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Farewell to St Matthias’ Canning Town and Hello to 42 Rossall Road, Leeds

Benedict writes:

We have been housed and served the parish of the Divine Compassion, Newham for getting on for 10 years, living first at St Martin’s for a short time before moving to St. Matthias Vicarage, Canning Town.  Philip Bartholomew had an unpaid post of associate priest in the parish and he and several brothers have lived in the Vicarage next door to St. Matthias Church.  Philip has given himself fully to the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral life of the parish, faithfully ministering, sometimes under difficult circumstances and he was key to holding the parish together through two interregnums.  Several brothers living at the Vicarage have had their own ministries, particularly Giles before he moved to Hilfield, and Benedict and Christian; but it has also been home for novices having a year’s urban experience.  We did think that we would remain at St. Matthias’ until Philip reached 70 years of age at the end of 2017 but the current interregnum has given the diocese an opportunity to think afresh about the Anglican Christian presence in Newham.  It seemed very right to us that we should give early possession of the Vicarage to the diocese so that they can forge ahead with plans they have for our part of Newham.  The Diocese plans to place St. Matthias with a separate neighbouring parish in South Canning Town, and a newly ordained Deacon will reside in the vicarage, under the tutorage of the priest at South Canning Town, and he will develop the Anglican presence by ‘church grafting.’  This should be an exciting development and one which we (SSF) heartily support.   With the closure of 45 Mafeking Road, Christian will move to 85 Crofton Road as will Philip Bartholomew once he has had his holiday and break.

As one door closes, another opens!  We have recently purchased a second house in Harehills, Leeds and the new house is just a minute’s walk from the existing property.  With the acquisition of the new house, we should have more accommodation for   asylum seekers who do not have a legal right to remain in the country.   By providing accommodation, friendship, a warm welcome, help when necessary with asylum applications etc, we hope to provide asylum seekers with both a home and a family.  The new second house will also allow us to have a third brother, guest accommodation, an oratory in which to say our prayers,  and space as  well  to receive visitors and friends; we did all this in the one house, but it was difficult at times to fit the life and ministry into one small terraced house!  So now there are two!  f