All Saints Parish Newsletter 27th December 2013
PARISH EMAIL LETTER 27/12/2013
Sceptics sometimes mock snow-clad portrayals of the Christmas story, as nothing more than romantic Victorian fantasy, far removed from reality.
Having been in the Holy Land at Christmas time, I know how bitterly cold it can be, and I wasn’t a Syrian refugee shivering in a tented camp in the Bekaa Valley.
Some at least of our Victorian forebears, Dickens with his “Christmas Carol” and Christina Rossetti with her “In the Bleak Midwinter,” knew a good deal of the harsh reality of this world. They were no blinkered escapists.
There is nothing of the romantic in Matthew’s account of the massacre of the children of Bethlehem which we remember both on Saturday’s feast of the Holy Innocents, and in Sunday’s gospel.
Nor is there anything sentimental in the gospel’s portrayal of the Holy Family fleeing to Egypt for refuge from a murderous tyrant.
None of this would seem out of place in today’s Middle East with its seemingly endless cycle of hatred and suspicion, violence and revenge.
One aspect of all this, which both Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin have drawn attention to in their Christmas preaching, is the perilous situation of Christian communities in the Middle East; more and more the target of Islamist violence. Car bombs exploding in a Christian quarter of Baghdad on Christmas Day itself took the lives of over thirty people. As yesterday we celebrated St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, we made our fellow-Christians in these lands our special intention in our offering of the Eucharist.
The incarnation, the life of Jesus Christ, takes place in the heart of such realities. If it did not, it would not be real and we would not be celebrating it as the source of our hope all these centuries later.
As the Letter to the Hebrews will remind us on Sunday, “…he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested by what he had suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.”
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Alan Moses
Please pray for those who have asked for our prayers: Harry Allan, Jean Brackston, Margaret Campbell, Rachel Clayton, Rosie Davis, Ursula Edwards, Arthur Fearns, Charles Forker, Joan Foster, Denise Inge, Philip Harland, Mason Jacobsen, Jill, Chris Lawson, Katherine Lee, Joshua Levy, Christine Loffty, Kerry Manuel,Rachel Perez-Catalan, Marimar Perez-Fabo, Celia Shore, Stephen Short, Andrew Tillyard, Paolla Vincentin, Fr Stephen Williams.
For the recently departed: Pamela Freer, Nelson Mandela, Sandra O’Brien, Thomas Vaughan, Sister Mary Magdalene SLG.
At the anniversary of their death (during the coming week): The Revd. Katherine Mundy (Deacon, Chaplain to the Oxford Street stores), Brian Lee, Elsie Boyton, Mona Compton, John Freebairn-Smith (former Headmaster Choir School), Malcolm Melville (Priest and former Headmaster of the Choir School), Ethel de Rougement, Trevor Burnett-Brown, Hugh Glazier (Priest and sometime member of staff at All Saints), Beardmore Compton (Priest and second Vicar of All Saints), Henry Howell, John Wylde (Priest), Joan Banyard, John Auton.
WORSHIP AT ALL SAINTS THIS SUNDAY:
THE FIRST SUNDAY OF CHRISTMAS – 29 DECEMBER 2013 HIGH MASS 11am:
Music and Preachers:
Mass in G minor – Rheinberger and I sing of a maiden – Hadley
Preacher: The Vicar, Prebendary Alan Moses
Low Mass – 5.15pm. No Evensong and Benediction.
NOTICES & NEWS
CAROL SINGING IN THE PARISH OF ALL SAINTS – thank you to those who kindly volunteered (including representatives of St Giles-in-the-Fields) to come out and sing on what turned out to be a rather wet evening. The collection for the Church Army Hostel Emergency Bed supported by All Saints Margaret Street raised £237. Congratulations!
PARISH OFFICE CLOSURE OVER THE HOLIDAY
Please note that the All Saints Parish Office will close from Christmas Eve and reopen on Monday 6 January 2014.
ALL SAINTS RESTORATION APPEAL – Church Lighting & Electrical Renewal
Update on Fundraising – we have already raised £154,000 (with anticipated Gift Aid) or 62%, towards our total of £250,000. The balance we still need to fund-raise for is £96,000
Thank you to everyone who has already contributed so generously to this important project; we are very grateful. If you have still to contribute, please make cheques payable to: All Saints Margaret Street PCC Restoration Account and send to Restoration Appeal, All Saints Church Parish Office,
7 Margaret Street, London W1W 8JG.
If you are a UK tax payer and have signed/will sign a Gift Aid declaration with us, your donation to the Appeal is increased by 25%. Please indicate that you wish your donation to be Gift Aided and ensure we have your full name (with initial/s), address and postcode. If you are unsure if you have signed a Gift Aid declaration form, please pick one up from the table in church, complete the details and return with your donation to: Mrs Dee Prior, Parish Administrator.
2014 ALL SAINTS LICENSED CLUB MEMBERSHIP CARDS
These are now available in the All Saints Bar at £3.00 for the calendar year (same rate as 2013). Please see one of the Bar team after Mass or Choral Evensong.
CHRISTMASTIDE AT ALL SAINTS – All welcome – please bring some friends!
Monday 6 January 2014
THE EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD – Procession and High Mass, 6.30pm
Missa ‘Bel’ amfitrit altera’– Lassus and Magi videntes stellam – Clemens non Papa
Preacher: Canon Michael Hempel, St Paul’s Cathedral
Sunday 12 January 2014
THE BAPTISM OF CHRIST – High Mass, 11am
Missa Brevis – Berkeley and Lo, star-led chiefs – Crotch
Preacher: The Vicar, Prebendary Alan Moses
Sunday 12 January 2014 – Epiphany Carol Service, 6pm
A service of Readings and Music for the Epiphany with the Choir of All Saints
A CHRISTMAS GIFT – Sandra Wheen has written up the recent Poetry Tea:
‘As I made my way to Pamela’s house I passed the grandly twinkling lights of the Landmark Hotel, and glimpsed the warmly lit interior of Marylebone Station. Inside her home the themes of warmth and light continued with her cosy gas fire, coloured lights on the mantelpiece and Pamela herself struggling to light a candle behind a transparent image of the virgin and child on her patio. And in keeping with these themes, the proceeds of this Poetry Tea would contribute towards the lighting and electrical renewal of All Saints in the next phase of the Restoration.
We were very happy to welcome to this Poetry Tea a few people who had not been before. Among them was William who read us some of his own poems, including his beautifully observed winter poem ‘First Frost’, and Neil whom we were very pleased to have with us for a short time in the middle of his busy afternoon.
Our readings explored an amazing range of feelings about the Christmas Season. And it was not all tinsel and teddy bears. We passed from the darkest anguish of the human spirit, to awed gazing at the night sky and back down to earth with a bump in Pam Ayres’ ‘A Crabbie Christmas’ read by Charles. There was a well-known American children’s poem ‘A Visit from St Nicholas’ read by Daphne, a nostalgic piece called ‘The Singer was Irish’ read by Mary who is herself Irish, a poem by Rudyard Kipling about feelings of alienation in ‘Christmas in India’ read by Gary and, lovely as ever, John Betjeman’s tender and faith-filled ‘Christmas’ read by James. Sometimes at a Poetry Tea a poem is read which touches a nerve and leads to a suspension of reading in favour of lively discussion about something on which people have strong feelings. On this occasion the issue that led to debate was the de-Christianisation of Christmas in our multi-cultural society, which was universally deplored.
Poetry is a free country and our whistle-stop tour of the territory left me dazed. Walking home through the dark streets of Marylebone I wondered how to make sense of it all. I remembered my arrival at Pamela’s, my thoughts of warmth and light and I wondered about the darkness of some of the poems. It came to me that although this had been a Christmas Poetry Tea we were in fact in Advent which is a time of darkness and that this darkness is important. Next day I heard of the newly declared Dark Sky Park in Northumberland where, free from light pollution, it is possible to see the full glory of the Milky Way. It seemed a kind of parable of the darkness of Advent, in which we are invited to seek the star of faith.’
FUTURE EVENT FOR YOUR DIARY
Sunday 26 January 2014 – 7.15pm (after Evensong & Benediction) – ORGAN RECITAL – Charles Andrews, Associate Director of Music All Saints. Programme includes works by J. S. Bach and Karg-Elert. Post recital collection to support the Choir and Music at All Saints.
If you would like to encourage others to receive this weekly email, please forward this email on to them, or people you would like to invite to services. If you know of others who would like to receive this correspondence, or for whom you would like prayers offered at All Saints, please ask them to email the Parish Administrator Mrs Dee Prior at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like any pastoral assistance, please do not hesitate to contact the Vicar, Prebendary Alan Moses: email@example.com.