Back to work

Back to work yesterday. Today was spent answering or dealing with all but 12 of the 150 e-mails that were waiting for me. (None of those 150 were spam, either).

I had a lovely holiday, thank you for asking. It is one’s duty to be able to say that you have enjoyed a lovely holiday when you are a priest. Imagine the joy on returning from your trip away to a couple of hundred people who all want to be assured that you had a good time.

One of the good things about being on holiday is that it means you can go to church – you never get the chance in my job, you are always delivering church. (And I guess that I mean delivering in the sense that a midwife delivers a child).

Anyway, I tend to go to church when I’m on holiday, and am puzzled by clergy who don’t. As a much revered member of the clergy once said to me, “It doesn’t matter whether it is three nuns sitting around a candle singing kum-by-yah, you still go…”

Anyway, no nuns and no kum-by-yahs, but there were candles and a collection of saints and sinners at the congregations that I went to whilst taking my break – St Brides in Hyndland and the Basilica of St John of the Girders in Oban. My thanks to you all for your hospitality. Indeed, members of congregation in Oban did me the great compliment of asking me to help move pews after the service. Welcoming and inclusive you see.


  1. Moyra says

    No self-respecting nun I know would be sitting around a candle singing Kum-by-Yah.

  2. Moyra says

    I’m so glad you had a good holiday, by the way! Indignation got in the way of my manners.

  3. kelvin says

    Does it help any to know that the nuns in question were Italian, or does that make it worse?

  4. Moving pews!!! – at least we have not got round to that at St Marys…………


  5. Moyra says

    Were they doing Kum-by-yah in Italian? That makes it marginally better, I suppose, but I’d still know what they were singing.

    Don’t think the fact they were Italian makes the slightest bit of difference!

    Oh well, I suppose it could’ve been worse…..

    And like you said, you go to church, you go with what’s there. God’s there!!!

  6. kelvin says

    Can anyone come up with a singable translation of Kum-by-yah in Latin? I feel that it might be helpful to this conversation.

  7. Moyra says

    Kum-by-Yah in Latin…

    is that an attempt to make it more acceptable?

  8. kelvin says

    Anything in Latin is more acceptable. Surrounded by clouds of incense too.

  9. Well, Kelvin, since you asked:

    cum ba ia, domine, cum ba ia.
    cum ba ia, domine, cum ba ia.
    cum ba ia, domine, cum ba ia.
    deus, cum ba ia.

    aliqui ridet, domini, cum ba ia…

    aliqui lacrimat, domine, cum ba ia
    aliqui lacrimat, domine, cum ba ia,
    aliqui lacrimat, domine, cum ba ia
    eheu deus, cum ba ia.

    aliqui supplicat, domine…

    aliqui cantat, domine…

    cum ba ia, domine, cum ba ia…

    But as you know, the original version is contested.
    The first verse and subsequent repetitions could equally be:

    hac veni, domine, hac veni

    Sources are clear on the ‘eheu’ in verse 3, though.

  10. Moyra says

    Next time I’m sitting around a candle – I’ll try it out…

  11. I’ve been trying to get the last line of each verse to scan better in the absence of the ‘O’ (which is hidden in the vocative, but well hidden indeed since deus is an irregular vocative…)


    care deus, cum ba ia — ?

  12. Zebadee says


    The time spent feeding you all those fudge doughnuts was certainly not wasted

  13. Moyra says

    How did we get from Kum by Yah, or even Cum ba ia, to fudge doughnuts?

  14. Moyra, you have to realise that fudge doughnuts are Zebadee’s equivalent of Mornington Crescent. With enough ingenuity, a link is always possible.

    (It’s a St Andrews thing…)

  15. Moyra says

    I understand….

  16. Sarah SSM says

    I’m sure that there is something holy about fudge doughnuts. Holey, anyway. Come by here, my Lord, we have fudge doughnuts?

    Unfortunately, I live in a convent not sufficiently hol(e)y to have them. Too bad. Nor do we have cum ba ia around a candle, but perhaps Compline counts? I’ll suggest to our Superior that we do cum ba ia for our Compline hymn Tuesday. I’m sure she’d be thrilled (Kimberly can comment on that, I’m sure, as they are acquainted).

    I’m sure someone could come up with an appropriate analysis of cum ba ia from a hermeneutic related to fudge donuts and liberation theology…

  17. kelvin says

    personally, I’m not sure that I have ever tasted a fudge doughnut. I’ m sure I have no idea what you are all talking about.

  18. No, Kelvin. You have never bought a fudge doughnut. That’s not the same thing.

  19. Ah.

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