I write during that chilly few days in mid-August, when we had the first glimpse of the autumn to come. I always like to use August to give time to planning and thinking ahead and this year has been no different. Over the past few weeks there’s been a chance to meet key people at St Mary’s and begin to see what is coming up between now and Christmas.
I usually like to write a reflective piece at the beginning of the Parish Newsletter, and I’m aware that I owe you all the third of my sabbatical reflections. I promise that will be coming soon. But this month, I thought I might sketch out what is coming up in the autumn term as a way of inviting you all to play a part in our life together in the coming months.
First, though, a word about vision. Like all healthy organisations, it is important that we have a sense of vision at St Mary’s: what we are about and how our Christian values shape what we sense our calling as a church is and the priorities that flow from that. It’s been some years now since St Mary’s had a re-visioning process – certainly one that involved the whole church – and during the coming year that will be a key focus of our energy. This term there is some preparatory work to be done, but I thought it would be worth you all knowing that we will be doing this important work of vision and the work of what is known as Mission Action Planning that flows from it. Please pray for the Ministry Team and Church Council as we begin that task in September.
I am sure that mission and evangelism will always be part of what our church exists for and so it is great to invite you to participate in the next Alpha Course at St Mary’s which runs in the evenings from Monday 29thSeptember right through to December. Many people at St Mary’s have found their faith immeasurably deepened through this inclusive and open course. To find out more or to book a place, please contact Alison Wintgens ([email protected]).
St Mary’s Fair is almost upon us. Don’t forget to turn up (12pm to 4pm on Saturday 20th
September). The Fair Team also need some urgent help with a number of stalls and activities. There’s a sign up sheet at the back of church, but you can also contact Kate Rock ([email protected])
I have been in discussion with Froilan Legaspi of the Surrey Lane People’s Organisation, with whom we are in membership of London Citizens, about doing some campaigning to improve the safety, condition and general sense of environmental pleasantness of the area which includes the churchyard, the road across to the Somerset Nursery, down Battersea Church Road to Battersea Square.
We think that there are a number of issues that concern local residents which would benefit from further exploration and some campaigning. This work has also generated positive encouragement from one of our local councillors. We will be holding an initial meeting on Wednesday 8th October at 7.30pm (venue to be confirmed) to see what we might do to begin that work. Do come along if you have any concerns or would like to see the area improved.
The Church Council have been considering the possibility of Admitting Children to Holy Communion before Confirmation over the past year and will be holding a period of consultation with the church in October. An article by Philip in this newsletter provides further details and background.
Music plays an important role in worship and the wider life of St Mary’s. As well as the usual events (Advent Carols, Christmas Carols etc.) the choir will be singing a Choral Setting of the 11am Eucharist on Sunday 19th October, the Spatzenmesseby
Mozart. It will add another dimension to our worship.
Remembrance Sunday will be our annual Borough Remembrance Service on 9th
November at 10.45pm. Advent will include a Carol Service, two evening talks/seminars led by our new curate Philip and some time for prayer and reflection.
November also sees our annual Everyone Campaign, where we invite all who consider themselves part of St Mary’s to pledge a regular amount of financial giving to our work in 2015. We introduced this last year for the first time and this year will give us chance to refine and slightly simplify the process, without losing the essential and important process of inviting us all to review our giving on a yearly basis. Details will be provided in October.
And finally…on 18th November I reach a personal milestone of age…not perhaps
entering the autumn of my life but certainly its late summer! I’ll be holding a 50th Birthday Drinks Party & Concert in church on Saturday 15th November at 7pm, to which I am inviting friends and folk from previous parishes, and to which all at St Mary’s are invited. I’m grateful to Tyrone Whiting, our Director of Music, who is engaging some exceptional young musicians to entertain us in a concert during the evening. I’m also sort of hoping that a few St Mary’s members might be willing to help with serving drinks and preparing canapés/nibbles. If you are, please email me at [email protected]. But most of all, I’d simply love you to come and join me to celebrate.
I hope you have a wonderful autumn and I look forward to seeing you on Sundays and at some of these events in the coming months.
Your brother and priest,