24th February 2013 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene †      St Bartholomew †    St Alban †


Sunday 24th February 2013


This week, the Daily Mail got very indignant and condemned the author Hilary Mantel for what they describe as a venomous attack on the Duchess of Cambridge.

There was no doubt some florid language used by Mantel yet for the Daily Mail it is an attack by an embittered author against a perfect princess.

I am afraid not for the first time I feel the Daily Mail has misunderstood things. Mantel’s speech is actually a warning against putting the Duchess on a pedestal, for trying to make her into a secular saint.

The perfect princess. Now I am not a close personal friend of Royalty and therefore you will be unsurprised to hear that I have no idea on the Duchess’ views on anything.

Yet I am sure she has strong opinions on a whole variety of subjects. Mantel is surely right to point out that the Duchess has been advised to keep these views to herself.

Our Lenten journey is a journey into the realities of human existence the good and the bad.

We called by God just the way we are. Not as perfect people never putting a foot wrong. We come to God with ideas, passions and our full humanity.

I, like Mantel, have a concern that there is something deeply degrading about reducing the Duchess to less than she is, never allowing her to express her own thoughts.

For by putting her on that particular pedestal there is only one way to go.


17th February 2013 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene †      St Bartholomew †    St Alban †


Sunday 17th February 2013


Letting Go


I was quite surprised to hear that His Holiness Pope Benedict has decided to stand down and retire – the last time a Pope did that was 600 years ago! Pope Benedict has not enjoyed good health for a while and it seems to me eminently sensible that he should be able to make the most of the rest of his life. How sensible to take the decision before it’s taken out of his hands.

It takes courage to let go, to see that something – a job, a relationship, a group – has run its course and that it’s time to wind up and move on. So often, we hang on to these things, reluctant to give up our comfort blanket, even when it’s clearly threadbare and smelly!

And of course, the Church is the supreme expert at this!

Considering that the central motif of our faith is life coming out of death, we are so often very bad at ending things. I have sometimes been invited to speak at very small meetings, held in vast, freezing churches by people who are sure that, if they put out more chairs, one day, people will rush to attend, just like they did in the old days……… Do you recognise the picture??

So, this Lent, let’s look at what we can let go, especially given that some of the things we claim to need do us no good at all. Time for a springclean of your wardrobe? A pruning of your bookshelves? An edit of your prayer list?

Let go - and see God sends.

PS Since the Pope will soon be free, maybe he’d like to help us out one Sunday……!


10th February 2013 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene †      St Bartholomew †    St Alban †


Sunday 10th February 2013



"Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10)


It’s a busy time for us in the parish at the moment – preparing. Preparing for the Licensing Service, which is only three weeks away, preparing (and, now, re-preparing) for the new ministry which will follow and the changes and challenges that will present, preparing for new arrangements for the Café at Barts, arranging the redecorating of the Parish and Rector’s Offices in the Centre and then the Rectory; and all the time trying to do the ordinary things that need doing – preparing for the APCM, revising the electoral role, keeping the Centre open, and so on, as well as trying to keep up with the flood of Rob’s ideas for the Parish, even before his licensing!

It’s all good stuff and we really wouldn’t want it any other way. But we are having to pedal rather hard to avoid getting left behind. Is there anything else – Oh yes, Ash Wednesday, Lent and Easter. It’s easy to forget about them when our thoughts and diaries are focused on everything else. It is as if there are parallel processes going on, and maybe there are, and maybe we have to accept that, at least for the next few weeks. The challenge is to keep them both going and ride the two bicycles at the same time.

They have the same objectives and are working to the same ends – to enrich the life of the church, to promote its ministry and so to help us fulfil our individual callings as servants of Him who sent us. So keep pedalling and praying.



3rd February 2013 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene †      St Bartholomew †    St Alban †


Sunday 3rd February 2013








New beginning is always exciting. There will be lots of expectations as to what’s going to happen next. It has been a new beginning of an exciting new chapter in my life from the time of my appointment as Priest-in-charge of St John’s North Woolwich with Silvertown and Team Vicar. I look forward to seeing what God has for all of us in the team and to all the Churches in this team ministry.


The first Sunday of preaching at St Mary Magdalene has been a thrilling one for me so far. Also, I have had a chance to be at St Bartholomew’s Church, last but week. Getting to know new people, listening to their stories and having fellowship with the Church family are all always exciting as we learn from each other, encourage each other and grow together as ‘Family of God’. 1 Corinthians chapter 12 verse 12 beautifully puts it: “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body” (NIV). So it is with God’s family.


While speaking about family, let me share few words about my own family too. I am married to Kate who is so inspiring and of great support in every way. My daughter Rhema will be 19 in February 2013, is reading Psychology 1st year, at the University of Kent, amidst her special-time-spent on hair styling of course. Our son, Moses-Sebastian is 3 years & 4 months, has just successfully finished his ‘settler’s week’ at Chestnut Nursery at North Woolwich. He thinks that he is Moses, ‘the Superman’ and for him ‘M’ is for Moses only and not for McDonalds. We as a family are looking forward to move to St John’s North Woolwich soon.


I think, we need to be excited and encouraged when we reflect on Jesus’ public ministry these days as they are full of miracles and life changing experiences to all those who encountered Him. May we as individuals, as Churches, as Communities and as a Country, expect with excitement that miraculous new things will come on our way? That’s what I am looking forward to. How about you?    


              -Revd Princely Croos-

27th January 2013 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene †      St Bartholomew †    St Alban †


Sunday 27th January 2013



Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: January 18 – 25

Etymologically the word UNITY can be traced to the Latin unus, una, unum- meaning ONE. Jesus’ prayer on this theme is very clear: “That they may all be ONE” (Jn 17:21).

Against all odds Christians have retained one thing, consciously or maybe unwittingly, but nonetheless thankfully: its belief in the “unam sanctam catholicam, apostolicam eccessiam” (One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church).

For people of faith especially, of Abrahamic root (monotheism – ie belief in one God) the desire for, and pursuance of unity is not a retrogressive act towards a kind of philosophical monism. It is an heuristic and obedient response to God’s call and command in mission to return all in ultimate consummation to the desired perfection of the Creator God. Through joint service, the diverse ways of demonstrating various beliefs and even more diverse ways of adoring the Triune God people come to the realization that their neighbours' ways are not so strange after all!

The theme for Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2013 is: “What does God require of us?” The text from the Prophet Micah is set as the reference for this theme Micah 6: 6-8. This theme is divided into 8 subthemes: to support our daily reflection throughout the week as I am sure many of you have done:

            Day 1: walking in conversation.                                   Day 5: walking as the friends of Jesus.

Day 2: walking with the broken body of Christ.           Day 6: walking beyond barriers.

                                                                                                     Day 3: walking towards freedom.                                 Day 7: walking in solidarity.

Day 4: walking as children of the earth.                        Day 8: walking in celebration.


Newham, with its richly diverse endowments will achieve a lot more positive outcomes if unity is this unity pursued and celebrated even beyond our churches, synagogues and mosques into our streets, schools, places of work and our wider communal lives. In the footsteps of Jesus we are the Evangelist of this message, the apostles of this mission today.

Fr Fred