A Sonnet for Petertide, and the Silver Jubilee of my priesting


The 29th of June  this year is a Silver Jubilee for me: the 25th Anniversary of my ordination as a priest i the church of England. The 29th is of course also St. Peter’s day, when we remember the disciple who, for all his many mistakes, knew how to recover and hold on, who, for all his waverings was called by Jesus ‘the rock’, who learned the threefold lesson that every betrayal can ultimately be restored by love. It is fitting therefore that it is at Petertide that new priests and deacons are ordained, on the day they remember a man whose recovery from mistakes and openness to love can give them courage. So I post this poem not only for St. Peter but for all those being ordained this weekend and in memory of my own ordination on this day 25 years ago.

This poem comes from my collection Sounding the Seasons published by Canterbury Press. You can also buy it on Amazon Uk or US or order it in any bookshop. My Canadian readers can get it from Steve Bell.

As always you can her the poem by clicking on the ‘play’ button, or on the title of the poem.

St. Peter

Impulsive master of misunderstanding

You comfort me with all your big mistakes;

Jumping the ship before you make the landing,

Placing the bet before you know the stakes.

I love the way you step out without knowing,

The way you sometimes speak before you think,

The way your broken faith is always growing,

The way he holds you even when you sink.

Born to a world that always tried to shame you,

Your shaky ego vulnerable to shame,

I love the way that Jesus chose to name you,

Before you knew how to deserve that name.

And in the end your Saviour let you prove

That each denial is undone by love.


Filed under christianity, Poems

12 responses to “A Sonnet for Petertide, and the Silver Jubilee of my priesting

  1. Deborah Smyth

    This is beautiful – thank you!

  2. Pam Southam

    Malcolm, blessings on the 25th Anniversary of your ordination as a priest.
    Thank you for this beautiful poem and praise be to God for this wonderful gift He has given you to share with us.

  3. Caroline Jones

    Dear Malcolm, my new email address from today is caroline.jones08@btinternet.com, please continue to send me your wonderful poems etc, I find them inspirational, many thanks, Caroline

  4. This is beautiful – and comforting.

  5. Hugh Ellis

    Many thanks for this Malcolm. Have celebrated the festival this morning. Amazing that it’s now 25 yrs. Have you celebrated the anniversary as yet? All Saints, High Wycombe have kindly set up cakes and drinks after the Eucharist on Sunday morning. Will be at an ordination for one of our congregation members on Saturday. We have a stream of ordinands from Cuddeston each year. Quite an impressive college (not as good as Riley, of course. Our new Archdeacon is ex-Ridley.

    Every joy and blessing for the silver jubilee,


    Team Rector,

    High Wycombe Team Ministry,

    Vicar of All Saints,

    6 Priory Avenue

    High Wycombe


    HP13 6SH

    01494 444883


    • malcolmguite

      Great. I’ll be at the Ledbury poetry festival in Sunday so won’t be able to celebrated Eucharist. But will have a glass of something when I get home!

  6. I really loved this. It is beautifully crafted. Thank you!

  7. donnaworth

    Dear Fr. Guite,

    Blessings and best wishes on the Silver Jubilee of your ordination! You do not know me, but I love reading your poetry and commentary. This often hits very close to my heart.

    I was introduced (in a manner of speaking) to you via re-posts from a good friend, Dana Marsh, whom I believe you have known well in past years. He has spoken so highly of time of you and how much he values time spent with you at Girton College. I hope you continue in your wonderful work, and I wish you much joy. You continue to inspire so many of us!


    Donna Worth

    • malcolmguite

      Dear Donna thank you for this kind comment. Yes I remember Dana well from the time we worked together in Cambridge. Do give him my greetings

  8. Charles Twombly

    Thankful for your ordination and for so much else, not least your constantly flowing stream of sonnets. My body permitting, Sheila and I may try to attend your book celebration at St Paul’s in February (details available?). Given our ages and my health, this might be the last visit to London for us. (As a young woman, Sheila worked for the Ministry of Health in London. She lived in Stanmore.)

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