Next week all the local children will return to school for the new term and a new set of rules and regulations to keep them and the staff as safe as possible in these times of pandemic.  My Granddaughter, Ellie, is amongst the children who are transferring from primary school to secondary school – from being big fish in small ponds to very small fish indeed. It had me thinking about my own experience of arriving at Harborne Hill School in Birmingham.   My prayers this week are for all those 11 year olds! 

Times were rather different of course and it seemed sanctioned ritual humiliation of new children was the order of the day rather than the taster days and close consultations of today. So there follows some of my recollections of secondary school leaving out the clips round the ear from the rugby playing history teacher, the dumping in the stinging nettles on the way home and the cunning ways I developed to stay out of ham’s way…. 

At the age of eleven, in new green blazer (all other years wore black blazers) and shorts (compulsory for first years so the older ones knew who to humiliate) I set off for Harborne Hill School –the secondary modern with the best reputation in the area. The head was Daisy Hill, a remarkable lady who knew everyone’s name by magic and had secret powers that would make bullies weep and the cock-sure tremble. She was also very caring; when I had a bout of asthma and was unwell at school she took me home in her own car because Dad was away and couldn’t collect me.


The deputy head was Miss Bonham, a strangely carved figure-head of a woman with a wedge shaped bosom that could have provided a safe platform for a three course meal were she to be leaning backwards against a wall. Her mouth was a short, thin, deep red smear. Her tiny lips protruded slightly in amongst the flesh of her face. Her tiny eyes stared out from beneath furrowed brows with an extra-sensory detection of wrong-doing. She was formidable. When her huge frame began to pick up sped towards the latest student crime her flat back brogues would clomp the corridors with increasing pace as her muscular calves as thick as footballers thighs trundled her huge frame onwards. Crowds of children would part in her wake, corridors would clear, fights break up as if by magic and heads would be held still. Some were bowed in supplication, or pleading, some held high with pride or daring, some pretended that nothing was untoward, but Miss Bonham knew. With deadly accuracy, names were spat across the room and children summoned to meet their doom. She taught geography.

I hated all school but I particularly hated secondary school. I hated the uniform, I hated the bullies, I hated the playtimes and I hated school dinners. I hated the journey to school and the journey home but there were a few redeeming features such as Miss Mole my form tutor who spotted my passion for the stage and got me involved in drama and dance productions. Amazingly for someone who claims two left feet I danced the part of “The Firebird” in the first year adaptation! In later years I played the Genie of the Lamp in Aladdin in the year we all had our TB jabs which we were supposed to not get wet. My top half was stained brown each night (no thoughts about racial stereotyping in those days), and each night I had to shower TB jab or no TB jab… as a result the spot is still visible. My biggest role, Willy in “Hobson’s Choice” was directed by Mr Harrison (who later signed my autograph book as ‘George, not the Beatle, Harrison’) and finally I got some “cred” and some confidence.   In the singing o “o Jesus I have promised” in assembly    the boys would chorus “My hope to follow Julie is in Thy strength alone,”  Julie was unattainable, mature beyond her years and had the sort of smile that withered the boys in the class- they just were not old enough, mature enough or handsome enough for Julie.  She and I were cast opposite one another in Hobson’s choice which had to finish with a kiss, not a peck on the cheek job but a bend over backwards, full on the lips snog. We rehearsed, lips brushing the air, never believing  that we would actually have to touch, let alone kiss. The dress rehearsal arrived and George (not the Beatle) Harrison said it was time we did the kiss properly. I was beside myself with embarrassment- not only was it a kiss, not just in public but it was with Julie the femme fatale of the fourth form but as the show must go on… I went for it.

 I am sure the experience was a formative one. I remember little about the kiss or even the performance except for the next day. First and second years stopping me in the corridor demanding to know “Did yer really kiss ‘er”?” and “what was it like?” I just grinned and glided on to the next lesson several inches above the floor and safe in the knowledge that I had indeed kissed Julie and now that the spell was broken I was free to follow in the steps of someone else!

 There were some other people of note at Harborne Hill who stick out in the mind for one reason or another such as Geoffrey Malkin who had ribs like a xylophone and could suck his stomach in so far you could almost see his backbone. He also had a huge dent in his chest and shoulder blades that he could make stand out at right angles to his back. His Brilcream plastered blonde hair and pristine brief case should have made him a bigger target than me but maybe he was not so opinionated!

 I soon learned that joining clubs and societies in school was a good way to keep warm and hide from life in the playgrounds so with the arrival of my first guitar I convinced the music teacher that my ‘group’ (no bands then) should practice in the music rooms to which she surprisingly agreed and gave us a pass. The only music I remember from her lesson was a study of Shubert’s “Trout” and singing a song to it.  When she left we are afraid that the group, or rather the pass would carry on but I was far from disappointed. The new man was Mr Morely who decided that my ideas should be widened if I was going to play guitar and over the next couple of years he landed me countless records of legends such as Leadbelly and Fats Waller. I have never been an exceptionally good musician but the fact that I carried on playing and developed such eclectic tastes was largely down to him.

 Mr Morton was the tall, angular, fiery Religious Education Teacher with a slight stoop and a goitre on the back of his neck which used the throb when he was angry, which seemed to be quite often. The class would provoke him mercilessly in later years and one day after I left I was told that he cracked and stormed out of the school never to return.  

From all these folk I learned much, not always what they intended, but I learned and they also inspired me to be a teacher – in order that at least some children should not hate school as much as me 🙂  Good luck to all the new year 7s we are praying for you .

My form c 1964 –I am in the second row on the far right. Centre is Miss Anne Mole, Geoffrey Malkin, sadly is not in the picture


Last Blog until September!

Having just seen  £143.88 disappear from my bank account for the ZOOM subscription for the next 12 months I am hoping I shall not need it quite so much but it has been useful for Morning Prayer, Spiritual direction, chaplaincy meetings and readers in training … so it has shown its value…. I am sure there will be things that will never leave the online forum now that we have it. 

We had the Wardens Group this week, on Zoom, where we looked at the report and recommendations for the future of Reader Ministry among other things and it is pleasing that there is a plan of action which has apportioned various sections to the people who can do something about them.  I am still hopeful that I shall retain my Reader license in October 2022 and not have to seek permission to officiate after I hit the spurious target of 70 in February! We shall see!

I have had some interesting conversations about Living in Love and Faith with Readers in the last few weeks, although nobody else has come forward wanting to do the course. Bishop Hugh tells me that many parishes are due to begin face to face courses in the Autumn and that the time period has been extended.  I have a feeling that because the issues do not affect some people personally, that they don’t see the need to do the course. It is a bit like saying, “well I know I am not racist, therefore I have no need of doing an equalities course.”      So one last plea….. please, as Licensed Lay Ministers (or those who have permission to officiate) please do register with the Church of England Living in Love and Faith site and at least watch the story videos even if you don’t look at the course material. Personally, I think as Ministers in Ministry teams we should be leading the way and  enabling the discussions….  

I am having a break from doing Morning Prayer each morning on ZOOM, although the ZOOM prayer room will be open for folks to drop in. here are a couple of useful links for materials to lead morning prayer online:

Morning Prayer (Contemporary) on Saturday 31 July 2021 | The Church of England

Morning Prayer – Northumbria Community

If you have any other suitable sites please let me know. 

Next Saturday Morning  7th August I shall break my ZOOM fast leading the Post Licensing Group in some sessions about Worship which we will begin at 9:00 on the Morning Prayer Link….. with an order for Morning Prayer, unsurprisingly. Others are welcome to join us. Then we are delving into Holy Communion by Extension and looking carefully at the the materials sent out by Bishop Philip. I am taking my first HCBE service at Treleigh tomorrow which should be interesting! 

Back in September – possibly with a revamped and updated website. 

Prayers and blessings


From a book called “Fearfully and Wonderfully Weird!” – it made me laugh. 

Fearfully and Wonderfully Weird: Peterson, Doug, Tutte, H.Winfield: 9780310287315: Books


SALTS of The Earth  (Matthew 5:13) 

The first part of this week the tide was out far enough to exercise the hound at Portreath. There are usually very few people about just after dawn but the holiday season has certainly had an impact if only in the amount of litter left lying about from the barbecues and beach parties from the night before. and sometimes the stray revellers themselves sleeping it off at the top of the beach.  This week I met with a couple from Barnsley, down for a two week stay with their grandchildren. They were on honeymoon, having married at Truro registry office. In the course of a 15 minute chat during which the hound got bored and went down to investigate the flat sea I discovered that he was an ex-coal miner and heard of various exploits and that she had been litter-picking, because that was ‘what she did at home’. Later in the week we came across her again with a full bin liner!  What a community minded lady! A true salt of the earth.

On Thursday I did a funeral visit to the friendly and welcoming family of a chap who had worked in South Crofty Tin mine and various other places in the local area. A man of a thousand stories the vast majority of which are too rude to tell. He had been brought up in a strict Plymouth Brethren family, his sister becoming a Methodist and him rejecting religion.  This was especially when he was told in no uncertain terms that he was not good enough to attend a funeral function at a local church.. When I asked what the children had inherited character-wise from their dad the reply was, “oh… swearing (laughter) and tattoos and straight talking….. ‘  The more I sat and listened the more I thought that if one wanted to find Jesus, he would more than likely be sitting with this chap and his family or joining the lady on Portreath Beach to pick litter at dawn.

It is a great privilege to be able to listen to people’s stories to congratulate them on their weddings and to console them at their family funerals….  what a joy it is to be a Reader. 



Following the email from +Philp this week with materials for the Service of Holy Communion by Extension  – I met with our Rector, Caspar on Thursday afternoon for a discussion about and exploration of the materials, the issues and the practicalities around making sure that we could do it justice. 

I note that there is a page on the diocesan website ; Public Worship with Communion by Extension – Truro Diocese : Truro Diocese  unfortunately at the time of writing this there was nothing in it apart from the title.  However here is a link to the excellent PILGRIM course on the Eucharist. The Eucharist (Book 6) ( 

If all goes to plan I should be doing my first Holy Communion by Extension Sunday Service at St Stephen’s Treleigh in coming weeks if their PCC decides they want me to do it…..  I will be interested to see, More on these services as the year unfolds.  

Whatever the outcome of CBE and whether or not we build these services into our rotas as part of the rich tapestry of ministry in Redruth the opportunity to sit and talk at depth about things at the heart of our faith and practice are to be treasured.  

The latest from Reader John Wallis – se more of his work here: John Wallis’ – Illustrated Poetry Gallery – Chaplain to Readers in the Diocese of Truro ( or follow him on Facebook for the regular updates. 

Happy Golden Wedding Anniversary t Anne and Andrew Hicks for Wednesday 14th!

I have been leading a ZOOM version of the Living in Love and Faith Course which is something of a curate’s egg in that some things are very good and others less than efficacious.  The videos which explore the experiences and lives of Christians in different circumstances are by far the best part of the course  and have opened up the greatest amount of discussion and conversation.  The young, but very worthy presenters have had a number of reactions from the group including being rather patronizing, like play school presenters, reminiscent of Chris and Poy and speaking as if the official view of the established church is what “we believe” which, as the group has progressed is inaccurate at best.

The thing that has struck me most is the pain that many LGBTQ+ Christians go through in their journeys and specifically the pain caused by attitudes engendered by specific theology or doctrine.

My personal take on this from my lofty and somewhat privileged  demographic as an AMHCB (Ageing Middle-class, Heterosexual, Christian, Bloke) is that all our attitudes and opinions should stem from the very simple premise that it is about being good disciples and following Jesus’ command that we should love one another as he loved us. Us  AMHCB’s are pretty insulated from the difficulties many others face in their journeys so I am only too aware of the way in which pieces like this can sound patronising! Listening, Talking, discussing and learning are important here but more than anything else we should be  seeking to listen to people’s stories so that we may understand their situations and have some empathy for their pain. (an that also goes for the issues faced by women, especially women in ministry.) 

Reader / Licensed Lay Minister Colleagues I do urge you to take part in this, to register and to look at the stories no matter what your theological stance on this.


A couple of weeks ago I volunteered to be on the Church of England Ministry Mentor Directory and signed up to do the training which was very interesting and although I learned nothing new it did affirm that which I did know and have been practicing.

During the course I had a conversation with Keiren Bohan who is the coordinator of the Open-Table Network and is a Living in Love and Faith Chaplain and part of the National Team. His organisation seeks to support LGBTQ+ Christians though a network of Churches and it might be helpful to know the links in case you need to pass them on pastorally to help someone….. or indeed if it provokes you to have some more practical response.

The Open-Table Network’s response to LLF is worth Reading – here…. Open Table Network trustees respond to Church Of England’s Living In Love & Faith project — Open Table Network

I have just purchased a book that poses the question “Is it possible to hold a positive view of same-sex relationships while being a biblically rooted evangelical?” 

 Jayne Ozanne ed. anthology

with contributions from a wide variety of people including several Bishops,

In this week’s Church Times: “Open Table: LGBT Christians ‘need more support’ LGBT Christians have been adversely affected by national lockdowns, be – cause they have lacked access to in-person emotional and spiritual support, a new report from the Open Table Network (OTN) suggests. OTN became a charity in March; it currently supports 18 LGBT church communities. “These are all people who have experienced prejudice and exclusion at home, in the workplace, local community, but especially in faith communities,” its report, prepared by Civil Society Consulting, explains. It recommends increasing OTN communities over the next three to five years and improving the running of existing groups to better “welcome, affirm and empower” LBGT Christians. This should be done by focusing on well-being, reduced social isolation, safe spaces, faith, and volunteering, it says”

You might also be interested in this independent report into the well-being of LGBTQ+ Christians and the need for Support OTN case for support June 2021 web 

There is a huge range of opinion and interpretation of theology by Readers across the Diocese  and the issues  can be both deeply personal and faith testing. That testing applying not just to LGBTQ+ Christians who are called to worship as part of a faith community or are called to ordination or Reader ministry but to those who feel that LGBTQ+ is profoundly challenging to their own take on theology and ‘Christian behaviour’….. I offer no answers, merely the suggestion that we should all engage in the conversation, listen to the stories and challenge our own views where appropriate.

If your parish/ benefice/ cluster is not engaging in the Living in Love and Faith Course but you would like to do a ZOOM version with other Readers – perhaps on a Wednesday evening I am happy to organise that.

Deacon’s marriage to divorcee halts her priesting ( And for Christians who are divorced there is also a good deal of pain and problem . See this week’s Church Times.


The Reader Service October 9th 2021

We are hopeful of, and in may ways counting on a service in Truro Cathedral this year which I would like to think will be streamed on the Internet as well for those who cannot join us there. 

The preparations begin shortly and Reader Claire Saltzman is coordinating the preparations. The Warden’s Committee chaired by Bishop Hugh meets on the 27th of this month  where possible preacher, readers etc. will be discussed.  In the last few years those who have been licensed for the first time have been asked to assist with Chalices- I wonder if we will be using them by then!

If you are feeling called to preach, lead the intercessions, deacon or read a lesson and would like your name mentioned please do let me know.  When I preached at the service I was asked to choose my own readings and  allowed about eleven minutes.  If you know another Reader whose preaching is outstanding but might not put themselves forward  please do let me know. 

I did like the hymns suggested by the group about to be licensed but sadly these were vetoed and we were told that we would have the previous year’s hymns.

If you have any thoughts about the service that you would like the organising group or the Warden’s committee to consider please do email me and I will make sure your views are represented. 

Of Communion by Extension and the lost art of Matins. 

Writing when in need of a holiday 🙂 

When I began my training as  Reader back in 1986 my  role, and indeed my vocation was very different although it was still focused on working with parts of the community as someone with some theological training, some communication skills and a real call to change things for the better. 

My duties: 

  • Sung matins
  • Sung evensong
  • the occasional sermon for a Sunday communion service. 
  • reading lessons (readers robed for this) no-one in the congregation was asked. 
  • Some sick communions
  • Leading a youth group and a house group 

Somehow in the three and a half decades up to the present day many of those non eucharistic services disappeared and the diet of communion services became “what we have always done!” and, not only what they have always done but, “if we can’t have the service as we have always done it then we will go somewhere else.”

I have always resisted discussions about Communion by Extension  (not including sick communions or residential homes) because I did not want to be what I thought of as being some sort of second class ordained person.   But in a few weeks time I am taking my first “Communion by Extension” service at St Stephen’s Treleigh, where I used to do my sung Matins.

Times change and the needs of the people change but I am still mildly uncomfortable at preserving the status quo as a “not quite the real thing” version of “what we have always done.” 

I do wonder as we prepare to take on board the “On the Way” programme in September where we go from here! The energy I had for change in my late thirties is harder to come by and chaplaincy, spiritual direction, funerals the occasional sermon together with chief ZOOM service operator are more he order of the day. I hit the magic Permission to Officiate mark in February and one is tempted just to go with the flow rather than being the prophet who stirs the pot! 

Tomorrows readings are interesting – I love the Ezekiel line “4The descendants are impudent and stubborn. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ ” which reminds me of when I have tried hard to change things in the past in church. In the Gospel reading we have that wonderful line from Jesus who says ” 4Then Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honour, except in their home town'” which sums up many a reader’s position, being prophets in our home towns while ordained clergy are largely moving through.  

But we keep on keeping on and looking to God and to the community to seek that which will serve the people best and……. and this is important…… grown the kingdom not merely keep the status quo. 

Your answers on the back of a postage stamp, stuck to an envelope and addressed to Never-Never Land. 


Cornwall – we need you!

Can you talk with passion to audiences both large and small?

Would you like to help the most vulnerable children in the UK?

If so, please support us by becoming a Volunteer Speaker for The Children’s Society! We are in desperate need for Volunteer Speakers across Cornwall.

We need people like you to make a real difference by increasing awareness of our vital work.  By reaching out and sourcing talks in your local community you will inspire people to support us and strengthen our ties with your local area, through churches, schools and businesses.  You will thank existing supporters and motivate new people to get involved in our work and donate their time, money, voice and prayers.

We want your time with us to be enjoyable and rewarding as well as impactful, which is why we will provide you with all of the support and training you need to be effective in your role and to get the most out of volunteering.

As restrictions continue to lift in the UK, why not try something new and join The Children’s Society family?

For an informal chat about the role, please contact Jess Meale, Relationships Manager on 07715 510 464 (Wed-Fri) or email

Highlight of the Week:

The virtual visit of Rabbi Naomi from Kol Chai Hatch End Reformed synagogue who spoke about her faith journey and her work to the Reader’s Post licensing Group. 

I am delighted that she has agreed to come back next year for the next group to help with our multi-faith conversations. 

Reader Kay Short asked on Facebook: Kay Short

“Can new to the Diocese Readers join in too? And do any (evening) groups exist for Readers to continue learning and reflection that I could join please? If not, could I start one? I miss being able to read and reflect theologically with others!”

Well I would be delighted if Kay started an evening for reflection and learning and would be the first to sign up if it is an evening when I am not already tied up.  

If you would find this helpful drop me a line and I will pass it on to Kay. The Monday Morning Chat will remain open on ZOOM although I am not promising to always be in attendance but several people have asked for something with a little more focus in an evening.  I am happy to host the ZOOM so that Readers from across the Diocese can take part. 


You can read something about Rabbi Naomi here: From a BBC newsroom to the pulpit as a rabbi – The Jewish Chronicle (

and you can read more about the Hatch End Reformed Jewish Community Here!

Prayer and my Mobile Phone

Attitudes to mobile phones and other technology van be quite polarized…  the press portrays the evils of teenagers peering into mobile phone screens and not speaking to anyone, at our  toddler group at church the leaders have noted the parents who spend the session on their phones and not playing with their children and then there are those who speak of Facebook as ‘facade- book’ and paint pictures of users as needy folk seeking approval, or as bullies, stalking and trolling the more vulnerable. 

Of course all those pictures are true of some people but life is not as simple as the easy stereotype that we can all feel cross about.  Teenagers are all very different and some have never spoken to other people finding something to bury themselves in for all time…. social media has been a God-send to isolating people of all ages in the past year,  and as for trolls and stalkers….. well they really are a hazard of the technological age. 

I really like my mobile phone and use it a lot….. but probably its chief function is as a camera! On my hour or so of dog walking in the early mornings I am always looking for a picture, something that shows the glory of God’s creation, or that tells a story or something that just fascinates.  Checking the weather, tide time tables and following footpaths on the installed ordnance survey maps probably comes a close second.  And then of course are the radio programmes I have downloaded to listen to while I am out…. the most regular being ‘something Understood’ which I really wish they were still producing rather than running old ones.  If I use social media it is to communicate with others – often putting up photographs which bring great joy to those who cannot get out of their houses, or their beds to see the subjects. 

So I feel irritated when folks dismiss the phone as a completely bad thing!  All technology can be used badly but to dismiss it altogether is to throw many babies out with much bathwater.  From the lady who joins morning prayer from her hospital bed on ZOOM to the sharing of ideas on the diocesan face book page to the reflective short prayers of the Bodmin Hermit on Twitter and happy birthday wishes that show the lonely that they are not alone…. the phone has its uses,  So I am off to open my Daily prayer app for compline. 


The Office Computer that conspired against my Day off! 

The last year is taking its toll on my energy levels, that and having a dog that needs to be walked early in the morning so I find myself in need of a rest and some time off. The trouble is there is always something that jumps in the way.  My Rector, Caspar kindly made sure I had no commitments last Sunday and I duly took the opportunity to take a book to the conservatory and put my feet up….. the telephone went!  The call was from the church office where the photocopier was not talking to the new computer and to cut a long story short three days later and a dozen hours of research I solved it…. but my time out had disappeared. Mind you I just HAD to solve it…. !!

I am planning to take two weeks out in August….. this year.  In the meantime I wonder if anyone has thought about whether they are called to be the next chaplain to Readers – or to be an assistant Chaplain…. let me know if you feel that that might be you! 

In the Blog this week reflections on:

  • The Reader Selection Day last week
  • Living in Love and Faith Session 2
  • For I went to the stall where they sold sweet lavender
    (“Only a penny for a bunch of lavender!”).
  • The joys of being an ex-teacher 

My dear wife, Lez, holding a box of lavender plants sent to us by Rocket Gardens     by an ex-pupil, Paige who had heard of Lez’s awful service from Suttons seeds who had sent the order so late and so badly packaged that nearly all of the plants were dead and not fit for purpose.  If you click Lez’s picture it will take you to Rocket Garden’s very impressive online shop  based near Helston. We shall be using them in future – so this is a free plug!! 


The Suttons Seeds offering

In the last 12 months an ex-student has helped me to rebuild my computer to make it fit for ZOOM and editing video, anther had recued the gardener and others have sent lots of cheery messages and news….. still others I have seen as teachers and health service workers doing such a brilliant job in times of great stress. I count myself very lucky, and just a tad proud, to have known them and to have ben part of their education for a couple of years. 

 Jane LePage has asked if I will publish the Tear Fund Link…. Click HERE and add the work of Tear Fund to Your Prayers

If you have not watched the Simon Reeves programmes on Cornwall yet- you can still find them here… BBC Two – Cornwall with Simon Reeve

Last Saturday 6 men and women presented themselves on ZOOM  at the selection day to train as Readers beginning in September. 

We congratulate 4 of them on being selected and I ask your prayers for them as they face the hard work of studies over the next two or three years. Please also keep in your prayers those who were not selected and are still searching for what they are being called to by God. 

Presenting yourself to have your vocation, the task you think you may be called for, examined so closely calls for bravery, honesty, faith and trust  and it is a huge privilege to be on the panel that listens to their personal stories and their answers to some really deep and stretching questions. 

Each of the six was asked to tell a story suitable for all age worship to the other members of the Wardens Advisory Committee and the others hoping for selection and then have an hour long in-depth interview as well as lunch with the rest of the Wardens committee on Zoom.  Thank you to all of them. 

Last Wednesday I led the second Living in Love and Faith Course on ZOOM for a Redruth Benefice group. Session two produced some wonderful in-depth discussion and sharing of quite diverse ideas and feelings. The course video was a step up from the first one and really is well worth doing.  Do consider offering the course in your area… it is a great one for Readers to Lead!

This morning, Saturday 19th June I am at the first of two sessions (10 till 1) before going on the National List of Vocations Mentors. More on this next time as I am typing this in the coffee break! But so far what an enthusiastic bunch of people! 

The Reader Journey draft diagram…. Reader journey diagram v1

On Sunday, I am leading a service in a Methodist Church for the fist time since 2019 so I am quite looking forward visiting Centenary (sent’n’ri) but I do wish we were not wearing masks and allowed to sing! If I am not leading a service, I would really rather be at home in my study running the ZOOM service in comfort. 

Zoom is to the fore tomorrow (Saturday 12th) when some brave men and women who have felt a call towards Reader Ministry, have to tell a story, attend a lunch (online) with the Warden’s committee and have a searching interview. They will be informed at the end of the day whether they have been selected. It is not a competition and all, some or none may go on. 

On Wednesday I attended my third C2 session in 10 days with another on Monday – at least as a trainer I can also get my own safeguarding up to date which meant that I have had to redo the reflections and exercises but I have found it very beneficial in  Benefice terms and it has prompted me to make some forms to collect details form all our churches about DBS checks, training levels and risk assessments. It is the first step in encouraging the next round of training, although some of the Church Wardens tell me they are on a waiting list for C2 courses because so many people want training.  It is a good sign when people are looking to be trained. 

On Tuesday I went to the Bishop’s Study Day which I found both informative and thought-provoking although on a different day I might be quite critical of some of the technical bits of the presentation.  I would love to have another session on the topic but this time focussing on Cornwall’s demographic and how we encourage greater diversity in our churches. When the first speaker was telling us about being turned away, or not exactly being welcomed at services in her own diocese I could not help but picture her arriving at the doors of St Andrews Redruth, or actually any of our benefice churches. Her problem would not be being turned away but how to escape the clutches of the welcome, and avoid being on the PCC, helping with the Arts Festival and being signed up for the Toddler Group before the end of her visit.  That might sound a little flippant but Mean it in all seriousness – the only group that might have real problems of prejudice might be those who look like they might be drunk or on drugs, or “not altogether ‘wholesome’! ”  However, I really have not investigated attitudes in our churches but I would imagine that there is a wide range with some fringe extremes as their are about women’s ministry.  Interesting and needs more work….. I just don’t know how!

The other big event was leading the first of the Living in Love and Faith sessions on ZOOM. Having gone through the first session again with our Rector, Caspar, we felt that the lack of any story videos in the first session was to miss an important element so we decided to insert two. It proved a good decision because they were easily the highlight that provoked most discussion and deep thinking. The two young presenters reminded at least one participant of ‘Play School’ presenters – wonderfully earnest, enthusiastic, bright eyed and wholesome. We are looking forward to session two and some more deep and thought-provoking breakout room discussions.  I really do think that all our church members should be engaging in the course in one way or another and that perhaps the equalities issues need a similar treatment. 


Perhaps the highlight of the working week was as spiritual director…. or really spiritual accompaniment which I always find as helpful as I hope my directees do.  

The Barney the collie stories continue on his page! 


Life seems to be gathering in pace rather like Barney’s rubber ball rolling down the beach towards the sea…. as I am inextricably drawn to gallop after it as best as my ancient hips will allow.  I find myseld unexpectedly preaching on Sunday at Treleigh in their somewhat delapidated hall (the church is being re-decorated) which will be a joy. Then there is a short worship to prepare for next Saturday for  thr start of the Readers in Training selection / discernment day Please pray for all those putting themeselves forward for Reader Training that they might show the best of themselves and that the Holy Spirit will guide us and lead us to wise choices. 

Next Sunday I have my first Methodist service for well over a year at the wonderful Centenary Methodist Church in Camborne which some of you will know is the centre of much foodbank work and where Don Gardener, who has been such a prominent figure in fighting poverty in Cornwall, worships. Faith and mustard seeds seem good starting points there!

Alongside that in Redruth we are beginning our series of Living in Love and Faith Groups – mine is on Wednesday evening on ZOOM and really should be very interesting. If you have not logged on the the Living in Love and Faith website and seen any of the fantastic resources and well prepared video stories I would urge you to do so. Living in Love and Faith | The Church of England Just click this link! 


It is amazing how things present themselves as a focus for instant prayer especially when I am out with Mr. Dog. This morning we found a string of blooms scattered along the tide line presumably washed up from a short time at sea.  I wondered why they had been in the sea and considered a dropped bouquet, or scattered flowers at a scattering of ashes or thrown into the waves by someone who has had their offer of undying love rejected along with their flowers. 

Whatever the story of these flowers and that long stemmed red rose my prayers were for all those anonymous people and all those stories being written in real life as I write. 

Reader / Licenced Lay Ministry Administration

You shuld all have received a letter from Bishop Hugh about this and also requesting you to consider putting yourself forward to help with safeguarding training. If you missed the letter you can find it here… The Warden’s Page – Chaplain to Readers in the Diocese of Truro (

I joined in the ZOOM C2 training that is running currently and was really impressed by the quality of discussion and questioning and how attitudes to safeguarding have changed positively since I began to be involved as a trainer. It is a role I am delighted, and indeed privileged to be doing once more. 

Do consider it if you have teaching and leading skills…. it is SO important. 

Yes I know it is  a wild goose and Pentecost was last week, but this is a plug for the Lindisfarne Scriptorium which produces the most wonderful cards and art work and all sorts of other resources.  New Products for May 2021, Lindisfarne Scriptorium, Treasures for the Journey ( 


REPORT ON THE FUTURE OF READER MINISTRY- Prepared by the Diocesan Reader Ministry Working Party 

ReaderWPreport (Final) May 2021 this is the link to the   

This report is important reading for all Readers / Licensed Lay Ministers.

It represents a good deal of consultation with Readers / LLMs in the diocese and has been ably and efficiently chaired by Reader- David Fieldsend who compiled it.  please do read it.

The report is now a standing item on the agenda of the Wardens group for consideration.  If something is relatively easy to implement it will be done but some things will need to be presented to bodies such as the Diocesan Ministry team to consider and to respond to. I will be keeping you informed as I hear the outcomes.

The working party was made up of the following people:

David Fieldsend (Chair)
Lay Chair, Carnmarth North Deanery Synod
Jim Seth (Warden’s Committee Liaison)
Readers’ Chaplain
Rev Helen Baber
Rector, Lann Pydar Benefice
Rev Caspar Bush
Rural Dean, Carnmarth North
Roy Cooper
Reader, St Melors Linkinhorne
Jane Darlington
Reader, Waterside Churches
Liz Lane
Reader, St Neot & Warleggan
Tony Le Fevre
Reader, Camborne Cluster