Jottings, Curios, Ramblings and all




Pastoral Assistant Ponderings (39/2018)




In the Pastoral Assistants’ flat there is a wonderful painting by Gemma, a former PA at Holy Innocents, now training for the priesthood at Mirfield. The words she chose for the painting are very apposite and very beautiful: ‘Will you seek and serve Christ in all people?’

I have been trying to live with this question and to reflect on it often, and to set it at the heart of my life as a pastoral assistant. I fall short of it all the time. But I am very fortunate, because, as I have discovered during my first two months here, this community at Hornsey Parish Church is characterised by incredible generosity and forgiveness. I have found that this church is a truly wonderful, supportive and inclusive place to be – and I am constantly impressed and encouraged by how much effort is put into sharing the good things we have here and inviting others to join with us in worship and mission.

I have loved going into St Mary’s School for assembly and preparing year six for the Eucharist, and taking part in Kindle Choir and Youth Fellowship, and in our Chaplaincy to the YMCA. In my first couple of weeks here things were especially busy with the start of the new school year, and I really enjoyed the Bag Blessing service, the Pet Blessing service, Beer and Hymns and the Barn Dance. They were really joyful occasions, and it was lovely to meet so many of you at these services and events, and to experience and get involved in this church’s missional efforts to reach out to people and to welcome them into church – to share the love of God we have discovered, to the glory of God who is Love.

The first event I attended with the other North London Pastoral Assistants was a conference with the theme ‘God’s Church in the World: the Gift of Catholic Mission’. The final lecture of the conference focused on the importance of welcome: the importance of inviting people to things, caring for them and making sure they know how much their presence is valued. It strikes me that this is something which Hornsey Parish Church does well – and it is a real privilege to live and work in such an active and generous-spirited parish, to be among you and to get to know you during my time here. I feel that this is a good place to learn what it means to seek and serve Christ in all people – as Gemma’s painting challenges me to do – since your actions often demonstrate this.

So I would like to thank you for a joyful and inspiring first two months at Hornsey Parish Church. I am very excited for the rest of my time among you, and for the activities and worship of the coming months, including the season of Advent and the start of the Winter Night Shelter.

Please know that you are in my prayers.

With love,



Hornsey Parish Church