Weekly Email – The Sunday after Ascension Day | All Saints Margaret Street All Saints Margaret Street | Weekly Email – The Sunday after Ascension Day

Weekly Email – The Sunday after Ascension Day

Friday 19 May 2023 at 13:45


Dear friends,

As we kept yesterday the Ascension of the Lord, and look forward to celebrating the gift of God’s Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday, there is no better time for us to reflect on the life of our parish. This “season of the Spirit” is a wonderful period to hold our Annual Parochial Church Meeting, when we take stock of the past year, elect church officers, and look forward to responding to the call of the Holy Spirit in our parish over the next twelve months.

18 months ago now our PCC met for an away day and identified some clear goals it wished to achieve over the succeeding months. These ideas became our parish Mission Action Plan. We were still at that time just on the cusp of coming out of COVID. Much needed to be done in terms of the rejuvenation and restoration of our parish’s structures and life after the pandemic.

Certain key tasks were highlighted in that Mission Action Plan: the restoration of a full cycle of public worship including the second daily Mass;  the re-opening of our church for daily visiting with a team of trained welcomers; the acquisition of new cameras in our church to develop further our live-streaming; the renewal of the Friends of All Saints’ scheme, and reform of the Parish Paper and church website; the election of new churchwardens and the need to refresh the membership of the PCC and other lay leadership to include newer and younger members of our parish.

It is so pleasing to look back on that Mission Action Plan and realise how much we have accomplished in God’s power. We have managed to fulfil nearly every single one of the goals set in it. I want to thank everyone who has contributed to all that we have achieved. Without your hard work, love and commitment, it would not have been possible.

There is a strong sense that the basic structures of our parish’s life have been significantly renewed and strengthened over the past 18 months. I feel we are now approaching the point where we can look ahead with greater clarity and confidence, and start to make more strategic and more substantial parish plans for growth and mission over the next five or ten years.

Our PCC will be having a further away day later on this year, and I hope that ideas for how we plot out our parish’s activity and aspirations over the next ten years can come out of that discussion. I ask you to pray for our PCC as we prepare for that away day, asking God to make his will known to us.

As we look back over the past 12 months, one key dynamic we can give thanks for is the gradual but sustained growth we are experiencing in the size of our Sunday congregation and in the presence of younger people worshipping with us. Attendance in 2022 was clearly up on that of 2021, and there is evidence this trend is continuing through this year as well.

A comparison with this time last year is useful as an exemplification of this. The average Sunday attendance over the first few months of 2022 up to Palm Sunday was 150.8. Compare that with the average Sunday attendance for the first few months of 2023 up to Palm Sunday, which has been 159.8.

One of the most intriguing areas of congregational growth has been the number of people attending Evensong and Benediction over the past 9 months or so. Through 2021 and much of 2022, Sunday Evensong was attracting congregations in the realm of 30-40. Since late last year we have regularly been seeing figures much more frequently in the area of 40-50 people each week, and sometimes 50-60 on well attended occasions.

I want to thank everyone who plays any role in making All Saints’ a warm, welcoming place each Sunday, open to visitors and newcomers, and eager to nurture and help those who come to us on their journey of faith.

The presence and success of our live-streaming of the liturgy has become a permanent part of our parish’s life and we rejoice in the 50-60 people who join us live each Sunday, and the 15-20 people who join us each day for our worship online. The figures for our online ministry are holding up well and are showing no signs of reduction on last year’s statistics. This crucial ministry is one of the most important ways in which new people encounter and experience our parish for the first time. I am convinced it is one of the most significant things powering the growth in in-person worship on a Sunday.

One of the most exciting developments in the ministry of our parish since the last APCM has been the arrival of Fr Alan Rimmer as our new Assistant Priest. He has made a huge difference to our parish and has already injected significant new energy and organisation into our ministry to the housebound and sick, and to our younger parishioners. He has also enriched our worship with first-rate preaching and a prayerful liturgical presence. I am very grateful to him for all he contributes, and for his wisdom, humour and patience with me as a colleague.

I think the next six months or so will be an important period of discernment and reflection for our PCC as we make plans for the next few years and prioritise action. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to inspire, guide and prompt us in this process.

Key questions that need thinking about include: how we continue to develop our online ministry; how we perpetuate congregational growth and enable parishioners to deepen their faith and life of prayer; how we act as a theological resource of teaching and preaching to the wider church; how we make best use of our complex buildings and improve our facilities; how we ensure our musical tradition has the funding to be sustained for generations to come; and how we contribute to the common good through charitable action and service of the world.

As we reflect on the past year this Sunday and elect lay leadership within our parish, I ask you to give thanks with me for all that God has enabled us to accomplish in his name. Please pray for our corporate life together as we move forward as God’s pilgrim people seeking to be signs of his Kingdom and embodiments of his love.

Fr Peter

N.B. Please ignore an email which our parish system appears to have sent out a second time this morning telling you it is Ascension Day today. Old news – it was yesterday!


We celebrated three birthdays on Sunday after the High Mass with drinks and cake in our courtyard. Happy birthday to Frances, Fr Pip, and to Robert! You can watch Sunday’s High Mass again here.



The Annual Parochial Church Meeting and the Annual Meeting of Parishioners will take place on Sunday 21st May 2023 after the High Mass. The parish’s annual report and other documents for the meeting are appended to this email.

The APCM is an important opportunity to thank publicly all those who have served our parish in various lay leadership capacities over the past twelve months, especially all the members of our PCC.

A particular word of thanks should go to our churchwardens Kate Hodgetts and Huw Pryce, and to our treasurer Patrick Hartley, for the immense amounts of work they do for our parish, and for the love and care with which they exercise their office. Our whole parish is very grateful to you, Huw, Kate, and Patrick, for all you contribute!

Our parish also owes a huge debt to all those who have served on our PCC in various capacities and whose terms have come to an end and will be stepping down at this APCM. In particular, we thank Martin Amhurst Lock, Judith Mather, John McWhinney, Keith Postance, and Geoffrey Woodcock for their time, commitment and unfailing service to our parish in this important capacity.

We also thank from the bottom of our hearts those who have been our representatives on the Deanery Synod (and therefore also members of our PCC), Janet Drake, Frances O’Neil, and Cedric Stephens. They will be stepping down at this APCM too, and will be replaced by two new members rather than three, as a result of a psephological change to the number of Deanery Synod members we are now awarded. We are grateful to them for the time they have put into representing our parish on the Deanery Synod so faithfully and assiduously, and for this valuable and important service to the wider church.

A particular word of thanks must also go to John McWhinney who has been our PCC Secretary for the past 8 years, and who is stepping down from our PCC as a result of his elected terms on the body coming to an end. We are hugely grateful to him for undertaking this complex and demanding role, and for the way in which he has so carefully and meticulously prepared for each meeting, and supported our PCC in its deliberation and decision making. A huge thank you to you, John – we are very grateful indeed!


In Sunday’s sermon, Fr Alan reflected on the Lord’s word that although the world would no longer see him, his disciples would continue to see him. The Christian vocation is about making visible the invisible bonds of love that unite us to our Heavenly Father: through the sacramental life of the Church; through witness and mission; through our worship and prayer; through the beauty of our church buildings and the eloquence of Christian art. Watch Fr Alan’s homily again here and the whole liturgy here


Friends’ Sunday

Sunday 28th May 2023 will see this year’s celebration of our “Friends Sunday.” This is the occasion each year when we particularly encourage the members of the Friends of All Saints’ to join us for the High Mass. It is an opportunity to thank them for their support for our parish and to celebrate our family of friends throughout the world.

There will be a parish lunch held in our courtyard after the High Mass, and you are encouraged to bring a ready-to-eat dish that can be shared with others. Please be in touch with Chris Self, Kate Hodgetts, or Janet Drake to let them know what food you intend to bring.

28th May is also the feast of Pentecost, and so will be a joyful opportunity to thank God for the gift of his Holy Spirit, who joins our whole parish family together in bonds of love and communion no matter how far away from each other we live.

I am particularly pleased that Fr Steve Rice, the Rector of St Timothy’s Winston Salem, North Carolina, will be our preacher. It will be especially good to have present with us a representative of our American Friends.


A group of parishioners from All Saints’ had a wonderful time on Saturday participating in the Society of Mary May Devotion: Solemn Mass At St Silas’, Kentish Town; procession through Camden; lunch; and finishing with Vespers and Benediction. What a splendid day of joyful witness to Our Lord and his mother.


Walsingham National Pilgrimage

The National Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham takes place on Monday 29th May 2023. As usual, we will be organising a coach for the day to take pilgrims to Walsingham and back. It will depart from Margaret Street at 7.30 am, and return to London, setting off around tea time, and arriving back in London by the late evening.

The cost is £20 per head. In order to book a place on the coach, please contact the parish office and make a payment to our office administrator, Jonathan.


The Society of May May Devotion at St Silas’, Kentish Town. A wonderful day of celebration, praise, and prayer: a packed Solemn Mass at St Silas’, followed by procession of Our Lady through Camden to Holy Trinity, Hartland Road.


Next Zoom Theology Seminar

Our next online Zoom Theology seminar will take place on Tuesday 11th July 2023 at 7.00 pm. It will be entitled, “Theologies of the Holocaust.”

Parishioner of All Saints’ Josh Dolphin spent a summer placement at Yad Vashem learning about the work of the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre. Josh will introduce a discussion thinking about Christian and Jewish theological responses to the Holocaust and ways in which we remember and commemorate that terrible period of European history.

The Zoom link for this seminar can be found on our parish website here.


Fr Alan kindly hosted a Eurovision Song Contest party at his home on Saturday night for our younger parishioners and others. Thank you, Fr Alan, for your splendid hospitality!


Visiting Preacher: Fr Matthew Olver

I am very happy to announce that Fr Matthew Olver, Professor of Liturgics at Nashotah House, Wisconsin, USA, will preach at the High Mass on Sunday 11th June. Fr Olver will be spending some time in the UK this summer during a sabbatical, and I am so pleased he has agreed to preach for us at All Saints’.

Nashotah House is a seminary of the Episcopal Church in the Midwest of America. It was founded in the late 1840s at around the same time that All Saints’ was. From its foundation it has always stood in the Anglo-Catholic theological and liturgical tradition and was one of the main means by which the spirit of the Oxford Movement spread through the American Episcopal Church.

I look forward to deepening bonds of support, prayer and friendship between All Saints’ and Nashotah House, and wish Fr Olver well with his sabbatical studies.


Our Parish Eurovision Song Contest party: the pizza arrives and glasses are topped up as the excitement rises. Fr Alan provided a big screen experience with surround sound!


Organ Recital

An organ recital will take place given by our own Jeremiah Stephenson at 3.30 pm on Sunday 28th May 2023.

The programme will include: Hymne ‘Veni Creator Spiritus’ by Nicolas de Grigny; and Prélude, Adagio et Chorale varié sur ‘Veni Creator Spiritus’ by Maurice Duruflé.

The recital is free to attend with a retiring collection donated to the All Saints’ Choir and Music Trust.


We are grateful to all those who work so hard to maintain our parish courtyard as an oasis of verdant calm and beauty, especially Shawn Welby-Cooke. A mammoth exercise in tree transplanting took place on Sunday as an olive was transferred to an enormous new pot. Thanks to all those who helped with this complicated task!


Attendance last Sunday


We were very pleased to welcome Fr Steven Brookes as our preacher for Ascension Day last night. Fr Steven is the Chaplain to the Royal Hospital Chelsea, and a Deputy Priest in Ordinary to His Majesty the King. In his sermon, he explored the way in which the Ascension opens the way for the gift of God’s spirit to clothe us afresh and draw us nearer to Jesus. This opens up a wide range of opportunities for us to serve God in the ministries and vocations to which he calls us. You can watch the sermon here, and the whole liturgy here on our YouTube channel.



The flowers are given by Monica Hall, in memory of her sister, Mary Woodward, whose anniversary falls on 24 May. If you would like to make a donation for flowers or the courtyard garden, please contact Shawn via the office.



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 Murrill’s Evening Service in E and Finzi’s God is gone up.


Prayer list

The sick

Fr. Harry Hodgetts, Amanda Barrett, Greg Loveday, Don McWhinney, Martin Berka, Pete Turner, James Rodger, Andrew Rodger, David Craig, Charles Thomson, Elizabeth Lyon, Ray Oram, Carol Lyman-Pryce, Keith Bevan, Marion Duggan, James Pearson, Eddie Burns

The faithful departed

Edna Moses, Roy Pearson, priest.

Anniversaries of death

May 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

The Friends of All Saints’

May 21st – Colin Podmore, Nick and Cecilia Powell, Simon Pusey, Simon Rainey, Gordon Reid, Carlos Remotti-Breton
22nd – Steve Rice, John Rick, Fr. Peter Roberts, Hilary Rodger, Fr. Jim Rosenthal, Mossman Roueche
23rd – Greg Round, Jamie Rundle, Mary Sherred, James Shrimpton, Gabriel Simerson, Fr. Peter Simpson
24th – Brad Singer, Ingrid Slaughter, Naomi Slippe, Gwynedd Sooke, Richard and Louise Stallwood, Jason Stewart, Iain Stewart
25th – Ian & Veronica Summers, Ann Tacchi, Sebastian Taite-Ellis, Michael Taylor, James Thomson, Charles Thomson
26th – Jeremy Thorp, Daniel Turner, Christine Vaughn Lillie, Sam Walsh, Christopher Walsh, Christopher Waterhouse
27th – Philip Wayne, Fr. Benjamin Weitzmann, Michael Westcott, James White, Dr. Roger White, Matthew Whittaker


Service times this week

Saturday 20th May – St. Bernadine of Sienna
12.00 pm Mass of Requiem
6.30 pm Vigil Mass of Sunday

Sunday 21st May – The Sunday after Ascension Day
11.00 am High Mass
5.15 pm Mass
6.00 pm Evensong and Benediction

Monday 22nd May – Feria
12.00 pm Mass
6.30 pm Mass

Tuesday 23rd May – Feria
12.00 pm Mass
6.30 pm Mass

Wednesday 24th May – St. Aldhelm
12.00 pm Mass
6.30 pm Mass

Thursday 25th May – St. Bede
12.00 pm Mass
6.30 pm Mass

Friday 26th May – Feria
12.00 pm Mass
6.30 pm Mass

Saturday 27th May – St. Augustine
12.00 pm Mass
6.30 pm Vigil Mass of Sunday

Sunday 28th May – Pentecost
11.00 am High Mass
5.15 pm Mass
6.00 pm Evensong and Benediction