David J. Farley of Plympton, Plymouth, United Kingdom

David J. Farley of Plympton, Plymouth, United Kingdom

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Short Stay in Switzerland

Did you watch last night's dramatised documentary on BBC1 television with the above title? Anne Turner killed herself through assisted suicide in Zurich in January 2006. She had been suffering from a rare and incurable wasting neurological disease known commonly as PSP. Like her late husband she was a medical doctor, and had also seen him horribly destroyed by a similar illness. Doubly cursed as Turner was by the knowledge of the fate that awaited her, she was fearful not of death but the prospect of years of ever-increasing suffering.

As we saw in this powerfully moving drama, starring the wonderfully talented actress Julie Walters as Dr. Anne Turner, the problem was persuading her children to understand her choice, and then finding out how to make the preparations for an act that continues to be illegal in the UK. All of which might sound remorselessly grim, but the quick-footed emotional spins of Frank McGuinnes's endlessly compassionate script together with Julie Walters's doughtily heartfelt performance brought a surprising degree of warmth to the subject.

The most powerful scenes were those in which Anne dealt with her three grown-up children, as they go from shock and bewilderment at their mother's wish for death, to achieving a courageous acceptence of her desires, managing to override their instincts to keep alive someone they love.

It was not a finely tuned debate about the morality of euthanasia, but an impassioned dramatisation of one woman's fight to choose death with dignity. Whether or not you agree with the Turners' choice, and as a Christian I do not, it cannot be denied that last night's superb film will definitely add to a debate that is sure to continue until such time as the law on assisted suicide is reassessed in the UK.

In my opinion Julie Walters deserves at least a top BAFTA award for her role as Dr. Anne Turner and I shall be sorely disappointed if she is not honoured for a truly great and memorable performance.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Giant of a Man - Meet Nick Vujicic

I would like to introduce you to a real giant of a man in every sense of that word. His name is Nick Vujicic and he's 25 years old. He was born without arms or legs and given no medical reason for this condition. Faced with countless challenges and obstacles, God has given him the strength to surmount what others might call impossible. Along with that, the Lord has placed within him an unquenchable passion to share this same hope and genuine love that he's personally experienced with more than two million people all over the globe. Travelling extensively to over 19 nations, he's been extremely humbled by the continuous opportunities that the Lord has given him to share his testimony along with the hope that he has in Jesus with people in so many nations and situations. His greatest joy in this life is to introduce Jesus to those he meets and tell them of His great desire to get to know them personally by allowing Him to become their Lord and Saviour. His personal website can be located at; http://www.lifewithoutlimbs.org (simply copy and paste this URL into your Internet browser)

However, I would first like you to view this truly amazing video clip about this astonishingly courageous young man. I guarantee it will fill you with admiration and help you to put your own life into a true context and perspective. Copy and paste as I describe above;


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Congratulations President Barack Obama




And let us not forget all those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan


Having watched the inauguration of President Barack Obama on live television I cannot help but feel truly inspired by his fabulous speech. He extended the hand of friendship to all at home and overseas. Let us embrace his message and help to bring justice, mercy and peace to all of God's citizens wheresoever they may reside on this wonderful planet of ours. As the leader of the free world he has immense challenges ahead of him but with goodwill from all people and God's blessing we can, by working together, meet all those great challenges with fortitude and tenacity.

Congratulations and best wishes Mr.President, and may God bless you, Michelle, Sasha, Malia, your Adminstration and, above all, America and her Allies.

Monday, January 19, 2009


On Sunday afternoon I attended the second piano concert in my local Church of St. Mary The Blessed Virgin, Plympton, Plymouth, Devon, performed by an accomplished concert pianist who happens to be our Director of Music and Organist, Mrs. Mila Grimes. She is Russian by birth and married to an Englishman.

A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon included Handel's Passacaille and Courante. Mozart's Fantasie in D minor, Turkish March and Sonata in C 1. Allegro 2. Andante and 3. Allegretto. Tchakovsky's Au coin du feu. Perce-neige and La Chasse. Daquin's Le Coucou. Liszt's Consolation in D flat. Saint-Saens Le Cygne. Schubert's Impromtu in A flat. Chopin's Nocturne in E flat. Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee and finally Arndt: Nola.

Mila gave a wonderful performance and the programme was so diffrent to her first concert in October. The depth, range and variety of her selections was a sheer joy to experience. The acoustics of St. Mary's Church added significantly to the sound of her beautiful piano. Such a hugely talented pianist of whom we are very proud. Thank you Mila.

Mila gave her services free of charge in order to help raise funds to maintain and complete our historic church organ. It was given to the church by William Henry Osmond in 1879 and has served the parish well for 130 years.

William Osmond was the only son of James Osmond, who became a member of the Legislative Council of Victoria, Australia, and died in 1849. His memorial, which was also presented by his son, in on the east wall of St. Mary's outer south aisle. William Osmond went on to make his fortune in Australia before returning to his roots in Plympton.

The organ was built by Lewis and Co of Brixton, London, and by Hele & Co of Exeter, at a cost of nearly £1,000 - a huge sum in 1879. The organ is regularly maintained by Hele & Co of Saltash, Cornwall.

It has two manuals (keyboards) - the swell and the great - and also a third which has never been connected to pipes and has therefore remained silent since 1879. The pedal board and swell have electronic action and the great has tracker action.

In December 1950, £185 was donated by a parishioner to clean and overhaul the organ. The repairs were completed in May 1951.

In November 1954, the organ had a lucky escape when the church was badly flooded. If the water had risen another three inches, the organ would have been ruined.

It was again cleaned and tuned in July 1976 and in July 1979, there was a flower festival to celebrate the organ's centenary.

In 1985, the organ acquired a new bench in memory of Harry Hansford, a chorister for more than 40 years, who left a legacy for this gift in his will.

Now it is time for the organ to be cleaned and overhauled once again, and a special St. Mary's Organ Fund has been set up and contributions are sought towards the cost of this necessary work.

As well as repairs and maintenance, it would be superb if enough money was donated for the third, silent manual to be connected to its pipes. The space for these pipes is still empty and has been waiting to be filled for 130 years.

If you have any connections with our beloved church or simply feel you would like to help in its maintenance or refurbishment please let me know by e-mail and I will put you in touch with a member of our Clergy or the Hon. Treasurer of our Parochial Church Council.

In 2011 we will be celebrating our Septuacentennial (700th) Anniversary of the dedication of St. Mary's Church and it would be a wonderful achievement if we could mark the occasion by restoring the organ to its former glory for future generations to enjoy. So if you were baptised, confirmed, married, or served as a chorister, altar server, bellringer, sidesperson, or have relatives buried in our churchyard, etc. etc. why not help us achieve our objective by contributing to this project. Any help, however great or small, will be thankfully received and faithfully applied. You will also be helping us to preserve a valuable piece of English heritage.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Poignant Quotations

A selection of my favourite quotations

Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. Mark Twain.

A smile is the same in any language. (author unknown)

The feeling of pain is the same in any language. (author unknown)

Always remember; wheresoever you travel North or South, East or West, home is best! (ancient Chinese proverb)

True holiness consists in doing God's will with a smile. If you want to feel rich, just count all the blessings you have that money cannot buy. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

There are two freedoms: the false, where a man is free to do what he likes; and the true where a man is free to do what he ought. Charles Kingsley.

When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said, "Let us pray." We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land. Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

I need no inspiration other than Nature's. She has never failed me yet. She mystifies me, bewilders me, sends me into ecstasies. Besides God's handiwork, does not man's fade into insignificance? Mahatma Gandhi (1934)

All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing. Edmund Burke, Political philosopher (1729-97)

I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die. Nelson Mandela, speaking at his trial in April,1964.

I have a dream, that one day, my children and my grandchildren, will be judged; not by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. Dr. Martin Luther King's immortal words during a public speech in 1963.

I know that we can produce a society where man will cease to simply go to work and have a little leisure, but will release his latent talent and ability and begin to produce in the cultural sense all the things I know he's capable of: music, poetry, writing, sculpture, whole works of art that, at the moment, lie dormant simply because we, as a society, are not able to tap it. Arthur Scargill, former leader of the National Union of Mineworkers, speaking in 1982.

Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly and leave the rest to God. (author unknown)

Doing what is right today means no regrets tomorrow. (author unknown)

Be of good cheer about death and know this as a truth - that no evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death. (Socrates)

Remember what is unbecoming to do is also unbecoming to speak of. (Socrates)

"I cried because I had no shoes, until I saw a man with no feet" (Author unknown)

'Never resent growing old. Many are denied that privilege' (Canon Richard Tydeman. Aged 92 in 2008)

Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift, that is why it is called the present! (Author unknown)

"I can and I will" (Catherine Cookson's personal motto)


Monday, January 12, 2009

It's the law, stupid !

London Lawyer -Vs- Glasgow Cop

A London lawyer runs a stop sign and gets pulled over by a Glasgow copper.

He thinks that he is smarter than the cop because he is a lawyer from LONDON and is certain that he has a better education than any Jock cop. He decides to prove this to himself and have some fun at the Glasgow cop's expense!!

Glasgow cop says, ' Licence and registration, please.'

London Lawyer says, 'What for?'

Glasgow cop says, 'Ye didnae come to a complete stop at the stop sign.'

London Lawyer says, 'I slowed down, and no one was coming.'

Glasgow cop says, 'Ye still didnae come to a complete stop. Licence and registration, please.'

London Lawyer says, 'What's the difference?'

Glasgow cop says, 'The difference is, ye huvte to come to complete stop, that's the law, Licence and registration, please!'

London Lawyer says, 'If you can show me the legal difference between slow down and stop, I'll give you my licence and registration; and you give me the ticket. If not, you let me go and don't give me the ticket.'

Glasgow cop says, 'Sounds fair. Exit your vehicle, sir.'

The London Lawyer exits his vehicle.

The Glasgow cop takes out his baton and starts beating the hell out of the lawyer and says, 'Dae ye want me to stop, or just slow doon?

Friday, January 09, 2009

Posthumous Gallantry Award for a brave police officer

Detective Constable Stephen Oake has posthumously been awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal for bravery in the New Year's Honours List.

The award is granted for gallantry of an exceptional order. It is one of the Bravery Awards in the honours system that recognises selfless, brave acts undertaken in the prevention of crime or the arrest of dangerous criminals.

Stephen, who worked as a Special Branch officer for Greater Manchester Police, was killed when he was taking part in a counter terrorism operation in Crumpsall, North Manchester on Tuesday 17 January 2003.

Following his death there were calls from colleagues and the public in Greater Manchester for his bravery to be recognised.

Stephen's wife Lesley gave the following statement on behalf of her and the children: "This is great news. Both myself and the children and indeed, the wider family, are delighted to learn of the news that our much-loved 'Steve' has been honoured in this way.

"Steve's actions on that fateful day in January 2003 were typical of a man who was committed to his job and to his colleagues. We are extremely proud that his sacrificial act of bravery has resulted in this prestigious award.

"We accept this award not only on behalf of Steve but in recognition too, of the bravery of the many officers that were involved on that day."

GMP's Chief Constable, Peter Fahy said: "These awards are only given out in exceptional circumstances and the whole force is pleased that Stephen's great bravery has been recognised in this way.

"The public of Greater Manchester and his colleagues have always supported Stephen being given an award to recognise the great sacrifice he made as part of the national effort against the threat of terrorism.

"We are especially pleased for Stephen's family who have faced the most traumatic of circumstances with great dignity and forbearance."

Kamel Bourgass was sentenced to 22 years in prison on 29 June 2004 for murdering Stephen and attempting to murder three other GMP officers.

Courtesy of www.policeoracle.com

Thursday, January 08, 2009


A friend e-mailed these pictures to me and I was so impressed with the talent of the craftsmen or craftswomen who created the specimens that I just had to share them with you. The first two are of hand carved water melons. The other two are of egg shells carved into artistic form by use of a laser beam. Brilliant skill and considering that we are still developing laser technology one can only imagine what great advances can be achieved in many other avenues especially in medical science.

Monday, January 05, 2009

The Word For Today (5 of 5)

This year; persevere (5) 05 Jan 2009

'We will reap a harvest if we do not give up.' Galatians 6:9

Here are three more enemies of perseverance you'll have to defeat each day of this year:

1) Lack of resiliency. Harvard professor George Vaillant identifies resiliency as a significant characteristic of people who navigate the different seasons of life from birth to old age. In his book Aging Well he writes, 'Resilient people are like a twig with a fresh, green, living core. When twisted out of shape the twig bends but it doesn't break; instead it springs back and continues growing.' That's an excellent description of perseverance. We must not become dry, brittle and inflexible. We must draw on God's grace and endeavour to bounce back no matter how we feel.

2) Lack of vision. Everything that's created is actually created twice. First it's created mentally, then it's created physically. And where does our creativity come from? God, our Creator, who made us in His likeness (Genesis 1:27). A God-given vision will keep you moving forward when nothing else will. The lack of one will stop you dead in your tracks.

3) Lack of purpose. Rich Demoss remarked, 'Persistence is stubbornness with a purpose.' It's very difficult to develop persistence when you lack a sense of purpose. Conversely, when you have a passionate sense of purpose, energy rises, obstacles become incidental and perseverance wins out. World champion boxer Mohammad Ali said, 'Champions aren't made in the gyms, they are made from something they have deep inside them; a desire, a dream, a vision. They have last-minute stamina. They have to be a little faster, and they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.'


Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Word For Today (4 of 5 )

This year; persevere (4) 04 Jan 2009

'We will reap a harvest if we do not give up.' Galatians 6:9

Perseverance is a trait that can be cultivated, and the initial step to cultivating it is to eliminate two of its greatest enemies. These are:

1) A lifestyle of giving up. A little boy was promised an ice cream cone if he was good while accompanying his grandfather on some errands. The longer they were gone the more difficult the boy was finding it to be good. 'How much longer will it be?' he asked. 'Not too long,' replied the grandfather, 'we've just got one more stop.' 'I don't know if I can make it, Grandpa,' the little boy said. 'I can be good. I just can't be good enough long enough.' As children we can get away with that, but not as mature people, and certainly not if we expect to succeed in what God's called us to do.

2) A wrong belief that life should be easy. Paul told Timothy he must 'endure hardness, as a good soldier' (2 Timothy 2:3). Having the right expectations is half the battle. Clinical psychologist John C Norcross found the great characteristic that distinguishes those who reach their goals from those who don't; expectation!

Both types of people experience the same amount of failure during the first month they strive for their goals. Members of the successful group don't expect to succeed right away; they view their failures as a reason to re-commit and re-focus on their goals with more determination. Norcross says, 'Those who were unsuccessful say a relapse is evidence they can't do it. They are the ones who have a wrong belief that life should be easy.' Bottom line: 'We count them blessed who endure' (James 5:11 NKJV).


Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Word For Today (3 of 5)

This year; persevere (3) 03 Jan 2009

'We will reap a harvest if we do not give up.' Galatians 6:9

Observe two more things about perseverance:

1) Perseverance means stopping not because you're tired, but because the task is done. Diplomat Robert Strauss quipped, 'Success is like wrestling a 1000-pound gorilla. You don't quit when you are tired; you quit when the gorilla is tired.' When you're fresh, excited and energetic you work at a task with vigour. Only when you become weary do you need perseverance. The Apostle Paul recognised this: "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Fatigue and discouragement are not reasons to quit, they're reasons to draw closer to God, rely on our character and keep going. We underestimate what it takes to succeed. When we haven't counted the cost we approach challenges with mere interest; what's required is total commitment!

2) Perseverance doesn't demand more than we have, but all that we have. Author Frank Tyger observed, "In every triumph, there is a lot of try." But perseverance means more than just trying or working hard. Perseverance is an investment. It's a willingness to bind yourself emotionally, intellectually, physically and spiritually to an idea, purpose or task until it has been completed. Perseverance demands a lot, but here's the good news: everything you give is an investment in yourself. Each time you do the right thing - seek God, work hard, treat others with respect, learn and grow - you invest in yourself. To do these things every day takes perseverance, but if you do them your success is guaranteed. As author Judy Wardell Halliday said, "Dreams only become reality, when we keep our commitments to them."


Friday, January 02, 2009

The Word For Today (2 of 5)

This year; persevere (2) 02 Jan 2009

'We will reap a harvest if we do not give up.' Galatians 6:9

It's said that Walt Disney's request for a loan was rejected by 301 banks before he finally got "yes." But because he refused to quit, he built the world's most famous theme park. So, this year remember two things:

1) Perseverance is needed to win the prize . At a sales convention the manager said to 2000 of his firm's sales force, 'Did the Wright brothers ever quit?' 'No!' they responded. 'Did Charles Lindburg ever quit?' 'No!' they shouted. 'Did Lance Armstrong ever quit?' 'No!' they bellowed. 'Did Thorndike McKester ever quit?' There was a long, confused silence. Then a salesperson shouted, 'Who in the world is Thorndike McKester? Nobody's ever heard of him.' The sales manager snapped back, 'Of course you haven't; that's because he quit!' Quitters never win, and winners never quit.

2) Perseverance turns adversity into advancement. Paul writes, 'Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel' (Philippians 1:12 NIV). Paul didn't give up; he rose up! How did he do it? He found the benefit to him personally that comes from every trial. One Christian author writes: 'Today we're obsessed with speed, but God is more interested in strength and stability. We want the quick fix, the shortcut, the on-the-spot solution. We want a sermon, a seminar or an experience that will instantly resolve all problems, remove all temptation and release us from all growing pains.

However, real maturity is never the result of a single experience, no matter how powerful or moving.' Growth is gradual. The Bible says, 'Our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters...and we become like him'
(2 Corinthians 3:18 TM).


Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Word for New Year's Day

This year; persevere (1) 01 Jan 2009

'We will reap a harvest if we do not give up.' Galatians 6:9

Perseverance means:

1) Succeeding because you're determined to, not because you're entitled to. Achievers don't sit back and wait for success because they think the world 'owes them.' No, if you're wise you'll ask God for direction, stand firm on the word He has given you, go forward and refuse to quit. You must adopt the attitude of the man who said, 'We are determined to win. We'll fight them until hell freezes over, and if we have to, we'll fight them on ice.' Recalling the trials he'd faced, Paul said: '"I started, and I'm going to finish. I've worked much harder, been jailed more often, beaten up more times than I can count, and at death's door...And that's not the half of it"' (2 Corinthians 11:23-28 TM).One word describes Paul; relentless.

2) Recognizing that life is not one long race, but many short ones in succession. Each task has its own challenges and each day its own events. You have to get out of bed the next morning and run again, but it's never exactly the same race. To be successful you must keep plugging away.

It is said that Columbus faced incredible difficulties while sailing west in search of a passage to Asia. He encountered storms, experienced hunger, deprivation and extreme discouragement. The crews of his three ships were near mutiny. But his account of the journey says the same thing over and over: "Today, we sailed on." And his perseverance paid off. He didn't discover a fast route to the spice-rich Indies; instead he found new continents. The scriptural key to success is running the race each day (Hebrews 12:1-2).

The Word For Today
Web: ucb.co.uk/wft

So, this year; despite the so called global recession, economic downtown, credit crunch or whatever you choose to call it; God's advice is persevere. I wish you all a healthy and happy New Year.