Golders Green Parish Church – Newsletter
25 August 2021
Greetings to everyone. This week’s edition is almost entirely focused on the tragedies across the world, especially in Afghanistan and Haiti where such unbelievable upheavals are taking place; one, man-made, by political decisions bringing even more misery to this beleaguered country and its people, the other most surely as a result of drastic climate change making thousands homeless, bereft, with very little help. Many other countries could be mentioned we know, where there is fire, flooding, and warfare, and we pray for all of them, but the enormity of what is happening in these two areas demand our attention in any way we can give it and especially our prayers. What on earth do we pray and how, in the face of so much disaster, is a question so many people are asking. The psalmists knew all about that. We have so many psalms of lament and anger, railing against God. They did not mince their words but always at the end of them maintained their faith that God will be there for them. Nehar’s intercessions (below) based on psalm 146 contain some very apt verses that will resonate with all of us.
I know we are all looking forward to Kamran’s licensing on Tuesday 14th August. Just to let you know there will be light refreshments beforehand at 6.45pm. So please put that time in your diaries. Tony will be giving more information.
Petrica’s sermon linked very well with the intercessions this week. We thank him for being with us and look forward to his next visit on the 12th of August which will be his last but hope to see him at Kamran’s induction on Tuesday 14th August. That is an occasion we are all looking forward to and hope many of you will attend.
Jenny has sent us a link to the first of a series of online breakfast briefings about the climate crisis, which Christian Aid are offering to anyone who would welcome following what is happening in this crucial area: https://www.christianaid.org.uk/get-involved/events/cop26-breakfast-briefings. The first one is on Thursday of this week, 26th August, at 08.30, and will cover what world leaders must promise to do when they meet in Glasgow for COP26, the big UN meeting in November. This is for any of us who would like to keep up with what is going on with the COP26 meeting. There is also statement form Christian Aid calling for urgent support for the people of Afghanistan.
St Luke’s Chelsea SW£ 6NH is hosting an exhibition of photos commissioned by UNHCR taken by Caroline Burraway, titled the “Children of Moria”, representing 1 million child refugees. This is on until 6 September and we are invited to come and view them.
We also have prayers for both Afghanistan and Haiti; one composed by a friend of mine, the Revd Eva M, who is a priest, author, actor, storyteller, and a painting and prayer from Revd Adam B from Haiti.
It is lovely to hear from you and your comments about the newsletter. I received this one through the post with a request I publish it and thank you for your kind words and I am sure Jennifer does too. “It is always such a pleasure to receive the newsletter, especially so for those of us who are unable to attend church personally but who still feel part of the community. Big thanks to Sally for editing it and for Jennifer sending it out to us”. It is a pleasure.
One final thing. The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan W, on being asked how do we find the right words to pray in the situation the world is, replied, pray, “HELP!”. That just about sums it up!
Love and good wishes – Sally
This week’s edition includes:
Update from Tony;
Wednesday Evening Prayer Time;
Sermon from Revd Petrica B;
Intercessions psalm 146 - Nehar;
Prayer for the people of Afghanistan:
“Children of Moria” Exhibition;
Christian Aid Statement on Afghanistan;
Prayers for the people Haiti;
How We Are;
Prayers, hymns, and broadcasts;
Update from Tony
During the course of this weekend, Kamran and Salomis and family move into the vicarage. So, there will be a lot of movement going on in the vicarage and next few weeks leading up to the installation Service. As part of this, the PCC painted the hallways upstairs and downstairs and sanded and varnished the floors downstairs. Having been in to see the work, it looks good. But I wanted to share with you something about all of this.
As you will recall, those who were with us last Sunday, we had Revd Petrica B with us. The builder doing the work for us, a pastor of a Romanian congregation in London, called Pop called by to return the keys to the vicarage. As he drove into the carpark, Petrica, also a Romanian, was still in the car park and he said I know that man - in fact he had known Pop’s wife longer than he had Pop. This was one of those moments of blessing when you sense God’s hand on ones endeavours. It was such a blessing being able to bring back together believers who had walked in another place. I hope you are encouraged to look out for those moments when God does something in your day. Remember that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Please can I encourage you to let me, Nehar or Jennifer know if you can make the Installation Service and or the First Sunday. Numbers are building up steadily and I would not want to disappoint.
*** Reminder: Wednesday Evening Prayer Time ***
Please join us on Wednesday evening for our time of prayer at 7.30pm
. The link is below.
It is so good to come together to pray for the Revd Kamran B, our new incumbent, for his wife & two sons, who will be moving into the vicarage soon. We pray too for all those issues that are on our minds; to give thanks for the good things we are experiencing and those that concern us and most particularly for the troubled state of the world. Looking forward to seeing you.
Please see the zoom link below which is for the Wednesday evening prayer group, and also the link for Sunday.
Church Wardens are inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
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Sermon from Revd Petrica B
Lord, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life (John 6:56-69)
Many years ago, a missionary society wrote to David Livingstone, a Scottish Presbyterian pioneer medical missionary in Central Africa, and asked, "Have you found a good road to where you are? If so, we want to send other men to join you."
Livingstone wrote back, "If you have men who will come only because there is a good road, I don't want them. I want men who will come if there is no road at all."
Every ministry and every community of believers in the history of the Christian faith has faced tough times. There's a time when every Christian in their journey of faith will face difficulties and important decisions to make.
The way of Jesus is not always easy. And Jesus wanted to make sure we knew what we signed up to when we decided to follow him. Of course, it's enough to think about our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan today to remember what it means for some to be followers of Christ.
It is estimated that the number of Christians in Afghanistan is something between 20,000 and 1,000. And that’s because it's really difficult to know for sure because most Christians in Afghanistan worship underground. And since the Taliban has taken control of the country, the followers of Jesus are in imminent danger.
But it was not the thought of persecution or the idea of having to carry a painful cross that offended the crowds and some disciples who listened to Jesus in our gospel reading for today.
Jesus told the people that his flesh was real food and that his blood was true drink—and to eat his flesh and drink his blood meant eternal life.
The Message translation puts it like this:
“Only insofar as you eat and drink flesh and blood, the flesh and blood of the Son of Man, do you have life within you. The one who brings a hearty appetite to this eating and drinking has eternal life and will be fit and ready for the Final Day.
My flesh is real food, and my blood is real drink. By eating my flesh and drinking my blood you enter into me and I into you. In the same way that the fully alive Father sent me here and I live because of him, so the one who makes a meal of me lives because of me."
These words, from this side of Easter, might not sound too strange for us today. But for the first disciples this kind of talk was “too tough to swallow.”
They said "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” "What is this, some kind of cannibalism?" We got the idea that you are the “bread of heaven,” because our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness. But blood? You say you're a teacher from God, have you not read Leviticus 17 where God clearly prohibits the consumption of blood?
This teaching was like nails on a blackboard for an ancient Jew. They were quite disgusted by the whole idea of drinking blood. Maybe they took it too literally, but even symbolically it didn't make much sense to them.
So, they left.
We are really privileged to be able to celebrate and consume the Eucharist every week freely and publicly. But let's be honest there are plenty of other sayings and teachings in the Bible that are quite difficult even for us to understand.
Perhaps Islam is attractive to many people, not only in the Middle East, because it is so much simpler than Christianity. The Trinity is too complicated. Islam simply requires belief in the one God and in his prophet.
One of my Muslim friends once told me that “the prophet Jesus” could not have been crucified, because God would clearly not allow this to happen to one of his prophets.
There’s something quite seductive about the idea of a God who simply wouldn’t allow Jesus to be crucified.
Christianity is complicated – and it gets us all mixed up in why and how God allows Jesus – and us – to suffer.
So, for the crowds who listened to Jesus it was much easier to stick to what they knew rather than risk it all by following this new controversial Teacher.
And as they were turning their back on Jesus, Jesus turned to his 12 disciples and asked: ‘Do you also wish to go away?’
And I just love Peter's answer: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” (v. 68-69)
What makes us stick with Jesus? What makes you still want to be a follower of Christ in this day and age? What makes the Christians in Afghanistan want to worship Jesus as the true Son of God when that’s illegal, and when by doing so they put their lives in the gravest danger?
The gospel can be very challenging and very often the journey of faith quite difficult. We do not understand everything, but we have found something in Jesus that no one and nothing can persuade us of the opposite. We have found life, joy, peace, hope, forgiveness. In Jesus we have the strongest and purest love, and the promise of eternal life!
So, like Peter and the other disciples, where can we go?
Where can we go? To whom shall we turn? Who can give us even half of what we have found in Jesus? What political party or government, religious institution or philosophical system can satisfy our hunger for truth and love and eternal life?
We walk with Jesus every day, and we feel and know him by our side no matter how hard it gets sometimes.
I was reading recently about a lady - true story - who had been brought up as a Christian and had not had a particularly easy life.
Now in her 60s, and working as a cleaner, life was good but still presented her with struggles: her husband was disabled, her son was in the middle of a messy relationship break up.
She regularly attended a quiet traditional mid-week communion service, about which she used to say, ‘It gives me such a feeling of peace – I’m not sure how I could cope without it’.
That was what she had found in Jesus. And nobody could contradict her; not even the most militant atheist could tell her she was wrong.
The truth is that we cannot follow Jesus unless we chose to abide in him.
To partake of Jesus as the bread of heaven involves a reliance on God.
“Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood remain in me and I in them.” Feeding on Jesus as manna means abiding with Jesus. It is through this intimate relationship that Jesus brings life to those who eat and drink of him. (v. 57).
But “abiding” with Jesus is not a quick fix. Staying with Jesus and learning from him is a long process. The disciples had to learn that Jesus is not offering an easy victory but the long road of discipleship.
But those who stick closely to Jesus, and listen to his words, will not be disappointed! Our real option for long-term happiness and eternal salvation is Jesus. "Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Amen
Intercessions Psalm 146 – Nehar
Our intercessions are based on Psalm 146.
Praise for God’s Help
1 Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
2 I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God all my life long.
3 Do not put your trust in princes,
in mortals, in whom there is no help.
4 When their breath departs, they return to the earth;
on that very day their plans perish.
5 Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God,
6 who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith forever;
7 who executes justice for the oppressed;
who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
8 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the strangers;
he upholds the orphan and the widow,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
10 The Lord will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord!
Lord teach us to praise you all the days of our lives;
Let us sing praises to you, O our God and Saviour;
While we have being, dear Holy Spirit, make us a people who are God-ward looking; People who are God-ward focused. People who see every blessing, every trial coming from Your hand. In all things we give you thanks and rejoice in your holy name.
Lord, you did not promise us a life without difficulty, without trials, without worry, without oppression, without hunger; without loss; without persecution; without being put in prison; or even being killed for your name’s sake.
As Paul said in Romans: though we have trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, or sword we will not be bowed down because we can never be separated from the love of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
In all this we are more than conquerors because you love us, and we know neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, or anything else in creation can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
We choose to walk with Jesus, our Lord in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father.
We choose to rejoice in you always; we choose to praise you in all circumstances; we choose you Holy Father over princes, over mortal men who are but dust and to dust will return. We choose to put our trust in you.
Lord you made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. We empty ourselves and know that as we give you all that we are you pour all of your love into our lives.
Lord as we look at our beautiful world, the work of your holy hands, we see its brokenness by wars, by strife – in Afghanistan, in Iraq and other parts of the middle East, Israel, Palestine and parts of Africa. We turn to you and pray for mercy, for grace, for peace.
We bring to you those who are oppressed; those who face injustice; the poor; families separated by wars; communities divided by hatred of any kind; all the cause of man’s greed and need for control and power.
We pray you will raise up peacemakers from amongst your people who will be your light, your hope to the nations. Lord direct the hearts of political leaders towards real peace. Use us Lord, we pray as your channels to bring your peace, your blessing to those who suffer. Use us so that your love can flow through us.
Place your people in areas of influence to bring about change – we remember how you used Joseph and Daniel to help not only their own people but also be a blessing to the communities in which you placed them.
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord, his God: Ps 146:5-10
You will sustain us; you will bring healing to those amongst us who are ill; You will comfort those who mourn the loss of loved ones; You will feed the hungry; You will bring justice to the oppressed; You will set the prisoners free; You will open the eyes of those who continue live in darkness; You will cause your eternal light to shine in their lives – to bring Your everlasting hope.
Lord we cast all our burdens on You knowing that You will lift us up; You will sustain the weak, the needy, the stranger. For You O Lord reign forever. We will rejoice in You. We will think on all things that are true, noble, right, pure, and lovely.
For we know that the peace of God that transcends all understanding will guard our lives, our minds, our hearts, our souls in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen
Worship Videos of the week:
Painting by Adam B
Photo Via @grzegorzkramer
Prayer written by Revd Eva M
For the people of Afghanistan
Stir in us, Divine Love, not only compassion but action.
AS you weep and rage with your beloved ones in Afghanistan,
May we, in our smaller tears and anger,
find prophetic words to speak truth to power
to bring the mighty down from their thrones
And lift up the lowly.
Do not allow us to stand mildly by
Paralysed by belief in our powerlessness
But deliver us from our hopelessness
As we deliver those who are truly oppressed.
In the name of the one who taught us that
The kingdom of Heaven belongs to the Peacemakers
Invitation to Exhibition of “Children of Moria”
St Luke’s Church Chelsea SW3 6NH is hosting a photograph exhibition of Caroline Burraway’s “ Children of Moria” commissioned by UNHCR. There are 13 panels representing 1 million child refugees of this is just one. This is on until 6 September. Do come and view if you are in the vicinity.
Christian Aid Statement on Afghanistan
Christian Aid calls for urgent humanitarian support for those fearing for their lives in Afghanistan
Christian Aid is calling for the UK Government and wider international community to help the people of Afghanistan. Around 550,000 people in Afghanistan have been displaced this year, 80% of these are women and children, and these numbers continue to increase rapidly. Christian Aid is concerned by the impact the continuing conflict will have on all Afghan people regardless of gender, faith, or ethnicity.
Humanitarian access is vital so that affected communities can be reached and so far, Christian Aid partners have been able to continue with some food and hygiene kit distributions. The Organisation for Coordination and Humanitarian Relief (OCHR), for example, has been working on a UK-funded project in Kunduz - an indication that programmes with a clear humanitarian focus are allowed to continue.
Christian Aid is already supporting thousands of Afghan internally displaced people (IDPs) in regions where famine is likely, through a hunger appeal launched in July.
Subrata De, Christian Aid’s country manager in Afghanistan, said: “The situation is dire and more support will be required for poor and marginalised communities in the coming days. Christian Aid has been working in Afghanistan for 30 years and we will not desert now. We’re doing all we can to continue distributions of food and emergency supplies to the most affected communities. We hope that humanitarian access will remain, especially access to women and girls in the communities as we are very concerned about their safety.
“As an Indian national, I have been lucky enough to evacuate safely but our staff, their families and the thousands of people we support, are living with uncertainty and insecurity.”
Fionna Smyth, head of global advocacy & policy at Christian Aid, said: “We urge the UK Government to take action on four key areas; to work closely with the United Nations and wider donor community, to ensure that humanitarian assistance is provided to those most in need in the face of a rapidly worsening humanitarian crisis, to immediately suspend all deportations from the UK of Afghan asylum seekers and refugees and open safe and legal routes for those fearing persecution.
“The UK government should use its influence to encourage and support neighbouring states including with funding to allow refugees to flee without fear of being sent back; and finally, to do everything in its power to protect Afghan women, including human rights defenders, and civil society actors who have been encouraged to take leadership positions and who are now at grave risk.
“The impact of decades of conflict and displacement has recently been compounded by increasing climate shocks, rising food insecurity and COVID-19, which has left almost half of Afghanistan’s population in need of emergency humanitarian assistance.”
To donate to the hunger appeal, please visit www.christianaid.org.uk/appeals/emergencies/global-hunger-emergency-appeal
Pray for the People of Haiti
Haitian Madonna and Child, by Haitian artist Saincilus Ismael who writes:
Mary, Mother of Haiti and Consoler of the Afflicted, please be with the Haitian people in their sorrow
and help them rebuild and achieve true justice and peace.
Receive the souls of all who have died and welcome them into God's merciful embrace. Amen.
How We Are
Margaret’s brother, John, kindly sent a message about her progress. The gist of it was that although she was discharged a week ago and was able to walk as far as the bathroom in the hospital, since she has been home, she is not doing so well. She sleeps a lot downstairs on her settee and has an infection for which she is being given antibiotics. She has a very good carer, but, he and his wife have visited her and are keeping a watchful eye to measure her progress. He will let us know of her progress. At the moment not to ring her but to let her rest. We will all send lots of prayers and love to her for a good recovery and hope soon she is back to being Margaret again.
We continue to pray for all those in our community who are unwell and maybe struggling in different ways. We think and pray for you all frequently and look forward to a time when we can all be with each other and take part in the services together.
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 email@example.com
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/