From the Rector

Dear Friends,

 

February in our parish sees us engaged in two contrasting ways as we seek God and serve the people of Acton.

Firstly, we hold our annual Civic Service on Sunday, 3rd February.  This year, the Deputy Mayor of Ealing is with us along with other civic dignitaries and our guest preacher The Revd Henry Martin, writer, artist and priest and formerly chaplain at HMP Manchester (‘Strangeways’).  As the parish church of Acton, contributing to civic life is an important part of what we do, and the service is an opportunity to give thanks for benefactors to our town, including the Crayle sisters who bequeathed the sermon, and the generosity of others which means we can help students, those undergoing particular hardship and those working in the Arts through the Acton Charities which I am privileged to chair.  “Seek the peace of the city where you are”, wrote the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah.  “For in its peace there shall be peace for you (Chapter 29).

On 3rd February we also mark Candlemas, the day in the church’s year which ends the season of Epiphany.  Some have called this day a ‘hinge’ for our faith where we stop looking backwards towards Christmas and begin to look forward to Holy Week and Easter with the imminence of Lent (though, with a late Easter this year, Lent will not arrive until the start of next month).

When our civic guests arrive for the service, they will encounter the folding beds and bedding that will be brought to us that same morning for the penultimate Sunday night of hosting the Ealing Churches Winter Nightshelter this year.  This is another way in which it is a privilege to serve.  With so many churches taking part across the borough, we are able to provide 14 beds per night for those who would otherwise be on the streets from the end of November right through to the end of March.  Our stint, the first six Sundays of the year, is just a small part of this.  Nevertheless, it is quite an undertaking and I want to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all our volunteers from St Mary’s, Oaktree Anglican Fellowship and the wider community who have made this happen once again.  In this rewarding ministry of sharing food and conversation, we meet Christ himself.    For, as Jesu says in the gospel of Matthew,  “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me” (Chapter 25).

 

  I wish you all a peaceful and prosperous month.

 Nick

 


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