18th November 2012 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene †      St Bartholomew †    St Alban †


Sunday 18th November 2012


Remembrance …..In Remembrance

The theme of Remembrance was adequately dealt with by Canon Ann Easter in a previous edition. The relationship of this national, and now global mood of Remembrance to the Christian celebration of the Eucharistic “in remembrance of me” is what I wish to touch on today albeit very briefly.

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month marks the signing of the Armistice, on 11th November 1918, to signal the end of World War One. Remembrance Day the 11 November, is a special day set aside to remember all those men and women who were killed during the two World Wars and other conflicts. At one time the day was known as Armistice Day and was renamed Remembrance Day after the Second World War.

Remembrance Sunday is held on the second Sunday in November, which is usually the Sunday nearest to 11 November, as we did last Sunday. Special services are held at war memorials and churches all over Britain, with the National Ceremony held at Whitehall Cenotaph attended by her Majesty the Queen, other members of the Royal Family and Leaders of our Nation - political, civic and community leaders.

When Jesus commanded us: “Do this in remembrance of me” is He simply referring to a nostalgic mood or a more dynamic, efficacious, indestructible and enriching relationship. I believe the latter.. The Hebrew or Biblical meaning of remembrance/memory (ανάμνηση) evokes a more intimate and experiential connotation. Remembrance/in memory almost means making present, re-experiencing anew or vivifying an episode or a relationship. It makes the past present and real in a dynamic way. The defiant permanence of relationships in the face of mundane transience, flux and change is expressed by the poet Laurence Binyon (1869 - 1943) in the well known and cherished fourth stanza of his Poem “For the Fallen”:

                                                                    "They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
                                                                      Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
                                                                      At the going down of the sun and in the morning
                                                                                        We will remember them."

And sure:

We will remember them  

                                                                                                     Fr Fred


11th November 2012 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene †      St Bartholomew †    St Alban †


Sunday 11th November 2012



It is announced today by the Diocese of Chelmsford that Revd Rob Marshall, currently communications adviser to several dioceses and bishops across the Church of England, is to be the new Team Rector of East Ham.

The team includes St Bartholomew's East Ham, St Mary Magdalen, East Ham, St Alban's East Ham and St John's North Woolwich. Rob himself will serve the congregation of St Barts as part of his role as Team Rector.

Rob, 52, has served in parishes in the dioceses of Ripon & Leeds, Bradford and London. He was Bishop David Hope's director of communications during his time as Bishop of London and Archbishop of York. More recently he assisted the Archbishop of Canterbury's core Fresh Expressions team in setting up a comms structure for fresh expressions.

After starting his broadcasting career as a BBC football commentator for 10 years Rob has been a regular presenter of Pause for Thought on BBC Radio 2 and now presents Thought for the Day on BBC Radio 4's Today programme. Rob has written four books and is working on his second book around the theme of Transfiguration.

He has also spent a significant amount of time recently doing self-funded doctoral research on how Christianity can survive in a digital market place and is concerned about the ability of contemporary Christianity to speak in a language which those outside of the church can understand.

"I am absolutely delighted to be taking up this new challenge at this particular stage in my ministry. I am looking to working hard with colleagues and with the various communities already in place who are doing fine work. Our task is to change people's lives and to give them a glimpse of something more profound. These are exciting times for our church," Rob said today.

When relaxing Rob continues his keen interest in football, the theatre and radio. He has two grown up children, Stephen who is a cinematographer and Louisa who works in Human Resources,

He is expected to start in the spring.

4th November 2012 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene †      St Bartholomew †    St Alban †


Sunday 4th November 2012



It’s a grey old time of year, between the mellow mists of harvest time and the hectic hullabaloo of Christmas, and it’s a time we have come to use as the season of remembrance and somehow the weather fits that nostalgic feeling. So while we’ve got our poppies ready for remembering our war dead next Sunday, this week we had All Saints Day to remember those high-profile people, the names we all know, the Mother Theresas and Martin Luther Kings of our world on November 1st and it was All Souls Day on November 2nd.

This day is for remembering all the others, all the family and friends down the years who have gone on to Heaven ahead of us but who stay tied to our hearts with an unbreakable string.

Inevitably, we wonder what Heaven’s like; the prophet Isaiah talked about a banquet and that luscious image continues all the way through the Bible which tells us that Heaven’s a feast with well-matured wines -   I think it’s all that and so much more - more than we can possibly imagine!

This time of year can be particularly sad for those of us who are left, of course, but I try to hold on to the memories of the good times, the love we shared which no-one can ever take away, because love is eternal – and, it’s my sure and certain hope that, though they cannot come back to us, one day, we shall go to them.

                                                                                                                                  Ann Easter

(We will be keeping All Souls’ Remembrance at St Mary’s at 6pm this evening)


28th October 2012 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene †      St Bartholomew †    St Alban †


Sunday 28th October 2012


Changing Visions

The Bishop of Chelmsford has just brought out an important document excitingly called ‘A Ministry Framework for the Diocese of Chelmsford 2013 to 2025’. Yet the drabness of the title belies the profound implications of the paper as to how ministry could be exercised in Newham over the next ten years.

It is difficult to summarise a long document in a couple of hundred words but what does seem clear is that there will be significantly less stipendiary clergy working in Newham over the next few years.

The document calls for new ways of working between parishes, there is the suggestion of ‘mission and ministry units’. These are envisaged to be wider groupings of parishes working with the laity with the support of a full time administrator. Recognise this pattern anywhere! The Parish of East Ham working with our friends of St. John’s, North Woolwich is the kind of unit that the paper has in mind.

Yet there is no doubt that the paper will challenge us over the next few years in Newham for if implemented then stand alone parishes will disappear with wider groupings of parishes being created across Newham. This will be a massive change for many churches in our deanery. At present, I cannot find the document on the Diocese of Chelmsford website but I am sure it will be there in the next week if you want to read it in full.


21st October 2012 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene †      St Bartholomew †    St Alban †


Sunday 21st October 2012


PERSEVERANCE: “Thought For the Parish of East Ham”

(Extracted from “Thought For the Day – By Revd Rob Marshall - 12/09/2012)

Reverend Rob Marshall, is a regular presenter on the Thought for the Day Programme. Recently he expounded on the theme of perseverance in his usual erudite manner. His thoughts succinctly describe the current mood and resilience of the Parishioners of East Ham:

“Good Morning. Just when we thought that every kind of modern sporting parable in the book had been exhausted Andy Murray popped up in the early hours of yesterday to break the habit of a British lifetime and seal a grand slam men’s tennis title.
Murray’s extraordinary summer and his admirable and absolute persistence after being so near and yet so far from that first elusive grand slam stands out as remarkable. It is surely the icing on an already well decorated summer cake of sport.
Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again are the lyrics of a Dorothy Fields song from the last century. The idea is lovely and admirable but we all know that such determination and patience, particularly from a starting point of disappointment, or even defeat, is far from easy.
The Church Fathers regarded their inner strength as being inspired both from the great prayers of the Old Testament – Lord let me never give in, give up, give way – and from the teaching of Jesus himself. We can overcome all obstacles if we have such faith – whatever is put in our way. Pope Gregory suggested that persistence is essential if any good is to come of our lives. He writes: “as the voice of truth tells us whoever perseveres to the end will be saved.” St Paul also loved the theme of persistence:.....First, don’t get tired. Secondly, Don’t ever give up. And most important of all: You will then, through persistence, reap your true reward.”

Perseverance is evidently a perennial and recurrent theme in Christian thought and spirituality.   After Dr Andrew Biro’s evaluation in the Parish Bulletin last week I am sure we can cry to God today: “Abba! The Parish of East Ham deserves the most generous reward of the Rector and Parish priests we have been patiently waiting, persistently praying and resiliently hoping for!” No pressure! :)

Fr Fred