All Saints Parish Newsletter 7th February 2014
On Sunday morning, I will be preaching at St. John’s Upper Norwood for Fr. John Pritchard, whose brainchild this weekly letter is. Being a visiting preacher is not the same as preaching at home. You often don’t know the building or the congregation. Practical things can catch you out. What is the acoustic like? Will you be able to make yourself heard? How big or small will the pulpit lectern be? It’s no good taking sheets of A4 paper if it’s only big enough for A5, and your notes will end up on the floor.
And all that is before you get to the congregation. Are they attentive and expectant, or will it be like stirring cold porridge? Do they have a sense of humour? Will they all sit at the back and then complain that they could not hear you? Will they stare blankly ahead, compose themselves to sleep, read the hymnbook, or look ostentatiously at their watches the minute you have begun?
Well, I’m fairly sure Fr. John’s flock will not fall into the latter category. But perhaps, St. Paul’s words in the epistle on Sunday are apt for such an occasion: “And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling.”
Paul is responding to those in Corinth who were following their favourite preachers; considered more eloquent than their founding apostle. It was a culture in which rhetorical skill was highly prized. It was also one in which there were elites who believed themselves to possess wisdom only given to the initiated
Paul rejects all this. “…I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified…..My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom but on the power of God.”
Having seen off human wisdom, Paul then seems to switch track and speak of a secret wisdom which he teaches among the mature. In fact, Paul demonstrates in his letter a clear grasp of the methods of rhetorical persuasion. One is irony and here he uses it with the Corinthians. Irony relies on hearers picking up the clues that what is meant is not exactly what is being said. He seems to speak of a hidden wisdom like theirs, only to identify it as the wisdom of the cross, not the product of human imagination but something revealed by God.
As any preacher who has tried it knows, irony can easily misfire. Hearers who are tone deaf, too literalist, hear the words but miss the sense. The risk is greater still with the written word, when tone of voice and facial expression are absent. Perhaps Paul thought the Corinthians knew him well enough to get the point. It’s not a technique I’ll be using in Upper Norwood; best kept for an audience which knows me better.
This is not, as some have made it, a justification for human un-wisdom. The inability of human wisdom to plumb the mysteries of God, does not mean that human stupidity can. It is not that those who refuse to exercise reason in thinking about God have no theology – they just have a bad one.
Above the pulpit in All Saints, as in many other churches, there hangs a crucifix. It is there to remind us all, preachers and hearers, that while presentation, intelligibility, reasoned argument, logical progression, are all important for preachers, and for those who have to listen to them, if preaching is to be Christian, if it is to convey something of “the mind of Christ,” it must always be focussed on him crucified; as the true wisdom to which all human reason and imagination must be subject.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Alan Moses
Prebendary Alan Moses
Vicar of All Saints Margaret Street
Area Dean of Westminster & St Marylebone
Please pray for those who have asked for our prayers: Jean Brackston, Damon Brash, Christopher Cain, Rachel Clayton, Rosie Davis, Ursula Edwards, Charles Forker, Joan Foster, Canon David Garlick, Geoff, Fr Kevin, Penny Greenwood-Penny, Denise Inge, Jill, Craig Laughton, Katherine Lee, Joshua Levy, Christine Loffty, Kerry Manuel, Andrew O’Connor, Hazel Reynolds, Stephen Short, Erica Telfer, Colin Titmus and Canon Geoffrey White.
For the recently departed: Robert Tennant, Elizabeth McLellan, Tim Penrose, Aileen Cudlip, Paul Mothersdale (Priest), Baby Charlotte, Isabella Fotheringham, James Rone (Priest).
At the anniversary of their death (during the coming week): Joan Adams, Pamela Brett, Hazel Otway, Eileen Mann, Margaret Booker, Diana Juniper, Phyllis Woodcock, Winifred Bloomer, Charlotte Druitt, Helen Buck, Sister Barbara of All Saints’, Charles Lethbridge, Nellie Chapman, Margaret McWilliam, Mary Dick, John Knight, Marion Clark, Constance Rivington, Henry Hewetson, John Bartle, Alec Rodger, Margaret Menzies.
WORSHIP AT ALL SAINTS THIS SUNDAY:
SUNDAY 9 FEBRUARY 2014 – Fourth Sunday before Lent
Preachers & Music:
The Vicar is preaching at St John the Evangelist, Upper Norwood
HIGH MASS, 11am
Fr Julian Browning
Missa Solemnis – Mozart
Ave verum corpus – Mozart
CHORAL EVENSONG & BENEDICTION, 6pm
Fr Gerald Beauchamp
Service in F (Collegium Regale) – Wood
A prayer of King Henry V1 – Gabriel Jackson
After Mass there will be a meeting of the Buildings Committee in the Parish Office and a meeting of the Servers.
The BBC will be filming in the Lady Chapel during the afternoon after High Mass and until shortly before the Low Mass preceding Choral Evensong & Benediction.
EVENTS & NOTICES THIS WEEK
Monday 10 – Wednesday 12 February – The Vicar will be attending the meeting of the General Synod of the Church of England.
Thursday 13 February, 10.30 – 12.30, Parish Room – SINGING FOR THE BRAIN run by The Alzheimer’s Society. Please see leaflets on the table in Church. If anyone is interested in joining this session (6th of 12) please contact: Samerah Malik of The Alzheimer’s Society on 07891 888539.
Thursday 13 February, 9pm – BBC 2 – Bible Hunters, the first of a two part investigation looking at the discoveries of early Christian manuscripts in Egypt. Part 2 is being shown on Thursday 20 January, 9pm – BBC2. You may recall that CTVC (an educational film company working with the Smithsonian Institute) filmed High Mass at All Saints during September 2013 and we hope that some of that footage will make it into the final programme/s.
Security in and around All Saints Church
Please do not leave valuables unattended in Church at any time – the Police have alerted us to a spate of thefts in this area of central London in recent weeks and have asked us to be particularly on our guard. Please be vigilant and if you do see anything suspicious, let the Clergy or Churchwardens know.
Warm clothing to spare for homeless people?
WRG, a creative agency in the Parish of All Saints on Great Titchfield Street is working with St Mungo’s to collect gloves, scarves, hats, footwear, sweaters or anything else that would keep a homeless person warm. They have been collecting these items during the winter and making a colourful display in their reception window. If any of you has items you could donate for this worthy cause, please drop them off at the Parish Office and the Parish Administrator will take them in to WRG.
Food Donations for the Marylebone Project for Homeless Women
Just to remind you that we keep a basket in church in the Baptistery for donations of non-perishable foodstuffs – soups, tinned meat, biscuits, chocolate and similar are much appreciated by this All Saints’ Mission Project for Homeless Women. Do drop off what you can – the reason the basket may often appear empty is that we gather up contributions as they come in and then pass them onto the Project.
WORSHIP AT ALL SAINTS NEXT SUNDAY
SUNDAY 16 FEBRUARY – Third Sunday before Lent
Preachers & Music
HIGH MASS, 11am
Prebendary Alan Moses
Missa ‘Sæculorum Amen’ – Guerrero
Let all mortal flesh keep silence – Bairstow
Choral Evensong & Benediction, 6pm
Fr Julian Browning
The Fourth Service – Batten
O Lord the maker of all thing – Mundy
ALL SAINTS RESTORATION APPEAL – Lighting & Electrical Renewal Update
The display of our proposals for this Restoration Project continues in the Baptistery. We are delighted to announce that we have now raised or had pledged almost £170,000 (68% of target). Thank you to everyone who has contributed donations large and small; we are extremely grateful. We hope that works will commence after Easter in 2014.
The balance for which we still need your help is: £80,000.
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 ensure we have your full name (with initial/s), address and postcode. If unsure if you have signed a Gift Aid declaration form, please pick one up from the table in church, fill in and return to: Mrs Dee Prior, Parish Administrator. Thank you for your contribution.
Further Communications or Assistance from All Saints Margaret Street
If you would like to encourage others to receive this weekly email, please forward this email on to them, or to 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: email@example.com.
If you would like any pastoral assistance, please do not hesitate to contact the Vicar, Prebendary Alan Moses: firstname.lastname@example.org.