Parish Magazine ~ August 2015
A brief note of thanks to everyone who made this year's patronal festival a wonderful celebration of our music, our heritage and history and our mutual support and fellowship in Jesus Christ. Thanks especially to Jonathan and Keith, to Janet and the flower ladies and to our servers who coped flexibly as always! It was certainly a high point of July. The sermon - as many others, is of course available on the church website here.
Notwithstanding our rejoicing in our patronal festival, we also had to say farewell to our dear old friend Norman Gillibrand who died only a month or two short of his 100th birthday. His funeral was a sad day of course, but was tinged with the sure and certain hope of resurrection, and a true celebration of his life, with word and music. The sermon I preached is here.
I do hope you have a splendid summer. Please pray for the thirty of us going to Israel this August as we shall surely pray for you in the holiest of lands.
From the Parish Registers
9 July 2015
Herbert Norman Gillibrand, aged 99.
Interment of Ashes in the Memorial Garden
21 June 2015
Henry Robert (Bobs) Shepherd
Demetra Mimika Shepherd
5 July 2015
Beauty in Brokeness ~ Who carves the Cross?
One of the rewarding results of showing my work to others, is that everyone sees something different in it, sees different stories.
When someone asked me recently what was the origin of Celtic design, with its richly imagined images and repetitive patterns, I wondered if it developed because of our long winter evenings. Certainly I find carving an absorbing and often thoughtful process, and as part of that it is important to me - particularly in working on crosses and other religious images - that Jesus himself was a carpenter.
I have always been fascinated by wood and woodwork, and about 12 years ago I developed an interest in Celtic design, particularly crosses. The theological and ecological carvings I make have grown from that. The basic elements of Celtic crosses, knotwork and the halo, are simple and therefore flexible. One of the traditional features of knotwork is a continuous ribbon running unbroken through the pattern. That has parallels to the use of labyrinths in other religious traditions, in which a path can be followed contemplatively, with occasional points - such as the centre of the cross - to pause and meditate or pray. In addition I find myself speculating on the practical aspects (Why does our cross have an upper arm at all?), on the historical events of the Gospels, and on the relationship of all this to our faith and our actions today.
I haven’t yet attempted a crucifix, but my first venture beyond crosses was inspired by three works. Edith Simon’s sculpture, Christ Crowning Himself (with a crown of thorns) used to stand in St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh where I am a member. Maurits Escher’s etching of two hands drawing each other is an image that sticks in the mind. And Nicos Kazantzakis’ powerful and controversial book The Last Temptation of Christ opens with Jesus fighting the call from God by doing everything he can to offend God, including carving crosses for the Romans.
In the carving that resulted, two hands emerge from a beam, but are also carving that beam. And the two hollows from which they have emerged are hands in the crucified position, with holes in the palms. The wood is cherry, given by a friend who had cut back the tree in his garden. It has a lovely grain, and is smooth and soft to the touch. It was a long time before the carving had a name, but I finally called it Who Carved the Cross?
Surely Kazantzakis was right. Jesus was a carpenter, and surely could not have refused commissions and money from the Romans. So I find myself not just carving a cross, or a sculpture of Jesus’ hands, but also complicit in the crucifixion itself. We are all, in a sense, part of the crowd shouting ‘Crucify Him.’ More, I am complicit in contemporary injustices, contemporary crucifixions. My commissions, my money, my work, my omissions affect people round the world, many of them unjustly and fatally.
Who carves the cross? We all do. Yet we can also be complicit in the solutions, the responses in faith. I have carved a pair of hands, from a piece of a Scots pine that fell in a storm in Holyrood Park. They are modelled on my own hands, and they are cupped to receive or offer a gift. I call the sculpture Communion. But the hands are larger than life, and I also sometimes think of them as God’s hands. After all, as St Teresa said in the 16th Century, ‘Christ has no hands on earth but yours.’ God acts on earth through us. We can act - through work, through craft, through politics, through story telling - to fight the injustice, to prevent the fatalities. One of the rewarding results of showing my work to others, is that everyone sees something different in it, sees different stories. I like to call it ‘Telling stories in wood,’ because wood is a central element to all these stories: to the development of our culture, to the construction of crosses, to the ecology of our world. I use a wide variety of wood, both found and purchased, but I have a particular fondness for working with wood that has been employed before. Then it has its own stories to tell: the life of the tree, the lives of its previous uses and users, the life of the sculpture it becomes. I never produce a final design until I have the right piece of wood to work with. That is what carving is all about: working with the wood. As one example, I wanted to try carving a cross from solid wood that looks as if it is actually woven knotwork. It took a long time to find the right piece of wood, but then I inherited it from a good friend. Dick Rutter was a violin maker and a member of our congregation; after he died the family asked me to help clear his workshop and invited me to keep any wood I wanted. This piece was of Australian she-oak, with a deep red colour and translucent grain. Dick planned to use it for the back of a violin, and it would have been a stunning instrument.
The cross is what I call openwork, and it is simply full of stories. The story of the tree, growing in Australia. The stories of friends, of Dick and his music. The stories of Celtic designers and worshippers through the centuries. The story of the planning, the designing and the carving in my workshop. The story of Christ and the crucifixion. And the story of what we do about all this, in our lives.
Who carves the cross?
(reprinted from the Scottish Episcopalian Church Magazine, with permission)
Now the weather is improving we can look forward to enjoying our lovely garden. Following their success last year we would like to invite everyone to join in our Parish Picnics. These will take place on the last Sunday of the month after coffee. All you need to do is bring a picnic and relax.
See you there!
Our next walk will be on Sunday 9 August. Meet at the Vicarage at 2.30 pm when we shall go to Upshire for a short walk followed by tea and cakes. I understand the July walk went well and Dave discovered some irregularities in access, matters which he is in the process of following up.
Unfortunately I was away for the July recital which I have been told was truly unmissable. The Anern Trio played music by Schubert, Mozart and Beethoven very professionally. Gordon, our vicar, joined the group for a Mozart flute quartet.
As is usual, there will be no recital in August, but we resume again at 12.30 pm on 9 September when Catherine Leonard will play the piano for us. She has performed here before and been very well received.
Thank you to those of you who supported Southgate Symphony Orchestra’s summer concert here on 5 July. We hope the capacity audience enjoyed it as much as the orchestra enjoyed performing it.
A belated ‘thank you’ to participants in the Parish Concert in June. As usual there was great variety in the offerings for performance, in this family event. Thank you also to Jackie Nugent for arranging tea which followed.
12:30 pm - 1:00 pm
Ploughman's Lunch £3.00, if required, in the Choir Vestry afterwards.
Concert Programme for 2015
August – No Concert
Catherine Leonard - Piano
Susannah Knight - Oboe
Sandra Sinclair - Viola
9th December TBA
The next Traidcraft stall will be on Sunday August 9th 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.
Northwest Group News
The URC Churches within the Group now have a new minister, Henriette Wentink, who was installed and ordained in July. She will look after the congregations at Lancaster Road and Christ Church, Chase Side, with responsibility for the URC Church in Bush Hill Park. We welcome her to Enfield and wish her well.
Coffee Morning at The Vicarage
On a warm but not too sunny Tuesday morning on July 21st, we gathered for another coffee morning at the Vicarage. Thank you to everyone who came, to those who helped and to those who donated! We raised the handsome total of £173.65 (before tax reclaim).
Gordon and Maria Giles
St Mary Magdalene
In the Church Hall
Saturday 10 October 2015
7:00 pm for 7:30 pm
It is with regret that after many years Janet Dixon has decided to stand down from organising and preparing our Fellowship Tea and Cakes. We would all like to thank her, and look forward to her continuing support each month. Michael and Janet have both given the group unwavering service and deserve to sit back and let someone else take a more active part.
Are you able to help prepare the hall, and boil the kettles? It only needs committing half an hour prior to the meeting each month. Please let Mo know if this is something you can do to help the group continue supplying friendship and fellowship to St Mary's family.
Mo and Malcolm Lunn
Laura and Ken Cope
Lilian and Colin Gibbens
June and Ron Carr
Thank you to them all for volunteering. I do hope many of you will manage to join us for at least some of these dates, especially as it will be our last year of supporting our dear friends at Imagine and all the wonderful work they do.
Magazine Stapling Rota 2015/16
29 August 2015
Arja Cutts, Val Hayes, Kate Bissett
26 September 2015
Ken and Laura Cope, Gill Bird
31 October 2015
Vic Harrington, Pam Hagan, Helen Clarke
28 November 2015
Peter Lamb, Carol Lamb, Eleanor Pritchard
2 January 2016
Vic Harrington, Pam Hagan, Helen Clarke
If you know of any lady or gentleman who would be able to help with stapling or if you are unable to keep the above dates please contact either Michael or Janet Dixon or Janet Whelpdale.