Church of England Diocese of Southwark Honor Oak Park, Saint Augustine of Canterbury

Fr Colin's Pastoral Letter 1st January 2021

Dear Friends

I fully understand that for many the feeling at the moment is “Thank goodness that is the end of 2020." It has been the most difficult and stressful year that many of us can remember. The marks of much of 2020 have been illness, isolation and bereavement. It has also seen us not being able to socialise with family and friends in the normal way and this has caused a great deal of sadness and sadly some depression.

Having said this I want us to look forward on this first day of a new year to the future. We are in difficult days now but there is definitely light ahead of us as they begin to roll out the vaccine and we can begin to have a new confidence that we shall get through this pandemic and return to so much that is precious to us not least our worship together.

The Bible tells us that "Where there is no vision the people will perish." I want to make sure that we as a church have a vision that takes us post-pandemic and perhaps even includes things we have learnt from these challenging times.

We rejoice that we have a growing church and a number of new people have joined us during the pandemic and some through finding us through one of our lives streamed services. We have not been able to welcome newcomers in the way we would have liked but I really hope they do feel welcome and can assure them that we will get to know them in a more friendly way once we are allowed. If you are one our new people do feel free to ring and ask any questions you might have about the life of the church or just have a conversation to help us to get to know each other.

Our music has taken on a new lease of life with the forming of a St Augustine's choir. Who knows how this might develop ? However at the moment the members have to be able to read music and sing in tune mainly because we do not have a long practice time. This is just the beginning and we do have a vision for the future that will be able to include others. If you can fulfil the requirements and would like to join the choir please speak to one of the clergy or our Director of Music Marilyn Harper.

Just before the first lockdown we had a vision for our children’s work and we were building up a group of people willing to help see this become a reality. Sadly we were forced to put things on hold and are still doing so. However we have not lost the vision and it will happen so please keep in touch about what is going on.

There have been many good things happening during the periods of lockdown and not least the many acts of kindness and care that have taken place in many and various ways. I am delighted by the way we have looked after each other and kept in touch and of course I am personally very touched by the way I have been looked after at times when I was shielding.

Please do get in touch if you need any help at this time. I repeat my offer of a conversation on the phone to anyone who might be feeling a little more isolated than is good.

Michael and Fr Mark join me in sending you our very best wishes for the year ahead and in the light of the vision that will see us through any darkness which is through Jesus, "the light that has come into the world."

My love and prayers

Fr Colin

Telephone 020 8699 4469. 07854265277