James Langstaff

A Bishop Reflects

A new school, a new hope

On my recent visit to our partner Diocese of Kondoa in Tanzania, I saw the beginnings of a project which Bishop Given, with others, is developing to found a vocational secondary college in a place called Chemba. Kondoa is a newish diocese in a part of Tanzania not reached by the missionaries in previous centuries – it really is virgin territory for the church.  The Diocese has no secondary school – they have very few schools at all… Read More

“Looking for cure and regeneration” – the place of prisons

A shorter text of this blog can be found where it was originally posted on the Church of England tumblr blog. ………………. ‘Rehabilitation’, ‘Redemption’, ‘Rescue’, ‘Reformation’, ‘Love’, ‘Curative and Regenerating Virtues’.  Words from some theological treatise or even a sermon, perhaps?  No – words drawn from a couple of recent speeches – at Legatum Institute and Prisoners Learning Alliance –  by Michael Gove, the new Secretary of State for Justice. Following on from his April.. Read More

Called to Hear


Sermon preached at Rochester Cathedral, at the Licensing of Lay Ministers 16th May 2015 Numbers 11.16-17 & 24-29; 1 Cor 2.1-10; Mark 7.32-37   The man was deaf and, linked to that, his speech was impaired.  As any of us who have known those profoundly deaf from birth will be aware, there is this connection between clarity of hearing and speech.  We learn to speak mainly by imitation, and if we cannot hear.. Read More

The story is us – an Easter sermon

  Sermon preached Easter Day (5th April) 2015 at Rochester Cathedral, at the Easter Liturgy with Baptism & Confirmation Readings: Exodus 14.10-31 & 15.20-21; Romans 6.3-11; Mark 16.1-8   And then?  What next?  For what we have just heard is the end of St Mark’s gospel as we have it.  His account of the resurrection leaves us hanging there.  ‘He has been raised; he is not here’, the women are told; an indication that.. Read More

God shining through my jar of clay: a sermon for the Chrism Eucharist

Preached: 2nd April 2015 – Maundy Thursday at Rochester Cathedral 1 Samuel 16.1-13a; 2 Corinthians 3.17-4.12; Luke 22.24-30  It’s one of the great pieces of dramatic writing in the Scriptures – the choosing and anointing of David.   The narrative builds up the tension as each of the sons of Jesse appears in turn before Samuel.  And finally the youngest appears – and this is the one.  David – called, chosen and anointed.  David,.. Read More

Homes For Britian

On 17th March, well over 2,000 people met in Westminster Central Hall for the Homes for Britain 2015 Rally. The aim?  To end the housing crisis in a generation.   I was privileged to speak at this gathering, the first ever bringing together organisations from across the whole housing sector.  That in itself was remarkable: social housing providers alongside house-builders, private landlords, architects, planners , homelessness charities and many more.  So, why was.. Read More

We all fall short

 Hypocrisy is surely the charge that is most frequently and most painfully levelled at Christians.  Look at you: you go on about God and morality and goodness, but you’re no better than anybody else.  Look at those priests in such-and-such a place, or some of those bible-waving evangelists and what they get up to.  And of course they’re right.  And you don’t even need to go to the evident cover-ups of priestly-abuse or.. Read More

The Challenge of Difference

On Monday 26th January, in York Minister, Libby Lane was ordained Bishop of Stockport.  Having been so immersed in framing the legislation and accompanying provisions through the General Synod, it was a joy and privilege for me to be there.  Slightly strange, emotionally, at this point to be observing and almost off-stage, but so good to have reached this point and to have been part of a process that has had such an.. Read More

God With Us: a sermon for Christmas Day

Rochester Cathedral 25th December 2014 – Christmas Day Isaiah 9.2-7; Luke 2.1-14 Luke’s is the gospel in which we find the details. He is the one who, with the mentions of Augustus and Quirinius, seeks to set a time-frame. He, together with Matthew, gives us Bethlehem as the location; he also tells us that Joseph and Mary were already settled in Nazareth, while Matthew suggests that they only went there after these events. Memorably.. Read More