11th March 2012 Newsletter

Posted in Parish

St Mary Magdalene †      St Bartholomew †    St Alban †


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 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A starkness after all has been withdrawn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.               


4th March 2012 Newsletter

Posted in Parish

St Mary Magdalene †      St Bartholomew †    St Alban †


Sunday 4th March 2012

                                                                                                      Take up Thy Cross

We have managed to journey through first week in Lent. We began Lent with pleasing the Father who sees in secret, followed by the story of Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness. This week our Lenten journey takes on another level, we have before us in our gospel reading an invitation ‘to take up the Cross and follow’.   For Christ the Cross meant humiliation before his family, friends and foes.   He warned his disciples that he will suffer and be killed that this self sacrifice was necessary for all. We each have to take up our crosses daily, accept our sufferings and follow Him. God understands our sufferings, He has already been there. He meets us in them and teaches us new ways via the Cross towards our spiritual ‘ascent’.

Take up thy cross, the Saviour said,
If thou wouldst My disciple be;
Deny thyself, the world forsake,
And humbly follow after Me.

Take up thy cross; let not its weight
Fill thy weak soul with vain alarm;
His strength shall bear thy spirit up,
And brace thy heart, and nerve thine arm.

Take up thy cross, nor heed the shame,
Nor let thy foolish pride rebel;
The Lord for thee the cross endured
To save thy soul from death and hell.

Take up thy cross, then, in His strength,
And calmly every danger brave;
'Twill guide thee to a better home,
And lead to victory o'er the grave.

Take up thy cross, and follow Christ,
Nor think till death to lay it down;
For only those who bear the cross
May hope to wear the glorious crown.

                                  By Charles William Everest.         Frances


26th February 2012 Newsletter

Posted in Parish

St Mary Magdalene  †       St Bartholomew †       St Alban  †


Sunday 26th February 2012

Under Starter’s Orders

Well, after some time milling around and waiting for something to happen, we appear to be under starter’s orders regarding the interregnum and the future direction for ministry in this part of East London. The parish review is firmly out (and I hope we have all had a chance to look at it) and the Bishop’s meeting will be this Wednesday at 7.30 in St. Bart’s on the memorable date of Feb 29th. A rare event indeed.

This should be a key meeting. It is our opportunity to hear the Bishop, the Area Dean and the Archdeacon explain their vision, the thinking behind it and how the process might go forward and be realised.  Signs from the other churches for closer co-operation appear positive and we expect them to be well-represented on Wednesday.

Of course we all have questions and concerns – one which was highlighted at the Bart’s DCC  was whether the pastoral care at St. Barts and in the parish might not suffer because of the new Team Rector’s wider responsibilities. This has been raised before and Dave Wade (Area Dean) is aware of this concern and has pointed out that Jane also had many “other” responsibilities in the wider community.

It is questions such as these that we need to raise and Wednesday is perhaps out best opportunity for doing so. If all goes well then we should be able to get down to the nitty-gritty of completing the parish profile, drafting an advertisement and going out and recruiting our new minister!

See you on Wednesday…….


19th February 2012 Newsletter

Posted in Parish

St Mary Magdalene †      St Bartholomew †    St Alban †


Sunday 19th February 2012


The Start of our Lenten Journey


I can’t believe we have come around to the beginning of Lent already. But here we are and on Wednesday we start our Lenten journey with a service of Ashing in both of the churches.

Unfortunately, the practice of entering into the Lenten season has often been reduced to the question: “What are we giving up for Lent?”  This is a good question, but it can only take us so far.

The real question of the Lenten season is: How will I find ways to return to God and journey forward? To help us on that journey we have a number of different events during the season. We have a course based around the film the King’s Speech, for the children we have a course leading to their first communion and Confirmation at Easter. Not to forget to mention a variety of different preachers at the Sunday morning service.

The word ‘Lent’ comes from lengthen as we see the days growing longer. Our journey though Lent means that at the end of that journey we should expect to find ourselves somewhere different from where we started. Our destination is Easter let pray that Lent’s lengthening days prepare us for this wonderful celebration.


12th February 2012 Newsletter

Posted in Parish

St Mary Magdalene  †       St Bartholomew †       St Alban  †


Sunday 12th February 2012


Once  there was a young missionary who was so keen to tell people about God’s love that he decided that he would go to the other side of the world to share the good news there.

So off he went, all the way to the furthest island in the ocean and, as he pulled his boat up the beach with his few belongings, the islanders came to see what was going on.

‘I’ve come to tell you about God’s Son Jesus, who loved everyone and never turned anyone away; he was always merciful and generous’

‘Ah’, said the island chief, ‘that’s very kind of you, but actually we already have some gods and we’re very happy with them. But since you’re here, you can stay if you like – make a shelter over there, on the beach’. So the missionary made his shelter and lived there all his life.

A few years later, another young missionary decided to go to that very same island and, as he pulled his boat up the beach, the islanders gathered round. I’ve come to tell you about Jesus’ he said, ‘the kindest person who ever lived, he loved everybody…..’

‘Oh we know him’ said the islanders,’ he used to live in a hut on the beach’.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were so full of love and faith that everyone could see God’s light shining through us?

                                                                             Ann Easter