Farewell to James

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When James Gilder first came to St Edmund’s to be our Assistant Curate, few could have imaged what the ensuing 2½ years would bring. The COVID pandemic brought a different kind of curacy, responding to the challenges of being an open church during lockdowns even when our buildings were shut. Never short of ideas, and a determination to reach out to the local community and particularly those isolated during these strange times, he was the driving force behind successful events such as our 2019 Pancake Party and helping the parish to achieve its Eco Church accreditation. The online social ‘More Tea, Vicar?’ was his brainchild, and he channelled members’ creativity to make a new mosaic for the church. On Sunday, we said a sad farewell before he took up his new post at Wanstead parish. We will long remember his many achievements in building up strong friendships and making a real impact on our church life.

© 2022 St Edmund, Chingford

An Ode to Auld Sooth Chingford – Burns Night and Valedictory 2022

Amidst a glen of thirties houses
Lies a place my heart espouses:
South Chingford, where my angels rolled the dice,
Has been a curate’s paradise.

From up the Mount to the old dog track,
I’ve biked these streets and walked them back.
I’ve delivered magazines, had cups of tea,
I’ve trespassed whilst angry householders shout at me.

I’ve helped you make a big mosaic,
And posted sermons in a letterbox by mistake,
And though we’ve endured a pandemic,
You’ve put up with all of my polemic.

Now, South Chingford may not be that pretty
But it’s my favourite part of this city.
St Peter and Paul may have a steeple
But you see, St Edmund’s has the best of people.

For you bade me welcome, you took me to heart,
You bought me drinks, fed me treacle tart.
And you taught me so much about the art
Of loving.

© 2022, James Gilder
Used with permission

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