Monday 17 December Parish Carol Service
The candles were lit, the church was ready with the congregation of residents, local business people and representatives from the local community and the choir gathered at the west end of the church. We stood in silence and heard the wonderful voice of Penny, soprano in the choir sing the first line of Once in Royal David’s City.
As we joined in the singing of the carol, the Rev. Canon Jen Smith, Superintendent Minister of Wesley’s Chapel and Katharine processed to their places in the chancel.
We listened to the readings from the Old and New Testaments foretelling the birth of Christ read by the CEO of London City YMCA, the Practice nurse from the Neaman Practice, the Golden Lance Estate Manager, the Head of Barbican and Community Libraries, a Partner from Waitrose, Barbican and our Ministerial Experience Volunteer.
Katharine in her sermons reminded us of Lancelot Andrewes, vicar here from 1588 to 1604, whose multi-tasking included being Chaplain to Queen Elizabeth 1. In his most famous sermon on Christmas Day 1622, preached as Bishop of Winchester, he told the congregation to enter into the story, to put themselves into the picture. He said, ‘For the Magi sat not still gazing at the star’. Don’t just sit there – do something. Later TS Elliot, abbreviated part of Andrewes sermon and drew out the implications of the journey. Bad roads, bad weather, bad food, unpleasant companions, inhospitable strangers, and the homesick yearning for one’s own bed. He wonders whether the journey might be ‘all folly’. Was it worth it – this encounter with the Divine? Especially, as on their return, the magi would no longer fit in with their old ways. Christianity shouldn’t make us uneasy – especially when we are here to enjoy ourselves at Christmas. Without Elliot, Andrewes sermon might still be buried treasure. The poet went back four hundred years to set before us a timeless journey of faith, of mystery, revelation, of our encounter with the living God, and of not having all the answers. But as we know, really this story is for January not December!
As the service came to an end, members of the refreshment team moved to the south aisle where earlier mulled wine had been heated and this with mince pies were offered to our visitors
There was a congregation of over 200 with many friends and neighbours staying afterwards to greet each other and enjoy our hospitality.
Sunday 16 November 2018 - Sunday Club Nativity Play
The Sunday Club presented their annual Nativity Play during the Parish Eucharist on Sunday. Written by Dave, a Sunday Club parent with assistance from his two young daughters, the play brought some modern twists to the traditional story. When asked by Katharine why the STAR, dressed like a pop star was wearing sun glasses she was told because he was so bright!
The 3 Kings were seen playing cards together and we were told that it was because they were posh and rich. The Innkeeper turned out to be a French accented Manager in white shirt, black trousers and black bow tie who welcomed Mary, Joseph and the talking donkey to his establishment and showed them to the stable. He also welcomed the shepherds and wise men. Elizabeth our organist, had coached the children in the singing of ‘Little Donkey’ which they performed during the play.
Saturday 8 December - Christmas Emergency Appeal for the Trussell Trust Hackney Foodbank
Simon, Tim, Lewis and Amanda
Christopher writes, ‘Thank you to everyone for a very successful Christmas emergency appeal for the Trussell Trust Hackney Foodbank on 8 December. We collected enough in total for 1,595 meals - nearly 700kg - thanks to the amazing generosity of Waitrose shoppers as well as £120 in cash.
Christopher, Amanda, Ros, Doris, Katharine and Alex
Thank you as always to Tom and Marie and everyone at Waitrose and to Tanya and her son Deiondre from the Hackney Foodbank for collecting everything.’
We had a very nice email from Jared Hughes, the Waitrose Branch Manager, saying “How wonderful to hear that the recent collection was so successful. I am so happy that we can provide the platform to help make it so successful. Brilliant.
Best wishes and Merry Christmas.”
Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 December
Advent Fair Weekend and Christingle Service
Saturday 1 December
Sunday 2 December
After the Family Eucharist, the City of London Brass Band arrived to start the second day of the fair. As it was dry and bright, the band who practice in St Giles’ on a Wednesday evening was able to play outside in the churchyard. Their joyful music echoed around the Barbican with several visitors saying they had heard the music and decided to come to the fair!
The refreshment corner offered hot soup, ham and cheese rolls and pizza slices for lunch and a wonderful selection of homemade cakes for tea time. The cake stall was also popular with delicious homemade Christmas fruit cakes made by John and a host of sponge cakes made by Katharine, Louise and Glenda. The reputation of these homemade cakes now sees local customers come back each year to buy one!
Anne played a programme of organ music chosen and paid for by people present, while Elizabeth supervised the children’s concert with many budding pianists, violinists and a harpist taking part.
Children enjoyed having their faces painted and joined in craft making and games including Splat the Rat - always a firm favourite! The raffle was drawn, and we give special thanks to The Worshipful Company of Barbers, The Worshipful Company of Salters, Searcy’s, Cote, Baracca, Wood Street Wine Bar, Bonfire and Artillery Arms who provided the generous prizes.
Candlelit Christingle Service
By 15.30 the church was ready for our Christingle service.
It is a joyful service with famiies and communities gathering together to light candles and sing. Once again, the story of the meaning of the Christingle was told by Katharine with help from the children. With the church in semi-darkness, we made a circle around the inside of the church and the parents of recently baptised children lit the first candle. Soon all the Christingle candles are alight, and we processed around the church. There is a tradition that some of the children try to keep their candles alight until they get home – not always achievable if it is raining or windy!
Thank you to all who contributed in any way to the very successful weekend. We raised £2,702 at the Book Fair and £2,141 from the refreshments, raffle and the other stalls.
Book Fair Results for 2018
The Book Fair has had a prosperous and joyful year, raising £10,900 including £2,702 from the latest November/December fair.
Our thanks to all who have donated, helped and bought books throughout this year.
Our first Book Fair in 2019 will be from 18 February to 1 March.
Saturday 24 November
Book Fair and Tai Chi Display
11 November 2018 – Remembrance Sunday and the 100th Anniversary of the end of the First World War
There were two themes to our Remembrance at St Giles’ for the 100th Anniversary of the end of the First World War, as we gathered for the Family Eucharist at 10.00.
The first, to remember Robert Borwick, William Brown, George Conway, Francis Durbin, W Etherington, Arthur Jordan, S Nightingale and CEPJ North, parishioners of St Luke’s Church, Old Street who died in the First World War. Their names were listed on a board formerly part of a side altar in the church and that can still be seen today at LSO St Luke’s.
We know nothing of these men or their families today but a poignant reminder for us at St Giles’ is that after the Blitz in 1940 when this church was nearly destroyed much of the furniture and fittings from St Luke’s came to us when the church was restored. These parishioners would have recognised the altar, the west grand organ, may have been baptised in the font or sat in the pews we use today. We will remember them.
We had ten of the figures cut out of Perspex, a phantom presence, that have been in churches and cathedrals up and down the country. As Katharine said in her sermon, ‘simple and yet heart breaking, the figures have been in church all week. Arresting, still, silent - occupying the space - and so very there - and not there.’
Before the service we heard Elgar’s’ Nimrod’
During the service we sang favourite hymns,
we listened to the choir singing, ‘Prayer for Peace’ by Carter and ‘For the fallen’ by Guest, we joined in the intercessions of Remembrance and heard Katharine’s sermon where she quoted words by some of those who recorded their thoughts at the time of the Armistice, including Vera Brittan, nursing at Millbank, who lost a younger brother and several of her friends and a VAD nurse in France reporting that the sound of gunfire just rolled away like thunder you hear in the distance - leaving an eerie silence. We wept because the silence was so awful: we’d heard guns all day long, all day long, and it was remarkable how - of course we were pleased naturally - but it was so strange to have silence.
At 11.00 the church fell silent for two minutes, then we heard the Last Post played by trumpeter Robin also our choir tenor.
This time was a powerful reminder of the silence of the public square, a silence that fell when the guns had stopped, a silence that can be eerie and potentially heart breaking, but our remembrance had been a time to speak and a time to keep silence.
The Organ Postlude of Sibelius’ ‘Finlandia’ brought our service of remembrance to a powerful close.
You can read Katharine’s full sermon on our website at www.stgilescripplegate.com/sermons
The ‘There and Not There’ project, is the inspiration of ‘Remembered’, a Registered Charity and a Charitable Incorporated Organisation:
For more details go to https://www.therebutnotthere.org.uk/
Wednesday 17 October 2018 Funeral Service within Communion
23 June 1937 – 27 September 2018
Family members, many friends and colleagues gathered at St Giles’ for Valerie’s funeral service.
Valerie had been a member of St Giles for many years and used to be the Tradecraft representative and had raised funds for Christian Aid. It had been sad to see the deterioration in her health, her loss of mobiity in recent years and later her inability to leave her much loved flat unless in a wheechair.
Her step-daughter, Cornelia was a major part of Valerie’s life in recent years. and provided much needed care and support. Valerie looked forward to weekends with her, going to the Barbican cinema or theatre and Cote, her favourite restaurant. Cornelia often wheeled Valerie to church and they were a familiar sight in the front pew of the nave.
Valerie was born and brought up in Southampton, the only child of parents who were teachers. She attended Southampton University to do a general degree and then a three-year course in Sociology at The London School of Economics. She then moved to Newcastle University for training in social work in hospital and probation work. During her career Valerie worked in many large London hospitals including, UCH, The Royal Free, St George’s and the London Hospital for Tropical Diseases. Valerie spent time in America, in Philadelphia’s main hospital to learn and practice social work in the US.
In 1987, Valerie set up the Brent Bereavement Services, a small local charity in memory of her parents and went on to provide support nationally, internationally and at the highest level. Paulo, her colleague said of her, ‘Valerie was an intelligent, hardworking, thoughtful, generous, open minded and a very caring woman with common sense. Those of us who knew her could always count on Valerie’s help’.
Valerie had a great interest in all things Egyptian having attended evening classes for many years at the Egyptian Society and enjoyed a memorable visit including travelling down the Nile and visiting the Pyramids. Her other interest were classical music and the theatre, and she regularly arranged visits to the Edinburgh Festival for Barbican friends for many years. She had also worked part time as Front of House at the Barbican Theatre.
Monday 8 – Friday 12 October 2018 Ecumenical Pilgrimage to Spain
A Journey with the Saints of Spain, Teresa and John of the Cross
Many of us from St Joseph’s, Wesley’s Chapel and St Giles’ who gathered at Gatwick Airport on the 8 October had been on our previous ecumenical pilgrimages so came as friends in faith and fellowship. Our journey this time was to Avila, the birth place of St Teresa, with a day each in Salamanca and Segovia. Our Pax Tours guide, Eriksson met us at Gatwick and shepherded us through ‘luggage drop’, security and we were soon in the air on our way to Madrid.
Teresa was a cloistered Carmelite nun who nevertheless travelled widely across Spain founding new centres of prayer She is recognised as a saint in the Anglican Communion and as a Doctor of the Church by Catholics.
A statue of St Teresa in Avila
Coaches cannot enter the city, so we left ours at the Tourist Office outside the city wall and while our cases were taken to the hotel by small van, we made our way on foot via one of the seven city gates to our hotel – fortunately an escalator and lift in the tourist office made our climb easier!
We stayed at the Hotel Las Morades, close to the cathedral and a short walk from the restaurant, Las Trés Siglos where we had our evening meals together. We were able to use a large room in the hotel for our discussions and prayers.
On Wednesday to Salamanca. After a wake-up call at 6.15am and breakfast at 7.15am, we were out walking in the still dark city to our coach and on our way by 8am! The one plus to this rather rude awaking was to see the dawn slowly rising over the vast open plains that provide the cereal crops for much of Spain. The white fluffy clouds changing from yellow to gold and pink were a wonderful sight. We were comfortable in our coach, but we thought about St Teresa and St John of the Cross travelling across this terrain in covered wagons pulled by donkeys or mules in the great heat of summer or extreme cold of winter.
Salamanca has two cathedrals one, late Gothic and built against its wall, the newer Baroque one.
An altar in the Baroque cathedral
It also has one of the oldest universities (where St John of the Cross studied) in Western Europe and received its royal charter from Alfonso IX of Léon in 1218 although formal teaching existed from at least 1130.
On Thursday to Segovia. Another early start and on our way by 8am.
As we drove into the city, we were greeted by the sight of the amazing Roman Aqueduct built in the late first or early second century BC. It provided water to the town until 1929 and we were told it could be used again if the need arose! The structure dominates and towers above the city. It consists of about 25,000 granite blocks held together without any mortar, spans 818 metres with more than 170 arches and the highest 29 metres high.
We met our local guide and began our tour of the city, climbing up from the main square past churches and other buildings and stopped at the old synagogue that is now a museum. This was the Jewish Quarter where Jews lived before being forced to convert to Christianity or be expelled by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in 1492. The area is enclosed and peaceful now and our guide sang us a beautiful, haunting Sephardic melody as a reminder of former times.
Next to the Alcazar or Royal Palace, a fairy tale building with a moat and one of the favourite residences of the Kings of Castile.
A colourful garden in front is the site of the former cathedral.
On Friday morning after a late breakfast we said prayers together in the hotel and reflected on our journey and time together. We agreed that it had been an illuminating and spiritual time for us all. It had also given us a better understanding of the history of the Spanish Church and the part played by St Teresa and St John of the Cross in the renewal of the Carmelite Order in Spain.
The rest of the morning was free to wander, shop and have a last look at the wonderful city of Avila that had been our home for the past 5 days, before joining the coach for the journey to the airport and our flight home.
A brief summary of the lives of St Teresa and St John of the Cross
Teresa was born in Avila in 1515 to parents who were conversos i.e. converts from Judaism to Christianity. In 1535 she entered the Carmelite Incarnation Monastery. In 1562 she founded the Carmelite Convent of St Joseph and wrote her ‘Life’ and The Way of Perfection in 1563. In 1577 she founded 12 houses including in Segovia (still there and seen on our walking tour) and began writing the ‘Interior Castle’. She died on 4 October 1582. In 1622 Teresa was canonised by Pope Gregory XV and declared a Doctor of the church in 1970 by Pope Paul VI.
John was born in Fontiveros, near Avila in 1525 to parents also of Jewish heritage. He entered the Carmelite monastery at Medina in 1563 and ordained in Salamanca Cathedral In 1567, having studied at the University. In 1568 he joined the 1st community of Reformed friars at Duruelo and from 1572-77 was confessor to the Incarnation Monastery in Avila. From 1582-1586 he was Prior in Granada where he wrote most of his poems and commentaries. In 1588 he became Prior of Segovia and assisted with the Carmelite Reform. He was due to go to Mexico In June 1591 but already ill he moved to Ubeda where he died in the December. The first edition of his works was published in 1618 and the complete works in 1630. In 1726 he was canonised by Pope Benedict XIII and made Patron of Spanish poets in 1952.
The reforms introduced by St Teresa and St John eventually led to the development of the Carmelite Oder into two branches, the Ancient Observance and the Discalced (or shoeless) in recognition of a stricter interpretation of the Carmelite Rule.
Sunday 7 October Visit by Alex Norris, our SSM Curate
Alex Norris who is to be our new curate, joined us with his wife Keri, for the Family Eucharist and to meet us informally afterwards over coffee.
Lorraine, Keri, Tim and Alex
He will be ordained deacon on 29 June 2019 at St Paul’s Cathedral and be licensed to the parish being with us for two days a week (including Sundays).
Alex was educated at the Leys School Cambridge, read theology at Oxford and was Director of Music at St Saviour’s Pimlico for 13 years.
He and Keri live in London and he works in Business Development at the Angel. He is also an Associate of the Magic Circle.
He is in his third year at St Augustine’s College of Theology (non-residential training that used to be the Southwark Ordination Course). His MA thesis is on angels.
We wish him every success in his studies. We will remember him and Keri in our prayers and look forward to welcoming Alex as our curate at the end of June next year.
Sundays 7 and 14 October Mollie’s 97th Birthday Celebrations
Mollie our oldest and a long time member of St Giles’ church, celebrated her 97th birthday with us after the Family Eucharist.
‘Happy birthday’ was sung and a card and a bouquet of flowers were presented to her by children of the Sunday Club.
The following Sunday there were further celebrations with cake and wine provided by Mollie after the Family Eucharist. Mollie is a great example to us all for her regular attendance in church on Sundays and other events that take place here during the year.
Our thanks to David and Beryl, Dorothy, Anne, neighbours and carers who help Mollie to continue to live in her own home and help her to be here with us.
October 2018 Saturday Morning Ecumenical Discussion Groups
These were held on 6, 13, 20, and 27 October – with one each at Jewin Welsh Church, St Giles’ Cripplegate, Wesley’s Chapel, and St Joseph’s. We met for refreshments at 10.00 and our study sessions were from 10.30-11.30.
The book gave us much food for thought. First, we needed to establish where each of us were on the spectrum of light and darkness – were we a light or a dark person or somewhere in the middle – there we a lot of us in the middle! Did we dread the dark days and nights of winter? Were we afraid of the dark or did we find it comforting? Did we think of the dark as evil or as part of God’s wonderful world? There was much discussion over the four weeks and a time to reflect, think more deeply and perhaps change our feelings about the darkness and finding God’s Presence there.
Sunday 30 September Harvest Festival
With much discussion around today about plastic in the seas, on land and in landfill sites, this year’s Harvest Festival was all about plastic waste and what we can all do about it. Harvest Festival is also an occasion to involve the children of the Sunday Club in a special project, Katharine had given all the children clear re-cycling plastic bags to take home, collect all the plastic they and their families used and bring it to church on the Sunday before Harvest Festival.
This yielded a huge amount and to show just how much, an art installation was created that was suspended from one of the arches in the nave.
During the service the children read the lessons and led the intercessions. They all moved to the chancel to participate in the special children’s sermon come activity. A large wicker hamper was wheeled in to the nave full of small plastic bottles of water – left to us after a wedding! The children asked us in the congregation, direct questions, for example, ‘Who spends more than 5 minutes in the shower?’ All who confessed were given a bottle of water, other searching questions followed and soon the hamper was empty with some people deserving two or three bottles! A simple exercise to show just how quickly plastic waste can grow.
Elizabeth, our organist had helped the children learn this song which we all sang together at the end of the children’s activities.
The Plastic Song for Harvest 2018
Lots and lots of cling film and bubble wrap too
Single use containers, so what is the to do?
A carrier bag for 5 pence - that’s not a big deal
Oh ping goes the microwave and here’s your ready meal.
Messing up the planet for we don’t care
Lots of plastic for us all and even some to spare.
A shame about porpoises, a shame about the sea
A shame about the animals but what is that to me?
Lots and lots of poison is filling up the land
Plastic doesn’t decompose - it really should be banned
Plastic is so lovely, let’s use it every day
For wrapping stuff and everything - we need it anyway.
Messing up the planet for we don’t care
Lots of plastic for us all and even some to spare.
A shame about porpoises, a shame about the sea
A shame about the animals but what is that to me?
Messing up the planet for we do care
Too much plastic for everyone; we see it everywhere
We can save the porpoises, we can save the sea
We can save the animals, with help from you and me.
Words by Katharine Rumens sung to the Hymn tune ‘All things bright and beautiful’
Sunday 24 September
A double celebration at St Giles, Cripplegate
A very special double celebration took place at St Giles, Cripplegate, - when the 70th birthday of our inspirational Director of Music, Anne Marsden Thomas MBE, coincided with the church’s St Giles Progressive Lunch.
Since its 2012 inception, the St Giles Progressive Lunch, now in its seventh year, has gone from strength to strength with nearly 40 people attending this year’s event.
Saturday 23 September Open House Weekend
Standing in the children’s corner, Lionel showed visitors displays that recorded the 50th Anniversary of the Unification of the Parish of St Giles’ with the St Luke’s, Old Street, photos of the devastation to the church in the Blitz in 194
0, its later restoration and the building of the Barbican Estate around the church.
We hope this will be the start of a series of historic lectures in the church.
Saturday 15 September
Visit to John Milton’s Cottage at Chalfont St Giles
Although John Milton lived most of his life in London including in our parish where he was buried, when the bucolic plague came to London in 1665 his friend and pupil Thomas Ellwood arranged for him, his wife and daughters to move to a cottage in Chalfont St Giles. Although he lived there for less than two years it was an important place for him; he finished writing Paradise Lost and was inspired to write the sequel Paradise Regained. Today the house is a museum that tells the story of his life and work and where copies of his books, pamphlets and letters are preserved. It was to this house that Katharine, Doris, Essa, Glenda, Peter and Diana from St Giles’ Cripplegate ventured out of London to visit on a sunny Saturday morning.
A bust of Milton in the garden.
We enjoyed a sandwich lunch served on a long oak table in one of the rooms and said our goodbyes, before making our way to the village to visit the church of Sr Giles and look at the Fair on the Village Green. We joined parents watching their children in a popular area with animals in a large pen, including, sheep, goats, a boar, geese, a turkey, rabbits and guinea pigs. The children where encouraged to brush the animals and feed them. The animals and children all seemed very happy in each other’s company! We had time for a final cup of tea sitting outside in the sunshine before catching our train back to London.
Saturday 8 September Food Bank Collection
With two other worthy charities, Dogs on the Street and Macmillan, the Hackney Foodbank shared £1,000 in food donations from Waitrose which made a very welcome addition to the total collection which has grown from one or two large “cages” to three as it was again this time. As always, the generosity of Waitrose shoppers shone through. We also received a £60 cash donation for the foofbank.
Latest information from Colleen at Hackney Food Bank is that we collection 620kgs!
The next collection will be on Saturday 8 December and I hope to see everyone there again’.
August 2018 Book Fair
This successful book fair was organised and run by a very enthusiastic team.
We made a total of £2874 - a new summer record - and this wil go towards church funds.
The innovation this time to allow payment by debit/credit card was well received and accounted for one quarter of our takings.
Thanks to all who donated, organised, sold and bought books.
Our next Book Fair will be from 21 November to 2 December 2018.
Sunday 29 July, Essa’s Concert for Mind
When violinist Essa Flett, guitarist, Jamie Leeming and cellist Hannah Thomas funded their upcoming album via the fundraising website Kickstarter, they promised to hold a charity concert.
Essa, a Guildhall School graduate who worships at St Giles’ writes,
‘We chose Mind because we have personal experience of mental health problems, either in our own life or the lives of our friends and wanted to help support a charity that does such good work in helping those struggling with their mental health, both through Mind’s work in local shops and through their website.’
After the Eucharist, Essa and her friends played for us and raised £230 for Mind. Thank you to Essa, Jaime and Hannah and all who supported their charity concert.
Sunday 12 July, Judth Eliis retires
We had a goodbye party in the rectory garden for Judith after the Eucharist on Sunday 12 July. We don’t really think she’s going to give up on London living and that after a few weeks the dog walking and bicycle rides of retirement will be less enthralling.
Judith spoke about her first Sunday at St Giles and being greeted by Frank. She said that people do not give chief executives a hug, but Frank hugged her, and she felt really welcomed.
Judith has been an active part of the life of St Giles’ over 15 years and we have been energised by her humour and honesty. Also, we supported her former charity, Help 4 Hurting Children that helped to train many paediatric nurses in Uganda. Members of the congregation who visited the hospital in Kampala with her, saw that she was loved and respected for the dedicated work she and her colleagues did to improve the care of sick children. We are proud that she was named among the 70 most influential nurses and midwives over the 70 years of the National Health Service. We look forward to seeing her again before long.
Where to visit us:-
St Giles' Cripplegate Church
London EC2Y 8DA
Registered Charity Number 1138077
Services and church opening hours
08.00 Holy Communion (First Sunday in the month)
16.00 Evening Prayer
Evening Prayer may be cancelled on the Sunday after Christmas and on Easter Day or during August. The service may also be cancelled if no key holder is available or it may take place in the rectory instead.
08.30 Morning Prayer (Monday-Thursday)
The church is normally open from 11.00-16.00 Monday to Friday.
Monthly Private Prayer and Reflection
These sessions are held on the first Thursday of the month., from 13.00-13.30.
2019 Future Dates, 7 November and 4 December.
These sessions are normally held on the first Thursday of the month from 13.30-15.00. Some gentle cleaning and tea and cakes at the end.
2019 Future Dates,
7 November and 4 December.
2019 Dates of PCC meetings in church at 19.30
Tuesday 19 November
Parish Office Opening Hours
Tel: 020 7638 1997