Sunday, 24 June 2012

Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist


There was no report on the blog last Sunday as both Father Martin and Father Mervyn were in the Holy Land on a exploratory visit in preparation for our pilgrimage there next year.

Today, Father Mervyn presided and Father Martin concelebrated, read the Gospel,  and preached. In his sermon Father briefly related some details about the
Holy Land and then focussed on the birthplace of St. John the Baptist, which we had visited last week. He was born at Ain-Karim southwest of Jerusalem to Elizabeth and Zechariah. Elizabeth who was the cousin of Mary, the mother of Jesus was far past child bearing age but the birth of John had been foretold by the Angel Gabriel. He was the one who “prepared the way of the Lord”

Last Saturday Shop took an amazing £270

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

St. Augustine of Canterbury – Our Patron

Part 3

The king more than made good his words. He invited the missionaries to take up their abode in the royal capital of Canterbury, then a barbarous and half-ruined metropolis, built by the Kentish folk upon the site of the old Roman military town of Durovernum. Here Augustine and his companions seemed to have established without delay the ordinary routine of the Benedictine rule as practiced at the close of the sixth century; and to it they seem to have added in a quiet way the apostolic ministry of preaching. The church dedicated to St. Martin in the eastern part of the city which had been set apart for the convenience of Bishop Luidhard and Queen Bertha's followers many years before was also thrown open to them until the king should permit a more highly organized attempt at evangelization.

The evident sincerity of the missionaries, their single-mindedness, their courage under trial, and, above all, the disinterested character of Augustine himself and the unworldly note of his doctrine made a profound impression on the mind of the king. He asked to be instructed and his baptism was appointed to take place at Pentecost. Whether the queen and her Frankish bishop had any real hand in the process of this comparatively sudden conversion, it is impossible to say. St. Gregory's letter written to Bertha herself, when the news of the king's baptism had reached Rome, would lead us to infer, that, while little or nothing had been done before Augustine's arrival, afterwards there was an endeavour on the part of the queen to make up for past remissness

Aethelberht's conversion naturally gave a great impetus to the enterprise of Augustine and his companions. Augustine himself determined to act at once upon the provisional instruction he had received from Pope Gregory. He crossed over to Gaul and sought Episcopal consecration at the hands of Virgilius, the Metropolitan of

Arles. Returning almost immediately to Kent, he made preparations for that more active and open form of propaganda for which Aethelberht's baptism had prepared a way. On Christmas Day, 597, more than ten thousand persons were baptized by the first "Archbishop of the English". The great ceremony probably took place in the waters of the Swale, not far from the mouth of the Medway.

As the church grew so Augustine became increasingly concerned by the differences between his church, the Celtic church and that in Gaul. Pope Gregory sent more monks to England to assist in the evangelisation of the country, of these Mellitus, Justus, Paulinus, and Ruffinianus are perhaps the best known. Ruffinianus was to become abbot of the monastery established by Augustine in honour of St. Peter outside the eastern walls of the Kentish capital. Mellitus became the first English Bishop of London; Justus was appointed to the new see of Rochester, and Paulinus became the Metropolitan of York.

Of Augustine’s struggle to unite the church in a common calendar and liturgy, much has been written. It is as a result of his efforts that much of the church calendar that we use to this day owes its origin. His death fell in the same year says a very early tradition as his great patron Gregory. Augustine was buried, in true Roman fashion, outside the walls of the Kentish capital in a grave dug by the side of the great Roman road which then ran from Deal to Canterbury over St. Martin's Hill and near the unfinished abbey church which he had begun in honour of Sts. Peter and Paul and which was afterwards to be dedicated to his memory. When the monastery was completed, his relics were translated to a tomb prepared for them in the north porch. A modern hospital is said to occupy the site of his last resting place. His feast day in the Roman Calendar is kept on 28 May; but in the proper of the English office it occurs two days earlier, the true anniversary of his death.

Augustine was , it seems very committed to proclaiming the Christian faith and in working for unity, traits which we can only pray his next successor will share.

May God be with you - Fr. Martin.

Monday, 11 June 2012

St. Augustine of Canterbury – Our Patron Part 2 …………… be continued …………………..

The plan itself came as a result of the fact that the Pope was becoming increasingly concerned over the lack of Christian converts that were occurring in England under the existing Bishops The itinerary for Augustine and his brother monks seem to have been speedily, if vaguely, prepared; the little company set out upon their long journey in the month of June, 596. They were armed with letters to the bishops and Christian princes of the countries through which they were likely to pass, and they were further instructed to provide themselves with Frankish interpreters before setting foot in Britain itself.

Discouragement, however, appears early to have overtaken them on their way. Tales of the uncouth islanders to whom they were going chilled their enthusiasm, and some of their number actually proposed that they should draw back. Augustine so far compromised with the waverers that he agreed to return in person to Pope Gregory and lay before him plainly the difficulties which they might be compelled to encounter. The band of missionaries waited for him in the neighbourhood of Aix-en-Provence. Pope Gregory, however, raised the drooping spirits of Augustine and sent him back without delay to his faint-hearted brethren, armed with more precise, and as it appeared, more convincing authority.

Augustine was named abbot of the missionaries and was furnished with fresh letters in which the pope made kindly acknowledgment of the aid thus far offered by Protasius, Bishop of Aix-en-Provence, by Stephen, Abbot of Lérins, and by a wealthy lay official of patrician rank called Arigius . Augustine must have reached Aix on his return journey some time in August; for Gregory's message of encouragement to the party bears the date of July the twenty-third, 596. Whatever may have been the real source of the passing discouragement no more delays are recorded. The missionaries pushed on through Gaul, passing up through the valley of the Rhone to Arles on their way to Vienne and Autun, and thence northward, by one of several alternative routes which it is impossible now to fix with

accuracy, until they come to Paris. Here, in all probability, they passed the winter months; and here, too, as is not unlikely, considering the relations that existed between the family of the reigning house and that of Kent, they secured the services of the local presbyters suggested as interpreters in the pope's letters to Theodoric and Theodebert and to Brunichilda, Queen of the Franks.

In the spring of the following year they were ready to embark. The name of the port at which they took ship has not been recorded. Boulogne was at that time a place of some mercantile importance; and it is not improbable that they directed their steps thither to find a suitable vessel in which they could complete the last and not least hazardous portion of their journey. All that we know for certain is that they landed somewhere on the Isle of Thanet and that they waited there in obedience to King Aethelberht’s orders until arrangements could be made for a formal interview. The king replied to their messengers that he would come in person from Canterbury, which was less than a dozen miles away. It is not easy to decide at this date between the four rival spots, each of which has claimed the distinction of being the place upon which St. Augustine and his companions first set foot. The Boarded Groin, Stonar, Ebbsfleet, and Richborough — last named, if the present course of the Stour has not altered in thirteen hundred years, then forming part of the mainland — each has its defenders.

The promised interview between the king and the missionaries took place within a few days. It was held in the open air on a level spot, probably under a spreading oak in deference to the king's dread of Augustine's possible incantations. His fear, however, was dispelled by the native grace of manner and the kindly personality of his chief guest who addressed him through an interpreter. The message told "how the compassionate Jesus had redeemed a world of sin by His own agony and opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all who would believe". The king's answer, while gracious in its friendliness, was curiously prophetic of the religious after-temper of his race. "Your words and promises are very fair" he is said to have replied, "but as they are new to us and of uncertain import, I cannot assent to them and give up what I have long held in common with the whole English nation. But since you have come as strangers from so great a distance, and, as I take it, are anxious to have us also share in what you conceive to be both excellent and true, we will not interfere with you, but receive you, rather, in kindly hospitality and take care to provide what may be necessary for your support. Moreover, we make no objection to your winning as many converts as you can to your creed".

Sunday, 10 June 2012


As Father Martin was officiating at St Laurence, Upminster, Father Mervyn celebrated and preached.  The church was full for the Parish Mass with a number of new faces amongst the many children. Father Mervyn talked about “the unforgiveable sin”  what it is and particularly, what it is not. At the end of Mass Father Mervyn read the letter from Catholic Bishops.

Yesterday’s Saturday Shop took £247.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

St. Augustine of Canterbury – Our Patron


What might we say about our Patron, in simple terms the facts are fairly easy. Thus - First Archbishop of Canterbury, Apostle of the English; date of birth unknown; died. 26 May, 604. Symbols used in art: cope, pallium (a white vestment that rests on the shoulders with pendants hanging at its front and back) and mitre as Bishop of Canterbury, and pastoral staff and gospels as missionary. However, details of his life and role as the first Archbishop of Canterbury, whilst generally available, are not widely known. As our national Church seeks to appoint Augustine’s next successor I thought I might re-iterate some of the points of his mission to England.

As a youngster we know nothing except that he was probably a Roman of the better class, and that early in life he become a monk in the famous monastery of St. Andrew erected by St. Gregory the Great out of his own patrimony on the Cælian Hill. It was thus amid the religious intimacies of the Benedictine Rule and in the bracing atmosphere of a recent foundation that the character of the future missionary was formed. Chance is said to have furnished the opportunity for the enterprise which was destined to link his name for all time with that of his friend and patron, St. Gregory the Great, as the "true beginner" of one of the most important Churches in Christendom and the medium by which the authority of the Roman See was established over men of the English-speaking race.

Some five years after his elevation to Pope (590) Gregory began to look about him for ways and means to carry out the dream of his earlier days. He naturally turned to the community he had ruled more than a decade of years before in the monastery on the Cælian Hill. Out of these he selected a company of about forty and designated Augustine, at that time Prior of St. Andrew's, to be their representative and spokesman. The appointment, as will appear later on, seems to have been of a somewhat indeterminate character; but from this time forward until his death in 604 it is to Augustine as "strengthened by the confirmation of the blessed Father Gregory that English, as distinguished from British, Christianity owes its primary inspiration.

The event which afforded Pope Gregory the opportunity he had so long desired of carrying out his great missionary plan in favour of the English happened in the year 595 or 596. A rumour had reached Rome that the pagan inhabitants of Britain were ready to embrace the Faith in great numbers, if only preachers could be found to instruct them. The first plan which seems to have occurred to the pontiff was to take measures for the purchase of English captive boys of seventeen years of age and upwards. These he would have brought up in the Catholic Faith with idea of ordaining them and sending them back in due time as apostles to their own people. He accordingly wrote to Candidus, a presbyter entrusted with the administration of a small estate belonging to the patrimony of the Roman Church in Gaul, asking him to secure revenues and set them aside for this purpose.

It is possible, not only to determine approximately the dates of these events, but also to indicate the particular quarter of Britain from which the rumour had come. Aethelberht became King of Kent in 559 or 560, and in less than twenty years he succeeded in establishing an overlordship that extended from the boulders of the country of the West Saxons eastward to the sea and as far north as the Humber and the Trent. The Saxons of Middlesex and of Essex, together with the men of East Anglia and of Mercia, were thus brought to acknowledge him as Bretwalda (wide ruler), and he acquired a political importance which began to be felt by the Frankish princes on the other side of the Channel.

Charibert of Paris gave him his daughter Bertha in marriage, stipulating, as part of the nuptial agreement, that she should be allowed the free exercise of her religion. The condition was accepted and Luidhard, a Frankish bishop, accompanied the princess to her new home in Canterbury, where the ruined church of St. Martin, situated a short distance beyond the walls, and dating from Roman-British times, was set apart for her use. The date of this marriage, so important in its results to the future fortunes of Western Christianity, is of course largely a matter of conjecture; but from the evidence furnished by one or two scattered remarks in St. Gregory's letters and from the circumstances which attended the emergence of the kingdom of the Jutes to a position of prominence in the Britain of this period, we may safely assume that it had taken place fully twenty years before the plan of sending Augustine and his companions suggested itself to the Pope.

to be continued…………………………………….

Thursday, 7 June 2012


We celebrated the Solemnity of Corpus Christi with a Solemn Mass, Procession of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction. Father Martin celebrated and preached whilst Father Mervyn played the organ. After Mass we adjourned to the Parish Hall for a Bring and Share Supper. As always there was an abundance of food!

Sunday, 3 June 2012





7.30 p.m. Solemn Mass, procession of the Blessed Sacrament & Benediction

followed by a “Bring & Share” in the Hall



Today Father Martin celebrated and preached when we gave thanks for Her Majesty the Queen on her Diamond Jubilee. In his sermon Father Martin reflected on Royalty through the ages and how it had changed. Father Mervyn was officiating at St. Albans, Romford today.

Yesterday’s Saturday Shop was very quiet possibly because of all the arrangements taking place out in Birbeck Road in preparation for the Jubilee Street Party. We still made a very worthwhile £199.

Saturday, 2 June 2012


Despite the overcast afternoon the Jubilee Street Party took place today. The tables and chairs were supplied by St. Augustine’s and the cooking on several Barbecues was in the church grounds
Hot food was cooked by volunteers and included beef burgers, sausages, chicken legs and pork belly accompanied by salads and relishes. Tea and coffee were available but people were invited to bring there own drinks. During the course of the afternoon the newly appointed Mayor of Havering and her escort joined the party as well as our local MP Andrew Rosindale who brought his mother and his dog. We also had a goat and a rabbit for the children to pet.

It was a great afternoon and very much enjoyed by the many local people who came to join the celebrations. There was no charge but donations were sought towards the cost. On sale were fresh organic eggs sand honey from the Regeneration Groups land.

Below are some photos:-
Some of the people present
Two young ladies with patriotic painted faces.
The goat.
Father Martin greets the Mayor
Our MP and his mother arrive
Our MP and our Mayor give greetings to everyone.

A great afternoon and many thanks to all those who worked so hard to ensure the success of our Jubilee Party

Saturday Shopping

Many people do their shopping on a Saturday as they can’t manage to get to the shops during the week. Our Saturday Shop customers are no different, except we only open for a few hours on a Saturday morning (about 46 weeks of the year) and they really have to get there early to grab the bargains.

This simple but effective income generator has now given us £68,000 in direct income, plus about a further £10,000 through our Ebay sales. It also provides many of the items we sell at our May Fair and Winter Bazaar.

In addition (as if one were needed) we regularly support a whole host of local charities with two free tables from which they can sell their goods.

Recycling, outreach, income generation, drop-in centre, community facility, charity support and much, much more. We started in April/May 2002 using the empty Vicarage and it took time for sales to pick up. Father Jimmy quoted Field of Dreams and said “People will come” and, true enough, they did.

Nowadays we get disappointed when we “only” take £150 but in the early days we thought £30 was good. Are we getting greedy? Maybe a little as we want things to be extra successful but overall a simple idea has produced extraordinary results. All I wonder is why more churches don’t follow the idea. If we can do it, most of them could. On the other hand maybe we should keep quiet now and continue to reap the benefit.

Thank you to all those that help to make the Saturday Shop possible.

Friday, 1 June 2012


The Choir Appeals?


“Singing is good for you. - Many studies done over a number of years have focused on the health benefits of singing, and the evidence is overwhelming.

o Singing releases endorphins into your system and makes you feel energized and uplifted. People who sing are healthier than people who don’t.

o Singing gives the lungs a workout,

o Singing tones abdominal and intercostal muscles and the diaphragm, and stimulates circulation.

Singing makes us breathe more deeply than many forms of strenuous exercise, so we take in more oxygen, improve aerobic capacity and experience a release of muscle tension as well.”

I don’t know if you have noticed but over the last few years the Choir has got smaller and smaller. We are now just 4 ladies and 2 men which is OK but gets a bit tricky when even one or two are missing. Now, we have the bad news that one of us is about to move to sunny Lincolnshire which will make it tricky for her to attend rehearsals and sing at all those special events as well as normal services.

So, this is an appeal for more of you to join us, rehearse with us and even sing at the services. It is not tricky. You do not have to read music and you probably know most of what we sing anyway.

No audition required and we can find a set of robes to fit you.

What more can I say? Just come along and sing with us and add enjoyment to your life and those of others