24th June 2012 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene †      St Bartholomew †    St Alban †


Sunday 24th June 2012


National Carers’ Week

Carers are very special people.

My Mum and Dad were in their thirties with two teenage daughters when my Mum’s Multiple Sclerosis was diagnosed and my Dad looked after my Mum as she gradually lost all her faculties over the next 30 years. Or we might think of Alison, a single mother, whose daughter was born with a life-limiting condition but who lived till she was nearly 14 with the excellent care of her Mum and those who supported them. The Renewal Programme offers advice and advocacy to the 22,000 or so carers in Newham and we are constantly run off our feet.

You don’t choose to be a carer, though you might, not unreasonably, decide that that’s not what you want to do, but the vast majority of carers just get on with it and will say that they are simply doing what love calls them to do.

But that caring has huge impact on the well-being of the carer; many carers have to give up their jobs, their friends and any thought of a social life, all of which takes a huge toll on their own health.

But they wouldn’t have it any other way – and we must be grateful for that as they save us millions of pounds in paid care, apart from the fact that carers give the best kind of care.

So this week, we’ll look out for carers, surely God’s earthly agents, and, if we can, give them a hand – and, if we can’t do that, put something in the tin!


17th June 2012 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene †      St Bartholomew †    St Alban †


Sunday 17th June 2012


Jubilate   Jubilate   Jubilate!!

Diamond Jubilee Year of Queen Elizabeth II Crowned 2nd June 1953

In the light of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations I couldn’t help pointing out the coincidence between part of today’s First Reading and our own experience of the coronation of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II:

“Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, "The Lord has not chosen any of these." Samuel said to Jesse, "Are all your sons here?" And he said, "There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep." And Samuel said to Jesse, "Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here." He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The Lord said, "Rise and anoint him; for this is the one." Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward.” (1 Samuel 15:34-16:13)

Ours may go like this:

Britons and the Commonwealth saw all the royals pass before the throne……….But the Lord has not chosen any of these.

The Archbishop of Canterbury said: Are these all the heirs you have for the throne of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth?

And all the people responded:

“There is another one. But she is only a young girl. She got married not too long ago. She is not even around. She is gone into the wild.”

“What do you mean into the wild?”

“She and her husband are on Safari in Kenya, Africa.

The Lord said: bring her home; anoint Her”

Out of Kenya and Africa, young Elizabeth was flown back home to Britain,

The Lord said, "Rise and anoint her; for this is the one."

Elizabeth was immediately enthroned, crowned and anointed with Holy Oil in the presence of more than 8,000 guests and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon Elizabeth from that day forward.” She took the Coronation Oath and is now bound to serve her people and to maintain the laws of God. After handing her the four symbols of authority - the orb, the sceptre, the rod of mercy and the royal ring of sapphire and rubies - the Archbishop of Canterbury placed St Edward's Crown on her head to complete the ceremony.

Fr Fred

10th June 2012 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene †      St Bartholomew †    St Alban †


Sunday 10th June 2012


What a weekend!

I would like to take the opportunity this week on the front page to thank all those who helped make last weekend such a success. We had a very happy dance on Saturday night where even the vicar was seen tripping the light fantastic. A rare event! Then we moved onto the Sunday morning worship and finally the memorable Children’s Party on Sunday afternoon with lots of laughter and joy. It was a weekend packed full of memorable moments. It took a lot of organising and was an appropriate and fitting way of celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee. So a big thank you to all who did all the hard work and made those events possible.

Yet this summer it seems no sooner have we finished one memorable weekend as we are getting ready for another. We now move onto the build up to the Olympics with all the disruption those events will bring but also all the excitement and fun happening across Newham over the next few months. There are lots of parties going on across the Borough. We also will be welcoming the Olympic torch to Newham as it comes down High Street South and into Central Park on Saturday 21st July.

I have been told the torch will be passing St. Mary Magdalene Church at precisely 11.12am on that day. We will wait and see but whatever time the torch passes the Church it will give us an excuse for another party!

An extraordinary summer of events that I can’t promise to repeat next year!                    


3rd June 2012 Newsletter

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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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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!