TO ALL AT ST MARY’S
In March, Debbie and I visited Philip Krinks at Christ Church, Clapham. We went bearing the presents we had bought with the generous donations of so many at St Mary’s, and the good wishes of all Philip’s friends and well-wishers. We had a lovely reunion with Philip before the morning service, in the Parish office, where we gave him our gifts: then we joined Claudia and Anna and the rest of the congregation to celebrate the Parish Eucharist for Passion Sunday – the Fifth Sunday of Lent.
Christ Church had some major problems with its heating – new heating, tiling and restoration work had just started – so we all piled as near as we could to the electric fire. The service was led by the Revd Penny Rose-Casemore and the Revd Sue Peake: we sang the great hymns of Easter’s approach – ‘O Sacred Head Sore Wounded’, ‘My Song is Love Unknown’, ‘When I Survey the Wondrous Cross’ – and heard the words that so affect us all at this time. The readings included Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, in which he says: ‘Whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.’ I was reminded of Nelson Mandela, who, when someone hailed him as a saint, said: ‘No. I’m not a saint. But I keep trying.’
Philip’s role in the service was to take Junior Church, but he and the children came back into the main church for the Eucharist, when the whole congregation gathered at the altar. There was a special warmth and friendship in standing in a huge circle to take the sacrament. After the service, Claudia took this photograph of us, and I think you can see that, however difficult the past months have been for everyone, friendship, communion and humour have survived. Philip seems very content and it did us both good, on behalf of all his St Mary’s friends, to see him and his family again.
Afterwards Philip wrote: ‘Please pass on my sincere thanks to everyone at St Mary’s for their wonderful farewell gifts. The home communion chalice, patten and cruet complete the lovely set you all gave me at my ordination as a priest; and the volumes of ancient Bible Commentary are books I have had my eye on for several years, but could not quite afford! I am so grateful for everyone’s generosity… as well as for the warm welcome and kind support I received during my time ministering with you all.’
He finished by sending St Mary’s ‘every blessing as you go forward’.
Love and blessings to you all from your Church Wardens
Debbie Apostolides Sue Whitley