Parish Magazine ~ March 2015
There are what I call the 3Rs of Lent. Rather than reading, writing and arithmetic - I propose regret, repentance and resolution. These are three Lenten Rs. And these three Rs might help us to navigate through the foggy shades of grey that immerse our world in the dense mist of moral ambiguity which clouds our ability to see right and wrong and confuses us about what we should be sorry for and what we should try and do something about. Indeed - that is where the first one comes in - regret.
There is so much to regret at every level - the personal and the worldly. We watch the news bulletins with a mixture of sorrow, anger and helplessness. Many have inured themselves to simply not notice, not care or not worry. Yet many others cannot do this: it does affect us, we do care and we do worry. And because we care about the world we regret for the world. We wish it could have been different and hope that it can be different. We sigh with regret. And it is a depth of regret that penetrates our very soul. So it is that regret is what makes us sigh.
But it is repentance that makes us cry. For when we realise and remember that all humanity is in everything together then we realise that regret is not enough and repentance must follow. As the poet and priest John Donne put it:
‘No man is an island entire of itself…
We are involved in humanity.’
The sins of the world are our sins. Which means there is also something fundamentally human in repenting of them. We lament and repent, for we regret what happens and we resolve to make things different.
So while regret makes us sigh, repentance makes us cry and that leads to resolution. And resolution makes us try. Try to do better, try to change, try to help. Resolution has two meanings which are connected and both are helpful here. For while we can resolve to do something - that is to try to make it happen - the very making of it happening can itself be a resolution - an ending as it were. Lent is a good time to try to resolve things. A time to put an end to some things. Or a time to resolve to do new things. A time that is, to make new out of old, or rather to change. But it is likely that such change - such resolution has to come out of repentance and regret.
So, we have the Lenten 3Rs: regret, repentance and resolution.
Regret is what makes us sigh.
Repentance is what makes us cry.
Resolution is what makes us try.
May yours be a holy and rewarding Lent.
From the Parish Registers
25 January 2015
Arianna Tia Khan
Luke James Hunter
13 February 2015
Doris Evelyn Connolly
Congratulations to Maureen Rew who, at the end of January, was presented with a Long Service Award from Christian Aid at Interchurch House, their headquarters in London.
Maureen has been organising St Mary Magdalene’s contribution to Christian Aid Week for fifteen years, as part of our church community’s rising to Jesus’s challenge to love our neighbour. This has involved recruiting collectors, organising envelope distribution, counting money and passing this on to Christian Aid. In addition she has made sure that we have been aware of and responded to any calls from the charity to raise funds for global emergencies and crises.
Maureen has decided that it is now time to step down and hand over the running of Christian Aid Week for St Mary Magdalene’s to someone else.
Thank you, Maureen, for your dedication and hard work. Thank you also to Keith for his support over the past fifteen years.
Christian Aid Week 2015
As you may know, Paul and I are taking over the organising of our collections for Christian Aid Week. It is now not that many weeks away and is time to start thinking about the ways in which you can contribute. If you are not a collector yet, maybe this is the year to become one. Maybe you feel you could just deliver envelopes but not collect. Maybe you feel you could not cover complete roads but just a few houses near where you live. Any additional collecting to what is already done would make a lot of difference.
If you have any concerns or queries or want to talk about how you can help do ask either of us.
For more than 70 years, Christian Aid has fought poverty, strengthened the poor, and turned hope into action.
In the aftermath of World War II, British and Irish church leaders met, determined to do everything possible to help European refugees who had lost everything. The name they gave themselves was Christian Reconstruction in Europe. Their purpose was not to evangelise, but to alleviate suffering for ordinary people, no matter what their faith.
Christian Reconstruction in Europe became a department of the British Council of Churches, and was eventually renamed the Department of Interchurch Aid and Refugee Service. In a decade, it raised £29,000
We began to look beyond Europe and expanded our remit to support development work in newly independent nations in Africa and Asia, and respond to emergencies worldwide. We were involved in the creation of Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) – an organisation dedicated to sending skilled volunteers to work in the developing world – and providing grants for Palestinian, Chinese and Korean refugees.
We made sure that the public was aware of continuing problems in the world by organising the first Christian Aid Week in 1957, and by famously building a replica of a refugee camp in the church of St Martin in the Fields in London. Since that first Christian Aid Week five decades ago, our little red envelope has dropped through literally tens of millions of letterboxes.
In 1964, on the back of the success of Christian Aid Week, we changed our name to Christian Aid. The change of image worked, and our annual income reached £2.5 million by the end of the decade. As world food shortages increased, Christian Aid began to look more deeply into the causes of poverty – not just at dealing with its symptoms. We began campaigning in earnest when we challenged the British government on its aid and trade policies in 1969.
Severe famines in Pakistan, Sudan and Ethiopia in the 1970’s prompted a huge rise in public support for aid. However, it was becoming obvious that emergency relief wasn’t enough. What starving people needed was a genuine solution, not hand-outs. We saw that it was not just an act of nature that made people poor, but political and economic decisions. Alongside traditional relief and development, we started to consider how to work for people’s rights. We worked in the world’s hotspots: in Vietnam and Laos, destroyed by war; in Uganda after the overthrow of Idi Amin; in Nicaragua after the toppling of the dictator Somoza; and in Kampuchea (present-day Cambodia) after the fall of Pol Pot. By now we were working in 40 countries, funding more than 100 long-term development projects.
The 1980’s saw a huge change in the way aid agencies operated. Large-scale fundraising events like Live Aid brought the troubles of the world to the public’s attention as never before. More people were giving, and for the first time government funding was made available to Christian Aid.
By the end of the decade, Christian Aid’s annual income had increased from £5.5 million in 1979 to £28 million in 1989. That same year, Christian Aid Week raised more than £6 million. But this extra funding was needed more than ever. The global economic recession was gathering pace. We provided support in many countries, including Lebanon, Mozambique and Ethiopia. Our director, the Rev Michael Taylor, articulated our purpose in line with the times. Drawing on liberation and other theology, he wrote that our aim was to ‘strengthen the poor’. He drove the creation of the Southern Africa Coalition, which brought together trade unions, church groups and others to press the British government to help end apartheid.
In the 1990’s Christian Aid became one of the first aid agencies to highlight ‘unsexy’ and complex global economic issues.
Our celebrated Banking on the Poor campaign alerted people to the need to cancel Third World debt, while the culpability of the World Trade Organisation and International Monetary Fund was exposed in our Who Runs the World? campaign. We were not afraid to confront governments and challenge the rules of the day that said charities should be apolitical. This resolve helped change government trade policy and establish the Fairtrade Foundation - our campaigning works. Christian Aid was also quick to respond to humanitarian crises in Rwanda, the Middle East and, at the end of the decade, working across ethnic and religious divides in Serbia, Bosnia and Kosovo. We also ran an enormously successful supermarket campaign, when hundreds of thousands of supporters handed in their till receipts to demand that their supermarkets use decent labour standards. As we neared the new millennium, we were able to announce that world leaders had promised to deliver $100 billion in debt relief after our intense campaigning as part of the Jubilee 2000 coalition.
The 21st century has bought new challenges to Christian Aid. The so-called war on terror, climate change and the increasing number of natural disasters, and the fact that almost half the world’s population live on less than US$2 a day, mean our work is needed more than ever. In 2007 our annual income was £86.5 million and we now work with more than 650 overseas partners in around 50 countries. We are putting into practice our aim of turning hope into action. But 60 years on from our founding, the fact that we’re still here isn’t a victory. The world isn’t getting any fairer. Children in Gaza are going to schools pockmarked with bullet holes. Parents are selling their daughters in marriage to earn the money so the family can survive a drought in Afghanistan. Life expectancy for women in Zimbabwe is now 34 years old – it was 65 just a decade ago. The income of some multinational companies exceeds that of entire countries.
So we won’t stop now. We’ll carry on tackling the causes of poverty. We’ll continue to support local organisations to deliver real, practical change. We’ll work so that everyone can fulfil their right to a decent life.
We are sure that most of you know by now that Lorraine has decided to return to the UK permanently – in fact she came home at the end of January and is currently in Liverpool with her sister. This has been a very difficult decision for her as Imagine and Mozambique have been her life for a long time but, like all of us, she is not getting any younger and the situation in Mozambique has changed considerably in recent years. The family homes, which represent the largest part of Imagine’s work, will be handed over to the local authority over the next year and the food deliveries can be run easily by local staff.
Imelda has a visa and work permit for another year and is going to stay on to ensure that the future of the family homes and the children and staff who live in them is secure. What a brave and selfless thing to do!
We at St Mary’s have decided that we should continue to support Imagine during this transition period so that Imelda and the children are properly provided for up until the time she leaves. Over the years we have collected over £60,000 through coffee mornings and Dinner Money collections and we shall continue with both for the time being. You can find details on the right.
You have all been truly wonderful in your generosity and belief in this amazing charity and we know you will make this year a special one.
Many, many thanks
Judy and Michael Smith.
Women’s World Day of Prayer
This year the Women’s World Day of Prayer is to be held on 6 March 2015 and has been prepared by the women of the Bahamas. In Enfield, the services will be held as follows and everybody is welcome.
10:30 am Trinity Church, Enfield, Speaker – Mrs Nancy Hands.
7:30 pm Jesus Church, Forty Hill, Speaker – Rev’d Maureen Lunn.
Imagine Dinner Money Collection
The next Dinner Money collection will be made on Mothering Sunday, 15th March 2015, at the 10 o’clock service. Please bring your donations, but NOT your boxes, and put it in the plate which will be provided. Tax slips will be available at the back of the church.
On Sunday May 17th we invite singers to join in a professional performance of Handel’s Messiah, with orchestra in St Mary Magdalene’s at 7:30 pm.
Sung in aid of ParkinsonsUK it will be a truly memorable evening of music.
Put it in your diaries and get tickets in advance!
The next Traidcraft stall will be on Sunday March 8th in the hall after 10:00 am service.
All the usual essentials and treats will be there.
Come and see if there is anything new.
Very sensibly, and understandably, Rita and Ray have decided to take a break from organising our monthly coffee mornings for Imagine while they sort themselves out in their new home. They have done an amazing job and raised about half of the total funds we have so far sent to Mozambique. We owe them both a debt of thanks.
In the meantime I have agreed to sort out the rota and offer any assistance I can to the various hosts. The list for this year is almost complete but, as you will see below, there are still two months left to fill. If you can help, then please do have a word with me. It would be great to make this a bumper year.
The dates and venues are as normal on the third Tuesday of each month at 10:45am and are as follows:
Ray and Rita Barker
Alison and Paul Reeve
Maureen and Keith Rew
Judy and Michael Smith
Gordon and Jessica Giles
Laura and Ken Cope
Colin and Lillian Gibbens
Plant and Cake Sale
9th May is the date to put in your diary for this event. Please can you help to provide plants for this stall by sowing extra seeds or taking cuttings etc. in preparation.
Chris Anderton our Oakhill student spoke to us in February. Brought up a Catholic in Preston he later studied biochemistry at Hertford College, Oxford. At this time he started to think about the future. He is now engaged to Rachel and they will marry in July in Preston. He endured quite a grilling from us and we wish him every happiness and success in the future.
Next month we shall have a speaker about Noah’s Ark Hospice
During Lent, Evensong will be replaced by Compline with Lenten Address.
Please sign up at the back of church to attend the ever popular Agape Communion Supper on March 30th.
This year we will host the North-West Enfield Easter Eve Service on Saturday April 4th at 8:00 pm.
18 young musicians from Highlands School Wind Band came and played for us for the February Recital. They enthusiastically performed modern music from productions such as Wicked, Frozen and Lion King. They were conducted by Mr Jackson. The children and staff later enjoyed a sandwich lunch provided by our kind lunch ladies.
At 12.30 on 11 March another group of young musicians will play for us. For some years the various senior Grammar School Jazz Groups have played for us and have always been popular. Do come along and support them.
Lunch will be available afterwards as usual.
Our walk on Sunday 8th February took us across Rectory Farm to Forty Hall using the new Enfield Greenways led by Dave Cockle whose knowledge of developments in this area is invaluable. From there we went to Myddleton House to see the magnificent display of spring bulbs. The profusion of Snowdrops was particularly stunning as witnessed by the recent Galanthus sale. Our visit was somewhat truncated as they were closing early which meant that we were denied our anticipated cup of tea. Also walking with us were Anne Dunn, Laura and Dawn Cope and Victor.
We will meet at the Vicarage at 2:30 pm on Sunday 8 March for our next walk and perhaps venture into Trent Park to see the Daffodils, make sure that you have bus passes or Oyster cards with you as appropriate. Anyone who is interested is welcome to join us.