Category Archives: Uncategorized

6th June 2018

Dear Friends

Today I have been preparing to officiate at a local funeral at Mortlake crematorium, a funeral for a lady who had lived a good life and died at the ripe old age of 86. I have also been reflecting on a week in which grief and death have been so much in the news.  Recalling the first anniversary of the unspeakable atrocities at Borough Market. Being reminded of the horrific loss of lives at Grenfell Tower. So when I received the following message in my email today from Jean Vanier, founder of l’Arche Community for people with disabilities, it seemed very poignant to me and has given me much food for reflection. He writes as follows:

Every human being has his or her secret and mystery. Some lives are long, others short. Some people seem to live through stages of growth, others do not. But I believe that every person arrives at true maturity at the moment of death. It is very easy to see the purpose of some people’s lives; with others it is more difficult. But I believe that every person’s life is important, whatever their limitations, poverty or gifts. There is a meaning to every life, even if we cannot see it. I believe that each person, in his or her unique beauty and worth, lives out a sacred story. For me a person exists from the moment of conception. He or she exists even if…he or she has a profound handicap.

With every blessing

Mother Eileen

31st May 2018

Dear Friends
As Fr Alan reminded us last Sunday, Trinity Sunday, by coming to us as the Son, revealing to us the Father, and sending to us the Spirit, Jesus revealed the deepest mystery; that God is not distant and alone, but is three in one, a communion of love who comes to make His home with us. I would like to share with you this well-known icon, a representation of the Trinity, with which some of you might already be familiar.It was painted around 1410 by Andrei Rublev, one of the best known medieval Russian Orthodox icon painters. It depicts the three angels who visited Abraham at the Oak of Mamre (Genesis 18:1-15) but is often interpreted as an Old Testament icon of the Trinity. It’s an image is full of symbolism – designed to take the viewer into the Mystery of the Trinity I am happy to provide further explanation if you would like it – just ask me please!

Several people have told me they like the poems I share, so today I reproduce below a poem on the Trinity by Malcolm Guite, from his collection entitled ‘Sounding the Seasons’, published by Canterbury Press.

In the Beginning, not in time or space,
But in the quick before both space and time,
In Life, in Love, in co-inherent Grace,
In three in one and one in three, in rhyme,
In music, in the whole creation story,
In His own image, His imagination,
The Triune Poet makes us for His glory,
And makes us each the other’s inspiration.
He calls us out of darkness, chaos, chance,
To improvise a music of our own,
To sing the chord that calls us to the dance,
Three notes resounding from a single tone,
To sing the End in whom we all begin;
Our God beyond, beside us and within.

With every blessing
Mother Eileen

23rd May 2018

Dear Friends

What an amazing weekend. A huge thank you to everybody who was involved. I thought Friday evening set the tone for the whole weekend, excellent food and expertly mixed cocktails. The Jazz quartet set just the right mood of celebration and the flowers were amazing. Saturday was a triumph, it was so good to see so many people arrive to watch the wedding on our TV, there was such a community spirit, it was a joyful occasion. Our evening organ recital was very well received. Jane Parker-Smith playing was superb and the organ was magnificent. Sunday morning mass was a wonderful occasion, Hyden’s St Nicholas Mass was beautifully sung and it was good to see so many people in church. The crowds continued throughout the day. Chiswick Gospel Choir brought a great energy to the afternoons proceedings with the powerful gospel songs and it all ended with our Songs of Praise at 6 pm. There were some rousing hymns and deeply moving explanations, we will certainly be singing ‘Be Still for the presence of the Lord’ again.

I know it was incredibly hard work, it took a lot of organisation, time and skill, but we did it, we achieved something very significant. Thank you all.

Simon

St Nicks in Bloom Photos – May 2018

 

   

Photos below from Alex Smith

  

16th May 2018

Dear Friends

I believe in one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. We say these words every Sunday, yet what are we assenting to? To say ‘I believe in the Church’ is to affirm our belief in community as the means of mediating God’s goodness, his grace. Bishop Sarah, our new Bishop of London, talks of the importance of connectivity, as a means of communicating God’s loving purpose. To recognise that we belong is vital. It is only in community and through the connections we make that we grow into the full stature of the children of God, we do so through encounter and conversation – good and bad. It’s not so much ‘I think, therefore I am’, but ‘I belong therefore I am.’ There is a humility required for a mature belonging, we are not the centre of the universe and so our decisions and relationships must reflect this fact. To belong is to recognise the other, the stranger in our midst. It is to recognise our responsibility for making the whole good. We all have something to contribute and we all have a responsibility to uphold the whole. Perhaps the Church has something to teach society.

Please come along to our flower and music festival weekend. We have amazing floral creations designed by our very own church flower team. Great music, wonderful food and, if it floats your boat, you can watch the Royal Wedding in the splendour of St Nicholas Church. It’s going to be an amazing weekend. See you there!

Simon


Dear Friends

It was a great privilege and joy to be in St Paul’s cathedral last Saturday for the historic occasion of the Installation of Bishop Sarah, the first female Bishop of London. Not surprisingly, the cathedral was packed – there were bishops and clergy from all over the country, and leaders of a range of faiths and traditions. The service was conducted with great dignity by Dean Ison, the intercessions were led by a group of young people from across the diocese, and the music and singing were wonderful. I quote below a couple of brief extracts from Bishop Sarah’s sermon:

At my consecration as a bishop on the feast of Mary Magdalene, the Bishop of Stepney, Bishop Adrian, preached and encouraged both Bishop Rachel and me to socialize and subvert. He reminded us then that Jesus chooses outsiders not so much as to disturb the comfortable, but to disturb the conventional, and that it is through the disturbance of people like Mary Magdalene that we learn to see the world and God afresh. I recognize that because of who I am, not just because of my gender, my appointment holds the opportunity to see the world, London, God and His church differently….

At the heart of Christianity is a relationship. Not a project or a structure or a theological debate but a relationship, a being known by name. As Mary stood weeping at the tomb it was only when Jesus called her by name ’Mary’ that she recognized him…..  And how should we establish such relationships? With compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience; bearing with one another, forgiving one another and above all clothed with love which binds everything together in unity. This is not about being nice or ‘soft’, it isn’t about avoiding conflict and it will require sacrifice. To act with compassion requires us to be with and alongside people so we can be aware of their need, and act, to challenge injustice and inequality.

You can read the whole of her sermon by following this link:

https://www.london.anglican.org/articles/sermon-by-bishop-sarah-at-her-installation-in-st-pauls-cathedral/

Bishop Sarah has been stressing the importance of relationships in many of her addresses to date. It is a good reminder for us at St Nick’s that this coming weekend offers us a tremendous opportunity to develop and enrich our relationships with one another and with all those who will, hopefully, come through our doors to enjoy our Flower and Music Festival. I look forward to seeing you there!

With every blessing

Mother Eileen

9th May 2018

Dear Friends

We are approaching an incredibly busy period in the life of this parish. On Saturday Utsav Lal, a young Steinway artist, will be giving a free concert in Church at 7.30 pm. It should be an amazing fusion of classical and Indian classical music. Ustav will be accompanied on the Tabla by Saleel Tambe a tabla maestro. Then it’s full throttle towards our weekend of flowers and music. Can we all keep a presence on social media, if that’s not your scene please tell as many people as you can. If you have not bought tickets for the private view of flowers on Friday evening, or our inaugural organ recital on Saturday please see Hayley in church on Sunday or send an email to office@stnicholaschiswick.org. Obviously you can purchase tickets on the night, but it would be really useful, for catering purposes, to know roughly how many people will be attending these events.

Although we will be celebrating Ascension Day on Sunday, from tomorrow evening I will be in church praying compline. It is a short service lasting no more than 15 minutes and we will being at 7pm. If you can’t join me in church please pray at home for the success of this festival and for the growth of the church.

blessings

Simon


Dear Friends

I hope you have been able to enjoy the wonderful weather we have had this week, although I know for some the temperature has been a little too hot! It was a great pleasure for me to sit in our garden and admire the plants which looked so fresh, and displayed such a wide variety of bright colours. I was reminded of a poem entitled ‘Pied Beauty’ by the English Victorian poet and Jesuit priest Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844 – 1889) which I have printed below. His manipulation of prosody established him as an innovative writer of verse. I was encouraged to recite this poem in church as part of my training for ordination –  it’s great way to learn to enunciate all those consonants! I hope you enjoy reading it.

Glory be to God for dappled things​ –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise Him.

​With every blessing
Mother Eileen​

2nd May 2018

Dear All

As we get closer to our Flower and Music Festival, I just want to encourage you to get the message out there. If you can post any flyers through doors that would be appreciated, they are at the back of church, just let us know which streets you are covering. As I mentioned last week, please please, pray for the success of this Festival and give thanks for all those who are working so hard to make this event a success. I will be in church on Monday 14 May, 15 May, 17 May at 7pm to pray for this event, please join me.

Simon


Dear Friends

On Wednesday of this week clergy in our deanery were invited to a breakfast meeting with our new Bishop Sarah of London.

After saying Morning Prayer together, Bishop Sarah addressed us and then answered questions, speaking powerfully and fluently, and covering a number of very topical issues. In brief, she is aware that her appointment took most people by surprise and she feels she has been chosen by God for her pastoral skills. Bishop Sarah encouraged us to reflect on how we model the Christian life within our local communities in relevant ways, where there is generally little understanding of Christianity. She also asked us to encourage all members of our congregations to consider what they are called to do, and to reflect on how they might deepen their own spiritual lives. As well as enjoying a delicious breakfast, we have been given much food for thought!

With every blessing

Mother Eileen

24th April 2018

Dear Friends

Thy Kingdom Come 

I thought I would commend this national initiative to you all, as the preface tells us…

“Thy Kingdom Come is a global prayer movement, which invites Christians around the world to pray between Ascension and Pentecost for more people to come to know Jesus Christ. What started out as an invitation from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York in 2016 to the Church of England has grown into an international and ecumenical call to prayer.”

Prayer is at the heart of our relationship with God and the worship of his Church. Obviously prayer is about developing a proper and fruitful relationship with God our creator, offered to him through his Son Jesus. We pray for many things. Can I commend this initiative to you. All you need is a few minutes each day. I think everything we do as a Church community must be steeped in prayer; our life, our work, our witness, offered to God and offered in thanksgiving. Can I suggest you use this time between Ascension Day 10 May – Pentecost Sunday 20 May, to pray for the Church, but also to pray that God will bless our Flower and Music Festival. This is one of the most involved and complicated events we have ever undertaken at St Nicholas.

Please pray for all those who behind the scenes are working incredibly hard for the success of this event. For all those..

Organising the event.
Arranging flowers
Arranging publicity
Making music
Preparing food
For our stewards and hospitality team and for many others.

Please pray that many people will hear about us and visit us, please pray that God will bless our endeavours in his name.

Just a few minutes of your time each day.

Every blessing

Simon


Dear Friends

I went to visit a parishioner in St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington last week and was somewhat taken aback to be greeted by TV cameras and lots of people on the pavement waving Union Jacks. I soon realised that they were already camped out there awaiting news of the new royal baby!  Thankfully the child has now been delivered safely, the crowds can go home, and patients who have been unable to use the hospital car park, which had been temporarily closed, can gain access again. The Church of England has offered the following prayer:

Heavenly Father, we give thanks for the birth of a new son to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge; surround him with your blessing that he may know your love, be protected from evil, and know your goodness all his days. May God give wisdom, patience and faith to his parents; and by their example reveal the love and truth that are in Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday of this week marks the anniversary of the death in 624 of St Mellitus, first Bishop of London in the Saxon period, and third Archbishop of Canterbury.
During his tenure he was alleged to have miraculously saved the cathedral, and much of the town of Canterbury, from a fire. After his death in 624, Mellitus was revered as a saint. His name lives on now through the work of the flourishing St Mellitus College which offers a range of courses in theology, ministry and mission, and where many ordinands in this diocese are now trained.

With every blessing

Mother Eileen

18th April 2018

Dear Friends

Our flower and music festival is rapidly approaching. It’s going to be an amazing weekend of music and flowers. I do hope you have the dates in your diary 18-20 May. I hope to have some flyers and posters available on Sunday and it would be brilliant if you could pick some up and deliver them around the parish. If you use social media, Facebook Twitter, etc.  can you get the message out there or re-tweet any information on the parish Twitter page. We are after getting as much information out to people as possible. Talk to Hayley in the office if you need any information, or clarification. Don’t forget Songs of Praise at 6pm on Sunday 20 May which will end our festival. If you have a favourite hymn you would like to sing please email me or fill a form in at the back of church. Give me the hymn title and why it’s so important to you. We will sing about 8 hymns.

Every blessing

Simon


Dear Friends

Some of you might have seen on TV, or read in the newspapers, the very powerful and moving speech in the House of Commons by Luciana Berger, MP for Liverpool Wavertree, regarding anti-Semitism. She quoted some words from the former Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, which are so pertinent for us today with regard to a number of areas of difference within our society:
“An assault upon Jews is an assault upon difference. A world that has no room for difference has no room for humanity itself.”
Useful words for us all to reflect on.

With every blessing

Mother Eileen

12th April 2018

Dear Friends

Now Holy Week and Easter Sunday are behind us we look forward to the next few exciting weeks. Plans for the flower and music festival are well advanced, we need people to help in church and to spread the word. Please do all you can to support us. There are lists to sign at the back of church, for stewards and helpers.

Every year we hold our Annual Church Parochial Meeting, this is basically our church AGM. At this meeting we will elect our new church wardens and PCC members, hear news of our financial position and of all our church activities – it is a joy to realise just what we do. Our APCM will be held on Sunday 29 April at 12 noon after mass.

As you know St Nicholas supports the parish of St Simon and Jude, Namacunde, Angola. Recent news from Fr Elias is good and it looks like the church building project which we are supporting will be complete later this year. To celebrate the completion of the new church building a group from St Nicholas will be travelling to Angola via Namibia 29 January – 8 February 2019. If you are interested in joining us on this exciting adventure I have provided a link to our digital itinerary, which you can download. If you would like to join us, please send me an email and complete the application form at the end of the itinerary.

The link to your digital itinerary is:
http://wetu.com/Itinerary/Landing/8CEB99CD-6F2C-4859-B053-2AD952DAC365

With my prayers

Simon


Dear Friends

The appalling results of conflict and warfare have been much on my mind this week.

On Tuesday morning I was pleased to be invited to view the work of our church archivists on their World War 1 project.  To date more than 700 soldiers from our parish have been researched, so many of whom gave their lives in the service of our country. Ann Rix gave us a fascinating talk, including explaining a map the archivists have produced, showing the locations where many of them lived. Our Member of Parliament, Ruth Cadbury, attended and spent considerable time listening to the stories of individual soldiers and how their lives had been researched.

Throughout this week further details have been emerging of the horrific gas attack in Syria, and each news bulletin tells us of the increasing threats and tensions between the nations of our world. I have been praying some of the prayers used on Remembrance Sunday which seem very appropriate at this time:

We pray for all who suffer as a result of conflict,
and ask that God may give them peace:
for the service men and women
who have died in the violence of war,
each one remembered by and known to God;
For civilian women, children and men
whose lives have been disfigured by war or terror
and all who have risked their own lives caring for them,
calling to mind in penitence
the anger and hatreds of humanity;
For peacemakers and peacekeepers,
who seek to keep this world secure and free;
For all who bear the burden and privilege of leadership,
political, military and religious;
asking for gifts of wisdom and resolve
in the search for reconciliation and peace.
May God give peace. Amen

With every blessing

Mother Eileen