Saturday, 11 January 2020

THE BOOK OF MORMON - Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Sarasota, FL. 11th Jan 2020

Not for tender ears.


Not a bit subtle.


"Adult" language.

Very funny! (tears in your eyes at times).

Unmemorable "formula music" (You don't leave whistling a tune!)

Under it all, a telling critique of western colonialist
 missionary efforts in Africa. 

Mormons get the rap in this show, but it could have been about any christian fundamentalist missionary group.


With the wonderful bonus of leaving the Van Wezel by the Bayside entrance and exit, to be greeted  the lovely bay.

Friday, 10 January 2020

If Cats Could Text (OR DOGS)

Funny, despite grammatical errors! (Photo' via my neighbour Barbara B.)


2:00 p.m. you leave the house.  The dog gets testy and texty.

2:05 p.m.    "Papa, you've been gone FOR EVER".

2:10 p.m.     "You promised that you would be back SOON.

2:15 p.m.    "There's a MONSTER outside the house/ i'm scared".

2:20 p.m.    " You say that you love me, then you leave me".                          

2:25 p.m.     "I am  hungry.  You haven't fed me  for three                                    whole  days".                             

2:30 p.m.      "The cat is looking at me.  Tell her to stop".

2:35 p.m.       "I knew it, you are cheating on me with Lassie"

2:40 p.m         "I'll give you five more minutes, then I'm calling                              the  Humane Society."

2:42 p.m.        I return home.  "Gimmee a treat and I'll forgive                             and forget,  but I really missed you Papa".

In truth I learned from the Humane Society not to make a fuss when I leave my home without Zion, not so much as saying good bye.  Thus my dog learns that I will leave and I will return  - it's all part of our life together, So when I leave our home Zion knows that this is normal, and  that he does not need to be anxious.  
What I wrote above is just for fun.

First Day At Work

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

What does a 15 year old know about anything?

What did the 15 year old John Michael Povey know about anything?

Not as much as he thought he knew.

More than adults believed he knew.

So it was that sixty years when the Synagogue in Bristol, U.K. was defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti I know that something was wrong.  So I wrote to my best high school friend Stephen Meyer and his parents to express my sadness and disgust.

Stephen's parents had escaped from Germany in 1939. A mere twenty years later they encountered hatred in England.

I don't know why I wrote, so I take no credit  -  it was just that something in me told me that something was wrong. (Maybe that was because I had spent so many happy hours in their home.)

They wrote back, saying that my letter had been like a breath of fresh air.

Sixty years later I am still in touch with Stephen. I last saw him in Shrewsbury, Shropshire about five years ago,  Two old men re-united and reminisced.

Sixty years later the venom of anti-semitism still spreads it's deadly evil.  So much evil is being done to Jews, simply because they are Jews.

So of course I was at the rally against hatred in Sarasota today.  We were of one explicit mind that hatred of Jews; discrimination again Muslims; and persecution of Christians are all cut from the same evil cloth.

We are also at one explicit mind that hatred of, and violence towards African Americans, Hispanic immigrants, and GLBT people  come from the same deadly thread.

My guess is that we were between 250 and 300 people.

We heard from:

A leader of the local American Jewish Committee (AJC).

The President of the Sarasota/Manatee Jewish Federation.

A Rabbi.

The conservative Black Pastor of a very conservative African American Church.

A Roman Catholic Priest.

An Evangelical Baptist Pastor.

A leader of Sarasota's Latino/Latina Community.


We were in the wisdom and spirit of Ben Franklin who said:

"We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately".

Monday, 6 January 2020

Send in the metaphor police

This morning on the locally broadcast WBUR programme "On Point",   Gideon Rose of Foreign Affairs Magazine said that the President had

Unleashed a can of worms.

(That'll larn them Iranians!)

Makes the imagination run wild.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

My last encounter with ecclesiastical fame. YOU'LL KNOW THIS NAME!

So, I've told you about Bishop Tompkins, Dr. Visser 't Hooft, and Archbishop Bloom.  They might as well be ancient history!

The best was yet to come.

Before I get to the juicy bit,  you will remember that due to the oddities of the Church of England I met my sponsoring Bishop (Tompkins) only once.

The same was true of the Bishop who ordained me as Deacon in June 1976.  Oliver Tompkins had retired and the new Bishop was John Tinsley.

The one and only time we met was when he ordained me to the Diaconate.   The Universe intervened, so that after this ordination I made my way to serve a parish in the U.S.A. 

(My move to the U.S.A, in 1976, and my naturalization in 1984 changed my life for the good.  I am grateful.  Never forget when you met me that I am an immigrant!)

NOW the juicy bit  -  which still brings tears to my eyes.

'Twas in about 2002/2003 that one day I was having lunch with my friend and colleague the Revd. Dr. Andrew McGowan  at the now closed Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu was there as a visiting fellow. He walked into the Refectory. I asked Andrew McGowan if he would introduce me to Bishop Tutu,  which he gladly did.

Archbishop Tutu and I engaged in some small talk.  After all, what do you say to a hero of the anti-apartheid movement?

Well , having not much to say, I dropped to my knees and asked  "Archbishop, would you give me your blessing?.

That he did.  I stood up.  Archbishop Tutu dropped to his knees and said  "Father (Povey) please give me your blessing".

Now do you understand why this particular brush with ecclesiastical fame brings tears to my eyes, even as I write this blog?

The Archbishop of courage, grace and Jesus.

Bishop Tinsley who ordained me, even though he did not know me!