Saturday, 31 December 2011

Monday, 26 December 2011




This is always a well supported service but we anticipated that there would be more present this year and there most certainly were. During the last few weeks we have shown many of the children from our local school around the church. And we have demonstrated and explained how a Christingle is made, and why.

Extra chairs were bought into church to accommodate the many children. parents and grandparents who came. One of the readings was by The Head of our local school. In his homily Father Martin had a brother and a sister from one of the families come to help him. The boy looked the oldest as his sister was quite small but it turned out she was the oldest. Father talked to them, and to us all about the importance of sharing and how The Children’s Society through it’s work shared resources with deprived children. The Christingles were handed out and lit and with the church in darkness except for the Christingles we sang “Once in Royal David’s City” Father Mervyn played the organ for the service.


A record congregation celebrated Our Lord’s Birthday at this tremendous act of worship when we offered the sacrifice of the Solemn Mass of the Lord’s Nativity. Clouds of incense preceded the Procession of servers and clergy, bearing the Bambino to the Altar ready to be placed in the Crib at the end of Mass. Father Martin was the principle celebrant and Father Mervyn concelebrated and preached. In his homily, Father Mervyn drew our attention to the role played by the Innkeeper at Bethlehem  who, in a single act of kindness and generosity, made his own family's accommodation available to Our Lady so that she could have some privacy at the birth of Jesus. That act had been remembered for over two thousand years. In the course of our lives we might be presented with an opportunity to do something, some act of kindness, and it could be, that it too might have similar ramifications. The welcome we give to the stranger could be the welcome we give to the Lord himself “inasmuch as you did it to the least of my brethren, you did it unto me”.

At the end of the service, as we sang  the last verse of Adeste Fideles “Yea Lord we greet Thee” the Bambino was taken and placed in the Crib which was blessed by prayer, Holy Water and incense. After the Solemn Blessing we processed to the Sacristy and then we went to the Parish Hall for Sherry and Mince Pies.


Once again at this Mass we had a record attendance and a record making their Communion and again the church was filled with clouds of incense. Father Mervyn was the principle celebrant and Father Martin concelebrated and preached.


Many thanks to all those who made Christmas so special: the Choir and our Organist & Choirmaster Jon, Ray and his team of Servers, the Readers and Ministers of the Blessed Sacrament, those who arranged the flowers, decorated the Church and the Christmas Tree, those who cleaned the Church, those who put out chairs and put them away afterwards; in fact, many thanks to everybody who made the Celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord such a wonderful occasion at St Augustine’s 2011.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Sunday, 18 December 2011



Today a packed congregati0n welcomed the Bishop of Chelmsford as our preacher at the Parish Mass which Father Martin celebrated whilst Father Mervyn concelebrated and read the Gospel. Pamela led as in our Intercessions. In a great sermon Bishop Stephen preached on the Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell, and Eternal Life. He pronounced the Absolution after the Confession and gave his Blessing at the end of Mass. He joined us afterwards in the hall where we celebrated several birthdays: Libby, Mary, Matthew and Father Martin. We sang them a “Happy Birthday as Father Martin cut the special Birthday Cake which had been made and iced by Ann.

Yesterday’s Saturday Shop took an incredible £281.  It is now closed until after Christmas

Friday, 16 December 2011

Social Diary Dates



Saturday 31st December New Year’s Eve do in the Hall


Saturday 21st January Burns Night - interested? Let us know.

Saturday 11th February Quiz Night

Saturday 21st April St. George’s Day dinner

Saturday 5th May May Fair

June (about 2/3/4/5th) Royal Anniversary Event—to be arranged

Saturday 7th July Oh no! Not the Olympics—alternative event

Saturday 17th November Winter Bazaar

Monday, 12 December 2011




Pioneer dec services 11-jan12

PCC Donations to Charities and other Charity Matters

Every year the PCC at its November meeting decides which charities should get the benefit of the “Tea Money”. This is the money that you donate for your tea and coffee and biscuits on a Sunday morning after church. Over the year it adds up to about £500 and it was decided some while ago that this should be our Christmas charity giving.

In addition we also have the Christingle and other money collected for the Children’s Society plus we support the USPG and Christian Aid.

And, in addition to all that we support a variety of other charities with a free stall at the Saturday Shop where they take away what they raise. During the last year we have helped Pussycat Lodge, Barking & Dagenham Community Choir, Rainbow Trust, Red Cross and many others.

Anyway, the “Tea Money” this year has gone to Community Links, Essex Air Ambulance, Essex Clergy Charity, St. Mungo’s and Richard House. They get £100 each which may not seem much but, if all the churches in the area did what we do then it would start to make a difference.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

O Lord, hear my prayer.

One of the themes that we are returning to on a regular basis during the Advent, Christmas and Epiphany seasons is the need to maintain our relationship with God by praying on a regular basis. Whether that is with a short prayer of thanksgiving for food before eating (a grace) or a longer prayer, perhaps before bed, at the end of the day or most especially before the start of a service, whatever the reason may be the importance of maintaining a regular prayer life is the same.

Prayer is a means of opening oneself up to God and maintaining your relationship with Him, both by laying before Him those things that have disturbed you since last you prayed and also of being open to listening to God’s plans for you. As such the importance of a period of silent reflection or of just being still cannot be stressed to highly. The long darker nights of this time of year make it an ideal time to just spend a few minutes in a quiet, darkened or dimly lit, room perhaps even lit by a candle as a reminder of the light of Christ before you collect your thoughts in prayer.

For those of you who are adults a time of prayer, reflection and quiet in church, instead of chatting to or disturbing others unnecessarily before the service begins allows you to be properly prepared to receive the Lord into your heart and mind. It gives you and those around you the opportunity to focus on the real reason for being in church and will doubtless make the social time after the service that much more enjoyable as you should by then be at peace with God.

I have frequently heard it said that ‘I do not know what to pray’. My answer, as always, is ‘if all else fails you then pray the Lord’s Prayer’, therein is everything that a prayer should have. For it contains - Praise of God and submission to his mighty will and power; Prayer for others and a willingness to forgive and to be forgiven by those whom you have offended and by those who have offended you; and lastly prayer for oneself and for God to protect you.

When praying at home it is not a bad idea to have a pen and paper with you, so that if the troubles and cares of daily life intrude you can note them down and not be distracted by trying to remember something until you have finished your prayers, this is especially useful if you have been doing a shopping list earlier in the day!. In church, as I said at the Feast of Christ the King, there are prayers for use both before and after the service printed in the front and back covers of our red service booklets, these are in no way meant to be exhaustive but are a good basis for proper preparation and thanksgiving at the Mass.

Some people are of the opinion that their prayers, especially those at the end of the day should cover everything that they have done that day, a noble thought in one respect though not always practical and frequently distracting as you spend more time thinking about the minute detail rather than actually praying. Additionally there is the great danger of winding up with, what I refer to as a ‘Shopping List’ of prayers; a list that is so long and detailed as to then have little real value.

It is important to remember that God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent and that as such He sees all things hears all things and knows all things thus, it is sufficient, once you have prayed for the truly important things that have affected your relationship with God to conclude with words along the lines of ‘and for the needs of all your people and of your world’.

The seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany are ones that are frequently very hectic and stressful for all of us Firstly as we rush around buying presents and food to share with friends and family. Secondly as we worry over whether we have brought the right thing and over whether there is enough food or that it will not all be ready on time. Thirdly as the bills start to arrive for the things we put on ‘the plastic’, and we wonder how we will ever pay for it all. Fourthly we fret about whether we still have the receipts for the things they hated and will the shop give us our money back or stick us with a credit note we’ll never, ever use! All these things and a great many more keep us from maintaining our relationship with God and indeed lead us into a secular lifestyle without us even realising it..

In an effort to reduce at least some of your stress and to help you in your prayers I have copied below some of the prayers that we use either in church or in the Vicarage during this season, some are taken from the Book of Common Prayer, some from Common Worship© (and themselves appear on our pew sheets) and others are ones I have gathered from various sources over the years, especially from the Northumbrian Community.

A Prayer for Advent

God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious Majesty, to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever.

God in Trinity, eternal unity of perfect love: gather the nations to be one family, and draw us into your holy life through the birth of Emmanuel, our Lord Jesus Christ.

A grace for your Christmas Dinner

Bless, O Lord, this food we are about to eat, and we pray you, O God that it may be good for our body and soul, and if there is any poor creature hungry or thirsty walking the road may God send them in to us so that we can share the food with them, just as Christ shares His gifts with all of us.

A Prayer for the New Year

This day is a new day that has never been before. This year is a new year the opening door. Enter, Lord Christ we have joy in your coming. You have given us life and we welcome Your coming.

I turn now to face you, I lift up my eyes, be blessing my face, Lord, be blessing my eyes. May all my eyes look on be blessed and bright.

My neighbours, my loved ones be blessed in Your sight.

You have given us life and we welcome Your coming. Be with us, Lord we have joy, we have joy. This year is a new year the opening door. Be with us, Lord we have joy, we have joy

A Prayer for Epiphany

Creator of the heavens, who led the Magi by a star to worship the Christ-child: guide and sustain us, that we may find our journey's end in Jesus Christ our Lord.

A Celtic Blessing

May the road rise to meet you, May the wind be ever at your back.
May the sunshine warm upon your face, And the rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again. May God hold you, May God hold you Ever in the palm of his hand.

My prayer for all of you during the coming season is that God will remain firmly in the centre of your lives and that you will have a very Happy, Holy and wonderful Christ Mass followed by a Peaceful and Prosperous New Year. And I as I pray for all of you on a daily basis, may you find time in your lives to pray for all of us in the Vicarage.

We do not know what interesting and challenging things will come our way in 2012 but with God’s grace we will face them together in love, unity and prayer.

God Bless you all

Fr. Martin, Jan and family

© Common Worship material is copyright to the Archbishop’s Council



Today Father Martin presided and Father Mervyn preached and concelebrated. He took as his text the opening words of today’s Gospel: "There was a man named John, sent by God to give testimony to the Light."  John the Baptist was sent by God; the word in the original Greek is apostolein translates as apostle. To give testimony, the word in the original Greek is marturios, martyr. John the Baptist is both an apostle and a martyr.  We too are called to bear witness to the true light of the world, just as St. John the Baptist and like him, we may be called to become martyrs. At this time of year with all the baloney which is going on, with those who wish to remove Christ from Christmas and rename it the Winter Festival, with those who want to change the name of Christmas Tree to Holiday Tree we need people prepared to witness to the true light of the world, Jesus born at Christmas. People who in this day and age are Apostles.

Yesterday’s Saturday Shop took £263 – many thanks to all those who helped.

Sunday, 4 December 2011


At a well attended Parish Mass today Father Mervyn presided and Father Martin preached and concelebrated. Ann led us in our Intercessions.  In his sermon Father Martin commented on those who want to celebrate Christmas before it actually comes.  He pointed out that Tuesday is the Feast of St. Nicholas which many people on the continent keep as the day for exchanging presents. In that way they don’t have the hype/commercialism which surrounds Christmas in the UK. He also mentioned the customs in Spain and amongst the Orthodox which allowed the great Solemnity of Christmas to be properly celebrated unencumbered by the secularisation prevalent in the UK.

Yesterdays Saturday Shop took a staggering £280.


2.00 p.m. CAROL SINGING AT QUEEN’S HOSPITAL. Meet at the piano in the main Entrance area.

4.30 p.m. Baptism of Matt and Michael, brothers of Vera and twin sons of Michael and Uzoma. All welcome – please come and support them.

Saturday, 3 December 2011




O Lord, raise up, we pray, your power and come among us, and with great might succour us; that whereas, through our sins and wickedness we are grievously hindered in running the race that is set before us, your bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, to whom with you, and the Holy Spirit be honour and glory, now and for ever. AMEN

Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. AMEN

Sunday, 27 November 2011




As our Organist & Choirmaster Jon was taken ill in the night Father Mervyn played the organ and preached whilst Father Martin presided. Our Lay Reader Joan led us in prayer at the Intercessions. We send Jon our good wishes for a speedy recovery.

In his sermon Father Mervyn reminded us that we do not know the time or the place when Jesus will come for the second time. In the early days of the Christian faith Christians had lived in the expectation of it happening imminently. Now that two thousand years had elapsed since those days we had lost that sense of urgency but we must realise that to God a day is like a second, a year like a moment,  a thousand years as an hour, as He exists outside of our earthly time. In the Gospel Jesus tells us that even he does not know when He will return – that is known to God alone. What we must do is live our lives in the expectation that it could be today or tomorrow. Father Mervyn reminded us that every time we celebrate Mass Jesus is truly present in the Blessed Sacrament of His Body and Blood and that we should prepare ourselves to receive Him.

Yesterday’s Saturday Shop took a magnificent £270.


Sunday, 20 November 2011

Christmas card tree in church

You may recall that, for the last couple of years, Cathy Cooper has organised a way for you to stop writing cards to all your friends in church. You can save time, money and a few trees, as well as some anxiety over whether you have sent a card to everyone.

This year is no different. The “tree” will be up and you can purchase a “shape” to decorate in your very own way to place on the large tree as a message for the season to all your friends in church.

The cost will be £2 which will be donated to The Children’s Society along with the Christingle monies.

There you are. “Simples” as a certain advertising animal would say.

from “THE PIONEER” November 2011

When does the year start and finish? On the face of it this is a very easy question, however if the words ‘the Church year that is’ are added things become somewhat more complicated. Ask the question in school and the more alert children begin to realise that it could well be a trick question. Thus, some will venture that it is still January 1st to December 31st, others may well suggest that it is Christmas Day to Christmas Eve and some will try for Easter Day to Good Friday (strange how they always manage to lose the Saturday in between).

The one answer that I never get though, unless there is a church going child in the room, is Advent 1 through to the Saturday after the Feast of Christ the King. In itself this choice of dates does seem somewhat strange, after all Jesus was born and grew up under the old covenant and therefore it might be reasonable to have assumed that we might have followed the Jewish date for the New Year. This would have meant that the New Year would have been in late September or Early October each year, depending on the phases of the moon in exactly the same way as we have a 28 day period in March / April for the date of Easter (Passover).

Why then did we end up with Advent 1, which itself varies between late November and early December? As we know the early Church in England was keen to replace the pagan celebrations held around Saturnalia. Celebrations that were meant to try and encourage the return of the Sun, which, of course, in mid winter shone for its least amount each day. So successful were our ancient Christian brethren that they exported this new date for Christmas back out into the rest of the then known world.

A small problem here though is that over the centuries we have changed the length of the year and by default the exact timing of Christmas. December 25th was not fixed until sometime around the 1730’s (N.B. Opinions amongst scholars are divided over the exact time that the date was fixed).

If then the Feast of Christmas was fixed how did we create the season of Advent and indeed who decided it was going to last for at least 4 weeks and the days between the fourth Sunday and Christmas Day itself? That there should be a period of preparation before such a great feast seems logical after all Easter is preceded by Lent which lasts for 40 days, excluding the Sundays, and which takes its precedence from scripture. Advent has no such scriptural basis and indeed is not kept in the same way in the Eastern Church where the period leading up to Christmas is known as the Nativity Fast.

As best as I can ascertain from the numerous different theories that seem to have been put forward the idea of the early church was to have a period of at least 20 days excluding the Sundays and other major Feasts that might occur prior to Christmas. Why 20 days? Probably because Christmas is the 2nd most important feast and therefore in order to show its status and too distinguish it from the most important feast of Easter it was accredited half the fast period of that major feast; How true this is I do not know, but at least it is a plausible answer.

Certainly the idea of Advent stemmed from our ancient Roman Catholic roots and although the Eastern Church has a different name and duration, it nonetheless came from this same origin. Henry VIII kept the tradition when he split from Rome, as did the Lutheran Church and after its formation the Methodist Church, other Christian traditions have subsequently fallen in with the idea.

If there is an anomaly it is actually with the feast of Christ The King, which has only been fully recognised in the Church of England since the millennium, yes I really do mean only 11 years ago. In the Roman Catholic Church the feast has only been recognised since 1925 when Pope Pius XI instituted it. In the 1960’s the Second Vatican Council confirmed the day as a Feast day and in 1969 Pope Paul VI gave the feast a new title: "D. N. Iesu Christi universorum Regis" (Our Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universe). He also gave it a new date: the last Sunday in the liturgical year, before a new year begins with the First Sunday in Advent, the earliest date for which is 27 November.

Through this choice of date "the eschatological importance of this Sunday is made clearer", He also assigned to it the highest rank, that of "Solemnity". Prior to this time there really was no celebration of the end of the Church year merely recognition within the appointed scriptural readings prior to Advent that Christ sat at God’s right hand in the Kingdom and that he ruled in His name.

A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.

Within the Church of England where for some 450 years the Book of Common Prayer held sway the Sunday before Advent 1 was always know as Stir up Sunday because the collect for the day began with those words and it became common practice after church and dinner that day to then make the ‘Plum Puddings’ for the following years Christmas feast. The Collect reads as follows : -

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The keeping of the days leading up to the feasts of Christ the King and of Advent also vary greatly, though Advent has a more clearly defined set of observances associated with it. Advent is also one of the few Christian festivals that can be observed in the home as well as at church.  In its association with Christmas, Advent is a natural time to involve children in activities at home that directly connect with worship at church. 

In many homes an Advent wreath (smaller but similar to the one in church) is often placed on the dining table and the candles lighted at meals, with Scripture readings preceding the lighting of the candles, especially on Sunday. A new candle is lighted each Sunday during the four weeks, and then the same candles are lighted each meal during the week. In this context, it provides the opportunity for family devotion and prayer together, and helps teach the Faith to children, especially if they are involved in reading the daily Scriptures. (This practice is very common in countries such as Spain and Italy and is gaining ground in the USA. It is one I would commend to us both at St. Augustine’s and indeed the wider church).

In congregational worship, the Advent wreath is the central teaching symbol of the season, the focal point for drawing the congregation into the beginning of the story of redemption that will unfold throughout the church year. For this reason, members of the congregation are often involved in lighting the Advent candles and reading the appropriate Scriptures each Sunday.  As most of you know, I like to keep our younger members involved or those with a special anniversary to celebrate.

Whilst there is no particular set form of observance leading up to the feast of Christ the King, in the general Church of England calendar there is provision of a sort made within the Revised Common Lectionary which, takes the four Sundays before Advent and names them as The Kingdom Season. Thus they incorporate the Feasts of All Saints, All Souls and, of course, Remembrance Sunday and lead to the season’s culmination with the celebration of Christ as King. For this time the Church is meant to use red vestments rather than green when no other observance (and therefore colour) takes precedence.

How should we keep this time leading up to the end of the year? I would suggest by being more reflective in daily prayer and by remembering especially in those prayers, those whom we have loved and no longer see here on earth and that in the fullness of God’s time, not man’s, we might again be one with them as God is one, Father Son and Holy Ghost.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

God Bless you

Fr. Martin


Today Father Mervyn presided and Father Martin preached and concelebrated. 

We were pleased to learn that yesterday’s Bazaar made £2,147.69 after all expenses. Many thanks to all those who helped in any way to achieve this wonderful result


10.00 a.m. Parish Mass

6.00 p.m. Service of Nine Readings & Advent Hymns.


Saturday 3rd December

 7.30 p.m. NEW DIMENSION CHOIR CONCERT in church and including light refreshments (wine, soft drinks and mincepies) Tickets now available from Geof or Cathy £5

Monday 12th December Uniformed Organisations Carol Service

Wednesday 14th December Rush Green Junior School Choir Concert in Church at 6.00 p.m.

Saturday 17th December Carol Singing around the wards at Queens Hospital. Meet at 2.00 p.m. in the main entrance

Saturday, 19 November 2011


Today we had our Autumn Bazaar which, as usual, was packed with eager people ready to buy some of the many bargains we had available.









The stall holders and helpers were dressed in 1940’s clothes’ and one had the seams of her stockings drawn on!




After the Grand Draw the Bazaar closed for another year. The Saturday Shop returns next Saturday when we look forward to seeing our customers, old and new.

We hope to have the result of the Bazaar tomorrow at the Parish Mass and this will be published on the Blog.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011


Yesterday, 15th November, members of the SSC Chapter of St. Helena, met at St. Augustine’s Church for the annual Requiem Mass. The principal celebrant was Father Peter Walker SSC and Father Martin Howse SSC read the Gospel and preached the Homily. Father Mervyn Jennings SSC read the Old Testament Lesson and led the psalm; he also played the organ.


The Bishop of Chelmsford, The Rt. Revd. Stephen Cottrell came as a guest. He was present for the Mass and talked to the Brethren about the current situation in the Church of England afterwards. After his talk he answered questions before we adjourned to the hall for lunch which had been beautifully cooked by Jan Howse and Ann Jennings. Bishop Stephen just had time for lunch before leaving for a meeting at Lambeth Palace with the Archbishop. As Lunch was donated by St. Augustine’s Parish a collection was taken for Mission Direct which amounted to £45. Our next meeting, the AGM is in January 2012

Sunday, 13 November 2011


Today, during a well attended Solemn Requiem Mass, we offered the Holy Sacrifice for all those who have given their lives in the service of their country. Father Martin celebrated and Father Mervyn preached and played the organ. For our Scout Group this was a Parade Sunday whilst our Guides and Brownies were part of the civic Remembrance observation.

At 11.00 a.m. the Altar Party and congregation went to the Church Memorial Garden for the Two Minutes Silence and the laying of the wreath which was followed by the Last Post and the National Anthem. Provision was made in church for the lighting of candles in memory of the fallen.

Yesterday’s Saturday Shop took £147.

Next Saturday




Solemnity of


SOLEMN MASS 10.00 a.m.

Sunday, 6 November 2011


Father Mervyn presided at today’s very well attended Parish Mass and Father Martin concelebrated and preached. Fresh from yesterday’s Diocesan Synod Father Martin outlined some of the inevitable changes that will happen to parochial ministry over the next few years. He stressed that we need vocations to serve in Ministry, ordained and lay, and he posed the question of vocations within our congregation in such areas as full time or part-time  priests or local ordained priests or as Lay Readers. Using the Gospel he reminded us that planning for the future was what the wise bridesmaids had done whilst the foolish just hoped that their lamps would have enough oil to last.
PCC Members are reminded that the next meeting is on Tuesday 8th November; Mass at 7.00 p.m. Meeting starts at 7.45 p.m.

Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament

Saturday 12th November for ESSEX BASED MEMBERS General Meeting at 2.30 p.m. in the hall followed by the Office & Benediction in Church.







Advance Notice Sunday 27th November 6.00 p.m. Advent 1 Nine Readings & Advent Hymns

Thursday, 3 November 2011


There was a good attendance at yesterday evening’s Solemn Requiem Mass at which Father Martin presided and preached and Father Mervyn concelebrated. We decided this year that we would revert to using black for this occasion and the new black and gold chasuble which Father Martin wore looked splendid and really appropriate.

The choir sang a version of Brother James Air during Mass. As well as members of our regular congregation we welcomed several visitors. We are very grateful to our Organist and Choirmaster, to our Choir and to our servers and to all those who came for helping to make this a memorable and fitting occasion to pray for our departed brothers and sisters and to offer the Holy Sacrifice for them..

Sunday, 30 October 2011


Today Father Martin presided at the Parish Mass and Father Mervyn concelebrated and preached. Father Mervyn pointed out that Solemnity of All Saints acknowledges all those people who have borne faithful witness, led lives of sanctity and holiness but who are unrecognised by the church, sometimes because the church was not even aware of theme. He pointed out that we are all called to be saints; St. Paul addresses his letter to the Romans: To all God's beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints. And in his Epistle to the Ephesians he calls Christians fellow citizens with the saints. He posed the question:have you ever met a saint and suggested that he had and related a little about three of them.

Following coffee and refreshments including a special cake made by Prisca to celebrate the Baptism of her and Russell’s daughter Amber, we returned to church for the actual Baptism of Amber. Yesterday Father Martin baptised Reece. Please remember Amber and Reece. their parents and Godparents in your prayers.

Yesterday’s Saturday Shop took £237


Sunday, 23 October 2011


Today Father Martin was officiated at Thorpe-le-Soken so Father Mervyn, back from helping at St. Mary’s, Ilford presided and preached. He preached on the question posed by the lawyer to Jesus “which is the greatest commandment” He pointed out that the answer Jesus gave of “loving God” with the corollary that we should love our neighbours as ourselves were two sides of the same coin. We must love our neighbour if we love God; if we don’t love our neighbour we can’t love God. Father Mervyn then pointed out that our neighbour included both those we liked as well as those we didn’t.



Next Saturday the clocks go back by ONE HOUR


Amber Tindiyaeli Hodder will be baptised at 12 noon next Sunday and the family hope that everybody will stay after Mass and Coffee to take part in this service and to give a warm St. Augustine’s welcome to Amber.

ALL SOULS DAY Wednesday 2nd November                 SOLEMN REQUIEM MASS 7.30 p.m. A list is now available at the back of church for names of the Faithful Departed you would like remembered


Thursday 24th November

It has been suggested that following the 10.00 a.m. Mass we catch the bus into Romford and have lunch at the Liberty Bell. There is a three course Festive menu on offer. If you are interested please contact Cathy for more details.

PCC MEETING Tuesday 8th November

Mass 7.00 p.m. Meeting 7.45 p.m.






Sunday, 16 October 2011


Today Father Martin presided and preached at the Parish Mass; Father Mervyn was celebrating at the Parish Mass at St. Mary’s, Ilford.

Last week’s Saturday Shop took £169; yesterday it took £148 but there will probably be more to come

TUESDAY 18th October 7.30 p.m. The Rosary in the Lady Chapel. Rosaries are available to borrow if any one needs one.


Our Rainbows and Brownies are having a “Wear it Pink” event on Tuesday 18th October in the church hall at 6.00 raise money for Breast Cancer. Admission is £1 and Tea/Coffee and a cake will cost 50p. the event will last for around half an hour and the girls will be performing a dance. Everyone is welcome to attend (and afterwards you can come to the church for The Rosary.)


Stallholders can set up from 5.00 p.m. on the night before and/or from 8.00a.m. on the day. We open to the public from 10.00 a.m..


All Souls Day            2nd November  

Mass 7.30 p.m.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

CBS at St. Augustine’s


On Sunday evening, we celebrated Solemn Evensong and Benediction at St. Augustine’s Church, Rush Green and this was the occasion of the “revitalising” of a local chapter of CBS. Amongst the congregation were several life members and others who are interested in joining. This will now becoming a monthly celebration. More information can be obtained from Father Martin

Sunday, 9 October 2011


Today Father Martin presided and preached at the Parish Mass whilst Father Mervyn was at. St. Mary’s, Ilford covering for their priests holiday.

Yesterday’s Saturday Shop took £167.

This afternoon at 6.00 p.m there will be Solemn Evensong & Benediction followed by a brief meeting for members of CBS.


The Requiem Mass for Bill Neale will take place at 12 noon on Friday followed by interment at Upminster Cemetery. Donations instead of flowers to “The Stroke Association” care of Father Martin. There will be a reception after the internment at The Old White Horse Public House, Ockendon Road, South Ockendon – names of those going to Kathy please

Sunday, 2 October 2011


Today Father Mervyn (just back from his holiday)presided whilst Father Martin concelebrated and preached on the text “The stone which the builders rejected”. During Mass those recently Confirmed by the Bishop of Barking made their first Communion.

Last nights HARVEST SUPPER was a resounding success making a profit of over £140.

Last week’s Saturday Shop made £147 and this Saturday £197.


The Hospital Chaplains from Queen’s Hospital will be leading a service for those who have lost a baby in the past year. Volunteers are needed to help in serving refreshments after the service. Names to Father Martin



Sunday, 11 September 2011


Today Father Martin was officiating at St. James, Clacton so Father Mervyn celebrated and preached. Although we did not keep the anniversary of 9/11 formally, the hymns, the Gospel with the Parable of the Unforgiving Steward were strangely appropriate. During the Intercessions we remembered those who were still suffering as a result of 9/11 and all those who had died.

In his sermon Father Mervyn related how Corrie ten Boom a Dutch woman, the author of the well known book “No Hiding Place had been incarcerated by the Nazis together with her sister Betsie who had died as a result of her ill-treatment. Corrie survived and was released and after the war toured Europe and the United States talking and lecturing mainly in churches. It was at one of these meetings that she saw in the congregation one of her former guards at the concentration camp at Ravensbruck.

After the meeting, she stood outside the church she saw her former guard, walking towards her, beaming with delight; he thanked her for her message saying how pleased he had been  to hear her say that through Jesus all our sins are forgiven The he stretched out his hand to shake hers.  She drew back; what was she to do?

She had often spoken to others about the need to forgive, now found herself in a position where it seemed impossible for her to do so. She tried to respond to his smile, tried to raise her hand to his, but was unable to do so. And then she breathed a silent prayer: "Lord, I can't forgive; give me your forgiveness." And something quite extraordinary happened: she felt empowered to take his hand in hers and as she did so, experienced love for this man who had once treated her and her sister so appallingly.

Father Mervyn pointed out that today’s Gospel in effect challenged us to forgive: to forgive those who had carried out the dreadful events of 9/11; to forgive those who had carried out other terrorist attacks and, of course, to forgive those who offended us. And to do so not once or twice but seventy time seven.


The Committee will meet following the  7.30 p.m.Mass according to the Book of Common Prayer in the Lady Chapel at approx. 8.00 p.m.


Please keep Katherine, Mark, Sky, Aaron and Billy in your prayers as the prepare for their Confirmation. Katherine will be Confirmed at St. Edward’s Church on Sunday 18th September. The other candidates will be confirmed at St. Augustine’s on Sunday 25th September at 6.39 p.m.


We will be celebrating Harvest Festival at the Parish Mass  at 10.00 a.m. on Sunday 25th September.


This year the HARVEST SUPPER will be on Saturday 1st October. 7.00 p.m. for 7.30 p.m.


Choice of Tomato or Onion Soup

Bangers and Mash with Baked Beans (Gravy optional)

Fruit Pie or Apple Crumble with either custard, cream or ice cream.

TICKETS ARE NOW AVAILABLE AT £5 adults £3 children under 11

Monday, 5 September 2011




Today we celebrated a sung Requiem Mass for Ken Richardson. The church was full for this celebration of Ken’s life and our prayers for the repose of his soul. In his Homily Father Martin outlined some of the many features of Ken’s life and, especially, how much he had done for St. Augustine’s Church from the time it was built until quite recently when illness had slowed him down. He had served as Church Treasurer, a role now taken by his son-in-law. When the church suffered the devastating fire, Ken had been at the forefront of working to restore the damage done by the fire and the water that put the fire out. Ken was a Yorkshire man and tomorrow he will be taken to St. Helen’s Church, Waddington for the interment on Wednesday. Waddington is the village where Ken as a young serviceman met Mary his wife and St. Helen’s is the church where they were married.

Donations for the Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity in memory of Ken can be given to Father Martin or can be sent to the Co-op Funeral Directors.

Jesu mercy – Mary pray.

May he Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory


Sunday, 4 September 2011


Today Father Martin presided and preached at the Parish Mass whilst Father Mervyn read the Gospel and Concelebrated. During his sermon Father Martin drew our attention to the Walsingham Bible Week next year based on the Epistle to the Ephesians. Forms are at the back of church and further information can be obtained from either Father Martin, or Father Mervyn & Ann who went to a similar event last year.


The Committee will meet following the  7.30 p.m.Mass in the lady Chapel at approx. 8.00 p.m.


Please keep Katherine, Mark, Sky, Aaron and Billy in your prayers as the prepare for their Confirmation. Katherine will be Confirmed at St. Edward’s Church on Sunday 18th September. The other candidates will be confirmed at St. Augustine’s on Sunday 25th September at 6.39 p.m.


We will be celebrating Harvest Festival at the Parish Mass  at 10.00 a.m. on Sunday 25th September.



This year the HARVEST SUPPER will be on Saturday 1st October. 7.00 p.m. for 7.30 p.m.


Choice of Tomato or Onion Soup

Bangers and Mash with Baked Beans (Gravy optional)

Fruit Pie or Apple Crumble with either custard, cream or ice cream.

TICKETS ARE NOW AVAILABLE AT £5 adults £3 children under 11

Sunday, 28 August 2011


Today we welcomed back Father Martin and Jan from their holiday. Father Martin presided at the Parish Mass and Father Mervyn preached and concelebrated. Father Mervyn pointed out that last week Jesus had praised Peter for his profession of faith whilst in today’s reading he castigates Peter suggesting he is acting as a tempter. Jesus points out that if we want to follow him we have to take up our cross. Being a Christian is not an easy or soft option.


The Funeral Requiem will be at 11.00 a.m. on Monday 5th September. By request family flowers only but donations for the Rainbow Trust can be made either to Father Martin or the Co-operative Funeral Directors.


Tuesday 30th August SOCIAL COMMITTEE MEETING following the 7.30 p.m. Mass in the Lady Chapel.



Kathryn will be Confirmed at St. Edward’s Church on Sunday 18th September at 6.30 p.m.

Mark, Sky, Aaron and Billy will be Confirmed on Sunday 25th September at 6.30 p.m. in St. Augustine’s.


Sunday, 21 August 2011


We had a nearly full church this morning for the Parish Mass as we celebrated the 90th birthday of Jean, a member of our congregation for over 58 years. Father Mervyn presided and preached. He preached on the theme of the Gospel “who do people say that I am?” – the question posed by Jesus. Father Mervyn pointed out that that question was as relevant today as it was 2,000 years ago. It was a question we all had to answer personally: who do we say Jesus is?

Sadly on Friday evening a long standing member of our congregation died in Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Ken who was in his 80’s had served St. Augustine’s in many different roles including Churchwarden and Treasurer. He will be sadly missed and we send our condolences to his wife Mary and all the family. Details about funeral arrangements will be published as soon as they are known.

After Mass we went to the hall to enjoy lovely refreshments and wine provided by Jean’s family. Father Mervyn proposed a toast to Jean, saying he couldn’t believe she was 90. After the toast we sang her “A Happy Birthday”.


Sunday, 14 August 2011



Today we celebrated The Assumption of Our Lady at which Father Mervyn was the celebrant and preacher. He reminded us that Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth shortly after the Angel had appeared to her. Elizabeth who was herself pregnant experienced the baby, St John the Baptist leaping in her womb. She greeted Mary proclaiming her of all women the most blessed and in reply Mary proclaims “My soul magnifies the Lord” Father Mervyn pointed out that the words Mary used then were as relevant today as they were when she first said them. In our broken society we had seen bankers who had lost millions of pounds and had nearly brought the UK to bankruptcy through unmitigated greed still awarding themselves millions of pounds in bonuses, we had had politicians prepared to swindle their expenses, footballers paid obscene amounts of money, was it then any wonder that we should experience the criminal activities of a minority who would or who could never aspire to anything like the income these others had, people who had no work and, it seemed were not likely to get any in the near future and so had determined to help themselves. We had experienced this criminal looting in our own town of Romford, in Ilford, in Barkingside and Hainault. There had been the terrible incident in Barking of the Malaysian who had been robbed when he lay injured by local thugs who appeared to be helping him and who instead were helping themselves to his phone etc. But as children of Abraham, we had the promise that the mighty would be put down from the seats and the humble would be exalted, that the hungry would be filled with good things whilst the rich would be sent away empty. Those who had been responsible for such terrible things needed to hear the message of the Gospel that God would put things right, that was the promise contained in the Magnificat and that God’s way was not the way they had pursued. We rejoice today that God had taken Mary body and soul into heaven.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

As Father Martin is away on his annual holidays, Father Mervyn presided and preached at today’s Parish Mass. Despite many people being away on their holidays we had an excellent attendance with several new people.

Yesterday’s Saturday Shop was affected by people being on holiday but despite the reduced numbers attending we still made a very creditable £155.

Next Sunday we will be celebrating The Assumption of Our Lady.

Monday, 1 August 2011


Today was Father Martin’s last Sunday before he goes on holiday. He celebrated and preached whilst Father Mervyn read the Gospel. For the next three weeks or so Father Mervyn will be looking after the parish whilst Father is enjoying a well-earned rest.

Yesterday’s Saturday shop took an amazing £273 – well done everyone.


Saturday 17th September in church


More details later

Sunday, 24 July 2011

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today Father Martin presided and Father Mervyn concelebrated and preached on today’s Gospel. He pointed out that two things were necessary in the Parable of the Pearl of Great Price and the Treasure in the Field: first recognition and then the willingness to sacrifice everything to obtain them. When we recognised Jesus as the greatest treasure, we had to be prepared to give everything for Him. Every time we come to Mass we hold Him in our hand and what greater treasure could there be than that.

Yesterday’s Saturday Shop took over £220 and last week £218; our share of the New Directions Choir Concert amounted to £238.88


We used to collect stamps for charity but we stopped when we were no longer able donate them. We now have a new source so please start brining them again. Cut them from your envelopes with a reasonable border, bag them up and bring them to church with you.

Sunday, 17 July 2011


Today Father Mervyn presided at the Parish Mass and Father Martin preached on the Gospel of the Wheat and Tares. Ann led us in our prayers and the choir sang an anthem based on Psalm 23. Confirmation Classes are held every Sunday after the Parish Mass and are now well under way.


From the Pioneer July/August Edition

Saturday Shop Update

The good news is that the Saturday Shop goes from strength to strength with a good regular income of an average £175 per week plus Ebay and we are re-cycling with nearly everything we sell.

The bad news (if you can call it that) is that we cannot really do without our unique Saturday Shop. We need the money, and without that income of about £10,000 per annum we would not meet our Family Purse figure.

Our happy band of workers have had a democratic discussion over opening during August, particularly as Father Martin is away and Cathy and Geoff are also not really available for most of the month.

The decision is to keep open as normal, but also to close as normal for the Saturday of August Bank Holiday weekend - the 27th August..

However, more hands would be very welcome as others may be missing and it starts to put a lot of work onto very few people in getting the tables and chairs out and setting out the goods for sale.

If you think you can help, please contact Geoff as soon as possible.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Ann receives her Certificate at the Cathedral


Yesterday evening at a special service in Chelmsford Cathedral Ann, together with all the other students who had undertaken the two year course of Christian Studies, received her Certificate from the Bishop of Chelmsford at the completion of her studies. Ann’s received the highest possible mark of “highly commended”. Father Mervyn, Father Martin, Jan and Carol were there to share the evening with Ann.

Many congratulations, Ann on this splendid achievement.

Sunday, 10 July 2011


Today we had an excellent number at the Parish Mass at which Father Martin presided and preached, Father Mervyn concelebrated and Joan our Lay Reader led the intercessions. Father Martin took as his theme the Gospel; he related how recently he had talked to a young lady when he was seeking directions into a block of flats. She recognised Father from the time he visited Rush Green Junior School and she told him how much she, and the others, looked forward to his visits because he made religion fun. We are to plant the seeds and sometimes we don’t see the results.

Last nights concert by the New Dimension Choir was a great success and a total sell-out. We will have the result in due course.


Come Ye Thankful People Come

Harvest time seems to start earlier and earlier each year, as this edition of ‘The Pioneer’ covers two months I cannot but think of the fact that my holiday is nearly here. Each August as Jan and I leave Stanstead we look down on neatly cut fields; the crop already gathered in, Harvest time has begun in earnest. The start of August used to mark the beginning of the harvest season, now it seems to mark the end for many farmers. The church used to reflect the old way of farming by holding Lamas Day at the start of August and Harvest Festival in late September or early October and I well remember the Hymns and songs that we sang at school as the school year began each September.

In those somewhat less PC days the whole school (about 400 of us) would be marched to the local church for our harvest service. To see the house of God tastefully decorated with the fruits of the field and the flowers of the garden was a sight of wonder and amazement to us youngsters, as was the fact that on the way back we would deliver harvest parcels to the local elderly.

The fruits and flowers we were frequently told were evident tokens of the manifold provisions of God; and it was right that we should have special services of thanksgiving for God’s love in giving them to us. Harvest time was and still is a great opportunity to press home the truths of the Scripture to saint and sinner.

Many a weary child of God has been encouraged to serve the Lord with renewed vigour through a timely message on 'the fields white unto harvest' Similarly, many a wayward soul has been brought into the shelter of the heavenly gamer on hearing that, 'The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.'

But harvest is mainly a time of praise and thanksgiving. I well remember how much sheer pleasure I experienced, as a boy

just from the singing of the harvest hymns. Sadly I don't remember a single thought from any of the sermons I heard; but I do remember those hymns. Stirring hymns like, We Plough The Fields And Scatter, Where Are The Reapers, Bringing In The Sheaves and this one, Come, Ye Thankful People Come. All these bring back a flood of precious memories.

Come, Ye Thankful People Come, was written by Henry Alford and was first published in 1844, and its original title was 'After Harvest.' Only the first stanza deals with the temporal harvest here on earth. The other three portray the spiritual harvest of precious souls and the time when God shall come to 'gather in' His people.

It seems clear that this hymn is based on those encouraging words in Psalm 126:6: 'He that goeth forth and weeping, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.' The lines of each stanza are well worth a thoughtful perusal.

The author, Rev. Henry Alford DD (Doctor of Divinity), was born in London, on October 7 1810. From all appearances he was a very godly man. Indeed, it is reported that when he was just fifteen years old he dedicated himself to the Lord in the words of this sacred vow:

‘I do this day, in the presence of God and my own soul, renew my covenant with God, and solemnly determine henceforth to become His and to do His work as far as in me lies.'

It seems that he never deviated from this for the rest of his life.

Biographers describe Henry Alford as a 'pious young student, an eloquent preacher, a sound Biblical critic, a man of great learning and taste, one of the most gifted men of his day, and, an affectionate man, full of good humour.'

His literary skills were displayed in every department of the art. He wrote a total of 50 books, the most important of them being his four volume Exposition of the New Testament. It took him more than twenty years to complete.

But above all, he was a superior preacher, who ever lived in the light of eternity, and sought to point his listeners heavenward.

Come ye thankful people, come,

Raise the song of harvest-home;

All is safely gathered in,

Ere the winter storms begin;

God our maker doth provide,

For our wants to be supplied;

Come to God's own temple, come,

Raise the song of harvest-home.

Our Harvest Festival service this year is on Sunday September 25th and by a strange coincidence that very evening we will be joined by Bishop David as he comes to confirm our candidates. Thus, we shall give thanks not just for the earthly harvest, but also for the spiritual harvest of those who are being confirmed.

After the service we shall, as usual, have a reception in the hall where we shall break bread and continue to share fellowship over a drink and a snack (details nearer to the time). Additionally the following Saturday evening will see us sit down to our Harvest Supper which, although the details have still to be finalised, might well feature a choice of casseroles as the main course. At least that’s what I’ve heard.

I would encourage all of you to try and be at both the Sunday services on September 25th and if at all possible to try and encourage a relative, friend or neighbour to come with you. Our Uniformed Organisations will be present at the morning service and it would be wonderful if we had a packed church to say thank you to God for all his good gifts. Gifts which I fear, at times, we all tend to take rather for granted.

God bless you all and remember we can only reap what we sow.

Fr. Martin

Sunday, 3 July 2011


Yesterday Father Mervyn celebrated his Silver Jubilee and you can read a report here.

Today Father Martin celebrated and preached and Father Mervyn concelebrated. After yesterday’s full church we wondered if the congregation may have been depleted today but if anything, there more there than normal.

Yesterdays Saturday Shop took £165

Sunday, 26 June 2011



Today we celebrated Corpus Christi with a Solemn Mass with Procession of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction. Father Mervyn presided and preached and Father Martin read the Gospel and led us in the Creed and the Intercessions. In his sermon Father Mervyn mention an experiment conducted by NASA the American Space Agency using a special type of camera which could see the energy levels in the human body and which was shown on a monitor. It’s purpose was to investigate the effects of space travel on astronauts in orbit. Experimenting in a hospital that discovered that in a dying person the aura i.e. the energy around the body decreases until the person dies. One one occasion they observed a man entering a room who appeared to have light coming from his pocket. When the man removed the object from his pocket the room was filled with light and they could no longer see either on their monitor or through the two-way mirror what was causing so much light. Rushing to the room they found the dying man was being given Holy Communion. After he had received, the aura round the man was stronger than before. As a result of this episode the scientist conducting the experiment became a priest despite being in his late fifties.



SATURDAY 2nd July at 3.00 p.m.


in celebration


Father Mervyns' Silver Jubilee

All welcome

Sunday, 19 June 2011


Today Father Martin presided and preached at the Parish Mass and Father Mervyn read the Gospel and concelebrated. Father Martin explained the Trinity by using Gold as an example: a) gold with silver = white gold, b) gold with copper= rose gold and c) gold. All have the same identity and properties but all have distinct natures. The choir sang an anthem based on the hymn “Firmly I believe and truly, God is three and God is one”


This afternoon around 80 gathered for the annual Strawberry Tea when we were served with Strawberries and Cream with home made Scones, wine, cakes, tea and coffee. This annual event is hosted by Geoff and Cathy, Mary and Ken in their adjoining gardens. Tables and Chairs are moved from the church hall and gazebo’s erected just in case rain descends but although the sun didn’t come out very much we stayed dry. We were pleased to welcome some of the residents of Ebury Court who regularly attend Mass on Thursday mornings. A book stall, a bric-a- brac stall and a raffle added to the funds. Our grateful thanks to Geof, Cathy, Mary and Ken for organising this and to all those who helped in any way.

The afternoon ended with a celebration of Evensong according to the Book of Common Prayer celebrated in the garden. We will be able to publish the result of this fun afternoon next Sunday.


Sunday, 12 June 2011


Today Father Martin celebrated and Father Mervyn concelebrated and preached on the Solemnity of Pentecost. Referring to today as the Birthday of the church Father Mervyn produced a birthday cake with one representative candle which he lit. He then invited various members of the congregation to blow it out which none could do because the candle kept relighting. Pointing out that the Holy Spirit began the church 2,000 year ago and despite ever attempt to destroy or damage it since, it was like a light which would not, nor could not, ever be extinguished. That was the promise Jesus had made: that the gates of hell would not prevail against the church.

The cake was consumed during coffee in the hall after Mass.

Yesterday’s Saturday Shop took £268

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Here Comes the Bride – Ramblings of a Father -continuing our extract from “THE PIONEER”

Pioneer june 11Its Friday, its five to five and its….. No, not Crackerjack! But me sitting at my computer, in my study writing my article for the June issue of ‘The Pioneer.’ In the kitchen, the Bride and her bridesmaids are making a Mars Bar Cake for the reception. Jan is finishing getting the guest room straight, ready for our friends Fr. Graham and his wife Barbara to use and yes here I am hiding in my study.

Earlier today I was chairing some meetings for the Rush Green Junior School governing body and one of the staff asked me if I was excited? No I said, just nervous. Frankly I think planning the Royal wedding would have been less of a problem, after all they had an entire Foreign Office and all the resources of the armed forces to oversee the planning and the fine details; all the clergy had to do was turn up and read the service.

Perhaps there was one little difference though in that they were not also the Father of the Bride. No matter how well things are planned there is always going to be some small little detail that gets overlooked and yet comes back to bite you in the rear! Today with just less than twenty four hours to go that little detail was the bride’s shoes.

Purchased at the time the wedding dress was checked for a fitting, guess who forget them when he picked up the dress from the bridal shop? No, not me! I’d forgotten all about them, indeed I even thought they were with Vicky at her house. But NO at lunchtime the shop realised that they had only given me the items on the first page of the computer screen, they had not checked to see if there was a page two to the order and what if anything might be on it.

Panicked phone calls and screeching rubber later and said shoes were safely in my possession and back at the vicarage, I always knew those days in motorsport would come in handy.

I have no worries about the groom not turning up or about the bride being late. Mark knows better than to upset Vicky (or me), and Vicky is getting ready in the upper room of the church. Thus, even if it rains she is already there and in the dry and so are her bridesmaids who are also getting ready in the upper room (got that wrong didn’t I).

Soon it will be 7.00p m and time for the walk through, then I will know if the liturgy that I’ve worked so hard on will actually work in practice. Please God it does as I’ve printed off the service books; no time for major changes now.

Friday evening, sometime after the rehearsal and I’m sitting in the Saffron with our friends and the bridal party, thank the Lord it all seems to work. The only question is do we have two communion stations or just the one; We shall just have to see how many turn up on the day, still if that’s all that is going to worry me overnight.. Good food and good company what more do I need.

Saturday morning, early O’clock, I’m awake, why? Noises from down stairs the Bride is up. Grab some jogging bottoms and rush down to see if everything is ok. Must be nerves she wants some tummy tablets, Jan always has some in the draw, shock horror there are none! Shower dress and out the door, must find a chemist or a shop that does pharmacy. Thank the Lord for 24 hour shops, when I was in business I hated these places for killing my trade, right now they are a life saver.

Six women, one bathroom and more importantly only one shower! Switch the boiler on to permanently on mode and run off to sit in church and pray, Graham comes with me, we both feel sorry for the dog who is left in the house (the cats have long since abandoned ship). Prayers over we walk through the service together and agree that one communion station should be ok.

10.30 – Load the Mars Bar Cake into the car along with the table decorations, the dice, the disposable cameras and the music for the DJ, I’m paying this bloke a fortune and he hasn’t got any heavy metal, never mind just drive. Vicky gets in and so does Graham.

We all want some peace and quiet. Actually I think we just want to keep busy and not stop to think too much. The makeup lady has arrived and taken Jan off to get started, four hours and five women to do. How much ’slap’ is this women planning to use. (As it turned out four hours was not quite long enough, but at this point in time I am blissfully ignorant).

At the Lodge, Fr. Mervyn and Ann are ready to unload the cake that Ann has made. Inside the staff are laying up the tables, time to make myself unpopular by altering the numbers sitting at four of the tables. (Last minute changes caused by health and flights). Joy they are so helpful I’m totally shocked, nothing is too much trouble, everything is exactly as it should be. We help Ann assemble the cake, what a heavy thing it is, and absolutely magnificent to behold.

Mark has hand painted the figures for the top of the cake, I get the dubious honour of placing them on the top (please Lord let me get it right). Now we assemble the Mars Bar Cake, suddenly I’m very hungry. Some loose chocolate drops free and Ann and I dive in; concussion anyone?

Back to home and try to find something to keep me occupied for the next hour or so before I have to

change and get to church, I know I’ll walk the dog. Jan comes back with her makeup done; I open my mouth and put my foot in it! It looks lovely, but there is so much of it, what did she use, a JCB? (At this point I should say in my defence that I have never been a fan of makeup).

1.10 pm At last I am in the church, time seems to be dragging and yet every time I glance at my watch I think where did it go. Slowly people start to arrive; the photographer is with the girls in the upper room and although I am surprised that Vicky is not yet ready to get dressed I dismiss the thought and attend to my own concerns. Just for fun I re-write my speech, hell I’m nervous now I so want it to be right for them both.

2.00 pm and Mark and his best man arrive, I look at Mark and wonder why I am nervous, just before I nip off to the loo for the umpteenth time. Run through my mental checklist and start ticking off the boxes, gradually it all drops into place my only concern other than bursting into tears at the altar is how long Vicky seems to be taking.

It’s time! The Bride may be in the building, but she is definitely not ready, I’m trying to keep calm, but my stomach feels like it is trying to escape from the rest of my body. Calming words from the serving team and fellow clergy are really not helping, not even a stiff drink would help right now, my hands are shaking too much. I creep upstairs trying to pretend to be calm, who am I fooling?

“Everything alright love? If you want we can be away in seconds, I wouldn’t blame you for being scared, but you know everything will be ok” “ No dad” comes the reply, “we forgot the tiara, so we are having to redo my hair”. I want to scream something about forgetting the ***** thing, but I turn around and go downstairs to talk to you all and tell the story about a mobile phone at a previous wedding I took; people laugh I feel better.

Twenty minutes behind my carefully crafted schedule, but at last Here comes the Bride. Can this beautiful vision really be my little girl? I start to choke; I can feel the tears starting to form in the corners of my eyes. Quickly I sniff and look around at the hats and fascinators in the congregation, good lord at least no one looks like they got a second hand one from Westminster Abbey.

Through the welcome and into the first hymn, Vicky’s eye catches mine and I lose it big time. I close my eyes and say a prayer, throughout the service I have to do the same thing. This must be the hardest thing I have ever done, but I have to do it and so I do. In moments it seems it is all over and the speech is also made. I find myself on the dance floor and relief overwhelms me.

Thank you so much for being a part of this special, special day and helping me to get through it.

Pioneer june 12

New Dimension Choir

Hope you like the posh advert below. Tickets Geoff Cooper for our concert on 9th July. Cheese and Wine included in our cost. Please note the revised start time.


Christian Aid Week
You may recall that Christian Aid week started on the 16th May. The good news is that Veronica (as usual) organised a street collection and we added to that with a church collection (those envelopes on the plate). The total was £435.85, much of which was also Gift Aided to boost the amount.
Well done to Veronica.

In the News

For those of you who are observant. You may have noticed that Pat Costin was in the local free paper for her work with Barking and Dagenham Talking Newspaper and Veronica was in a photograph with the nursery she works at and finally an old hand at being in the news—Gwen was honoured by the Mayor of Barking and Dagenham for her part in fighting Ford’s for equal pay.
Such a bunch of stars.



Today Father Martin presided and preached at the Parish Mass whilst Father Mervyn read the Gospel and concelebrated. Father Martin took as his text part of the final sentence of today’s Gospel: that they may be one, as we are one. He touched on several themes and mentioned yesterday’s Diocesan Synod at Billericay which discussed the Consecration of Women.
Yesterday’s Saturday Shop took £190. Father Martin wasn’t able to be present as he was attending Diocesan Synod.
Members of the PCC are reminded that there is a meeting tomorrow evening: Mass at 7.00 p.m. followed by the Meeting at 7.45 a.m.
Sunday 19th June from 3.00 p.m. Tickets now available  Adults £5 Children 5-16 £2.50 (under 5’s free)
Afternoon concludes with Evensong.

Thursday, 2 June 2011


Today, we celebrate the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ.with a Solemn Mass at 7.30 p.m. followed by a “Bring and Share” in the Church Hall.


1 Hail the day that sees him rise, Alleluia!
To his throne beyond the skies. Alleluia!
Christ, the Lamb for sinners giv'n, Alleluia!
Enters now the highest heav'n. Alleluia!

2 There for him high triumph waits; Alleluia!
Lift your heads, eternal gates. Alleluia!
He has conquered death and sin; Alleluia!
Take the King of glory in. Alleluia!

3 See, he lifts his hands above! Alleluia!
See, he shows the prints of love! Alleluia!
Hark! his gracious lips bestow Alleluia!
Blessings on his church below. Alleluia!

4 Lord, beyond our mortal sight, Alleluia!
Raise our hearts to reach thy height; Alleluia!
There thy face unclouded see, Alleluia!
Find our heav'n of heav'ns in thee! Alleluia

Sunday, 29 May 2011



Yesterday, Vicky Howse, the daughter of Jan and Father Martin Howse, married Mark Wheelhouse at a Nuptial Mass at St. Augustine’s. The church was packed with family, friends, members of St. Augustine’s congregation and members of Vicky’s class at St. Edmund’s School, Romford where she is a Maths teacher. Vicky met Mark at University where both were doing Maths degrees.

Father Martin conducted the Marriage and pronounced the Nuptial Blessing and the sermon was preached by Father Rowland Webb. Father Graham, a friend of the family and Father Mervyn concelebrated the Mass with Father Martin and Father Rowland. After the ceremony, the reception was held at West Lodge, Upminster where we enjoyed sumptuous food, great company and had a wonderful time.

It was a really lovely day and we wish Vicky and Mark every blessing and happiness in their married life.



Today Father Mervyn presided and preached, Father Graham read the Gospel and the three priest together concelebrated the Mass. Father Mervyn used Rumpole of the Bailey, that wonderful character invented by John Mortimer, to illustrate what an Advocate is and what he does.

Yesterday because of the wedding the Saturday Shop was closed but we reopen next Saturday.

Tomorrow we will be going to Walsingham for the National Pilgrimage.

Sunday, 22 May 2011


There was no report last week as Father Mervyn was away, sunning himself in glorious Devon. We’re back to normal today. At the Parish Mass, Father Martin presided and preached and Father Mervyn concelebrated. Father Martin’s sermon on the Gospel led us into the baptism of Miles.
Christian Aid Week ends TODAY – if you haven’t remembered to bring back your Christian Aid envelope please do so as soon as possible.
Last week’s Saturday Shop took £292 and yesterday £200.
There will be no Saturday Shop next Saturday 28th May as we will be preparing for the Nuptial Mass for Father Martin and Jan’s daughter Vicky and Mark her future husband.

Monday 30th May.
A minibus has been hired to take us and there are a few seats available; contact Father Martin if you would like one.
SOLEMN MASS AT 7.30 p.m.
SUNDAY 19th June
STRAWBERRY TEA at 3.00 p.m.