Page 8, 24th September 1982

24th September 1982
Page 8
Page 8, 24th September 1982 — Behind-the-scene care for the bemused and dislocated

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People: Louis Jebb
Locations: London


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Behind-the-scene care for the bemused and dislocated

suburbs with a variety of sizeable and comfortable houses that housed the professional middle classes and some of London's artistic community. Today. the buildings remain much the same but the social mix of the area has changed considerably.

Bayswater is an area of extremely fragmented social groupings. There is extreme wealth and extreme poverty and racial minorities are small and numerous. Much of the population is transitory and suffers from inner city anonymity in unsociable bed-sit accommodation.

In this context. much work is

required to combat isolation and insecurity and to make newcomers and lonely people feel welcome and part of the community.

The Parish House at St Mary's is open and friendly. The poor are fed twice a day, and members of the parish team are always ready to hear and discuss people's problems.

Parishioners are encouraged to find out who is ill. lonely or in despair and to try and meet them and help them. The Pastoral Committee of the Parish Council organises visiting of housebound people, to take them communion or do their shopping. Two members of the parish team are on the Community Work Committee of the Paddington Christian Council. This committee employs a worker to help with immigrant youth. school projects and the local community centre.

The work of the parish aims to cater for the differing needs of a diverse community. The message of welcome at the church is in a score of languages. there is a mass in Portuguese every Sunday. and one of the parish team has been personally appointed by Cardinal Hume to look after the welfare of people from all over London who were born in the West Indies or born in England of West Indian parents.

Manu parishioners are new to this country, and the parish team can offer advice to tenants who suffer abuse from oppressive landlords. Social work has to cater for the dislocated and bemused as much as for the physically or mentally handicapped The complex work of the parish is organised by an extremely active parish council with numerous social. technical and liturgical committees.

St Mary's is a member of the Notting Hill Council of Churches, an ecumenical group involving every church in the area. The Council hopes that sympathy between Churches will help in their quest for reconciliation in the area.

Bayswater's annual celebration of Christian liberty and Caribbean culture. the Notting Hill Carnival, has a strong emphasis on reconcilition, with an open-air ecumenical service. There is a Caribbean supper and a special mass. celebrated this year by the Rev. Harcourt Blackett.

In the parish's programmes for Religious Education and Preparation for the Sacraments there is an emphasis on building up relationships with the Church through hospitality. celebration and worship as well as formal doctrinal instruction.

There are numerous clubs and societies that encourage people to involve themselves in the parish and that range from a music and Senior Citizens' Club to Alcoholics Anonymous and a Drama Group.

Louis Jebb

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