Vicar’s Blog April 2018

I was musing somewhere recently on the fact that this month begins with April Fools’ Day, when the tradition is, of course, to play a trick at someone else’s expense.  Apparently, this tradition has been going on for centuries in many countries, but no one seems to know how it started.  Some of us (the… Read more »

Vicar’s Blog March 2018

Brenda and I recently went to see “Guys and Dolls” at the Royal Exchange Theatre. For those not familiar with the musical, it’s set in the New York underworld of the 1920s and 30s (based on stories by Damon Runyon from that time). It was a terrific production – colourful costumes, a clever set, some… Read more »

Vicar’s Blog February 2018

Until the time comes (and I think it will eventually, at some point in the future) when we decide to fix the date of Easter, the various dates of Ash Wednesday, Easter, Ascension and Pentecost will all continue to move around.  As things stand now, the date of Ash Wednesday, from year to year, can… Read more »

Vicar’s Blog January 2018

A day or two ago (as at the time of writing – so late November) Archbishop John Sentamu appeared on the Andrew Marr Show on television.  No doubt many will have seen this. 10 years previously, on the same show, Sentamu had deliberately and publically cut up his dog collar in protest at the regime… Read more »

Vicar’s Blog December 2017

I recently came across a character called Angelus Silesius, who was a 17th century German mystic.  In fact he was rather more than that: he was also a Catholic priest, poet and physician.  He was born a Lutheran, but converted to Catholicism in 1653.  He’s evidently mostly remembered these days for his religious poetry, including… Read more »

Vicar’s Blog November 2017

People generally don’t like “stirrers” – the types who tend to stir up trouble for others, by highlighting differences of opinion, or inflaming tensions, or just gossiping.  But there are constructive “stirrers” as well – those we might in some contexts call “prophets”, the people who are prepared to raise uncomfortable questions and important ethical… Read more »

Vicar’s Blog September 2017

The news is rarely all good, or all bad.  Usually, it’s a mixture of both. Once upon a time, in the early years of the first millenium AD, a galley-ship was on the high seas.  The galley-slaves of this particular ship found that they had a priest among their number.  They asked for his guidance,… Read more »

Vicar’s Blog July 2017

Twice a year, students in the symphony orchestra at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester spend a dedicated week preparing for a major public concert, under the direction of a guest conductor brought in specially. On one of these occasions, the teenagers had been working intensively with an American conductor, and he’d achieved extraordinary things… Read more »

Vicar’s Blog May 2017

I’m writing this a couple of days after the death of Martin McGuinness, the one-time IRA Commander who went on to become an important part of the peace process in Northern Ireland and in due course a Deputy First Minister in the power-sharing government.  It was an extraordinary journey, and a remarkable transformation: from someone… Read more »

Vicar’s Blog April 2017

I read recently a shocking report of a woman who was deported from the UK, after losing her indefinite leave to remain. The authorities were widely, and in my view rightly, condemned for their lack of compassion. This woman, Irene, had first arrived in this country in 1988. Two years later she married her British… Read more »


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