Electric Censer!

Saw the following on Mother Ruth’s Blog and couldn’t keep my hands off it!….

Most clergy love to receive Church Supply catalogues. Indeed I once shared a flat with a certain ordinand who was known to pour over such catalogues while the rest of us were reading theology. She could source good women’s clerical shirts (that’s good shirts btw, not necessarily for good women) in seconds and knew the most competitive prices for Roman cottas.

This week I received the latest catalogue from SoS (Shinglers of Sutton) who are very generous participants at the Ingliston Roadshows btw. In it I was delighted to see the new Electronic Incensor. You plug it in to charge the battery, bung on the incense (medium grain is best) and press the button to spark it off. Loads of smoke ensues (for 3 minutes) and if you need another boost you just hit the button again.

Now most churches have a minority of members who have what we call a ‘Presbyterian cough’ when it comes to incense. Cries of allergy and cancer can be heard amidst the pronounced coughing and clearing of throats. Of course, we high church aficionados know that this ‘allergy’ is really to the smoke that comes from the charcoal and not the incense itself which is herbal and awfully good for you really. The Electronic Incensor could be the way forward.

Anyone want to donate £288 to a good cause?

A Worthy Tale!

Loved the story from Mother Kirsten’s Blog:

Janice came rushing in to her grandma’s house. ‘Gran, Gran, there’s something I’m dying to tell you …’

‘Wait a moment’, her grandma broke in, with a wise smile.  ‘Whatever it is you want to tell me, have you shaken it through the three sieves?’

‘Three sieves?’  Janice asked, amazed.

‘Yes, my love.  three sieves!  Let’s see whether your story will go through the three sieves.  the first sieve is the truth.  Have you thought about whether what you are going to tell me is true?’

‘Well’, hesitated Janice.  ‘I heard it from someone else, so I’m not absolutely sure …’

‘Right’, said Gran.  ‘That was an honest answer.  So let’s try it through the second sieve.  This is the sieve of goodness.  Since what you are going to tell me is not necessarily true, then is it at least something good?’

Janice lowered her eyes, ‘Well no’, she admitted.  ‘Not really.  In fact, quite the opposite.’

‘Well’, the wise grandma continued.  ‘Let’s use the third sieve, and see whether what you are going to tell me, even if neither true nor good, is at least necessary.’

‘Well, not exactly necessary …’ Janice sank into a thoughtful silence.

‘So’, Gran said, giving Janice an understanding hug, ’since what you were going to tell me is neither true, nor good, nor necessary, I suggest that we bury it deep in the ground of forgetfulness, where it won’t cause any hurt to anyone.

Worthwhile listen!

Tonight I have listened to one of the most powerful sermons I’ve heard for a long time. The Provost was on good form on Sunday morning in the Cathedral. Listen here.

It put into words, in a way I’ve been unable to, how I feel about the whole Lambeth thing, and the, now (for me), tiresome, issues of sexuality. Yes, let us deal wth these issues, and punt Paul’s bit in Romans to all who feel marginalised. That is the Gospel. Our Bishops need to listen to the marginalised!

But the Provost’s take on the average Anglican was wonderful. Wot I’ve been trying to say, unsuccessfully, for weeks in my Blog and getting pelters for saying it.

The average mother in Dumbarton’s “worst bits”, (like Bellsmyre, Castlehill, Brucehill), is concerned tonight for her teenage child who will, again, come home with needlepoint pupils and another brush with authority under their belt. The house will be damp and nobody in the family will be employed. Addiction, poverty, lack of self-worth, hopelessness, helplessness…

And, here, like everywhere, it doesn’t help us when a single issue is punted by the press as the only thing we’re interested in as Anglicans.

Show the world our best bits? Aye, but sometimes it’s hard to, because the people have already made their decision.

Sea Sunday

A note for your diary! Fr Robin Underhill, and Eve of course, will be visiting the parish on August 31st for Sea Sunday! There will be a retiring collection after both services for the work of the Mission to Seafarers.

Sea Sunday

Fr Robin Underhill will be visiting both services today to promote Sea Sunday. There will be a retiring collection at both services for the work of the Mission to Seafarers.

Helen Watt RIP

It is with sadness that I report the death of Helen Watt. Dedicated, brave and loyal disciple. May she rest in peace. The funeral will take place at St Augustine’s on Monday 28th July at 1.30pm.

From Raspberry Rabbit – Just in!


Abundant, grainy and not overly expensive. Think of it as Red River Cereal for the soul. We know already that incense is an appropriate symbol of the soul’s ascent and a means of hallowing or ‘pointing to’ significant places or actions – something which enjoys both clear Biblical warrant and obvious analogues in other religious traditions.

But is it good for you? From the reaction of certain folks it might appear not:

… Consider this symptom of distaste: the Protestant Frankincense Cough, a psychosomatic or (as we used to say) hysterical phenomenon. People who disapprove of incense often respond like Pavlov’s dogs to the dinner-bell. I, way up in the sanctuary of my last parish, could merely hold up an unlit thurible, for one dear soul, thirty yards away, to hack and retch as if gassed. Her Scotch blood, perhaps: she only had to see an incense machine to think of popery (rather than pot-pourri), and she couldn’t think of popery without gagging on the thought of Inquisitions, idolatry of false bones, pyres at Smithfield, Armadas, papal concubines, Jesuit assassins — and of Galileo, mocking Abbés in powdered periwigs, salacious nuns, the Provisional Irish Republican Army bombing schools — .

Now Fr Major has, I suspect, never been accused of understating a case. Nonetheless there is much unhappiness on the part of some people when the new rector begins to slowly and carefully introduce the practise on selected Sunday mornings. Not all of it has to do with the physical effects of the stuff.

This just in: It is now being suggested that the components of frankincense act to reduce anxiety and depression – at least among mice.

Those short unhappy lives, marked by high heartrates and quick dashes between corners of the kitchen looking for crumbs and dodging the cat and the householder’s broom. If such lives can be made tolerable with the addition of a little frankincense think of what it can do for you.

Back Again!

On returning from retreat, I’m slap bang into the Lambeth circus! Sorry to have missed the past few days, but there will be much to discuss and reflect on over the next 14 days!