All Saints Parish Newsletter 20 December 2019
Matthew goes to some trouble, in the lengthy genealogy preceding Sunday’s Gospel, to link Jesus, via Joseph, to the dodgy Davidic dynasty. It is King Ahaz of that line whose inglorious reign gave rise to the ‘Emmanuel’ prophecy in our first reading today, appropriated by Matthew. Joseph, the otherwise little-known and undistinguished scion of this once-great dynasty, is presented as redeeming it in his own decisive and generous response to a more personal crisis. Unlike Ahaz his fears were not for himself and his reputation but for Mary, his betrothed. Why a link to Joseph, when the story insists on divine paternity? By naming the child, Joseph became his legal father: that is the point. We might further conjecture that Jesus’ appropriation of gentle and loving fatherhood as the primary Christian understanding of our relationship with God was surely nurtured by Joseph, by who he was, however unknown to us. It is the particularity of that relationship and presence which gives rise to our relationship with God, whose nearer presence we celebrate at this season.
The Gospel is God’s unconditional presence with us, Emmanuel. It is not a generalpresence, nor a shouty Almighty Brian Blessed. It is quiet and it is particular, like Joseph. The incarnation is a quiet event: the shepherds and the wise men are a small chorus, not massed extras in a Cecil B. DeMille epic. The secular Roman writers Tacitus and Pliny knew about the crucifixion and the new religious sect, but the Empire was blithely unaware of Christmas. That is as it should be, because ours is a religion of particular relationships. Matthew and Luke’s lengthy genealogies are, in that sense, on the money. This is what critics of Christianity have called the ‘scandal of particularity’. Well if it is a scandal it is as much the core of the gospel as the scandal of the cross, for we humans are nothing ‘in general’.
The incarnation is particular because we are particular. We have taken centuries to learn that evangelisation is only effective in particular relationships. Mass rallies stir the troops; mega-churches confirm the self-righteous and prosperous in their cocoon, but conversion happens inch by inch, day by day and personal relationship by personal relationship; each of us is an Evangelist, good or bad, to our neighbour.
Think of the sacraments: they are in every case particular to the participants, not grand spectacles to impress the world. The core of the Mass is the offering of simple elements of food and drink and the receiving of them in communion by particular Christians. Baptism, confirmation, confession, ordination, matrimony, unction – all make and progress the particular relationship of individuals with God.
It is the human scale and truthfulness of the incarnation that we celebrate: more human and also, we learn, more divine. God is to be found not in the great wind or the raging fire but in the ‘still small voice’; the Word becomes flesh not in an imperial spectacle but in a backstreet stable, and, as Betjeman wrote, ‘lives again in bread and wine.’
Yours in Christ,
The final parish lunch of the year will take place on Sunday, prepared by Tom Leeman. Tickets £6 from the Parish Shop
For the foreseeable future the Parish Office will not always be staffed.
James Sherwood will usually be in the office on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
From Tuesday to Saturday, Peter Little will also be in and around the church working as sacristan / verger.
The best way to get in touch with the parish is by email:
E: firstname.lastname@example.org (T: 020 7636 1788)
THIS WEEK’S PRAYER DIARY
Those who are sick or distressed and have asked for prayers:
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Mashee Eyob, Belinda, Victor Sharp, David Fettke, Elaine Faulkner, Joan Cooper, Jenni Black, Sr Elizabeth, Ondina Brash, Elizabeth Dennis, Sian Evans, Fr Graham Francis, Helen Mannion, Vallery Tchukov, Hilary Anne, Sarah Vice, Lenore Kimbrough, Jane Kirton, Fr Ron Swan
Those known to us recently departed:
David Paton Pr, Ros Tagoe (12/12) Germay Green, Claire Maclean, Helen Minnett, Jean Stirling Smith, Anthony Holmes.
Anniversaries of death this week:
Elizabeth Ross, Anthony Creek, Richard Routledge, Helen Turner, Harold Pobjoy, Pr, Anne Scott,Cynthia Tucker, Miriam Smith, Augustus Thompson, Paul de Fortis, Pr, Doreen Forde, Hugh Warren Pr, Lennox Berkeley, Desmond Berk, Kenneth Bond, Percy Fleming, Paul Drake, Ernest Gaskell, Gordon Symes
THIS SUNDAY at ALL SAINTS:
Sunday 22 December ADVENT 4
8am Low Mass
11am HIGH MASS Preacher: Fr Julian Browning
Mass in E Minor – Lloyd Webber
Vox Dicentis: Clama – Naylor
5.15pm Low Mass
6pm Evensong and Benediction Preacher: Fr Michael Bowie
Purcell in G minor
This lovely lady sat and song – Bryan Kelly
WORSHIP at ALL SAINTS this week
Monday 23 – Tuesday 24 December:
all Masses and confession times as usual
Tuesday 24th December: Christmas Eve
11pm Midnight Mass of Christmas
Wednesday 25th December: Christmas Day
11am Procession and High Mass
Thursday 26th December: S. Stephen, First Martyr
12 noon Low Mass
Friday 27th December: S. John, Apostle & Evangelist
No 8am Mass
12.30pm Confessions 1.10pm Low Mass
5.30pm Confessions 6pm Evening Prayer 6.30pm Low Mass
Saturday 28 December: Holy Innocents, Martyrs
(Church opens at 11am) 12 noon Low Mass
5.30pm Confessions 6pm Evening Prayer
6.30pm First Mass of Sunday
Sunday 29 December: First Sunday after Christmas
8am Low Mass
11am HIGH MASS Preacher: Fr Michael Bowie
Missa ad Praesepe Malcolm There is No Rose Britten
5.15pm Low Mass No sung Evensong
THE PARISH SHOP is open in the Parish Room before High Mass and in the courtyard afterwards. On sale this week:
Tickets for Sunday lunch – £6 cooked by Tom Leeman
Fairtrade coffee & tea, CDs, books, cards
Full service information: www.allsaintsmargaretstreet.org.uk
WARM CLOTHING FOR THE NEEDY
Donations of warm clothing are gratefully sought at this time of year by our neighbours the Jesus Army. Women’s clothing and men’s, particularly shoes, are appreciated. Please leave donations in the Parish Office, or the vicarage hallway.
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If you would like pastoral assistance, please contact:
The Parish Church of All Saints Margaret Street,
London W1W 8JG
T: 020 7636 1788. E: email@example.com
Assistant Priest: Fr Michael Bowie
T: 07581 180963 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Day off: Wednesday)
Safeguarding Officers: Please raise any concerns you have with:
Chris Self (Vulnerable Adults) and Janet Drake (Children)
If you would like prayers offered, amendments to the prayer list or to obtain an Electoral Roll form please contact the office:
T: 020 7636 1788. E: email@example.com
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.)
PLEASE SUPPORT US!
The ministry of All Saints costs £1,070/day.
Visitors, tourists & photographers are invited to contribute, reviewing the experience on All Saints’ Trip Advisor entry.
THANK YOU for all donations supporting the Church’s work and worship, choir & music and care of its heritage buildings.
The Government reports an £600m annual shortfall in take-up of Gift Aid tax relief for UK charities – so All Saints doesn’t lose the extra 25%, please always GIFT AID!
PARISH GIVING leaflets – about how to set up regular giving to All Saints – can be found on the church table.
Donations for general Church purposes:
To give by BACS please use the following details,
advising the Administrator to collect Gift Aid:
PCC All Saints (Charity # 1132895)
Sort Code 60-09-15. A/C # 04559452
Parish Legacy Policy
We are always delighted to hear from anyone who wants to support us with a donation. Our PCC Legacy Policy though is to encourage people to leave bequests specifically to one of our two related charities to be used for purposes of lasting value (rather than day to day costs):
All Saints Choir & Music Trust (Charity # 802994) or
The All Saints Foundation (Charity # 273390).
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