People will be walking and praying in West Warrington on 25/5/17

Christians in West Warrington will be praying in the streets as well as in their churches this Ascension Day, Thursday 25th May. They are responding to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Thy Kingdom Come initiative, calling on Christians to pray for others to come to know Jesus. It marks the first of ten days of prayer. People will be praying in each of the four Anglican churches of West Warrington at certain times and will be praying as they walk between them.
Says Pioneer Team Rector, Rev.Jeremy Tear, “Not everyone is expected to walk the whole way or visit all four churches (though I hope to manage that myself!). People are welcome to join us for any part of the time. You don’t have to be a member of one of our churches to join in. All are invited to pray.”
Similar events are being held throughout this country and in many others. Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, the Methodists and most other denominations are backing this call. The Archbishop, Justin Welby, says, “Coming to know Jesus was the most important thing that ever happened to me. I am praying that others will find the same love, joy and peace he brings.”
People will be praying at St James’s, Great Sankey, at 9.00 am, at St Philip’s, Westbrook, at 11.00 am, at St Paul’s, in The Oaks Centre, Penketh, at 1.30 pm, and at St Mary’s, Great Sankey, at 3.30 pm. The day will end with a service of Holy Communion in St James’s at 7.30 pm.
Jeremy added, “Ascension Day is when we remember the day Jesus left the Earth to go back to his Father in Heaven. That’s when he told his followers that they were to be witnesses to him both locally, nationally and internationally. Our prayers are one way of making that happen.”
Other events will be happening over the following nine days, locally nationally and internationally. For more information about this initiative, see
“In praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ we all commit to playing our part in the renewal of the nations and the transformation of communities.”
Archbishop Justin Welby.

Join us. Walk. Pray. Be part of it.

How to increase happiness: give it away!

I have written about the risk of giving away money unintentionally.

I have also written about some of the findings from scientific research into happiness. Another finding is that, unlike money, happiness grows when you give it away.  In other words, you find yourself feeling happier after you have done something to make someone else happy. I don’t know if anyone knows why, but it seems to be so.

How? Could you volunteer for something?

Of course, not everyone is cut out to be a do-gooder. I know I am not. I prefer to keep to myself. Except online. But it is a matter of degree. Even doing a little to help someone, occasionally, can do you good.

Where to start? There are lots of charities and not-for-profit organisations that are always looking for another volunteer. Increasingly, local authorities are inviting the public to volunteer in some of their activities too. Pick one that suits you, both in the nature of the activity and the organisation’s objectives. If you love animals, an animal charity may be best. If you are concerned about poverty in other parts of the world, you might find an opportunity to go overseas to volunteer with a project, or you could get involved in publicity or fundraising without leaving home.

If you find you cannot cope with too much organisation, you don’t have to. Just find someone who needs a little help and provide it on a one-to-one basis, whether doing their garden, taking them out, or just sitting and listening to them for a bit.

There are many reasons for doing good, but one is that it does you good. Amazing!

Do you prefer to read paperbacks or e-books?

I thought I was a bit old fashioned sticking to reading physical books, although I do read books online nowadays, mainly because they are cheaper. I still like to hold a book in my hands.

I publish my own books both ways. This is partly to reach the widest possible readership. I also like to keep a few handy, at home or in the car, in case I want to show them to someone or even sell one face to face. It is less straightforward if they have to go online.

However, I have just heard that sales of e-books have started to decline, while paperback sales are going up.

Total sales of all books are up [Hooray!].



What’s happening?

People suggest that nowadays we all spend so much time in front of our computers and tablets that it’s nice to shut them down and do something different to relax. It may also be because many people use their phones for a lot of things and find them not to be the best way to read a book. Another suggestion is that people like to read on trains, planes, beaches, park benches and lots of places where it’s easy to lose your book or get it wet or covered in sand. Books can survive better than anything electronic and anyway they are more expendable.

Whichever way you prefer to read, please do so and encourage others.

And enjoy it!

Can you be healthy and happy?

Most people agree that health is the most important thing in life. Those who disagree generally put it in the top three things. So why would I question it?

Of course, there are plenty of people with long term illnesses and disabilities who manage to lead happy lives. How they do it could be the subject of another series of articles. Let’s suppose for a start that they concentrate on all the other things that make for happiness, some of which I have already written about. That does not disprove the statement that, overall, staying healthy helps you to be happy.

The trouble is that nowadays there is so much written and spoken about health, and there seems little consensus on what makes for a healthy lifestyle. So many diets and exercise regimes are recommended, only to be replaced by the next ‘breakthrough’ (or fad if you like).

  • Worrying about your health can make you unhappy, even when you are well.
  • Obsessing about your diet or exercise can lead to a lot of anxiety and keep you from enjoying the health you do have, even if it could be better.

The advice that makes sense, taken from a number of sources, is that to be happy you should take care of your health without making it a cause of anxiety. Here are a few simple tips that almost everyone seems to agree on.

  • Avoid taking recreational drugs.
  • Do take any medicines prescribed by your doctor.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation.
  • Take regular exercise of some kind.
  • Avoid faddy or extreme diets, unless advised by your doctor.
  • Keep to a sensible weight: overeating is bad, regardless of the make-up of the diet.
  • Get enough sleep, whether you are an early or late person.

In case you are in doubt, I am addressing people who are relatively well-off, by global standards. In some places, overeating is not an issue: starvation and malnutrition are. For many people, getting enough to eat would make them happy.

But for you and me, it’s about being sensible, so as to be healthy and be happy.

All About ‘Accounting for Murder’

Here is a press release for Accounting for Murder, Double Entry

Accounting for Murder: Double Entry – Thrilling New Detective Novel Proves Hidden Investments Can Kill More than A Tax Bill


Meticulously crafted by John Harvey Murray, ‘Accounting for Murder: Double Entry’ is an intense and intricate murder mystery that takes readers across Wales, as one woman’s plan for divorce ends in the death of her affluent husband. The suspect could be any number of his assistants, financial advisors and even his new mistress. What ensues is thrilling to say the very least, and bold proof that money simply can’t buy happiness – or even a heartbeat.

While murder mysteries and detective novels have long been a staple of the literary world, both readers and critics are currently crying out for wholly-unique new narratives that do more than succumb to the same-old recycled concepts.

Thankfully, John Harvey Murray is stepping up to the plate with gusto, unveiling a new detective masterpiece that readers won’t be forgetting any time soon. Introducing ‘Accounting for Murder: Double Entry’.




When former athlete Patty Rogers decides to divorce her unfaithful husband, Ray, she calls on accountant, Frank Hill, to find Ray’s conveniently missing investments. The trail leads from Cardiff to the financial heart of the City of London and to Aberystwyth, where the mystery turns into a murder.

 The police regard Patty as their one and only suspect. Frank and his teenage daughter Jane try to find the real killer, unaware of the dangers they are facing from corrupt accountants, racist thugs, a dog-fighting gang, uncooperative policemen and Ray’s mistress, a pop star with many faces and a rock-solid alibi. To see justice done they will need all Frank’s investigative skills and Jane’s youthful energy. And more.

 “The great thing about Patty, Ray and the host of other characters is their sheer depth,” explains the author. “This isn’t a detective novel where you’ll be guessing the killer from the second chapter. It’s deliberately unlike anything else on the market, gives nothing away and will embroil every reader in something they won’t be able to stop fidgeting about until they’ve finished the book!”

Continuing, “It’s also rare to see Wales host a story like this and, for the country’s beauty and tranquilities, I am taking it upon myself to present the raw realities of the nation in the 21st-century. It’s a cosmopolitan place that is something of a far cry from the myths and folklore association with traditional Welsh culture. I have a deep love and passion for Wales, and know the nation intimately. It’s certainly an unusual setting for an unusual story.”

With the volume’s demand expected to be high, interested readers are urged to secure their copies as soon as possible.

Available on  Createspace at GBP 6.99 

Also on Kindle: ASIN: B06ZYNRD8F USD 2.99 

About the Author:

After studying Economics and Accountancy at Bristol University, John worked in local government finance, investigating everything from petty fraud to massive overspends, and all kinds of insurance claims. He has worked in North, Mid and South Wales, and the North West of England. He is now a self-employed risk management consultant based in Warrington.

He has written several books. His writing reflects his Christian faith, as well as his love of Wales, of horses and of other animals.


! Accounting for Murder is Published

Accounting for Murder: Double Entry is now available from Createspace at £6.99

go to

It is also available on Kindle for 2.38


go to

Here’s a short summary.

When former athlete Patty Rogers decides to divorce her unfaithful husband, Ray, she calls on accountant, Frank Hill, to find Ray’s conveniently missing investments. The trail leads from Cardiff to the financial heart of the City of London and to Aberystwyth, where the mystery turns into a murder.

What do you make of this well-known mystery?

I love mysteries: reading or writing them. I have often pondered some historic mysteries. I have recently written about one famous one, which is remembered at this time of year. See which explanation you believe and what do you doubt? Whatever you think, I expect it has nothing to do with chocolate eggs.


Why is there a donkey in the Palm Sunday story?

The Sunday before Easter is known as Palm Sunday. It is when Christians remember when Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem, at the start of the week which was to end in his death. It is called Palm Sunday because people cut palm branches and waved them. Some threw them on the ground in front of the donkey. I have written previously about the elements of Risk Management in this story.

Is there a lesson for Risk Management in the Easter story?

But what has the donkey got to do with it?

You may wonder why so much emphasis on the donkey. Why did it matter how he entered the city?

People often say it was about identifying with the poor. Well, I agree that it is likely that donkeys were cheaper than horses in those days. But why not walk, to identify with people who could not afford either? Some rich people rode donkeys anyway, as not everyone was a good horseman and many would have found donkeys easier to ride. It is worth noting that donkeys are often bigger in the Middle East than the ones you see on Blackpool beach, so a man can ride one fairly comfortably.

Some ponies are smaller than donkeys. Here is a small friend of mine. Bea, a miniature Shetland pony.


Are donkeys just ‘poor’ horses?

Think of all the things you can use either a horse or a donkey for, even if the one is usually better than the other.

  • Getting from A to B.
  • Carrying a pack.
  • Pulling a cart.
  • Ploughing.

Is there anything horses are used for but not donkeys? I can think of only one thing.


I have never heard of any cavalry regiment riding donkeys.

In Jesus’ day, if you saw a man riding a donkey, even if he was in armour, you could be pretty sure he was just riding around, not about to go into battle. He was not an immediate threat.

Jesus was not entering that city as a conqueror. Not in the military sense. He said his kingdom was not of this world. Yet he was to be more influential in the long run than any earthly king. The donkey was a sign.

  • A disappointment to some.
  • Relief to others.
  • Probably confusion to still others.

He was challenging our ideas of power, of victory and of defeat.  What’s yours?

What is the setting for Accounting for Murder: Double Entry?

My detective novel, Accounting for Murder: Double Entry, which will be published very soon, is set in Cardiff.  The hero, Frank, is a Lancastrian who lives in Llandaff, between the Cathedral and the City.  His investigation takes him to Aberystwyth and London, several times, but  Cardiff, where I lived and worked for many years, is the real centre of the story.  Although my hero is an Englishman, he knows he belongs in that city, and its personality influences him as it does the book.

As this story is set in the present, forget mythical images of Wales: sheep and coalmines.  Cardiff is a modern, cosmopolitan City.  There are black and Asian characters.  The hero’s brother-in-law is of Italian origins.  Modern technology plays its part in their lives, just as it does in the story.  Frank’s teenage children are always willing to advise him on social media and anything else he has not kept up-to-date with.  And things he has.

Cardiff has beautiful old buildings and also some great modern developments, such as the Millennium Stadium, now officially known as the Principality Stadium, and the Marina.

Here is a picture of Llandaff Cathedral, from a watercolour by an old friend of mine, the late George Dolman.  If you want to see the many aspects of  Cardiff’s modern face, go and visit it.  You may be surprised.


Why would you want to ‘Cope with the Church’?

One valid criticism of my book How to Cope with the Church is that it assumes going to church is necessary or desirable. As not everyone agrees with that, I should have asked Why as well as How. Let us do so now.

What is your starting point?

If you are an atheist, we are so far apart that I will need to write a totally different book to address your concerns. Perhaps I will, but not yet.

For many people, however, it is not obvious that believing in God should automatically lead to going to church. There are many reasons why you might not want to. Here are some.

  • You have tried it and just could not fit in. (You should read How to Cope with the Church.)
  • You have not tried it but are sure you would not like it.
  • You are busy on Sundays.
  • You have family commitments and don’t want to inflict church on them.
  • You don’t see any reason why you should. You can be a Christian on your own.

You might be surprised at the extent to which I sympathise, or rather empathise, with some of these points of view, despite the fact that I have been involved in church life for a long time. A very long time. I will write about my story soon, but first, there are a few things we need to be clear about.

What does the Bible say?

Strangely enough, nobody in the Bible goes to church, although they often go to the Temple or synagogue. The Church is always the people of God, not a building or organisation. We are exhorted to meet together for prayer, fellowship, teaching and the breaking of bread. The last phrase is usually taken to mean Holy Communion, although early Christians used to meet for a meal as well. It is evident that Christians always have met together regularly, wherever possible. This is explicit in the Acts of the Apostles Chapter 2 verse 42 but can be inferred from many passages in Acts and elsewhere in the New Testament.

What is a church?

From the above, it seems it can be any group of Christians. Of course, in the modern world, it is usually desirable for any group to have some formal existence, if it is going to manage money or property, or employ people. This applies to sports clubs, charities and self-help groups too, and many churches are connected with such groups.

There is nothing in the Bible to prescribe the form a church should take, and it is wrong to think any one style or format is the right or only one. Around the World and over the centuries a great variety of forms of worship have developed. Christians usually want to express worship in song, but some groups prefer spoken or even silent worship.

Better together!

Christians usually find they grow in knowledge and experience by spending time with other Christians. They draw strength from prayer, Bible study, fellowship and worship. People involved in any activity, from sport to the arts to environmental protection, usually like to get together for support.

What can you contribute?

Being a Christian is not meant to be an exercise in self-centredness. You can contribute something too. You may not think so, but you will have something to offer. Help other Christians, or join with them to help the rest of the World.

Why Sundays?

When Christianity started, Sunday was not a day off. In the Jewish society of Jesus’s day, Saturday was the Sabbath, as it still is. Elsewhere in the Roman Empire, neither day was sacred. Christians met on Sundays, wherever possible, before or after work. In predominantly Christian societies, such as Mediaeval Britain, Sunday was an official rest day. Going to church was a rest compared with working on the land. It is certainly healthy to have one day a week off, from whatever your daily work may be.

  • It would be difficult for most people to get to church on any other day, but if it can be arranged in some situations, it is not wrong.
  • If you really have a problem with Sundays, try to find a church with a midweek service.
  • Or just go to the midweek activities of one that has its main service on Sundays.

What are the other options?

There was a time, not so long ago, when the only way to speak to other Christians was to meet face to face. Gathering in church was pretty much essential. The invention of the telephone was first thing that changed that. In my lifetime, there has been a series of changes in technology, making many other options possible.

  • You can get teaching online. It can be interactive.
  • You can share problems and hear other people’s experiences.
  • You can listen to Christian music, traditional or modern.
  • You can crowdfund projects.

I know there are some churches that exist on the internet. Good!

Why do we not all just worship online?

  • It is hard to discipline yourself to study or worship regularly. Well, it is for me. I find going to church once a week and going to certain other Christian activities in person helps me to keep going. Otherwise I know I would get distracted and become involved only intermittently. Know yourself!
  • I also benefit from the collective worship. It is similar to the thing some people experience at football matches.
  • I do blog, tweet and do other things online, but I feel closest to the people I meet face to face. That includes those I contact online as well.

My story. I will be writing again soon about my journey from agnosticism to faith and then to churchgoing. I may even tell about some of the different churches I have had to cope with.