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Golders Green Parish Church – Newsletter

29 December 2020




Drawing of Golder’s Green Church by Kirsty, Jennifer’s daughter, who is studying for her GCSE in Art. Thank you so much Kirsty


Greetings to Everyone in the last week of 2020 which has certainly been a challenging one none of us will ever forget.  We all have our own memories of the year with mixed feelings and events to look back on; some unexpected as well as expected, not such good things, as well as those that were positive too, which we can hang on to with some hope that things will change for the better in 2021. I don’t expect any of us thought that a vaccine, for example, would have been produced so quickly through the expertise and God-given gifts of those working collaboratively together, regardless of their nationalities and genders, pooling their knowledge across their scientific disciplines. What a truly wonderful example of a way of working for the benefit of all people in all countries. We have so much to be grateful to them for.

It has been so good to see those of you who have joined in the Sunday services and shared your news and thoughts afterwards. Many thanks to Tony for his expertise in making this happen and to Charlotte for her very appreciated and welcomed sermons. It has been so good to see how everyone has kept together through phoning each other, passing messages on through the newsletter- thank you especially to Jennifer in the office making sure all is well. There are so many to thank for keeping us together. You are all great! 
From Sally

Please note the message sent by Tony with the new zoom meeting numbers. If you can link in it will be so good to see you.:
        Every week on Sunday from now until Feb 7, 2021,
7 occurrence(s)
        Dec 27, 2020 10:00 AM
        Jan 3, 2021 10:00 AM
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        Jan 17, 2021 10:00 AM
        Jan 24, 2021 10:00 AM
        Jan 31, 2021 10:00 AM
        Feb 7, 2021 10:00 AM
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Passcode: 140906

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In this week’s newsletter there is:
  • Reflection from Tony
  • Charlotte’s Christmas Day Sermon: Christmas in Isolation
  • “Cloth for the Cradle” poem from Iona
  • Monica B’s continuation of her story pt 3
  • Book recommendations
  • Update on how we are


Reflection from Tony

I have been trying to figure it out in my mind how to communicate what was on my mind.  Many years ago, as young follower of Jesus, I had not been discipled well: taught how to pray and read my Bible.  I was in Germany at the time, learning German.  I had found the English Church in Hamburg and had begun going there from early March I it was.  It was during this time that it came to me that I should start the practice of not only having my morning quiet time with the notes I was using then but that I should also read through the Bible from cover to cover.
I started but did not finish that year.  By the time I started I guess I became demoralised because the years was well under way.  So, I stopped.  But I got to university later in the Autumn and meet a young Christian - he had come to the Lord a year earlier.  He told me that he had read the Bible through.  I was both shocked and humbled.  I had been following Jesus for some seven years by now and I had never read through God’s word, His love letter to us, His makers manual.  Luckily at the CU we received some cards from UCCF which on a fold A4 sheet set out a reading plan for the year for the whole Bible, the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice, I think.  That was when I started to read through and learn of God’s interaction with us and with me.  I began to see things in Scripture and learn how God works with us, helps us to trust Him, to follow Him, to worship Him.  There began a lifelong passion to read Scripture every year along side more detailed study in one’s quiet time.  And so apart from a few years since this has been my practice to read through Scripture once a year.
I would like to encourage you, if you are not already doing so to see if you can do so as well.  You may not even have a daily reading study notes for a quiet time.  I would like to help with all of this because it is important that we do know what we believe and why.  Over the years my quiet time studying and my reading the Bible in a year has helped me see things so that when I have been in situations where we are discussing things of God in my CU at work or commenting on the political situation today or trying to understand why something has happened or not happened, my thinking I hope but also know has been informed by the Bible.
One of the ways I read through the Bible in a year is to use the app, Bible in One Year (BiOY -  This has come out of Holy Trinity Brompton and the Alpha Course and looks at three passages of Scripture a day, with commentary on those three passages and short prayers to help you pray.  This is a good way into reading the Bible in a year and it means you can combine the two.  If you have one of the many Bible Study apps on your smart phone, you can probably download various plans which will take you through the Bible in a year.  If you have not got a smart phone and need help with this, I can recommend publications from Waverley Abbey ( where you can buy a Bible set out in daily readings to cover the year - Cover to Cover Complete NIV | Waverley Abbey Resources)  And if you can read through the Bible in a year along side a daily quiet time, you will benefit even more - you see the wider picture alongside a concentrated burst of teaching.  Both challenge the other and cause you to lean on Him even more and grown to be more like Him.
I know time is an issue, but I can assure you that this time with God is not lost.  And despite the centuries between the writing of the books of the Bible and now, you will find that they speak even to us 20 centuries on and that is joy unspeakable.



Christmas in isolation      -         Charlotte’s Sermon

I go every year to St Paul's Covent Garden to go to the charity Christmas card shop and I always spend far too long weighing up all the options and making my decision about which cards to go for. I'm afraid I'm a bit pious when it comes to Christmas cards. I immediately eschew any secular ones, so that counts at least half the cards out – pretty as the scenes of ice skating and penguins are, I feel that as a Christian priest I ought to be sending cards which have at least a passing reference to the great feast we celebrate today. So that leaves me with a few options. Should I go for a card featuring the stable, with Mary and Joseph gathered around the manger and gazing at the baby Jesus? Should I go for the one featuring Mary and Joseph making their journey; two silhouetted figures, one on a donkey, approaching the town of Bethlehem, the star shining above it? Should I go for the kings – usually the most seductive of the cards, with their shiny costumes and glittering gifts? Or should I go for the shepherds on the hill-side, with the angels singing Glory to God in the highest heaven? Well, when making my decision, I couldn't actually choose the latter option. I could not see one card that had that scene we have just heard in today's Gospel, where the focus is on those shepherds who first heard the news of the Messiah's birth in the nearby town, and their journey to worship in the manger where he lay. And I think there's a reason for that. The shepherds just aren't very 'Christmassy'. They aren't what we want displayed on our windowsills or chimneypieces. They aren't bathed in light, like the holy family, or shining and glittering like the wise men. I think the people who choose Christmas card scenes know our psyches all too well. Cards with the wise men on go much better with the glitz and glamour of Christmas than a group of roughshodden men wearing rags and living in fields. 
But yet, it's to the shepherds, and not the wise men, or anyone else in that region, that the angels appear. And what I want to say about the shepherds is that they were isolated. A word we have used so much this year, and a word that may be true of some of you today. They were physically separated from other people in society, because they were some of the most undesirable people in their society. They were considered untrustworthy, and more than that – and here's the important part for today – they had to isolate from others, because they were considered ceremonially unclean, because their work brought them into contact with animal carcasses. They were not allowed anywhere near worship in the Temple, and on top of that they lived in poverty. They were people who knew what it was to self-isolate, to keep physical distance from others. And there was no 10-day period for them, or the hope of a vaccine and therefore reintegration into society within a few months' reach. This was a life-long isolation. And yet, it is to this poor and isolated group of people that God through his angels chooses to announced the news of Christ's birth. What does that tell us? It tells us that God cannot be seduced by wealth, or power; by glamour or glitz. And not just that he cannot be seduced by them; he actively eschews them, and chooses to be born to a poor Jewish woman, in poverty, and to announce the news to a group of people who were isolated from society, alone and kept at distance from others. They who are first to arrive on the scene at the stable to worship God become flesh. Soon after they arrive come the wise men; rich and clever; men who had literally just come from keeping company with royalty. Rich and poor, the highest and the lowest in society; the isolated and those allowed to mix with others, knelt in the same stable to worship the Christ child. 
And with that in mind, it makes total sense that Jesus was not born in a place of stability, security, prosperity and freedom. He was born in occupied territory, in poverty; in danger; and where there was no room for him at the inn. But that's the point. God reveals himself to us at Christmas within the troubles of the world, not after our problems are solved. I've heard lots of people say, 'We'll just have Christmas at Easter, or in the summer instead.' Well, yes, fine to rearrange a family get-together and crackers and all the rest of it for June. But it is TODAY that we celebrate Christ being born into the suffering and broken world, and the fact that the announcement of his birth was first made to those in isolation. Jesus Christ is born to us when we are lonely; when we are ill; when we've been bereaved, or made redundant, or aren't able to leave the house for days on end.
The birth of this child in Bethlehem two thousand years ago wasn't some simple solution to the world's problems, or even to the nation of Israel's problems. He grew to be a man who had to face suffering, an unfair trial and a cruel death. We see his own isolation in the Garden of Gethsemane. He doesn't solve everything with the wave of a magic wand. But this is a God who comes to live alongside us, and within us, to bring us hope because even when we don't love one another, he never gives up loving us. Although we may be physically apart from one another and from those we love, we are no longer apart from God, because he has been born into the world and he lives among us. That's the joy of the Christmas message. And so even though the way we celebrate Christmas, both in church and in our homes, may be very different to the ways we have done so in years past, the song of the angels and the joy of Christmas rings louder than ever. It's traditional at this time to wish one another a 'happy Christmas' – but I'm not sure that's completely the right greeting this year. I think that happiness can not necessarily be created, but can certainly be influenced, by money, by security, by relationships and gatherings of family and friends – and those are things we don't have in abundance this year. But the angels don't announce 'good news of great happiness' – they announce good news of great joy – something much more deep-seated. After the shepherds had visited and worshipped at the manger, they return to what looks like the same life of isolation on the hills, but they return glorifying and praising God, because they are no longer in isolation. By his birth, God was with them, as he is with us today. Heaven has touched earth and we cannot be separated from him; that is good news of great joy. That is why today is - maybe not a completely happy - but a joyful Christmas.  

“Cloth for the Cradle”
Wild Goose worship 1997 publishers for the Iona Community
This, tonight,
is the meeting place
of heaven and earth.
For this, tonight,
is the stable
in which God keeps his appointment
to meet his people.
Not many high are here,
not many holy;
not many innocent children,
not many worldly wise;
not all familiar faces,
not all frequent visitors.
But, if tonight
only strangers met,
that would be enough.
For Bethlehem was not the hub of the universe,
nor was the stable a platform  for famous folk.
In an out-of-the-way place
which folk never thought to visit –
there God kept and keeps his promise;
there God sends his son

Sleeping Mary - Sally
I cannot resist this Icon. It is one of my favourites for its realistic portrayal of Mary as a weary mother having given birth to her son in need of a good long sleep. So many of us, having given birth, know well what that feels like. But what drew me to it was Joseph lovingly nursing his son so that Mary can rest.  A dear Roman Catholic nun friend once told me that many Roman Catholics hold a special place in their hearts for Joseph, who they venerate, as do the Orthodox, for his faithfulness towards Mary and his care for Jesus. I had to confess up to that time, to my shame, I had never given much thought to him other than being a rather shadowy figure hovering in the back ground, when in fact he was a faithful husband and father following God’s will caring for his precious family. 

Part 3   We journey together in hope  -         Monica B

Reversal of untruths
If racism is to be extinguished - and those plates of the earth’s surface to which I alluded earlier are to be levelled - there needs to be a restoration and reaffirmation of the human dignity of black people, which the dehumanising acts of slavery robbed. There needs to be a reversal of the degrading untruths about black people, of which the white slave masters must have convinced themselves in order to behave in the way that they did. These ‘untruths’ are still in many ways with us today. It is the case that the myriad permutations in variety of personality, intellect, and behaviours, which are taken ‘as given’ in white people, are not afforded to black people, who are still rated as inferior. Black people are classed as failures far more readily than white people and often have to be twice as good to demonstrate their capabilities.

I thank God for the many white people I know who are deeply committed to this restoration and reaffirmation of the human dignity of black people both in what they say and do; who live and work alongside us as allies. The sadness - and it is a deep sadness - which we as black people bear, is that there are numerous white people today who allow indignities which are said and written about black people to go unchallenged; and some who actually participate in fanning flames that promote them. 

White people today can and should play a part in restoring and reaffirming the human dignity of black people which the degrading acts of slavery robbed. They should be stating clearly to the world that their forebears erred greatly. Black people are exhausted by white people ‘not seeing’ that they have a key and distinct part to play in this restoration and reaffirmation of our human dignity and in bringing about equality. This is what fighting the injustices of racism seeks to address. White people ‘not seeing’ the issues and effects of racism, and doing nothing about it, is not a luxury which black people have, who bear the pain that it causes.

Power of individuals to bring about change

As well as change taking place at organisational and institutional levels, it needs to take place, just as much, in the hearts and minds of individuals. What individuals do and think combines to create the atmosphere in communities and sets the tone for what is and is not acceptable. The composite effect can be tremendous.

Way forward
In terms of the way forward, my hope is that there will be among white people, in companionship with black people,
  • A deepening of understanding – through reading, video clips, documentaries, discussions, and listening to black people’s stories and accounts. This is about wanting to find out more. Black people will have different stories to tell, not surprisingly. Some may reveal deep frustration and maybe even anger, but the question is whether the pain that lies underneath is being recognised. 
  • The forming of relationships – with black people from different walks of life. This is about engaging first-hand by having relationships which are genuine, respectful, and manifest the love of Christ. 
  • A willingness to challenge – questioning and taking action in relation to attitudes or situations which set black people ‘in a mould’, in a pejorative light, or at a disadvantage. 

My hopes

These arise from my experiences of life and my Christian faith of several decades. They are,
  • That white people - who are not already proactive - will become proactive in finding out more about black people’s circumstances, and in forming relationships, and so be able to speak and act with a conviction that is borne out of knowledge and experience. 
  • That through the renewing work of the Holy Spirit, those white people who do not already recognise the destructive effects of racism on black people -  and on themselves through being distanced from the heart of the love of Christ -  will receive the necessary insight and objectivity to do so. 
  • That people will listen to God, and hear His still, small voice above the clamour of their own. 
  • That God will be enabled to break into entrenched positions and speak into the well-worn furrows of our own reasoning. 
  • That we will live our lives not on our own terms, but in a way that is open to being shaped by God; open to the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, and so become the people God wants us to be. 
  • That we will be prepared to step out of our comfort zones and take risks for God; that we will not allow our fears to dictate our lives and hem us in. 
I look forward to the day when we don’t have to be referred to as ‘black people’, but just ‘people’. I don’t want people to be ‘colour-blind’ because colour is integral to who we are as people – but to be able to see colour as part of the richness of the totality of the person.

I commend to my fellow Christians a prayer to ask of God: ‘How are you wanting to use me Lord, or use me more, so that black people can be freed to gain the fullness of life that Christ came to give.’ I believe that the pernicious nature of the evil that racism is, and its grip - in all its subtlety and complexity - on the human race, means that its eradication can only succeed if our actions are initiated and sustained by prayer.

We journey together

I believe that God wants us to see that we are to journey together in our endeavours in tackling racism. I mentioned the story of the paralysed man being brought to Jesus by his friends at the start of this narrative. The story sends the powerful message of our need for one another. It also reminds us that we all stand before God in a state of humility, and with a need to be healed, forgiven, and set free.

Book Recommendations: A suggestion from Sally

We are often sent hymns and worship songs to listen to and enjoy hearing them, so I began to wonder if you also have books you would like to recommend to us that you have found enjoyable or challenging; fiction ones, or, of people’s lives and experiences that have moved you and made you think, bringing greater awareness.
There are so many, but for me one particular book stood out this year, appropriately so considering the events that have been faced. It is written by:
Revd Azaria France-Williams called “Ghost Ship”. Revd France-Williams is a black priest who accounts with great honesty and clarity his experiences of applying for appointments to parishes in England. While none of what he says surprised me, it distressed and angered me. It made me feel every church-goer and especially those in authority should read it and think deeply about his experience and of what we really believe about all “being made in the image of God”. I have one copy to share with anyone who would like to read it.
Another I really enjoyed, thinking of the conversation we had after one of Charlotte’s sermons about the role of women in the Church and how it is often made invisible. This is;
Elaine Storky’s, “Women in a Patriarchal World: Twenty-five Empowering Stories from the Bible”.  It is written with her usual clarity, from deep biblical knowledge and enjoyable.  It would make a great gift for anyone, especially someone young but not exclusively so, who will learn more about the many women who played such crucial roles in the Bible stories.  A number of you may remember Elaine came to Golders Green to talk about her then newly published book, “Scars Across Humanity: Understanding and Overcoming Violence Against Women”. She had travelled around the world talking to many women, government ministers and those involved, trying to persuade them to legislate for laws that prevented such cruelty. She did so with some success.  It would be so good to hear of your choices so we can share them.


How we are


Simon has let us know that his mother, Sheila, is a little stronger and was able to talk on the phone to his father over Christmas. We keep her in our prayers and send our good wishes
Nehar has spoken to Jason who so many of us have been thinking of.  He is at home but is waiting for a heart operation. We keep him in our prayers too and hope when it comes his operation is successful.

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 - never once  by Matt Redman – is he worthy

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, 29/12/2020
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.