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All Saints' and St Nicholas' Churches

Church of England, Poplar, London

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Church Mouse Blog - Chapter 4 (New Year to Easter 2008)

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    
Ring in the New Year Visitors from Oz Bumping into Father James
The tea dance is in full swing Sister Christine "preaches" Corners of the Church
Fr. Brian Ralph visits us Stations and sermons Fr. Tom Keighley
Another Men's Breakfast The APCM Welcome Kevin
Another Easter    
1st Jan
Ring in the new

Let's start off this year recalling the highlights of 2007. It was a good year in may ways, although we had to say goodbye to some old friends.We learned about Father John and his brush with Darth Vador and how one of the Clergy was mistaken for a tramp. We had a great dedication service with Father Appleford, and a busy confirmation service with Bishop Stephen. We saw the first men's breakfast and generally heard some of the gossip which echoes from the crypt after the service. Finally let's give a big thank you to Father Alan for continuing to lead us so well, and we all hope it will be a long time before he draws his pension.

As is now the custom we had a well attended midday mass to start the new year, followed by excellent nibbles in the Rectory. Now what about those resolutions! We Church mouses feel that we should lead the way and set three resolutions for the whole Church in 2008, so that the life and mission of the Church may progress. We trust that many of you will join us as we resolve in 2008 to -

Practice "friendship evangelism" so that each one of us in the congregation will invite and bring one or two other people to Church during the year, and then encourage them to stay as part of our fellowship
Take the financial affairs of the Church seriously, and think of ways in which we and others can increase the contributions we make to the needs of the Church for income in the coming year.
Finally to enjoy the valuable gift of love, friendship and care of other members which means that the Church is "alive" and setting an example to others that being a Christian is great and provides us with the strength to cope with the difficulties and suffering which we will encounter.

13th Jan

Visitors from Oz
  Wasn't it nice to see Lorraine and James (along with Megan and little John) visiting us from sunny Darwin before they go off on a ski-ing holiday. All sorts of old friends like to pop into the crypt to visit us mouses. Here they are taken a year or so ago (so Megan has now grown into a young lady) in sunny Darwin - along with a view of their house. Beats most of the houses in Poplar, although we don't have cyclones and snakes. Sorry we don't have a picture of Jonathon, who is also growing rapidly.

Any more old friends out there who want to drop us a photo and some news? (write to the
  Lorraine and James Megan
7th Feb Bumping into Father James
  I was taking a few days off last week, visiting a country cousin in Salisbury Cathedral, when I bumped into Father James munching on a cheese sandwich. You will remember that after being our curate a few years ago he went to Cambridge for a while. Then he got married and is now at Salisbury Cathedral as the Bishop's chaplain, spending all his time in dull meetings with Arch-Deacons and the like. He says he misses us in Poplar and I'm not surprised. I think we may see him sometime on a visit, especially as he says he will now visit our web site to see what's on.
9th Feb The Tea Dance is in full swing again

So the tea dance has started again!

Brave folk

This little poem by anony-mouse tells it
like it really is.

I bet they don't have this much fun
in Chelsea !

The things people get up to down in the crypt with the mouses.

tea dance

It's the Thursday tea dance, they'll all be here today
Aches and pains forgotten, to dance the day away.
Foxtrots, Quicksteps, Waltzes, some are slow but some still nifty
With memories of how it was - back in 1950.

Eddy's got a new love that he met in Thornton Heath,
She does a lovely Tango, but she hasn't any teeth.
His latest fancy footwork nearly broke his partner's neck,
She mistook his Outside Swivel for Travelling Contra Check.

Ida's had her hair done and she's ready for a saunter
She had a vindaloo last night and it's coming back to haunt her.
Florry's mini-skirt revealing when she's spinning in the Jive
She really shouldn't wear a thong approaching 85.

They've had their tea and cake, a chat, a little laugh
And gamely rise wise creaking knees to face the second half.
Norman's made it back in time for Rumba Number One,
His Cucarachas very neat, but he's left his flies undone.

Vera's fallen over in a massive crimplene heap,
Bert's got indigestion and Mabel's fast asleep.
It's last Waltz time and up they get for Humperdink's old tune
And "Goodbye, Good Luck, Take Care, God willing, and see you soon"

10th Feb Sister Christine on "Why I am a Christian"
Sister Christine It was so nice to have Sister Christine Frost with us for the first Lent Sermon today. She talked about the 38 years she has spent in Poplar fighting for the rights of the poorer people of the Parish. After a "typical?" Irish upbringing and several years in a convent she has made it her life work to live amongst and stand up for needy people in Poplar, whatever their race or religion. She is a living saint amongst us, and Sister we are proud to stand alongside you.
11th Feb Corners of the Church

I see that there is a new page on the web site with photographs of the Church. I thought I would include a few from time to time showing a "mouse eye" view of the place.

Here's my first which shows the "Quiet Corner", where the only things that are quiet are the soft toys, here enjoying the morning sermon. Later they will be working hard to keeping the young ones happy and reasonably quiet. We salute you hard working teddies and dolls.

soft toys corner
17th Feb Fr. Brian Ralph visits us today

Today's Lent sermon in the series "Why am I a Christian?" was given by Father Brian Ralph from St. Barnabus in Bethnal Green. He told us how God spoke to him when he was a school dropout who had joined a punk rock band. When he did go into a Church what struck him was the friendliness and welcome given him by the congregation. So after a bit of a struggle and three months wondering whether to become a monk he settled for the C of E priesthood and so attended for his selection conference 22 years ago. Because he had no qualifications it took him seven years to be ordained, and ever since he has had a ministry to the most needy people in the community.

Two very important lessons for us. First people are often encouraged into contact with God through the kindness and genuiness of the ordinary people in Church, and second God has a calling for each one of us - even the punk rock band - school dropout. He loves everyone, and so should we. Thank you Brian - an inspiration to us all.

Brian Ralph
17th Feb Stations and sermons
staions of the cross

It's a rare day that merits two entries, but this little old mouse has been really busy today and notched up four different services before collapsing in my cot in the boiler room. (Yes, I know the boss attended five services as he also took the 8.30 mass - but he is paid to do it!). Yes, I know that last statement is not strictly true, the boss insn't paid but receives a stipend - but you know what I mean - he is a professional, and me a mere mouse!

But we digress. Several of us went to St Paul's Cathedral where Father Andrew was giving the sermon at evensong. He was very good, and now his sermon has joined the others in our sermon pages.

Then we had the Stations of the Cross service at 5pm which uses night prayer and a meditation walk around the 14 stations. A good way to end a Sunday in Lent.

24th Feb Our third Lent visitor - Fr Tom Keighley

We were pleased today to welcome as our preacher, all the way from Christ Church on the Isle of Dogs (a long bus ride on the D7), Father Tom Keighley. He is a nurse involved in helping new countries coming into the EU to improve their health service (perhaps he could have a go at ours!). He is also an NSM priest in his spare time. Starting his story of "Why I am a Christian" he told of his upbringing in a solid Catholic family, even having an older sister who was a nun. After some shenanigans as an alter boy he went away from the Church in his teens.

After 20 years in the wilderness he came back to Church when his children were growing up. The Parish Priest in his Yorkshire Church asked him to be a Church Warden, which he did very well. Then two ladies in the Church said he ought to be a priest. After initial problems he has now become one, and is a Non-Stipendary Minister (NSM) at Christ Church. His vocation is to integrate the world of work and the priesthood seeking to deal with the difficult questions and situations which arise in daily life.

Tom Keighley
  There were some important points in his sermon:
1 Be careful before you become a Church Warden - you never know where it will lead.
2 Steer clear of prophetic old ladies in the Church (and we also have a few of those!)
3 Many people have a "crisis of faith" and leave the Church, but God is faithful and many come back big time.
4 God is like a toothache - He keeps nagging, and He won't go away.
1st Mar The Men have breakfast again
Mens Breakfast Those clever, resourceful men have pulled it off again. With much slaving over the stove and kitchen sink, they managed to produce a good breakfast (apart from over-cooking the eggs!). Then they heard Peter Watherston from Newham talk about the social enterprise work he has developed within the Church, which helps support and employ local people. Good stuff Pete - much food for thought !! Peter Watherston
9th Mar The APCM

This is the time for the Annual Parochial Church Meeting when we review the year and vote in the various office holders. This gives me an opportunity to say thank you to our two Church Wardens who do so much hard work to help keep the Church going. Here they are, Fred Lawrence on the left, doing his usual good samaritan work and ferrying Eddie to Church in the morning; and on the right is Philippa (alongside Jenny) who is now standing down after a 6 year stint. Thank you to both of them.

Eddy with Fred

At the APCM we elected Kevin to replace Philippa. I'm afraid he's not as good looking, but then we don't choose our wardens through a beauty contest. Tune in next week for the picture of the new boy and see for yourself.

Philippa nd Jenny
15th Mar Thanks Philippa and welcome Kevin

So here he is - the replacement for Philippa - not as pretty I'll grant you, but we can't be choosey can we! Just so long as he works his socks off, keeps us all happy - and the boss under control, then we won't complain.

So now it's Kevin and Fred (they do look a bit alike don't they) as the double act. Seriously we do ask a lot of our Church Wardens, and we do owe them a huge debt of gratitude. Of course Kevin needs breaking in, but we mouses will be on parade each week to make sure he does his duty, cleans up, makes the tea and generally keeps the place runs smoothly.

And now we await another Easter - again I have to marvel at the incredible things we Christians believe. Watching the various latest films about the Passion we realise again what love God has for us, to send His only son to die for our sins. A God aquainted with our suffering, who knows all about our sin, yet has paid the price so that you and I (yes even mouses belong), can be forgiven and enjoy everlasting life with Him. (I'd better watch out or I might be asked to fill in with a sermon or two now that John is away for a few weeks after being injured falling off his bike!!)

Kevin Freeman
23rd Mar Another Easter comes and snows
Easter Tableau

So another Easter comes, and although in the early hours of the morning it was cold and sharp, by the time the service had finished it was snowing. As always, this culmination of Holy Week is very special, with the third best service of the year starting at 5.30am and finishing with breakfast in the crypt. Of course this is such an important milestone in our calendar - the resurrection of Jesus giving us a secure hope that we will follow Him.

So another milestone is also reached as this chapter closes and we pass into the long season of Spring and Summer, with many other delights to look forward to, especially Pentecost.

Love and best wishes from all us mouses in the crypt.


Updated 26-Dec-2008   Home >> Church Mouse Blog Index >> Blog 4 New Year to Easter 2008