Regeneration City Blues
It’s hardly a line you would come across in the Book of Common Prayer, but you have to agree it has a ring about it, like the words of an old blues song. Regeneration City Blues is the name Jane Palm-Gold (who lives on the other side of the churchyard) has given to her latest, innovative exhibition held in Seven Dials in August. Jane’s work celebrates that quirky and alternative strand of life – part music, part fashion, part eccentricity – that she has lived through and documented through collage, photograph and her own stunning and personal art work.
The regeneration of the city causes the ‘blues’ to Jane and many others because an important element of the culture of the past 50 years is being lost through urban development, notably in Denmark Street on our doorstep. Innovation and energy rarely arise from convention: we need the unconventional as well, which Jane’s exhibition displayed to such striking effect. Thank you, Jane.
End of Police Community Support Officers
We are also grateful to Jane (see above) and Chris of neighbouring Phoenix Garden for once again putting on (with a cast of volunteers) the Agricultural Fayre at the start of September. During the afternoon I met up with Mandy, who has served as a local police community support officer (PCSO) in these parts for many years, and has grown to know its people and problems well. From here I learned that she was loosing her job within the next month or so and, in fact, that the whole PCSO service (with 1, 017 officers) might be phased out in the Met, due to cuts to the Home Office budget.
PCSO’s have been a visible presence in the community, and have allowed warranted officers to get on with solving and preventing crime. They would be a real loss to our streets and, though local neighbourhood police units will remain, their work would now be that much less effective. Altogether a sad loss.
Our new Member of Parliament
Some of you will have met, and many would have heard of, our now retired MP for Camden, Frank Dobson. His successor, elected at May’s election, is Sir Keir Starmer. Shortly after taking office, he wrote to us introducing himself and declaring he wished to serve as a member of parliament for the whole community, a laudable objective. I took him at his word and chanced my arm to invite him to St Giles for a Sunday evening service, and this has now been arranged, for the 6.30pm service on Sunday, 6th December.
By way of a change, therefore, I will ‘interview’ him, which means prompt him with some questions about the nature of politics, what motivates him and where we are as a nation and so on. To this end, I would like to invite you to submit any questions you might like to ask of our member of parliament, providing they are decent, nor too personal and not partisan! Send me something if you wish or speak to me.
She was always only ever just ‘Dalma.’ I’ve never met anyone else with such a name; and if you knew her, you would also know that there really could only be one Dalma! It’s been a couple of years now since she was able to get to church and we have missed her. Now she has died (on the 26th September) and a crematorium service has taken place on 4th September, which family and some close friends attended at Golders Green.
Now there is to be a Memorial Service for Dalma at 1.30pm on Thursday, 5th November at St Giles. She loved singing, so we shall sing for her. All are welcome.
We’ve been having a break from our Friday lunchtime recital season for a year or more now, so we thought we would revive it and see what happens.
The problem has always been attracting a sufficient audience to make it seem worthwhile for the performers. But now Jonathan (Bunney) is drawing up a six week season, to include two organ recitals, the Tredici Choir, possibly a recital by one of the St Giles Quartet and a couple of other instrumentalists. The dates are 23rd and 30th October, and 6th, 13th, 20th (Tredici) and 27th November. Fuller details in due course.
The Buried Treasure Bible Reading Group
After a break in the second half of September, when I was away, our bible group will resume in earnest in October and then go all the way through to Advent. St Luke’s gospel remains our happy hunting ground, where pearls of great price are continually to be found. We shall meet from 1pm to 2pm on the following Tuesdays: 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th. We usually meet in the Vestry Room, but occasionally in the church office if need be. Informal and informative.
First Sunday Giving
Harvest and the cycle of the agricultural year lend themselves naturally to a charity which supports the lives of farming families and communities, many of which continue to struggle financially. We shall again be supporting the work of The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution and in so doing recalling the many years of support given to this cause by the late Simon Packe Drury Lowe, who died earlier in the year.
A Prayer Vigil for Syria and Iraq
In the wake of the refugee crisis, our neighbours at Bloomsbury Baptist Church are organising an All Night Prayer Vigil for Peace in Syria and Iraq on Friday, 16th October. There will be music and ‘discovery’ from 7.30pm to 10pm and then the vigil of prayer from 10pm until 6am the following morning. People from any tradition or from none will, I am sure, be welcomed.