Welcome …

August 16, 2009

… to the Vicar’s Blog. Why another blog, I hear you cry? Well, our main blog says what’s happening in our churches, and the ministry blog provides the sermons. But how does all this come about? What’s it like to be responsible for a church like St Michael’s and St Barnabas? Indeed, what does a vicar do?

IMG_5727I can’t say all will be revealed here, as lots of what I do is confidential. But I hope some of what I say will be useful, and maybe even encouraging! Comments and feedback, as always, more than welcome.

Every blessing,

Rev Tim


A reluctant farewell

January 25, 2020

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This wonderful instrument was donated to the church many, many years ago and has inspired so many to praise and worship. I have enjoyed every minute of playing it and hearing its rich sound fill the church.

However this grand old lady is now over 120 years old, and is need of a complete restoration. An expert from Steinway and Sons has come and carried out a detailed assessment, and estimates that the cost of a full restoration would be in the order of £45000.

So with a very heavy heart, the PCC decided to sell the piano in a specialist auction in London. We know this will be a difficult decision for many, yet we really have no other option. So towards the end of March, we will be saying a reluctant farewell, but with grateful thanks in our hearts for all the enjoyment and inspiration that this piano has given us.

In the meantime we will be looking for a suitable, quality replacement. We will probably be looking for something electronic with an upright action, but we will let you know more details as we have them.


Read the Whole Story 22nd to 24th December

December 19, 2019

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December 22nd

Read Luke 22.

Why did Judas, Peter and the other disciples all fail Jesus? What had they not understand about Him?

Pray that, as many worship Jesus at carol services today, they would realise the baby born in a manger came to suffer and die on a cross.

December 23rd

Read Luke 23.

Why was Jesus put to death on a cross? What difference does His death make to you?

As you pray, ask that Jesus might remember you when He comes into His kingdom.

December 24th

Read Luke 24.

How do we know that this chapter is not in fact the end of the story? What difference does it make to you that Jesus has conquered death and is now alive?

Pray that at this Christmas all those in need will find the joy and comfort of the risen Saviour who is Christ the Lord.


Open Church – one year on

December 17, 2019

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At the beginning of the year a group of us decided to see what happened if we opened the church every Tuesday. We had no idea who was going to come through our doors, or if our plan was of the Lord. So we waited nervously and we prayed…

Over the past year we must have had 70-80 people through our doors. On average we see 20-30 people, some of whom have started coming quite literally off the street. We are building a presence in the local community we never had before, and we are engaging in all kinds of conversations, and discovering all kinds of needs.

None of this would be possible without a fantastic team who have grown closer to each and to the Lord over the past year, and we have seen some discover gifts they never realised they had. Today they excelled themselves by cooking Christmas dinner for 29 people, and nobody went away hungry! We finished the meal with a short carol service, and, as always, we collected requests for prayer we then shared at the end of the day, at 3.30pm.

We don’t know where the Lord will take this work in 2020, but it’s already been an amazing journey. And I mustn’t forget to mention that once a month, if we weren’t busy enough, we hold a family part from 4pm to 6pm on Tuesdays, and we regularly get about 7 children, none of whom regularly come on Sunday.

So Open Church one year on is becoming our main mission and outreach here at St Barnacles. If you aren’t yet part of our story, do join us. The Lord has given us a vision for SLOW church – safe, loving, open, and welcoming to all, and you too are very welcome to be a part of it.

Open Church is now taking a two week break, but we will back on 7th January. I hope very much to see you there!


A Christmas poem

December 16, 2019

Something I wrote for the carol service yesterday:

Imagine the stable was dark, imagine no birth
Imagine the Son of God had not come to earth
Imagine no baby born in a manger
Just think how great our spiritual danger
Imagine the prospect of living in hell
Without Jesus among us, Immanuel

And then rejoice and proclaim
That our Saviour in Bethlehem came
To bring us a hope we could not achieve
And bow down and worship, and this day believe
In Jesus not as child but rather as Lord
And may His name forever be praised and adored.


A hurried election thought

December 12, 2019

I have been reading so much about General Election campaign, and from those I read I pick up so much bewilderment, anxiety and disillusionment about the whole political process. I cannot but help share the sense of frustration at a system which seems incapable of delivering the government we all want to see.

How has it come to this? I suggest there is a basic issue here of language. A generation ago we didn’t need to fact check every word a politician uttered, not were the facts a matter of a negotiation. But we have substituted dialogue for point scoring and soundbites; we have replaced truth with personal experience; we have relativised what it is right and what is wrong. We are reaping the fruits of post-modernism where the only thing that matters to me is my opinion, and any attempt to challenge that opinion is wrong, and is a proper subject for ridicule.

Oh yes, we can still be thankful we have a democracy. We can and must exercise our right to vote. But until there is a commitment by all parties to an agreed standard of truth, that promises carry weight and need to be honoured, that actions have consequences to which people must be held to account, our system will remain broken.

It is in this light I will be with a grateful heart remembering this Christmas day that the Word became flesh… from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14). And while I cannot change the political process, I can at least pray that I, and the church I serve, show that grace and truth to the nation, not only for our own’s sake, but also for the common good.

Lord, send revival and start with us.


Read the Whole Story 15th to 21st

December 8, 2019

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Sunday December 15

Read Luke 15.

What do these three stories tell us about God’s grace? Why should joy be at the very heart of our Christian faith?

Pray that in our services today men and women, young and old, will meet the God who is seeking to bring them home.

December 16

Read Luke 16.

Why is the love of money so damaging to our relationship with God? How should we use our money to serve Him?

Prayerfully review your giving and ask the Lord what He would have you give.

December 17th

Read Luke 17.

What distractions and temptations can pull us away from faith in Jesus? How do we make sure we do not harm or hinder anyone else’s relationship with Him?

Spend some time away from the computer, phone or any other device, simply thanking God for who He is, and let your praise then shape your prayers.

December 18th

Read Luke 18.

In this chapter there are people who approach Jesus in the right way and those who approach Him in the wrong way. How do you approach Jesus when you pray?

Today commit to praying regularly, faithfully and persistently for your brothers and sisters in Christ.

December 19th

Read Luke 19.

In this chapter Jesus is described as Lord and as king. So what did the crowds on the road into Jerusalem expect when they gave Jesus these titles? Why at the same time were the religious leaders trying to kill Him?

Prayerfully consider the blessings the Lord has given you and how you can best use them in His service.

December 20th

Read Luke 20.

Why were the teachers of the law so determined to catch Jesus out? How should we respond to those who seek to attack or undermine our faith?

Pray for all those who are hostile to the name of Jesus, and remember those who this year will be forced to celebrate Christmas in secret.

December 21st

Read Luke 21.

If you go to Jerusalem today you can still see the stones thrown down by the Roman soldiers. Why did the Lord bring such terrible punishment on the city? What lessons are there here for us?

As the season of Advent draws to a close, pray that those who bear the name of Jesus will be ready for His return.


Read the Whole Story 8th to 15th

December 2, 2019

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Sunday December 8th

Read Luke chapter 8.

How does this chapter reveal the supreme authority of Jesus? What does it mean to live under the authority of His word?

Pray for all those who lead the church, that they will continue to preach God’s word faithfully and clearly.

December 9th

Read Luke chapter 9.

What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus? What haven’t Jesus’ disciples yet fully understood about following Him?

Pray for persecuted believers around the world who this very day are taking up their cross and following Jesus

December 10th

Read Luke 10.

Why is listening to Jesus so important? How should listening lead to practical action?

Pray that in all the busyness of the season you will find time to listen to Jesus and to do whatever He asks of you.

December 11th

Read Luke 11.

Why did Jesus have such harsh words for the religious leaders of His day? What did they fail to understand?

Pray through Luke’s version of the Lord’s Prayer today and then use it as the basis of your own prayers.

December 12th

Read Luke 12.

What should be our priorities each day according to Jesus? Why is our focus so often elsewhere?

As the nation goes to the polls, pray that the church would have wisdom in this present time of change and uncertainty.

December 13th

Read Luke 13.

Why did the message of Jesus prove so unpopular to so many people? What does it look like to live a life of genuine repentance?

Spend some time reading the news headlines today. Ask the Lord how you can best respond in prayer to events in the wider world.

December 14th

Read Luke 14.

What are the excuses that stop people from taking up their cross and following Jesus? What are your excuses?

As a new government is formed, pray that those who lead will do so in humility and with a concern for the poor and the outcast.