Weekly Email – Sunday next before Lent
The news we have heard this week of events in the Ukraine has brought home to us in a painful way the reality of the fallenness of our human condition and the need to model our lives on the peace and justice of the Kingdom of God.
I am sure many of you will have been keeping the people of Ukraine in your prayers. At All Saints, the Mass has been offered repeatedly for the preservation of peace and for those involved in conflict over the past days.
May I ask you to redouble your prayers for all involved in this war, and for a just settlement to the issues presented by it? Let us all unite our thoughts together – those who worship at All Saints, those who join us online, the members of the Friends of All Saints – in praying for peace, freedom and reconciliation.
On this last Sunday before the beginning of Lent, the Church of England’s lectionary calls us to contemplate the Transfiguration. In that extraordinary narrative, we are presented with a vision of what our humanity might look like, glorified in Christ. We see in that image of Christ with his disciples and the prophets on the mountain what it looks like for humans to live in perfect communion and dialogue both with each other and with God. I hope this image might be of use to us in our prayers for peace.
More specifically, however, our readings this Sunday invite us to compare the Transfiguration with the great story of Moses’ experience on Sinai. For there, Moses’ experience of being in God’s presence causes his face to shine when he comes down the mountain. We are told in our first reading that Moses would have to place a veil over his face so people could bare to look at him. Whenever he went into the Lord’s presence, however, he would remove the veil and speak face to face with God.
The Transfiguration echoes this narrative about Moses. To appear face to face with the Lord was something that only Moses could do. However, in the Transfiguration, Christ reveals his divine glory to all those around him, including the three disciples.
To participate in the divine nature and see God face to face is now something which all followers of Jesus can hope for. That possibility of communion with God is a sign of the unity God calls the whole human family to live out in the face of violence, envy and war.
St Paul takes this theme up and expands it in our epistle. In 2 Corinthians he takes the idea of Moses’ veil and uses it as a metaphor for how people understand the gospel of Christ and the way the scriptures point to him. For those who fail to see Christ in the Hebrew Scriptures and believe in him, it is as though a veil is over their minds. Those who are in Christ, however, see clearly, and it is this clear seeing of who Jesus is that places us in the divine presence.
This close relation between the Transfiguration and Moses’ experiences on Sinai has formed part of Christian meditation on this Sunday’s Gospel reading since the earliest times.
One of the earliest monumental mosaic images we posses of the Transfiguration, dating from the sixth century, is to be found in no other place than Mount Sinai itself. It forms the altar apse of the church of the monastery of St Catherine. The monastery was built on the traditional location of the Burning Bush. Indeed, a bush held to be the Burning Bush itself grew on the opposite side of the apse wall (until too many pilgrims took cuttings and eventually killed the bush!).
The images around this beautiful and ancient image of the Transfiguration show Moses experiencing God’s presence on Mount Sinai, both in receiving the Law and the miraculous Burning Bush. They reveal the Transfiguration and God’s revelation of himself to his people Israel to be part of the same saving mystery, a mystery in which God opens his very being to his people and bids them know him in love. Communion, connection, fellowship and love are to be the characteristics of human life, not violence, division and separation.
That which Moses was privileged to know through the signs and wonders of Sinai, each of us experiences through the grace of baptism, as we meet the Christ who saves us and become one with him. We live out his presence in us through the sacramental life of the Church in this life, until we come one day to see him face to face in the glory of heaven.
I pray that this Lent will be a time in which you will be able to see and feel Christ’s presence in your life more clearly as we are drawn into the Paschal Mystery through which he saves us and makes us free.
I also hope we can all redouble our prayers at this time for peace in the continent of Europe, keeping before the image of Christ’s Transfiguration. I note Pope Francis has called all people of good will to keep this coming Ash Wednesday as a day of special fasting and prayer for peace. I will be joining in this, and I urge you to as well.
Visiting preacher this Sunday
We are very pleased to welcome the Revd Preb Marjorie Brown to preach at the 11.00 am High Mass this Sunday, 27th February. Marjorie is the Vicar of St Mary’s, Primrose Hill, and is the Director of Ordinands for the Edmonton Episcopal Area.
Ash Wednesday – 2nd March
This Wednesday, 2nd March 2022, is Ash Wednesday. It marks the beginning of Lent and is listed as a day when all Christians should aim to attend the Mass unless prevented from doing so by a substantial reason.
There will be a Low Mass at 12 noon and a High Mass at 6.00 pm. Both these liturgies will include the imposition of ashes. It has not been possible to administer this rite for two years now at All Saints, because of COVID restrictions. It will be good to see this return to our liturgical keeping of Lent now we are emerging from the worst of the pandemic.
The YouTube stream for High Mass at 6pm is here and the Propers are here.
Visit by the Bishop of Berlin-Brandenburg
Next Sunday, 6th March 2022, we will be honoured to receive three bishops at All Saints.
In the morning, the Bishop of Fulham will be the celebrant and preacher at our 11.00 am High Mass.
In the evening, the Bishop of Berlin will be visiting All Saints to see something of our liturgical tradition on his first official visit to London. He will be accompanied by the Bishops of London and Fulham and will attend Evensong and Benediction at 6.00 pm.
There will be an ecumenical reception after Evensong and Benediction to welcome the Bishop of Berlin and his party of visiting German clergy. All are welcome to stay for this. It would be good if as many All Saints people as possible came to support this occasion and show a warm welcome to our friends and honoured guests from Berlin.
News from the Friends of All Saints
The Secretary of the Friends of All Saints can report that a further 33 new members have joined our renewed Friends scheme over the past three weeks. Of these 33 new members, 18 are in the category of “Benefactor” (and donate at least £120 per year). This brings the total number of Friends in our new scheme up to a total of 85.
We are hugely grateful to all our new members for their generosity. Their membership of the Friends of All Saints means so much to us and is a huge support to our parish.
The Friends scheme is particularly suitable for the more extended community of people who might not be able to worship in person with us each week, but want to preserve a connection with All Saints’ and know that they are supporting our parish’s life through prayer, giving and fellowship. It is an especially helpful way for us to sustain contact with our online worshippers. If you come into either category and have not yet joined the Friends, we would urge you to consider doing so.
More information about the Friends, including the link for online application (we are no longer using paper forms) can be found here.
News from our online worshippers
Patrick Cook write from San Antonio, Texas, USA, about his experience of worshipping with us online:
I am not a stranger to All Saints, having spent a good portion of my undergraduate life in its bar (and some in its nave or sanctuary). For the latter two years, I was a server. It was at All Saints that I made my first and second confessions, both to remarkable and saintly priests who have now departed this life.
All Saints is a very special place to me, and I tried to return when I could during my postgraduate years in Cambridge. Attending All Saints is more difficult now that I have returned to my native San Antonio to work as a history teacher in our diocesan high school. I’m afraid I’ve not been able to make it back in person since the early summer of 2018.
But the separations imposed by geography have been greatly eased by technology. To my mind, this is one of the few good things that has come about as a result of COVID-19.
I attend San Antonio’s most Anglo-Catholic parish of St. Paul’s, Government Hill, where I am nominally a verger and master of ceremonies. However, I live nearly an hour each way from that parish and am frequently unable to attend mass there. Furthermore, there are feasts (notably Corpus Christi) that are simply not celebrated in the Diocese of West Texas. For these, I know where to turn, and it is to my once and continual parish — All Saints Margaret Street.
Recently, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the accession of Her Britannic Majesty, I was able to listen to Choral Mattins from Westminster Abbey and then watch High Mass from All Saints, and finally watch Choral Evensong from Canterbury Cathedral. I was reminded of the words of the Prophet Isaiah, who saw that “in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees.”
More somberly, I was able to watch the Requiem Mass for Craig Williams, who was a major influence in my life and the man who did more than any other to encourage me to serve at the altar at All Saints.
I am so happy that All Saints continues to offer its gifts of excellent Catholic liturgy, intelligent and pastoral preaching, and world-class English church music to an international audience. This is the Lord’s work and All Saints remains none other but the house of God and the Gate of Heaven.
Dates for your diary
Tuesday 15th March 2022 – 7.00 pm
Online Zoom Theology: “Looking East in Winter” by Rowan Williams.
Zoom link here.
Sunday 27th March 2022 – Fourth Sunday of Lent
Guest Preacher at the 11.00 am High Mass: the Revd Tom Sander,
Rector of St Giles-in-the-Fields
Sunday 3rd April 2022 – Fifth Sunday of Lent
Guest Preacher at the 11.00 am High Mass: Sister Gemma Simmonds,
Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology, Cambridge.
Friday 8th April 2022 – 7.00 pm
Lent Lecture given by the Revd Dr Dominic Keech: Augustine and the formation of the Western Mind
Sunday 10th April – Sunday 17th April: Holy Week 2022
Holy Week Preacher: The Most Revd and Rt Hon Rowan Williams.
Sunday 1st May 2022 – 3rd Sunday of Easter
Guest Preacher at the 11.00 am High Mass: The Revd Steve Rice,
Rector, St Timothy’s, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA.
Links for Sunday
The link for the Propers for the Sunday next before Lent is at the end of this email. Click here for the YouTube live stream.
Evensong and Benediction is at 6pm. The music includes Sumsion in G, and Wesley Thou wilt keep him.
The flowers this week have been given by Ray Oram to celebrate his ninetieth birthday on 7 March.
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.
Prisoners and captives
Nazanin Zhagari-Ratcliffe, Ismaeil Maghrebinejad, Nasrin Sotoudeh
Rohingya Christians in Pakistan, Karen Christians in Burma, Tigrayan Christians in Ethiopia
Fr Harry Hodgetts, Martin Berka, Elizabeth Lyon, James Shrimpton, David Robin, Stuart Bell, Anne-Marie Chartier, Bernard Holmes, Thelma Spill, Simeon Sanders, Bruce Ross-Smith
Those known to us recently departed
Sara Vice, Rosemary Nutt, Richard Vann, Corrado Monte, John Vine Pr
Anniversaries of death
27th – Lionel Ryan, Catherine Thomas
28th – Alexander Finnis, Martin Mogridge
March 1st – Dennis Gill, William Batey, Gertrude Bennett, Charles Bewick Pr, Frances Lightfoot, Beatrice Ansah
3rd – Catherine Packer, Ernest Gittins, Walter Freeth, Bridget Wright, Marion Badger
4th – Kenneth Edwards, Alfred Gorse
5th – George Holden Pr (fourth vicar of All Saints), Gwen Ogilvy
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).