From the Rector

Dear Friends,

 

February is a varied month in our church programme, topped and tailed by special services with the quieter weeks of half term in between. 

More about those special service in a moment.  First, a few words about the Ealing Churches Winter Nightshelter.  We host this for the first six Sunday nights (and into Monday morning) of each year.  As I write, we have two to go.  There is a detectable changing pattern in homelessness locally.  The Borough of Ealing has been better funded this year.  Consequentially, we have not always been full and we have had more challenges with our guests.  Nonetheless, it is a privilege to be able to provide this service once again and I would like to give a big shout out to our happy band of volunteers who cover evenings, mornings and overnights including an evening meal and cooked breakfast.  An especial thanks to Bern and Mel Knight from Oaktree Anglican Fellowship, my fellow Venue co-ordinators without whom it would not be possible for us to continue helping, and to those who do the quieter jobs behind the scenes that don’t necessarily get noticed such as driving on the duvets, pillows and beds to the next venue and ensuring the used bedding gets washed at the laundrette and is back in time.  This year, the Junior Church and Youth Group have helped with setting up on two occasions and they have very much enjoyed getting involved in helping with our response to the challenge of homelessness in this practical way.  Nightshelters won’t solve homelessness, but they provide respite to those who come and our expert central team are able to connect with our guests and help them on to the next stage on behalf of the churches.

As an Anglican church here in London, it’s the Bishop of London who heads up all our work.  Our current bishop is Dame Sarah Mullally, the 133rd one but the first woman!  She has been in post since 2018, but makes her first visit to our parish on 2nd February to give the annual Crayle sermon with the Deputy Lieutenant, Mayor of Ealing and other civic dignitaries joining us for the occasion.  This is only the second visit from a Bishop of London in my four and a half years in post so I am especially excited to welcome Bishop Sarah on behalf of us all.

As the month draws to a close, we begin our observance of Lent.  Ash Wednesday is on 26th February this year.  We will be holding our regular services at St Mary’s at 11am and 7.30pm with the Imposition of Ashes in the context of a service of Holy Communion.  Like last year, we will also be out on The Mount first thing catching the morning commuters with “Ashes to Go”.  We had a terrific response to this last year with more people being “ashed” outside than came to our services!  It’s a reminder of the value of taking our ministry out into the world and of the positive reception we get in our community when we do.

During the five weeks of Lent, we’ll be running a full Lent Course this year in conjunction with St Martin’s, our neighbouring Anglican church in West Acton.  The course will focus on contemplative prayer with both a daytime programme (Mondays 12 noon to 1.30pm at St Martin’s Vicarage) and an evening one (7.30pm to 9pm) at The Rectory.  More about that in the next edition of The Acorn but in the meantime may I please encourage you to save the date?

I hope you have an excellent month and encourage all those who are able to get involved not only in our special events but in all that we have to offer.

 

With warmest good wishes,

Nick

 


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