Category Archives: News Bulletin

12th June 2019

Dear Friends

It was a great joy to have Children’s Church remain in our 10.30 Mass all the way through the service last Sunday. We were grateful to them for reading our first lesson and leading our intercessions, celebrating the great Feast of Pentecost. In my homily I invited the congregation to reflect on symbols associated with the day. To follow up on this I reproduce below, with his permission, a sonnet entitled ‘Our Mother-tongue is love’ by that wonderful priest and poet Malcolm Guite. It is taken from his book of poetry ‘Sounding the Seasons’ and reflects on the four themes of fire, air, water and earth. 

Today we feel the wind beneath our wings
Today  the hidden fountain flows and plays
Today the church draws breath at last and sings
As every flame becomes a Tongue of praise.
This is the feast of fire,air, and water
Poured out and breathed and kindled into earth.
The earth herself awakens to her maker
And is translated out of death to birth.
The right words come today in their right order
And every word spells freedom and release
Today the gospel crosses every border
All tongues are loosened by the Prince of Peace
Today the lost are found in His translation.
Whose mother-tongue is Love, in every nation.

With every blessing

Mother Eileen

6th June 2019

Dear Friends

On Tuesday evening Fr Alan and I took part in the service at St Paul’s cathedral to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the ordination of women to the sacred priesthood. It was good to see some members of St Nick’s in the congregation to support us. The service was moving, with several women describing briefly their varying experiences of serving as priests in the London diocese.

At Morning Prayer on Wednesday our New Testament reading included the following verses from the First Letter of John:  ‘How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses to help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action’. This Sunday there will be Christian Aid envelopes in church. If you were not able to make a contribution during Christian Aid week you might like to do so this Sunday.  

With every blessing

Mother Eileen

28th May 2019

Dear Friends

We are fast approaching the season of Pentecost. On Sunday 9 June we celebrate the gift of God’s empowering love. The Holy Spirit transformed this small and beleaguered group of men and women into a powerful, outgoing, and transforming community.  It wasn’t long before this community profoundly challenged the traditional understanding of God lived and preached in their local synagogues and as a consequence they were thrown out, so began a long period of persecution. If you ever find yourselves in Rome, I do recommend a visit to one of the many catacombs just outside the City, in them you get a glimpse of the early Christian communities life and just how difficult a lived faith could be. Christians became a convenient scapegoat for societies ills.

At Morning prayer today I was reading a passage from Deuteronomy 28:1-14 usefully headed “Warnings against Disobedience”  I suppose we could summarise chapter 28 as Obey the Lord your God – or else! So began a relationship with the Law that Paul so fundamentally challenged. For Paul the Law meant servitude, whereas life in Christ meant freedom. Freedom of course, comes with a health warning – to grow through freedom means approaching life with a maturity of self-knowledge which some frankly do not possess. So do we apply a cost benefit analysis to the situation? Is freedom worth the risk? For Paul – Yes! His belief in the transforming power of God’s love trumps all concerns about appropriate outcomes. Over the years, I fear, others have not been so sure. The question for the Church today living in these sometimes difficult times is: Do we trust in the transforming power of God’s love, or do we require ever more measurable outcomes as proof that God is really working his purpose out? Can we be that secure?

Simon

23rd May 2019

Dear Friends

It’s a glorious morning – thank God for some sunshine and heat, I was beginning to think that Spring had been forgotten. It’s also Chelsea this week, so I hope you are all finding inspiration for your gardens and getting into them for a bit of judicious pruning.

We will be working in the church yard doing a bit of pruning and weeding on Saturday 25 May 10am – 1pm, I do hope you can join us. It’s good to give Hounslow a helping hand and it is a sign of our commitment to the local area, it’s good to be able to keep Old Chiswick clean and tidy.

We had a theft from the back of church on Sunday morning, so this is just a reminder to keep your belongings safe and with you at all times. 

As many of you will know Malcolm Smith will be leaving us in June, moving up to the Midlands to be closer to his family. I will be very sad to see Malcolm go. He has been an incredible support. I’m not sure where I, or this church community would be without Malcolm’s involvement. Malcolm was churchwarden for over six years following the untimely death of Francis Kinghorn. A PCC member, a member of the choir and serving team, a reader, intercessor and an amazingly urbane preacher at the 10.30am Parish Mass. It’s safe to say Malcolm has been involved in every aspect of our churches life and we thank him for his commitment, advice, and support. He goes to pastures new with our love and my blessing.

Pax

Simon 


Dear Friends

The June edition of ‘the Chiswick’ glossy magazine has just dropped through the letterbox of our home and I see on page 10 an article entitled ‘The Circle of Life’. It’s all about a ‘new family fun day at Mortlake Crematorium’ on Saturday 29th June, which apparently hopes to get us talking about death. Now the crematorium is not the first place I’d think of taking the family for a fun day out. We’re told that there will be a wide range of coffins and a selection of hearses on display. You can also have a tour and see what goes on ‘behind the scenes’. However, the emphasis will be on informality. ‘Visitors will have an opportunity to talk openly about death and dying, while sampling some delicious cakes at the pop-up Death Cafe’. Bereavement charities will also be on hand for those who might want to discuss the death of a loved one.    

 As part of my training for ordination I spent a whole day at Mortlake Crematorium, learning about how the systems and procedures work, and also observing a number of very different funeral rites. I found it very useful from a professional perspective. I can see some benefit from opening the crematorium to public view, which will be informative and dispel some myths about what goes on there. Sadly, however, there is no mention at all of any input from those who officiate at funerals, representatives of faith communities or those from a secular background, at this fun day out. So do take advantage of this open day if it interests you, but please also remember that your parish clergy are always willing to discuss matters related to death and bereavement with you. We are also very willing to help you prepare a draft your own funeral service, which experience tells us can be very helpful for whoever is dealing with your affairs when the time comes.

With every blessing

Mother Eileen

16th May 2019

Dear Friends

It was good to see a number of you at evensong on Sunday and for the subsequent Friends AGM after. Thanks to all of you who contributed to the pre-meeting hospitality.

The PCC and I are deeply grateful for the support and encouragement which the Friends offer. Without them, frankly much of our work over the past few years would have been difficult if not impossible. As we look to our next phase of development – the consolidation of our crumbling stone work we are all heartened and encouraged by the Friends’ support. 

As we have witnessed these last few weeks church buildings do not just fulfil a functional role in society, but a spiritual one as well, they literally lift our hearts and minds to higher things. A frequent comment I hear from visitors to St Nicholas is just how beautiful and peaceful it is. In our increasingly frenetic world offering a place where people can experience that ‘Peace which passeth all understanding’ is vital.  Church is open every day usually from 9am till about 4pm and we get on average about 20 visitors a day, amazing when you think how tucked away we are. Some will be new to St Nicholas, others returning, whatever their reason they have, through our open door policy, discovered A Treasure by the Thames, may it help to transform their lives.

Simon 


Dear Friends

This week is Christian Aid Week. There will be Gift Aid envelopes and plastic collection buckets in church all week, this coming Sunday, and probably for a while afterwards, to collect donations.

To quote from the Christian Aid website:

Our aims – We stand together. For dignity. For equality. For justice.

Everyone is equal in the sight of God. Yet we live in a world where poverty still persists.

Poverty is an outrage against humanity. It robs people of their dignity and lets injustice thrive. But together we have the power to transform lives. 

For over 70 years, we’ve been standing with the poorest of our neighbours. We work in 37 countries, with people of all faiths and none, to stand up for dignity, equality and justice.

Together we can create a world where everyone can live a full life, free from poverty.

Our voices and actions are stronger together. And with your help, we can make an even bigger difference.

We encourage you to give generously.

With every blessing

Mother Eileen

9th May 2019

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Dear Friends

It was sad to hear of the death of Jean Vanier this week, at the age of 90. He was a Canadian Catholic philosopher, theologian and humanitarian. In 1964 he founded L’Arche, an international organisation of communities for people with development disabilities and those who support them. He wrote some 30 books and over the years was given many awards and honours. I have found the theological books he has written particularly inspiring, especially the one on John’s gospel.

These are just two of the many short quotations from his works which I find very powerful:

‘We are not called by God to do extraordinary things but to do ordinary things with extraordinary love’.

‘When people love each other, they are content with very little. When we have light and joy in our hearts, we don’t need material wealth. The most loving communities are often the poorest.’

With every blessing

Mother Eileen

1st May 2019

Dear Friends
I thought Holy Week and Easter Sunday were magnificent, it was good to see so many of you on Easter Sunday, my thanks to Fr Bill Wilson, our preacher, who true to form preached with theological accuracy and great sensitivity. This week we have received pictures from Namacunde showing the completed church and the visit of the bishops, there seemed to be an awful lot of mitres present at the service. As I preached on Sunday, our support for Namacunde over the years is living proof of the effects of the resurrection. We live the resurrection, we make the resurrection real by our conversations and actions. So we can say with confidence Christ is Risen. He is Risen indeed Alleluia.

It was also good to be given news of the Malnutrition project which we supported alongside the US Diocese of New Hampshire, again we effected change and brought hope, light and yes life.

I hope you enjoy the pictures on the dedication service which we have placed below.

Also – an advanced notice and a date for you diary. An Evening of African Food, Music and Friendship, Celebrating S Simon and S Jude Namacunde – Saturday 6 July 2019, 6 -10PM  It will be a great evening and a chance to see and hear tales of our great adventure.

Fr Simon

Message from John Tasker, ALMA Twinning Officer
 

Valeriano Paulino from St André, Ondjiva has sent me this report and photos from the inauguration and confirmation service at Namacunde yesterday.

“We are well by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Today the church of S Simon and S Jude in Namacunde was inaugurated by the Bishop Dom André Soares, with the presence of the two Bishops of Namibia and on Saturday we had ordinations of the three Deacons. 57 souls were confirmed today and received their first communion. There were 673 souls present in worship. It just remains for me to say, “Ebenézer, so far the Lord has helped us” (1 Sam. 7.12). May God bless us richly and mightily.”

The service he referred to on Saturday was held at St André in Ondjiva and was the first Anglican ordination service held in Cunene province, when three church members from Cunene were ordained deacon.

Dear Friends

We shall be holding our next Community Lunch on Wednesday 8th May in St. Denys Hall, from 12.30 as usual. The theme of the lunch will be springtime. It would be lovely to welcome any newcomers who would like to join us – just contact Anne McBride (07976 584970) or me (07899 928785) to let us know, so that we can prepare enough food. This is a photo of Anne, wearing her Easter bonnet, taken at our last lunch which had an Easter theme.

With every blessing

Mother Eileen  

25th April 2019

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Dear Friends

How wonderful it was to celebrate Easter together at St Nick’s on Sunday. It was good to see the church so full at 10.30 and to enjoy such wonderful singing from the choir. How fortunate we were to be able to worship together without fear. But how shocking it was to learn of the Easter Day massacres in Sri Lanka. Gerald and I had a wonderful holiday in Sri Lanka in January this year and it was particularly sad for us to learn of this devastation in places we had visited so recently. How shocking that Christians should have been attacked on the day they were celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The country’s economy is also very dependent on tourism and so many of their people need our continuing financial support just to maintain their very modest everyday lives.

These events were a timely reminder that many Christians are being persecuted worldwide. The Times newspaper leader column on Monday reminded us that ‘Christians are imprisoned in North Korea, are driven underground by the Chinese authorities, and are victims of blasphemy laws in Pakistan. In India they are attacked by ultra-nationalists. In 73 countries they face peril’.

The Bishop of Leeds reminds us that ‘The Christian faith must not be reduced to merely a private security system – a sort of safe spirituality that tries to keep me going and fulfilled while the world around me can go to hell. We live in times when the need to challenge corrupt-but-dominant world views has never been greater in our lifetime’.  There is much food for thought here.    

On a lighter note, the best Easter joke I have seen to date is that ‘Surrexit means Surrexit’.  

With every blessing

Mother Eileen

18th April 2019

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Dear Friends

Last evening Hilary, Ian and I sang Beethoven’s Mass in D otherwise known as Missa Solemnis at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the South Bank. I have to say it was one of the most difficult pieces I have ever sung. The notes are not too bad, but you have got to count, because it feels like Beethoven changes the time signature every other bar. Still, if you don’t at first succeed… as the saying goes. In the end I was reasonably pleased with my performance, accepting the fact that in the Credo there is a passage I would defy any amateur singer to get right!  For those in the know it’s the Amen fugue after ‘Et vitam venturi saeculi’ -what a nightmare! Still you come to expect that kind of mania from Beethoven, it is why he is so amazing – he wears his humanity on his sleeve. This week we enter into the drama of our Lord’s last days on earth. Jesus’ humanity is there for all to see. He knows what lies ahead – he might wish it otherwise – but he is willing to fulfil his God given mission to proclaim a new way of living, a new way of loving. From this action of self-offering our relationship with God changed for ever. It also changes the way we relate to ourselves and our neighbours. We are all made in the image of God and you know what that means.

I hope you can join us for this week’s liturgies, by doing so you will enter in a deep and profound way the journey of our Lord to life. This journey is also ours if we are willing to participate.

Pax

Simon

P.S
Believing that we are all made in God’s image has consequences for the way we view our fellow human beings. In the E-bulletin you will find a simple app which helps us to decide if those who are washing our cars are trapped in modern day slavery, I hope you will use it.  


Dear Friends

At Mass yesterday evening our gospel reading was the story of Mary
anointing Jesus with precious ointment at Bethany. In my address I talked about the important role that smell plays in our lives. As I approach St Nick’s I am reminded of beer brewing by the smell coming from Fullers brewery. As I enter the church I smell incense, reminding me of all the prayers offered there.

As we were worshipping yesterday at St Nick’s crowds of people were gathered in Paris experiencing the dreadful smell of smoke, coming from the fire at Notre Dame cathedral. Some in the crowds were watching in stunned silence, others begin singing hymns and praying. Thankfully it seems that
nobody was seriously injured, but the event has left people in France and beyond devastated at this terrible event. We join with others around the world in offering our thoughts and prayers for all those affected by this tragic event, especially at the beginning of Holy Week.

With every blessing

Mother Eileen

11th April 2019

Dear Friends

On Thursday mornings we have both morning prayer and the mass so there is the opportunity to hear lots of scripture. I was particularly struck by two readings this morning and both of them were from John’s Gospel. The first, read at morning prayer, was John’s version of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, it is never read on Palm Sunday, always replaced by one of the stories from the Synoptic Gospels. John’s version is much more direct, much more matter of fact, The Pharisees’ insecurity is there for all to see, Jesus is a direct threat, John 12:19 “Look, the world has gone after him.” He has to be disposed of. 

The second reading came again from John’s Gospel but read at mass. In this reading Jesus says to the crowd “Before Abraham was I Am.’  The crowd would have been aware of the quote from Exodus chapter 3 vs 14, God says to Moses ” I Am who I Am”. Jesus is claiming a link, a relationship with God that nobody had ever dared to do before, no wonder they try to stone him. This is the heart of our faith, it is Jesus’ relationship with the Father. So when God seems remote, incomprehensible, remember look to Jesus, for in his life, his love, his witness we meet with God.

This next week is the most important week in the life of the Church. We reenact in our liturgies the saving acts of God in Jesus, please make these liturgies a priority. There are times and dates in this e-bulletin. 

In Christ

Simon


Dear Friends

Next week is Holy Week and on Maundy Thursday morning, as usual, there will be a Sung Eucharist at St Paul’s cathedral. It is a great occasion, when clergy and people from all over the diocese of London gather to renew their vows. The Bishop of London also blesses the holy oils which are then distributed to all the churches for use during the coming year. The service is open to everyone and no tickets are needed. It starts at 10.30, but if you plan to come I suggest you arrive early to get a seat with a good view of the proceedings.

Many of you will know of the Passion plays performed every ten years in the Bavarian village of Oberammergau. This is to fulfil their vow to God, made in 1634, in thanksgiving for deliverance from the plague that was ravaging Europe. The plays now attract people from all over the world who bear witness that seeing it is an overwhelmingly powerful experience. Father Kevin Morris, vicar of St Michael & All Angels, Bedford Park is leading a pilgrimage to Austria and Oberammergau in September next year and a few of us from St Nick’s have already signed up to go. There are a few places still left so if anyone reading this is interested is joining us please let me know as soon as possible and I can give you further details.

With every blessing 

Mother Eileen