Saying Goodbye to Tom and Jo

Tom (on holiday this week) has officially handed in his notice, and his last Sunday with us will be the 25th June. We hope the final service might be a special occasion. Tea, coffee and cakes served from the back of the church will follow the service to allow for a short farewell.

The summer fair on the 24th June will also provide a chance for many people from the parish to catch up with Tom and Jo informally. Although Tom and Jo will no doubt reveal all in due course, there seems to be more clarity for them about where they might be going in the next stage of their ministry, which is good news.

Church family picture

Before Tom and Jo leave, the PCC thought it would be a good idea to attempt a church photo to replace the one in the porch of St John’s which is several years old now. After the service on June 4th, therefore, we will congregate outside for the photo. Please come along that Sunday to be included if possible (including our St Mary’s congregation!), and pray for good weather!

July and August 2017

After Tom’s final Sunday, both Tom and Dave will be on leave and the church will be without clergy for the summer while the PCC work through the transition in the parish. This is a good chance for people to step up and help! Please support the Churchwardens Brian and Gayle and the PCC as they manage church life through this time. Visiting clergy will conduct services across July and August.

DAVE MACLURE

From the Log Cabin at Redlees – Our Barn

Discussions are at an early stage with Our Barn about possible shared use of St Mary’s Hall in the future.

Our Barn is a youth club, supporting young adults aged 16 to 25 with learning disabilities and/or conditions such as autism. We have 28 members and started in 2012 as a Sunday youth club based at Redlees Play Centre. There is a log cabin there and the young people called the club Our Barn because they felt ownership of the space.

Set up by three parent carers, as we could not find worthwhile and affordable activities for our own young people. One of our strongly held principles is to make our provision meaningful. One way we do this is by volunteering in the local community.

Our current activities are:

  • Sunday Youth Club, social & leisure activities chosen by the young people, to develop communication and life skills by the use of drama, art, sport, cooking & going out into the community.
  • Tuesday Sports Activities, physical activities following leaving formal education.
  • Wednesday Carers sessions, ie help with paperwork surrounding disability to family carers and also counselling for emotional support.
  • Friday Gardening Work Experience at Osterley Park, which has been running for nearly two years. We’ve donated 4,000 volunteering hrs.

We have plans in the next 12- 18 months to develop in Gardening Work Experience (including on land adjacent to St Mary’s,) in providing employment for 3 people with learning disabilities, in linking potential employers with candidates, in life skills programmes and an adapted cycle hire scheme.

Our longer term goal is to establish a hub. Here, we could increase what we offer and have our own dedicated space (needs to be Osterley/ Isleworth.) We’d like to bake cakes for sale at local coffee shops. We’re also thinking about creating some supported living opportunities, close by those who know and understand their needs.

Karen Adams

The Green School for Boys

The Green School for Girls has served Isleworth and the wider community since 1796. The Green School has been a formative part of life for many of us whether as students, parents, staff, teachers or governors. This coming September, the Green School will be accepting its first cohort of 120 boys. The site for the Boys secondary school will be just over the road on Busch Corner backing onto Syon Park. The new school aims to provide a strong emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects, and rumour has it the boys will be expected to keep fit by running around the field before lessons start each day!

I am fortunate to serve as a Director on the Green School Trust despite very limited experience of this sort of thing! Our hope on the board is that the Boys school can build on the fine history of the Girls school and become a great local success story. Further, our hope is that local life can be enriched by both schools working closely together and with strong links into local churches and the wider community, including for us at St John’s.

Hounslow borough has faced an acute shortage of primary and secondary school places in recent years. The Department for Education works very closely with the Diocese of London Board for Schools and the Church of England is seen as a key and trusted provider of Christian-ethos schools in the London area. The Green School takes its Christian ethos seriously and the presence of an excellent chaplain at the Girls School ensures pastoral support, spiritual development and Christian teaching are on the radar within a multi-cultural and multi-faith student body. The school has strong links with church communities already and occasionally the girls come down to St John’s to visit as part of their lessons. But, soon, I hope and expect the boys will also be visiting!

David Maclure

Changes later this year at the Vicarage

I want to tell you about discussions which have been taking place for when David’s training finishes this summer. I have always said I have been the luckiest Vicar in London to have had such a curate (and Rachel) and I haven’t changed from that view.

When I returned from my study leave last summer, I had many extremely positive comments about how David had more than risen to the challenge of running a parish. He subsequently met with Bishop Graham, and the very good news is that he is able not only to remain in this Area of London, but in this parish. I know we’ll all be extremely pleased.

So where does that leave Joanna and me? We came to St John’s in late 2010, initially for me to be a ‘caretaker’ for 6 months. We are delighted things worked out, it becoming a permanent post, to be followed by the merger with St Mary’s. However, Joanna and I now have been feeling that God may have other plans for us, rather than our remaining here till I retire (that could be another 9 years.)

Following careful consideration by Bishop Graham with Ali Walton, the Vicar of All Saints (the co-Patron), the Church Wardens and the Archdeacon, the intention is that David will take over from me as Vicar of St John and St Mary’s sometime between Easter and the end of June. All due process will of course be followed. For my part, I am exploring possible posts where we might go, which could be in London, or in another diocese.

I am very confident this will be an excellent outcome for St John’s and St Mary’s. That said, Joanna and I will go wherever we go with more than a tinge of sadness, knowing what rich years we have spent here. We are extremely grateful to God and to you all for all you have given us.

Tom Gillum

Another Year, Another Christmas…

…but, of course, a big part of Christmas is that it IS and MUST be the same as last year, and as the year before. Fine, but one of our major festivals has been hijacked, and in many places has lost its Christian distinctiveness. It easily happens.

Joining in the Church’s celebration is a part of our doing something about this. If you have children, you’ll have the magic of school nativities. But there is a fullness and depth in our singing Carols together, in church, on Christmas morning, our hearing the readings and our symbolically feasting together.

David’s sermon 3 weeks ago made suggestions about how Christmas might play out at home. First, as a time of truth for all. Instead of buying the usual round of presents, a Mum of Grandmother decides to take the family out for a nice meal. She uses the opportunity to speak with honesty, openness and vulnerability about her life, maybe some of her regrets. She says “I am not trying to make you feel awkward. I want you to know I love you, and I want us to know each other and God better.”

Secondly, as a time of justice for all. After discussion with the family, it is decided to give one another only small, useful presents. With the money saved, they wrap up a parcel for Syrian refugee families, or for someone else with no capacity to make Christmas special on their own. (There are charities which do this, and of course it can also easily be done after Christmas.)

Thirdly, Christmas is a time of peace for all. We pray and long for peace in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and many such places – and for peace at home – we can all do something about that. For some men (and women) Christmas is really about a few big nights out with colleagues, friends and family. That can come at a cost. Rows at home, less time with the family and a headache in the head and in pocket can come in January. Moderating input of alcohol (and food) does not spoil the party – far from it, and can be the single best hope of peace at home being kept. Instead of going out one night, arranging something like a trip into town with family and friends to see a pantomime could be a real contribution to peace.