All Saints Parish Newsletter 16th December 2016
On Monday this week, as I was leaving St. Matthew’s Church in Westminster after a meeting, I found myself following a happy and noisy procession of children dressed as shepherds and wise men, Mary and Joseph, ox and ass and camel. They were from the parish school and had been rehearsing their nativity play in the church.
On Tuesday evening we held a carol service for a local business and on Friday lunchtime, just before this email goes out, and again on Monday evening, we will have our two parish carol services.
The beauty of music and the winsomeness of children, familiarity with the stories and distance from their context, can all combine to dull our sense of how shocking and scandalous this story was; how differently it might have turned out. The Christmas story is no sentimental tale children’s tale: it is set in the midst of harsh social and political, moral and religious realities.
On Sunday at Mass we will hear Matthew’s account of the conception and birth of Jesus: one often overshadowed by Luke’s which we hear at Midnight Mass; rather as Joseph – the one standing at the back in many a crib scene.
In Matthew, Joseph is moved to the front of the stage. He receives an angelic annunciation of the origins of the child to be born of Mary.
Joseph is described as a “just” or “righteous” man, but his action foreshadows Jesus’ radical redefinition of “righteousness” in Matthew’s Gospel. It had described one who faithfully practiced the requirements of the Jewish Law. Under that law, Mary was guilty of adultery. She and Joseph were not just “engaged” in our modern sense. Girls were often married at a young age and would then remain with their own family for a time before moving to their husband’s home where the marriage would be consummated.
An outraged and humiliated Joseph would have been within his rights, justified, “righteous” if he had chosen to expose his wife’s infidelity and divorce her. The consequences for her would have been dire. The full rigour of the law called for her to be stoned to death: think of the story of the woman taken in adultery in John’s Gospel. This terrible penalty of “honour killing” seems not to have been enforced at that period but the result for Mary would not have been a happy one. Her own family, shamed by her supposed misconduct, would probably have disowned her too. She would have ended up on the streets, with prostitution as her only means of survival.
Joseph’s proposed course of action, to divorce her quietly and spare her public shame, shows a righteousness which reflects the way in which Jesus will interpret the law in Matthew; with “mercy” as the supreme criterion; that which fulfills the law. This is a lesson which religious people, those who take morality seriously, need to learn and relearn just as much now as they did then.
It is as he prepares to take this merciful option that Joseph receives the angelic revelation of what is really happening, of who and what this unborn child will be: the one who will “save his people from their sins;” the one who will be “Emmanuel.” He is to be “God-with-us,” not just for the space of a brief life, but bound to us forever. So Jesus tells us in the final scene of Matthew’s Gospel: “I am with you always, even to the ages of ages.”
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Alan Moses
Vicar, All Saints Margaret Street
Please pray for those who have asked for our prayers: Fr Bunme Fagemi, Asia Bibi, Bishop Michael Perham, Anthony O’Connor, Iris Podmore, Paul Curno, Rosemary Harris, Udho Forward, Steven Lawrence and Hans Ashbourne, Fr Jonathan Boardman, Carmen Emmanuel and Melanie Stimmler.
For the recently departed: Eric Christiansen, Maria Keen, Timothy Raphael (Priest), Jennifer Shillito, Stuart Pascall, Valerie Reddington, Horace Gibson, Cecil Everton, Sarah Eynstone (Priest), Melissa Bruce-Jones, Adrian Gill, Lascelles McPherson and Barbara (Bobby) Wilson.
Remember past priests, benefactors, friends, and all whose year’s mind occurs this week including:
Edwin Forsyth, Joan Gower, Philip Prain (Treasurer and PCC member), Ena Knight, Lily King, Jack Monk, Charles Hillier, Adam Reddington, Harry Nuttall, Elizabeth Ross, Anthony Creek, Richard Routledge (Sub-Deacon and former member of the PCC), Helen Turner, Harold Pobjoy (Priest), Anne Scott, Cynthia Tucker, Miriam Smith, Augustus Thompson, Paul De Fortis (Priest), Doreen Forde.
For full service information: www.allsaintsmargaretstreet.org.uk.
WORSHIP THIS WEEK:
SUNDAY 18 DECEMBER, Advent 4
HIGH MASS, 11am
Preacher: Fr Michael Bowie
Missa Ave Maria – Palestrina
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel (Short Service) – Gibbons
Once again, we are able to offer hot snacks after Mass, with coffee or tea. And we are delighted to report that the new hob and ovens were successfully installed in the Church Kitchen last week with Rebecca and Patrick’s Sunday lunch was oversubscribed. Sunday Lunch Advent IV – Cottage Pie is being made by John Forde together with associated vegetables followed by locally sourced tarts.
Tickets £5 from the All Saints Shop before or after Mass (subject to availability).
EVENSONG & BENEDICTION, 6pm
Preacher: The Vicar, Prebendary Alan Moses
The Short Service – Byrd
Canite tuba in Sion – Guerrero
The December Parish Paper is now available in Church for £1 a copy.
WORSHIP NEXT WEEK:
CHRISTMAS SERVICES WITH THE ALL SAINTS CHOIR – a feast of beautiful and uplifting choral music, exquisite liturgy, and a chance to sing favourite Christmas carols, as we re-discover the story of a baby born two thousand years ago in a stable, marking the dawn of new light and new hope in our troubled world.
Monday 19 December 6pm
FESTIVAL of NINE LESSONS & CAROLS – a traditional service by candlelight – followed by Mince pies & mulled wine
Saturday 24 December 11pm
CHRISTMAS EVE Midnight Mass & Blessing of the Crib
Missa Sancti Nicolai – Haydn
SUNDAY 25 DECEMBER – CHRISTMAS DAY
HIGH MASS, 11am
Preacher: Fr Michael Bowie
Missa Brevis, K194 – Mozart
In dulci jubilo – trad German, arr Pearsall
There is no EVENSONG & BENEDICTION on Christmas Day.
PARISH NOTICES & NEWS
MAKING A REAL DIFFERENCE TO CHRISTMAS for a HOMELESS PERSON THIS YEAR – THE MARYLEBONE PROJECT CHRISTMAS APPEAL 2016 was very successful. Thank you to everyone who brought in a great number of practical and attractive gifts for the women who visit the rough sleepers’ drop-in at the Marylebone Centre. The volunteers of the Mission Committee were able on Monday 12 December to make a large delivery of goodies which was greatly appreciated and will enhance Christmas for the recipients. Thank you!
MINCE PIES FOR ALL SAINTS CAROL SERVICES – thank you also to everyone who contributed to the large stack of boxes of mince pies – the first stock of which have just been served, warmed in the new ovens, at the Lunchtime Carol Service, attended by some 60 people. Thank you!
50 people attended Thursday’s Talk on Exploring Technique and Colour related to OPUS ANGLICANUM: MASTERPIECES OF ENGLISH MEDIEVAL EMBROIDERY (currently showing at the Victoria & Albert Museum) – and the slide-show in front of the chancel looked very well against that splendid backdrop. The organisers were very appreciative of being able to use the church after Evening Mass and a number of visitors bought guide-books and took Christmas service cards, having only visited the church as a result of this event.
The CHRISTMAS POETRY TEA at Pamela Botsford’s raised almost £ (with applicable Gift Aid) for the All Saints’ Restoration Appeal. Thank you to all those who attended.
SPG TO STAR IN CALL THE MIDWIFE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL
SPG – the organisation that joined UMCA in 1965 to create USPG – has a starring role in a special Christmas edition of the BBC’s Call the Midwife. The show follows the fortunes of the midwives and nuns at Nonnatus House, in East London, in 1961. In the Christmas special, the Revd Tom Hereward and a number of the Sisters and midwives are sent by SPG to help a struggling clinic in South Africa.
USPG played a significant role in helping the BBC to research the episode, including input from USPG General Adviser Canon Edgar Ruddock, who was a mission companion in South Africa in the 1980s. Edgar explained: ‘I had a lengthy phone conversation with the key researcher who tapped into my knowledge of the 1980s when many church-founded hospitals were still operating across rural southern Africa. I was also able to point them to various older colleagues who had worked there as doctors or nurses during the 1960s.’
** MISSION NEWS** Men’s clothing especially is badly needed by the Jesus Centre in Margaret Street and also by the Soup Kitchen at the American International Church, both of whom provide a daily range of services to homeless people. As you prepare for the winter season, but if you have women’s or men’s clothes to give away, please bring to Church and leave at the Parish Office so we can continue to help support our neighbours’ efforts. The Church Army is now also collecting women’s clothes for their Homeless Hostel so all donations can be found a good new home!
The Soup Kitchen specifically calls for: men’s trousers (sizes 32-36) and men’s sturdy/athletic shoes (sizes 9-12 especially) and say ‘we are also beginning to need men’s outerwear of all varieties and we always need rucksacks and duffle-bags to help our guests carry their belongings!’
Miranda Suit, Director of the Soup Kitchen (part-time, usually in the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays) says: Please drop me a line if you are planning to drop things off here. As always, many thanks for your support. Soup Kitchen at the American International Church, 79a Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 4TD T: 020 7580 2791 www.amchurch.co.uk/soup-kitchen/
ALL SAINTS MISSION ACTIVITIES:-
The charities we had agreed to support through the Lent Appeal 2016 (and including applicable Gift Aid) received the following sums and will receive their Festival Appeal donations before Christmas:-
Marylebone Project – £2,666.67 – emergency refuge and rehoming project for homeless women.
USPG – £2,666.67 – work with those experiencing Aids and HIV in Zimbabwe.
London Diocese Lent Appeal – £3,001.66– this year supporting Syrian and Iraqi refugees through charities Open Doors and Aid to the Church in Need. The certificate of appreciation is on the Church noticeboard. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this great achievement – a significantly enhanced total collected through the Lent Appeal compared with recent years – of £8,335 (including some late funds generated by the Queen’s 90th Birthday Raffle). To this sum must now be added the further £20k raised by the Vicar’s Pilgrimage of earlier this year.
ONGOING SUPPORT for HOMELESS PEOPLE through:
MARYLEBONE PROJECT run by the CHURCH ARMY – A Day Centre, Residential and Transitional accommodation provider, re-settlement project and Educational and Training Unit for women. The Emergency Bed Unit – for which we have for some years helped to provide the funds for one of the 4 beds – offers a safe haven and refuge for women escaping domestic violence, financial crisis, sexual exploitation and mental health issues.
Year Round Support – we also support the Marylebone Resettlement Project with non-perishable food and toiletries or household necessities like cutlery or bed linen/blankets. Thank you to everyone who contributes food and household essentials via the basket in Church or handed in to the Parish Office. Please continue to donate these so we can help more people in need.
Day-to-day Support – we respond to the needs of homeless people who visit the church allowing them to sleep there in the daytime and signposting them to other agencies who can offer help and donating £1,000 towards the Soup Kitchen at the American International Church in Tottenham Court Road this year. We also allow individuals, who need a place to shelter or sleep during the day, to rest in the back of the church. We have created an information resource for Church Watchers, giving useful advice to homeless and vulnerable people seeking particular support or services. In the face of a rising tide of homelessness in London and as the cold weather starts to bite, please help us fund and support people in need through our Mission activities.
Want to help someone sleeping rough but don’t know how?
Call Streetlink on 0300 500 0914 and they will get a visit from the local Street Team who can put them in contact with the services they may need.
FURTHER COMMUNICATIONS OR ASSISTANCE FROM ALL SAINTS MARGARET STREET:-
* If you would like to encourage others to take an interest in All Saints/keep up with what is happening here, please forward this email on to them, or to people you would like to invite to services or tell them about our websitewww.allsaintsmargaretstreet.org.uk, which has a full colour 360 virtual tour for viewing the wonderfully restored interior of the Church – seewww.allsaintsmargaretstreet.org.uk/history/virtual tour – before a visit or if unable to travel.
* If you know of others (near or far) who would like to receive this regular update on what’s happening at All Saints please encourage them to sign up for the email on the All Saints website – see the tab News & Events> Weekly Newsletter.
* If you would like prayers offered at All Saints, please email the Parish Administrator Mrs Dee Prior at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or make use of the prayer request facility on the website at: www.allsaintsmargaretstreet.org.uk/prayer.
* If you would like any pastoral assistance, please do not hesitate to contact:
The Vicar, Prebendary Alan Moses: email@example.com.
Or Assistant Priest Fr Michael Bowie: firstname.lastname@example.org.
DAILY SERVICES AT ALL SAINTS
On major weekday feasts, High Mass is sung at 6.30pm
SUNDAYS in Church
Low Mass 6.30pm (Saturday), 8am and 5.15pm. Morning Prayer 10.20am
HIGH MASS and SERMON, 11am and
EVENSONG, SERMON and BENEDICTION, 6pm.
MONDAY – FRIDAY
Morning Prayer 7.30am
Low Mass – 8am, 1.10pm and 6.30pm
Evening Prayer 6pm
(Except Bank Holidays – 12 noon Mass only)
Morning Prayer 7.30am
Low Mass – 12 noon and 6.30pm (First Mass of Sunday)
Evening Prayer 6pm
A priest is available for confessions/counsel Monday – Friday from 12.30-1pm and at 5.30pm Monday – Saturday, or by appointment. (Special arrangements apply in Lent and for Holy Week.)
www.allsaintsmargaretstreet.org.uk and e-mail: email@example.com