My April 2016 visit to the UK – a family weekend

Jov and Phillip, awaiting the start of the match © Ricky Yates

Jov and Phillip, awaiting the start of the match © Ricky Yates

After my two-day visit to North Wales, I headed back across Offa’s Dyke, to Nottingham in the English East Midlands, spending the weekend staying with my son Phillip and future daughter-in-law Lisa, in their recently purchased new home. This has a guest bedroom meaning no more sleeping in a cellar without windows, or in a sleeping bag on the settee, as I have in times past 🙂

Ever since his childhood growing up in North Oxfordshire, Phillip has been a fan of Oxford United FC and is currently a season ticket holder. Months previously, when I was organising this visit, we agreed that we would go down to Oxford together and watch OUFC play Hartlepool United on Saturday 23rd April.

At that time, we didn’t know how critical the match would be. As it was, with this match and two more to go, OUFC were in third place in League Two and would gain automatic promotion if they were to win all three games, irrespective of any other results. Not surprisingly therefore, the game attracted a big crowd.

I drove us down to Bicester, from where we were driven onwards to the ground by Len, the father of Phillip’s friend Jov. It was a good game which ended in a 2 – 0 victory for Oxford United. For those who don’t follow these things, OUFC did also win their final two games, finished second in League Two and will thus play in League One next season.

On the morning of Sunday 24th April, I took a five-minute walk from Phillip & Lisa’s home, to their parish Church of St Jude, attending the 09.15 service of Holy Communion. I did to the Vicar, Rev’d John Allister, what regularly happens to me in Prague, revealing myself as a fellow Anglican priest at the end of the service. In Prague, this happens with some frequency – on the Sunday after Easter, I even had a bishop in mufti, with his wife, worshipping with us.

 

The Parish Church of St. Jude, Mapperley, Nottingham © Ricky Yates

The Parish Church of St. Jude, Mapperley, Nottingham © Ricky Yates

John Allister and I had previously been in email conversation but this was the first time we had met in person. He has kindly given permission for me to officiate at Phillip and Lisa’s forthcoming wedding at the end of July, which will take place in his Church. As I have often said, the geography of the Church building, does influence the way a wedding is conducted, so it was good to see the inside of the Church as well as receiving some helpful practical advice from John.

The adjacent Church Hall of St. Jude's where Phillip & Lisa will hold their wedding reception © Ricky Yates

The adjacent Church Hall of St. Jude’s where Phillip & Lisa will hold their wedding reception © Ricky Yates

Early on Sunday afternoon, my daughter Christa, son-in-law Ian, together with my grandson Finley arrived, having driven up from Daventry where they live. Lisa cooked us a late Sunday lunch which we all enjoyed together. I must apologise to the ladies, that I only have photographs of the male members of the family to illustrate this post. Below is Ian, reading to Finley, the book being a small present from me to my grandson.

Ian reading Finley's new book to him © Ricky Yates

Ian reading Finley’s new book to him © Ricky Yates

And below is a delightful photograph of Finley, enjoying toddling about in Phillip and Lisa’s garden.

My grandson Finley © Ricky Yates

My grandson Finley © Ricky Yates

My April 2016 visit to the UK – a trip on the Welsh Highland Railway

Aberglaslyn Pass © Ricky Yates

As a teenager in the 1960s, I enjoyed several visits to North Wales – either on geography field trips, or walking holidays, staying overnight in youth hostels. On a number of occasions during those visits, I walked through the beautifully rugged Aberglaslyn Pass, following the line of a long defunct railway. This included walking through three short tunnels, hewn through protruding outcrops of rock.

Research using my local library back in Coventry, revealed that what I had walked along was part of the line of the narrow gauge Welsh Highland Railway, which had closed in 1937. A few years later in 1941, the track and rolling stock had been requisitioned by the Ministry of Defence, to support the ongoing war effort.

Much as I liked the idea that one day, what must have been a most wonderful scenic . . . → Read More: My April 2016 visit to the UK – a trip on the Welsh Highland Railway

My April 2016 visit to the UK – Brownsea Island & St Tecwyn’s Church, Llandecwyn

The castle on Brownsea Island, as seen from the ferry from Sandbanks © Ricky Yates

Following worship at St. Clement’s on the morning of Sunday 17th April, when I and the congregation bid farewell to Rev’d Dr Karen Moritz, I was away from the Czech Republic for the rest of the month, only returning to Prague on the afternoon of Saturday 30th April, ready to lead worship the following day. It was first a week of annual leave, which was then followed by attending my final ICS Chaplains Conference.

I drove from Prague to the UK over a period of two days, following the almost identical route I described two years ago, when I last made this journey. The only difference this time was that I spent the night of Sunday 17th, staying with the York family in Luxembourg. Then . . . → Read More: My April 2016 visit to the UK – Brownsea Island & St Tecwyn’s Church, Llandecwyn

Farewell to Karen

From l to r: Yours Truly, Rev’d Dr Karen Moritz, Jack Noonan © Sybille Yates

On Sunday 17th April, I, together with the St Clement’s congregation, bid a sad farewell to my friend and ministerial colleague, Rev’d Dr Karen Moritz.

As I explained in a post in May 2011, Karen is an ordained minister of word and sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA). She has been in the Czech Republic since September 2010 as a mission co-worker, working with the Ceskobratrská církev evangelická (CCE) / Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren (ECCB), the main Czech Protestant Church, which is a united Lutheran/Presbyterian denomination. The Kliment congregation of the CCE/ECCB own Kostel sv Kliment, the Church building where we worship in Prague.

Since successfully getting Karen licensed under the Ecumenical Canons of the Church of England, she has contributed enormously to the . . . → Read More: Farewell to Karen

Electing a new Old Catholic Bishop for the Czech Republic

Želiv Monastery © Ricky Yates

As I have explained previously in this blog, the Prague Anglican congregation legally functions as the English-speaking parish of the Old Catholic Church in the Czech Republic or Farní obec Starokatolické církve pro vericí anglického jazyka v Praze. This came about as the result of a covenant signed in September 2000 by Bishop John Hind, the then Anglican Bishop of the Diocese in Europe, and Bishop Dušan Hejbal of the Old Catholic Church in the Czech Republic.

Under the covenant, we are treated both as a Chaplaincy in the Anglican Diocese in Europe, and as a constituent parish of the Czech Old Catholic Church. One consequence of this is that I am expected, along with one lay person from my congregation, to attend any meeting of the Synod of the Old Catholic Church in the Czech Republic when . . . → Read More: Electing a new Old Catholic Bishop for the Czech Republic