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October 2012 Archive:

Faith: Intercessions for 18th Sunday after Trinity (Proper 22) Year B- 2012- series 1


Job 1.1, 2.1-10; Psalm 26; Hebrews 1.1-4, 2.5-12; Mark 10.2-16

Today’s lectionary is an example of why it is a good idea to read it well in advance and then forget about it, hoping your subconscious will work out what the theme is. When I read this last Sunday, I could see no link. Today I can see such a link, though it is in some places a gossamer thread rather than a metal chain!

 Lord I believe; help thou mine unbeliefMark 9:24

The collect is one of my favourites:

Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us your gift of faith that,
forsaking what lies behind and reaching out to that which is before,
we may run the way of your commandments and win the crown of everlasting joy...

The passage from Job is all about the torments inflicted on him by Satan, which failed to make him curse God [and lose his faith]. The psalm is on the theme ‘I have trusted in the Lord and not faltered’ (v.1). The epistle is more complicated, and introduces the note of glory also in the psalm, but  contains the summary of our faith:

For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father (v.11)

And the gospel includes: whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it. (v.16)


Lord, you lead us by ways we do not know, through joy and sorrow, victory and defeat, beyond our understanding. Give us faith to see your guiding hand in all things, that being neither lifted too high by apparent success, nor cast down too low by apparent failure, we may press forward to wherever you lead.*

Lord we believe, but help our unbelief: in your mercy, hear our prayer


 ¶The Church of Christ

Lord, help your Church  build bridges from the Kingdom of God into the world of human life, with its sin and celebration, its weakness and strength. Teach us to   look outwards, away from those things that divide us, so that whether or not we are of like mind, we may love each other while  living in common service to Christ.**

Lord we believe, but help our unbelief: in your mercy, hear our prayer


 ¶Creation, human society, the Sovereign and those in authority

Lord, in these times of economic difficulty, and worry about the very structure of our world, teach us to have faith that with your help all will not be lost. Teach us also to remember that all our lives depend upon the work of many minds and many hands. We pray that we may live thankfully and in unity as members of one human family. Give us wisdom and generosity of spirit to use the skills of science and the resources of technology for the needs of the poor and forgotten, and for the enriching and healing of us all.

Lord we believe, but help our unbelief: in your mercy, hear our prayer


¶The local community

Lord, in our dealings with each other, teach us to listen, and teach us to forgive. Teach us to understand, and teach us to love. Above all, give us the courage to start again.

Lord, guide us to be more sensitive to the needs of our neighbours. We pray that the old may have faith that they are wanted. We pray that the young may have faith that someone will listen to them. And we pray for all people that they may have faith that they are of value, of course to you, but also to those that live around them.

Lord we believe, but help our unbelief: in your mercy, hear our prayer


¶Those who suffer

Lord of love, give strength to all from broken homes. We pray for any where there is little love or understanding, for all families that are needing help and attention. We pray for all who are separated from those whom they love through sickness, for all who are lonely and live alone.

Lord we believe, but help our unbelief: in your mercy, hear our prayer


¶The communion of saints

Lord, give our spirits power to climb to the fountain of all light, and be purified. Break through the mists of earth, the weight of clay and shine forth, you who are calm weather, and quiet resting place for faithful souls. You carry us and you go before; You are the journey and the journey’s end. ***

Lord we believe, but help our unbelief: in your mercy, hear our prayer



*Eric Milner-White and G W Briggs

**The prayer for the Church is drawn from a piece dated 9 July 2012 by the Rt Revd Justin Welby in Centeraisle.

*** This is a prayer of Boethius, c.480-524

The illustration is a hand-drawn Celtic cross by Pete Brazier, downloaded from 12 Baskets under CCL.

‘Everyday God: The Spirit of the Ordinary’ – Rosemary Lain-Priestley


I have been friends in cyberspace with The Revd Rosemary Lain-Priestley, who  is Dean of Women’s Ministry in central London,  since I reviewed her book ‘Does My Soul Look Big In This’? earlier this year (SPCK April 2012). When she mentioned on twitter that she had enjoyed this book by Paula Gooder, I persuaded her (with not much difficulty) to review it for Lay Anglicana. Thank-you, Rosemary.





The divine is to be found in the detail of human life and the extraordinary in the most ordinary of places. Having long been convinced of this, I was delighted to discover that a theologian of Paula Gooder’s calibre and compelling style has written a book based on the idea of finding God in ordinariness!

Everyday God: The Spirit of the Ordinary (Canterbury Press 2012) is the third in a series, the previous two having explored the ‘special times’ of Advent and Easter. The Church of England has two sections of Ordinary Time between the major seasons and festivals, and these are the trigger for this book. The author begins by arguing that ‘We need the ordinary in order to help us fully to encounter the extraordinary,’ and that ‘we doom ourselves to a life of dissatisfaction and disappointment if we cannot find some way of living contentedly with the everyday’.

The book itself is a lovely and engaging invitation to uncover the riches of life as we normally live it; to discover in ourselves the deep rhythms and patterns that enable us to sense and glimpse God in things we might be tempted to dismiss as mundane or at least consider unremarkable. It is beautifully written, with descriptions of life-as-it-really-is that will enable a wide readership to connect with its message. The author is a parent, tends an allotment, has a creative streak and loves the poetry of R S Thomas. These things provide varied seams of experience and illustration, shaping the book and rooting it in a life lived intentionally.

Through her expert commentary on thirty-three passages of scripture Paula drills down into the bedrock of daily life. She encourages us, like Moses, Martha and other biblical characters, to nurture within ourselves the habit of turning aside in order to notice, see and listen to God in the world. She sings of the Bible’s ‘unsung heroes’ and as she does so we see in their experiences our lives, our issues, our potential to connect with God.

She explores God’s choice to be found in the midst of mud, mess and Mondays, untrammelled by grandeur or royal protocol. She looks at the nature of the Kingdom and the miracle of all the ordinary things to which Jesus, in the parables, compared it. She points to the extraordinariness of what happens when we are called to something for which we are not ready, and find in ourselves the courage to respond to that call. And in the final chapter she looks at glimpses of glory in everyday life.

This is an extraordinary book in its ability to open up new perspectives on so many aspects of our life and experience: the significance and joy of which we might otherwise easily miss. The author’s ability to mine the scriptural material and come up with gems of connection and inspiration is deeply refreshing. An extraordinary book to be read anytime at all, but perhaps especially on Tuesdays, in term-time, in the Ordinary weeks of the year, all the better to discover God in the miracle of the mundane.



This is what Dr Gooder says about herself:
Paula Gooder
was born in Manchester, where she grew up. She went to University in Oxford where she did both her undergraduate and graduate degrees (first at Worcester College then at the Queen’s College). After that she taught for twelve years in two different colleges which train people for ministry (Ripon College Cuddesdon and the Queen’s Foundation, Birmingham). Her research areas are 2 Corinthians and Paul’s religious experiences.
In the end she left teaching in colleges because she realised that trying to juggle looking after children, teaching and desperately trying to write something was impossible. So now she works freelance, teaching and lecturing to a wide range of different people and, at last, writing the many books that have been waiting to be written for a very long time.
She continues to juggle but now only has herself to blame when it all goes wrong.


Candidates for Cantuar: David Urquhart

After last week’s little flurry, we do not know whether the Crown Nominations Commission has made up its mind, but is going through administrative hoops, or whether it  has not made up its mind and is pretending to be going through administrative hoops in order to mask its failure to reach a decision. Either way, we are not likely to have a definitive answer for a while, so I propose to continue our gentle stroll through the presumed candidates. I think the bookmakers’ lists are increasingly unreliable, and many bookmakers have withdrawn from the fray. Certainly the rankings are all over the place. We will continue to use the original list.

And so we come to the Bishop of Birmingham, David Urquhart.



David Andrew Urquhart, born on 14 April 1952, was educated at Rugby  and Ealing Technical College Business School (BA 1977). Like Justin Welby, he then had a  career ‘in oil’, in his case with British Petroleum (1972-82).

He is not married. In the old days, the cryptic annotation ‘WHM’ (‘wife has means’) would have been looked for in Crockford’s when selecting a bishop – or indeed any priest expected to entertain on a lordly scale – but these days potential wives with private incomes are hard to come by.


Bishop David studied for the  ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford and was ordained in 1984.  The Crockford’s entry is as follows:

* +URQUHART, The Rt Revd David Andrew. b 52. Ealing Business Sch BA77. Wycliffe Hall Ox 82. d 84 p 85 c 00. C Kingston upon Hull St Nic York 84-87; TV Drypool 87-92; V Cov H Trin 92-00; Hon Can Cov Cathl 99-00; Suff Bp Birkenhead Ches 00-06; Bp Birm from 06.

He became suffragan Bishop of Birkenhead in the Diocese of Chester in 2000. His succeeded John Sentamu as Bishop of Birmingham was announced in November 2006.


I have not been able to find any publications.


Bishop David has been described as ‘a low church evangelical’. He voted in favour of the Anglican Covenant, but apparently put no pressure on his diocesan synod to follow suit and in the event Birmingham voted against it. Bishop David, and the entire Birmingham delegation, voted in favour of adjourning the debate to enable reconsideration of  amendment 5.1.c, the position generally taken by those in favour of women bishops.


Bishop David joined the House of Lords in 2010 and is a spokesman on “Economy/Tax/Business; Foreign Policy; Local/Regional Government”. He was the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Envoy to China in 2006. And he is the Prelate of the Order of St Michael and St George, the order awarded to diplomats.

He is a very active member of the community in Birmingham, where he has been the Chair of the ‘Be Birmingham’ Summit of the Local Strategic Partnership.

Leap in the dark assessment

At his enthronement Urquhart was presented with a cope which incorporated various images related to his life and the city of Birmingham. These included a bagpiper, signifying his birth and upbringing in Scotland, a motorcycle which represents one of his hobbies, and the emblems of Aston Villa and Birmingham City FC, the two most prominent football teams from the city.

More interestingly, as a potential Cantuar, the cope also features a passage from Isaiah (58.12), written in EnglishMandarinHebrew and Gandan.

 “You shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets to dwell in.”

Could David Urquhart be the peacemaker, the unifying force, that we need?


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