A 'Thank You' from Father Jeff
You may remember that last week I wrote to you sharing some of the thanksgivings made by those who have been part of this year’s Lent Discussion Groups. They were thanksgivings to God for the positive experiences and realisations people have had during the past two years of the Covid lockdown and pandemic. They are an impressive and inspiring record of the resilience and faith of our community.
Today I write to you to express my own thanks:
Thanks to those who made last weekend such a special time for me, on the twentieth anniversary of my Institution and Induction as Vicar of St Mary’s Twickenham. It was marvellous to see the newly enhanced interior of our church transformed within moments into a party space following the Parish Eucharist, where merry laughter, cheerful chatting and the clinking of glasses will long echo in my memory and my mind.
Thank you to everyone who came to be part of that service and celebration. Thank you to those who thought of and planned the event so caringly and contributed to it so generously. Thank you to the children who drew and gave me such beautiful cards. Thank you to the young people who enacted one of Jesus’ parables so memorably and who led our prayers of intercessions so compassionately. Thank you to Patrick, our organ scholar, who played the piano so fabulously. Thank you to those who provided such delicious cakes. Thank you to those who served the vino. Prosecco for most of you, Rioja for me! Thank you to those who rang the bells to commemorate my double decade with you all. Thank you for the beautiful gift of the book tokens and hallmarked silver bookmark with my initials on it and to all of you wrote in my card and who played any part whatsoever in making last Sunday such a special day.
As I mentioned: I am hugely grateful to those who have worked with me with such commitment and energy in the pursuit and realisation of our collective vision for what St Mary’s is being called to be. I am humbled that God has invited me to share something of His compassion, care and love for all those who have been part of the life of St Mary’s over the past twenty years. I am thankful to those who have shown such patience and understanding to me during my time with you all and who have put up with me for the last 20 years!
St. Mary’s is a place where I have noticed many things during my time here, specifically: That it is a place where people are prepared to reach out to one another with fondness and with friendship, affection and affirmation, commitment and compassion. That it is a place where, together, we have reached out to God for His energy and encouragement, grace and guidance, protection and intervention. That it is a place where many of us have felt God reaching out to us with gentleness and acceptance, empathy and empowerment, understanding and love. For all these things, and for so many more, "that are more in number than there are grains of sand" (Psalm 139 v 18) I continue to give my heartfelt thanks to God and my thanks to you. May I also take this opportunity to renew my commitment to Him and my commitment to you, as I offer myself anew to the privileged position of being your parish priest.
With blessings and best wishes