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Golders Green Parish Church – Newsletter
23 February 2021
Greetings to everyone. We are in our first full week of Lent with much to think about and ponder on for the next few weeks. In the newsletter we have several interesting books to help us, a Lenten prayer and a Litany of Reconciliation from Coventry that was created after the city was badly bombed in the 2nd WW. The Provost of the Cathedral at that time recognised the only way through after such destruction was to work towards peace and reconciliation. More is said about it in a short article below.
Thank you for the positive comments that have been made about the book recommendations. Janet Morley’s book, “The Heart’s Time”, has been especially enjoyed. If you have any books, poems or prayers you would like to share with us please let me know; they will be put in the newsletter.
In this week’s edition it is good to hear from Tony that we are making progress in searching for our new incumbent.
It is hoped, as considerably more of us get vaccinated, we remember those who are not receiving vaccination in other countries and have no protection against Covid19. Please pray that we, as a country, show generosity in providing it for them. Perhaps individually we too can donate towards organisations such as Christian Aid and UNICEF who are making determined attempts to get vaccinations to those in need.
The weather looks really promising this week so I hope we will all take some more exercise outside - with care - and enjoy some fresh air.
Love and good wishes - Sally
This week’s edition includes:
Thoughts from Tony.
Sermon from Charlotte.
Vaccines for Africa: Give Thanks by Giving - Jenny
Litany of Reconciliation.
Farewell to Florence Onochie - from Rose Omu
Resources for Lent.
How We Are.
Links to services, hymns, and broadcasts.
You will recall that last week I mentioned the placing of our advert for a new parish priest in the Church Times. It will be going in this week. As of Friday, 19th February, we had some seven inquiries for the profile, which is encouraging. Of course, not all inquiries will result in a priest applying for the incumbency at Golders Green but who knows. Therefore, I would ask you to keep praying for those who read the advert, who have asked for the profile and that if any one or two or three of them feel or believe they are being led to Golders Green that they would apply, and we would consider their application in due course. The text of the advert is along these lines -
“We are looking for a new priest who will help us worship God, grow together and serve our wider community.
Situated opposite a very busy tube station, we have a welcoming, wonderful, warm, and flexible church building, and our finances are in good shape too.
We are now looking for a priest who will help us look outward in service and mission, who will help us navigate the uniqueness of our diverse community, in particular the relationship with our Jewish neighbours, in love.
We have a heart to grow younger, supporting children and youth work, where we confidently teach and live out the good news of Jesus Christ, by the whole church becoming eager disciples.
We wonder if you could be our next parish priest? Why not read the profile to find out more?”
I do not know about you, but I was reminded today about Israel’s journey of leaving Egypt and heading towards what is now Israel. Along the way, as we know there was an important issue that had to be addressed - they had to learn to worship God, the Lord Almighty, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To do so they had to stop at Mount Sinai. It was here that God gave Moses the Ten commandments, showed him the Tabernacle (the place where God would dwell on earth or the meeting place of God and His people) and they discussed various matters, which we then see set out in the rest of Exodus and Leviticus and into Numbers and Deuteronomy. You will recall that Moses came down and found that Israel had fallen into idolatry and was worshipping an idol. After dealing with this Moses goes back up the mountain then pleads with God and something remarkable happens. There is a dialogue which Moses relays to us in Exodus 33:12 through to 34:14. The remarkable thing is this - Moses says to God unless God goes with them then God should not send them on their way to Israel. If he does not, how can Israel be distinguished from the rest of the world, how can Israel be the light to the nations (33:16). This is the same question that should animate our own desires, I would have thought. Secondly, Moses asks God to show him His Glory and God says I will cause my goodness to pass in front of you and will proclaim my name - equating, if I may say so, glory with goodness (33:18-19). In other words, God’s glory is seen in His goodness to us and to mankind, when we see good thing happen, we see His glory. God’s goodness is seen in His mercy and compassion towards us, His love and faithfulness towards us and his forgiveness of our wickedness, rebellion and sin (v33:19 &34:6-7).
Let us pray therefore for God’s presences amongst us, that we would be faithful to Him and to each other.
Temptations of Christ from a fresco painted in 1527 at the
Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapausas, at Meteora in Greece.
Sermon from Charlotte
We’re now four days into Lent – 10% of it gone, if you like. Today is the first Sunday of Lent – and there are two schools of thought as to whether Sundays of Lent count as days on which we still keep our Lenten disciplines. On Ash Wednesday I spoke about the denial that all of us are being forced to experience, and the fact that we can use that as our Lenten discipline this year – but perhaps if you are attempting some self-denial on top of the current restrictions we're living under, you're already desperate for a piece of chocolate or pining after a glass of wine. Or perhaps the beginning of Lent has passed you by altogether. If it has, use this first Sunday of Lent as the beginning of Lent for you. Decide today how you will use the forty days of Lent this year to grow closer to God, and begin afresh today.
‘Forty’ was a number which had a great deal of significance for Jews. Noah spent forty days in the Ark during the Flood. Moses spent forty days on the mountain before receiving the Ten Commandments. The Israelites spent forty years waiting to get to the Promised Land. The number ‘forty’, in the Old Testament, is a number which signifies the limits of human endurance and of reliance on God. There is always some sort of gift from God at the end of this endurance – a renewed earth, a set of laws by which to live, a place given to live and prosper in, and in the case of Christ’s period in the wilderness, the foundation of a life ministry.
Since then, retreating to the desert has become an influential aspect of the Christian tradition. In the third century, Christian men and women, now known as the desert mothers & fathers, left the towns and villages of the fertile inhabited regions of the Nile delta and settled in an inhospitable desert, to live in solitude.
Admittedly this was in part due to the persecution of Christians, but even after the persecution subsided, they remained there. Their writings and sayings, which have come from lives of solitude, have become a rich part of Christian spirituality. There are few who are called to be hermits, living a life of contemplation and solitude, and even fewer who follow up the call of living in the desert. Lent is a reminder that even though we are not often literally called to be in the desert, there is a desert place in each of our spiritual lives that we are especially called to dwell in during Lent.
But before Jesus retreats into the desert, we hear once again the story of Jesus' baptism, which we heard soon after Christmas. It is echoed in the Transfiguration, which we heard in last week’s Gospel, when Jesus ascended a mountain with his disciples, and in their presence his entire body began to shine, and a voice from heaven proclaimed the words, “This is my son, the beloved. With him I am well pleased.” We hear the same words spoken in this week’s Gospel, when we see the spirit of God descending upon Jesus as a dove at his baptism in the Jordan.
These words indicate exactly the kind of ruler Jesus would be, and the kind of person he was. The words “You are my beloved Son” come from Psalm 2, which spoke of God’s promise to His Anointed, and the promise of the Jews of a Messiah. The Servant Song in Isaiah 42 contains the words “With you I am well pleased” – Jesus was not to be a figure of political uprising, but a suffering servant. Right at the very beginning of his ministry, then, Jesus is marked out as the Son of God, who came to serve, and who is loved by his Father.
Mark tells us quite a bit about the scene as Jesus was baptised. People from the whole Judean countryside and all Jerusalem were going out into the wilderness to listen to John the Baptist and be baptised by him. In that crowd are all the characters that we come to know so well throughout Jesus ministry; tax collectors; soldiers; sick and disabled; people with infectious or stigmatising diseases; rich and poor and sinners of every kind – and in amongst them all is Jesus.
This marked such a departure from what was expected of God. God was separated from humanity, kept veiled in the tabernacle in the Temple where the priest would go, once a year. There were strict laws about who was in and who was out with society – and by implication, with God; who was ritually unclean and to be kept away from the rest of the community – which meant this crowd in which Jesus was mingling was not what might have been considered a holy and pure environment.
But these crowds had gathered to hear John the Baptist and be baptised by him as a sign of repentance. Many of those gathered might have expected to spend their entire lives as ritually unclean, unworthy of God's love – but in those gathered there is desire to repent; to turn their lives towards God and his ways.
And it is not just those crowds who come for baptism; in their midst, stands Jesus, being baptised in the Jordan by John. In some other Gospel accounts we see John the Baptist mounting a bit of a protest at baptising the one whose sandals he is not worthy to untie, but in Mark's account that we've just heard Jesus simply submits to baptism, standing in the midst of the sinful humanity that he's called to redeem. As we see his life and ministry unfold, we come to realise that that is central to who he is and what he is called to do: to stand in our place, even though there is no sin in him.
More than the voice coming from heaven, literally Mark says that the heavens were torn open – he uses the word 'schizzoed' (where we get our word for scissors from) – and its the exact same word that he uses much later in his Gospel at the moment Jesus dies, when the veil of the Temple is torn in two. That's why we're hearing this story now, at the beginning of Lent – because this tearing is what bookends Lent for us, bookends Jesus' adult life. At the beginning of his ministry the heavens are torn open and God the Father announces that this is his Son, whom he loves; at the end of his earthly life, the veil of the Temple is torn open, the holiest of holies, the very place where God was considered to dwell is opened up to the people, and it's at that moment that the Roman centurion says, “Surely this man was the Son of God.' Mark has done mirroring very deliberately; he is showing us that heaven has been opened to us through the person of Jesus. We see that in his baptism and we see it in his death.
This tearing marks the end of the separation of God and humanity; an end to the distance between them. We've learnt about the pain of distancing from those we love in the past year. But here we see that God is undoing the distance between heaven and earth; he is no longer to be separated from humanity, no matter how much sin there is to be found in us.
These 40 days of Lent are here to help us recognise that sin, to repent as those crowds on the banks of the Jordan first did, and realign our ways with the ways of Christ – knowing that the veil that separates heaven and earth has been torn open, and that the words God the Father speaks of Jesus are words he speaks of all of us, “You are my child, the beloved.”
Jason’s Funeral :
To let you know that Jason’s funeral is on 8th March at the City of London Cemetery in East London - they can do the service and burial in one place. I understand there are two places for us and it would be good if some can go. When we are better able to host a memorial service, we will have one at Church. So, if you would like to be one of the two please email the firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lord Jesus Christ,
As we turn towards the days of your cross and resurrection,
walk with us as we travel through this wilderness.
Make the desert to flower and the rocks to bring forth water;
sustain us through ordeal and suffering,
so that strong in spirit and light of heart,
we may finally come to your risen glory.
For your name’s sake,
Covid 19 Vaccines - Give Thanks by Giving
Covid-19 vaccines are being rolled out across the UK at an astonishing rate and it’s wonderful to see such an enthusiastic take-up by the vast majority of those to whom it’s so far been offered, from all backgrounds, faiths and ethnicities. We are incredibly fortunate in this country to have access to the vaccines so soon, and in such large numbers. Sadly the majority of the world’s population don’t have such access, and around 100 countries haven’t been able even to begin a vaccination programme. This is a huge and life-denying injustice - why should they miss out just because their countries aren’t as rich as the UK?
Christian Aid recently carried out a survey which found that nearly two thirds of respondents believe that the vaccine rollout should not favour richer countries, and around the same proportion want the UK government to push drug companies to to make the formula for the vaccines freely available so that rollout globally can happen faster. Until that happens, there are many millions of people who are at risk of catching the virus and who don’t have the resources to reduce the risk. Christian Aid is providing practical support to communities around the world who are having to cope with lack of water, food and basic healthcare, to help them stay safe from Covid-19.
We in this country have so much to be very thankful for. As more and more of us have our vaccinations, Christian Aid is encouraging us to show our gratitude by giving to their ‘Give Thanks’ appeal, so that they can help even more of the poorest people in the world while the vaccine stays out of their reach. If you’d like to know more, or to give, you can find more details here: https://www.christianaid.org.uk/give/ways-donate/give-thanks-your-coronavirus-vaccine
. Thank you. Your gratitude could save lives.
Coventry Litany of Reconciliation
1. Cross made from molten metal from the bombing raid.
in the ruins of Coventry cathedral.
2. Cross pulled from the ruins of Frauenkirche (Our Lady)
Dresden which was completely destroyed by a fireball.
The words below are prayed in Coventry Cathedral every weekday at noon and in its Ruins on Fridays. They are part of the Litany of Reconciliation created after the mediaeval Cathedral was bombed in 1940. They are also used throughout the world by, “The Community of the Cross of Nails”. Provost Howard had the words ‘Father Forgive’ inscribed on the wall behind the Altar of the ruined building after the intense bombing. A later devastating bombing in Dresden, Germany, was carried out by the UK and USA, raising that city to the ground with its people and virtually all of its buildings. My godfather, a man of peace and later a priest, had been a flight navigator at that time and never got over the horror of what he had been part of. Now Coventry and Dresden are two reconciled places of friendship and peace. As there is so much national, international and individual strife taking place throughout the world in so many forms, the words prayed in the Coventry Litany are for all of us in all our countries no matter where they are. Let it be possible for us to think about and pray each line of the Litany asking for reconciliation and forgiveness as individuals and between nations. We badly need, peace, generosity, kindness and love between us.
Litany of Reconciliation
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God
The hatred which divides nation from nation, race from race, class from class,
The covetous desires of people and nations to possess what is not their own,
The greed which exploits the work of human hands and lays waste the earth,
Our envy of the welfare and happiness of others,
Our indifference to the plight of the imprisoned, the homeless, the refugee,
The lust which dishonours the bodies of men, women and children,
The pride which leads us to trust in ourselves and not in God,
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Farewell to Florence O - from Rose O
It occurred to me that I knew Florence longer than anyone else in our church, including her children (and perhaps her husband). That probably explains why I have been moved to write about her.
Zimmy and Daniel, Ifey and Onyeka bade farewell to their beloved mother, Florence O at a beautiful ceremony, officiated by Archbishop Emmanuel C, of the Diocese of Enugu, on Friday 19 February – on what would have been her 85th birthday. I joined them on Zoom as she was laid to rest at her home in Obosi, Anambra State, in Nigeria
Florence and I attended Archdeacon Crowther Memorial Girls School, Elelenwa, near Port Harcourt in the 1950s. Popularly known as Elelenwa, it was the oldest Church Missionary Society (CMS) girls’ secondary school in the then Eastern Nigeria. Run by British missionaries, using the British curriculum, we sat the Cambridge School Certificate Examination O’ Levels. We were taught etiquette, learnt British country songs and dance including the Maypole dance. Sunday worship, daily prayers and devotion and hymn singing were integral parts of our lives at school.
Florence (or ForCee as she was called) was three years my senior and we lived in the same dormitory. I recall she was a pretty, elegant girl who wore glasses, through which she peered at naughty junior girls. She was gentle and very ladylike (long before her church conferred the title ‘Lady’ on her) and always comported herself well. Quietly firm, soft spoken and measured, Florence came across as serious minded and meticulous. I must admit to being a bit scared of her initially but discovered that underneath her ‘no-nonsense’ stance and somewhat subdued smile, was a warm, loving and caring heart. And her smile - when you got it, was gentle and sincere.
When surprisingly, Florence and I reunited in Golders Green church many years ago, I was delighted to learn that Zimmy and Ifey were her daughters. What a small world! It was easy to see that ForCee’s faith in God had grown over the years and she still enjoyed Bible studies, Christian fellowship and prayer meetings, thanks to the solid foundation laid by the founders and teachers of our beloved school.
On Thursday 18 February, a commendation service was held at St Bartholomew’s Church, Enugu where she regularly worshipped. Archbishop Chukwuma gave the exhortation and was very supportive of the family. When I learnt that our old schoolgirls were going to sing at the service, I put on my green jacket, found my green school scarf and joined them on Zoom as they sang Nunc Dimitis in Igbo language, all in a sea of green. Our song drew a loud applause from the congregation. Florence must have been looking down at us, beaming with pride, in the same way she joined us in the church here when we sang Nigerian choruses.
Our church has lost someone dear who worshipped with us whenever she was in London, along with Zimmy, Daniel, Ifey, Onyeka and her grandchildren Mmesoma, Adaobi and their siblings, as well as her niece, Chinwe - all long-time members of our church. May God comfort them all and grant Florence’s soul eternal peace and rest.
Lent Book Suggestions
“Rooted in Love” draws on the collective wisdom of the Area bishops in London, introduced and edited by Bishop Sarah Mullally. The book explores the ways in which we can live the Christian life to the full today. It contains 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. You can buy your copy from: spckpublishing.co.uk/rooted-in-love
If you go to the Edmonton Area link containing more information you may find that helpful. Both links are on: https://vimeo.com/500890272 or the facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Edmonton-Episcopal-Area-644254219097579
“The Heart’s Time”, Poems and Prayers by Janet Morley;
“Candles in the Dark: Faith, Hope and Love in a Time of Pandemic” by Rowan Williams
“Forgotten Desert Mothers, The Sayings, Lives and Stories of Early Christian Women” by
Laura Swan. The last chapters on, “Yearning for Holiness”, “Contemporary Asceticism”, “Compassion” and others following, draw on the desert mothers’ wisdom and how they can relate to our lives today. They would be so helpful for Lenten reflections.
Why not support online Christian bookshops and buy them from one of these:
How we are:
Simon: Simon, thankfully, is making better progress and we hope will be fully well soon.
His mother’s funeral is taking place this Wednesday. We send our prayers to Simon, his father, Anita and all his family.
Judy N: Tony’s mother, Judy, has had a successful hip operation and is coming home this week. Such good news. We send her our best wishes and many prayers for a good convalescence;
Margaret: Good wishes to Margaret for a successful cataract operation which is taking place on Monday.
By the time everyone receives this newsletter she will have had it and we hope all has gone well. Lots of prayers for a good recovery.
Message from Nehar
I am a trained qualified 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.
Contact the office for my details. Please do 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, Marllies A, Judy N, David A, Gideon O, Diana T, Ify O, Simon H & the families of Florence O, Jason E & Sheila H.
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
Time: Feb 28, 2021 10:00 AM London
Every week on Sun, until Mar 28, 2021, 7 occurrence(s)
Feb 14, 2021 10:00 AM
Feb 21, 2021 10:00 AM
Feb 28, 2021 10:00 AM
Mar 7, 2021 10:00 AM
Mar 14, 2021 10:00 AM
Mar 21, 2021 10:00 AM
Mar 28, 2021 10:00 AM
Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 849 2013 8690
One tap mobile
+441314601196,,84920138690#,,,,*109211# United Kingdom
+442030512874,,84920138690#,,,,*109211# United Kingdom
Dial by your location
+44 131 460 1196 United Kingdom
+44 203 051 2874 United Kingdom
+44 203 481 5237 United Kingdom
+44 203 481 5240 United Kingdom
+44 203 901 7895 United Kingdom
Meeting ID: 849 2013 8690
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kskmhWIGn
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. Please email email@example.com
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 https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/join-us-service-dailyprayer
https://mailchi.mp/b9d86a4acdc7/coming-up-from-st-pauls-cathedral-1274047?e=377e26b1db St Paul’s Cathedral have a number of resources available for us to use.
Church of England Online Resources during this time https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronaviruscovid-19-liturgy-and-prayer-resources
Go On-line to " ps://www.achurchnearyou.com", put in Area or post code and find a local church that broadcasts Worship.
Prayers from Christian Aid https://www.christianaid.org.uk/pray/churches/coronavirus-prayers
https://pray-as-you-go.org/ Pray as you Go (a short service each day in the Jesuit Tradition)
LICC have some great resources on their website https://www.licc.org.uk/
Especially on Covid-19 https://www.licc.org.uk/ourresources/prayer-journeys/presence-pressure-purpose/