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Golders Green Parish Church – Newsletter

23 December 2020

Greetings to Everyone:

We are nearly there now and although Christmas will be different this year for so many of us, with arrangements cancelled at such very short notice, I hope we are all sustained in the knowledge that we are part of a church community as well a wider community of Faith, and that we support and care for each other. We know that Christmas most definitely isn’t cancelled - what a silly slogan - it can never be that, it is always there in our hearts, minds and heads bringing us much hope and rejoicing. So we look forward to our 11.00pm Christmas Eve informal service of carols, readings and prayers and the 10.00am Christmas Day service with Charlotte and a chance to talk to each other afterwards. Looking forward to seeing you all and sending much love.  Sally
A big thanks to all the children who have sent in their beautiful artwork over the past two weeks and have made our newsletter look so Christmassy. You are all great.
This week we thank, Sam, Phoenix, Mehalia and Benjamin.
Pam, who is Mehalia and Phoenix’s mum, has sent you the links to some Christmas stories. Hope you enjoy them. Here they are:

The Story of Mary and Joseph
Jesus is Born! 
The Story of the Wise Men and Jesus 
The Story of the Shepherds and Jesus 
Here is the zoom link for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day It will be so good to see you all.
Golders Green Parish Church is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
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Time: Dec 24, 2020 11:00 PM London
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Meeting ID: 884 1101 2491
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Golders Green Parish Church is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: My Meeting
Time: Dec 25, 2020 10:00 AM London
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In this week’s newsletter there is:
  • A message from Tony
  • Charlotte’s Advent IV sermon
  • Nehar’s Advent reflection
  • Part 2 of Monica B’s story
  • An Update from the Pastoral Group
  • How we are
  • Christmas Greetings
  • Links to songs, hymns and prayers
  • Weekly prayer list


Message from Tony

"May I wish you all a very happy Christmas and healthy New Year at this time as we approach the end of a most eventful year.  Whilst tempting as it is to look back and give you a summary of the year, as is usual at this time of year, I think such a review would be better for the APCM report.
Nevertheless, I think there are a few comments one could make at this time.  First I would like us all to give thanks to Our Lord for keeping us safe.  Now I know that some of our family are not well, recovering from an illness, but even so we can still thank Him.  Some our brethren in other fellowships have lost loved ones in Christ.  Let's us remember all those who have lost loved ones, whether of our fellowship or not: that they may find comfort from Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.
Second, I want to thank you all for just being who you are in Christ, for sticking with Jesus and with us all in the interregnum and this year and for taking the bumps of this year with such grace and love.  It has not been an easy year with all that has been going on.  I sometimes wonder whether we each need an extended rest period, whether we need to revisit what is truly important in our lives our worship and service of Our Lord Jesus in His new community on this current earth in preparation for and a new heaven and earth
Third, as we are already doing, could I encourage us all to seek to look after each other, to do what we have been doing but even more.  Please, this is important because this is as you know how we are identified as His disciples.
"Hear, Israel: Yahweh is our God. Yahweh is one. You shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.  I am Yahweh."  "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."  "Yahweh bless you, and keep you.  Yahweh make his face to shine on you, and be gracious to you.  Yahweh lift up his face toward you, and give you peace."        

Charlotte's Sermon Advent IV

Three years ago during Advent, I heard the phrase, “Any news?” quite a lot. The waiting in Advent had particular significance for me that year. I was awaiting the birth of my first child, who was due to be born just a few days after Christmas. The anticipation of the birth of a child – particularly a first – is a real mix of emotions. There is the excitement of the thought of meeting your baby, but anxiety about the birth, about whether the baby will be healthy; about what those first few weeks of having a newborn baby will be like, about whether you will cope with the demands of caring for such a tiny person, when you have little or no experience of doing so – and focussing on all that means you tend to overlook the later months and years. My husband kept reminding me that we weren't just having a baby; we were having a toddler, a primary school child, a teenager, an adult – we hoped. But of course it's so hard to envisage all those later stages, when you don't even know what your newborn baby looks like, let alone what he or she will be like, or even whether it is a he or she! It is a time of huge anticipation, and especially for women like me whose babies keep them waiting well past their due date – a time of waiting; a time of trying to politely reply to – or just ignore - those well-meant messages from people asking, “Any news?” Well if I had to answer that question a few times, I tried to focus on how Mary would have felt being asked that question. All those feelings of anticipation and waiting and anxiety would have been heightened in a culture where maternal and fetal mortality rates were much higher than they are in this country in this day and age. But then add to that Mary's extraordinary story. Yes, she has news; and not just the news of a pregnancy. She has news that will change the world and the relationship of God to the people in it, and what does she do? She shares it. 
I want to show four images today which tell something of Mary's story and the way in which the church has seen her, and what she brings to us.
Annunciation – Fra Angelico
This is a painting I've seen a couple of times; it is in the Convent of San Marco in Florence and is painted by Fra Angelico who decorated the walls of the convent with the most extraodinarily beautiful Frescos. Both times I've stood in front of this fresco it has taken my breath away. It depicts the Gospel story we heard this morning, the story we know as the 'Annunciation', where the Angel Gabriel visited Mary and 'announced' to her that she had been chosen by God to bear his son. It's such a familiar story that it's easy to gloss over the details and think that this announcement didn't seem to cause too much surprise to Mary. But it is worth noting that word that has been translated for us as, 'perplexed'. The word in Luke's Gospel literally means, 'deeply agitated'. It suggests she was more than a bit 'perplexed'; she was deeply disturbed; anxious and troubled by the visit of the Angel and his message to her. That's not surprising; to be told she would give birth when she was an unmarried virgin; it wasn't just the in-credible details but also the ramifications it would have for her – it's unlikely she would have been stoned since that was rare, though not completely unheard of, but she would have been ostracised from society, eschewed by Joseph, and her family and friends and she would be facing a totally unknown future and fight for survival. And that's perhaps something to do with the Angel's greeting to her – to be told you are God's 'favoured one' could be both a blessing and a curse. I talked last week about all those characters on the Jesse Tree who pointed towards God, who were called by God for a particular role but struggled and even suffered because of it. Anyone who 'finds favour' with God knows their life is about to be turned upside down; whether in glory or suffering. What I find amazing about Mary at the annunciation is two things; firstly, she accepts God's call on her life, without really knowing what it entails – and that is always the case, a bit like being a parent for anyone. And secondly and importantly, she could have said no. She was not a passive figure with no choice, but her choice was to say yes to God – even though she could never have really known what she was saying yes to and where it would lead her. 
Pieta – Michaelangelo
Pieta – Michaelangelo
At Christmas, we rightly focus on the crib scene, the many depictions of Mary, surrounded by light, the star overhead, gazing at her newborn baby boy. But we who know how the story unfolds know that the Christmas season ends on Candlemas, 40 days from Christmas, when Mary and Joseph take the baby Jesus to the Temple for his dedication. It's there that they meet Simeon and Anna, who recognise Jesus as the Messiah, but give Mary a prediction, that 'a soul will pierce your own soul too'. It is every parent's worst nightmare that they will see their child come to harm or die. And yet this is where Mary's yes took her, to that worst nightmare of a parent, as she stood beside the cross, and as she watched her son's body being buried in the tomb. Her yes leads to the redemption of the world but at the price of her own deep suffering. 
Book of Hours, British Library
 Book of Hours, British Library

I love this image of Mary. It's from a C13th manuscript in the British Library, and it depicts the Blessed Virgin Mary punching the devil in the face. It's not what we expect from that meek and mild Mary of so much western art. But in her acceptance of God's will for her, that is exactly what she does. She punches sin and evil in the face, because she is the means by which Jesus will be born, who came to set us free from those things
Jump for Joy – Corby E
Jump for Joy – Corby E
I think it's what happens immediately after the Annunciation we heard in the Gospel this morning that typifies Mary and is what we can really take from the Gospel today. She is the first person to hear the good news of the Gospel; the first person to hear the news of God's plan to redeem the world by being born into it. And what does she do? - As soon as the Angel leaves her, she heads straight away to see her cousin Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, to tell her what the Angel has said. Mary shows us what we have to do with the Gospel; we have to share it. We often refer to the 'four evangelists', Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, because they are the writers of the Gospels and the means by which the good news of Christ's birth and life and death has been shared with Christians. But Mary is an evangelist too; and more than that, she is the first evangelist. She is the model of what it is to be a disciple; she said yes to what God asked of her, and then she went straightaway to tell her cousin the good news of God's plan to be born on earth. 
And this is the image I really want to focus on this morning because I think it tells us just that; that the news of the Angel is good news, in whatever situation we find ourselves in. These were two women who knew what it was to live under restrictions. They lived under restrictions because they were women, in a society in which women were very much the underclass. They were restricted by their circumstances; Mary, a pregnant, unmarried teenager; Elizabeth, an older woman pregnant in an age in which women in general and older women in particular were much more likely to die in childbirth. They were Jewish women, living under Roman occupation. They were restricted by poverty. They were restricted in almost every way imaginable – perhaps apart from the restrictions of social distancing that we are living under - and yet this meeting is one of joy, and I think the artist has really encapsulated that in this painting. On meeting and sharing the good news, Mary bursts into her song of justice that we call the 'Magnificat', where she sang of what this good news would mean; that the hungry would be fed and the poor would be raised up. 
So, if anyone asked Mary, “Any news?”, her answer was the same as it was to the Angel Gabriel and to God, and it is the answer we as Christians must give when we are asked if we have good news: Yes! 
In a few days’ time we will celebrate Jesus Christ being born to us, God with us. We've heard the phrase “Christmas is cancelled” a lot over the last few weeks, and especially over the last 24 hours. Don't let anyone tell you that. Christmas is not cancelled. There may be fewer people gathered around dinner tables on Christmas Day this year. There is sadness and disappointment at not being able to be gathered with loved ones, and undertake particular Christmas traditions, and celebrate the birth of Christ whilst physically gathered together - and there will be loneliness, and sadness at the current situation. But Jesus Christ is born into the midst of suffering and today we celebrate the person whose 'yes' made that possible; Mary the mother of God, who hears the good news of the Angel and who shares it. 

Advent reflection for Week 4 from Nehar

In the sermon on Sunday Charlotte spoke of Mary who was called “highly favoured” and who accepted God’s call on her life – regardless of ostracism; dishonour to her family; and being rejected by Joseph. Her reaction was natural at the start (Luke 1:34 but once she knew God’s plan she was committed without question – Luke 1:38).
She glorifies God and rejoices in Him, her Saviour.  He had chosen her, a humble young woman committed to doing God’s will and because of this she would be forever called blessed and the mother of God!
The fourth candle is seen as the candle of Love.  It is to remind us that God the Father so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son – at Christmas we receive god’s gift of pure Love.  Love that descended from heaven to be born of a virgin.
Love laying in scratchy hay in a barn because there was no room at the Inn - even as in death He was rejected by those he had come to save. 
Let’s light the candle of Love and take time to reflect on the magnitude of our God’s love for us so freely given in Jesus. Given when we did not deserve it.  Given when we had done nothing to earn it.
Lord Jesus you are the King of Kings; you happily gave up your divinity to come to us not as the Lion of Judah but as the sacrificial Lamb.  You walked wilfully to the Cross to bear upon your body the marks of our sin; to be separated from the Father for the first and only time – all for Love’s sake.  We can’t even begin to imagine the agony which caused tears of blood to flow.
It did not stop you from picking up the cross to walk to Calvary to be wrapped in the scars of our sin – as some thirty years earlier Your mother had wilfully taken into her body Your incarnation. Father we too want to say with Mary “here we are – your servants – may we too be faithful to your calling on our lives”.
Holy Spirit awaken our lives to the radiant hope that has found us; claimed us; redeemed us and keep us forever His.  Pour your truth and Love into our hearts so that are lives more and more reflect Jesus; so that we Love You more every day and in doing so love one another as You love us.
O Love divine, all loves excelling, Joy of heaven to earth come down;
Jesus thou are all compassion; Pure unbounded Love; visit us with Your salvation;
enter every trembling heart.
We say come, O come Emmanuel.

My Story By Monica B – Part 2 Racism – its depth, persistence and the pain it causes.
I am very grateful to Monica for sharing her story from + Sarah M
University city, full-blown racism

An experience of blatant racism which I experienced, was at university when I was looking for accommodation in the city. I was basically told at the door of the place I had found, that although they did have a room to let, purely because I was black – and bearing in mind they knew absolutely nothing else about me – there was no way they would be renting the room to me. This felt like a penetrating wound, piecing my very humanity. I cried all evening.
My working life after university to the present day has almost entirely been with the Diocese of London’s central administrative office. My longevity there – of nearly four decades – has been because over the years, and even more so in recent times, the working environment has been one in which I have been enabled to flourish. I have found my colleagues to be really good to work with. This is because I have felt that I have been regarded as ‘a whole person’; being black has not in itself been a determining factor of my working experience. The level of racial diversity among staff in the past has been low, but has been rising in recent years.  As regards the boards and synods with which I have worked, there is a wind of change here that is gathering pace on the need to address issues of racial awareness and injustice. Members have shown in the past that they can maintain a firm stand on matters close to their hearts, and my hope is that they will demonstrate the full strength of their righteous indignation over the sin of racism, and show their hunger and thirst for righteousness  to prevail. I am very encouraged by steps that are currently being taken, and the fresh initiatives that are underway. After many years of seeing numerous good intentions expressed at national church level, my hope is that decisions made will be brought into effect, leaving no one in any doubt as to the significance and importance to our Church of tackling racism. There are now promising signs of work being taken forward. We should all pray for God’s wisdom and the boldness of the Spirit for all involved in carrying forward this work.
Marriage and motherhood
My husband, who is a white English man has, during our marriage of nearly four decades, been a deep source of understanding, strength, and love. He has been ordained for nearly three decades as a Church of England priest. We have journeyed together with joy and thanksgiving from pre-ordination days to the present.   As mother of our two children – now in their 30s – I was all too aware that the world often does not recognise a 50/50 black and white heritage in the sense of giving equal recognition to both parts. My experience is that children in these situations are often simply referred to as black or other (notably never white! – although their heritage is from both parts in equal measure). This failure to recognise and embrace the dual nature of the heritage of these children would seem to me to stem from a deep sense of whiteness as being supreme, and that any black addition extinguishes that.
Use of analogy to convey experience
I find the use of analogy useful in helping to portray my experience of being a black person in this world.
The seesaw
Here, I use an analogy of a seesaw on which black people are at one end and white people at the other: It is as though our blackness is  a burden – which we are made to feel it is, through so often being regarded as second class and inferior. This treatment, and the injustice it represents, exhausts us and weighs us down as black people journeying through this world. Our end of the seesaw is weighed down so that it touches the ground. At the same time at the opposite end of the seesaw, seeing us from their seat on high are white people, with a demeanour of effortless superiority. From their elevated position, they ‘call the shots.’  What takes place is at their instigation. We long for the seesaw to achieve equilibrium.
Grief analogy
I have been searching myself for answers as to how it is I live, day in day out, year in year out, as a black person in the world, in the face of what I have tried to convey. And here, I find a further analogy using ‘grief’ to be useful. My beloved father died early last year. I think this analogy using my grief goes something like this: There is a mode in which by God’s grace, I am able to live remarkably effectively from day to day, week to week, and so on, which is my ordinary and usual mode. However, there is another mode which lurks in the background and is always ready to pounce; to rear its head, perhaps because of something said or done to me or someone else, or something I have heard or seen. This mode is like a brick wall that I come up against; seemingly immovable and deeply painful.
The limitations of this analogy are that with the passage of time – as is usual for grief – the depth and intensity of the pain eases. However, this is not the case with those of us who suffer racism. This is manifested by the fact that over the last six months I have experienced a greater heaviness of heart and shedding of tears than I have done in as many years. This points to the extent of the burden of racism which weighs us down as black people, and what it does to the human spirit. For over this time it is not that I myself have had acts of racism directed towards me – which nowadays, I thank God, are infrequent – but the pain I come up against resulting from what I continue to see and hear of the suffering of others in the world around me: both close by and further afield. This causes my heart to cry inwardly, ‘How long, O Lord, how long’. I can recall my grandmother (1917-2001) expressing the pain of the racial injustices she suffered, and I hear those same expressions of pain and anguish today. A second source of my sadness is from the seeming lack of awareness on the part of some white people of the reality of racism; its damaging effects, and of the part they could play in its demise. I have a deep sadness for the sense of the loss of opportunities.
My analogies convey that being a black person in this world, is as though the shackles of slavery, although physically gone, are in a sense still there. As though key elements in the dynamic between the white masters and black slaves have somehow been transmitted down the generations, resulting in present day white people as beneficiaries, and black people with a loss in dignity and fullness of what is means to be human. Being white is like a hallmark, meaning that humanity in all its fullness is to be found there. A white person enters the world into the supreme and superior group of people who are confident of their self-worth; who have the privilege of being immediately recognised as possessing what is needed in personality, intellect and behaviour to convey the fullness of being human. I think it is hard for a white person to recognise this state which is so deeply embedded in their experience as human beings. I believe that only the grace of God can make it possible to acquire the objectivity and insight that is necessary to perceive this.
Primary sin
Racism feels like a primary sin, in that we find as black people – that far from being seen as equals, as God intended when he created His children – aspects of our very humanity are called into question. We even at times suffer the indignity of being likened to animals. And so, as black people, we find that we often have to strive ‘to get to first base’, to convince people that we possess the feelings, intelligence, and overall capabilities which are taken ‘as given’ in a white person. The primary forces of power and pride are at the heart of racism and give it fuel, which the seesaw analogy goes some way to convey.
The injustice of racism and its gravity as a sin are due to its directness in contradicting God who created us all in His image. Racism clearly evidences our disdain and effrontery to God in portraying that although created as equals, we do not regard each other as equals. Sheer folly! Furthermore, Jesus taught us to pray ‘Our Father’ precisely because we come to God together equally as His children. ‘We are children together of the same heavenly Father’, is what we say in the service of baptism.  I do believe that if, in humility, we do not of our own free will right the injustices of racism, then God Himself may in His displeasure, step in and do so.  I pray that as opportunities present themselves for us to act both as individuals and at higher levels, we will not let them go. I am astounded by the ingrained nature, the tenacity and persistence of racism both in society and in the church, that in spite of gallant efforts this evil prevails. I believe this evidences the profoundly spiritual nature of what we are dealing with and the imperative that all we do is deeply rooted and upheld in prayer.
Extract from: ‘My Story’ © Monica B 27 November 2020

Pastoral Update

Just to keep you informed on pastoral matters. Because it is so important we all support each other and no one feels left out, a small group of us met last week to discuss how we can best continue to maintain our pastoral care. We would like to ask you to help (as you so usually do) by letting us know of any news you might want to share, good or otherwise, have something to celebrate and generally to keep in touch. Many of you have your own groups of friends you ring and contact on a regular basis and let us know if anyone is unwell, away, or have good family news. We want to make sure that no one is left out so please pass this on. The group is: Rose, Ify, Tony, Nehar, Sheila, Anita and Sally.  If anyone else wants to join us, please let us know. For any news or comments you can either email: or ring, the church office, 020 8455 1873. Most of you have Anita and my phone numbers already as well as others in the above group. Please do not hesitate to ring or email if you have any questions or queries. We welcome hearing from you as always.  Good wishes Anita and Sally

News About Us:

Message from Sheila:  Thank you for your thoughts, messages and prayers whilst I was unwell. It would seem the cause of my heart failure was the result of chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer 13 years ago but the cardiac specialist care has been working well. It amazes me how the combination of a few tablets, modern technology and specialist care all successfully work together. What dedication
Simon: Please pray for Simon’s mum Sheila, who remains in hospital as she had a set-back this week, but she has been put back on her medication. We hope she continues to improve.
Wishing Marlies well and home at last:
How good it was that Marlies was able to join our zoom service on Sunday after a 3 week stay in hospital in Lagos and is now recuperating at home. Keep strong Marlies.



Message from Nehar

I am a trained councilor. If anyone would welcome a chat on anything you would like to talk over and discuss, in confidence, please don’t hesitate to give me a ring and we could fix up a time. This would be in a voluntary capacity.
Please contact the office for my details. Please get in touch.



YouTube - Worship Video of the week

O Come O Come Emmanuel
O Holy Night

Do you have favourite worship songs? Please email them to Sally
Please continue to pray for those who have asked us as a community to pray for them

Okey Jnr. 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 , Mirela B , Marlies A and Nwando E & family. 

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.

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.

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, 23/12/2020
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.