The Parish Church of St John-at-Hampstead

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September 2017


Judy East

So many people have been away this summer its good now to see everyone gradually reappearing, refreshed we hope, and looking forward to an autumn of renewed activities.   Photos have been shared, tales have been told ‑ the good and the bad ‑ travelling, arriving (or not), "Having a wonderful time", don't dwell on the disasters unless they're funny - no one, particularly not the stay-at-homes, want to know that you went somewhere exotic and DIDN'T have a wonderful time! 

Or maybe you stayed in sometimes hot, often wet, always overcrowded London and fought for space on the pavements let alone in the attractions.  If you were wise you stayed in empty Hampstead and enjoyed the peace.  And perhaps you were one of the people who helped steward the church during the holiday and welcomed visitors.  Its perhaps comforting to know that 116 years ago the trustees were wrestling with the same issues we have today:

The vicar expressed a wish that the church should be open daily - when it would be necessary for some person to be always present. He proposed that the duty of guarding the church be divided amongst some elderly parishioners who being unable to work might be glad of such an opportunity of slightly increasing their income. (By 1s 6d a week, 7.2 p in new money. 7p in 1901 was the equivalent of 7.89 today - one can only guess at the poverty that made such a sum worth earning). The rota divided the week between the verger and women.

And then on to the next item:
The meeting then moved on to the state of the choir vestry which made order and quiet reverent behaviour very difficult.
Trustees Minutes 1901

Whatever we did we're all back now and looking forward to the autumn's activities.......

There are TWO lunchtime concerts this month - on the first Wednesday we have Corinna Hentschel, piano and on the second Wednesday Nia Coleman, soprano accompanied by Iain Ledingham, piano.  Nia and Iain will be  performing works by Rachmaninov, Ravel, Villa-Lobos, Schubert and Strauss. This extra event means Knit and Natter will start later - after the concert, so about 2.30 / 3pm on 13th). If you want to start some mittens for the Christmas Hampers or get help with ones you’re already doing do come along.  And if you are already busy knitting it would be helpful to know how you’re getting on so we know when we’ve reached out target of 40.  Theres also a Literary Hour on 20th celebrating D H Lawrence and the Choir of the 21st Century will be paying us another visit on 23rd September - details further on in this issue.

Holy Hamsters starts on 7th September, Sunday School, Crèche and the Choir on 10th, Community Choir on 14th. Rehearsals are under way for the Hampstead Players production of Persuasion in November and the Friends of the Music are planning for the Scratch Requiem and (with the Hampstead Arts Festival) for the Bach B Minor Mass, both in November and for both of which James Sherlock will pay us flying visits from his new career in Helsinki.

And, of course, if its September, as Jeremy has said, it must be Harvest time.  When we don’t actually go out into the fields to harvest anything its difficult to know when to think about harvest. But at any time we can give thanks for abundance and consider places where there is a deficiency and the end of September seems to be our traditional time to do that.  As always food collected will be divided between the foodbanks and the Simon Community who, as they run a nightly soup kitchen, will take any perishable food we have.  And, because its a celebration of our gratitude well get together for a harvest lunch after the 10.30am service on 24th.  No details yet but these will be in the pewsheets.

A busy autumn ahead then.  And since some of the West End shops opened their Christmas stores in August I have no hesitation in reminding you about the CHRISTMAS MARKET on 18th November! 

By then our two newest projects will be up and running - the C4WS Nightshelter and the sponsoring of a refugee. 

If we were really adventurous, of course, we could take up brewing like St Mary’s Primrose Hill who are opening a brewery in their undercroft. Honestly - you can check it out at

And now, having listed all the busyness with which we can fill our lives this month I cant help feeling its a good time to drop in a quote I came across at a Quiet day during the summer:

Work is not always required.  There is such a thing as sacred idleness.  George Macdonald

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