1st October 2020
Attempting to communicate with you all during this pandemic has been challenging. I apologise if any of you feel that I have not communicated with you well enough. Getting the balance right has been difficult. We will of course continue with our electronic communication and improve it where we can. I am always available via the phone 020 8995 4717 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to talk. Please be assured that you are all very much in my daily thoughts and prayers. The next few months are traditionally the busiest in our parish, this year of course we need to consider just how we approach our various activities and services in the light of local restrictions and conscious that these may change at any time. Please keep an eye out for future e-bulletins for information.
As a registered charity we are required by law to hold an annual general meeting, or in our case our APCM. This is your opportunity to hear about the work of the parish and its financial health. Also to elect churchwardens and PCC members. Normally we would hold such a meeting in April, this year it’s very different, we are holding our APCM and the meeting to elect our churchwardens on Tuesday 27 October at 7.30pm. This will be online via Zoom, if you would like to attend please email the office for an invitation.
Our new children’s and family mass at 11am seems to be going well, I hope this is something which will grow and develop, again we need to be flexible and responsive, if you haven’t yet, I do encourage you to join us at 11.00am on Sunday – it’s fun.
With my prayers and blessings to you all.
I recently came across this poem by the Irish poet and priest John O’Donohue (1956-2007) which seems to me to offer comfort and hope in our present times.
This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes.
Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light.
If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with beginning.”
On a more upbeat note, I’d like to finish with some wonderful news and congratulations. Father David Adamson, son of Barbara and Clive, was married on Saturday, allowing him and his wife to celebrate with a quota of 30 people present, just before the number was reduced to 15! Further congratulations are in order as the Bishop of Southwark has just awarded Father David and six other individuals a Lancelot Andrewes medal at his Festal Evensong in Southwark Cathedral. These medals were awarded by the Bishop to those on the front line and those he has worked closely with during the Pandemic extending God’s love and the ministry of the Church to the people of South London and East Surrey.
With every blessing
24th September 2020
My two weeks holiday in Scotland was a wonderful opportunity for rest and relaxation. Our first week was spent in a cottage on the peninsula, a few miles North of Stranraer at Corsewall Point, as you would expect it was wild and rugged, with amazing views of Elsa Craig and the Island of Arran. The second week was spent on a 3,500 acre estate South West of Dumfries, the countryside could not have been more of a contrast. Utterly breathtaking and completely dark so the night skies were alive with stars. I don’t think I have ever seen the Milky Way so clearly. What they both had in common was limited, or in respect of the second week, no electronic connectivity. We are so used to carrying our iphones and smart devices with us enjoying the capacity they offer, that it’s sometimes difficult to turn them off. On this holiday there was no option – there wasn’t a signal, a bit scary at first, then I have to say quite liberating. It’s good sometimes to be able to switch the phones off and enjoy the peace, especially welcome at the moment.
Now however, it’s back to work.
With additional measures introduced this week, and probably more on the way, as a church we are responding as quickly and as flexibly as possible. Please note the new Q codes in church which are used in conjunction with the new NHS App out today will help with contact tracing.
I think our Covid motto has been Slowly and Steadily, this motto remains. Our new 11am family service, which began on Sunday, was a great success, we hope we can continue to develop this. We will be introducing limited music into our 9.30am service in the next couple of weeks. I was hoping to resume the 8am mass, which is currently online, physically, in the next couple of weeks. I’m afraid with the situation at present that is not at all possible.
I am hoping to resume my weekly presence online in October.
In order to maintain our current level of services and keep the church open we need some more volunteers to help sanitize the church between services and indeed during the week. If anybody would like to volunteer to greet people at either the 9.30am or 11am services on Sunday please talk to me or the wardens.
I have a good idea what we will be able to offer at Christmas and again this will be limited and different, but will require voluntary help and support, please watch this space.
With my prayers and best wishes.
I know that many of you enjoy visiting Chiswick House and Grounds. The House is closed during the Covid-19 pandemic, of course, but the grounds have been kept open and beautifully cared for. They are a wonderful resource for us to have in our parish. During the lockdown I spent many happy hours walking round the grounds and observing how the plants had grown and changed from day to day, watching the ducks and geese on the lake, and much more besides.
I’ve just been reading a book called ‘The Way under our Feet; A Spirituality of Walking’ by Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich, in which he writes as follows:
‘As we read creation with all our senses and let it resonate through our whole being, we may expect to be changed. …Embodied attentiveness brings a renewed sense of awe into our lives. Awe makes us value things for what they are.’
For me this describes the great benefits of spending time in Chiswick House Grounds. So I just wanted to flag up that there will be an auction, organised by our own Adrian Biddell of Chiswick Auctions, this Saturday to raise funds for Chiswick House, which has lost much income during the lockdown.
With every blessing
15th September 2020
As I hope you will have seen from our recent St Nick’s email bulletins, we are beginning a new service – a Family Mass – at our church specifically for children and young people, although of course all are welcome to join in. This is a very exciting development! Whilst children are always welcome at all our services, the clergy are very keen to offer an act of worship that will be particularly appropriate for them. The Children’s Mass will take place every Sunday at 11am, beginning from this Sunday 20th September. It will offer a simpler form of the liturgy and appropriate reflections, games etc. We are very fortunate to be supported in these services by Mother Sarah Lenton who is very experienced in working with children and has published several books on the subject. She will be leading worship twice a month, with our own clergy leading on other Sundays.
However, in order to offer this service we need your support please. During the Covid-19 times our churchwardens Susan and Chris have developed a very detailed programme of welcoming and church cleaning, carried out by a small and very dedicated team of volunteers, in order to ensure that all our visitors are kept as safe as possible. Now that we are adding this extra service they will require a number of additional volunteers as the church will need to be cleaned between the 9.30 and 11am services and be prepared for visitors after the Family Mass. We also need volunteers to welcome people to our service and guide them to appropriate seating. Please can I ask you to consider whether you can support them in this endeavour. If your children are old enough to sit by themselves for a short time, or if both parents are able to accompany them, I would urge you to offer your services to help prepare for the Family Mass and to help clean afterwards. And if you don’t have children, your offers of help will be equally welcomed!
Please remember that all children aged over 11 will be required to wear masks: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own) and we shall, of course, be required to maintain our current policy of social distancing.
Please can I also flag up the fact that we also need more volunteers to join our group of sidespeople for the 9.30 Mass. Chris and Susan have been organising a small group of regulars but the load needs to be shared more equally and many hands make light(er) work! If you are able to help at either of these services please contact the parish office as soon as possible. If people are generous in their offers this task will not be too onerous!
Some of you will no doubt already have heard about Chiswick In Pictures. It is an exhibition of the work of 28 professional artists who live locally, organised by The Chiswick Calendar. The art encompasses a range of styles, including watercolour, oil paintings, photography and mixed media, but it is all inspired by our local environment of west London. The exhibition, which runs until Saturday 7 November, is in the atrium of the Clayton hotel, which is large and spacious and open 24/7, so you can go and see the work and maintain social distancing. You can see all the art work on The Chiswick Calendar website (www.thechiswickcalendar.co.uk). One of the portraits is of Fr Simon and his dogs, a photo taken by Frank Noon which can be seen here. It is on sale for £120, mounted and framed. If anyone would like to purchase it please contact email@example.com. First come, first served!
With every blessing