Regatta 2017

Regatta Service  (with the church 'decorated over all') 

Sunday 13 August 10am Fowey Parish Church

The best and most joyous way to kick off Regatta Week! An hour earlier than the usual service time, those racing to Flushing have PLENTY of time to board their vessels and get to the start line in good order.  The service will finish by 10.55am and all the exits from church will be available, including the door by the war memorial, for those wishing to make a quick get away... 

Speaker: Commodore Jim Higham, OBE

Commodore Jim Higham is the Royal Navy’s Head of Warship Support and is responsible for the support of all in-service surface Warships.

Jim spoke at the Regatta Service in 2010 when he was the Naval attache to the Minister of State for the Armed Forces. Those who were there will remember him speaking movingly and candidly about his experiences in Kabul.

Born just the other side of the Tamar in Plymouth, Jim’s early naval career as a Weapons Engineer saw him enjoy deployments to Africa, the Middle East, the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean. He had Sea Charge in HMS PORTLAND and was the combat system lead for the new Type 45 Destroyer programme.

Currently enjoying life based back at home in Bristol, he is married to Helen and has 2 children and a VW campervan.  A keen sportsman, his involvement is currently limited to middle-aged road cycling and his role as President of RN Basketball.

Vicar's letter for August Fowey News

Dear Friends

Christopher Nolan’s film Dunkirk looks set to be a summer blockbuster and it recalls one of the most extraordinary events of the Second World War: Surrounded by an overwhelming enemy and faced with imminent annihilation, an entire army escaped to safety by sea. It is a gripping story. And a thought-provoking one, too, because even today the word ‘miracle’ hangs over it.

On 23rd May 1940, King George VI requested that the following Sunday should be observed as a National Day of Prayer. Late on the Saturday evening the military decision was taken to evacuate as many as possible of the Allied forces. On the Sunday, the nation devoted itself to prayer in an unprecedented way. Eyewitnesses and photographs confirm overflowing congregations in places of worship across the land. The same day an urgent request went out for boats of all sizes and shapes to cross the English Channel to rescue the besieged army, a call ultimately answered by around 800 vessels.

Across the Channel, in a decision that infuriated his generals and still baffles historians, Hitler ordered his army to halt. Had they continued to fight, the destruction of the Allied forces would have been inevitable. On the Tuesday bad weather grounded the Luftwaffe, allowing Allied soldiers to march unhindered to the beaches. On Wednesday the sea was extraordinarily calm, making the perilous evacuation less hazardous. By the time the German Army was finally ordered to renew its attack, over 338,000 troops had been snatched from the beaches, including 140,000 French, Belgian, Dutch and Polish soldiers.

Now you could argue it was all a coincidence, but I think not. It certainly wasn’t considered so at the time. Sunday 9th June was declared a National Day of Thanksgiving and, encouraged by Churchill himself, the phrase ‘the miracle of Dunkirk’ began to circulate.

We live in a world where most are not simply sceptical or cautious about miracles, instead our culture dismisses miracles as impossible.The view is that, while we may pray, there is no one on the other end of the line. However the events of Dunkirk may suggest we ought to reconsider the elimination of God as an actor in history and politics.

Indeed I think Dunkirk stands as an extraordinary encouragement to pray in faith. However great our problems, God is greater than them all. That ‘Dunkirk encouragement’ to pray in times of need applies at every level of life and to every challenge, from what may be a petty domestic crisis to a national disaster. And although our nation may not face imminent military catastrophe on the scale that it did in 1940, we don’t have to look that hard to see major and overwhelming problems. Dunkirk was a military epic that deserves to be remembered. But, far more importantly, it is an encouragement and reminder to pray. (With thanks to J.John)

with every blessing. Philip de Grey-Warter, Vicar

Vicar's letter for July Fowey News

Dear Friends

Recents events nationally have reminded us that we live in a world that is predictably unpredictable. We have had an election in which the winners lost and where the losers feel they won. We seem to have to endure regular acts of terror and we have had the most appalling catastrophe in London which has revealed incompetence and injustice at the heart of the nation. Finally, almost as an incidental, we have a weakened and divided government starting the most important international negotiations since the Second World War.  Old certainties are being questioned and in the midst of this there is a danger that some of our most deeply held values in society are under threat, not least the values of free speech and true tolerance. 

In that light, the resignation of Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron may be a bell-weather. In his resignation speech, Mr Farron gave his reason: “To be a political leader - especially of a progressive, liberal party in 2017 - and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible’s teaching, has felt impossible for me.” Mr Farron does not specify the exact issue, though he admits that it is “hold[ing] faithfully to the Bible’s teaching" that has caused the problem - and he has drawn a great deal of fire for this. His home affairs spokesman, Lord Paddick, resigned on account of Mr Farron’s views. It is certainly true that the Lib Dem leader’s Christianity has been regarded by some as a “problem.”

Our supposedly tolerant society, it seems, isn’t as tolerant as all that. It seems that leaders (and perhaps all of us…?) are not just expected to practice liberal tolerance of others with whom they disagree, but to submit to a new absolute morality and dogma that demands they signal their virtue by celebrating the very thing with which they disagree. Leaders must not merely act in accordance with the democratically determined law of the land, but they must also think correctly, otherwise they will be hunted down by the present day equivalents of the Spanish Inquisition on the lookout for heresy, or Big Brother seeking to suppress thought crime. This is a deeply worrying. Are we now living in a culture in which Voltaire’s aphorism is no longer true: “I wholly disapprove of what you say, and I will defend to the death your right to say it.”?

But I suggest this shouldn’t be a surprise for Christians such as Mr Farron, for we follow a Lord who, in the end, people wanted to be rid of. And there is something Mr Farron knows about the crucified Lord which many of his detractors don’t. It is that on that cross, Jesus wasn’t just experiencing humanity’s hatred and opposition to God; but in the plan of God, He was dying for us.

That is real love and acceptance.  As Paul put it, Jesus is the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2v20) It is a love which none but those who have experienced it can understand.  And those who experience that love know that, when they face a fork in the road on account of their faith, they can only side with the Crucified One.

As Mr Farron himself put it: "Imagine how proud I am to lead this party. And then imagine what would lead me to voluntarily relinquish that honour.  In the words of Isaac Watts it would have to be something “so amazing, so divine, (it) demands my heart, my life, my all”.  And I can testify that it certainly is.

with every blessing, Philip de Grey-Warter, Vicar

Vicar's Letter for June Fowey News

Dear Friends

With the General Election just a few days away, here’s some ancient wisdom and advice for politicians:  “Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.” (The Bible - Proverbs 12v19)

Have you noticed two different aspects of some (but not all) politicians?

On the one hand, many are concerned for their legacy.  They want to make a lasting difference to society and nation.  They are eager to be well judged by the history books, and to be able to point to solid achievement.  Many in senior leadership use their retirement to write memoirs - not just because of the money to be made from publishing, but to try to establish their legacy.  And none of us should blame them for a desire to make lasting changes for the good - it is a reasonable and even laudable ambition.

On the other hand, some politicians take pride in their political skill: their ability to outwit opponents by clever manoeuvres, or to get their way by painting a distorted picture.  Often this includes the deft use of the lie - either outright falsehoods or the subtleties of spin.  These are the intrigues of TV political dramas - but also of the reality of Westminster, Washington or Moscow.

The proverb I’ve quoted tells us that, in the long term, these two aspects of politics cannot mix.  For the legacy built on lies will ultimately be found out.  Truth has a way of outing, because of course it corresponds with reality.  Time unravels false claims, and of course policies built on false assumptions are unlikely to do real good.  On the other hand, the person who has the courage now to tell the truth, even if counter-cultural, even if costly, may one day be thanked for it.

So, as they seek our vote on June 8th, some advice for politicians: if you want a lasting legacy, dare to tell the truth!  

And, of course, this proverb speaks not just to them, but to us all.

with every blessing

Philip de Grey-Warter, Vicar 

(with thanks to Alasdair Paine)


Vicar's letter for January Fowey News

Dear Friends

Are you a contributor or a consumer?

In the early years of the twentieth century, the explorer Ernest Shackleton put an advertisement in various London newspapers to try and find men who would come with him on his polar expedition. The advertisement ran like this: “Men wanted for a hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months in complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful.” Needless to say, there weren’t many applicants. 

But Jesus says something very similar, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself ...” It’s a simple and brief instruction, but it is profoundly radical. A Christian is someone who is prepared to follow Jesus as their king, whatever the cost.

Yet such self-denial is worth it because Jesus goes on to say that real life is paradoxically to be found in laying down one’s life. Life is to be gained by giving, not getting,  “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”

Africans have a concept called ubuntu. It is a South African term roughly translated ‘human kindness’ but the idea behind it is the universal bond that ties us together: “I am because you are: my success is intricately link to yours.” It is a family value that encourages giving back to society and it was the guiding ideal in South Africa as the nation made a transition from apartheid to majority rule.

Desmond Tuto explained ubuntu like this: “Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can't exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can't be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity. We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World.” 

Ubuntu sounds very much like the truth Jesus expressed that life is to be gained by giving and not getting. So my challenge for the New Year is this: What are you going to contribute - give - to our community this year? 

Elsewhere you will find an article about Volunteer Fowey. Please read it, but more importantly, do something as result.

with every blessing for 2017

Philip de Grey-Warter, Vicar

Volunteer Fowey 2017

Fowey is a great place - we live a stunning location:  We have a wonderful wooded river valley with its sheltered anchorage and hidden creeks. We have dramatic coastline with its cliffs and stunning views. But what makes Fowey really special are its people, its characters and the contribution they make. Without its people, Fowey would simply be a shell. Whether Fowey-born, Fowey adopted or simply visitors, every one makes a difference. It may just be a contribution to the economy by spending in our shops and restaurants, or by using local services. It may be unseen, but nonetheless remarkable, good neighbourliness. But it also the essential contribution made by so many volunteers to the wide variety groups and activities that make Fowey such a rich and rewarding place to live.

But… there is a danger that such volunteering is on the wane. Pressures of time and changing attitudes are perhaps beginning to erode our community spirit and, like the proverbial frog in hot water, we may not notice until its too late and the feel of our town has changed to the detriment of everybody, resident and visitor alike.

So together, the Mayor and the Vicar, are calling for 2017 to be a year for ‘Volunteer Fowey”

If you value our town and community, then get involved! We would like to encourage every person in our town to contribute their time and energy as a volunteer this year. It could be a regular 1, 2 or 3 hours a week or a month. It could be as a volunteer for a special event such as the Fowey Festival or Regatta. It could be for a particular group or it could be by offering a particular skill such baking or craft or social media know-how to any of our Fowey organisations. 

It doesn’t matter what you do - only that you do something for Fowey!

You could get involved in local politics through the Town Council or Town Forum. You could help with vital fundraising for the RNLI or the Mission to Seafarers. You could make a difference to others by helping with the Memory Cafe or at the Squires Field Community Centre. You could help out with Regatta on land or afloat. You could take a turn at the Coastwatch station. You could join the Lions or learn a new skill such as bellringing.

It doesn’t matter what you do - only that you do something for Fowey!

So what will you do? 

Please email to pledge your contribution for 2017. Please let us know what you’d like to get involved with or what you might be able to contribute in time or skill and we will endeavour to link you up with the appropriate people or groups. It may be something you are already doing - we’d still like to know. 

Thank you!

Cllr Ruth Finlay, Mayor & Rev Philip de Grey-Warter, Vicar


You may have seen the TV adverts for 1MillionHours. Here’s what they say:

Why Volunteer?

It’s great for your CV

“See volunteering experience on a CV shows compassion and dedication. It shoes me that you’re seizing opportunity and are willing to learn and get stuck in. That’s the kind of person I’d like to work with.” (Deborah Meaden, Dragon’s Den investor & entrepreneur)

“Volunteering on a CV show me you have a passion and energy outside of your education and work - it gives you a competitive edge.” (Ben Cooper, Controller of BBC Radio 1)

Meet new peeps

You’ll have the chance to meet some great people who are passionate about the same things as you. Plus getting stuck into a project and making a difference as a team can really bring people together and form strong relationships. Who knows, you might even meet someone who turns out to be more than a friend…

It strengthens community

There’s a lot going on in the world at the moment and your own life can throw a lot at you too. From what we see on the news, to exam stresses, moving house or jobs, unemployment, bereavement or just having a bad day – it can leave us feeling helpless. Giving your time to a project or a charity and helping those who need it the most will connect people and help to build a support network and a community. These small acts really can make a huge difference to people’s lives – including yours!

It can improve your health

The Institute for Voluntary Research has found that volunteering can help reduce stress levels and depression, and have a positive impact on your relationships, your self-esteem, your longevity and keep you fitter. Sounds pretty good!

You can pick up some life skills

Meeting new people, working as part of a team, building your confidence, self-esteem, motivation and developing leadership skills are just a few of the things you can get out of volunteering! Unsure about what you want to do in life? Volunteering could give you the inspiration and direction you need by trying out something new. 

It matters, and so do you! 

You’ll see the difference you’re making, even with just an hour of your time. Maybe you’ll gain some perspective on life and learn something new about the world or about yourself.

(taken from Radio 1’s 1MillionHours website)