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Pilgrim Walks

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DofE Chaplain News

No religion please we are British

When did the British become frightened by displays of religious belief?

I enjoyed watching the World Athletics Championships and I’m missing it now when I try to relax in front of the TV (isn’t TV rubbish most of the time – a subject for another day perhaps). Time and again Athletes would make some kind of religious gesture after they finished a race – many of them praying, sometimes in a group. Perhaps the most noticeable are Usain Bolt and Mohammed Farrah. Both Athletes, from different religions, who believe that their faith in God has a big influence on who they are and what they do. Yet not once does this get mentioned when they are interviewed or by anyone commentating. I have heard mention of huddles and looking to the sky but there seems to be an embarrassing silence over religious belief.

Now, I understand it is a matter of personal belief and it would be wrong to try and persuade anyone of the benefits of religion on such an occasion but surely there is nothing wrong in acknowledging it. It is my opinion that there is something wrong in being embarrassed by it.

I have heard that Usain Bolt went to an all night party – this is all over the news – but his faith is always covered up, why is this?

Could it be that the Atheists are winning? They don’t want to know that someone has a faith, and they certainly don’t want anyone else to know that someone in the public eye has a faith and so they moan when faith is put on display. The rest of us then have to put up with this embarrassed silence approach. It is nonsense – and I think they are mostly losing by the way. Why is it we can know all about what sexuality someone has or what teams they support or even what their politics are but we are too embarrassed to know about someones religion? Surely this is wrong!

It seems to me that the more we try not to mention faith the worse our ability to talk about such things becomes. So how do we then answer the big questions of life?

Of course, it isn’t just Athletes who do this without anyone mentioning it – it goes unmentioned all over the place.

I think it is about time that we learned how to talk about things like religion and not get so embarrassed that we quickly change the subject. If Atheists really do have good arguments to stop us all believing (I haven’t heard one yet and I have heard many, if not all, of their arguments – they mostly seem to just want to insult people) then they should want us to talk about it as well. Of course they have tried to argue their case since ancient times but still have made little headway.

Please lets stop being embarrassed and stop all the nonsense over taking people to court over wearing a religious symbol or sacking people because they want to pray and start talking about the things that really matter.

Sorry – I could have made this much longer but I doubt it would get read – it is about religion after all!

Ten Tors Training Hooray!

Dartmoor by antenne on flickr

Yes, Ten Tors training is now well underway for many and young people all over the country – especially the south west – are finding out what Dartmoor can be like. The group I am helping with had a good dose of rain and mist the other day and we all learned the importance of double checking everything in the fog and that some waterproofs aren’t actually water proof – not something you want to discover on Ten Tors itself. Fortunately there was not much of a wind and so we avoided any real problems.

Can I encourage you to check your kit, it is better to be over prepared than under prepared. People often wonder about the sense of carrying kit that it looks like we might not need (e.g. extra layers of clothing on a seemingly warm day) but I am experienced enough (I have made many mistakes) to know how wonderful it is to have those extra layers when the weather turns nasty. You may only ever need something once in a lifetime of walking but when you do need it you will be so glad you carried it – believe me I know.

May all your days on the hills be good ones and don’t forget to check your kit before you need it.

Sleeping in a tent is good for you


Even more reason to go out on the hills! Apparently sleeping in a tent resets your internal clock which lets you sleep better.

You can read all about it here …

The research can be read here …


Religion is good for the brain according to science

I came across this interesting TED talk about science and religion the other day. I found it very interesting. It isn’t specific to Christians but shows that there are many scientists these days turning up evidence for what religious people have been claiming. If you are stuck with a need to physical evidence then here is some.


Jubilee Challenge

I completed the walk yesterday without too much trouble – though I got rained on in the afternoon. It was kind of people to meet me at the churches and I certainly appreciated the refreshments. I have yet to work out a final total but it will be around £400 raised when I’ve collected it all in. Thanks for the support.

DofE Jubilee Challenge Update

I’m still on course for completing my walk on the 9th Nov – just hoping for some good weather now. Follow this link to sponsor me …

I will be setting off from Pawlett Methodist Church car park at 8am (after a prayer).

I will be arriving at Bridgwater MC some time between 10am and 10:30am (stopping for a quick cup of coffee and a prayer).

I will be finishing at Lisieux Way any time from 3pm onwards (the calculated timings would suggest at 3.40pm but I hope to be there earlier).

The route is close to 20 miles in length.

If I can get a signal I will send updates to my Twitter account at: (@hillandmoor)

You can view a map of the route here (pdf)   pawlett_to_bridgwater_to_taunton_1

Walking is good for keeping you healthy into old age

image of hiking boots - are they better for ankle protection

Hiking Boots

Not a great surprise to anyone but yet another study has shown the benefits of walking. In this study older people were given a walking programme to follow to see if it would help their mobility and it did. However, it not only helped them stay mobile it also helped them recover when things went wrong – all just by going for a walk.

Because I am an essentially lazy person and I don’t believe in spending time writing something someone else already has – life is too short – here is a link to a fuller description on another web site of the report and its implications.

DofE Jubilee Challenge

w-DofE logo monoYes, that’s right it is the year of Jubilee! Or at least the 60th Anniversary of the start of the Duke of Edinburgh’s award. Leaders and award holders are being challenged to take up a challenge for themselves. I’ve decided to challenge myself to walk to the churches I look after which is a distance of around 30km or 18miles. I’m going to do this in one day of course – Weds Nov 9th. I’m going to start at Pawlett and then walk to Bridgwater and then along the canal to Lisieux Way. I’m hoping to raise some money to help support those work of the DofE organisation who will use what they raise this year to help disadvantaged and vulnerable young people take the award. You may have seen some of the famous people who have taken up the challenge get a mention on TV.

You can find out more about the Jubilee Challenge at

Or you can sponsor me for the walk by donating at my Just Giving Page

What is the Methodist Church?


I sometimes get asked what the Methodist Church is and so I’ve started writing something to help me with the answer – I’m hoping to remember it all. Anyway, here it is – perhaps you could help me by pointing out what I have omitted (this mainly concerns the UK Methodist church by the way).

The Methodist church is movement started by John and Charles Wesley in the 18th century to reform people’s lives by following the teachings of Jesus.

We are a very democratic church which is run by its members with the majority of services being taken by lay preachers.

Methodists played an important role in the abolition of slavery and the emancipation of women (we were the first church in the UK to ordain women, for instance).

Methodists were instrumental in the formation of the trades union movement.

Methodists have got deeply Involved in politics playing an important part in the formation of the Labour party – which according to Harold Wilson owes more to Methodism than Marx – and the Liberal Party and being active in the Conservative party.

After witnessing the disastrous effects of alcohol and gambling on family life in the 19th century Methodists supported the idea of complete abstinence in an attempt to help reform society – hence our reputation but now a matter of personal choice.

At the end of the 19th century in response to the number of homeless and vulnerable children Methodists started the National Children’s home which became one of the largest children’s charities in the UK and still continues its work as Action for Children.

In 1943, and prior to the welfare state, Methodists concerned about caring for the elderly started Methodist Homes for the Aged or MHA, which 70 years later is the largest charity provider of care for the elderly in the country.

Methodists have been deeply involved in caring for the elderly, education and health care. It was a Methodist who started the Salvation Army.

In the 20th century The Methodist Church was one of the biggest providers of youth work in the country through its MAYC youth clubs, Boy’s and Girl’s Brigades.

There are presently about 80 million Methodists worldwide and growing, and there is a Methodist church in nearly every country.

In the 21st century Methodists are pioneering new ways to express what being a Christian means.

We have always had a concern for personal and social holiness – the way we live. We believe that Jesus and his teaching is the way forward for the world and that God’s love is available to all.

Fresh Expressions of Church

715511_22964670Fresh Expressions work! I came across this bit of information the other day – it is a couple years old now but that doesn’t mean it is not worth looking at.

What is a Fresh Expression? It is essentially a new way of doing church. The church has finally woken up to the fact that the old way of doing church is putting a lot of people off coming and so we are trying to do new things – and it is working. There are all kinds of different groups growing up where people are being given the chance to explore and express faith in news ways. Messy Church is a Fresh Expression, for instance, where families gather and do crafts together to explore a Christian theme. I am leading short Pilgrimage walks where we get the chance to walk in a beautiful place, talk and express our faith in some way.

This doesn’t mean that old ways of being church are over but that we are discovering new ways of finding and expressing faith in a new world. For those of us who are doing these things it can be very exciting, as well as challenging.

If you don’t go to church perhaps you ought to find out what Fresh Expressions are happening near you – or if you have an idea for one let your friendly local Minister know and get involved.

God is not dead, Science has not destroyed faith (despite what nonsense the media/press peddles), it is perfectly logical and reasonable to believe in God (don’t judge belief on the nutters the media/press like to talk about). If God does exist (and I believe there are plenty of reasons to think that God does) then shouldn’t we try and find out about God? I think the best way we have available is through the life and teachings of Jesus – you may think different. If there is life after death – as Jesus told us – and your immortal soul depends on God in some way shouldn’t you take the trouble to find out?