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Sheppard' Successor is former Croydon Vicar
The Rt Rev. James Jones, Vicar of Emmanuel, South Croydon from 1990 to 1994, is to be the new Bishop of Liverpool. He is currently Bishop of Hull. His appointment was announced in March.
Bishop Edmund Capper dies
The Rt Rev. Edmund Capper died suddenly in Greenwich District Hospital on 6 March - just sx days short of his 90th birthday.
He has been as Assistant Bishop of Southwark Diocese since 1981 and recently lived in Morden College.
Edmund Capper spent most of his ministry in Africa where he served as a UMCA (now USPG) missionary.
Ordained in 1932 he served in Rochester Diocese and in Africa. Consecrated in Cape Town he was Bishop of St Helena from 1967 to 1973. From 1973-76 he worked in the Diocese of Europe.
Bishop Wilfred Wood said "Bishop Edmund's twinkling eyes and almost inexhaustable fund of amusing stories of ministry in Africa and this country will be greatly missed."
A Funeral Mass was celebrated on 20 March at St Stephen's, Lewisham. At
his request his ashes will be buried in St Helena Cathedral.
Sufi Leader in Battersea
All Saints Battersea recently hosted a visit by Sheikh Nazim al Haqqani, world head of the Naqshbandi Sufi Order and 40th in a chain of sheikhs leading back to the Prophet Mohammed.
A native of Cyprus, Sheikh Nazim has been coming to London for the Holy Month of Ramadan regularly since 1974. The relationship with All Saints goes back to The Great Banquet celebrated ecumenically and London-wide at Pentecost in 1995. Battersea Riverside Churches Together held a banquet at All Saints and among those invited were members of the South London Inter-Faith Group. From this time, friendships and joint events have gradually developed.
On this occasion Sheikh Nazim was joined at All Saints by 100 or so of his fellow Sufi Muslims, many of whom belong to the New Peckham Mosque. After they had said their prayers, the Rev. Alan Gadd welcomed Sheikh Nazim. He conveyed greetings from Bishop Peter Price, who was unable to be present and referred to Bishop Peter's initiative regarding the threatened conflict with Iraq; a conflict that could strain inter-communal relations here in Britain. Sheikh Nazim then talked movingly on the theme of servanthood.
A vegetarian lunch was served and conversations continued for quite some time. It was a very happy occasion. The photograph shows Alan Gadd presenting Sheikh Nazim with a copy of Ivor Smith-Cameron's new book, The Church of Many Colours.
Homebase raises its profile
St John's Homebase, (a.k.a. St John the Baptist Catford Southend), launched its neighbourhood profile at a reception on 28 February
The church, which faces the vast Sainsbury DIY store across the A21, is trying to raise awareness of its potential as a partner in future local service provision.
The profile was drawn up to help in the LNSM training of Reader, Susan Woolley, but had important spin-offs for the whole church community and beyond. It came from a working group, ages ranging from 15 to 85 years, established under co-ordinator, Tony Miller.
"The youngsters helped compile the questionnaire we conducted amongst the congregation. The older people shared local history and made maps and photos available to us, as well as helping with secretarial work," said Jonathan Boardman, Rector of St John's.
St John's is part of the Team Ministry of Catford, Southend and Downham. The district has a very high proportion of elderly people and the audit strongly endorsed the need for more resources aimed at this age group. The launch of the profile enabled St John's to make clear its willingness to be a partner in trying to meet these needs. It received an enthusiastic reception from an audience drawn from voluntary organisations, health services, other local churches and public sector representatives.
The Mayor of Lewisham, Counsellor Jackie Addison said, "This is exactly the kind of partnership offer which the community needs."
Lewisham Council is already researching how to meet elderly needs in the area and St John's is now in a strong position to make sure that its rich resources of personnel, site and enthusiasm are put to good use.
The Church in Croydon's Community
The role of the church in local economic and community development was explored at a conference in Croydon on 14 March with Bishop Wilfred Wood, and BBC Songs of Praise presenter Steve Chalke.
The event launched a 130-page document -The Church in Croydon's Community - the first in-depth focus ever in such a large and diverse borough. The survey was led by Captain Terry Drummond CA, (Croydon Area Mission Team) and complements earlier work sponsored by Croydon Council into the borough's voluntary sector. Some ten per cent of Croydon's 320,000 population are regularly involved with the 160 churches in the borough and in many areas form the backbone of the local voluntary sector.
"All of these people are potential partners with the local authorities in planning community development ventures and are potential, as well as highly responsible, agents for deploying grant aid in these communities as they seek imaginative new initiatives," said Terry Drummond.
The study document details the kind of community activities and flagship projects with which local churches are involved. It examines best practice, and how it can be used as a springboard for further community development.
Among the key projects in Croydon are:
The study has been sponsored by the Diocese of Southwark, Churches Together in Croydon, SOLOTEC, and Croydon Council, whose leader, Valerie Shawcross said: " With such a long record of community involvement, it is a real encouragement to know that the churches are looking at how they are keeping themselves highly relevant to today's community and its problems."
Steve Chalke said: "We live in a self-centred world where there appears to be a growing lack of community with increasing isolation and loneliness and the host of problems that this brings.
The local church can play a critical role in helping to improve this situation. Its strength should not be under-estimated. A significant proportion of the residents of Croydon belong to a church and with the value of even more networking, they are in a powerful position to influence and lead social cohesion.
"Croydon's unique study provides a perfect opportunity for every church to make a meaningful contribution and develop a clearer vision for action in the 21st century."
Greenwich getting its Millennium act together!
Greenwich people are taking to the stage in preparation for a large-scale Passion Play on Good Friday 2000.
It's all the idea of Greenwich BETA (Greenwich & Blackheath Trust for the Arts) whose Secretary is East Greenwich Team Rector, the Rev.Malcolm Torry.
BETA sponsored five events in 1997 starting with 'Olivet to Calvary' in St George's Church in March. In April, 'Passion' a musical about the trial of Jesus Christ was put on at Christchurch Forum by Greenwich Youth Theatre. It used many ideas developed by local young people to present Jesus's trial in a new way.
In July - again with Greenwich Youth Theatre - workshops were organised for 180 children at John Roan School and October saw a lively production of Godspell at St George's. The last event of the year was a Nativity Play by pupils from Christ Church School at Christ Church Forum.
'Pop Goes The Passion' starts the 1998 season at St George's Church on Saturday 28 March and Sunday 29 March at 4 p.m. This dance-drama for children devised by Mark Audus and Malcolm Torry, uses nursery rhymes to re-create the last week of Jesus' life. Tickets are available at the door or by phoning 020-8858 3006 and the script and score are available to other churches from Malcolm Torry.
In June the Riding Lights Theatre Company will mount drama workshops and perform in local secondary schools and elsewhere. BETA is currently seeking funds for this project which will cost about 4,500 in all. In the autumn, the plan is to sponsor 'Guys And Dolls' on 10 and 11 October at St George's.
Good Friday 2000
The Trust has appointed John Doyle as Director for the project - he will also be coordinating the writing of the script. John has directed the York and Coventry mystery play cycles. They hope to get the OK to use Greenwich Park for the production.
Malcolm Torry adds "We are grateful to those bodies and people who have helped us achieve so much in the past year. If you too can help please send donations to St George's Vicarage, 89 Westcombe Park Road, London SE3 7RZ - cheques payable to 'Greenwich BETA' please.
"If anyone knows of an organisation who might help I'd also be pleased to hear from them."
"We also need help with costumes and scenery and equipment such as stage blocks."
Finally he asks for "your thoughts, prayers and concern for the work of the Trust as it develops."