Free ginger and limes!
A couple of weeks ago I was heading home from a Sunday service at All Saints Poplar and the kind grocer in the shop opposite the church gave me a free bowl of fresh ginger and free bowl of limes! I had also received a marriage proposal by a member of the congregation (but that’s another story)!!
Such acts of warmth and generosity have given me a boost and highlight the joy and privilege I’ve had of exploring the Hackney Archdeaconry over the past 2 months. Every day I am enthralled by the streets, markets, churches and clergy that make up the Area. Cycling out and about on visits I have now got a fairly good grasp of the geography and give thanks daily for the joys of life in Stepney Area.
Colleagues. Thanks to all those who have given me time to show me their parish, talk about challenges and aspirations. I am genuinely encouraged by the dedication, commitment to local communities and sheer determination that you show. Thank you.
Buildings. I’ve now navigated my way through two DAC meetings! In the process I’ve encountered the reality of church communities seeking to renew their buildings, improve accessibility, modernise, preserve heritage and improve provision for worship and prayer. Both meetings have been a wonderful array of diverse signs of the life of God’s kingdom at work in our city. Of course, there’s loads of technicalities and negotiating skills for me to learn, but, the general sense of encouragement is humbling – each faculty application represents so much work and dedication on the ground.
Conference. The Area conference has definitely been a highlight of my first two months. It was great to see so many there – relaxed, engaging in debate and sharing their lives. At times it felt a bit like I was speed-dating as I went from one conversation and set of introductions to another! But, it was great to begin putting names to faces and hearing more about our shared mission.
One of the most memorable moments for me was when Naomi read from Ephesians 4 in one of our worship times. The words of St Paul’s letter seemed so relevant and pertinent as we gathered together, aware of our differences, seeking to bear with each other in love and rejoicing in the wonderful diversity of gifts God has given and joined together as his body in Stepney.
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love……From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Eph 4:1 and 16
Archdeacon of Hackney