Sundays at 8.00am Said Eucharist and 9.30am Sung Eucharist Hart Street, Henley-on-Thames RG9 2AU

City Church

THE PARISH CHURCH OF ST MARY THE VIRGIN, HENLEY-ON-THAMES

Our Rector

                          

Fr. Jeremy was born in Lincolnshire and brought up in and around Bristol, but has lived most of his adult life in London. He studied International Relations and History at LSE before building a career in research administration. He has also worked briefly as both a religious studies teacher and nursery nurse in Finland, and spent two years as a full-time parent, picking up an MA in History and Politics from Birkbeck along the way. He then trained for the priesthood at Westcott House, Cambridge, before serving for three years as Assistant Curate at St John’s Wood Church in the Diocese of London. Fr Jeremy is a keen cyclist, and in his spare time he enjoys gardening, walks in the countryside and outdoor swimming. He will be joined by his wife, Maura, who is from Helsinki, Finland, and their daughters Blanche (9) and Ginevra (8). Maura, who loves classical music, works for the Diocese of London as PA to the Archdeacon of Hampstead. The whole family have a great love of cooking, hospitality and entertaining, and are all very much looking forward to life in Henley- on-Thames and Remenham.
In his application, Jeremy states that he is very much at home in the liturgical and sacramental Anglican tradition and is committed to teaching and preaching that is thoughtful, prayerful and intellectually credible. Regular communion is important to him, as is the reading of scripture surrounded in prayer. Mission and evangelism, as well as compassionate social action, are important parts of ministry for him. St. Francis of Assisi, with his radical commitment to preaching the gospel and to loving and serving the poor, is a major inspiration to him. He has gained a wide experience of preaching by accepting the opportunity to preach in different churches and diverse settings both in London and in Helsinki.
Children’s ministry has been a particular focus for him during his curacy. He has achieved this through a wide range of activities in schools, toddler groups and junior choir. He has driven the involvement and integration of children into the worship at St. John’s Wood through reading, singing and serving.
Fr. Jeremy has had a great love of music since childhood. He plays the guitar and is a confident liturgical singer and reader of music, having sung in choirs at school and college. He is confident in singing the Sursum Corda and the Preface, and he also has experience of singing Choral Evensong, Choral Matins and sung Compline.
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MONTHLY MESSAGE FROM THE RECTOR – DECEMBER 2019

Dear friends,

The prophet Isaiah writes: “Be strong, fear not, your God is coming with judgement, coming with judgement to save you” (Isaiah 35.4). Advent is a season of expectation, as we look forward to Christmas and relive the sense of expectation that anticipated the birth of our Lord; and expectation too of the second coming of Jesus at the end of time as judge and king. Judgement is one of the traditional themes of Advent. But judgement is a difficult thing to talk about in our contemporary culture. Nowadays it is a very negative word; everyone likes to think of themselves as “non-judgemental”. This is doubtless an example of the extent to which our culture remains indebted to the Christian faith, as it is of course Jesus himself who warns us against judging others. But the judgement we reflect on during the season of Advent is not our judgement of our neighbours; rather it is the judgement of God, against which all human judgements are provisional and partial.

Of course, we may not like the idea of divine judgement any more than we like the idea of human judgement. We would perhaps prefer to have a God who would just wave a magic wand and make everything nice, who would just sprinkle some fairy dust around and create a world of “pink fluffy unicorns dancing on rainbows”, in the words of the children’s song. But we cannot live in such a world at the same time as being free to make moral decisions. The moral autonomy we so value offers us the possibility of choosing good or bad, better or worse. God does not force us to live in a world in which we can only choose good things, and in which everything is consequently nice. He allows us the freedom to choose, and in consequence we are open to judgement for our choices.

It is striking and significant that in the prophecy of Isaiah, judgement is something positive, something connected with salvation. In a world of moral autonomy, judgement is necessary for the restitution of wrongs, and the restoration of a just order. So although we are called to work out our salvation in fear and trembling, we should not lose hope, because the divine judgement is fundamentally different to human judgement. Unlike us, God does not need to judge someone in order to feel better about himself. Unlike us, God does not need someone to look down on in order to make up for his personal inadequacies. Whilst human judgement is always tainted to some extent by our flaws and weaknesses, God’s judgement is motivated purely by God’s goodness. The God who is coming in judgement is the same God who comes to us as saving self-offering love in the person of Jesus, and in this we can find the greatest comfort and hope.

With my prayers for a holy Advent, and a joyful Christmas,

Fr Jeremy