Friday 5 June 2009

Bishop's Visitation

This evening I served at the Bishops Visitation at the Cathedral. This is the services where all the newly elected Church Wardens are formally admitted to office.

The service was very well done bringing together a mix of traditions in Anglicanism we had everything from a praise band though to Faure.

What I liked about the service was that it did have traditional elements, we had an anthem by Faure, we had incense being burnt, we had a Magnificat chanted, we had three decent hymns and we had sung prayers. In addition the two "praise band" songs we had, although not to my personal taste, were at least not heretical. One of my major problems with "praise songs" when chosen at the Cathedral is we often sing (well I don't because it is heretical) the song In Christ alone my hope is found had often been the one of choice.

This song, which I believe originally came from NFI a "restorationist" denomination is heretical due to the second verse :-

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live

Specifically the problem with this is that it refers to PSA (Penal Substitutionary Atonement) which is contrary to the teachings and doctrines of The Church of England.

A belief in PSA would mean a belief in a blood thirsty God who was only interested in revenge. That's not the God I worship. In addition PSA would mean that there was no need for a resurrection of Christ - the work would have been completed on Good Friday. The resurrection is not an afterthought - it is the centrality of the Christian Faith. Our salvation comes from not just Christ's death on the first Good Friday, but also from Christ's victory over death and his glorious resurrection on the first Easter Day.

Thursday 4 June 2009

National Tackling Drugs Week

An exhibition of photos by some of the city's drug users will take centre-place at Coventry's Tackling Drugs Week celebrations in the city centre.

The exhibition will be held at the Tackling Drugs Week shop in City Arcade from June 8 – 12. The shop will be open to anyone who wants to find out more about what agencies – and communities - are doing to tackle drug misuse.

Drug workers will also be on hand to offer advice and information on any aspect of drug misuse and the support available to help users.

During the week, a number of events are being held around the city for members of the public, drug users, families of drug users and frontline workers to raise awareness of treatment services.

Cllr Andrew Williams, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety, said: "Drugs is a major issue for all our communities and we want to take part in National Tackling Drugs Week to highlight the work we're doing to help reduce the harm that drugs cause to individuals, families and communities.

"The work we are doing to tackle drug misuse is a mix of work to help ensure today's young people don't become tomorrow's addicts, treatment to help users control and stop drug misuse and enforcement action against drug dealers and those committing crime to fuel addictions.

"Everyone can help in our work to tackle drugs – either by promoting drug treatment to any users they know or by reporting drug dealing and drug use to help the police build watertight cases against criminals."

Events held throughout the week include:

  • A talk to parents of drug users by Elizabeth Burton-Phillips, author of "Mum, can you lend me twenty quid?"
  • The launch of two new drug services – to help more addicts become drug free and to give extra support for families of drug users
  • Presentations of 12-step programmes to former and current drug users
  • A community consultation event in Foleshill dedicated to bust cultural myths surround drugs

Wednesday 3 June 2009

US Researchers Say "Weekly curry may fight dementia"

According to BBC News a researcher at Duke University in the USA has suggested that eating curry may reduce the chance of dementia.

It seems to me that every so often these stories come along, which have a nice soundbite like this. In reality though this is just a hypothesis without any firm evidence to back it up. We will have to wait and see what the outcome of any in depth study is.

Then of course the question will be, "What about the beer that goes with a night at the curry house?"


Sunday 31 May 2009

Pentecost / Whitsunday

Today is the feast of Pentecost (or Whitsunday) which is one of the principal feasts of the Church.

I was on duty at church today as thurifer so somewhat sweltered under the robes carrying round a pot with burning charcoal and incense.

Following Mass we went for an ecumenical service at the nearby Baptist Church, we processed there fully robed with banners in procession complete with smoke.

When we entered the church some people did the loud put on coughing that some people like to do as soon as they see a thurible. (I once had somebody start coughing like that when I was carying an empty, unlit thurible!)

After the short ecumenical prayers we processed back, I had great fun going up the aisle generating lots of smoke and doing 360s with the thurible.

Later this evening when it has cooled down a bit Jane () and I will go to the pub for a couple of pints. After all it is the Church's birthday so we must celebrate!

The Collect for Pentecost:

God, who as at this time
taught the hearts of your faithful people
by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit:
grant us by the same Spirit
to have a right judgement in all things
and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort;
through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Saturday 30 May 2009

MPs Expenses

As anyone who has been watching the news recently is aware of the scandal surrounding MPs expenses.

As a local councillor many people tend to tar us with the same brush. When the John Lewis list scandal broke, somebody wrote to me demanding to know if I though it was fair the tax payer had furnished my house. Of course I wrote back explaining that I had furnished my flat myself, but this shows that people generally lump all politicians together.

I find it interesting all the talk about disclosure of expenses - in the 9 years I have been a councillor all our expenses have always been published in the local newspaper every year (if you are really interested in the last published list if I remember correctly my claims were in the range of £9ish.) So why is this different from MPs? If it is good enough for Cllrs (the vast majority of whom are part time [albeit very close to full time in larger authorities] and paid at no where near the scale as MPs) then it should be good enough for for MPs who are full time and reasonably well paid.

Obviously there are always going to be expenses required for running offices and the such like, but we must make sure that everything is legitimate.

One of the ways the parliamentary fees office could do this is to make sure that those people, providing MPs services are professionals. I have no problem with an MP employing friend/family member etc. provided that person is a professional in that industry.

For example, to take my own industry IT/Computing, anyone providing services should be a member of the BCS which is the professional institution for the ICT industry in the UK. This means that the MP will be paying somebody who is signed up to a professional code of conduct and has reached a level of professionalism and experience.

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