Magazine December 2019

Christmas Bazaar and Toy Service for magazine

Parish Magazine ~ December 2019

The Rev'd Dr Gordon Giles

Dear friends,

What a wonderful production the Drama Group put on of Dorothy L Sayers two plays He that should come and Kings in Judea recently.

Described by one member of the audience on the Friday night as ‘nativity plays for adults’ these were great dramas and explored the hidden depths and theological meanings behind the stories of the nativity that we know so well. With sparse props and layout and excellent costumes the Drama Group did a splendid job of bringing these plays into the 21st-century and involving us in the minds and actions of the characters. Sayers’ thoughtful explorations of the side-lines and backgrounds of the Kings (who she cleverly casts as Magi too!), the innkeeper and his wife and others are insightful, human and engaging. And all well-acted too. Another triumph for the Drama Group, and great thanks and praise to Chris Moon and his team for an excellent and thought-provoking presentation.

It is ironic that the Drama Group sometimes struggle to fill the hall with a production that is not so far removed from the Crib Christingle which packs our church twice on Christmas Eve. From long associations with nativity plays and the transitional presentations of the nativity story, even those whose knowledge of the Christian faith is sketchy, have vivid knowledge of Mary and Joseph camping out in an stable because there was no room in the pub, and having given birth, of laying the baby Jesus in a manger: ‘The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes, but no crying he makes’. Shepherds abiding in the fields turn up, undoubtedly accompanied by a few sheep and lambs (‘If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb’), followed by three Kings, bearing gold, frankincense and myrrh. It all ends with a lovely tableau, with the baby Jesus in the manger as centrepiece. Most nativity plays (if they follow the story at all) follow this pattern, and the crib or nativity scenes that are set up at this time of year present a snapshot of this Biblical family scene in which humans, animals, rich and poor are at one in the glow of incarnational bliss.

Nativity Sets come in all shapes and sizes, life-size with real animals, as St Francis did when he first thought of it in Greccio in 1223, or made of wool, wood, pottery or even waxworks. In December 2004, the famous London tourist attraction Madame Tussaud’s presented a nativity scene with effigies of David and Victoria Beckham as Joseph and Mary, Kylie Minogue as the Angel, Tony Blair, George W. Bush, and the Duke of Edinburgh as the Magi and actors Hugh Grant, Samuel L. Jackson, and comedian Graham Norton as shepherds. These celebrities had been chosen by popular vote. Neither the Archbishop of Canterbury nor the Vatican were impressed and considered it to be in poor taste, so a spokeswoman for the Madame Tussauds had to apologise stating that the display was intended in the spirit of fun.

What began in Greccio as a serious-minded alternative to distract pilgrims from making a dangerous Christmas pilgrimage to Ottoman-controlled Bethlehem in the thirteenth century, has, for many become something of a fun Christmas toy. In the Holy Land, olive wood nativity sets of various sizes are sold as souvenirs, meanwhile many churches set up Christmas cribs as devotional aids, to help tourists and pilgrims alike translate the Christmas fairy tale into something physical. The fact that a nativity set involves effigies or dolls can equally be confusing, blurring the edges between fact and fiction, and while a nativity set may aid devotion it can also become simply another Christmas decoration, like the fairy on the tree and the yule log in the grate. The figure of Jesus lying in the manger is a cute reminder of the miracle of birth, and of some distant connection between the slightly mythical paraphernalia of the Christmas Season; the Dickensian sense of goodwill and the blend of self indulgent nostalgia and over-indulgent eating that Christmas can so easily become.

The image of the manger as centrepiece of the Crib scene is powerful and profound, and many artists and theologians have identified that the Babe of Bethlehem, God incarnate, who was later to offer himself as spiritual food in the eucharist, the communion of the Last Supper, was laid at birth in a feeding trough. Jesus in the manger is a prefiguring of Jesu a manger; Jesus as spiritual food for the redemption of the world. He is not in the manger to be consumed by the beasts of the field, but to be consumed by sinful humanity, in the spiritual discipline and gift of the offering of himself upon the Cross which is itself symbolised, remembered and resurrected at every service of holy communion in the bread and wine: the body and blood of Christ. The name of the town in which it happened, Bethlehem, means ‘House of Bread’. In the Christmas Crib, as in the guest room in Bethlehem, God offers us spiritual food in Jesus and bids us dine in the heavenly banquet as his invited guest. There we shall feast with Jesus, having spiritually feasted on him in God’s house on earth – the church. Every crib set embodies and presents this great spiritual truth and serves as a connecting reminder that the baby in the manger is one and the same as the man on the cross, and that the human being on the cross is one and the same as almighty God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Gordon

From the Parish Registers

Holy Matrimony
19 October 2019
Luke James Brennan to Ann Marie McGowan

26 October 2019
Jonathan Richard Moore to Emma Frances Walton

Confirmation
19 November 2019
Nicola Movessian and Saavan Movessian
David Lloyd, Sandra Nigro
by Bishop Rob

If anyone is celebrating a birthday or anniversary and wishes to take up the elements please inform the churchwardens.

For a PDF file of the Parish Magazine for this month please click here.

Regular Weekly Events

Sunday8:00 amHoly Communion
10:00 amEucharist (Second Sunday in month Family Service)
6:30 pmEvensong (or other ‘special’ service)
Please see the Google calendar for any further information regarding Sunday Services
Monday10:00 amMattins (BCP)
6:00 pmHome group
Tuesday7:45-9:00 pmBell Ringing Practice
Wednesday8:30 pmDrama Group
Thursday10:30 amHoly Communion (BCP)
7:30 pmChoir Practice

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How is it possible to give to three charities at once?

Easy! Just come along to the Christmas Bazaar on 7th December and buy a ticket at the brand new Toy Tombola. Your ticket money will go to help the work of the church (charity one). If you are lucky and win a toy, you could decide to bring it along as a gift at the Toy Service on the following day. It will then be given to a child who might not otherwise receive very much this Christmas (charity two). Finally, for a small donation to Mary’s Meals (charity three), we will wrap your toy for you so you don’t have to do a thing.

What’s not to like? See you there!

Judy Smith

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Christmas Bazaar

Yes it's really time to start thinking about it!

We are looking for donations of:

Bottles, Toiletries,
Bric-a-Brac,
Cakes and preserves,
New or second hand jewellery,

raffle prizes.

Any suggestions for new stalls and volunteers to run them always welcome. Talk to Alison Reeve about your ideas.

Saturday 7th December 10:00am

Please don’t forget to put the date in your diary.

Alison Reeve

Sunday Morning Coffee

We all enjoy our cup of coffee after the Parish Communion on Sunday mornings. This is prepared for us week by week by a dedicated team of Volunteers under the direction of Anneliese Fenwick. She needs more people to help her and if you feel able to join the ‘Team’ please speak to Anneliese.

Coffee and a Concert

The November recital was very well attended and consisted of many musical lollipops causing many smiles. Michael and Marion Smith played piano duets and Michael played well known organ music.

At 12.30 pm on Wednesday, 11 December, Suzannah Knight – oboe, Michael Lovejoy – violin and Roddy Elmer – piano, will play for us. They are all good musicians so it will be worthwhile attending following your coffee and cake served from 11.30 am as well.

Eleanor Pritchard

11.30pm – 1pm

Retiring Collection

Coffee, tea and cake available in the Choir Vestry from 11.30 am

Concert programme for 2019

December 11 – Suzannah Knight: Oboe; Michael Lovejoy: Violin and Roddy Elmer: Piano

Concert programme for 2020

January 8 – Matthew Geer: Organ
February 12 – Gordon Giles: Flute; Roddy Elmer: Piano
March 11 –Enfield Grammar School Band
April 8 – Keith Beniston: Organ
May 13 – Serafini Chamber Group
June 10 – Margaret Green: Vocal
July 8 – Marina Ersog: Piano
August – No Concert
September 9 – Catherine Leonard: Piano
October 14 – Marion and Michael Smith: Piano and Organ
November 11 – Jonathan Newby: Piano
December 12 – Lunch Time Carol Concert

Christmas Stars Concert

You may remember this concert last year. It was superb. This year we invite back the students of Latymer School, taught and directed by Chris Royall and Mike Spence for another lovely evening of carols, and all proceeds go to Crisis, our designated charity. You can book in advance on our website, or turn up on the night – you will not be disappointed and festive refreshments will be served in the interval.

Gordon Giles

Coffee Mornings 2020

Here are the dates for coffee mornings for 2020 so please make a note in your brand new diaries / calendars as we are collecting for a new kitchen in the vestry and relying on your wonderful, ongoing support

January 21: Pam & Vic
February 18: Janet & Keith
March 17: Eleanor
April 21: Alison Reeve
May 19: Rita Barker
June 16: Carol & Peter
July 21: June Carr
August 18: Gill & David Bird
September 15: Jackie Fish
October 20: Kate & Bob
November 17: Lilian & Colin
December 15: Rita Barker

Magazine

Items for the January edition to the editor by Sunday 15 December.

Please use the magazine section of the pigeon-holes or email to secretary@stmarymagdalene.church. Documents should be in Microsoft Word or plain text. If you know of anyone 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

Magazine rota

(10 am Saturday morning in the Church or earlier as arranged)

04 January 2020
Carol and Peter Lamb

If you know of any lady or gentleman who would be able to help with stapling, or if you are unable to keep any of the above dates, please contact either Michael or Janet Dixon or Janet Whelpdale.

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