Through the bleak months of lockdown St Catherine’s church has found ways to ‘make something wonderful’ out of the tough times. Haberdashers and staff went to meet Rev'd Sheridan James and her team on the Company’s first parish deputation since June 2019.
Rev'd Sheridan James, The Master, Freeman Erica Fitzpatrick, Liveryman Natalie Wilson, Liveryman Charles Cope, Past Master Caroline Davis, The Clerk and Rev'd Graham Hunter, Liveryman, at St Catherine’s.
A chapter like no other indeed. The past 18 months have proved immensely challenging for the family of worshippers at St Catherine’s, Hatcham, one of the eight patronages of the Company.
With a great deal of honesty and vulnerability Sheridan described the spiritual, financial and personal challenges she and the church family have experienced since March 2020. From a drop in income to a kind of hibernation in their worship the church has had to explore new ways of finding growth and renewal.
Sheridan coined the phrase ‘Porch Ministry’; offering solace and hope to Christians and local community through their ministry from the church’s porch. During the easing of lockdown services were held outside the church porch, allowing them to sing as part of their worship. They also used the porch area for their Nativity, Good Friday, Remembrance Sunday and National Day of Reflection activities.
Sheridan views the church as being one unit with the Telegraph Hill Centre, the community centre that adjoins their church building. It is here that a wide range of activities and services are offered for the diverse community on their doorstep.
Freeman Erica Fitzpatrick reflected on the visit. ‘St Catherine’s seems to me to be what a church should be in the 21st century - inclusive, and reaching out to the community, making it the heart of the neighbourhood, and adapting to different circumstances, and different needs.
‘In fact, following the Beatitudes, it offers very practical Christianity - helping the poor, the sick, the bereaved, the old and the young, the lonely and lost in the community - and in meeting current challenges of racial justice and climate change, it makes the Church relevant to the needs of the neighbourhood’.
Our thanks go to Sheridan and the teams from both the church and the centre for welcoming the deputation so warmly. On this, the 10th anniversary year of Sheridan’s ministry at St Catherine’s, we look forward to seeing what the next ten years hold.
Thanks to Natalie Wilson, Liveryman, in her role as Company Livings Contact for St Catherine’s.
Director for Charities