All posts by Alan

Associate Priest, Badshot Lea and Hale

Variety in the Church of England

I recently saw this article in The Guardian. It highlighted for me one of the good, and at the same time bad, things about the Church of England.

The CofE is what is described as a broad church. Many Churches have a Statement of Belief, and if you want to belong to their Church you have to sign to say that you agree with everything in it. The Church of England does not. Instead if you can say the liturgy with integrity you are in. Queen Elizabeth I arranged this on purpose at a time when Christians were killing each other over differences of interpretation. She said:

I would not open windows into men’s souls.

This leaves the Church of England with a wide spread of beliefs/interpretations which are legitimately held by members. I like this, it means that we know that we are not expected to know the mind of God – that as Oliver Cromwell said:

I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken.

However, some strands of the Church of England are more comfortable with this than others. It is in some ways as though the Church is a collection of several different churches.

This is a long-winded way of saying that within the Church of England you will be able to find churches as described in the article, and at the same time you will be able to find those, like ours, which are members of Inclusive Church, and which try to welcome everybody.

There are of course other churches which welcome LGBTQI+ people more than the CofE is able to do while we struggle to work out how to do this in a way that satisfies everybody within the church.

The linked article by a vicar gives a flavour of the difficulties faced finding one which welcomes everyone.

Don’t give up on God yet!

Image by Belinda Fewings, Unsplash

The Benefits of Meeting in Person

I have heard a number of people saying how wonderful it is that life has carried on as it has, and how once this is all over (all is a long way away) we don’t need to travel as much as we can do all our meetings by Zoom (other video conferencing apps exist).

I want to challenge this. I believe that we have been able to do it so far because we are living off relationships which already exist. I know there are stories of couples dating on Zoom and then getting together, but I believe that there is a fundamental difference between meeting with someone online who you already know, and forming a new relationship in that way.

This applies to both personal relationships as well as professional ones. The personal ones are perhaps more obvious with the obvious lack of touch, but I believe the professional ones also need physical presence, at least some of the time.

For example, my daughter is returning to work next week after maternity leave, and will be working from home for the foreseeable future. She will be managing staff she has never met before, as well as those she managed before she was off. There is no doubt in her mind that the former will be much harder.

Another issue that I foresee, although one which might now be a fact of life, is the “small stuff”. Twenty years ago the company I then worked for tried out video conferencing, and it did save a significant amount of travelling. However, personally I missed the conversations that took place because I was physically with someone, conversations that weren’t worth making an effort to have, but which when we were face to face cropped up. They were the times I discovered how well our service was working – it might have been well enough not to be complained about – but there were issues which if not addressed would come back to bite us. Similarly, when visiting a site I would speak to lots of different people; video conferencing it would just be the person on the call.

So, yes, when this is over lets look to change things, but please let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater and lose the personal interaction.

Pentecost Service – Your part!

May 31 is Pentecost and the services have more congregational responses than most services.  Please would you video yourself doing the Responses  (below) and send them to Alan by Tuesday 26th May using FileMailTransferXL or PCloud (works better on mobiles).

All responses should be in one take with a good space between them to make editing easier.

If you haven’t done this before, instructions can be found by clicking here.



PLUS… send us  a video of you lighting a candle

Get involved with a virtual choir

We want to create a virtual choir and allow as many people as possible to get involved. Bob Shatwell explains what to do:

The parish musicians have been collaborating over the past few weeks by playing together remotely, using an app designed for iPhones and iPads called Acapella. As far as I’m aware, at the present time only Margaret and I have the app, which limits participation somewhat. The following are basic instructions on what to do if you would like to record a video of yourself singing or playing an instrument along with one or both of us. It should also be possible to play along with someone who doesn’t have the app (Frances, for example).

These instructions are tentative and untried at the moment. There are likely to be glitches! For this reason, I’ve given them a version number and date. I suspect we’ll modify them after we gain experience.

General principles

If you are singing along with someone, it’s essential that you can hear them, so you can sing in time and in tune. Basically you need an audio track playing to you through earphones whilst you record a video of yourself using your device’s microphone and camera. It is also important that the track you are singing along to is not picked up by the microphone. This will lead to funny audio effects, typically an echo or positive feedback (whistling).

If you have the Acapella app on an iPhone or iPad

There will be a link on this website that you can click on. This will open up in the Acapella app and you should see a composite image with a few blank partitions. Ask to edit and click on one of these partitions. Record yourself, if necessary several times until you are happy with it, and then click “Save and Share”. Use the collaboration option that comes up to email a link to Margaret and me. I can download the video as a file and send it to Alan for incorporation in the service.

If you have this app and are intending to use it, we need to know early in the week. When we start a collaboration project (i.e. record a hymn) using Acapella, we have to make a choice about how many boxes to display, corresponding to how many different tracks there will be. We can’t change this retrospectively, although we can always leave some spaces unused. It might look a bit odd in the finished product, though.

If you have a PC

To use it on a PC you have to install an Android simulator.  If you do not know what I am talking about then it is probably beyond you!  If you search for “Acapella PC download” you will get the following option (if you search on Google it will probably be the top one):

Google Acapella

This will tell you what to do.


The easiest approach is to select one of the Acapella hymns linked to above and click on the Get App button.  You will need quite a recent version of Android, as when Alan tried he was told his hardware wasn’t compatible with the version of the App that was attempting to load.



Image by Jens P. Raak from Pixabay

Worship for 3rd Sunday of Easter, St George’s Day and St Mark’s Day

Hello, today we have a veritable smorgasbord of services for you, a completely different one for each of our churches including different sermons. Perhaps you can enjoy them all through the week.

At St John’s we have an Easter 3 service looking at the story of Cleopas on the road to Emmaus, St George’s are celebrating St George’s Day with an All Age service and St Mark’s are celebrating St Mark’s Day.

In the bonus pieces below is video showing a way of reflecting on the Emmaus Road – especially good for younger people, with lots of wondering questions. There is also a piece asking the question “Isn’t the Bible sexist” with a lovely quote from Dorothy Sayers – this relates to Lesley’s St John’s sermon. Also, a play and Allelu, Allelu – a couple of highlights from the St George’s service! St Mark’s discussed what they miss about going to church, you can see the answers here. Also I have added the sermons (6 of them!) at the bottom, including one from Bishop Jo.

St John’s

St George’s – St George’s Day

St Mark’s – St Mark’s Day

Happy Birthday

to Tricia & Christine C.

Bonus Pieces

The Gospel Reading, Godly Play version – The Emmaus Road.

Relating to Lesley’s Easter 3 sermon:

Feel free to do the actions:


Recording Material for inclusion in Parish Videos

We are asking for material for parish videos and you don’t have to have any particularly advanced technology to record and send them. It can be as simple as a phone call. Read on…

If you have only a telephone with no special features …

Alan can record any comments you would like to make over the phone.  Please call the Rectory and arrange a time to do this.  It will involve calling Alan on his mobile – and a number will be provided to do this.

If you have a smartphone/computer with camera and microphone

Large files can be sent to Alan via

If you don’t know how to use the computer to do this

  1. Click on the magnifying glass at the bottom left of the screen.
  2. Search for Camera (or Voice Recorder if you just want to record your voice)
  3. Click on the Camera App option/Voice Recorder Option
  4. Click on the Video button on the right hand side of the screen so that it is white and click on it again to start recording.  It will turn red, click there to stop recording.
    The Voice recorder will look like one of the other two pictures, depending on whether there is already a recording in the folder.  Click on the microphone to start recording.  There will be a blue circle with a square in it to stop recording.
  5. CameraSoundSound more 1
  6. Open File Explorer Pictures / Camera Roll – you should find the video you have recorded there.  Sound is in Documents/Sound Recording.
  7. Use FileMail, TransferXL or PCloud (works better on mobiles) to select a video and send it to Alan.

Using a mobile/tablet

  1. Record the video – turn your device to landscape mode – it gives a bigger picture.
  2. Use PCloud to select the video and send it to Alan.


“Click Here” to attach a file.


Click on Files


Find the Video and click on it.


Fill in Alan’s email address: and your own and an optional message and click SEND FILES.

I look forwards to receiving lots of material.