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


Mark this date

December 4, 2018


This is the time of year when I do my best to remind everyone that we are still in the season of Advent. Unfortunately as every year I seem to be losing the battle as the full tide of Christmas has already descended upon us, and the frantic preparations for the festive are in full swing.

I don’t mind Christmas really – but I think there is big danger in being swept up with the rush, that we end up so busy we actually fail to stop and reflect why we are celebrating or indeed who we are celebrating. Such spare time as we have is spent hunting for that special present or shopping for the turkey or attending yet another nativity play. It is already a time of year when naturally we get tired, and all the frenetic activity only serves to make us more exhausted, which in turn means we find it harder to pray or to read our Bibles or come to church.

Yet this year of all years I passionately believe we need to make time to gather together and pray. Whatever your view on Brexit, we are facing a crisis of government and an uncertain future. There are rising numbers of homeless on our streets and in temporary accommodation. Many, many people will be spending the season lonely and afraid, perhaps in poverty, perhaps in debt. Our nation and our community need prayer. So do our plans to reach out more into the local community as we open up the church each Tuesday from January 8 onwards and build on our links with St Aubyn’s.

So I want you to put a date and a time in your diary or on your smartphone – 13th December at 6pm. We will have a meal first and then move to a time of prayer and praise from 7pm. I want to challenge you to make this your first priority that evening, and if necessary to rearrange your plans. For amid all the rush and the tumult of the nations God’s word to us is clear: Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10).

Let’s reclaim this season as the season of Advent when we watch, wait and look to what the Lord will do. Let’s gather in His name to pray. And let’s commit ourselves, our community and our nation to Him as we ask for His kingdom and His will to be done.


November 11, 2018

war memorial 11 Nov 18

On 5th July 1915 a young bank clerk from Hereford was enlisted as a private in the Royal Fusiliers. Within a year of active service he was transferred to the officer cadet battalion, and on 13th October 1916 he was posted to the 217th Machine Gun Company as a second lieutenant. The Machine Gun Corps as a whole was known as the suicide club because of the high casualty rates. This was because gunners stayed to the very end of an engagement to provide cover for those around them, and therefore many died at their post. 

This young bank clerk served with his company until 16th August 1917 when he was wounded in the forehead and the shoulder. He was taken to the military hospital where he recovered from his wounds. Unfortunately there he contracted mitral disease which severely weakened his heart. He was invalided out of the army and sent to a hospital in London for further treatment. On 3rd November 1917 the authorities removed his temporary commission, and he went back to working in a bank until his retirement many years later.

That young bank clerk was my grandfather, Reginald Buckley, and he never told of his wartime experiences. But then again, neither did so many people who witnessed the horrors of World War One, both on the Western Front and elsewhere. Yet even though they never spoke directly of what they saw, I believe we need to keep telling the stories of those who served. For in many ways the stories of both those who fell and those who returned are the stories which have shaped our all lives, and even if we have no direct connection with the war that was supposed to end all wars, we still owe a huge debt to the sacrifices they made. 

Of course not everyone was a hero. My other grandfather told his mother, who was living in Liskeard, he had been sailing round China for six years. In reality he was based in Devonport at HMS Vivid for all but 18 months of the war, and for the rest of the time was stationed in Hong Kong. Why he never went back to his mother during those six years is one story that perhaps has been best forgotten.

And that, I suppose, is a reminder that while we rightly remember the contribution of all our armed forces, we need to also bear in mind that today we are not celebrating some heroic ideal; we are commemorating real people. Some gave their lives willingly and courageously, some simply did what they could in the most appalling of circumstances, some sought to preserve their own lives above all else. I often wonder what I would have done if I had been enlisted. That they served out of whatever motives to gain freedom and peace for others is enough reason to thank God for what they did, and to commit ourselves to the cause of working together for that peace which He wills for all of humanity.

Because that in the truest (and Biblical) sense of the word is what remembering is all about – not simply making sure we do not forget but looking to the past to learn lessons for the present and to gain a vision for the future. It is through remembering that we receive wisdom and hope. And in today’s age of fleeting soundbites and instant communication the call to remember is one we need to heed more than ever before, for the sake of us all.

Thika diary – final day – photos #11

November 6, 2018

On their final day, the group took the opportunity to visit Namrata Shah for themselves

Foundations for a new building, still awaiting funding

Namrata Shah have their own farm …

… and grow whatever they need

A final view of the children’s home

And to finish, a few faces … and more food!

James, son of Revd Tim’s host, Archdeacon David

The Archdeacon’s girls, Deborah and Royal

James, Deborah and Royal

Jay, Pam and Beth stayed with Francis and his family (on the left) seen here with his vicar

A typical meal, with chapati, vegetables and stew

A final farewell from the choir at St Michael’s, Ruiru

Thika diary – at the Bishop’s – photos #10

November 5, 2018

On their final night, the group were invited by Bishop Julius to a meal … everyone was quite tired by then, but it was a spectacle not to be missed!

All dressed up for a party!

Revd Tim staying awake – just

The food was worth the wait

The setting was quite unexpected!

There was singing …

… and the group were expected to respond in kind!

At the end of the evening, Esther, Bishop Julius’ wife, gave gifts to each of the group

Thika diary – Karoa Parish – photos #9

November 3, 2018

Due to lack of resources, Ruiru parish is working closely with their neighbouring parish of Karoa. So later on Saturday, Revd Tim, Jay, Pam and Beth went to visit Karoa …

Emmanuel Church, Karoa

Everywhere they went, there was food! Often watermelon, boiled eggs and arrowroot. This is the unfinished Sunday School building.

Jay and Johnny

Emmanuel, Karoa

Some of the folk from Kaora … they made our people very welcome 🙂

An interior view of Emmanuel, Karoa

Thika diary – Ruiru Parish – photos #8

November 2, 2018

Finally, on Saturday, the members of the group were able to visit their link parishes and to meet some of the people who live there

St Michael & All Angels, Ruiru

Foundation stone. Thika Diocese was founded only 20 years ago and already has 30,000+ worshipping members of over 40 parishes.

Archdeacon Joseph and People’s Warden Johnny. AD Joseph is caretaking Ruiru parish and its neighbouring parish of Karoa while they wait to appoint a new minister.

Service times are about to change which might require some repainting!

The foundation stone of the old church

The Vicarage (currently unoccupied)

The Sunday School

Interior of St Michael’s, Ruiru

No escape! Tithes and offerings are received each Sunday with great ceremony.

Inside the old church

The church leadership team


Roads in Ruiru are typical of Kenya!

All roads lead to …. Nairobi

Thika diary – animals – photos #7

November 1, 2018

The group visited an elephant sanctuary and a wildlife park, Stedpak Gardens … their visit somewhat curtailed by the presence of FLOTUS, Melania Trump on her first overseas solo trip, and the bus breaking down on their way into Nairobi!

At the elephant orphanage

At Stedpak Gardens

African Grey Parrot

Beth enjoying the company of a Cockateil

Pam and the tortoise

Nile Monitor Lizards


Jay pointing out the obvious!

Grey-crowned Crane

A glimpse, on the way home, of slum dwellers scraping a living from the rubbish heaps …