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.
************************************************************************************
MONTHLY MESSAGE FROM THE RECTOR

Advent is perhaps the most tricky season of the church’s year. Outside of the church, Christmas starts at the beginning of December (and increasingly much earlier even than that) and ends on 26th December; for the church, Christmas starts on the evening of 24th December and continues until the Epiphany. We cannot ignore the culture around us, and so we have to make some concessions to the trend of bringing Christmas forward, most notably the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, but I will strive to keep Advent as Advent as far as possible. The character of Advent is sombre and austere, focusing as it does on the Four Last Things: Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell. Advent hymns are often in minor keys, and the church will be without flowers for the Sundays of Advent. But whilst there is a sombre element to Advent, it is also a season of great hope and expectation, and this is represented liturgically in the lighting of the Advent Candles. It is a season of watching and waiting. Advent is also associated with a particular cast of characters: the prophet Isaiah (although most biblical scholars think there were actually two or three of them!), John the Baptist, and of course Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and we will get to know them better over the course of the Sundays of Advent.

Advent is also the first season of the church’s year, and with a new year comes a new gospel for our Sunday mornings. For the coming year it will be the Gospel according to Luke, and this will also be the focus of our Friday morning Bible Studies.

I have decided to introduce new service booklets for Advent, the first of a planned rolling review of our liturgy over the coming year. The changes are modest and have been made with not a little consultation. My aims were chiefly these: to have a more solidly Anglican liturgy, including the return of one or two much-loved prayers; making use of the Church of England’s seasonal materials for Advent; signalling more clearly the start of junior church, particularly for the benefit of visiting families; making sure the service doesn’t get any longer; and refreshing the appearance of the booklets. We are also introducing a new congregational Mass setting for Advent, by the Scottish composer James MacMillan. We will not use it all the year round, but its mood is very suitable for Advent (and also for Lent, when we get to it). Changes always take a little time to get used to, but I hope that you will come to enjoy the new booklets, and the small changes to the liturgy and the music.

With my prayers for a watchful and expectant Advent, and a joyful Christmas (when it comes!),

Fr Jeremy