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