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Golders Green Parish Church – Newsletter
10th June 2020

Our guest contributor this week is the new Area Dean of Barnet, The Rev Dr Julie Gittoes who spends most of her time as the Vicar of St Mary’s and Christchurch Hendon.
Julie writes

When asked to introduce myself, I often say that I’m a rural lass with an urban heart. I grew up in Herefordshire - just on the Welsh border - where Gittoeses have lived for generations. I trace my lineage back from a plumber to a publican/miller to countless tenant farmers and servants, until we get to John Gittoes (born in 1643) who was a cordwainer. I like to think he might appreciate my collection of shoes!
My faith was nurtured in the parish church were my parents were married - where I joined them in attempting to learn how to ring bells. My sister and I went to school in Hereford - a city which is home to my favourite cathedral, a sacred place full of warmth and intimacy. After a year out at secretarial college, I went to Durham to read theology.  It was a time of learning with the head and the heart as I explored the mystery of God’s love in language, history, doctrine, scripture and spirituality.
Durham was also the place where I began to explore a call to ordained ministry. I owe huge debt to the feminist theologian Ann Loades who challenged to consider doing a PhD alongside ordination training at Westcott House in Cambridge. It was an immense gift of space and time to think about the place of the Eucharist in our life together - the way we’re formed as members of the body of Christ in our worship and set out into the world to be  that his body in our acts of service, witness and engagement.
I was ordained at St Paul’s Cathedral and following a curacy and incumbency in the Kensington Area of the Diocese, I spent seven years as a Residentiary Canon at Guildford Cathedral. There, I was responsible for the educational programme including discipleship and work with schools as well as public dialogue - which was an opportunity to draw together a number of my other interests including art and social/political engagement. I haven’t been able to leave theology behind either - I still enjoy teaching and writing on the Eucharist, but also the life of the church, marriage and more recently singleness.
It’s been a delight to return to London - where I’ve been the Vicar of St Mary’s and Christ Church Hendon since last June. I’ve enjoyed getting to know this bit of north London; but none of us were expecting to be finding ways of praying at home, worshipping together online and serving our communities in the midst of lockdown. Taking on the role of Area Dean in this context is anything but ‘normal’. However, I hope we can encourage one another as we grow in faith and fellowship, facing challenges and opportunities together.
Being in lockdown has been hard - for those who’re shielding or home-schooling, for those grieving or living alone, for those working at home or on front lines of health care, retail or voluntary services. In some ways our world has grown smaller. I miss the crush of people coming out of a theatre and sitting in near empty cinema. Perhaps we’ve been surprised by our resilience so, whilst also feeling fatigued; we’ve worked hard to maintain connections, but sometimes loneliness creeps in.
With that in mind, I’ve been thinking about the things that give me life, some of which might also help you too.  I usually turn to reading as a way of relaxing but since lockdown my mind has been skittish and flighty. However, one of the things I have found helpful is reading about the ‘elimination of hurry’ and the way ‘sabbath’ offers us rest and renewal.
Living and working from home, having a structure is really helpful especially when it can be framed with a rhythm of prayer. Incorporating tasks, phone calls and a time to catch up with people is important; as is keeping to a good routine of when you go to bed/set the alarm.  Listening to some favourite music - and the people and memories associated with it - is a bit like a personal Desert Island Discs! 
Sometimes, when the strangeness of this time feels overwhelming, I have either focused on small things that I’m grateful for (the taste of honey on toast!) or taken time to watch the world around me (noticing trees and flowers). In her book, How to Be Alone, Sarah Maitland develops strategies for being alone. She focuses on paying attention to nature, checking in with yourself and doing things we enjoy. For me, that’s included National Theatre performances or Netflix, a weekend paper and the company of my cat!
As a rural lass with an urban heart, I’ll end with a line from another Herefordian who ended up in London, Thomas Traherne. When I return to Hereford, I seek out the Audley Chapel in the Cathedral which is full of the light, intricate detail, beauty and vibrant colour of stained class inspired by Traherne (and designed by Tom Denny
They capture Traherne’s sense that: ‘This visible world is wonderfully to be delighted in, and highly to be esteemed, because it is the theatre of God's righteous Kingdom’.  Even in lockdown, might we glimpse God’s love in the fragility of our human nature; may we see its splendour in our delight in the world; may we witness to its power as we seek the justice of God’s righteous Kingdom.
Nicola Slee, Sabbath: the hidden heartbeat of our lives.
Walter Brueggemann,  Sabbath as Resistance: saying no to the culture of now.
John Mark Comer, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry.
Sarah Maitland, How to be Alone.
Black Lives Matter: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1).                     A Reflection from Sally
I must confess last week nearly defeated me, with the confusion and lack of clarity over whether to stay in lockdown, or not, whether to send young children back to school when the figures for the Covid-19 infection remain the highest in Europe, from hearing the anguish of my former colleagues trying to make sense of the totally impractical directives for opening their schools and making classes suitable for the youngest children, from writing to my MP and others, as well as Bishops, together with listening to the daily briefings on television in total disbelief, I found, that while shouting at the television and radio didn’t do much for my voice it certainly did a lot to relieve my feelings. I am angry. I have to admit it and have been for so long about a great deal that is taking place in our increasingly dystopian society.
And then…. And then…. came the dreadful murder of George Floyd in the States. An act right there for everyone to see in all its horror, with the following trail of disaster and abject mishandling by the President. I became totally stunned as did so many others and - I wept a lot - for his grieving family and for the long line of all other grieving families in the USA and in this country too.
All I could think of, apart from, “Jesus wept”, was the verse from Isaiah that ran repeatedly though my mind, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine”. But I did not “fear not”. I do not “fear not”. I fear a great deal. it is no good any of us not fearing. In our society in the UK, as much as for my family members and friends in America, this murder is in a long line of similar acts that have taken place over a long period of time. It is not just America’s problem. It is Ours.
I have witnessed the way black people have been and are treated in our society for virtually the whole of my life. As a white-women I hate it, yes Hate. I am ashamed that it is so and always have been. I have tried to work against racism in all the predictable ways in my professional and private life but have never felt it has been enough. And, I am deeply, deeply sorry. I am ashamed too that both Church and State have never done enough with any real conviction and intent to prevent it or change it, bar a few determined individuals and groups who have been like voices in the wilderness most of the time. We have got to change. We keep saying it. For there to be a real Epiphany in hearts and minds, as well as actions, we must learn to behave as Jesus taught, preached and lived, to show that we are all equally loved, whatever colour or race, that all are included in that love in the recognition that people are uniquely made in the image of God and valued as such. At the moment, this latest most heinous crime, has jolted people into action with promises made that things will change. Will they really? Will we work together to make sure it will not happen again? One thing life has taught me is that there is no sure and certain answer to that question - only Hope and Prayer - preferably aligned with action. 
In the mean-time I end with the statement of support from our diocesan Bishop Sarah:
 “I want to join with people of colour and all those grieving the recent death of George Floyd and other men and women of colour whose lives have been unjustly lost. The injustice we have seen is also a UK problem and sadly a Church problem too. All people are made in the image of God and are worthy of dignity and Justice whatever the colour of their skin. I do not have the answer. But I know I have privilege that allows me to be part of the solution and I, we, are ready to learn”.
There is a window of the Black Christ (, installed in the 16th
St Baptist Church Birmingham, Alabama, from money raised by the Welsh community to honour four young black girls who were killed attending Sunday School by a bomb planted by the Klu Klux Klan at their church in 1963. The Welsh community were so horrified by this tragedy they employed a stained glass artist, John Petts of Llansteffan, Carmarthenshire, to create and install a replacement window as a gift and memorial from Wales to the Church in Alabama.
From Rex:
Dear All
You will have read in the Media that the Government has announced church buildings can open for individual supervised prayer from 15 June. We received a letter this Monday from Bishop Sarah regarding this announcement. In her letter she says, “We should discern how God is calling our communities to respond”. She also states, “not everyone will feel called or able to open their church buildings…..that we are called to different contexts  and that we are not all the same”.  Regarding the question of of shielding she acknowledges this will bring dilemmas and encourages us to look after our own wellbeing.
Last week I sent each of you a letter explaining that the PCC had discussed the diocesan guidelines relating to churches opening for private prayer. The guidelines contained a long list of requirements to be considered in order to do so safely.  As a result of going through each one it was unanimously decided that this was not something we felt we could do at the present time to  keep you safe but would monitor progress and see if the situation has changed by September. As always we are concerned for your wellbeing.
The letter I sent to you is reprinted below. I hope it clarifies our situation and you understand the PCCs decision.
Love Rex
If you would like to read the Bishop of London’s letter it can be found here
Dear all
I am sure like me you are anxious to see everyone and get back to church, however, recent announcements in the media have unrealistically raised our hopes to say the least.
While I would like us all to be back together again, I want to do so in a way that prioritises everyone’s health and safety. 
Clergy and churchwardens in the London Diocese have been sent a letter containing clear directions to be followed when considering whether their church might be opened for private prayer. There is no discussion as yet about holding a public service. 
The PCC has looked in detail at the requirements listed in the diocesan letter and, after a full discussion of all that would be needed to be put in place to make it safe for us to re-enter the church building again, it was agreed that at the present moment it would not be safe to do so. 
We took this decision after discussing and considering those who are most vulnerable in our community plus other factors such as:
-           the need to deep clean the building each time it is opened by ensuring all surfaces and           door fixtures, light switches etc. are frequently sanitised in line with Public Health      England guidelines, and Historic England guidance for cleaning of historic and delicate           surfaces 
-           not sharing Bibles, prayer books etc
-           removing holy water from stoups, all candles and matches/lighters
-         having sufficient people on hand to make sure those who entered the building keep to            the appropriate distancing requirements
-          having separate in- and-out entrances and exits
-          keeping a register of all those entering and leaving the building who sign in with their     own pens
-           ensuring there are required sanitizer washing facilities at the doors for all those entering
-           ensuring each person will bring their own books, order of service and take them home   with them 
-           closing toilets
There are several more requirements we had to take into account.
The PCC agreed that we will continue to monitor the situation and plan for the future but, in the light of all these requirements, not to re-open the church until, at the earliest, the beginning of September if Covid 19 infection figures show it is safe to do so. 
I know this will be a disappointment to us all, but we must keep each other safe. 
We are doing everything to we can to keep in touch with you and to reach out to the community in Golders Green by sending a weekly newsletter that includes the names and numbers of those who can volunteer to collect shopping, prescriptions etc; ringing up to make sure all is well and putting people in touch with each other; holding weekly prayer sessions and Sunday meditations on zoom, providing information to those who are not on social media of times of Services and moments of prayer on the Radio and TV and on the phone.
If you would like to comment on any of this please do by contacting: Rex
Love Rex
Here’s the June edition of A Rocha’s newsletter which includes an update on the Eco-church scheme. There’s also a particularly interesting article about the possible links between Covid-19 and the way human beings have abused nature - do read it!
Daily Hope - The Church of England Phone line church service - is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044 – has been set up particularly with those unable to join online church services during the period of restrictions in mind.
Please continue to pray for those who have asked us as a community to pray for them
Okey Jnr, Margaret, Yvone, Anna, Jason, Ian, Eva, Juliette, Ivor, Myfanwy, Tim and Dorothy

We at Golders Green Church will continue to offer a number of ways we can and will keep in contact though emailing and phoning each other, the use of Facebook and the website, sending out updates by supporting those who need shopping, prescriptions fetched, letters posted and anything else you may need if you are isolated at home, whether you are in the over 70-year-old age group, or, have underlying health conditions.
The important thing is, PLEASE LET US KNOW. We are drawing up a list of volunteers we can call on to help. If anyone wants to add their names to this, please email Rex
Alban Pilgrimage Eucharist Sunday 21 June, 10am
Hear from Parish Priest, Broadcaster and former Communard, The Rev'd Richard Coles as part of a special live streamed service at 10am on YouTube. Our local MP Daisy Cooper will also feature, as well as other churches from around the world that have links to Alban.
Radio, Television and Online Worship

You may wish to join in worship during this time through television and radio.
Check online, in the Radio Times and elsewhere for details:
Songs of Praise BBC 1, Sunday afternoon, variable times
Sunday Worship BBC Radio 4, Sunday, 8.10am Choral Evensong BBC
Radio 3, Wednesday Daily Service
BBC Radio 4 (Longwave only), weekdays, 9.45am
Big Sunday Service Premier Christian Radio, Sunday, 7am, 8am, 10am Easter Sunday Eucharist A service is usually broadcast on the BBC on Easter morning
Free 24 hour telephone church service 0800 804 8044
Online resources Church of England Daily Prayer St Paul’s Cathedral have a number of resources available for us to use.
Church of England Online Resources during this time
Go On-line to " ps://", put in Area or post code and find a local church that broadcasts Worship.
Prayers from Christian Aid Pray as you Go (a short service each day in the Jesuit Tradition)
LICC have some great resources on their website
Especially on Covid-19

YouTube - Worship Video of the week
So will I (still my favorite!)
Do you have favourite worship songs? Please email them to Rex 

Rex Morton, 10/06/2020
Hello and welcome to our church. If you are a new visitor, we have a page for you to get to know us and learn more about planning a visit.
Click here to see more.

Planning your Visit

WhatsApp Image 2021-11-26 at 1Welcome

New to Church

Welcome. Whether you've just moved to the area, or have lived here all your life - we hope our website helps you find out what you want to know about Golders Green Parish Church.

Key information about the church:-

When and where does the church meet?
What to expect when I visit the church?
Is there a dress code?
Will I be made to feel uncomfortable?
I have more questions, how can I get in touch and ask them?

When and where does the church meet?
The church meets every Sunday at 10.00am. It helps to get there 10 minutes early and be seated in time for the service to start. We meet at Golders Green Parish Church, our address is West Heath Drive, Golders Green, London, NW11 7QG. 

What to expect when I visit the church?
You can expect a warm welcome, great worship, an impacting preach and a friendly group of people gathering to learn more about God. Also FREE tea, coffee and biscuits!

Is there a dress code?
No, just wear something comfortable!

Will I be made to feel uncomfortable?
 We want you to feel at home and enjoy the service. Do join us for a hot drink and biscuits after the service to get to know some people from the church.

I have more questions, how can I get in touch and ask them?
Please feel free to call 020 8455 1873 or email the church office with any questions you have and we will be happy to help you.