Category Archives: Interruptions

3 June: Pope Francis sends greetings on Queen Elizabeth’s jubilee.

File photo showing Pope Francis greeting Queen Elisabeth and her late husband the Duke of Edinburgh in the Vatican

A thoughtful greeting from Pope Francis to Queen Elizabeth.

Yesterday saw the start of a weekend of celebrations across the United Kingdom on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the throne.

Marking this milestone, Pope Francis has sent a telegram to the Queen offering his prayers and good wishes. In it, he says: “On this joyful occasion of your Majesty’s birthday, and as you celebrate this Platinum Jubilee year, I send cordial greetings and good wishes, together with the renewed assurance of my prayers that Almighty God will bestow upon you, the members of the Royal Family and all the people of the nation blessings of unity, prosperity and peace.”

In recognition of the monarch’s commitment to the care of God’s creation, Pope Francis is donating a Cedar of Lebanon to the Queen’s Green Canopy project.  He expressed the hope that this tree, “which in the Bible symbolises the flourishing of fortitude, justice and prosperity, would be a pledge of abundant divine blessings” upon her realm.

The project invites people from across the United Kingdom to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”. As well as inviting the planting of new trees, The Queen’s Green Canopy will dedicate a network of 70 Ancient Woodlands across the United Kingdom and identify 70 Ancient Trees to celebrate Her Majesty’s 70 years of service. 

Vatican News.

We invite readers to pray for the Queen and the people of her realm, and especially for unity, prosperity and peace. Let us pray, too, for the people of Lebanon to recover these same gifts.

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Good Friday gifts

The solemnity of today will be overwhelmed by the joy of Easter, but there were tokens of the coming feast for those with eyes to see.

Before the sun was properly up I was looking into the back garden. What was that hunched figure inspecting the flowerpots? A hedgehog woken from hibernation and going about its business, ridding us of a few pests. That was enough to mark the day.

After the prayerful L’Arche Good Friday service some of us found our way to the Glebe garden, where a shrine had been built of willow wands. If this was intended to be a place of quiet reflection it soon became a meeting place for people who had barely seen each other during covid; another hint of the resurrection to come.

Flitting across the garden was a brimstone butterfly, a caterpillar died but transformed into a creature of beauty no less wondrous for being totally expected.

Then to my task of adorning the church porch. The Easter garden needed the finishing touches, Mary’s jar of ointment and the grave cloths hidden behind the door (a scallop shell to be rolled to one side). What concerned me was the Easter lilies. We had some in flower the last two years, but it had been touch and go this time. Since today was warm, the first flowers were unfurling to be bright and white on Easter Day.

In the evening down to the Cathedral to hear Faure’s Requiem, with its upbeat finish: May the Angels welcome you to Paradise, may the martyrs meet you and lead you to the Holy City of Jerusalem.

Walking home from the Cathedral in the glowing dusk, under the Easter full moon, three blackbirds, singing their hearts out, serenading the new life hatched in their nests. They will be busy tomorrow, as no doubt will I, but by these tokens and by other sure evidence I know that my redeemer liveth.

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Filed under corona virus, Easter, Interruptions, L'Arche, Lent, PLaces, Spring

Meat free Lent, XIX, XX: a bumper edition

Good morning to you all on this lovely spring morning.

Here are yesterday’s and today’s meat free recipes; we should have caught up with ourselves again. As we prepare the taboule, we could remember to pray for the people of Lebanon, whose situation has dropped off the front page though their needs remain stark. Will T.

Taboule

Dr Peter Toon – St Stephen’s Church

This salad is supposed to originate in current Lebanon but is consumed all around the Mediterranean.  This is a family variation from Provence. It can be a starter, a snack, part of a varied salad meal or a main course. Fresh flavoursome juicy tomatoes are essential. Use only medium size couscous or bulgur; large size will make it gritty; small size soggy. It can be prepared in the evening or early in the morning and served for lunch.

200g medium size couscous or bulgur 
300g tomatoes 
100g of cucumber 
A small red or white onion 
A handful of fresh mint 
A handful of pitted black olives 
A handful of chickpeas (optional) 
Olive oil, salt, lemon juice.

1.       Cut the tomatoes and cucumber into fairly small cubes in a large salad dish. Add salt and set aside for 20 minutes to extract the vegetable juices.

2.       Add the small, chopped onion or ½ onion (you don’t want that taste to dominate), olives, chickpeas, and 2/3rd olive oil for 1/3rd lemon juice. To judge the amount of oil and lemon juice, consider that the vegetables need at that point to swim in the liquid. Add the couscous and stir.

3.       Set aside in the fridge for at least one hour. Stir with a fork; at that point you might have to adjust slightly the amount of couscous if the dish appears too soggy. The dish now needs to rest for at least 2 hours before in can be served. Better leave it overnight in the fridge.

4.       Before serving, stir again with a fork to avoid having clumps of couscous as you want a light fluffy salad. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Depending on strength of the oil you use, you might have to add lemon juice. 

5.       Add the fresh chopped mint (use only fresh mint and like the onion, don’t over-do-it). Some people prefer to use flat leaf parsley. Stir again and it’s ready to serve.

It keeps well for about 24 hours. After preparing it once, experiment! Different types or no olives. Spring onions, parsley, pre-cooked cubes of sweet peppers.

Pasta dishes

Dr Peter Toon – St Stephen’s Church

Pasta is originally Italian peasant food, and often they could not afford meat, so there are many recipes for pasta sauces without meat or fish. Here are a few examples:

a) mushroom sauce – whilst the pasta cooks, gently fry mushrooms, onions (and garlic if you like it) in olive oil with a little salt.  (Add a little brandy or wine if you like.)  When the pasta is cooked drain it, and then mix in the cooked vegetables with a little soya cream, grate some nutmeg over it and mix well.

b)  sweet pepper sauce   – finely chop red or yellow peppers and cook them slowly with a little salt in olive oil with onions, garlic, both or neither.  When they are completely softened (which can take 20-30 minutes), add a tin of chopped tomatoes and start cooking the pasta.  Cook the sauce slowly, uncovered, to reduce the tomatoes until it the thick but not dry.

c) pesto sauce – for when you are feeling lazy!   Ready-made traditional green pesto and also red pesto sauces can be bought from most supermarkets and unlike many ready-made pasta sauces it takes good. Just cook the pasta, open the jar and spoon it over.

d) Quorn Bolognese – as with shepherd’s pie you can use Quorn mince in this well-known sauce

e) walnut sauce – unusual but very tasty with pasta.  Basically, you grind walnuts very finely with garlic and a little salt so you end up with a paste.  If you soak the walnuts beforehand it is easier to grind them.  You might add a little walnut oil, soya cream to make the sauce the right consistency.

f) leek sauce – 1-2 leeks per person, according to size. You need to chop the leeks very finely for this sauce – 3-4 mm at most in each dimension.  Sweat them very slowly in butter or oil, with a teaspoon of salt.  After 5 minutes or so, add a glass of white wine – continue to cook slowly, covered, for about 30 minutes, adding a little water if they are getting dry to avoid browning.  When they are soft, add a generous amount of cream – I use soya cream but crème fraiche would be good too. Mix with pasta and sprinkle with lemon juice just before serving.

 You can grate some parmesan over the top of these dishes if you like, but they taste fine without.

Have a good day, God Bless

Jo

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Pope Francis’s prayer for Peace in Ukraine.

Crucifix in WInchester Cathedral.


Pope Francis shared this prayer at his weekly general audience on 16 March. It was written by Archbishop Domenico Battaglia of Naples.

Forgive us for the war, Lord. 
Lord Jesus, son of God, have mercy on us sinners. 
Lord Jesus, born under the bombs of Kyiv, have mercy on us. 
Lord Jesus, dead in the arms of a mother in Kharkiv, have mercy on us. 
Lord Jesus, in the 20-year-olds sent to the frontline, have mercy on us. 
Lord Jesus, who continues to see hands armed with weapons under the shadow of the cross, forgive us, Lord. 
Lord Jesus, born under the bombs of Kyiv, have mercy on us. 
Lord Jesus, dead in the arms of a mother in Kharkiv, have mercy on us. 
Forgive us if, not content with the nails with which we pierced your hand, we continue to drink from the blood of the dead torn apart by weapons. 
Forgive us if these hands that you had created to protect have been turned into instruments of death. 
Forgive us, Lord, if we continue to kill our brother. 
Forgive us, Lord, if we continue to kill our brother, if we continue like Cain to take the stones from our field to kill Abel. 
Forgive us if we go out of our way to justify cruelty, if, in our pain, we legitimise the cruelty of our actions.       Forgive us for the war, Lord. 
Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, we implore you to stop the hand of Cain, 
enlighten our conscience, 
let not our will be done, 
do not abandon us to our own doing. 
Stop us, Lord, stop us, 
and when you have stopped the hand of Cain, take care of him also.
 He is our brother. 
O Lord, stop the violence. 
Stop us, Lord. Amen.

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Psalm 94 for Ukraine

Good Evening Friends. My brother shared this post from the URC. Just the beginning here, but follow the link for the rest of it. The author is the Rev’d Andy Braunston.

Daily Devotions from the URC

Ukraine through the eyes of Psalm 94

Dear Friends,

Whilst preparing a reflection on Psalm 94 I was struck by how John Bell’s version is hauntingly evocative of the situation of Ukraine.
You can hear it here.

The opening stanza evokes images of women and children being bombed in Ukraine, babies and elderly killed, and the memorial to Jews murdered by the Nazis being desecrated by Putin’s forces.  Bell hauntingly brings out the cry of the Psalmist urging God to act as those whom God loves are being harmed.  Bell keeps up the punch with the second stanza showing how those who crush God’s people delight and think Heaven is blind to their crimes.  Despite the anger and rawness of the Psalm we still have hope – hope that God will act, hope that even if the courts don’t intervene, even if the guilty smile at their scheming, hope that God will cherish, keep and protect the faithful.  

Read the rest of this reflection here.

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Meat free Lent XVII: Chickpea and spinach curry 

Today’s recipe comes from

Dr Peter Toon – St Stephen’s Church

This is an easy and tasty curry, and mostly uses ingredients from the freezer or cupboard so is a good stand-by.

 One jar or tin of chickpeas 
half a pack of frozen spinach 
one tin chopped tomatoes 
one onion 
one vegetable stock cube 
garlic, ginger, cumin, chili flakes and garam masala (or a mild or medium curry powder)

1.       Drain the chickpeas and reserve the liquid.

2.       Finely chop and fry an onion in oil (I use sunflower).

3.       Add a couple of chopped cloves of garlic or a squeeze of garlic paste and some fresh ginger and fry a little more.

4.       Add some ground cumin and a few chili flakes (not too much) and stir well. (You can vary the spices at this stage – mustard seeds, coriander, cardamon, or turmeric are all possible, or you could use curry powder though this tends to makes a less interesting flavour).

5.       Add the tomatoes and chickpeas and the powdered stock cube.

6.       Cook uncovered for 10 minutes or so until the sauce is reduced to a thick paste.

7.       Add the frozen spinach (you can defrost it first and drain off the water if you have time) and a little salt and again cook until the sauce is thickened.

8.       Add the garam masala if you have not used curry powder and stir in well.  Serve with rice or an Indian bread.

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Meat Free Lent XV: Savoury pancakes

Dr Peter Toon – St Stephen’s Church

You can make pancakes with soya or almond milk.

 To make your sauce: put a generous spoonful in each pancake, roll them up in a dish and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes at 180 C.

 Good fillings include:

               the mushroom and pepper sauces (wait for Day 21 to see how to make these for pasta dishes), made a little thicker

              leeks in a white or cheese sauce

              Quorn vegan ham slices and cheese.

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Meat free Lent IV: Greek Salad.

By David Clarke from St Peter’s Church, Canterbury.

Not a cooking recipe but a preparation, which makes me very happy:

1 Nutritious 
2 Quick to prepare and ready immediately 
3 Colourful even on dull days 
4 A full palate of contrasting flavours and textures 
5 Inexpensive 
6 Not overly calorific

Simply chop and cut:

tomatoes (vine ripened) 
feta cheese 
cucumber 
capsicum (sweet pepper) 
stuffed olives

Add salad dressing with herbs.

Add boiled new potatoes, chopped, if not trying to lose weight

and enjoy.

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Flying the Ukrainian Flag.

Canterbury City Westgate at 10.00 this morning.

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Friendly February!

Here are some ideas to make this month a friendly February. From the Action for Happiness organisation.

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Filed under Interruptions, Justice and Peace, winter