Category Archives: News Bulletin

Friends of St Nicholas Church Art Auction 2019

Art Auction organised by the Friends of St Nicholas Church, Chiswick raises more than £26,000 

Sir Peter Blake’s screen print Red Nose Day 2019 sells for £2,300

The auction on Saturday afternoon 28th September 2019 at St Nicholas Church – organised by the Friends of St Nicholas Church – was a great success. It was attended by well over 150 people from near and far; close to 100 potential buyers registered to bid ahead of the sale, and all the 61 lots offered found buyers – many achieving multiples of their pre-sale estimates. In total the sale raised well over £26,000. 

The  purpose and aim of the Auction was to raise funds for the repair of the exterior stonework of the church, some of which is in an extremely poor state and in urgent need of repair.

The event was preceded by a lively viewing open to all comers on the Friday evening attended by some 250 people. Drinks were generously sponsored in kind by both Sipsmith and Fullers. And the Juliet Morton jazz trio provided a convivial musical backdrop to the exhibition. Prior to the auction on the Saturday, lunch was amply produced and very gamely served by Dave, the head chef at St Mary’s Convent and Nursing Home. 

The highest prices paid were for the two works generously donated by Peter Blake. His iconic and highly popular ‘Red Nose Day 2019’ which combines Disney’s Micky Mouse with Sir Peter’s own work, sold for £2,300 (pre-sale estimate £700-900), while his drily ironic ‘Games we used to play, things we used to do’ sold for £1600 (pre-sale estimate £700-1,000). 

Thereafter it was the work of former local artist Hugh Cronyn (1905-1996) which featured especially strongly in the sale. Represented by 7 lots, his crisp 1930s woodcut of the Black Lion sold for £700 (pre-sale estimate £120-180), while his late watercolour ‘Sundown, the Thames’ sold for 10 times estimate when it soared to £1,500 (pre-sale estimate £100-£150). The work of Bernard Myers (1925-2007) who lived in St Peter’s Wharf at the east end of Chiswick Mall also proved extremely popular with five of his works selling for £2,770. 

It was time and again bidders’ interest in the local connection that propelled prices upwards. The work of the highly successful designer Marthe Armitage met with considerable interest. Seven lengths of her wallpaper designs hand printed back in the late 1960s in her studio on Strand-on-the-Green and re-discovered in a Chiswick collection more than 50 years on proved to be a special draw. Some of the designs had actually been lost to the artist herself, so she was delighted to have them brought to her attention. The combined sum paid for the lengths was £900. Another more recent linocut proof of hers ‘Out and about’ sold for £420 (pre-sale estimate £150-250), while Marthe’s beautifully painted still life in oil sold for £450 (pre-sale estimate £150-250).   

Of other artists living locally, Ben Johnson’s work proved ever popular, his very elegant ‘Fingarden’ inspired by decorations in Iranian mosque interiors sold for £500 (pre-sale estimate £200-300); Graham Brandon’s exquisite portrait photographs of tribeswomen from Ethiopia and Papua New Guinea sold for £450 and £350 respectively (pre-sale estimates £200-300 each), while the fabulously vibrant and colourful oil ‘Dominica’ by former long time Chiswick resident Susie Hamilton (now living and working in the East End) sold for £400 (pre-sale estimate £250-350).     Francis Ames-Lewis, Chairman of the Friends of St Nicholas Church, said: ‘we are really delighted with the response that we have had from all those who attended the viewing, reception and auction. It was both a wonderful community event, and especially nice to welcome many newcomers to the church. The auction result is a tremendous addition to the funds we need to raise to begin the renovation of the exterior stonework of the building which is in a parlous state and in keen need of repair.’

Auctioneer Adrian Biddell who took the sale, is on the ‘Friends’ committee, and heads the Paintings and Fine Art department at Chiswick Auctions commented: ‘it was a great way to use the church – a ‘pop-up’ exhibition space and sale room. It shows how versatile this venerable building can be; so many who visited during the viewing remarked on its beauty. As to the sale itself, the artists and donors who donated works have been immensely generous, while even in these rather uncertain times it was very reassuring to see how eager the bidding was throughout the afternoon.’ 

2nd October 2019

Dear Friends

What does it mean to be baptised, or confirmed? It means declaring our faith in a God who made himself visible in the person of Jesus Christ, who through his ministry, death and resurrection transformed our relationship with the Divine, ourselves and the world. I often say at baptism that when we emerge (metaphorically) from the waters of baptism we view ourselves, our world and our neighbours through the prism of God’s eyes. This impacts on how we think and act, what does it mean to say ‘Love your neighbour, as I (Jesus) love you’? 

The PCC of St Nicholas has explored this question for a number of years, its response can be seen in our relationship with the parish of St Simon and Jude, Namacunde, in our setting up of a free parent and toddler group, the language course and in initiating our debt counselling service Crosslight, among other initiatives. All of these initiatives speak of our belief in the value, dignity and worth of every individual. 

In Crosslight we have a concrete example of our response to this vision. We are lucky to have Michele as our centre manager and for the group of volunteers who support her. The Chiswick branch of Crosslight has grown significantly over the last three years, of those who visit with problems over 90% of them have left with a positive outcome, more than any other branch in London. Crosslight continues to evolve. Volunteers from other parishes have joined Michele and the service is now looking to become more independent from the parish by becoming a separate charity. This is good news because it will unlock further funding sources who might be unwilling to give to a church. Please keep Crosslight, Michele, all our volunteers and clients in your prayers. Please pray for the new trustees who will manage this service. If you would like to donate to the work of this important service please see me.

Finally a huge thank you to everyone involved with our amazingly successful Art Auction this weekend, what an incredible achievement, thank you and well done!

Simon


Dear Friends

As I walk round Chiswick daily, wearing my clerical collar, I am frequently stopped by people for a chat, telling me their woes or anxieties, or asking me to pray for them. I am always very pleased that people feel able to approach me to have these conversations. Only occasionally do I get an earful about women priests!

I have had several conversations recently with individuals who are very anxious about the state of our country, our government and what might – or might not – happen at the end of this month. They have been somewhat distressed by the unpleasant tone and vindictive nature of so many of our public debates and pronouncements.  

Bishop Sarah, Bishop of London, has responded to these concerns with a prayer I would like to share with you:

‘O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen’

With every blessing

Mother Eileen

26th September 2019

Dear Friends

It’s great to go on holiday, it’s also great to return home, although driving back from Manchester along the M6 after a family funeral this afternoon wasn’t such a pleasant experience, the rain and spray!

Part of my holiday was spent on the Island of Angelsey, it’s a great place in itself, but also allows for easy assess to the Snowdonia National Park and the Lleyn Peninsular, an area of outstanding natural beauty. At the end of the Lleyn is the Village Aberdaron, where R.S Thomas was parish priest, so something of a must and pilgrimage, if you happen to be a fan. If you venture beyond Aberdaron you reach the end of the peninsula and arrive at the tiny hamlet of Uwchmynydd, overlooking Bardsey Sound and the the Island of Bardsey. This tiny island surrounded by boiling seas has for thousands of years been a place of pilgrimage, it is wild, remote, and frankly just a bit inhospitable, it’s also known as the Island of a Thousand Saints, so many have travelled to find God in this wild and rugged place. It’s amazing and I was going to include a picture and perhaps one day I will, but our pilgrimage to the Lleyn was but one day and I have to say this picture I share with you is a bit more representative! Senta is such a well trained dog!

That reminds me. Don’t forget our annual pet service on Sunday 22 October at 3pm. and don’t forget to bring along you pet. Also just a reminder that we have our auction on Friday and Saturday – a huge thank to Adrian and everyone that has worked behind the scenes to make this event happen. Please see here for the interview with Chiswickbuzz. Finally don’t forget there is a special Choral Evensong at 6pm on Sunday to celebrate the feast of St Michael’s and All Angels – do join us. 

The Archdeacon of Middlesex The Venerable Stephan Welch has announced he will be retiring at the end of this year. Archdeacon Stephan has been a good friend to St Nicholas and we wish him well. There will be a farewell service for Stephan at St Paul’s Hammersmith on Friday 22 November at 7.00 pm to which we are all invited. If you would like to make a donation towards Stephan’s retirement gift please see me. There will be a retiring collection this Sunday. 

Simon

17th September 2019

Greetings from Armenia!

I am travelling round Armenia with a clergy study group, learning more about this country and, in particular, the Armenian Church. Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as its state religion in the year 301.

The photograph below is of Mount Ararat, which we have seen a number of times on our travels. It is the symbol of Armenian national identity, although with changed national boundaries it is today located just into the country of Turkey. Mount Ararat is the traditional site of the place where Noah’s ark finally came to rest (Genesis 8:1-17).

We have enjoyed attending a wonderful range of Armenian liturgies and meeting many groups of Christians on our travels, including the President of Germany. He was formerly a Lutheran pastor in East Germany and is currently visiting the President of Armenia.

When we visit Christian sites we, as clergy, are required to wear clerical clothes including our cassocks. Many Armenians, and also tourists from other countries, have been fascinated to see women priests. I have felt like a minor celebrity as I have been asked to pose for photos, selfies and also been requested blessings and conversations about the priesthood of women. The Armenian church currently does not recognise women priests.

My main impression, however, has been of a country that is very keen to celebrate its Christian heritage now that it is once more an independent state. Nevertheless there are now far more Armenians living outside the country, primarily in the USA and Russia, than in the country itself. Many of them continue to support their homeland, particularly financially. This is enabling the Church in Armenia to train priests and others with religious vocations for future years.

Please can I invite you to pray for all Christians in Armenia.

With every blessing

Mother Eileen

10th September 2019

Dear Friends

Some of you will be familiar with the Community Matters scheme run by Waitrose whereby each branch gives £1,000 to local good causes every month.  When you are shopping in their store you are given green plastic tokens which can be used to vote between the three local causes they have chosen for that month and the £1,000 is allocated accordingly.. The St Nick’s branch of Crosslight, our excellent local debt counselling service run by Michele Rooney, has been chosen as one of the good causes for this month at our local branch of Waitrose in Chiswick High Road. So please can we encourage everyone who already shops there, and perhaps some of you who shop elsewhere, to do your shopping there this month and make sure to collect your green tokens and vote for this good cause!

With many thanks and every blessing

Mother Eileen

5th September 2019

Dear Friends

As I mentioned in my sermon on Sunday it hardly seems possible that I have completed 12 years as your Vicar, time really does fly by.

On Sunday in my sermon I suggested that there have been two themes which have underpinned my ministry here at Chiswick and in reality has underpinned my whole ministry.

The first is the need for authenticity. Authenticity in ministry, personal life and as a Christian community. The world is crying out for authenticity, in political leadership, personal relationships and its communication. Clergy need to be authentic, there can be no room for power, for we represent someone who surrendered everything, that God’s love might be known

The second is the need to create a safe space. The Church community needs to be a place conducive to our flourishing and growth. It is in this safe place where we can be authentic and by being authentic we can flourish. Our world is full of dangerous places, this can never be in the Church. Why? Please see above.

In your service

Simon


Dear Friends

September sees the start of a new academic year and most schools have begun their Autumn term this week. We pray for all families in our parish with children of school age, especially those starting at new schools. The past week will often have been taken up with haircuts and purchase of new shoes and items of uniform. It can be an expensive month! We pray also for staff at the three schools in our parish as they welcome pupils for a new year and hope that it will be a blessed and fruitful time for them all.

With every blessing

Mother Eileen

28th August 2019

Dear Friends

First a huge Thank You to Heather and her team for arranging such a magnificent concert last Thursday evening. Those who attended witnessed a performance from two amazingly talented young people who have stellar careers ahead of them. Sometimes I have to pinch myself when listing to concerts at St Nicks, the standard is so high, we are very lucky.

Just a few dates for you all which might be useful:

This Saturday 31 August between 10 am and 12 noon we will be in church and the churchyard doing some general cleaning and ground maintenance. Please come along even if you can only spare a few minutes, the more people, the more we can achieve.

There is Coffee, tea, cake and a chat in church this Sunday from 2pm-5pm on Sunday afternoon. Do drop in if you are having an afternoon walk on Sunday.

As many of you know Diana and Stefano are to be married on Saturday 7 September at 11am. Diana and Stefano are such an important part of our family at St Nicholas please do come along and support them as they pledge their lives together, with God’s blessing.

Also on Saturday 7th September at 2.30pm, and by popular demand our very own Malcolm Smith with be returning to St Nicholas and Chiswick to conduct one if his now famous graveyard tours. Come and join the group and find out more about the famous residents of our graveyard. Information available from Francis and Christabel.

I think that’s enough for now, enjoy the sunshine!

Simon


Dear Friends

 A number of you have told me how much you enjoy reading poetry related to theology. I hope therefore that you will be delighted to learn that the 2019 Michael Ramsey prize for theological writing has just been awarded to Canon Mark Oakley, former Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, for his book ‘The Splash of Words’: Believing in Poetry’. I bought this book some time ago and have much enjoyed reading his reflections on poetry from 14th century to the present day.  As it says on the dust cover, ‘Mark Oakley explores the power of poetry to stir our settled ways of viewing the world and faith, shift our perceptions and even to transform who we are.’ Feel free to ask to see my copy of this book, or alternatively do buy a copy!

With every blessing

Mother Eileen

22nd August 2019

Dear Friends

August is almost over and as we approach Autumn I though I would just offer you a few dates for your diary. 

Hayley has composed a useful diary of dates for the rest of this year and 2020. Click here for a copy or pick up at the back of church.

The Bishop of Kensington will be with us on Sunday 1 December at 6pm in the evening for a service of confirmation. We will hold a service of admission to Holy Communion in the morning at 10.30am. So preparation for these two events will begin on Sunday 29 September after mass. If you would like to be confirmed please see one of the clergy, you need to be over the age of 11 years, there is no upper limit for confirmation, everybody is welcome. If you would like your child to receive communion and be prepared for this event again please see one of the clergy. We can admit children to communion if they are 7 years or older.

This Advent we will be preparing for our Christmas celebration by looking at Landscape. The landscape of our own faith and outwardly the context of the place, in which we ‘live, move and have our being’  (Acts 17:28) More details in September.

I hope in Lent we will begin to do a bit of theology around some of our favourite hymns. What they mean and what they are saying to us. But more about this course later.

As many of you know Northumberland is my favourite county, it’s where my faith grew and was nurtured at the Franciscan Friary at Alnmouth. As 2020 is designated the ‘Year of Pilgrimage’ I have decided to lead a walking pilgrimage along the Northumbrian cost from Alnmouth to Berwick-Upon-Tweed. Along the way we will discover more about the Northern Saints – Paulinus, Aidan, and Cuthbert. The kings of the area Edwin and Oswald, and we will walk in their footsteps. We will arrive by train at Alnmouth on Monday 25 May, walk to Berwick-Upon -Tweed and depart on Saturday morning 30 May. On the way we will visit Dunstanburgh Castle, Seahouses and Bamburgh, walk the pilgrim route across the sands to Holy Island and visit Cuthbert’s cave, before we arrive at Berwick on Friday evening. Details are yet to be finalised, if you are interested please see me. 

Enjoy what remains of the summer!

Simon

15th August 2019

Dear Friends

I do hope you are able to enjoy some rest and relaxation this month. Rest is an important component in our increasingly hectic lives. Rest allows us to recharge, to reset and to re-focus. Problems and pressures are always best addressed when we have had time to stop and consider. In a Christian context, we are immersed in the idea of Sabbath, God rested so the story tells us. Jesus frequently goes off to a lonely place to be by himself. We all need rest and relaxation. I do hope you fine some time the August for this precious commodity.

Please don’t forget our Summer concert of Songs and Arias on Thursday 22 August.

Drinks and canapes will be served from 7.00pm. Tickets are available from eventbrite, from the office, or from
Heather after mass.

Simon


Dear Friends

When I was working in the parish office last week two ladies arrived with a
number of bags of groceries for the foodbank. They and their friends had
been discussing the extra financial pressures on families with children
during the long summer holidays, so they had organised a collection of
money and bought a marvellous range of goodies for these families. I
thought this was such a wonderful idea and they were delighted that their
gifts would be passed on later that week. We know from the amazing work
being done by Michele and her team at Crosslight how many people are in great need locally. Please do continue to support our local foodbanks, either by bringing contributions to church or by depositing them in the large collection boxes which are located in various local stores including Sainsbury’s in Chiswick and Hammersmith.

With many thanks, and every blessing

Mother Eileen

1st August 2019

Dear Friends

We have come to the end of yet another academic year and the start of the holiday period. I’m always amazed how the school holidays affects the amount of traffic on the Hogarth Roundabout, I’m not complaining, the reduction in volume adds to the sleepy feeling which I so enjoy this time of the year. August also affords me some time to think about the following year beginning in September 2019 through to August 2020. I am quite keen to try and establish a parish diary with as many dates as possible. Please email the office any dates you have in your event diary, church related, Friends related or indeed Chiswick related. It all adds up.

Because it is the holiday period there will not be a weekly E-Bulletin, our next bulletin will be published around the 13 August.

If you are going on holiday or indeed are reading this by the pool, have a wonderful time away.

Simon


Dear Friends

Although many of you will be heading off on holiday soon, perhaps I can
flag up events in September for which you might want to book before you go.

The 11th Chiswick Book Festival runs from Tuesday 10th to Wednesday 18th
September. The Festival is a non-profit-making community event run by St
Michael and All Angels, Bedford Park and raises money for three local charities. (It has raised over £80,000 to date!) There are lots of events happening every day, with a host of well known names, and you can find details at www.chiswickbookfestival.net. I will also leave some brochures at the back of our church. There are two events being held within our parish: A Quiz Night at Fuller’s and a talk by AN Wilson on Prince Albert in the Burlington Pavilion at Chiswick House. From experience I can tell
you that the latter event will get fully booked very quickly! They are also working closely with the Cookbook Festival team, for those who are interested in food and drink! Do look at the extensive programme of events
and discover what might appeal to you.

With every blessing

Mother Eileen