Sunday, 28 April 2013


Today Father Mervyn presided at the Parish Mass and Father Martin read the Gospel, preached and concelebrated. In his sermon Father Martin used the text from today’s Gospel: “I give you a new commandment that you love one another.” He pointed out that this can be a difficult commandment to observe. He mentioned that in the Calendar we now recognise both the Catholic Saints and Martyrs and the English Saints and Martyrs  of the Reformation period on 4th May. Both Catholics and Protestants were martyred and that hardly showed the love that
Jesus said we were to have for each other.  These days we pray for Christian Unity so that the love which Jesus enjoined on all Christians can be demonstrated.
Saturday 4th May


from 10.00 a.m. until 1.00 p.m.
Offers of help welcome.
If you would like to attend please let either Father Martin or Father Mervyn know ASAP so we can see if we needs to hire a minibus.
This is a lovely day, stopping for breakfast en route and a wonderful fish & chip supper on the way home.

Sunday, 21 April 2013



Today Father Martin presided at the Parish Mass and led our Intercessions whilst Father Mervyn  read the Gospel,  preached and concelebrated. In his sermon based on the Gospel Father reminded us that today is a Sunday when we particularly pray for vocations. He said that the Shepherd in Palestine led his sheep rather than walked behind the flock as in the Uk. At night the shepherd lay across the entrance to the sheepfold acting as the gate; the shepp couldn’t get out and no wild animal could get in. In both cases the shepherd protected the sheep and that is what Jesus the Good Shepherd has done for us'; he had died for us and had risen again.


Sunday, 14 April 2013


Today Father Martin celebrated and preached at the Parish Mass. Father Mervyn was at St. Andrew’s, North Weald celebrating their Parish Mass. In his sermon Father Martin referred to the days when he used to go fishing. He thought it was entirely possible that Jesus standing on the shore could have spotted a shoal of fish which the fishermen couldn’t see. When they had landed the fish Jesus took Peter to one side and asked him three times “do you love me. He then instructed Peter to care for His sheep; those who would become Christians as a result of the evangelisation that his disciples would be doing. Jesus asks us the same question every time we make the sign of the cross or come to make our Communion: do we love him.



Saturday 4th May MAY FAIR

from 10.00 a.m. until 1.00 p.m.

Offers of help welcome.






If you would like to attend please let either Father Martin or Father Mervyn know ASAP so we can see if we needs to hire a minibus.

This is a lovely day, stopping for breakfast en route and a wonderful fish & chip supper on the way home.

Monday, 8 April 2013


The Pope

Last month the 266th (or there abouts) Pope was elected in time to celebrate the Easter services of Holy Week. He appears to be a break from tradition not just because he is the first non-European Pope (although I’m not sure it really counts as his father was Italian but perhaps it is one small step at time) but also because he seems to have a more common and human touch—wanting to be close to the people.

The origin of the word is Pope is from either the Latin ‘papa’ or the Greek ‘pappas’ - a child’s word for ‘father’. Initially the term was used for all bishops and senior clergy, it wasn’t until the 6th Century that the term was used solely for the Bishop of Rome.

The Catholic Church believe that the line of the Pope can be traced back to St Peter and that Peter was identified by Jesus to lead the church. There is written evidence that supports this from Church Father Irenaeus (AD180) and even earlier from Pope Clement (AD 96) who wrote to Rome about the persecution of Christian stating that its heroes were the good apostles Peter and Paul.

The Papacy has been no stranger to controversy over the years including a very interesting period of time between the 3rd and the mid 15th Century when there were ‘Antipopes’. Antipopes were individuals who claimed to be the Pope but who had not been official selected by the method of the day. It became so confusing at several points that it is now not clear who had the genuine, legitimate claim to be Pope with the result that there is not a definitive chronological list of Popes. The greatest of these is known as the western Schism which occurred in the 14th Century and involved the establishment of an alternative Papacy in Avignon, France.

The Church of England was formed out of the desire of Henry VIII have his marriage to wife number one (Katherine of Aragon) annulled. In 1521 Henry wrote a document referred to as the ‘Defence of the Seven Sacraments’ which showed that at this stage he was a devout catholic and supporter of Papal supremacy with the result that he was awarded the title of ‘defender of the faith’ by Pope Leo X. By 1527 he was asking for an annulment of his wedding and trying any number of underhand methods to persuade or trick the Pope into granting it.

By 1529 he had compiled information from a number of sources to support his new argument that the Pope did not have the authority to make such decisions and that the true spiritual supremacy rested with the monarch. A number of Acts and Statutes were produced by the Church in England which resulted in the effective removal of all of the Pope’s influence in 1534 by the ‘Act of Submission of the Clergy.’ Thus we as the Church of England were founded and the way was opened for Henry to lay claim to the considerable wealth of the Church. Since then we have been separate from the Catholic Church.

In the intervening years a number of things have happened to the Pope including the introduction of the concept of the infallibility of the Pope when he speaks ex cathedra ( literally from the Chair) and the establishment of the Vatican as an independent state.

It will be interesting to see how over the course of this Popes ministry the relationship between the Catholic Church and Church of England develops. It is important to remember that there is one fundamental similarity, the belief that Jesus Christ is the son of God who died to save us all. May God Bless Pope Francis as he begins his ministry.


Sunday, 7 April 2013



Welcome to Spring. Hopefully by the time you are reading this the weather will also have realised that spring has started.

Spring is the season of growth, change and new life. Father Martin alludes to this theme in his notes from the Vicarage and we wish to welcome the newly-elected PCC members and wish them well in their service to the Church and the Parish. We also want to thank all of those people who are stepping down after many years service to the Parish.

At the same time the congregation is continuing to grow with more people attending the services this Easter than for previous years. It is really great to be part of such a thriving Church that has real links to its community.

We are continuing to develop The Pioneer and want your help with any ideas and original articles. We want it to reflect events, achievements and news within the Parish and Congregation of St Augustine’s.

Another fresh venture is the Church Flower Committee which is taking up the baton from Mary Richardson et al. They also want your help and support.

Simon and Ruth Green



On the morning of Maundy Thursday I received an e-mail from one of my colleagues here in the Havering Deanery asking me if I had been shortlisted for one of the newly created Archdeacon’s jobs, specifically the new position as Archdeacon of Barking. You may recall that I put in my report to the APCM that three of the existing four Archdeaconries were being split, in our area the Archdeaconry of West Ham is being divided to create two new ones; one will continue to be known as the Archdeaconry of West Ham and will cover the London Boroughs of Newham, Waltham Forest and Redbridge. The other is to be known as the Archdeaconry of Barking and comprises Havering with Barking and Dagenham.

I was rather surprised by my colleague’s e-mail since I had not applied for the position. True I had downloaded and read all the paperwork put out by Bishop Stephen’s office mostly out of sheer curiosity, after all whoever is appointed is going to be living right here in Romford and is going to be around an awful lot more than the Archdeacon of West Ham ever could have been. My only thought was that I must have been observed reading the papers during the more interesting bits of some other meeting thus, my colleague had made the erroneous assumption that I would be applying. The e-mail ended with a sort of “chin up” type phrase saying he hadn’t been shortlisted either, but at least this way we could keep on working together. That was a nice thought, it is true, but it made me wonder what he thought he would be doing with the new Archdeacon when they start work in September. It is entirely possible that before we reach May we will know the name of the successful candidate, watch this space!

The new Archdeaconry is, as I said, one of three that are being created under Bishop Stephen’s plans to invigorate the diocese and follow on from the discussion document ‘Transforming Presence’. The repercussions of the continuing roll out of the proposals contained in that document are still being explored, but one thing is a reality and that is that the Church of England as we now know it in this diocese will look very different within the next few years from how it looks now.

I have been saying for a while now that ‘we have to start looking at a greater lay involvement in those parts of the service that are not required to be lead by the clergy;’ and that ‘going forward there are going to be less and less full time stipendiary clergy such as myself and that those that we do have are all going to be looking after more than one parish.’ The implications of this are still being explored but in Havering it is expected that within ten years we will be grouped into a maximum of five Mission and Ministry Units [until a few days ago these were know as ‘worship units’ (a term even the Bishop was said to hate and he invented it)]. Each to be led by a senior fulltime priest supported by perhaps one fulltime colleague and a curate in training; a number of self supporting part time or semi retired clergy; some Readers and or Local Lay Ministers (these may be the same thing but no one is sure yet), some other licensed laity (Evangelists, Preachers, Missioners, Funeral Takers, Bereavement workers, Youth workers, etc….).

Where will this leave us? I simply do not yet know, though I have some thoughts which I want to discuss with the newly elected PCC. Of this though I am certain, our growth as a church is down to the way we welcome visitors and enquirers, the proper traditional preaching and teaching of the scriptures and a practice of the faith rooted in the sacraments. This we must ensure continues regardless of whatever else is going on. Whilst I have the Freehold of the Parish it is entirely possible that we could bury our heads in the sand and ignore these developments and this is certainly an option, but it is also a very short-sighted one. Change is going to happen and if that is the case then it is surely better to be an instrument of that change than to be sidelined by it and marked for future removal.

The development on the former Oldchurch Hospital site is progressing at some speed, as are the developments at Roneo Corner and along Crow Lane. In addition it is looking increasingly likely that the supermarket (Morrisons) and housing development on the ice rink site by the Queen’s Hospital will commence within the next year. This parish is growing even without the changes that I’ve just mentioned. Consequently I am ever grateful for all of the help that I get from Fr. Mervyn and Joan, as well as from some of you, but I do need more help, please therefore pray for God’s discernment in your lives and if you feel that you may be being called to a more active role in the life of our parish, then come and have a no commitment chat.

Another thing that I referred too in my APCM report was the fact that next year sees the one hundredth anniversary of the creation of this Diocese of Chelmsford. To help mark this centenary Bishop Stephen has decided that every parish in the diocese, without exception, is to run a mission event of some form. This should not be a difficult thing for us to do except for the fact that we are already heavily committed to mission and outreach through our Saturday Shop, our support for the Rush Green Regeneration group, our involvement with the newly created Rush Green Primary School (formerly Rush Green Junior School and Rush Green Infant School) both on the governing body and in the classroom and which is much appreciated by both the staff and Barking & Dagenham Council. This relationship with the school provides us with yet another means of outreach into the community as does our continuing involvement with the Queen’s Hospital Chaplaincy.

On the subject of the Queen’s it was wonderful to have Tim Coleman from the chaplaincy team with us on Good Friday as we walked with the Cross and held our hour of devotion prior to the Liturgy of the Day. Tim’s insights into Jesus’ last moment’s were both thought provoking and very moving. Our attendance over the Triduum was generally up on the previous year and that on Easter Day itself at the 10 o’clock continued a trend that stretches back to 2008, yes a six year, year by year increase and which this year included 21 young people under the age of 16. An impressive turnout in my opinion, especially when the press would have us believe that the church holds no place in the lives of young people

Throughout its history the Church has faced many challenges and it is clear, as I have outlined above, that it has even more to come both globally, nationally and locally. Now I like a good challenge so quite simply all I can say is next please.

God Bless you all.

Fr. Martin


This morning Father Martin presided at the Parish Mass and Father Mervyn read the Gospel, preached and concelebrated. In his sermon Father Mervyn said that we were all a bit like St. Thomas; we had our doubts but it was faith which over came them. He pointed out that it was St. Thomas alone who declared “My Lord and my God” when he saw the risen Christ. We also have Christian hope which is not just some form of wishful thinking like saying “I hope West Ham, or Tottenham or Chelsea win the FA Cup.” Christian hope is clear and unwavering.

There was no Saturday Shop yesterday; it re-opens next Saturday.

Our E-Bay trading has produced £700 so far this year.

Saturday 4th May MAY FAIR from 10.00 a.m. until 1.00 p.m.

Offers of help welcome.




If you would like to attend please let either Father Martin or Father Mervyn know ASAP so we can see if we needs to hire a minibus.

This is a lovely day, stopping for breakfast en route and a wonderful fish & chip supper on the way home.


Monday, 1 April 2013




We have enjoyed the most wonderful few days at St. Augustine’s culminating in the Solemn Mass of Easter Day with a church full to capacity. Earlier, following the keeping of the Easter Vigil at 5.00 a.m. and a super cooked breakfast, we had been wondering how the adjustment to the clocks would have affected attendances. We needn’t have worried.

Every year since 2008 we have experienced an increase in the numbers attending the Easter Day Solemn Mass and this year we had a further increase.

Father Mervyn presided and led the Intercessions and Father Martin read the Gospel and preached and at the end of Mass distributed Easter Eggs to all the children, plus Cadbury’s Crème Eggs to the adult congregation. Father Martin preached a stunning sermon in which he had several people involved. He  set the scene as at the first Easter in Jerusalem acting as a roving reporter for a TV Station trying to obtain comments from people like Pontius Pilate, the Chief Priest, Mary Magdalene etc. on the momentous events which had taken place. Unsurprisingly Pontius Pilate said “I couldn’t possible comment” and the Chief Priest the same and when asked if he could add anything more to that he replied “yes – goodbye” In the end it became clear that something momentous had occurred and that Jesus, who three days earlier had died on the cross was now risen from the dead. Following the sermon the congregation were invited to renew their Baptismal Promises and were sprinkled enthusiastically by Father Mervyn with the Holy Water blessed at the earlier Vigil.

Refreshments were served in the hall after Mass where we had special Easter Cakes made by a couple of the younger members of the congregation. A wonderful day concluded with Prayer Book Evensong and Benediction.