Weekly Email – Easter 6
When was the first time in human history that Mary the Mother of Jesus is mentioned in writing? What I mean is this – what is the first occasion that someone actually writes down a reference to the Virgin Mary?
It’s an intriguing question for us to ponder in Mary’s month of May. I suppose our first thought might be to think of the Gospels. They tell the story of Mary’s life, so surely the answer would be there. We are used to hearing in Luke’s Annunciation story the words, “And the Virgin’s name was Mary.” Is that the earliest written mention of Mary? I’m afraid not, because Matthew’s Gospel was possibly written slightly earlier.
So what about Matthew’s gospel? Matthew begins his narrative with that long genealogy if you remember. His first mention of Mary is there when he talks about “Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born.” Is that the earliest mention of Mary? Again, I’m afraid not. For the problem is that the Gospels are not, in fact, the earliest texts in the New Testament.
The earliest written mention of Mary in the whole of human literary history actually comes from St Paul writing in the late 40s AD in the Epistle to the Galatians: “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law…”
“Born of a woman.” That is the earliest written mention of Mary in the whole history of human writing – and Paul doesn’t even mention her name. Mary is simply “a woman.”
We learn a lot about Mary from that mention of her simply as “a woman.” For we live in a society where personal identity and individual choice are highly prised and self-obsession is rife. Your name and identity are important. The more people know your name on Facebook and Twitter, for example, the more powerful you are in the eyes of the world.
Indeed there are many alarmingly self-obsessed behaviours which 20 or 30 years ago would have been diagnosed as signs of certifiable narcissism but which nowadays are viewed as completely normal behaviour on social media!
And yet there is something about Mary’s life which is the opposite of narcissism. For she never draws attention to herself in the New Testament. She always points to her son. Her name, on one level, is not what’s significant. The important thing is her role, when God “sent his Son, born of a woman” – a giving of her life to God that was so complete that Christ could be born as one of us.
It is so often Mary that opens up or creates the occasions that allow us to talk about Jesus and point to him.
It is she who appears in a location that becomes a focus of pilgrimage, but it is her Son Jesus who uses that place to heal and renew us.
It is she whose image adorns so many churches, and is carried in processions in May each year, but it is Jesus whose disciples we are and whose church people notice when we take part in those public liturgies of witness to our faith.
It is she whose rosary we recite, but it is the saving mysteries of her son that we enter ever more deeply into as we pray those decades.
For if ever our modern world needed a model that is the opposite of the self-obsession and narcissism of our day, it is Mary: constantly pointing away from herself and to Jesus; constantly drawing our attention to that saving mystery that, “when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children…”
Annual Meetings 2022
The Meeting of Parishioners and the Annual Parochial Church Meeting will take place on Sunday 22nd May 2022 in the church at about 12.15 pm immediately after the High Mass.
The meetings will appoint the churchwardens for the ensuing year and a third of the elected lay members of the PCC.
The full agendas, minutes of last year’s meetings and the report on the Electoral Roll, along with the various reports from the PCC, All Saints Foundation, the Choir & Music Trust and All Saints Club are appended to the end of this email.
Farewell collection for Fr Michael
If you would like to contribute to our farewell gift for Fr Michael, please make a donation to our PCC account, and email Chris Self to let us know that you want your gift to be put towards the collection for Fr Michael. Alternatively, Chris can also accept a cheque if you prefer. Chris can be contacted by email here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Friends Sunday – 29th May 2022
Sunday 29th May will be an opportunity to celebrate many things: it will be Fr Michael’s last Sunday with us; it will also be our dedication feast, when we celebrate the anniversary of the the consecration of our church; and it will also be our annual “Friends’ Sunday,” when we give thanks for the support of the Friends of All Saints’.
The High Mass will be followed by a presentation to Fr Michael and a parish bring-and-share lunch to welcome the presence of visiting Friends of All Saints’. We look forward to a celebration of so many aspects of our parish life together!
It would be good for everyone to bring food to share. Please be in touch with Chris Self to find out what would be best to bring: email@example.com
Jubilee Sunday – 6th June 2022
We will celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen’s reign in a number of ways on Sunday 6th June.
The music at the High Mass will reflect the character of the day. Amongst other pieces, we will hear Vaughan Williams’ O Taste and See, which was written for the Coronation in 1953. The special Jubilee prayers will be offered at the end of the High Mass and we will sing the National Anthem together in thanksgiving for Her Majesty’s tireless service to our country.
After the Mass, there will be a bring-and-share parish lunch, at which the Platinum Pudding trifle will be served! Again, please be in touch with Chris Self to signal what food you intend to bring.
Ascension Day – 26th May 2022
Thursday 26th May is the feast of the Ascension of the Lord. There will be a Low Mass at 12 noon and a High Mass at 6.15 pm.
The Ascension is one of the most important feasts in the Christian calendar when all Christians are encouraged to be present at the Mass.
High Mass Preacher: the Vicar. Music: Missa Brevis – Neil Cox; God is gone up – Finzi.
Fr Michael’s concert on Tuesday 24th May
Fr Michael will host a piano jazz concert on Tuesday 24th May in church, starting at 7.30pm.
He originally organised this as a celebration of his 30th anniversary of priesting, which occurs in June, but is delighted that it will now be part of his farewell to All Saints after just over eight years as Assistant Priest.
The pianists, with whom he became friends online during the lockdowns, are Stephanie Trick and Paolo Alderighi, a married couple from St Louis Missouri and Milan, are classically-trained virtuoso jazz performers (www.paoloandstephanie.com/biography) and Fr Michael has hired two Steinway grand pianos for the evening.
They have performed in jazz venues in London before and (like All Saints!) made the most of the lockdowns by starting a YouTube channel on which they perform monthly concerts and give monthly lectures. You can see a couple of performances here and here and access others via their website:
The repertoire ranges from Ragtime and stride piano (of which Stephanie is one of the leading performers in the world; her hero being James P Johnson) to Swing and the Great American Songbook (Paolo’s inspiration being Erroll Garner).
Fr Michael invites you to join him for the evening; there will be no charge for attending, but you are of course able to make a donation to All Saints’ at the door!
Please put our celebration of Corpus Christi on Thursday 16th June at 6.15 pm in your diaries.
It is a wonderful opportunity to proclaim our faith in Jesus Christ to the world, through our celebration of the Mass and procession down Oxford Street. We are hoping many people from other parishes will, once again, join us. Please make being here a high priority. It should be a wonderful evening!
Music: Mozart, Missa Brevis in G & Ave verum; Croce, O sacrum convivium; Henschel, Tantum Ergo.
Preacher: The Revd Max Bayliss, Chaplain of Queens’ College, Cambridge.
Links for Sunday
The link for the Propers for Easter 6 is at the end of this email. Click here for the YouTube live stream.
Evensong and Benediction is at 6pm on Sunday. This week the music includes Harwood in A flat, Howard Skempton Rise up, my love, Gibbons O Salutaris, and Mozart Tantum Ergo.
The flowers this week have been given by Monica Hall in memory of her sister, Mary Woodward.
We are looking for volunteers to help with the flowers in church. If you have a particular talent for flower arranging and would like to help from time to time or on a regular basis, please contact Shawn on 07988 287 663 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to make a donation for flowers, please contact Shawn or speak to Chris Self.
Fr Harry Hodgetts; Elizabeth Lyon; James Shrimpton; David Robin; Martin Berka; Gloria Fleming; Sister Benedicta SLG; Laura Bevan; Fr Victor Stock.
Those known to us recently departed
Manisha Burke; Pamela Botsford; Simon Preston; Chrys Street; Wessel de Kock.
Anniversaries of death
21st – Alan James, Wendy Johnson
23rd – Basil Kiernander, Charles Cruse
24th – Francis Irving, Rita Hodgetts, Mary Woodward, Nora Nettey
25th – Frederick Seales, John Davies, Yvonne Harland
26th – Clare Jackson, Percy Aspinall
27th – Elsie Davies, Betty Scott, Ivan Sutton, Joy Cooch
28th – Constance Crozier
29th – Agnes Barry, Brenda Lusha, Dominic Borg
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 GiftAid, 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).