Thanks to all who made St George’s Day an enjoyable and fitting celebration of our patron saint. Fr Alan Green, our area dean, preached, and used the children present to re-imagine versions of the dragon story – because imagination is potent! This was reinforced when the Rector sang When a knight won his spurs at school assembly a few days later and asked the children what contemporary dragons we have to fight against. Abigail's hand shot up: 'racism', she said. Spot on: she at least understands how stories work...

A few days later we had our Annual Vestry and Parochial Church Meetings after church in the crypt hall, which proved an excellent venue, of which we intend to make fuller use. Edith Wyeth and Allan Ramanoop were re-appointed as wardens. (Sadly, Edith was in hospital both for this occasion and for St George's Day – the first time she has missed the latter since the war; we hope she will be home soon.) Richard Powell and Margaret Coulter were elected as our Deanery Synod representatives – Margaret taking over from Robin Guess, who has served us well in this and many other capacities, and to whom our thanks were recorded. During the meeting the children completed a big card for him which we all signed. We elected as Parochial Church Council members (in addition to the wardens and deanery synod reps) Kim Ali, John Allison, Susan Crocker, Toni Davey, Cathy Matthew, Alex Nelson, Michael Page, Annadale Ramanoop and Olive Wagstaff. This will be an excellent team for the future, and in June we have an awayday to look at priorities for the coming year.

The meeting also received reports on activities over the past year, and received the accounts (which had previously been scrutinised by the PCC). Preparing the report and accounts involves a great deal of hard work, and we are especially grateful to Richard and to Fiona Lawrence, our willing parish administrator, for this and much more besides.

May begins with Ascension Day. Gone are the days when we all went up to the top of the tower to sing – though the Rector did recently take a group of Swedish visitors up there. They were descendants of Elizabeth Stride (one of Jack the Ripper's victims) and pictures will appear in the Swedish national paper! The final ten days of the Easter season then shift focus, to Christ's promise of the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us. Pentecost (Whitsunday) brings the season to an end as we celebrate that abiding presence, equipping the church for mission.

At one point it was hoped that the formal re-opening of St George's Gardens would coincide with St George's Day. Though the Gardens are indeed now open, and looking splendid, the official launch date is yet to be fixed, for a date in June or July. If you have any comments about the Gardens, including access arrangements, there is a part-time Ranger on site (afternoons and some weekends). However, one of the first formal events in Gardens is Raine's Foundation School Founders Day on 2 May, when after a service in church a wreath of blue and white flowers is laid at the (newly-restored) memorial.

This month also sees Christian Aid Week, from 11-17 May. In many parts of the country, this is when a house-to-house collection is made. That's not easy to organise in this part of London, but we will have envelopes available at church, and use some Christian Aid resources in our worship on Pentecost Sunday, learning how poor communities in Ghana and Bangladesh have been transformed by the Spirit-led work of local partner organisations.

Churches Together in Stepney & Wapping: events in May

The Contextual Thology Centre at St Katharine's is organising 'A People's Olympics?' on Tuesday 13 May, from 1-2.30pm at UEL Docklands Campus: following the successes of London Citizens' 'Ethical Olympics' action, we look at what more needs to be done to ensure the Olympics genuinely serve the poorest communities of our city.

On Saturday 17 May St Patrick Wapping have a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady at Aylesford Priory near Maidstone.

There are several events at St Paul Shadwell:

The Rector has details of all these events, for anyone who is interested. 

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