Archive for the ‘Vicar’ Category

Challenging our Images of God and Grace

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

Sermon for The Third Sunday of Lent; 3rd March 2013;  Isaiah 55.1-9; Luke 13.1-9

Today’s Bible passages challenge our images of God and Grace.

In our services, the readings from the Bible that we hear, the words of the hymns we sing, and the metaphors our prayers employ create a rich tapestry of ways of picturing God and the way he gives of himself in love.  Yet it seems to me that we seldom imagine God as a market trader or grace as a good shovel full of manure! (more…)

Revd Peter in the Great Birmingham Run

Sunday, November 6th, 2011
Peter in the Great Birmingham Run

Running up Bournville Lane 

Thanks to everyone who has supported and sponsored me and Team St Francis in the Great Birmingham Run.

My final time was 2 hours and 14 minutes, which I was really pleased with.

So far we have raised just over £3,000. If you still wish to donate you can do so securely on line by clicking here.


Thought for the Day:  Reflections on the Half-Marathon

30th October 2011

Last Sunday morning I took part in the Great Birmingham Run. It was the first time that I have ever done anything like that and it was a fantastic experience.  Now I have never been much of an athlete and the last time I did any serious exercise was at school. Then, back in May, someone persuaded me to enter the half-marathon.  I thought it would give me the challenge I needed to train properly and really get in shape. I also thought that I could get sponsored and raise some much-needed funds for our church community work. Though I must admit, having accepted the challenge, I did begin to wonder if it was really just an expression of my mid-life crisis as I felt the need somehow to prove myself physically. (more…)

Sermon for Revd Susannah’s First Eucharist

Saturday, July 9th, 2011

On Seeing Jesus:  A sermon for The Revd Susannah Rudge’s First Eucharist

The Feast of Thomas the Apostle; 3rd July 2011
We are blessed.

Today we are blessed for lots of reasons.

We are blessed because this is a very special day both for Revd Susannah as a new priest and for us as her family, friends and local church community as she presides for the first time at this celebration of the Eucharist.  I will say a little more about that later, but first I want explore another way in which we are blessed.


Happy Easter

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

Easter Greetings to you all.

We have had some wonderful services at St Francis this week, with wonderful music, beautiful Easter flowers and above all a great sense of God’s presence and his blessing.

This week our new website has gone live and I hope you will all find it a good way of keeping in touch with all that is going on at Bournville Parish Church.

With my love and prayers this Eastertide.

Revd Peter

Christmas Tree

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Sunday 19th December 8.00 a.m.

No need to dream of a white Christmas in Bournville this year. Although the snow and ice makes life difficult and dangerous for many people it can also transform the world. On Sunday morning walking down to church for the early service I was struck by the quality of the silence and the beauty of dawn light on the snow. The Christmas Tree outside the Quaker Meeting House looked even more wonderful than usual and this photo doesn’t really capture it. Carols on the Green is at 6pm on Christmas Eve as usual and I wonder if the snow will deter people or make more people come. Wrap up warm!

Bournville Blossom

Friday, April 30th, 2010

I have heard on the news that this year is the best year for blossom for 30 years! I am not sure how you would measure that but the blossom certainly is beautiful in Bournville. It is well worth taking a walk through the parks and especially around the yachting pool on Bournville Lane and Woodbrooke Road.

Christmas 2009

Friday, December 25th, 2009

Hebrews 1.1-4; John 1.1-14

“Something concrete…” – Sermon for Midnight Mass

My Godfather, Uncle Frank, is a retired vicar and now well into his 90s. Just three days ago it was the 70th anniversary of when he was ordained as a priest. My father was also a vicar and worked with Frank as part of a team serving several churches in Sheffield. When the team was talking together and the discussion was getting a bit abstract, Frank would say ‘What we need is something concrete to get our teeth into.’ My Dad would point out that the last thing you want to get you teeth into is some concrete! But even if it is something of a mixed metaphor, I think we all know what Frank was getting at. (more…)

Nave Roof nearly complete

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

The high level part of the church roof is nearly complete. Today I went up to see how the work is progressing and took some more photos. It certainly gave me a different view of the church!

Some days I question…

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Sermon given on 20th September 2009
A meditation on Mark 9.30 – 37

There are some days when I question my Christian faith
and my commitment to following Jesus:
do I actually get this at all?
Do I honestly understand it?
Do I really live it?
And some days the answer is no.

So when I read that the disciples did not understand what he was saying to them and that they were even afraid to ask him their questions, then I am a little reassured that it is not just me.

Do you ever ask yourself the same questions?

Some times I can look at the church and its customs and traditions, its ceremonies and ways of doing things and I think isn’t this all just a little bit ridiculous? Sometimes when I’m stood up somewhere, wearing some fine robes and saying some words that don’t seem to connect with the people listening then I think: is this really what Jesus had in mind?

So when I read that Jesus’ friends whilst walking with him on the way of discipleship could argue about who was the greatest – I realise that the followers of Jesus have always been a bit mixed up when it comes to issues of power and status, issues of fitting in and being significant.

And I wonder what the church would look like if it stopped trying to be successful and gave the same energy to striving to be servant of all?

Some days it seems that there is always a story in the news
about what happened to ‘Baby P’;
or of a child being stabbed;
or  yet another story of abuse or neglect by adults or sometimes even other children;
and then once again I am reminded that
children actually are very vulnerable,
very dependent,
often victims when families break down
or where there is violence and abuse.

So when I read that Jesus took a little child and put it among them, placed it in the midst of them, set it in the centre of their community, then I try to see that child not as a symbol but a person. Children were at the bottom of economic and social scales in the ancient world – and they often still are even if we also often overly idealise childhood. Jesus took a real, human child and said this is your example, this is your pattern, this is your role model.

And this is the test…
Jesus says
“Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me…”
Whoever actually welcomes even one child,
whoever they may be and
however they may be behaving,
and however they make you feel…
Whoever genuinely welcomes one such child in my name,
out of their faith in me,
In a real sense “welcomes me”.

That’s what Jesus says.

But most days I find it much easier to welcome the people I like,
Easier to welcome someone who is like me…
easy to welcome someone who looks good,
who won’t be disruptive,
who won’t make any demands on me
or require me to change…

Genuine welcome requires something of me
because I am already in,
because I am already secure in our belonging,
because I have the resources, the experience,
and who know what to do and when…

I am aware that this makes it all sound like welcoming the child, the little one, the stranger is very costly and threatening. It can be. But it can also be joy, delight and gift.

The disciples did not understand and were afraid to ask their questions… and yet children have a wonderful capacity to ask challenging questions which draw out of me answers. So in the playground a little girl asks me “Revd Peter, why do they call Good Friday good?” And there is an opportunity to talk to her about how life is stronger than death and in the same way that Jesus talked to his friends to say something to her of how he had to suffer and die and rise again.

Children have a wonderful capacity to bring a breath of fresh air into a situation – to deflate my self-importance and bring me back down to earth. As a curate I remember a little boy in an RE lesson suddenly putting his hand up to say “Revd Peter, I can see your head through your hair”!

And children have the gift of being able to embrace you with unselfconscious affection.

It is as the gospel says. I can learn from them.

And if I can receive children,
If I can welcome and serve the little ones in society,
If I can give hospitality to strangers,
If I can allow myself to be disturbed then…
Then perhaps I might even be open to receive Jesus himself.

After all is that not what we celebrate at Christmas…
God made known to us in the person of a tiny, vulnerable child…
As the carol asks:
When he comes, when he comes, who will make him welcome?

And I remember too that in the last chorus of the same carol the words change…
When he comes, when he comes, we will make him welcome!

Work Begins on St Francis Centre Roof

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

New tiles lined upI am really delighted with all the progress being made with the new roof for the St Francis Centre. Work will begin on the Church roof at the beginning of September.

Here are some pictures of the work in progress and below is a copy of the press release from Veolia Environmental Trust. Thanks to everyone who has supported the Appeal.