16 thoughts on “Rev Dr Dr Prof David Wilkinson, Principal of St John’s College Durham

    1. I’ve always found funerals a mixed affair – sorrow for the future without the person (which may be selfish, I admit) but happy for all of the good memories.

      I may have been lucky, but both my parents and a couple of friends all requested non religious funerals which meant we could focus on the person, not the mysticism.

      The religious funerals I have attended seemed (in my, possibly cynical, view) to focus more on the belief system advertised and less on the human individual.

      Not sure about the ‘David Bowie approach’ of no service at all. Part of me thinks that there is a need for some form of ‘event’ to mark the person’s existence; part thinks that money is better passed onto descendants rather than commercial funeral organisations. I guess it’s less what the deceased wanted and more what makes it easier for their friends and relatives.

      I know ‘enjoy’ is an odd word to use, but do I hope today has happy memories of someone who sounds good to have known. Look after yourself and your partner. Best wishes


    2. Holding a celebration of someone’s life is by far the best way of ensuring they live on in the memories of those who knew and loved them. My youngest sister and I organised a wholly secular funeral for my younger sister, who died nearly ten years ago. She is buried in a woodland setting under the shade of a beech tree. We visit it every year and carry on remembering.

      I hope the ceremony goes well, Peter, and that there is plenty of joy amid the sadness.


    3. Condolences to you and your partner. Remembering and celebrating at a loosely formal gathering are so much more important than any religious clap-trap, especially when served up by a clergy-person who never knew the deceased. My most memorable funeral was my sister-in-law’s. We buried her in a cardboard coffin in a woodland burial site in springtime; people spoke if they felt moved to do so. The whole event was filled with tenderness and love.


  1. “As my omnipotent*, omnibenevolent IMF bafflingly somehow failed to prevent Captain Sir Tom Moore contracting Covid-19, then my natural instinctive logical reaction is that praying to the very same supernatural entity will make him well again”

    or somehow not, when Giles has talked himself in a tight corner.


    1. Surely a person catching Covid id part of the ineffable plan — isn’t prayer a form of criticism of the IMF? asserting that the person praying knows better?

      Could be an interesting debate for Giles to wriggle his way through — religious leaders are by definition heretics?


  2. A year on from the start of the COVID pandemic, and all that the C of E can come up with is a National Pray-In. It’s worse than pathetic, as no contributor on TFtD has so far acknowledged that their IMF had anything to do with introducing the virus, so why would same IMF have any inclination to do anything about it. Of course, all thinking, rational people know that no IMF was responsible for this scourge, any more than a supernatural deity was instrumental in bringing the Bubonic Plagues on Europe. Yet to pray to a god at a time of epidemic or plague begs the question, where did the viruses come from, if at the same time you’re proclaiming that your IMF ‘created’ everything?

    Perhaps many people WILL join the ABs of C and Y this evening, and gain comfort from it. But it still makes absolutely no sense at all – and no one expect the situation to be any different tomorrow, other than for the ongoing efforts and dedication of those who really DO understand what’s happening and how to deal with it.

    To sum up:
    Big News Story – Global pandemic; tick.
    Faith Perspective – We’re going to pray about it; tick.
    Cheque please!


    1. Too right; and for me the most irritating word in this bit of self-indulgence is ‘National’. It’s as if they’re trying to emulate ‘Clap for the NHS’ by making out it’s somehow anti-social or even unpatriotic to refuse to take part. Plus there’s the usual claptrap about ‘giving thanks’ to the IMF for the heroic things that have been done entirely by human beings.

      The NSS website has a link to a leaked CofE report in the Torygraph predicting that 20% of their worshippers will not come back after Covid is over. I haven’t read the report, (a) because it’s behind a paywall, and (b) because it’s in the Torygraph; but it fits in with other reports of people turning away from the churches over recent years (not just because of the pandemic). Maybe the ‘National Day of Prayer’ is a last desperate attempt to recover the CofE’s relevance.


      1. I wouldn’t buy the Telegraph (actually Sunday Telegraph) either but their report cites the Sunday Times as a(nother) source of the leak. That is also behind a paywall, so not much help.
        Unless you have a library card.
        Most UK public libraries subscribe to a news service. My local one has NewsBank and it is available via the library website. All you need is a membership number and access is free.
        The title is “Money, People and Buildings” (is the order significant?) and it is based on statistics from the first lock-down. THe reports are similar which suggests at least two leaks.

        One bishop said: “We are not abandoning the parochial system, which basically says the Church of England has a ministry to everyone in the land and we want a Christian presence in every community.” (STimes)
        The report concludes: “Online worship will have become a significant part of the mainstream. The Church of England could emerge from the pandemic smaller in terms of engagement by at least some measures, but particularly physical attendance. This will inevitably have further impact on the sustainability of many local churches.” (STel)

        Obviously, more research is needed. All reports say that.


      2. “Most UK public libraries subscribe to a news service. My local one has NewsBank and it is available via the library website. All you need is a membership number and access is free.”

        That’s very handy to know. I’m going to look into that. Thanks!


    2. On Sunday morning I turned on my local radio station just as a religious hospital chaplain was talking about giving emotional help to people in hospital during the Covid pandemic. Generally he was saying how good it was for patients to be able to talk to anyone besides the hospital staff whilst they were missing their families but then made the incredible assertion that “God is not in the Covid, but god is in the help that people give.”
      This is what you are up against when it comes to people’s views on religion in the UK. He also said that most of the old folks he speaks to said even though they don’t go to church they still pray every night. I think he is wearing his god tinted pecs when he says that.


      1. ‘God tinted pecs’ – I like that. Lightly oiled and rippling in the Evensong candlelight, no doubt….


  3. Let’s not forget the Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer due in 2022 – I wonder who’ll be first to mention its completion on TFTD. I don’t understand why a handful of bricks should take so long but maybe they’ll relax the verification criteria so that dozens of claims (found car keys, cat got better, etc) are approved & allotted a paid-for brick.


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