From the Vicarage March 2020

Lent is coming and its disciplines beckon. What will you do? Give up drink or chocolate? Increase your Standing Order to St Mary’s Finedon (oh, how God would smile…)?


I’m going to attempt the usual, which is no whisky, no meat – wish me luck – but I am more and more of the view that the real challenges are of a different kind, so I have resolved to try to exercise more rigorously the virtue of patience.

I am not a naturally patient person, but I have had to learn to be because my calling requires it. Most of the time I can manage OK, but there are challenges, and it’s usually not people but things that test me.

The greatest test at the moment, maybe yours too, is the Chowns Mill Roundabout. I tried to drive to Higham Ferrers the other night and entered the maelstrom of those roadworks just after Artlenock bridge. Somehow I exited near Dunstable (slight exaggeration) thanks to the twisting forest of cones and signage and the unforgiving passage of traffic going east west on the A45. I’m afraid I kept up a commentary, the kind of thing one would normally not say out loud, and I’m glad I had no passenger because it amounted to conduct unbecoming a clergyman.

I don’t know why the frustrations of driving affect me so much more than other kinds. Perhaps because I’m not a very good driver and only learned when I was over thirty? But whatever the reason, it is the things that most test us that invite our careful attention when it comes to the Lenten audit of our vices. So I am going to try to be more patient, more forgiving, more calm, as I battle my way through the the A6/A45 interchange. At least until Easter, which I might well celebrate with an Easter egg and a robust right turn to Rushden Lakes.


How about you? What tests you most frustratingly? Maybe have a look at it and see if there’s work to be done?


A good and holy Lent to all.

Yours in Christ,


Fr Richard.