From the Rector

Dear Friends,

This month sees the start of Advent. It's the Christian New Year as we prepare to start pondering and living the story of Jesus's life from his birth at Christmas. So, we start a fresh programme of Scripture readings in our church services and embark on a time of inner spiritual reflection.

For me, this Advent will mark a major new beginning. I shall be retiring from stipendiary ministry in the Church of England and moving from Acton. It's been 28 years since I was first ordained and 40 years since I took my first steps in Christian ministry when I joined a small Baptist church in Bedfordshire straight from university as pastoral assistant.

I've got plans! I have a paddle board and a large Latin dictionary. My running is going well. I'm still very interested in prison work and school governing. I have a growing family around the country as well as a new place to make home, with a garden that needs designing and planting. So life will be full.

New beginnings inevitably involve endings. Sunday 28th November will be my final time at St Mary's. That's Advent Sunday itself. If you're not able to join me then, do come on Sunday 7th November. That's the only other remaining Sunday I'll be there. I am so grateful for the six years and a bit that I have been here in Acton. It's a remarkable community and I am definitely now a Londoner and grateful that, whilst I'm moving away, we'll still be in the city. My sincere thanks to everyone who has shared with me in the ministry and mission of our churches at St Mary's and All Saints and my sincere apologies for the times I have fallen short or caused offence. Near to the start, I remember saying I wouldn't be going before 65 unless I was removed or carried out in a box. As it is, I'm leaving a little sooner but the pandemic has caused all of us to reassess in some way. God's love in Christ reaches out to us whoever we are and in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. If I've helped you grasp that in even the smallest of ways, then my work here has been accomplished.

Please pray with the clergy, wardens and church council as the task of finding my successor begins. They will need a large heart, shed loads of energy and the charism of the Holy Spirit as we seek to recover from these difficult times. As will we all, though we can rest assured that God is with us and will lead us on.

So, for all that has been 'Thanks' and all that will be 'Yes!' Please keep praying for me as I pray for you. Fare ye well.

With all my love,



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