2nd December 2012 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene †      St Bartholomew †    St Alban †


Sunday 2nd December 2012


Just what are they afraid of………?

I was made a Deaconess in 1980 – just after leaving school, obviously! , made Deacon in 1987 and I was ordained priest in 1994.

Over the years, my ability as a minister has occasionally been questioned; there was the person who told the undertaker that she was worried that, as a woman, I might cry while conducting the funeral service - I sometimes come close to it but have never actually wept.

Then there was the person who said she was afraid that they wouldn’t be able to hear my voice – these people clearly don’t live next door to us! – and the person who asked whether, if I conducted her mother’s funeral service, it would be any cheaper – Cheek! I guess you can’t please all of the people all of the time!

We have a fine record of women ministers in this parish and in Newham; there are countless other women minsters serving God and the church in this country who do so with distinction – so why should they not serve God as Bishops? What’s the problem??

So, here’s the text of a petition which you’ll find at the back of the church. If you sign it, I’ll send it.


Many people in our congregations and communities are confused and disappointed at the Church of England National Synod’s rejection of the draft measure which would have allowed women to become bishops. Support from bishops and clergy was overwhelming, but the vote was lost by a few votes among the House of Laity - the people in the pews. If you feel that the House of Laity did not represent your own views in this matter, this is your opportunity to say so, and also to ask Synod to bring back legislation for further consideration within 12 months. This petition is to be sent to the Chair and Vice Chair of the House of Laity, to its Presidents (our Archbishops) and the General Secretary of Synod.

25th November 2012 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene †      St Bartholomew †    St Alban †


Sunday 25th November 2012

What a farce!

It is difficult to know where to begin on the events of the past week. I would like to think it was a farce but sadly I feel it is becoming a tragedy. The Church of England has many wonderful elements to it. In particular, I love the fact that we are called to a place, this little piece of England that we call the Parish of East Ham. We are called to be witnesses to the gospel in this geographical area. Friend or foe we should minister to all who are within our parish boundaries. I believe this calling gives us an open and inclusive outlook. We are never ministering only to the congregation that gathers on a Sunday but to the wider community with all its diverse views and concerns.

That wider community now looks on with barely disguised exasperation or even incredulity after the vote on Tuesday. I share those sentiments. For me, it seems incredible that our Church with all our experience of many excellent women leading parishes up and down the land. How can that church turn its back on some of those women becoming bishops in the next few years? After all, our Church that has been debating this issue for over 20 years and has now arrived at a remarkable degree of consensus. 42 of the 44 Dioceses have voted to ordain women to the episcopate. General Synod   backed the measure by over 75%. Now at the very last minute Synod rejects the measure to ordain women bishops.

For many of us this vote makes the Church look stupid. But perhaps more importantly,

                                                    the recent vote is a tragedy for our wider mission in the parish of East Ham.                                                                                                                                                                                 Quintin

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)