The Parish Church of St John-at-Hampstead

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February 2019


Judy East

It seems obvious this month to start with the lighting improvements in the church. More progress is being made than might appear from the rather dimly lit nave we’ve been living with since the beginning of January. The wiring in the nave is pretty much done and we await now the return of our glass chandeliers with their new fittings. If the choir vestry is anything to go by the improvement will be quite astonishing. Formerly lit by long fluorescent tubes (I inherited a box of these from Wilfrid Hill when I took over in 1988 and I was down to the last one and wondering if I could replace them) the new lighting, though it looks much the same is now LED and brighter and cleaner and altogether better in every way. And I suppose I can get rid of the last of the old tubes now. Other things to be removed include that elderly white cupboard presently gracing (if that’s the word) the back of the church. It used to live in an alcove soon to be occupied by new dimmers. It was always old and battered – it came from Church Row Nursery when we provided them with better storage space and never one to miss an opportunity to increase storage I brought it up into the church. It has had its uses but frankly housed a lot of odds and ends that could be much better stored somewhere else – or not kept at all. That’s the trouble with churches - it’s all too easy to tuck things away in odd corners to be “dealt with later” – only later never comes. Now, because of the rewiring, our “later” has caught up with us!

Events in February

Well, of course THE VALENTINE’S BALL – the major event of the year. Ticket sales which went slowly at first picked up as the day drew nearer and everyone realised this was not an event to be missed! No doubt we’ll hear all about it soon. The charity to benefit is C4WS who, among other things, run the winter night shelters in churches around the area from November to the end of March. Our period is over now – from November to mid-January an astonishing number of people cooked and cleaned, washed up, slept over, did laundry, made beds – this being something the very young could help with it was done by families and one or two of the children involved have shared some thoughts with us further on in this issue.

Soup lunches : These got off to a gratifyingly good start in January when 20 people met up to share their lunch and a chat. The next one is on 13th of this month.

Literary Hours : We trailer two in this issue – Town and Country on 20th February compiled by Barbara Alden and Something about Shakespeare on 20th March, compiled by Bill Risebero. Both will be held in the Crypt Room - hopefully by April, when it falls in Holy Week, we’ll be back in the church.

The Bible Book Club this month looks at Judges. A rather sceptical group met up for Joshua – why are we reading this, it’s all war. But any bible study provokes interesting discussion, even if you focus on Why? And I think we all enjoyed it more than we expected to. Judges promises it’s own excitement – think Jael and Sisera, Samson and Delilah….. the Book of Judges mentions twelve leaders who judged Israel: Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah, Gideon, Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, and Samson. That should keep us going. Monday 25th or Wednesday 27th. )

The HCSC Reading Group : HCSC? Hampstead Christian Study Centre – are studying Richard Rohr this term “Immortal Diamond” – readily available on Amazon. Details further on in this issue.

So business as usual, really, in spite of the electrical work going on around us.

"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:  it is the time for home."  said Edith Sitwell, but if you bring yourself to venture out it’s also a time for meeting friends, for learning, for sharing. Happy February!

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