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St Mary’s Parish Magazine

Volume 3, Issue 8

Spring 2012


Called to serve We were sorry to say good-bye in March to our curate, Annie McTighe, who contributed much to our parish life while she was with us: her energy, her enthusiasm for sharing the love of God, her thoughtprovoking preaching, her ability to relate to young and old, and her skills in networking with people outside the church. We will all miss her, though we know that her move up the road to All Saints and St Andrew’s is a good opportunity for her to develop her ministry. A number of people have asked whether we will be getting another curate to replace her, and I am tempted to ask whether anyone could replace Annie. However, the straight answer is that the Diocese sends us curates not so much to serve the church, but to be trained, nurtured and encouraged in ministry. The Diocese of Chelmsford has a policy of leaving a year’s gap between curates. This is because each curate arriving from college or course comes with a different set of gifts, and should not be expected to step into the shoes of, or fulfil the same tasks as, their predecessor. And so that a freshly ordained deacon, still learning from their mistakes, is not compared unfavourably to a priest with a couple of years experience. We also need to remember that there is a shortage of ordained clergy in the Church of England - not caused by a lack of funds, but because the number of people being called to full-time ministry is less than the number retiring each year. There are no longer so many curates to be had. We need to pray for an increase in the number of vocations. Look at the children and young people in our church today - how many of them will be called to full-time ministry? Can we prepare them for such a call?

The Easter scene on the front cover is part of a project undertaken by Quest and SHaPE. Read more about the project on page 4.


Look also at the adults, however, and look in the mirror. The Church of England has rediscovered the secret of the New Testament church, that Christian ministry is the work of all church members, each bringing their own gift, some in more public ways, some less so. Bishop Stephen, in his Transforming Presence initiative, has called us all to ‘re-imagine ministry’. What is God calling you to do for his church? Ian

Parish register Welcomed into God’s family in Baptism 29th January

Funerals 18th December 4th January 5th January 6th January 2nd February 7th February 16th February 29th February 8th March

Ella Faye Kersey Kylie Gamon

Eileen Meadows John Thompson Emily Birkett David Copeman Ken Bunyan David Grove Queenie Bruce Rose Burles Doris Bass

May they rest in peace and rise in glory

Parish Consultation In our last edition Ian wrote about the possibility of starting a Saturday evening service, and/or an informal cafe in parallel with our 10am Sunday service. The promised consultation process is now happening get hold of a yellow form and make your views known!


Farewell Annie Annie McTighe is leaving us after too short a time. She writes: Dear friends It was in June 2010 that Simeon and I moved to Woodford and came to St Mary’s. We have found much happiness and have made many new lovely friends. Like most people our lives have undergone several peaks and troughs throughout the time. Yet throughout it all we have know God’s love and Grace. He has remained close to us and the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit has guided and nurtured us both as a family and as individuals. Along with this we have been GREATLY blessed by YOU! Jesus tells a parable in the gospel of Matthew where he talks about who will enter into heaven and spend eternity with God. Jesus is speaking to those in authority who lord it over the people and who have forgotten how Yahweh is the God of love and grace. As you read the text there is almost a perceived gasp when Jesus speaks of who will be in heaven and who won’t be. He states that it is not those who see themselves as important but instead those who reach out and touch those in need around them. He is very clear when he describes those who will be blessed as the people who fed the hungry, gave a drink to the thirsty, looked after strangers, clothed the naked, cared for the sick and visited the prisoner. He is basically saying that we will come closer to Christ when we treat people with kindness, care, thoughtfulness and love. ..when we treat all people in a manner that is worthy of a king. And over this time there have been many of you who have show this very tenderness and love to both Simeon and myself…. And here are a few examples of how you have done this: spoken positive words in my ear, made me a cup of tea, invited me over for dinner, asked how my family are, hugged me, included me in your life, let me pray with you, talked about my sermons, come carol singing, and smiled at me! You may regard these as very small gifts of love and mercy but for me they have been life-giving. Thank you each one of you for making our time here very special. Annie and Simeon x


Message in a Shoebox Quest and SHaPE would like to thank all those who donated shoeboxes in response to our January appeal. We made good use of them, as you will see from the display of 'shoebox Bibles', representing the Plagues of Egypt, David and Goliath, the Nativity, the Miraculous Catch of Fish, the Rich Young Man and the Resurrection. We were inspired by a project undertaken by Peterborough Cathedral in 2011, which involved local schools, churches and youth organisations. The aim was to encourage young people to engage with Bible stories in a personal and imaginative way, with a view to communicating them to others. It resulted in an impressive exhibition in the cathedral - I think they had about 3,000 boxes! Our project was on a somewhat smaller scale, but the young people responded just as enthusiastically. We gave them a free hand in choosing their stories and how they wished to go about communicating them. Some worked alone, others in collaboration. All succeeded in capturing the essence of the stories in an interesting and thoughtful way and showed a high degree of creative skill. We also had fun, and may well repeat the exercise in future, so please, don't throw away your old shoeboxes! Roberta Flynn, Andrena Palmer, Bridget Webb

The Shoe box displays.


The Iron Lady came to Woodford! If you have seen the film, ‘The Iron Lady’, starring Meryl Streep, you may have recognised the Memorial Hall that was used for filming some early scenes when a teenage Margaret Roberts, later to be Mrs. Thatcher, was played by actress Alexandra Roach. The Memorial Hall was chosen to depict a hall in Grantham during a 1943 by-election, where the former Prime Minister listened to her father’s political speeches as alderman. The Memorial Hall front kitchen Over a year ago, hall manager, transformed into Grantham Village Hall Barbara Slaney was approached by a scout who had seen the hall on the internet and was interested in its period design and proximity to London. Our hall was short-listed to one of three and, following a visit from the artistic designer, a contract was soon signed. Filming took place one day at the end of February 2011 from 6 a.m. to around 9 p.m., preceded by a couple of days of preparation and followed by one day of clearing up. Three huge generators parked outside supplied power for lighting; a hundred acting ‘extras’ waited patiently in the upper hall; the main actors used the downstairs meeting room. The ladies’ toilets stored equipment and the middle kitchen was set up with monitors where Barbara was able to watch the filming as it took place. A mobile catering van was set up in front of St. Mary’s and large lorries containing props and costumes were parked by the Hawkey Hall. Little in the main hall needed to be changed (it must have been the original stage curtains that clinched the deal!) but all the coloured light bulbs were replaced and old-fashioned bunting hung to disguise modern conduit. Two original lamp-shades were accidentally broken but replaced by the film company when hand-blown replacements were found. Similarly, the company paid for the redecoration of the front kitchen that was transformed to resemble a 1940s kitchen complete with butler sink and urn. Cupboards were boxed in and a modern draining board hidden by shelves and old tins. It was from here that the young Margaret Roberts was filmed serving tea. The only other significant time the Memorial Hall had been used for filming was during part of a television documentary featuring local actor, Alan Davies, who revisited the hall he remembered from his youth when a fight broke out at a rock concert! Again, Barbara was there to tell the tale! Penny Freeston


Inspiration in Europe and Chile Churches and art in very different settings can lift our hearts to God St Bernard’s Church, Wengen St Bernard’s is nestled in the traditional village of Wengen, which is perched on a sun terrace in the Bernese Alps. Wengen is 400 metres above the Lauterbrunnen Valley. The village is car-free, accessed only by train which also takes you up to the slopes from Wengen and on up to the Jungfraujoch – the top of Europe. The little Church faces the gentlest of the nursery slopes and behind it is the school playground where the helicopters land with injured skiers! There are three Churches in Wengen and St Bernard’s is the ‘English Church’ run by the Intercontinental Church Society who send out visiting Chaplains from the UK who preside over the services for a few weeks at a time. At the start of a service at St Bernard’s, volunteers are asked for to play the keyboard and to read from the Bible. On Christmas Eve St Bernard’s is full to overflowing just as in our own St Mary’s. The Church is a simple but beautiful one with wooden pews and altar table. Behind the altar are three stained-glass windows depicting an eagle with wings outstretched across all three windows and over the top is written, ‘Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like Eagles’. Higher up still are the words, ‘I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills.’ As you leave refreshed from St Bernard’s, you do indeed lift your eyes up to take in the panorama of awe-inspiring snow-covered mountains and feel joy and peace at being in such a special place. Sue Sainsbury


Wooden churches in Chiloe Chiloe is a large island off the west coast of Chile and is known for its wooden churches. Christianity was brought to Chiloe in the 17th century by the Jesuits and the churches show a fusion of European and native cultural traditions. Darwin visited the island in 1834 and described it as the extreme point of South American Christendom. Everyone at one of the churches we visited came on foot or horseback even the priest. Makes a change from a bicycle! Beverley Fuentes

A couple of Chiloe’s wooden churches. The Issenheim Altarpiece

Once I have ‘a bee in my bonnet’ I need to see it through whether that means reading everything a recently discovered author has written or listening to a favourite composer. We once travelled through Italy in search of Piero della Francesco’s paintings and I have seen more Vermeers than I thought possible when I first set upon that task. In the words of the Indian poet, Tagore, I thought that ‘my voyage had ended’ with altarpieces. I had studied them as part of an art history degree and, having seen a recent exhibition at the National Gallery half a dozen times, I was content, for a while, to let them rest. Then, a couple of weeks before Christmas, we were staying in Strasbourg and took the train to Colmar in Alsace. After lunch we visited the Unterlinden Museum, once a Dominican convent, and I stood mesmerised. For once, I hadn’t done my homework and by chance fell upon a painting I had often gazed on in books but never thought I might actually see. The Issenheim Altarpiece (1512-1516) by Mattias Grunewald, located in the old chapel, is a magnificent sight. There are three sets of paintings, originally shown at different times during the liturgical calendar. These have been dismantled


and can now be viewed separately. All are worth studying in detail from the sublime ‘concert of angels’ panel to the horrific devils attacking Saint Anthony, whose image was so significant for the Antonine nuns of Issenheim who commissioned this work of art. But it is the Crucifixion scene, for which this The Issenheim altarpiece by Grunewald huge polyptych is Reproduced under GNU Free Documentation License Free Documentamost famous, originally only seen when closed for Lent. A guide book states, ‘never before had a painter rendered Christ’s suffering with such acute realism’, echoed in the distressed state of both the Virgin and Mary Magdalene depicted at the foot of the cross. Once seen, this painting will never be forgotten and worth meditating on during the Lent and Easter seasons. Penny Freeston Do you have any favourite churches or places that inspire you? Please share with them us - send articles and pictures to

Some change and no change Chris Meikle on returning to the Welsh Valleys In December 1987 the Meikle family left the mining valleys of South Wales to make a new life in London. Looking out of the train window between Mile End and Stratford, I wasn't sure we'd made the right choice but by the time we arrived in South Woodford I was more optimistic. When we left home our neighbours said "you'll be back within 6 months." We visited regularly but we soon settled in our new surroundings and made a 20 year plan. My husband returned to Welsh soil first, in the midst of a petrol crisis. Not part of the plan - we were still 7 years off our target.


Instead it was our elder son and his young family who eventually moved to live in Wales in 2009. I followed nearly a year ago - how fast that year has gone! The neighbours we left behind in 1987 are still there and my son's peers from that time are married with children of their own and live just a few streets away. In many respects the Rhondda is a very insular society. People have a long tradition of 'staying put'. Most children live within walking distance of their grandparents, who in their turn have often only moved one street away from their parents. When my son went to put my grandson's name down for the local Primary School he was introduced to one of the teachers. On hearing his name she asked, "are you Bryan ROBERT Meikle?" Bemused, he said yes. "Oh your mother was my teacher in the Infants and she brought you into school when you were one week old!" As I said, no-one moves far. One of the dangers of an insular society is that children can grow up with low expectations, especially if their parents and grandparents live 'on benefit'. Sadly there is evidence of this and two local charities are working hard to enrich these children's lives. Having said that, I have overheard many a conversation between older people on the local bus who may be talking about a wildlife or history programme that was screened on BBC 2 or 4. Once I nearly missed my stop because I was listening to a discussion about Coptic Christians, initiated by a war veteran who had spent time in Egypt. However there are few ethnic groups in the valleys. Few people of different backgrounds or cultures who might broaden the horizons of the local population. Ideas and innovations from outside don't have much influence on daily life here. But the valleys have changed over the last 25 years. Hillsides which were once scarred by unsightly coal tips have been reclaimed with wooded acres of oak, ash, silver birch, and rowans that speckle the hillside with clusters of red berries as summer draws on. The rows of terraced houses still cling to the lower slopes either side of the valley floor where the river, road and railway run side by side in a ribbon. But where the largest mines were, there are new Country Parks, while woodland, lakes and visitor centres attract ramblers and dog walkers. I belong to


two walking groups and have explored several areas which were off limits when I lived here before. Just a few rusted tram tracks or a disused wheel from a winding shed have been left to remind visitors of a previous era. Since returning to the area however I am struck by the declining attendance at my local church, which is now struggling to stay open. Apathy is the greatest enemy, along with a refusal to change old habits; another danger of an insular society. More regeneration of small town centres is planned. The valley towns are rediscovering their heritage and small museums and arts centres are beginning to be developed. It's a slow process, especially in the current economic climate but it's an interesting time to come back and live here.

London 2012窶馬ot long now Only one magazine left to go! Our build up continues with a reflection on how excitement was growing in 1948.

From left to right: Jennifer and Hilary Richards (later Ebbage and Morris) Gill Cowshell, Carole Cowshell and Pat Jack (nee Frost)

We were all dressed up to compete in a fancy dress competition held on Woodford Town Football ground in the lower part of Snakes Lane. The photo was taken by Dorothy E King, a professional photographer whose shop was near where Gales is now. Gill was an athlete hoping to enter the 1948 Olympic Games. All five of us grew up in the Laings Estate in St Albans Road. And we are still in touch with each other today. Hilary Morris

Driving and Diving Viveca Dutt is in training to become a Games Maker and watched the diving World Cup as part of the London Prepares Series. The scale of the organisation for London 2012 really came home when I attended the first part of volunteer training at Wembley Arena. At least 10,000 people were at my session and it was great to see the range of people who have volunteered and very nice to be with people who are all really keen to make the Games a success! A very slick presentation had been


designed to excite and inspire us, give us some ground rules - too much encouragement for the athletes just before their event can put too much pressure on them! - and give us some idea of the scale of the whole operation. There will be people running results to the media outlets; organising the buses for the press, leading athletes out to competitions, checking tickets, printing programmes; you name it someone will be doing it over the six weeks of the Games. But the most important message was that we will be the face of London for most visitors, athletes, press and officials etc. The welcome and help we give them will fashion the impression of London and the UK that visitors will go away with. Not a bad principle for us to remember at St Mary’s as well! The Diving World Cup at the hugely impressive Aquatic Centre certainly put all this preparation to the test - very successfully. Everything worked smoothly, everyone was friendly and the pool looked very inviting, though not the 10 metre board! Do try and get to a London Prepares event if you can - there is a real sense of occasion seeing the Olympic venues from the inside. But meanwhile don’t forget the events at St Mary’s: Saturday 28 July Jazz concert 20.00 cost £5 Saturday 28 July Historical Tour of St Mary’s 10.30 Wednesday 1 August Historical Tour of St Mary’s 10.30 Saturday 4 August Big Screens in the Church for events including Rowing, Triathalon, 100m 09.00 to 21.00 with youth and children’s events during the day 11.00 Brunch 14.00 – 19.00 Barbeque


Sunday 5th August Big Screens in the Memorial Hall 12.00 BYO lunch and watch the events. 19.30 2/3 course sit down meal. Thursday 23rd August Wine tasting at Waitrose 18.00 to 20.00. Cost £10 (limited spaces) Saturday 8th September Quiz night proceeds to Paralympic charity Details provisional See magazine, diary and website for updates.

Are you a Games Maker? Or a London Ambassador? Are you hosting a family as part of the More Than Gold initiative? Or are you involved in any other way? Or members of your family? We would like to feature all St Mary’s people helping at the Games in the next magazine. Please tell us at:

And more celebration This year is the 40th anniversary of the rededication of St Mary’s after the fire. We are celebrating this over the bank holiday weekend of 5th - 7th May: Saturday 5th May 7.30pm Concert with Churchfields Singers, Roger Sayer and our choir Sunday 6th 10am Preacher Revd Jay Ridley ex curate, followed by Parish Lunch Monday 7th Fellowship Meander There will also be an exhibition running over the weekend featuring among other things wedding and baptism clothing from 1972 onwards. Keep an eye out for details

Through the Decades: As part of the 40th Anniversary celebrations we need donations of tailors dummies or mannequins for the exhibition. If you can help please contact Sally Barton through the parish office. Thank you


Fellowship is heaven Sylvia Ayling describes how William Morris captured the spirit of fellowship; a principle important to St Mary’s for many years. “Fellowship is heaven, and lack of fellowship is hell; fellowship is life, and lack of fellowship is death; and the deeds that ye do upon the earth, it is for fellowship's sake that ye do them.” These inspirational words belong to William Morris, that celebrated Victorian man of many parts, who was born in Walthamstow in 1834, and spent seven of his boyhood years in Woodford, living with his family in a splendid mansion, Woodford Hall, set in the midst of an extensive estate. Young William fished in the River Roding, rode through Epping Forest on his Shetland pony, dressed in a miniature suit of armour, his dreams of sylvan beauty influencing the romantic visionary that he became, inspiring his latent creativity. A gifted craftsman, he transformed the beauties of the natural world, its flora and fauna, into countless lovely designs for Victorian homes, from St James’s palace and country seats to the suburban villas of the rising middle classes, providing a range of wallpapers, tapestries, fabrics, carpets for domestic consumption. He told his customers ‘Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful’ but his fear grew that the rampant commercial society of his day was in danger of leaving but one inheritance to posterity – a counting house on top of a cinder heap. His own bequest was to be an artistic one: he founded The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings in 1877, to oppose insensitive renovation of buildings and also made many jewel-like designs for stained glass windows in churches and chapels throughout the land. William Morris’ book, “News from Nowhere: Or, an Epoch of Rest. Being Some Chapters from a Utopian Romance” contains profound insights into the workings of a brutal capitalist economy and explores the ways in which a more gentle, human centred economic system could exist. His idea of economy contains wit, romance and friendship through which society’s problems are addressed in a truly democratic fashion in order that they be solved for the benefit of all. This prophetic novel anticipates the concerns of today’s growing environmental and ‘antiglobalisation’ movements disillusioned as they are with a life of stifling wage slavery and meaningless industrial consumption. For me, his insight regarding the value of fellowship will ever have its echo in the warmth of the friendship extended to all those who walk through St Mary’s hallowed portals. I felt it myself when many years ago, I came to a Harvest Supper spread out in a corner of the church,


with apple pie much in evidence. That evening, Reverend Geoffrey Smith extended a warm welcome to all who came. And there was something about the heart-felt way he invited us to associate with the sense of fellowship that was palpable. A door was opened in that sacred space that led to so much more than sharing a feast, lovingly prepared. For it also served as an invitation to the many and varied social activities on offer that form such a valued part of community-wide opportunities having their origins in the parish Church of St Mary and St James. As I sit in the pews participating, responding, listening, singing, praying, I am conscious that, as Morris pointed out, ‘The past is not dead, it is living in us, and will be alive in the future which we are now helping to make.’ Amen to that. Heartfelt gratitude is owed to all those through whom the Love of God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit live and breathe in our earthly world.

Sharing a prayer Do you have a favourite prayer or inspirational text? If you would like to share it with us we will print it in a future edition of the magazine. Jean Hill has done just that with a reflection on prayer and her favourite prayer Prayer is not easy to define but can be said to be putting oneself into the hand of God, supported by those everlasting arms, in order to speak and to listen to Him. Everyone will find different ways of praying – there is no ‘right way’; whatever helps us to come closer to God will be ‘right’ for us. Prayer can be for ourselves, as individuals or community or for others; for situations – the list is endless. It can also be an offloading of anxiety, burdens and fears, not forgetting to give thanks for help received. Laying all at the foot of the Cross when we have exhausted all other worldly help and the Spirit comes into its own. Prayer is not to be used as a last resort although that sometimes happens! Often we have to accept that answers to prayer seem missing or unacceptable but God does not leave us discomforted and, given time, we can recognise his guiding hand has provided the strength we need. Over the years I have come across various prayers - written, recorded, shared - which have been helpful. Many hymns too are prayerful, enhanced by the music that accompanies them. Listening to God is not something I would say I find easy but I share and commend this prayer which focuses on ‘preparation for prayer’.


‘I weave a silence on to my lips…my mind…my heart.’ Calm me, O Lord, As you stilled the storm. Still me, O Lord, Keep me from harm. Let all the tumult Within me cease. Enfold me, O Lord, In your peace.

Sylvia Ayling finds inspiration from this extract from the Desiderata by Max Ehrmann You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy You are a child of the Universe confusion of life, keep peace in Picture from your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

What happens when we pray? I dreamt that I went to Heaven and an angel was deputised to show me around. Our first stop was at a large room filled with angels. They were unfolding, reading and stacking thousands of bits of paper, of all sizes. My angel guide explained, “ This is the Receiving Section. Here, all petitions to God said in prayer are received.” I looked around the area, and it was terribly busy. Angels were sorting out petitions from all over the world. Some were long and involved and weighty, others merely a sigh on a scrap of paper. Then we moved on down a long corridor until we reached the second section. The angel said to me, “ This is the Packaging and Delivery Section. Here, the graces and blessings that have been asked for are processed and delivered to the people who need them.” I noticed again how busy it was there. The angels were working hard to package and send back to earth


all the blessings that had been requested. Finally, at the farthest end of the long corridor, we stopped at the door of a very small station. To my great surprise, only one angel was seated there, doing nothing much. “ This is the Acknowledgement Section,” my angel friend said quietly. He seemed a bit embarrassed. “How is it that there is no work going on here?” I asked. The angel sighed, “ Well, after people receive the blessings that they ask for, it seems very few think to send back an acknowledgement.” “How does one acknowledge God’s blessings?” I asked. “Simple,” the angel answered. “Just say, ‘Thank you, Lord’. And mean it.” Thanks to Rowena Rudkin who sent this in from the magazine of Christ the Redeemer, Southall.

Rowena also says that a talking point in that church was the following thought: " Recession is the time when children have to go without the things their parents never had". What do you think about that statement? Why not let us know?

Thank you for your generosity in the past few weeks. We have raised: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Final total for Send a Cow was £1.038 - that is least one cow, but see to see what else we could have bought! The mini fayre and race Night raised £1330 for Church funds The Bingo Evening raised £420 for Mathieson Music School Quiz evening total for the Memorial Hall Appeal was £292 And the Big Breakfast raised £242 for church funds


Songs of Praise Penny Freeston describes our latest joint worship Members of St. Mary’s, St. Paul’s and St. Barnabas came together for another uplifting Sunday evening worship of Songs of Praise at St. Barnabas Church, Woodford Green in January. Having visited St. Paul’s last year for a similar event and Christ Church, Wanstead earlier in the month for evensong, this was another opportunity to worship in another local setting and for members of our choir to join with others. The hymns chosen by representative members of each congregation were: O Worship the Lord Living Lord The Servant King Glory to God in the Highest Brother James’s Air Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus Lord of Beauty Make me a Channel of Your Peace Praise to the Holiest Tell out, my Soul Glorious things of Thee are Spoken Thy Hand, O God, has Guided Enriched by personal anecdotes and testaments, individuals recalled how certain lines from each hymn had resonated with them over the years. ‘Hands that flung stars into space to cruel nails surrendered’ (The Servant King) and ‘O let me see thy footprints and in them plant mine own’ (O Jesus, I have promised) were two of many moving examples.

I am here for you God Rhonda Anderson writes about the British Museum exhibition on a sacred strand of Islam The Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, is one of the five pillars of Islam together with faith, prayer, charity and fasting. The exhibition has three strands -the pilgrim journey, the present day and the city of Mecca itself. The pilgrimage takes place during the last month of the Islamic year. The prophet Muhammad received the first of his revelations in the 7th Century at Mecca. Before setting out, the pilgrim should settle all debts, provide for dependents and seek forgiveness. Many make their wills should they not return. There are small guide books with a cord to hang around one's neck, in several languages, which give all the information


needed about performing the rituals and what prayers to say at each step of every day. Men wear two pieces of white unstitched cloth and there are places to change from your usual attire. These garments symbolise purity, equality and peace and the unity that binds all races and peoples. The most sacred part of the sanctuary at Mecca is the Ka'ba, the cube shaped building that Muslims believe was built by Abraham and his son Ishmael. The Ka'ba has a new curtain every year and the one for 2003 is on display. There are several rituals associated with the Hajj such as Tawaf (the circumambulation when pilgrims walk anticlockwise around the Ka'ba seven times), drinking from the Well of Zamzam and performing sa'i which is walking seven times between Safa and Marwa. On the second day pilgrims travel to Arafat where they stay standing outside in contemplation and prayer, asking for God's forgiveness, until dusk. Muzdalifa is a plain on which pilgrims camp overnight on the second day and where they collect the pebbles they will later throw at the three pillars. On the third day pilgrims cut or shave their hair, sacrifice a sheep or goat and perform ritual cleansing. They then stone the pillars which re-enacts the story of the Prophet Abraham who was confronted by the devil and ordered by the Angel Gabriel to reject him by throwing stones. This symbolises the pilgrim casting out evil from his heart. The close of the Hajj is marked by a festival, the Eid Al-Adha, with gifts in Muslim communities everywhere. Leave time for the most interesting part of the exhibition where the rituals of the Hajj are explained, and the textiles are on show. As nonMuslims are not allowed to take part in the Hajj, this gives you a unique close up view of what goes on, and the reasons for the rituals. At the end of the exhibition there are a few contemporary art works which are well worth some time. There is much to learn from this exhibition and it reinforces my conviction that all the good that is in religions could change the world, if only people would extract the pure essence of them, and live accordingly. One quote which struck me was, 'I am here for you God, and only you.' The exhibition runs until 15 April. References for this article: British Museum press release and other information Karen Armstrong, Islam: A Short History


St. Mary’s Server Turned Baddy! Cheryl Corney on another chance encounter. Two years ago my aunt and I very much enjoyed seeing Richard King playing an Ugly Sister in the pantomime Cinderella at the Civic Theater, Rotherham. This year my cousin and I had the great pleasure of seeing Richard playing Fleshcreep, the Baddy in “Jack and the Beanstalk”, at the Civic Theatre, Rotherham. It was a wonderful afternoon. It was a traditional pantomime played to a full house and to an enthusiastic audience. There was plenty of comedy, laughter and singing. Daisy the Cow reminded us that there is nothing quite like a good pantomime cow. The show cheered its audience, people of all ages. Fleshcreep of course attempted to thwart people’s plans and to cause havoc. This he did very well, but as you would expect good triumphed in the end and the happiness of Jack Trott and Princess Marigold was not tarnished for ever. Richard was a very good, tall and sparklingly dressed Baddy!

Desert Island Discs We welcome everyone to send in their 'Desert Island Discs' for future editions of the magazine. Geoff Weekes has started the ball rolling! An avid listener to Desert Island Discs ever since Roy Plomley first introduced them, I have often wondered, and now realise, what an impossible assignment it is. For every one of these discs I could name at least three or four alternatives. But here goes. 1. Beethoven's Symphony In E Flat, The 3rd, The Eroica. I owe my passion for music to two people: the owner of a music shop in Woodford who ran an evening class in musical appreciation at the Youth Club in my school. He introduced us to Beethoven, concentrating on the Fifth symphony. Beethoven became and remains my musical god. I have chosen the Eroica since it was the last of his great symphonies I came to appreciate. The other lover of music to whom I am indebted is a cousin, whose mother had a glorious voice, and sang in their Methodist church choir. The family introduced me to Brahms and to 2. Brahms piano concerto, his 2nd In B Flat . It has a magical opening. 3. Richard Strauss - Trio from the last Act of Der Rosenkavalier. My aunt introduced me to opera, and to represent all the operas that have given me so much pleasure, I have chosen this trio which never fails to turn me on - music can indeed be rapturously sensual. 4. Love Divine, All Loves Excelling - to Blaenwern. As a one time Methodist, I had to include one of the many hymns that I have sung.


Eric Abbott, the Dean of King's College London, reminded us in one of his AKC lectures that there are three kinds of love: eros, filia and agape. This hymn by Charles Wesley is one of agape love and was one we sang at both mine and my daughters' weddings. 5. Gielgud declaiming Prospero's Farewell to his magical powers (Shakespeare) The two great passions in my life have been music and literature This is verse-speaking at its incomparable best by the owner of the most mellifluous voice ever heard in the English theatre. So far, all my discs have been recordings of great music or verse. 6. People Will Say We're In Love from Oklahoma Soon after discovering classical music, I became a dreadful musical snob. But my wife and other friends introduced me to musicals, in particular Oklahoma! and from that great show, I have chosen the number that became, our tune 7. Bach St Matthew Passion 8 Bach Mass in B Minor These last two are some of the greatest music ever written by one of the greatest composers who has ever lived. Have Mercy On Me Oh Lord, from The St Matthew Passion sung, in German by Janet Baker; preceded by the piercingly moving recitative, speaking of Peter's overwhelming guilt and almost despair when the cock's third crow reminded him of his denial of his Lord and Master. This would drive me to my knees every time I played it. But I end on the triumphant hopeful note, of the chorus from the Mass in B minor, Et Resurrexit. That is the one disc I would have if I was allowed only one, the one I would save from the waves, and to this all important choice there are no alternatives. For me, the Bach B minor is the greatest. My book is Middlemarch by George Eliot. I was torn between that and Great Expectations, my favourite Dickens, but I have settled on another great novel which I've read only once and I know there is a lot more to be got out of it. My luxury: a Blüethner grand piano. An unabridged version of this article is available from Geoff himself. (Ed note: send your choices to

A couple of Book Reviews The Genius of Charles Dickens by Michael Slater, published by Duckworth Overlook, 2011. The bicentenary of our great author has made me return to novels I studied long ago. I came across this book, ‘ranging widely over Dickens’ fiction, journalism, letters and speeches’ for ‘the non-specialist reader’ at Dickens’ House Museum in Doughty Street. Its final chapter concerns Dickens’ Christian faith that might be well worth exploring in house groups.


I decided to re-read Dickens’ ‘The Life of Our Lord’, written in the 1840s for his own children and not intended for publication (though published in 1934). How beautifully simple Dickens’ text is: There is a child born today in the City of Bethlehem near here, who will grow up to be so good that God will love him as his own son; and he will teach men to love one another, and not to quarrel and hurt one another; and his name will be Jesus Christ; and people will put that name in their prayers, because they will know that God loves it, and will know that they should love it too. Contrast this to the poor religious education the dying Jo, in Bleak House, received. Although he and his fellow slum-dwellers had been visited by clergymen and preachers, he recalled: ‘We never knowed nothink. I never knowed wot it was all about’. Dickens wrote in a letter the day before he died: I have always striven in my writings to express veneration for the life and lessons of Our Saviour; because I feel it; and because I re-wrote that history for my children – every one of whom knew it, from having it repeated to them – long before they could read and almost as soon as they could speak. He had written earlier: All my strongest illustrations are derived from the New Testament; all my social abuses are shown as departures from its spirit; all my good people are humble,, charitable, faithful and forgiving. Charles Dickens’ Will included the words: I commit my soul to the mercy of God through Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and I exhort my dear children humbly to try to guide themselves by the teaching of the New Testament in its broad spirit, and to put no faith in any man’s narrow construction of its letter here or there. Penny Freeston Susan Howatch – The Starbridge Series (available from Amazon) If you enjoy novels about the C of E and have not already read them, then you may wish to read novels from the Starbridge Series by Susan Howatch. She is a skilled storyteller who easily involves her readers with her characters, sharing their thoughts, feelings and predicaments. There are six novels in the series. They are self-contained yet interconnected novels which explore the history of the Church of England in the twentieth century. Each is narrated by a different character. There is no shortage of human interest, scandal, sex, humour and moral crises, and no shortage of alcohol. What on the surface often looks smooth covers much self-delusion and intrigue.


The first three books (Glittering Images, Glamorous Powers and Ultimate Prizes ) begin in the 1930’s and continue through the second world war. The second three (Scandalous Risks, Mystical Paths and Absolute Truths) take place in the 1960’s. Among the characters we encounter are clergymen, a Cambridge academic, monks, an abbot, an ambitious archdeacon, a young aristocrat and a cathedral dean. After I read one of the series, I immediately wanted to read the others. Cheryl Corney

Recipe Corner If you need a piece of cake to go with your music or book here is a delicious recipe from Adela Jones Part of it can also be made in advance so you could get if ready for Easter if you can’t eat it now! Coffee Chocolate slice Ingredients: 4 tbsp. sugar 6 tbsp. water 3oz butter 4oz icing sugar 8oz cream cheese 2oz glace cherries chopped 3oz roasted hazelnuts chopped 1pkt Nice biscuits 1tbsp coffee essence

Icing: 4oz caster sugar 2tbsp water 3 level tbsp. cocoa 1tsp coffee essence 3oz butter

Method ⇒ In a small pan dissolve the sugar in water and bring to the boil then cool. Cream the butter with the sifted icing sugar add the cream cheese and mix well. ⇒ Remove one third of the mixture into another dish and add cherries and nuts mixing to blend. Add the coffee essence to the remaining two thirds of the mixture. Dip the biscuits one at a time into the sugar syrup and arrange in three rows of four across a piece of foil. Spread these 12 biscuits with part of the coffee cheese mixture. ⇒ Add a second row of biscuits and repeat. (you may have more biscuits than required; these can be placed on top of the others if wished.) ⇒ Pile the cherry/nut/cheese mix along the centre row of the biscuits only. Now put your hands under the foil and bring up the outer rows to meet in the centre forming a triangle. Secure the foil tightly, chill.


⇒ ⇒

⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒

At this stage the slice can be left in the fridge for up to three weeks. The day before required, blend the first four icing ingredients in a small saucepan. Boil for a few seconds. Off the heat add the butter and cut into small pieces. Beat well then cool to coating consistency. Unwrap the cake (the top of the triangle may be uneven so I cut across the top carefully to flatten it out slightly). Place on a rack and coat with icing. Chill in the fridge overnight. Decorate the top of the triangle with a few chopped nuts. There may be slightly more icing than required. This can be mixed with cream for a cake filling or used to decorate the top of ice cream etc.

A Golden Jubilee at St Mary’s Penny Freeston writes: Whoever said, ‘When you need something done, ask a busy person,’ must have been thinking of Joan Ware! We thank her for her huge contribution to St. Mary’s. Fifty years on, this is her story. Joan moved from Walthamstow to Woodford Green in December 1959, having married her husband, Ronald 18 months before at St. Mary’s, Walthamstow. In those days she used to return to Walthamstow to play netball as their team was high in the league. Her Guiding days took her through Brownies, Guides and Rangers. It was through Rangers that Joan took over the 5th Walthamstow Brownie Pack as Brown Owl. Joan and Ron joined St. Mary’s, South Woodford and recall they used to take a hot water bottle to Evensong because the church was so cold! Revd. Christopher Wansey, the Rector, had been Curate at St. Mary’s, Walthamstow when Joan was 12 years old. Ron and Joan had three children: Ian, Shauna and Michael. The boys served as acolytes whilst Shauna taught in Sunday School under the patient guidance of Jean Morgans. When the children were very young Joan and a few friends complained to Revd. Bob Birchnall that there was nothing at St. Mary’s for young mothers. Joan remembers that, ‘he opened his wallet, gave me a £5 note and told us to do something about it. This was how the Tuesday Fellowship came into being, the names ‘Bob’s babes’ and ‘Bob’s beauties’ not being acceptable!’


Woodford Wives was started when the Young Wives from St. Philip and St. James joined those at St. Mary’s, and has been in existence for 40 years; 25-30 ladies attend monthly meetings and anyone, married or single, is welcome to join them. Joan worked at Churchfields Junior School for over 25 years as a midday assistant, shepherding children to lunch, cooked by our own Louie Park, and trying to keep order in the playground. In 1986, Kathleen Whitfield invited Joan to join the Fellowship Committee, one of several groups being formed at St. Mary’s. Jenny Clinch and Joan were part of the original committee and sadly missed Kathleen’s leadership when she passed away. Ten people now form the committee, organising many events including the Friday Lunch each month, the coffee morning and race evening in February, May Day activities, a shared Harvest lunch and many more. Joan and Ron celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary three years ago and still enjoy taking part in many events.

Transforming Presence - people power sets Chelmsford Diocese on course for spring clean What will the Diocese of Chelmsford look like in 2025? In January our ‘new’ Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen Cottrell, called together 1000 representatives from parishes all over the Diocese, to create a shared vision for the next 15 years. You may have read about it in the Diocesan newspaper, or heard my sermon about it. You can still find that sermon on the parish website, and the Diocese has set up a special website,, where you can see video clips and read documents from the day. The title above, ‘people power…’, is taken from the website. We have been given four priorities to take to heart. Inhabiting the world distinctively. This is about developing our personal walk with God, so that we live holy lives which witness to his love and transforming power. Evangelising effectively. Essential components of this are: enabling each individual to talk openly about their faith and what God has done for them; welcoming newcomers to our church, both in our regular activities and in special events which share the gospel; and nurturing those who want to discover more about the faith. Serving with accountability. This about mutual accountability within the Diocese - agreeing on expectations that each parish should have of its neighbours, and developing a process by which the Diocese will ensure


that all our parishes are pulling together. In future we, as a parish, will be asked some hard questions. Re-imagining ministry. Although fewer people have been answering the call to full-time ordained ministry in recent years, we know that there is a rich diversity of gifts among church members. The challenge is to discover how we can release those gifts for the benefit of God’s kingdom. Later this year our Church Council, and the wider church, will be considering how St Mary’s can and will respond to this call. The phrase ‘Transforming presence’ is not just about the transforming presence of God’s Holy Spirit within us - it is also about the transforming presence of the church in the world around us. Ian

Pictures from the Transforming Presence conference and one of many thought provoking comments made on the day.

Thank you to all our contributors to this edition. We would be delighted to hear from you if you have any comments or reactions to the views expressed in any of these articles. Please send any comments or articles for future editions, to Copy date for the next edition is 31 May 2012. In order to accommodate everyone’s contributions we reserve the right to edit and cut overlong articles. Don’t forget our experts: gardening, cookery and of course theology if you have any questions! And please send us your favourite prayers, desert island discs, and don’t forget to let us know if you are a London 2012 volunteer! And please remember that we really like pictures to illustrate anything you send us. Think picture!


A busy weekend in March The Big Breakfast demands concentration on the wide variety of food on offer.

Children planting seeds for the Rectory Garden, after they had said goodbye to Annie with their own unique way of remembering her.


Holy Week and Easter Services at St Mary’s Sunday 1 April

Palm Sunday

Services 6.30pm

Monday April 2nd Tuesday 3rd

Holy Week Reflections 8.00pm

Thursday April 5th

Maundy Thursday

Holy Communion

Friday April 16th

Good Friday

Services 10am 2pm

Walk of Witness with local churches arriving at the George Lane roundabout 12noon Saturday April 7th

Easter Eve

Easter Vigil Service 8pm

Sunday April 8th

Easter Day Christ is Risen

Services 8am, 10am, 6.30pm

Magazine Spring 2012  

Our latest quarterly magazine

Magazine Spring 2012  

Our latest quarterly magazine