3rd June 2012 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene †      St Bartholomew †    St Alban †


Sunday 3rd June 2012


Sixty not out.

This weekend we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne – in case some of you hadn’t noticed!

Sixty years is a long time. One of my earliest memories is watching the Coronation on our newly-acquired television set and I am 62 and so you would have to be about 70 to even remember when Elizabeth was not Queen. To us the Queen has always been there and, possibly, always will be – like the sun always rising and setting without a second thought. We cannot imagine it otherwise. So perhaps we are celebrating not only the person of the Queen and the stability and continuity she represents but also our own sense of identity and being – who and what we and our families and communities are – what defines us and what unites us.

The Queen has not only been a presence in our lives but she has been a player on the world’s stage. There cannot be many, if any, public figures whose span extends from the second world war, from the Attlee/Churchill years (google them if you can’t remember!) to the present day. If only she could write her memoires!

We are fortunate that she is a “Good Queen”, even republicans acknowledge that, and, to us as Christians, a person of strong faith who is unafraid and unashamed of letting that be known. Had she reigned in Old Testament times the chroniclers might have written: “Elizabeth did what was right in the sight of the Lord….”

Rejoice and be glad!


27th May 2012 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene †      St Bartholomew †    St Alban †


Sunday 27th May 2012


Happy Birthday Dear Church!!

We are told in the Gospels that, on the first Whit Sunday, a rushing wind was heard and felt - the Greek word used is ‘pneuma’ which means air in motion or blowing wind (and is the root of words like pneumatic) – and suddenly everyone was full of the Holy Spirit, and it was that Spirit that made everyone able to communicate with all the people around them and that’s how the Church began.

So Whit Sunday is traditionally celebrated as the birthday of the Church and like any birthday, we can have a party! And, like any party, we should have balloons, lots of them!

Balloons depend very heavily on air for their existence; they are full of it and then they float on it – but they can be unpredictable and difficult to manage. Balloons get tangled up with each other and sometimes float away altogether; they are a bit hard to keep hold of and you can’t keep one in its full state for long – so balloons have to be enjoyed for what they are when you have them.

In Church and in our private prayers, we often ask that we and the Church should be full of the Holy Spirit, but we have to be ready to accept Her as she is. (Pneuma is feminine in Greek – just thought I’d throw that in!) The Spirit does not offer much in the way of certainty, quite the opposite, in fact; the Spirit leads us on to think wider and deeper; the Spirit takes us on a flight and we don’t know where we might land. But it’ll be interesting, I’m sure of that!


20th May 2012 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene †      St Bartholomew †    St Alban †


Sunday 20th May 2012


As we move liturgically from Easter Season to Ascension we might the following poem uplifting:


We saw his light break through the cloud of glory
Whilst we were rooted still in time and place
As earth became a part of Heaven’s story
And heaven opened to his human face.
We saw him go and yet we were not parted
He took us with him to the heart of things
The heart that broke for all the broken-hearted
Is whole and Heaven-centred now, and sings,
Sings in the strength that rises out of weakness,
Sings through the clouds that veil him from our sight,
Whilst we our selves become his clouds of witness
And sing the waning darkness into light,
His light in us, and ours in him concealed,
Which all creation waits to see revealed .

Poet Unknown

May the risen Lord, who ascended into the Heavens remain permanent in our hearts and our lives

                                                                Fr Fred

13th May 2012 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene †      St Bartholomew †    St Alban †


Sunday 13th May 2012


For the beauty of the earth, For the glory of the skies……..

Shirley and I have just come back from a week’s holiday amongst the mountains of Colorado: expansive vistas of clear, blue, skies; rugged mountains with snow-capped peaks and deep, green valleys. It must be one of the most beautiful places on earth – along with Scotland - which is where I am convinced God lives, or that’s where I would live if I were God, but as I’m not….

Sadly, I may not be greatly stirred by music but I find visual beauty spiritually uplifting and the wonder of the creation does bring me closer to the Creator.

I had been to Colorado before and at that time, several years ago, I made myself a promise to return and now I have done. But this time I was able to share the experience with my wife and my grandson and that, for me, was a great privilege. To enjoy something by oneself is wonderful but to be able to share the experience with others, especially those close to you, is far greater.

However, it is a privilege and not a right and many, including members of our own congregations, are not in positions to do the same. We must remember that and, when we look up and count our own blessings, never take things for granted, realise that they can be fragile, sometimes very fragile, and always think of those who are not so fortunate.



6th May 2012 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene †      St Bartholomew †    St Alban †


Sunday 6th May 2012


Books, Glorious Books!

I am a sucker for books. I buy too many. My bookcases are groaning under the weight of the endless additions to my library. I love to have them around me, I don’t why, but somehow, they are comforting. But I should stop. I will never read them all. Yet, I think to myself ‘You never know, that book is certain to come in handy for a quote.’

Now, Fred, and other such technology buffs will say that I can now look up anything on the internet. Yet, somehow for me, the romance is lost through these technological marvels. There is nothing quite as satisfying as turning the pages of a well produced book.

So it was not surprising that last week I ended up buying a lovely edition called ‘the book of historical speeches.’From Elizabeth 1st rallying cry on the eve of invasion that ‘I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a King’, through to Martin Luther King and his famous dream. It has all the classics. The book even includes passages from Moses, Jesus Christ and St. Paul.

Last week we heard that the country has moved into recession again. Not great news for any of us. In light of this news perhaps my more appropriate reading material should be a speech by Franklin D Roosevelt in the middle of the Great Depression in 1933. Unemployment was rising and factories were closing he famously said ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.’

We have to be guided by hope in our lives. In theory this must be the right approach but it is not straightforward to do as the economic problems increase across the world.