8th April 2012 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene †      St Bartholomew †    St Alban †

PARISH NEWS

Sunday 8th April 2012

 

Resurrection Hope

I started our Lenten journey this year by reading a poem by R.S.Thomas at our Ash Wednesday service. The poem asked us to see God in the ordinary things of life. Ann put it in a sermon as the ‘Ah hah’ moment. For the Welsh priest and poet, Thomas, he saw God through the way sunlight temporarily fell on a Welsh field. So this Lent we looked once again at the ordinary things of our lives and see the possibility of life changing encounter with the Holy.

 So it seems appropriate to finish our Lenten journey with another one of Thomas’ poems.

In ‘Resurrection’ Thomas returns to the theme of seeing God within the natural world while weaving in the Easter Gospel where Mary Magdalene finds the empty tomb.

 

Easter. The grave clothes of winter
are still here, but the sepulchre
is empty. A messenger
from the tomb tells us
how a stone has been rolled
from the mind, and a tree lightens
the darkness with its blossom.
There are travellers upon the road
who have heard music blown
from a bare bough, and a child
tells us how the accident
of last year, a machine stranded
beside the way for lack
of petrol, is covered with flowers.

 

The story of the resurrection and an abandoned car that is slowly being reclaimed by the earth,
 covered with flowers.How do we see signs of Resurrection in our world today? 
 Happy Easter!

                                                       Quintin


1st April 2012 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene †      St Bartholomew †    St Alban †

PARISH NEWS

Sunday 1st April 2012

Palm Sunday

I’m sure that many of us have pets of whom we’re fond and some of us may have worked with animals, everything from chickens to shire horses. Jesus was born in a stable among the animals there and no doubt grew up being very familiar with the animals around his home; later, sheep and goats, chickens and dogs were among many animals featured in the stories and parables that he told.

Today, we remember one particular animal which became an essential in the fulfilment of Biblical prophecy. Zechariah 9;9 speaks of ‘your king, coming triumphant and victorious, but humble and riding on a donkey’ and we are told that Jesus asked his disciples to go and find a donkey tied up with her colt beside her because he would ride into Jerusalem on her back(or the colt’s back, depending on which Gospel you read!)

I love G K Chesterton’s poem which celebrates that momentous occasion:

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.

 With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil's walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me:
I am dumb,I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.

 

Some churches have a special collection to send to a donkey sanctuary on Palm Sunday or

we can perhaps make a prayer of thanks for the animals which are essential in our lives – Zipporah the Westie in my case!        

             Ann


 

25th March 2012 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene †      St Bartholomew †    St Alban †

PARISH NEWS

Sunday 25th March 2012

 

It’s nearly over…

No – not That – even I am getting tired of talking about That – I mean Lent. Today is Passion Sunday, then we have Palm Sunday and then Easter itself. So our thoughts are, or should be, rising towards Easter.

I have been reading a book by Roy Strong on the “History of the English Country Church” and what comes across is how there used to be a strong rhythm to life: in farming, the seasons, the foods we ate, the things we did and in the worship of the Church’s year. We have lost a lot of this in our modern, global world. Only a few people farm now and, if we want strawberries, we can go to the supermarket and buy them at any time; we want a seaside holiday - we can fly off somewhere warm and sunny.

Some rhythms are left: the clocks changed today and the football season is getting to its climax: West Ham are, ahem, delicately poised. In the Church’s year we are heading to our climax of Easter but I admit I am struggling a bit to keep up. There is always a distraction; last year it was family illness, this year the busyness of the interregnum (That) and, next year, who knows?

The Lent course is a great help. At very least it is a focus to remind us of the fact of Lent but it actually does much more. But, by not making more of a conscious effort, at this time I think I miss out – must try harder!

                          Andrew


18th March 2012 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene †      St Bartholomew †    St Alban †

PARISH NEWS

Sunday 18th March 2012


On this day, as we reflect on mothers & mothering
 I thought I should follow the poetic and lyrical tradition of our Parish in recent weeks.

Mothering Sunday

In the times before Bank Holidays
Farmer's boys and servant girls
Left the farm or big house early,
Going home for the day
On Mothering Sunday
Though home was miles away,
With flowers for their mother's present
Gathered as they went.

It's different these days:
All you have to do is stop
At the flower shop
With the pocket money you've saved
And the daffodils there
Came by train or even by plane;
But the present still means the same
For the language of flowers doesn't change.  

  (By Stanley Cook)

And just in case we forget those mothering grandmas and aunties or
fathers and grandfathers richer endowed with mothering skill......... read on:

And Grandma's Too

"While we honor all our mothers
with words of love and praise.
While we tell about their goodness
and their kind and loving ways.
We should also think of Grandma,
she's a mother too, you see....
For she mothered my dear mother
as my mother mothers me."        

   (Author Unknown)

 

                        Have a blessed Mothering Sunday.           Fr Fred


11th March 2012 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene †      St Bartholomew †    St Alban †

PARISH NEWS

Sunday 11th March 2012


Trees and Lent

This Lent, Ann and myself have been reading Janet Morley’s book ‘the heart’s time’.

It is a lovely book of poems for each day of our Lenten journey.

A few days ago I enjoyed this poem by Jean Watt

Lent

Lent is a tree without blossom, without leaf

Barer than blackthorn in its winter sleep

All unadorned.  Unlike Christmas which decrees

The setting-up, the dressing-up of trees,

Lent is a taking down, a stripping bare,

A starkness after all has been withdrawn

Of surplus and superfluous,

Leaving no hiding-place, only an emptiness

Between black branches, a most precious space

Before the leaf, before the time of flowers;

Lest we should see only the leaf, the flower,

Less we should miss the stars.

 

At present, the Royal Academy is holding the exhibition of David Hockney paintings titled “A Bigger Picture”. Many of the paintings are on vast canvases on which David Hockney has painted, from the same perspective, trees throughout the seasons of the year.

Jean Watt and David Hockney have in their different ways been on my mind as we have started this Lent. The stripping down of our lives is essential so that the summer foliage does not obliterate the stars from our view.  Lent is a time for looking beyond ourselves to God.

                                        A seasonal trim of our priorities.               

                                            Quintin