28th Nov Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene  †       St Bartholomew †       St Alban  †


Sunday 28th November 2010


Advent – When God says  ‘Coming – ready or not!’

Every year I think that it’s a shame that Advent comes at such a busy time……After all, most of us are now in the throes of laying in enough food for a siege, sending cards to everyone we’ve ever known – and many we’ve forgotten – and looking for that elusive perfect gift for the man who has everything, it seems hard to have to remember one more thing.

So how can we get ready for the most important event since time began, at the same time as all the other stuff? Here’s a few ideas from my list:-

*An extra prayer never goes amiss, I find, but I need to remind myself to do it, so, whenever I drive past one of our many churches, I say a prayer for God’s people there.And another tiny prayer for the sender of every Christmas card that arrives.

*I make a point of reading something different, maybe an article in the paper that I would usually gloss over, and I ask myself where God is in that situation.(And if you’d like to reflect a bit with others,

why not come to an Advent Group on Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday evening?)

*And, perhaps most importantly, I try to have some time of quiet, among all the hubbub, in front of our little crib – important this bit, without the baby in it - and think of us all waiting for Jesus.

We know that our preparation to meet the King of Kings is the work of a lifetime, not just a month, and as Christians we know that we celebrate and decorate because of Christmas, rather than because they’re nice things to do.

So to put the preparation and the celebration together is to enhance them both.

Happy Advent!


7th November Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene  †       St Bartholomew †       St Alban  †


Sunday 7th November 2010





Ancient Egypt has been a subject  which has fascinated people for generations, and  it’s certainly been  part of our school curriculum for a very long time

– since I was a child, at least!  So it probably shouldn’t have surprised me, that on getting back from a wonderful holiday seeing some of the great sights of that civilisation,

I seemed to find pharaohs, hieroglyphics, and mummies turning up regularly in books, films, TV, even advertisements.


Partly that’s because there is a new exhibition at the British Museum, about the ‘Book of the Dead’, the collection of stories, spells, and instructions,

designed to help the ancient Egyptians make the journey from death into the afterlife. 

It has been intriguing, at this time in the church’s year when we think so much of death and what lies beyond, to see how another culture,

from thousands of years ago, addressed the question of ‘what next’, one of the commonest and yet most profound questions for every human being.


For the Egyptians, well being beyond the grave depended entirely on a good life in this world.

For us, as Christians, the story is a little different: our striving  may be for the good life, to be faithful disciples,

but our trust is in the grace of God, who knows that we cannot depend on our own efforts,  and so gives of God’s very self in the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.



Sunday September 26th Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene  †       St Bartholomew †       St Alban  †


Sunday 26th September 2010


Stewardship Sunday


It is the time of the year again for us to review our giving to the church and also to look at our time spent focusing on the Lord, focusing on our relationships with others and the gifts God has given to us.


Ps 24 – ‘The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it.’ We are called in this world to be good stewards, good managers of all that God has entrusted to us at all times.   Below are prayers to ponder on this week:


Partners of Love


We love because you first loved us

We give because you gave yourself completely

We worship because you showed your very nature

We live because you died instead of us

We share because your care surrounds us all

We love because you first loved us.

© Frances Ballantyne

Divine Exchange


Jesus we thank you.

In your generosity, you became poor for us

In your giving, you became empty for us

In your grace, you became nothing for us.

You became poor, for us to become rich

You became empty, for us to become full

You became nothing, for us to become something

Jesus we thank you.

© Frances Ballantyne


Newsletter 06/06/2010

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St Mary Magdalene St Bartholomew † St Alban


Sunday 6th June 2010


Last week, St Bart’s was the victim of a graffiti artist.

Actually, if it had been an artist, we might have felt better about what happened. Someone daubed offensive words on the outside

of the building, underneath the statue of the family and beside the cross.

We were sad at the lack of respect for the building, and for the symbols of our faith, but took it in our stride. Plans were made for

the caretaker to remove the paint after the bank holiday.

And, indeed, it was all cleaned off. But not by Bill, our caretaker. Someone – perhaps a user of the centre, perhaps a kind neighbor, perhaps Newham Council’s street-cleaning team – came along, without being asked, and promptly and carefully restored the brickwork to normal.

Whoever it was, we are very grateful, not just for the cleaning

but for the unprompted kindness. How good it is to know that one person’s instinct to spoil and damage was balanced and cancelled by another’s instinct to restore and make good what had been damaged

– and to do this without acknowledgement or reward.

So, thank you, our anonymous friend – may you in turn find friends as good.


Newsletter 30/05/2010

Posted in Parish


St Mary Magdalene † St Bartholomew † St Alban †


Sunday 30th May 2010

Environmentally Friendly

It was heartening to head how, once again, vegetables are to be grown in St Bart’s garden. Not only is it an achievement to ‘grown your own’, but they also seem to taste better.

With the present financial dilemma we and many other countries are facing, doing more for ourselves (and each other) should ‘hopefully’ save us money.

Sharing is something we could also do. Sometimes I have seen very good bargains in the supermarkets, where buying large quantities of food, saves quite a sum of money. Unfortunately, not many of us feel able to buy so much at a time;

a) it may cost too much to start with.

b) the goods will probably be past their ‘sell by date’ before we have had time to eat them.

However, that very word ‘sharing’ could solve this problem.

If a few of us from church got together to sort out how to take advantage of such bargains, we could then all benefit from the special offers.

For example a bowl of eight bananas cost only £1 in our local market. If four people shared this bargain, it would only cost 25p for their two bananas and they would have time to eat them before they had ‘gorn orf’, or bio-degraded if you prefer. What do you think?