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Responsible citizenship and the impact of migrants on services in the UK.

  Talk given to Clergy Conference in Diocese of Harare, Zimbabwe

In a parliamentary debate about immigration, Dennis Skinner, a left-wing Labour MP addressed a member of United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), a right wing, suspicious of immigration party,  with these words:

‘I have a United Nations heart by-pass and it was done by a Syrian cardiologist, a Malaysian surgeon, a Dutch doctor and a Nigerian registrar and these UKIP people here talk about ‘sending them back from whence they came.’ If you take immigrant workers out of hospitals in London, half of London would be dead in 6

Boundaries not Barriers

Lecture to Clergy Research Seminar 8th October, 2013


The title of my address is ‘Boundaries not Barriers’ and I want to explore this in relation to research.  I will be concentrating on city walls from which I wish to draw two images.  One is going outside the city walls and the second is what happens to the walls when the gates are closed and what happens when they are open.  I will then briefly draw out some implications for boundaries and barriers in relation to research.  I develop this whole area of boundaries in barriers in a book published in 2004, Unofficial God?

Pubs, Churches and Community

Expanded version of a talk given to the Friends of Kent Churches

11th May, 2013.


First of all, on behalf of the diocese of Rochester, I would like to thank the Friends of Kent Churches for your generosity towards the churches in Kent, which, of course, includes the boroughs of Bromley and Bexley. Your generosity enables Christians to engage in mission within their communities.  It is on the relationship between church and community that I would like to focus.

This morning I was in a pub speaking about the Church: this afternoon, I am in a church wanting to speak about the pub.

What Future for Africa?

27th February, 2013

From the time of David Livingstone, Africa has always captivated and enthralled Europeans.  The size of it, the mystery of it, the beauty of it and the fear of it have had a significant hold on our imagination.  It is associated with great joy and exuberance and also with great suffering and death.  We have loved and been puzzled by the people of Africa.  Over the years, we have exploited and tried to tame this huge continent and its inhabitants.  We have also tried to help and support its development.

Value and Characteristics of Theological Research

Talk given to clergy and laity involved in research.

18th October, 2012

‘A theologian is one whose prayer is true.  If you truly pray, you are a theologian.’  This is the often-quoted saying from Evagrius of Pontus who, in the fourth century was made a deacon by St. Gregory of Nazianzus.

Opportunities and Challenges facing the Church

Given to Retired Clergy Association

5th October, 2012

I have over a number of years (both as a Bishop and as Vice Principal of a Theological College) spoken to men and women as they were about to be ordained deacon....


'Come and See' Burrswood Celebrates Something New

If ever love, healing, forgiveness and reconciliation were needed in our world and in our lives, now is the time.  We are hearing dreadful stories of thousands of Rohinja people being forced to flee from their homes in Myanmar into neighbouring  Bangladesh.

Stogumber Music Festival - The Power of Song

This evening we celebrate church and community enjoying each other’s company, drawn together by the gift of music.  Over these days, some very talented artists are providing a wonderful programme of music, song and dance in this lovely West Somerset Village of Stogumber.

Easter Day 2017

‘Alleluia! Christ is risen!’

That great acclamation will be echoing around the world in countless languages as Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  They will already have said these words in Australia and New Zealand.

Ash Wednesday 2017

                                                                                      Reigniting Passion

Not long after he began working for the Black and Decker, the new Chief Executive called a meeting of his senior team.

God for all People

Tonight, in Bethlehem in the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Nativity, which Christians revere as the birth-place of Jesus, a great celebration is taking place.  In fact similar celebrations will be taking place across the world in eastern orthodox churches.

Farewell Sermon

Church and nation are entering the season of remembering.  Next Sunday is Remembrance Sunday when the country is drawn together to remember with thanksgiving those who have died in conflict.

Ordination of Priests 2015

New beginnings. New chapters.  New possibilities.  Great hope.  This morning, this afternoon and tomorrow morning 24 people are being ordained and launched into new ministries in this diocese.  Of these 24, 12 are being ordained as deacons and 12 are being ordained priests or presbyters.

Hands of Compassion School Zambia 15th Anniversary

When I last visited Hands of Compassion School (HoC) in Ndola, Zambia,  back in 2010, a bore-hole was being dug in order that the school could have its own water supply.  I remember the afternoon well.

Easter Day 2015

‘Alleluia! Christ is risen!’

That great acclamation will be echoing around the world in countless languages as Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  They will already have said these words in Australia and New Zealand.

Christmas Midnight Sermon


One hundred years ago tonight saw something quite extraordinary happen. There was an unofficial Christmas truce along the front line in World War I.  Such truces have happened before, but this one arose spontaneously in different parts of the line.

St. Edmund's Church Living Well Dartford


It is great that half the congregation today was here ten years ago for the dedication of this new building.  The dedication contained within it a marvellous vision of Living Well to which the people of this congregation have been faithful and, indeed, have built upon.

Singing, Forgiveness, Reconciliation and the Estonian Song Festival

‘The person who sings prays twice.’  These were the words of St. Augustine, the Bishop and church theologian who lived 1700 years ago. If that remains true for us today – and I believe it does – then thousands of prayers were rising to God  from the Song Festival here in Tallinn yesterday.

Little Voice, No Voice and the Birth of John the Baptist


Some of you may have seen the film ‘Little Voice’ which was released in 1998.  The film is centred around a young lady living at home and dominated by an overbearing mother.  As a result of a difficult upbringing, she was a bit of a recluse and had a little, quiet voice.

Morden College Founder's Day

At end of last year, the world mourned the death of Nelson Mandela. He was certainly one of the most remarkable statesmen of the last 100 years, if not more.  In a book called Mandela’s Way Lessons on Life author Richard Stengel maintains that Mandela’s outlook on life and leadership skills were

French Hospital Anniversary Celebrations

One of the issues dominating British politics for many years is immigration. Elections are won and lost on these matters, as we have seen over the last few weeks.  Who should and who should not be allowed into Britain?  There has been a lot of debate about allowing members of the EU into Britain.

Ascension 2014

‘The Glory of God is a human being fully alive.’  These are the words of a Christian from the church of many centuries ago, a man called Irenaeus, who was a near contemporary of Justin Martyr, some of whose relics you have here in the church.

Easter Vigil 2014



Do not be afraid;  I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised.

These were the words that the women heard as they went to the tomb on the day that Jesus was raised.  ‘He is not here,’ they were told.

The Raising of Lazarus - Passion Sunday 2014


Pedro Reyes is a Mexican sculptor who has taken thousands of guns and transformed them into musical instruments.  Handguns are made into violins, rifles into a rustic piano and gun barrels welded together to make pan-pipes.  Reyes has constructed a fully mechanised orchestra.

Presentation of Christ in the Temple and Radical Faithfulness

Today’s celebration is about the planning of a revolution. It didn’t happen in a secret hideaway in a country under a dictatorship.

175th Anniversary of Walthamstow Hall School

It must have been very hard for those young girls all those years ago to wave goodbye to their parents as they sailed away in large ships.  Their parents were missionaries travelling to faraway lands to serve God by working in the service of others.

Queen Mary's Hospital Sidcup. Thanks & Farewell to the Old:Welcome to the New

As I was thinking about today's service, words from TS Eliot, the nation's favourite poet, came into mind:

In the end is my beginning.

Today is charged with mixed emotions.  For many it will be relief, that the period of waiting and uncertainty is over.

Freedom, Liberation and Ordination

A few weeks ago was the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King delivering his speech ‘I have a dream.’  The speech, delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, was a defining moment in the history of the American Civil Rights Movement.

Mary Magdalene and Love

To hear Maureen Greaves speak of forgiving the two men who murdered her husband Alan must be one of the most moving events of the last few months. Alan Greaves, a church organist in Sheffield, was brutally beaten on his way to play for Midnight Mass.  He died in hospital three days later.

Easter Day 2013 (Acts10.34-43;John.20.1-18)



'Alleluia! Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed.  Alleluia!'  These words are echoing today in many churches, in many congregations, in many languages throughout the world as we greet the risen Christ on this most special of festivals.

Some time ago I spent Holy Week and Easter at a monastery

Lent, Desert and Temptations

(Luke 4.1-13)

Two years ago, I visited Egypt where I spent a short time with a religious community who lived in the desert at the foot of Mount Sinai.  My brief time there confirmed that the desert is a place of extremes.  It is very hot in the day and very cold in the night.

Our Journeying and the Three Wise Men

I want to remind you of the story of three men, three celebrities of their time.   They were wise, wealthy and well-respected.  They had everything they needed to live….big houses, transport efficient for the time and people looked up to them.

Midnight Eucharist 2012


Last weekend, I was in Harare where our diocese of Rochester has had a close link relationship for many years.

Bells announcing hope and new possibility

Dedication of a ring of bells

Just over a week ago, I was in Jerusalem attending a magma, which is the synod of the diocese of Jerusalem.  But this was unlike any synod in the UK because the diocese of Jerusalem takes in Israel, Palestine (including Gaza), Jordan, Lebanon and Syria...

Remembrance Sunday 2012

Some years ago I visited the French town of Verdun, scene of some of the bitterest battles in the first world war.  It was from the battles around Verdun that the unknown soldier, buried at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, was selected.

Inspire a generation


‘Inspire a generation.’  That’s been the strapline of the Olympic and Paralympic games.  And they have gripped the country in such a positive way over the summer..

Celebrating 350 years of Book of Common Prayer

Twentieth century historian Stanley Bindoff wrote that the King James’ Bible (KJV), the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) and Hymns Ancient and Modern (A&M) formed a ‘splendid, trilogy with which the Anglican Church has endowed the English speaking world.’...

Easter Day 2012


'Alleluia! Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed.  Alleluia!'  These words are echoing today in many churches, in many congregations, in many languages throughout the world as we greet the risen Christ on this most special of festivals. 
Some time ago I spent Holy Week and Easter at a monastery in

Maundy Thursday Chrism Eucharist

I am sure that many here would have had the experience of visiting a city or shopping centre with family or friends, deciding that each should go their own way and to rendez-vous at a meeting place at an agreed time.

Brian Castle, Bishop of Tonbridge