Marriage and Same Sex Relationships

The General Synod of the Church of England has voted “not to take note” of a Report by the House of Bishops following a moving debate on the report earlier on Wednesday on “Marriage and Same Sex Relationships”.

A take note debate is a neutral motion which allows Synod to discuss the content and recommendations contained in a report without committing the Synod to the formal acceptance of any matter.

The vote required simple majorities in each of the three Synodical Houses; the report failed to obtain that in the House of Clergy.

The House of Bishops voted 43 in favour and 1 against. The House of Clergy voted 93 in favour and 100 against with 2 abstentions. The House of Laity voted 106 in favour and 83 against with 4 abstentions.

With the take note motion now rejected, the Bishops of the Church of England will have to reflect on the views expressed at the General Synod.  The diversity of opinion and strong views expressed will need to be taken into account by the Bishops in their consideration of the discussion going forward.

You can listen to the debate here.  The bishops’ report can be read here. Read a pastoral letter by the Bishop of Southwark here and a joint letter by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York here.

Welcare comes to St Paul’s

Welcare South West London is a registered charity working with families who are experiencing isolation and delivers Child and Family Support services to families with children up to the age of 13 years.The charity is operating on Mondays and Tuedsays from the small office in the community centre. Fay Morris is the team leader and can be contacted via email at . She writes:

Our team currently consists of 2 full time members of staff and 6 volunteers; comprising of 4 Child Mentors; 1 Admin Assistant and 1 Family Worker. To us, every child and family is unique and individual. We believe in preventative and long-lasting changes, encouraging families to take the steps they need to progress and rebuild their lives.

We aim to provide a positive, confidential and helpful service through our Child and Family Support Programme.  We provide advice, emotional and practical support for parents, children and families: We offer a range of Child and Family Support services and work closely with colleagues from a range of services and other voluntary and community organisations to ensure that children and families locally receive the appropriate support dependant on need. We work with families on an individual basis or with partner agencies and are often part of a Team around a Child or Family.

In order to facilitate families in accessing support we provide an outreach service in the communities and are based several days a week in local community centres. We attend weekly/bi-weekly Food Bank sessions in both boroughs where we provide outreach support. This involves signposting, advocacy and advice and guidance sessions. 

We also provide parenting support individually or via a group setting and are accredited to deliver the Strengthening families Strengthening Communities parenting programme.

We also deliver a recovery programme called MySpace for parents and children who have been impacted by Domestic Violence and Abuse. The group is delivered in targeted areas and involves partnership with schools. This is a recognised and accredited interactive 12 week programme that supports children in managing their experiences and feelings and is run in conjunction with parents to support recovery.



 For more detailed information see also their website at

A timely / timeless reminder

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

John Donne

Dethroning Mammon: Making Money Serve Grace

mamonIn his first full-length book Justin Welby looks at the subject of money and materialism. Designed for study in the weeks of Lent leading up to Easter, Dethroning Mammon reflects on the impact of our own attitudes, and of the pressures that surround us, on how we handle the power of money, called Mammon in this book. Who will be on the throne of our lives? Who will direct our actions and attitudes? Is it Jesus Christ, who brings truth, hope and freedom? Or is it Mammon, so attractive, so clear, but leading us into paths that tangle, trip and deceive?

Archbishop Justin explores the tensions that arise in a society dominated by Mammon’s modern aliases, economics and finance, and by the pressures of our culture to conform to Mammon’s expectations. Following the Gospels towards Easter, this book asks the reader what it means to dethrone Mammon in the values and priorities of our civilisation and in our own existence. In Dethroning Mammon, Archbishop Justin encourages us to use Lent as a time of learning to trust in the abundance and grace of God.

The Friday Group will be reading this book during Lent (from March 3rd)


Carols for CRISIS 2016

Crisis Logo




Carol singing in the Southfields Gardens area on Monday 19th December raised
£253.77 and € 0.10 .

Carol singing at Southfileds Tube Station on Tuesday 20th December raised
£366.54, €2.10 and $0.35,

making a grand total of £620.31, €2.20 and $0.35

Thank you to all donors and the singers.

Berlin market attack







With the beckoning and dawning of another day,
can the fragile, yet extraordinary words of Jesus
propel us to a wider awareness
a gentler compassion?

To the rediscovery of the sacred in ourselves and in our world.
To that risk-taking place
where we are free to be aware?

To a different journey
in a listening companionship
with these prophets of our time –
the wounded and weary
who, amazingly, announce the Kingdom
and carry in their stories
the seeds of the morrow?

The ‘hidden ones’ whose joy and pain
when threaded through our lives
enlarges the heart and brings new meaning to God’s story.

The God whose light still shines, and who tenderly invites us
to love our neighbours as ourselves.

Peter Millar, The Iona Community

Rabbi Lionel Blue RIP



Rabbi Lionel Blue, who has died aged 86, was one of the most respected religious figures in the UK.



Thought for the Day – Rabbi Lionel Blue – 10 June 2012

While spring cleaning, I found a packet of postcards I’d sent to my parents from Holland just after the second world war. To my surprise I’d forgotten how grey wartime food was. At the end even potatoes and bread were rationed. We dined on snoek. But in Holland, I wrote frenziedly, real cream oozed out of cakes, and sandwiches overflowed with meat. And with an exchange rate of ten guilders to the pound, living was cheap. 8 bob a day covered my youth hostel, cigarettes and chips. I couldn’t afford dances or cinemas and I wasn’t allowed in sex shop being too young. So I mooched around looking for freebies which is how I fell from heaven into hell.

Along a well built street I noticed a ruined facade. A faded notice said Hollandsche Schouwburg – Dutch Theatre- but there were no programmes. I tried a door, it opened and in the gaunt roofless theatre, an English notice among bunches of sodden flowers said this was the collecting place of men women and children awaiting deportation to the death camps. Their sufferings it said were indescribable. I sat down and wept.

Back at the youth hostel the students comforted me.

There was light ahead, they said. Schuman. Monnet and Adenauer were starting an iron and steel community, to make future Franco-German wars impossible. It was indeed the first step towards the present European Union.

But now I’m frightened. I see the same signs that accompanied the end of the Weimar republic and the rise of the dictators. Currencies in trouble. Swastikas at football matches. Massacre at Srebrenica. The search for scapegoats, the rise of media demagoguery. Loving ourselves but not our neighbours as ourselves. The endemic problems of European tribalism, economic and spiritual. Heaven and hell are very close, and the devil is in the detail. To finish on a foody spiritual note – here’s a saying from Lao Tse a Chinese prime minister of long ago who became a contemplative hermit in his old age, unintentionally founding a new religion.

‘Govern a state as you would make an omelette’ he said – ‘with care.’ I’ve never personally succeeded with omelettes so I can’t help there. Mine broke up into scrambled egg which with a dollop of Jam is truly gorgeous. Sometimes if you’re lucky or if you pray hard enough, failure can turn into success. May it be so with Europe!


Shared values of our national life

House of Lords Debate: December 2, 2016

“Shared values underpinning our national life and their role in shaping public policy priorities”, sponsored by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

Read transcripts  here (first part) and here (second part).

Read the contribution of Lord Harries, former bishop of Oxford, here.