A message from the Rector
We begin October with an important announcement from our Rector, Bill Jacob. The announcement will speak for itself, of course, but we am sure it will also give rise to further questions and thoughts that you may have about the future of ministry at St Giles. We are, therefore, entering a period of reflection and change, which I am sure Bill himself would want us to fully engage with. There will, no doubt, be opportunity next year to celebrate and give thanks for his ministry among us, but that time has not yet come. For now we begin to take stock and realise anew God’s calling for us as a congregation in the centre of London in the year of our Lord 2015. Bill writes:
After consulting the Bishop of London, I have decided to retire as Archdeacon of Charing Cross on 31st December this year. Despite the Bishop’s encouragement to continue, I think that after eighteen years as archdeacon, it is time for a new eye to be cast over the Church in Westminster, and to review how best to support the parishes and chaplaincies in promoting the Gospel and working with the communities in this extraordinarily exciting and vibrant part of London and the Church.
The Bishop has decided that the new Archdeacon should not also be Rector of St Giles, so I will continue as Rector for a little longer; but as I will have been Rector for fifteen years in May 2015, I have decided that I also ought to retire as Rector at the end of April 2015. Six months’ notice will allow the PCC to work on developing ideas for a new phase of ministry at St Giles, and to draw up a profile of the parish and the Church in order to identify what qualities are needed in a new Rector, so that matters are well advanced for the PCC’s two representatives to work with the Bishop in the appointment of a new Rector. We have six months’ of business almost as usual, before the time for farewells.
Modes of Remembrance: The Act and Art of Remembrance
The opening night of Grace Adam’s series of installations took place on 19th September. Many people came and it was very well received. The individual pieces are unobtrusive and require time to absorb and digest. But we are indebted to Grace for her craft and creativity. She has helped us to imagine our church in a new way, which cannot be a bad thing. Pick up a leaflet from the back of the church and walk around. Remember to look out for the drawing workshop called The BIG DRAW on Wednesday, 8th October. Regular members of our congregations, as well as people from the wider community, would be very welcome to join in with this day.
The Churchyard Restoration Project
Frantic work in the last week of September meant that the churchyard was finally fully open to the public on Friday, 26th September. It’s been a longer haul than we had first imagined, but the results are wonderful. It will be a real delight to see children in the new playground and on the natural play mounds and tree.
The new scheme was always intended to simplify and provide a greater sense of spaciousness than it had previously. This has certainly been the case on the north side, which has been open for some time; now we will be able to enjoy it on the south side as well. New gates have been installed at the south and east of the church, so well designed and made that you can hardly tell them apart from the original fencing.
We are very grateful to Gill Wynne-Williams and the design team, Andrew Hinchley and other officers from Camden Council, and to Andy and Don and the workmen from Ground Control, the contractors who carried out the work. They have all been unfailingly helpful, good natured and sensitive to the needs of working in an historic churchyard. It will be good to see them go, but we shall miss them as well!
First Sunday Giving
Many thanks to all those who contributed to the collections in September for the The Leprosy Mission. October begins with Harvest Festival on Sunday 5th. We shall, as on previous years, offer our collections for the work of the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution, which provides financial and pastoral help to farming families, and those in need within the farming communities.
The Buried Treasure Bible Reading Group
Our 1pm Tuesday meetings have resumed. We have embarked on some guided reading through the Old Testament to unearth its history and scriptures. We shall meet on 7th, 14th, 21st of the month. An engagement for myself means that we shall not meet on the 28th. Visitors and new members are always very welcome to join us.
Eden Serenity Ima-Abasi Udondem was baptised by the Rector at the Sung Eucharist on Sunday, 7th September. We have come to know Michael, Amber and their family well over the years and were very pleased to welcome them on the occasion of their third child being baptised. Our best wishes go to them, and to Zion and Aria. Another wedding service, our third this year, takes place this month on Saturday, 11th October when Stephen Taylor and Victoria Hann marry. We wish them well.
Denmark Street Festival
I have just heard that plans are beginning to form for a Denmark Street Festival on Sunday, 26th October, to draw the local community together before major renovation work begins. Some local traders fear the place will never be the same again when the dust has settled. As yet the exact form it will take is uncertain, though it is sure to involve loud music through the evening and at the time of Evensong. Under the list of services elsewhere in this newsletter, you will therefore see that I have marked Evensong, but please be aware that we may change this, especially as the choir are likely to be asked to sing in the festival themselves – fame at last!
Finally, our thanks to all those who came along to the Agricultural Fair on Saturday, 6th September, particularly to the brave choir members who sang at the end. Well done. Our thanks to Jane and Chris of Phoenix Garden for organising the day so well. We are also grateful to Bishop Stephen Platten, who preached for us the next day on our Patronal Festival. The evening choir were terrific on this occasion as well