St Maryâ€™s Woodford Parish Magazine Volume 8 Issue 2
Welcome Recently I found myself preaching on the ‘heavenly city’ in the book of Revelation (and the writing of Saint Augustine), and a few days later speaking at the annual service of Redbridge Voluntary Service, which this year took place in our church. Both these got me thinking and speaking about values - British values and Christian values. My apologies to those who heard both sermons and found me repeating some of my ideas! For the benefit of those who heard neither, there is a synopsis on pages 26 and 27. As we approach the General Election, and soon after that, the difficult Brexit negotiations, we will need to be aware of what really matters in our national life. It will be tempting to go for solutions which are easy, profitable or popular, rather than options which are challenging, sacrificial, or harder to understand. As Christians all our choices, personal and political, are subject to God’s sovereign rule, so in all things we need to have ‘the mind of Christ’, as Paul calls it. The terrorist bombing in Manchester came a week after my musings on values, and showed that there are others in this world who have no respect for God’s creatures, the human lives or human creativity. The people of Manchester responded with generosity and calm perseverance. We should do the same,
Revd Canon Ian Tarrant, email: email@example.com Cover: images from our Food and Fun Day, 20th May 2017. 2
Parish Register Baptism 2nd April - Bertie Moore Funeral 21st April - Valerie Geller
Weddings 30th April - Lincoln Small & Delia Nathan 31th May - Robin Torr & Georgina Thomas
Another wedding pic here?
Life at St Mary’s
Goodbye from the curate Having got to know many of you over the last three years, as my curacy contract ends, the time has come to say goodbye to all of you at St Mary’s. Such occasions are always laden with reminiscences of times spent together and I will remember many events and stories you’ve shared with me which has been very much appreciated, along with troubles and difficulties which I have been privileged to hear about and help with. I will also miss the excellent sermons from the ministry team, and the thoughtful prayers written by various people on the Intercessors’ rota, and so much more. I would encourage anyone who wants to have a go at preaching or offering prayers to approach your Rector, Ian, about it, as he is also a very encouraging and empowering person, which I have also appreciated, and he could direct you to some training for extra support. People may be wondering where I am off to next. The simple answer is I don’t know. The Bishop has commended me only for posts as an ‘assistant priest’, rather than as an ‘incumbent’ or ‘vicar’ or ‘team vicar’, which leaves me with a very limited range of posts to which I can apply. With few of these kinds of ‘Assistant’ posts on offer in the Church of England 4
to apply to (and none on offer in this Diocese), I have not been offered anything yet, after nine months of looking and applying. Consequently, I will remain in my house and continue to look for work – both in the Church and outside the Church. (And I have really appreciated those who have been an extra pair of eyes looking at job adverts for me.) So, for the time being, I will still be around the area for a while longer – kind of like Jesus still being around after his death and resurrection (until his Ascension from earthly sight). While I may be parting from St Mary’s formally as the curate, it is not necessarily an end to informal conversations that people might still want to have with me, which I would welcome. Bless you all in your ministry (however great or small) as you continue to serve the St Mary’s worshipping community and the wider local community as well. My last parting words to you are this: please continue to challenge yourselves to take calculated risks in order to grow – personally, spiritually and communally as a church! Revd Santou Beurklian-Carter
Life at St Mary’s
Keeping the rain out
ornamental fleche, and the refurbishment of the crumbling north gatepost. (The crumbling south gatepost was irreparably damaged by a car in 2015, and its reconstruction was paid for by insurance.) So what’s next? The next priority is the north side of the roof of the back hall (now known as the Pankhurst Hall). Many years ago the south side was re-tiled, but at that time the north side was considered good for a while longer. The time is up! Tiles have been falling off from time to time, and it has been necessary to put a safety barrier along the edge. So far the rain has not got into the hall itself, but that time can’t be far off. We still have some cash in the kitty from previous fund-raising, but not enough to complete the work. So the Trustees have started contacting charitable trusts again, and planning fund-raising events, with a view to the work being done in the summer of 2018. We will keep you updated.
In 2011, before launching the appeal for the refurbishment of the Memorial Hall, your Trustees thought it prudent to secure the services of consultant surveyors, who came and inspected the whole building, and gave detailed recommendations concerning the major maintenance needed to keep the Hall going for another 100 years. As we suspected, the most urgent tasks were the floor in the front hall (now named the Roberts Hall), and the provision of an ’accessible’ toilet, but other major issues were highlighted and prioritised. Thanks to fundraising events, the generosity of the community, and grants from several Trusts, in 2015 we were able to complete the work on the floor and the toilets. This was achieved well within our budget partly thanks to the Borough Ian Tarrant Conservation Officer insisting that we replace pine floorboards with pine, rather than the oak that we had planned for. So in 2016 we continued with maintenance to the roof at the High Road end of the building, the sealing and redecoration of the
Life at St Mary’s
Work on churchyard trees As you will have seen, some work is taking place on several trees in the churchyard. At the beginning of April the tree surgeons worked on three trees: - a false acacia on the south-east side of the church - a yew immediately to the north of the church - a black pine by the High Road. At the beginning of June some reduction of the copper beech will take place. These notes explain briefly why these works are happening. The false acacia has been felled to ground level and the wood will be removed shortly. The trunk had a substantial cavity at and a little above the ground, and several large, dead branches. Growth generally was lacking vigour and smaller branches were dying back. Rather than risk it blowing down during a gale, it was decided that felling now would allow the surrounding trees to grow more strongly The yew has had a number of the lower branches removed and this work will be completed shortly. The tree causes several problems. Needles shed from the branches on and near the church roof block gutters, and the lower growth cuts off light into some church windows. The lower branches move in the wind and endanger the memorials in this part of the 6
churchyard, some of which are Grade II listed architectural monuments. The tree will look a bit odd until the upper branches grow more. Three black pines at the front of the churchyard are a key feature of St Mary’s. They are all healthy, but the central one has a good deal of dead wood on it. If these dead branches fell off, they could hit pedestrians on the pavement of the High Road, so the dead branches will be safely removed. The massive copper beech between the church and the Memorial Hall is the most notable tree in the churchyard and is regarded with affection by many members of the church and other local residents. A plaque on the gatepost notes that it was nominated as a ‘Great Tree of London’ some years ago, and it is probably at least 150 years old. On June 5th work will begin on this tree.
About 10 years ago a fungus was noted on the trunk and this is of a type that often kills beech trees. When a tree expert inspected it, he advised that an ultrasound examination of the trunk (PiCUS Tomogram) should be carried out. This was done about a year ago and showed that the fungus has left the trunk rather weak; there is a risk of the tree being blown down in a wind. Expert advice from the firm who did the tomogram was that cutting down the whole tree was not yet essential. But we need to reduce its wind resistance by cutting back its upper part - this should make it safe. Unfortunately, old beech trees do not react well to pruning, and there is an unavoidable risk that crown reduction will hasten the decline of the whole tree and result in it dying back and having to be removed later, but there is a good chance of keeping the tree a few more years by making it smaller. About 2 metres of branches will be
removed from the top and all the way round the sides, removing branches less than 5cm in diameter. This is the ideal time of year to do this work, as the tree is growing actively and should be able to produce new growth in response. It requires very precise work, but the firm we have appointed to do the work have also undertaken work for the National Trust, Essex Wildlife Trust and many local authorities in Essex. Whilst the work takes place, there will be some inconvenience to users of the church and hall; for instance, contractorâ€™s vehicles and equipment will be in the church drive, leaving no space for safe parking of other vehicles. David Littlejohns
Youth out and about Our Youth Weekend Away (31st March -2nd April) to St Mark’s College was fantastic! From an adventure course to a night walk, games of lazer quest, archery, capture the flag and lots of football! Young people slept in amazingly themed bedrooms in the medieval former monastery; the setting captured our imaginations. We explored Easter and Jesus’ life together and created a service with a drama, talks, prayers, artwork and music. We prayed together and spent time connecting with God. It was lots of fun and a chance to make some new friends too! Why not join us next year? This term, we’ve been trampolining with Signpost Youth Club and have been very grateful for the recently donated foosball table and pool table that is making Friday nights so much fun! We went to pizza express with Going Deeper Youth Group to de-stress during exams. A New Mentoring programme is starting at St Gabriel’s to offer regular 1-to-1
mentoring between young people and trusted members of our community. Quest Sunday Youth Ministry did a fantastic job creating an Easter Garden on Good Friday to show Jesus’ death and resurrection. They also ran a stall at the Food and Fun day offering many people from our community a chance to decorate gingerbread men. As well as leading an all-age service on Sunday with a drama, readings, prayers and a talk about getting to know the real God. Future dates · Solid Youth Festival Open to 717yrs Saturday 8th July · Holiday Club Youth Leader Volunteering 24th-27th July · Leiston 11-14s Summer Camp 29th-5th August · Aquasports 14-19s Summer Camp 6th-13th August · Youth Alpha/Confirmation on Sunday afternoons starting in September with weekend away 68th October
We are collecting non-perishable food for the Redbridge Foodbank. The collection box is now in the church foyer every Sunday.
For more information, to sign up to our youth newsletter or get in contact with our youth worker contact Becca Kemal via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07490459850
Carpenter by appointment Chris Whitfield recalls four decades of practical service to the church. After the ﬁre of 1968 a rebuilding committee was formed, I was appointed Convener, probably because the only room in the parish big enough to hold everyone in comfort was our sitting room. I had built this room a few years before so I had some DIY skills. lt is a sign of times gone by, that no woman was on that rebuild committee. Kathleen, my wife, a active ﬁgure at St Mary's and a greatly respected local GP in the area was allowed to serve tea and biscuits! At some point the Rector, Bob Birchnall, brought a wooden ﬁgure of Mary to me, which had spent a number of years as part of the notice board outside, and was to say the least weatherbeaten. Mary was stripped down to bare timber, the gaps in the graining ﬁlled and repainted, as you see her today in the porch of St Mary's. Unusually she has brown eyes, somehow a blue eyed Jewess born around 20 BC seemed unlikely! Then one evening Bob slipped in 10
with an ﬂat object wrapped in newspaper, one of the old brass memorial plaques now in the chapel, could I make a frame and ﬁx it on the chapel wall? There it remains. Next, a major test piece, could I ﬁt out the music room / organist’s hideaway? Bob was thinking if Chris makes a mess, it won’t show and we can try someone else. Somewhat nettled I thought, ‘I'll show you’. It has been expanded a bit to accommodate more music but much is still my original. The organist at the time was more than pleased. For many years I was also ﬁxer in residence to the toys and equipment of the Mums and Tots group. After that I got let out into public view but few people saw what I did next. There was no insulation in all that vast new roof. I bought lots of rolls of insulation. I knelt at the top of the slope with a roll of unwrapped insulation and watched with delight as it unwound itself by aid of gravity. I never again ever managed to cover so vast a space in so short a time. I also managed to leave my jersey in the loft,
a lovely incandescent orange cashmere, bought for a snip at West Essex Golf Club. George Bunyan our well known verger found it and instantly said ‘There is only one…’. At a later date a cable was run across the ceiling to the bell chamber. By dint of a lamp bulb and a switch we managed to get the timing of the sanctus bell right every time which made quite a change. The cupboards in the Gwinnell Room followed, which included an ampliﬁer, loud speakers and a deck, used every Monday by a lively group of Scottish dancers, Kathleen's pride and joy. There were modifications to the original kitchen including one I made labelled "Esculentum viatorum" (food for the travelling man) a phrase I had gleaned from the Book of Common Prayer. I suspect I should have been paying more attention to the sermon. At that time St Mary's operated a Night Shelter once a week and the cupboard contained their simple food supplies was jealously guarded by Margaret Campbell. The juxtaposition of the imposing Latin words and the basic
contents - tins of soup and baked beans - was a bit ridiculous. The pigeonholes in the choir vestry came next, a place for every choir member to keep their music. The room beyond the loos was originally going to be an ofﬁce for Bishop Chadwick who had rededicated St Mary's. It never achieved that elevated status but was used as a Junior Choir Vestry, ‘Hanging space needed please!’ lt was then pressed into service as a print room. More cupboards added, high-tech, the photo copier and general dumping ground. I can remember being quite surprised that our new and expensive organ had no lighting. I managed to slide one light in just above the console. A light high up behind the organ and an access light which manages to switch itself off was added. In this space are two stout plywood boxes of my making which house Mary and Jesus and Joseph, stone ﬁgures from Bruges which Bob had purchased. They are the centre of our Christmas crib beneath the altar. Baby Jesus traditionally spends Christmas eve in a drawer in the clergy vestry. In the tower and cellar and cupboard off the chapel I made several efforts to provide shelves and hooks in an often failed attempt to persuade folk to keep the place tidy. The sacristy team were much more receptive. As was written in old maps ‘Here be dragons’ and our sacristan Sybil was a force to be reckoned with, she demanded only the very best and you 11
Our building were soon told if you failed to reach that mark. The original sacristy was much larger but the toilet for the disabled took a chunk out of it. We have a wooden processional cross which for many many years was known as the West Ham Cross, it was painted in maroon and blue . At some stage Bob passed this to my son Patrick, a far better carpenter and woodworker to remove all traces of colour and to try and heal some of the signiﬁcant splits in the timber, so far so good. This cross is certainly top heavy and when it was leant against the stripped altar during Good Friday services invariably picked a period of total silence to crash to the ﬂoor with a
resounding thump. Geoffrey Smith was not happy; asked me if I could help, a sliding wooden bar housed under the altar top did the trick. One Easter when Kathleen and I were away, no one could ﬁnd this little gizmo and the inevitable crash. I was asked when returned what had I done with this item. I looked, it was still there under the altar The altar table had at some point been turned round and no one had though to look underneath. You can't win ‘em all. At one point the chapel had a shelf below the window near the altar. The number of books and bits and pieces needed for services increased so the window cills were pressed into service, a right mess. A replacement shelf was no help, something bigger on the wall would require a faculty with all its delays. Jean Sherman was churchwarden at the time, we used to meet regularly on Bird Watch outings and the suggestion of a free standing desk (which required no faculty) was agreed. I thought I had made adequate provision; sometimes it appears to have half the British Library stacked on it. After Jean's untimely death the desk was subsequently dedicated to her memory. A very valuable map of Woodford was found in the Memorial Hall. It was very expertly copied - we could not keep the original - picture frame please. This hangs in the porch. I made a large mobile notice board which stood in the porch for many years but has now been replaced.
Likewise the creche has been updated since I ﬁtted it out many years ago when teenaged girls used to take charge of the babies while Mum could enjoy a peaceful hour. One day a kitchen clock appeared on the wall in the church. Shocked, I went back home and made one with handsomely grained timber. I showed it to Peter Webb, church warden at the time, who said, ‘Let’s make an executive decision’, moved the kitchen clock to the office and hung this one up. Drinking water and tissues became necessary to have available during the service so I got a commission to make a small stool/table to match the altar furniture, but it only has four legs. It stands beside the President's chair. I well remember the architect of the rebuilt St Mary's, Mr Phillips. He always appeared in suit and a blue shirt with a detachable white collar and the same tie, never otherwise. I formed the opinion that he must have had a very
predictable and ordered childhood based on the fact he never varied his clothing and all the furniture around the church which he designed seemed to need eight legs to hold it up. My idle fancies about the architect may well be quite untrue. Before the ﬁre parishioners came in through the back door beside the Sunday coffee bar, the altar was at the present entrance. There were lots of pillars; the acoustics were poor and sight lines to the altar was very limited. Bless the man who set the place on ﬁre. Mr Phillips converted this ruin into a wonderful open space ﬁlled with light. Furthermore we could enter from the front with pride and we had a kitchen and a meeting space, and proper presentable loos. A lot was done with a little money. Despite being designed over 45 years ago it has not dated much, coronas have gone a bit out of favour Chris Whitfield 13
Worship - in Accra and at St Mary’s
Observations from Charity Honny Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! I deem it an honour to be invited to make some observations concerning church activities here at St. Mary Anglican Church to be published in the Church’s newspaper. However, since I’ve been worshipping here for a very short period of time, I would rather wish to present what pertains during worship and at other festive occasions at the Parish I worship at in Ghana and the Diocese of Accra in general upon which proper and meaningful comparisons or observations could be deduced. We have about 40 Parishes and Congregations in the Diocese of Accra, the Capital of Ghana. The Parish where I worship is St. Augustine (of Canterbury) Anglican Church, Dansoman, Accra (popularly known as the ‘Basilica’ because of the beauty of its architecture and the dynamism of its members). St. Augustine Anglican Church comes under the Accra West Archdeaconry. We have two Holy Eucharist services on Sundays: 1st and 2nd
Mass at 6.30am – 8.00am and 9.00am - 12.30 noon respectively. The Liturgy and Order of Service are the same as at St. Mary’s, Woodford except that the liturgy here has been modified and shortened, whilst in Ghana we have complete sung mass every Sunday during the 2nd service. About 300 members attend church service every Sunday. As is the practice in every Anglican Church, the Choir leads the congregation in worship. However, in my Parish in Ghana, we have two other singing groups namely: ‘St. Monica Singing Band’ that provide local gospel songs during ‘Appeal for Funds’ and the ‘Royals Youth Band’ that provide background gospel music during the Praise and Worship
segment immediately after the Intention of the Mass and during Intercessory Prayers after the Nicene Creed. Singing or chanting of some of the Canticles (apart from the psalm appointed for the day) such as the Venite, Te Deum Laudamus, Benedicite, Benedictus, and Jubilate Deo is done, depending, of course, on the Seasons and Church Calendar. At ‘Evensung’ the Magnificat, Nunc Dimitis, Cantate Domino and Deus Misereatur are sung according to the season. Evensungs are held mainly during Lent. 25 minutes Bible Study sessions are conducted in groups every Sunday immediately after the reading of the Epistle, after which the Benedictus or the Jubilate Deo (depending on the season) is sung followed by the reading of the Gospel. A hymn is sung before the Sermon is delivered. Great Entrance (Wafers and Wine) is carried by the Guilds and Associations namely: The Guild of the Good Shepherd, Women Fellowship, Men Fellowship, Guild of St. Mary the Virgin, the
Mothers’ Union, Anglican Young Peoples’ Association and St. Augustine of Canterbury Club. A special duty roster is prepared for this purpose. Generous gifts of groceries, etc., are joyfully and enthusiastically provided by the guild or association on duty and carried to the Altar with the Great Entrance for the Clergy (3 in number) to supplement the meagre stipend received from the church. (It must be mentioned here that nowadays qualified Ordinands ordained are mostly professionals like doctors, engineers, architects, lawyers, accountants, etc. They are referred to as Worker Priests and do not receive stipend from the Church). Offertory forms a very important part of worship and members of St. Augustine Church are known for their generosity. Offertory follows immediately after the Great Entrance. Monies derived from the Appeal for Funds every Sunday are used for the opening of new congregations, serious evangelism, welfare of the aged and needy, building projects, schools and scholarships for needy but brilliant students of the Anglican Church, stipends, salaries and wages for office staff and workers, administrative expenses, Synod meetings and Ordination of Priests etc. Monthly tithing is seriously acknowledged and received every second Sunday of the month during worship. Duties of Chalice Assistants are same as pertain in St. Mary’s, 15
Life at St Mary’s Woodford, except that we (I am one of them) do not preach although most of us are Lay Readers. We are seven in number and, therefore, a duty roster is prepared for us. We have ‘Exchange of Altar’ involving the Clergy and Servers of the Sanctuary. Immediately after the post communion prayers and announcements, those celebrating their birthday and special occasions are called to the Altar to be blessed. Sunday school – There are 60-80 children in the Sunday school ranging from toddlers to adolescents. After the age of 12 years they are encouraged to attend catechism classes to be prepared for confirmation. Camping trips and other religious activities are arranged for them under the strict supervision of the teachers. Congregational Meeting is held biannually during church service. Vestry Meetings during which Councillors, Wardens, Synod Delegates, etc., are elected are held in the first quarter every three years. A Synod Report is compiled and presented by the PCC (Parochial Church Council) Secretary at the meeting and then forwarded to the Diocesan and Synod Secretary at the Diocesan office. In Conclusion, there are many similarities between St. Mary Anglican Church, Woodford and St. Augustine (of Canterbury) Anglican Church, Dansoman, Accra, although there are some minor differences too. One observation I would readily and gladly make is the friendliness of the 16
parishioners of St. Mary’s Anglican Church, Woodford and it is this welcoming atmosphere (especially the Contemplation Group that met during Lent), that enthused and encouraged me to continue to worship with you. The Clergy, the Parishioners and the Order of Service, made me feel very much at home here. I would like to say a very big thank you. Best part of my 74 years of existence has and still revolves (voluntarily) around church activities and to quote Psalm 69:9a ‘’ The Zeal of Thine House Consumes Me’’ – Thanks be to the Holy Spirit which energises and enables me to work in our Lord’s vineyard, I can testify to the numerous blessings I continue to receive from the Lord. ‘’O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness Bow down before Him, His glory proclaim With Gold of Obedience and Incense of Lowliness Kneel and Adore Him the Lord is His Name’’ (A&M Revised No. 77) Very soon I shall be returning to Ghana, and I‘ll have a lot to tell my people at home regarding St. Mary Anglican Church, Woodford in Essex, England. Thank You and God Bless. Charity Honny
Local Lent Groups
Authentic living (1) - Justice Among the most interesting issues raised in the discussions of our Lent Group was the relation between justice on the one hand and peace and reconciliation on the other. The Northern Ireland peace process is one example of the difficulties arising. The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission is an example of an attempt to meeting the two competing demands. Co-incidentally at the time of our Lent Group meeting I was reading a book called Cameron at No 10 by Anthony Seldon and Peter Snowden. This is an account of Mr Cameron’s first five years as Prime Minister, which I can recommend. I was very surprised to find Mr Cameron acknowledging China’s claim to Tibet: We recognise Tibet as part of China and do not support Tibetan independence. This is in the express context of seeking better relations with China. It is also against the background (although Mr Cameron did not say this) of the occupation of Tibet by China in 1950. The status of Tibet in international law before 1950 is complicated, but it is difficult to believe that what Mr Cameron said was
dictated by anything other than expediency. This year is the twentieth anniversary of the formation of a Labour Government by Mr Blair which was committed to an ethical foreign policy. The idea much derided at the time and was dropped because it got in the way of arms sales. The present Government of course is embarrassed by the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia. But shoudn’t our foreign policy be an ethical one? Difficult waters indeed. You may not share my view that good relations with China may come at too high a price – particularly when we may be seeking favourable trade deals with it postBrexit. But Christians do need to be concerned with moral issues and potentially they can make a difference if they articulate their views strongly enough. I have written to the Parliamentary candidate for whom I minded to vote to seek his views on Tibet. I will consider carefully his reply. Philip Petchey
Local Lent Groups
Authentic Living (2) - disciples Our Lent Course this year, produced by United Society Partners in the Gospel, explored what it means to be a disciple of Christ, drawing on experiences of Christians around the world. As we know, the word disciple is derived from the Latin discipulus, meaning pupil, from discere, to learn. About 25 years ago I remember Reverend Bob Birchnall giving an annual Good Friday talk to the Sunday School children in the Gwinnell Room when he asked the meaning of the word 'disco' and its connection with the word disciple. A little boy offered an answer: 'I dance?' he suggested with child-like innocence that still makes me smile. Each of our five sessions ended with prayers, from which I have quoted the extracts in the box on this page. USPG is an Anglican mission agency working in partnership with local churches around the world, founded in 1701. Together, they work with local communities to improve health, put children in school, tackle discrimination, nurture leaders, give voice to women, and much more. . Penny Freeston
Holy God, Open our hearts and spirits to yours, that we might hear your call and our response be as wholehearted as Nathaniel (from Kerala) Enable us to respond ever more fully to your love, that you might become a priority in our lives, and we might share your transforming love with others. Thank you for the diversity which surrounds us. Help us to widen our vision to see your image in all people and to respond with your love to everyone in need. Help us, your disciples, to continue to challenge injustice and so be your hands, your feet, your voice today. Help us to live lives of more authentic discipleship as we seek to follow the example your son, Jesus set for us.
Constantine to Justinian It was a treat for us at St. Mary’s to be able to attend the Chelmsford Diocese Lent course here at St. Mary’s. A glimpse of history broadened our perspectives. We learnt about the Church in the fourth centuryAD, in particular, about ¨ Constantine, his family and especially his mother, ¨ Constantine’s conversion to Christianity, ¨ the Council of Nicea and its aftermath, ¨ the Church becoming an institution, ¨ the fall of the Roman Empire in the West, ¨ St Augustine of Hippo, ¨ the reign of Justinian and ¨ the heresies of the day. We learnt about Justinian’s wife and her influence. We studied maps and movements and thought about what migration must have been like at times when large numbers of livestock migrated with the people they accompanied. We found out something about Visigoths and Ostrogoths and considered some of the conflicts in the Church such as whether indeed the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father or from the Father and the Son (filioque). Reading lists were provided and refreshments served. The course was taught by Miss Rowena Rudkin, one of our Readers. Cheryl Corney
From first to twenty-first... from Acts to actions
Crossing boundaries This is the sixth in a series of articles based on the earliest church as described in the book of Acts. You may want to use them for personal reflection - or as material for discussion in your home group.
Acts 11:1-18 In the first half of this chapter we find Peter before a commission of enquiry for violating Jewish purity laws by consorting with non-Jews. A fuller version of the story is found in ch. 10, but here he retells it from his own point of view. His claim is that he is obeying God’s will in taking the good news of God’s love to the household of a Roman soldier. Because: 1) in his rooftop vision, God told him to revise his lifelong understanding of ‘purity’; and 2) once he began to preach in the Roman’s house, the Holy Spirit acted on his hearerswith noticeable effect. Ponder or discuss: · How easy is to break with convention and go against your peers? · How hard is it to change your mind when a pioneer shows you the way? 20
Acts 11:19-26 Next Luke reports on Greekspeaking Jewish Christians who fled from Jerusalem after Stephen died for his faith. Arriving in Antioch they shared their faith with people who were not Jews. This looks like an accidental side-effect of the persecution; but it was part of… God’s big plan The Old Testament makes it plain that the descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are God’s chosen, special, people. And yet there are hints of his concern for other nations too: the promise that all nations will be blessed through Abraham’s offspring; the healing of Naaman the Assyrian; the inclusion of the Jericho prostitute Rahab and the Moabite widow Ruth in the family tree of David; and the prophecies of Isaiah and other prophets about other nations coming to Jerusalem.
In the gospels we find Jesus healing a Roman centurion’s servant, the daughter of a Syro-Phoenician woman, and a foreigner with a legion of demons. Finally he sends his disciples to make disciples of ‘all nations’. In the book of Acts we read how these promises and hints were fulfilled as diverse nationalities received the gospel and are united with Jewish Christians in the church. But this was not without discomfort for those who had grown up thinking themselved privileged in God’s sight, and considering other nations unclean! Those first Jewish Christians were crossing a significant cultural boundary. · Have you ever felt bewildered in an unfamiliar environment - first day in a new job? in a foreign country? first time in a betting shop, or a sauna perhaps? Visiting a neighbour of a different nationality? · How did you cope? · Does cultural difference excite you or worry you? · What advice would you have for others?
Acts 13:44-52 In Acts 13, we read how the Holy Spirit tells the church to send Saul and Barnabas to take the Good News to other places overseas. This is a crossing of geographical boundaries and soon also involves crossing the Jew-Gentile boundary again, as their preaching extends beyond the Jewish communities in the places that they visit. It is during this journey that Saul drops his Hebrew name, and adopts the Greek name Paul. In v47 here he quotes from Isaiah to justify the broadening of his approach. I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles, so that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth. And today... We owe our own heritage of faith to those who were willing to cross boundaries, both cultural and geographical to bring the good news to our ancestors. · What boundaries are there still for the gospel to cross? · How might St Mary’s, or we as individuals, play a part in crossing those boundaries? ▄
A fresh expression of church is a new gathering or network that engages mainly with people who have never been to church. In recent years many churches have been exploring new ways to witness and worship so that the good news of God’s love reaches groups of people it has never met before. See www.freshexpressions.org.uk 21
Reflective silence Some of you may know that I have been studying Systemic and Family Therapy part-time while at St Mary’s in order to be better equipped, as a priest, to handle the conflict and mental health issues that people present for help. If there is anyone in need of a conversation around family, conflict or mental health issues, I continue to be available as a practitioner in this field. As a parting gift, here is a Biblical reflection on conflict transformation (based on the adulterous woman in John 8:1-11), using a framework of systemic thinking that incorporates the Bridge Builders approach of systemic teaching and working with conflict. It was published recently in their newsletter and I offer it to you as well. It might not seem glaringly obvious at first, but the story of the adulterous woman is most certainly about conflict happening at various levels. It starts off highly confrontational, with the Pharisees not just interrupting, but disrupting, Jesus’ teaching in the synagogue, to present a case to him. They use an approach that is highly discouraged in systemic and family therapy called ‘name, blame and shame’. They use this ‘name, blame and shame’ technique, not just on the woman, but hope to use the same approach on Jesus after he responds to 22
their question. But instead of responding quickly in a knee-jerk reaction to defend his position, Jesus uses containing silence to de-escalate the conflict from a state of full-blown confrontation to a state of quiet tension; and we know he is silent for a considerable amount of time as he writes something, because the scripture says the Pharisees kept on questioning him, prodding him for a reaction. After a considerable amount of time, and presumably waiting for the Holy Spirit to offer him inspiration, Jesus stands and gives a carefully thought-through challenging response by turning the mirror back onto them. Then, Jesus goes back to silently writing on the ground but uses silence in a different way this time – he uses reflective silence to provide an opportunity for the Pharisees to reflect on their approach and behaviour. It was an opportunity for reflection – not just for the Pharisees, but for the ‘adulterous’ woman as well, in order to understand that they are part of a larger system of maladaptive behaviour. It is not just the woman who is the ‘problem’ in this story but also the woman’s partner who had intimate relations with her, as well as the marriage/divorce laws of the day which kept women vulnerable, powerless and without many options - which, in turn, allowed the Pharisees to be judgemental and punitive towards women. But something miraculous happened in that reflective space. That reflective time and space allowed for not just the
The scene as imagined and painted by Vasily Polenov (1844-1927)
conflict to de-escalate and dissipate, but for a ‘second-order change’ (look it up on Google) to occur in their perspective and in their behaviour. And they walked away as different people. So, after de-escalating the conflict of the Pharisees’ presenting position of confrontation to highlight the underlying concern of the value of her life, Jesus de-escalates the conflict down another notch to the level of universal needs for compassion and forgiveness towards people caught in an unhealthy system. Jesus transforms this conflictual situation into an opportunity for teaching about the importance of having compassion and empathy towards another human being, by asking them to reflect on their own behaviour of accusing someone else as the ‘problem’ within the relationship or system and to reflect on the powerimbalanced system in which they are operating. The Pharisees’ lack of enquiry into this woman’s ‘backstory’ or life circumstances – or at least, silence about it to Jesus did this woman’s reputation harm.
Silence can be a powerful tool in conflict – for good or for ill. It can provide a space to bring the level of heat in a conflict down to a calmer level, or it can create further distancing and polarisation in the relationship. Some people use silence constructively to reduce the tension in a conflict with the intention of re-engaging later about a contentious issue. Some people use the power of silence destructively, i.e. the proverbial ‘cold shoulder’, to increase the tension and conflict by distancing themselves from, and refusing to talk any further about, the tension or conflict situation. Which way do you use silence to deal with tension and conflict? Do you use it in a healthy (contained) way or an unhelpful (destructive) way? Do you recognise the silence that is used as a warning signal that something might be amiss and that you need to reengage with the person to transform the tension and conflict into a better relationship? Or do you use silence as a way to relieve yourself from any further engagement with the tension and conflict and as a reason to end the 23
Bicentenary relationship? Jesus was very aware of, and intentional about, how he was using silence. He used silence to create a space in which the Pharisees could not only physically hear, but also emotionally receive, the challenge he offered to them. This challenge Jesus gave, followed by silence, gave the Pharisees the opportunity to make a second-order change in their attitude, their behaviour and their lives. This particular use of containing, and reflective silence eventually brought the Pharisees who were present that day to a place of compassion rather than staying in a place of anger and judgement which could have potentially led to violence towards the woman. Just as Jesus was self-aware regarding his use of silence, this passage is an opportunity for us to take a ‘leaf from his book’ and become more self-aware about how we use silence and the impact it has on others – to heal or further hurt our relationships. If we sit silently in God’s loving presence, and ask God to reveal to us how we have been using silence – either for good or for ill, to hurt or to help – then we can use reflective (contemplative) silence to transform our relationships, as Jesus did. The insights we receive from God in reflective silence, can then be turned into a prayer request for the situation to be used as a transformative experience not only for our own personal and spiritual growth, but for the growth of our future relationships as well. Revd Santou Beurklian-Carter, email@example.com 24
Jane Austen died 200 years ago.at 8 College Street, Winchester, at 4.30 a.m. on 18 July, with her sister Cassandra beside her. Her funeral was held in Winchester Cathedral at 8am on 24 July 1817. The only mourners present at her funeral were her siblings. Georgina Green has sent in this prayer written by Jane Austen. Give us grace Almighty Father, so as to pray, as to deserve to be heard, to address Thee with our hearts, as with our lips. Though art everywhere present, from Thee no secret can be hid. May the knowledge of this teach us to fix our thoughts on Thee with reverence and devotion that we pray not in vain. May we now and on each return of night, consider how the past day has been spent by us, what have been our prevailing thoughts, words and actions during it, and how far we can acquit ourselves of evil. Have we thought irreverently of Thee, have we disobeyed your commandments, have we neglected any known duty or willingly given pain to any human being? Incline us to ask our hearts these questions oh! God, to save us from deceiving ourselves by pride or vanity. Give us a thankful sense of the blessings with which we live; of the many comforts of our lot; that we may not deserve to lose them by discontent of indifference. Hear us Almighty God, for His sake who has redeemed us, and taught us, thus to pray. Amen
Quiz Who or what are we? We are all part of the Christian story and we all begin with ‘A’.
the mother of Jesus, the Son of God. 10 Martin Luther said that even if the world was coming to an end he would still plant me.
11 There are 39 of us. Clergy in the 1 I am A_____ and Omega, the Church of England are required beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, publicly to avow their faithfulness to us. and which is to come, the A_____. 2 I was called by God to leave the 12 I am the Aramaic word for “Father”. house of my father Terah and to settle in the land originally given 13 I am a semi-circular or manyto Canaan. sided area, often with an arched or domed roof at the end of the 3 I am a collection of books found chancel in a church. in some versions of the Bible and not in others. 14 I am a member of the clergy who serves under the diocesan 4 I am the table at which the bread bishop. I look after buildings and and wine are consecrated. provide pastoral care for the 5 Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are clergy. a_________. 15 I am the thirtieth book of the 6 Monks live in me. Bible. 7 I am A_____ Cathedral in 16 Christians are told not to commit Germany. I am traditionally me. known in English as the Cathedral 17 So be it. of A_________________. 8 We are those who light altar candles and carry candles in procession. 9 I came to pass when the Angel Gabriel told the Virgin Mary that she would conceive and become Answers on page xx 25
British values - Christian values? In changing times, people look for values to hang on to, to guide their thinking, living… and voting.
British? We hear about the importance of preserving British values, but not so much about what those values are. The politicians and the commentators leave it to each person to fill out that phrase with their own ideas of what British values are. Our schools are expected to be vigilant against children being indoctrinated with extremist views, so one definition of ‘British values’ is provided by Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education. There are four: ¨ democracy ¨ the rule of law ¨ individual liberty ¨ mutual respect and tolerance I don’t know who came up with this list in the first place. They give me pause for thought. I can’t criticise any of them, but I would want to add to them. They don’t include some of the values that I grew up with in this country, which were certainly part of our national life in the 20th century. I want to add: · Caring for your neighbour, which is the foundation of so many British institutions and charities and Neighbourhood Watch schemes 26
and foodbanks, and of course our own Redbridge Voluntary Service. · perseverance in the face of adversity - in the vein of the wartime slogan, recently revived, ‘Keep calm and carry on’: · creativity - as shown in the arts, sciences, technology and architecture over many generations in this country. Are these values uniquely British? Of course not. Many other nations would claim them too.
As a as a Christian, I want to both dig deeper, and go further. When I say dig deeper, I mean that it is important to reflect on the foundations of our values. We do not just choose these values - for you could choose yours, and I could choose mine, and who could say what is best? Our values should be based on the will of our creator God for his people. So I think of the summary of the Jewish law found also in the gospels:
· Love the Lord your God with all
your heart mind soul and strength · Love your neighbour as yourself. Let’s reflect on how each of those will affect our values. Loving God means:
§ Honouring God as the source of all that we see and have.
§ Recognising that he does not owe us anything, but we owe him everything. § Rejoicing in his creativity and being creative ourselves. § Valuing and protecting what he has given us. § Seeing the world his way: truth is not what the papers say, but what he sees; and righteousness defined by his justice not by human law. § Having an eternal perspective on human society and on individual human lives. Loving our neighbour means: § Looking out for those in need. § Valuing each individual in our communities. § Watching out for the welfare of minorities while granting the preferences of the majority. These are foundations. We can also go further, because Jesus did not say merely to love our neighbours as ourselves, he said that we should love one another as he loved us, that is with self-sacrificial love. This is love that goes at least one extra mile; love that does not count the cost.
‘I am puzzled by which Bible people are reading when they suggest that religion and politics don’t mix.’ Desmond Tutu
Synthesis As Christians we have good foundations for subscribing to the official list of British values - and to the three that I have added. We can, as Jeremiah said to the Jews exiled in Babylon, work for the peace and prosperity of the land where we find ourselves (Jer 29:7). However: © Democracy should respect and value minorities in decision-making and decision implementation © The rule of law should be based on truth and justice, and tempered by compassion. © Individual liberty should stand alongside individual duty © Mutual respect and tolerance should be accompanied by mutual generous love. We recognise, of course, that we live in a fallen world where love may be rejected and generosity abused. We know too that we share our land and planet with people of other worldviews and faiths. Yet none of these truths should stop us loving as Jesus loved. 27
From the pulpit Indignant of Woodford Parishioners may have read in the May edition of the diocesan newspaper, The Month" the proposal by Natalie Collins, winner of the 2016 Sermon of the year that, rather than refresh ourselves on Bank Holidays or other days off, we take life easily in our workplaces. This so outraged me that I have sent the following letter to "The Month" . It will be too late for the June edition but it will be interesting to see if they do publish later.
Quiz Answers: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 28
Alpha, Almighty Abraham Apocrypha altar archangels abbey Aachen, Aix-la-Chapelle acolytes annunciation apple tree articles Abba
Jon Longman, Editor, The Month. Dear Mr Longman, The Month has no correspondence column. Nevertheless, Natalie Collin's sermon and Rachel Jordan's advice should not go unchallenged. Do they really urge us to have our "recovery days" at work rather than on our days off.? This is dishonest to the employer, unfair to work mates and bad witness to both. It is depressing that such an unethical and narrow minded sermon should have come from the winner of the 2016 Sermon of the Year. Rowena Rudkin.
13 14 15 16 17
apse archdeacon Amos Adultery Amen
Lesson for life
Throughout your life, learn to trust in the providential care of God, through which alone comes contentment. Work hard, but always cooperate with God's good designs. Let me assure you, if you trust all to God, whatever happens will be the best for you, whether at the time it seems good or bad to your own judgement... God will work with you and in you and for you, throughout your life. And at the last you will know that you have not laboured in vain, and be filled with a profound contentment which only God can give. Francis de Sales
Of the Old and New Testaments
'the New is in the Old concealed and the Old in the New revealed' St Augustine of Hippo.
Pause for thought
Who said: ‘Never talk for half a minute without pausing and giving others a chance to join in’? And what is his connection with St Mary’s? Clue: He also wrote: ‘He deserves to be preached to death by wild curates'. Answer Sydney Smith
The right path
Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you arte doing the impossible St Francis of Assisi
Why do most people using the footbridge at South Woodford station walk on the right hand side despite there being ‘keep left’ signs? Would this behaviour change if the signs said ‘keep right’?
Would you be guilty? If being a Christian were a criminal offence, would there be enough evidence to convict you? Anon 29
Valerie Geller On the 21st April, nearly 200 friends and family of Valerie came together at St Mary’s to celebrate her life. Her children Matthew, James and Louise, and three of her grandchildren, Georgia, Laura and Sonia read or paid tribute to Valerie in a very personal and moving way. It was no surprise to learn that, from the age of 15,Valerie wanted to become a professional actress but her parents did not regard it as a suitable career for her ,so she learned and applied secretarial skills in the commercial world and utilised her dramatic-comedic and musical gifts in her private and social life. She married John in 1969 ;their marriage was blessed at St Mary’s and for 30 years they were happy facing many challenges together in the strong belief that God would always provide-and he did. The children recalled that they had an amazing childhood with a mother possessed of such imagination-a time of stories, poems, pretend and makebelieve; of make-up, costumes, dens and hideouts. Songs, happiness and love abounded. Valerie loved to dress up and ,many a time, the children would walk out of their bedrooms to 34
see a funny person wearing a wig and speaking with a ridiculous accent. James went on to tell us about his mother’s amateur career on the stage starting with Sunday School plays, then the Woodford Juveniles and various other dramatic societies but perhaps her greatest and most rewarding work was with the old-time music hall and the ‘Entire Company’ was formed in 1981.For 30 years they entertained through music and prose raising amazing amounts of money for charity. Valerie’s monologues were legendary-not only on the stage but personally too and many of those present had fond and amusing memories of her wonderful talent. Not only did Valerie give of her time to the community through entertainment, she also joined Redbridge Voluntary Care as weekend duty officer and was thrilled when RVC was awarded the Queens Award for voluntary service. She also spent some years working as a Poppy Appeal organiser for the Royal British Legion. You will know that Valerie was a loyal, much loved and respected member of our fellowship here at St Mary’s for 60 years and regularly contributed in reading lessons and simply through her very presence. Continued opposite
The Cottage Book
The Cottage Book: the Undiscovered Country Diary of an Edwardian Statesman, Sir Edward Grey' Edited and introduced by Michael Waterhouse, is published by Gollancz. ISBN 0297 825348 Many years ago Martin and I stood in Douglas Hurd's study in the Foreign Office looking out of the window on to the very lamp post that inspired Sir Edward Grey to say on the eve of the First World War: 'The lights are going out all over Europe. We shall never see them lit again in our lifetime.' Little did we know then that we would spend a weekend in Itchen Abbas, Hampshire, where he and his wife had a weekend cottage (sadly, now burned down) as a base for their combined love of bird watching and Sir Edward Grey's passion for fly fishing in local chalk streams and rivers . Inspired by reading my illustrated copy of 'The Cottage Book', we recently walked their familiar paths and spent a day fishing close by. Sir Edward Grey was an authority on bird song and his best-selling volShe was the first to acknowledge and be thankful that her whole life had been blessed by the love of God in whom she trusted implicitly and ,as a result, spent her life sharing the warmth of that love with her family whom she adored (and vice-versa), with her many friends and indeed with
ume, 'The Charm of Birds', is still in print, as is his manual on fly fishing. Despite a personal life beset by tragedy and sadness, his enthusiasm for fishing remained constant until his sight failed. 'I lay awake in bed fishing in imagination the pools which I was not going to see before March at the earliest, till I felt I was spending too much time, not in actual fishing, but in sheer looking forward to it'. During his eleven-year tenure at the Foreign Office he only went abroad once. Sydney Buxton wrote in 1933 that his passion for the English countryside 'kept his brain clear and his mind unclogged'. 'The noise, the grime, the exhausted atmosphere of London, the distractions and controversies of House and Office had been left behind, and he was able to breathe in the revivifying and cleansing atmosphere of the cottage, and of the river with its silence and sounds.' Penny Freeston
everyone she met on her lifeâ€™s journey. So it was with grateful hearts that we celebrated and gave thanks to God for Valerieâ€™s life and committed her faithfully into his eternal care. Chris Winward
Bishop Stephen's Discipleship Teaching:
Bishop Stephen has been visiting every deanery in the Diocese of Chelmsford to talk about being disciples of Christ. Our deanery was the last on the list: 21st June St Margaret's, Perth Road, Ilford IG1 4HZ But now there is an extra session at Chelmsford Cathedral on 27th June. In both places doors open at 7pm for refreshments before a 7.30pm start.
A big thank you
to everyone submitting contributions and photographs to this edition Please keep them coming, as without them we wouldnâ€™t have a parish magazine. Articles, prayers, book reviews, favourite music, recipes, gardening tips etc. We would love some childrenâ€™s drawings as well: the choice is yours! Email directly using a subject heading to: firstname.lastname@example.org or pass to Penny Freeston who will type up your handwritten copy. Our next copy date is 14th August 2017 Magazine team: Penny Freeston, Beverley Fuentes, Cheryl Corney, Ian Tarrant, Sam McCarthy, Peter Wall.
Published on Jul 3, 2017