Golders Green Parish Church – Newsletter
05 October 2021
Greetings to everyone. I do hope you have your diaries ready.
Kamran announced on Sunday the engagements and events that are taking place throughout October in which we can take part. Nehar has listed them all below. Please note them down. It would be so good if each one was well supported.
In this week’s newsletter there is a prayer for Black History Month sent by the Edmonton Area. This event has been taking place for many years in schools, colleges, and many other places. Forward thinking schools have integrated Black History into and across their curriculum. I often think how good it would if we no longer had a need for this, “one month only” event, and instead have become so informed and knowledgeable about our rich, diverse histories and cultures, honestly told, that we respect and value them and those who are part of them. Respect for all people is crucial to how we live and support each other. For too long, black history in all parts of the curriculum, books, plays and media attention has been taught it a very one-sided way, if at all, and there is much to lament and forgive. As Kamran reminded us in his sermon, every week we say, “Though we are many, we are all one body” which has implications for how we live and treat each other.
For the last few weeks there has been such tragic news regarding the safety and welfare of women it would be wrong to ignore it. Two young women, walking alone, murdered on their way to meet friends, two sisters, in a park in Wembley after a party, murdered. Three families and friends so bereaved it cannot be thought how they are ever going to get over this dreadful trauma. There have been many comments of outrage with a plethora of suggestions about how young women (and older ones too) can be safe on our streets, most of them putting the responsibility on them/us for our own safety rather than concentrating on those who perpetuate the crimes and make us unsafe. Women should not be blamed for attack or abuse or regarded as victims to be helped and advised – restricting their/our lives. We as a Church, as well as society, have to accept and think about how women have been regarded for centuries and blamed for anything that goes wrong. We have got to think seriously how we bring up our boys and stop excusing men for the unacceptable ways so many women are treated and damaged. These are not 3 or 4 exceptional happenings. During 2021 108 women to date have been murdered. What has happened is the tip of the iceberg that is underpinned by attitudes that foster these actions in those that have a sense of self entitlement, so they think it is their right to behave in this way. You may be critical of me for saying this but, having listened to and worked with emotionally and physically abused women, young girls, and children, over the years and still seeing it in 2021 it shows how little changes. I could write a book. What will it take to make the change??? Yes, we can and do pray about it but, as St James in his letter says, we do need faith and presumably that includes our prayers - but “Faith without works is dead” James 2:14-26. This would make an interesting discussion sometime on a fraught subject as well as others.
Two weeks ago, I went on a retreat with a group of friends to The Foundation of St Katherine’s, Limehouse. It was an amazing and uplifting day, one we all in our group badly needed. I have written something about the Retreat House and its history as well as the retreat itself and recommended the retreat conductor’s book. I wonder if we could consider a Golders Green retreat sometime.
Love and good wishes - Sally
This week’s edition includes:
Prayer Times in Church;
Community Matters from Nehar;
Black History Month Prayer;
Thoughts on Hebrews 12:18-28 – Part 1 – Nehar;
St Katherine’s Limehouse Retreat;
“This?” Book Recommendation;
Prayers, hymns, and broadcasts;
Prayers with Kamran
from Mondays to Thursdays, Kamran will be in church at 9.00am for a short time of prayer with anyone who would like to join him. This does not have to be compulsory; you are welcome to stay home and pray for the church and the parish each day for 15-20 minutes;
he will also be in church each day for those who would like to visit and talk with him. Please consider making an appointment to ensure that he will be available to meet with you;
Wednesday evening prayer time will now take place in church at 7.00pm (please note the change in time). The prayer meeting will take place both in person and via Zoom. Please see the link below.
Topic: Church Wardens’ Personal Meeting Room
Please note, the zoom link below which is for the Wednesday evening prayer group, and also the link for Sunday.
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Community Matters from Nehar
Happy Birthday Nehar
Kamran shared some interesting news with the church community on Sunday. He told us that our church was hosting the Common Fund meeting on 20 October at 7.30pm where there will be reports how our contribution to the Fund was used. People are welcome to attend. This needs however to be clarified with the Archdeacon and further information would be forthcoming in the coming weeks.
He also told us of a great new initiative to go with the family lunches being organised on the last Sunday of every month. He said it was his hope to introduce multi-cultural worship and he encouraged people to come forward with ideas. It was his hope to have worship which represented and celebrated our diversity.
He also spoke of discussions that had taken place in the PCC meeting last week. It was hoped that teams would be set up which would include worship, mission, and prayer ministry. It was hoped that this would become a way of involving members of the congregation and allowing everyone to take ownership of God’s work and being part of it at GGPC. It is our hope that we can truly be a body with Jesus as our head with each doing the function God lays on our hearts.
We hope to soon become involved in the Night shelter and refugee work as it starts up as we have in the past. Let us all keep praying and hearing from God – it is all His work ??
Local Food Banks
Last week I gave a list of food banks who would welcome products for families who have need in their neighbourhood. I offered to take anything you wished to donate if you contacted me. However, Nwando made a much more sensible suggestion that if you brought your goods to church in a bag on a Sunday, I could put them in my car and take your gifts to them when they are open. So that is what I am happy to do.
Thank you Nwando!
Worship Videos of the week:
I Will Sing (Official Audio Video) - Martin Smith
The God Who Sees | Featuring Nicole C. Mullen LIVE
Early Wall Painting of Jesus
Some thoughts on Hebrews 12:18-28 – Part 1 – Nehar
In the PCC meeting last week Kamran shared with us the first couple of verses of Hebrews 12. It has been on my mind – particularly verses 18-28. It has got me to think about the two covenants that God made with his people – firstly the Israelites and now with the Gentiles also.
Verses 18-21 look back to Exodus 19:10-25 when the law was given to Moses. The verses make hard reading for us 21st century Christians. It is hard to reconcile the God who spoke to Moses warning him that no living thing was to touch the mountain. The consequence of doing so was death. Surely this is not the God we know – the God who is loving and merciful! No wonder people say that is the God of the OT not the one of the NT. Has our God changed? Not at all. He is awesome, merciful, and slow to anger. He is also powerful and mighty. He is holy and beyond comprehension. He loves us and desires a relationship with us – but we cannot come into that relationship as we are. That is why the law was given to Moses and why Jesus came.
Exodus 19 begins with God reminding Moses to tell the people that it is He who carried then out of Egypt on “eagle’s wings” and brought them to Himself. He goes on to say that if they keep His covenant, then out of all the nations they will be His treasured possession. Although the whole world is His, they would be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Does that ring a bell? In 1 Peter 2:9, Peter says that all believers are now His chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession.
The presence of God on Mount Sinai was accompanied by smoke, thunder and lightning which made the people tremble with fear. They did not want God to speak to them because they feared they would die. The people had come to a mountain which could not be touched because the presence of the Lord was there. When God spoke, those who heard His voice begged that no more words be spoken. Moses said, “I am trembling with fear”.
If God wanted to have a relationship with His people what was this all about? As I have thought about it two things strike me – one that we are sinful, and that God is holy. Our sin is our disobedience – our choosing to walk away from him – our desire to do our own thing. Just like Adam and Eve in the garden. Once they had chosen disobedience, they could no longer be in the garden and have the intimate and open face to face relationship with God the Father.
We cannot come into His presence unless we promise to “walk before him faithfully and be blameless” (Genesis 17:1 – the covenant with Abram – renewed with Moses by the giving of the law). This was calling the Israelites to walk faithfully with their God and live holy lives. We know that in the OT it was only the priest who was allowed into the holy of holies and specific instructions were given for sin offerings which the priest made for the community - Leviticus 16.
As I have thought about this what it shows me is the nature of God – He is holy and cannot abide sin – we know that He turned His face from His Son, our Lord Jesus when he was bearing our sin in His body. You can hear it in the Jesus’s agonised cry “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” Mark 15:34.
What we see in the first covenant is a shadow of what was to come. We see what our disobedience has done to our relationship with the One who created us for relationship with Himself. As Paul writes in Romans 3:9 “there is no one righteous – not even one …. all have turned away. God the Father has all along been setting into motion ways to call us back to Himself. He cannot accept us as we are – atonement for our sin has to be made. We start with the giving of the law and all the instructions to Moses.
We see God giving Moses a blueprint for building the sanctuary -the dwelling place for God – Exodus 25:8. The instructions were very specific because they were an earthly copy of what was in heaven – Hebrews 8:5. We can see how everything was exactly structured in Hebrews 9:1-5. Verses 6-10 then describe the role of the priests who were allowed in the outer room. It was only the high priest who was allowed into the inner room but only once a year to make atonement for the sins of the people.
The fact that a new covenant would be made which was better than the old is prophesied by Jeremiah in Chapter 31:31-34. This is quoted in Hebrews 8:7-12. This points to the making of a new covenant. A covenant which would last forever and would at last lead each one who believed back into the Father’s presence; back into a relationship with Him.
More next week ….
St Katherine’s Limehouse
I went with a group friends for a day retreat on, “Prayer in our Present Time”, led by the Revd Susan Sayers. The retreat was held at The Royal Foundation of St Katherine’s, Limehouse. While it is situated in probably one of the noisiest parts of London right by the Thames, the setting itself is peaceful, calm, and so prayer-inducing. St Katherine’s has an interesting and varied history. It is one of the oldest charities in England, founded by Queen Matilda in 1147, and has re-invented itself many times. For centuries it was originally known as St Katherine’s by-the-Tower where it served as a centre for worship, hospitality, and service for the people around it. In medieval times it was a church that served as a hospital and in the adjacent St Katherine’s precinct it housed over two thousand people along with its own courts, factories, breweries, and prison. In 1825, because the land it stood in was flooded to form St Katherine’s Docks, it was moved to Regents Park, but, after World War2, it was finally moved back to where it stands now in Limehouse in the grounds of the bombed remains of St James’s Radcliffe Church. The retreat house is a mixture of ancient and modern, with grounds to walk, talk and meditate in. It has a large and beautiful chapel that is considered to be the heart of St Katherine’s. Many reflective days take place there, retreats for individuals and groups, such as the one I went on, that can be either day or residential. The hospitality and food are amazing - and - they have cake!
Book Recommendation: This? By the Revd Susan Sayers
The leader of our retreat was Susan Sayers, an Anglican priest and prolific writer. While the subject of the retreat was, “Prayer in our Present Time”, and her book, “This?” is about, “How Christians Respond to Climate Change”, it is very much to do with prayer- hear and now. Much of what she spoke about in the three talks she gave, interspersed with periods of meditation, prayer in the chapel and eating together, was about prayer in the context of our lives. It can all be found in her book. In one of the reflections, she gave us to consider is the issue we face between noise, that surrounds us all the time, and stillness; how we can try, in order to listen to God, to train ourselves to be quieter, to be still; it takes time, but we can stop resisting the noise. We need to slow down and start by going quietly so that we develop the self-discipline required to think, “Do I enter the Holiest of Holies when I pray? She talked about, in this difficult world full of conflict, of the importance of loving; “Engage in loving”, she said, “Loving people as Christ loves us becomes an extension of our prayers. We can consciously and deliberately work on it, and it is liberating in so many ways”.
I loved her talk on Forgiveness, comparing it to an onion. You think, she said, “you have forgiven an act, a person, a hurt, but you so often find something brings it back to us at unexpected moments and we realise we haven’t forgiven in the way we think we have; it rises to the surface. Think of forgiveness as an onion with its layers that each time you feel the anger and hurt again, peel back a layer and think of how forgiveness can come. Onions have many layers (and peeling them makes you cry), keep peeling them back and going on with the forgiveness recognizing that true forgiveness takes time”. For some reason that resonated with all of us. Susan’s book is very short but contains much depth and wisdom as well as prayers and relevant biblical passages at the end of each section on which to reflect. It is published by Kevin Mayhew and costs £6.99p. A very worthwhile and helpful read.
Why not support online Christian bookshops and buy them from one of these:
We continue to pray for all those in our community who are unwell and maybe struggling in different ways. We think and pray for you all frequently and look forward to a time when we can all be with each other and take part in the services together.
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 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/