My annual report is an opportunity to reflect on what we as a church have achieved during the past year and our going forward in the future. With the past I am pleased and for the future I am optimistic. As a parish we have continued in this part of South Wimbledon to maintain the Catholic faith handed down to us by the Apostles with our regular Sunday and mid-week Masses, our monthly Solemn Evensong and Benediction, as well as Masses for all of the great festivals of the Church. I am immensely grateful to all of you for the loyalty you show to your church.
At this point I particularly want to thank Roger for the work he has done in extending our ministry to young children, especially his leading of the Teddy Bear service which began in June last year and his reinstating of our Sunday School activities. Elizabeth has also helped with much of this. Although not a large group we have had up to six children attending Teddy Bears and they all clearly enjoy what they do. You may recall that on the first Sunday of Lent I read out a Pastoral Letter from the Bishops of the Society, in part of which they referred to their deliberations about the gift of baptism and especially how the laity can play a fuller and richer role in the renewal of the catholic movement and of Christian life in our nation. It is important that we should all do what we can to further this catholic mission. Outreach can of course take many forms, not just church services, and I am very grateful, for example, for the work Rita and Jane do with our Monday lunches and over 50’s club, and to those who organise our open church on Friday mornings.
Having mentioned baptism, we had three baptisms in church during the year since the last annual meeting, but no weddings and only one funeral in church though I did others at the crematorium.
One of the highlights of the year was welcoming the Dean of Westminster, the Very Revd Dr John Hall, as our preacher on All Saints Day. It was the fortieth anniversary of his licensing as Priest in Charge of this church. He emailed me after his visit to say that he was delighted to be here again and that it was lovely to see old
friends. It was pleasing that we were joined at the Mass by several other clergy from the Deanery, most of whom robed and sat in choir. And thinking of welcoming people from other churches, it was a joy for me to lead our annual pilgrimage to Walsingham in July when we were joined by a number of people from other churches.
It was a pleasure also to welcome the Bishop of Kingston when he came to bless our Quiet Garden on 20th March and when we were joined by children from the school. A report of the event appeared in the diocesan newspaper, The Bridge. Joining the Quiet Garden movement to welcome people to use our garden for prayer and reflection, or just to sit quietly, is another aspect of our mission.
I said I was optimistic for the future. I expect all of our existing activities to continue as before. From 1st April this year our school has a new head teacher who is keen to maintain close links with the church and we have hopes for developing new ways of involving church and school. It is always a great pleasure to welcome the children into the church and to display their artwork. On All Saints Day this year we will be welcoming the Bishop of Fulham as our celebrant and preacher and I hope you will all mark the date in your diaries.
It is traditional in these reports to record thanks to everyone who contributes so much to the life of our church. The truth is that everybody who comes here does contribute to our life and witness. Forgive me if
I do not go through a whole list of names this year. But I must mention Chris and Roger our Churchwardens, and Jenny our parish administrator, all of whom do so much for our church and give me enormous support; also Patrick our sacristan; David our organist and choirmaster; together with all members of the PCC and its officers and subcommittees, servers, choristers, the Wednesday working party, flower arrangers, tea and coffee hosts, sidespeople, organisers of social events, fairs and fund raisers, school governors, child protection officers. Not only I but everyone here is immensely grateful for all you do in your various ways. I would also like to record my thanks to Fr. Michael Blackman who kindly returned to say Mass while I was at Walsingham, and again to allow me to take two weeks’ holiday in September.
Thank you very much to you all.