A farewell for Anne
On Sunday 22nd July, a farewell Eucharist was held for our Associate Vicar, the Rev Anne Cowley. The Eucharist was attended by the Area Dean, the Rev Tim Stilwell and many well-wishers from her time here at St Stephen’s. Here is what Anne said at her farewell Eucharist:
Last night, as I was thinking about the last ten years, I decided to pull up the very first sermon I preached here... actually before I was ordained, but when the plans had been made for me come to St Stephen’s. I talked about what a scary thought that was and wondered how ‘a nice, middle aged woman’ could be embarking on this strange adventure of ordination. I had no idea how rich the experience would be. Yes, exhausting also - as was shown when I eventually had to bow out last September, but mainly, for the last ten years, it was a potent mix of joyful and hard and deep and sometimes overwhelming - but most of all a complete privilege. You allowed me into your lives, I learnt a lot - from being a very raw recruit, and then being given the opportunity to stay on after my curacy ended. We shared heartaches and delights, we laughed, we cried, we walked together and shared our common life.
In that first sermon I said I was not a particularly learned person, not the most charismatic leader and certainly not the church’s solution to the next big problem… but simply this ordinary woman, who, like the rest of us, despite having good days and bad days, despite getting stuck at times, despite sometimes getting low... ultimately, and very deeply, I was, and am, someone who knows that without God my life just wouldn’t work. I am a great believer in the church being the place where we encourage each other to keep going and to keep turning back to God. We fall flat on our faces, but there are people around us who are offering us their hand to help us up, and in doing so we are being God’s ministers to each other. That is what you have been to me, and I hope I have been to you.
So thank you to all of you. Thank you obviously especially to Bob and to Sylvie, who took on this very nervous curate and taught me a lot. Thank you to all the people I have walked alongside - be it on committees or in the toddler group, or the mums’ bible study, wherever. But to the whole family of St Stephen’s, you took me to your heart and changed me forever. I want to say an enormous thank you.
I wanted to leave something tangible, but I am not a gardener, so I hope that some vouchers for plants will enable the green fingered ones to use them - so there will be a bit of me which will remain in Shepherds Bush. So just ‘thank you’ from the bottom of my heart.
Anne was presented with a Passion Flower and John Lewis vouchers and members of the congregation spoke to express their thanks and affection for her ten years at St Stephen’s.
Here is Anne’s message of thanks to the parish:
Dear lovely people! I struggled yesterday to say all that was on my heart, but I can’t tell you how much I was bowled over by the way I was welcomed and all that was said and given. I really want to thank you all for the hugely generous gifts. The passion flower is being planted in the morning, and I am planning to buy a sculpture I have fallen in love with in John Lewis, plus put the rest towards a carpet runner that I have been eyeing up for my stairs – a redecoration is badly needed, and that will be my focal point. With my love, and enormous thanks, Anne
Windrush Celebrations 24th June
Thanks Alton Mcdonald for taking us through the harsh history behind our Windrush Sunday celebration. The British Empire relied economically on 2 million Africans sold into slavery in the Caribbean, of which only 20% survived. The celebration on Windrush Sunday means us now being able to join together at the Eucharist Table.
Save The Date - 15th September - Church v School Cricket Match
Please come along - it's a really fun day
Sunday 13th May
We congratulate Richard and Isobel Platings on their 40th Wedding Anniversary. They were married at St Stephen’s on May 13th 1978 and they joined us on Sunday May 13th this year to celebrate their Anniversary at St Stephen’s. They have sent us these photographs of the event.
Sunday April 22, 2018
We were joined by members of our local policing team
Here Hal Welcomes PC Paul Davis