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Some lighthearted things to think about

A  wee bit of Historical knowledge for YOU related to our old sayings


Early aircraft  throttles had a ball on the end of it, in order to go full  throttle the pilot had to push the throttle all the way forward into the wall of the instrument panel. Hence “balls to the wall” for going very fast. And now you know the rest of the  story.

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During WWII, U.S. Airplanes were armed with belts  of bullets which they would shoot during dogfights and on  strafing runs.  These belts were folded into the wing compartments that fed their machine guns. These belts measure 27 feet and contained hundreds of rounds of bullets. Often times, the pilots would return from their missions having expended all of their bullets  on various targets. They would say, I gave them the whole nine yards, meaning they used up all of their ammunition.

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Did you know the saying “God willing and the creek don’t rise” was in reference to the Creek Indians and not  a body of water? It was written by Benjamin Hawkins in the late 18th century. He was a politician and Indian diplomat. While in the south, Hawkins was requested by the President of the U.S. to return to Washington In his response, he was said to write, “God  willing and the Creek don’t rise.” Because he capitalized the word “Creek”, he was referring to the Creek Indian tribe  and not a body of water.

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In George Washington’s days, there were no cameras. One’s image was either sculpted or painted. Some paintings  of  GeorgeWashington showed him standing behind a desk with one arm behind his back while others showed both legs and both arms. Prices charged by painters were not based on how many people were to be painted, but by how many limbs were to be painted. Arms  and legs are ‘limbs,’ therefore  painting them would cost the buyer more. Hence the expression, ‘Okay,  but it’ll cost you an arm and a leg.’  (Artists know hands and arms are more difficult to paint.)


As incredible as it sounds, men and women took  baths only twice a year (May and October). Women kept their hair   covered, while men shaved their heads (because of lice and bugs) and wore wigs. Wealthy men could afford good wigs made from wool. They couldn’t wash the wigs, so to clean them they would carve out a loaf of bread, put the wig in the shell, and bake it for  30 minutes. The heat would make the wig big and fluffy, hence the term ‘big wig’. Today we often use the term ‘here  comes the Big Wig’ because someone appears to be or is powerful and wealthy.

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In the late 1700’s, many houses consisted of a large room with only one chair. Commonly, a long wide board folded  down  from the wall, and was used for dining. The ‘head of the household’ always sat in the chair while everyone else ate sitting on the floor. Occasionally a guest, who was usually a man, would be invited to sit in this chair during a meal. To sit in the  chair meant you were important and in charge. They called the one sitting in the chair the ‘chair man.’ Today in business, we use the expression or title ‘Chairman’ or ‘Chairman of the Board.’

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Personal hygiene left much room for improvement.  As a result, many women and men had developed acne scars by  adulthood. The women would spread bee’s wax over their facial skin to smooth out  their complexions. When they were speaking to each other, if a woman  began to stare at another woman’s face she was told, ‘mind your own bee’s wax.’ Should the woman smile,  the wax would crack, hence the term ‘crack a smile’. In addition, when they sat too close to the fire, the wax would melt. Therefore, the expression ‘losing face.’

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Ladies wore corsets, which would lace up in the front. A proper and dignified woman, as in ‘straight laced’ wore  a tightly tied lace.

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Common entertainment included playing cards. However, there was a tax levied when purchasing playing cards but  only  applicable to the ‘Ace of Spades.’ To avoid paying the tax, people would  purchase 51 cards instead. Yet, since most games require 52 cards, these people were thought to be stupid or dumb because they weren’t ‘playing with a full deck.’

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Early politicians required feedback from the  public to determine what the people considered important. Since  there  were no telephones, TV’s or radios, the politicians sent their  assistants to local taverns, pubs, and bars. They were told to ‘go sip some Ale and listen to people’s conversations and political  concerns. Many assistants were dispatched at different  times. ‘You go sip here’ and ‘You go sip there.’ The two words ‘go sip’ were  eventually combined when referring to the local opinion and, thus we  have the term ‘gossip.’

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At local taverns, pubs, and bars, people drank  from pint and quart-sized containers. A bar maid’s job was to  keep an  eye on the customers and keep the drinks coming. She had to pay close attention and remember who was drinking in ‘pints’ and who was drinking in ‘quarts,’ hence the phrase ‘minding your  ‘P’s and Q’s’.

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One more: bet you didn’t know this! In the heyday of sailing ships, all war ships and many freighters carried  iron cannons. Those cannons fired round iron cannon balls. It was necessary  to keep a good supply near the cannon. However, how to prevent them from rolling about the deck? The best storage method devised was a square-based pyramid with one ball on top, resting  on four resting on nine, which rested on sixteen. Thus, a supply of 30 cannon balls could be stacked in a small area right next to the cannon. There was only one problem…. how to prevent the bottom layer from sliding or rolling from  under the others. The  solution was a metal plate called a ‘Monkey’ with 16 round indentations. However, if this plate were made of iron, the  iron balls would quickly rust to it. The solution to the rusting problem was to make ‘Brass Monkeys.’

Few landlubbers  realize that brass contracts greater and much faster than iron when it’s chilled. Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so much that the iron cannonballs would roll right off the monkey; Thus, it was quite  literally, ‘Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.’

“any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”, Sir Arthur C. Clarke






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Back to Peru

As I am heading to Peru tomorrow I covet prayer covering while I am away.

The purpose of this trip is to lead a retreat for the teachers at San Mateo School as we prepare them to share leadership this coming June when we do another Bible School. A team of four from Grace Anglican Church, Fleming Island, FL, will join me on Saturday. I shall also take that team down to Arequipa to explore mission opportunities.

As I arrive in Peru I will be joining Susan Park who is hosting a varied and diverse group of partners and friends of Peru. Bishop Dan Martins of Springfield, IL and his assistant Fr. Mark Evans are there on a one-week visit so as to renew their Peruvian partnership. Shortly arriving is a team from the Diocese of Worcester, England and their bishop – The Rt. Rev John Inge who is giving a teaching series at the Cathedral, will join them later. Towards the end of the month a group from the Diocese of South Carolina is coming to explore missionary opportunities. Also joining us will be a representative of the Diocese of Gibraltar.

I am excited. After a hiatus of a year we are beginning to see a new series of partner in mission relationships emerging. It is for this that I have worked over the whole of last year and more. The changes in the diocese of Peru since Bishop Godfrey has left have been many. In this time the Diocese, under the leadership of Bishop Jorge Aguilar, has completed a detailed evaluation of the state of the Diocese. They have allied themselves very strongly with the Province of South America. They have abandoned any idea of becoming a separate province of the Anglican Communion, which was proposed about two years ago. They have established goals for clergy and lay people, which put spiritual formation, evangelism and discipleship as Anglican Christians at the forefront. They have planned a series of teaching occasions over the course of the next year.

Lima will be very different from Vermont. Today we are being blanketed by snow. Tomorrow night I shall be in hot and muggy Lima. This is one of the hottest summers on record for them. This is made worse by severe water shortages caused by damaging rains that have blocked the water systems.

Please pray for safe travels, good and useful conversations and a renewal of partnership relations.


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February 7, 2017 · 5:00 pm

Christmas reflections and hopes

Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will  be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11

dscf1982This has been a good and busy year.  Please, as we end this year when there is much uncertainty in the world, join me in heeding the Prince of Peace.  The angels announced Jesus with the Christmas message – Fear not, Jesus is coming.   Jesus has come and dwelt among us.  His perfect love casts out fear.  We seek during these times to make Jesus present as we serve others near and far.

I visited Peru five times in 2016 and am planning more visits in 2017.  These trips accomplished much.  Thank you for being part of what God has been doing there through these trips and conversations.  Polly was able to join me in November when we served  at the Cathedral in Lima over two weeks.  dscf2055

In Puente Piedra, Santisima Cruz church now has a roof.  A building for water purification at Colegio San Mateo  was installed – equipment coming in 2017.  The VBS at Colegio San Mateo in July was an amazing success, and we are returning in February to train leaders for another VBS in late June.13620277_10206966335099235_7119263508189618520_n

I have assisted at the Cathedral several times as they are still searching for a new English speaking rector.  We are developing plans for a complete rebuild of two schools and celebrating the new high school in Arequipa – St. Mark’s Anglican school. I also visited partners, congregations and bishops in the USA several times this  year so as to keep them abreast of developments in Peru.dscf1994

Goals for 2017

In 2017 we are resolved to do all that we can to support Bishop Jorge Aguilar in his priorities: Evangelism and Disciple-making.  Under a new initiative, the Anglican Church in Peru will teach and train clergy and lay people to grow the Church and make effective disciples. They will be aided by the Anglican Province of South America and Peru’s partner dioceses, congregations and individuals. I will be coming alongside to encourage and participate.

DSC_6184I must rebuild my funds with SAMS-USA so as further to travel to Peru in 2017.  Peru is where God has been leading me, using me and continues to call me.

Have a wonderful Christmas as we greet the Prince of peace.  Polly and I wish you every blessing, peace and joy.



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Summer 2016

Dear Ones,

I am writing from Peru where I have been for the last three weeks.  This has been the year for Peru.  This is my fourth trip and there will be one more – in November.

When I return to Vermont on August 8 I shall have nearly four weeks left as part- time interim in Cambridge, NY.  In September I shall retire again to the back of the church where I shall enjoy the ministry of others.

This year I have visited Lima in January, March and June.  Last month we had an amazing Bible School at San Mateo school.  We simply inserted it into the daily curriculum from 10:00am – 1:00 pm.  I led the opening and closing sessions in some very iffy Spanish.  The teachers taught their own classes a bible lesson for which we had prepared them the month before.  The team from Grace Anglican Church, Fleming Island, FL, led the activities and supplied all the resources. The results have been amazing as “God showed up!”

This month I am exploring the possibilities for rebuilding two of our largest schools.  One in Lima and the other in Arequipa.  I am accompanied by an energetic young architect – Kyle Murphy.  He has established a small NGO to design and help build new community structures that serve the poor in countries such as Peru.

What has been happening in Peru?

A year ago Peru consecrated three more bishops.  Bishop Godfrey announced his retirement and departed in April for England where he is happily in charge of a historic church in Yorkshire.  Bishop Jorge Aguilar was elected and seated as Diocesan Bishop in April.  The country is now divided into missionary areas – with assistant bishops and “vicarios” in charge.  Each of these is different and looking to grow by planting churches.

My recent role has been to improve and develop the North American partnerships.  These relationships have been most effective in developing shared ministry and creating church structures that have been beyond the resources of the Peruvians.  The partner churches and Dioceses do not really know the new leadership and so new trust and confidence need to be developed.

In November I shall return to Peru, with Polly, to take the essentially British services for Remembrance Day.  There is no English speaking priest at the Cathedral, so I am filling in. This service is probably the most important in the year in the mind of the British and International community.

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Next year, I will join the non-profit “Amigos del Peru” in seeking to hold a US conference in May 2017 where the Peruvian leadership can meet their historic Episcopal/Anglican partners in ministry.  Such a meeting will require a great deal of organization—think visas, finances, and venue.  Please pray for this to happen and that the right people will be able to come.  When I return to the USA, I shall begin in earnest to work to put this together coordinating with ex-missionaries, partner parishes and Dioceses.

Please pray on with me as these are exciting times.  God is at work – bless you for sharing in this ministry through prayer and financial support.  Together we make a strong team. Ian

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January 2016 – Lima and Huancayo, Peru

Dear Ones –In Rusty and Sara's home  - he was trying out my little camera.

Thank you so much for sharing in the Peru
ministry last month.  It was a good and fruitful time, though at times difficult.

The original plan was to celebrate Bishop Bill’s retirement and the consecration of two more Peruvian bishops.  Neither happened as the plan to become a Province of the Anglican Communion was derailed.  Bishop Bill has been asked to stay until the end of April and no bishops are scheduled to be consecrated.  Quite how the future will unfold is unclear.  My hunch is that there will be a bishop elected to become diocesan and then, after Bishop Bill returns to England, the development of Peru will continue.

There was much disappointment, indeed some fears for the future.   I joined John and Susan Park – veteran SAMS missionaries and a team of three from the Diocese of Worcester, England, – including the Rt. Rev. Graham Usher, Bishop of Dudley.  We met and planned how we could help after the transition.  While there, we all sought to exercise a ministry of encouragement and hope.  Susan Park went to Arequipa, I went to Huancayo and Bishop Usher met with the new bishops.

DSC_6464I also spent time in San Mateo, Lima, where we sought solutions to their water problems – intermittent delivery and hugely polluted.  Thanks be to God there are some solutions in sight thanks to a companion parish and “Living Waters for the World.”  The school has huge needs – does anyone have a 16 camera security system the state is now mandating?

In Huancayo there are four clergy –DSC_6136all tent making so as to serve as priests and missionaries.  There is one new candidate for ordination.  They are under the leadership of Vicario Carlos Quispe.  There are four missions and all are in rented property.  The clergy there were despondent having just had two of their community depart for another denomination.  They are dedicated and know how to reach into the communities across the valley from Jauja to Huancayo.

I am returning in March with a small team.  Louie Midura is coming from my own parish and three or four will come from Grace Anglican in Florida.  The goal is to introduce them to what God is doing at San Mateo in Lima and to give them a first look at Huancayo.  Grace Anglican is sending a team in late July.  This trip will give them a vision for Huancayo.

I want to give thanks for the success of the January trip.  I had no altitude problems, my Spanish became fluent if imperfect and all travel was easy.  Please pray for the same in March.

In late February I head to Florida to be with Grace Anglican and then on to a SOMA board meeting.  In April I shall be at the New Wineskins conference in North Carolina, preceded by the SAMS missionary retreat where I am to lead worship.

Thanks for your continued support.  As ever, we need financial support as well as lots of prayers.  We are a team – senders and sent.  Bless you all,




The pass over the mountains is over 13,500 feet.


These water tanks need to be placed up on the fifth floor so as to feed the bathrooms.  San Mateo needs a pump and plumbing to raise the water to that level.


The tanks seen from above –the area with the three small toilets will possibly be where we can house the purification equipment.


The new tiled floor in the chapel of San Mateo – the altar area is now roofed.


The new bathrooms – thanks be to Grace Anglican Church, Fleming Island, Florida.


Fr. Dimas is the parish priest and Rusty Edmunson is a Presbyterian missionary and works with Living Waters for the World.  Behind is the square in San Juan de Lurigancho.


This woman is carving gourds

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In one of the outlying farming communities – where Fr. Ricardo has family– we found an ongoing New Year set of festivities.  



These masks represent the old men and young men of the Inca era.  They dance and shuffle accordingly, snap their whips and entrance the crowd.


One of Fr. Ricardo’s uncles


A village view from a shrine – they are a very traditional Roman Catholic area.



This view is from a huge statue of the Virgin Mary at the village of Concepción


One of our store front missions – this one is in Huancayo and led by Fr. Pancho and his wife Elida.


Fr. Ricardo introduced me to his Tia Abuela – grand uncle.  He was dancing though not in costume.


The BVM is about 75 feet tall and dominates the valley.


I loved this bridge as we headed up into the mountains.


Fr. James and his wife and children – he is at Justo Juez in Jauja at the other end of the long valley leading to Huancay.  Jauja has the local airport.


From the main road – there were snow capped mountains to the north.  This is mid summer!



The square in San Jeronimo, where we have our newest parish and mission center for the Huancayo area.


At San Jeronimo we renewed our Baptismal vows – Fr. Ricardo is passing out the candles.


Celebrating the baptism of Jesus


Vicario Carlos and the music leader at Justo Juez


With Carlos at San Jeronimo


The whole valley was one huge lake eons ago.  This remains.

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Looking back and forward to 2016

This has been another year of fruit-bearing ministry, both at home and overseas.  Thank you so much for your prayer and financial support.

This last year had a very busy beginning. I was in Peru twice working with a team from Grace Anglican Church, Fleming Island, FL.  Over the last three years we have been developing relationships with Peruvian Anglicans and have built a new chapel adjacent to San Mateo Anglican school in Lima.

In September, Polly and I went to Madagascar on mission with SOMA.  I led a small team of five in the dioceses of Fianarantsoa and Toliara.  I taught and Polly was the intercessor. The first clergy conference went well.  The second, a men’s conference, ended after a day and a half with the death of a young participant.  He was thirty and had a heart attack on the soccer field.  This trip was hit with “attack.”  The national airline canceled lots of flights, and we had significant illness among the team.  We came home very much the worse for wear, however, we saw some effective  ministry and the positive effect of your prayers.

2016 begins with a January trip to Peru.  Our goals are:  first to visit a new missionary area – Huancayo up in the Andes (altitude nearly 11,000 feet) – and second, to work  with the new Peruvian bishops and clergy as they transition to Bishop Godfrey’s retirement later this year.

In late  February, I have a SOMA board meeting in Jacksonville, FL, followed by a March trip to Peru with  leaders from Grace Anglican who will survey ministry opportunities for their ongoing  relationships in Lima and Huancayo.

In April, we have the triennial SAMS missionary retreat followed by the New Wineskins Missionary conference in North Carolina.

I shall be in Peru during late June setting up for the July team visit by Grace Anglican to Lima and Hunacayo.

In addition to all of this, I am functioning as the main supply priest at St. Luke’s, Cambridge, NY.  This is a fulfilling ministry, but I ask you to pray that they may find a long term priest soon.

My passion continues to be clergy development and encouragement.  This call of God on my life is an amazing gift in retirement.

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New Year 2015 – God is busy – retirement is amazing.

Dear Ones,

God has blessed us greatly with your friendship, prayers and support.  THANK YOU.  This has been a busy year past and will be a busy year ahead.  God has blessed us with a retirement from Heaven.

Polly is ever more involved with the local community.  Apart from volunteering at the local thrift shop, primary school and our Church ministry, she now chairs the “Friends” of the local library.  When the ground is not covered with snow, she is busy in the garden. Winter provides lots of time to cook, read and write while I am traveling.  We minister together at the healing services at the Spiritual Life Center of the Diocese of Albany.

Last August, Polly was the featured speaker for Mothers’ Union of the Women of the Diocese of Toliara, Madagascar, where she ministered with the Rt. Rev. Todd and the Rev. Patsy MacGregor. She did really well, using a hands-on booklet of felt squares for evangelism and  witness.   

The climax of 2014 was a gala event to celebrate my 70th birthday.  Family came from England, California, Ohio, Maryland and New York.  What fun.  I do not feel that old, and someone said that 70 is the new 50.  We shall see.

In October I was surprised to be invited by Bishop Bill Love of Albany to be the interim priest in Cambridge, NY, which is only 8 miles from the diocesan Spiritual Life Center where Polly and I are members of the healing ministry.  What a joy it is to serve St. Luke’s, Cambridge, on a part time basis.  They are a small congregation and yet very much alive and spiritually energetic.  They were thrilled to balance this ministry with my travel for SAMS and SOMA.  Indeed one of the wardens, and family, was with us on a visit to Peru a few years ago.  We are there for  Sundays and then later in the mid week. 

I have continued my ministry with SOMA and with SAMS.  SOMA sent me to Myanmar and Kenya.  With SAMS I was in Madagascar, Peru twice and spent some personal ministry time in Kenya with my old Diocese.  While in Myanmar I was able to spend a morning (just short ride from Mandalay where I was speaking) discovering where my mother was born a hundred years before – very moving to visit the church and see the font where she was baptized in January 1915.  I continue to serve on the board of SOMA-USA which is a delight.

This coming year looks busy.  The SOMA board meets in early February, then Polly and I will spend St. Patrick’s Day in Northern Ireland as representatives of the Diocese of Albany. We then go on to a family wedding in England at the end of March.  May and June will hold two trips to Peru, the first for preparation for the June visit, and then mission work with the team from New Grace Anglican Church, Jacksonville, FL.  In July, Polly and I return to Madagascar where SOMA will lead a men’s conference, and I have been asked to lead that team.  We will probably combine Madagascar with a mission to Kenya so as to make sense of an expensive airfare.

We have our health and strength – God is so good.  Thank you and bless you for your being so much a part of this exciting and fruitful time in our lives.

To those of you who have given financially, and I know sacrificially – a special thank you.  The need continues as these trips to the far side of the world are getting expensive.  SAMS handles all our ministry funding, including SOMA ministry. I have now led three SOMA teams, each on a different continent and with team members from different cultures.  It is challenging and exhilarating as we seek to listen to God and minister accordingly.  Without your support, daily prayers and passion for this ministry, God’s Kingdom would be diminished.  THANK YOU and BLESS YOU.

In Christ’s love – Ian and Polly.

Tax-deductible contributions to the Montgomery’s ministry may be made online.

Checks may be sent to SAMS PO Box 399 Ambridge, PA 15003 –

in the memo line please note for “Montgomery Ministry.”

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