Weekly Email – Palm Sunday
I write on the cusp of Holy Week, the greatest and most important week in the Christian year. I invite you to enter into this week as fully as you can, by making time to worship with us, and to make this a sacred time in which we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes again.
All our liturgies will be live-streamed to make it possible for people who live great distances from us, or who may be housebound or sick to join with those in church in our corporate celebration of the resurrection of Christ.
Over the next few days we do not just recall the death of Christ as an important or note-worthy event external to us. Rather, we encounter the Risen Lord in our midst through the liturgy of the church, and enter into the mystery of his Cross through our keeping together of this sacred time.
That cross becomes a life-giving reality that transforms our experience of the world, and gives foundation to our hope for eternal life. And that Resurrection bursts open not just the impotent grave, but also the poetic horizons of our spiritual imagination as we embrace a world in the process of being re-made in Christ.
The Bishop of Fulham will be our Holy Week preacher this year. He will preach and celebrate at all the major liturgies from Palm Sunday to Easter Day. He will be taking the poetry of the great 17th Century poet-scholar and Dean of St Paul’s John Donne as a homiletic focus through the week as he leads us in our contemplation of the Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection.
Bishop Jonathan has prepared a small booklet containing the poems he will be referring to for those who may wish to prepare for each day by reading them. It is attached at the end of this email. We look forward to hearing Bishop Jonathan’s thoughts!
Our celebration of Palm Sunday will begin at 11.00 am at Oxford Market, which is where Great Titchfield Street meets Oxford Street. We will hear the Palm Gospel read there and make our way in procession to All Saints’ Church, acclaiming our Lord as Son of David, as did the crowds who welcomed him into Jerusalem. It is during that liturgy that we hear the Passion gospel sung to us, recounting the events of the next week whose commemoration we are beginning. The haunting solemnity of Rachmaninov’s Mass in B-flat, first premiered at All Saints’ in 1915, captures the bitter-sweet character of the day’s liturgical celebrations wonderfully.
On the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week, there will be just one Mass in the evening at 6.30 pm which will be accompanied by a sermon (Monday and Wednesday by Bishop Jonathan and Tuesday by Fr Peter). It is a particularly good thing to try to come to Mass each day in Holy Week and to make a special effort to be at All Saints’ if you are able.
Confessions will also be heard from 5.30 pm-6.30 pm on Holy Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Both Fr Peter and Fr Alan will be available during those times before the evening Mass.
A particularly beautiful liturgical experience is the celebration of Tenebrae on Holy Wednesday at 7.30 pm, after the Low Mass. You can learn more about the history of this office in a separate article below.
Maundy Thursday marks the beginning of the Sacred Triduum, with the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper. From this moment onwards, the sacrament of the Eucharist is not celebrated until Easter night. The evening’s music becomes more beautifully spare as the liturgy goes on. The Gloria is sung to Buxtehude’s Missa Brevis whilst bells are rung for the last time. From that point on, the Mass is sung only to the unadorned tones of plainsong as the music takes a plaintive turn and Christ’s arrest and Passion approach.
One of the richest liturgical signs seen in this liturgy is the washing of feet. This signifies our love for one another and Christ’s call to copy his humility and self-emptying. Duruflé’s Ubi Caritas will accompany this beautiful liturgical rite.
The Blessed Sacrament is taken at the end of the liturgy to the altar of repose where a watch of prayer will take place until Midnight. We need several volunteers on Maundy Thursday night: 12 people to have their feet washed; and people willing to perpetuate the watch by the altar of repose until midnight. A list will be placed at the back of church for you to volunteer with the watch of prayer. Please put yourself down for a slot of time if you are able.
On Good Friday, the Liturgy of the Passion takes place at 3.00 pm. This involves: hearing readings from the Scriptures; praying for the world in solemn intercession; reverencing the Cross as a sign of our gratitude and faith (during which Palestrina’s Reproaches are sung); and finally receiving communion brought from the altar of repose which had been reserved since the previous night.
A particularly beautiful permutation of the Stations of the Cross called Maria Desolata is celebrated on Good Friday at 7.30 pm. In this celebration, the Stations of the Cross are contemplated in reverse order, beginning with the placing of Christ’s body in the tomb. The focus of our reflection is imagining Our Lady looking back at the events of the day, and contemplating them through her eyes. This evening liturgy is particularly offered for anyone who was unable to attend the Liturgy during the day for whatever reason.
Our Easter Vigil takes place at 9.00 pm on Holy Saturday evening. This liturgy is the hinge on which the whole of the liturgical year turns. Please make a supreme effort to be at this most noble, beautiful, and important of liturgies.
The Easter fire will be lit and blessed, the Paschal Candle honoured and a vigil of readings held as we hear the salvation history of humankind recounted in our midst. Vierne’s Messe Solennelle gives voice in a spectacular way to the joyous cry of our hearts: bells are rung again, the Resurrection proclaimed and the sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist are celebrated. We are so pleased that there are candidates to be baptized and confirmed at this liturgy, and I ask you to keep Bhaven, Tom and Joshua in your prayers as they approach the sacraments of initiation.
Our Easter morning festivities will include Mozart’s Krönungsmesse, and Mascagni’s wonderful Easter Hymn from Cavalleria Rusticana as the Offertory Motet. The musical offering our choir will provide over Holy Week will, I am sure, be outstanding, but Easter Day is always a particular highlight. Evensong and Benediction will be sung at 6.00 pm to Stanford’s setting in C. The anthem will be Blessed be the God and Father by Wesley, and a Te Deum will be offered in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament (Sumsion in G).
I look forward to celebrating the central truth of our faith over the next week: that Christ died and rose again for us, and that through this Paschal Mystery we share in God’s divine life for ever. I pray that all who participate in our liturgies, whether in person or online, will experience the reality of Christ’s presence and a renewal in their trust and hope in the Risen Lord!
Stations of the Cross
The final Stations of the Cross for Fridays in Lent took place last night, but please note the Maria Desolata Stations will be celebrated at 7.30 pm on Good Friday.
Mark Bushby Scholarship Fund
Our Director of Music, Dr Stephen Farr, writes:
Members of the choir have been making donations to the Mark Bushby Scholarship Fund from their choir fees at services throughout March. Mark sang at All Saints’ between 2004 and 2015.
I would urge members of the congregation to support this project, which ensures that excellent musical education is offered to those who cannot afford it – a wonderful continuation of the work Mark did in his life, so tragically cut short. We miss him very much.
For more information about the Fund, and to make a contribution, go to asms.uk/bushby
Volunteers for Maundy Thursday
Please be in touch directly with the parish office by email if you would be wiling to have your feet washed on Maundy Thursday at the Evensong Mass of the Lord’s Supper.
A list is at the back of church for people to offer to spend a particular period in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament on Thursday evening. Please sign up for a slot if you are able.
Holy Week Confession times
Both Fr Peter and Fr Alan will be available to hear confessions on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week from 5.30 pm – 6.30 pm. They are also available at other times by appointment.
The clergy are always happy to talk beforehand about how to make a good confession with anyone who has never used this sacrament before and who may want to know more.
Chrism Mass 2023
The Bishop of Fulham extends a warm invitation to all parishioners of All Saints’ to attend the Chrism Mass that he will celebrate at St Andrew’s Holborn on Tuesday 4th April at 11.00 am.
The Chrism Mass is the celebration in Holy Week at which the oil of the sick, the oil of catechumens, and the oil of Chrism which will be used in sacramental celebrations through the year at All Saints’ are blessed.
The Chrism Mass is also the occasion when priests renew their ordination vows and pledge themselves afresh to the service of the people of God in the name of their bishop and as part of his presbyteral college.
The Bishops of Southwark and London will also be present at the Chrism Mass at St Andrew’s as a sign of our shared ministry in Christ’s church.
- Fr Christopher Trundle preached at our High Mass for the Annunciation last Saturday, which was celebrated by the Bishop of Fulham. Fr Christopher explored Our Lady’s role as ark of the new covenant, the dwelling place of the divine presence that God had promised would return to his people. You can watch the liturgy and hear his sermon again here.
All Saints’ Lent Appeal 2023
Given the recent disastrous earthquakes in Turkey and Syria and the need to continue supporting projects working with those most in need, money raised this year through the All Saints’ Lent Appeal will be divided between:
DEC Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal through Christian Aid
This is a Disaster Emergency Committee made up of 15 charities including Christian Aid. DEC charities and their local partners are among the first responders providing urgent help following the disastrous earthquakes. Many thousands of men, women and children have died or are injured in the aftermath of the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. Christian Aid has been working with local partners across the region for decades and responding to the Syria crisis since 2012. Even before this devastating earthquake, there were over four million people in need of aid in Northwest Syria.
The American Church Soup Kitchen
This contributes towards the costs of the Mental Health Worker who works at the American Church on the Tottenham Court Road. 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.
The Bishop of London’s Lent Appeal
The Diocese of London is partnering with MANNA (Mozambique Angola Anglican Association) to help the traumatised. This year’s appeal aims to raise money to train leaders in Mozambique who can provide pastoral care and support for those with trauma. Since 2017, over a million people living in northern Mozambique have been displaced by a violent insurgency and 4,000 have been killed. This is a population which is now deeply traumatised. Many professionals have said that their need for trauma counselling and support is as great as their need for food, but agencies and organisations do not have funds for this.
You can make a donation to our Lent Appeal here.
Holy Week 2023
Why I volunteer
We continue our series of short articles from members of our congregation about why and how they volunteer at All Saints’. This week we hear from Kate Hodgetts:
Many years ago, I arrived at All Saints as an unsophisticated teenager. I loved the liturgy but didn’t hang around afterwards as it was rather daunting. Then one day I was taken to the bar (by a nun!). I got to know people, I started volunteering behind the bar, and now I’m the Hon. Bar Steward and a Churchwarden (yes, Churchwardens are volunteers too).
The bar is an important venue for people to socialise with their fellow worshippers. It’s a challenge providing staff every Sunday and I’m grateful to the small band of loyal helpers whose commitment makes it happen. It can be busy but it’s also fun. No particular skills are required, just be friendly and welcoming.
I feel very privileged to call All Saints’ my spiritual home. I want to give something back and being generous with my time and talents is the least I can do. Volunteering has helped me to make new friends, and learn new skills. I wonder what people around in the late 70s would make of that young girl who became a churchwarden!
Secret London Top 10 churches in London
All Saints’ has made it into the Secret London list of top 10 churches to visit over the Easter holidays. You can see the article here.
They say the following about us: “All Saints Margaret Street is a stunning Gothic Revival church in the heart of London. Designed by architect William Butterfield and completed in 1958, this church is known for its striking red brick exterior and intricate stonework. Inside, you’ll be mesmerised by the beautiful stained glass windows, detailed wood carvings, and marble altar.”
Fr Julian goes viral!!
Parishioners may like to know that Fr Julian has gone viral across North East India!
You may recall a homily of his from a couple of months back in which he recounted his experiences of a recent trip to India for a wedding and what we can learn from the wonderful Christian community he encountered there. His homily was re-broadcast by friends at the church he was visiting and has been viewed 91,000 times!!
What a wonderful thing to know we share a fellowship of prayer and unity in Christ with Christians throughout the world. You can watch the Youtube video here.
The liturgy called “Tenebrae” is offered each Holy Wednesday. It is a beautiful sequence of music and psalms, during which candles are extinguished until the church is left in compete darkness and the office finishes with a “strepitus” or loud crash. Whilst it is a much loved liturgy, its slightly esoteric character leads to some people wondering what it’s all about.
In origin, Tenebrae celebrated on Holy Wednesday is essentially Morning Prayer for Maundy Thursday. By the late Middle Ages, many of the Holy Week liturgies ended up being shifted to times that were more convenient for the clergy and musicians in large choral and monastic foundations. The practice of “anticipating” Morning Prayer by saying it the night before meant matins and lauds ended up being said at a time of darkness rather than first thing in the morning.
One of the most intriguing pieces of liturgical kit needed for this service is something called a Tenebrae “hearse”. This is a special candle stand with 15 candles. The original versions of Tenebrae involve the extinguishing of one candle after each psalm was sung, gradually leaving the church in darkness. This came to chime with the liturgical emotion of Holy Week, as Christ is more and more enveloped in the darkness of his Passion.
By the end of the psalms, the last candle is hidden behind the altar, representing Christ’s lying in the tomb after his death. In this complete darkness a loud bang is made (usually by throwing a large book on the floor, or banging a breviary against a pew), signalling the earthquake that accompanied Christ’s death. From this terrifying moment of crashing noise and deep darkness the candle is brought out again and shown to be still alight, as Christ rises from the tomb.
Tenebrae was eventually abandoned in most churches as a normative part of the modern Holy Week rites, particularly when those liturgies were restored to the times of day that they were supposed to take place in. It is, nonetheless, a fascinating and moving liturgical experience, which many still make their way to All Saints’ to celebrate. Our version is slightly truncated to shorten the liturgy but has the essentials of the rite as it was performed before the liturgical reforms.
I invite you to celebrate with us this office that presents to us the stark horror and desolation of the cross through the enveloping darkness it cultivates, but which also celebrates the way in which Christ’s light can never be extinguished no matter how powerful death and evil appears to be. You can watch last year’s celebration of Tenebrae here, and if you are unable to be with us in person, this year’s will be live-streamed here.
Attendance last week
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 takes place at 6pm this Sunday. Music will include Rachmaninov’s Magnificat and Nunc dimittis and Bruckner’s Christus factus est. A service sheet can be found at the end of this email, and the service will be livestreamed here.
Fr. Harry Hodgetts, Amanda Barrett, Greg Loveday, Theresa Moses, Don McWhinney, Martin Berka, Pete Turner, James Rodger, Andrew Rodger, David Craig, Charles Thompson, Elizabeth Lyon, Keith Bevan, Pauline Hind, Carol Lyman-Pryce
The faithful departed
Antonio Abad, Richard Fadel, Stuart Lyon, Mike Chote, John Craig, Frances Martin, Ivo Sapunar, Denise Mallett
Anniversaries of death
April 2nd – Sister Mary Estelle, Grace Trembath, John Gaskell Snr, Beryl Harding
3rd – Patrick Scott Pr., Elizabeth Usherwood
4th – Margaret Roche
5th – Christopher Ryan, Iolo Davies
7th – Stanley Eley Bp., Peggy Monk, Margaret Leech
8th – Leonard Neville, Muriel Vickery, Richard Davall, Minnie Webb, Olive Routledge, Evelyn Light
The Friends of All Saints’
April 2nd – Ruth Baker, Stephen Barber, Dr. William Benefield, Fr. Adrian Berry, Charlotte Black, Graeme Bloom, David Blunden
3rd – Colin Bodkin, Fr. Michael Bowie, Eric Broglé, Fr. Julian Browning, Graham Burns, Mrs. Margaret Burgess
4th – Maureen Cambrey, Adrian Carlton-Oatley, Kate Charles, Stuart Chillingworth, Robert Chote, Sandy Christian
5th – Roger Clark, Catharine Clarke, David and Mavis Cleggett, Graham Colville, Alan Cook, Patrick Cook
6th – Eliza Coomber, Karolyn Cooper, William Cooper Bailey, Tony Coote, Peter Coulson, Steven Cox,
7th –Yvonne Craig, Kirill Dashkovskiy, Christopher Davies, Robert Davies, Jack de Gruiter, Peter Dennis
8th – Laura Denton, Suzanna Eaton, Linda Edwards, Pamela Edwards, John Eldridge, Terrence Ellsworth
Service times this week
Saturday 1st April – Feria
12.00 noon High Mass
6.30 pm Vigil Mass of Sunday
Sunday 2nd April – The Palm Sunday
11.00 am High Mass, beginning at Market Place
5.15 pm Mass
6.00 Evensong and Benediction
Monday 3rd April – in Holy Week
6.30 pm Mass with homily
Tuesday 4th April – in Holy Week
6.30 pm Mass with homily
Wednesday 5th April – in Holy Week
6.30 pm Mass with homily
7.30 pm Tenebrae
Thursday 6th April – Maundy Thursday
6.30 pm High Mass with watch until midnight
Friday 7th April – Good Friday
3.00 pm Liturgy of the Day
7.30 pm Stations of the Cross (Maria desolata)
Saturday 8th April – Holy Saturday
9.00 pm High Mass of Vigil
Sunday 9th April – Easter Day
11.00 am High Mass
5.15 pm Mass
6.00 pm Evensong and Benediction