Our community is about inclusivity and compassion as well as nice houses and shops, says Teddington vicar in outdoor Palm Sunday service

By Ellie Brown - Local Democracy Reporter

5th Nov 2021 | Local News

The Vicar of St Mary with St Alban Reverend Joe Moffatt paid tribute to Teddington's community spirit in the Church's traditional Palm Sunday service, which was held outside yesterday morning.

Reverend Moffat addressed the socially-distanced congregation who held crosses and gathered in the Churchyard for prayers, hymns and a special procession featuring Park Lane Stables.

In his sermon, streamed live on YouTube for those who could not be at the ticket-only service because of social distancing restrictions on attendance, the vicar highlighted the recent news that Teddington had been officially named today as the best place in London to live in the Sunday Times.

He also stressed the importance and value of the role of the church in making the community 'inclusive and compassionate."

In his opening address this morning Reverend Moffatt said: "A very warm welcome to our Palm Sunday Service, held for the first time in our churchyard since we can't do our normal procession between the church of St Peter & St Paul at the other end of the High Street and the church of St Mary with St Alban behind me.

"It's wonderful to have a congregation for the first time since before Christmas. And the government have just announced that we can allow congregational singing for outdoor services, so for the first time in over a year we can have the joy of singing together."

"This service is also being live-streamed so I hope that people can join us at home and sing along, using the service booklet that is available via the online church section of our website.

"The Sunday Times has just announced that Teddington is the best place to live in London, which comes as no surprise to many of us who feel very blessed to live here.

"The criteria for this judgement seems to be based on nice houses, great shops and lovely green spaces, all of which we appreciate.

"But I think a community should also be judged on its diversity and inclusion, on the quality of its welcome to outsiders and its care for the disadvantaged.

"I'm not sure how well we score on this, but one organisation that certainly plays its part is Park Lane Stables and its Riding for the Disabled charity.

"So I'm delighted that once again we have a pony from the stables masquerading as a donkey for our procession and thank Natalie for bringing the pony and Woody one of her regular riders for being Jesus."

He informed the congregation that cameras from BBC Breakfast were at the service and would be filming a package to include in Monday's show.

"Finally, I'd like to think that we as a church also play our part in making our community inclusive and compassionate," he said.

More information on the churches of St Peter and St Paul and St Marys with St Alban are available on their website


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