Category Archives: Uncategorized

3rd July 2019

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Dear Friends

It was wonderful to welcome Francis Ames-Lewis as a guest at last Sundays ‘In Conversation’ evensong. For those of us who were able to attend the evening it was a truly memorable occasion. A huge thank you to Francis for agreeing to participate.

I’m afraid Mother Eileen and I will not be around in the parish this week and are bidden to attend an Area Clergy Conference at the Hayes Conference Centre, in Swanwick, Derbyshire. The conference begins later today and ends on Friday. We should be home for 5pm – London traffic permitting. This is something like the fifth conference I have had the pleasure of attending, always at Swanwick. I remember my first conference, it was in 1988 and our key note speaker was the brilliant German theologian Jurgen Moltmann. He began his first lecture by explaining that this was the second time he had had the pleasure of staying at Swanwick. The first time was when he was a prisoner of war!  I rest my case.

Simon

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

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  

3rd April 2019

Dear Friends

It was good to have Lord Malloch-Brown as our guest in conversation on Sunday. Good conversation is vital for our mutual flourishing. We might not all agree, but to be able to sit down with one another is important. I hope our politicians can, through conversation, negotiate this impasse we have reached as a nation. It is obvious that we need a mechanism to hear each other, as politicians, individuals and as a nation – there are a lot of very entrenched views out there and some very angry people. Sitting down together with a cup of tea, as our Archbishops have suggested, is moving in the right direction, however personally I think we will need something a bit more formal, a truth and reconciliation commission might sound a bit dramatic, but we will certainly need a mechanism for reconciliation once this is all over. 

Reconciliation in a Christian context is not just about saying sorry, it is much more than that. It is applying the brakes, stopping, considering and sometimes in response to our thoughtful consideration changing direction. Hospitality in a Christian context is recognising the inherent value in each individual. We are called to value people not because of who they are, where they have been or what they do, but simply because they are…made in the image of God and God loves that which he has created. You don’t need to like everybody you meet on life’s journey, but you must recognise that in God’s eyes they do have value.

I’m sure the Church will have a part to play in facilitating our national conversation, when it comes. In the meantime let us pray for ourselves, our nation and those we struggle, or find it impossible to agree with.

Simon


Dear Friends

A few Sundays ago Fr Simon drew our attention to a talk entitled ‘Jesus Christ: The Unanswered Questions’ being given at St Paul’s Cathedral by Rowan Williams. This is one of the many excellent talks organised by St Paul’s and open, free of charge, to anyone who wishes to attend. It is not always easy to give up a whole evening to travel there and listen to these speakers so the cathedral usually uploads onto its website a video of the event within a few days of its taking place.  The talk by Rowan Williams is now available on the cathedral’s website. I commend it to you and you can watch it by following the following link:  

With every blessing

Mother Eileen

27th March 2019

Dear Friends

We are fast approaching Holy Week and Easter, here are a few reminders of services and events which are on the horizon.

DON’T FORGET THE CLOCKS GO FORWARD ON SATURDAY EVENING

The children have been working hard rehearsing their parts for this Sunday’s Mothering Sunday mass at 10.30am. It’s going to be a great occasion and I do hope you will be able to attend to offer your support.

In the evening of Sunday 31st Lord Mark Malloch-Brown KCMG PC will be with me in conversation. Lord Malloch-Brown’s career has been in international relations specifically work at the United Nations. I’m sure it is going to be a fascinating evening, especially when you consider the times we are living in.

As you will see in this bulletin we have a list of times and dates for our Holy Week services. Please do try to make them a priority, our worship and attendance during Holy Week enables us to enter as fully as possible into the mystery of the faith we profess. If you are attending the meal on Maundy Thursday at 8pm please bring along a salad, hot food will be provided.

Our preacher for Holy Week and Easter Day is Fr Bill Wilson. Bill is the retired Vicar of St James Sussex Gardens and an excellent preacher.

Our Annual Parochial meeting will be on Sunday 28 April after the parish mass, this is where we vote for our Churchwardens and PCC members and also hear something of the life of St Nicholas. We will also approve our new electoral roll. The electoral roll is the list of people who are connected to St Nicholas. If you haven’t already done so, please fill in an electoral roll form, or let the office know of your desire to join the roll. 

Please also make a date in your diary for our amazing concert of piano and voice on Friday 26 April. Tickets are selling fast.

Simon


Dear Friends

This week saw the fourth and final week of our Mindfulness course run by Fr Fabrizio Pesce from St Peter’s, Acton Green church. Our course has been well attended and much appreciated by participants. Fr Fabrizio will be running an eight week, more in-depth, follow on course starting in May at St Peter’s and is encouraging us to join. However, if a sufficient number of people sign up, he is willing to run this course for us separately at St Nick’s. Please let me know if you would be interested in attending so that we can get an idea of numbers.

With every blessing

Mother Eileen