Robin Sims-Williams

Trinity: "Go on you've earned it!"

The Reverend Robin Sims-Williams

I remember as a young graduate, first working as an Engineer, sitting in meetings, desperately trying to follow all the acronyms and unfamiliar catch phrases. At one point, discussing who was going to do certain jobs, somebody said they were going to do the job because they were part of the Federation. I felt like I was in an episode of Star Trek.

Ascension: "Looking to the Horizon"

The Reverend Robin Sims-Williams

‘Why do you stand looking up towards heaven?’

I remember being told of my grandmother’s death. It was long expected, but I can recall sitting in my college rooms, in the chapel and on the wall by the river, staring into the distance, looking towards the horizon. Towards a hope for better times. I think, there have been many people staring into heaven, or into their hands, or into the distance, this week. In anger, or desperation, and even in hope.

Easter: "A new musical tradition"

The Reverend Robin Sims-Williams
'“Well, sir, if things are real, they’re there all the time." "Are they?" said the Professor; and Peter did not quite know what to say.'

C.S. Lewis actually refused to accept the idea that his children’s books were allegorical in this way. Undoubtedly he used them to wrestle with philosophy and beliefs with particularly Christian ideas. But they were not a direct allegory of the Christian Narrative.

Easter: "What is in a name?"

The Reverend Robin Sims-Williams

What is in a name? Well not so much the name itself, but knowing it, and the person who it belongs to? When I was around 18 years old I started volunteering in the summer travelling around Quebec and Ontario, running Day Camps for young children, and being a ‘camp counsellor’ at a residential camp for younger teenagers. It was then that I developed skills with working with children, not by having my own or doing a degree in theology.

Easter: "Faith, to the moon and back again"

The Reverend Robin Sims-Williams

On the 20th July, 1969 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon. I’ve been reading Moon Dust a book by a journalist, Andrew Smith, who interviewed 9 living moonwalkers to hear their stories. Among the many revelations, I’m struck by the way these Astronauts put their faith in the fledgling technology, equipment and people who put them on the moon.

Lent: "Anything but Lasagna"

The Reverend Robin Sims-Williams

This sermon is part of our Lenten series on how we serve one another. Last week the vicar talked about the importance of the servers ministering around the altar. The week before Margaret spoke about how we all must look to welcome each other and especially new comers into our community. This week I am talking about those who volunteer to offer hospitality after the service over coffee or tea.

Before Lent: "The Times are a Changing"

The Reverend Robin Sims-Williams

This week I caught sight of a video of an old friend making her final journey. BAC Alpha Foxtrot or British Airways Concord 216 - The last Concorde to take off or land anywhere made her final trip, without even leaving the ground, across the runway in Bristol, where I used to work, to take her place in a brand new museum built to recognise the history of Aircraft in Bristol.

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. 

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: "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.