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St Mary’s Parish Magazine

Volume 3, Issue 9

Summer 2012


Running the Spiritual Race Like it or not, the Olympics and Paralympics are coming soon. Churches in cities that have hosted these events before report experiencing a carnival atmosphere, and a willingness on the part of both locals and guests to attend all kinds of activities, both sport-related and otherwise. The churches that were not ready to invite people in for special events regretted their lack of preparation! So we and other churches in Woodford have prepared a number of special events to build on the Olympic festivities, under the banner ‘Run the Race’, and we hope to welcome many guests to our premises. We trust that those from further afield will go home with a positive impression of our Christian community; and that those who are local might grace our doors again on another occasion. Following the consultation about a possible new weekly service, in May the Church Council agreed that we should try offering a service each Saturday at 5pm, for a trial period in the autumn. This is not so much for the people who already attend St Mary’s, but for those who don’t. If you have a neighbour who says that they can’t come to church on Sunday because of rugby/ballet/swimming/work/visiting Granny - tell them that there is now a Saturday option. If your neighbour tells you that our services are too long or too formal, tell them that the new Saturday service will be less formal, and only 45 minutes long. Call their bluff, and bring them along. Young and old will worship together. There will be music, prayer, teaching, art, Communion and food - but not all of these every week! Please tell people about the new service over the summer, and at the beginning of September we will have some printed publicity about it (and our existing services) to give out.

The picture on the front cover is of the St Mary’s family taken during our 40th Anniversary celebration. More pictures from the weekend are on page 14.


We will of course need some volunteers to help with the new service. Whether you would like to help in the planning and leading, or would just be willing to turn up and lend a hand occasionally, please let me know. Please pray that this new venture will reach some of our many neighbours who are not yet involved in any church - but who are nevertheless looking for a spiritual dimension in their lives. Ian

Parish Register Welcomed to the Family of God by Baptism 15th April Nmasinachi Williams 6th May Maximillian Guy 10th June Genevieve Palmer Right: Nmasinachi with parents Helen Eke and Kingsley Williams and big brothers Harold and Michael and below: Genevieve with parents Matthew and Danielle. United in Marriage 14th April Mark Webb & Heather Swallow 28th April Duane Williams & Channel Ellick Funerals 13th March 13th March 4th April 19th April 15th May 19th June

Joan Browning Tony Thomas Colin Newland Brian Bex Alan Miller Denis Blows

Meet the Seekers Team The group looking after our youngest members on Sundays introduce themselves. The Seekers’ leaders are a dedicated group of volunteers who run fun and interesting lessons to keep the children engaged and to teach them about God and the Christian faith. We aim to encourage and nurture children’s faith and to support them in growing as Christians. We help them start to think about their relationship with the world and the people around them and how God guides and cares for them. This year we aim to expand our numbers by welcoming new families and children and inviting them to take part in Seekers activities.


The Team (from left to right) Sarah I have two daughters Ellodie 8 and Josephine 6 both at Churchfields. Having attended All Saints for 40 years we have in the past couple of years become more involved in St Marys and in particular 5 months ago took on the challenge of coordinating Seekers and supporting the Seekers leaders, something that has been a little daunting but very enjoyable - following Shirley who had done such an amazing job for so many years is not easy!! Bev will tell us about herself in the next edtion. Jan I am Australian, but having lived in this country for the past 43 years, I am a little different from the rest of you. I am married to an Englishman and we have a son Oliver 28 a Fashion Designer and a daughter Isobel 25 who is an Audiologist in Harley St. My husband and I are both Designers and I worked in Special Educational Needs after having a family. I have been with Seekers/ Sunday school for 22 years. I have run St Mary’s Mother and Toddler Group for 20 odd years and I am a Guider with Rainbows since the group began at St Mary’s.


I was christened and grew up in the Presbyterian Church. However I had the opportunity to attend C of E services on the ‘Canberra’ during my journey to the U.K. I do a fairly comprehensive Bible study course each year which has given me insight into scripture. My main interest when working with Seekers children is to nurture their innate spirituality. When not working for the church, my main interest is designing our house at Pretty Beach on the Central Coast on the outskirts of Sydney Australia where we hope to move to in time if it is God’s will. Sue St Mary’s has been my Church since 1983 when I was warmly welcomed with my new baby, Ella. After a few years I became involved in Sunday School and am still, but we are Seekers now. Ella is a Religious Studies/Philosophy Teacher. My son, Jack, is completing his PGCE and starts teaching at Newport Primary School in September. My husband John is also an active member of the Church. I love horse riding and the great outdoors. Julie Simon and I came to St Marys just as we were starting a family. We have 2 children, Joe & Elsa. We have been helping at St Mary’s for many years, like so many other parishioners, quietly in the background. I started by reading a story at the Holiday Club when Joe was 5 and began helping at Sunday School the next term. That was 10 years ago. Teaching The Word to the children is still as fresh as ever because each year brings new children to Seekers who have their own characters and ideas. No one year is ever like another. I am proud that Joe was given the opportunity to become involved in youth leadership at St Marys and look forward to welcoming other young people who may wish to start their youth leadership with Seekers. Joe I am in Year 10 at Bancrofts School. In 2011 I started youth leadership with Seekers & Quest through the Duke of Edinburgh programme. I have been involved for 7 months and have thoroughly enjoyed working with the kids. The thing I have most enjoyed has been hearing the kids' take on life issues. In my spare time I enjoy football and playing electric guitar. Some of the Seekers’ families enjoying the annual Church picnic in Churchfields Park. Taking advantage of the glorious weather, we headed to the park for a wonderful afternoon of good food, fun and great company.


The children enjoyed games, running around and some very melted chocolate. If you weren’t able to join us this year – make a date in your diary for next year. A great time was had by all. (Editors note) And not just by the children judging by these pictures taken by Sally Barton.

Women For Peace Rowena Rudkin reminds us that, in many places, brave and imaginative women have and are still changing the world I lived in South Africa for two years in the 1960’s when apartheid was at its height but had returned to England by 1976, when after the Soweto Riots, a number of organisations were born to find a peaceful solution to the country’s problems. One of these was “Women for Peace”, founded by Bridget Oppenheimer, and a leading Afrikaner, Cecile Cilliers, who appealed for women interested in finding a response to their country’s racial problems to a meeting in Johannesburg. One of those who responded was a friend of mine and Women for Peace has dominated her life ever since. I have been very involved with them on my visits to South Africa and in the United Kingdom, where I have tried to raise funds. The late Alan Paton, the author of “Cry, the Beloved Country”, was a patron and the former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson wanted to meet some of its members when she visited South Africa. It is a non violent organisation but it tackled difficult issues such as leading a delegation to Soweto police questioning the arrests of black children and working with township women to find out what they actually wanted – from child care to resolving pressing issues about the hardship of daily life, family members in prison or those who had disappeared without trace. Because they were white they were able to highlight these problems and their husbands were able to use professional skills e.g. as lawyers or accountants to help where they could.


After the 1994 elections when Nelson Mandela became President, there were members of Women for Peace who said, “Mission accomplished”. Others felt there was much work still to be done in the new South Africa and my friend was one of the latter. In February this year I attended a meeting of the Executive held in Alexandra Township. There is a possibility of Black Sash using this centre for some of their advisory work in which case two of the fighters against apartheid, with their differing methods, will have come together. More immediate matters now are fundraising and publicity, a sewing circle, the need to train more Africans in book keeping and the need to involve more younger women, many of whom work but who, as in this country, are not volunteering in the numbers their predecessors did. “However”, said my friend “We would much rather have these problems than those we faced in the days of apartheid.” Many years later, I learned that another lady at that meeting and a very active member of Women for Peace had been a school friend of Joan Ware and a cousin of Ron, with whom they had lost touch. Sadly she died before they were able to re-establish contact .

Whatever you ask in my name Jane O’Regan reflects on what it is like to lead the intercessions at the Sunday morning service Many years ago, it was decided that every major group within St Mary’s should provide one volunteer to undertake the Intercessions at the morning service. In the Choir, it was a case of, “Jane, you are doing the Intercessions.” More years later than I care to think about, Jane is still doing the Intercessions, along now, with other members of the Choir. In that first instance however, there was a feeling of panic. I had often read the lesson before at services, but as a teacher, that gave rise to no great fear. But Intercessions was a different matter. Not only did you have to read it out, but you had to write the text as well. So – where to start? Did I have to pray for all organists, choir trainers, choristers, church musicians and the RSCM? No, not really, although I do sometimes sneak them in to my script. Is it acceptable to pray for the cast of Coronation Street, the Labour Party and the abolition of all Academies and Free schools? No, not really, and when considering why not, it is then that I become aware of the great challenge of doing the Intercessions. I am there to LEAD the Intercessions, on behalf of the whole congregation. I am there as a small link, that stands between the


vast needs and hopes of the whole congregation, and the Heavenly Father to whom we pray. That is the challenge, and that is a mighty responsibility. These days, as a veteran intercessor, I start strangely enough with prayer. It may seem weird to pray about praying, but that is what I do. Usually during the week prior to the service, I give quite a bit of prayerful thought to what I should include. And of course in this age of technology, I turn to my computer to remind myself of what I prayed for last time! I am always surprised how quickly the thoughts and prayers begin to take shape in my mind, but how necessary it is really, to look at each item through the eyes of others, so that I don’t just reel off my own personal shopping list to God. I am no longer fearful of doing the Intercessions, but I do take the task very seriously, and I try to remain mindful of the privilege and responsibility of leading the congregation of St Mary’s in prayer.

Book of Common Prayer Our prayer life goes back to the days of the early church but Penny Freeston reviews a book and exhibition that mark important points in the development of prayer in England. Celebrating the Book of Common Prayer in Church Life Published by the Prayer Book Society. 16pp. £3.50 This beautifully illustrated and very readable booklet celebrates the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer: a companion to dip into in this year of anniversaries. Archbishop Rowan Williams writes: ‘The words of the Book of Common Prayer have a rare capacity not only to sink into the memory through their rhythms but to calm the very pace of our thoughts. They are words that help us to be open and still, to recognise with sober humility the greatness of what confronts us in the mysteries of our redemption. The Prayer Book is a profoundly valuable inheritance which we neglect at our peril.’ Dr. John Sentamu, Archbishop of York says that ‘the Prayer Book places the Bible at the heart of the Church’s worship and on the lips of the people. It teaches the grace and mercy of God and it preaches Jesus as a living Saviour, not a dead master of a bygone age. The presence and power of the Holy Spirit is constantly acknowledged. I hope that this year many will rediscover the treasures of the Book of Common Prayer.’ Royal Devotion: Monarchy and the Book of Common Prayer is an exhibition in the Great Hall of Lambeth Palace from the collections of Lambeth Palace Library. Highlights of the exhibition include medieval manuscripts including the Book of Hours of Richard III, Queen Elizabeth I’s personal prayer book, a copy of the book of private devotions compiled for Queen Elizabeth II in preparation for her coronation and the Book of Common Prayer used at the wedding of Queen Victoria. Open until 14 July 2012. 0844 847 1698;


An eclectic collection Anne Jones shares an interesting selection of her desert island discs 1. Two Little Boys by Rolf Harris The first record I purchased (a single) and I still have it. 2. 1812 Overture by Pyotr Tchaikovsky A reminder of many happy family outings to the Royal Albert Hall for the Proms & Classical Spectacular concerts. (One memory - as children we knew that there would be cannons and were looking around for the cannons rather than listening to the music when the cannons went off above our heads!) 3. Nimrod from the Enigma Variations by Sir Edward Elgar. Always a reminder of my father Mind the cannons - one of his favourite pieces and played at his funeral 4. Camp Granada by Alan Sherman A silly song guaranteed to lighten the mood. 5. Jupiter from the Planets by Gustav Holst A firm favourite to hum along to. 6. Salve Regina by Peter Philipps A piece by an early English composer not as well known as he should be. 7. O Magnum Mysterium by Morten Lauridsen A modern composer and a piece I think will be a classical favourite in years to come. 8. Cwm Rhondda (Guide me, O thou great Redeemer) sung by Cor Fron. A traditional Welsh hymn and a reminder of all the choirs I’ve sung this with and the joy given to the altos and basses…. Book Peter C Bartum’s collected Welsh Genealogies Luxury If I’m not allowed the contents of the National Library of Wales? (Ed note—sorry No!) then I’d like my Bass recorder with a “how to read the bass clef” and some music – I’d then have the time to spend learning how to play this properly! If you would like to share your desert island discs please send them to: Sandy Ball has written to us: You made my dream come true. I have just returned from a six day coach holiday to Southern Ireland. As my Mother and Grandparents came from there, I have wanted to visit since I was a young child. I used the money you so kindly collected for me when I retired from the Parish Office to pay for this trip – thank you all so much! It was a wonderful experience although I didn’t see any Leprechauns as I must have been looking behind the wrong bushes. With love and thanks to you all.


Summer Outings Contrasting suggestions for time away from Woodford. Pilgrims and festivals Ian Tarrant writes: It has long been part of the Christian tradition to travel in order to enrich one’s faith. There is a written record of a French woman, Etheria, going on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land as long ago as 381AD. Pilgrimages to other holy places, such as Rome and Walsingham became increasingly popular over the centuries as travel became easier and more affordable for ordinary people. Residential gatherings of Christians not focussed on the holiness of a place, but for the purpose of worship and teaching, became notable in the 19th century, with, for example, the annual Keswick Convention, founded in 1875 by an Anglican and a Quaker. In the latter part of the twentieth century there was sudden flowering of annual residential Christian ‘festivals’ combining, in various degrees, worship, teaching and the arts. Some of these, such as ‘Easter People’ and the ‘Stoneleigh Bible Week’ flourished for a decade or two, and then closed. Nevertheless four have become ongoing institutions which influence not only the Church of England but also other churches. Greenbelt was first held on a pig farm in Suffolk, over the 1974 August bank holiday weekend. It has had several venues over the years, but since 1999 Cheltenham race-course has been the base. Camping used to be the only accommodation, but Cheltenham also offers other options too. Greenbelt is noted for its theological breadth, and has a strong arts component to its programme. Attendance is around 20,000. Archbishop of Canterbury at Spring Harvest began in 1979 with a Greenbelt. Picture by Nikki J Wragg single week attended by 2,700 people at Prestatyn in Wales. Year by year it gradually expanded to a point where it welcomed as many as 70,000 people, by means of a programme repeated over a number of 6-day ‘weeks’ in each of four holiday camp venues. While the organisation is still strong, numbers have since dropped, and at Easter 2013 there will be only two venues, Minehead offering three ‘weeks’ and Skegness offering only one. Teaching is broadly evangelical, and has been criticised both for being broad and for being too narrow.


The big top at Spring Harvest

New Wine was founded in 1989 by Bishop David Pytches, at an agricultural showground in Somerset. The initial attendance was 2,500 but now it attracts about 30,000 people over three weeks, two in Somerset and one in Newark. It is theologically more charismatic than Spring Harvest. In 1993 New Wine established a separate youth conference called Soul Survivor, which now attracts a similar number of people in its own right, over three weeks in Somerset and one in Staffordshire. All four of these conferences/festivals have permanent offices, which handle advance bookings, sell merchandise, and help regular attendees network with each other in various ways. New Wine in particular now has a significant network of participating churches.

What is the attraction of these events? ♦ worship in a cathedral-sized tent with thousands of other Christians ♦ the stimulus of new ideas and expressions of faith ♦ the opportunity to meet new people with similar beliefs (and the opportunity to meet old friends) ♦ for families: good quality activities for children and teenagers. Interested? Why not take the plunge and go to one? But be sure to book well in advance! Penny and Martin Freeston recommend two family friendly day outings The Ragged School Museum. Ten minutes walk from Mile End Station stands a Victorian warehouse, converted by Doctor Barnardo to provide free education to tens of thousands of East End children. The classrom is set aside once a month as part of their Sunday Open House activities for anyone, no matter their age, to experience a lesson centered around the original three R’s. Popular with local school groups, this provides an opportunity to return en famille and try out the slates and authentic school desks! Check opening times: 020 8980 6405 46-50 Copperfield Road, London E3 4RR


Warner Brothers Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter Leavesden Studio is close to Watford, just off the M25. The tour, which must be pre-booked, lasts around three hours and celebrates the production and craftsmanship of the ‘biggest film series in history’ and a chance to set foot on the actual sets at the studios where filming took place. Even if you haven’t read the books or seen the films, this is a wonderful, exhausting day out for children and adults alike!

Cheryl Corney invites us to York for the Mystery Plays In January my father asked me to see if I could track down and buy a book for him: the original text for the York Mystery Plays, which I managed to do. The plays were originally performed by the Crafts or Mysteries of York on the day of Corpus Christi in the 14th, 15thand 16th centuries. I look forward to reading the original text and will probably do so in the summer holidays. I last saw the Mystery Plays in York in St Mary’s Abbey in the Museum the year 2000. As it was the Gardens, York, where the plays will Millennium special permission was be held in August. given for the plays to be performed in York Minster. It was indeed a memorable occasion. In recent years the plays have usually been performed in the Museum Gardens in York. Sometimes they have been performed in carts which have moved around the city. Dame Judi Dench is one of the patrons of the plays. She herself played Mary when she was in the sixth form at school in York. Archbishop Sentamu and HRH The Duke of York are also patrons. Other theatre professionals and more than 1,500 volunteers are involved in the 2012 production. The people of York have been donating clothes from previous decades which are being used as costumes. Some are being transformed into costumes. Some young people are preparing for the plays as a work experience placement. The performing of the Mystery Plays is deeply embedded in the cultural heritage of York. As ever there is much excitement among the volunteers. I spoke to one gentleman who had auditioned for a part in the crowd scenes and returned home having been allocated the part of Pilate’s soldier. I am looking forward to seeing the plays. Does anyone else from St Mary’s hope to see them?


Rescuing the Lost Sheep Chris Winward on the work of the Children’s Society In April, I was privileged to be able to report on the work of The Children’s Society, which is just one of the charities that the people of St Mary’s support both personally and collectively and this is a brief snapshot of the work of the Society. The society was founded in the late 19th century by Edward Rudolph, a young Sunday school teacher who was concerned with the plight of children whose lives were blighted by poverty and homelessness. With the support of the Church of England, he set up the first children’s home to mimic the traditional family structure rather than 100-bed –type homes commonplace at the time, and by 1919, 113 such homes had been set up throughout England and Wales in order to provide the best possible home environment for homeless children. These days, the work of the Society has changed. It no longer runs children’s homes but focuses instead on helping children in need directly in the community and by influencing public attitudes and policy. The major focus of the Society’s work is with the staggering number of youngsters (around 100,000) who run away from home or from care each year. A quarter of such runaways will end up sleeping in unsafe places such as back alleys, parks and bus shelters putting themselves at serious risk of harm and as many as 1 in 7 of them will suffer from violence. The Society is working hard to ensure that no child has to face a night alone on the streets but, sadly, three out of four children don’t seek help because they don’t know where to turn or whom to trust. Even sadder is the fact that the average age of runaways is decreasing and the society increasingly supports children aged only 11 or 12. And, in recent years, the use of mobile phones and social networking sites such as Facebook have made vulnerable children easier targets for those who seek to exploit them. So, when a child in distress comes into touch with the Society, it gives them their own dedicated project worker who provides them with someone who listens and understands their problems and tries to place them back in a secure family environment if at all possible. The Society also gives support to children who find themselves as alltoo-young carers for other family members. It also provides disabled children with opportunities to take part in activities they would not otherwise be able to do. In addition, it provides hands-on support to destitute families through its many children’s centres and, through its support, gives disadvantaged children a voice in society.


In short the Children’s Society exists, like a good shepherd, to rescue the lost, to stop them being harmed, to fight unfairness and transform the lives of the most disadvantaged children and, on its behalf, may I thank you for your continuing help through your giving and your prayers to support this most valuable work.

Our Ruby Anniversary Wendy Littlejohns reflects on the 40th Anniversary celebrations. The anniversary weekend 5-7 May was an opportunity to celebrate forty years since the rededication of St Mary’s in 1972 after the fire of 1969 that destroyed most of the building. An exhibition in the chapel and church portrayed the story of the fire with rolling pictures and a display of wedding dresses and baptism clothes worn at St Mary’s during the past four decades. Around the church were displays of church life including the annual photographic competition run by Pat Smith in memory of her father Reg Fowkes. Refreshments were served throughout the main opening of the exhibition on the Saturday and specially commissioned mugs and pens were on sale. In the evening a celebratory concert was enhanced by both past and present Music Directors with Roger Sayer, Martin Seymour and Frederick Stocken contributing a variety of organ solos and past members joined the choir to swell the singing of Handels ‘Zadok the Priest’ and Parry’s ‘I was Glad’ amongst other items and Churchfields Singers gave their usual entertaining performance. A former Curate Rev Jay Ridley preached at the Sunday Eucharist which was followed by a parish lunch while the Fellowship Committee organised the usual successful May Day meander with a Quiz both in and around the church and surrounding streets with coffee and lunch provided. A most enjoyable and successful weekend. Thanks to the organising committee: Wendy Littlejohns (Convenor), Sally Barton, Anne Jones, Georgina Green and Philip Swallow. You can see highlights from the weekend at and plenty more pictures on our website.


Some Anniversary pictures Exhibition




And a Diamond one We did not have formal Jubilee celebrations but we did have special flowers and our children made a distinctive display. Thanks to all.


Penny Freeston has set a fiendish Coronation Quiz 1.

Who wrote after the Coronation of George III in 1761, ‘What is the finest sight in the world? A Coronation’? 2. Why was Edward VII’s coronation postponed? 3. Whose coronation ‘was a shambles, with no rehearsal and incompetent clergy making mistakes’? 4. Who produced for the Queen, ‘A Little Book of Private Devotions for Her Majesty’s Coronation’? 5. For how many months did Westminster Abbey close to prepare for the Queen’s Coronation? 6. How many peers’ chairs were needed? 7. Who designed the Queen’s coronation dress? 8. Who wrote the anthem to be sung when the Queen took communion? What was it called? 9. What went missing and had to be investigated by Special Branch? 10. Who said he intended to wear football shorts under his cassock? First person with correct answers received at 67 Derby Road wins a bottle of Prosecco! Answers in the next edition of the magazine And we received this information about a special choirbook for the Queen The two volume book has just been published by Canterbury Press to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It contains 44 anthems chosen to reflect the very best of choral music by British composers from the beginning of the 21st century, including 11 new compositions that have been specially commissioned. The choirbook is available from Amazon

We want to say a big thank you to Sue and John Sainsbury who have been printing this magazine for us for many years. Sadly they are no longer able to do this but we are very grateful for their speedy printing, collating, stapling and not to forget folding! Thank you for your faithful service! Thank you for your generous support at the Food and Fun Day; we raised over £1700 and had plenty of fun.


A War Memory Many thanks to Hilary Morris who wrote this again, at Penny’s request, as she had mislaid her first copy. Her feeble excuse was that a baby squirrel came down the chimney and was heard squeaking and scratching behind a board in the study; Martin, in removing the board, displaced a pile of her papers! More original than ‘a dog ate my homework’ but equally improbable! This is Hilary’s story from the war years. I am the second daughter of Mollie and Philip Richards who were members of St. Mary’s, Woodford. My older sister is called Jennifer and there were two younger brothers called Hugh, now living in Vancouver and Martin, in Surrey. I was born in Woodford in St. Albans Road on the Laing’s Estate and I have many memories of the War years. Father was in the Army in Yorkshire. One sunny day Hugh and I were in the back garden having a picnic. Jennifer must have been at school (Churchfields) and Mother was indoors; she didn’t like eating outside. Martin was not yet born. Suddenly we heard a plane going over but it didn’t look like the usual planes we used to see – it had flames coming out of the back of it. ‘Look at that funny plane,’ I said to Hugh. The next minute our mother rushed out of the back door and sat on us. Then there was an almighty bang and we realised the plane was a German Doodlebug. It fell on a house in Empress Avenue where a little girl was having her seventh birthday party. All the children were killed and six or seven houses were taken out. If our mother hadn’t thought of us when she came out to protect us, had she stayed there she would have been very badly cut. When she returned indoors she found every window of the front bay was blown out.

News from our Kenyan connections On May 20th, two teachers from Kamuthatha Boarding School in Embu, arrived on their first trip to the UK to complete work on the Curriculum project undertaken with Moreton C of E Primary School. This is part of a five year partnership. They were following in the footsteps of their colleague Kennedy Njagi, who is choirmaster of Embu Cathedral and sang with St Mary's Choir in September 2010. The trip was proving very successful until Pauline John had breathing difficulties and other complications, which led to her being admitted to Whipps Cross Hospital. It was a very anxious time for them both and Nephy Kathungu came to Church on 27th May to join our fellowship. We prayed for Pauline, who was desperate to be well enough to travel home with the rest of the party as planned on Wednesday. On Monday, Ian went to Whipps to comfort her and pray with her.


On Tuesday night she was discharged and the doctor said it would be possible to travel. Her spirits were lifted and she was blessed by Bishop Stephen when the group met him in Chelmsford Cathedral just before they left. She has left a letter for her friends at St Mary's whose With Bishop Stephen at Chelmsford prayerful support sustained her during this time. I drove her past the Church when she was discharged to her delight. Linda Wiskin

A blessed moment Valerie Geller pays tribute to her latest grandchild Scarlett May Jill There was blossom on the apple trees and many shades of green As earth was being watered, spring shimmered with a sheen. All the family were waiting and wondering when, oh when The new addition would arrive, then an Angel said ‘Amen’.

Nanny’s first Granddaughter and number four for Gran Everyone will cherish you and help you all they can. Welcome little sweetheart and as you wend your way Be patient, kind and happy, be truthful every day.

It was on a Tuesday morning and “Knock” dear little Scarlett “seek the time was half past three and you will find” On May the first in twenty twelve, a The way to inner happiness, baby girl ……Yippee! strength and peace of mind. Georgia, Jack and Jamie and For all throughout your life you are Thomas soon were told in God’s loving care Now they had a sister to welcome So every day say ‘thank you’ with to the fold. just a little prayer. The Grandparents delighted, Aunties, Uncles too Cousins, friends on Face book, soon everybody knew. Daddy cuddled tenderly while Mummy gazed and gazed A glow of love around all three, Almighty God be praised.

Scarlett with Valerie and big brother Thomas


Remembering Easter promise Sheena Wright on a moving Good Friday service ‘I have loved you with everlasting love’. (Jeremiah 31:3) I arrived at church at about 9.30 to serve as Master of Ceremonies, but having discussed with Viveca and Ian, discovered that this role was not required at this service, so I had a chat with Gerry who was robed up as Crucifer, and let him know that I would sit beside my mother in the congregation (a rarity these days!) During the service, as Gerry walked slowly and reverently down the centre aisle carrying the Cross, I felt for him; it must have been very difficult, as if he was carrying The Cross for Jesus, feeling some of that burden with Jesus on His way to be crucified. I welled up. I felt that I was with Gerry, with Jesus, in the emotion of it all. (After the service, Gerry shared with me how much it meant to him to carry that cross). All the components of this service came together: the choir singing Stainer’s God so loved the world, the dramatised reading, the sermon by Chris with the three words ‘antipathy, apathy, sympathy’ as we reflected on those three groups of people around the Cross, and Gerry carrying the Cross down the centre aisle. Then to top it all, the last hymn ‘How deep the Father’s love’ (see second verse below) with the words ‘it was my sin that held him there’, my tears flowed. Even at the end of the service when Lizete came up to greet me, we hugged and I wept. Such is the love of God; so unworthy are we to receive such unconditional love. Later, I felt ashamed as I looked back at those times when I hadn’t tried to live up to the values of the Kingdom of God – what we do the least for others, we do it for Christ; should we not show it in our words and actions to others as a thank offering for all he has done for us, as he made all of us in his own image? So no matter how low you feel, or what you’re going through, just think of God’s unconditional love for you through Jesus Christ our Lord. He loves us much more than we can even imagine. He is there in the thick of it with us; His arms stretched out to us in love. He has gone through much more than we have, even to death so that we may live with Him eternally. Behold the Man upon the cross, my sin upon his shoulders; ashamed I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers. It was my sin that held him there until it was accomplished; his dying breath has brought me life I know that it is finished. © Stuart Townend


Easter with a difference Penny Freeston writes: Martin and I spent Easter Sunday watching the sun come up over the River Ganges at Varanasi, one of the most ancient sites of spiritual pilgrimage in the world. We were travelling across northern India, visiting Easter light on the Ganges places that eluded us on our first trip to India twenty-six years ago. Varanasi, also known as Benares, teems with energy, morning and evening, as thousands arrive there to bathe in the sacred river, worship at its temples and cremate their loved ones on open pyres. Dying in Varanasi is believed to bring Hindus instant salvation or moksha that liberates them from the cycle of birth and death. Life turns full-circle: Mother Ganges, worshipped as a living goddess, envelops them all. We woke at 4 and bought candles decorated with bright flowers from two little girls selling them by the river-bank before descending the steep steps of a ghat to find a boatman to ferry us along the river. As the sun came up, illuminating everyone and everything in a golden glow, we let the lit candles go, watching them float down the river in the traditional way. My thoughts turned to Sevita, a carer who came to our house every day for nearly ten years, bringing her husband’s ashes here last year after he died prematurely in his late forties. She waited till their daughters were on vacation from university so they could all make such an important journey together. Later, after visiting Sarnath where Buddha gave his first sermon, we visited a church nearby decorated in red and silver tinsel and thought of everyone at St. Mary’s singing hymns of Easter joy. As darkness fell we sat cross-legged observing a Hindu puja in the garden, close to where we were staying. The following Sunday found us exploring a 19th century cemetery in Kolkata and visiting Mother Teresa’s convent nearby but that’s another story.


Sing Gospel Kathy Wiltshire describes the workshops that led to a joyful evening service not long after Easter At evensong on the 22nd April St Mary’s rang out to the vibrant sound of gospel singing as the choir welcomed people and sang “Let everything that has breath, Praise the Lord! This service of gospel worship was the culmination of three “Sing Gospel” workshops held in church on Wednesday evenings starting in Holy Week. The workshops were led by Joshua who, with his youthful energy and enthusiasm, taught us to sing joyfully without sheet music. Each workshop started with breathing and stretching exercises to loosen us up and prepare us to sing. The essence of gospel music lies in the simplicity of the lyrics, the dynamic rhythms, and the use of harmonising which creates a strong sense of togetherness in the choir. Our first song “Welcome in this place” used repetition to build up a rich multilayered sound. We started in unison then moved into 3 part harmonising as the anthem gathered momentum. We also learned “Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord!” which allowed us to praise God through rhythmic body movement and singing from the heart. Joshua transformed us over the three workshops from a separate collection of individuals into an ecumenical gospel choir producing joyful music as we expressed love and praise for our Lord. We were inspired by Joshua’s ability to make each workshop fun and enjoyable while drawing out everybody’s musical potential. Gospel music encouraged us to give emotional expression to our faith leaving both choir and hopefully the congregation energised and inspired. “Let everything that hath breath, praise the Lord!”

God the Potter After reading the Rector's Ash Wednesday sermon (the Potter and the clay) on the St. Mary's website, I searched for this quote which I remembered enjoying earlier A Desire It is not you that shapes God; it's God that shapes you. If then you are the work of God, then wait for the hand of the Artist who does all things in due season. Offer him your heart, soft and tractable and keep the form in which the Artist fashioned you. Let your clay be moist, lest you grow hard and lose the imprint of his fingers. St. Irenaeus May we always be the clay in the Potter's hands. Chris Meikle


More to life than speed Penny Freeston reflects on a timeless message Last summer, fixed to the railings of the Parish church of Stromness, Orkney, I came across a framed faded poster of a rustic jug filled with daisies with the caption: ‘There is more to life than increasing its speed’. I stood mesmerised; it was the very same poster I had pinned to my college wall forty years ago. In those days I had dreamy ideals fused from William Morris’ romanticism to Joni Mitchell’s It is still a beautiful world lyrics and Pre-Raphaelite dresses to match. ‘Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there is in silence,’ another poster read, quoting Desiderata. And that was my intention; it really was. Yet so much has changed; technology has transformed our lives and globalisation has impacted on our cities. ‘Stop the world, I want to get off!’ and ‘We’ve never had it so good’ are quotations that may well come back to haunt us in austere years to come. It’s not all bad; we in the western world are more fortunate than we have ever been; preventative treatments for illnesses are being found; most of us are living longer; communication is cheaper and easier; opportunities exist to travel to places we could only dream about in years gone by. I have never ‘had it so good’ as being able to track down a second hand book on Amazon or e-mail my sister in Chicago at ‘one click’. If I need to buy something from John Lewis or Marks and Spencer I may collect it locally, barely five minutes walk away. Last night an express parcel arrived for my daughter at 9 p.m. I can freeze food to avoid shopping every day and I no longer have to worry whether I’ve used enough choke, or flooded the engine in my car, as was the case with my elderly Morris Minors. I would be a hypocrite if I said I wanted to go to back to being without a washing machine or dishwasher. There is a line in the Jewish Talmud that says ‘we shall be brought to account for all we have not appreciated on this earth.’ Perhaps that is what really troubles me. I want time ‘to stand and stare’, to sit and finish a book, to write a story and embroider flowers, to have lunch with a friend, however fleetingly and walk far enough to find bluebells and birdsong. ‘It is still a beautiful world’, to quote Desiderata if we give it the time it deserves. ‘Open your arms to change but never let go of your values,’ the Dalai Lama advises wisely. There really is more to life than increasing its speed. Do you enjoy novels? asks Chris Meikle Do you value books? If you answered yes please consider supporting a book club with a difference. £6 for three books you will never see. See the Reverse Book Club


The Memorial Hall an inherited gift The current appeal for refurbishment of the Memorial Hall has prompted questions about its history and relationship with the church. Philip Swallow has offered some background information. The Hall is constituted as a legal charity in its own right and governed by a body of Trustees. The Hall opened in 1902 and was a gift to the local community from Sir John Roberts in memory of his brother Thomas. Records and minute books exist from 1902 onwards, and initially there was no formal church involvement. In the early days there were lengthy discussions about the use to which the accommodation should be put, and the charges that should be levied. An annual general meeting was held which only annual subscribers could attend. In the early 1950s none of the Trustees attended church; there was some antagonism towards both the Rector, Revd Christopher Wansey, and the church in general. However by the time of the 1955 AGM, the Rector had enrolled enough church members as subscribers to outvote all others, and it was possible to make a new start 1) Up to this point there had been a caretaker employed to look after the building, and administration was carried out by trustees who received honoraria - it was decided to give both caretaking and administrative responsibility to George Bunyan, the Hallkeeper. I was appointed Honorary Secretary, “just for a few weeks� according to the Rector, though I remained in the post for 50 years. 2) A new Trust Deed was adopted, under which the Rector and two churchwardens are ex-officio Trustees, with four more trustees appointed by the PCC, and two more trustees co-opted. 3) The new regime inherited a financial situation in which letting income did not cover staff and maintenance costs. Both the number of bookings and the charges had to be increased. The house and tennis courts adjacent to the Hall were sold - Lindal Court now stands there. Overall the Memorial Hall fabric, finances and governance are now in a healthy state. There is a good number of regular bookings. The current Hall Manager, Barbara Slaney has been in post for over 30 years, and she is assisted by her husband Frank, a part-time caretaker, a part-time cleaner, and a part-time maintenance man, Barry Mingay. Forty years of penury have blossomed into a situation not of affluence but of adequate


sufficiency so that administering the Hall today is infinitely more rewarding and encouraging than at any time since 1955. What of the future? The challenges of a large and ageing building remain, and are being dealt with by a small group of people working closely with the Hall Manager, people who are dedicated to providing a successful and self-supporting community enterprise. (Abridged from a longer text.)

Interegnums and Disposable Cups Wendy Littlejohns reflects on the variety of many years as Church Warden. Thank you Wendy I am approached by different people saying; there are no handtowels in the ladies toilet, the coffee ladies have run out of disposable cups, the sidesmen have run out of service sheets, and the clergy need an extra assistant at Communion. These are some of the calls that can sometimes greet a Churchwarden on a Sunday morning, not I hasten to add all on the same day, although a near thing some weeks!! The secret is not doing everything oneself but knowing who to ask! So the call often goes out for Bob if he’s around! Seriously though the legal duty of a Churchwarden is to care for the fabric of the Church building and to maintain order during divine worship! Certainly I have spent a lot of time on Fabric matters, ably assisted by the Fabric Committee, not least because the lead round the base of the building has been stolen three times in three years. Any major repair or new purchase has to have a faculty, the Diocesan equivalent of local authority planning permission and the criteria are strict. But we now have a new internal noticeboard and the memorial to Bob Birchnall in the Chapel in addition to a new flat roof above the Gwinnell room and the two south porches have been retiled. It is unusual for both wardens to retire at the same time, (it helps to have one warden who has some experience) but Jill Jones and I became wardens the day after Geoffrey Smith moved to Loughton, so straight into an interregnum. We were greatly helped by Mark Spencer-Ellis who joined the team as deputy warden in order to help us through the process of writing the parish profile, which was needed before we could advertise for a new Rector. Mark had been involved in the previous profile, so it was good to have him on board. Naomi Wormell the Curate


at the time, we discovered was an excellent organiser and soon had lists of all the services that needed covering and pastoral visiting amongst other things sorted. When she moved on five months before Ian joined us she left an excellent routine to continue. We were greatly helped by the recently appointed Olympic co-ordinator Canon Duncan Green who was the mainstay on a Sunday morning and the many retired priests who helped us out. Once a year the Area Dean and a lay person come to inspect the log book and the inventory to ensure that all building repairs and acquisitions are noted and that we have not run off with the silver! These days we are also asked about church life and what has encouraged us during the year. It has been an eventful four years and an enormous privilege to serve God and the parish in this way. My thanks to Jill Jones and Peter Webb and the deputies for all their support. You’ve been a great team.

The Olympics are almost here And St Mary’s is preparing in many ways: John Goldsmith tells us about the work of the Olympic Group and the athlete homestay programme “When Annie McTighe assembled a group from the Parish who are, “Interested in sport”, who could plan a programme of events during the Olympics and Paralympics, we had little idea what would be involved. Over the weeks some ideas crystallized; Wine tasting at Waitrose, A Jazz night, Two Historical tours, Big screen viewing of peak events with an evening meal to follow, A Parish Bar-B-Q, working with other Churches in the Deanery and housing the families of the poorer participating athletes who cannot pay the high cost of hotel accommodation during the Olympics and Paralympics. This latter need is to be co-ordinated centrally by the Chelsford Diocese scheme, “More than Gold”, and it will be our job to organise a register of willing homeowners in the Parish who can be paired with families in need. This can be for unpaid accommodation with or without a simple breakfast or a paid half board arrangement. So far the response has been reasonable with five families willing to help plus a contact outside the parish. Our aim is to give people from around the world a sense that the Christian community is opening its arms to folk who are not so fortunate as ourselves, but in true humility.


After all East London has been a natural melting pot for so many visitors from overseas through the years, it would be natural that we should welcome our brothers and sisters from the rest of the World at this very important time. Ian Tarrant, Audrey Kaminski, James Sales, Kate Walker, Margaret Igglesden, John Goldsmith. St Mary’s members will be Games Makers during the Olympic and Paralympic Games: Sally Barton will be one of the few Swahili speaking interpreters helping athletes and spectators at the open road events. She will also be taking part in the opening and closing ceremonies as a drummer - keep your eyes peeled! Viveca Dutt will be driving members of the Olympic family between London venues. Sarah Reynolds is a Protocol Team leader for the Olympics and the Paralympics and speaks for us all when she says she is looking forward to a wonderful summer hosting and making the Olympic Family and spectators comfortable and happy during the Games. As well as our own events (see back page) there are a number of events at other churches during the Games; look out for the special leaflets Saturday 28th July - 12noon-4pm Grand opening day on Woodford Green with entertainment, refreshments and activities for all ages. Admission free. Sunday 9th September 12noon-4pm Closing celebration at Ashton Playing Fields. Bring your own picnic. Games for all ages. Short open-air service. Thank you to all our contributors to this edition. We would be delighted to hear from you if you have any comments on any of these articles. Please send any contributions to Next copy date is 31 August 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 do remember that we really like pictures to illustrate anything you send us. Think picture!


Olympic events at St Mary’s Saturday 28th July - 10.30am Historical tour of St Mary's Church. Tour free, pay for refreshments. Saturday 28th July - 8pm Jazz Concert to celebrate the opening of the Olympics. Ticket price only £5. Pay bar. Advance booking recommended. Tickets from Parish Office or online: event/24324 Wednesday 1st August - 11am Historical tour of St Mary's Church. Tour free, pay for refreshments. Saturday 4th August - 10am to 8pm Watch the games on big screens in church. Admission free. Refreshments on sale: brunch from 11am; barbecue 2-7pm. Activities for children and young people. Sunday 5th August - 12noon to 6pm Watch the games on big screens in the Memorial Hall. Admission free. Bring your own lunch. Drinks on sale. Sunday 5th August - 7.30pm Olympic dinner in the Memorial Hall. Big screens still displaying Olympic events. Ticket price to be announced. advance booking essential. Thursday 23rd August - 6pm-8pm International wine tasting at Waitrose supermarket. Tickets £9. NB advance booking essential. ‘The important thing in life is not the triumph, but the fight; the essential thing is not to have won but to have fought well.’ Baron Pierre De Coubertin - founding father of the modern Olympics.

St Mary's Summer Magaine 2012  

The latest edition of our quarterly magazine

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