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I hope you find material here to enrich, resource and inspire you as you learn and grow in your own discipleship and ministry.

Grove: Evangelical LeadershipTo learn more about my concerns for ministry, read my Grove booklet on Evangelical Leadership.


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Is the story of Epiphany credible?

The Feast of the Epiphany in the church’s liturgical calendar is based on the events of Matt 2.1–12, the visit of the ‘wise men’ from the East to the infant Jesus. There are plenty of things about the story which might make us instinctively treat it as just another part of the constellation of Christmas traditions, […]

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2017—the year of being kind?

A friend and colleague commented three days ago that a local school had a single rule: be kind. And that seemed like a good approach to Christian life and ethics, so would become this person’s New Year Resolution. For many people it feel as though the last year was not kind, and a little more […]

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Is Christmas Good News?

Though it is Advent which has passed, and we are now in the Christmas season proper, because of the front-loading of most Christmas activities, it is now the season when most church leaders are breathing a sigh of relief and finally putting their feet up—assuming they didn’t on Christmas day itself. It might be a […]

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Are we celebrating Jesus’ birth at the wrong time?

One of the problems about the development of traditions around Christmas is that people writing hymns or plays set Jesus’ birth in their own world rather than in what we know of the first century. In particular, many assume that Jesus was born in winter, since Christmas is celebrated in winter in the northern hemisphere. […]

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What are people ‘really’ celebrating at Christmas?

Around this time of year, there comes a recurrent debate about what people are ‘really’ doing when they celebrate Christmas. A while ago, there was a programme on Radio 4 exploring the origins of the tunes of carols. For example, the tune for Good King Wenceslas was originally a spring carol celebrating the fertility of nature. It is […]

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Should clergy have Christmas day off?

Angela Tilby, Canon Emeritus of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, managed to upset just about everyone with her recent column on Christmas ‘family-olatry’ in the Church Times. Christmas’s falling on a Sunday this year is bound to be awash with family services. I have heard of clergy cancelling the regular eight o’clock, on the grounds that they […]

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Was Luke mistaken about the date of Jesus’ birth?

A couple of years ago I watched the film Gravity. The effects were spectacular, the photography breathtaking, the characterisations engaging, and the story held one’s attention throughout. It even raised some profound (religious?) questions about life, death and purpose. And yet, when I left the cinema, I could not decide whether I had enjoyed the film or […]

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Preaching Christmas without a Stable

I preached last night on Luke 2, noting that Luke nowhere says that Jesus was born in a stable. This is what I said: I love this time of year. I know that they can be a burden at times, but I love the traditions that we associate with Christmas. There’s the reassurance of the […]

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What is our theology of food?

I was fascinated to watch Gregg Wallace (of Masterchef fame) explore how our food reaches us through supermarkets in his Supermarket Secrets episode looking behind Christmas. I hadn’t realised that this episode was in fact three years old, and even though reviews were previously rather mixed, I found it as fascinating as Greg evidently had. […]

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Jesus was not born in a stable

I am sorry to spoil your preparations for Christmas before the Christmas lights have even gone up—though perhaps it is better to do this now than the week before Christmas, when everything has been carefully prepared. But Jesus wasn’t born in a stable, and, curiously, the New Testament hardly even hints that this might have […]

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Jeremy Pemberton loses employment appeal

It was announced yesterday that Jeremy Pemberton has lost all appeals at the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) that he brought in relation to his Employment Tribunal (ET) case brought against Richard Inwood, Acting Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham. At one level there is not much to say on this, since the EAT has confirmed in […]

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