Paxtonvic’s Blog

Just another weblog

Bell casting at Taylors in Loughborough

Im feeling very excited about travelling to Loughborough tomorrow in Leicestershire to see the new Little Paxton Bell being cast. 25 of us from the parish are going ( numbers were restricted) and having seen a casting there before I can remember the fascination of looking down on the process from a viewing gallery.

Here is a description from Taylor’s web-site of the process of casting a bell:

The Mould

A new Taylor bell is cast from a mould which is painstakingly hand-crafted in two parts – the core which gives the inner profile of the bell and the case which gives the outer profile of the bell. The bell can be beautifully decorated and carry a commemorative inscription to customer’s requirements. The decoration, inscription and founders mark are carefully impressed into the case, thus producing the decoration on the outside surface of the bell. The core and case are then brought together, clamped and sealed to form the completed mould. The mould is placed in a sand pit with sand placed around it. The molten metal is degassed and properly alloyed before being poured into a header box on top of the mould. It is then allowed to flow under control to fill the space between the two parts of the mould.

Breaking Out

After a few days the casting is cool enough to be removed from the mould and is thoroughly wire brushed. The mould is destroyed in removing the bell casting which means every bell is unique.

I’ ve a feeling there will be a lot of us taking pictures of this historic event.

My visiting challenge goes on now into September. I have been to 325 homes – but there are still over 1,000 to do. Might finish by Christmas!

August 31, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thoughts on John Bunyan

John Bunyan

In our Common Worship Lectionary August 30this the day upon which  the great spiritual writer John Bunyan is remembered. He is perhaps most well known  for writing “ Pilgrim’s Progress”  centred on  a man  called Christian who met all sorts of people as he journeys towards heaven and ultimate peace with God.


When I was young I used to stay sometimes with my Nan and Granddad who lived next door to us in Bournemouth. I would sleep in a little box room with a row of old books on a shelf. One of the books which was there for more years than I can remember was Pilgrims Progress. Sometimes I would take it off the shelf and have a look- it had strange characters in it like Christian,   Mr Despondency, Mr Fearing, Old Atheist and Mr Valiant for truth’s  It looked a very dull book but let’s see what this 17th Century writer was all about – and if my early judgements were right.

Bunyan was born in 1628  in Elstow, a mile south of Bedford a few years before the English Civil War . His family was so poor that when his father died, John was left only one shilling and his Father’s  tinker’s anvil.

John  had little formal education. However, he learned to read and feasted on medieval romances in which valiant knights underwent great trials and conquered villains and monsters and goblins.

Ah ha – you might ask.  He didn’t by any chance write “ He who would valiant be gainst all disaster”  Yes he did. “ No foes shall stay his might. Though he with dragons fight. He will make good his right to be a pilgrim”  The song comes from Pilgrims Progress and are the words of the character “Mr Valiant –for-truth”

In youth he boasted a mouth so profane it shocked even wicked men. He loved to dance, bell-ring and lead Sunday sports, all considered totally improper by the Puritans of his day.  Although he attended church, it is said he had little religious feeling.

1642 Civil war broke out and Oliver Cromwell was in full flight. He asserted the values of English Puritans, was against the Church of England’s spirituality and practices and of course anti-royalist. He successfully removed many clergy who supported the royalty from their livings. He had Charles 1 executed 1649.

In 1644  the age of 16, John enlisted with the Parliamentary Army in  Newport Pagnall garrison but aged 19  he returned home and married his first wife.  He wrote at the time they were very poor, not owning so much as a spoon between them. When he was 22 their  much loved blind daughter Mary was born.

1653 at age of 25 joined a  local church in Bedford ,St Johns, a new baptist community and the  type of Christian congregations which Cromwell’s Puritanism supported.

It was at this time that  he had overheard four women speaking of their inner religious experience, and he realized he lacked something in his life. This church seemed to offer him what he was looking for.

In 1655 John and  family moved to Bedford, his first wife died and he was publicly recognized as a preacher. He began to write books and in 1659 married his second wife Elizabeth.

Reading Martins Luther’s commentary on Paul’s letter to the Galatians had a profound effect on him. He realized he could be justified by faith alone. Bunyan felt compelled to tell others of faith in Christ and he began his field preaching – open air preaching. So effective were his words, people would arrive at dawn to hear him preach at noon.

Troubles beset John Bunyan when Charles 11 was restored to the throne in 1660.

Open air preaching reaching was forbidden in an attempt to restrain the growth of Independent Congregations which had grown up in Cromwells time – and to prevent any groups stirring up revolution following the turbulent times of Cromwells rule.

For this reason, John was careful never to side with any political faction in his teachings. All the same John was seized and placed in Bedford prison. He was charged with “devilishly and perniciously abstaining from coming to Church to hear Divine Service, and for being a common upholder of several unlawful meetings and conventicles, to the great disturbance and distraction of the good subjects of this kingdom, contrary to the laws of our sovereign lord and king.”

To go free, all John Bunyan had to do was make one promise. He must agree not to preach publicly anymore. Bunyan’s reply: “If I was out of prison today, I would preach the gospel again tomorrow by the help of God.”

Without a hearing or witnesses, the judge sentenced John to three months in prison in very harsh conditions.

He was not home to care for his children, including his blind daughter, Mary, whom he dearly loved. To support them, Bunyan made thousands of long, tagged shoelaces which he sold. Church members helped the Bunyans, too.

At the end of three months, John was offered freedom on condition he no longer preached. Again he refused. The months turned to years. All in all he spent twelve years in prison. Fortunately, a sympathetic jailer let John secretly slip off to meetings.  Once he even let John go to London, but when his job was threatened, he forbade him to so much as peek out the jail door anymore.

During his time in prison John was cheerful, believing he suffered for Christ. He had true freedom, he said. In prison he could read the Bible, preach and sing hymns with no one to stop him. He was also allowed to write. In jail he completed many of his sixty books, including the best known:  The Pilgrim’s Progress.

When he was eventually released Bunyan returned to preaching. By now the authorities realized he was concerned only with the Kingdom of God. They jailed him again for six months in 1675, but otherwise he remained free until he died at sixty years of age.

In 1678 Pilgrims Progress was published for the first time and became an immediate hit – making a deep impact on thousands of people.

It is one of most widely read books, translated into 200 languages.

The book recounts the journey of a young man called Christian, from the time of his spiritual awakening and sense of sin, his conversion to Christ and journey to the Celestial City – and the challenges and temptations he meets on the way.  Despite its overt religious overtone, it is told in a simple language that appeals to a wide audience, Christian and otherwise.

For a century or more English speaking Christians only knew two books – the bible and pilgrims progress.

One of the unforgettable images from The Pilgrim’s Progress is the heavy load that the Christian Pilgrim always carried around on his back. This crushing load was his sin which rolled away when he came to the cross of Christ.

His critics might say that he was a product of his Puritan culture and had a unnatural obsession with sin and  guilt – even that  he preferred to be in prison so that he couldn’t be tempted.

Certainly ,As Pilgrims Progress shows us, he is writing from his own deep experience of faith and his longing to be freed by God from all that bound him in darkness and sin.

Bunyan was convinced with every fibre of his being that nothing would deflect him from being a Christian Pilgrim and reaching heaven. “ There’s no discouragement, shall make him once relent. His first avowed intent to be a pilgrim”.

One of the greatest gifts we may gain from him is the assurance that whatever may weigh us down or  trouble us, God is always there ready to forgive and forget. That God is on our journey with us who ever and whatever we may encounter – and will be there with us right up to and beyond the time when we finally travel on into his presence.

August 31, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Commitment and the cross – Matthew 16 v 21-end

Ordinary 22 Year A

Trinity 10.

Matthew 16 v 21-end.

There was once a pig and a hen and realising it was shortly to be the farmers birthdaydecided to give hima  surprise. But what could it be? I know said the pig, we shall give him a shiny new tractor. But no, they decided they couldnt afford it. I know said the hen, we shall give him a brand new pair of boots. But no, they decided they couldnt afford it. What about a bottle of beer – or two said the pig – but no, even that was  expensive.

Then the hen exclaimed  – I know, we shall give him a lovely tasty breakfast. I shall provide the eggs and you pig can provide the bacon.

And the pig was seen no more……


Commitment is a long word – hard to spell and even harder sometimes to keep the commitments that we make. Commitments come in all shapes and sizes.

We might make a commitment to a loved person in a formal relationship such as marriage.  In marriage a couple make some rather awesome promises to love and to cherish, in sickness and in health, in sorrow and in joy for better for worse for richer and for poorer. I never fail to be moved by the sincerity with which these promises are invariably made at a church wedding.

Many people I have been meeting these weeks have made a commitment to look after a relative at home be they younger or older  and who for whatever reason need special care.

Many people make commitments often a little later in life to look after grandchildren whilst their own children are at work – there is huge army of grandparents out there looking after their grandchildren for many hours in the week – where would the nation be without them?


We may make a commitment to a profession or organization – when a priest takes

ordination vows they are a life long commitment to serve God and the church with the grace, the help of God sustaining those promises.

Many people give years of their skills, talents and loyalty to working for a particular firm, in a profession or trade and the bravery and commitment for instance of those serving in our armed forces or in the emergency services deserves our greatest respect.


We might make smaller commitments each day whether to ourselves ” I will leave that box of chocolates alone!” – or to someone who is reliant on us to carry out a task. The world around us wouldn’t function at all well if we didn’t keep out commitments.

Even children are encouraged of course to keep the promises they make – quite moving when the uniform groups renew their vows each year in church on St George’s day.

Scout promise.

On my honour I promise that I will do my best—
To do my duty to God and the King (or to God and my Country)
To help other people at all times and
To obey the Scout Law.


I’m sure you can all think of people who have made extraordinary commitments to help others. I have a colleague on the Governing Body of GP school who is undertaking to swim across the channel in September in aid of the Charity which does research into Parkinsons Disease. He is training every weekend and is determined to reach his target.

Our church community here is made up of you and me and together we made a commitment to repair the building and make its future more certain for generations to come. The commitment of so many of you is admirable and again please be assured of the appreciation of  village people for what you are all doing. Bells keep alive the rumour of God – so does an active and caring church community.

With every commitment there is a promise and with every promise there is
hope that the commitment will be kept. With each kept commitment trust is built. A commitment, when kept,  raises our self-esteem and allows others to more deeply trust and respect us. Ultimately, there is hope that life will be better because of the commitment.

The commitments we choose to make, define us as unique individuals. Commitments communicate loudly to the world that certain things/people/values, etc. are important to us. Our ability to make and keep commitments is a key factor in our capacity to function, in the world, as mature adults.

I never cease to wonder at the courage of   people who 2,000 years ago made a life long commitment to Christ, a commitment which often led to their own deaths. With the possible exception of St John – the beloved disciple recorded in St Johns Gospel – all the rest of his disciples  met with martyrdom and persecution. Countless numbers of early followers of Christ literally lost their lives following him in waves of persecution carried out by the Romans. Those of you who come to Wednesday  morning communion services will often hear about a saint who gave their life  in service to Christ

Then there were the  followers of Christ  in the early centuries of the faith  who gave up their lives to follow him completely creating religious communities.

Take some of the earliest Christian people in England – on the Island of Lindisfarne c 300 miles from here on the coast of Northumbria. It’s a place I love deeply and have visited on several occasions.


Sunset on Lindisfarne

 St Aidanwas an Irish monk from the monastery of St Columba in Iona and in AD 635 he and 12 other monks, at the invitation of King Oswald, settled on the island. They established an Irish-type monastry of wooden buildings and here the monks led a life of prayer, study and austerity.


From Lindisfarne , they went out on their mission. Aidan’s simple missionary method was to walk the lanes, talk to the people he met and interest them in the faith when he could. His monks visited and revisited the places where he sowed the seeds and in time local Christian communities were set up.  One story tells that the king, worried that Aidan would walk like a peasant, gave him a horse. But Aidan gave it away to a beggar. He wanted to walk, to be on the same level as the people he met.


Aidan ensured his efforts did not die with himself and his monks so he taught young Christian boys the practical work of being monks, priests and missionaries. Irish monks were very keen on Christian education which required the new skills of book-learning, reading and writing Latin. The essentials to be learnt were the 150 psalms and the four gospels. These novices gradually took on the mantel which Aidan passed on to them

After 16 years as bishop on Lindisfarne, Aidan died at Bamburgh in AD 651AD. What he had achieved might not have been clear to him at the time. Bur subsequent history showed the strong foundation and lasting success of his commitment to mission.  The missionaries at his school went out and worked for the conversion of much of Anglo-Saxon England.  Neither did Aidan just train men for the church. He discovered Hilda who was to become the most famous abbess of her day – Abbess of Whitby who herself trained 5 men to become bishops.


Another great Saint of Lindisfarne  is Cuthbert, a man  whose calling was to lead an essentially hermetical life on islands off the shores of Lindisfarne in prayer and contemplation.  He was a shepherd boy from  Scotland who reluctantly became a Bishop of Lindisfarne despite a preference to remain in prayer on Farne Island.  Many legends and mircales attached themselves to the life of the saint not least recounted by the Venerable Bede who wrote about these early Christain saints with much passion and sincerity in his Ecclesiastical History of Engalnd. It was in honour of St Cuthbert that subsequent monks of Lindisfarne produced the exquisite  Lindisfarne gospels.


I found the peace and beauty of Lindisfarne breathtaking and whenever I am there go  back in time, imagining  these devout and Holy people, infused by faith in God The Father, Son and Holy Spirit  giving  their lives over completely to him. Their daily routine  unpinned by the  pattern of monastic offices, their lives in tune   with the  changing seasons and tides all around them.  Who knows whether to these ancient Christian people, this life style was a cross to bear or a sheer joy to follow?  Their lives cannot have been easy either physically or emotionally. Yet from the little we can glean from them they were utterly devoted to their calling, prepared to endure the hardships there must have been to follow their Lord Jesus Christ, living in community and spreading their faith by example and care.


In the gospel reading, we meet St Peter again, living 600 years before these early monks of Lindisfarne, with his fire and determination – getting it wrong again! Jesus had just praise Peter for getting it right that he was The Messiah, the Son of God. But then, as Jesus begins to tell  his disciples that he must suffer and be killed – Peter objects and tries to dissuade him from talking in such a way. “ Come on, don’t talk like this “ we can hear him saying, “ Don’t be so negative – think positive”


But Jesus drops on him like a ton of bricks – and from praising him for recognizing his divinity, he chastises him very sharply “ Get behind me, Satan!”


Peter might well have been knocked back by Jesus’ rebuke. But then at times Jesus didn’t mince his words. His love could be a very tough love. It wasn’t sentimental but single-minded, unflinching and selfless.   He was so in tune with God that nothing else mattered but the truth. The truth was that Jesus had to walk forward towards the darkness of crucifixion where he even found himself witha  sense of being forsaken by  God.


But Jesus could see it through to the end because he had the deepest of convictions that  crucifixion was followed by resurrection. “ On the third day I  shall be raised” he said to Peter. Peter couldn’t  really take that bit on board.


The holy men of Lindisfarne could only have lived their lives the way they did and walked miles and miles sharing Jesus’ love if they knew deep down that all that they did and all that they were was rooted in Gods love. That any hardship they had to bear, any danger, any risk could be faced because ultimately God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit encircled them in Love.


Our lives are so vastly different to that of these early Christian saints outwardly. Yet whatever our setting and place in life – the same depth of faith and conviction of Gods love encircling us can be ours. The same faith that whatever may  happen to us and our loved ones, Gods arms are there to hold and sustain us. That in Gods love and power we can be enabled to go out into the world to share the good news of the gospel in what we do and in what we say – on the same level as other people, giving and receiving in return.


August 27, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Stats, St Aidan and a poem by Rilke

At last Ive passed the 300 barrier in my visiting challenge – 300 doors knocked on thus far in Little Paxton ( though not every one in – lots are) Still not sure quite how many homes  there are here… maybe c 1,500. So, thats 1/5th approached thus far.

I like this little piece about St Aidan of Lindisfarne that Ive come across tonight:

 St Aidan.was an Irish monk from the monastery of St Columba in Iona and in AD 635 he and 12 other monks, at the invitation of King Oswald, settled on the island. They established an Irish-type monastry of wooden buildings and here the monks led a life of prayer, study and austerity.

 From Lindisfarne , they went out on their mission. Aidan’s simple missionary method was to walk the lanes, talk to the people he met and interest them in the faith when he could. His monks visited and revisited the places where he sowed the seeds and in time local Christian communities were set up.  One story tells that the king, worried that Aidan would walk like a peasant, gave him a horse. But Aidan gave it away to a beggar. He wanted to walk, to be on the same level as the people he met.

Certainly, no horses for me – though due to the persistant rain I used the car a bit today.

I also found this poem by Maria Rilke….I hope readers may find it helpful:

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going.  No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousnes.

Give me your hand.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~

(Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy)

August 26, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The perks of visiting

A jar of damson jam

A lesson about sumptuous koi carp

two bags of plums

a jar of honey

being educated about the history of our village

sitting in cool conservatories eating shortbread

an early evening sherry with New Zealand cheese

honest tales of life and faith

much  needed donations towards our church fabric projects

a car load of hard back books and bric-a-brac for our ” More Tea Vicar” afternoon on September 10th

Slightly fitter frame and useful weight loss

naughty lemon cake

who knows what tomorrow might bring?


August 25, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Still knocking on….

Here I am still knocking on doors ( or ringing  bells ) and well into my fourth week of the ” More Tea Vicar” challenge.

Im really liking it and although I wont be able to get round the whole village by August 31st….. I shall just keep going until Ive finished.

So far Ive approached 281 doors – thats just under 1/5th of the village. Not everyone has been in but a lot of people have been and Ive had some fascinating conversations. Glad that everyone Ive talked to so far is very suspportive of our projects to rehang the bells and re-order the interior of the church…… and Ive been also very heartened by some very generous donations  to our CHUFT ( church for tomorrow) project.

Meanwhile,  Maurice and Jamie who were up working in the tower today found an old wooden spoon buried beneath some tower masonry. Maurice wondered if it dates back to the Tudor era…

Full of woodworm ( hopefully Tudor woodworm) and character – I wonder who last ate a meal with it? There  was also a fragment of a clay pipe.

Holes are being made in the interior tower wall to take the new ring beams which I believe strengthen the tower in readiness for the new bell frame.

Also good to hear that our new bell is being cast at Taylors in Loughborough on September 1st and there will be a party of us going to view this historic event.

The bell will have the Latin words ” Pax Vobiscum” on it meaning ” Peace Be With You”.

August 24, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

” Who do you think you are” ? Thoughts on Matthew 16 v 13-20

Matthew 16 v 13-20

” But what about you? ” Jesus asked ” Who do you say that I am?”

Some of you may have been watching the new TV series of “ Who do you think you are”. If you aren’t familiar with it, the BBC take a celebrity and undertakes research on their behalf to reveal who their forebears were.  I’ve read that each celebrity  needs to have a fair amount of interest in their background in order to be suitable for the show. If their ancestors were all agricultural labourers  and domestic servants with no especial scandal, bravery or unusual circumstances  attached to them then  the individual’s past wouldn’t see the  light of day.

I find it a fascinating programme to watch and the stars of the show often  seem genuinely moved by many of the things they find out. How exciting it would be to have BBC researchers do all the work for you and wisk you round the country – or fly you around the world to see where your ancestors came from.

The title of the programme is interesting “ Who do you think you are” suggesting that if you know where you come from, you know a little better who you are now. That our identity is forged by our past to some extent and if we can understand why we are as we are then that self knowledge can help us to grow into the people we are meant to be.

Knocking on doors these past three weeks I have met a lot of people I had never come across before. To say it is a challenge is putting it mildly. I  ring or knock and have no idea in most cases who will answer and how they may greet me.  I realized early on that I needed to carry not just an umbrella but some degree of self confidence because if there is a rejection or cold response it’s important for me not to take it personally.

In a way I am representing the church when I knock on the door and that too is a big responsibility. How I am with people might just change the opinion someone has about church and even the Christian faith. If I thought about that for too long it would all feel very daunting. Maybe half of the people I’ve approached have invited me. I think I have been surprised by that. A visit can typically take up to an hour.

Hence my plan to get round the whole village in August quickly evaporated. Once inside someone’s home there is a process going on of the host sizing me up in the few minutes I’m with them and conversely me  picking up something of what the person or persons are like who invited me in.

Many interviews I’m pleased to say are very pleasant and it is a real privilege to be invited into someone’s space for a while and for them to share a little of what is going on in their lives. Money worries, the state of the country, the expansion of the village, the work we are doing in church, personal stories  not least about children and grandchildren and some reminiscing of what has happened in our church here in the past are just some of the topics that come up.

Some people are very  friendly from the outset and the tea is brewing before I’ve sat down. Others are more cautious but  warm to me after a while. Sometimes I don’t get past the doorstep and leave after a polite handshake. I shall continue with the challenge and hopefully keep going until every home has at least been approached – even if there isn’t anyone at home. I often come away  feeling that I know the people there quite well even after a short visit. Others I feel that there wasn’t much real connection.

The whole exercise has  for me been to do with getting to know who the people are that make up Little Paxton village.  The people who receive our regular flyers about our church events. The people who we pray for when we pray each Sunday for our neighbours.

The people for whom this church  exists – as we are a parish church and I am the Vicar with the cure of Souls available for all the people of the parish. As a congregation we all have the responsibility of assisting me in that task as so many of you do day in day out with unflagging zeal. It is easier to stay in our comfort zone and only reach out to the people we know or who approach us. I hope and pray that this initiative will commend our church life in a positive way to our whole community and even bring some people nearer to an awareness of God’s love  in their lives.

I am learning a lot about myself in this exercise and realizing how hard it can be to approach the stranger and if only in a small way find out who they think they are,  and what matters to them in life.  There are many people who say to me “ I am a Christian” but don’t go to church often in an apologetic way.

I think for many, there is a disconnect  between having some sort of faith and thinking that church going may be a safe and meaningful experience for them.  Early on in the adventure, someone was quite rude to me and I almost felt like quitting but fortunately the next visit went very well.  I have to learn not to be upset by how people may react to me and to have an inner sense of belief that what I’m doing is essentially good and constructive. I’ve leant too that I can’t say no to having tea…. and have drunk more in these last days than in the rest of my life!

I’ve been reflecting these past few weeks that it is so easy to think of other people as somehow very different to us, even alien. I’ve been aware of my reactions to the riots in London and other UK cities last week. TV interviews with victims of the looting in London variously described the offenders as criminals, even feral rats. The ensuing processes of the law have locked up huge numbers of them and our prisons  now house the greatest number of inmates ever. Its as if  this large mass of undesirable people have  to be locked away to be punished  and held up as a deterent to others even if their crimes wouldn’t normally deserve a custodial sentence.

I am struggling a great deal with this response, wondering how any sort of restorative work can be done with these people in overcrowded cells. It’s a political debate raging away at the moment. Behind it all are individuals many of whom have badly lost their way in life  and  seem to be disconnected with ordinary decent values and behaviour.  Many probably have little sense of self worth and regard for themselves or for others and their property.

We can only hope and pray that somewhere somehow there are sufficient  resources to help  these men and women   restore purpose and dignity to their lives and their families. They are Gods children as much as we are who live in nice comfortable circumstances. Many have probably never been asked by someone who cares “ Who do you think you are – what would you like to become?”

This question “ Who do you think you are” was one that seemed to matter a great deal to Jesus.  Infact he asks his disciples outright when the band of travelers came to Caesarea Philippi “ Who do you say I am?”

It is Simon Peter who replies: You are the Christ the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.”

On account of this hugely significant admission, Jesus goes on to give Peter a preeminent role in what will be the new movement of followers of Christ  -the Christian Church.

He calls him by the name Peter – meaning rock and says that upon that rock he will build his church. So despite Peter’s lack of faith at times and even going on to deny Jesus, Jesus defines what Peter’s role is to be and to a large extent his character.

So today as we read about Peter’s confession of who Jesus is  and we are invited to ask for ourselves “ Who is Jesus for us?”. When he knocks on the door of our lives, how do we respond? Is there a warm welcome and an invitation to him to come into our busy day and sit with us for a while? Is there a cursory polite hand shake but ultimately no real  connection with him? In the Book of Revelation Chapter 3  there are some powerful words of Jesus received by the author in a vision “  Behold I stand at the door and knock”


How do we feel when we hear that call from Jesus?

I know in myself that how I respond to his call defines the sort of person I become. If I want to know who I am it helps me to answer that by asking “Who do I think Jesus is, the Son of The Living God? What is he trying to say to me? What does he want me to do?”

Ultimately following St Pauls writing we can say that our aim is to live in Christ and for Christ to be living in us. He dwells in us and our prayer is that we become more like him day by day.

Who are we? We are each of us precious children of God, made in his image, living in his love and by his grace. Together making one body, Christ body here on earth, each with our own gifts and talents and unique personalities. What a privilege it is to have as one of our tasks the opportunity to meet with other people and be channels of Gods love and peace and make connections with our neighbours.

We finish worship each week with “ Let us go in peace to love and to serve the Lord”

May God give us all the strength and courage and resources to do that day by day.


August 20, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Seeing things in a new way

Here is one of Baker of Danbury’s workmen nearly at the top of St James tower a few days ago. They are hauling heavy beams through a window into the tower.

Much of their work these last few days has been repairing and strengthening the old historic bell frame which will hold the bell which will be the clock striking bell. Life must feel very different from such a height. Thanks to Peter for the picture.

So far I have rung or kncoked on nearly 200 doors in Little Paxton and as I meet more and more people in the village it changes how I feel about being here in a good way. Usually I drive past closed doors but seeing who lives in our roads makes the village come alive in a special way. I am very grateful for the warm welcomes I have received…. and Ive only 1,300 houses to go!

August 18, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Early morning thoughts

Got into a bit of a pattern of waking up at 5am and taking a sleep break with some ryvita, hot water and e-mails. Its so quiet and calm at 5am and little chance of the phone ringing. Thankfully I usually get right back to sleep and feel fine in the morning.

Just found a quote from somone who tweets thus:

“the greatest tragedy for the church of our time is that we have kept our pews but we have lost our children”

That  makes so much  sense for me and Im so grateful so far in my visiting that no-one has been unpleasant about our non architecturally  significant late Victorian pews coming out to make way for flexible space and hand made carved oak chairs which can be moved if needed to make room for childrens work. Fingers corssed for some more successful grant applications that will mean soon after Phase 1 has finished at Little Paxton Church ( everything to do with the tower) we can start phase 2 early in the new year – the re-0rdering inside.

Back to bed now… good night!

August 16, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

More Tea Vicar?

Well, this afternoon I had two lovely visits to families… and the last one wasnt strictly ” More Tea Vicar ?” it was – would you like some red wine? I dont usually drink at all, but I did accept the gracious offer … very tasty it was too and it helped the conversation flow no end!

But as from tomorrow – its strictly tea…

August 13, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment