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All Saints' and St Nicholas' Churches

Church of England, Poplar, London

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Church Mouse Blog - Chapter 3 (Summer to Advent 2007)

This blog records all of the important, memorable or disastrous events which occur at All Saints and in the Parish of Poplar. It therefore provides a narrative and pictorial record of the people and events in Poplar.

INDEX to this Blog    
It's the summer holidays Back to work, another social event Autumn creeps in
Fireworks and All Saint's Day The Men's Breakfast To Hell and back
Sha la la la la - it's Christmas Where did Christmas go?  
Dec 27th
Where did Christmas go?

"This is the season of shallow coughs and tickling sneezes, fevers and discontent - out, out damned cold! Will I ne'er be rid of thee?"

As you may have guessed I spent most of the Christmas festivities in my bed in the boiler house, unable to move or breathe without coughing and spluttering. Perhaps it was some form of judgement on me for re-writing the Christmas carols a few days ago. And now the New Year beckons - another year closer to heaven!

What a year it's been, and quite a bit of it is recorded in these pages - here for posterity, or at least until the money runs out. It's been a time of comings and goings, good times and sad times, festivities and solemn moments, growth and decay. Yet some things remain the same, even if they are growing a bit older - eh boss? We face a challenging year in 2008. We need more money just to keep going, and quite a lot more money if we are to see the Church's Mission expand as we see it needs to. Yet these are hard times, and we are not a rich church - quite the contrary in financial terms. But we do have good people with heart and strength, and so with God's help we trust and hope that 2008 will see more of God's Kingdom here in the hearts of the people of Poplar. We will be looking at some new ways of fund raising - so perhaps the mouses can already christen the new year a "stewardship year" - that should please the boss. But seriously, if we all take one mouthful at a time (as my old granny used to say) - the elephant will soon be gone!

A happy and a fruitful 2008 - see you in the next blog, Love Wilf.

Dec 16th
Sha la la la la, it's Christmas

Today we had the carol service - or more correctly the "Festival of Lessons and Carols for Christmas". I do find the carols a bit odd at times, but I did notice the choir sang with peels of glee and the organ played like thunder, thus rending us all asunder!
I've put together a sort of carol compendium, then we need only sing one song and get downstairs more quickly to the mulled wine, mince pies and chocolate cake. (We Anglican mouses do have it hard at times!!)

Oh come all ye faithful
How still we see thee lie
In fields where they lay,
Silent night, Holy Night,
Fear not, and Glory shone around
Oh come let us adore him
As I sat there pondering this evening, I was struck as to what an odd story it all is. We often forget with all the "niceness" of Christmas that we are talking about what Christians believe to be the one most important event in world history. The incarnation - God becomes a baby. For atheists we must seem crazy - this "magic man" in fact is God. The story seems so ridiculous, it either has to be true or we have been pathetically conned for over 2000 years. But perhaps you, like me, have personally met with this baby who became the man Jesus, so the story doesn't seem so daft after all. In fact it is the most exciting story ever told - OK, now bring on the mince pies - a mouse has to have a sense of proportion!
Dec 5th To Hell and back

So I've had another holiday - so what. This time I went to Nowhere which is quite close to Hell Bay. Those in the know realise I had to stowaway on a helicopter to get there. Still puzzled? It was a holiday at one of my favourite places to escape - the Scilly Isles. Very appropriate I hear you say?

This is a painting of Hell Bay by a local artist Richard Pearce. A glorious place to experience the full force of the westerly gales as they hit the coast.

Back home we hear the sad news of the death of Joanne Todd - she will be greatly missed by family and friends. Now Christmas is approaching perhaps we should all look out for those around us who need some of our time, comfort and support. Let's make an early new year wish (as it's now advent and the Church's new year) to look out for those in need, and seek to be the hands, feet and heart of Jesus to them.

We have a lot of challenges in this new year. We need to raise a lot more money for the common fund, and need to begin planning to re-vitalise the interior of the Church. Still I must remind you again - how does a mouse eat an elephant? One mouthful at a time. God bless.


Hell Bay

Nov 10th The Men's Breakfast

So at last it has happened! Kevin and Alby put on their frilly aprons and cooked a lovely breakfast of bacon, sausage, eggs, baked beans and tomatoes. In addition there were cereals, and bread and rolls, with some croisants for the upper crusts, and lots of crumbs left over for us mouses. It was a good start and a bargain at £3 a head. Adam Atkinson came to speak to the men about the recent book by Richard Dawkins "The God Delusion". We had a good discussion about modern atheism and the way Dawkins attempt to discredit all religions. We agreed that God was not dead (I often wonder why men are so daft, they ought to listen more to us mouses), and that the extremes of religious fanaticism did not discredit the vast majority of Christians seeking to be good disciples of Jesus, loving their neighbours and enjoying tea and cakes on a sunny day in the garden (you had to be there to understand the importance of this picture)

Mens Breakfast 07

Here is the usual mouse eye view of the men listening to Adam after a huge breakfast in the crypt. I suspect they will return next year as it seemed to be a success.


I noticed Brian changing his shoes before playing the organ the other day - and wondered why. Now he has demonstrated why this is necessary. If you have broadband and love organ playing, go to -

Click on the TV concert button and and see what organ playing is all about


5th Nov Fireworks and All Saint's Day

Where does the time go? One minute it's high summer and the next it's bonfire night! I've had what I call my autumn hibernation to get over the shock of putting the clocks back, finding it dark before the nippers get out of school, and having to put on my winter drawers. It's nice to see the boss back from his holiday in the Far East, but he doesn't look very sunburned. I wonder what he does get up to when we are not there to keep an eye on him?

I'm really looking forward to the very first men's breakfast this coming Saturday. This should be a jolly event, as unlike the unadventurous women, the men are going to really mess up the kitchen and provide a feast - at least for us mouses. I'll give you a report later. John Milbank has been playing at being a photographer again trying to get a photograph of the whole Church congregation after Sunday mass to celebrate one world week. As usual, its like herding cats, but why not go to the One World week page to see his results. I think he managed to get three quarters of the people out onto the steps. We mouses have been taking some of our own pictures, so see below!

All Saints Day On All Saints Day the Church was almost full - here is a mouse's eye view as we started receiving the bread and the wine. A beautiful sunny day, with the service being followed by a feast downstairs afterwards.

A view from the front of the church as we were coming up to the altar rails. Brian is back up in the organ loft leading the choir in an anthem. To quote John Betjeman -

"For human beings only do
What their religion tells them to.
They read the Bible every day
And always, night and morning, pray,
And just like me, the good church mouse,
Worship each week in God's own house,
But all the same it's strange to me
How very full the church can be
With people I don't see at all
Except at Harvest Festival."

(Or in our case John, All Saint's Day)

View from front of church


30th Sept Autumn creeps in

Yes it really is that time of year once again. The nights are drawing in, the wind blows cold, and a certain person heads off to the sun. However he really does deserve a good rest, and he has turned the heating on, so it just goes to show that there is some good in all of us (either that or the nagging has finally got through). The social life of the Church begins to pick up steam again after the summer break, and it will be interesting to see if the men's group can organise themselves into a few activities. We mouses realise that it is very hard for men to get organised without the involvement of their women folk. The fair sex are always boasting about how they can multi-task whilst we poor men can only think of one thing most of the time! So we shall see. Come back to the mouse's spot to discover what happens.

Father Tom preached today on the feast of Michael and All Angels, and somehow managed to bring in the topic of whether to close the Church-yard gates at night. This will be a difficult decision as on the one hand we want the Church to appear open and welcoming to the community, but on the other hand the disruption and expense of coping with certain people who mis-use the Church-yard is getting out of hand. Should the Church be sensible and wise in the use of its resources, or open and so having the potential to be abused by unruly elements? The old battle of good and evil. We mouses recognise that the PCC will have a hard decision to make, so we all need to pray for God's guidance for them. We can mourn the passing of the "good old days", but perhaps we need to recognise that they have gone and we are now in a new social context. Then of course after that there will be the battle of the pews! As today's reading at morning prayer said - "no peace for the wicked"! (Isaiah 48 v 22). However the message of Michael and All Angels is that God overcomes evil in the end, through the work of Jesus on the cross - Hallelujah!!

14th Sept Back to work - another social event!

So the summer is now over, and we all have to go back to the usual routine. As a last fling many of us got on Colin's Empress Coach and spent the day in Boulogne, France. The usual suspects were on board - the puffers out to fill up on booze and fags; the young women, having got rid of the children for the day and determined to live it up (and they did); and the usual party of mice in the boot, out for a good stock of smelly cheese to last through to advent. As usual Janice and John did an amazing job - I wonder if in the past they were circus ringmasters, herding the big cats through a series of hurdles. That would have been easier than getting the All Saint's lot to appear at the right places on time. But somehow we made it without losing anyone, and on the way back we had a lovely smell of cheese in the back of the coach.

Now wev'e got the kids back to school, and it must be time for the first cold snap of the autumn. Aren't we lucky living in England - the weather makes sure we always have something to talk about. I am glad that the Church members do think of those less fortunate than themselves so that we were able to send £434 for the relief of flood victims in this country and in Asia. Although we have many problems here, most people in Poplar have hearts of gold.

1st Aug
It's the Summer Holidays !

Country Church

  I thought you would like to see the country church where I spend my summer holidays. It's so nice to get out of Poplar for a few days and breathe the fresh air, and nibble some real grass. Anyway I had to get away this week as the Church is overflowing with the film crew making a TV programme. Bless you Eunice for clearing up after them - a thankless job if ever I saw one. So begins the third volume of my diaries this year. The next few weeks will be sparse as I relax and snooze in the country. Thankfully the boss is keeping things going at All Saints, and so it won't be long before he will need his break away in sunny Thailand in order to stay sane. And so it goes on - until Jesus comes back. Thank you Lord for so many blessings and good people here in Poplar - this must be one of the special places in England. Nice to get away from, and nice to come back to. Happy holidays All Saints folk.

Updated 24-Dec-2008   Home >> Church Mouse Blog Index >> Blog 3 Summer to Advent 2007