Parish News

First Sunday Giving

ALMAlogoI now have the figures for all our giving through the First Sunday scheme from last year and can report that between us a total of £4,345.14 was raised for the missions and charities selected. Of this £1,319.48 was collected for The Connection at St Martins-in-the-Fields, the homeless charity supported in December. As ever, my sincere thanks to you all. This month we shall contribute to the Diocesan Lent appeal to support church educational projects through the Angola-London-Mozambique Association (ALMA). The Association was established in 1998 and in 2003 our Diocese held its first Lent appeal, when £130,000 was raised for HIV/Aids work. Each year visits are made from and to the link dioceses and the partnership is celebrated and maintained through events at St Paul’s and elsewhere. Sunday, 5th is the first Sunday of March.

Preaching during Lent

For the last few years I have arranged a set of visiting preachers for our evening services in Lent, and very interesting and stimulating they have been. This year I thought I would impose a more severe Lenten discipline upon you so that, not having arranged any such speakers, you will just have to put up with myself as usual. I am hoping that between now and then an appropriate Lenten theme will emerge to take us through. At least I certainly hope so! Look out, though, for the special evening service on the 19th when we shall capture the spirit of the season in word and song.

When the bells fall silent

Before very long the bells of St Giles will fall silent, though only for three or four weeks. The clappers (the iron balls inside the bells which cause the ringing strike to be made, and as found in the phrase ‘going like the clappers’) need re-clappering. To be honest, I just made that word up, but I do know that the ‘swing time’ of some of them needs improving so that those bells can ring more easily. Quite soon engineers from the Whitechapel Bell Foundry (soon, alas, to close) will take the clappers away to their workshops and will then return them again in due course. The annual meeting of The St Giles Society, as the ringing team is officially known, met on 16th February, which prompts me to renew our thanks to Tom, Linda, Ruth, Adrian, Martin, Eva and others who play an important part in the ringing life of not only our own church but a good many others as well.

What’s On?

The primary ministry of St Giles is Christian hospitality. Our Church was founded for this purpose in 1101 and continues in the same spirit today.

The key way in which we express this is by remaining open for prayer and quiet throughout the week. No questions are asked of the one who comes to pray, and no demands made on the weary, the inquisitive or the random visitor. As God’s love is at the heart of our life and church, so his presence is at the heart of such hospitality.  We also seek to enrich the spiritual experience of visiting St Giles by playing host to a changing calendar of music, art and cultural events.

Finally, we work to make the church and its surroundings available for a wide range of community groups, local organisations and events. These activities are run by outside groups; however, we are delighted to be able to provide a space for these groups.

The Children’s Space

Over the past year or so we have been working with a local mother and others on the idea of a semi-permanent children’s space to be set up at the west end of the church, to provide a safe, attractive and child-friendly environment where parents, carers and young children can spend time together. There are many families in our local community living in fairly cramped households who, from time to time (and especially in the winter months) need somewhere else to be with their children. To this end, and thanks to a grant from the William Shelton Educational Charity, a large rug and a varied collection of craft and play equipment has been acquired.

World Food Market

We host a World Food Market, arranged by Epicurean Events, in the North Churchyard on Thursdays from 10am to 3pm. This is a great opportunity to enjoy the churchyard and have a break from the usual sandwich shops, so do pop along if you work nearby for a choice of warm lunches from around the world.

World Food Market 3

Support Groups

Simon Community LogoSt Giles is pleased to host Support Groups who provide food and drink for the body, mind and spirit. From 2pm to 4pm on Saturdays and from 1.15pm to 3.15pm on Sundays the Simon Community set up a mobile Street Café in the north churchyard to dispense tea, coffee, sandwiches, fruit, cake and words of advice, seeking to reach out to the most unreachable. If you want to know more or find details of how to volunteer, please visit their website.

During the week, Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous groups gather in the Vestry House behind the Church. By definition, these are only open to those who seek such support and in each case the website (or word of mouth) is usually the first point of contact. Theses groups are entirely self-directed and operate independently of St Giles, but we are pleased to provide meeting space at the heart of the West End, where both addictions are only too prevalent.

Details of the timing of support groups can be found in our calendar on the side of this page.