Gallery into Oratory

East Gallery, Bishop’s Palace, Wells; windows of light, in and on three walls. At the previous evening’s preview, people gathered without gathering, and looked without seeing. In the peace of a fresh morning, the gallery becomes oratory, flowing with your presence. I bring a chair to sit and gaze, amazed, at you, the Saviour and … Continue Reading


Who is this woman facing this man? Head lightly inclined, eyes wide open, gazing, hands uplifted, palms upward, surprised; gorgeously arrayed. Who is this man facing this woman? Coming from the right, profile clear, bearded; hand outstretched, palm down; gloriously appareled. Behind her, two angels hover reflecting her shape: behind him, scented trees lean setting … Continue Reading

The Pause

Sentences, like people, need spaces to breathe. Between the full stop and the Capital lies the pause. Without the space, sentences are breathless; without the Sabbath, life is restless; without the pause, the rest is lifeless. Sentences, like God, have a preferential option for the pause. I wrote those lines earlier this year and have … Continue Reading

Embrace – a poem

‘Embrace’, a poem by Canon Vanessa Herrick, Director of Ministry and Vocation and Director of Ordinands in the Diocese of Ely. This poem was read at the Ridley Hall, Cambridge event ‘Lost and Found’ on 17 March 2006 Reflections on the painting ‘The Forgiving Father’ by Frank Wesley (1923-2002) Found. Found. Wanting to find and … Continue Reading

Return – a poem

by Andrew Rumsey Something’s afoot But not quite at hand: A closeness, a crackle you can’t understand. Could that be the Father? Or was it the son? The ghost of a guess that his brother has come. The return of the son! O, the drum of my heart The return, the return of the son … Continue Reading

‘I Can’t Believe’ – a poem

A poem by Alan Storkey So you believe no God created this, no great design, but just a happenstance, not personal, but rather hit or miss, not even aim, but just a primal dance of stupid chemicals. Yet even they need pre-constructing into atom, quark, from which non-aiming hits, you say, the universe was made. … Continue Reading

‘Matter of Great Moment’ – a Christmas poem by Graham Kings, vicar of St Mary Islington

For God, matter matters: For the Word became flesh. In the beginning was the Meaning, And the Meaning became matter, And the matter became moment, And the moment became movement, And the Meaning moved us. For God, matter matters: For the Word became flesh. Graham KingsThe Rt Revd Dr Graham Kings is Honorary Assistant Bishop … Continue Reading

‘Joseph Ratzinger: European Pope’ – a poem

In St Peter’s Square, Holy smoke and a shy smile Of Bavarian piety and curial power. Funeral oration, Conclave sermon, Acceptance address: Momentous momentum. A hard act to follow, They chose a hard man. In thinking, penetrative; In doctrine, conservative; In power, effective; In discipline, pressive: Continuity reigns. Enforcer becomes caretaker To take care of … Continue Reading

‘Karol Wojtyla: Polish Pope’ – a poem written on the day of his funeral

In St Peter’s Square, Presidents and Prime Ministers, Princes and people gather. A simple cypress-wood coffin Is surmounted by the gospel book. He said he lived his life Under the word of God. The ruffling wind of the Spirit Bears witness, turning its pages. A previous Pope, John the Twenty-Third, The great caretaker, In surprising … Continue Reading