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John Davies
Austwick, North Yorkshire
Married to Diana. Priest in Charge of Clapham with Keasden and Austwick with Eldroth (Church of England)
Interests: Born in Walton Hospital, 1962. Raised in a house on the banks of the Mersey. Played football each break time for the entirety of my school life. Never much good at it but thoroughly addicted. Varied working life has included engineering apprenticeship, welder, draughtsman, volunteer in an outdoor pursuits centre, unemployed, civil servant, computer programmer, community worker, and now a Church of England vicar serving four parishes on the Lancs - Yorks border. Have previously lived in Waterloo, Llanbedr, Cardiff, Crosby, Toxteth, Cambridge, Wavertree, Norris Green, Croxteth Park, Lydford, Whitegate, and Queen Camel. Married to Diana since September 2009. Five (grown-up) stepchildren. Currently working hard on re-learning what it means to be human.
Recent Activity
John's Notes - Austwick Parish Newsletter September 2021 They call this the ‘Creation Season’ in the church - around autumn time - when we pay particular attention to the good earth and all its flora and fauna, humankind included, celebrate its abundance and, increasingly, sadly, lament our contribution to its... Continue reading
John's Notes - Clapham Village Newsletter, February 2022 “You are precious in my sight, and honoured, and I love you,” says God to you and me, and all created beings (in Isaiah 43.4). In human society our understandings of identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage are always shifting; and in our... Continue reading
John’s Notes - Clapham Village Newsletter, December 2021 As you know, the story of the birth of Jesus in Luke’s gospel begins with taxes. “In those days a decree went out from the Emperor that all the world should be registered”. This census of Caesar Augustus shook things up across... Continue reading
Auntie Glad died last May, in the middle of the first Covid lockdown, so it's only today that we've managed to arrange to gather as a family to remember her, the ex-beauty queen with the twinkle in her eye. And to give thanks. A eulogy for Gladys Chippendale, here. Continue reading
A new poem, the centrepiece of my Palm Sunday talk this year: He put on a panto for Pilate that day at Jerusalem’s gate: Jesus the jester erroneously dressed as a daft king on a Donkey of State. He made an old ass out of Pilate by lampooning his arrogant... Continue reading
John’s Notes: Clapham Village Newsletter, April 2021; and my Easter Day reflection I saw a vision: it was last Thursday at eleven o'clock in the morning. I was standing at the top of Ingleborough, above the farms and villages and towns stretching out to Morecambe Bay and the crisp, blue... Continue reading
John’s Notes: Clapham Village Newsletter, February 2021 The Church doesn’t do so well in pandemics. The Black Death intensified because the people believed that the way to be rid of the plague was to appease the deity by coming together for mass and pilgrimages. When in time people realised that... Continue reading
John’s Notes: Austwick Village Newsletter, January 2021 It is said that the New Year's Eve peal of the twelve bells of Waltham Abbey inspired Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem ‘Ring out, Wild Bells’. He was staying nearby at the time. In some versions of the story it was a particularly stormy... Continue reading
John’s Notes: Clapham Village Newsletter, December 2020 Can we save Christmas? There’s a lot of anxiety at the moment around that question. Or if not anxiety, then a pushing back against the sobering thought that coronavirus regulations will restrict the ways we can celebrate, where we can go, who we... Continue reading
John’s Notes: Clapham Village Newspaper, August 2020 Watching the school leavers of 2020 planting a time capsule in Clapham village park on the school’s last-ever day, 17th July, reminded me that a long time back - staggeringly, 49 years ago - I buried a time capsule of my own in... Continue reading
War is the metaphor of choice for the national effort against the pandemic: it is a fight, or a battle, and NHS workers are heroes; raising questions about government strategy feels treasonous; Johnson issues exhortations in cod-Churchillian style. Even if this is simply the favoured national cliché, it feels wrong:... Continue reading
Austwick Village Newsletter May 2020 In the space of a few short weeks, through acts of collective will, we have created a new sort of world. It is a world where hedgehogs safely meander across our roads; a world where armaments engineers now make medical equipment; a world where every... Continue reading
Johnny's in the basement Tryin' to find some medicine I'm on the pavement Worrying about the government The man in the white coat Says "Keep away", "Stay off" But I ain't got a dry cough And haven't had a pay-off Look out kid It's nothin' you did God knows when... Continue reading
John’s Notes: Parish Newsletter, March 2020 Mt Roineabhal from St Clement's Church, Rodel. Photo: Alastair McIntosh Roineabhal is a hill on Harris in the Western Isles of Scotland, its anorthosite granite similar in composition to rocks in the mountains of the Moon. When the people of Harris made their representations... Continue reading
John’s Notes: Parish Newsletter editorial, February 2020 At the age of 21 I was made redundant and joined the ranks of the unemployed. It was one of the most formative experiences of my life, if entirely unwelcome. I found myself unprepared for a difficult journey: from being a young engineering... Continue reading
My tribute to Graham Maule written for the Greenbelt festival website. The words and music of the Iona Community’s Wild Goose Resource Group have been central to Greenbelt’s spirituality for upwards of three decades, and whilst the Wild Geese have changed in formation many times over the years, at their... Continue reading
The God of all eternity, Unbound by space yet always near, Is present where his people meet To celebrate the coming year. What shall we offer God today - Our dreams of what we cannot see, Or, with eyes fastened to the past, Our dread of what is yet to... Continue reading
John Davies finds out what sustains Elton John Review published in the Church Times, 29 November 2019. ARGUABLY one of the most significant acts of public liturgy of the 20th century, Elton John’s rendition of “Candle in the Wind” at the funeral service of Diana, Princess of Wales, reached a... Continue reading
Wray Parish Church, 6 November 2019 I deliver many eulogies in my line of work, but this is one I never imagined I’d be giving when Diana and I moved back up north just a short drive from here early last year, after almost a decade in the West Country,... Continue reading
John’s Notes: Parish Newsletter editorials November 2019 As autumn takes hold the year cycles on towards winter. We defy the dark evenings by lighting bonfires, we deny the cold by burning fuel indoors. And the life of the church cycles on also, into a time of remembering - lost loved... Continue reading
A harvest poem in troubled times Harvest gives perspective On this troubled world we’re in A world, some say, in chaos While others speak of sin There is so much anxiety On the direction where we’re going There is so much uncertainty No easy way of knowing So it’s good... Continue reading
John’s Notes: Parish Newsletter editorials September 2019 What is the force that drives nature? What makes flowers flourish, what is the creative force causing health and growth in the crops and creatures we celebrate at Harvest time? It’s a mystery to us - which maybe only poetry can express. Dylan... Continue reading
"...Now if Dorothy was sitting next to you in a church pew now, you know that she’d be in your ear making comments like, ‘What’s he saying, I can’t hear him?’ or ‘I don’t agree with that.’ She was loud, Dot, she knew her own mind very well indeed and... Continue reading
John’s Notes: Parish Newsletter editorials August 2019 Morwenstow Church today Of the many eccentric clerics Revd Robert Hawker stands out. Dressed in a claret-coloured coat, a blue fisherman's jersey, long sea-boots, a pink brimless hat and a poncho made from a yellow horse blanket, Hawker talked to birds, invited his... Continue reading
I used this passage, paraphrased from a Church Times article by Angela Ashwin, as my introduction to Communion on Sunday 21 July 2019, on the weekend the world was commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. ‘The wine danced’ DURING the first Moon landing, something remarkable happened: a... Continue reading