2016

Advent: "Words matter"

The Reverend Margaret Legg

Words matter, our words matter. In Advent, one way to prepare for the arrival of another voice, that of the Word made flesh, is to pay attention to our words. From which part of us do they spring. From our own vanity, by which I mean more than pride. It includes fear, shame, resentment, emotions that spring from our own egos. Or from God, from that divine spark deep within us, our God centres

Christ the King: "Mind Changing"

The Reverend Robin Sims-Williams

A couple of weeks ago I led an assembly at our school. The topic was - ‘people changed by Jesus.’ I decided to talk to them about how we change our minds about how something works or what we want to do. Then one of the children suggested that being forgiven could change their mind or behaviour.

Trinity: "Jazzy Improvisation"

The Reverend Robin Sims-Williams
Jazz Mass

Singing was first used in services, by monks, to carry the sound through large abbeys. Over the years these chants became more complicated, in an attempt to glorify God with the very sound of the words being read. Until church authorities, disapproving of this human influence, had the music simplified or removed all together. The authorities trying to limit the creativity of the people. And this cycle repeats throughout history.

All Saints: "Causing a Paradigm Shift"

The Reverend Robin Sims-Williams

As a child I fell in love with the character of Atticus Finch, at the age of 10 I thought I’d name my first child Atticus. The character from To Kill a Mockingbird was a lawyer challenging the basis on which society judged guilt and innocence of a black man in the 1930s Southern USA. One of the primary lesson which was conveyed to the narrator, his daughter Scout, and to us readers, was that you can’t understand somebody ‘until you have stood in their shoes and walked around in them.’

Trinity: "In search of life"

The Reverend Robin Sims-Williams

One of the great things about being a parent in London is the fantastic collection of museums which are free to visit. It’s great to see children suddenly caught by a painting or a display that catches their imagination in some way. And of course, the great thing about it, is that as a parent it is an enjoyable place to spend an afternoon. But, if I get caught looking at something for too long, my 2 year old daughter is off. When that happens - All the great works of art and fascinating information must be left behind. The only thing that matters is locating her.

Trinity: "Peace and Tranquility of Mobile phones"

The Rev'd Robin Sims-Williams

There was an article in The Times this week about studies into the use of technology the studies showed that having things like smart phones does result in us being less competent at doing certain things. The ability to search things online at any moment leads to less effective memories, or to us having less skills.

Trinity: "On Artificial Intelligence, Ethics and the Gospel"

Imagine that you are driving down the M3, on a summer day, towards the sunny beaches of the South of England. You then take the A3 to enjoy the beautiful greens of Queen Elizabeth Country Park on your left and Buster Hill National Nature Reserve on your right. You admire the beauty. The roads are not too busy. Just a truck behind you.

Trinity: "Self-help v God-help and the Future Present Reality"

Last Thursday, I was watching one of my favourite programs on TV: QI. Stephen Fry and the rest of the guests discussed how cultural perceptions have shifted drastically in the past 100 years or so. One of the examples they quoted was regarding the Church itself. They argued that, up to the 19th century, the Church had much focussed in the afterlife, the reward or punishment that awaited in “the other side.” In contrast, on the 20th century, the Church is almost exclusively focussed in the present life, to the point, Stephen Fry said that “some churches in the USA are not very different from self support groups.”

Trinity: "Of Hatred and Aliens"

The Revd Antonio García Fuerte

Last Sunday we were shocked with the news of the killing of 49 people in a gay bar in Orlando, in a hate crime. Thursday afternoon, we heard the news of another hate crime, that of Jo Cox MP, this one much nearer to our home. Friday was the first year anniversary of the Charleston shooting where 9 people were killed at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in another hate crime. Three very different crimes, but one single motivation: hatred.

Now, it really looks like I am taking you to a place where I am going to claim the doom of civilisation, the self-destruction of humanity… but I am going in the opposite direction. Bear with me as I descend a little bit more into the issue.

Trinity: "Muscle Memory"

The Revd Robin Sims-Williams

I remember watching one of the events around the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002. Prince Charles was introducing the Queen on stage in one of the events on the lawn behind Buckingham palace. He started well ‘Your Majesty’, but then followed up with ‘Mummy.’ The Duke of Edinburgh could be seen mouthing the words ‘What did he say?’ and the Queen herself - well her eyes opened that minute amount only a practiced monarch attempting never to show any sign of shock can. Charles’ familial reference to Her Majesty jars against the weight of tradition and authority of the Monarchy, but it’s become a tradition in itself as he repeated at the Diamond jubilee. It’s just another tradition among the thousands new and old which shape the role of the Queen in our politics and our lives.

Trinity: "Kingdom of God, 'ideal' society and the EU"

The Reverend Antonio García Fuerte

This week, I came across an interesting recent survey about faith groups in Britain. Believers of various faiths (Christians, Jewish, Muslims, Hindus, Sikh and other faiths), were asked if they though the coronation of the next monarch should be: (a) a secular ceremony, (b) a christian ceremony (as it has traditionally been), or (c) a multi faith ceremony. Around 75% of people in each individual faith group responded that they would prefer it to remain a Christian ceremony and not to become secular or multi faith.

Easter: "FanFic"

The Rev'd Robin Sims-Williams

What do the works of Shakespeare, Doctor Who, Star Wars and the Radio 4 comedy Cabin Pressure all have in common?

They all have inspired fans to write, perform and record their own stories… that’s right, they all have FanFic, or Fan fiction

In a way Shakespeare’s FanFic is the most mainstream as it’s lead to films like Shakespeare in Love or plays like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

Ash Wednesday: "Go and Sin Not"

The Revd Robin Sims-Williams

Perhaps it’s because I’m an engineer at heart, but I like to plan things out and write them down. That’s the way I write essays - a detailed structure that I can then just fill in the bits in between. It’s also the way I write sermons. I can cope with the unexpected but after an argument I find myself constantly dwelling on what I wish I’d said.

Epiphany: "Letting go"

The Revd Robin Sims-Williams

Stepping back and letting go isn’t easy. I used to work with suppliers who were experts at making the bits which made up the aircraft system I was responsible for. When we needed them to make something new or to deal with an environment they hadn’t come across before, it was very difficult to step back and give them the space to use their expertise, their skills and their creativity to solve the problem.