Holy Week and Easter
On Maundy Thursday, our liturgy began around the table in the panelled room, when we talked about elements of the Passover meal tradition (sharing some of the symbolic food) and their significance for Christians; we then moved into church for the eucharist, the stripping of the sanctuary and the vigil. On Good Friday some of us took part in the Churches Together walk of witness, from Wapping to Watney Street, and our own service followed in the afternoon. The church then received a good spring clean, inside and out - thanks to all who helped, and to those who prepared the Easter flowers. All was then ready for Saturday night, when the Easter candle was brought into church and we sang our resurrection praises, ringing a variety of handbells, and shared the first communion of Easter. We rang the bells again the following morning, and the service ended with an impromptu vocal rendering of the Hallelujah chorus, which Elspeth had chosen as her closing voluntary - very appropriate, since Easter Tuesday was the 250th anniversary of Handel's death. And our Easter celebrations continue, for the great Fifty Days up to Pentecost (Whitsun) - when there will me a major event in St George's Gardens (see below).

It's not too late to return your WaterAid jars and ALMA gift aid envelopes (also for a water-based project), but please do so as soon as possible.

The Annual Parochial Church Meeting

On Low Sunday, 19 April, we held the required annual meetings immediately after church - the first to elect wardens, and the second to elect church councillors and receive the annual report and financial statements.

Our wardens for 2008-09, to be sworn in at the Archdeacon's Visitation on Monday 18 May, will be Allan Ramanoop - who we are sure will continue to serve us conscientiously and enthusiastically (along with other family members!) - and Alex Nelson - who has co-ordinated our children's work, is an enthusiast for Churches Together (our ecumenical links) and for world church issues (having spent time working in the Indian subcontinent) and a bellringer,  but comes new to the responsibilities of churchwarden. We are delighted that she has agreed to take this on, and promise her our full support.

This marks the end of an era, since it will mean that Edith Wyeth, who has been a warden for as long as anyone can remember and more besides (she knows how many years, but is not for telling), will no longer be fulfilling this role. As the plaque under the tower reminds us, she first served with her still-missed husband Jimmy, and has long been the voice, and the pastoral memory, of St George-in-the-East - yet always open to change, and looking ahead to the next thing. Edith made clear last year her wish to stand down, having 'seen the new Rector in' (for which I am enormously grateful). She will, of course, continue to do 1001 things on site, and give her successors whatever assistance and advice they need. The meeting presented her with a bouquet, and unanimously agreed to the honorary title of 'Warden Emeritus'. I'll say more about her remarkable contribution in due course. Meanwhile, we wish Allan and Alex well for the coming year.

Elected as church councillors (in addition to the wardens, and our deanery synod representatives Richard Powell and Margaret Coulter) were Edith Wyeth, Kim Ali, Toni Davey, Cathy Mathew, Susan Crocker, Fiona Edwards [whom we welcome as a new member], John Allison, Michael Page and Annadale Ramanoop. The new Council will make further co-options and appoint officers at its next meeting.

Tributes were paid to Olive Wagstaff - standing down to give herself a bit more freedom for her travels and other activities, though continuing for now as sacristan, a role she wishes to share with, and in due course hand over, to others. Thanks were also expressed to Jan Ainsworth for her much-valued role in leading worship and preaching at her 'home' church, on top of a demanding day job as principal officer of the Church of England's Board of Education and National Society.

The report on activities during 2008, and financial statements (which had been scrutinised by the PCC) were received, and Richard our treasurer and Fiona our administrator were thanked for their labours in producing a detailed document complying with the new requirements of charity legislation (which among other things will require parishes like ours with significant income to register individually with the Charities Commission, hitherto not required for parish churches). The report is now as much for 'outside consumption' - including grant-givers and others - as for our own parishioners. In that spirit, it will be posted on our website <>  

Patronal Festival - Thursday 23 April

Although Tower Hamlets did not manage to organise the official re-opening of St George's Gardens Gardens on St George's Day, as originally planned, they were keen to mark the day, and did so with a children's activity organised by the Park Rangers team (including our own Ranger Lindsay).
Two classes from our parish school, St Paul's Whitechapel, were invited to take part. They burst red and white balloons to disperse meadow seeds, singing the Hokey Cokey; they made paper roses; they joined in a dragon search; and each child received a box of goodies, including an English apple.

Our patronal festival in the evening was a happy occasion, not least because we welcomed back as our preacher our good friend Jeremy Crossley, whose sermon provided his characteristic mix of mischievous humour and sound gospel teaching - urging us to be both realistic and courageous in following Jesus. Elspeth 'created' a choir to sing Bruckner's Locus iste and Bach's Jesus, joy of man's desiring. Folk from St Mary's, and one or two other churches in the deanery, joined us, as well as some from further afield (including relations of Morwenna, our former parish worker) and there were some good conversations over the refreshments.

Tower Hamlets is now planning the official re-opening of the Gardens (with English Heritage, Old Raineans and other funders and supporters invited) for Pentecost Sunday, 31 May. This will be an all-day event, which we hope will involve lots of different community groups, activities, and food; but we anticipate that the formal business will happen at mid-day, after our service. Please see the website, or ask at church, for further details in due course.                                                                                                                    

The Ramanoop Mulberry Tree
The Gardens have been carefully landscaped, but so far they remain rather formal, with little colour from plants or shrubs. (Lindsay, the Ranger, hopes to do something about this!) So it is good to welcome the planting, in a central position (close to the Raine memorial), of a mulberry tree, as a memorial to Sarah and Joseph Ramanoop - replacing a former tree to their memory that sadly failed to survive. Nearly all the family were present for its planting; prayers were said, and every generation joined in casting earth. May the new tree, and all the family, flourish and blossom! Mulberry trees, of course, have many local associations.  We also acknowledge with thanks a family donation to church funds to mark the occasion. 

The series of three Sunday 5pm concerts which Elspeth and others have arranged continues in May. Christopher White's string trio will perform on 3 May, and a baroque ensemble on 17 May. Please put the dates in your diary, and help us build a good audience!

Some pictures from the London Marathon on 26 April 2009
when after an early service we served refreshments and opened up our loos to large numbers of people, and sent £250 proceeds to Richard House.



The Parish Clerk of St George-in-the-East
On Wednesday in Easter Week Geoffrey Tattersall QC was confirmed as a member of the Worshipful Company of Parish Clerks representing our parish. The Company - which in some respects is like a livery company, though with significant differences - is an ancient one, and has a potential 150 members from a defined list of parishes or former parishes in the City and surrounding areas - see its website <> for more details. Like Alan Gardner, our Quinquennial Inspector, Geoffrey lives in Bolton (where the Rector's family have many contacts) but both have local contacts, as Geoffrey explains here....

Given my recent appointment as Parish Clerk I should explain who I am and why. I am a Barrister specialising in catastrophic personal injury claims and work both in Manchester [where the family home is] and London. We have a flat in Wapping and when I am in London at the weekends I try to come to join you in worship. I also sit part time as a judge - in England and in the Isle of Man. I have long had an interest in church affairs in Manchester - and thus knew the Rector well before he moved south - and served on various committees before becoming Diocesan Chancellor. I am also the Chancellor of the Diocese of Carlisle, a Chairman of Clergy Disciplinary Tribunals and have been a member of General Synod for 13 years. I am very involved in church legislation and am currently involved in the promotion of the women bishops legislation.

The office of Parish Clerk is a long standing one. From the time that Christianity came to England the Parish Clerk served the priest at the altar and quickly became the accepted lay liturgical office in a parish, prominent in worship, sometimes teaching at the school and accompanying the priest on his visiting. From the mid 16th century the Parish Clerk was responsible for preparing for the Lord Mayor weekly details of all deaths and this responsibility only ceased in 1836 when there was national legislation for death registration. Subsequently new church structures removed all the traditional duties from the Parish Clerk and now the role is to undertake such roles as are agreed by the Incumbent and the PCC, who are jointly responsible for my appointment.  It will be interesting to see how this develops but I hope that I will prove myself to be useful.

Christian Aid Week - 10-17 May
On Sunday 17 a 'Circle the City' event is planned, starting with a service at St Mary-le-Bow at 1.15pm which leads into a walk exploring the City, from the Tower to Fleet Street, to raise money for Christian Aid and KEEP HOPE ALIVE. We shall be using Christian Aid resources for our service that day. For more details see <>

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