15th May 2011 Newsletter

Posted in Parish

St Mary Magdalene  †       St Bartholomew †       St Alban  †


Sunday 15th May 2011


Finally, a new Memorial Garden takes shape!

Two years of deliberating. Endless meetings and discussions, the faculty having been granted. Work this week, finally starts on the on the new memorial garden for the burial of Ashes at St. Marys.

It has been quite a journey but I hope what we get will be worth the wait. We hope the Garden will be dedicated when the Bishop of Chelmsford comes to our Patronal Festival at the end of July.

 But for those who have not been involved in the discussions I thought it would useful for you to have a look at the plans even if they are in miniature and the central memorial will be a granite obelisk! The design has been refined but it should be something like this situated on the Left Hand side of the path as you enter the Graveyard.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Quintin



8th May 2011 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene  †       St Bartholomew †       St Alban  †


Sunday 8th May 2011


Easter doubts…..

After the 40 flowerless days of austerity in Lent, we’ve now got 50 days to celebrate Easter – with flowers and chocolate!

In our Gospel readings in Church we will hear again the story of those strange 50 days, when Jesus, who had been cruelly put to death on Good Friday, appeared several times to his friends. It must have been very odd, yet so welcome. I wonder if the friends thought that Jesus was back for good? That now everything would be just the same as it used to be. Phew, what a relief.

 But no, Jesus had died but was risen and different and His followers had to accept it. And they did, evetually. All that is, except good old Thomas, immortalised as ‘Doubting’

Thomas because he refused to believe what the others told him until he saw it with his own eyes. Thomas stands for each of us when we have doubts – and that’s surely all of us sometime or another, isn’t it? Don’t think that a clerical collar makes any difference because it certainly doesn’t!

It seems to me that certainty is pretty unreliable – attractive, yes, but unreliable - and we have to learn to live in what Rowan Williams, our Archbishop, calls ‘A life of doubt,enriched by faith’.


The Bible says that Jesus came especially to see Thomas and put his mind at rest and Jesus will reassure us too, in our

doubting moments; maybe we hear a lovely tune which is full of happy memories, or somebody smiles at us, or we catch a whiff of something, a fleeting shadow, that tells us that, deep down, there’s a heart of love constantly beating for all God’s creation.

Better not be too busy being certain - or we might not notice!




1st May 2011 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene  †       St Bartholomew †       St Alban  †


Sunday 1st May 2011



By the time you read this, it will all be over.

As I write it, we are still waiting for it to happen.

Millions around the world will be watching it –
though I’m not quite sure how the viewing figures will compare with the latest round of Barcelona v Real Madrid.


Most will, I’m sure, enjoy the day: some as confirmed supporters of the monarchy,
 others for the spectacle,and others just as a day off to be spent in company with an excuse for a party.

I’ve spent some time this morning talking to another bride-to-be,
for whom the stresses of planning a wedding are, at the moment, looming larger than the joys.
 The event itself, whether in Newham or Westminster, seems to become all-consuming,
and it’s all too easy to lose sight of the purpose.


So what is the purpose? To create a feel-good factor in a time of public-spending cuts,
 job losses, and falling living standards?
To sell more papers?
 To give a boost to the standing of the royal family?
To have a really big party?


A cynic might say ‘yes’ to all of those. But at the heart of this event is the expectation that the future will be different because of the commitment made between two people: the promises that will be made are the promises made at every church wedding, of faithfulness, mutual support and cherishing, and the sharing of lives.

What matters about That Wedding is that it will shape the future for the couple themselves.


The church has just had its own big celebration in Easter,

the greatest festival of the Christian year.

Nice party – what about the purpose? Do we live as though it made a difference to each one of us?



24th April 2011 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene  †       St Bartholomew †       St Alban  †


Sunday 24th April 2011


‘He is Risen Alleluia’

Over 2000 years ago, outside the city of Jerusalem, something magnanimous happened.
 Jesus Christ rose from the dead. This greatest event in history changed the whole world.

Today Christians all over the world are telling the story of Jesus’ victory over death,
that death is not the end of the story.
For this reason, at every Eucharist we enact the story.

So, after 40 days of a serious and a challenging Lenten discipline,
we have finally arrived at Easter.
Today, our story is to rejoice and be glad, we can put our feet up and relax.

However, our celebration at Easter is not the end of the story,
 but the beginning of new stories of possibilities and openness,
to God’s future and purpose in our lives and especially for the life of our parish.


The challenge for us, ‘credentes’ or ‘the faithful’, this Eastertide,is to stay with Mary Magdalene’s story in John’s gospel.
To meditate, absorb and ponder on the resurrection text, till we hear God,or by His grace,
see our Lord in our contemplation, like Mary, confess, that ‘We have seen the Lord’,
in spite of the difficulties, uncertainties of the future, pain or anxieties, unemployment,
unjust discriminations, redundancies, cost of living,….ill health,…..

We have seen the Lord.

Christ won over the archenemy of this world, our accuser and in Christ,
we believe any stone covering tombs of hopelessness and helplessness will roll away.

He is Risen, Alleluia, Praise God.

                                                                             May we be blessed this Eastertide and forever more.

Happy Easter!!!!


17th April 2011 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene  †       St Bartholomew †       St Alban  †


Sunday 17th April 2011

The crowds preceding him and those followingkept crying out and saying:
"Hosanna to the Son of David;

blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord;
Hosanna in the highest." (Matthew 21:9)


Today we celebrate Palm Sunday.
We launch the very special week, Holy Week when the Church leads
 and guides us through a roller coaster experience of liturgical events and celebrations
 – Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and the Paschal experience.
 This indeed is the richest season in the Church’s liturgical year!


During Jesus' earthly ministry, He often told people not to tell anyone who He was.
 Even when his mother (Wedding in Cana) and brothers encouraged Him to go public,
Jesus said it was not yet His time.

But on the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey,
TODAY, it becomes clearly evident that the appointed time for the
public manifestation of the God-Made-Man has come.
God has pitched His tent among us!
He is walking/riding among us!
In Him, the Glories and Hosannas of Palm Sunday,
the pains and rejecting crucify him of Good Friday,
and the Halleluias of the Sunday resurrection have mystically become timelessly one.

Today we witness the only public announcement that Jesus was the promised Messiah of Yahweh.
 We the People of God, all peoples, and indeed all creation joyfully witness that this son of
 teenager Mary and Joseph the carpenter from next door,
 this young man who speaks our language, eats our food, plays our games,
cracks and enjoys our jokes, this young man who now rides on a humble donkey among us,
 is the ONE. In Him God’s plan is completely fulfilled,
and so are all the prophecies made by all the prophets about him.

Although his announcement was rejected by many,
 yet God's plan was completely fulfilled through Him.
 In Him and by Him the redemption of all creation was irreversibly assured.

Hosanna to the Son of David !
            Hosanna in the highest ! ! !             

                                                                                            Fr Fred