Golders Green Parish Church – Newsletter
07 July 2021
Stained glass window by Tom Denny: Hereford Cathedral dedicated to Thomas Traherne,
priest, mystic, poet, lover of creation
Greetings to Everyone
Hoping all is well. It is good to see you on Sunday in person and by zoom and to hear news of how well you are doing. In spite of the fact, we are supposed to be opening up more on 19th July, advice about the wisdom of doing so is conflicted. The variant numbers are still climbing, and we have to take responsibility for our well-being and make sure we keep safe, so do be cautious and take care.
How good to have the Revd Nigel T with us on Sunday. We thank him for being with us and for his sermon which is printed below. Nigel is coming again to visit us which is very welcoming.
Please note that HAB’s is appealing for groceries and other supplies. They are particularly in need of long-life milk.
None of us can fail to have noticed that the climate news from across the world has been very alarming; flash floods in Japan, extreme heat in Western Canada, causing fires and deaths, the melting of icebergs, endangering the habitats of polar bears and other precious creatures, have all been prominent in the news. In fact, it is not really news in the sense that we didn’t know what was happening to the world’s climate; it has been happening for a long time. We have been warned by many organisations and groups working to save the planet, most publically by David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg. We cannot say we didn’t know, but until it affects us directly there is not the urgency there should be. Much of this unpredictable weather has been taking place for a long time in so many other countries in Africa and Asia upsetting the seasons, crop growth, people’s livelihoods. They have, up until now, been suffering a great deal in ways that we have not. But there are many working together to warn and challenge governments across the world; often ordinary people, doing ordinary jobs, caring for their families but getting together to protest about our continuing profligate use of fossil fuels which is causing so much of the rise in temperature.
In this country we have Extinction Rebellion (XR) who are part of a Global environmental movement who undertake activities, protests, and events to challenge the government and alert us about what is happening and will happen if we don’t act now. A few newsletters ago I included in full an amazing speech by the Revd Helen B, a vicar in Chaldon, the Diocese of Southwark, that she made in court after she was arrested on a climate protest for impeding the traffic. Her speech was prophetic as well as courageous; The Judge was impressed, and it got widespread media coverage. Helen is helping to organise with others a walk called, “People’s Walk for the Planet”. This is taking place from September going across the country encouraging people to join them en-route, to highlight, yet again, the urgency of the climate issue. Perhaps some of us might feel inclined to join up with them for a short while when they are in London. Helen is going to write something special for our newsletter so that we know more about the itinerary. Her motivation, as ours as Christians, is based on the gift, beauty, and wonder of creation that God made and “saw it was good”. God charged us to care for the earth for the sake of all people; not just a few who make a lot of money from fuels and goods exploited for their profit and wealth – for which we are all paying for now. This is something none of us can ignore.
Soon the interviews for our new incumbent will be taking place, in church this time. We continue praying for an appointment to be made and think of Tony, Pam, Area Dean Julie, Archdeacon John, and Bishop Rob in the work they are undertaking to select the right candidate.
Please join us on Wednesday 7th July at 7.30pm for a time when we can get together, talk, share our news and pray. It will be so good to see you.
Love and good wishes – Sally
This week’s edition includes:
Update from Tony;
Sermon from Revd Nigel T;
Appeal from Homeless Action Barnet:
Climate Change: Caring for Creation;
How we are;
Prayers, hymns, and broadcasts;
Update from Tony
As you will all have heard the Government is looking to remove most restrictions in a few weeks’ time, with the decision being taken next Monday. The suggestions are that if indoors you will be able to not wear a mask. I would hope that we can think through this together this evening. As well as the relaxation on masks we will be able to sing again. This has implications both ways. So, we have some stuff to discuss. To prepare for it I would encourage us all to revisit Romans 14 and 15, Philippians 2: 1 - 11 and 1 Corinthians 13.
Could I reiterate as Sally has done that, we need your prayers for the interviews this coming week, on 15th July. And while I am thinking about it, we should ask for your prayers for our toddler group and how it is to be staffed.
Could I encourage you all to gather on Wednesday evening.
Please see the zoom link below which is for the Wednesday evening prayer group, and also the link for Sunday.
Church Wardens is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
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YouTube - Worship Video of the week:
Sermon from Revd Nigel T
TRINITY 5: FACING DISCOURAGEMENT
To show the discouragement that Jesus faced by being rejected, his amazement at their response, his commitment to the ministry, and his sending out others to continue his work.
When was the last time you faced discouragement? It might be today! It is an experience that affects everyone. I remember hearing one of the finest preachers and writers of the last century, John Stott, from All Souls Langham Place, who travelled the world and wrote books that were translated into scores of languages who once said his greatest problem in ministry was discouragement. Now the discouragement I am talking about is not the same as when your football team loses a match, but when your very identity is scorned, or cancelled, or dismissed by others.
This is what happened to Jesus in our gospel reading from Mark 6. After leaving the place where he had just raised Jairus’ daughter, so you can imagine the high the disciples are on, we read that he left there and went to his home town. Mark doesn’t even mention it by name – Nazareth! And on the Sabbath, he goes into the synagogue to teach, and probably as the visiting rabbi, is permitted to give the teaching. And many who heard him were amazed.
Jesus amazes lots of people, but for different reasons. They begin to ask where this man got these things, and what wisdom he has been given. Then they go on to ask what are these remarkable miracles? But no sooner have they asked those questions – of where and what, they begin to dismiss him. They define him by his profession – isn’t he the carpenter, and by his parentage – isn’t this Mary’s son, without a reference to Joseph, which might be slight dig at the questions over Jesus’ parentage, and even by his siblings – brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. Aren’t his sisters here with us? And they took offence at him. The word for offence is “scandalized.” They began asking where and what, not who or how, which might have led to the right answers about his true identity, and they ended up disbelieving. You see, their amazement did not lead them to worship but to disbelief. And Jesus responds by saying that a prophet is not without honour, except in his hometown, and he could not do any miracles there except lay his hands on a few people and heal them. And this time the amazement is Jesus’s – they were amazed at him, but now he is amazed at their lack of faith. This is not the same as doubt. Doubt is not the opposite of faith; doubt is, as someone has said, faith in two minds. Disbelief is the opposite of faith, and the residents of Nazareth have it in spades.
Jesus has been compartmentalized by those he grew up with in Nazareth; they have said to themselves – we know Jesus, we remember when he as a boy; there is nothing special about him; they are amazed – but it doesn’t lead them deeper. In fact, amazement can lead to consumerism; when we are amazed by something we want to be entertained by it even more. Jesus won’t let us get away with that.
But can you imagine how Jesus might have been feeling if he were us? I would be wanting to prove myself, fierce with anger, and maybe even wanting to call down fire from heaven in judgement. Not Jesus: he is gracious and patient and moves on to other villages. He must have felt the pang of discouragement, but he didn’t let it get to him. And in response to his rejection, he multiplies his ministry by calling the twelve disciples to him and sends them out on mission. Instead of one mission journey he begins six more as he sends them out two by two.
The reality of discouragement is followed by the refocusing on the mission. Jesus’ calling was not to pander to everyone’s whims, or to try and prove himself – he didn’t need to prove himself to his heavenly Father – he has to fulfil what the Father was calling him to. And so, the mission goes forward, not just through him, but now through his disciples.
Do you realise that every day we get up in the morning we are the fulfilment of Jesus plans- to extend his kingdom? That should fill us with a sense of awe and privilege, but also a sense of expectation and responsibility. When you get up to go and do what you do Monday to Friday are you asking Jesus to open your eyes to the opportunities to serve him, he will be giving you – tomorrow, Tuesday, Wednesday etc, in the home, in school, at work, in your street or neighbourhood? Every day is an adventure in mission with Jesus. And if we are not asking him about our mission then we have missed something somewhere!
What were Jesus’ principles for mission?
Go together: two by two. Why, for support, prayer, perspective? When one is speaking the other can be praying and listening to what God is saying. How does that apply to your frontline? You probably don’t have someone with you, but can you enlist prayer backup from your small group? To reflect with others what is happening on your frontline? But is there another Christian in your frontline? Can you meet to pray during a lunchbreak, or for your street, if they live in the same street as you? Ministry was never intended to be alone. Who are you talking with about your frontline?
Go simply, trusting God. Take nothing for the journey except a staff and sandals. No bread, no bag, no money in your belts. The principle is to trust that God will have gone before and will provide what is needed. If we apply that to our frontlines, we don’t need to be crammed with all the right answers to give people; we don’t need to be self-sufficient; we can trust that God might bring us to meet those who will be open. I am reminded today of my inspirational Training Incumbent when I was a curate 34 years ago, David Prior. I mention him because he died this last week. He was vicar of St. Michael’s Chester Square, and I remember him taking a team on mission to some churches in Canada. They were terrified, as they had never done anything like it before; but he got them to tell their stories. And as they told their stories of how they had met God, God used them, and they were amazed! You are on a mission from God – tomorrow, and God can use your story to touch the lives of others.
Stay where you get a welcome. Don’t look round for a better offer; the person who is most open to the gospel/Christian faith is the person you should take time with. Is there someone who has expressed an interest in Christian things, but whom you have avoided or forgotten? Go back to them, and see what God is doing.
Preach repentance. The massage of the gospel is not that Jesus will help you through life; it is that Jesus is Lord, and one day will judge all of life when we stand before him on Judgement Day. Repentance is about a change of worldview; life does not revolve around me, number one, but it revolves around the God-Man who died on the cross and who brings to judgement all individuals, but also rulers, philosophies, worldviews that deny him or denigrate him or dismiss him. Repentance is about saying I have got life wrong, and I need to let Jesus be on the throne.
And as we do that maybe we will be surprised that Jesus brings healing to those we pray for or sets free those who bow the knee before him!
Will we be amazed at Jesus, or will Jesus be amazed at our lack of faith? Will we succumb to discouragement, and get down by the way Jesus is rejected, as he was in Nazareth, or will we focus on our calling, which hasn’t changed but is still the great commission, to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, baptising them and teaching them to obey everything Jesus has commanded us, and will we be even clearer on the mission Christ has called you to, here in Golders Green?
Lord Jesus Christ, Saviour of the World, we thank you that you did not let discouragement get the better of you but multiplied your ministry by sending out the disciples two by two. Help us see our mission clearly each day, to bring something of your truth and your kingdom into the lives of those around us on our frontlines. Inspire us, we pray, and open our eyes to the surprising people and places where you are working so we too can praise you, to the glory of God the Father. Amen
Reminder: Wednesday Evening – Together for Chat and Prayers
Please join us on Wednesday evening 7th July at 7.30pm. This time as it is the first Wednesday in the month we will be coming together for more social chat, to exchange news as well as pray.
The link is in Tony’s update. Looking forward to seeing you.
Climate Change: Caring for Creation
Thomas Traherne -Hereford Cathedral
“You are as prone to Love as the sun is to shine”
Thomas Traherne (1636-1674) born in Hereford, was an English poet, an Anglican cleric, theologian, and religious writer. Many of his poems, reflections and writings explored the glory of creation. His love for the natural world was strong and deep and many people at that time, as now, read his words and became inspired by his poems. I mention him, as what he felt about the creation, we have all been given responsibility for, predates our time by three and a half centuries. He would be grief stricken if he were alive now and could be seen what is happening to the world and beauty he loved. There are several stained-glass windows in memory and appreciation of his in Hereford Cathedral two of whom are pictured in this newsletter.
In the present day there are very many Thomas Treharne’s, some may be poets and writers, but others are just ordinary people who are increasingly concerned about the state of our environment and what kind of world we are leaving our children and grandchildren. I get the feeling, and this is only my opinion, that the world is showing now how tired she is, how weary she has become after all the abuse she has and is suffering and is warning us about what will happen if we do not stop and pay serious attention. I know many of us wonder about the Covid virus and what it is saying to us. Many groups have formed to draw attention to this especially to Governments and industries who produce and profit from the fuels that are causing the rise in temperatures that are having such devastating effects in so many countries. One of them is Extinction Rebellion known through its very active protests made to alert people. Extinction Rebellion is a global environmental movement with the stated aim of using non-violent civil disobedience to compel government action to avoid tipping points in the climate system, biodiversity loss, and the risk of social and ecological collapse. They are very peaceful people but find all kinds of ways of using civil disobedience to draw attention to this vitally important issue. The Revd Helen Burnett is one of them. She as a vicar is totally committed to doing all she can to stop climate change. She says, “my vocation brings a commitment to the Fifth Mark of Mission, which is: “to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth”. This duty I hold in common with Christians across the globe, linked by a faith that demands love for neighbour and, where necessary, demands personal sacrifice.
As vicars, we have the “cure of the souls”. That’s not some mere ephemera that flies off to heaven: it is the fully integrated body and spirit — the spiritual and physical well-being of the people in our parishes.
With a care also for creation, that then extends to the soil, the trees, and all that lies within our parish.
I am called to pastoral care for people and planet in the place of my work in the parish of Chaldon, where I preach that we must love our neighbour, and that our neighbour is not just the person we can see, but the person we cannot see — in Bangladesh, in the Niger Delta, in the Maldives — where people are suffering as we speak from catastrophic climate change. On their behalf, I claim immediate and urgent necessity.
They are my neighbour. To pass by on the other side as a member of the minority world that created the catastrophe, is not an option. . . My faith compels me to love my neighbour, to cross over even when it is dangerous to do so, not to turn a blind eye to the truth and pass by on the other side.
By demanding action on climate change, I am exercising my faith, by praying as I take action; I am exercising my right to freedom of worship in Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and to assemble with others in solidarity under Article 11 of the same convention.
When governments won’t listen, when profit is the golden calf, and we commodify every part of the planet, when we are crucifying our earth, a crucified earth that will not have a risen life, when on the current trajectory, this crucified earth will come to an end and take with its millions of souls for whom I wish to advocate, the imperative must be to act”.
Powerful and true words. I hope, that when Helen writes and tells us about the “People’s Walk for the Planet” that will take place from September, some of us will meet up with them when they get to London and maybe walk alongside them for a little while.
Appeal from Homeless Action in Barnet
“Together in Barnet” (TiB), has sent an appeal for the following supplies that are still badly needed. If you are able to help out, please send or deliver these items to the HAB centre (36b Woodhouse Road, London, N12 0RG) between the times of 9am-3pm, Monday-Friday, or, you could drop them off at the Church office on either a Tuesday or Wednesday and we will arrange for someone to take them to HABs. With many thanks.
Individual Ready Meals - Urgent
Instant Mash - Urgent
Long Life Milk (1 litre)
Cup a Soup
Men and Women's Deodorant.
How We Are
It was so good to welcome back Marzieh on Sunday who used to come to church when she lived nearby and then moved away. How lovely to see her and look forward to seeing her each Sunday.
We have missed seeing Gideon and Ann for some while and it was such good news to hear that Gideon has been discharged from hospital and is making progress especially with his mobility. We look forward to the day when we can meet up with both in church.
Simon has completed his treatment sessions and, after a time of feeling exhausted, Anita says he is now feeling a bit better.
"It was so good to see Nwando back, fit and well, from Nigeria after visiting her family". We do miss people when they go away.
We think of Simon, Gideon, and all those we know and love who who are unwell and coping with all kinds of struggles. We pray for you and look forward to the time when we can all meet together in church and rejoice.
Please continue to pray for those who have asked us as a community to pray for them.
Okey Jnr.O, Yvonne S, Anna M, Ian K, Eva M, Juliette D, Ivor S, Myfanwy K, Dorothy N, Rose O, Judy N ,David A, Gideon O & Simon H.
Daily Hope -
The Church of England Phone line church service - is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044 – has been set up particularly with those unable to join online church services during the period of restrictions in mind.
We at Golders Green Church
will continue to offer a number of ways we can and will keep in contact though emailing and phoning each other, the use of Facebook and the website, sending out updates by supporting those who need shopping, prescriptions fetched, letters posted and anything else you may need if you are isolated at home, whether you are in the over 70-year-old age group, or, have underlying health conditions.
The important thing is, PLEASE LET US KNOW by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Radio, Television and Online Worship
You may wish to join in worship during this time through television and radio.
Check online, in the Radio Times and elsewhere for details:
Songs of Praise BBC 1, Sunday afternoon, variable times
Sunday Worship BBC Radio 4, Sunday, 8.10am Choral Evensong BBC
Radio 3, Wednesday Daily Service
BBC Radio 4 (Longwave only), weekdays, 9.45am
Big Sunday Service Premier Christian Radio, Sunday, 7am, 8am, 10am Easter Sunday Eucharist A service is usually broadcast on the BBC on Easter morning
Free 24 hour telephone church service 0800 804 8044
Online resources Church of England Daily Prayer https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/join-us-service-dailyprayer
https://mailchi.mp/b9d86a4acdc7/coming-up-from-st-pauls-cathedral-1274047?e=377e26b1db St Paul’s Cathedral have a number of resources available for us to use.
Church of England Online Resources during this time https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronaviruscovid-19-liturgy-and-prayer-resources
Go On-line to " ps://www.achurchnearyou.com", put in Area or post code and find a local church that broadcasts Worship.
Prayers from Christian Aid https://www.christianaid.org.uk/pray/churches/coronavirus-prayers
https://pray-as-you-go.org/ Pray as you Go (a short service each day in the Jesuit Tradition)
LICC have some great resources on their website https://www.licc.org.uk/
Especially on Covid-19 https://www.licc.org.uk/ourresources/prayer-journeys/presence-pressure-purpose/