A NEW ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST IN CRANFORD
Fr Francis Press who has been at Our Lady & St Christopher's for the last seven years left the parish at the end of August. Just over two weeks later it was a great joy to welcome Dom Bernard Akoeso OSB as the new Parish Priest. Dom Bernard is a priest of the Benedictine Order which is why he has the title "Dom" rather than "Father" when used in conjunction with his name. He had heard a great deal about our parish before coming and is looking forward to working with us, thus continuing the very special links between the two parishes and its priests which have existed for many years. He is very much looking forward to visiting St Dunstan's and walking in the footsteps of Blessed John Hale.
LONDON OPEN HOUSE WEEKEND
This took place across the weekend of September 21st and 22nd. The church was open along with the stable block and secret garden which once formed part of Cranford House. The weather on Saturday was wonderful, and it was good to see people relaxing over refreshments and laughing as they enjoyed one another's company. We had quite a full church for Mass on Sunday morning. Although it was a rather dark and gloomy day, the threatened thunderstorms did not materialise and there was hardly any rain. There were good numbers of visitors to the church on both days, and it was a joy to welcome back people with connections to the parish who came back to visit. We even had a diocesan bishop who came along incognito. We had good support from within the parish in the provision of light refreshments over the weekend. Although we were due to close at 430pm, we finally locked up at 5pm as no one seemed to be in a great hurry to leave. Another very successful London Open House Weekend.
A SPECIAL BIRTHDAY
On Saturday November 23rd, a larger team of ringers than usual came along to St Dunstan's to practice. What was so special about the occasion was that is was the 101st birthday of Dennis Brock who has been a ringer at St Mary's Sunbury for several decades. He featured on BBC London News last year when he celebrated his centenary; it is believed that he is the oldest bellringer in the world. Dennis brought his British Empire Medal along, and Fr Michael sat at the organ to lead everyone in the singing of "Happy Birthday". After some light refreshments which included a special cake and a second rendition of the birthday anthem, Dennis announced that he was going to have a ring and headed up the spiral staircase to the gallery.
VISIT OF BISHOP JONATHAN
It was a great joy to welcome our Bishop to St Dunstan's on the Third Sunday of Advent to preside and preach at Mass. It was the first visit he had made since the new lighting had been installed and he was very impressed. After Mass light refreshments were provided and everyone had the chance to meet and chat with Bishop Jonathan.
NINE LESSONS AND CAROLS
Last year the Parish Church was quite full, but this year there were even more people in church for this service. It was a great joy to be able to welcome Dom Bernard OSB from Our Lady & St Christopher's on his first visit to St Dunstan's. It was wonderful to have so many comments from visitors saying how much they had enjoyed singing so many of the traditional carols and listening to the readings. Most stayed behind afterwards and enjoyed some traditional fare and a good chat. Avery special service indeed.