All Saints Parish Newsletter 20th September 2013
The other evening I queued outside the entrance of Oxford Street station in pouring rain, surrounded by people on their way home from work. Above the entrance stood a man who harangued us about the need to repent and be saved.
While we might admire his perseverance, I have serious reservations about this method of evangelism. First of all, it seems to assume that none of those who are addressed are already faithful Christians. I know Christ stopped Saul in his tracks on the road to Damascus but does that justify shouting at weary workers on their way home at the end of a long day. The Gospel does call us to have a sense of urgency about sharing the Good News, but should that mean the discourtesy of shouting at people; berating them rather than seeking conversation and dialogue. That seems likely to make the Good News sound like bad for most people.
Some words from Sunday’s epistle come to mind. After speaking of prayer being made for everyone, something I wrote about last week, the letter continues, “This is right and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself as a ransom for all.”
Our rain-soaked evangelist probably believes that God does desire everyone to be saved. I did not think it the occasion to ask him if he believed in double pre-destination and limited atonement.
Pope Francis has caused a stir by writing in friendly terms to an atheist in an open letter in an Italian newspaper. Archbishop Rowan engaged in public debate and dialogue with leading atheist critics of Christianity such as Richard Dawkins and Philip Pullman.
A head teacher once told me of the distress caused in her school by an earnest young minister who used the occasion of an earthquake in India to say that the thousands who had died were now in hell because they had not accepted Jesus as their saviour.
What kind of God does this suggest: one who condemns people who have not even had the opportunity to hear of Christ? What of people who have never heard of Christ but have sought to live according to Gospel values?
One of the Pope Francis’s fellow Jesuits, Karl Rahner, who has been out of fashion in recent decades, addressed this problem with his concept of the “anonymous Christian.” Even Pope Benedict, who had frequently disagreed with Rahner, eventually accepted a modified form of this, to say that men and women of good will could be saved. Another leading Roman Catholic theologian of the last century, regarded as conservative by many, Hans Urs von Baltasar, even wrote that Christians could hope that hell is empty and all are saved. We might finally reject the mercy of God, but Jesus gave his life as a ransom for all, not just for some. That sodden but fire-breathing street evangelist would probably write me off as “wet,” but I seem to be in good company. Our hope is in the grace of God, so can we find ways of presenting the gospel which reflect God’s gracious mercy?
Fr. Alan Moses
Please pray for those who have asked for our prayers: Harry Allan, Damon Brash, Peter Burbidge, Maragret Campbell, Rachel Clayton, Sheena Cruse, Rosie Davis, Denise Inge, Mason Jacobsen, Linda Jervis, Jill, Katherine Lee, Joshua Levy, Christine Lofty, Miriam Morris, Rev Andrew O’Connor, Marimar Perez Fabo, The Ven. Jim Rone, Celia Shore, Stephen Short, Ian Stevens, Kate Thomas, Andrew Tillyard, Melanie Toogood, David and Jo Vincent, Heather Walker, Wendy Wall, Fr Stephen Williams.
For the recently departed: Robert Lloyd (Priest), William Page, Pauline Dosser, Rosemary St John, Stanley Mogford (Priest), Eve Shannon.
At the anniversary of their death (during the coming week): Andrew Braybrooke, Jean Hobbs, David Shearer, Pamela Herbertson, Eric King, Evelyne Steele, Mickaël Charbonneau, Lilian Exten, Lynn Evans, Sister Mary, Marjorie Gaskell, Evan Windham.
WORSHIP NEXT SUNDAY – 22 SEPTEMBER 2013
SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY
Preachers & Music
11am High Mass: Preacher: Prebendary Alan Moses
Mass in G minor – Vaughan Williams Ave verum corpus – Elgar
6pm Evensong & Benediction: Preacher: Fr Julian Browning
Future Events at All Saints, the Annunciation and St Cyprian’s:
Tuesday 17 – Sunday 22 September, 12 – 6pm JOHN LEWIS & WAITROSE ARTS & CRAFTS CLUB EXHIBITION 2013, Parish Room. Entry is free. Various display and sale items: including jewellery, needlework, pottery and original watercolours and oil paintings.
NB. Purchases only to be collected Sunday 22 September after Evensong.
OPEN HOUSE LONDON – the capital’s greatest architectural showcase
Saturday 21 (10am-5pm) and Sunday 22 (1 – 5pm) September
Open House London celebrates all that is best about the capital’s buildings, places and neighbourhoods. Every September, it gives a unique opportunity to get out and under the skin of London’s amazing architecture, with over 700 buildings of all kinds opening their doors to everyone – all for free. All Saints is participating once again with talks on the history of the church given by Churchwarden John Forde – Saturday 11am and 3pm, Sunday at 2pm.
Sunday 22 September, after Evensong – the ALL SAINTS CLUB ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING will be held in the Bar.
Sunday 22 September – Ten-to-One Talk Series: WHY DO YOU DO THAT? Bowing and genuflecting. This is the second of twelve Ten-to-One Talks, to be given by the Vicar. The bell is rung to announce the start.
Thursday 26 September, 7pm at the Annunciation Marble Arch, Bryanston Street, London W1H 7AH– IONA PILGRIMAGE MEETING – an exploratory meeting led by Fr Gerald Beauchamp for all those interested in going on the Iona pilgrimage planned for April 2015.
Sunday 29 September, 12.45pm – EVENTS COMMITTEE meeting.
Sunday 29 September, 7.15pm (after Benediction)
ORGAN RECITAL – CHARLES ANDREWS, Associate Director of Music. Programme includes: Bach, Franck and Heiller. Retiring collection to support the Choir and Music at All Saints (suggested donation £3.50).
Sunday 6 October, 12.45pm – BUILDINGS COMMITTEE meeting.
Friday 11 October – The Cell of Our Lady of Walsingham: OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY – 6.30pm Low Mass with Hymns, 7pm. The Rosary will be said for approximately half an hour, followed by light refreshments.
Tues 22 – Sun 27 October – EXHIBITION – TIMOTHY BETJEMAN AT ALL SAINTS MARGARET STREET – the painter revisits a favourite Victorian church of his grandfather, poet John Betjeman, with a series of new works done in situ at All Saints. The exhibition anticipates the bicentennial of its architect, William Butterfield, with oil paintings and prints intimately depicting the church’s vibrant interior through various liturgical seasons, moods and rites. Open 12–6pm, in the Parish Room.
Future Events Elsewhere:
Tuesday 24 September 2 – 4pm, HIGH TIDES AND HIGH TEA: Afternoon of Poetry with The Mission to Seafarers, St Michael Paternoster Royal, College Hill, London EC4R 2RL. Tickets £10. Further info: Nicola Jackson on 01354 695002.
Saturday 28 September, 7.30pm St John the Evangelist, Duncan Terrace N1 8AL – ORGAN RECITAL – PETER STEVENS of Westminster Cathedral appearing in the 50th Anniversary Organ Recital Series since the opening of the Walker Organ.
Tuesday 8 October 13.00, St Lawrence Jewry – Lunchtime organ recital – CHARLES ANDREWS, Associate Director of Music.
Monday 14 October 2013, starting 7pm – All Hallows by the Tower
BRITTEN AT 100: RECITAL AND SEMINAR SUPPER. Sion College celebrates Benjamin Britten’s centenary year with a recital and seminar supper on Britten at 100: “Britten and the Church” exploring Britten’s relationship with Christianity.
Thursday 24 October 13.05, Lunchtime organ recital at St John’s, Smith Square – TIM BYRAM-WIGFIELD, Director of Music All Saints. Tickets: £10. Programme includes: Handel, Beethoven, Liszt, Hollins and Widor. See SJSS website for full details.