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St Mary’s Woodford Parish Magazine Volume 8 Issue 4

Winter 2017


Promises, promises‌ Have you promised to give anyone something for Christmas? Have you been promised anything by somebody else? The Bible is full of promises. In the Old Testament we can read the promises that God made to send his people a prophet, an anointed king, a descendent of Abraham who would bless all the nations. Jesus, born in Bethlehem, was the fulfilment of all those promises. Jesus himself made promises. He offered eternal life, a room in his Father's house for each who put their trust in him. He promised peace such as the world cannot give. He promised that his Holy Spirit would remind, teach, guide and empower his followers. We read about the fulfilment of those promises in the book of Acts. Now, in the 21st century, he seeks our commitment, our promise, to live in his way. At our recent confirmation service the newly confirmed, and everyone else present, were all asked five forward-looking questions, about their lives as disciples. We are all part of a long and exciting story of promises. Where will your promises to God take you? This year savour the anticipation of Advent, rejoice in promises fulfilled at Christmas, and dare to do new things for God in the months to come.

Revd Canon Ian Tarrant, email: Cover: our confirmation service with Bishop Peter on 26th November, when two of our own members were confirmed, with 27 from other parishes. 2

Parish Register Baptisms 19th November Alexander & Gabriella Parry Confirmation 26th November Millie Smith Rebecca Goodchild

Funerals 25th October James Sharkey 27th November Malcolm Harris

Alexander and Gabriella were baptised by their grandfather, Canon Nigel Coates of Southwell Minster


Life at St Mary’s Harvest with the Rainbows - 24th September

There was a rainbow made of petals and leaves 4

Remembrance service with 1st Brownies - 12th November

There was a drama in which a soldier gave his life for his friends


Life at St Mary’s

Old Time Music event fundraising for the Memorial Hall refurbishment - 7th October

Preserves stall and craft stall at the bazaar on 18th November - raising funds for the many charities we support


Local outreach News from our street pastors: one Friday evening

We went up the High Road to the Cricketers greeting staff who are always pleased to see us; also advised one person on Churches and spoke to another at some length. Met a fellow allotment holder in the betting shop and some regulars came out of the Cricketers to greet us. Returned to St Mary’s for devotions on the Great commission led by Monica. Thence back down High Street and George Lane having good conversation with Dee at bus stop and also three girls buying ‘R’, a homeless person, a meal. He had to rush off as a police car with flashing lights came by but he was only going to relieve himself in the bushes! (‘R’ had three sleeping bags as well as a ‘bivvie’ bag which I had given him). Spoke to the betting shop lady who had waited an hour for a lift to Dagenham and said we would check again on the way back; spoke to ‘C’, another regular beggar, further down, who was lovelorn and inconsolable. We checked the access road behind Electric Parade which is poorly lit and then met a Kuwaiti couple, with whom I shared my experiences before checking QMG estate and stopping for a break. Returning down George Lane we checked Sainsbury’s car park and ‘C’ was now looking happier, with a girl sitting beside him! Spoke to ‘P’, another regular beggar, who was late

on his patch. Returning up George Lane checked on a somewhat inebriated lady outside Red Mantra and three others further up. Met another homeless person with ‘R’ and discussing heaven told him the story of Lazarus, which really impressed him. Dennis outside an Italian restaurant was full of enthusiasm for what we do and was talking of us showing Jesus. Finally handed out a pair of flip flops to a lady by Kebab shop and checked her friend was ok. Finished with debrief and prayer. Overall although we had a conversation with only about 50 people, we explained what we did to a similar number and were visible to a continuous flow of passers-by, most of whom know who we are. Only two bottles and three glasses returned, suggests not much pre-loading tonight and people perhaps saving themselves for Halloween. Grace and peace, Bob Hughes 7


The Avenue Youth Club & more We were very excited to be awarded a grant of just under £5,000 from Clarion Housing Group and Groundwork UK to run a new weekly youth club. Based at the Memorial Hall we rent the back sports hall and have been operating a community youth club for young people aged 10-18 since the end of September. The club is gradually growing with young people from Queen Mary’s Gate and the local area, and with our grant we have been able to pay for a Red Balloon Family Youth Worker to support Becca (Youth Worker) in running this club. The club offers an array of activities from table tennis, fooseball, games table, craft activities, football, cricket, team building and a chance to bake from scratch sweet and savoury foods each week. It costs £1 entry and is open


to all young people from any background. A number of other regular activities are available for young people across our MMU. This term a number of young people have been preparing for confirmation. One-to-one mentoring is also available across the Parishes. Becca Kemal 07490 459850

Activities for young people across our Mission & Ministry Unit The Avenue Youth Club Signpost Youth Club The Bridge Youth Club Going Deeper Youth Music Group Junior Choir Junior Choir Youth drumming club

7-9pm 8-9.30pm 8-10pm 7.309.30pm 12.301.30pm 9-9.30am 6.457.45am 6.30-8pm

Every Tuesday term time 2nd & 4th Friday monthly 1st & 3rd Friday monthly Alternate Thursdays Every Sunday


Memorial Hall


Every Sunday


Every Friday


Christ Church Hall Christ Church Hall St Mary’s Woodford St Gabriel’s Aldersbrook St Mary’s Woodford Christ Church

Every Friday

14-18yrs 16-18yrs 10-18yrs

St Gabriel’s Aldersbrook 9

Local outreach

Chaplaincy at Snaresbrook Crown Court In May this year a small group from St Mary’s became part of the new Chaplaincy Team at Snaresbrook Crown Court. Mark Lewis and I are the two lay members, and Ian Tarrant is our clergy representative. Snaresbrook, with 20 courts, is the biggest Crown Court in the country, and for reasons I’ll explain later, has a large Chapel. From Monday to Friday whenever the Court is in session, we open the Chapel for a couple of hours in the middle of the day, put on the lights, crank up the heating if necessary, and wait to see who will come in. No two days’ visitors are alike. There are plenty of people who work at the Court who are grateful for the chance to be somewhere peaceful if for only a few minutes. Barristers often come in, especially in the time just before cases start up again after lunch. Police officers, security guards, witnesses, jurors, interpreters, defendants and their relatives have all made use of the Chapel. A quiet day may only have four or five visitors; a busy day may see as many as fifteen. Our job is to provide space and, if required, a sympathetic listening ear. Some encouraging meetings also happen in the canteen/foyer area. 10

And you have to be sensitive to the visitors who don’t want to talk, who just want somewhere silent to think and perhaps to pray. Generally, eye-contact is a clear indication about whether someone would like to talk or not. Conversations may be about Faith and personal anxieties – and a significant number of those who make their way into the Chapel are members of faith communities that are not Christian – or they may simply be interested in how a Crown Court came to have a large Chapel. The answer? The buildings were Royal Wanstead School, founded as an orphanage in the early Nineteenth Century. The School closed in 1971,

Originally a school chapel!

and when the premises were converted into a Crown Court, opening in 1974, the Chapel was left in exactly the state in which it had been when it was the School Chapel. A response we heard frequently from visitors who work there was: ‘I didn't know this was here.’ You may be surprised to learn that there are 19 Workplace Chaplaincy teams in Chelmsford Diocese. Some

The way it looks today

are in shopping centres such as Westfield, and also for universities, for agriculture, for fire services, airports and, the most recent, Snaresbrook Crown Court. No salary of course but a nice badge with your name and ‘Workplace Chaplain.’ I'm on my second badge as in the first week I forgot to take it off the shirt that then went into the washing machine. My name could be read but, as it were, ‘through a glass darkly’. St Mary’s was asked to provide volunteers by Bishop Peter when he asked the Mission and Ministry Unit (MMU), of St Gabriel’s Aldersbrook, Wanstead Parish and St Mary’s to provide a new model of Chaplaincy at the Court. The co-ordinator is Martyn Hawkes, Vicar of St Gabriel’s, and the team has members from at least three other Church of England parishes as well as a Baptist Minister and his wife. Back in May we had no precise vision for how the Chaplaincy might develop but close liaison with services such as the Witness Service and Probation has meant that more and more people are prompted to find their way to the Chapel, and a number of requests has led to a service of Holy Communion on the first Thursday of the month from 1.10 to 1.35pm. Mark Spencer Ellis 11


Quiz: Who or what are we? We are all part of the Christian story and we all begin with ‘V’.

1 I am the V______ Mary. I was a first century B.C. Galilean Jewish woman of Nazareth and the mother of Jesus. My child was conceived of the Holy Ghost. 2 Traditionally lots of us are brought to harvest festivals. 3 I am the room attached to a church in which the clergy or choir robe. 4 I am an arched covering in brick, stone or wood. 5 I am the canticle which begins ‘O come, let us sing unto the Lord!’. 6 I am the saint whose special day coincides in 2018 with Ash Wednesday. I am very interested to see which Christians celebrate my day, even if only in the evening. 7 ‘I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and behold, all is v________ and v______________ of spirit’, we read in Ecclesiastes 1.14. 8 I am a late fourth century Latin translation of the Bible. 9 A sacrament is an outward and v_________ sign of an inward and spiritual grace. 10 We are the distinctive dress worn by the clergy. 11 A vicar lives in me. 12 V_____________ is the proper title of an archdeacon. 13 Accidents are caused when too much of me is put on church floors. 14 ‘He who would v_________ be gainst all disaster, Let him in constancy follow the master’ is from the hymn inspired by John Bunyan’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’. 15 Holy Communion was celebrated at my coronation on 28th June 1838, I am Queen V_________.

Answers: page 29 12

Peace and justice

Monthly prayer for a hurting world?

At a recent meeting of the Standing Committee, we discussed how we respond to world events, not local to our parish, but calling out for our prayers - such as terrorist attacks, natural and man-made disasters, and movements of refugees. We could open the church and invite people in to pray and maybe light a candle but few would know and fewer would come in, and we would need volunteers to staff the building. However, the idea was floated that we might dedicate the first Wednesday evening service of each month to prayer for a particular part of the world or a pressing issue. We would spend the first 15 to 20 minutes of the half-hour service focussed on the topic of the day, with images, readings, music, silence and prayer, and then conclude the service with the Eucharist in the usual way. Perhaps we could try this out for a few months early in 2018? Are there any people in our congregation willing to commit to attend such a service once each month, and from time to time help to prepare it? Please contact me if you are interested. Ian Tarrant 13


Kenya Update With the recent Kenyan elections having focussed attention on what is happening to the democratic process in Kenya it seemed an opportune moment to review progress in our link Parish of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Muchunguri, in Mbeere Diocese Kenya. General view of Dining Hall & Dormitory In February the long awaited St Mary’s contributed to at Makutano Electricity to the church and Dispensary was laid on. They have exchange vows on the same day. been waiting for this for the past There is a new congregation at Ngaari decade and there have been many nearby. The Children’s, Widows and disappointments along the way. In Health ministries continue to flourish. April two health camps were held in The Mothers Union, Men’s the Dispensary that St Mary’s helped Association, Boys and Girls Brigade build a few years ago, and a further and counselling services also continue, one is planned for December for so lots of activities and the vicar is Health check ups. In the past month it also Rural Dean of Muchunguri has at long last been rented out on a Deanery. permanent basis to a Doctor and At Makutano where we support Laboratory Technician for routine the St Michael and All Angels medical services. They are now in the Childrens Home in the grounds of the process of upgrading it to a medical Church at the other end of the Mbeere Laboratory and have bought a fridge, Diocese, a 90-minute drive away. We and various electrically operated wrote in a previous magazine about equipment for blood and urine tests, youth unemployment being which will start in January. notoriously high in Kenya as in Africa The Church congregation is going generally, and those with fewest well, a mass wedding took place last year. It is not always possible to have a qualifications will take longest to find white church wedding due to the costs, employment. So the opportunity to do a post secondary school or college so many couples start life together course is very necessary. Kelvin after a family consultation and finished Secondary Education last exchange of gifts, and have a church year and would like to do a course in wedding later but sometimes never. So Hospital Management costing £750. it is not uncommon for a church to Denis has also completed his arrange to have several couples 14

Secondary schooling and wants to do Mass production and Communication at £575. At our recent Golden Wedding Anniversary we asked for money instead of presents and we are delighted to say that we have received enough gifts to fund the two courses for Anthony and

Makutano is between Nairobi and Mount Kenya, close to Murang’a

who have contributed to this for the past few years and this year raised £450, a splendid effort. Primary Education lasts for eight years with exams being taken at the end of each year which have to be passed before going into the next year and is now free; but Secondary school has to be paid for and lasts four years. In the major towns they can be day pupils but in the rural areas such as Mbeere there are fewer schools and so they have to be boarding schools, which increases the cost. Most pupils are in their late teens or even early twenties before they complete secondary school due to difficulty in paying fees or resitting a year.

Denis, which they will have started by the time you read this. St Mary’s still sponsors the Secondary education of the boys. There are currently four boys in Secondary, one will complete in December, Kenneth Mwangi and there is one boy Erick in the final class 8 of Primary who has just sat his end of year exams. If he passes at the end of December he will start Secondary School. As some of our sponsors have moved away and are no longer participating, we are in need of new sponsors so if anyone is interested in contributing £25-30 per month or an annual or one-off sum we would be delighted to hear from you. We are very grateful to the St Mary’s Seekers David and Wendy Littlejohns



Ethel: a documentary I was a teenager when Robert Kennedy was shot in 1968 and remember seeing the grainy black and white newsreel from Los Angeles as events unfolded: the rosary placed in his dying hands, his pregnant widow Ethel kneeling by his side, suntanned, wearing a sleeveless mini shift dress. Not yet five years after his brother’s assassination, and only 63 days after the death of Martin Luther King, the world was in shock. Now Ethel Kennedy is 88 and has been interviewed by Rory, the child she gave birth to six months after her husband died. She talks of her life in detail, but declines to mention that awful day. Her surviving children share their fond memories of their parents, and newsreel footage and photographs fill the gaps. It is inspiring to hear Senator Robert Kennedy’s speeches again, to hear his eloquent voice championing civil rights and social justice and to see his widow quietly take on that mantle all over the world in the years that followed. One son comments: ‘Seeing our mother in our father’s absence walk along that same path really impacted all of us. That gave us not the obligation but the gift of a contributory life.’ But what is even more inspiring is her attitude to love, loss and death. Ethel Kennedy lost both her parents in 16

a plane crash in her twenties and was widowed aged forty, bringing up eleven children alone. She never remarried. Two sons have since died – one from a drug overdose, another in a skiing accident. The Kennedys have had more than their share of tragedy and sorrow. Yet Ethel’s faith shines through. One daughter recalls her mother saying to her, aged 11, after her father died: ‘Daddy is so happy and nothing can take that away from him, and he’s in the most joyous, abundant place.’ Every morning when she wakes up Ethel thinks of those she has loved and lost being there. Philosophically, she adds: ‘Nobody gets a free ride. Everybody faces friends who have

Ethel, Robert and some of their children

Ethel Kennedy with husband Robert

We are collecting non-perishable food for the Redbridge Foodbank. The collection box is now in the church foyer every Sunday.

died or family who have died or are really sick - so have your wits about you, dig in and do what you can because it might not last.’ Robert Kennedy often quoted the Ancient Greek writer, Aeschylus, after the deaths of his brother and Martin Luther King: ‘He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.’ Ethel, a 95-minute documentary, can be watched on the Internet. Penny Freeston


A Saint’s day

Saint Martin’s Day: 11th November Across Europe Saint Martin’s Day is wine is ready for drinking, and the end celebrated on 11th November. This is of winter preparations. It is not unlike the time of year when autumn wheat the American Thanksgiving – a seeding was completed, and the annual celebration of the earth’s bounty. slaughter of fattened cattle produced Penny Freeston ‘Martinmas beef’. St Martin of Tours, a Roman soldier who gave his cloak to a beggar, was known as a patron of the poor. The feast day spread from France across Europe and celebrates the end of the harvest. Last year in the Italian province of Friuli -Venezia Guilia we witnessed the local priest blessing all the wine growers’ tractors in the town square before the onset of winter. Martinmas actually has two meanings: in the agricultural calendar it marks the beginning of the natural winter, but in the economic calendar it is seen as the end of autumn. The feast coincides with harvest-time, the time The blessing of tractors in Friuli-Venezia Guilia when newly-produced 18


Your Favourite Anthem: Bob Pond’s choice Bob Pond’s favourite anthem is Ave Maria by the English Tudor composer Robert Parsons. Bob writes of the anthem, ‘This beautiful Bob Pond setting of the Hymn to the Virgin, almost like a mantra and, as such, an ideal preparation for prayer, embodies the epitome of Marian Tudor choral music in my humble opinion. With its sustained lines in the upper parts accompanied by the undulating polyphony (whereby each voice has an independent melodic line) in the lower parts, I hold this anthem to be my first choice amongst a not insignificant number of equals’. Few would deny that music in England was at a peak during middle and end of the Tudor period with religious music having a striking intensity and depth. Whether this was because of, or despite, this being a period of major religious upheaval is an unanswerable question. Robert Parsons is not one of the more famous Tudor composers. This is in part due to his untimely death by drowning in the swollen river Trent. His work consisted of a number of

sacred and secular vocal compositions. Much of his work was during the reign of Queen Mary. Parsons is especially noted Robert Parsons for his choral motets, and he is recognised as a master of polyphonic writing for choirs with his skilled use of cantus firmus – which might be loosely thought of as being a ‘tune’, often derived from plainsong. In Ave Maria, the cantus firmus, which is in longer note values than the other parts, is in the highest voice, an English practice going back to the composer John Dunstable. Originally the cantus firmus was in the tenor voice. William Byrd style of composition was influenced by Parsons and it is thought that Parsons may have taught the young Byrd at Lincoln Cathedral. The two lived only a few miles apart. Parsons’ Ave Maria has not been sung at St Mary’s for a number of years. However there are plans for this to be sung in the near future. We hope that when this happens you are moved by it. Peter Wall in conversation with Bob Pond 19


Summer of Love revisited Fifty years ago we were wearing flowers in our hair: to quote the lyrics: ‘all we needed was love.’ In contrast the summer of 2017, fifty years later, has been bombarded by random terrorist attacks at home and abroad, a horrendous fire at Grenfell Tower, unprecedented flooding in Houston, Texas and devastation in the Caribbean. Yet, despite all this tragedy, one event following another, heroes and heroines have emerged, selflessly risking their own lives to help others at their moment of need. The following names are barely known, but have come to represent ‘Good Samaritans who did not walk by on the other side.’ Before summer had barely started, MP Tobias Ellwood gave mouth-tomouth resuscitation to stabbed police officer Keith Palmer minutes after the Westminster attack. Magdalena Antolak, landlady of the Wheatsheaf Public House barricaded the doors to protect those inside as three terrorists went on the rampage outside in Borough Market. Finsbury Park Imam, Mohammed Mahmoud, protected a man suspected of attacking Muslims from members of the public until the police arrived. Santiago Ouevra rammed a truck driven by terrorists in Stockholm, preventing further carnage. PC Cath Daley drove eight-yearold Lily Harrison to hospital, concerned that there was not enough 20

Italian boats rescue migrants

time for her to wait for an ambulance, following the Manchester bomb attack. Lily survived and was recently reunited with Cath who said ‘she was only doing her job’. A man, only known by the name of Pat, caught a four-year-old child in his arms ‘like a rugby ball’, dropped from 50 feet to safety during the Grenfell Tower blaze. Despite police warnings that he should move to safety, British tourist Harry Athwal refused to leave a dying

Houston flooding

HEAVEN ? child in Las Ramblas, Barcelona. A TV journalist, Brandi Smith, rescued a truck driver from drowning, stuck in flood waters in Houston, Texas. Royal Navy fleet flagship HMS Ocean was diverted from a planned task to provide vital humanitarian aid to Caribbean islands devastated by Hurricane Irma and in the path of Hurricane Jose. Meanwhile, Italian boats continued to rescue migrants crossing the Mediterranean; in July almost all the 20,000 beds for asylum seekers in government reception centres were full. Fifty years on from the Beatles lyrics, we stand firm: ‘Love is all you need’. Like the people of Manchester, humanity across the world has chosen love to show strength and unity in the face of adversity. Penny Freeston

If I am not allowed to laugh in heaven, I don’t want to go there. Martin Luther Most people can’t bear to sit in church for an hour on Sundays. How are they supposed to live somewhere very similar to it for eternity? Mark Twain Our brains are no longer conditioned for reverence and awe. We cannot imagine a Second Coming that would not be cut down to size by the televised news, or a Last Judgement not subject to pages of holier than thou second guessing in The New York Review of Books John Updike You cannot speak of the ocean to a frog that lives in a well. Chang Tse We may be surprised at the people we find in heaven. God has a soft spot for sinners. His standards are quite low. Archbishop Desmond Tutu It is only imperfection that complains of what is imperfect. The more perfect we are the more gentle and quiet we become towards the defects of others. Joseph Addison The path to paradise begins in hell Dante For the Christian heaven is where Jesus is. We do not need to speculate on what heaven will be like. It is enough to know that we will be forever with Him Willian Barclay For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 RSV 21

Reflection Heaven on earth at Chigwell Road rubbish dump Is there a place which for you brings to mind the phrase, ‘heaven on earth’? If so, surely that’s not the Chigwell Road Council refuse dump off Charlie Brown’s roundabout! Indeed, if anything, the other final destination came to mind as I tipped out garden waste into the swirling clouds of debris before me. So I was taken aback when a man standing next to me, following a bit of good humoured grumbling about the Council, said, most unexpectedly, ‘it won’t be like this in heaven. It will all be done for us.’ Personally, for me, heaven is a mystery. I am aware that there is a wide range of views from those wanting to take expectations about heaven further. It being a perfect place, how could any of us fit in? On the other hand the comment just made to me conjured a sort of super hotel with everything being done for you. That would be a sort of place that would suit just about everyone apart from chronic workaholics. Presumably all in heaven are on the same footing. Well there’s something of being on the same footing at the Council dump. It’s a bit of a chore for all of us. As I went round the dump I was very struck by how differently we were dealing with the same challenges. Faced with a nervous bit of reversing or the need to wait while someone comes down from the steps whilst pitching some long loved 22

NOT Chigwell Road dump but somewhere else MUCH less busy!!

possession into one of the large containers, most were patient and good humoured. It was clear that for some, going to the dump turned out to be an unexpectedly positive experience due to their positive interactions with other people, including the unsung heroes, the excellent staff. However for a few others, an initial impatient and rude comment spiralled things in the other direction. The phrase, ‘hell is other people,’ came to mind - true for some maybe. To some extent going to the Council dump is whatever you make of it. For those of us who go there, will heaven be any different? A subsequent visit to the dump turned out to be a salutary lesson in concentrating on the here and now. My sat nav was pinched out of the front glove pocket. Now there’s three things there surely aren’t in heaven: sat navs, property and theft! Peter Wall


Wittenberg and Aldgate East 2017 2017 is a very special year in Wittenberg, when the town is being visited by many thousands of people, indeed by many thousands of Christians. 500 years ago on 31st October the defiant monk and theologian Martin Luther is said to have posted his 95 theses on the church door of the Schlosskirche (the Castle Church). The Protestant reformation in Germany had begun. There was to be much debate about indulgences, papal authority, the possibility of a church existing outside the Church of Rome and outside the Orthodox Church and about the use of the vernacular in services. Luther’s translation of the Bible into German made the Bible much more accessible to the The church door laity and this had a in Wittenberg huge effect on the church and on German life and culture. Without Johannes Gutenberg’s enormous revolutionary work in inventing the printing press neither Luther’s ideas nor his Bible translation would have become available to many people. The reformation brought many freedoms and ideas into the church and

freed it from some corrupt practices but of course also brought about many quarrels, arguments, disagreements and wars among Christians and in society at large. Martin Luther Political and economic power struggles were not avoided. This year the Kirchentag (the big church conference of the German Protestant church) has taken place in Wittenberg. In August the International Ecumenical Fellowship had its conference in Wittenberg, attended by Christians from different denominations and from a variety of (mainly European) countries. Meanwhile in the Roman Catholic church in Wittenberg there have been meditations, services and many opportunities for visitors to talk to members of the Roman Catholic church about their faith. There are commemoration services in Britain too, including an ecumenical service at Westminster Abbey on 31st October and on this day a Lutheran service in German at St. Alban’s Cathedral. This year there has been a very interesting exhibition ‘500 years German Protestants in Britain’ and a series of talks at St George’s German Lutheran Church, 55 Alle Street, London, just a short walk from Aldgate East tube station. Cheryl Corney 23

Bible Study

Search the Scriptures

There is a story of a carpenter who asked his apprentice to cut some planks to make a table. The carpenter cut the first one, and said, ‘Cut eleven more the same as this.’ When he came back later, he found that the pupil had finished the job, but the planks were all different lengths. For he had measured each one against the previous one cut, rather than against the initial model - and each time he had cut a couple of millimetres too short. The Christian faith has been passed down through dozens of generations over nearly two thousand years. We do not refer only to the generation before us, but seek our guidance from the earliest years, as recorded in the books of the New Testament. We benefit also from the books of the Old Testament, with which the New Testament writers were very familiar, and which tell of God’s dealings with his people before the birth of Jesus.


When these books were first written they were in languages which everyone could understand. One of the blessings of the Reformation, five hundred years ago, was the move to translate the Bible into the languages of the day, so that ordinary people could read the Scriptures for themselves. The printing press, and now the internet, have made it possible for each of us to have the whole Bible at our fingertips, to read whenever we want. This is a huge privilege. If we take advantage of it, we will be better Christians, better people. When should I read my Bible? Having some regular pattern of Bible reading outside of church is important, but different patterns suit different people. The daily discipline of reading and prayer, whether first thing in the morning, or on the train, or at lunch time, or before bed, has a great deal to commend it. But some people find it more helpful to schedule an hour each week (eg while children have their swimming lesson) or an evening each month (perhaps linked to something else they do monthly). How should I read my Bible? It is good to have a plan. You might choose to slowly work through a particular book of the Bible; or to look up the passages to be read in church next Sunday (see our monthly Diary); or be guided by one of the helps mentioned below. It’s also good to

Luther’s approach to a text...

Another approach...

‘I divide each... command into four parts, thereby fashioning a garland of four strands. ‘That is I think of each commandment as first, instruction, which is really what it is intended to be, and consider what the Lord God demands of me so earnestly. ‘Second, I turn it into a thanksgiving; third, a confession; and fourth, a prayer.’

1. Invite the Holy Spirit to help you understand. 2. Read through the text slowly. 3. Ask, what does this tell us about God? 4. Ask, is there an example to follow, or an example to avoid? 5. Ask, what encouragement or challenge is here for me? 6. Resolve what you might do in response to what you have read. 7. Read it again. 8. Pray for help in your chosen action.

keep a record - jotting down in a notebook or diary what you read today, and a few key words from the text. When it comes to actually reading the text, two possible approaches are shown in the boxes above/opposite. The various helps mentioned below will offer further approaches. What help can I get? Many people like the daily Bible study notes supplied by Bible Reading Fellowship or another organisation. In our church, Janet Collins manages BRF subscriptions. Other people buy undated notes such as those in the ‘...for everyone’ series of commentaries by Bishop Tom Wright, or the older Daily Study Bible series by William Barclay. A more DIY approach is to buy a study Bible with extensive notes built in. These days there are dozens of websites and smartphone apps which can help.

For daily Bible reading with notes you could try provided free by Scripture Union. For reading the Bible online, I recommend where you can look up any passage in various translations, and search for a word or a phrase. You can download a similar resource for use offline at If you have an iPhone or an Android phone, you can find similar resources in the appropriate app store; some of them free of charge. If you have found a good one, write a short review for us! Ian Tarrant


From first to twenty-first... from Acts to actions

Through the storm This is the last in a series of articles based on the earliest church as described in the book of Acts, and raising questions of relevance to the church today. You may want to use them for personal reflection - or as material for discussion in your home group. Bishop Tom Wright has pointed out several parallels between the last chapters of Luke’s gospel, and the last chapter of his book of Acts. In the gospel:  Jesus is arrested and falsely accused by Jewish leaders  Jesus is put on trial by both Roman and Jewish authorities  Jesus suffers on the cross, with criminals alongside him  Jesus rises again  new perspectives open for the disciples In the book of Acts:  Paul is arrested and falsely accused by Jewish leaders  Paul is put on trial by both Roman and Jewish authorities  Paul suffers in a storm, with criminals alongside him  Paul attains the safety of land  new perspectives open for the disciples Before continuing with what follows here, take the time to read the story of Paul’s journey in Acts 27 and 28. 26


Remarkably, Paul neither resists arrest, nor tries to escape from the authorities. This is of a piece with his behaviour at other times in the Acts story - in Philippi, for example. Paul’s view, as explained in his letter to the Romans, was that the civil authorities are God’s agents (Rom 13:1-7).  Of what examples do you know, when modern Christians disobey lawful civil authority?  Do you think they are right to do so?  Can you think of any biblical examples of civil disobedience? (See answers at foot of next page.)  On what issues would you take a stand and resist the authority of government?


Although Paul is being treated as a criminal, he is accorded respect by the soldier in charge of him, who allows him to stay with friends in Sidon; and by the ship’s company in the dark days of the storm, when they seem to accept the leadership of a mere criminal. It seems that they discerned some moral authority in him. In modern Britain...  in what ways or circumstances does society look down on the church?  when do people respect and seek the counsel of the church?  are their ways in which we can earn the respect of the communities in which we live?  how can we make best use of that respect to be a transforming presence in the world?

 What key events in your spiritual

journey can you look back on to reassure yourself of God’s love for you?  How are you aware of God encouraging and guiding you in this phase of your life?  How does the church support you?  What is currently testing your discipleship more than anything else? Pray for yourself, and for others, that you might remain faithful to your calling as a Christian, as you bear witness to God’s love, and serve others in Christ’s name. ▄

The other 7 studies…


Witnesses - who pray & obey ● Acts 1:1-14 Through all his adventures, Paul Three dimensions of church maintains his confidence and trust in ● Acts 2:37-47 God. How come he did not throw in the towel as soon as the going got tough? No other name Writing to the church in Corinth, he ● Acts 4:5-14, 17:16-34 tells of three shipwrecks, five Not just belonging whippings, and a stoning (2 Cor 11). ● Acts 4:1-4, 32-37; 11:19-29 We know that his conversion and call Called on the road to Damascus were key to ● Acts 6:1-7, 13:1-4 his thinking, because he tells that story twice when he is on trial (Acts 22 & Crossing boundaries 26). Furthermore, as a man of prayer he ● Acts 10 & 11 was aware of God speaking to him; in Divided we grow this particular story, through an angel. ● Acts 15 Third, he rarely travelled or ministered Offprints are available from the church alone - he must have drawn strength from the fellowship of his companions. office, if required for group study. Civil disobedience: Exodus 1, Joshua 2, Daniel 3, Daniel 6, 1 Kings 18, Acts 5 27


focus Josie receives her choral level 1 certificate on 5th November

Bishop facts At the end of the confirmation service, each of the newly confirmed carried a candle to show that they would take the light of Christ into the world.

Our diocese usually has four bishops: Chelmsford, Barking, Bradwell, and Colchester. It was the Bishop of Barking, Peter, who came for the confirmation service on 26th November. Crozier - is the name for a bishop’s staff, which is shaped like a shepherd’s crook, a reminder of a bishop’s task to watch over his flock. Mitre - is the name of a bishop’s hat, in a style that has been worn since the 10th century.


Life at St Mary’s Ladies’ and gents’ nights out

Christmas meals at Wildwood organised by Adela Kay and Gerry Everett

QUIZ ANSWERS From page 12

1 Virgin 2 vegetables 3 vestry 4 vault 5 Venite 6 Valentine 7 vanity, vexation 8 Vulgate 9 visible 10 vestments 11 vicarage 12 Venerable 13 varnish 14 valiant 15 Victoria 29


Christmas in Bethlehem It’s Christmas now in Bethlehem As the faithful sound their great amen Across the world church bells are rung Prayers are said and carols sung Pilgrims we came from London’s east Led by a Jew, a Muslim – some Anglican Priest Three faiths bound as one by Ibrahim Our father in faith peace be upon him We made our way to the very place Where our Lady, so full of grace, Mary, Miriam mother blessed, Gave birth; Hic incarnates est. The joy of that first Christmas present Was not simply a Christian event But a sacred story shared with others With new friends, our sisters and brothers For me the prince of peace was sent To live a life that was different Embracing stranger, poor and lowly And finding in each something holy Pilgrims, we walked a sacred land As one, arm in arm, hand in hand Children of Ibrahim, Abraham, all Heeding our common faith’s ancient call For walls to crumble and wars to cease Goodwill to all, the blessings of peace. Children of the earth of all faiths and none Shalom, salem, amen amen. Revd Jude Law after a local Three Faiths Forum visit to Jerusalem last year 30


Mary Spill 7/10/1920 - 22/8/2017 Mary lived all her life in Woodford Green. She attended Loughton High School and later studied geography at King’s College London, graduating in 1942. After getting her teaching qualification, she taught for three years in Surrey, before coming to Woodford High in 1946. Alongside teaching, she was also a Guide Captain and a Crusader leader. In these roles she influenced many young lives, including members of St Mary’s. She had the honour of being selected to represent England as a trainer in Canada and the USA, and was given three months leave of absence from the High School to do this. In 1960 she was called to jury service in the landmark obscenity trial, concerning D.H. Lawrence’s book, Lady Chatterley’s Lover. It became know locally that Mary had been a juror, and she decided to move to take up a post at a different school, Presdales School in Ware. After Mary’s mother died, she shared her home with another teacher from the High School, Irene Leigh, who proved to be a valuable companion for many years. Mary retired as a teacher in 1982, and this gave her freedom to enjoy long holidays abroad, including to Australia, and narrow boat holidays in this country.

None of this, however, prevented her from playing a number of roles in the community of St Mary’s. As she became older, she had to give up many of her active pursuits, and her house and garden became a burden. She was helped by church members to move into Manor Court Lodge, where they continued to meet her needs for as long as possible. By 2009, however, she needed a special care home, and moved to Chadwell Heath, where she lived for another eight years well cared for and lovingly looked after. At Mary’s request the hymn, All my hope on God is founded, was sung at her funeral. The service ended with the Guide anthem, Taps: Day is done, gone the sun, from the sea, from the hills, from the sky. All is well, safely rest, God is nigh. Alison Clarke, edited by Ian Tarrant 31

Stir up Sunday

The old prayer for the Sunday before Advent gave it the name ‘stir up Sunday’: Stir up, O Lord, the wills of your faithful people, that they, bringing forth the fruit of good works, may by you be richly rewarded: through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A big thank you

to everyone submitting contributions and photographs to this edition Please keep them coming, as without them we wouldn’t have a parish magazine. Articles, prayers, book reviews, favourite music, recipes, gardening tips etc. We would love some children’s drawings as well: the choice is yours! Email directly using a subject heading to: or pass to Penny Freeston who will type up your handwritten copy. Our next copy date is 22nd January 2018 Magazine team: Penny Freeston, Cheryl Corney, Ian Tarrant, Sam McCarthy, Peter Wall. 32

St Mary's Parish Magazine Winter 2017  

The latest edition of our quarterly magazine

St Mary's Parish Magazine Winter 2017  

The latest edition of our quarterly magazine