St Augustine’s Church, Grove Park 336 Baring Road, SE12 0DX  Vicar: Rev. Gavin Berriman

St Augustine’s Church, Grove Park

336 Baring Road, London SE12 0DX

Rev Gavin Berriman, Vicar

Tel: 020 8857 4941 Email:

15 January 2022

Dear All

Just a brief letter this week, along with the readings and reflection for Sunday. This week is the Second Sunday in the season of Epiphany and the Gospel focuses on Jesus’ first miracle at the wedding in Cana of Galilee.

Just a little advance notice about this year’s Lenten reflections.  Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on the 2nd March, and this year our reflections will focus upon saints; not only of our own tradition but including saints of other traditions also.  There will be a Lenten booklet available again, with a short reflection on a different saint each day.  I should point out that the saints I have chosen are not just those who the Vatican deem to be worthy of the title, but also a number who I consider to be true saints of God.  See if you can guess who they are!  Along with the booklet there will also be the usual daily blog for those who are able to access it which will include extra material each day.  More details will follow in the coming month.

I have been really enjoying my cold, frosty winter morning walks this week and below is a poem inspired by them.

                                      My love and prayers continue to be with you all


A Winter Pentecost

                     God’s Holy Spirit descends

                           In so many different forms;

                                 It came upon Jesus

                                       In the guise of a dove.


                            I often experience its Presence

                                 Through the dawn song of the robin,

                                       In the winter melody of the song thrush,

                                            The manic laughter of the woodpecker;

                                                   In the early morning mist and chill,

                                                         Or the crunching of frost beneath my feet.


                                      And, through this morning’s sunrise -

                                           Red and crimson tongues of fire

                                                Exploding in the virgin sky -

                                                      Alighting upon the whole of creation.

                                                            Leaving me with the utterance of silence.

Introduction, Collect, Readings, and Blessing for Epiphany 2

In our Eucharist this morning we give thanks for, and we celebrate, the gift of faith that we share.

We ask God’s renewal of that gift, that it may shine in our lives,

and through the ministry of this church as a light of hope in the community we serve.


Almighty God, in Christ you make all things new:

Transform and make whole our lives in service of you;

and in the renewal of our lives make known your heavenly glory.

Through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

One God, now and forever.   Amen.

A reading from I Corinthians chapter 12

There are varieties of gifts, but the one and same Spirit;
and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord;
there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone.
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom,

and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,
to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,
to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy,

to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues,

to another the interpretation of tongues.
All these are activated by one and the same Spirit,

who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.

The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.
Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.
When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine."
And Jesus said to her, "Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come."
His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."
Now standing there were six stone water jars for the rites of purification,

each holding twenty or thirty gallons.
Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water."

And they filled them up to the brim.
He said to them,

"Now draw some out and take it to the chief steward."

So they took it.
When the steward tasted the water that had become wine,

and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew),

the steward called the bridegroom and said to him,

"Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk.

But you have kept the best wine till last."
Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee,

and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.


Jesus said I am the way, the truth, and the life.

May he grant us the grace to walk in his way

To seek for his truth; and to live his risen life.

And may the blessing of God Almighty, Father Son and Holy Spirit

Be with us, and all for whom we pray, this day and always. Amen.

Sermon for Epiphany 2

So Jesus was at a wedding in Cana of Galilee with his disciples, his mother was also there.

The worst of all catastrophes that could happen at a wedding did happen, the wine ran out:

At that time running out of wine would have been a very shameful experience for the family.

Mary was aware of what was happening and turned to Jesus with the problem.

She didn’t tell Jesus what he should do. She didn’t ask him to make everything ok.

She did not in any way try to manipulate him into making a particular response.

She simply laid the problem before him and then left him to respond in whatever way he felt was right. “They have no wine” was all she said.

I think we should read this passage regularly before we pray.

For me, Mary’s response is the perfect prayer.

It is a beautiful example of how to pray on someone’s behalf or for ourselves,

whether we are praying alone at home or leading intercessions at church.

Keep it simple.  Keep it short.  Use a minimum of words and hold the situation before God.

When we pray it is very easy to get caught in the trap of telling God what to do,

or of going into great detail telling God what God already knows.

Sometimes we use words to implore God to make things be the way we want them to be.

Far too often we try and manipulate God into doing what we want.

We seem think that if we pray hard enough, earnestly enough,

get the right formula of words, it will make a difference to God’s response.

Mary teaches us to keep prayer short and simple, and simply leave the situation with God.

Throughout the Gospels we see Mary praying in the same way.

At the Annunciation, when the angel told her she was with child, she simply responded:

Be it unto me according to your word. Her prayer was about cooperating with God, working with God,

not trying to make God work in a certain way.

Again, at the crucifixion, as she stood and watch her son suffer and die,

she simply held a silent vigil with him and held him before God in her heart,

as she did throughout his life.


In the Jewish culture it is traditionally the mothers who teach their children to pray.

That is very easy to see in the prayer life of Jesus.

He had obviously learned the simplicity of his mother’s way of praying.

When his disciples asked him to teach them the way that they should pray,

he basically told them to keep it short and simple.

When you pray, he said, say: - and then he taught them what we now call the Lord’s Prayer.

And again, in Gethsemane, when he desperately wanted things to be different.

He kept it short and to the point.

“Father if it’s possible, take this cup away from me, nevertheless not my will but thy will be done.”

He made it clear in his prayer how he felt, but did not try and manipulate God in any way.

He simply placed it all in God’s hands.

Jesus taught us in the Lord’s Prayer to pray “Thy will be done”,

but so often we fall into the trap of praying “My will be done” instead.

“God’s not listening to my prayer”, we may say; when, in fact, what we really mean is: “God is not doing what I want”. God does hear and responds. It just may not be quite the way we want God to.

Prayer is not about us getting what we want; the world does not revolve around me.

Can you imagine the mess it would be if it did?

Prayer is about sharing each moment with God, each experience with God;

each joy with God; each anxiety with God - and trusting God with those moments.

We may at the time feel that God has done nothing;

it is only looking back later that we see how God’s hand was at work.

So let us learn from the prayer of Mary at this wedding feast.

“They have no wine” she simply said:

And then left it to her son to respond in the way he thought best.

Father Gavin’s Pastoral Letter - Saturday 15 January 2022

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