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
The services of Holy Week and Easter are the most wonderful in the church’s calendar. The shape of our Holy Week liturgies most likely has its origin in the time of St Cyril of Jerusalem, a fourth century bishop who reformed the Holy Week liturgies for the benefit of the many pilgrims who flocked to Jerusalem at that time. At St Mary’s we will have a full programme of services throughout Holy Week, and I encourage you all to come along to as much as you are able to. To walk with Jesus from the entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, through the Last Supper and the betrayal and the agony in the garden, to the desolation of Good Friday, culminating in the unbridled joy of Easter is an amazing and faith-deepening journey, and it will fully engage you emotionally, intellectually, spiritually and even physically.
Palm Sunday will begin (at 9am) with an act of public Christian witness, as we process with palms from the market square to the west doors of St Mary’s, where, weather permitting, the Liturgy of Palms will take place outdoors, before entering church for the Eucharist at 9.30.
On Monday to Wednesday of Holy Week there will be Eucharists at both 12noon (followed by a light lunch in the Chantry House) and 7.30pm. On Monday and Tuesday Compline will follow at 8pm, and on Wednesday at 8pm Sebastian is offering us organ meditations on the Stations of the Cross, by the composer John Hosking.
On the morning of Maundy Thursday there will be no Eucharist at St Mary’s, because Fr Jeremy will be attending the Diocesan Chrism Eucharist at Dorchester Abbey. At this service oils are blessed by the Bishop for use in church through the coming year. If anyone is interested in attending this service, speak to Fr Jeremy – he will be driving and is happy to take some passengers.
On the evening of Maundy Thursday, at 8pm, we celebrate the Liturgy of the Last Supper, which will include the washing of feet, and a particular emphasis on devotion to Jesus in his sacramental presence, culminating in the Vigil of the Watch.
The Liturgy of Good Friday will be at 10am. From 1pm-4pm there will be the Three Hours Devotion, combining readings, hymns, preaching from Fr Jeremy and organ music from Sebastian. Fr Jeremy will be using the meditations of Thomas Traherne, a 17th century priest in the Church of England, as the basis for his own reflections on the cross. You are welcome to drop in and drop out of the Three Hours Devotion if the full Three Hours seems a little daunting!
The evening of Holy Saturday is the highpoint of the Christian year. The Vigil of Readings will begin at 8pm in the Chantry House, after which we will walk through the dark churchyard for the lighting of the Easter Fire, and process into church for the Proclamation and First Eucharist of Easter. The church will explode with noise and light and resurrection joy! – unbridled joy which will continue on Easter Sunday at 8am and 9.30am, followed by coffee and an Easter Egg hunt in the Rectory garden.