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Advent 3 | Thessaloniki

Is 61, 1-4, 8-end; 1 Thess 5, 16-24; John 1, 6-8, 19-28  (Canon LW Doolan)

It is not always a positive thing to be defined by what you are not. There is something of the protest in that type of approach. Protest is something I now have to live with. Being in the centre of Athens, as many of you will know, is a constant series of protests which brings a good deal of disruption in its wake.READ MORE

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Remembrance Sunday 2017 | Sermon

Our Anglican Lectionary guides us in a particular direction this morning. It would seem we are to consider Wisdom. Not only have we a reading from the Book of Wisdom, but we have, in our second reading, a parable of Our Lord, about the foolishness and wisdom of some virgins.

Wisdom, Sophia, is a powerful theme that runs through the Old Testament scriptures in its own distinctive genre of literature and is developed into the Christian era. A word of wisdom is particularly associated with the desert Abba or Amma. On this Remembrance Sunday I propose that we stay with wisdom as our theme.READ MORE

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All Saints Sunday 2017

1 John 3, 1-3; Rev 7, 9-end; Matthew 5, 1-12

I have a confession to make. I am absolutely hopeless sin understanding how to use new technology. I feel not so much like a Luddite, which is like an iconoclast, but more like a dinosaur, which is prehistoric.

I can email, and like to email. My mobile phone can receive my emails as well. This is big step forward for me. I can take pictures on my phone – but I don’t know how to forward them  to anyone else, so they just sit there in my photo gallery. I can text with my phone, though my fingers are too clumsy, so I often accidentally send off a message when I’m only half way through it.READ MORE

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Trinity 18 2017 | Harvest Sermon

I have not been in the Peloponnese since 1978. I sailed by ferry from  Italy to Patras, and then on to Athens for three weeks study at the British School (of Archaology and Topography). From the School we visited Mycenae, Epidavros, Olympia and Korinth. So after such a long time it is good to be back.

There is a legend, of course, about a monk called St. Regulus, who visited Patras and took possession of some of the bones of St. Andrew and transported them to the east coast of Scotland, giving the name to the town and later the University of St. Andrews. This year the university celebrates its 600th anniversary, and it was my first university. So some little connections!

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Trinity 18 2017 | St. Paul’s Athens

Isiaiah 25, 1-9; Philippians 4, 1-9; Matt 22, 1-14

 

Many years ago I was a Team Rector in North East Suffolk. Lynne and I lived in a small market town called Halesworth  near to Southwold famous for its Adnams beer, and Adnams is a very good wine supplier as well. I recommend the Adnams ‘Fizz’ which friends from Suffolk used to bring us as a present when we were in Crawley and Cirencester.

Halesworth Team Ministry had its own very well produced church magazine called Team Times. The quality of its production was really only possible because we had a truly wonderful woman called Margaret Deering who sold advertising space to local businesses. READ MORE

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Trinity 14 2017 | St. Paul’s Athens

Matthew 18, 21-36

Today the Church of England remembers the Battle of Britain. Between  1940 and 1941 the Royal Air Force fought the Luftwaffe against very heavy odds in a period commonly called ‘the blitz’. London, Portsmouth, Bath, Coventry, the Clyde in Glasgow – all these and more suffered from the bombing campaign of Germany. In September  of that same year RAF Bomber command began a series of night raids over Germany that marked a turning point in the war with Germany as the RAF disrupted German plans to invade Britain in what was known as Operation Sea Lion.

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Trinity 12 2017 | St. Paul’s Athens

Jeremiah 15, 15-21; Rom 12, 9-end; Matt 16, 21-end

There are times when other people drag you down. Lynne and I are generally quite cheerful and positive people. In our various parishes over the years we have encountered some very gloomy people indeed. These are people for whom it is always December, but never Christmas; always Lent but never Easter. When we encounter such people it is such a temptation to enter into their gloominess and share the negative views that they are spouting out. In my last parish we decided that whenever anyone said anything negative we would counter it with the exact opposite – even if we are feeling the same as them, or sharing their views. It made quite a difference, in fact, and some people either gave up expressing anything to us, or genuinely started to be a bit more positive.

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Trinity 10 2017 | St. Paul’s Athens

Isaiah 56,1, 6-8; Romans 11, 1-2, 29-32; Matthew 15, 21-28

It is funny how zoological my preaching seems to be at the moment. Some of you might remember a sermon I preached here a couple of years ago about how to eat an elephant – ‘in small pieces’. Then over the last few weeks we connected the little guinea pig type animal called a hyrax  to its nearest relative, which is an elephant;  then last week we had the irritated pig. Today we are keeping up the theme.

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Trinity 9 2017 | St. Paul’s Athens

Romans 10,5-13; St. Matthew 14, 22-33

I had dinner the other evening with a couple I haven’t met before. They are Athenians but now live in America. They are here on a family holiday. The reason we met up is because we have a mutual friend who works alongside them in New York. So as we were chatting away Kosta came up with a phrase I hadn’t heard before and I immediately liked it. Here it is:

‘It is very difficult to teach a pig to dance, and what’s more it irritates the pig’.

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Trinity 6 2017 | St. Paul’s Athens

Is 44, 6-8; Romans 8 12-25; Matt 13, 24-30, 36-43

I wonder how many of you know what a Hirax is? It is a funny little creature that you find in parts of north and east Africa. Strangely enough you also find them around the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

Hiraxes are a little bigger than guinea pigs, have special padded feet that allow them to climb on rocks and they are very good at jumping. They entertain tourists and pilgrims effectively when they visit Galilee. So far you might think I’m making it up, but the best is yet to come. Although this little mammal is like a large guinea pig the nearest animal to it genetically in the animal kingdom is the elephant. There you are – now you are convinced I’m telling you a pack of lies.

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