This week at St Saviour's

PARISH NEWS SHEET 29 March - 12 April

 

For the time being we will be sending out a News Sheet every couple of weeks to everyone on our general email lists, to stay in touch whilst we are unable either to hold public worship or to host concerts and other community events. This issue takes us up to Easter, when we will contact you again.

 

CLOSURE OF CHURCHES

As recently as last Sunday we were able – despite already being instructed not to hold public acts of worship – to keep our churches open for any who wanted to come in for quiet prayer or to light a candle. I was at St Peter’s early Sunday evening when I saw the email from the Bishop of London, after which I stripped the notice boards, locked up and went home. It is a step quite without precedent, and I know some were appalled that this could happen. Even priests are now only permitted to enter church buildings if they live next door to them, as I do to St Saviour’s. Here, I am saying Morning Prayer most days at 8.30am (Saturdays at 9.30am), and Evening Prayer at 5pm. Despite the closure, I usually ring the bell when I do so, to make clear that our church communities are keeping everyone in our parishes – as well as the sick and all front-line key workers in this pandemic - in their prayers. The rationale behind these closures and the general rule about staying at home except for limited specific reasons, though, becomes more clear each day, with the unfolding picture of the spread of Corona Virus – to the great as well as the lowly. The Archbishops’ most recent letter to clergy, as I write, encourages the church to model this simple maxim: Stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.

During the lockdown we will be providing our congregations with resources to stay in touch through phone and email, with reflections to aid prayer, ‘Sunday Sheets’ containing the readings and prayers for the day as we draw close to Holy Week and Easter, and access links to live-streamed worship. If you would like to see these as they appear please look at our websites on www.stsaviourhampstead.org.uk and achurchnearyou.com/church/15589, or contact us on 07514 480971, email stpandsts@gmail.com

 

TIMELY ICON AND PRAYER DISCOVERED

St Peter’s churchwarden, Ken Robbie, kindly shared information he’d read, that The Temple Gallery at Notting Hill have announced the discovery of an early 19th century Icon from the Melkite Greek Catholic Tradition - which is related to the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch.
It is thought to be Lebanese in origin, and the image is of ‘The Nursing Mother of God’ (Galaktotrophousa – ‘milk-giving’).
Printed on the lower border of the image in Greek and Arabic is a prayer to the Blessed Virgin:

“Star of Heaven, please save us from the epidemic.
Please answer our prayers, because your Son hears you and he will not hold back anything from us.
Our Lord Jesus, set us free from death, because your pure Virgin Mother hears our prayers, and for the sake of your Mother help us.
For our sake, you pure Virgin, the hand of Jesus, you are the saint and the Mother of God”.

 

KEEPING THE HOMELESS PROTECTED

As we adjust to the sudden loss of freedom to go about our normal lives, most of us will have found some consolation in the recent fine, sunny weather, and counted ourselves fortunate at least to have homes to shelter us from exposure to Covid-19. St Peter’s Churchyard has two regular rough sleepers - Patrick, in a tent, and Raglan, in the ‘North Porch’ doorway. The Government has asked local authorities to protect rough sleepers from the Covid epidemic by finding accommodation for them as a matter of urgency (though our two have each refused previous offers) and we must keep them in our prayers especially at this time.

The Passage is a Christian Charity seeking to get people in this category safely off the streets whilst we are all under threat from Corona Virus.
They are raising funds for this purpose through the Big Give until midnight on Tuesday 31st March.
You can obtain more information about their Appeal from andrew.h@passage.org.uk or at https://bit.ly/334RmGH - where you can also donate.

 

BEAMS OF HOPE

One much appreciated by-product of the quietness of our streets just now is that the natural world seems to be coming much more into relief. Bird-song sounds louder – without the constant under-tow of traffic noise and aeroplanes overhead (or are the creatures actually stepping up more confidently, with less human activity around them?..) Here’s a poem celebrating a remembered magical overlapping of both…

Gliders in the Mist

A white mist thick as cream,
Surrounds us as we sit.
Glugging our soup.
Thermos hot, it warms our hands.
We are on a hill,
Above the Seven Sisters.
Hang gliders emerge over our heads,
Each one suspended
From his ( or her) slice of balloon.
So low they may land on the car.
They disappear, come back and retreat again
Into the gloom.

Gulls are there too,
Scanning the wavetops
They seem to turn their heads.
And look, and look, and look  again.
They are clearly surprised
To be sharing their air.

By Helen Braithwaite
 

We were encouraged by our Bishops to keep last Sunday (22nd March) as a national day of prayer for our world in this spreading pandemic,
and to leave a lighted candle in our windows.
This was one parishioner’s contribution – sharing hope to all in sight of it in Chalk Farm.

The dedication of our National Health Service staff – itself an inspiration - was wonderfully celebrated on Thursday 26th March.
St Saviour’s Council members interrupted our online meeting that evening to go to our windows and applaud NHS Staff.
This was a wonderful moment, described by one national commentator quite justifiably as a ‘religious experience’.
Long may these beams of hope continue!