Sunday, 30 December 2012


Father Martin celebrated and preached at the Parish Mass today whilst Father Mervyn was at St. Mary’s, Ilford. During the sermon spot Father Martin organised an Ad Hoc Nativity play using children from the Sunday School. The stable was represented by chairs.

Following an appeal new editors have come forward for The Pioneer Magazine. In making the announcement Father Martin remarked that the Magazine was read by people locally and some who no longer live in the parish. As a result of an article in the last Magazine a donation of £500 has been made to the Lady Chapel Restoration Appeal.

NEW YEARS EVE PARTY – All Welcome – bring your own food and drinks and see in the New Year at St. Augustine’s from 7-30 p.m.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012



The seemingly endless rain we have endured didn’t prevent a capacity number attending the Solemn Mass of Midnight. Father Martin presided and Father Mervyn concelebrated, preached and led the Intercessions. In his sermon Father Mervyn pointed out that people often said “Christmas was a time for children”; in a way they were right. It is quite likely that the Shepherds watching their flocks by night were young – teenagers - the sons of the owners of the flocks.  Mary was probably only 13 or 14 years old when she undertook, in obedience to the Heavenly Messenger, the responsibility of becoming the Mother of Jesus, Mother of God, Theotokos. The wonder of Christmas was that Jesus, God’s only Son, should become one of us so that we could become his brother and his friend, who would, in the fullness of time, give His life for us. We needed to have the wonder of children as we approach this wonderful Solemnity.

Following the Communion, the Crib was blessed and the Bambino was placed into it. After Mass we met briefly in the hall for sherry (or fruit juice), mince pies and sausage rolls.


Shocking weather, including a thunder storm prevented some from getting to Mass this morning. Those who did manage to brave the severe rain and partly flooded roads joined with our choir and full team of servers to worship “the new born King” at the Solemn Mass of the Day. Father Mervyn presided and Father Martin concelebrated, preached and led us in prayer. In his sermon Father Martin talked about each family having their own traditions at Christmas; the family of the church likewise had it’s own traditions. The importance of Christmas was the Incarnation.

Monday, 24 December 2012

CHRISTINGLE 2012 Christmas Eve

make_a_christingleAt 4.30 p.m. we celebrated the first of our Christmas Services with the annual Christingle. It was very well supported with readings from the Head of a local school and a teacher from one of the large Romford Girl’s Schools. The service was conducted by Father Martin and Father Mervyn played the organ. The crib figures were brought to the crib and placed in it by some of the children who then sang “Away in a Manger”
After the Christingle, Father Martin celebrated a Vigil Mass for those unable to attend the traditional Midnight Mass.

Sunday, 23 December 2012


4_awToday a near full church celebrated the Fourth Sunday in Advent. Father Mervyn presided and Father Martin read the Gospel and preached. Our Lay Reader Joan led us in prayer.

Father Martin based  his sermon on the Gospel and in particular on Mary’s Song the Magnificat. He contrasted how this beautiful Song had been used and played an extract from the setting Stanford in G.  Then he got the choir to sing a modern version:-

1. Join Mary's song! Sing loud and clear
of anger God is feeling
that selfish men make others poor
and legalise the stealing!
With her sing praise that he should care,
and with the wronged their burden share;
from seats of power the proud he'll tear,
and send the mighty reeling.

2. That God's with those who are oppressed
there can be no denying.
With those who're poor or dispossessed,
his heart has long been sighing.
But they shall have what's just and right,
when God shall break the men of might;
he'll lift the hungry to the height
and send the selfish crying.

We look forward to seeing many people over the next few days as we gather to celebrate the wonderful Solemnity of Christmas.

Yesterday’s Saturday shop took £141

Sunday, 16 December 2012



This Sunday is called Gaudete Sunday because that’s the first Latin word in the liturgy. The full line is: “Rejoice in the Lord always.”

Today Father Martin presided and Father Mervyn read the Gospel, preached and led the Intercessions. In his sermon father Mervyn reminded the congregation about the jingle “ Happiness is a things called Comfort” which he sang (rather badly)~ Happiness was not some soap powder nor was it the acquisition of great wealth and worldly possessions. True happiness came from what St. Paul said in his letter to the Philippians:" “I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord.”   True happiness can never be found in worldly goods or in terms of wealth, true happiness is to know Jesus and to follow him. In fact, most of the message of the Gospel, is the reverse of acquisition; it is in giving away goods and money to those who need them.

This time of the year we are reminded about the poverty in our world both in the Third World but here in the UK, in Romford in Rush Green People who do not have enough to eat or somewhere to stay the night. On this forthcoming great festival of Christmas we should remember that Jesus was born in a homeless situation, we have to go, in heart and mind, to Bethlehem and find Jesus and give him our hearts, our minds, our whole self and take him into our lives and to love and care for our neighbours.

During the Intercessions we prayed for those who are mourning in Connecticut for the children and teachers murdered at Newton Sandy Hook Elementary School and for the repose of all those who had died.


Monday 17th  7.30 p.m. THE ROSARY

Tuesday 18th   6.00 p.m.  CAROL CONCERT by Rush Green Junior School

Wednesday 19th  7.30 p.m. MASS followed by The Exploratory Group with Christmas Refreshments

Saturday  22nd CAROL SINGING in Queen’s Hospital with the Chaplaincy Team. Meet in the Atrium at 2.00 p.m.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Christmas Services 2012


Christmas Eve

Christingle Service with Carols - at 4.30 pm.

Vigil Mass - at 6.00 pm.

Midnight Sung Mass with Carols at 11.30 pm.

Mince Pies & Drinks in the Hall afterwards.

Christmas Day

Sung Mass with Carols for all the family at 10.00 a.m.

December 26th — St. Stephen’s Day

Said Mass at 10.00 am.

Said Mass on the other Feast days of Christmas. Times vary see Christmas Service Sheets for details.

The Holy Family

Sunday December 30th 2012 

Sung Mass with Carols at 10.00 am.


Sunday January 6th

Sung Mass with Carols at 10.00 am.

Evening Prayer with Benediction at 6.00 pm.

Confessions by appointment


On Tuesday evening, St Augustine Uniformed organisations held their annual Carol Service organised this year by the Guides, during which the girls of the Guide Company, Brownies and Rainbows put on a rather beautiful tableaux of the Holy Family, Angels, Shepherds, Wise men and a variety of animals including sheep. I officiated at the service. Light refreshments were served in the church hall after the service.

Sunday, 9 December 2012


This morning Father Mervyn presided and Father Martin concelebrated and preached at the Parish Mass. In his sermon, Father Martin asked how many people made lists like shopping list or lists of things they had to do. Nearly everybody put their hands up. After talking briefly about the authorship of the Book of Isaiah, Father pointed out that Isaiah had a list of things which it would be necessary to look for to about the coming of the promised Messiah. The problem was that faithful Jewish people referred to the list but failed to recognise when Jesus was actually born. We must be ready for when Jesus comes again and to celebrate his birth at Bethlehem.

Yesterday’s Saturday Shop took over £200

TUESDAY 11th DECEMBER 7.00 p.m. The Uniformed Organisations have their Annual Carol Service with refreshments afterwards in the Hall. All are very welcome.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Pre-Christmas Lunch

We held this today at the Romford YMCA which is in our parish and several of our congregation serve on the board of the Association. On arrival we were offered either bucks fizz  or champagne. It was a really splendid meal with a choice of melon, soup or duck pate, followed by roast turkey or salmon en croute with roast potatoes, carrots, brussel sprouts with chestnuts, stuffing and gravy, followed by either Christmas pudding with brandy sauce or custard or warm chocolate gateaux and cream or biscuits and cheese, tea or coffee.

It was a well-supported and wonderful occasion enjoyed by everyone.


Yesterday evening we continued our celebration of the start of the Advent Season with our annual Advent Carol Service. Father Mervyn accompanied the service as our regular organist was not available.

During the service our choir sang several solo items including a setting of the Magnificat by Paul Inwood and some English Hymnal Advent Plainsong Hymns. The congregation joined in such popular Advent Hymns  as “Hark, a thrilling voice is sounding” “Come thou long expected Jesus” “On Jordan’s Bank” On this hymn Father Martin commented that he and Father Mervyn had stood on Jordan’s Bank earlier this year and we, and some of our congregation, would be doing so again on our 2013 Pilgrimage

At the end of the service Father Martin reminded us of the work of “Crisis at Christmas” by reading a short poem written about them. After the final prayers and blessing we sang O Come, O Come Emmanuel and as we left the church Father Mervyn played a Meditation based on that by Flor Peeters.

Every year, for the last 4 years our attendance at this service has increased and last night was no exception.

Sunday, 2 December 2012



Today Father Martin presided and preached at the Parish Mass for Advent Sunday. Father Mervyn celebrated and preached at St. Paul’s, Goodmayes. In his sermon Father Martin pointed out that Jesus would not take a double page spread in one of the newspapers to announce to the world that he had come again. Christians had to be constantly ready by practising their faith, by regular prayer and worship so that we are ready for that day when he comes again.

Tonight we are holding our


Yesterdays Saturday Shop took approx. £180

Tomorrow we are holding our pre-Christmas lunch at the YMCA

Sunday, 25 November 2012


imageL1C_dd183Today at the Solemn Parish Mass we celebrated Christ the King. Father Martin presided and Father Mervyn concelebrated, read the Gospel and preached. Ann led us in our Intercessions

In his sermon, Father Mervyn reminded us that this year we have enjoyed several Royal celebrations: the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Royalty was an institution which fascinated many people with the lovely palaces, the beautiful clothes, the expensive cars etc. With our royalty, the Queen and her family had given  a life time of service to our country. He compared that to the coronation of  Bokassa president in the very poor country of the Central African Republic. Father Mervyn outlined the lavish expenditure that Bokassa had authorised. In the Old Testament Kings were compared to Shepherds who cared for their sheep even willing to lay down their own lives to protect them. In Jesus, our King and our Good Shepherd, he laid down his life for us, his crown was of thorns his throne a cross. He concluded the sermon by saying that  today gives us the chance to offer Jesus our praise and worship, our love and our fidelity as the true King of the world; to join with the angelic throng and say " Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing - the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever.”

During the Communion the Choir sang a setting of Psalm 23 by Paul Inwood.


Last week as we had the Bazaar there was no Saturday Shop but we sold the waste clothes for £194.70

The restored Lady Chapel Altar has now been returned and very splendid it is, too. The gifted artist who undertook this restoration has achieved a really remarkable result. So far we have raised £1,829.95 towards the cost of £3,300. If you would like to make a donation, perhaps in memoriam or as a thanksgiving for blessings received, please see Father Martin.

Sunday, 18 November 2012


Today Father Mervyn presided and Father Martin concelebrated and preached at the Parish Mass. Joan, our Lay Reader, led us in prayer. In his sermon Father Martin said how appropriate the Gospel was, in the light of the events in Israel and Gaza. He related how he and Father Mervyn had prayed at the Western Wall in Jerusalem earlier this year and how we hoped to do so again next year during our Parish Pilgrimage.  The Temple had been destroyed by the Romans and only the Western Wall now remained. Father referred to the prophecies in the Old Testament which had foreshadowed the destruction of the Temple.

We gave thanks during the Mass for the magnificent result  of the Winter Bazaar yesterday and, during the notices Father Martin thanked everybody who had helped, in any way. He particularly thanked Geoff and Kathy who had organised the event.

Saturday, 17 November 2012


Today we held our Winter Bazaar which opened to the public at 10.00 a.m. The theme for the Bazaar was the Olympic Games. We were really packed until mid-day when the crowds subsided a little. The hot sausage sandwiches, the bacon sandwiches, the hot sausage rolls and mince pies kept the folk in the kitchen busy all morning. We were joined by our Member of Parliament Andrew Rosindell for part of the morning. Below are some pictures of the preparations on Friday Evening and at the Bazaar today.




























Tuesday, 13 November 2012


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 loose 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 least 4 weeks and the days between the fourth Sunday and Christmas Day itself? That there should be a period of preparation before such as 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 Feast Days 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 to 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 the Second Vatican Council, held in the early 1960’s. Prior to this time there really was no celebration of the end of the Church year merely a recognition within the scriptural readings at services that Christ sat at God’s right hand in the Kingdom and that he ruled in His name.

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. (Known to many choir boys and girls as Christmas Pudding Sunday!)


Barking & Dagenham Adult College Choir

Saturday 15th December (It sounds a long way away but it isn’t really)

The Choir will sing their Christmas Concert in Church that evening and light refreshments will be available.

More details nearer the time but something for the diary. Still awaiting details. Watch the pew sheets.

Sunday, 11 November 2012


Today we started the Mass 15 minutes earlier than normal so that we could be at the Calvary in the Church Grounds for the 2 minutes silence, the Last Post and the National Anthem at 11.00 a.m. Father Martin was the celebrant and preached at the Solemn Requiem Mass and Father Mervyn was the celebrant at St. Alban’s, Romford.

Yesterday’s Saturday Shop took £103


TUESDAY 7.00 p.m. Mass according to the Book of Common Prayer followed by a Meeting of the PCC at 7.45 p.m.


Saturday, 10 November 2012


Father Martin writes:-

Christmas will soon be upon us and our thoughts are probably already turning to presents and food. Now those of us of a certain age will remember that as children we nearly always received each year a large, rectangular box that was about one and a half inches deep. The lid of this box would contain pictures of the many different board games that were contained within the box; yes I’m talking about that former great staple of Aunties and Uncles, a ‘compendium of Games’. There would always be Snakes and Ladders, Draughts (or Checkers for the Americans) and Ludo. Posh sets might even have contained Backgammon or Chess which I always thought were meant for adults if only because they might understand the rules.

One of the great things about such board games is that families used to come together to sit around the table and play them, this encouraged social interaction and an understanding of the importance of playing by the rules, things that are vital in helping younger people to grow and develop into well rounded adults.

Of all the games that I both enjoyed and at times came to loathe was Ludo. In the late 1960’s an American company, now a part of the Hasbro group of companies, took this simple board game and completely overhauled it by encasing it in plastic and placing in the middle of the game board a plastic bubble encasing a dice on a piece of spring steel. Yes the Pop-O-Matic dice shaker with its characteristic popping noise was born. That noise would come to drive any non players in a room where the game was being played totally bonkers as would looking for the oil barrel shaped playing pieces which always managed to escape from the box between games.

There were no new rules and as a game it was marketed and sold separately from any other game, it was a brilliant bit of marketing that made the company a lot of money for virtually no development work and cost. So popular was this game that original sets, still in their boxes, fetch very high prices at toy auctions and the latest production of the game is still on sale (Amazon UK £13.14 +P&P). For those of you who have not already worked it out the game was and is sold in the UK under the trade name of ‘Frustration’. An appropriate name if just as you were about to complete the game you were caught and had to start again with that particular piece. I wonder how many tantrums have taken place across the years or pieces have been thrown across the room.

I have come to thinking about this game as I try to resolve the situation of replacing our failed hall boiler. This has been an incredibly frustrating process that has seemed to be one step forward and two steps back. A step forward was placing the order for the new boiler, two steps back was that the new boiler was not delivered on time and that when it was delivered the removal of the old boiler was held up by the problems of finding asbestos. Such were the problems (and as I write this they are ongoing) that in all truth it felt like walking through treacle and yes it did make me scream and I certainly offered up a lot of prayers.

The ultimate piece of frustrating news must surely have been that after a 14 hour day installing the new boiler the two engineers discovered that the cowl which is meant to go on the outside wall and duct away any fumes was in fact not in the box that it should have been in. So everything ready to go, but stopped for the want of a piece of shaped metal, or at least that’s how I see it. Doubtless it is a bit more complicated than that since in reality things are seldom as simple as what they seem.

Life in general is full of frustrating little things, or so it seems to me, from the childproof medicine bottle caps that only a child can ever open to those apparently endless miles of traffic cones on the motorway, which when you finally reach the road works they are protecting have no one working at them. Now I cannot condone so called ‘road rage’ but after half an hour of stop start traffic for no apparent good reason I can certainly begin to understand it.

The Christian life is, of course, equally prone to its own frustrating events, indeed the bible gives us examples of events that challenged even Jesus himself as can clearly be seen from the accounts of Jesus agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. As we try to prepare ourselves spiritually to once again welcome him amongst us and at the same time prepare ourselves for the secular side of Christmas, we find that we are torn by these conflicting demands.

These conflicting interests often create a great deal of frustration and frequently raised voices. Jesus himself cried out to his father as he wrestled with the conflicting demands of his earthly and heavenly roles, but it is he himself who shows us how we ought to react, when he utters those words ‘thy will not mine be done’.

There can be no denying on my part that the whole process of replacing the hall boiler has at times led me to want to scream and bang my head against the wall. The needs of dealing with the various engineers (They really have tried very hard to get the job done, but have equally been frustrated by various problems.) and hall users did often disrupt my prayer life which in itself distressed me further. In such a frame of mind it is frequently hard to pray as I ought however, at such times I follow Jesus own advice to his disciples by saying that prayer which he taught them. This then is my recommendation to all of you when you find yourselves torn between conflicting interests this Christmas and indeed at any time. If you say no other prayer, then pray The Lord’s Prayer.

May God grant you every blessing

Fr. Martin.

Monday, 5 November 2012



The REQUIEM MASS followed by Two Minutes Silence in the Garden of Remembrance will start at 9.45 a.m. next Sunday.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

31st Week in Ordinary Time kept as ALL SAINTS

Today Father Martin presided at Thorpe le Soken so Father Mervyn was the Celebrant and preacher at the Parish Mass. The atrocious weather in the half an hour immediately before Mass probably prevented some from coming today but we still had quite a full church. In his sermon Father Mervyn posed the questions “why do we need the All Saints Solemnity when we have so many saints already.” As he pointed out the calendar is full of saints we commemorate throughout the year so why did we need another celebration. Father Mervyn said that whilst we knew about many famous saints there thousands of others who we didn’t know but who, never-the-less, had, at death, been admitted to the closer presence of God. They were  "a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands" (Rev 7:9). All the saints we celebrate today walked the hard and narrow path of the Beatitudes to arrive at the heavenly kingdom. To become a Saint was something we should all aim for and we had the Beatitudes which had been the guides for the saints as our guidelines for achieving this.

At the end of the service Father Mervyn, on behalf of Father Martin and himself presented to Monte and Claudette a card signed by the congregation wishing them every blessing when they move to their new home several miles away on Thursday.

Despite the fact that the heating has broken down in the hall and we are waiting for the boiler to be replaced yesterday’s Saturday Shop produced a very creditable £123

Sunday, 28 October 2012

30th SUNDAY OF THE YEAR (SS Simon ~& Jude)

At today’s Parish Mass Father Martin presided and Father Mervyn played the organ, preached and led the Intercessions. As it is Half Term Sunday School was on a break too. In his sermon Father Mervyn pointed out that, although we knew very little about either Simon also known as the Zealot or Jude also known as Thaddeus to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot, never-the-less they were both Apostles called by Jesus and bore witness to the Apostolic Faith which we too are called to follow. He pointed out that whilst it would have been easier to preach about blind Bartimaeus, which is the chosen Gospel in the International Lectionary rather than Simon or Jude, never-the less , like the two saints, Bartimaeus had followed Jesus. We cannot exist as Christians in isolation we need to be part of the company of Christians of whom Jesus is the Cornerstone.

The gas boiler in the hall broke down during last week and is to be replaced during this week. It was decided to continue with refreshments after Mass as normal.

Yesterday’s Saturday Shop took £154



FROM 10.00 A.M. - 1.30 P.M.

It is only a few weeks away now and all offers of help are most welcome; please speak to either Geoff or Father Martin.We can set up on Friday from 5.00 p.m. or on Saturday from 8.00 a.m.


Tickets for the Grand Prize Draw are now available from Carol. If you haven’t yet purchased any please buy some yourself and take some to sell to your neighbours. They are 20p per ticket or £1 a book.

The draw will take place at the Bazaar.


This has been cancelled due to the work being undertaken in the hall with the new boiler

Monday, 22 October 2012


WOSMThis afternoon our Scout Group the 11th Romford, celebrated its 60th anniversary with a service on church in the presence of Andrew Rosindell, MP for Romford, the District Commissioner for Scouts and other honoured guests. Following a presentation by the Group of the last 60 years led by Gary, Group Scout Leader,the District Commissioner presented a warrant to a new Scouter who then made her Scout Promise and he also presented a Jack Petchey Award to Hannah.

Andrew Rosindell presented the Group with a special framed citation and he also made a similar presentation to Father Martin for the congregation of St. Augustine’s, saying he would like to come to a Parish Mass in the near future to make the presentation personally.

Prayers were led by three members of the Group and Father Martin. After the blessing given by Father Mervyn, two verses of the National Anthem were sung and everybody adjourned to the hall for cake and tea, coffee or soft drinks and the cutting of the special 60th anniversary cake.

Sunday, 21 October 2012


Today Father Mervyn presided and Father Martin concelebrated at the Parish Mass, read the Gospel and preached to another packed church. In his sermon Father Martin described 2012 and especially the summer as a time when we, the UK, had enjoyed considerable success. He mentioned the Tour de France, the Olympics, tennis etc. Sportsmen and women looked for success in their chosen sport and this engendered a desire for success amongst the rest of us. It was this desire for success that had led James and John the sons of Zebedee, to ask Jesus for the privilege of sitting one on his right and one on his left when his kingdom arrived. Jesus pointed out that this was not something he could grant but he would allow them to participate in the suffering that he would eventually undergo.


Holy Land Pilgrimage Update.

Due to several completed forms coming in we are now well on our way with numbers BUT there are still places, so why not book your place this week and make sure of your place on this once in a lifetime pilgrimage.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Change? Is it possible?

From The Pioneer – the Magazine of St. Augustine’s, Rush Green

‘The Church of England is in crisis over the appointment of the next Archbishop of Canterbury’, so said the headline to an article in my copy of the Daily Telegraph on October 1st. The article went on to claim that the 16 strong Crown Appointments Committee were divided over who to recommend and that this division was the result of the different viewpoints of the members; nothing new there then I thought. The impression was given that the problem was between those who supported progressive ideas and those who held to strongly biblical ones. The result was an impasse that meant that we would not now have a new Archbishop ready to be enthroned as the old one stood down.

But wait, just a few days later and the same journalist, in the same paper was claiming that in the light of new information he could now reveal that the impasse was not over the interpretation of theology or women or same sex couples, but over whether to seek radical change in the C of E or whether to have a ‘safe pair of hands’ and stay the same.

This was an article that truly caught my attention, for suddenly there was a departure from the well worn battle lines of the last few years and an apparently new problem of how to see and approach the future. This later article set me to thinking, firstly such a revelation (if true) can only have come from someone in ‘the room’, either one of the 16 delegates or someone acting in a support capacity to them, such as a clerk or maybe even the tea person. Secondly, it would imply that the usual alliances of tradition and gender had broken down in order to form a set of strange new ones where the boundaries are, if anything, even more fixed. And thirdly, it invites the State in the form of the Prime Minister to become involved in breaking the impasse by ultimately making its own recommendation to the Queen.

The questions then are do we change? Indeed is change even possible given that we are the church of the state? And if we change, what do we change into?

The following are purely my own thoughts and not in any way some form of official policy. Firstly change in some form must be possible given that without it we would not even exist. The C of E was founded on a desire to change from Papal rule. We changed our services from Latin to English and designed our own Prayer Book, most recently we have changed to Common Worship; the only difference though is that we have never changed our structure, merely who heads the church and how we conduct our worship.

Secondly, I believe that if we really want to have a radical rethink of the way that we function then we need to be free from being the church of the state, the very fact that government has a say in the running of the church influences the way we think and act since any change we make could equally lead to them having to change in the light of public opinion.

So then what could we change into? The recently appointed Bishop of Durham (and a hot contender for Archbishop of Canterbury) has turned his diocese upside down and asked each parish or group of parishes’ to work out what it can afford to give over and above its operating expenses and guarantee to pay over that sum to the diocese, The Bishop will then deploy his clergy according to the resources available to him, using those who are non stipendiary to fill in the gaps.

There would be no teams of advisors or admin other than that provided by voluntary helpers and only a few centrally paid staff. Some of this is heavily hinted at in our own Bishop of Chelmsford’s ‘Transforming Presence’ but the real source is, I suspect, the early church, which grew and grew with none of the clutter that we now have, but where everybody did what they could and everyone supported each other. Radical – yes, Safe and secure – no, but a change that would truly reflect the Bible – we shall see.

May God be with you - Fr. Martin.

Sunday, 14 October 2012


With Father Martin & Father Mervyn

21-30 October 2013

Travel with us to the Holy Land and let the Bible come alive as we meet the people and see the places of the gospel stories. On our journey, we will visit places of pilgrimage and also meet the local Christian community, offering them our support and encouragement as we hear of the challenges they face.

Our pilgrimage is planned for October, when the weather should be warm but not too hot for touring. Visits will include the Sea of Galilee,

Capernaum, Nazareth, Jericho, Jerusalem and Bethlehem with free time for relaxation and reflection. We will walk along the Via Dolorosa.

The Holy Land is unique in offering so many highlights and contrasts in such a compact area. We are confident that this pilgrimage will not only be an enjoyable experience, but also a spiritually enriching one.


The cost of this tour is £1,740 sharing a twin-bedded room with private facilities.

We stay in two family owned and managed hotels. In Jerusalem, the three star Golden Walls Hotel overlooks the Old City walls and is within walking distance of the Holy Sepulchre. In Tiberias, we stay at the four star Ron Beach Hotel in a wonderful situation right on the lakeside. The tour is on a full-board basis with buffet breakfast, lunch and table d'hôte evening meal included daily.

Touring is in air-conditioned coaches and we will be accompanied by a local guide who will share leadership responsibilities and look after the formalities of hotel check-ins etc.

All entrance fees are included as is a contribution of £45 to the group gratuity fund.

Flights are with EL AL Israel Airlines between London Heathrow and Tel Aviv. All airport and security charges are included and a complimentary visa is issued on arrival in Israel.

We have included most expenses in the tour cost but some items are listed separately on the booking form.

The travel insurance premium is £59. Everybody travelling should be insured but some may have annual or another suitable insurance.

Single rooms are available at a supplementary cost of £295.

Any special requests should be noted on the booking form.

A deposit is payable now (£100 + £59 optional insurance fee) with the balance payable 8 weeks prior to departure.




As our Organist was away this Sunday Father Martin presided at the Parish Mass whilst Father Mervyn played the organ and preached. He illustrated his sermon with a story about a fisherman and pointed out that the young man in the Gospel who was very wealthy felt unable to accept the challenge of giving up his wealth to become a follower of Jesus. It was a challenge we had to make by choosing what was most important to us: Jesus or the wealth and ways of the world.

Archdeacon Father Samuel was with us again this morning but will be returning home to Nigeria next week-end. He goes with our good wishes and our prayers.

Yesterday’s Saturday Shop took over £190

Tuesday 16th October Rosary at 7.30 p.m. followed by a meeting of the Social Sub-Committee.

Monday 29th October Meeting of the Finance Sub-Committee


THURSDAY 1st NOVEMBER following the Mass a complete clean of our Church Hall. Bring a mop and plenty of elbow grease!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, 7 October 2012


At today’s Parish Mass Father Mervyn presided and Father
Martin read the Gospel and preached. We welcomed Father Samuel, from  Idi-oro, Nigeria, who is visiting family who live in the parish. In his sermon Father Martin compared how we are innocent as babies, and how what we become as adults, is fashioned by other adults especially parents. He mentioned what seems to be the impasses over the selection of a new Archbishop of Canterbury and commented on the failure, it appears, to come to a conclusion on a candidate suitable to all those involved.

Yesterday’s SATURDAY SHOP took £174

Sunday, 30 September 2012


Extra chairs were put in church this morning to cater for the large number who came to celebrate Harvest Festival at the Parish Mass.  We had members of  our Scouts, Guides, Brownies, Cubs, Beavers and Rainbows as this was a parade service. Father Martin celebrated and Father Mervyn preached. He divided the church in two; to one side he and a server gave a biscuit each, telling the recipients not to eat it yet. The other side had nothing as they represented all those people in our world who don’t have enough to eat whilst those with the biscuits represented, us, the Western World who by enlarge have more than enough and more than our fair proportion of the world’s resources. He posed the question what could one side of the church do to help the other side. It was decided that those who had biscuits could share them with those who didn’t and so folk one side of the church delivered half a biscuit to folk  the other side. We all eat out biscuits and the service continued with Father Martin blessing the Harvest Gifts which are to be given to the Romford Foodbank; also envelopes with cash were collected for USPG (which is changing it’s name to US)

Yesterday’s Saturday Shop took £206

Sunday, 23 September 2012


Today Father Martin celebrated and preached at the Parish Mass. Father Mervyn was the celebrant and preacher at St. Mary’s, Ilford. In his sermon Father Martin reminded us that when children were born they were totally innocent; it was the influence of adults who made children what they became. Jesus reminded us that we need to become as innocent as little children. In arguing about who would be the greatest, the Apostles were being childish and were no doubt ashamed of their behaviour when Jesus asked them what they had been discussing.

Yesterday’s Saturday Shop made £287.

If you haven’t yet booked your tickets for the Harvest Supper on the 6th October  yet, please do so asap.

Saturday, 22 September 2012






Brochures are still available for the Pilgrimage to the Holy Land in October 2013.  We are stopping at two excellent hotels and all entrance fees, three meals a day, and all gratuities are included. We plan to visit all the well-known holy places including Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jerusalem, Tiberius, the Sea of Galilee, the River Jordan etc. using air-conditioned coaches with an excellent Tour Guide. There will be a Daily Mass.  Travel Insurance is extra if needed (many people have an annual policy so don’t need the cover offered by the travel company) This is a trip of a life time organised for us by one of the best and most experienced travel companies McCabe.

The Pilgrimage is open to all who are interested so if you would like more details contact Father Martin or Father Mervyn

Monday, 17 September 2012

The Will of God Part two


To this day many villages and towns in the south of Spain still hold a Moor’s and Christian’s day when the local people dress up and re-enact their own local day of freedom from their Moorish oppression, of course to the victor belongs the spoils, but I wonder just how influenced this tradition is by the fact that within weeks of their conquering the south their majesty’s started the inquisition against all who refused to become Christians!

In truth though it must be pointed out that it was not against the Muslims that the inquisition was at first directed, but against Spain’s vast Jewish population, many of whom had fled to it centuries before when the Holy City had been attacked. The intention was that the Jews like the Muslim’s should convert to Christianity and although some did they were regarded with suspicion and contempt. After convicting some 13,000 people and burning at least 2,000 for secret ‘Jewish deviations’, Thomas Torquemada, the Chief Inquisitor recommended that the King and Queen expel all those who refused to convert. Somewhere between 75,000 and 150,000 people packed their bags and left for more tolerant countries, although as most of Western Europe began to copy Spain’s example so they moved further east until they wound up either in Holland, Poland-Lithuania or back under a very tolerant Ottoman Muslim control in parts of Turkey and the Middle East, including to the surprise of many Jerusalem itself. These Sephardic Jews (Sepharad is Hebrew for Spain) are still one of the major groups in Israel to this day. The damage done to the wealth of Spain was immense and out of all proportion to that which had been anticipated, however it’s loss was offset by the discoveries that were soon flowing back to Spain from the New World.

In April 1492, just three months after ‘liberating’ Granada their majesty’s appointed the son of a Genoese inn-keeper as Admiral of the Ocean Sea. He was, of course, better known by his anglicised name of Christopher Columbus. Two months into his historic voyage, in October 1492 he discovered the West Indies and the rest of the Americas, as they came to be called, followed soon after though named after another rival explorer.

What is not so well known is that Columbus persuaded the King and Queen to support him with the promise that the vast wealth he expected to discover would enable them to mount a crusade to free the Holy City of Jerusalem from its Islamic occupation. Ferdinand did indeed mount a crusade along the coast of North Africa and that is why Spain still has two sovereign enclaves in Morocco. The Crusade was known as the Maghrebi expeditions and succeeded in capturing Oran then Tripoli (now in Libya) in the year 1510. It was reported that the crusaders were led by a fierce old cardinal who rode on a donkey and brandished a silver cross before him. (Sadly I cannot find a record of his name.)

The pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the Holy Land that Jan and I took part in earlier this year has caused me to re-examine the history of the area where we come for our annual break. In so doing it has reminded me of the way that man and indeed woman have at times used the so called ‘Will of God’ to serve their own purpose, frequently to the extreme detriment of others. This abuse is not unique to our Christian faith but is perpetrated by many individuals of various faiths, all of claim it is the will of their divine being. They do so to bolster their own ambitions and to impress those gullible enough to believe them, so that they will follow them into battle. Such tactics are still being used today by organisations like Al-Qaeda.

I do not claim to know the ‘Will of God’, in my own life I have had the opportunity to do a great many things and never once did I see myself as a Priest, yet here I am. I was recounting my journey of faith just a few short nights ago, in response to some questions from a group of fellow holiday makers as we sat under the stars in the little courtyard by our small little cluster of villas and apartments.

No, I may not know the will of God but I am convinced that it is that we try to live in peace and harmony, one with another, and that we stop using his name as an excuse to further our own ends to the detrainment of others.

May God be with you -

Fr. Martin.

Sunday, 16 September 2012


Today Father Mervyn presided and Father Martin preached and concelebrated at the Parish Mass. Ann led us in our prayers at the Intercessions. In his sermon which was a continuation of last weeks Father Martin related the story of the Vicar’s wife who saw and bought the most beautiful, and incredibly expensive, dress which neither she or her husband could afford. When her husband came home she had put it on to show him and when he asked how much she had paid for it and she revealed the price he pointed out that they couldn’t afford it. “You should have said get behind me Satan”. “I did” she replied and he said “it looks very good from the back, as well”. Father Martin reminded us that whilst we are not, in the words of the Epistle of St. James, all “ called to teach” we are all called to be witnesses. We all have various gifts some of which we possibly aren’t aware of so we need them to be identified for us, so we can use them in God’s service, strengthened to do so by the Blessed Sacrament.

Yesterday’s Saturday Shop took £183.

Harvest Supper


Saturday 6th October, 7 for 7.30 p.m.

Adults £5 Children under 11 £3

Tomato or French Onion Soup, Bangers & Mas with Baked Beans, Gravy optional. Fruit Pie or Apple Crumble with Custard, Cream or Ice Cream. Orders to Father Martin

Thursday, 13 September 2012

The Will of God Part One

The Bamboo and Palm trees bend violently in the vicious hot winds of the ‘Sirocco’ that have come straight across the Mediterranean from the Sahara Desert. The wind lifts the sand from the beach and carries it up into the mountains of the Cabo de Gata natural park, covering everything in its path with a layer of brown dirt and sand. Cars, houses, people and anything else in the way is effectively given a hot sand blasting, despite the heat people run for shelter and doors and windows are shut up tight. The lucky ones turn up their air conditioning whist everybody else just sits it out with as much bottled water as they had previously, sensibly, stockpiled.

Not so many years ago the electricity lines would have come down and so the air conditioning would have failed as would the pumps that brought the water up into the hills. In effect the very things that in England we regard as the curse of a very, very bad winter storm are in fact the Southern Spanish curse of a hot summer; It’s a strange old world at times.

Another strange thing that becomes obvious as you look at the historic buildings in this part of Spain where Jan and I take our annual summer break is that the architecture has more in common with that of Morocco or Egypt or yes even Jerusalem than it does with north of the country or the rest of Europe. What is frequently forgotten is the fact that at the same time as Jerusalem fell to the Muslim’s so did most of North Africa and Southern Spain and whilst the noble’s and peasantry of Europe fought and died trying to regain and hold onto the Holy City, beyond Egypt nobody seemed to worried about the rest of North Africa or Spain.

One reason for this apparent lack of concern was the fact that there was considered little of strategic importance once beyond Egypt and heading West. The great crusade from Europe tried to sail as little as possible for safety and logistical reasons and whilst some passed down through Italy and onto Cyprus or Rhodes the majority made their way via Constantinople and around the eastern end of
the Mediterranean before making for the Holy Land. They came answering the call of Pope Urban II who proclaimed on the 27th November 1095 ‘Deus le volt!’ or as we say ‘God wills it’. In making this call within his sermon as he preached to the leading grandees of the day, Pope Urban II set in motion some of the most horrific events in the then known history of the world and which would have repercussions even in our own era with Al-Qaeda claiming the attacks on the Twin Towers of New York (USA) were in revenge for the Crusades.

Despite the upheavals caused throughout most of Western Europe it would be just three years short of the 400th anniversary of Pope Urban II words before southern Spain would become a Christian controlled area. It would take a marriage between the royal house of Aragon and Sicily (yes the same Aragon that a few years later would send Catherine to marry Henry VIII and inadvertently start the process that would lead to the establishment of the Church of England) and the royal house of Castile before anyone would pay too much attention to this far flung corner of Europe.

King Ferdinand and his Queen Isabella had differing reasons for wanting to create a new United Kingdom of Spain free from anything but Christian rule, though both claimed it was God’s will. Isabella saw it as her Christian duty, unable to afford or indeed mount a crusade to Jerusalem and without the backing of the now warring royal houses of Europe, this devout, grave and iron-willed queen determined to be rid of the heathen in her own country. Ferdinand however had somewhat different reasons. He was already well known as a cunning, cynical and womanizing manipulator who desired to get his hands on the gold and vast wealth held by the Moor’s in their great places and citadels of the South.

Their crusade to free Spain from the Moor’s culminated in January 1492 when the great fortress at Granada fell to their majesties, the end of the last Islamic principality in Europe. The then Pope immediately conferred upon them the title ‘Their Catholic Majesties’, this in turn fired their imagination to want to be leading crusaders for the Christian faith with potentially disastrous consequences.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Didn’t They Do Well

Extracts from the Pioneer – the Magazine of St. Augustine’s, Rush Green.

It’s been a couple of months since there was an issue of The Pioneer and in that time a few “medals” (other than the Olympics) have been awarded for achievement of one sort or another.

Firstly, congratulations to Katherine  for all those GCSE’s at A* and A (the B’s are subject to possible dispute). Katherine is now returning to the hard work of the 6th form. Congratulations.

Two of our teenagers have had their ‘A’ results. First we have Fraser who got 3 ‘A’ levels and is now working away at a Foundation course at Havering College. Well done Fraser.

And then Charlotte  got 4 ‘A’ levels and is about to start studying Geography at Kings College, London. Once again, congratulations. Sadly for Charlotte (and her family) her Grandmother Nesta (Steve’s mother) died during the summer and is in our prayers.

Then we have Greg, who many of you know. He can now utter those famous words “Evenin’ All” or “You’re Nicked” or even better “’Allo, ‘Allo, ‘Allo”.

Pioneer sept policeGreg is now a fully fledged officer of the law and I am sure he is enjoying the first fruits of a responsible and respected job (not that his previous job as a PCSO was anything other than responsible and respected but you know what I mean).

Then we have Doris who is a mere 80 years old and was therefore born in 1932. In the same year the Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened, the summer Olympics opened in Los Angeles, Elizabeth Taylor and Johnny Cash were born and Charles Lindbergh’s son was kidnapped. This is not all that happened, but Wikipedia appears reluctant to consider adding Doris’s birth to the events of 1932; maybe she should appeal. Mary  organised a “Ladies that Tea” event for Doris.

We have to hasten onwards as we have another 80th birthday in the shape of our very own star of stage and screen - Gwen  who is 80 years young on September14th.

And nearly lastly, but of course by no means least, it is the Golden Wedding Anniversary of Charlie and Joan, our Lay Reader.

Many Congratulations to Charlie & Joan

Monday, 10 September 2012


Pioneer sept 12.4

Quite a few of our regular congregation came tonight to offer a Requiem Mass for the repose of Jean who had been a long standing member of the congregation for over 50 years and who died several weeks ago. She had served on the PCC, and had been a member of our Choir. A wonderful cook she was renowned for her cakes which always sold very quickly at our Bazaars


Sunday, 9 September 2012


Today Father Martin presided and preached at the well attended Parish Mass. Father Mervyn was officiating today at St. Mary’s, Ilford. Following yesterday’s crowded service of Baptism at the Solemnity of Our Lady’s Nativity it had been anticipated that the congregation might be smaller than usual (For a Report on the Baptism see below) In his sermon Father Martin speculated whether Bishops were gagged whilst they were in office and only allowed to make pronouncements when they retired. He mentioned the retired Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali and retired Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey who were always  being quoted. He said that Christians should witness to their faith and this could include proudly wearing the Cross.



A Requiem Mass will be offered for the repose of Jean Hughes soul on Monday 10th September at 7.00 p.m.

A REMINDER……………………….The PCC meet on Monday 10th after the Requiem.

Harvest Supper


Saturday 6th October, 7 for 7.30 p.m.

Adults £5 Children under 11 £3

Tomato or French Onion Soup, Bangers & Mas with Baked Beans, Gravy optional. Fruit Pie or Apple Crumble with Custard, Cream or Ice Cream. Orders to Father Martin



At the Solemn Mass celebrated yesterday Father Martin’s new granddaughter Caitlyn was Baptised.It was a Concelebrated Mass with Fathers Martin, Mervyn and  Graham (one of Father Martin’s friends from his days at St. Stephens)

Father Graham read the Gospel and Father Mervyn preached. The church was packed with standing room only with family, friends and members of St. Augustine’s congregation joining together to celebrate the Birthday of Mary, Mother of God and Caitlyns Baptism.

After the service we adjourned to the hall for a splendid buffet toasting Caitlyn with champagne as we enjoyed a slice of the cake made for Vicky and Mark’s wedding last year and saved for this special day.

In his sermon Father Mervyn reminded us that Caitlyn, her parents and Godparents needed our prayers as she grows up to maturity in the Christian Faith supported by them.

Sunday, 2 September 2012


Father Martin newly back from his holiday, presided at today’s Parish Mass. Father Mervyn concelebrated, preached and led the Intercessions. In his sermon Father Mervyn related how, many years ago he had viewed a car on a garage forecourt. The chrome sparkled. Just the car Father Mervyn wanted he thought all those years ago but what Father didn’t realise until he drove it was that inside things were not so good. The floor was coming away from the body work, the exhaust was completely blown. The engine was filthy and burning oil at a tremendous rate and the radiator leaked like a sieve plus the boot was full of old junk. Yet standing in the drive it looked wonderful. All you could see was the shiny exterior. Driving down the road most folks would have seen a nice shiny car that looked good for it's age. Father knew better. Some people, like the Scribes and Pharisees, keep all the outward religious observances but, in fact, are not what they seem inside. Could that be an accusation against us?

After last Saturday’s break, the Shop opened again yesterday and took £147


A Requiem Mass will be offered for the repose of Jean Hughes soul on Monday 19th September at 7.00 p.m.

Harvest Supper


Saturday 6th October, 7 for 7.30 p.m.

Adults £5 Children under 11 £3

Tomato or French Onion Soup, Bangers & Mas with Baked Beans, Gravy optional. Fruit Pie or Apple Crumble with Custard, Cream or Ice Cream. Orders to Father Martin

Sunday, 26 August 2012


As Father Martin is still on holiday, Father Mervyn presided and preached at the Parish Mass today. He preached on the choice given by Jesus to his followers which had concerned many so much that they left. In the reading from the Book of Joshua we heard how Joshua had given the Israelites a choice: "Decide today whom you will serve." He then stated clearly what his choice was: "As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”  Father Mervyn quoted a prayer by St . Ignatius Loyola which describes the complete offering we need to make if our choice is for Jesus:
Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty,
my memory, my understanding and my whole will.
All that I am and all that I possess You have given me.
I surrender it all to You to be disposed of according to Your will.
Give me only Your love and Your grace;
with these I will be rich enough,
and will desire nothing more.
"Do you also want to leave?" Jesus asks not only his disciples in their day, and us in ours. May we have the grace - and courage - to respond with Peter, the head of the apostles:
“Master, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe
and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”
At the end of the service Father Mervyn congratulated one of the congregation on achieving really stunning GCSE results and two of our Guide Company on achieving the highest award for girls, the Baden Powell Challenge



Thursday, 23 August 2012

Jean’s Funeral

Jean died unexpectedly the Saturday before last at the age of 91 just before her 92nd birthday. Her funeral took place yesterday with a crowded church, people packed in every conceivable space . Father Mervyn conducted the service as Father Martin is on holiday. Jean had left instructions that it was to be a straight forward Funeral Service and had chosen the hymns to be sung. (We hope to arrange a Requiem Mass for Jean when Father Martin returns from his holiday. A Requiem was celebrated by Father Martin in Spain at the same time as the funeral was taking place in the UK)

At the beginning of the service Father Mervyn read out a letter he had received from Father Martin welcoming people to St. Augustine’s,  celebrating Jean’s life and saying the important role she had played in the life of St. Augustine’s since she first started attending in 1953 .This was very much appreciated by the family and those attending

Father Mervyn used the reading, 1 Corinthians, 1-13 as the basis for his sermon and appreciation of all the Jean had done in the life of the parish. Later in the service there was a moving Eulogy written by members of the family. At the end of the service Father Mervyn gave the Final Commendation, sprinkled the coffin with Holy Water and blessed it with incense before the cortege left Rush Green and went to the South East Essex Crematorium for the committal.

There was a really wonderful buffet in the hall when the family and other mourners returned to the parish

Sunday, 19 August 2012


Today Father Mervyn presided and preached at the Parish Mass and Ann led us in prayer. In his sermon Father Mervyn referred to the Gospel Reading and particularly that Jesus said: “I am the Bread of Life” He pointed out how, over the centuries, Christians had so valued the Blessed Sacrament whereby we receive the Bread of Life, quoting the lengths that some in repressive regimes had had to struggle to make their Communion. After Mass extra chairs were put into church to cater for the large numbers expected for Jean’s funeral on Wednesday afternoon.


Sunday, 12 August 2012



bread of life


There  was a nearly full church this morning for the Parish Mass at which Father Mervyn celebrated and preached. Today our intercessions were led by our Lay Reader Joan. In his sermon Father Mervyn reminded us that Jesus had called himself “the Bread of Life” and that everyone has been invited to his banquet. He recalled that Napoleon when asked what had been the greatest day in his life it had been expected that he would quote one of his military achievements, but he  had replied “the day of my first Communion”. We should take to heart the words of St. Francis de Sales: ”Only two people need frequent Communion – the not so good that they might become better and the good that they might stay that way.” We were saddened to learn of the death of one of the stalwarts

Yesterday’s Saturday Shop took a truly amazing £389


There will be a meeting with Father Martin after the Parish Mass on Sunday 2nd September in the hall

Sunday, 5 August 2012



Today Father Mervyn presided at the Parish Mass and Father Martin concelebrated and preached. Despite the Olympics being not far away, and people being away on holiday, we had a full church.

In his sermon Father Martin focussed on the Olympics and the training and sacrifices that the contestants in Team GB had been prepared to make so that they could be contestants and winners. He said that we, as Christians. also needed to have training and make sacrifices so we could live up to our vocation.This would include prayer, Bible reading and regular attendance at Mass  We would need sustenance and that was supplied for us every time we come to Mass and receive the Bread of Life, the Body of Christ.

Yesterday’s Saturday Shop took £171.

Monday, 30 July 2012




Brochures are now ready for the Pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2013.  We are stopping at two excellent hotels and all entrance fees, three meals a day, and all gratuities are included. We plan to visit all the well-known holy places including Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jerusalem, Tiberius, the Sea of Galilee, the River Jordan etc. using air-conditioned coaches with an excellent Tour Guide. There will be a Daily Mass.  Travel Insurance is extra if needed (many people have an annual policy so don’t need the cover offered by the travel company) This is a trip of a life time organised for us by one of the best and most experienced travel companies McCabe. If you are interested contact Father Martin or Father Mervyn for more details.

Sunday, 29 July 2012


Father Martin presided at today’s Parish Mass and Father Mervyn read the Gospel and preached. Pamela led us in prayer. In his sermon Father Mervyn called the boy with the loaves and fishes the hero of the day. He had given all that he had and Jesus had turned that small offering into a means of feeding a vast number of people. We need to show the same generosity as that Jewish boy; who knows what miracle Jesus will work with what we give him, no matter how small it might be. Today our Choir sang Cesar Franck"s Panis Angelicus during the Communion of the People.



1. A PCC SECRETARY as our present Secretary is moving shortly

2. AN EDITOR FOR THE PIONEER as our present editor is retiring after ten years.



O Sing to the Lord with Joyful Voice

We need more voices to join our small and very faithful choir who sing at our Parish Mass every t_Carolers006Sunday usually with an Anthem.

Choir Practice is at 9.15 a.m. every Sunday.

Interested? Come along on Sunday morning


Sunday, 22 July 2012


The road closures due to the Olympic torch coming to Borough plus the fact that some of our people wanted to see the Torch and annual holidays meant that we were very slightly down in numbers but it was still a good attendance. Father Mervyn presided, led the Intercessions and Father Martin concelebrated and preached.

Tonight, after Evensong, we have our illustrated meeting about the Holy Land and our proposed pilgrimage there in October 2013. Those who come will be the first to be able to have the brochure which has been produced by McCabe the tour operators.

Yesterday’s Saturday Shop took £201

Sunday, 15 July 2012


Today Father Martin presided at the Parish Mass and Father Mervyn concelebrated and preached. This week, despite some people on holiday, we had a full house.  In his sermon Father Mervyn said that Jesus had warned the disciples when he sent them out that they might receive a hostile reaction. Father quoted the example of Gandhi who campaigned for India to be free of British rule with a campaign of non-violence. He was frequently imprisoned and was assassinated. John the Baptist was beheaded because he proclaimed the truth that Herod and Herodias were living in sin. We, as Christians, have to proclaim our faith; the faith which has come down to us from the Apostles and which is contained in the  Gospels and through 2,000 years of tradition. even though we might find we are persecuted for doing so.

Yesterday’s Saturday Shop made £200

Wednesday, 11 July 2012



Today Father Martin and Father Mervyn have been to McCabe's in Balham to spend time planning our proposed pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2013. We will be holding a meeting at St. Augustine’s Church, Rush Green on Sunday 22nd July following Evening Prayer at 6.00 p.m. when we will show pictures of some of the places we hope to visit. Anyone who is interested in coming with us, is invited to the meeting but if you are unable come contact Father Martin or Father Mervyn and we will arrange for you to have a brochure as soon as they are printed. This is a 10 day trip of a life time, staying at excellent hotels, with a daily Mass and the cost includes breakfast, lunch and dinner and all entry fees and gratuities with a first class tour guide.

Sunday, 8 July 2012





At the beginning of the Parish Mass this morning Father Mervyn reassured the congregation that it wasn’t an ark that Father Martin was building in his garden but a garden shed although the deluge we were suffering today might indicate that some thought might need to be given to that. Despite the atrocious weather the numbers were only slightly down and some of that was due to holidays.

Father Mervyn presided and Father Martin preached and concelebrated. At the opening of the Mass Father Mervyn said we were offering the Holy Sacrifice today especially for the General Synod that it might be given the guidance of the Holy Spirit in all its decisions. In his sermon Father stressed the importance of the Apostolic succession. He talked about a recent ordination we had attended at St. James, Colchester by the Bishop of Richborough, his own ordination to the priesthood12 years ago and Father Mervyns' 26 years ago. All of us were in the Apostolic succession, something we valued and something we hoped, trusted and which we prayed would be maintained at the General Synod currently meeting in York.


Saturday, 7 July 2012


Our usual British Summer weather meant that this event intended to be held in the Church Grounds was transferred to the Church Hall. Instead of beef burgers and sausages cooked over a charcoal barbecue, they were cooked in kitchen. The various sports planned went ahead, despite the weather, and included a three legged race, an egg and spoon race, musical chairs. a caterpillar race,throwing the sponge ball, a sack race and a how many children does it take to tug the vicar in a chair.


Pictured above – it was only when two of the men present decided to join in that we finally were able to move Father Martin in the chair. Winners of events were presented with sashes and at the end of the Games Father Martin presented Gold Medals. Father Mervyn presented Father Martin with a gold medal to thank him for all the planning, and hard work in organising this most enjoyable social event.



Congratulations to parents Mark and Vicki and to Grandparents Father Martin and Jan on the birth of Caitlin yesterday.

Friday, 6 July 2012

The Temple at Jerusalem

from the July/August Pioneer

The City of Jerusalem and within it the Holy Temple dominate Jewish, Islamic and, of course, our Christian faith. No visit to the Holy Land such as my recent one is complete without going to Jerusalem and by visiting the site of the former Temple.

The Bible reports that the First Temple was built in 957 BC by King Solomon (reigned 970-930 BC). As the sole place of Jewish sacrifice, the Temple replaced the portable sanctuary constructed in the Sinai Desert under the auspices of Moses, as well as local sanctuaries, and altars in the hills. This temple was however sacked a few decades later by Sheshonk I, Pharaoh of Egypt. Although efforts were made at partial reconstruction, it was only in 835 BC when Jehoash, King of Judah in the second year of his reign invested considerable sums in reconstruction, only to have it stripped again for Sennacherib, King of Assyria in 700 BC. The First Temple was totally destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC when they sacked the city.

According to the Book of Ezra, construction of the Second Temple was authorized by Cyrus the Great and began in 538 BC, after the fall of the Babylonian Empire the year before. It was completed 23 years later, on the third day of Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the Great (12 March 515 BC), dedicated by the Jewish governor Zerubbabel. Despite the fact that the new temple wasn't as extravagant or imposing as its predecessor, it still dominated the Jerusalem skyline and remained an important structure throughout the time of Persian suzerainty. The temple narrowly avoided being destroyed again in 332 BC when the Jews refused to acknowledge the deification of Alexander the Great of Macedonia. Alexander was allegedly “turned from his anger” at the last minute by astute diplomacy and flattery. After the death of Alexander on 13 June 323 BC, and the dismembering of his empire, the Ptolemies came to rule over Judea and the Temple. Under the Ptolemies, the Jews were given many civil liberties and lived content under their rule. However, when the Ptolemaic army was defeated at Panium by Antiochus III of the Seleucids in 198 BC, this policy changed. Antiochus wanted to Hellenize the Jews, attempting to

introduce the Greek pantheon into the temple. A rebellion ensued and was brutally crushed, but no further action by Antiochus was taken. When Antiochus died in 187 BC at Luristan, his son Seleucus IV Philopator succeeded him. However, his policies never took effect in Judea, since he was assassinated the year after his ascension.

Antiochus IV Epiphanes succeeded his older brother to the Seleucid throne and immediately adopted his father's previous policy of universal Hellenisation. The Jews rebelled again and Antiochus, in a rage, retaliated in force. Considering the previous episodes of discontent, the Jews became incensed when the religious observances of Sabbath and circumcision were officially outlawed. When Antiochus erected a statue of Zeus in their temple and Hellenic priests began sacrificing pigs (the usual sacrifice offered to the Greek gods in the Hellenic religion) their anger began to spiral. When a Greek official asked a Jewish priest to perform a Hellenic sacrifice, the priest (Mattathias), killed him. Predictably, Antiochus resorted to the same bloody reprisals. In 167 BC the Jews rose up en masse behind Mattathias and his five sons to fight and win their freedom from Seleucid authority. Mattathias' son Judas Maccabeus, now called "The Hammer", re-dedicated the temple in 165 BC and the Jews celebrate this event to this day as a major part of the festival of Hanukkah.

The temple was rededicated under Judas Maccabaeus in 164 BC. The temple was desecrated again in 54 BC by Crassus, only for him to die the year after at the Battle of Carrhae against Parthia. When news of this reached the Jews, they revolted again, only to be put down in 43 BC. Around 20 BC, the building was renovated by Herod the Great, and became known as Herod's Temple. During the Roman occupation of Judea, the Temple remained under control of the Jewish people. It was later destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD during the Siege of Jerusalem. During the last revolt of the Jews against the Romans in 132–135 AD, Simon bar Kokhba and Rabbi Akiva wanted to rebuild the Temple, but bar Kokhba's revolt failed and the Jews were banned from Jerusalem by the Roman Empire. The emperor Julian failed to have the Temple rebuilt in 363 AD.

After the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem in the 7th century, Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan ordered the construction of an Islamic shrine, the Dome of the Rock on the site of the Temple. The shrine has stood on the mount since 691 AD; the al-Aqsa Mosque, from roughly the same period, also stands in the Temple courtyard. The mount bears significance in Islam as it acted as a sanctuary for many Hebrew prophets. Islamic tradition says that a temple was first built on the Temple Mount by Jacob and later renovated by Solomon, son of David. In addition, it is considered to be the site of the Prophet Muhammad’s Night Ride (Isra and Mi'raj) and his ascent into Heaven - one of the most significant events recounted in the Koran.

More recently, the Temple Mount, along with the entire Old City of Jerusalem, was captured from Jordan by Israel in 1967 during the Six-Day War, allowing Jews once again to pray at the holy site. Israel officially unified East Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, with the rest of Jerusalem in 1980 under the Jerusalem Law, though United Nations Security Council Resolution 478 declared the Jerusalem Law to be in violation of international law. The Muslim Waqf has administrative control of the Temple Mount.

To this day Judaism is incomplete without there being a Temple in which to offer sacrifice and praise to God. It is the ultimate aim of many Jews and especially the Orthodox Hasidic Jews that there shall be built a third Temple on the site of those that went before; Rather a problem given that the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque are now on the site. The Temple was the place where offerings described in the course of the Hebrew Bible were carried out, including daily morning and afternoon offerings and special offerings on Sabbath and Jewish holidays. Levites recited Psalms at appropriate moments during the offerings, including the Psalm of the Day, special psalms for the new month, and other occasions, the Hallel (Psalms 113-118 and also 145-150) during major Jewish holidays, and psalms for special sacrifices such as the "Psalm for the Thanksgiving Offering" (Psalm 100).

As part of the daily offering, a prayer service was performed in the Temple which was used as the basis of the traditional Jewish (morning) service recited to this day, including well-known prayers such as the Shema ("Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is one," found in Deuteronomy 6:4), and the Priestly Blessing, (May the Lord bless you and guard you. May the Lord make His face shed light upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord lift up His face unto you and give you peace). The Mishna (oral tradition) describes it as follows:

The superintendent said to them, bless one benediction! and they blessed, and read the Ten Commandments, and the Shema, "And it shall come to pass if you will hearken", and "And [God] spoke...". They pronounced three benedictions with the people present: "True and firm", and the "Avodah" "Accept, Lord our God, the service of your people Israel, and the fire-offerings of Israel and their prayer receive with favour. Blessed is He who receives the service of His people Israel with favour" (similar to what is today the 17th blessing of the Amidah), and the Priestly Blessing, and on the Sabbath they recited one blessing; "May He who causes His name to dwell in this House, cause to dwell among you love and brotherliness, peace and friendship" on behalf of the weekly Priestly Guard that departed. —Mishna Tamid 5:1 ”

Isaiah spoke of the importance of prayer as well as sacrifice in Temple, and of a universal purpose: Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make joyful in My house of prayer, Their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be acceptable upon Mine altar For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. (Isaiah 56:7, JPS translation).

I was privileged to be in Jerusalem at the start of the Sabbath and to visit the Western or Wailing wall for prayers at that time, it was a truly unique experience and I hope to be able to repeat it with some of you in October 2013, As many Jews say at the end of their celebrations ‘Next year in Jerusalem!’

May God be with you

- Fr. Martin.