NEWSLETTER – November 2008

All Saints & Souls
November is the 'kingdom season', with a focus, as winter draws in, on 'things unseen' – the saints, the departed (including Remembrance Sunday) and the kingly reign of Christ. One more Christian 'year of our salvation' comes to its conclusion as we move into preparation mode at Advent.

Like many churches nowadays, we shift All Saints to a major Sunday celebration, because its themes are so important. (If you want to keep it on Saturday as well, and to support friends in the deanery on their patronal festival, go to All Saints Poplar at noon on Saturday 1 December, where Bishop Stephen is preaching and presiding. We have been praying for him and his wife Hilary; she has recently had encouraging news following her cancer treatment, so this is one more cause of celebration.)

Our All Souls service – a eucharist of thanksgiving for and remembrance of the departed ones we have known – is on the Monday evening at 7.30pm, and there is a list in church for names to be added (or you can give names to the Rector or wardens). Those who have been recently lost someone close find this service a helpful and important stage in their loss, and are specially invited, though all of us will have people we want to remember before God. So let us gather together on this night to remember, and support one another in prayer.

Remembrance Sunday will be kept, as usual, with an act of remembrance at the war memorial at the end of the service. Local councillors and other civic representatives have been invited. Although we were able to go into the Gardens last year, this will be the first time since the work has been (more or less) completed. On which subject, plans to restore and use the Nature Study Musuem are continuing, though at a frustratingly slow pace.

Midweek Eucharist
From the start of this month, our midweek Eucharist moves from Wednesday at 1pm to Tuesday at 12.30pm. This is for two main reasons. First, several of us have been having difficulty with Wednesday because of other commitments. Secondly, the North Thames Ministerial Training Course now has a monthly staff eucharist on Tuesday, and it will be good to join them. This, plus the Wapping Great Voices rehearsal at 1pm, dictates the change of time to 12.30pm. Plus it will also save a bit on winter heating bills!

Harvest gifts
Many thanks, on behalf of Whitechapel City Mission, to all the children of St Paul's School and members of the congregation who brought generous harvest gifts to church – rather more than in previous years! Adults also made Christian Aid donations, to which we have added something from church funds (as part of our charitable giving policy), sending £
150. Thank you all.

Parochial Church Council
This month's PCC meeting will be a busy one. As well as all the normal business, Terry Bennett, the headteacher of
St Paul's School (and a member of the council) will be with us to share school news and discuss church links. We have previously reported that the denominational inspection of the school judged it to be 'outstanding' in all four categories, and we have various plans for further strengthening our links.

Then we shall be meeting Alan Gardner, our newly-appointed Quinquennial Inspector for the church building. Our five-yearly inspection is overdue, for various reasons, but he will be conducting it the following day, and making recommendations for necessary maintenance work. We have budgeted to spend money on this work over the next year, and know that there are things that need doing, but hope he will not identify too many! We have also asked Alan to advise us, in due course, on how we might achieve disabled access into the building – a major challenge, given the number of steps and its Grade 1 listed status.

Alan is no stranger to St George's, as he was the conservation consultant for the work on the Gardens. He lived locally for a number of years, and has many contacts and friends in the area, though also now practises in Bolton, which is where the Rector got to know him.

Churches Together in Stepney and Wapping
The next CTSW gathering will be at St George's on Advent Sunday, 30 November, with an all-age Advent Carol service at 5pm drawing on the rich range of Advent hymns and songs and the other traditions of the season. We are hoping to get a small choir together for this. It will be preceded by tea, in church, at 4.30pm. Please come, and bring your friends and neighbours.

Tower Hamlets Inter Faith Forum
The next meeting, on 11 November at 6pm, will be local – at Mulberry School. This is to give people from Local Area Partnerships 3 & 4 (we are part of LAP4) chance to speak about inter faith projects and work. I shall be saying something about work with schools. All are welcome!

Various visitors
School groups, both from our own school and from other local schools, continue to visit church for project work. Year 1 from St Paul's came to think about baptism; they were well-briefed before they came, impeccably behaved, and enjoyed their visit. Year 4 from Harry Gosling School – also well-prepared and well-behaved – came and their teacher pointed out Edith Wyeth's name on the stone under the tower, telling them of her time as their school secretary. Architectural students are also currently visiting, for a project on land ownership and planning in and around the church.

Nick Amis and Joy Pierson, who were married at St George's, in great style, on 11 October. The congregation was large, and enthusiastic in their singing and responses, the sun shone, the flowers were lovely – and it was wonderful. We pray that their life together will continue to be wonderful....

Parish website
Thank you to those who have checked out the website <> and reported small glitches, which we hope have now been corrected. New material is still being added – and we need a few more pictures. It has already generated some contacts from around the globe – local people inquiring about the building and our services, and several messages from around the globe from descendants of former clergy.

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