Hello everyone, and greetings from my mid-Sabbatical.
I’m having a relaxing and renewing time, and have had a real opportunity to take stock of my ministry and my life before returning to ministry at St Mary’s in a few weeks’ time. I am missing you: especially when I go and worship elsewhere and realise that God has given us something very special at St Mary’s.
As I return, Holy Week will almost immediately be upon us and I wanted to alert you of a very special opportunity to hear one of the finest preachers I know. In Holy Week this year – from Palm Sunday (13th April) until Easter Day – the preacher at virtually all our services will be Dr. Stuart Hoke, a priest of The Episcopal Church, our sister Anglican Church in the United States. You can read a brief biography of Stuart in another article.
I met Stuart on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, led by Paul Kennington, and we became friends then. At the time, Stuart was serving as Missioner at St Paul’s Chapel, a historic church in the heart of downtown New York City. St Paul’s was sited – until 11 September 2001 – right next door to the World Trade Center and Stuart (along with Archbishop Rowan Williams), was in the church when the planes struck and the twin towers collapsed. The miracle of the survival of the church – almost intact – meant that it became the centre of emergency response after the disaster and, until very recently, the chief site of pilgrimage to the vast numbers who have visited since. Stuart’s ministry for many years was shaped – both as a priest and as a victim of the attacks – in pastoral care, advocacy and support. He is a wonderful, warm human being and an outstanding preacher.
It’s always important to allow the events of Holy Week to shape our own life journey and discipleship. This year, I warmly invite you to take a wonderful opportunity to be ministered to by Stuart. Details of all the Holy Week services will be available soon, via the April Newsletter and on the website.
Your brother and priest,