Alexa, are you related to HAL?

ALEXA, write my blog. If only. But now, thanks to the CofE digital publishing team, I can ask ALEXA to lead me in prayer or even answer some fairly basic questions about God. Impressive but for some reason, ALEXA has locked me out. She is ignoring me. She’s here on the desk alongside me, my Amazon Echo virtual assistant which (?who) uses voice recognition to respond to my every request. Except she doesn’t’. I’ll have another go: Alexa, open the Church of England. Her reply: “Sorry, I don’t know that one.” Again. Alexa, open the Church of England please. “Mmm, I don’t know that one.” So my next question has to be: Alexa, are you related to HAL? I am amazed by her respons

Cynicism is trying to make people as unhappy as you are. (Ricky Gervais)

“Good. It's going to need careful training, the commander-in-chief wants a special squadron formed. it'll be best if you formed it yourself.” So Wing Commander Guy Gibson at the remarkably young age of 24 is tasked to lead Operation Chastise, better known to us as the Dam Busters Raid. Last night on the 75thanniversary of this amazing operation Jacqui and I went to the Plaza community cinema in Waterloo for a special showing of Michael Anderson’s classic 1955 film, now gloriously remastered in 4K which even enhanced the special effects. As a bonus we were treated to a simulcast of the gala evening at the Royal Albert Hall to mark not just the raid itself but the making of this iconic

Past put behind us, for the future take us

It’s November 1974 and a new house group of St Margaret’s Durham meets for the first time. As it happens most of us don’t know each other and so we begin with an ice breaker: “What do you thank God for?” To begin with, all fairly routine: my family, my friends, my football club, the usual. And then it was Jan’s turn. Jan thanked God for Bob, her wonderful husband. Fair enough – but then she began to elaborate. She shared with us Bob’s astonishing attentiveness, his perfect patience, his amazing abilities. Clearly this man was a truly remarkable husband. Some of us started to feel uncomfortable as we were clearly far short of meeting his superior standards. Then someone as

God's glorious future, we can scarcely imagine .

So my last blog as vicar of Christ Church, Aughton - I formally retire this coming Tuesday. However, to quote Fran Lebowitz, "You're only as good as your last haircut." So this better be a good one! I never planned to do a blog. Like many innovative ministries, it just happened. Often this is how the Holy Spirit works, in our peripheral vision. Sometimes, where we least expect. It started slowly as I began to see the potential of the internet. I recall John Shaw some 20 years ago advising me to sign up for email. At the time I just couldn't see the point: it seemed just a variant of using fax. But I always trust John's judgment - and so I signed up to LineOne, having no idea that this


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