Prayers for the Primates

Primates of the Anglican Communion gather next week at Canterbury, and they will I am sure be in your prayers as in mine – both for their very responsible work in role, and for themselves as beloved disciples of Christ.

A number of Primates have posted their personal reflections and I was struck by one from Archbishop Paul Kwong who is the primate of Hong Kong and chair of the Anglican Consultative Council.

The next Primates’ Meeting in October will be my fifth one as primate of Hong Kong. Each of the previous ones was unique. Some had designated themes and concerns. The last one was different. The concerns and challenges of respective provinces were submitted beforehand. The meetings are likened to a family gathering where the siblings are gathered together to discuss family business with having Archbishop of Canterbury, like the elder brother to serve as convener and chair.  Even though, at times, there were heated arguments and debates over some issues, what underpinned them was a deep love and concern for the Communion, our Anglican family.

For me, the best part of these Meetings is the time spent together in worship, prayers, reflections and the washing of each other’s feet. It demonstrates that we are one in Christ, committed in walking together, being for each other and for the whole Communion.

Thus, I look forward to attending the next meeting. As in 2016, primates have been asked to submit their provinces’ concerns and challenges to the meeting and we will prioritize and set the agenda together. And I look forward to praying and worshiping together with my fellow primates. In particular, I am excited to meet the new ones. I am equally excited to renew and strengthen my friendship with the existing ones too. There is a saying in the West, “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver, the other is gold.”

I look forward to meeting both the “silver” and the “gold” Primates in October.


Keeping the Feast of Lancelot Andrews

Lord God,

who gave to Lancelot Andrewes many gifts of your Holy Spirit,

making him a man of prayer and a pastor of your people:

perfect in us that which is lacking in your gifts,

of faith, to increase it,

of hope, to establish it,

of love, to kindle it,

that we may live in the light of your grace and glory;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.


Longstowe 800, and a glimpse into its history and where its dedication to St Mary might have come from

2017-09-24 09.42.442017-09-24 09.48.16

The people of Longstowe are celebrating 800 years of Christian community today, and I was delighted to be with them this morning for a special service, and to think with them about what has made their church special and makes its special still, the gateway to heaven not only as eternity but as the transformation of the world today.

Local historian Steve Owen put on a display about the history of the village and had just unearthed an entry in the Bishop’s Register (do we still keep them like this?) from 1387, and asked me to decipher it. image

It’s nice when my alter ego can come into play in the day job so the relevant first part reads:

Licencia ad celebrandum in capella beate Marie infra parochiam de Stowe

Item xvj die aprilis anno predicto apud Dytton dominus concessit licenciam domino Galfrido Pye Rectori ecclesie Stowe Eliensis diocesis per se et alios presbuteros ydonees celebrandi diuina in capella beate marie infra parochiam suam situata per vnum annum.

Licence to celebrate [the mass] in the chapel of the Blessed [Virgin] Mary within the parish of Stowe

Item, on the 16th April of the aforesaid year [1387] at [Fen] Ditton, the Lord [Bishop] granted a licence to master Geoffrey Pye, Rector of the the church of Stowe in the Diocese of Ely, for him and the other clergy of the same parish to celebrate the divine [service] in the chapel of the Blessed [Virgin] Mary situated within his parish, for one year.

The Bishop was Thomas Arundel. Fen Ditton was one the manors of the Bishops of Ely where they resided from time to time and from which official business might be conducted. The Register is a list of such legal business covering especially the granting of benefices and licences to clergy, and the licence in this case is permission to celebrate mass in a chapel within the grantee’s parish which would not normally benefit from such permission.

There is no indication where this subsidiary chapel was. Might it have been attached to St Mary’s Hospital nearby (which would shortly close and have its property taken over by the then Rector). And could the dedication of the chapel have become the dedication of the parish church (which has no dedication recorded before this) as part of this process?

Steve Owen makes the important point that whether this was the “chapel” involved or not, the need for one may have been driven by the building of the church tower which would seem to be from about this time.

Friends of Ely Cathedral Festival Evensong

Did you know that Solomon’s Temple in all its glory would have fitted neatly into the Lady Chapel at Ely Cathedral? Read on and find out more…

1 Kings 8.1-30

Can you imagine the scene? Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem has finally been finished, to the latest Phoenician specifications. There is glittering gold and precious metal everywhere, crowds of people are thronging in, highly coloured fabrics wow the eye, and clouds of incense fill the sanctuary.

Continue reading

A Thriller based in a Diocese of Ely Church! The Atwelle Confession – come and find out more

The Atwelle Confession
 It’s an open secret! For “Atwelle” read “Outwell”, the church in West Norfolk where some remarkable carved figures were recently revealed in the roof-space (which I climbed up into have a look for myself – see
Now American author Joel Gordonson has brought them to life in a detective thriller, published this week, in which two identical series of murders five hundred years apart time-shift together, and the “gargoyles” predict the sequence.
Joel is keen to support the real Outwell church, and is flying over to be at a BOOK LAUNCH in Outwell Church on Friday 20th October. The event will start at 7.00pm, with organ music and with an introduction from me, followed by a short piece from Dr Claire Daunton on the carvings (with images) and the latest research; then four readings from the novel interspersed with music from the two periods in which the novel is set (1532 and 2017) performed by instrumentalists and singers. The event will finish with food and drink and a raffle, and conclude be about 8.30pm. We are of course looking to fly some books over as well for you to buy, or you can order through the UK Amazon website at Do come and support this local church and have a good night out as well! All welcome.

Joel writes: “While the storyline and characters in this novel are fictional, the discovery of rare half demonic-half human wooden figures carved in the ceiling of the parish church of St. Clement is a true event. The carvings were “re-discovered” in 2012 by a good friend, a medieval historian from Cambridge, England, during her study of the unusual facets of the church in Outwell, Norfolk. BBC coverage of the discovery can be read here.

Told to me over dinner, her intriguing tale of unexpectedly peering through binoculars at something mysteriously unidentifiable in the dark ceiling of the church prompted my imagination and resulted in my rough outline of this book that same evening.

Later, during my research and writing of the manuscript, she generously shared with me her comprehensive knowledge of the numerous remarkable facets and the history of St. Clement’s, including an ancient will of the prominent Beaupre family from the village.

St. Clement’s is a unique collection of features and artifacts, especially for a church in a small village off the beaten path. Many of the descriptions in this book are taken from the diverse and fascinating aspects of the church. In addition to the carvings, the church houses an ancient wooden chest built with special compartments to hold important documents, an alms box with uncommon carving, monuments to influential families from the village, and a wonderfully worn spiral stone staircase leading to a porch and a parvis overlooking the nave.

The church is being lovingly restored and preserved, despite daunting obstacles, through the efforts of a dedicated group of parishioners who deserve admiration, thanks, and our support.

For information about the history of St. Clement’s, please visit their website.

You can watch this video about the current restoration of St.Clement’s.”

Engage Award winner: St James’ Church, Little Paxton

chOccasionally it takes something as dramatic as the falling masonry at Little Paxton to take an “engage” project on to the next step. The repair, using experienced architects, has meant the churchyard path can be re-opened to the public who can now continue to appreciate and use this wonderful recently re-developed building and again, this project has acted as a spring-board to the forthcoming Wall to Wall scheme to repoint the whoel church. The ‘pop-up’ tea room was a marvellous idea – well done for repairing this iconic building.