St Anne’s Church, Kew Christmas 2007 newsletter The sacred mystery that is Christmas Dear Friends, Sacred Mystery is at the heart of our faith. Sacred Mystery conveys the religious truth that lies within and yet is beyond the power of words. In our very scientific culture anything that is not able to be explained and proved is often just dismissed as a fairytale. Even within Christianity there are those who would, through their fundamentalism and literalism, wish to try and limit our understanding of sacred mystery to the words themselves. The incarnation which we celebrate at Christmas is a case in point. It is a sacred mystery. The Christmas story is amazing, full of awe and wonder, and as a story communicates one of the central truths of Christianity – that God became man in Jesus Christ. Many aspects of the story do not stand up to scientific enquiry, and from a religious point of view we often tell the story as some sort of conglomeration of the accounts that we find in Matthew and Luke. And we like to believe in the Magi and shepherds, in stars and dreams, but we must not fall into the trap of literal belief. Rather I suggest that we must see the language of the events surrounding the birth of the Messiah as the way in which the sacred mystery of the incarnation is held. At one level we will never fully understand or explain the incarnation – rather the invitation of each celebration of Christmas is to let the truth of God made man be born again in our hearts and lived out in our lives. By the time that John‟s Gospel came to be written, some 120 or so years after the death of Jesus, we have in John‟s prologue (Jn.1:1-14) perhaps the most theologically powerful description of this sacred mystery which is why it is prescribed to be read at the main Eucharist on Christmas Day. John in his use of words seems to capture the spiritual depth and theological truth of the incarnation. At Christmas we give and receive gifts as tokens of our love for one another. This Christmas we see the arrival of our long awaited new Nave altar candlesticks. These finely crafted candlesticks have been given in memory of those who have faithfully worshipped at St Anne‟s over the years. The result of an international competition, they have been made by a young artist Rembrandt Jordan who once studied at the Royal College of Art and who now has a studio in Antwerp. Rembrandt‟s winning design draws on the shapes and forms that we find in St Anne‟s and through their use of light reflect something of the sacred mystery of the incarnation. However you choose to read and hear the Christmas story I pray that the love of God, that the Christ child signifies, will be reborn in your hearts this Christmas. Father Nigel Published by Fr. Nigel Worn, St Anne‟s Church, Kew Green, TW9 3AA December 2007 – tel 020 8940-4616 www.saintanne-kew.org.uk KEW PALACE AND THE We have been made familiar with the King‟s life through Alan Bennett‟s play, “The ‘MADNESS’ OF GEORGE 111 Madness of George 111” and the subsequent film and it is now generally recognised that By Monica Bridgewater his illness was probably a physical condition called porphyria, which is inherited. Lucy On a wintry evening in early November, a Worsley gave us some pathetic descriptions large audience was invited by the Friends of of the King‟s bouts of illness and the horrible St Anne‟s to hear Lucy Worsley talk about the treatment he received. ever fascinating subject of Kew Palace and its Royal connections. On a happier note, the description of the Royal family‟s life at Kew Palace led on to a For an audience largely composed of the fascinating insight into its recent restoration. middle-aged and elderly, Ms Worsley We learned that Queen Victoria gave the seemed extremely youthful, especially when house to the nation and that nothing much one considers her elevated position as Chief was done with it until the 1970‟s when it was Curator of Historic Royal Palaces. She redecorated in order to be opened to the introduced herself by briefly mentioning that public. Various slides showed us the work Royal palaces are not maintained either by done then and there was an interesting the government or the Royal family unless comparison with the careful restoration they are currently occupied. Her organisation started in the 1990‟s which took ten years. in fact is responsible for Kensington Palace, the Tower of London, Hampton Court, the The house had in fact been built by a London Banqueting House and Kew Palace. merchant in 1631, but the decision was made to restore it to the décor existing in 1804. The main part of her talk, a vivid account of Fragments of wallpaper dating from that time the Royal family‟s occupation of the palace, were discovered, some under 20 layers of revealed a detailed knowledge and great paint and this provided vital clues. enthusiasm for her subject. She entertained us all with a variety of facts and anecdotes Interestingly it was discovered that the top which brought to life the King‟s personality floors of the house had not been touched and his relationships within his family. The since the Royal family departed and this area King came across as a personable and even has deliberately not been restored so that the jolly man, full of curiosity and interested in public can see the original uncomfortable many subjects. Apparently much of what we conditions in which the Royal princesses and know about the King and his family came the servants existed. And all over the house from the diaries of Fanny Burney who was a taped sounds of family life are played to add lady-in-waiting at the court. to the atmosphere. Ask the Vicar (1) - Father Nigel answers your questions “ I see a notice saying we are working towards being an inclusive church. What does this mean?” I believe that the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is good news for all people. This is the underlying belief of the Inclusive Church movement. Inclusive Church was set up to counter the trend within Anglicanism to exclude certain groups of people from being fully a part of the church. An example of this type of exclusion would be churches that do not recognise the priestly ordination and ministry of women. Another would be those who wish to exclude people because of their sexuality. Here at St Anne‟s we recognise and share the vision of being an inclusive church but we are not yet fully inclusive that is why we say that we are working towards being an inclusive church. Elephant makes us Christians fundamentalist principles regarding women and sexuality. so meek and mild The second question, “What might help to By Helen Kraus improve relations between Muslims and Christians?”, again drew mostly conciliatory “The elephant in the room”, I am reliably comments: “most Muslims are not informed, is office-speak for a problem that all fundamentalist”. There was some can see but everyone is somehow too ambivalence regarding faith schools but, embarrassed to mention. There was generally, these were felt to present good something of the elephant present at our opportunities for becoming acquainted with latest Café Evening on 12th November, when other cultures. we tried to tackle some of the problems experienced in „living with Islam‟. There should be better communication between the traditions and “respect” was We were fortunate to have a most stimulating again emphasised. Possible friction points introduction and able facilitation by the were universal monotheism (“which God is Venerable Michael Ipgrave, Archdeacon of best?”). We should try get to know “real Southwark, whose special expertise is in Muslims”, it was said, but what or who is a inter-faith relations, and who has advised real Muslim? senior clergy, Church commissions and councils over many years. Was it a successful evening? Certainly, in terms of numbers, it was. However, The first question, “What do we mean by personally I was a little disappointed that, „living with‟?”, produced a variety of answers, with the one notable exception, there was an ranging from “living alongside” through overwhelming feeling that, as Christians, we “cohabiting” (i.e. putting up with others), must be broad-minded to the point of “respect” and “acceptance” to “common invisibility – or should I say inaudibility? As humanity“, “worshipping the same God” and one who was there succinctly put it: “it was a “eating together”. Only once were “anxiety” group of Christians trying their hardest”. and “vulnerability” mentioned. If the evening provided any food for thought, Comments included the lack of opportunity to perhaps it is because it showed that we are meet Muslims in Kew (though demographics not yet ready to ask the difficult questions, are very different in Brentford) and much of even among ourselves. There was no our information comes through the media. mention of terrorism or intimidation. That said, it seems that the younger generation of Christians have less difficulty There was no mention either of any with issues of ethnicity, possibly through expectations that we, of the Christian greater exposure. community, might have regarding a dialogue with the Muslim community, where both One dissenting voice told us what “living with groups of voices may be heard. So far, we Islam” should not mean: becoming a second- don‟t yet seem to have found our voice. class citizen (as to a Muslim all “infidels” are), Where do we go from here? the imposition of faith and regression to Ask the Vicar (2) “ A friend told me she has a Spiritual Director. Could you tell me more about this?” Ever since the earliest times of Christianity people have sought out the counsel of others to help them on their spiritual pilgrimage. Spiritual Directors, or soul friends, are women and men, lay and ordained, who offer those who seek spiritual guidance. Typically a person would meet with their Spiritual Director three to four times a year where the primary subject matter is that person‟s relationship with God. For many people their parish priest can provide this role; but for others this role is provided by someone outside of the parish. The diocese can offer help in finding a suitable Spiritual Director – contact Elizabeth Fenney 01895 636801 The Road to Santiago: To Be a Pilgrim Margaret Handley reports on the great 90 mile trek The Way of St James (Camino de Santiago) Saint Jacques, the symbol of the Camino. is a route to the legendary burial place of the There were shrines and wayside chapels saint in the Cathedral at Santiago de where we had our pilgrims‟ passports Compostela in Galicia, North West Spain. stamped. In one the priest asked for Father Braver pilgrims walk from France over the Nigel‟s blessing and gave his in return. Pyrenees. We planned to walk over 100 miles but lost a day through the vagaries of All round us were pilgrims of many London fog and Iberia Airlines. We finally nationalities. We met Dutch, Scots, walked 90 miles (140 kms ) over seven days, Australians, Germans and Canadians. (The ending with the pilgrims‟ daily mass at 12 Scots were the only ones we couldn‟t noon at the cathedral. Every pilgrim who understand.) The scariest was the crocodile walks the last 100 kms to the cathedral and of six members of the Fraternity of St James has a pilgrim‟s passport stamped twice daily, walking nose to tail, looking neither left nor may claim a Compostela or certificate of right and tapping sticks in unison. Many pilgrimage. pilgrims carried all their possessions. We carried small day haversacks as our cases The seven days passed by in an unvarying were transported. We felt ashamed as we routine: pack; walk; arrive at next hotel; shimmied past those bent under their load. unpack; Eucharist; sleep. All this only As our average age was over 60 we hoped punctuated by Galician food and wine. for their understanding. Father Nigel hoped we understood the difference between a pilgrimage and a We deserved it; because, not to mince words, walking holiday. For those whose walking there was a degree of suffering. Few of us expertise and endurance were untested, had walked 18 miles on two consecutive getting to the next hotel was high on the list days. The Camino was reassuringly of priorities. But there were so many things scramble- free, the sun shone, the scenery about our daily life that you would not find on, was stunning, but although we were told the say, the Pennine Way. route ran down to the city from the mountains, it included an alarming number of The daily Eucharist was timed for 7pm or on unrelenting uphill stretches. The group the longer days for 7.30pm. The most supported individual efforts. One memory is magical service was the first, held by a of a late arrival being clapped into the hotel. stream in the country. Later our spirits were still willing but the pilgrims‟ flesh demanded So seven days on, we walked through the seats which meant ad hoc worship in bars suburbs of Santiago, photographed from and restaurants. Here the acoustic could be tourist buses as objects of curiosity. We flattering; the patrons of one hotel were observed the ritual of the mass with mixed stunned into applause by our rendering of feelings and gazed in disbelief at the huge Cwm Rhonda. swinging censer gushing incense and threatening decapitation to those in the You were rarely allowed to forget that you transepts. Finally we queued for our own were on a path with a purpose. The yellow Compostela. „Congratulations‟ said the arrow at every junction should have kept the charming girls vetting each applicant. We had most absent minded pilgrim on the right track. done it. Half kilometres were marked by a coquille of Short and Sweet A concert entitled „Short and Sweet‟ was amounted to an astonishing £1,000 – for put on by a multi-talented group of local which INS is extremely grateful. musicians, singers, poets and actors at St. Anne‟s on 7th October. They all came Following the concert, a delicious tea was together to celebrate their connections with provided by St. Anne‟s Church volunteers, Integrated Neurological Services (INS), a during which guests were also able to view local charity supporting people with an exhibition of art by INS clients and Parkinson‟s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis or friends, mounted by Maggie Hughes. who have had a stroke. Maggie generously organises monthly art sessions for the Thursday afternoon „Arts The concert was enthusiastically received and Activities‟ group at INS. by the packed audience, which included Cllr. Cranfield-Adams, Mayor of Richmond. For further information please Their appreciation was shown in the level contact Belinda Canosa, Manager, of donations made to INS at the end, which INS, on 020 8940 1126, email: firstname.lastname@example.org The reality of co-existence in the Lands of the Bible By Claudine McCreadie We had an opportunity to think more deeply West Bank, East Jerusalem and the about the co-existence of Israelis and Golan Heights. Palestinians in the 'Lands of the Bible' at a St. Anne‟s Café Evening on 24th October. Its context is ultimately the decision by the UN in 1947 to allow the establishment of the state Mary Clark, a parishioner from All Saints, East of Israel by the partition of Palestine, the Sheen, talked about her recent experience as a subsequent war in 1967 that resulted in the volunteer on the World Council of Churches occupation of Palestinian land, the building of Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in settlements on that land and, since 2002, the Palestine and Israel. She began by explaining “separation fence” inside Palestinian territory about the programme and its context. It started and the failure to implement any of the United in 2002 and involves volunteers from churches Nations resolutions that address these all round the world in supporting Palestinians territorial violations. and Israelis in three ways: Mary, after an intensive “initiation” in monitoring and reporting violations of Jerusalem, including an introduction to Arabic, human rights and international was 'sent' to a small village of 3,500 humanitarian law; Palestinians on the border of the West Bank accompanying local communities in and Israel, North East of Tel Aviv . She lived daily activities, for example, helping there with five other volunteers of varied age Palestinians move from their homes in and nationality for six months. Her tasks, with Gaza or the West Bank through the other volunteers, were to engage with the checkpoints to their jobs in Israel; local people, and in particular to monitor, and if advocating with churches for a peaceful necessary help, as they moved from their end to the Israeli Occupation of the village to either their land, or work, or school, or Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme is to hospital and back. support them. In reply to questions about what the ordinary person here might do to help, she Movement has become a particular issue since suggested that we could begin by listening to the building of the 'separation fence'. This is the news more carefully, to understand better an 8 meter high concrete wall that has been what is happening to the Palestinians. constructed inside the boundaries that resulted from the 1967 war, thus resulting in further The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme appropriation of land and causing huge in the UK is organised by the Quakers, who difficulties for Palestinians, whose fields or have a helpful list of “what we can do” - olive plantations may be on the 'wrong' side of contacting our politicians, supporting the the 'fence'. Programme, prayer - alone and together, giving to the replanting of olive trees, visiting Mary suggested that there were many Israel/Palestine, buying Palestinian goods strategies to make everyday life as difficult as where possible, educating ourselves better and possible for the ordinary Palestinian. By June not forgetting the Palestinians. 2007, for example, there were 543 permanent and 600 flying check points in the West Bank, A book that I have found particularly helpful is meaning that people never know which roads Andrew Ashdown's The Stones Cry Out, are open and which are closed. She witnessed reflections from Israel and Palestine, published both the injustice and the humiliation suffered by Christians Aware in 2006 and available from by ordinary people at first hand. She their office at 2 Saxby Street Leicester LE2 confessed that it made her feel 'very angry'. 0ND, tel. 0116-254-0770, price about £7 including postage! It includes 20 pages of Mary emphasised that there are a large incredibly helpful further references! number of Israeli peace activists and part of the Queen’s becomes a Fairtrade School By Gail Hiscock It was a year ago that a group of Year 6 pupils at The Queen‟s Church of England School in They persuaded them all to buy Fairtrade Kew were inspired to see what they could do to products wherever possible, boosting the let people know about Fairtrade. They saw campaign by preparing refreshments for school that buying Fairtrade products was a really meetings, and holding sales of Fairtrade goods positive way to help producers in developing at the Summer Fair and after school. Pupils countries get a fair price for their goods, and so performed at a fashion show held on Kew enable their people to become self-sufficient Green, which featured Fairtrade clothing and through sustainable economic growth. even wrote their own Fairtrade song which was performed regularly! The highlight came when The pupils did some research and discovered Queen‟s was featured in the Guardian that it would be possible for Queen‟s to newspaper during Fairtrade Fortnight. become a “Fairtrade School”. They formed a committee with fellow pupils from Year 6 and All of this effort helped secure “Fairtrade launched a campaign to spread the Fairtrade School” status. Queen‟s is one of the first message to the whole school. The children schools to achieve this recognition. The presented to The School Council, Governors, important task now is to make sure that the the Staff, PSA and at a range of assemblies Fairtrade message continues to be heard just and meetings. as loudly at Queen‟s in the years to come.