Father Christopher writes:-

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Visitors to All Saints during the past month cannot have failed to see that we have been celebrating the 125th anniversary of the consecration of our church. They will have seen the amazing collection of memorabilia covering the history of All Saints during the past one hundred and twenty-five years and the delightful and very skilled artwork produced by children at our primary school. The anniversary was celebrated with a Mass of Thanksgiving on 7th May followed by a splendid cooked lunch in the hall and Solemn Evensong and Benediction later in the afternoon. I wish to record the enormous appreciation of all of us to everybody who helped in any way to mark this landmark in our church's mission and worship in this part of South Wimbledon. Later that week the children and staff of All Saints Primary School came into church to join in our thanksgiving celebrations, and while I was preparing a short talk for them I discovered that the school which became All Saints School was established in South Road in 1867, so that this year marks their 150th anniversary - something we look forward to celebrating during the new school year.

It is fascinating to look back at some of the events that occurred during 1892, the year in which our church was consecrated. People born then who, for many of us, form part of our own history, included Margaret Rutherford, Basil Rathbone, J.R.R Tolkien, Mary Pickford and Haile Selassie, while deaths included Alfred Lord Tennyson, Louis Vuitton and Fr. Pelham Dale SSC (an Anglo-Catholic priest who had been prosecuted and imprisoned in 1876 and 1880 for ritualist practices, liturgical practices now taken for granted in many Church of England parishes). Liverpool football club was founded, as were the Community of the Resurrection and Abercrombie & Fitch. July 1892 also saw a general election in the United Kingdom in which Lord Salisbury, the Conservative prime minister, lost his majority and a minority Liberal government was formed under Gladstone. Perhaps of greatest interest in that election was that it saw the election of Keir Hardie to the House of Commons - the first socialist MP who went on to form the Independent Labour Party which subsequently became the Labour Party.

Most of us tend to take for granted our right to vote in a general election, but in 1892 women could not vote, and some forty percent of men also could not vote. We hear a lot about women suffragists and suffragettes but it is often overlooked that millions of men had to fight and give their lives in the First World War before the right to vote was given to all men over 21. The right to vote is a very precious thing. I would not presume to suggest how you might vote on June 8th. But the important thing is that you should vote. That is our obligation as citizens of a democratic society. As the Archbishops of Canterbury and York state in a pastoral letter* it is also our obligation as Christians, to set aside apathy and cynicism, to participate and encourage others to do the same. But the Archbishops remind us that we also have an obligation as Christians to pray for those standing for office, and to continue to pray for those who are elected.


Fr Christopher.

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