Affectionately known as ‘Get up with Gav‘, the BBC Southern Counties Sunday Breakfast programme is hosted by Gavin Ashenden. Gavin is a good friend, who I have significantly more respect for after seeing him ‘behind the wheel’ of a live 3-hour programme. For someone who gives the impression of being slightly affectionately and delightful disheveled in life, he is amazingly in control of the multitude of threads needing to be woven together for such a live broadcast.
Alastair in the Brighton Studio with Gavin at Stupid o'clock
It reminded me a little of visiting the local Radio Nottingham studios as part of a my pre-ordination training, and seeing a young ‘DJ’, who we knew from our local church at the time, deftly flicking records on to the decks, whilst handling a mid-morning phone-in, and managing to take time to talk to a group of ordinands visiting the station. On returning home, I said to Kay “That broadcaster is going to go a long way; we will have to keep an eye out for him.” Within weeks, he had been transferred to Radio 1. His name? Simon Mayo.
A minute is a very short time to say anything sensible at all, really (though local colleague Kevin managed to keep his ‘sermon’ within the 60 seconds a couple of weeks before me!).
Having been through a few Robin Hood related places recently, the affable outlaw became my subject. (See these links for more on Robin.)
Click the Play arrow below to hear the interview/sermon
[audio src="http://acutting.org/files/aud/AlastairGavin14June2009.mp3" /]
One of the interesting asides I came across whilst researching for the ‘sermon’ was a feeling of being stalked by Robin. Or I suppose, more properly, as I was following him, I was the stalker. Not only did he have the familiar Nottingham connections, where I had done my training at Theological College; but my two following curacies in South Yorkshire also had Robin connections. My first parish post was at All Saints Woodlands, just north of Doncaster, where there is not only a Robin Hood stream, but stories of Robin being in the local Barnsdale forest (the area is not far north of Sherwood forest).
My second parish placement was at the parish church in Wadsley, in Sheffield. On the edge of the parish was the village of Loxley, possibly also spelt Locksley, where in some traditions Robin Hood was born. I was involved in planting a new congregation from the church, based in a school in Loxley during my time in the parish. Fascinating that these three ‘place links’ should show up around three of our successive homes. My investigations have not revealed that Robin Hood has any connections with Copthorne…
Text of the 1 Minute Sermon - 14 June 2009
You can also find the original article on my ‘Papers‘ page. Other recent epsiodes for Sunday Breakfast may be available on iPlayer here.
The full text follows:
I’ve been through Robin Hood territory a couple of times recently. Yesterday I was in Nottingham, and I recently passed through where Robin is reputed to have been born, in the village of Loxley, which now rather overtaken by it’s neighbouring village of Sheffield; and Hathersage where Little John is supposedly buried. I will spare you my rendition of any of the Robin Hood songs, especially at this time in the morning!
But most of us know some of the tales of Robin Hood, and his band of men, stealing from the rich to give to the poor; righting wrongs, battling on behalf of the oppressed, fighting for justice. (I am pleased to observe that this group included a cleric; though Friar Tuck does not always personify priests in their best light!)
Of course, both Robin Hood, and his band of followers were no favourites with the authorities. Being pursued by the Sheriff of Nottingham, and Guy of Gisborne, and bunches of soldiers is the stuff of so many action adventure books or films. A hero.
Another hero, with a band of followers; pursued by the authorities, on the side of the little people, recognising and supplying the needs of the poor, was of course Jesus. So no wonder there are so many stories of him too, not just in the written Biblical record, but in songs and mystery plays; in paintings and in films – throughout the world, and throughout history.
The authorities thought they had him, bound, nailed, crucified – dead. But more dramatically than any fictional action hero, with a single bound he is free: risen, his foes vanquished!
No wonder so many of the tales of Robin Hood are so appealing – and interesting to see their precursor, in a way, in the radical Jesus of the gospels.
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Riding through the glen,
(Robin Hood, Robin Hood, With his band of men,)
Feared by the bad, loved by the good,
Robin Hood! (Robin Hood! Robin Hood!)
Drat – I promised not to sing…