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Golders Green Parish Church – Newsletter

11 November 2020

Greetings from Sally :

Good wishes to everyone and hoping you are all managing well in this second week of lockdown. We had our first zoomed service on Sunday which Tony will tell you about. Many thanks to him for making it work. It is hoped that we will get used to worshipping in this way together.

If you would like to hear Archdeacon John’s excellent Armistice Day sermon you can do so by going to the Youtube link on:

My contribution this week is on, “Writing the Psalms” with an invitation to you to see if this is something you would like to do.

Anita has sent some information about the “Daily Hope Line” that has been set up by the Church of England, particularly with those in mind who are unable to join on-line church services during the period of restrictions. The Archbishop of Canterbury has recorded a message for you and there are a variety hymns, prayers and weekly reflections as well as exercises for you to do.

In addition, there is the, “Prayer for the Nation” to which the Archbishops of Canterbury and York are inviting all people of faith and goodwill to pray for our political leaders and for a fresh uniting vision for all in our country. The link to that is in Anita’s notice.

Update from Tony

Today is Remembrance Day so on this day when we remember those who gave their lives in the World wars and other wars, we would ask Our Father in Heaven to give us the grace and love to be selfless and to follow Him in all things as our worship to Him.

We had our first Zoom service last Sunday when our Archdeacon lead our service. I am sorry that our Zoom link did not get to all of you on time. The link is now attached to this newsletter.

This Sunday we have Rev Mavis leading our Service and then next week we will have Rev Charlotte.

One last thing - Thank you to all those who have returned their questionnaires. Work on the Profile is moving on towards a meeting of the two parish reps and the Bishop. The PCC had chosen Pamela and me as your two representatives. The draft profile is being discussed this week in our PCC meeting before being refined a bit further before discussions with the Bishop. It will need more work after that meeting with the Bishop. So please pray for this process especially that we will see the person God has chosen for us and for our relationship and life with that person and family.

Writing the Psalms - Sally

I wonder if any of you have tried to write your own psalms? The idea of addressing God with the depth of feeling, the strong, direct, accusative language shown by the psalmists may not be what we feel we could do, but, have you ever felt you might; that it could even be a force for healing? I have noticed as I have got older I turn to the psalms more and more in recognition of how those who wrote them were completely unafraid to talk to God in unrestrained language about the situation in which they and their people found themselves. They lamented out-loud, voiced anger, metaphorically waved their fists in the air, demanded to know why whatever has happened to them happened and slated their enemies. Their expressions of protests and accusations were crucial to the way they felt. They needed to let God know about it. Reading several of the Psalms of Lament, which I am focusing on at this time of Covid and other disasters across the world, I couldn’t help feeling how apt they are to our present challenging time; psalm 22: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest”.

Maybe my cultural tradition did a disservice to the way many of us were taught to pray, in the belief we are talking to a powerful and punitive father who we wanted to please not make cross, so our language was more confined, restricting what we really would like to say. This, of course, is a very personal opinion and you, reading this, may not agree at all.

Over the years I have come to think very differently about how we can address God in times of need, injustice, danger, grief. What influenced me were two key factors. One, a book by Walter B, Emeritus Professor of Old Testament at Columbia University, on “Praying the Psalms” which changed my whole way of looking at them and acted as a liberation; the other, a workshop I attended, years ago, run by Dr Megan W, a noted Old Testament Scholar who specialises in the psalms. (Dr Warner has recently contributed to a book, “Towards a Biblical Theology of Mental Health” with a chapter on The Bible and Mental health” written during the first lockdown).

Professor Brueggemann sees prayer as the conversation of the heart addressed to God. That psalms are not the voice of God addressing us but it is we who are addressing God who is a full participant in a life of lively dialogue with us. I do like the term, “lively dialogue” suggesting a rich, expressive two-way flow of feeling, psalm 59; “Fierce enemies are out there waiting, Lord, though I have not sinned or offended them. I have done nothing wrong, yet they prepare to attack me Wake up! See what is happening and help me!”. How often have we thought that, Yes, “Wake up God” can’t you see what is happening?

The language of the psalms gives us a model from which we can depart from the closely managed world of controlled prayer, that can put a self-imposed limit on what we say and how we say it. They are there to free us to a more challenging world of speech to the Holy one. To know that the way we use language to describe what we feel at times of stress, injustice, cruelty, unwarranted hurt, disasters and complete dislocation, when addressed to God can be an emancipating experience for us. It may sound abrasive, revolutionary or dangerous even, and we think we dare not be anything but deferential, but, Brueggemann says, “It is clear when we freely engage ourselves with them they are indeed subversive literature. They disrupt and question. They open new possibilities. They create new relationships. It is liberating”. Speaking to God, as the psalmists knew how, helps us to break loose and question the issues we are addressing with new eyes to see, new tongues to speak, to find a new way
into the future that God is showing us. He tells us that freeing our speech to God may release the energy we have in seeing other ways round them rather than repressing them or internalising our feelings of unfairness and hidden resentment which can be damaging for us.

Similarly, in Dr Warner’s workshop she told us that the psalms were the strong feelings of those who spoke to God in their own way with deep, profound, unrestrained language of joy, worship, praise, as in so many more joyous psalms, but also of real heartfelt anger, rage, fury, fully expressed grief, at the injustice of what was going on as in, psalm 13; “How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, LORD my God”.

The psalmists and people at that time had very close relationships with God whose presence they were acutely aware of. The writers of the psalms knew God was there as a full participant in their lives and ,with confidence, they could express what they felt and the way they felt it, psalm59; “Show no mercy to wicked traitors. They come out at night, snarling like vicious dogs as they prowl the streets. Listen to the filth that comes from their mouths”.

They were, because of wars, pestilence, famine, unjust and cruel rulers, often very angry at God, at the suffering they were undergoing and said so. But, and this was the important “But”, I remember her saying their anger and lament did not end in a void, that having expressed themselves fully, they turned back to God with praise, ending with the knowledge that God loved them, that in God they had hope and faith. So after a long tirade, Psalm 13 ends with, “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me”.

What I think Warner was saying to us, as Brueggemann does too, that by expressing how we feel in whatever way we want to express it, not being constrained by language we think we should use, is a healthy way to help rid ourselves of the feelings of injustice, unresolved pain by speaking it all out loud, but not leaving it in a vacuum which just stays and hovers there; give it all to God; God can bear it because God knows it; psalm 139,” You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely”. (One of my most favourite psalms - apart from the last few verses which I notice are often left out in the services).

In the workshop, Dr Warner asked us to think of one thing in our lives that made us troubled, for example, holding on to feelings of injustice, bitterness, grief, loss, that we would like to express to God more freely. She gave us time to think, and having done that, asked us to go away into the grounds of the centre and try to create/write our own psalm on whatever it was we felt strongly about, in the language we needed to use, unrestrained by what we thought was acceptable – just to say it! She was not going to ask us to read them back (which was a relief). They were just for us, facing and expressing what we wanted to say, letting God know. While momentarily my heart froze at the thought of the emotionally energy involved in doing this and, from the expressions of others, I was not the only one, we did take ourselves off. We sat pondering for a while with paper and pen in hand. Then I went for it. I found myself pouring out to God, in freely expressed, direct words about an injustice I had been grappling with for a very long time. They just streamed out, “How can you allow this to happen”, Can’t you see the damage and injustice it is doing”? “What kind of world have you created that is supposed to be so good”? Added to which I found myself weeping thinking about it all. But interestingly the “stone” that had been lodged for a long time somewhere near my ribs, with the relief of saying it, had moved. I began to look at my issue with renewed thoughts on where it/we might creatively go next. The only constraint put upon us I remember was that following the pattern of the psalmists, we must finish by offering whatever it was we were feeling to God in hope, love, faith and praise knowing that God, hearing us, would accept and probably knew anyway. That closure of our psalm was the part that helped all of us. I, as did others, knew that whatever the focus of our writing it had not been “cured”, “resolved”, or “magically answered”, but by opening up freely, a change had taken place. Language is a powerful tool for expression, for developing thought and ideas, and maybe, a direction had changed, a relief of recognition had been experienced that saying/acknowledging it “out loud”, as it were, had brought new ways of seeing that we could work on creatively.

I wrote this piece as a result of ending last week’s newsletter with the joyous, hopeful psalm 46, where the psalmist clearly and lyrically expresses hope that God will provide protection in spite of how the world realistically is. It seems to me this is the place we are at now, the psalmists would recognise it, and by trying out our own “psalm” approach we might be helped at this bewildering and challenging time. Psalm 146; “I will praise the Lord as long as I live. I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath. Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there. When they breathe their last, they return to the earth, and all their plans die with them. But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God”.

From Anita:
Anita has shared some information that we might find helpful to link into:

Daily Hope Line – audio free phone line all week
The line – which 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.

The Hope Line gives you the following options:

*(star) – listen to a full message from Archbishop Justin Welby (Archbishop of Canterbury)
1) Hymns we love (a short talk based on well-loved hymns.) There are 16 different hymns.
2) Hymns played in a loop
3) Weekly reflections on remembrance and peace during November
4) Daily chair exercises (7 sessions in the week)
5) More options


Across the world, Covid-19 has brought much
sadness to many.

"On the brink of this second lockdown we might
understandably feel helpless, anxious and 
vulnerable,' says the Archbishop of Canterbury,
Justin Welby, '...we do what we can to halt the 
spread of this virus - but we can still fell 
powerless. Is there anything else we can do?
Really do? Yes. Yes there is. We can pray. Prayer
is my first response when I feel out of my depth,
when I need help, when I am worried, when I am 
concerned for those I love... Prayer changes

Thy Kingdome Come invite you to join us over
the next 4 weeks of #PrayerfortheNation

Every day we will pause and pray at 6pm for
those impacted by the pandemic. 
You can set
an alarm, light a candle or use a light on your
mobile phone as a prompt to pray, or you may 
even hear a church or cathedral bell ring as a

Follow us on social media for daily prayers, and 
you can find an easy to use, printable prayer
booklet here, to help you as pray over the
next 4 weeks. You can also explore the Church
of England's website for further resources.

Click here to watch the Archbishop of York,
Stephen Cottrell, inviting you to join
#PrayerfortheNation. Please do share this with
your friends and family.

YouTube - Worship Video of the week

Song for the week: Living Hope - Laudate Mennonite Ensemble

Do you have favourite worship songs? Please email them to Sally
A message from Nehar

Brothers and sisters if anyone wants prayer ministry please let me know via the office. Monday to Friday 6pm to 7pm and on Sundays 10am – 12pm
Please continue to pray for those who have asked us as a community to pray for them

Okey J. O, Margaret M, Yvone S, Anna M, Jason E, Ian K, Eva M, Juliette D, Ivor S, Myfanwy K , Dorothy N, Sheila G, Sisi O and Mirela B.  
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 have a list of volunteers we can call on to help. If anyone wants to add their names to this, please email the churchwardens on Thank you.

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.

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
Golders Green Parish Church, 11/11/2020
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.