Dear friends,

It’s good to be back in Kenton, after a restorative fortnight on annual leave: thank you to all those who ensured the continuation of worship and witness in our parish in my absence.

This coming weekend the nation celebrates the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III, with all eyes on Westminster Abbey on Saturday morning. The celebrations will continue the next day at St Mary’s, as we celebrate the Fifth Sunday of Eastertide: both the Saturday Vigil Mass and Sunday morning’s Parish Mass will be followed by a glass of something sparkling, to raise in honour of the newly-crowned King. Do join us as we come together as a community to pray for King Charles and Queen Camilla, for the Royal Family, the Commonwealth of nations and for all who serve in public life.

The authorised liturgy for the Coronation has been published by the Archbishop of Canterbury, here. This version of the Order of Service includes a helpful commentary explaining the meaning of the words and symbols used in this ancient ceremony: in particular, the symbolism of the vestments and regalia in which the King will be clothed is explained – including the curiously-named Colobium Sindonis, the Supertunica and Girdle… click on the link above to find out more!

As the King is dressed in royal finery, perhaps our own minds will turn to St Paul’s words in Ephesians 6, where he describes the Christian life using the imagery of ‘the whole armour of God’: we are all – kings and commoners alike – encouraged to gird ourselves with the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness, having shod our feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace. So too we should take the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. As we observe the vesting of King Charles, might we ourselves once more take hold of the whole armour of God – and, as the King commits himself to the service of God and of our nation, likewise commit ourselves to love of our neighbour and of almighty God?

Our friends at Kenton Methodist Church extend an invitation to us to join them for a Coronation Party on Saturday, 13 May between 11am-3pm – and a flier is included herewith.

Similarly, our continuing prayers are asked for those whose Christian witness comes at the cost of persecution: the May prayer case from Action by Christians Against Torture (Harrow) is also included below.

The parish’s Annual Meeting takes place immediately after Mass on Sunday, 14 May – please stay for this short but important occasion, and please refer to the 2022 Annual Report below.

Finally, I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to all who – in response to our recent Stewardship Campaign – have prayerfully and carefully reviewed their financial support for St Mary’s, in the face of continuing financial pressures. I am delighted to report that, between February and April, the value of donations by Standing Order increased by more than 20% – with an increase also in donors and donations using our weekly freewill giving envelopes. As a new financial year continues – particularly if your own income has altered – please do reconsider what you are able to give to resource our mission and ministry at St Mary’s. A further update and formal expression of thanks to all supporters will follow in the autumn of this year.

With my best wishes for a joyful Coronation weekend,

Fr Richard