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					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:
                                                             bcanosa@ins.org.uk


              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.

				
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