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Golders Green Parish Church – Newsletter

02 February 2021




Greetings to everyone: I wonder how things are with you all this week. I hope, as the days are getting longer and lighter and there are signs of bulbs peeping through the earth and buds beginning to show on the trees, our spirits are lifted a little bit at least.  But, it has been a week of sadness too hearing of the passing of Florence O in Nigeria having been so ill for some time. Florence was a faithful member of our congregation who will be missed. We are told that Ify, who cared for her mother while she was in hospital, is now herself unwell with Covid. We all pray for Florence, for the life she lived and for her family hoping that Ify makes a good recovery and is back with us soon.  We think, too, of Simon’s mother Sheila who is increasingly ill and very near the end of her life. We all pray for her, her husband Michael, Simon, Anita and family.
During the week I was asked by one of our congregation a very good question, “If you don’t have an old computer or lap top to give to families that do not have one for home-schooling, can a donation be sent towards supplying one?”. It made me think that we might have been so preoccupied with food banks, refugees and or the homeless, perhaps computers for home-learners had not been in the forefront of our minds – or perhaps just mine! I asked friends who came up with two possibilities; they responded with, you could either donate to your local school, as there are likely to be families whose children do not have one and the school will know, or donate to the following organization set up for this very purpose who will welcome hearing from us. It is: GOFUNDME.COM “Laptops For Schools Keep Students Learning”, organized by Richard Fountain


This week’s edition includes:

  • Charlotte’s Candlemas Sermon.
  • Night Shelter Update.
  • University Life in Lockdown by Amber B-G. Amber, my youngest granddaughter, who many of you will remember served at our church for some time, has written an article on what it feels like to be back home from university, which she loved, and is now engaged in on-line learning from home. She commented, when we talked about it, “I didn’t know what I really felt until I started to write it all down”.
  • Chine M on Trauma, Hope and Cathedrals. Chine is one of Jenny’s colleagues at Christian Aid who is a regular media commentator and broadcaster on religion & ethics programmes including the BBC’s Thought for the Day. Thank you, Jenny, for sending it to us. 
  • How We Are.
  • Book suggestion from Diocese of London: “Rooted in Love”.
  • Information for programmes for young children who are being home-schooled.
  • A Repeat Message from Bishop Rob giving details of events in which we can join including an Edmonton Area video.
  • Zoom links.
  • Links to services, hymns, and broadcasts.


Charlotte’s Sermon   -   Candlemas


I spoke on Epiphany Sunday about when to keep Christmas decorations up and said I would be keeping the crib up in our house until Candlemas. So, after today I am going to pack it away and that really is the end of Christmas. Today is often described as a 'bitter-sweet' Festival because we still have the sweetness and joy of Christmas; the newborn Jesus is taken to the Temple by his parents who were no doubt overjoyed by his birth and his presence. But it's bitter because it's today that we turn our heads towards Lent which begins in a few weeks’ time, and the knowledge that that tiny baby will grow up to suffer and die. So, to go into a bit more detail about the Feast of Candlemas and what is happening in the Gospel that we've just heard: 
  • In Jewish law, after 40 days had passed after the birth of a child, the parents of the child would take it to the Temple to be designated as “holy to the Lord”. That involved two things: firstly the offering of an animal sacrifice. Mary & Joseph offer two doves, which indicates they were in poverty, richer families would offer a lamb. Parents would also make an offering of five shekels to redeem their first born son. However, it's interesting that Luke doesn’t mention this – it's possible that there is some symbolism here, because we know that this child does not need redeeming; he is the one who comes to redeem us. 
  • It was probably an ordinary day in the Temple; but the Temple in Jerusalem was like nothing we can really imagine – closest thing is like going to Cathedral, but an immense one; maybe Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is the closest sort of thing we can imagine. Immense, and a busy place, ‘Plaza’ around the temple was the size of six football fields, full of people, and animals, really busy place. 
So that’s where they are. Who do they encounter?
  • Simeon – a “devout and righteous man”; not necessarily elderly but he had been told he wouldn’t die until he had seen the Messiah – so makes sense to imagine an elderly man, waiting for this day. He was either a priest or a senior religious figure in the life of the Temple.
  • Anna – an elderly woman, prophetess, spent her life praying and worshipping in the temple; she lived there. 
Both of these people are people who recognise who Jesus is. An ordinary day in the Temple; two ordinary looking parents walking in with their new baby, probably lots of other new parents doing the same as well, but they saw glory and extraordinary in this ordinary family. It reminds me of the experiment organised by the Washington Post involving the famous violinist Joshua Bell. He stood playing a 3.5 million dollar Stradivarius in the subway in Washington. Over the course of 45 minutes, over 1000 people passed by him, but only seven people stopped to listen to him. Only one person recognized him. This is a man who can pack out concert halls the world over with people who would pay hundreds for tickets. But this experiment was designed to show that beauty; perfection; glory, are sometimes right in front of us, but in places we don’t expect to see so they pass us by. Simeon and Anna are the exception to that rule; they see glory in this tiny child, born to poor parents who have come to make the poor person’s offering. 

There are a few themes that I think are worth drawing out from this passage and from the Feast of Candlemas: 

Firstly - Waiting

I talked about this last year during Advent, but this passage teaches us that Waiting is a big part of the Christian story - and as I said during Advent, that is something that we’ve all done a lot of in the past 12 months or so. I think most of us can testify to the fact that it’s not very exciting. Simeon and Anna had spent a huge portion of their lives waiting for this moment. But because Simeon knew he wouldn’t taste death until he had seen the Messiah, I suspect that made him more attentive to his surroundings. Imagine if you had been told that you wouldn’t die until something had happened, you’d be looking out for it; perhaps that’s what enabled him to see it, because he was looking for it. 
  • Secondly – Candlemas is a reminder to find God in ordinary places: 
    Again, something I’ve talked about before in relation to Epiphany; this year we have to find God in the ordinary. That can go against expectations - we expect to see God in his glory – but that’s the whole point of the Christmas story, that he comes in ordinariness and humility, to poor Jewish parents, as a child. 
  • Thirdly – we can't separate the aspects of the Christian story: 
    Service that stems from medieval period when candles to be used in church and in congregation’s homes throughout the year would be blessed by the priest. Candles partly blessed because:
    Firstly, more obviously, they signify the light of Christ, the light for revelation to the Gentiles
    Also because this feast today binds together the Christian story of birth and death, so it makes sense for candles to be used throughout the Christian year to be blessed today:
    This is a microcosm of the Christian faith; everything bound together. It’s often described as a ‘bitter-sweet’ festival; sweet because we’re turning our heads back to Christmas, still revelling in the joy of the baby Jesus; bitter because we’re turning our heads forward towards Holy Week, Christ’s suffering, Mary’s suffering because of Christ’s suffering. 
    Orthodox Christians sometimes call Candlemas ‘The Meeting’ – the meeting between the old and new covenants; between Christmas and Lent; between light and darkness; between the Nativity and the Cross.
  • Fourth – on Candlemas, people on the outside are brought into the circle of light:
    Simeon and Anna were probably a bit strange, they were devout Jews, Anna especially. They weren’t big important people, but it’s them who Jesus draws towards himself. And the words that Simeon says echo this: a light for revelation to the Gentiles – in other words, this is the child who is going to reveal God’s glory to people who have been kept out of the circle of God’s glory, the ones who don’t belong. 
    That continues to be – or should be – part of the Christian faith; that Christ and the Church are there to give light to the outsiders, the ones who don’t belong because of whatever reason, the forgotten ones. That’s something that as Christians individually and as a church we constantly have to keep asking ourselves, where have we contributed to that shutting out? – Famous quote of William Temple that the Church is the only organisation that exists for those who aren’t its members, if only that were true. 
    Brings me onto the next theme which is linked which is the symbol of the feast today: Candlemas. It might be natural for us to think that we can’t keep on giving, to be afraid of welcoming others into a circle, our resources might run out – and that’s where the symbol of the candle is a very powerful one. 
  • Lastly – a candle is a light that keeps on regenerating
    When preaching on this Feast, Rowan Williams once said that if you light a candle from a candle, the first candle doesn’t diminish, nothing is taken away from it. Image that comes up again and again: fire kindling fire, there isn’t less of the first, it goes on generating. 
    When God sets the world on fire with his love in life and resurrection of Jesus, there isn’t any less of God at the end, but there’s more of us. Love is not exhaustable. 
    We’re not God – our love struggles, our love is imperfect, battered, often exhausted. But we know that at the heart of reality is a love that isn’t exhausted, it goes on kindling, life after life. 
    Message of Candlemas: Glory and radiance and beauty of Jesus is that he is there for the world, not just a select group of people
    On Candlemas, we must ask for the kindling love of God, to give us more resource, more strength to go on giving. We must ask for the Spirit of Jesus, for the breath of life in our bodies. And we must remember that no one is beyond the reach of God’s love. 

Night Shelter Update

A big thank you to Nehar for the successful organisation of our part of the Night Shelter which started last week. The food was delivered on our day, which is a Friday, by the staff of Toprak Ocakbasi Restaurant (opposite the church 38 North End Road NW11 7PT), plus provisions for coffee/tea refreshments for guests suggested by Anita and Simon, ordered by Sally, and porridge pots for their breakfast organised by Jennifer who got her local Sainsbury to donate them. Thanks too for Sylvia, Shaniv and Soheil for volunteering to serve the food and Rose for taking in the parcels and helping pack the refreshment bags.  Great collaboration. We welcome any donations you may kindly wish to give. Thank you so much to those who have already done so.  The church account details are: 
Sort code: 60-09-05,
Account number: 22798730,
Account name: Golders Green PCC
Tim suggested that it would be helpful if you included with your donation something like “NIGHT S” in the reference to make this clear.
Please  contact Nehar if you would like to volunteer to help :

University Life in Lockdown by Amber B G

For any student, university can be hard. There are deadlines to meet, workshops to attend, exams that can be difficult to stay on top of at the best of times, let alone in the middle of a pandemic. As I am currently in my second year of university I’ve managed to experience, at the very least, a term and a half of normal university. At the time I didn’t realise how much of a privilege that would be. First-year I had a routine of going to my lectures and seminars and seeing familiar faces each week. The more you get to know everyone your confidence grows and you start to thrive. The benefit of living on campus means you can study with your friends and if ever you begin to struggle with your work or general university life you can talk to your professors or your friends who are never further than a 10-minute walk away.
First-year was a great experience; the second year has been an entirely different story now that all learning has turned online. At the end of the day, university isn’t just about attaining a degree at the end of at least 3 years of hard work; it is also about an experience, a time to meet people, network and find yourself. When you are sitting behind a screen it becomes 10 times harder to achieve any of these things. A lot of people that I’ve spoken to have complained that the main issue is the lack of contact. It’s hard to have contact with your tutors, classmates and lectures. The reality of the situation is that there are two different types of students when it comes to online learning, one that wants everyone to have their camera on in the hope of getting the contact they are missing without face-to-face teaching and the others that have given up on trying to achieve this contact so don’t turn their camera on. In a perfect world, we should all be trying to be student A and engaging as much as possible but, unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. For people with social anxiety like myself, it is challenging to speak up in class especially when you are talking to blank screens and you can’t tell how your ideas are being perceived by everyone, which in a classroom it is easier to grasp how you come across.
There are some pros like being able to do your 9 am seminars from your bed or being able to show your pets off to the class, but after the novelty has worn off it just feels like we are paying 9k a year for a facetime call. As many of us know how unreliable technology can be, last term I managed to miss three seminars just because of an unstable internet connection. It makes you feel as though you are throwing virtual money away at something completely out of your control. Which is exactly the problem; university is meant to give students more control and allow them to make decision for themselves. It has even got to the point where many students don’t even have control over how well they are performing as their mental health is taking a massive toll on them. All they are trying to do is get through the term.
Even any interaction with another student is no longer about what our favourite movies are or what hobbies we have but instead how we are coping with life at the moment. Online university just feels more optional than necessary.

An early example of home schooling perhaps??

Felt Presence by Chine M

When my son was a baby, I answered an advert for infants to take part in a child-development study at a London university. Yes, I’m that kind of mum. I was curious to see how my child’s brain worked (I was not, obviously, merely in search of bragging rights once the study showed how exceptional he was. . . ). The study involved his playing all sorts of games in an attempt to gauge whether his brain grasped the concept of object permanence: that things he could not see — whether a ball bouncing behind a screen or a cup hidden underneath a napkin — still existed.

I’ve been thinking about this since our church’s “verse of the year” was revealed: Romans 8.4. It talks about walking not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is, of course, tricky to understand. I have in the past thought about the presence of the Spirit as made manifest only through feelings. Feelings of awe, wonder; the numinous.

But, as C. S. Lewis wrote, the Holy Spirit cannot solely be experienced through sensations or emotions. We shouldn’t depend on them, he says, otherwise when those feelings go — like my baby boy’s experience of a ball bouncing behind something — we will think that that thing no longer exists; that it is gone for ever. Not so, Lewis says. “It will be there when you can’t feel it. May even be most operative when you can feel it least.”

Fringe benefits

My husband and I managed an anniversary-weekend getaway to Arundel during a small window in between lockdown restrictions. Wandering into Arundel Cathedral, I realised that this was one of only two occasions since the start of the pandemic when I had set foot inside a church building. It’s amazing to think how quickly we can get used to significant change.

During those early days of lockdown, as my church switched its services to Zoom, the sight of each of us separately depicted in pixelated square boxes, having been forced to retreat to within own four walls, was miserable. But, in recent months, those same boxes, representing different households side by side, have come to symbolise our togetherness rather than our apartness.

In the early days, my three-year-old so missed his weekly trip to the crèche at church that, as we settled down to virtual church on Sunday mornings, he would grab his shoes, put them at the door, and demand to go to “outside church”. I asked him what he missed about outside church. “Biscuits,” he said.

Big church

IN 2018, giving the opening reflection at the National Cathedrals Conference — “Sacred Space: Common Ground” — I spoke of how cathedrals symbolised God’s relationship to all creation. Standing as iconic elements of cityscapes across the nation, they occupy a unique space between the sacred and the secular. I love cathedrals for precisely that reason. Rooted in their communities, they also point a way to God.

Cathedrals are able to do the unexpected, drawing in not only those from their local communities, but from all over the world. One of my most surreal cathedral memories was presenting a segment (as part of BBC1’s Sunday Morning Live) from Rochester Cathedral, which, in a bid to draw people in, had installed a crazy-golf course in its nave.

Cathedrals provide venues for civic, cultural, and academic events; they contribute to the local economy and the prosperity of their cities. Seeing images of elderly people lining up to get their Covid-19 vaccinations at Lichfield Cathedral brought tears to my eyes. At this, the bleakest moment in most of our lifetimes, a cathedral is doing perhaps exactly what it should be doing.

Watching the Dean, the Very Revd Adrian D (whom I’d met in Manchester, at the Cathedrals Conference), talking on the BBC about Lichfield’s transformation into a vaccination centre brought it home to me. For him, cathedrals offer a place for people to “touch the hem of the divine . . . and that’s what we’re here for”. 

Carpe diem

After months of checking the daily death tolls and coronavirus-case numbers, it is a complete joy to hear stories of people receiving the first dose of the vaccine. It doesn’t matter to me whether they are the grandmother of a long-lost relative or the postman’s neighbour: every jab represents hope — the possibility that maybe, just maybe, we might get through this.

Over the past year, we have been living through a collective trauma, and these most recent weeks have seemed the darkest of all. I’m clinging to the truth that it’s always darkest just before the dawn.

My husband and I are starting to make lists, with our friends, of the things we will do together when life opens up again. Instead of grand globe-trotting adventures, it’s fascinating to see how our hopes and dreams have become a little simpler. A trip to a Surrey farm, followed by a pub Sunday roast. Taking the children to a local theme park. We dream of the simple pleasure of having dinner with friends — inside.

We recently watched the new Disney Pixar movie Soul, which tells the story of a teacher who is on a journey to reunite his soul and his body. His words about life are certainly ones I’ll take with me into post-pandemic life: “I’m going to live every minute of it.”

lichfield cathedral

The three spires of Lichfield Cathedral

How we are:

Simon’s Mother Sheila: Unfortunately, Simon has let us know that his mother has become increasingly ill and is very near the end of her life. We all pray for her, Simon, his father, Anita and family.
Florence O: As said at the beginning of the newsletter we were very sad to hear that Florence passed away last week. We send our prayers to her family and remember with thanks all she brought to our community at Golders Green.
Please continue to pray for Rose O who remains seriously ill in Kenya. She truly appreciates our prayers and sends her good wishes and thanks to us.
Lots of continuing prayers for all those who are ill, feeling lonely, depressed and missing human contact at this time.
Please send any messages you would like to have in the newsletter about friends and relatives who are experiencing good as well as not so good times so we can think about and pray for them. It is one supportive way we can keep in touch with each other.

Websites and Video Programmes for Home Learning

Nehar, Anita and Sally have put together some ideas from friends who are engaged in home learning with their children and grandchildren. These are possible resources you may wish to look into to help your children and keep them enjoying their school-in-school:
  •  - free
  •  - free
  •  - free
  •    - app/fee paying Video Calls for Kids 4+
  • > programmes    Lockdown Learning
  •    Maddie Moate - You Tube
    this looks to me to be fun and science based. There are many sessions covering a variety of areas.
  • NatGeokids and Natural History websites have been recommended.
  • Apparently, Westminster Abbey has activities linked with history. Go to their website >learning centre and scroll to “Learning at WestminsterAbbey”
  • #WhyDoWeForget #Dr
    Why Do We Forget? | The Dr. Binocs Show | Best Learning Videos for Kids | Peekaboo Kidz
  • My friend Eva McIntyre’s book, “Where is Lonely?”, has a good selection at the back for young children.
    All these look very inviting as well as enjoyable. It is so important that, above all at this time, learning for children must be fun (and for parents/carers of course).   Good luck to all

Rooted in Love: 40 reflections for Lent
rooted in love

A new book has been published which draws on the collective wisdom of the Area bishops in London.

Introduced and edited by Bishop Sarah My, this Lent book explores the ways in which we can live the Christian life to the full today.
There are forty reflections that lead us deeper into the meaning and practice of life in Christ today. Each reflection includes a Bible reading, a prayer and a suggestion for action based on the reading.

Buy your copy here:

Message from Nehar

I am a trained integrative Counsellor. 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.


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, Rose O, Mirela B,  Mirela B , Marlies A, Florence O, Judy N, Sheila H, David A and Gideon O.  

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

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:”



YouTube - Worship Video of the week

Matt Redman: Do It Again, with the HTB Worship Band & Guvna B at the Roy...
Darlene Zschech - My Jesus, I Love Thee | Official Live Video

Do you have favourite worship songs? Please email them to Sally

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, 02/02/2021
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.