Parish Magazine ~ March 2016
We are very sorry to hear of the death of Ron Carr.
His funeral will be in church at 12:30 am on Thursday 3rd March.
During this time of Lent, I would like to share some thoughts with you about our Lord’s preparation for his journey to Jerusalem and to the cross of Salvation…
Jerusalem, Jerusalem… how often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! (Luke 13: 34).
The image of protection under the wings of God is mentioned several times in the Old Testament Psalms, e.g. Psalm 17: 8 Guard me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 61: 4 Let me abide in your tent forever, find refuge under the shelter of your wings. (The outstretched wings of the divine presence in the Temple, were seen as an image that sheltered Israel.) Psalm 57: 1 In the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, until the destroying storms pass by… This last verse in particular has given me much comfort and hope in my time of need, especially over the past weeks, whilst mourning the loss of my husband Les; and I hope it will also give comfort and hope to Ron Carr’s family and friends, and all our St Mary Magdalene family on hearing the sad news of yet another death so soon of one of our own dear ones.
That God is willing to gather us under his wings (His everlasting arms) and protect us throughout any kind of need or trouble, because he loves us so much, are comforting words indeed.
Now, for a moment or two, let’s have a closer look at Luke’s Gospel and where Jesus picks up on these familiar words from the scriptures he knew so well. In the ancient world fire was an ever-present danger. Fire was of course, necessary for many aspects of life, (for cooking, keeping warm, making tools, sterilizing) but without modern precautions and fire-fighting equipment a fire could easily get out of control! In the summer of AD64 there was a fire in Rome that lasted a week and destroyed half the city. Though the word fire doesn’t actually occur in Luke’s Gospel, that powerful image Jesus uses most probably has it in mind. However, it isn’t in a City, but in a farmyard. Fire can be as terrifying to animals as to people, if not more so. When a farmyard catches fire, the animals try to escape, but if they can’t, some species have developed ways of protecting their young. The picture Jesus uses is that of a hen, gathering her brood under her wings to protect them.
There have been stories of exactly this: after a farmyard fire, those clearing up have found a dead hen, scorched and blackened… with live chicks sheltering under her wings. The hen has quite literally given her life to save them. It is a vivid image of what Jesus declared he longed to do for Jerusalem and, he implies, for all Israel.
It is that unconditional love that Christ has for his people, that gives me strength and hope and trust when the storms of life pass by; and I pray it will be the same for you all…
Back to Jerusalem, all Jesus could see were chicks scurrying off in the opposite direction, not taking a scrap of notice of the smoke and flames indicating the approach of danger, nor of the urgent warnings of the one who alone could give them safety. This picture of a hen and her chicks is the strongest statement so far in Luke’s Gospel of what Jesus thinks his death would be all about.
Keeping the chicks in mind, the other great danger alongside fire was the predator, particularly the fox. And that is the image Jesus uses for Herod. For most of the story, Herod has cast a dark shadow, but he has not until now posed an explicit threat to Jesus. The Pharisees mentioned in Luke 13:31, who warn Jesus of Herod’s intentions, may have been among the many moderate Pharisees who, like Gamaliel in Acts 5, were happy to watch from the sidelines and see whether or not Jesus and his ‘new movement’ turned out to be from God. They may of course have been secretly hoping to get rid of Jesus, to get him off their territory; but Luke gives no hint of that if it were so. What is so much more important is Jesus’ answer… Jesus clearly indicates his contempt for Herod. Everyone, after all knew, that Herod’s only claim to royalty, was because the Romans recognizing Herod’s Father as the most effective thug around had promoted Herod his son from nowhere, to keep order at the far edge of their territories.
Jesus also strongly affirms his own strange Vocation: Yes, he will eventually die at the hands of the authorities, but no, it wont be in Galilee, but Herod will have an indirect hand in it. What matters is, that Jesus has a destiny to fulfil, as he has already stated. It consists of two days work and one days completion. Two days to cast out demons and cure illnesses; “And I shall be finished on the third day.” he says. Here, it seems to me, we have echoes of the boy Jesus being found the third day in the Temple (Luke 2: 46); to the risen Jesus, alive again on the third day (Luke 24: 21).
Jesus’ destiny then, is to go to Jerusalem and die… risking the threats of the fox, and adopting the role of the mother hen to her most precious chicks when faced with sudden danger. But will Jerusalem benefit from Jesus’ offer? Jerusalem has a long history of rebelling against God, refusing the way of peace (alas, sadly that last sentence, seems to be true in the modern world as in the ancient world). Ezekiel the Old Testament prophet saw, that rebellion meant the Holy presence of God had abandoned the Temple and the City, opening the way for devastating enemy attack. (Ezekiel10:) The only way for the City and the Temple to avoid the destruction which now threatened it, was to welcome Jesus as God’s peace-envoy; but all the signs were, that they would not! When Luke brings us back to this point again, it will be too late.
What can we see from the vantage point of the end of Chapter 13? We can see, with devastating clarity, just what Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem is going to mean. Israel’s greatest crisis is coming upon her, and Jesus is offering an urgent call to repent, and to follow his Kingdom-way, his way of peace. This is the only way of avoiding the disaster which will otherwise follow Israel’s persistent rebellion. And today, we too, are called/invited to repent, to come into his Kingdom, his way of peace.
To come under the protective wings of Jesus!
Jesus intention now, in obedience to his vocation to God, is to go to Jerusalem and, like the image of the mother hen and her unconditional love for her chicks; to take upon himself the full force of the disaster which he was predicting for the Nation and the Temple. The One will give Himself for the many…for Les, for our dear Brother Ron and for us all. Amen.
May we all keep a Holy Lent under the protective wings of Jesus, as we all look forward to celebrating our Lord’s Resurrection, on Easter Day!
With Christian Greetings,
From the Parish Registers
24 January 2016
Benjamin Thomas King
12 February 2016
Leslie Raymond Fish
Interment of Ashes
2 February 2016
Anja Anitta Llewellyn-Smith
If anyone is celebrating a birthday or anniversary and wishes to take up the elements please inform the churchwardens.
Due to half term the coffee morning in aid of the organ fund held in February at 12 The Glen was not well attended, but due to people’s generosity £165 was raised before tax reclaim.
Lent is one of the three forty-day ‘seasons’ in the Church’s year, besides Advent and the period from Easter to Pentecost. The name itself, Lent, derives from an ancient word meaning ‘spring’ or ‘long’, referring to the time of year when days are beginning to lengthen and the world is turning from winter cold and dark to the warmth and promise of spring. During this time, the Church calls us to a special period of prayer, self-examination and teaching - and this book has been written to accompany you through that period, a time of turning from winter to spring, from death to life.
Dust and Glory ranges across the whole business of living and believing, where the questions are as important as the answers, and may call us to deep heart-searching. The goal is always to draw us to authentic faith; a way of living and believing that is real and vulnerable, strong in knowing its limits, rooted in joy and wonder, blessed with the healing and merciful presence of God. Such faith acknowledges both the dust of our mortality and the glory that keeps breaking in with unexpected life, hope and new beginnings.
The Lent Course will begin on Monday 15th Feb at 8.15pm and will be at 8, Comreddy Close, led by the clergy but kindly hosted by the Copes. Copies of the book are available in church, or can be bought on Kindle if that is your thing!
March ~ Dave Cockle “Part 3 - The Piccadilly Line”.
April ~ Michael Smith “An English Man Abroad”.
We are looking further into the year to include a picnic lunch, a service in church, a look at the work of the Credit Union, and a presentation by the “Padwick and Ball” duo, who are raising money for Cancer Research.
The Rambling Group still awaits the return of the much delayed spring and hope that in April we can commence our activities for the year.
Thirty young musicians from Highlands School Wind Band played for us at the February recital. Unfortunately it was not very well attended but those who came were appreciative.
At 12:30 pm on Wednesday 9th March the Enfield Grammar School Senior Jazz Band will play to us. If you like Trad Jazz you will enjoy it. In any case come and support the young people. Ploughman’s lunch with soup is available afterwards.
12:30 pm - 1:00 pm
Ploughman’s Lunch £3.50, if required, in the Choir Vestry afterwards
Concert Programme For 2016
Enfield Grammar School - Jazz Group
Nigel Blomily - Cello Guthri
Sandra Sinclair - Viola
St Monica’s Catholic Primary School Choir
Jonathan Newby - Piano
Catherine Leonard - Piano
Luca Luciano - Clarinet
Marion and Michael Smith - Piano and Organ
As you will have noticed in last month’s magazine the Parish Concert has moved to 5:00 pm on Saturday 7 May 2016.
Time marches on, so if you would be willing to take part - playing, singing, dancing, acting, reciting etc please let me know so I can put you in the programme.
The Southgate Symphony Orchestra will be presenting a live concert of Germanic classical music on Saturday 16 April 2016 at 7:30 pm at Southgate (The Bourne) Methodist Church, Bourne Hill, Southgate, N14 6RS. Tickets - adult £14, Concessions £15, children under 18 £5. Ticket price includes programme and interval refreshments. For more information contact Eleanor Pritchard, 12 The Glen, EN2 7BZ, Telephone 020 8363 9029.
Dates for your diary - Coffee Mornings/Evenings
As I expect you all know throughout this year we will be raising money for St Mary’s Organ Fund and it would be good if you will please put the following dates in your diary - they are all third Tuesday in the month & are coffee mornings unless otherwise stated.
15th March ~ Maureen & Keith Rew
19th April ~ Kate & Bob Bissett
17th May to be arranged
21st June ~ Judy & Michael Smith - Cheese/wine 7:00 pm
19th July ~ Carol & Peter Lamb
16th August ~ Bernard Quinn
20th Sept ~ Alison & Paul Reeve - Cheese/wine 7:00 pm
18th October ~ Lilian & Colin Gibbens
15th Nov ~ Pam & Vic Harrington
20th Dec ~ Rita Barker
Hope to see you at all or some of these events.
Eulogy given by The Rev’d Dr Gordon Giles at Les Fish’s Funeral on Friday 12th February 2016
On this day we gather with many emotions as we give thanks for a man we loved, a man we debated with, a man of great care, pastoral sensitivity, and indeed of humour. Which is why I want to begin with a funny story, which Les would have enjoyed. After Les died, Jackie had to go to the Register Office - and did do, I believe, with Brian. This is their anecdote really - but I have Jackie’s permission to tell you! Apparently, during the interview reporting Les’ death, Jackie tells me she was asked: ‘were you pregnant at the time of death?’ Finding this a rather odd question to be asked, she replied ‘was I pregnant? - I think not!’ To which, I’m told, Brian tapped her on the arm and said ‘no, he asked if you were present at the time of death’!
Now I hope you will forgive me for making you laugh - but we think Les would have laughed a lot at this. And of course, the point is that Jackie was present when dear Les entered into glory, and I have to tell you that I was too - and Pam - and that, in fact, Les actually drew his last breath between the words ‘Son’ and ‘Holy Spirit’ of the blessing. Quite remarkable. It was a profound privilege to be present - and Les’ passing was indeed pregnant with meaning. Les died full of blessing. And I think he would have said so himself. So let me tell about his blessed life, in words Jackie has written:
Les was one of four children born in Enfield, to Alice and William Fish; sadly his older brother John died at the tender age of 18 months, before Les was born; he also has an older sister Eileen and a younger brother Trevor who are both with us today. Les’ Mother was Welsh and his Father came from the Old Kent Road area in London. Les was Baptized at St George’s Church, Freezywater and as a child he would spend many of his summer holidays in Abergaveny, Wales on his Uncle John’s Farm, helping with the animals and generally enjoying the good life outdoors. However, back home in Enfield, Les was a child growing up during WW2; as a young boy he found it all quite exciting, sleeping in the cupboard under the stairs, and looking for shrapnel with other children, in the mornings after the raids. But of course, the war, meant that Les also missed an awful lot of schooling. Les was educated at Bush Hill Park School. Worship and Church Parade for the Scouts were at St Mark’s Church, Bush Hill Park, but Les taught himself so much more after leaving school, by reading books from the library, and by attending evening classes; and throughout his long life he never lost the great thirst to research and learn.
He eventually wrote an autobiography of 198 pages and called it “A Journey Through Life”, it makes for interesting reading!
After leaving school Les had several jobs: He delivered bread for a local bakery, later upgrading to become an electrician’s mate, but he never quite settled, and one day at the age of seventeen he decided (much against his Father's will), to join the RAF. However, his Dad did give him permission in the end to enlist, and the two grew very close (Les always kept his Father’s letters that were written to him whilst he was in the RAF). Sadly, within six weeks or so of diagnosis, William Fish died of Cancer, and this had a severe affect on Les… After his Father’s funeral Les had to return to his barracks in St Evel, Cornwall to finish his three year service, and at the age of 18 there was no bereavement counselling of any kind; and on his return, fellow airmen didn’t even know that his Father had died…Les held the silence, but always sent part of his income home to help his widowed Mother. After three years in the RAF Les returned to the family home at 281 Southbury Road, Enfield, or as Les’ put it in his book, “Back to Civvy Street”. Back in Civvy Street he took up employment at Belling and Lee in the Special Products Department. He also took on a Fatherly role helping Trevor to obtain a tool making apprenticeship, and supplying some of the books he needed for his studies. He also gave his sister Eileen’s hand in marriage to Frank in 1963.
But it was walking to work alongside the A10 that Les first met Jackie who was cycling home in the opposite direction. However, one evening a week there was a disco held at Sangamo Western and per chance, Les and Jackie were both there, so at last he was able to ask to take her home, invited her to a party the following Saturday and the rest as they say is history… And what a stunning couple they made - look in the service sheet!
Les and Jackie spent 4 years getting to know each other! And after a holiday with Auntie Nellie and Uncle George in South Wales, Les proposed and they were married, on the 17th August 1963 at St Andrew’s Church, in the Market Square. Les is wearing his wedding suit today. As Jackie calls it: ‘The Italian job’, with white shirt cuffs and cufflinks deliberately showing below the jacket sleeves!! And a white carnation in his buttonhole. A quote from his book says that:
“…the suit cost 20 Guineas!”
Their marriage celebrated many happy anniversaries, and only two years ago on their Golden Wedding Weekend, Les and Jackie renewed their wedding vows together here in St MM. with champagne and cake in the hall after. Apparently everyone had said, “It wouldn’t last!”
Living over Jackie’s Dad’s Hardware shop in Winchester Road, Edmonton and continuing Evening Classes, Les began to look for a better paid job, with the view to buying a house. Les had an interview with a company called Elliots in Elstree, Hertfordshire, and he eventually got the job as a prototype wireman and worked on a government secret project called the “Blue Streak Missile”. Les had taken to riding a Scooter by this time, but even so a friend he met at work, used to take him to work in his “Bond Mini Car”, it was a 3 wheeler which put the fear up Les on wet and windy days, and especially through the snow in winter! Later the firm moved to Rochester, and it was then Les returned to Belling and Lee once more… and with a good reference he was able to get a mortgage to buy his first house, at 406 Southbury Road, Enfield. Sadly Les’ Mum died about that time, and Les invited his younger brother who was still at home to come and live with him and Jackie. After Trevor’s marriage to Elaine, Les’ thoughts then turned to having a family of his own, and yes, it was to be:
New house new baby! But Les was one of the first Dad’s of that time to see the birth of his child. A very rare occurrence in those days! A quote from his book says:
“I’d just had the opportunity to witness one of the greatest events that man could see in the world… We now had a son, and we named him “Ian”.”
Along with another move to 28 Southbury Avenue, Enfield came another new job: Les now worked for an American firm called Tektronix, they manufactured oscilloscopes (electronic fault finding equipment). Ian was growing up fast and Les got involved in running a children’s football team with Ian and his friends for the 5 aside Police matches. Les was never happier than when involved in live sport or watching it on the TV. And he was very pleased when Ian gained a place at Enfield Grammar School.
Ian sang in the St Andrew’s Church choir, and Les began to make friends with church members who were all meeting their children from choir practice. He then gradually got more involved attending Services and helping in practical ways, (often using his DIY skills that he also used at home). After many years it was a very special day, when Les finally made the great step of Faith and became Confirmed… A quote from his book says:
“I’m really glad I took the decision to be Confirmed when I did, Jackie, Peter and Ruth fully supported me throughout; it turned out to be a very memorable time for me… it was like being welcomed into a large family, and that was only the beginning of my commitment to Christ… just a small step of a long Christian road forward which one never stops learning or growing through Faith”
Tectronix decided to move their company back to USA, thus making Les redundant! He used his pay off to start up his own decorating business, called “Decorous”. His excellent standard of work over the first year, soon gained him lots of customers, and he had 6 months work booked ahead! It was while Ian was away on holiday abroad, that Les became very ill and was taken into hospital in an emergency, and was diagnosed at the age of 55 with COPD, (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) this was a great shock for Jackie, and Ian on his return, but even more so for Les, and it meant he would need to give up work and use oxygen therapy for the rest of his life. A quote from his book says:
“I must admit I found it really difficult in coming to terms with not working, in fact I think it was easier to accept my illness than not working; at times I was quite unpredictable, sometimes happy, other times miserable. I suppose this was normal taking in to account what happened, very much like grieving, which of course it was,… after a few weeks I began to think differently wondering what I could do in life. I continued to have Jackie’s love and support and Ian was also a great support to both of us, I believe the Fish family gained a lot at that time”
But once diagnosed, and forced to retire; with the use of medication and oxygen therapy, it didn’t stop Les having no less than 6 silent parts in the Son et Lumiere celebrating the 800th Anniversary at St Andrew’s Church, where the family now continued to worship regularly. Les took an active role on the PCC; he also became a St John’s School Governor; and worked for Meet-a-need with Christian Care for a time. He learned to bake and made the most yummy cakes! (Winning prizes at the Fellowship’s Annual Produce Show!) It was while working for Meet - a - Need, and interacting with folk who came into the office, Les could see there was a need for more Counsellors. So, he applied for an interview and secured a place on the Westminster Pastoral Foundation Course for 3 years. Les wrote his final essay on “Loss”, gained a pass and received his Certificate.
The Course and his commitment to an eight week Ignatian, Open Door Retreat held in the Parish, changed his whole outlook on life, he learnt so much about himself and others… This enabled Les to join St Andrew’s Pastoral Team and put his new skills into action. Les also took a Bereavement Course and then joined the Enfield Bereavement Service, serving for 10 years locally. A quote from his book says:
“The Bereavement Course went very well…it gave me the chance to join the “Enfield Bereavement Service” which was staffed by volunteers, this was going to be a new start for me, which I hoped would help me achieve several things; firstly, to help people, giving me the chance to use my skills; it would give me the chance to meet people from other Churches; and last but not least, it would make me feel that I was doing something that was worthwhile, there was no doubt in my mind, this was something that was badly needed in the area.”
During the earlier years of taking oxygen therapy, Les was still able to take family holidays in Stratford Upon Avon and his beloved Southwold, where he and Jackie saw the most wonderful picture postcard sunsets together, from the pier at Warbleswick. Moments like that were treasured!
But Locally, Forty Hall and its grounds was one of Les’ most favourite places, he loved the warmth of the family home, the beauty and spaciousness of the grounds, and the secludedness and sereneness of the rose garden. (That was before it was all redesigned recently.) And it was there where Jackie first told Les about herself, feeling “Called to the Vocation of a Priest”. Les was delighted with this news… In Les’ words:
“We could all see it coming, but Jackie was the last one to know!”
There was no hesitation, Les was willing to support and uphold Jackie in prayer, in her studies, (he prepared an office specially for her) and later (at great cost to his health being away from home so many hours without oxygen) was there to witness her ordination at St Paul’s Cathedral and Deacon’s ministry at St Mary Magdalene, until the day came for her Priesting here in this Parish Church. In so many ways it has been a joint ministry that Jackie and Les have shared here! So it is no surprise that during the past year Les has benefited enormously from having Holy Communion at home, when he was no longer well enough to get to Church.
The Church came to him! He has said on more than one occasion: “The people of St Mary Magdalene are our family now!”.
Les had a strong personality; he always held an opinion about most things! He loved a good discussion, and putting the world to rights. And at such times there was always a touch of humour thrown in for good measure! Life was never dull with Les around!!! On the other hand, Les had a great sensitivity and a listening ear for the weak and vulnerable, and those in distress. Marriages have been saved, and captive minds have been freed, under his care. Les will be sadly missed by Jackie and Ian, and all who knew, loved and respected him in this life… Until we meet again, may he rest in peace now, and rise in glory! Amen.
Gordon Giles/Jackie Fish 12/2/16