Weekly Email – Christ the King | All Saints Margaret Street All Saints Margaret Street | Weekly Email – Christ the King

Weekly Email – Christ the King

Friday 18 November 2022 at 13:30


Our new assistant priest-designate, Fr Alan Rimmer, introduces himself:

It is with great excitement that I look forward to joining you as your new Assistant Priest at All Saints’, Margaret Street, a place that has been an inspiration on my Christian journey, as I know it has for many others. I very much hope to justify the confidence that has been placed in me, and would ask for your prayers as I prepare to move.

I was born to a (largely arable) farming family in Tarleton, on the draughty flatlands of the West Lancashire Plain. The unromantic horizons of this alluvial landscape provoked a rebellious (and lasting) interest in long novels, pointed architecture, rather more undulating scenery (I still very much enjoy escaping London on days off for the Downs or Weald) and, wildest of all, foreign food. The commanding spire of Holy Trinity, Tarleton, above the plain, quite soon in life became more than just a physical reference point.

After school I went up to read Greats at Christ Church, Oxford, where I spent too much time in the English section of the library and made a pretty unlikely JCR President. A combination of Pusey House and the cathedral for Evensong helped deepen a faith already germinated in childhood, and with the help of the Pusey Chapter began the long process of developing the confidence and discernment to grapple properly with my priestly vocation.

It was to St Mary’s, Somers Town – part of the Parish of Old St Pancras – and squashed between the great railway stations, the British Library and the Francis Crick centre, that I went as Pastoral Assistant, spending two wonderful years under the guidance of Fr Paschal Worton. A modest Commissioners’ church hides a remarkable legacy of Anglo-Catholic witness in a fascinating part of town, and it was on the back of the lessons and inspiration I found here that I was called to Bishop’s Advisory Panel and was recommended for training.

Training commenced at St Stephen’s House, Oxford, in Michaelmas, 2016. Here I spent three years being formed as a priest – a place and a community to which I’m very grateful, and to which I look back with many fond memories.

After a time amongst the wonderful people of St Mary’s, Tottenham, I moved to my curacy at St Stephen’s, Gloucester Road in 2020. The combination of Fr Philip Barnes’ kind and patient tutelage, the legacy of T.S. Eliot, and a remarkable cast of faithful people, have set me up well for this next chapter in ministry, and I very much look forward to joining you!

Fr Alan


Our new assistant priest, Fr Alan Rimmer, will move to Margaret Street in the early New Year and will be licensed to our parish by the Bishop of Fulham at Evensong and Benediction at 6.00 pm on Sunday 12th February 2013.


Alexander the Great: the Making of a Myth

Our parish will be visiting the British Library on Tuesday 31st January in order to see their latest exhibition focussed on the figure of Alexander the Great. I went myself earlier this week to get a preview of what was on offer and was very impressed indeed. The British Library have brought together a remarkable assembly of fascinating artefacts.

The cost of our trip to the British Library is £15. There will be the opportunity to have a two course dinner together after our visit to the exhibition at the Pizza Express just opposite the Library on the Euston Road at £25 per head. Please be in touch with our parish office to book a ticket and make it clear whether you want a ticket for both exhibition or just the exhibition.

I suppose the first and most obvious thing to say about the exhibition is that, in one sense, it isn’t about Alexander the historical figure at all. Rather, it is an examination of the complex way in which his reputation and story have been received, told, and depicted through human history.

We discover a wide range of cultures throughout the Mediterranean world and Near East have used him as a mythic lens through which to perceive the world, and to make assertions about their own history, polity, and philosophical outlook.

Alexander is a figure of fascination through more than a millennium right to our own day, moulded and remoulded in the image of those telling and re-telling his story: the perfect warrior; the philosopher king; mythic god; the explorer of new worlds; the glamorous heart throb; the perfect ascetic; the gay icon; the all conquering comic strip superhero.

The principal telling of Alexander’s life which perpetuates his myth through the medieval period is a collection of ancient stories and fictional texts about him called the Alexander Romance, brought together in Greek around the 4th century AD. These tales are then translated and propagated throughout the Latin, Arab, Ethiopian, Armenian, Syriac and Persian worlds in slightly different forms producing a enormous array of narrative threads and fantastical assertions about him rooted in different cultures and historical contexts.

What theological insights can one draw from this exhibition?

One point I might suggest is simply that the exhibition is an exemplification of the worth of what is frequently referred to as “reception history.” By that I mean looking at the way in which ideas, texts, and personalities have been received and interpreted through history. This is becoming an increasingly important and fruitful avenue of theological enquiry. What people assert about certain historical figures and how they read theological texts tells us much about what they value, their points of theological principle, and how they see the world.

One discovers in this exhibition, for example, a series of fascinating interactions between the story of Alexander and Christian culture, especially in areas which had formed part of his empire.

Ethiopian Christians idealized Alexander so much that they turned him into as a sort of Christian prophet. The exhibition includes an 18th century text in which the Spirit of God reveals the incarnation of Christ to Alexander and says, “For I have set thee to be a prophet unto me by reason of the purity of thy body, and through thy prayers which have come to me.” Not only is Alexander seen as a prophet redolent of Old Testament figures, but as an idealised ascetic, and saintly exemplar of purity.

[Left: the fullest and earliest version of the Greek Alexander Romance. Alexander is presented as a Christ figure, entering Rome, greeted by the people of Rome with branches, echoing Jesus’ own entry into Jerusalem. Right: Alexander is presented at the top of an 18th century Ethiopian magical scroll as the “enemy of devils.”]

Prophetic tropes are found in Western depiction of Alexander too. Medieval Latin versions of the Alexander Romance incorporate narratives from Josephus about Alexander reaching Jerusalem on his conquests and kneeling at the gates of Jerusalem. The High Priest shows him the Book of Daniel and reveals the prophecy found there of the fight between the ram and the goat to be about his future conquest of Persia.

Many of the more mythic elements of the story of Alexander also become the source of Christian artistic interest. The Alexander Romance famously describes an ascent by Alexander into heaven, lifted up in a chariot hauled by griffins. The exhibition includes a beautiful 10th century enamel which depicts this in a way that clearly evokes Elijah’s chariot entry into heaven. It may have formed part of a devotional object (perhaps a cross or altar piece), and so presents Alexander as a type of Christ, ascending to the Father.

[Left: 10th century enamel depicting of Alexander’s mythic ascent into heaven, evoking imagery of Elijah and his chariot of fire. Right: Alexander’s ascent imagined as a kind of flying machine ingeniously powered by griffins. Over each griffin dangles raw meat on a spear, causing them constantly to rear up and move heavenward chasing the food they can never reach.]

We also see fascinating interaction with Jewish culture. In the Babylonian Talmud, for example, Alexander is presented as meeting the High Priest in Jerusalem and crediting his victories to the God of Israel. A 13th century Jewish text also presents Alexander as sympathetic to the people of Jerusalem and as undergoing a secret circumcision to show his respect for Jewish customs.

[Left: a 13th century manuscript shows Alexander kneeling at the gates of Jerusalem. The High Priest shows him to Book of Daniel, revealing his defeat of Darius. Right: the French romance Perceforest describes Alexander’s visit to the benighted, spooky island called Britain.]

By the Medieval period, the Alexander craze reaches such a pitch that claims are even made that he visited Britain! A French romance, Perceforest, claims he is blown off course in a ship, and landed on Britain’s shores, a country described as full of dark forests and spooky magicians. Alexander brings order to the island by installing a king of Scotland and a king of England, thus burnishing the origins of the ruling houses of Britain.

I heartily commend the exhibition. It reveals a fascinating array of interactions between the mythic figure of Alexander, and the theological, political and historical imaginations of an extraordinary array of cultures over more than a millennium.

At times Alexander seems like a ball of plasticine that can be moulded into the shape and image of any observer; yet at other times, his image and story resist being bent to the will of those with power and is used to challenge and confront, refusing to be recruited to their cause. This is the kind of exhibition that leaves one with more tantalising questions that it answers, and is all the more fascinating and compelling for that.

Fr Peter


Walsingham Silent Retreat

Friday 2nd December-Sunday 4th December 2022

There are still places available for our silent retreat in Walsingham from Friday 2nd – Sunday 4th December. The cost is £182 (including full board plus mini-coach from Kings Lynn – retreatants need to book their own train ticket to Kings Lynn, arriving in time for our mini bus which will pick us up at 3.30 pm). The retreat leader is Rt Revd Roger Jupp, Vicar of St Lawrence, Long Eaton. This retreat will be silent from after supper on Friday night to the Parish Mass on Sunday morning. Please be in touch with the parish office to book a place.


We were very pleased to welcome on Tuesday students from the North London Pastoral Assistants Scheme to All Saints’. They came to the 12 noon mass, after which Fr Peter talked about the ministry of our parish and undertook a seminar on critical approaches to biblical theology. You can learn more about the North London Pastoral Assistants Scheme, which helps young students prepare for discernment and formation for ordination here.


Advent Carol Service

Do put our Advent Carol Service at 6.00 pm on Sunday 27th November in your diaries. It is one of the most beautiful services of the year and a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the music and spirit of Advent as we await the birth of the Christ Child.

There will be an opportunity to sing some of the great Advent hymns, such as Lo he comes with clouds descending, Hills of the North, O come, O come Emmanuel, A Great and Mighty Wonder, and Come Thou Redeemer of the Earth.

The wonderful music provided by our choir will include: Fleming, Kindle a light; Goldschmidt, A Tender Shoot; Byrd, Rorate caeli; Macmillan, O radiant dawn; Grieg, Ave Maris Stella; and Ramsey, O Sapientia.

The liturgy finishes with Benediction as we bring our prayer and praises to him who comes to us in glory at the end of time, in the babe of Bethlehem, and in the most holy sacrament of the altar.


In our sermon for Remembrance Sunday, Fr Peter reflected upon Christian Remembrance as a way of having our eyes opened to the reality of God’s eternity. By remembering those who have died in war, we give thanks for the communion we share with the departed and look for the signs of God’s Kingdom of peace and justice. Watch Sunday’s liturgy with act of remembrance again here, and listen to Fr Peter’s homily here. You can read the text of his sermon is here.


Volunteers needed!

We need volunteers on two fronts.

First, we would be glad to hear from anyone able to help with the upkeep of the courtyard garden. It is a beautiful oasis of verdant calm, but the immense amounts of time and effort that it requires have increasingly been falling on Shawn Welby-Cooke’s shoulders alone. If anyone is able to help with gardening work and with watering duty, please speak to Shawn.

Second, we need extra help with serving refreshments at a series of carol services through December. In the run-up to Christmas quite a few colleges, organisations, and local businesses use All Saints’ to hold their carol services. We are often called upon to serve refreshments afterwards. If anyone would be willing to help in this crucial work, please speak to Kate Hodgetts.


On Tuesday evening, we had a fascinating online theology seminar with friends tuning in from St Timothy’s, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, St Mary the Virgin, Times Square, NYC, and Norway! We considered the question of what difference it would make to Christian theology to discover we are not the only life forms in the universe. Thank you to Fr Steve Rice for leading our discussion with an excellent presentation!


All Saints’ Festival Appeal, 2022

Donations to this year’s Festival Appeal which continues for a few more days yet will be shared between three charities.

The Soup Kitchen is a resource for the homeless, elderly, lonely and vulnerable in London. They provide free meals, clothing, toiletries and a sense of belonging to nearly 150 people each day and an on-site mental health drop-in centre to help address their guests’ mental health needs.

USPG is the Anglican mission agency that partners churches and communities worldwide in God’s mission to enliven faith, strengthen relationships, unlock potential and champion justice.

The London Churches Refugee Fund enables churches and individuals to donate to multiple charities helping destitute refugees and asylum seekers in London. From your donations we make grants to front-line projects, typically for phone credit, hygiene items, food or fares to access drop-ins, language classes, solicitors, etc. To date, the LCRF has raised and distributed over £250,000.

Donations may be made online until the end of November at cafdonate.cafonline.org/21806, or by sending a cheque to the Parish Office, payable to Parochial Church All Saints and marked Festival Appeal 2022.



The flowers for Christ the King are given by Shawn Welby-Cooke in memory of Craig Williams, whose first anniversary falls in the coming week.

We are looking for volunteers to help with the flowers in church and the Courtyard Garden. If you have a particular talent for flower arranging or gardening, or can even help with watering or sweeping the courtyard, please contact Shawn on 07988 287 663 or shawnwilbe@outlook.com.

If you would like to make a donation for flowers or the garden, please contact Shawn.


Links for Sunday

The links for the livestream and service sheet for this Sunday’s High Mass are at the end of this email.

Evensong and Benediction is at 6pm on Sunday, with music including Wood’s Collegium Regale Service in F and James MacMillan’s A New Song.


Prayer list

The sick

Fr. Harry Hodgetts, Elizabeth Lyon, James Shrimpton, Gloria Fleming, David Craig, Martin Berka, James Rodger, Amanda Barrett, Greg Loveday, Don McWhinney

The faithful departed

Sara Azua Farias

Anniversaries of death

November 20th – Florence Searle, Helen Clayton, Douglas Cudmore, Gwendoline Minnett
21st – Emma Stephens, Jack Harrington, Kingsley Stansfield, David Voy
22nd – George Ebbs, Joyce Harvey, Winifred Brough, Mary Buchanan, Timothy Lawford
23rd – Josephine Fletcher, Robert Walker, Ailsa Critchley, Ann Swanton, Susan Beauchamp, Craig Williams
24th – Henry West, Gladys Howard, Alyo Purdon
25th – Agnes Mackay, Mabel Egerton, Marjorie Gilley, May Beeken
26th – Philip Burrage, Thomas Tomlinson, Priscilla Sedgewick, John Clayton, Barbara Morrissey, Thomas Ellis
27th – Edith Martin, Margaret Mack, Charles Hawksley, James Crompton, Joseph Kirkham, Margaret Pickering, Valerie Oram, Ann Cook, Phyllis James, Valerie Reddington

The Friends of All Saints’

November 20th – Inger Mosbery, Christopher Naylor, Fr. Philip Need, Brian Newman, Graham Norman, Elaine Norman
21st – Richard North, Fr. James Nuzzo, Priscilla Oakeshott, Anna and Fr. Peter Oesterby-Joergensen, Ray Oram
22nd – Fr. Barry Orford, Samantha Parker, Malcolm Parr, Bhaven Patel, Alma Pearson, Pat Phillips
23rd – Colin Podmore, Nick and Cecilia Powell, Simon Pusey, Simon Rainey, Carlos Remotti-Breton, Steve Rice
24th – John Rick, Hilary Rodger, Fr. Jim Rosenthal, Mossman Roueche, Greg Round, Mary Sherred
25th – Fr. Peter Simpson, Ingrid Slaughter, Gwynedd Sooke, Richard and Louise Stallwood, Jason Stewart
26th – Ian & Veronica Summers, Sebastian Taite-Ellis, Michael Taylor, Andrew Thompson, Pat Thompson
27th – Charles Thomson, James Thomson, Jeremy Thorp, Daniel Turner, Christine Vaughn Lillie, Sam Walsh


Service times this week

Saturday 19th November – St. Hilda of Whitby
12.00 noon Requiem Mass
6.30 pm Vigil Mass of Sunday

Sunday 20th November – Christ the King
11.00 am Solemn Mass
5.15 pm Low Mass
6.00 pm Evensong and Benediction

Monday 21st November – The Presentation of the BVM
12.00 noon Mass
6.30 pm Mass

Tuesday 22nd November – St. Cecilia
12.00 noon Mass
6.30 pm Mass

Wednesday 23rd November – St. Clement
12.00 noon Mass
6.30 pm Mass

Thursday 24th November – St. Andrew Dung Lac
12.00 noon Mass
6.30 pm Mass

Friday 25th November – St. Catharine of Alexandria
12.00 noon Mass
6.30 pm Mass

Saturday 26th November – Feria
12.00 noon Mass
6.30 pm Vigil Mass of Sunday

Sunday 27th November – Advent 1
11.00 am Solemn Mass
5.15 pm Low Mass
6.00 pm Advent Carol Service and Benediction