Click here to write your title
Golders Green Parish Church – Newsletter
24 March 2021
Greetings to everyone. What good and encouraging news to know that the church will be open for worship this coming Sunday - Palm Sunday. How good also to know that through Tony’s brilliant expertise it will be zoomed as well so that those who cannot make it in person will still be able to take part. Thank you so much Tony. Just to embarrass you - you are a star!
How good to know that we had nine applications for our incumbency. Lots of prayers to Tony and Pam, plus Bishop, Archdeacon and Area Dean, who are going through the short-listing process. We are, I hope, nearly there.
This is an appeal to the children
Please could you send in some of your fabulous drawings for Easter as you did at Christmas. They add so much and are very much enjoyed by everyone. Please email them to me on: email@example.com .Kirsty, Jennifer’s daughter who is studying art, has painted us a beautiful picture which she will head up the Easter Sunday newsletter- So that
is a start. Looking forward to receiving your pictures too.
In this week’s newsletter there is a repeat of the Pastoral group’s request on keeping in touch with each other. Please let us know if any support is needed.
I have written an article I thought you might be interested in about a group of musicians who formed themselves into a group called, “Music in Detention”. They visit the refugee camps we have in the UK, in a voluntary capacity, to encourage music-making, composing, and performing with refugees. There are many in the camps who are skilled musicians, and this is an inspired and necessary way of supporting their mental well-being as well as their musicianship- and everyone can sing so all can join in. I came across them through a group I belong to which monitors issues to do with refugees and they are a real dedicated delight.
Three of the photographs in this newsletter are from a friend, who, having had a severe illness for a number of years, suddenly saw beauty and spirit in everything and started to recover. Life, he said, “became worth living for”. He started a project called, “Heaven in my Back”, taking his camera on meditative walks, photographing much of the scenery that speaks to him. He does live in Denmark which has the most spectacular scenery, however, we have some pretty beautiful scenery in the city and countryside that can show the heaven in our backs, too. He has given me permission to share his photographs.
We are now on our way travelling towards Easter thinking of the hardest and most sombre two weeks of Christ’s passion, being with him throughout and looking forward with joy to Easter day and his Resurrection, bringing hope and reconciliation to all. We badly need that hope and reconciliation particularly between individuals, groups, and Countries. Please pray daily for peace at this fractious time, that wise heads may guide us towards it. A prayer for us: Lord Jesus abide in us as we abide in you; teach us to be with you as those who serve, to see your face in the face of others, that we my love one another as you love us.
Love and good wishes - Sally
This weeks edition includes:
Update from Tony.
Pastoral Group Reminder;
Sermon from Charlotte;
Prayer for National Day of Reflection;
Music in Detention from Sally;
Myanmar from Jenny;
Eco Church Update and 5th Birthday;
How We Are.
Resources for Lent.
Links to services, hymns, and broadcasts.
Update from Tony
As Sally mentioned above and some of you would have heard on Sunday last, we have 9 applications to be our new vicar. Later last Sunday Pamela and I met with Bishop Rob, the Archdeacon and the Area Dean to draw up a short list, which we did after about 2 hours of discussion. This was an interesting and fruitful time. We have a short list and will interview these people on 13th April, via Zoom. So please do pray for us, for at the end of the day the Bishop, Pamela and I need to agree after the second stage. The plan is to whittle the shortlist down to two and then to meet them in person for informal chats before deciding. If we are not able to agree we may have to carry this exercise out again.
I will confess to you all that this is not easy. I realise that ultimately Pamela and I, along with Bishop Rob, will be choosing someone who we hope and pray will love you all, will model Christ Jesus to you and you to them and will encourage each of us on our daily walk to seek to know Jesus more and better, to be like Him. And, ultimately, I would hope that together with that person we will see others come to know Him as Lord and Saviour. This is going to require prayer and courage on our part, and prayer from you, to see this realised.
Pastoral Group Reminder
Just to remind you of the pastoral group and how we would like to keep in touch with everyone. It is important that we do connect with each other however we like to do it; by phone, messaging, WhatsApp and/or zoom. All of us are touch with friends from church who we speak to regularly but we want to be sure that no one is missed out. If anyone would like a member of pastoral group to get in touch; if you have some news, good or serious, for example or just want to talk, please contact either Anita, Nehar of myself on, firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a message on the church number: 020 8455 1873 and it will be passed on to us.
We also thought it would be good to have a zoom coffee evening once/twice a month. We will set up a zoom meeting with the same connecting details after Easter which will be in the newsletter. It is our aim to meet at 7.30 for about 30-45 minutes with a cup of tea just for an informal chat. It will be good see how we all are. You can come for 10 minutes or stay till the end! It will mean we can continue to meet without having to travel further than our armchair! We will put a link out after Easter and look forward to seeing you all. With much love Sally, Anita and Nehar.
Sermon from Charlotte
As part of our Lent devotions at home I have been reading The Stations of the Cross with my children before bath-time, and we have even managed to get them to sit through the first two stations of the cross on zoom from our local church on a Friday evening before they get bored and wander off. I was a bit annoyed when the book arrived because it's not the actual stations of the cross – the 13 that you have in this church here. It has some different ones – presumably to help set the story in context a bit, or perhaps because the author thought that children would get bored of hearing that Jesus fell over for the third time so put some different parts of the story in. One of the stations that has been added is Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. My son likes looking at this one, where Jesus is in anguish, being comforted by an angel, and his friends the disciples asleep in the background.
It's in the garden that Mark records that “horror and anguish took hold of him” and where he prayed that the cup of suffering might be taken from him – which is what we see foretold in what Jesus says to his followers in the passage we heard today. In today's Gospel from John we read that Jesus told his followers, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” and then he prayed, “now my soul is in turmoil, and what am I to say? Father save me from this hour? No, it was for this that I came into this hour. Father glorify your name. A voice came from heaven, 'I have glorified it and I will glorify it again.”
What does the word glory conjure up for you? Monarchs on thrones in jewels and crowns? A sports team with its captain held aloft lifting a huge trophy? There is some of that sort of imagery in the Old Testament but for Christians the world and the symbolism take on a whole new meaning in John's Gospel. It is gradually hinted at throughout the beginning of the Gospel but as the Gospel progresses it is made clear to us that glory is not exactly as we have come to think of it; splendour and adoration and riches and power; that it is more to be associated with humility.
One of the central messages of John's Gospel is that God empties himself of his divinity to take on the form of a slave, and it is this that is the Glory of God – the greatest Glory is to be found in in the love of God the Father who gives his Son for the redemption of the world, and in turn the obedience of the Son to his Father. This obedience is what is referred to again and again by Jesus in John's Gospel as “the hour” - an obedience that leads him to total darkness and desolation on the cross.
Jesus says a slightly curious phrase in today's Gospel; unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” We can see now that he was preparing his disciples for his forthcoming death, and burial in the ground – and that that death and burial was necessary as a part of God's wider plan for the redemption of the world. Those must have been difficult words for the disciples to hear and a difficult message to accept. How can death ever be part of a plan for glory? It's a message I think our society – fairly obsessed with growth and immediate results – struggles with just as much. And that can have an influence on the way we think about our spiritual lives. I suppose it's tempting to think of our relationship with God as a sort of linear cycle of growth, one where if we keep on the straight and narrow, our Christian pilgrimage will be a steady path that grows closer and closer to God.
But I imagine very few Christian pilgrimages are like that. It's much more likely to be a series of cycles of death and resurrection, and we need to acknowledge that central to Christian thought is the idea that in order for new life to take place, death must happen first. Of course we see that most obviously in the language of baptism, where we talk about dying to sin and being buried with Christ, and that being symbolised by submersion in the water and rising out of it.
But that's not a one-off event that occurs just at the time of our baptism. It's the way of the whole Christian life – allowing (or even encouraging) death to happen in order for new creation to happen. Lent is traditionally a time when we focus on becoming aware of what parts of our lives need to die before growth can happen.
I imagine most church congregations have been feeling that cycle of dying and rising over the last year; where certain parts of church life have been forced to die – or at least go into hibernation – but in some ways that giving way for new life and opportunity. And for you here in Golders Green you might feel like you've been going through that cycle of death and life particularly keenly. An interregnum combined with lockdown and a church building forced to close, and congregation not being able to gather physically for many months must have been a painful process for many of you. But it may well be giving you space to think about your church and the community you serve, and to ask questions about what needs to give way in order for new life to grow in the church?
Today marks the beginning of Passiontide; the final two weeks of Lent in which we will mark the suffering of Christ in the garden, on the cross, and his final victory over death in the resurrection. I hope that at some point over the next two weeks we'll be able to hear – if not sing as a congregation – Isaac Watt's wonderful Lenten hymn, 'When I survey the wondrous cross', in which he takes the language of dying within ourselves. “Then I am dead to all the globe and all the globe is dead to me” - and “all the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to his blood.”
Those aren't easy words to hear and are even more difficult to follow up. Dying to the things in our lives that hold us back from God is never an easy task, even less so on our own. But that's why Jesus talks about the community that he has gathered around him, to encourage one another in the task – that's what I think he's referring to when he says, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” When we follow him, Jesus gathers us together – even in the strange and difficult circumstances in which we currently find ourselves – to share our difficulties in dying and rising. Most significantly he does that in the Eucharist and that is why it has been so painful for Christians to be kept apart physically over the last year; because it is in receiving the body and blood of Christ that we are brought into communion with one another; when we are drawn to Jesus himself.
So it is very much my prayer this Passiontide that as we prepare to mark Holy Week, that Christians both in this place and around the world can tentatively begin to return to the altar physically, that Jesus will draw us to himself, and that in that being drawn towards Jesus, we will die to ourselves, and be raised to new life with him.
Prayer for National Day of Reflection
This candle was lit in memory of all those who died in the pandemic; for all those who are grieving; for all those who are suffering and live with the after-effects; for all those who have nursed them putting their own lives at risk and for the scientists who created the vaccine. May they all be blessed.
Music in Detention - from Sally
Being part of a small group that monitors the care and hospitality of refugees in camps, I came across this amazing organisation called “Music in Detention”. I want to tell you because I thought you might be interested in knowing about it and perhaps go onto their website and listen to some of the music-making that takes place, to hear refugees talking about how they participate and what their experiences are.
The organisation has just changed its name to, “Hear Me Out”, and was formed by a number of professional musicians who give their time to go into camps to encourage music to be composed and played by refugees in them. Of course, at the moment because of Covid they are not able to do this but, undeterred, they try to live-stream sessions. They encourage the refugees to compose and play from their different cultures, share their music-making and compositions between themselves. Projects are set up, music sessions are organised, and they have their own curriculum. The range of music created and performed is very wide according to the different cultures; often hip hop, rap, very much the music of the dispossessed and impoverished.
Key aims are to raise spirits, improve well-being, express emotions to each other, build relationships and see themselves differently. When you listen to those in the camps talking about their experiences participating in this it certainly does that. The relief it brings can change an outlook and helps their mental health. Empathy and understanding are built up between those who work with them and those who are in the camps. In addition, they have the opportunity to collaborate with each other, learn from, help each other, and become friends. As a result, a wide body of work is being built up from their compositions.
The visiting musicians manage to link up those on the inside with groups of supportive people on the outside who are living near camps, to share music and, it is hoped, to have an opportunity to create a performance in the public sphere. There are many befriending groups of local people near the camps who do a great deal to support the refugees in them, for example, Jesuit Refugee Service for Yarleswood at Heathrow but there are many others. It has been so heartening in this hostile climate to find out just how many welcoming groups there are across the country.
The camps contain refugees who have been in them for a long time, often coming as little boys and now young men. Many have claimed asylum and others have not. Music in Detention is the only group who does this kind of work, but there are other groups who offer different creative times and complement each other.
People are classified by the Government for political purposes & that is how they are often seen in the public eye;
The language that has been developed by the government over the years is deliberately used to create a hostile environment with all classified under one terminology in the public mind without the distinctions that makes them different. I make no apologies for saying this. Inside the camps are a mix of designated people:
- Asylum seekers among them those who are often trafficked
- Asylum seekers fleeing from hostile, war-torn countries, such as Syria
- Economic asylum seekers through poverty/climate change
- Those seeking work visas
- Those to be deported e.g. Windrush people
- Some waiting many years
- Some refugees who are given asylum
As well as “Music in Detention”, who are concentrating on the creative side of things, there are also many groups working to help refugees trying to:
- create a more humane system
- change the hostile climate
- end detention or limit the time for detention;
- take on legal battles for those who need them, arrange bail for immigrant detainees, deliver visiting sessions
There also exists a detention forum which is an alliance of groups who come together to see what needs to be changed.
We need to know that the camps are not the same as prisons and yet in the public eye those inside are often regarded as criminals. Unlike in prisons, where there is some structure, in the camps there is no structure to the day at all which creates all kinds of issues as you can imagine. I know from my experience in the past, through contact with a number of people from different troubled countries, the many gifts, professions, and skills they have, that if harnessed creatively, could be used to the good of this country, and they want to give them. I remember Bishop Karowei D of Woolwich in Southwark, himself a doctor from Nigeria, saying at a conference not so long ago, if all the abilities, knowledge, skills of many refugees who are languishing in camps could be used fruitfully by us we would be in a better place; many want to be able to give what they have as their contribution to the UK. What a far better and creative way to support a dispossessed people, who have suffered much and potentially have much to give, than leaving them languishing in a situation that can destroy what they have.
If Jenny does not mind, I am borrowing the last two lines of the prayer she put at the end of her article below on Mayanmar as it seems so apt. “May all your children regardless of ethnic identity, creed or gender
Find dignity and life in all its fullness – for we believe in Life Before Death”
Myanmar from Jenny
The situation in Myanmar since the coup continues to deteriorate, with reports of at least 232 Burmese having been killed by security forces and forty journalists having been detained as at 19 March. Governments around the world, including the UK, have condemned "the brutal violence against unarmed civilians….".
Faced with such terrible events, it’s hard to know what to do. If you’d like to keep up to date with developments do look at the website of the Burma Campaign: https://burmacampaign.org.uk. You’ll find there a list (‘the dirty list’) of companies doing business with the military. They include some familiar names, for instance Tata Group, which among other things owns the Tetley Tea brand and Jaguar Rover. Do consider writing to companies on this list calling for them to stop doing business with the military.
One of Jenny’s colleagues at Christian Aid has written a prayer which we encourage you to use, and introduces it with a reflection from which this is an extract:
‘…..I have felt like weeping but we need to continue in hope and reach out to our colleagues and partners who are living this reality. Our hope is that the dividends of our work over the years will pay off and a strengthened civil society will be able to flourish. In solidarity and in faith I offer this prayer at a time when I am not able to speak out as I would wish for fear of putting staff, partners and our programme at risk.’
God whose love knows no borders,
Give us grace and courage to respond amidst strife and oppression.
Open our minds to engage with the pain borne by the peoples of Myanmar
Open our eyes to see you in the troubled places of your world
Open our arms to embrace our sisters and brothers enduring loss and hardship
We pray for our world, our humanity, our peace.
In the pain of the tortured and in the loneliness of the refugee
In the arrogance of the strong and in the security of the powerful
Turn us again Lord, to drink the cup of salvation
That we may die to self and live for you.
Help us to remember today Lord,
That there is nothing we cannot face together in solidarity, prayer and action.
May all your children regardless of ethnic identity, creed or gender
Find dignity and life in all its fullness – for we believe in Life Before Death.
5 years of Eco Church
We are pleased to be able to send you our latest Eco Church Connect with details of some great opportunities to take action for the climate and nature as well as helping you to be more equipped to progress with Eco Church.
Firstly though, do join us if you can on 26 March
to celebrate 5 years of Eco Church
- to pray together and be re-envisioned for the challenges ahead. You can register here but if you can’t join us on the day, the event will be recorded and available on our YouTube channel here.
It is very encouraging to see churches continue to register for Eco Church and apply for awards. We now have over 3,300 Eco Church registrations with a total of 1,074 Eco Church awards given to churches.
16 churches have now achieved a Gold award, the latest being St Cuthberts
, at the heart of Croxteth Park housing estate in Liverpool. You can read more about their story here
Also a big congratulations to West Midlands Synod
, the first URC Synod to achieve a Bronze Eco Synod award
and to Gloucester diocese for achieving the 12th Eco Diocese Bronze award.
Finally, if you'd like some ideas of how your church can progress in getting to net zero or to the next Eco Church award level then do join us for 2 conferences taking place in April and May -
Every blessing - The Eco Church team.
How we are:
: Jenny’s mother, Beryl, who many of us know, as she comes to church here when she visits Jenny, is 90 years old this week. Many congratulations to her, hoping she has a great day and is feeling stronger after not having been too well. Let us hope our prayers and good wishes will make her feel heaps better.
: Please pray for Simon’s father Michael during this week as he grieves for the loss of his wife Sheila of 68 years.
: Seth C was our curate for several years. He and his wife Jenny are now in a parish in Walmer, Kent. Jenny’s father, Ivor S, who has been in a nursing home in lockdown for several months, had another stroke last Friday. He was extremely unwell but he has been a little more responsive. However, he remains very vulnerable and ill and in need of our prayers for him and the rest of his family this week.
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, Judy N, David A, Gideon O, Simon H
Lent Book Suggestions
“Dear England”, is the letter the new Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, would like to write to acountry that no longer sees the relevance of a Christian narrative; https://youtu.be/abZT3rEeOj4.
“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:
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: Mar 14, 2021 10:00 AM London
Every week on Sun, until Mar 28, 2021, 1 occurrence left
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/