Sarah Mullally, the 133rd Bishop of London

I had the privilege of being invited to the Installation of Dame Sarah Mullaly as our new Bishop of London in St Paul’s Cathedral last Saturday (12 May). Bishop Sarah is 56 and was educated in Surrey and London. For five years (from 1999) she was the UK’s Chief Nursing Officer and the NHS’s director of patient experience for England. Recently she has been Bishop of Crediton, a bishop in the Diocese of Exeter. As she mentioned in her sermon, 12 May is a significant day for her as it is the birthday of Florence Nightingale and also marks International Nurses Day.

Several hundred clergy were present including our Area Dean, Richard Frank. As well as various representatives of the City of London, the Masters and Prime Wardens of many livery companies processed in their finery to their seats under the dome. Bishop Sarah struck the Great West Door three times with her pastoral staff and the door was then opened to permit her to enter. The main procession, which included Archdeacon Stephan and Bishop Graham, moved through the nave to “Christ is made the sure foundation”. It was quite an emotional (and historic) moment to see our first woman Bishop of London, who was literally beaming with joy.

After the legal parts of the service, the Dean of St Paul’s, Very Rev David Ison, said “Brothers and sisters in Christ, I present to you Sarah, our Bishop, duly installed as Bishop of London” to which there was rapturous applause which continued for around one minute.

Bishop Sarah’s sermon was on the theme of “being subversive for Christ,” taken from John 21 – the story set by the sea of Tiberius of Jesus calling Peter into a new ministry. In her sermon, Bishop Sarah said “Today as I respond to the call of Christ to a new ministry I recall my first calling to follow Christ; to know him and make him known to the world. In the words of St Augustine ‘For you I am your Bishop but with you I am a Christian.’”

Bishop Sarah ended her sermon with the words “A church which is rooted in scripture and tradition but not afraid to reimagine the future. This is the sort of church and community that I believe the Lord has called me to assist in fostering, here in this Diocese. Will you join me?”

Brian Grumbridge

Bishop Sarah, photo taken from London.anglican.org

50 Years of following Jesus where the need is greatest

Last Sunday, Hannah Bowring visited our church services and spoke about the work of Tearfund. This is some of what she shared with us…

Tearfund is a Christian relief and development agency based in Teddington. We work in around 50 countries in the poorest communities, following Jesus where the need is greatest, working through the local church to unlock people’s potential and helping them to discover that the answer to poverty lies within themselves.

This year we celebrate 50 years since the founding of our organisation. And as we look back over the last 50 years, we see countless examples of individuals and communities across the globe who have experienced restoration, freedom, equality and justice – just as God intended for his people.

In the last 50 years, the number of people living in extreme poverty across the globe has halved. In the countries we’ve been working in, we’ve seen millions of people lifted from material and spiritual poverty through the work of our local church partners. Because of the continued support of churches and individuals across the UK, we have seen incredible transformation.

But the need is still great. You only need to watch the news or look around you to see that we are still living in a broken world. Families who have been forced to flee their country due to conflict. Farmers who can’t feed their families because the rains haven’t come. Individuals who don’t have access to the skills or training they need to lift themselves out of poverty.

When we’re faced with the statistics, or images on our TV screens, poverty and injustice can feel like giants that are impossible to conquer. At Tearfund, we believe that an end to extreme poverty is possible. Our pledge for our Jubilee year is that we won’t stop until poverty stops. And so we continue to follow Jesus to where the need is greatest.

Please visit tearfund.org to find out more or contribute financially to their work. Coincidentally, Christian Aid week begins this week. Christian Aid partner with Tearfund on many projects and initiatives – so please look out for the envelopes in the pews and give generously in that way if you feel able.

Introducing Didi Rugby, Twickenham

My name is Jonathan Palmer (JP) and you may see me cutting the lawn at St John’s as I have been cutting it for over 15 years now! At this time of year you will also see me organising the Summer Fair church raffle a vital part of fund raising for the church. I run 4 businesses and am blessed with 4 children, Sky 20, Pheonix 17, Eden 13 and Trinity 10.

Life as you can imagine is very busy particularly as I have just launched a new business in Twickenham call Didi Rugby aimed at 18 month to 6 year old children. Didi Rugby has been devised to get young children active and to teach them new skills while have fun in a safe environment.

Classes have been designed by Former England Woman’s International player Vicky Macqueen and are aimed at Kids in three separate age groups from 18 months to Six Years old. Gary Street is one of my business partners and is the most successful England Rugby Coach of all time and is the nicest man you will ever meet! As Head Coach of the Woman’s England Rugby Team Gary led the woman’s team to World Cup Victory in 2014. Gary is in charge of all the sessions being held in Twickenham.

We are launching Didi Rugby Twickenham at the Harlequins Rugby Ground in Twickenham (The Stoop) on Saturday 19th May between 9 a.m and 12 pm. You will be able to meet some of the Woman England players and the children will be try a session out for free. The sessions are great fun for the children and their parents and guardians, we are already running sessions at All Hallows Church Hall. The children that already come really love the sessions, it’s a lot of fun whilst enabling the children to develop vital skills they will need growing up.

We would love to see you at our official launch on the 19th May. I am also donating a terms session as one of the raffle prizes for please also feel free to buy some raffle tickets for the church fair when they go out shortly! For more details please visit: http://www.didirugby.com/about-didi-rugby.php

Jonathan Palmer

Something in common?

Last week the Queen welcomed the heads of state of the Commonwealth nations to Buckingham Palace. To commemorate the occasion, the Hounslow Jamnia Masjid hosted a lunch and invited local people from Commonwealth countries and various community leaders including MP Ruth Cadbury.

Some people question the role of the Commonwealth in today’s world as it seems to be a relic of colonial times. However, we learned through the various speeches that were given that the Commonwealth still has a part to play in our world today, especially given how divisive these times seem to be. A third of the world’s population live in Commonwealth countries, sharing a commitment to peace, democracy and a common life for the common good.

The most moving speech for me came from the Headmaster of the Muslim school that meets in the mosque. He explained that for him the words “Peace be upon you,” which Muslims often say as a greeting is not just an empty phrase, but a serious commitment to uphold and defend the peace and life of the person to whom you are speaking and an invitation to that person to reciprocate likewise – “Peace be upon you.”

Living in London and in Hounslow means a daily encounter with ethnic and religious diversity. In Isleworth, the George pub opposite St Bridget’s Catholic Church has been bought by our friends in the Muslim group who meet in Isleworth Public hall. They are planning to convert the pub into the Isleworth Deen Community Centre, and as a venue for their worship.

I won’t pretend all religions are the same. I don’t think they are – and I think pretending they are can be simplistic and dismissive to those on all sides who take their own beliefs very seriously. We each have a unique set of big questions from within our own faiths that we are grappling with. Rather than point the finger at others though, we will have to look to ourselves first and question our own response to those who are different or strange to us.

As Christians, with our understanding of a God who offers an unconditional welcome to all people made in His image, we have as much, if not more, motivation to extend peace to those around us and work for a common life for the common good for all.

David Maclure

1958 to 2018 – Don and Audrey’s Diamond Wedding Anniversary

Just before Easter, Don and Audrey Adamson celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary and hosted a tea party with friends and family at St Mary’s to celebrate. Diane, a bridesmaid from their big day, wrote a reflection on her memories of what Don and Audrey were like when they met those years ago …

One of my first memories of Audrey is when we spent time hanging upside down in a park close to her home. I can still smell the heavy perfume from the deep pink hawthorn blossoms.

Music was important in Audrey’s young life. There was an upright piano which she skilfully played. There was a gramophone with a wind up handle. We would twirl around the living room to ‘The Lonely Ballerina.’ As a dancer and a singer Audrey joined NADOS, a successful amateur musical group. She performed in many shows to full house audiences. Then, Audrey discovered BOYS. Her house was always full of laughter, music and young people.

I was introduced to Don, a shy gentle and kind young man. They took me to Warrington to see ‘Love is a many splendored thing,’ a memorable film I’m sure they wanted to see by themselves.

They had a tandem. Sometimes Don would take me out on it. He was very patient as I didn’t know when to pedal. Don had a motorbike and would often collect me from school. Not many girls were collected from school by a dashing young man on a motorbike.

I was asked to be a bridesmaid at Don and Audrey’s wedding. I was so proud I could wear a beautiful princess dress. I often visited them in their new bungalow after they were married, and later we would go on holiday together.

Audrey’s Mum was a very good cook. Audrey started married life as ‘a more experimental cook.’ I remember her giving Don sweetcorn and custard. He ate it without complaint – only compliments about her imaginative cooking!