July 2013


(from The Church Times Obits)


On 11 July, the Revd Jeremy John Egerton Sampson: Vicar of North Perak, Malaya (1951-52); Priest-in-Charge of Johore Bahru (1952-57); Vicar of St John the Divine, Ipoh (1957-62); Killingworth (1962-76); Consett (1976-90); Rural Dean of Lanchester (1980-85); aged 89.


It was with a mixture of sadness and gratitude that I learnt about Jeremy’s death this week. Jeremy was my first Vicar or training incumbent when I was ordained to a title in the Durham Diocese in 1985. A wise and very modest man Jeremy and his wife Rosemary were a solid team – dependable, un-stuffy, straightforward and steady. He was thoughtful and grounded in the Anglican tradition with forty years of parish experience both here and abroad.

He taught me the bedrock value of the daily office and care over every Baptism, Marriage and Funeral. He was practical and avoided the extremes of Anglican piety – he had a way of smiling at some of the irrelevance of much of modern Church life. His Parish Councils meetings were slow but collaborative – he took care to ensure that all voices were heard. He had an eye for detail and showed his curates how to run a parish with a minimum of fuss or anxiety!

He took a lead when the Steel works closed down and ensured that the Churches voice was heard in the efforts to build up and reconstruct community after the closure and its devastating effects on families. He was a bridge builder bringing all kinds of people together. The parish admired and respected him – he became well know as he waked the dog and made his visits across the community. Folks found in him a trusted pastor.

He was patient with this young curate and I was glad he made considerable efforts to  come to my installation in Windsor in 2009 – he had himself been a curate to the young Robin Woods who was himself to become the Dean of Windsor in the 1960’s. The best advice he ever gave me was this : ‘make sure that every sermon has good news’!

A kind and good man and a faithful servant of the Church. My life has been all the better for my working with and learning from his example.

2013 Clergy Photo

A Church in Bavaria


Everything bends

                 to re-enact

             the poem lived,

                             lived, not written,

the poem spoken

              by Christ, who never

         wrote a word,


        of received ideas

who rebuilt Rome

             with the words he

          never wrote;

           whether sacred,

          whether human,

                            himself a sunrise

         of love enlarged,

                  of love, enlarged

William Plomer


An emerald is as green as grass;

A ruby red as blood;

A sapphire shines as blue as heaven;

A flint lies in the mud.


A diamond is a brilliant stone,

To catch the world’s desire;

An opal holds a fiery spark;

But a flint holds fire.

Christina Rossetti, Jewels


Delivered out of raw continual pain,

smell of darkness, groans of those others

to whom he was chained–


unchained, and led

past the sleepers,

door after door silently opening–


And along a long street’s

majestic emptiness under the moon:

one hand on the angel’s shoulder, one

feeling the air before him,

eyes open but fixed…


And not till he saw the angel had left him,

alone and free to resume

the ecstatic, dangerous, wearisome roads of

what he had still to do,

not till then did he recognize

this was no dream. More frightening

than arrest, than being chained to his warders:

he could hear his own footsteps suddenly.

Had the angel’s feet

made any sound? He could not recall.

No one had missed him, no one was in pursuit.

He himself must be

the key, now, to the next door,

the next terrors of freedom and joy.


Denise Levertov



The curl of the ribbon by

leaves of the reeds, the grasses

paint peeling on the wet clapboards

like the curl of the flat ribbon

pulled by the blade of scissors

wrapping a package in gold

moving in the autumn breeze

bathed in a puddle of light

grasses above the maple leaves

calling my eyes, in delight



Raymond A. Foss, ribbons



Beauty and Beauty’s son and rosemary –

Venus and Love, her son, to speak plainly –

born of the sea supposedly,

at Christmas each, in company,

braids a garland of festivity.

Not always rosemary –


since the flight to Egypt, blooming indifferently.

With lancelike leaf, green but silver underneath,

its flowers – white originally –

turned blue. The herb of memory,

imitating the blue robe of Mary,

is not too legendary


to flower both as symbol and as pungency.

Springing from stones beside the sea,

the height of Christ when he was thirty-three,

it feeds on dew and to the bee

“hath a dumb language”; is in reality

a kind of Christmas tree.


Marianne Moore


How do we speak about God?

As a pastor over the past thirty years, what I’ve seen again and again is people who want to live lives of meaning and peace and significance and joy—people who have a compelling sense that their spirituality is in some vital and yet mysterious way central to who they are—but who can’t find meaning in the dominant conceptions, perceptions, and understandings of God they’ve encountered.

In fact, those conceptions aren’t just failing them but are actually causing harm. How do we speak about God?

We’re engaged more than ever by the possibilities of soul and spirit, and by the nagging suspicion that all of this may not be a grand accident after all; but God, an increasing number of people are asking—what does God have to do with that?

We need to listen to what lies embedded in peoples  questions: where is the spiritual pulse?

Faith or intellect?

Belief or reason?

Miracles or logic?

God or science?

How we think about God is directly connected with how we think about the world we’re living in.


And we might ask what kind of world do we want to live in?

How do we speak about God?

We’re an exotic blend of











How do we use who and what we are to speak about God ?

(with thanks to my group in the Windsor Clergy consultation : 8-18 July)            and to be continued…………..

Next Page »