What’s New?

Advent Firesiders 2014

Added Tuesday 25th November 2014

What do you do on New Year's Eve when you know that the next year is going to be worse than the one that's just ending? Stay home, promise solidarity, or just go on drinking?

Light a fire, pull up a comfortable chair, and let Kevin Carey's Advent Firesiders gently provoke your comfortable Christmas contemplation.

Are priests a “failed tradition”?

Added Monday 17th March 2014

Ever since I began to study the Bible seriously I have never been able to come to grips with Saint Paul's Letter to the Hebrews: neither from Saint Paul, nor a letter, nor to Hebrews whoever they might be in the 80's CE, probably in Rome. I thought it was me; but one of the many wonderful things which Gary Wills demonstrates in this fascinating book is that this doctrinally anomalous document is frequently illogical and, in three critical places at least, plain daft.

Put simply, The Church and not the consecrated Eucharistic elements, is the body of Christ, a doctrine from which Saint Paul never deviated and from which the Church would not have deviated were it not for Hebrews. This document, apparently written to reassure Jewish converts to Christianity who hankered after the good old days of animal sacrifice, was somehow used as a pretext, in spite of its claim that the sacrifice of Jesus was unique, to establish an imperial priesthood based on its sole, miraculous power to change bread and wine into the very body and blood of Jesus.

Read Kevin Carey's full review of Why Priests? A Failed Tradition by Gary Wills.

Palm Ash and Oil

Added Thursday 13th March 2014

The ash upon my brow
Has made its heavy way
From those who shouted "King"
To those who would not say:
A warning of the slope
Which leads us to betray;
No need to do the deed,
Stay quiet, walk away.

Verse 1 of Palm Ash and Oil

Mary’s England

Added Monday 16th December 2013

Mary’s infant carried high
Over the shingle band
To mellow England;
Th rough the mist
Jesus Christ
Borne on his muddy way
Th rough mossy England.

Safe from Herod’s murderous bands,
Safe from scarred and cruel hands,
In the dappled, grassy lands
Of melancholy England.

Ah! But woe was the day
Through the thunder and spray
When they went on their way
From lovely England:
For they raised him on high
On a cross there to die
But his last, saving cry
Reached Mary’s England.

Taken from Kevin Carey’s latest volume of Christmas poetry, No Lamb So Beauteous (Sacristy Press, 2013).

Advent Fireside Meditations

Added Wednesday 13th November 2013

Four meditations to be enjoyed "by the fireside" this Advent are now on the Jesus4u website. This year the theme is Tradition and Today, exploring the contrasts between tradition and life today.

The firesiders can be found here: Week 1 – Week 2 – Week 3 – Week 4 – Week 5

I know it's a bit of a generalisation, but haven't you noticed how het-up non-believers get about what they do and where they go on Christmas Day? All over the country in the weeks before the special day, people agonise over how they can get out of spending yet another acrimonious day with their Uncle Stanley. I know, one line of thought is that it's our Christian duty to donate the day of Christ's birth to people we ought to live, even if we don't like them, not least our own family members; but it's often occurred to me that Uncle Stanley is feeling much the same thing about us. Where there is virtue in conscious, open and honest attempts to love, there's no virtue in a grim compact of mutual silence.

The solution? Read this year's Firesiders to find out!

Need some sermon inspiration?

Added Thursday 8th August 2013

There's a vast archive of over 200 sermons on the website, organised by liturgical date, covering all three years of the lectionary. So if you're struggling to devise a suitable sermon for your congregation next Sunday, why not check them out?

Green Compline for Ordinary Time

Added Thursday 6th June 2013

O lord, may we be fortified by the beauty of Your creation, the glory of Your Son's Resurrection and the Comfort of the Holy Spirit to grow in love and in the wisdom of Your Word as we enter the season of Green.

~ from Green Compline (opening prayer)


Added Sunday 6th January 2013

Taken from A Candle for a Maid, which is also available (along with other poetry for Christmas and Epiphany) in Kevin Carey's latest book, A Stranger in Bethlehem (Sacristy Press, 2012):

  1. Twixt crib and cross
    Twixt straw and bark
    Twixt holly and thorn
    Twixt light and dark:
    A candle for a maid
    Twixt happy and sad.
  2. Bound gloom and gold
    Bound Smoke and blood,
    Bound myrrh and tomb,
    Bound star and cloud:
    A candle for a maid
    Bound Swaddle and shroud.
  3. Raised love from hate
    Raised plough from sword
    Raised life from death
    Raised flesh from Word:
    A candle for a maid
    Who bore Our Lord.

Advent Fireside Meditations

Added Thursday 22nd November 2012

Four meditations to be enjoyed "by the fireside" this Advent are now on the Jesus4u website. This year the theme is Carols, coinciding with the publication of Kevin Carey's new book of illustrated poetry, A Stranger in Bethlehem. Filled with over 50 poems to take us from Advent to Christmas and Epiphany, this little book is the perfect stocking-filler.

The firesiders can be found here: Week 1 – Week 2 – Week 3 – Week 4

A Stranger in Bethlehem (and other Christmas poems)

Added Monday 12th November 2012

A Stranger in Bethlehem - buy now! Are you struggling to find the perfect little gift for friends and family this Christmas? Kevin Carey's new book A Stranger in Bethlehem is the ideal stocking-filler, containing over 50 poems that guide us through from Advent to Christmas and Epiphany. Scattered throughout the text are illustrations by Kevin Sheehan.

Christmas Carols are one of the most familiar aspects of Christianity, instantly recognisable to church-goers and others alike. Over the years many fine new musical settings have emerged, but the words remain the same. Kevin Carey has been inspired to create new and vibrant lyric poetry in an anthology that will delight those eager to renew their Christmas Spirit.

Restored in Grace, revived in Word,
The water fills our soul,
And so we wait upon the Lord,
Whose birth will make us whole.

A Stranger in Bethlehem is available as a paperback or e-book (including Kindle, iTunes and Kobo) from Sacristy Press.