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Golders Green Parish Church – Newsletter

13 July 2021


Greetings to Everyone

In this week’s newsletter we have an article by Hilary Cotton who writes on the volunteer work she does in a woman’s prison in Surrey as a mentor to those who are coming up to their release date, and how she supports them in many different ways.  Hilary is a freelance advisor to many organisations; to the NHS, the Church and industry, especially in supporting women in breaking the “glass ceiling”.  She and I have been friends for many years and spent a long-time campaigning for women to be ordained as priests and latterly as bishops.
How good to have Archdeacon John back with us. We thank him for his continual support which we all value. His sermon is below.
I have written a recommendation of a book by the Revd Dr Miranda Threlfall-Holmes entitled, “How to Eat Bread: 21 Nourishing ways to Read the Bible”, which if you are tempted to purchase a copy, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.
After church on Sunday, myself, Jenny, her mum Beryl who is down for a visit, went for a cup of coffee. It was our intention to go further along Golders Green Road but, as we passed a Persian café by the traffic lights opposite the train and bus station, we noticed in their window a sign that said, “Free Meals Given to the Homeless”, as a result we just had to have our coffee there. In fact, it turned out to be a gem of a time, not only was the owner warm, welcoming, and humorous, with cakes of the kind that went straight to the hips - but never mind - as we sat outside, we noticed how people smiled as they passed by, with one stopping to talk.  Not only will we go there again but I am giving the name of the café in case you would like to go too. I do not usually advertise shops but their generosity towards the homeless is important. It is “The Persia Restaurant and Café”, All food is home-made with free delivery over £30. They are open 7 days a week.
2 North End Road NW11 7PH; 020 3489 8226; mobile 07539 607270.  So, within 4/5mins walking distance from our church, we have two generous restaurants who feed our homeless, One Turkish - Toprak Ocakbasi, opposite our church who provided the food during lockdown, and one Persian - The Persia Restaurant and Café, the one we went to today. Thank you both for your generous spirit.
Covid restrictions: So, we understand now, that all restrictions are off from the 19th of July even though Covid infections are rising and expected to continue to rise. In “The Lancet”, an esteemed medical journal, several notable medics stated, “the levels of Covid infections are both “unethical and illogical”; to remove all restrictions is utter madness”. In the light of this we must take greater care of ourselves and each other; wear your masks in all transport vehicles, in shops and other enclosed spaces; keep a suitable space between you and make sure you have plenty of hand sanitizer for your use. We know that each life is precious, and we must take care.

Love and good wishes – Sally


This week’s edition includes:

  • Update from Tony;
  • Zoom Links
  • Sermon from Archdeacon John;
  • Women Leaving Prison – Hilary Cotton;
  • Wednesday Prayer Time;
  • Book Recommendation- “How to Eat Bread”;
  • Prayers, hymns, and broadcasts;
  • Zoom links;


Update from Tony

I hope you are all doing well - the weather has thrown up some very interesting days for us.  I am not sure whether it will be a day when I go out to do something or whether I will be caught out and have to go back in for the rest of the day.  Yesterday was one such day.  I came up to Golders Green to get ready for the interviews on Thursday and to check some things out and to think about the next few months.  Most of the day was great once I got here, but then the storm clouds gathered, and it poured.  West Heath Drive was rushing with water trying to get to North End Road and to move towards the Golders Green Cenotaph as the schools were finishing for the day.  Here are a few photographs of the effects of the thunderstorm on West Heath Drive to North End Road taken from the porch facing Kidos Nursery or the porch facing the tube Station.
20210713-Path1  20210713-Path2

20210713-Street1  20210713-Street2
That aside, please do pray for the interviewing on Thursday, and pray for those who will be helping to meet the candidates afterwards to show them round the grounds, vicarage.  It is my prayer that maybe God has put the person He wants up in front of us this time round and that we need to align ourselves with Him on this - I got a sense that this might be the case when I was reviewing the applications yesterday evening before retiring.  But let us see- this might just be fanciful on my part.
After the weekend of sport - certainly one Englishman went home a victor - one of the mixed doubles pair.  Football did not come home - it went to Italy.  Ultimately who is our God - do we worship Him only with the right perspective (on our knees) or do we wish to hold our fist up to Him and say we can do it.  I prefer the first, walking with Him, seeking to see things from His perspective, trusting that He is good, that He loves us and cares for us.

Reminder: Wednesday Evening – Together for Prayers

Please join us on Wednesday evening 14th July at 7.30pm. This the time we can come together for prayers and bring all we want to hold before God.  Looking forward to seeing you.
Please see the zoom link below which is for the Wednesday evening prayer group, and also the link for Sunday.

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Sermon from Archdeacon John


In the letter to the Ephesians, attributed to the hand of St Paul while in prison, there is much written about the need for unity in the church, where Jew and Gentile are reconciled and united by Christ Jesus who has broken down the dividing wall of hostility in our lives and brings peace and unity to our world.
Our reading from the letter begins at verse 3 this morning but I want to turn for a moment to the first verse that for some reason the lectionary has omitted this morning:

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus

This is a greeting from time and place very different to ours and yet it as much of an encouragement now as then.
St Paul himself is reminding us that we are God’s holy people. Holy people. Not set above anyone else but apart for a reason, not our own vanity or sense of worth, not for our ambitions and accomplishments but for God’s glory and the purposes of the gospel. This holy life is one that is given us by the “will of God” v1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God. This is not a condition we find ourselves in or have created by our own efforts - but as a result of God’s will.
And what is it that God wills for you and me this morning? It is one and the same as it was yesterday and at the very beginning – to be God’s Holy people.
And where does that holiness come from, the will of God and our faithfulness to Christ. V1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus.The Greek word for faith that is used here is “Pistos”.
In Greek, the root word from which we get 'faith, the noun is PISTIS, 'believe', the verb is PISTUEO.  Faith is confidence in what we hope for and the assurance that the lord is working, even though we cannot see it. it is both what we do and what God does, and St Paul puts this in the context of Christ Jesus.
It is a reminder that at the times in our life when we no longer have the imagination or strength to have faith in God, God is still faithful to us.
St Paul makes it clear that our faith is not in our selves, not in the many and varied ways in which we seek to secure our place in this world but in Christ Jesus – lit the anointed Jesus: The Messiah Jesus. The Saviour Jesus.
And so here in the first verse of this letter to the Ephesians we are dramatically reminded of the main theme of the whole letter, indeed our lives as Christians – that God’s will is for us to be in Christ Jesus.
To be in Christ takes us to the two images of the church – St Pauls image of the body in which every member has a place and a role and St John’s image of the vine where every branch must remain, be in to be part of the vine to be fruitful.
As we are encouraged to remain in Christ and, holding the images of the church as body or vine in our minds, we acknowledge that this cannot be a solitary journey, Faith is not an individualistic task Holiness cannot be found where there is no unity, where anger jealousy pride or fear divide Gods children one from the other.
Last week I read a brilliant article on Leadership matters from a group of faith filled people, calling themselves the Public Square, reflecting on the terrible brokenness of our country in particular our failures around hospitality and welcome for refugees. The article looks at the leaders of our time and sees in their actions and words the very seeds of our distress and division. Sally Barnes will be able to share more with you if you are interested.
Here is a brief extract;
Bad leadership, unethical and uncaring, sets a tone that signals anything goes, with no obvious boundaries for managing self-control, ethical behaviour, or hate-filled attitudes. It is all about “me” and what I want. I can behave as I like no matter how much harm it causes; I do not have to think about “you”.
This seems to be the climate we are living in today, with a government that perpetuates hostile attitudes to those who are seen as being outside their narrowly prescribed “norm”, as not part of the club: the “foreigner”, the refugee, the asylum seeker, those who are poor, homeless or who look different. Government business is focused on how immediate friends, relatives and associates profit financially, whether qualified or not, while they receive large handouts that keep the money in the circle: no ethical, open advertising… No, let us do it our way - undercover, while people are more preoccupied with Covid, hoping no one will notice.
Well, that's a bit political you might say to me this morning. And you would of course be right. it is and so is the gospel.
In our gospel reading St Mark tells us of an extraordinary episode in the midst of the ministry of Jesus and his disciples demonstrating the consequences of bad leadership, poor judgement, vanity, and the misuse of power.
But we don’t remember this story in Mark 6 as just another example of an Empire’s violence, or a corrupt regime.
For some reason Mark thinks this murder is an important piece in the story of Jesus. But the funny thing about this episode in the drama is that Mark does not really explain why we should think it is important; Mark does not tell us why John’s death is significant. He does not explain how this bit of information fits in the story of Jesus of Nazareth.
Right after the story of John’s beheading, as in the verses before St Mark’s focus is on the ministry of the disciples and if we read on where our gospel ended this morning we returns to the disciples’ adventures as if the past 16 verses—the ones we just heard this morning—did not even happen. Except that he just spent all that time telling us about it. What’s Mark up to?
By placing this death in the middle of the Gospel, Chapter 6, St Mark is placing a story about a tragic and senseless death in the middle of a far greater and more important story. The story of the death of Jesus of Nazareth.
And this maybe is the way in which St Mark is suggesting we understand our life and the lives of those around us. Because of the importance and significance of the death of Jesus our view of death is transformed, so that there is no truly senseless or meaningless death. When we consider John’s beheading, just as we should when we hear and see the victims of the violence of this world today, we do so in the context of the death of Jesus.
John’s death is significant because Jesus takes into himself the wounds of all victims as he breathes his last on the cross.
Jesus’ crucifixion gives John’s beheading significance, and in turn brings a new understanding and hope into the face of loss and tragedy so that death does not have the last word. This is the case for John the Baptist, and it is now true for every other senseless and tragic death since that of Jesus.
And if death is important so then is life – the life of each one of us. It is in the writing of St Paul that we see this most clearly articulated. He, that is God, destined us for adoption as his children though Jesus Christ v5 of the first chapter in his epistle to the Ephesians.
It is because through Jesus Christ that we enter a relationship with God like that of a child with a parent – precious and loved that we find the ultimate meaning in the meaningless fact of death because in v7 In him, Jesus Christ, we have redemption through his blood….
 Let us therefore in the prayers we offer today and every day in the week ahead, echo the words of St Paul as he writes to the Ephesians:  Blessed be God the father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love.


Women leaving Prison – breaking the re-offending cycle
Hilary Cotton

Chaplains in prisons do all sorts of things. They do the expected things, like running Sunday services and study groups, praying with people, breaking bad news, visiting those who are in trouble or self-harming. . They also run courses to help people come to terms with what they have done by doing what is called ‘restorative justice’, where they explore all the effects of their crime – on the victims and the wider community, and the effects on themselves, their families, and their own communities. This brings them face-to-face with a victim of crime (not usually their own) who describes what happened to them. Prisoners are often shocked to hear the victim’s story, as they have never thought about this before. And that small encounter can shift their feeling, thinking and behaviour in remarkable ways.
‘You’re in here AS punishment, not FOR punishment’. That’s a quote from ‘TIme’, the recent drama on BBC about a teacher imprisoned for killing a cyclist whilst he was drunk driving. His mother says it when she is visiting him after he has been beaten up by fellow-inmates. In this series, the prison chaplain offered safe space, gentle but firm support, encouragement, and challenge to ‘do better’: she was a star.
Whatever you think of what prison is for, I hope you would want people to emerge from serving their sentence with the intention not to commit another crime. But here it gets really difficult. You are released with £46 (soon to be increased to £72) and your belongings. If you are fortunate, you will be met by family or friends, and re-absorbed into a loving, supportive community who will give you a second – or further - chance. But what if you do not have that? Probation services will try and find you accommodation, but often that means an appointment with the local authority housing department the next day. How likely is it that they will find you somewhere to live immediately? And of course, women are especially vulnerable if they find themselves on the streets… the cycle goes on.
What can chaplains do to help? One example: Making Connections is a programme run by the Chaplaincy at HMP Send, a women’s prison in Surrey. It aims to bridge the gap between prison and living a crime-free, safe life in the outside world. Each prisoner who wants to, works with a volunteer mentor from six months before their release date on how they want their lives to be in two years’ time. They think about where they want to live, who with, how they will get enough money to live on, and how they will fill their days. They also work on how to rebuild relationships with their family, often including their children who will have been looked after by others in their absence. How will they avoid temptation to commit crime again? For many who have got ‘clean’ in prison, how will they avoid getting back onto drugs, and the crime cycle that so often follows?
Prison can be the safest place for many women. They have had utterly dysfunctional lives, and to be in a place where they are fed, have space of their own, and someone is looking out for them, is respite from the outside world. So, getting them to plan and build their confidence that they can manage an ordinary life, and that there is help out there, can be a huge relief for them.
One of the most important things that Making Connections mentors in prison aim to do is to find each prisoner a volunteer mentor who will meet and work with them after their release from prison. Their mentor is not their friend – they are a safety-net, helping them work out how to navigate their new world and resist all the pressures to give up – the bureaucracy of housing, social services and DWP, people who despise them for what they have done, difficulties in family relationships, and so on. In some ways, I am amazed more ex-offenders do not find themselves back inside without really realising what was happening.
But having a mentor make a huge difference. Making Connections has reduced re-offending. So have other similar schemes and community support efforts.
Many mentors belong to churches who have signed up to the Welcome Directory: aiming to offer welcome and support, without judgement, to prisoners on release. No one can mentor without good back-up, so being part of a group supporting prisoners within a church is important. Maybe your church could think about becoming a Welcome Directory church? Many women are released in London and having someone to have coffee with and talk about what it’s like to return to life ‘outside’ with all that’s changed and all that’s difficult, can be so important to keep someone on a safe and crime-free path.
Coming out of prison into a new sort of life takes huge amounts of courage and bravery, every day, and requires lots of support. Chaplains and others do their best, and volunteers work hard, to equip people to make the transition safely and successfully. Please do pray for those involved in this work, and for those who succeed or fail on their release from prison. God loves them, just as they are, and we are called to love them too.

Wind Spirit
carved from wood by Celia Dickinson

Please continue to pray for those who have asked us as a community to pray for them.
Okey Jnr.O, Yvonne S, Anna M, Ian K, Eva M Juliette D, Ivor S, Myfanwy K, Dorothy N Rose O Judy N, David A, Gideon O & Simon H.

Book Recommendation

This book, written by Revd Dr Miranda Threlfall-Holmes, is one I would love to purchase for everyone interested in exploring the bible to gain a greater understanding. I have recommended Miranda’s books before as they are accessible, clearly written in a style that engages the reader. She never tells you what to think but rather asks you to reflect, question and think. She is passionate about the bible which she finds good, enjoyable, and nourishing- just like bread - which is an important food for everyone, hence its title.  Miranda is a historian of the Middle Ages as well as a vicar of three parishes in inner-city Liverpool.  Because of her academic background and studies, she has a great knowledge of how the bible was put together as well as how Christians have read and interpreted it from the earliest times down the ages- which may hold some surprises for the reader. “How to Eat Bread”, is published by Hodder and Stoughton and can be obtained from any of the bookshops below.

YouTube - Worship Videos of the week:

Breathe - Maverick City ft. Jonathan McReynolds (Lyrics)


Find My Peace - Naomi Raine

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 by emailing .

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, 13/07/2021
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.