With Easter being fairly early this year, we find the season of Lent falling in February: news of a series of preaching in Lent follows. News, also, of arrangements for the Rector’s final Sunday with us – definitely a date to keep. Then there’s a short article from the acting director of the Simon Community, which meets outside St Giles on Saturdays and Sundays, about their soup runs; and, finally, something from myself about what it’s like to be surrounded by three majors building projects all at the same time! Alan Carr
A date for the diary: Sunday, 19th April
Kindly make a note of the date, and particularly the special 6.30pm Choral Evening Service on that day, when we shall express our thanks to Bill, the Rector, for his ministry and leadership within the parish over many years, and to wish him every blessing in the years to come. I am sure that many will wish to join us, so please feel free to pass this date and invitation on to others. Some refreshments will, of course, be shared afterwards. Further details in due course. Alan Carr
Over the past few years we have endeavoured to present something different to mark the season of Lent. A few years ago I recall presenting some sessions on Mother Julian after Evening Prayer; two years ago various members of our congregation spoke about a piece of music that meant something to them; and last year a series of sermons and talks was arranged on the theme of mental health and faith, to coincide with our giving to Mind in Camden. This year we have invited five local pastors and ministers from our ecumenical collective (we meet once a month) to reflect with us about their own particular tradition, where it has come from, where it is now, and about their hopes and challenges for the future. This is the programme so far:
22nd February The Reverend Christopher Pedley, S.J., a member of the Parish
Team at The Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street
will speak about his Jesuit tradition
1st March Unconfirmed
8th March The Reverend Carla Maurer, from The Swiss Church in
London in Endell Street
will speak about her Swiss Lutheran heritage
15th The Reverend Simon Woodman, Minister at Bloomsbury
Central Baptist Church
will reflect on their place within the Baptist family
22nd The Reverend Katherine Hedderly, Associate Vicar for Ministry,
will attempt the impossible, and summarise where the Anglican Church is today!
I am confident these sermons will be fascinating and challenging. I very much hope they will be enjoyed.
A point of view: The Soup Run Myth
Community Manager Jamie Nalton explains why the soup is not the problem!
‘We have been providing food, drink and company to the most vulnerable people in central London for fifty years in a communal, caring and nonjudgmental way supported by a small army of part-time volunteers. Throughout the history of the organisation, generous benefactors have ensured that we are able to carry out our work without taking a single penny from the Government. In recent years we have seen many headline grabbing stories that giving out soup and sandwiches to the homeless only results in maintaining a street lifestyle and discourages people from engaging with (commissioned) services that are set up to help people move away from homeless. To be blunt this is absolute nonsense. Our guests are not foxes or pigeons, if charities like ours stop providing nourishment the homeless will not disappear into the countryside and live happily ever after. Food is not the problem here, it’s a lack of housing, money, work, issues around local connection, age, benefits cuts and fear of engaging with a service that wants to put them on the first bus out of the city back to a life they tried to escape from. If you’re leaving a previous life it’s not because it was wonderful, more than likely you are escaping persecution, violence, a breakdown or are looking to provide a better life for your family.
Over the years you will have heard about numerous ways our councils/government have tried to eradicate London’s homeless, from hard line tactics, to the Mayor’s initiative that says no one needs to spend a second night on the streets. Millions are spent by the Government on trying to solving homelessness and its associated issues. But homelessness is still here and the numbers living on the streets have increased dramatically in the past couple of years. People are still waking up on a cold pavement. The Simon Community will be there on those mornings, providing a cup of tea with a slice of humanity and we will be there on a night time before people bed down to give a cup of soup with a little compassion.’ Jamie Nalton
First Sunday Giving
Now that 2014 is past, we are able to list our First Sunday giving for the whole year. It is, as follows:
- Mind in Camden, the major beneficiary for the year: £1,106.37
- The Bishop’s Lent Appeal (March): £269.49
- Guardian Angels (May): £399.32
- The Leprosy Mission (September): £399.32
- The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (October): £288.25
- The Halo Trust (November): £227.31
- The Holy Cross Centre (December): £829.54
We are very grateful to everyone who contributed to First Sunday Giving last year. In February we continue to support The Church Urban Fund.
The Buried Treasure Bible Reading Group
The Tuesday Bible Reading Group continues its journey through the scriptures of the Old Testament this month, with the exception of the 24th. This means that we shall meet on the 3rd, 10th and 17th February from 1 – 2pm, usually in the Vestry Room. As always, fresh faces are always welcome.
The 2014 – 2015 Community Audit
Alan has now sent out two sets of questionnaires – one designed for those who worship with us, and one for members of the wider community. He writes: ‘To my surprise, a fair number have filled them in and even returned them. I am grateful to you. If yours is still hiding behind the clock, can I gently persuade you to dig it out and return it to us at St Giles. We need to receive as many impressions of the place as we can. You do not need to know lots about the St Giles area to fill in the questionnaire, but we would love to know what strikes you as significant and important, just in case we are missing something. Eventually I will co-ordinate all the responses and produce some kind of report for the PCC and anyone else who is interested.