On Saturday February 22nd we are holding a fabulous ‘Bollywood ball’ in Pembury Village Hall in aid of church funds. Tickets will go on sale from this Sunday and will include a three course meal and live entertainment. A fully licensed bar will operate throughout the evening.
The ball will be authentically Indian thanks to the Keralan members of our congregation who have kindly volunteered not only to cook the food but also provide the entertainment. Expect local indian songs and dances and delicious Keralan cuisine. My favourite!
The hall comfortable seats 120- which is the limit for the night. So book the babysitter and grab a ticket early to avoid disappointment.
Netflix has released a drama based on an imaginary meeting between Pope Benedict and Pope Francis, the roles played superbly by Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins. Sadly I cannot recommend it. 1/10 is my paltry score.
The reason for the low score has nothing to do with acting talent or production values, these are high, it is due to the overall content. This is a dishonest programme that forgoes truth to push the tired and predictable political agenda of Hollywood elites. Bottom line; liberal leftism is good, conservative morality is bad.
Expect to see “conservative” Benedict presented as a grumpy old goat who is out of touch and needs replacing. Replacing by “liberal” Francis the enlightened progressive who is ushering in the brave new era. We are essentially told that all will be well, pleasant and touching even, so long as past it conservatives step aside and allow with-it progressives to take over. Move aside traditional Christian thinking let a radical new leftist activism determine the life of the church. All hail the Anglicanisation of Rome!
Meanwhile, in the real world, the Benedict papacy saw optimism creeping back into the life of the church whilst the Francis era has been blighted by controversy, chaos and growing divide. Rumours are rife of a lavender mafia active in the highest levels of the Vatican. I have no idea if this is true but we have certainly witnessed a return to the centre of figures mired in scandal, such as Cardinals Ricca, Daneels, Maradiaga and Cocopalmerio. The drama investigates none of this, of course. It is just Benedict bad, Francis good, which is a great disservice to both of them.
What a shame the acting talent wasn’t used to make something better informed, more balanced and genuinely interesting. Who needs made up stories of life in the Vatican when so many fascinating stories, good and bad, surround it in truth?!
We are deeply indebted to a generous benefactor, who wishes to remain anonymous, for a wonderful Christmas gift for the congregation. A vintage statue of Saint Anselm our patron has arrived in church. Isn’t he just wonderful? Yesterday people were simply delighted to find him waiting for them as they gathered to worship. He will be blessed this morning.
The image arrived, all the way from Holland, yesterday morning at 6:45am. So began a very long day indeed. In the morning several members of the congregation helped unpack him, erect trees and decorate the church whilst Father Nicholas and I heard a steady stream of confessions.
In the afternoon we held our annual nativity play as part of the crib service. This year our French bulldog Coco even had a role playing the part of one of the Kings. The children were in good spirits and all performed admirably.
The 5pm vigil Mass and Midnight Mass went well with especially good attendance at Midnight. Now I set off for the Mass of Christmas morning. A happy Christmas to all readers of this blog. May it bring you many blessings.
This evening a goodly congregation gathered in Saint Anselm’s for our service of 9 lessons and carols. The choir were not as numerous as that of King’s College Cambridge, seen in the video above, yet they nevertheless led the singing beautifully. And after the carols we enjoyed minced pies and refreshments in the Hine Room.
On Christmas Eve morning the priests of the parish will be in the confessional awaiting penitents. Meanwhile the Christmas trees will be erected and decorated and the church cleaned. Pop in if you can.
At 2pm a rehearsal will take place for all the children wanting to take part in this years nativity play which is the centrepiece of our crib service at 3pm. I am currently being nagged by my own children to allow our dog, Coco, to take a part. One of the Kings is the desired role at present! The service at 3pm is particularly suitable for primary school aged children.
At 5pm we hold the vigil Mass of Christmas Eve. This service counts towards the obligation and is particularly suitable for those with very young children and for the frail who cannot get out late at night.
At 11:30pm we will hold Midnight Mass, the most important service of the Christmas period. If at all possible do please try and support this service which enables us to gather at the darkest point of night to await the light that came into the world.
And finally on Christmas Day morning there will be Sung Mass in church with carols at 10am to which all are very welcome to attend. Along with the Midnight Mass and Vigil this counts towards the obligation Catholics have to attend Mass at Christmas.
It is rumoured there is a very special gift for the parish to be unveiled at the Christmas service this year. Come along to see what it might be. For those further afield watch this space…
Alas Ebay took down the auction for the first ever 500ml of Anselmian gin because they do not allow the sale of alcohol. Mea culpa. This is a shame as the bottle was going for £45 at the time the auction was pulled. Is that person still out there? Will they offer again?
We shall have to begin the auction again on this website. Simply leave a bid in the message section of this post. And only post your bid if higher than the current total. We shall end the auction next Sunday evening. Happy bidding!
It officially a thing! Anselmian Sloe Gin – the first ever batch produced by yours truly, the sloes having been harvested from the churchyard of St. Anselm’s in Pembury. And I can tell you it is absolutely delicious.
Because Anselmian sloe gin is obviously far superior to any other old gin it is in extremely high demand. And there isn’t much of it. For this reason one special larger bottle is being auctioned, on Ebay, in aid of church funds. Follow this link to get in on the action. Delivery will be made within a fifteen mile radius or else pick up/ delivery/drop off can be arranged by the winning bidder.
The season of Advent is upon us. Unfortunately my car broke down on Sunday, as I was returning from spending the weekend as guest preacher at St. Bede’s in Clapham Park, and so I missed the Advent Carol Service. Thank goodness deacon Rob was able to step in as I was left waiting for the AA recovery for over seven hours in Catford. Grrr and brrrr!
On Saturday 14th we are holding a special pre-Christmas lunch for the elderly and those who don’t get out much. We need lots of helpers to make this annual event a success. If you can volunteer to wash up, provide transport, prepare vegetables, cook a turkey or help in any other way then please sign up on the sheets provided at church in the narthex.
Saturday 14th is also the evening on which the churches together in Pembury are carol singing outside Tesco in aid of a local charity. Meet just before 5pm if able to join in the fun. There are also village carols this coming Friday also at 5pm gathering at the Christmas tree on the green.
Do please support our Christmas Carol service on Sunday 22nd December. If you are able to volunteer to sort the mulled wine and minced pies then please get in touch.
On Christmas Eve morning we prepare the church and our souls for the feast. We decorate trees and clean the church and during this time a priest is available for confession. At 3pm we hold our children’s crib service and there is a rehearsal for the children wishing to take part at 2pm. During this service the children will officially light up the trees for Christmas. At 5pm we hold a vigil mass of Christmas which is particularly suitable for the frail and for young children. Midnight Mass begins at 11:30pm.
On Christmas Morning there will be Mass at 10am and children are asked to bring a present to open. And until then let us ensure we keep a good Advent
Yesterday evening we were treated to an excellent lecture by Tim Stanley, political correspondent for the Daily Telegraph and member of our congregation. Tim used the title ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ to explore the age old tension between faith and politics. With a general election looming he wanted to ask if it is even wise to attempt to build heaven on earth?
You can listen to the talk by clicking on the link above. It is also available here on the page where the previous two lectures in the series can also be found. I commend it to you. Indeed I would liken it to a delicious figgy pudding for the mind; crammed full of interesting morsels to fire the imagination.
We take a break from the Pembury lectures in December due to the heavy demands of Advent and Christmas. The next lecture therefore takes place on January 29th when the guest speaker for ‘Thy Will be done’ is Fr. Alexander Sherbrooke of St. Patrick’s church in Soho.
Tomorrow evening, Wednesday 27th November, we will be hosting our third Pembury lecture in a special series celebrating the canonisation of Saint John Henry Newman and ten years since the announcement of the Ordinariate. Mass at 7pm, refreshments at 7:30pm and lecture at 8pm.
Our third guest speaker is Tim Stanley, religious affairs correspondent for the Daily Telegraph, contributor to Radio 4’s ‘thought of the day’ and regular guest on Newsnight and various other political programmes. Much more impressive, of course, is the fact that he is a member of the congregation, and an altar server, at St. Anselm’s church in Pembury!
The lecture series follows the Lord’s prayer thematically. Being third Tim was handed the title ‘thy kingdom come’ and he intends to use this phrase to launch a reflection on “politics, the general election and the Kingdom of God.” It should certain garner a lively debate. Do come along and bring friends with you. And if you can contribute some cake or biscuits- they are always gratefully received.
You can listen to the previous two lectures in the series by visiting this link. We really have been blessed with wonderful speakers and I am very grateful to each and every one of them. In addition to those listed below we have a bonus lecture to be delivered on June 17th when Edmund Adamus will deliver a final lecture.