Weekly Email – Lent 2
As we make our way through Lent, it is important to remember that one of the ways in which God calls us to return to him in this holy season is through study and reflection on God’s word.
Engaging our intellect as part of our relationship with Christ is one of the most important parts of Christian discipleship. The Christian tradition has always taught that God gives us the gift of reason so we can know, understand and experience the mystery of his godhead more deeply.
At the heart of our knowledge of God lies a paradox. He has revealed himself to man first in the creation be brought into existence, but also in the life of his Son Jesus Christ. In this sense we can say there is something thoroughly knowable about God. He is not a puzzle beyond our grasp or an entity so high beyond our comprehension that he defeats our attempts to know him.
However, at the same time, no matter how much we think we understand or know God, there will always be an infinitely greater mystery to explore as we grow in our knowledge of him. God is more than something that can merely be known or counted or assessed.
St Anselm reflected on the question of the role of reason as we grow in faith. He points out that faith comes first in the Christian journey. It is the gift of God that prompts us to believe in him and turns our hearts to God in trust. This leap of faith happens as a result of God’s action in our lives, as he reaches out to us.
However, it is then that reason, a gift from God equally important as faith, takes up its role in helping that faith to grow and develop as we mature. This process is like children, who when young trust their parents completely. However, as they grow, they want to investigate what their parents tell them. They seek to know that what they are being told is true for themselves so that they can trust their parents and love them even more, but in a different, informed, and more adult way.
Anselm summed this way of thinking up by saying, “I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe, but rather, I believe in order that I may understand.” Faith and Reason are not opposites, but rather two things which collaborate with each other to help us understand human existence, the world God created, and the creator himself. Faith is the thing that places our intellect on the right path that leads to truth.
There will be two opportunities for study in our parish this Lent, which I heartily commend to you.
The first will be our online Zoom Theology Seminar. This will take place online on Tuesday 15th March at 7.00 pm. We will be reflecting on Rowan Williams’ latest book, “Looking East in Winter: Contemporary Thought and the Eastern Christian Tradition.” The work explores and introduces a number of Eastern and Orthodox thinkers, and reflects on what can be learned from them in the increasingly secularised West. The seminar will last for no more than an hour and you are encouraged to have read the book before attending. Zoom link here.
A second opportunity for theological reflection will be our Lent Lecture, an in-person event which will take place on Friday 8th April at 7.00 pm at All Saints. This will focus on the thought of St Augustine of Hippo, and will be given by the Revd Dr Dominic Keech, Vicar of St Nicholas’, Brighton. His lecture will be entitled, “The Infinite Vision: Augustine and the formation of the Western mind.” The evening will be an introduction to the life and thought of the great fourth century North African theologian, exploring his influence on Western Christianity’s understanding of the human person in time and eternity, and probing his continuing presence in contemporary crises of self and society.
Do put these dates in your diary and use them as an opportunity to deepen your knowledge and understanding of our faith. I pray that through contemplating the mystery of God’s love for us, he will draw us closer to himself and prepare our hearts for the celebration of the Paschal Mystery at Easter.
We were honoured to receive the Bishop of Berlin-Brandenburg on Sunday and to present him with a beautiful image of Our Lady of Margaret Street to commemorate his visit, and as a sign of our prayers for him.
Visit by the Bishop of Berlin-Brandeburg
I want to say a huge thank you to all who helped welcome the Bishop of Berlin-Brandenburg, Dr Christian Stäblein, to All Saints last Sunday. It was a wonderful day.
I was particularly impressed by the liturgy and reception we organised in his honour on Sunday evening. I want to thank our servers and musicians for a splendid Evensong and Benediction, and all who contributed to organising the parish drinks party after the service. I have already heard from Berlin how much the Bishop enjoyed himself and was touched by our welcome.
The Bishop of Berlin was welcomed on Friday night to our diocese at a dinner at the Old Deanery by the Bishop of London. However, to everyone’s surprise, the Bishop of London tested positive for COVID on Saturday morning. She had to begin a period of self-isolation, and couldn’t participate in any further events with our German guests. Miraculously, the Bishop of Berlin, who sat next to her all night at Friday night’s dinner was unaffected, so his visits went ahead as planned.
On Saturday Dr Stäblein accompanied the Bishop of Fulham to St Mary’s Rotherhithe, where they were commemorating the 400th anniversary of the burial in their parish of Christopher Jones, the Captain of the Mayflower. Bishop Jonathan has recently been made Chair of the Church of England’s Council for Christian Unity and so was pleased to spend time with Bishop Stäblein, hearing about the life of the church in Berlin-Brandenburg.
On Sunday morning, the Bishop of Berlin preached at the parish of the Isle of Dogs, which has has a long history of links with Berlin through our diocesan partnership. You can watch his sermon here.
On Sunday afternoon, Dr Stäblein came to All Saints’ Vicarage for tea with Bishop Jonathan at 4.00 pm. We had assembled a small number of people who spoke German or who had a link with Germany and the Diocese in Europe to chat with Dr Stäblein about our common hopes for the future of our diocesan link with Berlin.
At 6.00 pm, the Bishop of Berlin joined us for Evensong and Benediction. We had hoped the Bishop of London would be with us, but because of her COVID diagnosis, she was unable to attend. The first reading was read in German by our parishioner Colin Podmore, and the intercessions before the Blessed Sacrament were also offered in German. The Bishop of Fulham presided over Solemn Benediction.
After the liturgy, during a reception in honour of our German guests, we made a presentation to the Bishop of Berlin of a beautiful image of Our Lady of Margaret Street.
You can read further details about the Bishop of Berlin’s visit and other events he attended on our diocesan website here.
We are so pleased that All Saints was able to be involved in this weekend of significant ecumenical encounter, fellowship and discussion. We assure the Bishop of Berlin of our prayers for him and the whole Church of Berlin-Brandenburg. We hope this celebration of our one baptism, our shared culture, and our common values can be a sign of hope in troubled times for the continent of Europe.
Stations of the Cross
Stations of the Cross will take place tonight and most Fridays in Lent at 7.00 pm, after the 6.15 pm Mass.
Please note the only two exceptions: there will be no Stations on Friday 25th March as it is the Annunciation and there will be a High Mass; there will also be no Stations on Friday 8th April as our Lent Lecture will take place that night.
All Saints’ Lent Appeal 2022
A significant last minute change has been made to our Lent Appeal this year. We have decided that, in the light of exceptional events in Ukraine, all our fund-raising should be devoted to helping refugees fleeing from the conflict.
The outward giving committee and PCC have, therefore, agreed that all our Lent Appeal money this year should be donated to the joint USPG/Diocese in Europe appeal for the people of Ukraine. Read more about that appeal here.
Parishioners of All Saints’ can now know that every penny they donate to our Lent Appeal will now go to help those involved in the conflict in Ukraine and will support refugees fleeing from the fighting.
The appeal closes on Sunday 1st May.
How to Donate
Please give generously online by visiting asms.uk/Lent and following the link to the donation page. Or you can send a cheque to the Parish Office, made payable to: “Parochial Church All Saints (Lent Appeal)”. If you qualify for Gift Aid, please write ‘Gift Aid’ on the back of the cheque.
Lent boxes will not be issued this year.
News from our online worshippers
This week, we hear from John Morrell, who lives in Atlanta, Georgia, USA:
I discovered All Saints Margaret Street when I lived in London in 1972-74 as a graduate student at the LSE. In 1994, I returned (with my family) to teach. We lived in London for about 10 years and frequently attended All Saints.
I am a “cradle” Anglo-Catholic, and I dearly love the place: the magnificent architecture, the dignified ritual, the glorious music, all of it. My wife, raised a Baptist, became as enamored as I am.
We returned to the US in 2005, to Atlanta. The only Anglo-Catholic parish in the metro area is a small church about an hour’s drive each way from our house. It’s a very nice parish, but it’s nowhere close to All Saints in splendor.
We had always kept in touch with All Saints, via occasional visits, the monthly parish paper and the weekly emails.
When Covid hit and the churches here switched to online services only, their productions were infrequent and not very good. So we started watching the All Saints services, and it felt like being in our church home again.
We now attend our reopened local Episcopal church in person on Sunday, but regularly also watch the wonderful All Saints solemn High Mass online, as well as some weekday services.
It is most impressive that Fr. Michael (later joined by Fr. Peter), never missed saying mass a single day throughout the shutdowns. We looked at many online offerings, and I do not know of another church or cathedral, large or small, in the US or England, that has that record of daily online consistency. Thank God for the Saints of Margaret Street!
Links for Sunday
The link for the Propers for Lent 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 Morley Fauxbordon Canticles, and Byrd Ne irascaris, Domine.
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.
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, Elizabeth Lyon, James Shrimpton, David Robin, Stuart Bell, Anne-Marie Chartier, Bernard Holmes, Thelma Spill, Simeon Sanders, Martin Berka, Gloria Fleming, Fr Robert McEwin
Those known to us recently departed
John Vine Pr, Francesca Guillotti
Anniversaries of death
13th – Elizabeth Middlemist-Downer
14th – Annie Slater, Basil Whitworth Pr, Ann Sculley
15th – Sydney Heales, Vera Martin, Peggy Shepherd, Joan Miller James Robertson Pr
16th – Donald Faithfull, Hester Russell
17th – Edward Aubert, Frank Coomber
18th – Jessie Thwaites, Edward Mann, Evangeline De Fonseka, Joy Wright, Stewart Lyon
19th – Joan MacKintosh, Millie Cathcart
Those preparing for baptism and confirmation at Easter
Daniel Formston, Alex Read, Harvey Solomon-Brady, John Wilkinson
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).