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Golders Green Parish Church – Newsletter

5 January 2021


Janet McKenzie



(Epiphany Visitors by American artist Janet McKenzie)

Greetings to Everyone

Here is hoping the first week of the New Year has gone well and safely for everyone. It was so good to see more of you on Sunday and have time to exchange news and hear of those who cannot be with us. We are clearly going to be meeting this way for some time now we are in the third lockdown so keeping together in support is even more important. Several names have been added to our prayer list at the end of the newsletter and Sisi taken off because she is much improved which is so good. How thankful we are for all the prayers offered and for such good medical care; a powerful combination of God’s gifts to us.
Just a thought – I was listening to that part of the reading of John 1, where John was standing with two of his disciples, when he watched Jesus walk by and said to them, “Here is the Lamb of God” (v35-38); the two disciples followed Jesus who saw them, turned and said to them, “What are you looking for?”. That question struck me quite forcibly as something to be asked of myself/ourselves. I never make New Year Resolutions as I know full well they will not be kept, but, asking myself, “What am I looking for?” has given me a great deal of thought for this year and now especially throughout lockdown. Might it you too? All good wishes - Sally 


This week’s edition contains:

  • Charlotte’s Epiphany Sermon
  • Drawings sent to us by Tatyanna 
  • Bishop Sarah M – The Dalit Madonna 
  • Nehar’s Update on Together in Barnet
  • Recommended Book: “Phoebe”
  • How we are
  • Zoom link numbers


Charlotte’s Epiphany Sermon

6th century mosaic of the Magi

(6thcentury mosaic of the Magi in Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna)

I noted both on social media and in the streets round where we live that many people were putting their trees up even earlier than usual this year. I know everybody complains about Christmas beginning earlier and earlier each year, but this year I saw some trees and lights up in windows as early as October, which I've never seen before, other than in shops. I heard several people say that they just desperately needed some light, some sparkle, something to get them through the lockdown in November, remind them that better days were coming. But now Christmas is over, where does that leave us? We seem to be in an even worse situation as a country, and especially here in London, than we were back when those trees were going up in October. Well, feel free to keep the sparkle and lights of Christmas up in your home for a bit longer - I am adamant that I won't be taking my decorations down until Wednesday the 6th, Twelfth Night and the Feast of the Epiphany (which we've transferred to celebrate in church today) at the earliest. And don't go listening to anyone who goes on about bad luck for decorations coming down late. We believe in a God who reveals himself in the person of Jesus Christ, not some superstitious deity who punishes people for taking their Christmas trees down on a particular date. I'll also be leaving our crib scene up in our house until Candlemas, on the 2nd February – not least because the wise men will only be arriving (they've been making their journey on a shelf) on Wednesday so I feel they should be allowed to spend some time worshipping at the crib!

But although the celebration of Christmas carries on throughout January, this Feast of the Epiphany marks a turning point, where we turn away from the Holy Family and the shepherds gathered around the crib and focus on Jesus being shown to the magi – and subsequently – the world. An Epiphany is the moment of making known, of revealing, something that has previously been a hidden mystery. That is what we celebrate at the Epiphany: Christ, the Word made Flesh, the life of God, being opened to all of us; shepherd and magi, Jew and Gentile, rich, poor, old, young – all of us are invited into the life of God. Then, over the next few weeks we will be hearing the other epiphanies – the other revelations of Christ's glory to the world; in his baptism; at the wedding at Cana; to his disciples, and finally, at the close of the season, as we turn our faces towards Lent and Passiontide, at Candlemas as we hear the story of the baby presented in the Temple.

But firstly, of course, he is shown in the Gospel we heard today to the wise men, the mysterious and clever visitors to the stable – the closest thing the ancient world had to scientists. They studied the stars and found meaning in what they said, and brought these gifts which seem so deeply impractical for a newborn baby and yet reveal that they know who he is; gold, often associated in Scripture with monarchy, a gift that recognises Jesus as a king; frankincense, burnt before the Ark of the Covenant in the sanctuary, symbolising the presence of God in the midst of the people; that it was offered to Jesus showed that God was no longer veiled in the tabernacle, but present in human flesh. This was not just a king that the wise men were kneeling before; this was God. And finally, myrrh – a spice used at burial, and one of the spices taken by the women to the tomb to anoint Jesus' dead body - even though this tiny baby was but days old, his death was already being prepared for. This child was born to die.
I think the most important part of this story is Matthew's detail that after the Magi had seen the Christ child, they returned to their homes by another route. The encounter with that tiny baby had changed them; that's what it should do for all of us.

Usually a preacher at Epiphany can speak about journeys made at Christmas and journeys back home after the celebrations are over. That is of course not the case this year. No one has been making long journeys around the country visiting lots of different friends and relatives and exchanging gifts. I've heard several people say that although it has been sad not to celebrate with loved ones, it has made Christmas less stressful, there hasn't been what can often seem like a jigsaw puzzle of working out who to see, when and trying not to offend people by spending more time with some than others. So we can't identify this year with the journey of the wise men back to their homes by another route in a literal sense; but hopefully, more importantly, we can identify with the shift that took place within them after they had encountered Christ. This encounter meant they were to return to their homes with a renewed hope; a renewed sense of purpose, and an experience with a God no longer separated from his people. So today, as we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, we meet with Christ, we worship him, and then we return to the world – but changed because of this encounter.

And particularly because we are not returning physically to our homes, but remaining in them, there is a tradition that takes place at Epiphany that I want to offer today, which is the blessing of chalk to be used to bless your homes. It's a tradition that originated in the Roman Catholic church but is used by lots of other denominations now and I think is particularly apt for this year, because for the first couple of months at least, for this year, we will all be spending more time in our homes than we might otherwise do. And that means that we will need to find Christ's glory in our homes this year; we will need to look for the extraordinary moments of revelation, of Christ's glory in the world, in the ordinary and the mundane. Chalk is an ordinary substance of the earth; it is 'dust' put to holy use. As we turn our heads away from Christmas and towards the coming of Lent, we know that on Ash Wednesday we are reminded that we are dust, and to dust we will return – we are ordinary, made of ordinary substance, but made extraordinary because as humans we are made in the image of God. The chalk can be used by anyone to ask God to bless their home (you don't need a priest to come and do it for you) - the doorpost is marked by the dates of the new year and C+M+B – 20+C+M+B+21 – Christus Mansionem Benedictat - meaning 'Christ Bless this House', and is also the initials of the names of the three wise men that have grown up in tradition around them - Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar.

We'll also pray in the intercessions for those who do not have homes; for those whose homes are difficult or dangerous places for them to be; for those who long to leave their homes but are scared to.

Our prayer today should be that we will be changed because of our encounter with the Christ child, that we will continue to grow in his likeness, and find his light shining in the darkness of our world.



Instructions for Blessing the Home 

Using the blessed chalk* write 20 + C + M + B + 18 on the lintel of your front door (front porch step or other convenient location) while saying:
The three Wise Men, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, followed the star of God’s Son who became human two thousand and eighteen years ago. May Christ bless our home and remain with us throughout the new year. Amen.
Then offer the following prayer: Visit, O blessed Lord, this home with the gladness of your presence. Bless all who live or visit here with the gift of your love; and grant that we may manifest your love to each other and to all whose lives we touch. May we grow in grace and in the knowledge and love of you; guide, comfort, and strengthen us in peace, O Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen.

*Charlotte has left the chalk by the bins for you to help yourself.
Church Postboxes

Drawings by Tatyanna
Thank you for sending your lovely drawings for the newsletter. It was so good to receive them.

Jesus loves everyone Jesus died on the cross

A sermon preached by Bishop Sarah M in Exeter for Advent 2015 sent by Jenny
While it is a little late for Advent this year, Bishop Sarah’s message is just as relevant for now as in the future.
The Dalit Madonna
Posted on December 20, 2015
by Sarah M
The Dalit Madonna
Today I preached at Exeter Cathedral and was reminded of how much I love nativity plays. However, as someone with ginger hair I was never Mary as a child but always the angel – type caste! It can be easy for us to make assumptions about who God chooses use.
I don’t know if you have come across the Methodist Art Collection. It is a collection of modern Christian art which was created over 40 years ago which rather than having a permanent gallery are given on loan.
One of the pieces is the Dalit Madonna painted by Jyoti Sahi in 2000. The artist has sought to illuminate the Christian faith through the cultural traditions of India. The figure of Mary and her son are seen in relation to symbol of the grinding stone. A grinding stone is often secured in the ground and can be found in every traditional Indian home.
The grinding stone consists of a mother stone which is generally has a hollow centre into which fits a smaller seed or egg shaped stone which is called the baby stone. This is free to move about and is used to grind various food stuffs which are placed in the hollow of the mother stone. The stone remains at the heart of the home.
In the picture the grinding stone and baby stone are used to create an image of the Madonna which the Christ child (the baby stone) at her centre almost in her womb.
Dalit is the current name for the caste previously called ‘the untouchables’. Which means broken. Dalit women are oppressed because they are poor, they are women and they are Dalit and that means that they often find themselves open to exploitation including sexual.
Today in India even in Christian churches people refuse to drink out of cups used by Dalit.

When the picture was painted in 2000 it met with a great deal of shock – how could Jyoti Sahi suggest that God used such a women? But he did, although, Mary was not an out caste, she was from the lower parts of society – a refugee and unmarried.
On this last Sunday of Advent we think about Mary as a forerunner, looking forward to the Incarnation – God with us. God does this not in a palace or through a princess but through the powerless. The word Dalit means broken. The grain and other items of food are broken in the grinding stone. That sense that God is found among the broken and in unexpected places and people.
At Christmas we are invited to be people of hope. We’re invited to be people who look for God in the saddest parts of the world and see what is promised to us. We are invited to know that God is with us in our brokenness and that the best is yet to come.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

“Together in Barnet”: Planning and Caring for the Homeless Update – Nehar
John Bukaty
(This painting is ascribed to the American artist, John Bukaty, who, on being asked to paint a portrait of Jesus, said he would but only if he could paint how he saw him; I chose it to be an image of a homeless person”).

I attended a zoom TiB steering group meeting on Monday and heard such good news.
Please look below at what TiB have achieved and see how we can help as we are a partnership church. We have in the past, up until the first lockdown, hosted a number of guests and it was a disappointment that we could no longer do so because of Covid.

These are the main points arising out of the meeting:
  • TiB have managed to get £72000 from the government to pay for housing 16 guests until 31st March
  • A hotel in Golders Green has been found not very far from our church to host them
  • The aim is to provide dinners for the guests to cover the week.
  • Most people at the meeting were thinking our church/communities could undertake 1 day a week – I suggested that for our church possibly a Friday would be a suitable day.
There is opportunity for us to provide donations for:
  • Providing a basket containing 1pint of UHT milk for each guest weekly with some coffee,     tea and some biscuits
  • Provide money to pay for one microwave – with 16 guests more will be needed but each congregation paying for one
  • Providing funds for purchase of takeaway containers into which food will be put
  • Collect and donate Funds to pay for a delivery by “Deliveroo” etc for 16 meals as part of our day – so no cooking or delivery 
As we are now in lockdown, all the above actions are do-able as we can donate funds, provide baskets of coffee/tea/biscuits etc for each guest in their room;
Order and pay “Deliveroo” for each person’s meals on a Friday, if that is the day we decide we will provide support;

This is one important way we can support those who are homeless and in need of shelter;
Could we please discuss this on Sunday after the service or, email: if you would like to support any of the above suggestions;

Together in Barnet have worked consistently hard with great determination to make sure those who have nowhere to sleep at night are cared for; we congratulate them all for their achievements.

How we are:
Simon has good news about the progress of his mother Sheila. After some anxiety before Christmas she has now turned a corner and has made encouraging progress. She has been able to get up, sit in a chair and is speaking normally. There are plans for her to be moved into the rehabilitation ward. Simon and Anita said how grateful they are for all our prayers for her and, of course, for his father in his anxiety for her. Simon also said how wonderful the nursing care has been and how much we have to be thankful for in the NHS.
Florence O: Zimmy & Daniel gave us an update on Sunday on how Florence is progressing in hospital in Nigeria. She is having an operation this week and will keep us informed of her progress. Ify is with her helping to care for her. She has many visitors, including, Archbishop Emmanuel C. They all wish her well and pray for a complete recovery as do we. We continue to hold her in our prayers, and are praying for strength for Florence's 3 children in our church- Ezim(Zimmy), Ify & Onyeka - as well as the entire family here & in Nigeria. We send our love and hope to hear some good news.



Books: A Favourite from Sally

Phoebe by Dr Paula Gooder. Dr Paula Gooder was appointed to St Paul’s Cathedral as the first Lay Canon. She is a renowned biblical scholar, theologian, author and a particularly gifted lecturer on many aspects of Christianity, the Bible and contemporary issues, but especially on St Paul. Recently she turned her knowledge of St Paul, his life and cultural background to writing what she called, “a narrative exploration of Pauline theology”, given through the eyes of Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae, to whom Paul entrusted his great letter to the Romans (Romans 16:1-2 where he introduces her as his emissary to the church in Rome). Phoebe was not just his messenger but would have been involved in explaining and discussing his theology and thinking to the Christian groups she visited en-route. Paul called Phoebe, “a patron of many”, someone he clearly trusted and must have relied upon.
The book is divided into two parts; the larger part being Paula’s imagining of Phoebe’s travels written from her extensive knowledge of the development of the early church, the different cultures of the times and the pressures the newly formed Christian groups faced, among them, issues regarding the treatment of slaves and women; both groups being instrumental in spreading the Gospel. In the second part, Paula gives extensive notes and a bibliography on which Phoebe’s story is based. For me, the book is highly readable and encouraged me to examine the Pauline letters in greater depth, with familiarity and warmth towards the communities of the early church and the women who played such prominent roles.
I happen to have an extra copy of “Phoebe”. If anyone would like to borrow it, please do. When read, it can be passed on to others. Just let me know.
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.

Zoom link numbers

Please find below the Zoom links for our Sunday Service from the Churchwardens.
“Golders Green Parish Church is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: My Meeting
Every week on Sunday from now until Feb 7, 2021, 7 occurrence(s)
        Jan 10, 2021 10:00 AM
        Jan 17, 2021 10:00 AM
        Jan 24, 2021 10:00 AM
        Jan 31, 2021 10:00 AM
        Feb 7, 2021 10:00 AM
Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system.

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 856 4255 1099
Passcode: 140906
One tap mobile
+442030512874,,85642551099#,,,,*140906# United Kingdom
+442034815237,,85642551099#,,,,*140906# United Kingdom
Dial by your location
+44 203 051 2874 United Kingdom
+44 203 481 5237 United Kingdom
+44 203 481 5240 United Kingdom
 +44 203 901 7895 United Kingdom
 +44 131 460 1196 United Kingdom
Meeting ID: 856 4255 1099
Passcode: 140906

Find your local number:”
Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system.


YouTube - Worship Video of the week - Father Hear Our Prayer - Show Me Your Glory (feat. Harmony Smith) (Live)

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, Mirela B , Marlies A, Florence O, David A and Gideon O.  

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, 05/01/2021
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.