All Saints Parish Newsletter 6th December 2019
Fr Michael writes,
I don’t dislike the secular Christmas we see all around us, because it gives us so many opportunities to talk about Jesus outside of our little church enclosures. But we mustn’t let it dumb down our own faith: we believe in much more than the birth of a miracle child. The incarnation that we celebrate when we say the creed, and when we offer the Christmas Mass, especially, is the whole of what is sometimes called the ‘Christ event’. We can understand those words as shorthand pretty easily: everything about coming of the Son of God in the flesh, which includes not only his birth but also his whole ministry, his death, resurrection and glory.
Most of the New Testament (aside from the infancy stories of Matthew and Luke, which supply the secular Christmas we see around us), proclaims the ‘Christ event’ without mentioning the nativity. This season of Advent does what it says on the tin: it is a preparation for Christ’s advent, his coming among us now, not just his birth then. His birth is, of course, the vital intersection point with us, but it is a starting point, perhaps a new start, both for God and for us. We don’t stop at starting points. We move on. The nativity is merely one way of speaking about the advent of Christ, and not the most important one.
So it is wholly appropriate that John the Baptist should figure prominently in the Advent season as a herald of the Messiah’s coming, the fulfilment of hope. As our second reading on Sunday says,
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.
… May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15.4 & 13)
Hope is part of our essential make-up as created beings, as well as Christians. When we lose hope we lose the will to live. Hope is not the same as optimism. Just as the opposite of faith is not doubt but certainty, so optimism can be seen as opposed to hope. Optimism is the irrational expectation that things will get better whatever the situation; it is the foolish ‘best of all possible worlds’ satirized by Voltaire in Candide. But hope for the future, based on God’s love and faithfulness, inheres in scripture, especially in difficult times such as the Exile of God’s people described in the Old Testament.
It is surely our job as Christians to put the God of hope back into this festive conversation; to take opportunities like the secular Christmas to say, like Paul on the Areopagus, ‘you are worshipping an unknown God’; this story you love to remember at Christmas can change your life for the whole year; the hopes you have are windows to God.
The crucial thing is to stop blaming those who don’t understand our faith for not getting it and start taking responsibility for sharing what it means.
Yours in Christ,
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: email@example.com (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, Victor Sharp, David Fettke,
Elaine Faulkner, Joan Cooper, Jenni Black, Sr Elizabeth, Ondina Brash, Jane Kirton, Elizabeth Dennis, Fr Hugh Wilcox, Sian Evans, Fr Graham Francis, Peter Jewkes, Helen Mannion, Simon & Mary Edsor, Vallery Tchukov & Hilary Anne
Those known to us recently departed: Germay Green, Matthew Scott, Brian Pickett, Tim Taylor Claire Maclean.
Anniversaries of death this week:
Maude Bull, Christine Bramma, Ines Baxter, Marion Borton, Hamish Gray, Natalie Durnesh, Daniel Thomas, Amelia Jones, Alice Trevor, Annie Jevons, Roscow Sheddon, Margaret Butterworth, Guy Pritchard
Chris Fairbairn, Richard Eyre Pr, Jan Stevens, Mary Packer,
David Vickery Pr, John Turner, Lindsay Boynton, William Lloyd Pr, Robert Kirk
THIS SUNDAY at ALL SAINTS:
Sunday 8 December ADVENT 2
8am Low Mass
11am LITANY and HIGH MASS Preacher: Bishop Jonathan Baker
Missa Alma Redemptoris Mater – Victoria
Tota pulchra es – Bruckner
5.15pm Low Mass
6pm Evensong and Benediction (with a Marian emphasis, for the Eve of the Immaculate Conception; no sermon)
WORSHIP at ALL SAINTS this week
Monday 9 – Friday 13 December
7.30am Morning Prayer 8am Low Mass (except Wednesdays)
Daily: 12.30pm Confessions 1.10pm Low Mass
(except this Friday, 13th: Lunchtime Carol Service 1.10pm)
5.30pm Confessions 6pm Evening Prayer 6.30pm Low Mass
(except Thursday 12th – Carol service in the evening)
Saturday 14 December (Church opens at 11am)
1130 Walsingham Devotion (Rosary) 12 noon Low Mass
5.30pm Confessions 6pm Evening Prayer
6.30pm First Mass of Sunday
Sunday 15 December Third Sunday of Advent
8am Low Mass
11am HIGH MASS
Preacher: Fr Adam Atkinson
Spaurmesse K.258 – Mozart
O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion – Handel
5.15pm Low Mass
6pm Evensong and Benediction Preacher Fr Julian Browning
Fauxbordons – Byrd
Komm, Jesu, Komm – Bach
Monday 16th December: 6pm NINE LESSONS AND CAROLS
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 Huw Pryce
All Saints Christmas card £5 for a pack of 6
New 2019 design – featuring stained glass of the West Window
And 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistant Priest: Fr Michael Bowie
T: 07581 180963 E: email@example.com
(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:
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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. The Vicar, Churchwardens and PCC 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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