James Langstaff

A Bishop Reflects

New Archdeacon of Tonbridge

I am very pleased to announce that I have invited The Revd Canon Julie Conalty to be the next Archdeacon of Tonbridge.  Julie is at present Vicar of Christ Church Erith and Area Dean of Erith.  She is also my Adviser for the Ministry of Ordained Women and is one of our diocesan representatives on General Synod.  Her new appointment was announced in her parish yesterday. In discerning God’s calling for Julie’s appointment.. Read More

Chrism Eucharist – God’s gifts of forgiveness, healing and peace

Rochester Cathedral – Chrism Eucharist 13th April 2017 – Maundy Thursday 1 Samuel 3.1-10; Revelation 1.5b-8; Luke 7.36-50  Characteristically, Luke’s account of the anointing of Jesus gives us a woman who is manifestly on the outside.  This is not Mary of Bethany as in John, nor is it the nameless woman of Matthew and Mark.  This is ‘a woman in the city, who is a sinner’ – and she enters the story of.. Read More

Address to Rochester’s Diocesan Synod (18th March 2017)

I am somewhat reluctant to trespass upon the time and attention of this Synod to talk about internal Church of England concerns, when I would rather be talking about our missionary presence in and engagement with the world around us.  But of course the two are not unconnected, because what might be seen as internal church concerns (and indeed disputes) have a bearing on our capacity to engage in the mission into which.. Read More

The Bishop of Burnley and the Diocese of Sheffield

Bishop Philip North was one of the clergy in my area when I was Bishop of Lynn, and I am personally very sorry to hear about what he describes in his recent statement as ‘the highly personalised nature of the attacks’ which have been directed towards him. Bishop Philip has decided that, in the light of the responses to the news of his nomination, his move to the Diocese of Sheffield would be.. Read More

Jesus made his home in Capernaum

Sermon preached at Westminster Central Hall on 22nd January 2017 – Epiphany 3 –  (Watch video) for Homeless Sunday Isaiah 9.1-4; Matthew 4.12-23 If you are able to visit Capernaum, you will find there the remains of a small town dating from both before and after the time of Jesus.  You can visit the synagogue (in fact two built one over the other), you can see the street patterns of the houses. Jesus.. Read More

A Light in the Darkness – Christmas Hope

Sermon preached at Rochester Cathedral 25th December 2016 – Christmas Day Readings: Isaiah 52.7-10; John 1.1-14 For those sitting in the ruins of Aleppo today, the call of the prophet to ‘break forth together into singing’ would seem like a rather sick joke.  In recent days, we have heard the heart-wrenching words of Bana el-Abed, the seven-year old (now evacuated to safety in Turkey) who took to Twitter in order to bring the.. Read More

A Light in the Darkness – Prison Hope

Unease, anxiety and sadness are woven into the experience of Christmas for every person who is in touch with reality.  Violent death and a sense of the fragility of the social structures which keep chaos at bay are there even in the simple, pared-down narratives of the Bible about how the birth of Jesus happened.  The hope of Christmas is spoken, from day one, into a world that is recognizably our world. Over.. Read More

A Week in Mpwapwa: of many Confirmations

I’m used to my Tanzania visits being rather filled with Confirmation Services.  That’s in part because I tend to visit when it is dry, and that’s the best times for a bishop to travel around.  So I had shared 4 such services with Bishop Given in Kondoa, but Mpwapwa had something different in store for me.  I was about to fly solo. Bishop Jacob of Mpwapwa is at present also the Archbishop of.. Read More

Two Nights in Kongwa: missionary past to missionary present

Two nights at St Philip’s Theological College in Kongwa, en route from Kondoa Diocese to Mpwapwa.  The College was founded over 100 years a go by CMS-linked missionaries – and indeed the guest house where goes back to those days.  The setting is stunning, at the foot of dramatic hills 5 kms outside Kongwa, the District town.   St Philip’s is a resource for the whole Province of Tanzania, so not strictly part.. Read More