Thank Goodness for Click and Collect

I hate shopping which means that lockdown and instructions to stay at home in the pandemic are something of a blessing for me.  Tesco Click and Collect, however, has been something of a revelation! Once one gets the notion of booking a slot three weeks in advance and having a preliminary guess at what one might need then it becomes routine. 

Wednesday morning at 7:55 we climb into the car, drive less than a mile to the Tesco Car Park where Will and his truck await. We pull into the bay and a cheery voice asks, “How the devil are we today?”  Crates are piled to make a rough table for our shopping which we unload into our own crates or baskets.. “oh you’ve got a leak in that one!” comments Will…. “Where?” Asks Lez looking slightly alarmed.  I lift out the pack of leaks and Lez groans and Will laughs. 

“Take care, stay safe, see you next week!” calls Will as we set off back home. By 8:!) the bags are in the kitchen for Lez to do with as she will while I make the coffee.  

The shops and supermarkets who have walked the extra mile to make life safer for us and especially individuals like Will who have a real notion that some of us don’t like bending down too far to get our shopping and need a cheery chat deserve a lot of praise and thanks. I suspect they get more abuse than praise- so I am going on a bit of a quest to see where one can leave good comments! 

Thank you Lord for Click and Collect

For those who try to keep us safe in this time of pandemic

For those whose smiles are possibly te only ones that some lone souls might see in a day. 




Transforming Ministry Magazine Digital Edition


 What do I need to tell our Readers/LLMs?


The digital edition of Transforming Ministry was announced in the Winter 2020 edition of the magazine (p.36) so many of your Readers/LLMs will already know about this. Now would be a good time to share some encouraging good news and inform them that, for 2021, subscribers through the diocesan scheme will have free access to the digital edition and all the added value material on the website.


  • Page-turning pdfs of each new edition
  • Option to read online or download to read offline
  • Fully indexed and searchable archive of Transforming Ministry (and its predecessor The Reader)
  • Over 500 book reviews plus extended reviews not available in the printed magazine
  • Online-only material such as seasonal resources and Advent and Lent features.

You will need to explain that to access this material they will need to register on the website using the voucher code in the Chaplain’s email. 

You might want to mention that an individual Print + Digital subscription to Transforming Ministry for 2021 is £15, i.e. the diocese is giving them a gift worth £15 towards their continuing ministerial development.


When should I contact my Readers / LLMs


You could do it now. It might also be helpful to remind them about the free access to the online material at the beginning of January when the Spring 2021 edition of the printed Transforming Ministry magazine arrives through their letterboxes.


What exactly will Readers/LLMs have to do to subscribe and gain access?


Please include this information in your letter/email to Readers and LLMs.


  • Go to the website
  • Click on the MAGAZINE tab in the Navigation Bar at the top of the page
  • Hover over SHOP NOW in the Navigation bar
  • Select DIGITAL from the SUBSCRIPTIONS drop down list
  • Click on the green box ADD SUBSCRIPTION TO BASKET (at this stage it will show a charge because the discount code has not yet been applied)
  • Enter the code sent in the email  in the grey COUPON CODE box then click the green APPLY COUPON box which will reduce the price to zero for the year
  • Enter your personal details including your diocese
  • You will need to enter your debit or credit card details in order to proceed but you will not be charged. The subscription will auto-renew in a year’s time but you will receive an email in advance of the renewal date so you have the opportunity to cancel or change your subscription should you wish
  • You will then receive an email confirming the order and detailing how to download the digital magazine or view online. You will also be sent your login details and password (which you can change through your account on the website)
  • If you use social media, please follow us using the website links to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with news and information.

What will happen for digital magazine subscriptions in 2022?


It is too early to predict whether we will be able to continue this offer into future years. It may be necessary to ask individual Readers to pay an upgrade fee if they wish to retain access to the digital options.

Are you a Chaplain in a school, prison or other institution?  Do you have experience of conducting home communion?  Any other experience with ministry outside the church building?


As part of the post-licensing training programme for Readers who received their licenses last year, we are hoping to benefit from the wisdom of Readers who have experience of ministry outside the church building. This might be especially in administering Holy Communion or in conducting other services with those who, for whatever reason, are unable to attend services in a church building — but it is not necessarily confined to those things.


On Saturday January 30th we will be holding a Zoom conference as part of the programme, and we hope to include this subject from around 2.00 to 3.00pm.  Anyone participating may stay online for just ten minutes or so, or for the whole afternoon — which will end around 3.30 with Evening Prayer or some other suitable service. It is likely to shape up as a fairly informal sharing session, where Readers experienced in this area speak about sound practice, and answer questions from those on the training programme.


There is a wealth of experience and wisdom among Readers in our diocese; so Jim and I hope we will have several volunteers.


Please respond by contacting me at


Martin Adams

(Reader in the Parish of St Illogan.  Director of Post-Licensing Reader Training)

We're going on a bear hunt, we're going to catch a big one.... oh no, it's a lockdown, a big lonely lockdown, but we're not scared. We can't go over it, we cant go under it.... we'll just have to go through it..... wash wash wash, mask mask mask, step away! (apologies to Michael Rosen)

So another ‘lockdown’ was inevitable but at least over the last 43 weeks we have learned strategies for coping / dealing with and making use of the opportunities provided.

I would love to rant at this point about government polcy and decision making beginning with why on earth did they send the schools back for one day to get infected? But I am not going to…. It won’t help and just makes me irritable.

So lockdown week 43 phase four-ish means no visitors, no visiting and no coffee stop on my walks with my son-in-law- who has been working from home, is about half way round and makes particularly good coffee….. and the conversation away from a computer screen WAS very welcome.

I could almost get really depressed about it but there is too much to do and I have so much to be thankful for so there are projects!!

In no order because I will grasshopper between them as is my wont.

  • build up the long walks after the Christmas feasting has added to my girth – I am really looking forward to lighter mornings.
  • Rebuilding my desk top computer. This has meant much watching of YouTube videos, scouring reviews and browsing of amazon…. Not to mention consulting an ex-pupil who I can proudly say knows vastly more than I do. Now this might not excite most people but for me it gets the little grey cells working in a different way and frees up other buts of the brain for rest and recuperation. It has a practical implication in hopefully making ZOOMING services, chopping video clips and so on a rather less ponderous process.
  • I really want to record memories of school days and college but not as a memoir…. More as a fiction of the various characters based on fact. One must not let too much fact get in the way of a good story…. Someone once said.
  • Reading: I have a stack of books to read….. This task might prove difficult… I get too easily distracted! Currently I am reading “The Wanderer’s Club, ’ ‘Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes!’ and a book by Michael Curry that Rector Caspar gave to each of the Redruth ministry team at Christmas.

Well with that lot, ministry in the Redruth Team, Chaplaincy conversations, the odd meeting, the very odd meeting and so on time will flash by and suddenly all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well. (to quote mother Julian of Norwich)

Next Tuesday spare me a thought at mid-day. I have volunteered to take part in an AstraZeneca trial for the Corvid anti-body treatment which seems to involve giving a lot of samples of differing types and being poked with a needle or three and then follow up phone calls and appointments. But…. if it helps other people suffering with this wretched virus., or prevents a few folk from getting it then I am game! 

Finally a thought on vacuuming! 

Vacuuming in lockdown is a disappointment. 

It normally heralds visitors, folks coming to dinner or for a party but not this time. 

Nor is there the clicketty-clacketty as the machine attempts to digest the grandchildren’s’ left over Lego. 

We have no dog and thoughts of getting a new one are on hold….. the vacuum no longer smells of wet dog and there are no tumble-weed balls of dog hair to chase around the carpet. 

The vacuuming promises much, reminds us of what used to be and delivers little except for the thought that it will have to be done again soon. 

No wonder I am allowed to do it 



thank you for vacuuming time,

that I am healthy enough to do it as I pray for those who breath is in short supply.

Thank you for the noise that reminds me of the grandchildren and of better times, of visitors, shared meals and a house ringing with music and laughter. 

Thank you for the reminders of the smell of wet dog hair of the deep joy that our dogs brought us in the years of wagging tails. 

Lord, I ask for healing for all those whose health is too fragile to push the vacuum….. and to think the thoughts the vacuum can inspire. 


When Something's Lost and Something's Gained...

So that’s it for 2020, a year in which I learned all about ZOOM, publishing on YouTube and the delights of walking, and praying, in the light of the  dawn.  The year in which I realised how important hugs are and how much they would be missed. And, a year when morning prayer at 9 on ZOOM would unite elements of congregations from not only  the five Redruth Churches but from across the diocese as we were joined by numerous Readers. 

Relationships have taken a hot this year where meeting online has not been appropriate and as T.S.Eliot said, “We die to each other daily. What we know of other people is only our memory of the moments during which we knew them. And they have changed since then. To pretend that they and we are the same is a useful and convenient social convention which must sometimes be broken.”

When we have all had our vaccinations and we kick-start the activities we have put on hold things will be different and my hope is that we can rebuild the relationships and do the activities better, shedding those that we have found we have not really missed! 


‘The Lord is with you . . . do not be afraid’.

A Meditation on the Annunciation, Luke 1:26–38

 Bob Owens

 Luke’s account of the Annunciation is one of the most frequently illustrated stories in the Bible. We’ve all seen pictures of the angel Gabriel, with his great wings, announcing to Mary that she has been chosen to give birth to Jesus. I’d like to take just a few moments to meditate on how Luke describes the scene to us – to try to enter into the story imaginatively, and to ask what it might have to offer us in our own lives as Christians.

        The story opens with God sending Gabriel to a specific place, and to a specific person. The place is Nazareth, a small town in Galilee. What’s special about Nazareth? Nothing at all. It is not a great city like Jerusalem, where all the rich and powerful people live, with a Temple and other important buildings. And what’s special about Mary? Nothing at all. She’s a young peasant girl, still a virgin though she is engaged to be married to a local carpenter. Mary is just an ordinary person – not someone living in high society. And yet – God chooses her to be the vessel through which his son Jesus Christ will enter the world. Isn’t that a thought worth pondering?

        What does Gabriel say to Mary? He greets her warmly, telling her she is ‘favoured’ and that ‘The Lord is with you’. This is far from the kind of greeting Mary would have expected, and it startles her. She wonders what it could possibly mean, but says nothing. Perhaps a look of fear crossed her face, because Gabriel tells her not to be afraid: she has indeed found favour with God. She is going to give birth to a son and is to call him Jesus. He describes this child in amazing terms: he is to be God’s own son; he will be given the throne of his ancestor David; and he will reign over Israel for ever. What Gabriel is telling Mary is that she will give birth to the long-awaited Messiah, a figure she would have heard about from readings of the prophets in the synagogue.

        Mary’s initial reaction is a completely down-to-earth one. ‘It is impossible for me to have a child. I’ve never slept with a man – I’m a virgin!’ Her consternation is easy to imagine. Can this angel really be serious? Mary is no shy, demure little bride-to-be. She knows a thing or two – including that you have to have sexual intercourse to get pregnant. Gabriel patiently explains to her how this will all happen. The Holy Spirit will conceive the baby in Mary’s womb by the power of God himself, so that the son she will bear will indeed be the Son of God. God can make this happen – even Mary’s cousin Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age. Nothing is impossible with God.

        How, finally, does Mary respond to this announcement by Gabriel? She submits completely to God’s calling. ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Mary hears the word of God; she believes it; and she says ‘yes’ to God’s love and his purpose for her. Perhaps there are times when we feel ourselves called by God to do something that we think must be impossible. When we have our doubts and uncertainties about how to respond, we might remember those words spoken to Mary: ‘The Lord is with you . . . do not be afraid’.



This is a picture of the chapel in Iona- I still hope to get there one day but plans to travel have been demolished for various reasons over the last few years – maybe 2022!!

One of the strangest things in 2020 has been my lack of contact with schools  and indeed children! I started at school in 1956 and have been in an educational environment up until March this year. The last decade has been mostly in school governance and story telling in nursery but I was in school several times  week. Consequently my thoughts are with teachers and especially head teachers who are under enormous stress.

The meme above seems to sum it up for me. If you have ever worked in a primary school you do not underestimate the value of a wet paper towel in healing. However- I am praying for some divine help here! 


Dear all

this is the last blog tis side of Christmas- next week I shall be deep in  ZOOMland particularly on Christmas Eve with the ZOOM service with the children which is even more daunting on ZOOM than it is in Church in normal days when the place is heaving with people. So on Zoom I am hoping :

  • we will get some people there
  • There will be a few soloists or family singers
  • that I can arrange the quiz / story activity in a way that works! 
  • that we don’t get uninvited visitors with disruptive intentions… 
  • and…… that somehow we will provide something for the Holy spirit to touch the lives of those who attend.

Prayers please! 

Following that at 8pm and at 11:30 I am button pushing for the two live ZOOM services from church…. although I will be at home. 

Christmas Day…… hopefully meeting the grandchildren on the beach….. even if it’s raining and I am taking a break from ZOOM! 

Have a wonderful Christmas!

I am grateful to the people who occasionally pas comment on the emails and blog content. I do wonder sometimes if anybody is reading it, whether it is helpful or whether it is just a nuisance. 

So when someone contacts me about something else and say.. oh by the way I did like the bit you wrote about x….. it is always encouraging. 

This Christmas there are some Readers having a really tough time with health, or as a carer or because they are alone. Please do keep them in your prayers too. 

With every blessing


Chaplain to the Readers in training- Vacancy!


I have been very grateful to Reader Margaret Sylvester-Thorne over the past two years  for easing my chaplaincy role by taking on the Readers in Training. Margaret has now decided that it is time to pass the baton  and so we have a vacancy! It is never easy finding people to fulfil these roles and we do want a Reader from this side of the border taking it on so I have prepared a job advert.

We have a vacancy for Chaplain to the Readers in Training and would like Readers to consider whether they might be called to this ministry.

 The Chaplain would be expected to attend the seven residential weekends in Plymouth each year, normally Friday 4 pm to Saturday 5pm.

  • Be alongside students in lectures
  • Be available to talk to students about issues raised in lectures that might impact on their faith
  • Support students in prayer through their training.
  • Attendance at some staff meetings.

 The chaplain might also be involved in some of the formation evenings at the Old Cathedral School in Truro or online. They might also want to be involved in the Post Licensing Training year too.

There is of course no pay for any Reader Chaplaincy work but expenses may be claimed where needed.

 Please do consider whether you are called to this fulfilling and important role and if interested speak to me or Jane Kneebone (Director of Training)

Many thanks – Jim.

The Blessing of Funeral Ministry

Sunday 13th- the 3rd Sunday in Advent.

The Blessing of Funeral Ministry

May Readers find taking Funerals a key part of their Ministry which I discovered for myself relatively late in my ministry. I did a cluster of them around last Christmastime culminating in preaching at Reader Leslie Boyden’s funeral which was a huge privilege. The Covid  struck!  

This week I did the first funeral for nine months . It was at Treswithian Downs Crematorium  in Camborne which has a super atmosphere and the views around  help to relieve the corvid-claustrophobia that social distancing has now ingrained in our psyche.  So spacious, lots of sanitizer and I felt secure in what I was doing.

The funeral was for a lady who had driven Coaches for National Express, loved wrestling and sixties music so it was no surprise that they chose a wrestling theme to enter the crem and Tina Turner singing “only the Best!” to go out.  A more interesting request was playing the saxophone bit from Gerry Rafferty’s ‘Baker Street’ for closing the curtains.  I dutifully sat down one evening and made a file of the solo so we had 38 seconds rather than 6 minutes. It actually worked well in the circumstances and we did not miss out by not having a hymn.  When I had asked about a reading I was told that they were not very religious so I asked, “What about the lyrics from the Byrds’ song, ‘Turn Turn Turn?’” They knew that, the lady being buried liked her sixties music, … so Ecclesiastes it was!

After the committal when Tina Turner boomed out, I strode respectfully outside and waited beneath the canopy for the family and friends who were all very appreciative and complimentary.

I managed to keep the social distancing in the main until I could not escape the final handshake. I detoured on the way to the carpark past the hand sanitizer and was still rubbing my hands together when I began the ascent of the shallow steps to the carpark.  I was still rubbing them when my foot caught in the hem of my Cassock and I tripped forward sprawling across the steps  in a flurry of blue scarf, voluminous white surplice and flying funeral folder.

I looked up to see the funeral party no longer sobbing but trying not to let their giggles show and attempting instead to be concerned. It must have looked  very funny. Thankfully not even my pride was injured – if I can lighten people’s day with physical humour then I have done my bit.

Meanwhile, stuck in my mind it the thought of the lady we were there for striding through the pearly gates in a wrestling cape to the ‘Invasion’ Theme tune.     My she rest in peace – and rise in Glory.

Every year at St Andrew’s Redruth Mary & Joseph set out during advent for their journey to Bethlehem via lots of houses where they stay overnight for prayer. It is based on the Mexican tradition of Posada.

This year we have had to do it differently fearing that transferring a box of figures, candles and prayer cards from house to house would not be sensible in Covid tide we made 25 sets of small figures and my wife Lez painstakingly put together a prayer card and thoughts for each day. The quotations and prayers for each day are under the next article.

Pastoral Telephony - in praise of the telephonists!

Some people are brilliant at telephoning! Lez phones some of the ladies in the ST Andrews ‘Crafty People’ group when they would normally be meeting for their weekly social crafting in non corvid times – especially if she knows hey are on their own. Many of our Readers have almost swapped their preaching, teaching and open the book ministries for a life on the telephone and I do admire and give thanks for them. 


I hate making telephone calls. I really hate making telephone calls. I don’t mind receiving them…. but I am so far out of my comfort zone just picking up the phone to have a chat that it makes me put it off by tying to find other things to do. I can stand up and talk to hundreds without problem, make YouTube videos, tell stories but phoning gives me the heebie-jeebies! 

So don’t think that your ministry, whether you are a reader or ‘just’ a member of the congregation making calls to check up on folks is a little thing! It is not! It’s a gift and you are called to do it. You telephonists are wonderful! 

St Andrew’s Posada 2020

Thank you for taking part in the Posada this year. You should have received 2 Nativity characters (Mary and Joseph), a candle, a daily prayer sheet and a list of names. Below are the instructions of what to do.

 Each day:-

  • Set aside some time to spend with Mary and Joseph
  • Light a candle
  • Reflect on and pray for the topic of the day
  • Pray for an individual/a family from the list of names (there are 26 so you will be able to pray for everyone on the list by the end of the Posada)

Sunday 29th December

“A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step” (Lao Tzu)

Reflect on and pray for those walking into the unknown, those setting out on difficult journeys, your own Advent journey.


Monday 30th December

“The angel comes, his tidings ring on the air like bells…..and when he goes, he leaves a feather in your belly” (Steven Waling)

Reflect on and pray for pregnant women, those with a new baby, those who have suffered the loss of a child.


Tuesday 1st December

“All happy families resemble one another. Each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” (Leo Tolstoy)

Reflect on and pray for single parents, families who are in turmoil, children living in violent homes.


Wednesday 2nd December

“The wind blows over the lonely of heart and the lonely of heart is withered away” (W.B.Yeats)

Reflect on and pray for those who are lonely and isolated, those who are friendless, those separated from loved ones.

 Thursday 3rd December

“What will survive of us is love” (Philip Larkin)

Reflect on and pray for those who have never been loved, those who feel they are unloveable, those who find it hard to show love.


Friday 4th December

“No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear” (Edmund Burke)

Reflect on and pray for those who are fearful of life, those who are crippled by anxiety, those who see only darkness and shadows even on the brightest day.


Saturday 5th December

“My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and are spent without hope” (Job 7 v6)

Reflect on and pray for youngsters who have no hope in the future, those who do not know what it is to hope, those who have given up hope completely.


Sunday 6th December

“We walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5 v7)

Reflect on and pray for searchers after the truth, people who have doubts about their faith, people who have no faith at all.

Monday 7th December

“Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism”(C G Jung)

Reflect on and pray for those struggling to overcome issues of alcohol abuse, those locked into drug addiction, those whose gambling habits have become reckless and out of control.


Tuesday 8th December

“He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release for the prisoners” (Isaiah 61 v1)

Reflect on and pray for prisoners who have experienced a miscarriage of justice, prisoners serving life sentences, prisoners of conscience.


Wednesday 9th December

“Even the sparrow finds a nest where he can settle down” (Scottish Psalter)

Reflect on and pray for people sleeping on the streets, people with nowhere to go, people in danger of losing their home because of the current crisis.


Thursday 10th December

“Whenever you save 5 shillings you put a man out of work for a day” (The Observer, 31st May 1953)

Reflect on and pray for those worried about losing their job, those who cannot find work, those who are having to make others redundant.


Friday 11th December

“Bring me flesh and bring me wine, bring me pine logs hither. Thou and I shalt see him dine when we bring them thither” (John Neale)

Reflect on and pray for parents who go hungry so their children can eat, children who know what it is to have an empty tummy day after day, users of our local Foodbanks.


Saturday 12th December

“By oppression and judgement he was taken away” (Isaiah 53 v8)

Reflect on and pray for those suffering oppression, those who live under the tyranny of a dictatorship, those without freedom of speech.


Sunday 13th December

“Other refuge have I none, hangs my helpless soul on thee” (Charles Wesley)

Reflect on and pray for refugees escaping from war zones, people risking lives on perilous boat journeys, asylum seekers starting life in a strange country.


Monday 14th December

“Slavery they can have anywhere. It is a weed that grows in every soil” (Edmund Burke)

Reflect on and pray for those experiencing modern day slavery, young girls sold as sex workers, children working in sweat shops across the world.


Tuesday 15th December

“Give to every human being every right that you claim for yourself” (Robert Green Ingersoll)

Reflect on and pray for policy and law makers, those who work in the field of Human Rights, those who are trying to make a difference.


Wednesday 16th December

“I must create a system or be enslaved by another man’s. I will not reason and compare, my business is to create” (William Blake)

Reflect on and pray for those who initiate change, those who challenge the accepted view, those who make things happen against the odds.


Thursday 17th December

“Your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions” (Joel 2 v28)

Reflect on and pray for people who look at the wider picture, people who think outside of the box, people who are visionary in their approach to issues.


Friday 18th December

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more you are a leader” (John Quincy Adams)

Reflect on and pray for people who inspire others to take a new path in life, people who inspire others to be courageous in their choices, people who inspire others to reach beyond their usual comfort zone.


Saturday 19th December

“Encouragement is free, and beyond measure in value” (William DeFoore)

Reflect on and pray for those who help to bring out others’ potential, those who offer words of encouragement at the right time, someone who has encouraged you.


Sunday 20th December

“The sun of righteousness will rise with healing in his wings” (Malachi 4 v2)

Reflect on and pray for counsellors and mediators, NHS workers, those who hold the hands of the dying.


Monday 21st December

“Here a little child I stand” (Robert Herrick)

Reflect on and pray for children in care, children who will not know the joy and excitement of Christmas, the child inside you.


Tuesday 22nd December

“In the end is my beginning” (T S Eliot)

Reflect on and pray for those who are contemplating new beginnings, those who are having to start again, those whose journeys are nearing the end.


Wednesday 23rd December

“Whoe’er  has travelled life’s dull road, where’er his stages may have been, may sigh to think he still has found the warmest welcome at an inn” (William Shenstone)

Reflect on and pray for those who have the gift of hospitality, those who welcome the stranger, those whose arms are always open.


Thursday 24th December

“The peace of the Son of Peace to you” (The Celtic Blessing)

Reflect on and pray for the peacemakers, peace across the world, peace in the hearts of those you know and love.


Nativity Gift List

Dear God, please give me:


The unquestioning faith of Mary

The tolerance of Joseph

The patience of the donkey

The kindness of the innkeeper

The reverence of the oxen

The joy of the angels

The obedience of the shepherds

The perseverance of the wise men

The Christ-child in my heart today


It was wonderful to see so many faces on ZOOM in our Reader’sconversations with +Hugh. Some really important and interesting issues were raised and conversations and consultations have already begun on some matters. Watch this space for more on suporting Readers in a time of Transition and afterwards for example! 

Some useful links to resources mentioned in the course of discussions this week.

Here’s the ‘Letter to your future self’ website –

This is the national C of E phone line with prayers, hymns and reflections –

Resourcing Sunday to Saturday  Faith 

From Anecdote to Evidence Report 

The Saint’s Way- being more confident in our calling 

XR – Extinction Rebellion (Reader Lesley Mitchell) mentioned this Cornwall – XR South West (


I was grateful to those folk who helped with the worship, shared their experiences gave words of encouragement.

It is lovely to meet faceto face, but really I would not like to lose ZOOM once the virus crisis has abated. There are many fol who cannot travel easily in Cornwall and those who are always restricted so the convenience of ZOOM is a blessing. Our Monday morning meetings have featured folk from Penzance and the Lizard to Linkenhorne and Looe all from the comfort of their own chairs. Some drop in for a quick chat before other duties call, some stay for the morning for conversations ranging from our favourite Monty Python sketches to Racism in the Church of England. 


Dear All….

In the darkening days of winter as we head towards the longest night and the coldest months when we are weighed down by Covid of the threat of a lonely Christmas, the lack of hugs, of not singing carols in church, of being trapped it is easy to slip into a spiral of melancholy.


But there is always something we can do, something to show we are awake and alert and looking for he light, something to show that we are ready to follow our Lord’s commands and to be ready for His eventual return. You may not think what you do counts….. especially if you compare yourself with the importance of a doctor or a prime minister  or a priest but God loves everyone equally and values their contributions. So if you feel a little weighed down and despondent, that you are doing very little by being at home take heart from the true tale  from the book  Dirty Glory by Pete Grieg, about the Hebridean revival –it is worth reading. Caspar gave a copy to each of the ministry team a few years ago and although we have used this illustration before it is worth reading again……. And then thinking about what God is calling you to do.


The Hebridean revival began in the tiny village of Barvas on the Isle of Lewis, where two elderly sisters, Christine and Peggy Smith, were sitting by their peat fire lost in prayer. One of them was eighty-two, bent double with arthritis and the other was eighty-four and blind. They couldn’t do much, but they could certainly still pray, and on this particular night their souls were burdened deeply by the complete absence of young people from the church across the fields. Outside the moon hung high in the sky and the windswept in from the sea, but inside the fire sighed and crackled, casting gentle shadows across the room as the Smith sisters poured out their hearts to heaven in their native Gaelic tongue.


Suddenly one of the women received a vision of young people filling the church. It was as simple as that – the sort of thing we might gloss over in many of our meetings today. But these two old prayer warriors were not so flippant. They summoned the minister to their house the following morning and informed him quite unequivocally that he would be needing to get ready. ‘Revival is coming.’


‘What do you suggest I do?’ he asked a little helplessly.

‘What should you do?’ they gasped. ‘You should pray, man!’ And then these two octogenarian saints proposed a deal. ‘If you will gather your elders and pray in the barn at the other end of the village at least two nights per week,’ they said, ‘we will do the same here from ten at night ‘til three in the morning.’


And so a remarkable series of late-night prayer meetings began in the village of Barvas on the Isle of Lewis in the year 1949. They persevered like this, praying for five hours a night, twice a week because they were convinced that God had spoken — and that when he gives a promise it’s our job to pray it into being. There were no instant answers, no further visions and certainly no teenagers miraculously turning up at church. But they refused to relent. The Smith sisters kept praying in their cottage, and the church elders kept praying in their barn for many weeks, until a particular night when one of the elders stood to read Psalm 24:


Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD?

Who may stand in his holy place?

The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,

who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.

they will receive blessing from the Lord and

vindication from God their saviour.


‘Brethren,’ he said, ‘it is just so much humbug to be waiting thus, night after night, month after month, if we ourselves are not right with God.’ They nodded and he continued, ‘I must ask myself, “Is my heart pure? Are my hands clean?” He lifted his head and emitted a strange cry, then he fell to his knees and crumpled to the floor.


The barn was suddenly filled with the presence of God. It was a moment that would later be identified as ‘the catalyst that let loose a power that shook the Hebrides’.

The following morning the minister sent word to an organisation called The Faith Mission in Edinburgh, requesting a Gaelic-speaking evangelist to be sent to the island without delay. A preacher by the name of Duncan Campbell was duly dispatched and made his way north. By the time he reached the village of Barvas, the church was packed with inquisitive locals wanting to make sure that they didn’t miss out on whatever peculiarities might happen next.


‘What happened next’ is a holy thing, and I write about it even now with a sense of awe. It was as though the Holy Spirit began moving in the building. Many in the congregation actually cried out as if they were in physical pain. Some people arrived at the church after midnight, having been woken at home with an irresistible urge to come. That first meeting continued until four in the morning. Duncan Campbell himself had intended to stay in the Hebrides for just ten days but remained for more than two years, travelling from place to place, praying and preaching everywhere he went, leading countless people to Christ.


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I posted this originally around remembrance day because it contains some war time memories of life as a prisoner of war but I have such a positive response from those who watched it that I have reposted.  My father comes across as a phlegmatic and unflappable character even in the most difficult of situations. He comments that he might have become a minister if times had been different- I wonder what sort of a minister he would have been?