All Saints Parish Newsletter 9th October 2015
Some of you may have heard many sermons on the camel and the eye of a needle (part of this Sunday’s Gospel). Because this commentary on wealth worries middle class Christians (and most literate Christians, from the earliest times, have been what we would call ‘middle class’) much effort has been expended on making it seem less weird.
There are two standard approaches: I wonder if you’ve heard them. One is to claim that there was a narrow gate or small door in the city wall of Jerusalem, sometimes called ‘the eye of the needle’ and this passage refers to a camel losing baggage and kneeling in order to get through it. There is not a shred of evidence for this earlier than the ninth century; it is mostly a story embroidered in the nineteenth.
Then there’s the older and more ingenious approach: inventing a new word. The word for camel (kamelos) is alleged to have been intruded in place of a Greek word for rope (kamilos), one vowel away from it. Sadly, this word (kamilos) appears to have been invented to ‘improve’ this saying by an early scribe. The comparison would then be with threading a rope through a needle’s eye, which could seem a plausible exaggeration.
But this isn’t meant to be just a logical or plausible comparison. This is meant to grab people’s attention, and the weird juxtaposition of big animal and needle is paralleled elsewhere. Near-contemporary rabbis compared something difficult to getting an elephant through the eye of a (literal) needle (the rabbis also talked of something being as unlikely as a date-palm made of gold). There is also an Arabic proverb about camels and needles. All we really need to know is that the camel is the largest animal in Palestine, a natural local choice for an extreme image.
The commentators’ fiction of the small door is unfortunate, because it completely undermines the point of the proverb. That which Jesus presented as ludicrously impossible is turned into a mere remote possibility: the rich person, given sufficient unloading and humility, might just possibly be able to squeeze in. That was not what Jesus’ proverb meant, nor, clearly, how the disciples are presented as understanding it:
Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.” 10.27
The subtler step of rewriting the Greek language in order to avoid the difficulty is equally lame. The camel is a camel and the needle is a needle. We must hear the weird comparison and try to let the challenge of it bear fruit in our life of faith: we cannot explain it away.
I often turn to the liberation theologian Gustavo Gutierrez when I am reading difficult gospels (especially those which are challenging to the affluent, in which category I place myself). He does not use this gospel as easy ammunition, but looks at what Jesus’ challenge meant for that particular person:
Giving up his possessions proves to be too difficult for the man. Like many of us, he prefers to live his faith resigned to comfortable mediocrity. He does believe, but not that much.
In other words, for him a camel might be just a rope, or the eye of a needle just a door. Put those interpretations together and you might even get something very easy from Jesus’ saying: passing a rope through a small door! As Gutierrez notes,
The disciples, on the other hand, understand the message perfectly well. The whole matter seems next to impossible for them. To go through the eye of the needle means placing all our trust in God and not in wealth. It is not easy either personally or as Church to accept this challenge and, like the disciples, with would-be realism, we wonder: “Then, who can be saved?” (v.26). We allege that money gives us security and that it enables us to be effective. The Lord reminds us that our capacity to believe in God alone is a grace (v.27), something given.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Michael Bowie
All Saints Margaret Street
Please pray for those who have asked for our prayers: Asia Bibi, John Bradshaw, Peter Burbidge, James Cary-Elwes, Ian Coull, Dennis Davis, Mark Dougly, Kate Down, David Fettke, Prebendary John Gaskell, Jonty Gordon, Gaby Grace, Lewis Harvey, Pat Hunt, Alice Jullien, Andrew Laird, Tom Leader, Christine Loffty, Simon MacGregor, Sister Martha (SMNC Tanzania), Hilary Morgan, Joseph Musah, Miriam Nelson, Gordon Orme, Fr David Paton, David Pearce, Canon John Rees, Nick Russell, Jock Scott, Stella Skinner, Rose Stephens, Judy Stewart, Buzz Stokes, Christine van Dyck, Jo Vincent and Joy Wright
For the recently departed: Kenneth Leech, Dennis Allen, Margaret Thorpe, David Willcocks and Sybil Fox, Emma Walden and Christopher Tambling
Remember past priests, benefactors, friends, and all whose year’s mind occurs this week including: Mark Carpenter-Garnier (Bishop), Guest Blofeld (Priest), Lilian Ditcham, David Heffer Elizabeth Hoare, Vera Dyer, Godfrey Dick, Florence Kelly, Raymond McGrath, Jack Ridley, Richard O’Conner, Robert Hanvey, Evelyn Vandy and Margaret McKenzie-Edwards.
WORSHIP THIS SUNDAY 11 OCTOBER – NINETEENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY
– HIGH MASS, 11am
Preacher: Father Julian Browning
Communion Service ‘for the King’s College, Cambridge’ – Howells
Almighty and everlasting God – Gibbons
Sunday Lunch (two courses with coffee) is served – Chris Self and Jan Fielden are the chefs, cooking Roast Lamb. Tickets £5 available from the Parish shop in the Parish Room before and after Mass.
CHORAL EVENSONG & BENEDICTION, 6pm
Preacher: The Vicar, Prebendary Alan Moses
Second Service – Byrd
Prevent us, O Lord – Byrd
WORSHIP NEXT SUNDAY 18 OCTOBER –- ST LUKE THE EVANGELIST HIGH MASS, 11am
Preacher: The Vicar, Prebendary Alan Moses
Missa ‘ad imitationem vinum bonum’ – Lassus
Ave Maria – Stravinsky
There is a Buildings Committee meeting in the Parish Office after Mass.
Sunday Lunch (two courses with coffee) is served –John McWhinney and Paul Weston are the chefs. Tickets £5 available from the Parish shop in the Parish Room before and after Mass.
CHORAL EVENSONG & BENEDICTION 6pm
Preacher: Father Julian Browning
Stanford in C
Strengthen ye the weak hands – Harris
DEVONSHIRE MARBLE AT ALL SAINTS
Some readers may remember a visit, tour of church and talk at All Saints earlier this year -given by Geology Professor Gordon Walkden and attended by about twenty people, including representatives from English Heritage. This came about during the period when Professor Walkden was writing a new book on the subject, which is now published. He writes:
‘I would particularly like to draw your congregation’s attention to the November launch event of my book at the Lloyd’s Register building on Fenchurch Street. This is on Friday 6 November at 3pm. Lloyd’s has one of the finest Devonshire Marble interiors in the country and this is a rare chance to see it. If anyone is interested in attending the formal lecture they can apply for a ticket by email as follows: Booking essential at Barbara.Jones@lr.org; place ‘Marbles Talk’ in subject box.
Thank you for your assistance with my Devonshire marbles project. The broad details are as follows: Devonshire marbles: Their geology, history and uses (2 vols), 500pp.by Gordon Walkden, published by the Geologists’ Association, Autumn 2015. £12.’
EVENTS AT ALL SAINTS in OCTOBER
We hope that regular Yoga Classes will begin at All Saints in the Parish Room between 6.15 and 7.15pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, starting the third week in October. If anyone is interested in having further details of these sessions, being run by a local qualified teacher, contact Dee Prior in the Parish Office on 020 7636 1788 or e: email@example.com.
Wednesday 21 October, 6.30pm – Mass & Confirmations, with Bishop Stephen Platten.
NOVEMBER EVENTS at ALL SAINTS for your DIARIES
ALL SAINTS FESTIVAL 2015
SATURDAY 31 OCTOBER EVE OF ALL SAINTSLITANY OF THE SAINTS, FESTAL EVENSONG & BENEDICTION 5pm
Preacher: The Revd Kevin Morris, Vicar of St Michael’s Bedford Park
Canticles: Stanford in A
O quam gloriosum – Moore
SUNDAY 1 NOVEMBER
ALL SAINTS’ DAY
PROCESSION & HIGH MASS 11am
Preacher: Canon Christopher Chivers, Principal Westcott House
Mass Setting: Grosse Orgelmesse – Haydn
Lo! round the throne – Ley
FESTAL EVENSONG, TE DEUM
& BENEDICTION 6pm
Preacher: The Venerable Jonathan Smith,
Archdeacon of St Albans
Canticles: The Short Service – Gibbons
All wisdom cometh from the Lord – Moore
MONDAY 2 NOVEMBER
ALL SOULS’ DAY
HIGH MASS OF REQUIEM 6.30pm
Preacher: The Right Revd Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford
Mass Setting: Requiem – Fauré
Offertoire – Fauré
The Festival Appeal this year will be for two important causes:
Half will go to All Saints’ mission the Marylebone Project (run by the Church Army) – which empowers homeless women into independent living. Our money contributes to the emergency bed unit, providing emergency accommodation for women escaping domestic violence, financial crisis, sexual exploitation and mental health issues.
The other half of the funds raised will go to support refugees fleeing persecution in Syria and Iraq.
Please give generously – gift-aiding your donations wherever you can (so that your generosity is increased 25%).
TICKETS ON SALE NOW for KEATS ANCIENT AND MODERN – an afternoon of entertainment at All Saints – Sunday 15 November at 3pm. Come and see a film featuring one of our own congregation in the role of Fanny Brawne with the poet John Keats and hear the life story of a modern day Dr John Keet. £10 a ticket including a glass of wine – in aid of the All Saints Church Restoration Appeal. Tickets will be available from Sandra Wheen, Christine Levy and Pamela Botsford any Sunday after Mass.
DECEMBER EVENTS for your DIARIES
CHRISTMAS POETRY TEA, Sunday 6 December 3pm, at Pamela’s. All welcome. Please bring Poetry or Prose on the subject of ‘Home’. To accept, or to request Pamela’s address, please speak to Pamela or Sandra in the courtyard or ring Sandra on 020 7637 8456 leaving your name and phone number. Cost £6 in aid of the All Saints Restoration Appeal.
WALSINGHAM CELL VISIT – DECEMBER 2015 – TO NOTRE DAME DE FRANCE (French Church off Leicester Square) – the All Saints’ Cell of Walsingham plans a visit on Wednesday 9 December, 7pm to Evensong with a Talk on the history of the Church by Fr Kevin Mowbray followed by drinks. A fine modern ecclesiastical space with renowned Lady Chapel by Jean Cocteau and other historic and contemporary works of art, including a painting of Joan of Arc and a sculpture representing Our Lady of Mercy above the entrance welcoming visitors as they walk in from the street – Leicester Place. The sculptor was a famous French artist Georges-Laurent Saupique (1889-1961) who was head of the restoration work of Reims cathedral. All welcome.
Please see the noticeboard in Church where other events may be advertised as space is limited in the Newsletter.
EVENTS ELSEWHERE IN OCTOBER/NOVEMBER
Churches Together in Westminster ALL NIGHT VIGIL OF SOLIDARITY AND PRAYER WITH CHRISTIANS IN CRISIS IN SYRIA AND IRAQ to be held at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, 235 Shaftesbury Avenue beginning on Friday 16 October 7.30pm – 10pm with music and discovery through personal testimonies and then prayer from 10pm and concluding Saturday 17 October at 6am. Please lend this vigil your support, even for a short time.
WESTMINSTER ABBEY NATIONAL PILGRIMAGE TO THE SHRINE OF ST. EDWARD THE CONFESSOR, Saturday 17 October – 9am Abbey open for Pilgrims, 11.30am Festival Eucharist Preacher: Bishop Stephen Platten, 3pm Evensong with Procession. Throughout the day pilgrims will be able to pray at the Shrine, priests will be on duty for individual spiritual counseling and the Sacrament of Reconciliation and prayer tours around the Abbey will be available. There will be opportunities to renew baptismal promises and to participate in healing liturgies with the laying on of hands and anointing. A lecture will be given on the life of St. Edward the Confessor. Activities for children will be offered in the Education Centre and around the Abbey and its precincts. School groups are very welcome. All welcome. Tickets are not required.
Friday 27 November 3 – 8pm & Saturday 28 November 10am – 4pm – Church of Annunciation, MARBLE ARCH – ‘ALL THE FUN OF THE CHRISTMAS FAIR’ 2015. Last year (the first fair, run at St Cyprian’s) was a huge success, receiving lots of comments about how stylish it was – including from the Homes and Antiques Magazine and being voted in the top 10 UK Christmas markets by ‘I love Markets’. This year, with St Cyprian’s undergoing renovation, the event has transferred to the Annunciation, so everyone is invited to join them there to meet the best exhibitors of 2014 with a host of new ones. Live music, Christmas-themed demonstrations, refreshments and a candlelit evening gala with a glass of wine while browsing the goodies on sale.
ALL SAINTS RESTORATION PROJECT UPDATE
All five nave aisle pendant lights are fully illuminated and the fitting of the specially made light fittings for the choir stalls (attached to the wrought iron grilles) took place on 18 August. A further CCTV camera is to be installed and then we will be able to fine-tune the settings of the overall lighting scheme. Funds for the project continue to be raised and the total received at the time of writing is now a splendid £413,125. Any more gifts will allow us a small reserve against the final cost of the works. If there are any surplus funds when all bills are paid, these will go towards future restoration projects at All Saints.
We are indebted to all those donors who have helped us replace the out-dated electrics and relight the church so that all the achievements of earlier phases of restoration work over the last twenty years are now revealed. The new CCTV and fire alarm system provide security and fire protection too. Thank you!
HOW YOU CAN HELP………. please make cheques payable to:
All Saints Church Restoration Appeal and send them to:
The Parish Administrator, 7 Margaret Street, London W1W 8JG.
Please indicate where Gift Aid may be applied or send in a completed Gift Aid envelope from in church, as it increases the value of your contribution by 25% at no cost to yourself.
ALL SAINTS MISSION ACTIVITIES
ONGOING SUPPORT for HOMELESS PEOPLE through: MARYLEBONE PROJECT run by the CHURCH ARMY – A Day Centre, Residential and Transitional accommodation provider, re-settlement project and Educational and Training Unit for women. The Emergency Bed Unit – for which we have for some years helped to provide the funds for one of the 4 beds – offers a safe haven and refuge for women escaping domestic violence, financial crisis, sexual exploitation and mental health issues.
Seasonal Appeals – The grand total collected at All Saints for mission activities in 2014 was £6,463 through the All Saints Festival and Lent Appeals. £3,463 went to the Marylebone Project and a further £3,000 to Us (formerly USPG).
Year Round Support – we also support the Marylebone Resettlement Project with non-perishable food and toiletries or household necessities like cutlery or bed linen/blankets.
Thank you to everyone who contributes food and household essentials via the basket in Church or handed in to the Parish Office – we made a substantial delivery to the Project in the first half of September and immediately fresh supplies came in and have continued to build. Thank you! Please continue to donate these so we can help more people in need as the cold weather begins.
Day-to-day Support – we respond to the needs of homeless people who visit the church, providing luncheon vouchers for the West London Day Centre for rough sleepers who apply to the office and allowing a few individuals, who need a place to shelter or sleep during the day, to rest in the back of the church. We have created an information resource for Church Watchers, giving useful advice to homeless and vulnerable people seeking particular support or services. In the face of a rising tide of homelessness in London, please help us fund and support people in need through our Mission activities.
Want to help someone sleeping rough but don’t know how? Call Streetlink on 0300 500 0914 and they will get a visit from the local Street Team who can put them in contact with the services they may need.
FURTHER COMMUNICATIONS OR ASSISTANCE FROM ALL SAINTS MARGARET STREET:-
* If you would like to encourage others to take an interest in All Saints/keep up with what is happening here, please forward this email on to them, or to people you would like to invite to services or tell them about our website www.allsaintsmargaretstreet.org.uk, which has a full colour 360 virtual tour for viewing the wonderfully restored interior of the Church – see www.allsaintsmargaretstreet.org.uk/history/virtualtour – before a visit or if unable to travel.
* If you know of others who would like to receive this correspondence please encourage them to sign up for the email on the All Saints website – see the tab News & Events> Weekly Newsletter.
* If you would like prayers offered at All Saints, please email the Parish Administrator Mrs Dee Prior at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or make use of the prayer request facility on the website at: www.allsaintsmargaretstreet.org.uk/prayer.
DAILY SERVICES AT ALL SAINTS
On major weekday feasts, High Mass is sung at 6.30pm
SUNDAYS in Church
Low Mass 6.30pm (Saturday), 8am and 5.15pm. Morning Prayer 10.20am
HIGH MASS AND SERMON, 11am and CHORAL EVENSONG, SERMON and BENEDICTION, 6pm.
MONDAY – FRIDAY
Morning Prayer 7.30am
Low Mass – 8am, 1.10pm and 6.30pm
Evening Prayer 6pm
(Except Bank Holidays – 12 noon Mass only)
Morning Prayer 7.30am
Low Mass – 12 noon and 6.30pm (First Mass of Sunday)
Evening Prayer 6pm
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.)