Ashing on Northcote Road
1 March is Ash Wednesday when churchgoers up and down the country will have their foreheads marked with ash in the shape of a cross. But Church of England members will also be taking to the streets to reach out to the public, with shops, stations and markets as the backdrop to this centuries-old tradition.
For the Revd Tiffany-Alice Ewins, offering ashing outside the local library in Battersea is the perfect start to her ministry, having been licensed two days earlier. She said “the opportunity to take to the streets in a public act of witness and worship seems too good a gift to pass up! The idea is to offer a moment of connection to the many parents, carers and children on foot in the parish.” (an excerp from Taking Ash Wednesday to the Streets – Thomas Thorpe, Media Officer, Archbishops’ Council – 2 March 2017)
What do you expect a vicar to be?
Most people I meet are surprised when I tell them I’m a vicar. That makes me smile.
So what is the surprise?
I do the normal ‘vicar’ stuff. I pray, lead services and preach from the Bible I find ways to let people know that there is a God who loves them. I even own robes.
I am a woman, but lots of vicars are these days.
Is the surprise that I have 4 noisy, happy children aged 13 down to 6, or that I have a fantastic husband who does not work in the church but is very content as a lawyer?
Could it be that I put on my shin pads and boots to play football on Wandsworth Common a couple of times a week with a group of women who just love tearing about in all weathers?
Maybe it’s that you’ve seen me before? We’ve lived in SW11 almost 20 years. We got married here. Our children are in the local schools. I (do my shopping, go to the butcher, visit the library, see the doctor, all in and around the Northcote Road. I’m a local. Just like you.
Perhaps that’s the surprise. I’m much more like you than you realise.
And like most of you I have a huge affection for this area and the people here. I’m passionate about it and I hope that St Michael’s will be a church for everyone who lives, works, learns and plays in the neighbourhood. It is our parish church so please get in touch; tell me your story, your ideas, your hopes for this area. You, just like ALL of us, have something important to contribute … and I would love to hear it.