Epiphany: "A Homily on Faith"

The Reverend Robin Sims-Williams

The formation of the Book of Common Prayer came out of what would have to be described as a stormy time in Europe. The Reformation, which marks it’s 500th anniversary this year, was a time of great upheaval and change.  Torture and capital punishment, religious war and a series of bloody monarchs. Uniformity in worship, good teaching and authority were desperately important for maintaining stability as the dust settled. Today’s world is a million miles away from that, though it is still pretty stormy. 

Epiphany: "Come and See"

The Reverend Robin Sims-Williams

I realised this week that I have once again missed a major cultural trend. And this one was quite surprising. I would have thought I, of all people, would have noticed. I was reading books to Meredith in the library when I realised that there has been a shift from the clean shaven Mr Brown in Paddington Bear or the dad in the Tiger who came to tea or even Alfie’s dad. Now all fathers in new picture books are hirsute men. Out with the clean shaven fathers and in with the bearded dads with typical Hipster whiskers. 

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.

Epiphany: "Come and See"

The Revd Margaret Legg

The pantomime is one of those traditions at this time of year that people seem either to love or to detest. I love them and try to go every year. My favourite theatre is the Hackney Empire, a palace of a building, designed by Frank Matcham, who also designed the London Coliseum. Last year they put on Jack and the Beanstalk. It featured an amazing fusion of traditional British culture with the local West Indian culture. So Jack’s mother, the panto dame, was played by a jolly and rotund Jamaican. He did rap and tucked into patties and chicken and rice. But it is a panto in Wimbledon a few years ago that sticks in my mind. We were late – terrible traffic- and the Dame – Windsor Davies – was in full flow when we slipped into the auditorium.

Epiphany: "Where To Go When You're Excluded"

The Revd Margaret Legg

One thing we are each given shortly after we are born is a name. It’s part of our identity; part of how we relate to one another – we prefer to be ‘properly introduced, by a 3rd party who can introduce us to each other by name, we find it embarrassing when we forget the name of the person to whom we’re speaking and perhaps worse still when we use the wrong name! When he first came to St John’s, the Vicar often called Brutus Deiniol, previous curate,  a cause of much amusement in the Parish Office. Our names have a meaning of their own too. Margaret, I’m delighted to say, means both a pearl and dependable; Robert and Robin ‘bright flame’, Pippa ‘lover of horses’, Sally ‘princess’, Nicholas ‘victory of the people’.

Epiphany: "The Wedding"

I could not tell you how many weddings I’ve been to in the last couple of years. I’m glad to say that none of them have run out of wine, but I was ready had such a situation have arisen. There is, however, a charming contradiction to weddings. On the one hand you have a fantasy spun out like a fairytale at cautionary expense; on the other you have human animals at their most basic, in both appetites and insecurities.

Epiphany: "Christ's Baptism"

Back in 1994 when I was a fresh-faced, innocent slip-of-a-boy, I headed off on a hockey tour to Zagreb, which happened to be involved at the time in the Croatian war of Independence. My comrades were a crew of Swansea rogues only too happy to escape wives and jobs for a week of sport and lager. The hockey was serious, but the drinking was more serious and the singing most serious of all, eclipsing Tom Jones and Max Boyce with a hearty ribaldry I dare not speak of here.

Epiphany: "The Miracle of Wine!"

Humans, in general, like to present well. We invest in expensive personal grooming, wear bright colours and finely cut garments, go on diets and to gyms after Christmas excesses. On meeting people we often try to be funny, or clever, or sophisticated, or generous, or some George Clooney-like combination. We might not be good at it but we attempt to give other people the impression that we are someone they should look up to, or at least across at. But why is this? Vanity? Insecurity? Some personal “dress for success” motto?

Epiphany: "Just Telling Stories"

Like many people, I’ve been feeling a little sorry for Ed Miliband the last few weeks. It’s a shame for him that pity doesn’t convert well in terms of votes. I was surprised though to hear across the media, including the BBC and the Guardian, that even Ed’s intellectual guru, Maurice Glasman, had turned against him. Well I read Baron Glasman’s article and was again surprised to find it was actually very supportive, concluding: ‘we all need to show [Ed] love and support… I’m backing Ed Miliband.’ So much for stabbing him in the back.

Epiphany: "The Gift"

The Revd Brutus Green

An epiphany is an appearance, a manifestation, a revealing or revelation. It is not the appearance of the three kings that we are celebrating today, though, but the revelation, the appearance of Christ to the gentiles on the 12th day of Christmas; here represented by the 3 kings. This season also celebrates the baptism of Christ as the beginning of his ministry, when he is made known as the ‘Son of God in whom the Father is well pleased’, and also the wedding at Cana, the first ‘sign’ in John’s Gospel, again the first public appearance of Jesus revealed as God with us.