Golders Green Parish Church – Newsletter
21 September 2021
Greetings to everyone. This evening Kamran will be installed as our new incumbent. What pleasure this is for us after waiting for so long. We welcome him, Salomi and their family and hope he finds his time with us a fulfilling and joyous one as well as, I expect, quite challenging at times too. Next week there will be an account of his installation with pictures as at the time of writing it is all to come!
This week’s newsletter has two important statements on vital issues for everyone to read. The first is a statement from, Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, who have joined together for the first time in an urgent appeal for the future of the planet. The fact they have done so highlights the real urgency of the situation.
The second is a letter from twelve of our bishops commenting on the proposals put forward on the treatment of asylum seekers crossing the channel in their attempts to get into this country by what the Secretary of State for the Home Office calls, “illegal means”. Their letter is short to the point and quoting the parable of the Good Samaritan. How apt Petrica used the very same parable in his sermon in our climate change service on Sunday. Apart from the proposals made being against Maritime Law, creating a situation where maritime staff are actively encouraged to put desperate people’s lives at risk, they are against our whole Christian Faith and Jesus’s teaching. It is so good that a number of our bishops are speaking out and giving voice to so many concerns. One, the Bishop of Chelmsford, The Rt Revd Guli Francis-Dehqani, was herself a refugee who, as a child, fled from Iran after her brother was murdered and her father’s life was threatened. Many of us, along with others, who have been lobbying on this subject are grateful for the bishops’ letter which is printed in full below.
We have been so grateful too for the Sundays Petrica has been able to spend with us. We have enjoyed his sermons, his warmth and friendship and wish him well in his new parish when he goes to Stoneleigh and Ashow, in Warwickshire. We hope he will be able to come back and visit us.
Finally, included below, are the intercessions Jenny prayed at our climate action service on Sunday. Perhaps we could use them in our private prayers
Love and good wishes - Sally
This week’s edition includes:
Sermon from Petrica;
Climate Change – Joint Statement from the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Pope and the Ecumenical Patriarch
Letter from Twelve Bishops re Asylum Seekers Government Proposals;
Christianity, Climate and Race;
Wednesday Evening Prayers; Zoom Link;
Book Review: The Beekeeper of Aleppo;
How we are
Prayers, hymns, and broadcasts;
Sermon from Petrica - Climate Sunday (Luke 10:25-37)
The Good Samaritan by Vincent Van Gogh
So, let's talk about Climate Change. Where do we begin? Well, for a start, it's happening.
Climate change is a present reality, and not a future threat. It’s a present reality for millions of the poorest people in the world who are affected today by changing weather patterns, by water shortages, by rising sea levels, by violent storms and wildfires. It's a reality for all of us. Almost every part of the globe has been touched by climate-related disasters in recent years.
I've been trying to get my head around this topic - and it is a big and complicated topic - and I can only speak today as a person of faith and from my own experience, and not as a scientist or eco-activist.
So, the question I want to address today is:
How should we as Christians think about and respond to climate emergency?
Our thinking is deeply shaped by our faith.
We believe that God made the world (one way or another) and has placed us at the very centre of his good creation. God made us just a little lower than the angels and crowned us with glory and honour (Psalm 8).
Why then do we so easily forget how important this delicate relationship between us, God and nature really is? We are nature, not gods. It should go without saying that we, as bearers of God’s image, have the responsibility and privilege of caring for the world we live in.
But very often the Bible has been used to instill in us a sense of duty toward God above anything else. This idea of "love the Creator more than his creation" has led us to treat nature and animals as if they are means to an end, some disposable goods we can use as we please.
The Bible also tells us about the so-called "end times," the destruction of everything, and God's final Judgment where everything that's gone wrong will be made right again and we'll live happily ever after in this new perfect world, in the city of God so beautifully described in Revelation.
So why save the Planet when it’s doomed to destruction? “We must save souls, not seals.” Only people matter – “care for the poor, not porcupines.” These are some of the excuses that have made many of us guilty of indifference towards God’s creation.
Vincent van Gogh painted “The Good Samaritan” in 1890 only months before his death while living in an asylum in the South of France. The image is based on a painting by Eugène Delacroix of the same subject. It depicts the moment when the Samaritan lifts up the wounded man and helps him get on his donkey.
The wounded man is depleted of any strength, and all he can do is cling to his rescuer. Likewise, the Samaritan seems to be barely able to summon up the strength to lift the man on the donkey. It's a powerful image of Christ's solidarity with us in our human weakness.
Vincent imbued the painting with his own brokenness. He knew well what it was like to be left bleeding on the side of the road.
What I really love about this painting is the way nature is depicted. Vincent was a brilliant colourist, and his use of colour tells us something about his understanding of and relationship with nature.
He paints the characters of the parable and everything that surrounds them as if they are one. There's not much difference in value and intensity between the people and everything else, the road, the plants, the donkey, the mountains, and the sky. The whole valley is like a tapestry of which the people are fully part, as if everything is made of the same luminous and mysterious thread. Humans and nature are one.
Earlier in his life, Vincent had wanted to become a preacher and a minister, but he failed. And when he finally decided to become an artist, he strongly believed that art had the unique potential to move and to inspire people with the love of God. He saw and painted the Divine in nature. He believed that everything is more miraculous than we can comprehend. Every object, every person he painted was presented as a unique miracle, an intriguing mystery, a fascinating revelation of God.
If we are to understand our role at the heart of God’s creation, we must open our hearts and eyes to the miracle of life in all things. The climate crisis is one of the most important issues of our time and everyone is waking up. And I'm glad to say that God's people are also waking up.
Last Tuesday the world's most prominent Christian leaders, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Pope Francis, and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew released their first joint statement addressing the climate change crisis. The statement states: "We call on everyone, whatever their belief or world view, to endeavour to listen to the cry of the earth and of people who are poor, examining their behaviour and pledging meaningful sacrifices for the sake of the earth, which God has given us." "This is a critical moment." "Our children's future and the future of our common home depend on it." Human beings had "greedily consumed more of the earth's resources than the planet can endure." "We stand before a harsh justice: biodiversity loss, environmental degradation and climate change are the inevitable consequences of our actions."
So how do we act?
I must admit I've been fairly ignorant about the whole issue of climate change until quite recently. I do remember, however, a period in my life when I felt very strongly that I should live a greener life and be more in harmony with nature. And that was a time when I wanted to get closer to God. And the closer I felt I was getting to God, the more I felt that I belonged to the beautiful work in a very unique way.
That was also helpful for someone like me who was trying to make sense of his place in a foreign land. Knowing that there are no boundaries in God's creation made me feel less of a foreigner.
We are nature and the whole earth belongs to God. And our place at the heart of God's creation is not as much about stewardship or responsibility as a uniquely profound way of meeting with God. Caring for the Planet is about spirituality. The world is a meeting place between us and God.
I remember buying this Bible at that time, called The Green Bible, which is a Bible with a focus on environmental issues. All passages mentioning the environment are printed in green. And it has this strapline: “A Priceless Message That Doesn't Cost the Earth”. It felt so good to even hold this Bible in my hand, and to use it for my daily devotion. And it did inspire me to seek God's vision for creation and to want to engage in the work of healing and sustaining it. So, I started recycling properly, and trying to buy locally more, and spend more time in nature etc. But after a short while the covers of this Bible started to fall apart. It was a cheaply made book, after all, with softcovers, and I thought I would have to buy a new one, or fix it somehow, and then I stopped using that Bible altogether. And what I realized was how hard it is to actually live in a way that “doesn’t cost the earth.”
We try our best to save energy, to recycle, use public transport, fly less, buy less, consume less etc etc, but we're part of larger and more complicated networks of carbon footprint – where things come from and how they are produced, from water to food to electricity and fuel. And that's why the world’s governments must do more than any single individual can do to make a huge difference.
We're praying and hoping that the?UK government will use its role as host of the UN?climate Summit, COP26 to invest in a green recovery that leaves no-one behind. Action to prevent climate change must be global to make a difference. But the church must also play its part in healing the world.
Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan to answer a lawyer’s question: who is my neighbour?
In a world where we wear clothes made in Bangladesh, drink coffee that comes from Brazil, may drive a car made in Japan, eat fruits that were picked up a week ago in Africa, everyone is our neighbour!
Climate change is above all a justice issue. The people who are already suffering most from global warming are those who have done the least to cause it and have the least resources to do anything about it.
As Jesus’ disciples we are called to follow Christ’s way of loving. This means to heal and compassionately restore the wounds of the entire Creation. A good Samaritan will seek to love not only his or her neighbour but also his or her neighbourhood!
The Samaritan was moved by compassion. We can only truly act when we are filled with compassion. We are called to love beyond ourselves, beyond our generation and even beyond humanity.
So, from now on, every prayer, every action and every step towards climate justice matters.
Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Archbishop of Canterbury join together for the first time in urgent appeal for the future of the planet
For the first time, the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Anglican Communion have jointly warned of the urgency of environmental sustainability, its impact on poverty, and the importance of global cooperation.
Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and Archbishop Justin Welby urge everyone to play their part in ‘choosing life’ for the future of the planet.
In a joint statement, the Christian leaders have called on people to pray, in this Christian season of Creation, for world leaders ahead of COP26 this November. The statement reads: ‘We call on everyone, whatever their belief or worldview, to endeavour to listen to the cry of the earth and of people who are poor, examining their behaviour and pledging meaningful sacrifices for the sake of the earth which God has given us.’
The joint declaration strikes a clear warning - ‘Today, we are paying the price…Tomorrow could be worse’ and concludes that: ‘This is a critical moment. Our children’s future and the future of our common home depend on it.’
The three Christian leaders spoke against injustice and inequality, saying: ‘We stand before a harsh justice: biodiversity loss, environmental degradation and climate change are the inevitable consequences of our actions, since we have greedily consumed more of the earth’s resources than the planet can endure. But we also face a profound injustice: the people bearing the most catastrophic consequences of these abuses are the poorest on the planet and have been the least responsible for causing them.’
The statement calls on people to:
Pray for world leaders ahead of COP26
For individuals: To make meaningful sacrifices for the sake of the planet, working together and taking responsibility for how we use our resources
For those with far-reaching responsibilities: To choose people-centred profits and lead the transition to just and sustainable economies
Read the full statement here.
Letter regarding Asylum Seekers Criminalisation Proposals from Twelve Bishops
As bishops within the Church of England with a particular oversight of asylum and refugee issues, we are deeply concerned about the government’s approach to migrant crossings of the Channel.
The nationality and borders bill currently before parliament would criminalise not only attempts to cross the border irregularly, nor even simply people smuggling, but even those who take part in the rescue of boats in distress at sea. This would require those who see asylum seekers at risk to choose between ignoring a moral imperative (also established in maritime law) to assist them, or to risk prosecution and imprisonment. This amounts to a criminalisation of the Good Samaritan who did not pass by on the other side, and an affront to justice to put the saving of lives under any sort of legal penalty. The new “turn back” policy, which will see boats forcibly returned to France, also raises significant moral concerns. It starkly increases the risks at sea and endangers the lives of those attempting the c The trend of increasing militarisation and securitisation of the border is demonstrably failing to deter attempted channel crossings (as the stark increases in such numbers over the past 24 months aptly shows). What these measures have succeeded in doing instead is forcing those seeking to make the crossing to employ ever riskier and more dangerous tactics or to rely more heavily on criminal gangs and smugglers. The proposals are not so much undermining criminal activity as reinforcing it as the only available option for those seeking asylum in the UK.
If the government’s goal is to deter migrants, then the policies to date have been a failure, and there is little reason to believe the new proposals will have more effect. If the goal is to prevent people using criminal gangs, then the problem has only been exacerbated. All the while the crossings are still happening and are actively being made more dangerous, at greater cost in human life, by the government’s own policies. It is time for a reappraisal which looks again at serious multilateral approaches to refugees, which promotes safe routes for those in need, and which above all values human life and the dignity of vulnerable people.
Rt Revd Paul Butler Bishop of Durham
Rt Revd David Walker Bishop of Manchester
Rt Revd Jonathan Clark Bishop of Croydon
Rt Revd John Perumbalath Bishop of Bradwell
Rt Revd Sarah Mullally Bishop of London
Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin Bishop of Dover
Rt Revd Rachel Treweek Bishop of Gloucester
Rt Revd Christopher Chessun Bishop of Southwark
Rt Revd Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani Bishop of Chelmsford
Rt Revd Tony Robinson Bishop of Wakefield
Rt Revd Vivienne Faull Bishop of Bristol
Rt Revd David Hamid Suffragan Bishop in Europe
Intercessions: Climate Sunday 12 September 2021 - Jenny
Our prayers this morning continue the theme of the climate crisis. Let’s pray.
Loving God, we acknowledge you as the creator and giver of all things. We praise you for the beauty of your creation – the beginnings of autumn colours around us, the magnificence of mountains, the incredible diversity of life in the sea, on land and in the air, the wonder of our universe….in so many ways we can see something of your awesomeness, your creativity, and your joy in what you have made.
In a moment of silence as we each reflect on the most magnificent scenery, or the most beautiful or intriguing sea creature,animal or bird that we’ve ever seen. Think about what it might be telling you about the God who made it…….
Creator God, all of this is your gift to us, and you’ve given us the job of looking after it for you. Please show us how to do that.
We think of all our fellow human beings around the world. You’ve created all of us in your image, and you love us passionately, whether or not we realise that. They’re all our neighbours, but it’s so easy to ignore the billions that we’ll never meet. Lord Jesus, you came for them as well as for us – please don’t let us forget that. Please will you keep on reminding us that we are all connected in and with your amazing creation - and that what each of us does, every choice that we make, affects other people, as well as your beautiful, created world - sometimes nearby, sometimes thousands of miles away. Show us what that means, in how we think about our neighbours everywhere in the world - how we spend our time, how we travel, what we buy, how we shop, what we waste…………. Help us to choose to be good, not bad, neighbours, and to show compassion. May your will be done in our consuming as it is in heaven.
Creator God, we pray for the governments of the world as they prepare to meet in Glasgow in November to discuss the climate crisis, and especially for the United Kingdom as Chair and host with all the responsibilities that involves. We pray that all governments, particularly of rich countries such as the UK, will realise they can’t ignore the climate crisis any longer. They can still stop global heating if they want to. God, please make them really want to do that. Change the hearts of the many governments who are prioritising short-term political and financial gain and who choose to ignore the devastating storms, floods, droughts, unpredictable rains, rising sea levels, that destroy so many people’s lives and hopes. Please make them care. Give our government a greater sense of urgency and ambition, justice, and generosity, so that it leads the world in the way it responds to the climate crisis, not waiting for other countries to do something first but having the guts to do now what is needed.
We pray also for the thousands of campaigners and activists, from all over the world, who have to live with the effects of the climate crisis, who are hoping to be in Glasgow. Thank you for their passion for climate justice, their commitment, and their courage in speaking out to challenge and change the way the world works. Keep them safe and well as they travel, and may their voices be heard and make a difference.
And we pray now for ourselves, this Christian community in Golders Green. As we approach the end of our interregnum, we thank you for all the clergy who’ve ministered to and with us during the interregnum. Particularly today we pray for Petrica and thank you for the blessing he’s been to us. Please bless him with your love, joy and peace and a deep sense of your presence in all that he does in the future.
We thank you also for our church wardens Tony and Nehar, for their amazing commitment to offer so much of themselves in leading and supporting us through the interregnum. And we pray for Kamran as he prepares for his licensing on Tuesday and the start of his ministry with us. May he and Salomi know the joy of your presence as they settle into their new home and surroundings, and as they get to know us. Help us to make them feel really welcome.
I’ll close our prayers with some words written by Christian Aid, inspired by a hymn that we’ll sing later in the service
For the beauty of the Earth,
desecrated by pollution,
extinguished by forest fires,
choked by plastic waste,
Christ, our God, to you we plead,
forgive us our systemic greed. Amen
Christianity, Climate and Race
One of the most unjust aspects of the climate crisis is the way that it hits socially and economically disadvantaged groups hardest, even though they’ve done the least to cause it. What is less frequently discussed, however, is that in many parts of the world these are largely communities of colour. Christian Aid and Tearfund are partnering with the Evangelical Alliance to host a free online event to explore subjects including the theology of climate justice, and how climate justice is related to other social justice concerns including racial justice.
It’s taking place on Thursday 7th October from 19.30 to 21.00. Find out more. Sign up for it here: https://eauk.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=a845f2eefa9123406df52d37e&id=cfd292cd91&e=b714a3880a
*** Reminder: Wednesday Evening Prayer Time ***
Please join us on Wednesday evening for our time of prayer at 7.30pm
. The link is below.
It is so good to come together to pray for the Revd Kamran B, our new incumbent, for his wife & two sons, who will be moving into the vicarage soon. We pray too for all those issues that are on our minds; to give thanks for the good things we are experiencing and those that concern us and most particularly for the troubled state of the world. 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.
Church Wardens are inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Church Wardens’ Personal Meeting Room
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 858 554 5365
One tap mobile
+442034815240,,8585545365#,,,,*400416# United Kingdom
+442039017895,,8585545365#,,,,*400416# United Kingdom
Dial by your location
+44 203 481 5240 United Kingdom
+44 203 901 7895 United Kingdom
+44 208 080 6591 United Kingdom
+44 208 080 6592 United Kingdom
+44 330 088 5830 United Kingdom
+44 131 460 1196 United Kingdom
+44 203 481 5237 United Kingdom
Meeting ID: 858 554 5365
Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/aemYT2p1YY
Book Recommendation: The Beekeeper of Aleppo
This was a totally random choice from a pile of books by my bed waiting to be read. I thought maybe reading about beekeeping, as much as I love bees, wasn’t what I was thinking of at this moment. But, absent-mindedly, browsing through books to listen to on Audio and forgetting I already had a hard copy, I downloaded it onto my iPad. Written by Christy Lefteri, beautifully narrated by Art Malik, I realized I was listening to one of the most powerful and moving books I have ever read/listened to. Far from being about ways of beekeeping it was the story of Nuri and his artist wife, Afra, escaping from Aleppo after they had been bombed, their bees in their hives, which had been the basis of their Honey business, had been incinerated, his artist wife had been blinded and their little son killed. The book is a love story of his care for her, his loyalty to his friends and his grief for his son. But it is actually so much more than that. It is about the triumph of a thoroughly good man in dire circumstances not of his making, trying to do everything he can to get from Aleppo to the UK to join up with a friend who escaped before him. It is about the strength of the human spirit. Nuri takes the reader through every tortuous step, every thought, feeling, reminiscence, trial, and action without losing his integrity or hope. There were times, listening to it, I could hardly breathe. The suspense, the details of the actions and relationships so finely heartbreakingly portrayed, became so impressed on my mind I had to keep listening even though I usually fall asleep with an audio book, but not this time I was so held and moved by it. The book is fiction but based on an amalgam of the stories the author heard from asylum seekers while working in the camps. She writes beautifully, with such clarity and sensitivity in telling Nuri’s and Afra’s story, that you feel you are taking each step with them. If you get the opportunity to listen to or read it, please do.
Why not support online Christian bookshops and buy them from one of these:
How We Are
Margaret is still in hospital recuperating. We wish her well and look forward to the time when she can be at home as she surely does. Several of us have sent her cards and letters hoping they find their way to her.
Anita is not too well as her back has given way again. Lots of sympathy to her hoping good bed rest will help.
Afi, while out of hospital, still needs our prayers as the pain he is suffering from doesn’t seem to want to go away!
We think of all those who are ill or absent from us at the moment for all kinds of reasons. We miss them very much as we haven’t seen them for so long. Especially we pray for Dorothy and Festus and Ify and family. Send your Holy Spirit to them all to bless and heal them Dear Lord.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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/