Weekly Email – Advent 3
As we enter the second half of Advent, our minds are drawn frequently by the calendar and lectionary away from themes of judgement to the role that the Blessed Virgin Mary has in the story of our salvation.
In this past week, for example, we have celebrated on 8th December the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Next week, the Sunday readings move from their focus on John the Baptist to Our Lady as we hear the story of the Visitation to Elizabeth.
Why is Mary such an important part of our Advent expectation, and what do we mean when we think about her as immaculately conceived?
When we speak about the Immaculate Conception, we refer to the way Mary herself was kept free from the stain of original sin from the moment of her conception so that she could give birth to Christ the sinless one.
When we are born, we all inherit original sin – this is both a predisposition to sin but also a share in the general sinfulness of humankind. This is what Mary was kept free from so that her Son could be the sinless lamb who heals this wound in our human existence and overcomes the power of sin and death.
There are many arguments one can make for this idea from the world of philosophy, logic and theology. Christian thinkers from the Medieval Age onwards have frequently argued it to be a needful, necessary or appropriate consequence of what we know of the Gospel, and something which is confirmed and not denied by the scriptures.
We witness in the Patristic age a similar discourse on the same questions but using a slightly different idiom – what one might describe as the language of typology. These are reflections on the mysteries of our faith that draw us into the imaginative world of the Scriptures as a place where we encounter the Lord present in both Old and New Testaments through narrative and story, figure and type, metaphor and allegory.
By that, I mean the ways in which we see in the Hebrew scriptures hints and foreshadowings of the role Mary would have in the New Testament.
It is clear from the scriptures that Mary was never going to be just another figure in the New Testament. She was always going to stand for something greater than herself – that her vocation would be a sign or metaphor, if you like, for the way in which humankind might cooperate with God’s purposes and find salvation in him.
It becomes evident from the earliest Christian writings that many saw Mary as a New Eve – the person who through her cooperation with God puts right what went wrong in the Garden of Eden through the disobedience of Eve, and which is the metaphorical cause and origin of human sin.
We see this most clearly in the way in which the writer of the Book of Revelation chapter 12 describes a Woman Clothed with the Sun in combat with the serpent-like dragon as she gives birth to the one who would rule the nations. John the writer of Revelation clearly saw Mary to be the sinless Eve whose whole vocation is to undo the chains of sin through the birth of her Son, which the Old Eve had created through disobedience to God.
Certainly by the second century, early writers such as St Irenaeus have picked up this beautiful image and explore what it tells us about Mary’s role in salvation. He commented, “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by the obedience of Mary; what the virgin Eve bound by her unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosened by her faith.” For him, there is a clear correspondence between the story we hear in Genesis about our fall, and Mary’s role as the one who cooperates in our being freed from that curse.
We give thanks in these latter days of Advent that through Mary’s yes to God, the Garden of Paradise from which Eve and Adam were expelled is opened to us through the death and resurrection of Christ.
It is self-evident that honouring this immaculate character of Our Lady’s Conception has long been part of the English theological imagination and of our Anglican theological patrimony. As the great seventeenth century bishop and hymn writer Thomas Ken put it, “As Eve, when she her fontal sin reviewed, wept for herself and all she should include, blest Mary, with man’s Saviour in embrace, joyed for herself and for all human race.”
The government has just announced that from today (10th December), England will move to the “Plan B” list of COVID restrictions to help contain the spread of the omicron variant. These restrictions include requiring the wearing of face masks in most public areas.
From this Sunday on, we ask you to wear a face mask when you enter our church building and to wear it during public worship. You may, of course, remove your mask to receive holy communion.
Sick intercession list
Please note that any names added to our sick list will be remembered at the daily Mass for a fortnight and will then be removed from the list. If you wish a name to remain on the list for longer than two weeks, you must expressly confirm you wish that person’s being on the list to be renewed for a further fortnight by emailing the parish office.
It is a great joy and privilege that so many people wish to be remembered at the altar at All Saints and we rejoice in being able to offer intercession on their behalf at the Mass each day.
Sacrament of Confession
Fr Peter Anthony will be available this Saturday from 11.00 am-11.30 am in the confessional in the north aisle to hear confessions and offer spiritual counsel this Saturday 11th Dec.
Preacher this Sunday
The preacher this Sunday will be Fr Peter Anthony. Due to an unforeseen diary mix-up, Fr Tom Sander, the Rector of St Giles-in-the-Fields is now no longer able to be with us. He hopes, however, to be able to visit and preach for us in Lent.
Requiem for Fr David Paton this Tuesday
Fr David Paton’s memorial Requiem will take place this Tuesday 14th Dec at 6.00 pm.
Many parishioners will have fond memories of Fr David Paton, who died two years ago. It was, unfortunately, not possible to organise a formal memorial Mass for him at All Saints at the time of his death because of COVID restrictions.
Now that legal strictures permit it, Fr David’s family has asked that a High Mass of Requiem for the repose of his soul be celebrated on the second anniversary of his death, which is this Tuesday.
All parishioners of All Saints are welcome and encouraged to attend. There will be a reception after the Mass in church.
Please note there will be no 6.15 pm Low Mass on Tuesday 14th Dec, as this Requiem at 6.00 pm will take its place.
Our parish owes Fr David so much for his support and loving ministry here over many years, and it will be good to offer the Mass for him in a fitting way now we are able.
A further Choral Requiem Mass in memory of Fr Paton will take place at the church where he completed his parish ministry from 1997 to 2006, St Botolph-without-Bishopsgate (Bishopsgate EC2M 3TL – nearest Tube Liverpool Street) on Wednesday 15 December at 1.10pm. This service will also be livestreamed.
Craig Williams, R.I.P.
It was with great sadness that we heard recently of the death of Craig Williams. He was a dear friend to so many of us, a long-standing parishioner and member of our serving team, and put countless hours of work into the upkeep and tending of the plants in our courtyard. Our whole parish community owes him so much and he will be sorely missed.
His family have organised a funeral for him at St Mary’s Church, Stanwell, on Tuesday 14th December at 11.00 am. If you wish to attend, you need to be in touch with the parish priest there to register your intention to come for COVID reasons. Those who cannot travel to the funeral may like to know that the 12 noon Mass on that day here at All Saints’ will be offered for Craig.
In addition, a High Mass of Requiem will be offered in his memory at All Saints’ on Saturday 15th January 2022 at 12 noon.
Rest eternal grant to him, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon him.
Durer Exhibition at National Gallery
Friday 14th January 2022, 5.15pm
We are organising a parish trip to visit “Dürer’s Journeys: Travels of a Renaissance Artist” at the National Gallery on Friday 14th January.
It is the first major UK exhibition of German Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer in nearly 20 years. Through paintings, drawings, prints, and letters, this exhibition follows Dürer’s travels across Europe, bringing to life the artist himself, and the people and places he visited.
Charting his journeys to the Alps, Italy, Venice and the Netherlands, the exhibition will explore how Dürer’s travels sparked an exchange of ideas with Netherlandish and Italian Renaissance artists, fuelled his curiosity and creativity, and increased his fame and influence across Europe.
‘Dürer’s Journeys’ will bring together loans from museums and private collections across the world, including the artist’s striking ‘Madonna and Child’ (c. 1496/1499) from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, never before seen in the UK.
We will meet at the National Gallery for a talk from Dr Susan Foister, deputy director of the gallery, at 5.15pm. After viewing the exhibition there is the opportunity to have dinner together at Le Beaujolais restaurant in Litchfield Street.
Tickets are on a strictly ‘first come, first served’ basis. The exhibition tickets cost £20. A three-course dinner at Le Beaujolais will be £37 (without wine – each person will be able to pay for their own wine on the night), so if you wish to stay on for dinner, the total is £57. If you are a member of the National Gallery, the cost is £37 – please send your membership number to email@example.com so we can include you in the group.
To buy your ticket – either with dinner or without – visit this page and select one of the three price options. If you are unable to make a payment electronically by card, the parish office will be able to receive a cheque.
Christmas Services 2021
Friday 17 December
1pm LUNCHTIME CAROL SERVICE
Monday 20 December 6pm
NINE LESSONS & CAROLS by CANDLELIGHT
Both followed by mince pies & mulled wine
Friday 24 December
11pm MIDNIGHT MASS
Haydn Missa Sancti Nicolai
Saturday 25 December
11am CHRISTMAS DAY HIGH MASS
Mozart Missa Brevis in D K194
Sunday 26 December
11am ST STEPHEN HIGH MASS
Mass in E minor – W. Lloyd Webber
Thursday 6 January 2022
6pm EPIPHANY HIGH MASS
Sunday 9 January
6pm EPIPHANY CAROL SERVICE AND BENEDICTION
Walsingham Devotion & Monthly Requiem
Tomorrow our monthly Walsingham Devotion, in the form of the Rosary with intercessions, will be offered at 1130 before the noon Mass.
A week tomorrow our monthly Requiem Mass will be celebrated: please let Fr Michael have names of those you’d like remembered at that Mass.
Links for Sunday
The link for the Propers for Advent 2 is at the end of this email.
And click here for the YouTube live stream.
Evensong and Benediction is at 6pm on Sunday. The music includes Tomkins Fifth service, Wise Prepare ye the way, and Palestrina Benediction hymns.
Prisoners and captives
Nazanin Zhagari-Ratcliffe, Ismaeil Maghrebinejad, Nasrin Sotoudeh
Rohingya Christians in Pakistan, Karen Christians in Burma, and Tigrayan Christians in Ethiopia
Fr Harry Hodgetts, Martin Berka, Sue Yesnick, Elizabeth Lyon, Ross Dixon, Bernard Holmes, Jack de Gruiter, Anne-Marie Chartier, Carol Harrison, Ruth Wilson
Those known to us recently departed
Craig Williams, Lorna Smith, Kathleen McMorran, Arjan Melwani
Anniversaries of death
12th – James Burling, Chris Fairbairn, Richard Eyre Pr, Ian Stevens
13th – Mary Packer, David Vickery Pr, John Turner, Lindsey Boynton
14th – William Lloyd Pr, Robert Kirk, David Paton Pr
15th – James Forsyth, Doris King, Leonard Beeken
18th – Edwin Forsyth, Joan Gower, Philip Prain, Richard Vick
Supporting All Saints
Parish Giving Scheme
You can set up a regular donation to All Saints here.
We use the Parish Giving Scheme, which allows contributions to be anonymous and deals with Gift Aid, saving our office a lot of time. You can read about how the scheme works here.
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 no. 1132895)
Sort Code 60-09-15
Parish Legacy Policy
We are always delighted to hear from anyone who wants to support us with a donation. Our PCC Legacy Policy encourages 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).