planned and it would be wonderful to see a good turn out this year. More details to follow.

Training and Training Opportunities. 

The readers who were licensed last October and some more experienced readers gathered at Epiphany house on Saturday for a day on creating worship with Lydia. interestingly, the only person there who was not a reader was john Ievans, the director of Lay Ministry Training.  During the day several readers commented about how nice it was to have training specifically for them. There is a day on funeral ministry to which you will all be invited, but next year there will be no Post Licensing Group so it might be a good chance for training that we can all do. But….. what would you like to explore??

Chaplains blog Stardate 02-03-24

Incumbents come and go like the tide but us Readers / Licensed Lay Ministers remain on the shore.

I got that far with the metaphor but after that my thoughts went a little astray as always… but I wonder if some readers are like King Cnut/Canute attempting helplessness to hold back the tide. Others might be wandering the tide line picking up flotsam and jetsam deciding what might be useful and what needs to be put away in a black sack for the refuse collection.

Others might have their feet up in their deck chairs, a drink in their hand or cradling their thermos of tea watching the incoming tide from a safe distance. Then there will be the ones who push the paddle board out onto the waters ready to drag casualties from the waves of change.

Can you think of some others?

The transition period between incumbents is always a cross between limbo land and the relentless string of extra things to do and as I have become more experienced in parish life, the tasks get more rather than less.  Although making sure every member of our six worship settings (five Anglican churches and a Methodist church) had the opportunity to, not only voice their opinions, but also to make sure their opinions were represented in anything published proved a large but largely satisfying and worthwhile task.  Thankfully that task is over for now as we wait out the period before the next leader is announced!

Does anyone else remember the I-Spy books which encouraged children to spot and collect sightings of anything from Aircraft to ZOOs. For the adult range, I have often thought that the I-Spy book of NHS medical equipment I have experienced might be ‘fun,’ from the aerosol nose spray to the x-ray machine… now I am wondering about the I-spy book of Priests- which are becoming an increasingly rare breed.  

I am not sure that categorisation would be simple apart from the obvious, curate, deacon, vicar, padre, archdeacon, rural dean and so on but even those are a confused jumble. Then  you might think of evangelical, charismatic, liberal Anglo-Catholic, Catholic….  Er…… traditional, experimental, heretical…… it must be totally confusing to non-church folk!

My first Rector of Redruth back in the late 1970s was Canon Harold Hosking who was formally Anglo-Catholic and for whom a nave altar would have been sacrilegious and the thought of anyone reading the Gospel other than the priest would have been equally problematic. It says much when my five-year-old daughter had to stop being boat-girl because that was the upper limit for her gender to be in the sanctuary. Girls had to leave the choir at the age of 14 back then- I am not even going to speculate or say something funny about the reasons.

Following Canon Harold’s retirement, the next rector was Fr Graeme Elmore who arrived from Newlyn in 1984 and was altogether different  in his approach but Anglo-Catholic with an evangelical flavour!  He encouraged the house group we had in our home, Solomon’s Porch,  which, over the few years that he was incumbent spawned 2 Readers, 2 Methodist local preachers, 4 priests and numerous church-wardens, sacristans and other key workers. He took us on retreats and away-days and provided experiences, from the full easter-Triduum, to informal family services.  That sort of growth and change was not altogether popular with the older generation in the church and, especially when my wife, Lez was nominated as the first female and youngest church warden. The Masonic element in the congregation made a huge attempt to block it, even nominating a chap from their lodge who they had managed to get on the electoral role.  That sort of pettiness takes its tole on rectors and Graeme sadly for us left to become a naval chaplain…. Eventually leaving the Anglican Church over the little matter of women priests which surprised me!

After Graeme came Canon Michael Simcock to soothe the troubled waters by preaching calming sermons often about the Ffestiniog railway. I was training to be a Reader when he arrived and I seemed to be on the rota entirely for Matins and Evensong and the hospital, I don’t think I ever preached in a communion service.  Canon Michael was very middle of the road but retired after three years and this heralded the arrival of the Company of Mission Priests!

The Company  (The Company of Mission Priests (CMP) is a “dispersed community” of male priests of the Anglican Communion who want to consecrate themselves wholly to the church’s mission, free from the attachments of marriage and family.)  were part of a religious order who had a “father knows best” approach, had no idea what to do with Readers, appeared to scorn home groups as something could not control and whose closed ranks tactics was personally depressing, especially when the hugely popular Christmas Eve with the Children service was wrested from my grasp with a negative impact on numbers. They were as close as one could get to Rome without actually being in the Roman Catholic Church. They were very good pastorally with old ladies but they too succumbed to the vote to allow women to be ordained and they left on block in 1992 to join the Roman Catholic Church.

Another calming force in the shape of Fr Roger Bush took over in 1993 and he remained for a decade before being appointed as dean of Truro Cathedral.  Roger managed largely to please most of the people most of the time by treading a safe and gentle middle path and his time at Redruth  is spoken of most fondly to this day.  

Fr Simon Cade took up the reins after an 18 month interregnum and was with us for ten years until the Diocese decided that he should be doing higher things, first with education and latterly as Diocesan secretary.  His Anglo-Catholic approach was both  challenging  and innovative and had a big impact on my own preaching style. I had never seen a preacher wander the aisle leaving the safety of lectern or pulpit or put such drama into services such as The Watch. The stories are many but not for this piece.

Following Fr Simon we had someone with a  wholly different approach in Caspar Bush who was from the other end of the candle but managed the tricky task, eventually, of pulling together a strong team and  succeeding in joining three parishes, 5 DCCs and 6 worship settings into one parish just in time for his successor to benefit.

Our new incumbent will break new ground and unlike the septuagenarians of the last century when i was in my 20’s and 30’s, I am looking forward to the journey, the challenges ahead and discovering God’s path for the parish and it’s new rector.

From the Darkness Came Light…

The early morning dark walks are gradually becoming lighter and the glowing Collie with his eerily glowing ball will not be seen very often until next winter. How wonderful to have a dry day, a clear sky and a few less protective layers.

This week I missed the Sens Kernewek Course with my ongoing winter cough- and lucky I did because a few days later the dreaded extra line appeared on the Covid Test which took me by surprise as it is the first time I have had it….. that I have noticed! Thankfully the vaccines have done their job for me and it has proved only an inconvenience. My son, however has not fared as well and rues the lack of a booster vaccine for the under 50s! 

Zoom, fortunately allowed me to meet with folk without risk of passing on any viruses and one of those was with a church warden in another area for whom “The Diocese” had provided no “spiritual leader” and were having some difficulties linking with other churches in their area. It seemed a bit of a revelation to him that they should consider looking within their congregation for someone to do Sens Kernewek, or Foundations in Christian Ministry or become a worship leader…  there is much provided to support and encourage, but unless folks get the message by word of mouth or reading the mass of advertising, the notion that, “The Diocese,” like some benevolent parent, must provide continues to persist.  Yes, fewer professional clergy, the move to oversight ministry and the dependence on volunteers is not ideal for maintaining the way things have been done in the last half century but it is also an opportunity to explore new avenues in building the kingdom of God.  it is amazing how many people have said to me, “but we have always had a vicar every Sunday and had communion” and pointing out that when I first trained in the late 1980s my first years were a diet of evensong and matins and not a clergy person in sight. 

Transition / Vacancy / Interregnum 

This Sunday marks the 22nd week since the Rector fled over the border to England leaving us with one or two things to do!  This week I breathed a sigh of relief having written the parish profile, consulted with many many people, re-written the parish profile (about 394 versions!), consulted about the advert and been general go between for committees and the archdeacons Office…. (thank goodness for the hard-working and ever cheery Fiona!)  the sigh of relief is because the closing date for the advert has passed, the panel chosen and prepared, the short listing done and now all that remains is to pray for the discernment process and the interviews.

 My other prayer is that God has someone in mind to appoint now so that I won’t have to go through it all again and re-advertise etc. We watch and wait till the period of great secrecy ends to find out.

Prayers and the Prayer list.


Please keep the chaplaincy team informed about Readers and their families who need prayer. This month keep those suffering dementia and those who care for them high on your list.

The Wardens Group and Reader Day

The group meets this week to raise matters of Reader Ministry. Part of the coming meeting will be planning the Reader Day in Bodmin  on Saturday 13 April 2024. Please do put it in your diary and lets see if we can get a really good level of participation. 

First a couple of reflections by the amazing peter Coster who continues to producece these thoughtful reflections every week. 

201 CV EPIPHANY01 070124

200 CV CHRISTMAS 2 311223

I could not resist reposting this meme from social media- it just about sums up how I feel about the amount of rainfall this winter- even Noah only had to put up with it for 40 days. 

A few years ago we were having Sunday lunch with the gathered children and grandchildren and the subject of Noah came up, I can’t remember the context, but it was unlikely to have been deeply theological. 

“I dont like God, he’s nasty,” said one of the kids

“but God saved Noah and his family and the animals from the flood.” one of the adults reminded them gently.

“yeah- but he killed everybody else!” was the instant riposte.

Patronise children with easy answers at your peril!  

it is well known that I keep my New Year resolutions – at least the one I made as a teenager that I would never again make a new year resolution. 

That is not to say that I never resolve something, such as not taking on too much and like the cartoon, doing exactly the opposite- but the difference is that if the resolution made on NYE falls at the first week of January, that’s it for another year whereas if you make one on other days of the year and fail at it you can always begin again the next day and have another go. (there is a sermon in there somewhere!)

The temptation, particularly in times of transition / vacancy / interregnum is to cover anything we are sked to keep the show on the road- but it should not be a the expense of our health, after all if we get ill we are of no use to anybody!

Chaplain’s Blog Christmas 2023

I can’t quite believe that 2023 is almost over and 2024 looms ahead full of the promise of……  well uncertainty, turmoil, change and opportunity. How we deal with hose things will depend on our attitude and outlook whether they are personal, church or wider-afield.  

Locally, like many of you, we in Redruth will be hoping to appoint and welcome a new Rector and in the Diocese we have the search  for a Bishop in the knowledge that whoever is chosen they will not be the right choice for everyone.

In the National Church the discussions around Living in Love and Faith and the ceremonies /prayers used for same sex unions will rumble on and the various pressure groups from GAFCON to the Single Parish movement will be fighting for their causes while the rest of us will be desperately trying to just keep our churches going in times of ever decreasing person-power. Whatever the views and I am avoiding writing about my own here, my hope is that love will be the key factor in all discussions rather than dogma and legality. my further hope is that all engaging in discussions will get to know people who disagree with them and try to see things form their point of view. tough I know, but it is the only way that we can be true disciples… “love one another as I have loved you.” 

With the increasing age and decreasing energies of our retired priests, and the growing need for oversight ministers to manage ever larger groups of churches the desire or perceived need for weekly communion services is problematic. But how do you change the mind-set of folks who believe that a diet of weekly communion services has been something that has happened for ever, or at least as long as they can remember.  I am not at all sure that Communion by Extension is the answer!

So maybe the church, in its widest sense will have to think more creatively. Here are some thoughts in no particular order of importance and not necessarily my view on things!

    • Struggle on regardless
    • Allow for communion by extension by wider groups of folk with some sort of training…. Eg church wardens and worship leaders.
    • Change the designation of readers to permanent deacons….
    • Make readers who go through a local discernment and training process local ordained ministers who can officiate at communion.
    • An edict across the board that says one communion service a month is to be the standard – and other services will be made up of traditional Morning or evening prayer, evensong and matins or worship in Fresh Expressions.
    • Close a few more churches!
    • Join more congregations with the Methodist church

I am sure you can think of more…… which do you think have mileage and which would you throw out without a second thought?

In Redruth, our ministry team is pretty realistic about what can and cant be done and we do not expect a miracle worker for our new rector- we will be supporting them rather than looking for them to rescue us!  

Back to Christmas. Christmas Eve With the Children is the manic festive offering at St Andrews – this year led by two young people in year 7 and 8 with support from willing adults! I only hope that social media advertising and tradition bring folks to it because the resources to do the normal leaflet drop were poor. The congregation has suffered a number of illnesses and worse that reduced our volunteer capacity- something, I suspect, is true of most places.  But we are people of hope, people of faith and people who live the joy of Christ each day.

So I wish you a merry Christmas with as much peace as you need and enough energy to send you into 2024 with hope and joy. I leave you with a little something to make you think…..

A possibly unsettling / thought-provoking / challenging (depending on your own belief) poem by Kaitlin Hardy Shetler from her book “I hope they sing Christmas carols in hell”

i hope they sing christmas carols in hell: holiday poetry for heretics: Amazon.co.uk: Shetler, Kaitlin Hardy: 9798867523466: Books

sometimes i wonder

if mary breastfed jesus

if she cried out when he bit her

or if she sobbed when he would not latch

and sometimes i wonder

if this is all too vulgar

to ask in a church

full of men

without milk stains on their shirts

or coconut oil on their breasts

preaching from pulpits off limits to the mother of god

but then i think of feeding jesus

birthing jesus

the expulsion of blood

and smell of sweat

the salt of a mother’s tears

onto the soft head of the salt of the earth

feeling lonely

and tired





and i think

if the vulgarity of birth is not

honestly preached

by men who carry power but not burden

who carry privilege but not labour

who carry authority but not submission

then it should not be preached at all

because the real scandal of the birth of god

lies in the cracked nipples of a

14 year old

and not in the sermons of ministers

who say women

are too delicate

to lead


A month had passed since the last blog piece and what a busy month it has been! In amongst the normal call of a few funerals and sermons to write there has been the pressure of all things Transition (interregnum/ vacancy) and the deep relief at all the key players agreeing that the profile and the advert are fit for purpose.  ((if it interests you – they will be published at … Vacancies- Rector – The Benefice of Redruth with Lanner & Treleigh (redruthchurch.org.uk) ))  I think I succeeded in consulting so much that it battered people into a state where they were happy not to be consulted any more!

I have also had the great joy of doing a couple of days of chaplaincy for the Foundations in Christian Ministry Course and for the First Post Licensing training day for the new  Readers.  The two things have a connection in that the FICM course is a must for all potential Readers / Licensed Lay ministers and is so well put together that as Readers we should be looking around for people who might just benefit from it and then pointing them in the direction of Sally Piper to begin the discernment process.  https://trurodiocese.org.uk/resources/ministry/foundations/

Four Readers (including me!) have been taking part in the latest cohort of Sens Kernewek ((Sens Kernewek Archives – Truro Diocese : Truro Diocese  ))exploring aspects of Local Lay Leadership. I have found the sessions to be interesting, occasionally inspiring and always valued for fellowship. This week we were asked to write a litany working in pairs. I was working with Alice who is doing some amazing work with Night Church as well as working with the homeless at st Mary’s in Penzance so our litany reflects the recent issues there with the vandalism of the tents and few possessions of the homeless folk being helped by the church. It is published in the next box! If I were to add an illustration it might be the cartoon in the Guardian today. 



A Litany for Sens Kernewek

Alice and Jim


Call:                       For those who are chained by addiction

Response:           This is not a lifestyle choice.

Call:                       For those who live and tents and doorways

Response:           This is not a lifestyle choice.

Call:                       For those who struggle with mental illness

Response:           This is not their choice.

Call:                       For those who are stigmatised for using foodbanks and warm spaces

Response:           This is not a lifestyle choice.

Call:                       For those who occupy the family pew and deny change & growth for others

Response:           Is this a lifestyle choice?

Call:                       For those who hunger and thirst to know God

Response:           Life is the choice!



If I were to add an illustration it might be the cartoon in the Guardian today. 


Sermon for Reader Service, 30-09-2023
Rebecca Greenough – LLM
I had to come into Truro early today, not just to make sure I was ready for the service, but to go to
the market to buy these. They are cherries, one of my favourite fruit. And I discovered they were
also my daughter’s favourite fruit when I first gave her some in the summer just before she was
The only problem was that she also liked the feel of the stones in her mouth and didn’t want to give
then up. Clearly, they were a choking hazard so we came to an agreement that I wouldn’t give her
another cherry until she had given me the stone from the previous one.
We hit a problem however when we came to the last one. Obviously, she had no reason to give up
the last stone, so she naturally swallowed it. Despite her young age her reasoning and logic were
well and truly established. We are not born as empty vessels. We are born with a sense of self, with
personality. Probably the most important thing to achieve in a child’s first years is to get to know
who they are and not impose on them who we think they should be.

But God has none of those problems. He knows us from the moment we are formed, as David says
in Psalm 139
13 For you, God, created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

God knows us perfectly, long before we are born, equally when we are ten, twenty or a hundred.
And his love for us is unconditional.

I am not saying that we remain the same throughout our lives, ‘we change with changing seasons’
but God doesn’t. He is a constant. And it is in this relationship with God, that we grow.
And so, with that in mind we find ourselves here, Readers, Licenced lay Ministers. Following a call
that has always been part of God’s plan for us. One which we may have been aware of for decades
or something that has come to light much more recently. I admit it came as a shock to me, but
when God calls, he calls! And he doesn’t take no for an answer.

Part of our training as Readers is through formation, the bringing together of our disparate parts, to
become one whole. Through this process we come to understand ourselves better. And as the 14th
C English mystic, Walter Hilton, explained – if we want to know God, look first to ourselves, because
we are all made in His image. And the better we understand ourselves, the better we come to know
God. Vital, as we train to be Readers and vital if we are to continue to grow as Christians.
But formation is only one part of our calling. We are all individuals and bring an array of qualities to
the Church. Some of us are teachers, preachers, evangelists, pioneers. Some are called to be there
for the housebound or bereaved. And all of us are called to be disciples and witnesses, the face,
voice and hands of Christ in the world.

As teachers, we are encouraged to help develop our students by giving guidance on areas that they
can improve on but to counter this by identifying what they are doing well. But, oh boy, the real
world seldom does that to us. The reality is closer to what we heard in our first reading. One long
list of do nots. One must search for the positive amongst the rough ground we often find ourselves
in. But sometimes in order to grow, we must first acknowledge and overcome the ‘do nots’.
If we are to grow God’s Kingdom on Earth we have to climb through the metaphoric jungle of
weeds that surround us, only then can we discern what God wants us to do and what he wants us
to be. This takes faith, which is itself a gift to us from our redemptive God.

As the Sower, in our Gospel reading, broadcasts his seeds widely it is inevitable that some seed will
fall on unfruitful ground. It is inevitable that some will fall on good earth, only to be choked by
weeds. But some will fall on good, rich and fruitful ground in which the seeds will flourish.
As disciples we cannot know which soil will be the most fertile and productive. This is why we have
to broadcast our seed as far as we are able. What may at first glance appear to be the best ground
may actually be shallow and barren. And equally what does not look very promising may be exactly
where God is looking to plant his seeds of love, redemption, and eternal life.
When things feel insurmountable, we need courage and faith as we go forward. God has his own
plans for us and by his grace we are here, now, responding to his call. Known, and enveloped in his

­­188                 Thought for the Day – Trinity XVIII

                                                               By Didymus


Prov. ch.2, vv1-11

1 John ch.2, vv1-17

Gospel: Mark ch.10, vv2-16.

Well, we have some interesting and thought provoking readings this week.  My old friend the Book of Proverbs starts magnificently with a lecture of wisdom, the love of God and the respect for his wishes.  Proverbs has wisdom running through its very spine.  John’s letter dwells on the sanctity of marriage, which will not go down well among those with problems of a sexual nature.  Mark speaks of the same topic.

God made us as we are, and loves us as his own.  Yet the emerging problems with gender and matrimony lead us away from the Biblical teaching.  Quite how the churches can deal with this problem is difficult to say.   I do not feel that Jesus would have withheld his love from a same-sex union.  I hope that however the church varies the procedures to accommodate the needs of faithful people, God in his loving mercy will forgive what might be seen as sinful by some.

On Friday we remember a man who, if the CofE had recognised sainthood, would surely have been canonised.  William Tyndale, priest, translator and martyr.  Tyndale was one of the people who realised that there was something completely wrong with the church.  His objective and that of his friends (paraphrased) was to place in each church a translation of Holy Scripture which would enable the man (or woman) in the pew to hear and read the words of God.   He once rebuked a senior priest – “I defy the Pope and all his laws; and if God spares my life, ere many years, I will cause the boy that driveth the plow to know more of the Scriptures than thou dost!”

In the 16th century, England was a member of the RC church.  The services were in Latin, and only the priests were, I believe, communicated.  Thus one might say, the tradition of taking the congregation for granted became an integral part of church life.  Worse still the church charged for indulgences, such as absolution, baptism, and so on.  The church used a derivative of the Vulgate, the Latin version of the Codex Vaticanus Bible, dating back to the 4th century produced mainly by Jerome.  The copies in use were imperfect, and even RC theologians were worried about the errors, and still more about the degree of understanding by the parish priests.

The first to study the earliest documents was a philosopher, John Wycliffe, in the late 14th century.  He produced English translations for his students.  Others followed his work both here and on the Continent.  The discovery of people translating Latin into English caused a furious reaction in the RC church, and those who were caught were denounced as heretics and executed.   This struck at the power of the church to continue soaking congregations for indulgencies, and had to be stamped out.

A number of prominent scholars were at work, but it was Tyndale, an exceptionally learned and faithful man from Gloucestershire, who led the translation of much of the Bible into English.  He excelled at Oxford and was made a priest, moving to Cambridge as an instructor.  The fury of the RC church was such that in 1524 he fled to Belgium to continue his work.  Curiously, his predecessor at Cambridge was a Dutchman, Erasmus, a brilliant RC priest, who was concerned at the errors and poor understanding by the RC church priesthood.

The invention of the printing press in 1436 by Johannes Gutenberg had flourished, and by the 1520s, Tyndale and others could have their translations printed by Merten de Keyser and circulated in England.  A desperate church bought up copies for burning, which simply financed further copies.  People in Europe of the same mind used the same methods to spread their words.  Copies had actually reached King Henry VIII

In 1536, two years after the CofE was formed, agents of the RC church located Tyndale, arrested him and executed him by strangling and burning at the stake.  His dying words were “Lord! Open the King of England’s eyes.”  Within three years Henry had ordered that each church would have a Bible in English and someone to read it.

Tyndale’s work had precipitated an avalanche, and it was taken up by Myles Coverdale, Bishop of Exeter, and Thomas Rogers, who produced the first English Bible in 1535.  During the reign of Queen Mary, work continued abroad.  The Geneva Bible, comprising 90% of Tyndale’s work, was produced in 1560, now with numbered verses.  By 1582 the RC church accepted that the day had been lost, and commissioned an English translation.  The Geneva Bible went to America with the Pilgrim Fathers, and was accepted by the Puritans later on.

In 1611 the Authorised Version was approved by King James, and became known as the King James Version.  It is a translation dearly loved by so many, who were brought to Christian faith by its rolling Shakespearean passages, many of which have passed into our language.   Approximately 80% comes from Tyndale’s hand

I am sorry for those who regard the KJV with anathema, for they lose so much.   The English language is beautiful and capable of expressing emotion, wonder, visions and even spirituality as well as much else in the day.  Read it, several times if necessary, and think about it, rather like a glass of whisky, port or wine.  (Teetotallers? – Ed).  Think what the original writers were trying to say.

I am tempted to say that if it doesn’t strike any chords in you, give up and go back to the Mail or the Sun.  (Naughty – Ed)

I remember being taken to task by a very dear friend because there was no KJV in church.  OK, I’ll get one was my reply.  I spoke to the Rural Dean, there being an interregnum (You’ll get burnt as well my lad!  Interregnum – we only have transitions now.  People are too dense to understand Latin – Ed). 

The RD said “What on earth do you want that for?  Nobody uses that now.  I’ve no idea where you would get one.” 

I gave up, disgusted.

I should add that the deeds of the RC church centuries ago, referred to above, bear no relationship to our sister church today.  In the past it was our church as well, and since 1534 our record as the CofE has not been perfect.

The illustrations are of Tyndale, Wycliffe and Coverdale.  In our prayers let us remember those who gave everything, so that we may read of the life-giving words of God.


well that was an interesting week…  someone for Spiritual Direction on Monday- thankfully they were very cheerful and reasonably happy with how things were going! Tuesday morning is our normal Ministry Team meeting here in Redruth which seems doubly important in this time of transition when looking after our curate and each other as the work-load increases.  I also had a Wardens Group meeting which discussed amongst other things the final details for the service on Saturday so I crept off into the Curate’s study and logged into ZOOM for an hour before rejoining the original meeting. Thankfully there were still some biscuits! In the afternoon I met with one of our ‘retired clergy’ to plan the informal harvest service for two churches- but that will keep for the moment- but that is what the picture is for. 

Wednesday and Thursday were two full one days with a lovely group of people who were inspiring and engaging – but it made me think so hard that my brain was exhausted and I need my Friday morning to catch up on the emails for the week, safeguarding requests and so on.  Saturday of course was the Readers service and what a joy that was!

The new precentor Sue Wallace brough a breath of fresh air – almost flying in to the canon’s vestry where I was chatting to the brand new Readers about to be licenced. She managed to smile through most of the organisation over the next couple of hours and I made a point of thanking her afterwards not just for me but for the readers as a body. 


who's that old bloke in the blue scarf?
Single use plastic harvest

Having had such a busy week I had little time to prepare anything particularly new for  the two harvest services this morning so I wet for my trusty harvest assembly kit of some paper plates and 21 or so plastic cups.  its an all action  give the cups out to various groups around the church and see how the worlds resources are shared… and then linking that with the gospel about the rich man and building barns…. 

They all seemed to love the idea and the activity and even the sermon…. but Redruth Town has ‘banned single use plastic’ and we have a Creation Care crusader who I knew would take me to task. It cut no ice that I said that if I replaced the cups with others I would have to throw these away and that would contribute to the plastic waste.  The discussion was curtailed by having to go off to harvest number two…. but it made me ponder about the things that keep us from God’s view of things. 

Jason, our assisting minister took a couple of photographs during rehearsals beforehand which he posted on social media. I peered at the blue scarved figure deep in conversation with Canon Paul and Bishop Hugh and mused about how old he looked….  then I realised it was me. 

More About the Reader Celebration

It was wonderful to catch up with folk I had not seen for some time and to hear about answered prayers. 

It was also wonderful to see Readers who I had known since they began training preaching, leading the prayers and reading- apart from Deryck that is who after 57 years of Reader Ministry is hanging up his scarf. How fabulous to hear him read the gospel as a last part of that ministry. 

More about the service when I get the official photographs. 

Last Monday I went to the introductory session of Sens Kernewek, The Saints Way, course which laid out the plan for the next 14 sessions and the commissioning of some local leaders.

I don’t really see myself as leading any one church but I do see myself as a key player in our church ministry team  as well as part of the leadership team for the Readers in the guise of the Warden’s Group and so on. 

So why Sens Kernewek?

Firstly, by the end of the course I want to be able to speak about it with first hand knowledge.

Secondly, it is important o get outsssde one’s normal pattern and speak to people in other situations. 

Third some personal challenge especially in focussing my reflections. It is all too easy to be so embedded in Benefice life that we do not see the bigger picture. The diocese for example becomes “them” and or own patch becomes “us”  and spiritual / theological manure rains down from on high. Now if we are happy being parochial we could go on with that metaphor and suggest that the gifts from above can be seen as just so much dung or it can be seen as fertilizer to help growth.

I would rather everyone saw themselves as ‘The Diocese’ we are all in this together. hmmmmmmmm …… a thought……..

One of the challenges set for Sens Kernewek is to read a book of the Bible we had not read for a while- or indeed a book we had never read. My mind went immediately to the book of Amos which I did read many moons ago.  The example of Amos the Prophet watching the world go by while tending his figs or whatever fruit it was appealed to me greatly.

In the circular from the Center for Action and Contemplation today, Richard Rohr writes about prophets as inside outsle people and comments that ithe longer we are in an organisation the harder it is to be critical of it……. email.cac.org/t/d-e-vtittn-tlkrdthytr-f/  but it is better to click the link and read it for yourself. 

Sens Kernwek is certainly already accomplishing my hope of challenging me to think!