Jottings, Curios, Ramblings and all




Curate’s Curios (7/2020)




“The night has been unruly. Where we lay,

Our chimneys were blown down and, as they say,

Lamentings heard i’ th’ air, strange screams of death,

And prophesying with accents terrible

Of dire combustion and confused events

New hatched to the woeful time. The obscure bird

Clamored the livelong night. Some say the Earth 

 Was feverous and did shake.”


I remember studying Macbeth as a teenager, and encountering in this passage the concept of pathetic fallacy – a literary device in which the weather is given human attributes and matches the mood of the dramatis personae. Ever since, I’ve been alert to those times when the weather seems to match my own mood, or the mood of those around me, or, better still, makes visible and noisy our otherwise invisible, silent inner world.


I think we all do this to some extent. We all take a grim satisfaction in days when the weather is miserable and we are too, rejoice in days of sunshine when we are feeling happy.


Anyway, all this is to say that it seems entirely reasonable that in my last weeks as a curate at Hornsey Parish Church the weather has been intensely stormy. Of course it has. Of course the wind has howled and raged. Of course fences have blown over, rubbish bins have skittered down the road, spilling rubbish onto the street, water has come pouring into choir stalls and sanctuary. Of course dogs and small children have been misbehaving, stirred into naughtiness by the unruly wind and the lashing rain.


Not that I think I’m living a great Shakespearian tragedy – heaven forbid. There is no reason at all that my mood should be reflected in the weather – but nonetheless, at this time of great change in my personal life, of intense emotions as I leave one thing and start another, as I venture out of the safe haven of curacy at Hornsey Parish Church into the altogether less safe waters of life as a parish priest, nonetheless it does seem appropriate that the weather should be intense and challenging.


I ricochet between immense gratitude for my two and a half years with you – the joy of serving alongside you, of being part of this community, of being welcomed and accepted and nurtured and allowed to flourish – and the stress of leaving, uprooting, starting again, facing new challenges. I am and always will be deeply grateful to you, the people who welcomed me here – and I will miss you.


But if there is one thing that my time here has taught me, it is to seek God in the stillness. It has been a revelation to be part of a church family that values quiet, that puts prayer at the heart of our lives together and puts such an emphasis on time with God on retreat.


So while the nights might be stormy, I’m going to hold on to the quiet of the God who calls and loves me, the God who tells me to be still and know God. I will give my worries and dramas to God with joyfulness and trust that in God’s vast calm I am held and known. And I will praise and thank God, who is my help and my salvation.


And in all of this, I will continue to thank God for Hornsey Parish Church, and for each and every one of you for allowing me to walk with you since I arrived in 2017.


Thank you.



I leave on Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. Click Lent Leaflet to read more about our Lent Course Care for God’s Creation, other Lent activities and opportunities at Hornsey Parish church.

Hornsey Parish Church