Liturgy and Music in Holy Week and Easter
The first Sunday in April, Lent 5, (6th). sees the completion of our series of sermons and talks on the theme of Mental Health and Faith.
Palm Sunday follows on the 13th. In the evening last year we offered a mixture of poetry and music based on a long poem by George Herbert. This year we are planning something similar, by bringing in some poetry written about the First World War, as we are in a time of centenary remembrance. So many themes from this war and the scriptures of Christ’s passion overlap that it is surely worthwhile for us to combine them in a time of worship, and to set the scene for Holy Week. It will be called ‘Never Such Innocence’ after a line by Philip Larkin.
During Holy Week itself we shall maintain our traditional pattern of celebrating Holy Communion at 1pm from Monday to Thursday, using the passion narratives as set out in the Book of Common Prayer.
On Wednesday night, the 16th, we are offering music, as we did last year. The St Michael’s Chorale are once again presenting Tenebrae for us at 7pm, a moving setting of choral and plainsong singing marking the growing darkness of the week which leads up to Good Friday.
On the evening of Maundy Thursday the St Giles Choir may present a recital of there own, but at the time of publication this had not been confirmed. We shall inform everyone in due course if they do.
Good Friday arrives on the 18th. As last year we shall offer just one service – a Good Friday Liturgy at 12 noon with the St Giles Quartet. For those who like their worship sparse, profound, challenging and stirring, this is the service for you, with a sung passion setting and other traditional canticles, but not forgetting ‘There is a green hill far away.’
‘Alleluia’ and ‘Gloria’ returns with Easter Day and the running of the disciples to and from the garden. Join us at 11am for the Sung Festival Eucharist with the St Giles Quartet, or at 6.30pm for Evensong with the St Giles Choir. We are so fortunate in the quality of our liturgical music and grateful to all who provide it, not least our Director of Music Jonathan (Bunney)!
Our series of talks through Lent has thrown up some fascinating insights, particularly Rachel from Mind in Camden who talked from first-hand experience of the Hearing Voices project that they run. I had no idea so many people encountered this. The following week the Archdeacon of Middlesex, as part of his Visitation, described archdeacons as ‘connoisseurs of chaos,’ which struck a chord. On the first Sunday in Lent I suggested that sometimes (though not always) mental disturbance can open the way for meeting with God; and on the 4th Sunday in Lent Neil Burgess shared some of his pastoral experience of ministering to sufferers. The series ends this month on the 6th when Deirdre King, a therapist in private practice, will tackle the question ‘Is anyone normal?’ and talk about the relationship of body, mind and spirit. All are welcome, of course. On April 6th, we resume our giving for the work of Mind in Camden.
In April the Buried Treasure group will meet on 1st and 8th only. The 15th is Holy Week, and the 22nd Easter Week when St Giles is closed. After that I shall be away for the rest of the Tuesdays in the month. Sorry about that. John’s gospel is still our theme. Do join us.
We have some good news about the churchyard, and some less than good news. The good news is that the stone for the front paving arrived in the third week of March and that, all being well it should be laid by Easter. It has come from a Cathedral, we are told, in the north of England. At the same time the south side of the churchyard was turfed and instantaneously looked very neat. It may never look so good again (not once the dogs get to work on it)! The current plan is that the High Street side of the churchyard will be largely complete by Easter and will be open to the public again at the start of May.
The less than good news is that the south part of the churchyard is going to take much longer to complete. At some point a structural engineer looked at the wall that separates the churchyard from Phoenix Gardens and decided that it had to come down. Taking it down was the easy part; getting permission to re-build it is the harder task. This will mean a delay of up to two months before it can be re-built, the playground equipment installed and the south gate completed. So we now expect the whole project to be open to the public again sometime at the end of July or in August. That said, we are confident all the work and the waiting will be worthwhile; the materials, workmanship and design are of the very highest standard.
Annual Meeting and Electoral Roll
The 13th April, Palm Sunday, not only brings the beginning of Holy Week, but also the Annual Parochial Church Meeting. This will take place in the Vestry House at 12.45pm after the 11am Sung Eucharist and refreshments, and everyone is very welcome. A presentation on the life of the Church, its administration, ministry and mission will be formally given, and the Annual Accounts for 2013 adopted.
If you want to find out where our money comes from and goes to, come along! More importantly, perhaps, this is our moment to give thanks for our churchwardens and others who contribute to our common life and witness. The churchwardens for the coming year and two deanery representatives will be elected (for a three year term), and other members of the PCC also elected. Do join us.