The Revd.

Matthew J Hughes

01689 856931

Associate Rector

The Revd.
Stephen Broadie
 01689 854451

Assistant Priest

The Revd.

Bill Mullenger

020 8462 9624


May Leader

May is Mary’s month,’ so begins the wonderful poem, ‘The May Magnificat’ by Gerard Manley Hopkins. In beautiful style Hopkins relates the new growth of spring to Christ’s growth in Mary’s Womb. He reflects on Mary sharing the ecstasy of mothering earth. He writes;

All things rising, all things sizing
Mary sees, sympathising.

May is indeed a wonderful time, as the winter finally gives way to the warmth, and renewal of spring. This is also the season for sowing and planting in preparation for harvest. For our forebears, May was a time of rituals and ceremonies which expressed hope for successful planting, and the conception of children and cattle.

James Frazer in ‘The Golden Bough’ describes a wide variety of May rituals from around Europe, including the marrying of trees, the setting up of decorated May Poles with village dancing, the crowning of May Queens and Kings, the singing of May songs and this rather bizarre custom from Hildesheim, in Hanover; five or six young fellows go about on the afternoon of Whit Monday cracking whips and collecting eggs from the houses. The lead man is the Leaf King, who is covered from head to toe in birch twigs; in his hand he carries a long crook with which he tries to catch stray dogs and children.

May as a time of growth is also celebrated in the Christian Calendar as Whitsun is seen as a time of the growth of the early church through the coming of the Holy Spirit, a new time of growth and grace in the lives of the disciples, for them and for us. St Paul talks of the fruits of the Spirit-filled life as love, joy, peace, faithfulness, goodness, gentleness and self control. Fruits never just appear, but arrive through a process of growth, invariably stimulated by pruning, and this is often how we grow, aided by the Holy Spirit and with God’s grace we grow through times of pain. For example, a person who may have once avoided a grieving friend or neighbour may find a new compassion through their own experience of loss. This is growth, this is spring.

Through Christ, God’s spring time can come at any time in our hearts, as we find ourselves renewed in his love. Forgiveness, self acceptance, empathy and the fruits of the Spirit are all expressions of growth, preparing our souls for the springtime of heaven where there is no longer the cruel and harsh winter of death and suffering. Our church can and should be a place of growth; relationships help us to grow, as does prayer. Growth can be painful and hard as nature knows only too well. So I hope that you will find time to experience great joy this May in the simple and delightful pleasures around you and allow this spring time to lift you to God’s work and renewal in you. I will leave you with a final word from Hopkins as he expresses his own immeasurable May time joy in his poem named “Spring”:

Nothing is so beautiful as Spring –

When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush’s eggs look like little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightening to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.

What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden - Have, get, before it cloy,
Before it cloud, Christ, Lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.

Matthew Hughes



Clergy Rota Downloads

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May Service Rota
June Service Rota

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