The feast of Saint John falls on the 27th December, just two days after Christmas. On the Sunday after Christmas, given that our church is dedicated to Saint John, we have our patronal festival. So, this week, I reflected on how times have changed since our church was built, and how we need to continue to change as a church as we look to the future. Here’s what I said.
This week we have celebrated two very important birthdays. 138 years ago this month the foundation stone of our church was laid. And a year later, on 27th December 1882, the new parish church of Saint John the Evangelist was consecrated – 137 years old last Friday. We are keeping the birthday today.
And how times have changed over the years for the Church – both for St John’s and for the Church of England as a whole. When St John’s was built a priest was a priest – because the whole idea of a priest being a woman just hadn’t crossed anyone’s mind. It was men that led the Church because that was how God had ordained it – so people thought.Continue reading
If you’ve had anything to do with children you’ve heard them say it. Whether as a parent or as a teacher, you know that one of their most frequently uttered phrases is, ‘It’s not fair!’
The issue may be the amount of food on plates, or turns with the ball, or bedtime, or possession of the best crayons, or any number of things, but the cry is still the same: ‘It’s not fair!’
And you find yourself dealing with it by either giving in, or by gritting your teeth and saying such ridiculous things like: Life’s not fair – get used to it!
Parents will be aware that the incidence of the phrase “It’s not fair” increases proportionally to the number of children in the family. At least, with three children, we seemed to get a lot of it. Let me give you an example. Continue reading
This last Sunday, as well as being the first Sunday of Christmas, was also the feast day of our patron, Saint John the Evangelist. I took as my theme the idea that culture and attitudes change over time but that Jesus never changes.
Today is, of course, a very important birthday. 134 years ago this month the foundation stone of our church was laid. And a year later, on 27th December 1882, the new parish church of Saint John the Evangelist was consecrated – 133 years old today.
And how times have changed over the years for the Church – both for St John’s and for the Church of England as a whole. We now have women bishops. We already, of course, have had women priests for much longer and that particular issue doesn’t really seem to most of us to be an issue at all, anymore. Yet even relatively recently such concepts would have baffled the people who sat in the pews at St John’s.
People’s expectations of what men and women could – and should – do, have changed so much since St. John’s was built. Let’s go back to the early days of Saint John’s, over a hundred and twenty years ago. A woman’s place was most definitely in the home, and not in the house of bishops. In 1895 the Isle of Man Times gave the following advice:
Don’t argue with your husband; do whatever he tells you and obey all his orders. Continue reading
Last Sunday we had the gospel reading about the rich man who comes to see Jesus and asks the question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Here’s what I said.
Down at the swimming pool John had learnt and practised all the arm and leg strokes he needed for swimming. His muscles were well toned and he had learned how to breath correctly in time with the strokes so he didn’t swallow any water. He knew all about how to get off to a flying start, how to turn quickly at the end of each length and how to pace himself. But he still didn’t seem to be making any progress. So one day John said to his swimming coach “I know all about these things but I still can’t swim. What’s going wrong?” The coach, took a deep breath and said, Continue reading