Sermons 2015

December Sermons

St John the Evangelist (27.12.2015) Tony Dickinson

According to the old carol, how many days of Christmas are there? Twelve '“and we start to count after Christmas Day, so what is today? Today is the second day of Christmas. It's also the day when we remember St John the Evangelist. We call him 'John the Evangelist' so that we don't mix him up with another John '“ a John who has been mentioned quite a lot in the past few weeks. Which John is that?More....

Christmas Eve (24.12.15) Tony Dickinson

The darkness is all around. It is visible '“ all too visible '“ in the bloodstains soaking into the carpet of a Paris theatre, in the bodies of women and children coughed up by the Aegean Sea onto the shore of a Greek island, in the ruined cities and towns reduced to rubble by barrel bombs and Reaper missiles. It is gathering in the name-calling, the shaming, the threats of violence on social media, in the growing polarisation of political debate (not only in this country), in the growing estrangement and suspicion between neighbours of different faiths. It is hidden, but pervasive, in the ways in which language and thought are corrupted by lies and distortions, the sexualisation of children, the marketisation of organisations and relationships...More....

Advent 4 (20.12.2015) Archdeacon Karen Gorham

Are you ready for Christmas yet? Four shopping days to go! Maybe the reason that it's so hard for us to get ready for Christmas is because we have to do it every year? If we only had one Christmas to get ready for in our whole life, would we be ready? Well, it would certainly give us more time wouldn't it? The Gospel today brings Christmas very near as our attention now turns to Mary. But the Gospel also speaks to more going on than just the nearness of Christmas Day. The story of Mary and Elizabeth is a story of hope and joy '“ of ancient longings for redemption and security finally fulfilled; of a future that can be faced with confidence and with excitement. These two impossibly pregnant women begin a song of praise that has continued through the centuries.More....

Advent 3 (13.12.2015) Tony Dickinson

In the days before the massed ranks of television cameras and roving microphones, back in the 1930s and 40s, Franklin D. Roosevelt was the great master of the political press conference. 'He would talk,' as Alistair Cook said in one of his Letters from America, 'about everything and anything relating to government policy but nothing could be directly attributed to him in print, except with his permission.' Roosevelt shared information under three categories. If he said 'This is background', the information was to be kept at the back of the reporters' mind but was not to be used in print. Once in a while, he would say, 'That's for direct attribution' which meant that journalists could attribute it to him but not in quotation marks. Once in a very great while he would say, 'You can quote me'. And when he said that, the reporters knew they had a story '“ possibly a big story. Well, last Sunday's gospel was 'background' More....

Advent 2 (06.12.2015) Tony Dickinson

We've heard a lot about one saint today. Who was that? It was John the Baptist, who is at the centre of our reading from the Gospels, as he tells people to get right with God. But there's another saint we ought to be thinking about, too, St Nicholas, because today is his special day. And in some parts of the world, today is a very special day. Children in Germany, and the Low Countries, get very excited because he brings them presents. More....

November Sermons

Advent 1(29.11.2015) Tony Dickinson

Jeremy is in huge trouble again. His failure to toe the government line has been interpreted by many as little short of treasonous. He is failing to give a clear lead. In many people's opinion he is giving aid and comfort to the nation's enemies and spreading alarm and despondency. He insists on pointing out the past errors of policy which have led to the present desperate situation, but he offers no positive programme of action for the future. It's hardly surprising that he has been taken into what we might call 'administrative detention'.More....

Christ the King (22.11.2015) Tony Dickinson

Half-listening to the repeat of 'Any Questions?' over lunch yesterday, I was reminded of the huge gap that exists between the politicians, like Charles Clarke and Nigel Lawson, who are wise in the ways of this world and the campaigners and the idealists, like Lindsey German of the 'Stop the War Coalition', who passionately want the world to be different. It was, to say the least, an interesting preparation for tackling this morning's readings. It was an interesting preparation because there's a similar gulf sketched out in today's reading from John's Gospel.More....

2 before Advent (15.11.2015) Tony Dickinson

It was my friend Sarah's birthday yesterday. When I messaged her on Facebook to wish her 'many happy returns', I found her pondering the disconnect between her plans for a small celebration and the previous night's dreadful news from Paris. Today, some of us may be feeling a similar sense of dislocation between the horrific events at the Bataclan theatre (and elsewhere) on Friday and today's celebration of the baptism of Jessica and Elana.. So for those who feel like that it's probably worth sharing these words, added by another of Sarah's friends. He told her: 'If we don't continue with our lives then evil really does win. Go and have a wonderful birthday, and find joy over and against despair.' More....

3 before Advent (Remembrance) (8.11.2015) Tony Dickinson

On 8th January, 1942, The Daily Mirror published a drawing by their political cartoonist Philip Zec. It showed a sailor adrift in the Atlantic, clinging, exhausted, to a piece of wreckage from his torpedoed ship. The caption read: 'The price of petrol has been increased by one penny '“ Official.'More....

All Saints Sunday 8.00a.m. (1.11.2015) Tony Dickinson

Today is the day when we remember with thanksgiving not just the saints with a capital S, but all who have been important for our growth as Christians and our progress in discipleship. They may have been our companions on the journey for a short while or for half a lifetime and more. They may have been models of holiness through whom God's glory shone for us.... More....

October Sermons

Last Sunday after Trinity (25.10.2015) Bruce Bridgewood

I wonder if you have every stopped to consider the advertising industry and exactly what it does. It seems to me that there are three basic sorts of advertising. The first sort tells you that something exists, for example a hoarding with a picture of a bar of chocolate with the slogan Cadbury's milk chocolate. The second seeks to tell you about something ‘new', for example a picture of a tube of tooth paste with the slogan ‘Colgate's new and improved toothpaste with added sodium peroxide.More....

St Luke (18.10.2015) Tony Dickinson

Last Sunday we did some serious thinking about our mission '“ or rather, our part in God's mission '“ in the parish of Terriers. My thanks to all of you who filled in the survey forms and returned them. There were some very interesting and thought-provoking responses, which the churchwardens and I are already mulling over in preparation for next month's meeting of the Church Council. I hope that anyone who wasn't in church last Sunday will take the opportunity to add their voice this morning. More....

Dedication Festival (11.10.2015) Tony Dickinson and Peter Gee

It's eighty-five years to the day since Bishop Strong of Oxford climbed into his car, wound his way along the country lanes from Cuddesdon to Wheatley, and set off down the A40 to High Wycombe. The goal of his journey had, for the past couple of years, been a pile of shaped stones and flint-stones, bricks, sand and timber, stacked on marginal land between the fields and the road to Amersham. Now, though, those stones and bricks and timber had found their place and their purpose. Bishop Strong was about to dedicate them to the glory of God as space for prayer and worship. It wasn't, perhaps, very different from what Jacob had done 3,000 years before.More....

Patronal Festival (4.10.2015) Tony Dickinson

Here's a question for the families in church this morning. Who does the cooking in your home? Is it mum? Is it dad? Are they good cooks? Do they make a big fuss about cooking? Or do they just get on with it? If they just get on with it and produce good meals without a lot of fuss, they are (though they may not know it) following in the footsteps of one of the greatest cooks of the last two centuries. His name was Georges Auguste Escoffier. More....

September Sermons

Harvest Thanksgiving (27.09.2015) Tony Dickinson

There is a wonderful Swedish word, 'lagom', which means something like 'just right' '“ think Baby Bear's porridge in the story of Goldilocks. It's a word that sums up, in my experience, a lot of Swedish culture, the way people behave to each other, the ideals to which they aspire. It also sums up much of the message of this morning's readings. More....

Trinity 16 (20.09.2015) Tony Dickinson

Well, there you are, Alex James Charles! This is your special day and suddenly it's even more special than you would ever have imagined. According to Jesus, you are officially an example to us all '“ especially when we become too grown-up (and too puffed-up) for our own good. And, by the way, just to stop you getting too puffed up for your own good, the same applies to Kate and Ben as well.More....

Trinity 15 (13.09.2015) Tony Dickinson

In 1972 I was working in Durham. One evening in October, I was sitting in my room when the great tenor bell of the cathedral started ringing. At first I thought it was the regular chime to mark the hour, but the bell carried on ringing, and ringing, and ringing, very slowly and regularly. I began to wonder if it would ever stop. And then I heard the time signal on the radio, and the news headlines '“ and I realised why the great bell of Durham Cathedral was tolling so insistently. The Bishop of Durham, Ian Ramsey, had died, suddenly, earlier that evening.More....

Trinity 14 (06.09.2015) Tony Dickinson

We had our Teddy-bears' picnic on Thursday. I brought my teddy-bear. [Show Cubbins] We had bears of all kinds '“ even a Christmas bear '“ but there was one bear who wasn't there. More....

August Sermons

Trinity 12 (30.08.2015) Martin Davis

The New Testament reading today was from James. After Mark's Gospel this is my favourite book in the New Testament. It only comes round once every three years and here I am leaving just as it starts! There are 4 more weeks to go, maybe I should stay on for a few more weeks so I can cover it all!More....

Trinity 12 (23.08.2015) Tony Dickinson

After the past three Sundays it's quite strange to hear somebody preaching in English. And it's particularly strange to realise that that somebody is me. I'd got rather used to slipping into the back of Holy Family church in Ferrara, sharing in the Mass and enjoying what I could understand of the parish priest's reflections on the sixth chapter of St John's Gospel.More....

Trinity 10 (09.08.2015) Martin Davis

Last week at our celebration of Liz and Colin's wedding anniversary we had the 7th of the seven ‘I am' statements in John's Gospel. To day we have the first - ‘I am the bread of life'. The Gospel writer seems to be having a lot of fun playing with the meaning of words and it is not always easy to get to the meaning of the passage. ‘The Jews' help to stir up this confusion, it is they that take Jesus' words literally - ‘how can Jesus have come down from heaven?More....

July Sermons

Trinity 8 (26.07.2015) Tony Dickinson

If you were in church last Sunday, you may have spotted that the gospel reading was doughnut shaped. There was a great big hole in the middle. We started on one side of the sea with Jesus and the apostles, crossed to the other side in search of rest and refreshment only to be met by huge crowds, and then we headed back again, to be met by yet more crowds '“ probably the same crowds that Jesus and the disciples had crossed the sea to get away from in the first place. More....

Trinity 7 (19.07.2015) Tony Dickinson

I would guess that when they sat down and looked at the readings for this morning quite a few of my colleagues found themselves guiltily going through their mental lists of people overdue a visit. 'Woe to the shepherds'¦' is the kind of opening to a Sunday reading that really sets the negative vibes going for clergy. More....

Trinity 6 (12/07/2015) Tony Dickinson

Two Jewish men, Ginsberg and Cohen, got caught up in the revolution. They were arrested, tried as bourgeois deviationists and sentenced to death. As they were led out in front of the firing squad, each of them was offered a blindfold. Cohen refused his with a curse on the revolution and all its works. 'Sssh!' said Ginsberg. 'Don't make trouble!' In our Old Testament reading this morning, and in our Gospel, we heard about two men who made trouble: Amos, the agricultural labourer from Tekoah warned off returning to the royal sanctuary at Bethel, and John, the priest's son from the Judaean hill country, who ended up in front of the first-century equivalent of the firing-squad.. More....

June Sermons

Trinity 3 (21/06/2015) Martin Davis

Well a reading from the Book of Job! Surely one of the most amazing, confusing, challenging, and beautifully written books of the Bible. And as far as I can see this is the only time this year on a Sunday we will get a reading from it! Although you might have caught it on Holy Saturday, or at a funeral, or in Handel's Messiah. Job is a character that has passed into common speech; we get ‘Job's Comforters', by the way if you've been called that recently it wasn't meant as a compliment! More....

Trinity 2 (14/06/2015) Tony Dickinson

Nearly seventy years ago, after the end of the Second World War, a small group of survivors from the anti-Nazi resistance in Germany came together. Like many of the resistance, they were committed Christians, members of the circles around Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the von Moltke family. Somehow, unlike Bonhoeffer and unlike Helmuth James von Moltke, they had escaped death and they were ready to play their part in the building of a new Germany on the ruins of the Third Reich.More....

May Sermons

Trinity Sunday(31/05/2015) Martin Davis

Today is Trinity Sunday. Not to be confused with Trinity Mirror, the publishing house that has been the story rather than telling the story a bit too much in recent weeks. Unlike some of our festivals Trinity has a long tradition, with liturgies certainly around in the middle ages, with Gregory (of Gregorian chant fame) writing some in the late 6th century. It became a regular feature on the Sunday after Pentecost in England after Thomas Becket was consecrated Archbishop on this day in 1162. Interestingly he was only ordained priest the day before so maybe there is an answer there if they are struggling to find the next Bishop of Oxford! More....

Easter 7 (17/05/2015) Tony Dickinson

If, like me, you nose around what they call 'social media', YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and the like, from time to time, you will probably come across some of the nastier manifestations of faith '“ including Christian faith. People seem to find it very easy to hate in the name of God '“ even to destroy in the name of God. Da'esh (also known as ISIS or 'Islamic State') is the prime example, as we have been reminded in recent days: but Da'esh has its Christian counterparts in various parts of the world '“ the Anti-balaka militias in the Central African Republic are probably the best known '“ and in this country, and in the USA, there are plenty of ideologically driven people who cover their ideological depths with a thin 'Christian' veneer. Racist and homophobic groups are particularly keen on this '“ and people with mental illness often find themselves on the receiving end, alongside gay people, black people and Muslims. More....

Ascension Day (14/05/2015) Tony Dickinson

'Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven?' Among the major festivals of the Christian year today's is probably the hardest to get a handle on '“ and by quite some way. Christmas: the birth of a baby '“ that's fine. Easter: resurrection and new life '“ that's fine, too. At least, it is in the northern hemisphere where new life is springing up all round us and butterflies are bursting out of the cocoon shrouds they wove for themselves as caterpillars. It might be harder in Australia (or southern Africa)'¦ But Ascension? Doesn't that simply reflect the outmoded, pre-scientific concept of a three-decker universe, with heaven on top, earth in the middle and hell in the bargain basement? More....

Easter 6 (10/05/2015) Martin Davis

I have three children, though children starts sounding an odd term, my youngest, Adam, is 23, Paul 26 and Joel 28, but they all seem like eternal teenagers! If ever they are around at home it won't be long before you catch them watching an episode of Friends, and it seems to have been like that for decades. I guess it could be, the show was broadcast from 1994 to 2004 and is never o ff the air somewhere - but whilst I've seen it on many many times and could hum the theme tune for you, ‘I'll be there for you', I have never watched a whole episode! More....

Easter 5 (03/05/2015) Tony Dickinson

You've had a busy few weeks, to put it mildly. Someone you worked with has been murdered by an angry mob '“ so you've had to leave town until all the fuss dies down. But that doesn't go according to plan, either '“ and you find yourself up to your neck in so much extra work that you have to call on colleagues from head office... More....

April Sermons

Easter 4 (26/04/2014) Martin Davis

I am a Good Sheep. You might know the Gospel story today as: 'The Good Shepherd', but I want you to leave today remembering it as ‘The Good Sheep', or even ‘I am a good sheep'. More....

Easter 3 (19/04/2015) Tony Dickinson

Half a century ago, in the spring of 1958, an American monk went out on a day trip from his community to the nearest big town. During that expedition, as he stood on a street corner in the centre of the shopping district, he had a sudden moment of realisation that changed his life. More....

Easter 2 (12/04/2014) Martin Davis

Our gospel story today is another gem; here are the disciples gathered together, but Thomas isn't there. Why is he not there? Has he fallen out with the others? Has he fallen out with his other half - ‘you've been so distracted these last months, now he's dead, don't you think you should be home with your family'? Did he get delayed at the shops? Was it a diary malfunction?More....

Easter Day 10:00 (05/04/2015) Tony Dickinson

I wonder if it occurred to you when the children were putting the figures into the Easter garden that they were telling a story. It's the story we've just heard from the 20th chapter of St John's Gospel. There they all are, Peter and the beloved disciple, Mary of Magdala, two mysterious messengers in white '“ and the person that Mary supposed to be the gardener. More....

Easter Day Dawn (05/04/2015) Tony Dickinson

Some years ago a Dutch priest called Anton Houtepen wrote a book which was translated into English under the title 'Everything is politics, but politics is not everything.' There's something of that feel around at the moment '“ even at the Maundy Thursday supper. More....

Maundy Thursday (02/04/2015) Martin Davis

Last Thursday was the last day of term for the UK Parliament. The speaker of the House of Commons is planning an end of term party and each of you has been invited. For your big day out you choose your best clothes and gather here for the journey by coach to Westminster.More....

March Sermons

Palm Sunday (29.03.2015) Tony Dickinson

The media last week had two main points of focus: the tragedy unfolding in the French Alps; and the reburial of England's last Plantagenet king following the rediscovery of his corpse under a Leicester car park. Both of them spoke about the way events distant in time and space can impact on the lives of others '“ and during this week we focus on how a series of events two thousand years ago still reverberate today. More....

Mothering Sunday(15.03.2015) Tony Dickinson

Who thinks that mums have it tough? Who thinks that they have it tougher than dads? Who thinks that dads have it tougher than mums? Who thinks that mums and dads both have it tough, but in different ways? More....

Lent 4 (15.03.2015, 8.00am) Tony Dickinson

'God sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.' Those words of Jesus are, the American nun Joan Chittister has recently written, 'a surprising '“ indeed shocking declaration, a blazing new light into what the Christian life is really about.'
More....

Lent 3 (8.03.2015) Martin Davis

Two weeks ago when I preached I noted how the three readings had a clear linking motif water. Today's three readings don't have that one motif but I see them more as a triptych; a Lenten triptych. Maybe this was what Gilbert Scott had in mind when he first drew the interior of this church with its grand reredos; More....

Lent 2 (1.03.2015) Tony Dickinson

Some of you may be disappointed to hear that we've got a leek in the church this morning. It's right by my stall. It's quite a big leek, too. I'll show you. More....

February Sermons

Lent 1 (21.02.2015) Martin Davis

Sometimes when you listen to the readings on a Sunday morning you wonder what the lectionary compilers were on, but no such confusion today! We have 3 readings very clearly focused on'¦'¦water. More....

Ash Wednesday (18.02.2015) Tony Dickinson

In societies which live closer to the natural order of things than ours does there comes a decisive moment in every child's life... More....

1 before Lent (15.02.2015) Tony Dickinson

Today's readings are both about looking and seeing '“ and about the ways in which human beings often fail to see the big picture because they're caught up in examining the detail. More....

2 before Lent (8.02.2015) Tony Dickinson

This morning's readings took me back forty years, to the time when I was employed by the University of Durham. My day job was in the University's Institute of Education, but I moonlighted as a resident tutor in Van Mildert College which is, by coincidence, Martin's old college '“ although my time in Durham ended a couple of years before his began. More....

January Sermons

St Francis, Terriers '“ Conversion of St Paul (25.01.15)

Sara Miles is a journalist based in San Francisco. Her parents weren't believers. Neither was she. God was irrelevant to her life as God had been to theirs. She wasn't anti or anything. God just wasn't on her radar. Until one day when she was passing an interesting-looking church about a mile from the neighbourhood where she lived...... More....

St Francis, Terriers '“ The 4th Day (18.01.15)

The next day'¦ It's a good way to start a story, but doesn't it make you want to know what happened yesterday? Actually this is the 4th day in John's telling of the Gospel story.... More....

St Francis, Terriers '“ Baptism of Christ (11.01.15)

Benjamin Michael '“ actually, that's a bit of a mouthful for a little lad. Do you mind if I call you Ben? Ben, I've got something important to tell you about what is going to happen this morning. You need to know it, because it is going to affect the rest of your life..... More....








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