The Parish Church of St John-at-Hampstead

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March 2017


Judy East

Exciting times ahead
    Last month’s magazine was not noted for its accuracy - not ENTIRELY my fault.  Copies had barely hit the shelf when not one but two concerts were cancelled1 and Big Brew Day got in a month early (I have to put my hand up to that one).  I confidently predict that The Installation of Revd Jeremy Fletcher as our new Vicar WILL happen on 16th March!  The churchwardens have written about this above so I need say no more. 

I take a certain pleasure in the rituals of the liturgy - making the ash from the palms for instance - so I had to laugh when I came across this sentence in a commentary on Lent, at the end of a discussion about the ash: “Sometimes liturgy seems more fanciful than it was originally intended to be”!2  Apparently the burning of palms is a relatively recent custom, in the 14th century they burnt “blessed branches” from the previous year (but branches of local trees not palms).  So could I just as easily go to the recycling bin for waste paper?  Doesn’t have the same feeling about it somehow.

Stations of the Cross
Another tradition at HPC is that we have the Stations of the Cross created by members of the congregation over the last few years (from about 2010 I think, I know Jim Walters started it when he was curate here and the first year they were painted by someone outside the parish).  After much deliberating  I decided to put up the ones we already have this year  without asking for  new contributions.   

    However instead of doing sessions at set times which didn’t seem to be popular, we’ve decided to leave it up to you all individually to take a booklet and go round in your own time.  There’s no “right way” of doing this. It’s your prayer not an intellectual exercise, this is an invitation to enter into the events of Holy Week, to ponder those events as they relate to our lives today.  Don’t think too much about ‘what really happened’.  What matters is what it says to us and how we can relate it to ourselves in our world as it is now. 

    Take your time.  Take as much time as you like.  Go quietly from one Station to another.  The booklet provided is the one we’ve used in previous years so some of the prayers are designated “All” but the readings and prayers work just as well individually.  If you don’t find them a help, ignore them.  Sit or stand in front of each Station and look, really look, at what it wants to say to you.   If you haven’t time to do them all come back another day. Lent can seem a very ‘busy’ time and perhaps this will be still point for us all. But only if we don’t feel pressured into doing it, or into doing it “right”.  Maybe Lent should be more about clearing our diaries than adding more to them.

Which is not to say I don’t recommend joining a Lent Group! There are  groups happening at a number of venues and times across the churches of CTiH - how many people I wonder were drawn to the idea of the one “with toys”?  I know I was tempted to borrow a child and go along.
it’s business as usual for our Wednesday activities - concerts, literary hours and Knit and Natter......... 

If you’re a knitter looking for a project we have two possibilities

1. Twiddlemuffs
Used for dementia patients these are a very simple muff made from a piece of knitting (or crochet) 30cm x 60cm, decorated with buttons, ribbon etc and sewn up into a muff. You can use any wool and any stitch and attach anything you happen to have. (I have a large supply of ribbons, lace, buttons so we could get together and have a decorating day).

Unlike last year’s hot water bottle project there’s no set number attached to these.

 2. Glove puppets for Shoeboxes.  As anyone who’s every filled a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child will know you can’t put in homemade soft toys because the organisers don’t know what stuffing has been used, but glove puppets are ideal.  I have a number of patterns - frogs, teddies, clowns, bees and so on.   The puppets will then be made available to anyone in the congregation wanting to make up a shoebox.  Again no set number required though I suppose there’s a limit to how many shoeboxes we’re likely to generate! 

We meet  in church on the 2nd Wednesday of the month starting at 1pm and usually going on till about 3pm.. 

Ezekiel bread                   
We all know the bible is good for us in many life-changing way but for recipes?   The latest health food to emerge follows an ancient recipe - see Ezekiel 4.9. So far it only seems to be available online, if anyone finds an actual shop that sells it I’d be interested to know.
Finally we said goodbye to Amanda Kneller in mid-February.  Amanda joined us as Father Stephen’s PA after Paula left and was, I know, a considerable support to him.  But times and needs change, we now have a full time Administrator and it was felt that there wasn’t sufficient work for her.  We wish Amanda well in whatever she decides to do next. 

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