Well, I’m back well and truly. It has been a busy week. As you will see from our Autumn programme, which I have been working on while I was away, life at All Hallows is going to be ‘full on’. We have some lovely things planned for the next few months, so as we begin again and pick up where we left off before, now that the holidays are over, we can go forward with confidence and hope.
The summer gives me an opportunity to reflect on our life together; to set some priorities; how I might encourage everyone to take a full and vibrant part in the life of the Church. So what matters most?
What I want to do now is to encourage all of you to be full and active members of All Hallows. These emails I send out, go to over 75 people, who are on our Electoral Roll of Membership. . . yet our Sunday attendance is well below that. This is true of all Churches. . . but would it be wonderful, if I could just persuade those of you reading this, who maybe are slightly more on the fringes of Church life, to get more involved and come more regularly. . . ? I know it is difficult and I am certainly not getting at anyone, but you know who you are and so do I. So very gently I want to encourage you to come along to Mass at All Hallows Sunday by Sunday and be as regular as you can. So many of you, of course, do this already. . . I am simply trying to draw some of you more into the centre of our life at All Hallows. So in a sense, it is something g of a challenge I am putting before you all.
So first of all. . . we are going to have Back to Church Sunday next Sunday. We keep the feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross, so it a good Sunday to call everyone together – after the summer break. We will be welcoming our new group of singers for the year who have been drawn mainly from the music colleges here in London. . . and most importantly we shall be welcoming each other. We shall have some nice refreshments afterwards. We also have to celebrate with two of our young people (how fortunate we are to have so many teenagers in our Church) their A level results and going to University. . . Conrad to Surrey; Jack to Bristol.
Please make a real effort to come.
What a joy it will be to welcome back Bishop Peter Wheatley at our Patronal Festival. Very shortly now the two new icons will arrive and will be placed by the west entrance. . . I have seen them only this week . . . and I was lost for words. Just wait till you see them in position. I shall keep the door locked on the North side that first Sunday, so be warned in advance. Everyone will have to enter by the West Doors. . . you won’t be able to miss them!
Before that, however, on Michaelmas Day, at the end of the month, it is my 40th anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood. I first announced this to you all at the beginning g of the year, so the date should be in your diary well and truly by now. I don’t want to say too much about it at the moment, but rest assured you will be hearing more. The most important thing to say now is that this jubilee is about US – all of Us – and not just me. It is a real celebration of 40 years of ministry, not least because I have spent very many of them – 33 years of them here at All Hallows – and I would not have had it any other way. So It is a Jubilee for everyone. And such anniversaries are very important. WE all have so much to celebrate here at All Hallows and be thankful for. It is a jubilee for our whole Church – everyone of us.
Naturally on September 29th. We shall be joined by many friends and visitors, and many who have worshipped with us in the past but who have moved away recently – and not so recently. We shall have a great party afterwards.
Also the next day – Sunday – the celebration will continue, somewhat on a smaller scale for just our congregation. I have asked Fr Gary Waddington back to preach. As some of you will remember, though many of you won’t now, he was the very first Parish Assistant we had. . . thus starting our long tradition of being associated with the training and formation of ordinands.
I would like to think that absolutely everybody connected with All Hallows, especially the whole of the electoral roll, will be present on Saturday 29th September at 3.00pm.
Enough for now. . . . . but with so much more to come.
Let us love the Lord our God, with our whole heart, with all our soul and strength, with every fibre of our being. . . it is after all the first commandment.