Category Archives: Somewhere between the soapbox and the pulpit


The earthquake in Haiti has caused devastation in a country already beset by poverty and deprivation.  In addition to the news reports, here is an email from Fr. Kesner Ajax, outlining some of the effects on Haiti’s 180,000 Anglicans:

Dear Friends in Christ:
We have devastating news to share with you from Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake yesterday. According to reports I have received here in Les Cayes, the damage in Port au Prince and areas around it is terrible.
There is no Cathedral. The entire Holy Trinity complex is gone. The convent for the Sisters of St. Margaret is gone. The Bishop’s house is gone. College St. Pierre is gone. The apartment for College St. Pierre is still standing. Bishop no longer has a house in which to live.
In Trouin, four people were killed during a service.
In Grand Colline, the church is gone.
In St. Etienne, the church is gone.
In Les Cayes, BTI is OK, but some people were injured trying to get out of the buildings during the quake. The rectory in Les Cayes is in very bad condition
The Rev. Kesner Ajax
Executive Director, Bishop Tharp Institute (BTI)


Please give what you can to help the people of Haiti.  For details of how to give, or to donate online, please click here.


Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Are you a Bishop, Priest, Deacon or Ordinand in the Church of England?  Confused by the recent goings-on in the Anglican Communion?  Wondering what the future will hold for your ministry?

Don’t just sit around singing old Clash hits.  Use this handy flowchart to find out where you ought to be.

So much easier than listening to the Holy Spirit.


Atheist Buses and Christian Pusses

(Note: There is actually only one Puss.  The title of this post is a shameless demonstration of the fact that we, unlike the powers that be at Gosport Bus Station, know how to spell the plural of “bus.”)

Those of you with good medium-term memory may recall the excitement over a set of Atheist adverts being put on buses, carrying the natty slogan “There’s probably no God.  Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

no-atheist-busIt seems this advice has not been heeded by one Christian bus driver in Southampton, who refused to drive a bus displaying said advert, and was sent to bed without any tea by his employers.  Presumably he was previously perfectly happy to drive about in buses advertising capitalist multinationals, bearing exploitative images of women and encouraging us to go out and spend money on goodness knows what rubbish – but there you are, that’s Scummerland for you.

Meanwhile, a happier news story hails from our old stomping ground of Southwark Diocese.  It seems the Cathedral has adopted a cat, who rejoices in the name of Doorkins Magnificat. 










The tabby stray started showing up at the Cathedral around Christmass time, and is now first in the queue to be let into the Temple of the Lord by the Vergers each morning.  He was Christened Magnificat in honour of Our Lady, to whom the Cathedral is dedicated (it’s actually the Cathedral Church of S. Saviour and S. Mary Overie – the Vicar wants us to point out that this is definitely not “Saint Mary’s Ovaries,” which are something quite different).

Anyway, the Doorkins bit is apparently because he hangs about in doors, and is in no way poking fun at a famous atheist with a similar nomenclature.  Yeah, whatever.  You can read the full story here in the South London Press, Streatham’s most famous product (or possibly only product, except the Vicar).  

We’re heartened by the suggestion that there may soon be a cat flap at Southwark Cathedral.  We recently had one installed, courtesy of a charming man called Andy.  We find it both useful and fun, and regularly stand in front of it waiting for the Vicar to open it for us.  She seems to think we ought to do it ourselves.  Honestly, have you ever heard of such a thing?


It’s Christmass Eve, and here at the Vicarage we’re all excited about the coming of Christ tomorrow (and Santa Paws tonight).

But first, back on 17th December, we promised we’d tell you what was so neat about the way the O Antiphons are arranged.  Well, those clever Mediaeval bods who put them together clearly had a great deal of prophetic foresight about the arrival of the Blog genre, because they wanted you to get to Christmass Eve and then read the seven titles backwards.  If you do, you get this:









The seven first letters spell out two Latin words: Ero Cras, which mean: “I am coming tomorrow.”

Alleluya!  Come, Lord, come!


O Emmanuel

Today’s Antiphon, the last, sums up all six that have gone before it, and the whole meaning of the festival to come: the Christ Child truly is Emmanuel, God with us. 

In the person of Jesus Christ, God is with us always and everywhere.  Now we look forward to his coming at Christmass.

O Emmanuel,

our King and Lawgiver,

the one whom the peoples await,

and their Saviour:

Come to save us,

O Lord our God.


O Rex Gentium

zion-aslan-21Today is the penultimate day of the O Antiphons, and the turn of Rex Gentium, King of the Nations.  As the days have progressed, the Antiphons have been moving through salvation history.  We have seen how the coming of Christ is rooted in Hebrew scripture and tradition, but is good news for all people in all times.

Today is the most explicit of the Antiphons: Christ is for everybody.  Following the prophet Haggai, we proclaim Christ as the Desire of Nations.  He is able to break down the barriers between people of different ethnicities and backgrounds, and make us one.

O King of the nations,

and their desire,

Cornerstone who makes both one:

Come, and save humanity,

whom you formed from clay.


O Oriens

advent-wreath-4It’s the fourth Sunday of Advent.  Today we light our candle on the Advent Wreath for the Blessed Virgin Mary, and remember how she became a tabernacle for the Lord when she said “yes” to God’s plan at the Annunciation. The celebration of Advent IV is generally considered to  be a good thing in the Vicar’s books, but today she’s a little peeved, because it means that her favourite O Antiphon gets somewhat overshadowed. morning-star3Today is the day we greet Christ as Oriens, the Morning Star.  Right at the end of the Hebrew Bible, God declares through the prophet Malachi that “the Sun of Justice” will arise. Christ is the Sun of Justice,  who will arise with healing in his wings; he is the bright Morning Star which never sets, shedding light on all creation.

 O Morning Star,

Splendour of Light everlasting,

and the Sun of Justice:

Come, and enlighten

those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.