Thursday, June 22, 2017

Encounter with the bull

Thursday 22nd June 2017
Mum, the bull's coming

What's in the bucket?

Very nice, thank you

What do we do now?

Mummy, give me a cuddle

It's all right, dear, all over.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Waiting for Christmas!

Monday 19th June 2017

The chainsaw sculptures of Mary and Joseph stand in the blazing midsummer sun whilst we prepare for the intervening events like a re-dedication of a restored church building and the Church's stand at the summer Show.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Cathedral Messy Church

Saturday 17th June 2017
On the coach going to Newcastle...

 ...where we caught the bishop playing football skittles,
modelled people out of sticky building noodles

and discussed baptism with Canon Clare McLaren at the font.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Nanny in the nursery

Wednesday 14th June 2017
One cow looks after all the calves to give the other mothers some time off.  I'm driving around trying to organise a family coach trip to "Messy Church" in the Cathedral  --  which will offer some respite to them!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

"St Aidan's Way"

Tuesday 13th June 2017
On the way from Greenhaugh First School to Thorneyburn as a "St Aidan's Way" pilgrimage
Telling us about the height of the snowdrifts on the way to school in 1963

The ruins of the old water mill just above...

...Low Linn

Sharing a picnic of bread...

...and grapes,
as we hear about St Aidan's teaching the Northumbrians about Jesus and His Last Supper with the disciples when they shared bread and wine.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Family Fair

Saturday 3rd June 2017
A successful fair,

a happy atmosphere

and the hard work was worth it.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Getting ready for the Fair

Thursday 1st June 2017

If you  switch to and fro between these two pictures, you can see the Browns getting the Rectory garden at Bellingham ready for Saturday's Family Fair!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Candescent May

Saturday 27th May 2017


Friday 26th May 2017
It was one of those days with pressure of time which may be difficult for other people to imagine.  Get up, take the dog out, drive to the fell to check the horse and give her a morning feed, come back to my own breakfast and be in church in time for Morning Prayer at 8 o'clock.
Then dress in hiking gear before driving the five miles to Greenhaugh School for a 9 o'clock assembly on pilgrimage, telling them a little about St Cuthbert's Way and preparing them for their own local "St Aidan's pilgrimage" next month.
     Drive to Thorneyburn and change in St Aidan's vestry into more formal dress (black cassock and proper shoes) ready to conduct a funeral, which was attended by 120 people, and then the burial.
     I can't remember what happened next; but people always get the impression that the clergy only exist when they are visible  --  rather like people's sceptical impression of God!  

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Ascension Day

Thursday 26th May 2017
The distinctive tower of the Cathedral church of St Nicholas (from the Tyne railway bridge) where I attended the Sung Eucharist for Ascension Day

Saturday, May 20, 2017

after St Cuthbert's Way

Saturday 20th May 2017

 Six days of walking St Cuthbert's Way from Melrose... Lindisfarne...

...via the wilds of the borders...
...have left me busily catching up.  Today there have been Christian Aid envelope collecting, school governors' business, wedding and baptism preparation and numerous other things.
 [Look out for the full illustrated story in a couple of weeks' time!]

Sunday, May 7, 2017

A contented flock

Sunday 7th May 2017
Today's reading about Jesus as the Good Shepherd is well illustrated by this topical scene.  Whilst I hope that the Christian "flock" feels as secure and as well provided for as these North Tyne sheep, I also hope that they are energised and outward-looking enough to work for the benefit of people in all kinds of need nearby and further afield.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Polling day

Thursday 4th May 2017
The local people running the polling station believe so deeply in elections that they always reward voters for exercising their democratic responsibility: we are always offered sweets after we have voted; but today early voters also received a small Easter Egg!
     In contrast to this location, my last engagement of the day was at the cathedral in Newcastle where we had an evening session on Prayer Spaces in Schools.
Three of the Tyne bridges from the train

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Spring is in the air

Wednesday 3rd May 2017
The swallows are back: two have been flying in and out of the stable since yesterday, alternating with the parent robins bringing food for the chicks floundering around in the deep bed of straw.  (I liaised with three schools, chaired a PCC meeting and answered the telephone for much of the day.)

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

On the road

Tuesday 2nd May 2017
A day of driving around visiting parishioners and organising things

Monday, May 1, 2017

No room in the ...stable

Monday 1st May 2017
Sorry, Molly, but you can't come in: the stable is not available.  Just as I was trying to decide if the weather was right to make this Molly's first night out for the summer, I found a baby robin in the stable waiting on the straw to be fed.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Varied services

Sunday 30th April 2017

The bishop and musicians in the organ gallery at Holy Trinity Church, Horsley
The morning's services were a traditional Sung Eucharist from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer with grown-up sermon at Bellingham followed by a Family Eucharist at Falstone with plenty of active participation from children reading, leading prayers and acting out part of the Gospel story (whilst my address was less formal and illustrated).  In the afternoon I acted as Bishop's chaplain for the service celebrating the blessing of the restored organ at Horsley in Redesdale

Friday, April 28, 2017


Friday 28th April 2017

An imaginative depiction of Jesus's Resurrection suggests the different reactions of  the Roman soldiers guarding the tomb.  The one on the right, with closed eyes and spear in hand, misses the action.  The one in the middle peeps out from behind his shield, trying not to be noticed as he watches the Risen Christ standing above the sepulchre.  The one on the left watches openly, his shield lowered as he honestly faces the truth and witnesses the Risen Christ.  It's a good reminder of how we all vary in our response to the Gospel story and to the presence of the divine in our lives.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Term begins

Monday 24th April 2017
The promised photographs of the "Palm Sunday" procession following the donkey to "Jerusalem" (St Cuthbert's Church)