25th Dec 2011 & 1st Jan 2012 Newsletter

Posted in Parish

St Mary Magdalene  †       St Bartholomew †       St Alban  †


Sunday 25th December 2011


Sunday 1st January 2012

2012 – a Year to Remember?

Today is Christmas Day (rejoice!) or, possibly, New Year’s Day and  so 2012.  The year promises to be an eventful one in the life of our Parish and community.

 We will be appointing a new minister at St. Barts. The Parish Review is with the Bishop and will be made public in the first week of January.  (See separate item in this newsletter for our meeting on 15th January).

Then the Diocese is holding a conference for clergy and others on the 21st January to set out its Strategic Vision - “Transforming Presence” - for the next 15 years. This will have an impact on us as our own area is very much in the forefront of the challenges and issues we face over that time.

Finally (?) there will be the Olympic Games. Some (of you) may have tickets.  Others (of us) will be watching on TV. There will be opportunities for Christian involvement  - more will be revealed in the New Year and, in the meantime, you can look at the “More-than- Gold” website. But, no matter what we do, Newham is centre-stage and the games and their legacy will have a major impact on us all.

And so I hope you all have a very Happy Christmas and wish you all the best for the New Year which, no doubt, will bring each of us its personal ups and its downs. May He be with us in everything in 2012.



18th December 2011 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene  †       St Bartholomew †       St Alban  †


Sunday 18th December 2011


More questions from clergy staff meetings…….

Q56 Do you ever get to a stage in Advent where you think ‘If I hear  ‘Away in a manger’ once more, I shall scream and run away’?

A When you reach that point, it’s time for a large sherry and a mince pie or three. You’ll soon feel better and ready for the next Carol Service.


Q 41 a) Is a knee-length cassock ever appropriate? and

b) When will a culottes cassocks be available?

A What are you talking about! Never, and never!!


Q92 If animals go to Heaven, will my dogs have to be kept on leads?

A Only God knows the answer to that one. Perhaps there are Heavenly kennels.


Q23. Do you think that the BBC2 tv programme called ‘Rev’ is an

accurate account of ministry in the inner city?

A (i) Of course not - any cleric seeing the Archdeacon that frequently would be just about to become the object of  national scandal which might cost the church lots of cash.

(ii) And any cleric who always went out in his cassock would make sure that it fitted much better than the Rev’s – and it would almost certainly have shoulder pads and at least three pleats across the back.

(iii) But, the biggest mistake is that the Rev on tv has no really nice, wise, kind people in his congregation - so it can’t be true.


Q1 Does my bum look big in this?

Even God doesn’t know the answer to that one because there is no right answer….

Merry Christmas!!


11th December 2011 Newsletter

Posted in Parish

St Mary Magdalene  †       St Bartholomew †       St Alban  †


Sunday 11th December 2011

The answers to the important questions of our time!

Question: What do Clergy discuss on a Tuesday morning? Matters of life and death.

Answer: No, On which Sunday the pink candle should be lit on the advent wreath?

Now you know that your priests are at the cutting edge of theological discussion. Yet it does give me an excuse to explain the traditional meanings of the candles of the Advent Wreath.

The colour purple represents the repentance of the season. The pink symbolizes joy and is lit on the third Sunday of Advent. The central candle is white and not lit until Christmas day.

The First Candle (The Candle of Prophecy)

The first candle is sometimes called the candle of prophecy because it symbolizes the promises the prophets; promises that foretold Christ’s birth.

The Second Candle (The Candle of the Way)

The second candle shows that Christ is the Way. Christ is the Light sent into the world to show them the way out of darkness.

The Third Candle (The Candle of Joy)

The third candle indicates that the only lasting Joy to be found in life on earth is through Christ.

The Fourth Candle (The Candle of Peace)

The fourth candle reminds that Jesus comes to bring Peace.

The Fifth Candle (The Christ Candle or Christmas Candle)

The fifth candle represents Christ himself born this day.

                                            Now you know!                          Quintin

4th December 2011 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene  †       St Bartholomew †       St Alban  †


Sunday 4th December 2011


Advent Summons 

In the midst of our preparations for Christmas, below is an Advent poem by Mother Mary Francis,

(late Abbess of the Colettine Poor Clare monastery in Roswell, New Mexico) to ponder on in silence.

Come forth from the holy place,
Sweet Child,Come from the quiet dark
Where virginal heartbeats
Tick your moments.

Come away from the red music,
Of Mary's veins.Come out from the Tower of David
Sweet Child,From the House of Gold.

Leave your lily-cloister,Leave your holy mansion,
Quit your covenant ark.O Child, be born!

Be born, sweet Child,
in our unholy hearts.

Come to our trembling,Helpless Child.
Come to our littleness,Little Child,
Be born unto us, who have kept the faltering vigil.
Be given, be born,be ours again.

Came forth from your holy haven,
Come away from your perfect shrine,
Come to our wind-racked souls
From the flawless tent,Sweet Child.

Be born, little Child, In our unholy hearts.


27th November 2011 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene  †       St Bartholomew †       St Alban  †


Sunday 27th November 2011


The mills of the CofE  may grind slow…..

 I have often  been asked “do we have a new minister yet ?” or, even, “how is Barts’ new vicar ?” – somebody knows more than we do!

The process has been moving slower than either we or the Diocese would have liked, but things will start to happen in the New Year

and we need to be ready.

The  Review process, which is looking at Ministry in the East Ham area with, I think its fair to say, a view to increasing co-operation between ourselves and at least three adjacent parishes, is nearly done.  Our clergy and wardens have spoken to the review team and John and I met with Andy Windross to give him our thoughts. I don’t think we told them anything they hadn’t heard before!

Andy assured us the review will be done before Christmas, so we should soon know what is being suggested. (Then we will see whether the mills of the CofE also grind exceeding small !). Any proposals will then be discussed openly and have to be agreed by all parties.

As part of this process, and for preparing our parish profile (where we advertise ourselves to possible new ministers !), we are holding an open meeting for all members of our parish and our wider community. This will be after church (about 11.45) on Sunday January 15th at

St. Barts and will consider our vision for ministry at St. Barts and in the parish. It will be led by Rev. Chris McDermott who is a good friend to the parish and who has considerable experience in facilitating such meetings. We hope that as many of you as possible will be coming; this is very much your opportunity to have your say in what should be our vision for the future.

See you on the 15th!