Canon Jane, Bishop Chris and I saw the first five candidates for this year’s cohort of new readers in training. It is such a huge privilege to help people discern their path in ministry and it was incredibly humbling listening to their stories and their thinking. 

Please keep Jason, Gaynor, Penny, Ilene, Debbie, Judy, Sue and Shorne in your prayers as they are in ours.

The News of Bishop Chris’ new post as Director of Ministry was widely disseminated yesterday – what a great choice for the job! I found myself on the readers in training selection panel in 2014 with Jane Kneebone and Bishop Chris and from there my own ministry somewhat snowballed through their encouragement. Bishop Chris is committed to vocations and ministry in their widest sense but in particular Reader Ministry of which he has a deep understanding and personal commitment.  His presence in Westminster can only strengthen the wider Church’s vision for Reader ministry. In the next few months before his move we need some conversations about who will be the next warden – or whether we await the arrival of a new Bishop of St Germans and so on! Let me know if there is anything you would like me to relay in conversation. 

Good luck Bishop Chris….. and thank you!!

Prayers – a starting point……

Allie, Miriam, Lesley, Lesley, Margaret, Roy & Chris, Roy, Sandy, Gordon & Jean, Garth, Jane & Frank, Jane,  Molly & Steve, Stephanie, Deb, Becca, 

Psalmists Cry on the Beach

When I had my right hip replaced in  2012 the surgeon asked me about my expectations for it afterwards – what did I want to be able to do? 

My reply was something about being able to sit on the floor to play with small grandchildren and walk the dog – perhaps even the walk from Godrevy to Hayle along the beach.

He was reassured that I was not intending to go climbing, do a parachute jump, go trampolining or surfing  or sit in sports cars with very low seats and prescribed a hard wearing ceramic job for my needs.  Since then I have done a bit of bouncing on the trampoline in the garden and I have sat in a sports car but in the main I have followed orders and the hip has walked over 5000 miles at a very conservative estimate however until Friday I had not done the beach walk I had set as an early target.

On Friday I dropped Lez (my wife)  at St Michael’s hospital in Hayle to have the offending lump removed from her breast and set off for Godrevy at 7:30 am to walk and pray. The tide was not due to turn for a couple of hours and there was the incentive of breakfast at Godrevy café afterwards. 

There were very few people about at 8 am; just a few surfers, dog walkers and joggers so it was a solitary experience for a couple of hours –it would have been lovely to have had the company of a dog!

Its amazing how much praying one can get done on a  solitary walk with miles of open empty beach stretching out before you and the gentle sound of the sea to accompany you. It was as much a pilgrimage for me as any journey to a holy shrine and I found myself in full psalmist mode pleading (rather than the complaining or moaning ones) not just for Lez and her surgical and care team but for all those on my “Readers-Plus” prayer list.

I got back to the car park a couple or hours later with somewhat achy feet and hips and was somewhat dismayed to see that queue for the café stretched down the path and into the car park – it seems Friday morning is a popular day. So I cut my losses and headed home to make myself a healthy mackerel salad and telephone the hospital for an update. 

Those calls really bring to mind all the people in the same position across the land worrying for the health of a loved spouse or family member. It seemed that she had not gone to surgery yet but she was quite happy and did not need anything and to phone back in a couple of hours!

The next call was a bit of a déjà vu moment as she was still waiting and I had to phone back in a couple of hours. So I busied myself with Sunday’s sermon and after several phone calls I eventually collected a cheerful looking Lez at 7:70 pm Arnold the lump having been safely evicted!  From Kallie the surgeon to the student nurse who had spent so much time popping in, the whole team was professional, calm, cheerful, friendly and optimistic as well as giving the impression that they had time even with a full schedule!

The house, as I write looks like a florist’s!

It says something about the power of prayer when Lez says that she ‘actually had a lovely day!’ Her recovery has been remarkable so far and folks in church yesterday were not only surprised to see her there but at how fit and healthy she looked.

I preached my sermon twice in the benefice yesterday having thought much about the story of Paul and Silas casting out the spirit of divination from a slave girl who annoyed them which earned them a beating and a night in gaol; the conclusion being the praise meeting followed by an earthquake, the conversion of the gaoler and hospitality.  For me though I kept getting side tracked by the slave girl.

Having led a C1 safeguarding session down at St Erth on Tuesday evening with 30 or so lovely people my mind was attuned to modern slavery, human trafficking and  sexual slavery which is what that poor girl was suffering when Paul and Silas got involved.  But her story is confined to the anonymous folk whose stories are never completed in the dustbin of history.

In a Twitter post Rev Simon Cade summed it up as, “abused child speaks the truth, silenced by powerful men, they get locked up anyway but they charm the authorities into release. Nothing modern there then!”

In Paul’s day slavery was accepted, it was legal, common place and a commercial venture but these days those opinions, like some other biblically historic opinions, are out of place but sadly still prevail even in Cornwall. Newquay has its problems with pop-up brothels where holiday lets are used to trade the services of trafficked women for sexual services and in other places gang-masters run gangs of agricultural workers.  Across the country and the world the problem is vast!

So a plea, please add the victims of modern slavery to your prayers – all those who, like the slave girl robbed of her one skill that made her of any value, have lives that are controlled by those with more power with little chance of freedom. 

It’s the stuff of psalms.

Sometimes blogs take a long time to write especially when one is on call to change surgical stockings (I am very efficient now) appoint headteachers or select new readers in training but the best news is that yesterday Lez went for tests following her surgery to be told that all is clear so thank you all for your prayers – they worked!

Really looking forward to seeing how this works in church….

Yskynna Vertical Dance Company 

welcomes you to a web experience of Vertical Dance

Yskynna are a vibrant company based in Cornwall who believe in making and taking extraordinary performance to new heights!

With sights set on non traditional venues, high walls, cliff faces, tall buildings and large open spaces, Yskynna welcome new challenges and the chance to create in such inspiring places. 

With our work we aim to generate and invigorate audiences, and we recognise the value of gifted/free performance accessible for all, which enables us to reach a wider demographic of the public. We are determined to entrust our legacy to the youth which are at the heart of all of our educational and outreach initiatives, by building long lasting links with schools and communities.



We met Arnold last week officially though we suspected he was an unwelcome guest a week earlier but had to wait for confirmation. We now have a date, the last day of May for his eviction – then it will be the slow mopping up operation.

The little, roughly drawn, illustration is from my prayer journal late last week after my wife’s breast cancer was confirmed – she named it Arnold. She had a dream that she had either a reluctant dog on a lead or possibly a small child on reins, or possibly both as they seemed to merge.  Whatever they were / it was, through a convoluted narrative in which she was supposed to go places and get things done,  Arnold was holding her back and making her rather cross with frustration.  As a metaphor it seems to work rather well.  

The prognosis is good and it seems to be caught quite early though treatment will include surgery, radiotherapy and some sort of hormone reduction medication. It has been wonderful with folks rallying around to tell us positive recovery stories and the more positive stories we can hear the better. The prayer support has likewise been wonderful and though I feel very stretched and have been somewhat melancholic, we feel the security of Gods loving embrace.

So ‘Lez’ is another name on my lengthy prayer list that I rehearse in my head several times a day – when I wake, when I walk, before I sleep or sitting in a waiting room. She slots in nicely with Lesley M and Lesley B – what is it with Cancer and the name Lesley? (that’s not to do a disservice to Margaret and Anna and Paul and the rest who are also living with an Arnold of their own – or trying to make sure he does not come back!)

The thing about this sort of intrusion into one’s life which was totally unexpected as it followed a routine screening rather than the discovery of symptoms,  is that it that it does present a challenge  to faith when it comes to healing and miracles.  I thought it might be more tricky than it is…

My own personal mantra is that ‘stuff’ happens, bad things happen to good people. Occasionally there are visibly tangible miraculous healings but I suspect that most of the time it is down to the health service backed up with the positive attitude of those who have a deep belief in the love and power of Jesus.

The temptation is to be a bit like the bloke dangling from a cliff shouting to God for help.

When God tells him to let go and trust in him he yells, “Is there anybody else up there?”

The staff at the Mermaid Centre at Treliske were wonderful, and we are thankful that we have the wonderful NHS and don’t have to worry of we have medical insurance that will actually cover us as one continually reads in the USA.

So thank you Lord for the NHS, the Mermaid Centre and the staff who work there- the surgeons, nurses admin and cleaning teams and of course the ‘Friends’ who make tea for worried patients and their supporters.   

Being a stoically practical person who never stops, my wife has a list of things to complete before May 31st so the next couple of weeks I have my orders helping complete her list of tasks before surgery. The biggest task is  preparing for the big annual Arts festival at St Andrews in June- this year the theme is “Looking up” so we have Aerial Dance theatre Yskynna performing – suspended above the pews! The upshot for me is missing Reader Day but priorities lie here and I shall be thinking about those who go and I shall be praying for them.


If you want a copy of my prayer list to join me in my daily thoughts- just ask. If you think you or someone else should be on it…. Ask that too.

So there we all were for Sunday lunch discussing who was to blame for the sinking of the Titanic with the four grandchildren. Not quite as random as you might think because Jonah had been doing the Titanic for a school project and that had been the subject for debate. 

So was it the designer, the owner or the captain? 

Ellie, aged 9, muses, “perhaps it was God that sunk the Titanic…”

we look quizzically in her direction.

“Well God might have been cross with some people on board.”

Eyebrows are raised from the adults…

“Think about Noah’s Ark…”

The looks on our faces convey the general feeling that all on the ark were saved..

“Look…” says Ellie “God, he or she…. let’s just say she shall we – killed everyone else who wasn’t on the ark.”


Lent and Easter Personal Reflection

I began this blog on Holy Saturday – -the Carn Brea Cross empty on the hillside – stark white fibreglass against the rocks and the heather reflecting the empty wooden cross of two millennia past.  It is amazing how many people you see making their way up to it and around it and how many people ask about it and complain if it does not go up!

Lent this year has been a difficult trudge with a chesty cough lingering through the weeks, the sort of thing, that always leads me to a state of morose melancholy. The latter, seems a good excuse for munching biscuits and eating extra helpings of pudding on at the basis that, if I feel miserable, I deserve physical comforts to make up for it! It of course ignores the fact that it is lent and that I should be persevering and focusing on things spiritual.

Then of course I feel more miserable when I realise I have put on half a stone and feel fat and unfit – if not actually ill.

I think the lowest point mood-wise was probably after a ministry team meeting discussing the Easter Sunday gospel which is surprising since it was the essence of the good news but there is no accounting for man-flu moodiness!

Tuesday afternoon was rescued by a quite entertaining committee meeting about Bishop Philpott’s library. Alan Bashforth and Roger Bush on top form lending humour to an otherwise unremarkable, if important agenda.  There will be more news on the library in the future with details of access.

On Maundy Thursday I went to the Chrism mass at the cathedral where I had been asked to read the second lesson which I was delighted and very privileged to do. The Old Testament reader, Dr Michael Todd, is a worship leader amongst his many other jobs. I didn’t robe, which was fine by me although Michael and I did feel a little out of place surrounded by all those white albs in our little corner by the pillar.

 It was lovely that there was a bit in the service where those in lay ministry could reaffirm their promises – but it did cross my mind that it would have been even ‘nicer’ if the ranks of robed readers had also been there to make their re-commitment alongside Bishops and other clergy.  I know we have the Readers’ service in October but there is surely a growing feeling about the need to bring ministry closer together.  There is a tricky balance here about wanting to be closer to the clergy in terms of ministry and distinctive from Worship Leaders and Pastoral Ministers without upsetting someone!

Thursday evening was my favourite and possibly the only social event I enjoy at St Andrews in the whole year- the Annual Seder Meal – with lamb stew, crumble, fellowship, worship and foot (or hand) washing. Over the years we have done it in a variety of ways from the highly traditional to this rather more fellowship-based affair. The occasion is one where one feels very close to the disciples at the Last Supper. The stripping of the altar and the watch followed and with a puff of my inhaler I got through the dramatic gospel reading and long psalm before the quiet of the watch. 

Good Friday began with an early walk around the mine stacks to see if I thought I might be sound of wind enough to get up Carn Brea to assist with the erecting the Carn Brea Cross with my Baptist friends but a about of coughing and aching hips consigned me to the shorter and far less strenuous Walk of Witness in the town instead.  One small girl and her mother passed us, “what are they doing Mummy – what’s that?” Her mum glanced round; “Oh I don’t know!” she said and hurried on tugging her child away.

In the afternoon my wife’s ladies singing group at church, Dhiworth an Gollon (From the Heart) led the meditation with songs and readings. I was one of the three chaps volunteered to stand supporting the large cross in the middle of the circle which was quite poignant. The service was wonderfully thought-provoking as always. Fr Simon Cade when he was rector used to say that it was the one service in the year when he felt ministered unto – certainly it outlined just how a group of lay folks can put together really meaningful worship and challenge us all without having to give a sermon…. In fact there was no sermon slot at all. Rev Margaret one of our PTO priests took a few of us afterwards for a short service in which we consumed the last of the reserved sacrament. “Lord I am not worthy to receive you but only say the word and I shall be healed.”

Easter Sunday was Ok…..  I decided on a day of new beginnings – I would feel better! Did it work? Well time will tell.

Bank Holiday Monday- wrote an horrendous things to do list and began by making a service sheet for Beacon Methodists next Sunday – the resurrection appearances and Thomas – now there is somebody with whom I empathise. (Sorry Martin- than word again!) 

The End (ish)

In the meantime the quest to find a new Spiritual Director continues…… 

2019-05 Enneagram study day (1) Click for details

2019-10 Enneagram intro Click for details


To all on the Spiritual Direction Course 2016-2018:

A Happy Easter to everyone, and I hope that all goes well with you.

I enclose details of two Enneagram events which are part of the Epiphany House programme this year.  The first, on Friday 10th May (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), is for those who have done the basic Enneagram course ( the course I did with many of you) and looks at how the Enneagram can help us understand the Spiritual Journey.

The later course on Friday evening 25th October (7.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m.) and Saturday 26th October (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) is the basic introductory course on the Enneagram.  This may be of interest to any who didn’t do it last time, anyone who would like a refresher, and of course anyone else who might be interested.

As both these events are part of the Epiphany House programme booking and payment needs to be made through Epiphany House

If there are any questions about the above do get in touch with me.

Warm wishes and every blessing,



Celtic Spirituality and Spiritual Direction

The Highspot of recent weeks was the Spiritual Direction Training Day focussing on Celtic Spirituality with Canon Pat Robson.

The St Crida website is well worth browsing with details of quite days and pilgrimage activities.

I bought a copy of one of Pat’s books which is still avaialble on Amazon and worth a read! 

Pat’s talks were both fascinating and compelling though by the end of the day most of us were looking at St Mawgan in a new light – he who to the Roman name Pelagian and had a heresy named after him. We were pretty sympathetic!

Here’s a link to some of the letters of Pelagius to give you a taste.

The Wiki article is quite informative:

Christian Bookshop Cornwall – sad news that SACREdplace is closing down.

“We are very sad to announce that the Trustees have decided to close SACREdplace, as our financial situation is no longer tenable.  The intention is to remain open to the public until 17th May, with a stock clearance sale beginning on 30th April.”

15 High Cross Street St Austell Cornwall PL25 4AN  • Map – Phone: 01726 63945 

Contact: Kathy Pope or Carolyn Rowse 


SACREdplace have provided a bookstall at Readers Day events- the service will be missed by those who used it.

Elizabeth Rowe was inspired by the description of light through the stained glass windows in my story.

Beatrice Goodden painted this work drawing togther a number of themes from the opening worship including the roots of the Chaplain's Cross.

Beatrice says "Here is a photo of the painting I made today called ‘make clean our hearts within us’ "

Beatrice writes, "another image I began last year at the end of a retreat and am still working on "

Click to go to The Barnabus Fund Website

This morning at the Reader Training Day School, Matt Frost who is in his second year of training led a thought-provoking service of prayer for persecuted Christians. 

As you might expect the main focus was on Christians persecuted around the world and especially in highlighted trouble-spots. Matt concluded with a reading from a Tweet he received earlier  from the @BarnabusFund

His service sheet is below followed by my reflection and thoughts which went a little wider as my brain began to wander through the subject. 

A Service of Prayer for Persecuted Christians


The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. And also with you.

(from Isaiah 49) Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing!

For the Lord has comforted his people, and will have compassion on his suffering ones


Let us pray for the persecuted church, for their oppressors, for nations that foster persecution, and for those who ignore it.

Let us read the Holy Scriptures, finding there the stories and witness of hope borne by those who lived through ordeals to the glory of God, and hear the promises of the gospel for all who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.

In our prayer for persecuted Christians, let us not narrow our compassion for all who suffer, whatever their profession or creed; let no hatred or prejudice enter our hearts for anyone.

Called by the Holy Spirit to unity with the persecuted, let us enter into their suffering, repenting of our ignorance, refusing to be silent, ready to reach out to them in their isolation.


READING 1. Nothing Can Separate Us From God’s Love: Romans 8:31-39

Reader: We also recognise all the martyrs and persecuted Christians who have gone before us. Hear the account of the persecution and martyrdom the young woman Perpetua.

A violent persecution being set on foot by the emperor Severus, in 202 {AD}, it reached Africa the following year; when, by order of Minutius Timinianus, (or Firminianus,) five catechumens {new Christians being instructed in preparation for baptism} were apprehended {and jailed} at Carthage for the faith: {among them} Felicitas and Vibia Perpetua. Felicitas was seven months {pregnant}; and Perpetua had an infant at her breast, was of a good family, twenty-two years of age, and married to a person of quality in the city. The father of Perpetua, who was a pagan, {wanted her to offer sacrifice to “the well-being of the emperor.”} Perpetua, before her death, wrote: “We were in the hands of our persecutors, when my father, out of the affection he bore me, made new efforts to shake my resolution. I said to him: ‘Can that vessel, which you see, change its name?’ He said: ‘No.’ I replied: ‘Nor can I call myself any other than I am, that is to say, a Christian.'”

Perpetua and Felicitas and the others refused to offer sacrifice and they willingly accepted death in the amphitheater at the hands of gladiators and wild animals.

READING 2: A Vision of the Martyrs Blessing God Who Has Saved Them: Revelation 7:9-12

Reader: Listen to early Christian writers who mused on the meaning and significance of the suffering and martyrdom of their brothers and sisters.

Tertullian, a second-century lawyer who converted when he saw Christians singing as they went out to die, exclaimed, “The blood of the martyrs is seed. Their blood is the seed of new Christians, the seed of the church.”

The third-century bishop Cyprian said, “When persecution comes, God’s soldiers are put to the test, and heaven is open to martyrs. We have not enlisted in an army to think of peace and to decline battle, for we see that the Lord has taken first place in the conflict.”

Augustine wrote, “The martyrs were bound, jailed, scourged, racked, burned, rent, butchered and they multiplied!”

READING 3. The Beatitudes: Matthew 5:1-12

Reader: the daily prayer request from Barnabas Trust or other source.

We recognise that today who suffer for their faith and wish to stand with them and remember them in our prayers. EXCHANGE PRAYER FOR ICHTHYS FISH SYMBOL.

Final prayer:

Faithful One, you call us to pray for our brothers and sisters, who are part of the Church body that is under persecution. Humbly, we confess that we don? know how to pray for them. Lead us, Gracious Spirit, and we will follow. Holy and Just God, we call forth your light for those shut away in darkness for being called your disciples. We seek your strength for those weary with suffering because they name you as Lord. We ask courage for all who stand in danger due to their faith. And we pray comfort, Holy Spirit, for those who grieve the death of loved ones whose beliefs sent them to their graves. O God, as we cry out on their behalf, we stand with them in their suffering. We remember their pain. May they know they are not forgotten. We hold them now in silence before you.


In the name of Jesus we pray.



Marked with the sign of the cross in baptism we accept the freedom and power God gives to resist evil, injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves. We go forth in the freedom and power of the Holy Spirit to resist the evil and injustice inflicted on others, especially sisters and brothers in Christ. We pray for them. In one another’s company we find ways to act in love toward them. We are sent in Christ’s name.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us now and always.


As we were reminded  of the story  of Felicitas and Vibia, the two  well-to-do young women martyred at the hands of gladiators and wild animals for the entertainment of the populace  I asked myself,  “What would I do?” and “Would I be in denial like Peter at the fire – three times before the cock crowed?”

Probably I would side with self-preservation and would find myself a wonderful set of excuses as to why preserving my safety would be in the wider interests of the bigger picture or something of that nature.  But then I have never been in that situation.

I find it really difficult to really imagine those extremes.

In Church, of course, Christians do not persecute each other…….. Well they shouldn’t but safeguarding events tell us different story. Did you know that the diocese deals with dozens of safeguarding queries every month of different levels of severity?

At its lowest level it is about the transfer of power – someone making themselves feel better by making someone else feel worse. That needs exploring in a church context…

Hypothetical situations – not meant to refer to any real persons or situations:

    • The church warden, or wardens who ferment discontent among a congregation against someone else- perhaps the reader, the incumbent or a PCC member who might make a potential church warden in the future and therefore pose a threat. Visiting priests who have volunteered to cover a service can be excellent targets with the seeming end of their decision never to go back.
    • The incumbent who has a particular axe to grind, whether personal or theological and blocks someone else’s vocation by belittling them. This might be belittling the training they might do, belittling their skills, ability to learn  or usefulness.
    • The person in the congregation who ‘through love’ takes it upon themselves to correct what they think is the inappropriate behaviour of someone else. I am sure you can think of many examples of this but it might be to do with relationships, sexuality, the Bible version they use, their lack of volunteering to clean the brass and so on.
    • The teenager who ‘comes out’ as gay or lesbian and is either hounded out of the church, put through ‘conversion therapy’ but certainly has it made known that they are a sinner and ‘in love’ -of course are rejected.  
    • Those who cannot or refuse to appreciate that the Church of England is a wide church with a broad theological base and members are on a wide spectrum with extremes of churchmanship at both ends. Sometimes this can lead to folk feeling hugely troubled because they don’t put the candles in the right place, stand up at the wrong time, lift their hands, don’t lift their hands, pass the peace with a huge hug or cower at the end of a pew and so on.
    • I’m sure readers who get this far in my meanderings can think of many more examples of their own.

And all those are outside the main topics of safeguarding that we talk about in courses! 

Matt’s focus on the persecution of Christians around the world is something we need to keep in our thoughts and our prayers. Equally we must pray for Christians persecuted by ‘Christians’ or  one branch of Islam persecuted by another, and indeed persecution of all people of faith whether Jew or Hindu, Sikh  or buddhist.

Just perhaps we should focus a little more on love and acceptance and  let God take care of the judging!