St georges day

There are a lot of flags of St George around today in Rochester. I even walked down the road with St George himself … well someone dressed as him!

On my return from my ‘daily rounds’ I found an interesting article, which ends with this comment from Nick Page:

For all that, he’s nothing to do with England at all. But maybe that’s the point. Like so many things, St George shows the English talent for taking something strange, something undeniably foreign, and weaving it into their daily life. St George is the saint version of Chicken Tikka Masala: foreign in origin, but oh so magically English.

You can read the whole thing here

Little Daughter

Dear Friends,

The Burma Campaign UK is delighted to announce that the autobiography of Zoya Phan, the International Coordinator at Burma Campaign UK, is published in the UK today.

When Zoya was 14 years old the Burmese Army attacked her village and she was forced to flee. She lived in a refugee camp in Thailand before coming to the UK, where she now has asylum. She joined the Burma Campaign UK in 2005.

In the UK, Little Daughter is available in bookshops, online and from Burma Campaign UK.

If you buy a copy via the link to Amazon on our website you can also raise money for Burma Campaign UK. Buy your copy here.

Amazon are selling the book for just £9.58 including delivery in the UK. The recommended retail price is £15.99.

The Burma Campaign UK is selling SIGNED COPIES for £16.25 including delivery in the UK. To order yours send a cheque made payable to Burma Campaign UK to: Burma Campaign UK, 28 Charles Sq, London, N1 6HT. Or call 020 7324 4715.

If you live outside the UK please see the note at the end of this email for details on where the book is being published worldwide.

ABOUT THE BOOK: Zoya Phan was born in the remote jungles of Burma, to the Karen ethnic group. For decades the Karen have been under attack from Burma’s military junta; Zoya’s mother was a guerrilla soldier, her father a freedom activist. She lived in a bamboo hut on stilts by the Moei River; she hunted for edible fungi with her much-loved adopted brother, Say Say. Many Karen are Christian or Buddhist, but Zoya’s parents were animist, venerating the spirits of forest, river and moon. Her early years were blissfully removed from the war. At the age of fourteen, however, Zoya’s childhood was shattered as the Burmese army attacked. With their house in flames, Zoya and her family fled. So began two terrible years of running from guns, as Zoya joined thousands of refugees hiding in the jungle. Her family scattered, Zoya sought sanctuary across the border in a Thai refugee camp. Conditions in the camp were difficult, and Zoya now had to care for her ailing mother. Zoya, a gifted pupil, was eventually able to escape, first to Bangkok and then, with her enemies still pursuing her, in 2004 she fled to the UK and claimed asylum. The following year, at a ‘free Burma’ march, she was plucked from the crowd to appear on the BBC, the first of countless interviews with the world’s media. She became the face of a nation enslaved, rubbing shoulders with presidents and film stars. By turns uplifting, tragic and entirely gripping, this is the extraordinary true story of the girl from the jungle who became an icon of a suffering land.

WORLDWIDE SALES: Little Daughter is published this month in Asia (English language bookshops), and in Australia and New Zealand. The book will be published in Canada in June, and the USA summer 2010. (In the USA the book will be called Undaunted) In Germany, German language editions will be published later this year. In Netherlands, a Dutch edition will be published later this year. To get the latest news about the book, including global release dates, become a “Fan” of the book on Facebook here.

Thank you,

Anna Roberts
Burma Campaign UK

social light
I had a great day in London with Joe today. We visited the Science Museum, had lunch in a coffee bar and then ‘did’ the dinosaur gallery at the Natural History Museum. It’s great to see all these museums still being free – I hope they continue to be so!

There is a lot of ‘hands on’ stuff at the Science Museum which Joe totally loves. One activity in the Launch pad which was fun is Social Light by Scott Snibbe, being called an interactive artwork. Snibbe using ligh in various ways, and in this in particular art piece (or is it science?), he uses shadows. The idea is to play with your shadow in front of a screen which is continually being videoed. The cool thing is that then you can ask for your pesonal piece of art to be emailed to you. I’ve posted Joe’s here for all to see. I think it displays well the joker character of my youngest son!

Days out with just one of my children are quite rare and I find them pretty unique experiences. It’s unusual to be with just one alone and have the chance to interact and learn new stuff about them. I’m not sure that today I learnt anything new about Joe … we just had a great time1 Thanks Joe for a cool day!


It was my birthday last week and my family decided to take me to London. We visited HMS Belfast and then climbed the monumnent which are two things we had never done before as a family.

Later in the afternoon we went for a walk along The Southbank as the weather was stunning and were met with throngs of people. As it was still holiday time there was loads happening with some pretty great street entertainers as there always is. This particular guy had us gripped for quite a while. There was something about his portrayal of Chaplain that had us all captivated.

I noticed too, that the interest was infectious and crossed both age and cultural barriers. It is as if this character had universal appeal and people could not help themselves, they simply had to stop, stay, watch and smile.

adding not replacing

It’s been quiet in my blog world due to a number of things – a holiday (which I am still in!) after Easter and the necessity of using spare time to get to grips with an essay to be handed in on Friday.

For the last few months I have done a good amount of background reading and so when I came to start writing the thing yesterday the words seemed to flow pretty quickly and the task is now done. Whether it is any good I don’t know, but if nothing else it has succeeded in what I believe to be its aim, that of getting me to reflect on what I am called to do, who I am and what all this ordination stuff means.

This reflection was fueled by events on Maundy Thursday at the cathedral when all ministers came together to renew their vows and receive the oils of healing, baptism and chrism to use in their parishes if they wished.

During the service certain sections of people were asked to re-affirm their promises. First layworkers, then deacons, then priests and then the bishops. One of my colleagues was shocked when he realised he was one of the few priests that re-affirmed his deacon vows. We chatted about this and he rightly said but all ordained people are deacons, we were deacons first and stay deacons and need to reaffirm our vows as deacons even more so when we become priests. (not his exact words but my interpretation). My ordination as a priest in June does not cancel out my ordination as a deacon.

Earlier in the year I remember disagreeing strongly with someone who suggested that the real ordination was the ‘priesting’ not the deaconing. Using the same rationality of my colleague I was stunned as I firmly believe ordination to be about serving as Jesus served and seeking to be a blessing in the area we are called to serve. I feel if we lose this focus then we are on very shaky and dangerous ground. For me, ordination only works if it is about putting ourselves out to serve rather than to be looked up to due to some title.

In my research I have found that Steven Croft agrees with us (or is it us with him?) and I quote:‘in the popular understanding of ordination, the diaconate is seen as a temporary state, passed through on the way to becoming a priest’ but ‘the call to the diaconate is ‘the deepest and most profound honour and commission which the church can bestow.’ (Steven Croft Ministry in Three Dimensions (DLT 2008))

As I listen to people share their stories I am becoming more and more aware of what an honour this role is. Please pray that I and my fellow deacons can retain this perspective and that next year, when we attend our first maundy Thursday service as priests are willing and able to reaffirm our deaconate vows as well.

tate podcasts

One of the things I really miss as a pioneer curate is the chance to hang out in certain places in London in between meetings with certain coffee shops and galleries at the top of the list depending on my mood.

The BBC news today reports the the Tate Galleries (one place which I was regularly found in) have put loads of free stuff on iTunes. I have had a quick scan and there is a mass of stuff ranging from ‘poem of the week’ to video’s of exhibitions along with artists’ and critics’ interviews. One highlight is, I think, is a free Gustav Klimt multimedia tour.

Not as good as the real thing and wandering the galleries …. but better than not seeing or hearing any of it at all.

Another good use to put my iPhone to!

The easter path

I didn’t manage to get to walk the Easter Path in Brighton but Darren did and took this great pic of ‘bumper cross’.

If, like me, you never got a chance to do the walk you can visit Easter Resurrected on the evening of April 26th where all the stations will be under one roof.

He is risen

No longer dead!
No longer held in the tomb!
He is Risen!

God is dead

How did they feel
when they woke on Saturday morning
those who deserted him
those who ran at the sign of trouble
those who saw him breathe his last

was there guilt?
I wish I had stayed awake with him
I wish I had done something

but those miracles
but those things he said
but …

I miss him
I can still hear his voice
It hurts so much

why has this happened?
what have they done?
they’ll wish they hadn’t

of unbelief
of sorry
of pain

a sense of betrayal or being conned?
But he said he was the Messiah
but now?
well now he is dead!!
he can’t have been who he claimed
he can’t have been the answer
he was wrong
I was wrong

it’s all over now
the proof is there
the dead body of Jesus lies in that tomb.

Good Friday

“Those things which are precious are saved only by sacrifice.”

David Kenyon Webster
Easy Company
506th Parachute Infantry Regiment
101st Airborne
(featured in Band of Brothers)