— and a wonderful welcome it proved to be, with the church packed almost to overflowing as Bishop Pete formally licensed Sue to the parish on Monday, November 19th.
There were representatives not only from St Matthew's but also from Harefield and Eastcote, as well as other friends, family, local clergy and even the Mayoress of Hillingdon.
We lost count of the number of cards and congratulatory emails, and the vicarage is still brightly decorated with baskets and bouquets of flowers — a massive thank you to all those who have done so much to make us feel at home during the first few weeks!
St Matthew's vicarage is a rather grand building, built in the 1930s and situated alongside the Church at the back of Yiewsley High Street. We moved in a few weeks before the licensing, which allowed us time to get settled. We share the vicarage with a large garden, which seems to think that it, rather than us, is in control. Phil's been out there with various tools and a wheelbarrow trying to persuade it otherwise — it's difficult to say who's winning at this stage.
At least, it started as a dream, Phil's 40th spent lazing by a private pool in the sunshine, hanging out under the palm trees — but where were you on September 11th 2001? We were on holiday visiting some very dear friends in Pasadena, LA, and suddenly found ourselves staying for longer than expected as flights home were cancelled.
The sense of shock, horror, outrage and grief around LA was palpable: the hijacked planes were on their way home to LA. September 11th has been called the Day that Changed the World, but for many it was the day the world ended. Our prayers are with all who grieve, both in the USA and Afghanistan.
GroomNews wouldn't be complete without an update on Almost — she's still in Harefield Marina at present, though we're looking into the possibility of moving her closer. The Grand Union canal passes under Yiewsley High Street and there's a new marina under construction just a short distance away: watch this space!
London Bible College
...is, of course, where Phil spends much of his time running the bookshop. Visit www.lbc.uk.com/bookshop for more info — but don't get too excited: the site's very much a work in progress, with plenty of scope for development!
Old Testament Hebrew: What Does It Mean?
That's what Sue's MPhil thesis was all about, and she's now signed a publishing contract with Paternoster Press. The official publication date has yet to be announced, but keep your eyes peeled at your local Christian bookshop... and if you're not sure where that is, you can find out at:
Very special thanks to everyone who has been praying for Phil's sister-in-law, Linda. Chemotherapy and a lot of prayer appear to have once again beaten the cancer into remission. Please continue to pray for Linda, Anthony and their four children.
Meanwhile Sue's sister, Sister Mary Cuthbert, came down from Fetlar to visit family & friends in October — and found herself as the Star Attraction at Evensong when Sue interviewed her instead of giving a sermon! Thank you, Sister!
Finally, congratulations to Mother Mary Agnes, whose book, Island Song, (mentioned in the last issue of GroomNews) made it into the Church Times top ten bestsellers! Have you bought your copy yet? At £6.99 it's just the right price for a stocking-filler!!
With our love, prayers and best wishes for Christmas and the year ahead,
Phil & Sue