Weekly Email – Trinity 18
I want to thank all those who have been in touch with me over the past few weeks who have volunteered to help support the extra daily evening Mass we intend to reintroduce in November. I also want to say a big thank you to all who have offered their services in the rota to staff All Saints’ when we re-open the church in the afternoons.
17 people have volunteered to support the Mass and 8 people have volunteered to staff the church. It has been so heartening to see the enthusiasm with which people are approaching this project, and the love for All Saints they are showing by volunteering for this crucial work.
Though we have had substantial offers of help, we still need more volunteers to be able to complete our rota on both projects. The most significant gap that exists is in people who can help staff the church in the afternoon. This is work that, for obvious reasons, is particularly suited for those who are retired, or who are able to work flexibly. It would be good to hear from anyone who feels they could spare a slot of 2 hours once a week to help us.
The reason this project is important is that it represents an attempt to change the way in which we welcome people to our church and think about how people interact with our liturgical space and visit it.
One of the natural ways to think about a church like ours is simply as a historic monument. It is easy to think about it like that as we spend so much time and effort keeping it in good repair, and caring for its physical fabric. However, if we are to allow God to use the building to touch and change people, it perhaps makes better sense to shift our thinking to see it less as a historic asset or a cultural artefact, and more as a place of encounter with the living God.
I hope that when visitors enter our church for the first time we are able to speak first not about the bricks and mortar, but about the REASON the church is there…and that reason is God.
Our whole building points to the transcendent God who is both above and beyond the quotidian realities of our mortal existence, but is also known intimately to each of us who puts our trust in him. Our building is made for the worship of God. It is nothing without that activity. In that respect, it has a character which is completely different from any other sort of building or human construction. It points beyond itself to the creator of heaven and earth and exists for no other reason than to give glory to him.
This is not to say that God can’t be found in other places, but it is the case that Christ rejoices to dwell sacramentally in the midst of his people, through the sacred space of our church buildings and the worship that take place in them.
In many ways I think the importance of this theological truth is one of the things we learned afresh over lockdown, once we were prevented from worshiping together. Our sacred buildings are a crucial part of how we encounter God, and a sacramental means of knowing his power in our lives.
This means that our church is one of the most potent evangelistic tools we have to reach out to the world in which we live and speak about the love of God. I hope that when people visit All Saints they find it a place where it is easy to pray. I hope they find people on duty here to welcome them who can speak convincingly and warmly about their faith in Jesus Christ. I hope All Saints’ becomes once more a trusted safe space for those who need it, and an island of peace and ark of calm for those who feel harassed and threatened.
If you have not managed to sign up to help us staff our church and sustain a second Mass, I urge you to think about doing so. Further details are below in this email. It will make a huge difference to how we reach out to the world that God loves, and will be a rewarding experience for those who volunteer, and a way of drawing closer to the Christ whom we love and worship.
Please put in your diary two teaching events fast approaching, focussed on the history and theology of the city of Ravenna in antiquity.
Study Day: Friday 29th October 2021 – 10.00 am – 4.00 pm
The first is our study day led by Professor Judith Herrin. She will explore the history of that remarkable city in the early Christian centuries and speak about its significance as one of the first truly “European” city that emerges in the early medieval period from the “Dark” Ages. Our second speaker will be Fr Anders Bergquist, vicar of St Johns Wood. He will reflect on the interaction between theology, politics and history in the city’s life. Fr Peter Anthony, our own vicar, will offer a third lecture focussing on the mosaics to be found in a significant church in Ravenna, S. Apollinare in Classe.
The day will begin at 10.00 am and be finished by around 4.00 pm. There is no need to book a ticket for this – simply turn up.
Zoom online theology seminar: Tuesday 16th November 2021 – 7.00 pm
A fortnight or so after our study day, there will be an opportunity to discuss in greater depth Judith Herrin’s recent book on Ravenna, entitled, “Ravenna: Capital of Empire; Crucible of Europe.” We will have much to reflect on in response to the study day, and people will have had the chance to read Professor Herrin’s work. This online Zoom seminar is a particularly good opportunity for people who couldn’t attend the study day to come together online and discuss issues and ideas that the book raises.
As we move into the autumn I would like to make a significant appeal for volunteers needed for two big changes to our parish’s life as we emerge from COVID: the reopening of our church building during the day to visitors; and the reintroduction of an extra daily evening Mass.
Daily Evening Mass
We need to find a number of new people who currently do not attend the midday Mass to “sponsor” an evening Mass each and undertake to attend it. This will ensure there will be people present to answer the Mass and welcome newcomers in these first few months as we build up our evening attendance. It would be good if two people could undertake to support each evening Mass, Monday to Friday (i.e. we need at least 10 new volunteers).
It looks like the best compromise time for the evening Mass is 6.15 pm. We will run the Mass at this time for 6 months and see if it is convenient and works.
To volunteer for this important and useful duty, please either sign up on the forms at the back of church, or email me directly.
The reopening of All Saints to visitors during the day
We also plan to open All Saints’ in the afternoons from November onwards. We need people to volunteer as church welcomers for an hour or two a week so that the church is staffed through the whole of the time that it is open. There will be appropriate training offered to those who volunteer, and we will organise a rota so that the whole time is covered appropriately each week. People will be asked to undertake this duty in pairs so nobody is left on their own in church.
To volunteer for this work, please sign up on the forms at the back of church, or email me directly saying how much time you can spare and when you are available.
I hope these changes in our parish’s life are a sign that new opportunities are being presented to us to interact with the world and communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Church welcoming training
Two training sessions will be offered at 10.30 am on Saturday 9th October and Saturday 30th October for volunteers who want to help with staffing our church in the afternoons. It is important that all volunteers for church welcoming attend one of these sessions before undertaking any duties.
I urge you to reflect on whether you can spare a little time each week to help with these two crucial projects. I would be hugely grateful if you are able! Fr Peter
Links for Sunday
The link for the Propers for Trinity 18 is at the end of this email.
And click here for the YouTube live stream.
Evensong and Benediction is at 6pm. The music includes Gibbons second service, Stanford Beati Quorum Via, Vaughan Williams O salutaris and de Severac Tantum ergo. The service is not live-streamed.
The London Marathon takes place on Sunday – please check if this will have an impact on your travel arrangements for coming to church.
If anyone would like to make a donation for flowers for the All Saints festival, please speak to Shawn or Chris Self.
We are still 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.
Tomorrow week our monthly Walsingham Devotion, in the form of the Rosary with intercessions, will be offered at 1130 before the noon Mass.
Prisoners and captives
Nazanin Zhagari-Ratcliffe, Ismaeil Maghrebinejad, Nasrin Sotoudeh
Rohingya Christians in Pakistan, Karen Christians in Burma, and Tigrayan Christians in Ethiopia
David Fettke, Vallery Tchukov, Sara Vice, Katherine Lee, Lorna Smith, Beth Klausing, Hilary Porter, Bruce Ross-Smith, Benjamin Woolf, James Shrimpton, Tony Rodger, Fr Michael Gudgeon, Chris and Carole Radley, Fr Harry Hodgetts, Rosemary Orr, Martin Berka, Barbara Schiefer, Joan Anna SLG, Poppy Harris-Thompson, Sheila Wood, Jennifer Spreckley, Sue Yesnick, Elizabeth Lyon, Rosina Sargon Eskrya, Malcolm Brown, Geoff Vardy, Fr John O’Brien, Max Fernandes, Craig Williams, Ross Dixon, Bernard Holmes, Elaine Bishop, Kathleen McMorran, Muriel Woodhead, Sabria Systermans, Peter Hoyle, Bishop Andrew St John, Emily Borland, Hazel Duckett
Those known to us recently departed
Rachel Pereira, Henrietta Osler, Colin Urquhart, Derek Mathews
Anniversaries of death
3rd – Norma Everton
4th – Edna Thompson
5th – John Clayton
6th – Alan Harrison Pr
7th – Sarah Venn, Mabel Moore, Pauline Rolph
8th – Eric Kay, Grace Miller, Emma Titley
9th – Ann Armstrong, Fred Edwards, Gwendolen Clementson, Philip Oakeshott
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).