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The freedom which Jesus gives to those with the famous parent syndrome.

“Church asks tourists to keep unholy racket under control.” This headline in today’s Times caught my attention – another grumpy vicar story, I thought. A colleague in arms. So the story unfolds: “Priests at one of England’s most visited parish churches have expressed concern over the unholy racket made by tourists who feel obliged to photograph everything they see.” And it’s a church I know. In fact, I married one of my daughters in this eminent edifice: “The University Church of St Mary the Virgin, in the heart of Oxford.” It seems that the hordes of tourists visiting this church were not behaving themselves, talking and taking photographs. And the vicar isn’t happy. Hardly a

When the glass ceiling is made of reinforced concrete

Today, 21st July, is my mother’s 100th birthday! At least it would have been had she not died in good heart and in Christ just five years ago. Like her mother before her, a strong and principled woman. It is to me a source of huge pride that in the 1950’s she was thrown out of the Mothers' Union of St Nicholas’ Blundellsands by the vicar himself no less. She refused to have me christened! Nevertheless the people of St John’s Waterloo made her very welcome and offered wonderful support in her closing years. She even hosted one of their weekly house groups. Her own mother – my grandmother, Edith Vaughan – was an active Methodist. I would have loved to have known her but sadly she di

Saying YES to Christ Church, the very phone box.

Some 25 years ago at this very hour, I would have been in bed in Rochdale. However, had I been awake I would have been thinking, even praying, about my interview later that morning for the position of vicar of Christ Church Aughton to be held in the home of one of the wardens in Prescot Road. (You need to remember that insignificant detail). This was the culmination of a process which had already taken several months out of my life. We had looked at quite a few churches and I had been interviewed for some of them. It had been a draining process. I was determined to move only where God wanted me to move. That’s saying the obvious, of course. But at the time there’s always the

Guilt – the gift that keeps on giving.

“I am a Catholic,” confessed Billy Connolly. “I have an A level in guilt.” Catholic guilt was very much the theme of the BBC1 drama series, “Broken,” which concluded its six part run this Tuesday. I didn’t expect much of this production, written by Jimmy McGovern, assuming it was going to be your usual Catholic-bashing exercise. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Now at this point, you may want to stop reading this blog. You have another 27 days to watch the series on BBC I-player. Hard-guy Sean Bean plays the main character, Father Michael Kerrigan, a deeply sensitive, careworn soul who does his best to serve his deprived working-class community single-handedly. It seems that Be

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