Church of England Diocese of Southwark St. Stephen and St. Mark, Lewisham

Letter from the new Parish Priest

20 Apr 2020, 1:15 p.m.
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A PDf file of the letter can be found using the link below.

Dear Members of S. Stephen's,

I am delighted to have been appointed your next Parish Priest and much look forward to being with you in the coming few months. The warmth, friendliness and hospitality I experienced when meeting some of you at the time of the interview made a great impression.

The Archdeacon has asked that I write to you about my background. I am Irish and came to Tooting at the age of eighteen and studied to become a Nurse at St Georges Hospital Medical School and Kingston University. I worked and studied as a Nurse for twelve years in Cancer Care. I worked at Barts and London and the Royal Marsden.

On arriving in the UK, I joined the Church of England and my spiritual home for ten years was the Anglo-Catholic church of The Ascension, Lavender Hill: a church similar in many ways to S. Stephen's. Indeed, both parishes have Keble College, Oxford, as patron of the Living.

My personal links are in being a Southwark ordinand and that I was formed for the Priesthood at S. Stephen's House, Oxford, where Fr. Arthur Couratin, one-time assistant curate of S. Stephen's Lewisham, became one of the College's most distinguished principals. I am excited about working with you in making new disciples, as we proclaim the timeless message of God's love.

I was ordained in the Diocese of Coventry, serving as an Assistant Curate of S. Luke’s, Holbrooks, and am currently the Parish Priest of All Saints', Sidley, and S. Barnabas, Bexhill-On-Sea. I am a member of the Company of Mission Priests; its members are influenced by the life of S. Vincent de Paul in his care of the poor and in witness to the Gospel.

Also, as a member of the Society, I fully support 'mutual flourishing' and the 5 Guiding Principles, and much value pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.

At the time of writing, all the churches of our country are closed, owing to the corona pandemic, but the Church - the holy people of God - continues, and our faith teaches us that we shall not be overcome, for we are an 'Easter people'...the Passion and Death of Christ are followed by the Resurrection. My prayers are with you and I look forward to meeting and serving you a little later in the year.

Until then, may God bless and keep you.

Fr. Michael Bailey