A letter from the Vicar
In June the Church keeps the season of Petertide, focusing on the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul on 29th June, and celebrating the commissions that these two received from Jesus himself.
After the Resurrection Peter encountered the risen Christ on the beach and was able to tell him three times that he loved him, thus being assured of forgiveness for his three-fold denial. Then Jesus commanded him three times to “Feed my sheep” as the leader of the new Christian community.
Soon afterwards, the persecutor of those new Christians, Saul, was stopped in his tracks on the road to Damascus by a vision of the risen Christ, and in that meeting his life was turned around. He became Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, and spent the rest of his life founding churches throughout the Roman Empire.
Petertide is the traditional season for ordinations to the diaconate and the priesthood because we believe that the risen Christ continues to call to his service ordinary men and women, with all their human frailties and failures, commissioning them to follow in his footsteps, share the good news and feed his people.
We have a particular reason to celebrate the season this year because our curate Timothy Miller will be ordained to the priesthood, at the end of his diaconal year, in St Mary’s Church on 22nd June. Bishop Pete Broadbent, the Acting Bishop of Edmonton, will ordain him alongside Kristin Breuss (Holy Trinity, Swiss Cottage) and Ben Kerridge (Hornsey Parish Church).
Once again St Mary’s is being a pioneer parish, because this will be the first occasion in the Edmonton Area when male and female candidates will be ordained priest at the same service. I hope that many of you will be there to support Timothy, Meagan and their family and friends. But do come early because the church will be very full!
Sunday 28th June will be our Dedication Festival, recalling the date St Mary’s opened for worship n 1872, and it is also the anniversary of the Sunday when we welcomed Timothy as our new deacon. On this Sunday he will preside at the eucharist for the first time at 10.30. This is always a profoundly important occasion in a new priest’s ministry. Tony Henwood’s pupils will be sing a jazz setting of the mass and everyone is invited to stay for a finger buffet lunch afterwards.
It has been a joy to work with Timothy over the past year and I know you will all join me in thanking him for what he has brought to our communal life and wishing him well for the remaining time of his curacy.
As we welcome a new priest this June, we also sadly say farewell to a much-loved priest and former colleague. The Revd David Jones served as an SSM (a self-supporting minister, like Mark) from 1991 to 2003 at St Mary’s, and then for five years at our neighbouring parish of St Mark’s, Regent’s Park. After moving away from London, he returned recently to live near St Mary’s once more.
At this time he was diagnosed with a serious illness which he bravely came to terms with, dying peacefully at home beside his wife on 4th June, the feast of Corpus Christi and the 20th anniversary of his mother’s death. He had planned his funeral in detail so on the 12th June we were able to celebrate a requiem eucharist knowing it was just as he wished.
It was a joy for me to get to know David in the last year of his life, and I particularly remember the way his face lit up whenever he talked about Jesus (which was all the time!). He was a natural and gifted evangelist. Before I went on the parish pilgrimage to the Holy Land last year he sent me this email:
Finally a request as you walk in through the great doors into that church [of the Holy Sepulchre]. More or less in front of you is a large slab of marble with a number of lights over it. It represents the place where Jesus’ body lay in preparation for burial. They often anoint this stone with rose water. Please for me kneel at this stone, place your head on the stone, give thanks for the amazing journey I have had and hope to continue to have with our most blessed Saviour and pray for me and Ning and Mayli as we move forward in real hope.
It was a commission I was privileged to carry out, and I do believe, as David did, that our true hope lies in our life with God, whether here on earth or beyond the grave.
This issue of the magazine carries some happy memories of David’s time in our parish. We extend our sympathy to his wife Ning and daughter Mayli, and we commend him to God with deep thanks for the time he spent with us. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.