From the Rector…

Clergy

It was with a thankful heart that, on Wednesday, I took the Maidenbower Service Register out of the safe and watched Steve write the entry for Messy Church (over 40 present) below my previous entry “Closing Service”. It was poignant that the Messy Church service took place in the same room in the Infant School that had hosted the worship of The Holy Family (the ‘church plant’ in the newly constructed neighbourhood of Maidenbower). Our thanks to the Infant School for facilitating the initiative.

On Friday, sitting with three others at the “Chat & Pray” held in Stepney’s Café, I gave thanks for that gathering that ‘held the baton’ of our church’s presence in Maidenbower, week by week, since it was built. To me it is important, and I pray that it is so for the people of Maidenbower, that we have that record of faithfulness and long-term commitment to them and the community. It might not seem much … but then neither does a mustard seed.

Thank-you to all who have and will nurture this new plant through prayer and practical support. May it grow into a mighty tree, like the noble cedar of our Old Testament reading. For those not fortunate enough to have seen the cedars of Lebanon, the image Ezekiel evokes can be brought to mind by looking at the cedar in the St Nicholas’ churchyard. A noble cedar providing shelter for all reminds me of the desperate plight of Palestinian, Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Lebanon today – and so to our parish’s little ‘mustard seed’ of social witness in providing a welcome and hospitality to the Refugee Tales walkers at St Nicholas’ next week. Can any of you help us to welcome and show solidarity with those highlighting the plight of refugees in this country?

 

Anthony

From the Curate…

Clergy

Well, it has been quite a week and now ends with the celebration of the Patronal Festival of St Barnabas – whose name literally means ‘son of encouragement’. Encouragement is something we all need. I was trained to give constructive criticism to a work colleague by means of the ‘soft sandwich’. Words of encouragement – then the criticism – followed by more words of encouragement.

However, current corporate thinking is that in order for anyone to hear any words of criticism and change that the person giving those words must have encouraged their employee with seven pieces of praise.

Clearly, encouragement is important and this week I have been able to reflect as I approached my Ordination to the Priesthood all those who have supported and encouraged me along the way. There are too many to name in full but I will just mention two.

The first is Lizzie – my wonderful steadfast and beautiful wife. Lizzie signed up and has been on the adventure of our married life with its ups and downs. She has encouraged me at times and also sat in silence in my pain (sometimes when we share our hurt we are not looking for advice or a quick fix – rather just someone to sit with us in our pain). The second is Paul Voke. Paul was my mentor as part of the Barnabas (Encouragers) Team at my first Church. Paul helped me grow in my ministry with wise words of encouragement – a true Saint.

Let us this week try to build each other up with words of encouragement,

Steve