New Wine

Ten days ago, I read something in my study notes which challenged me. The writer was reflecting on the passage in Matthew about wineskins. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved. (Matthew 9:17) The writer made the point that while aged, or indeed truly vintage, wine is wonderful, it’s no […]

Hello Mum and Dad

When the PMC historian comes to write the Church history for the last hundred years, one of the defining moments of the Zoom hours in the Litchfield era will be hearing, morning mum and dad, on Sunday mornings. John Brookes greeting his parents has been a wonderful part of the consequences of Covid for PMC, and the way that people are able to join us in easily, if not in person, has been a true benefit from these very difficult […]

Thanks to Myra McCalllister

Churches often forget that lots of things go on behind the scenes to make Sunday worship possible. It is not just the Minister but a whole team of people who make sure the church is clean and tidy, warm and comfortable, that refreshments, when allowed, are available and that the services runs smoothly. Part of this is making sure that there are readers and people to lead the prayers. It wont’ be a surprise that when people get up to […]

A Lesson from Lockdown?

In we filed, squinting in the harsh fluorescent light, six of us, clones, dressed in pin-stripes suits, carrying pads of yellow paper, pencils, audit programmes and of course our precious briefcases housing indispensable calculators. The bald headed, older man at the corner desk, looked up, showed the ghost of a smile under his greying moustache and sighed. The auditors had arrived for another year. It was the late 1970’s in Northolt, west London. North Sea oil had been discovered and […]


Following the death of Prince Philip there’s been a lot of talk about duty about how he was a man committed to his duty. However, I’m not sure we are always clear about what we mean by duty. Duty can be thought of in two ways: positive duty that is the duty to assist; and negative duty which is the duty not to cause harm. It is generally thought that negative duties outweigh positive duties and so are more fundamental. […]


I’m a bit of a mixture. I’m an Irish woman who lived over half her life in Britain. I’m a qualified doctor but also an ordained minister. Although I was ordained in the Church of England and now associate myself with the Church of Ireland, I spend at least half my time working for or worshipping with the Methodist church. Although strongly extrovert by nature I really appreciate time on my own. I love words and things of the mind […]

Watching the grass grow

Lockdown diverted our daily Caper walk to Port Kelly. I noted the growth in a newly sown field and took a picture each day until we could get back to walking Ballyquinton Point. Mine was an uneducated uninformed watching of slow growth over days, weeks and months. A farmer would have watched with intelligence and intent. But as each day passed it made me wonder what seeds of change God had planted in my life. And as the seeds germinated, […]

Reflection on Song

Before the last year, none of us could have envisaged the changes which have now become an accepted part of our everyday lives – the social distancing, the masks, the lockdowns. And of course, these changes have been reflected in our church life too. For the short number of weeks since last March when we were physically able to meet together, the ‘new normal’ seemed far from normal and certainly very far from how we were accustomed to worship. We […]

Nightmare in Troas

Who enjoys nightmares? The clue’s in the name. Nightmares wreck sleep, sap confidence and breed an insidious fear. Mine was persistent, and always the same. Ever since I was small, the feeling of falling. Falling out of bed. Falling off a cliff. Falling, for ever. Tumbling over, hair flowing like a flag, and arms and legs spreadeagled like a runaway cartwheel. Soundless screams coming from my lips. Down and down, through the darkness, in an ever-narrowing tunnel. There was no […]

Census and lifeboats

I have just received my census form and was having a quick look at the questions. As usual there is a question on religion, and although it is slightly different in the England and Wales census from the NI census the outcome will be the same. We will have a measure of those who say they are Christian. Now go forward a couple of years when the census results start to be published. We will have our normal breast beating […]