Dear Friends,

This morning as I write Win remarked to me how many agoutis we seemed suddenly to be getting in our garden. From it having been a comparatively rare event to see even one there at all, suddenly we are finding them come around in small groups. But what I think explains this situation is the large clearing for development that is happening on the western side of Beach Bay Road. The habitat of a cluster of the creatures is being destroyed and they are having to find new areas to inhabit.

Incidentally (and I say this again for the umpteenth time), I am much opposed to this method that has become an absolute norm for new housing developments in this island. For a place that by all government accounts has accepted the hypothesis that global warming is largely due to human impact and “carbon emission” (i.e. emission of carbon dioxide), it is particularly amazing that the default method of development on rocky woodland terrain is still to clear all the natural carbon dioxide-absorbing vegetation away lock stock and barrel. Hello …. has nobody heard of photosynthesis, the natural process by which the sunlight amazingly changes carbon dioxide into oxygen? It’s a much more efficient way of dealing with carbon dioxide than laying down lots of solar panels - but it requires greenery to get it done! So we will never “catch up” with the absorption loss that we have caused by the wholesale clearing away of all the trees and bush, however many solar panels we can put down to avoid electricity generation by diesel burning.

But back to the original thought about the agoutis. If I’m right, the agoutis have changed their habits, responding to the force majeur of a change of the physical environment they had inhabited. Certainly we human beings respond to things around us rather like that as well. We respond not only to environmental changes as the agoutis did but to all sorts of other less tangible changes as well, like political changes that can bring about changes of ideas - ideological changes. We can respond to them accepting them, or resisting them - or like the agoutis running away, if we can, out of reach of them.

Those of us who are Christian believers have a very important yardstick by which we can measure and compare the best ways of responding to any ideological change that may affect us. First, we ask if the change that seeks to be imposed upon our minds is consistent with the “mental shape” of being a Christian believer. This requires careful thought and worshipful reflection, but if the answer is No (as it sometimes will be), the next question will be what we can productively do to prepare for and by God’s grace effectively resist the changes - or even to consider the option of going somewhere else in the most extreme circumstances (such as Jewish families in circumstances of extreme anti-semitism).

These may seem to be sad reflections, but like good scouts we will do better to be well prepared.

The Collect for the Third Sunday after Epiphany reads:

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmities, and in all our dangers and necessities stretch forth thy right hand to help and defend us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Here is an acceptance that in our existing human condition, we will all have “infirmities” of some sort, some various samples of lack of strength whether physical or moral. In addition to that we may meet up with dangers from outside ourselves of various sorts. As for “necessities” or as we might say “needs”, those we have in abundance. But we do not need to buckle under the circumstances of our condition, no matter how dire they may seem to be. No; we pray, and we pray to our “Almighty and everlasting God” with His abundance of Gospel grace “through Jesus Christ our Lord", to “stretch forth thy right hand to help and defend us.” In the direst of times and circumstances, we pray and do not faint, and expectantly await His response.

For directions about the services on Sunday the 24th Jan, please see the website

Be blessed with an abundance of comfort in all circumstances.

In the Lord,

Bishop Nicholas