A Sonnet for Petertide, and the 30th Anniversary of my ordination


The 29th of June is 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 called to ministry who should have been ordained this weekend, but whose ordination may have been postponed. I also post it with thanksgiving for my own ordination at Petertide 30 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.

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.


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Filed under imagination

19 responses to “A Sonnet for Petertide, and the 30th Anniversary of my ordination

  1. Elizabeth Upson


  2. revcharmaine

    Thank-you Malcolm – my 30th anniversary of ordination too! This is one of my favourites.

    Charmaine Host

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. Ronni Lamont

    Peter gives hope to all us activist extroverts…
    Thank you for this poem. I’m on 26 years…

  4. Pauline Hart

    Thank you. I needed this having just made a total b….s up of something where I had all the right intentions. It helps to know I’m in good company.

  5. Clare Sanders

    Thanks Kate!

  6. gladstone622

    Congrats Mr. Guite. Ordination of priests and deacons is a great and beautiful blessing for the body of Christ.

  7. Dev Nallathamby

    Congratulations, Fr Malcolm and may the Lord continue to bless and prosper your valuable ministry through poetry.

    Kind regards Dev ________________________________

  8. I have always identified with Peter and your poem blesses me, especially having spent the dark night battling shame. After all these years.
    I started a blog this spring, a good challenge for the extrovert forced into lockdown (just try to shut me up). I’d love to include some of your poems if I may.

  9. “each denial is undone by love” – beautiful, healing words

  10. Pastor Boyle

    Dear Fr. Malcolm,

    After just having had a meeting where the elders of my congregation are planning events for my 10th ordination anniversary next month, it was a joy to get this email and listen to your poem. I was recently cued into your poetry through the Eighth Day Institute here in Wichita, and I am eternally grateful. Your poems and your videos have been sheer delight!

    I am a Lutheran Pastor of two small congregations here in Wichita, Kansas and this morning we commemorated not just St. Peter but also St. Paul and I was curious as to whether the Church of England combines the two today, or if it is merely St. Peter being remembered. Interestingly, both St. Peter and St. Paul have additional feasts in January – – the chains of St. Peter and a week later the confession of St. Paul.

    In any case, I just wanted to drop a note and say thank you for the joy you continue to bring through your poetry and the insightful grasp of the gospel continually communicated with such beauty. May God bless you on this anniversary of your ordination and the continued work among the saints in Cambridge. By the way, I had the joy of spending a year studying at Cambridge in 2006-2007. I only wish I had known you were there at that point—it would have been a joy to meet you and share a pipe with some scotch whiskey!

    Peace to you in Christ our life! Fr. Geoff Boyle

    Sent from my iPhone


  11. Barbara Parry

    Over the last 30 years, you have become a fragrant “letter for Christ” (2 Corinthians 3:3), and been a blessing to so many of us during challenging times. Well done good and faithful servant!

  12. This poem was shared in our reflection on zoom last night . Three rivers mission community – beautiful . I have one on St Peter’s day on my blog too!

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