Magazine April 2020

ASK for help poster

Parish Magazine ~ April 2020

Due to the Coronavirus ‘Lockdown’ of March 2020 onwards, th Parish magazine is published mainly online and only a few copies printed for archival purposes.

The Vicar has been writing by email to members of the congregation, and the content appears here.

The Rev'd Dr Gordon Giles

Coronavirus Task Force

Dear friends,

This is a time of anxiety and uncertainty, we all know. I am writing, firstly to assure you of support and prayer and love. Some people are self-isolating, or are simply a bit worried, or indeed are not worried! In any event and wherever you stand in the field of opinion, I want to ask you all a favour. Which is, please keep in touch. Please tell us if you are staying at home for precaution or because you are ill. Tell us how you are, what your worries are, and if there is anything that anyone can help with. Email, ring, send a postcard!

It is my intention, with the help of the Care and Prayer Group, to set up a network of communication, mutual support and information, so that not only can we be a hub of support for one another, but also so that no-one should feel isolated emotionally or spiritually even if we have to be physically. We are social beings, and Twitter and Facebook notwithstanding, we need to create new, old-style social networks which probably hinge around geographical proximity and telephones. We seek your permission to put and keep folk in touch with one another for mutual pastoral support, however low key.

Notwithstanding what the PM has said today, it is not currently our intention to close the Church for worship, yet we understand perfectly if folk feel they should stay away. For want of a better word, please do ‘send apologies’ by whatever means, so we can know you are OK. Everyone is always welcome, and we shall continue to follow advice and exercise caution and attention when it comes Ito sharing the Peace and receiving the sacrament. Obviously if we are forced or advised to close for public worship we shall take this very seriously indeed.

The Church Website, so excellently managed by Ken will be a source of information and of course sermons and recordings going back a long way. You can stock up on spiritual as well as physical food. In any event, please understand that we are here for you, be assured of our prayers and our love to you and yours at this most trying of times.

Every blessing,


The ASK Force - Do not be afraid to ASK!

Dear friends,

In this evolving situation, and in response to some responses recited, I am hereby creating the ASK FORCE:


Basically we are asking and inviting folk to volunteer to be asked to do things for others who might find themselves in difficulty as time goes by. You are invited to join in!

You can be a doer, a pray-er or a kind person! Or any combination of the above. I recommend that anyone over 7O should not volunteer to be a do-er, but we can all pray and we can all be kind, in spirit if not action.

The ACTION tasks we envisage are:
Dog walking

The KINDNESS tasks are:

And the SUPPLICATION tasks are: Praying, with or without the C of E Daily Prayer material.

Some of you have been in touch already, but spread the word and volunteer by sending an email to: giving permission to share phone and/or email details, and affirming that you are willing to be given tasks, have people put in touch with you, and/or be prepare to contact others. I will collate and manage a list. This email address will be a clearing centre for this, and do send requests for help too. Do not be afraid to ASK!

And, whether in body, mind or spirit, as St Paul puts it: “put on the armour of God, and keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints”. (Ephesians 6:18)

Which is to say, search out and pray for the sick, and make sure that your medicine cabinet, physical and spiritual, is well-stocked and ready for viral battle.


Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy.
Sustain and support the anxious,
be with those who care for the sick,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may find comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

The Revd Dr Gordon Giles, Vicar, St Patrick’s Day 2020

ASK - Mothering Each other

Dear friends,

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God.

When I was a curate in Cambridge around 1996, I was involved in an organisation called Christians on the Internet. Our mission, for want of a better word, was to encourage church folk that the internet was not the personal invention of Satan, but something to be embraced as the future not only of the spiritual life of our nation, but of pretty much all life on earth. We were not wrong. I also remember writing an article about it which most Christian publications rejected as being too niche. However, one of the outcomes of getting involved in this aspect of fledgling Christian ministry back then was that I came to the attention of Terry Waite, recently released from his incarceration in Beirut. We became good friends, and although I haven’t seen him in a while, it was a privilege to know him in those early days after his release. He was released in 1991 after 4 years in isolation. As we impose self isolation upon ourselves, his name is one to remember. After his release he became a fellow of Trinity Hall College in Cambridge (where he once joked that the windows have bars on them), and he also became involved in the Homeless Charity Emmaus UK, which was founded by Selwyn Image, who was a parishioner at St Mark’s Newnham, where Philip Spence was a the Vicar and I began my training for the ministry.

Terry and I had this mad fundraising idea for Emmaus in Cambridge, which was to create, sell tickets for and host the Internet Ball. A Cambridge-style May Ball that would happen online. The unique twist to it was that people would pay serious money for a ticket, dress up even, for an event that was in fact, not going to happen. It would only happen virtually. It caught the imagination of many (not leastly because Terry Waite promoted it widely) and it raised a lot of money and of course awareness for EmmausUK. I ended up on the Committee of Emmaus Cambridge and it was a great charity to be involved with until I left Cambridge to go to St Paul’s Cathedral in 1998.

If you read what I have just said carefully, you will not be surprised how I am reminded of this little episode in my life, as we sail forth into the uncharted waters of self isolation, closed churches, virtual spirituality and online communities. People have been doing the latter for fun for a while now (as we predicted in the mid 1990s), but now it is serious, and indeed necessary. Let there be no talk of evil, but of the vital life and spirit line that our remote contact with one another yields. Perhaps we have been doing it with our families spread far and wide, but now we need to do it with our next door neighbours. If there is a Godsend in this virus-ridden world, it is the Internet. And here we are, using it, to hold ourselves together, to ask for and offer help in the form of action, supplication and kindness (ASK).

And we have only just begun. It is a sort of ‘phoney war’ at the moment. Many of you have offered help and kindness and prayer, for which huge thanks. Some have rung or texted to say ‘give me something to do’. We will. We are in this for the long haul, and we all share with the Prime Minister a determination to win the long game. But it is a long game, and it will be physically, emotionally, spiritually and psychologically challenging. We are not supermen and women playing the Krypton Factor, but ordinary, fragile human beings, dependent on warmth, love, each other and God. If the going gets tough (as it will) remember that, and reach out to others, and give and receive the fellowship of the Holy Spirit in acts of kindness that are far from random (ARK - random acts of kindness!). We must keep our distance, but let’s remain close to God.

This is Mothering Sunday. You can come to church to light a candle for your Mum, and take a candle on behalf of your Mum, or anyone else for that matter. Take a candle from church and light it at home. Take as many as you like. We have at least 4000! If you can make a small contribution for them that would be kind, but the key thing is to have these candles which will unite us in light and hope. As time goes forward, we might nominate a certain time of day at which to light them. If you cannot get to church to collect some, then tell us and we will get them to you. For this is the other aspect of Mothering Sunday - the Mother Church. The Mother Church to whom the children come, the Mother Church who has given birth to our faith and nurtured it. The Mother Church who always cares for and about us and whose loyalty to us is inviolable, however far way we drift. So light two candles on Sunday - one for your Mum, and one for the Mother Church. For just as you can be sure that the Mother Church is doing her best for you at this time, she needs your prayers too - these are challenging times, and when we get through all this, she will have lost some of her children and may never look the same again. So pray. Pray by candlelight for the return of the light of hope, joy and fellowship. And because she is the Mother Church, remember that we are her and she is us. Such that ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25:40). We are the Mother Church and there is a greater beauty in us than there is even in the edifice of St Mary Magdalene.

From our gospel reading today:

26When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ 27Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

Well, as of now we are all mothers and sons and daughters (and fathers), in the isolated family that is St Mary Magdalene’s, but joined in the embracing group hug that is the friendship, relationships and love that we have built up over many years. No virus can consume that.

Keep well. Pray for me as I pray for you.


ASK - Church Closed

My dear friends,

We are united in spirit and connected in prayer. Sadly the church is closed and we are stuck at home, for better or worse. Weddings are cancelled, and the thought of funerals unbearable. Spare a big prayer for David Cater, who sings with our choir frequently, whose dear wife Diane died suddenly of a heart attack yesterday. We also think of Colin, whose hip op is off, and Michael whose knee op seems to be on.

Some of you are getting deliveries of food etc and some are not. Do keep us posted. The problem seems to be that if you have not already registered for them supermarkets are not taking new customers. The ASK force is now a list of folks who have volunteered. Do not worry if you haven’t been asked to do anything yet, we wait in preparedness, knowing our movements are restricted. Rest assured we are targeting requests and helpers, connecting folk. But please do keep me posted on any situation that arises - we can share the load.

A bootload of candles arrived today, with it the Easter Candle 2020 Sticker and lots of Communion Wafers. It brings it home, literally. But rest assured, we will have an Easter Candle and it will be blessed and lit upon Easter Day. I will celebrate Communion on Easter Day with Jessica and Maria and we’ll find a way of including you all. I’m sure Jackie and Mo will do the same, and we will tell you when we are going to do it so you can join in, perhaps with some bread and wine of your own. It won’t be Communion as we know it, but we can be united. On Palm Sunday I will bless palms and leave them outside the Vicarage Door. If you would like one, either go out for a walk and pass by, or tell me and I will pop one through your letterbox…. More nearer the time.

Last year I wrote a Lent book called ‘At Home in Lent’ (perhaps you have a copy)! This year I have completed ‘At Home in Advent’, which will be published in September. Little could I have known how poignant such titles would be. So forgive me for quoting myself from the Introduction to that book, words which may land slightly differently today at this time when we are forced to be ‘at home in Lent’.

“Is your home your spiritual castle? The origins of the proverb ‘An Englishman’s home is his castle’ date back to the sixteenth century, when in in 1581 Henri Estienne’s The Stage of Popish Toyes: conteining both tragicall and comicall partes, stated that “youre house is youre Castell.”, and in the same year the headmaster of the Merchant Taylor’s School in London, Richard Mulcaster wrote “He (the householder) is the appointer of his owne circumstance, and his house is his castle.”. Seventy years later the lawyer and politician Sir Edward Coke established the idea as common law in The Institutes of the Laws of England, (1628): “For a man’s house is his castle, et domus sua cuique est tutissimum refugium (and one’s home is one’s safest refuge).” Another century later and none other than William Pitt the Elder said in parliament: “The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the crown. It may be frail - its roof may shake - the wind may blow through it - the storm may enter - the rain may enter - but the King of England cannot enter.” The concept has carried across the seas to other lands too, notably to the USA where in 1800, Joel Chandler Harris adapted the maxim, writing: “Exalt the citizen. As the State is the unit of government he is the unit of the State. Teach him that his home is his castle, and his sovereignty rests beneath his hat.”

Notwithstanding the modern right of the police with warrants and bailiffs with court orders, we do generally believe and behave as though our homes are private and open only to those whom we invite in. In our homes we flee from the presence of all but our nearest and dearest, and although the home can be a place of domestic violence, treachery or strife for a few, it is for many a sanctuary, a safe haven and the place where not only our hearts but our belongings are housed.

….the way we live is a spiritual as well as practical matter, and under God, it is good to reflect on the things we take so much for granted. The Holy Spirit of God is everywhere, and in everything if only we look with the right eyes and a humble frame of mind. In Lent we are called to read and reflect; to be penitent and patient, and to journey towards the renewing light of the Easter Dawn. When Easter comes it is my hope and prayer for you, gentle reader, that the journey around your home will cast Passiontide and Easter in a different hue, and that the Lord will have been with you in everything, and everywhere.”

Holy Communion is not possible - although I hope to have something for you by Easter. Meanwhile, if you are missing communion, here is a prayer that you might find useful:

My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.

And a hymn for us all as we hunker down:

God be with you till we meet again,
By His counsels guide, uphold you,
With His sheep securely fold you,
God be with you till we meet again.

Till we meet, till we meet,

Till we meet at Jesus’ feet;
Till we meet, till we meet,
God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again,
’Neath His wings protecting hide you,
Daily manna still divide you,
God be with you till we meet again. [Refrain]

God be with you till we meet again,
When life’s perils thick confound you,
Put His arms unfailing round you,
God be with you till we meet again. [Refrain]

God be with you till we meet again,
Keep love’s banner floating o’er you,
Smite death’s threatening wave before you,
God be with you till we meet again. [Refrain]

Author: Jeremiah Eames Rankin (1880)

With love to you all,

Gordon, Jessica and Maria

ASK - Passiontide

Dear friends,

This weekend it is Passion Sunday - the Fifth Sunday of Lent, which falls between the respite of Mothering Sunday and the beginning of the agonies and ecstasies of Holy Week. There is little respite for us, hunkered in our bunkers. I do hope and pray that everyone is OK, and can tell you that there has been some good ASKing going on. The redistribution of a large amount of frozen food was co-ordinated on Wednesday and Thursday and today I delivered bread to some of you. It was lovely to do a bit of doorstepping - at safe distances of course! If anyone needs some bread I still have a few loaves! Ring me up or email.

It is still very much Lent (keep reading the book!), but as was pointed out to me today, there is very much an Advent feel to this season now, we waited expectantly but fearfully for the ‘lockdown’, which almost brought relief when it came. And now we wait for a return to our past lives, groaning in anticipation as St Paul put it to the Romans (8.16-25):

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

We will not return to our past lives, not completely. Things will be different. The way the world lives, the way it communicates, the way it behaves, the way it cares, will change. The wisdom of the just and the wickedness of the foolish are soon to be exposed, and many will pay a high price for it. None of us will be unaffected.

Stay indoors 99% of the time. Try to be at home with God and with each other, and with yourself. Keep ringing, texting, Whatsapping (is that a new verb?), and get up every hour to walk about. Lengthen your tempers that the days may be short.

This weekend’s readings, offered to us by the Church as we approach the passion of our Lord, are about resurrection. There cannot be death without resurrection and there cannot be resurrection without death. This is a comforting thought, because it means that there is hope, and what we are enduring (which is not great hardship compared to some in war zones etc) will blossom into life again. The raising of Lazarus prefigures the raising of Christ, and his resurrection prefigures ours. Yet, he wept to see his friend die. Our Lord is with us in our trials and tribulations and sufferings, and rejoices with us in eternal hope.

Pray for Michael and Colin whose operations have been postponed. Pray for Anneliese and Ray, whose sister Sue just died. The PCC are meeting online this week. Good luck folks!

In Holy Week there will be a special ‘At home’ treat - a dramatic reading of extracts of Dorothy L Sayers’ Passion and Easter dramas. These will be available online from next weekend, with a daily download to listen to from Holy Wednesday. I will also provide some ‘At Home in Holy Week’ material, so we can celebrate an Agape meal together and keep the watch of Maundy Thursday, spend an hour at the Cross on Good Friday, open a celebratory bottle on Easter Eve and rejoice in the resurrection with a unique eucharist on Easter Day. Watch this space! Remember these timings to set aside so we can be ‘together’ in prayer and reflection:

Maundy Thursday 7.30pm Agape Supper - 9pm - ‘Watch’ for one hour.

Good Friday - An hour at the Cross 11am

Holy Saturday - Easter Exultet - 8pm

Easter Day - Special ‘Service’ of fellowship and prayer 10am

More next weekend on this. ‘Live’ streaming is currently beyond us, but we all have clocks and be synchronised in that way.

Finally, remember that the clocks go forward tonight - if you have anything to get out of bed for in the morning!! For once it may not matter...

With love to you all, wherever you are,


Regular Weekly Events
Postponed until further notice

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)
Tuesday7:45-9:00 pmBell Ringing Practice
Wednesday8:30 pmDrama Group
Thursday10:30 amHoly Communion (BCP)
7:30 pmChoir Practice

Coffee and a Concert

Enfield Grammar School Bank came and played for us for the March concert. This had to take place in our hall as there were music exams in the Church. Each year the group that comes varies because the students leave the school but they always give a polished performance led by Mr Simon Tate-Lovery. Mr Ness, the head of music also came along and supported them.

After they finished, they all joined in and cleared up all their equipment and then enjoyed some cake and orange juice. We are always pleased to welcome the young people because they are a credit to their school.

Eleanor Pritchard

11.30pm – 1pm

Retiring Collection

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

Concert programme for 2020

April 8 – Cancelled
May 13 tbc – 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

Fellowship Programme

April 15 Postponed

May 20 tbc Christopher Royall ~ a professional chorister and musician

June 17 Mo Lunn ~ a quiz

July 15 – Bring and Share picnic lunch in our garden at 12:30 pm

August – no meeting

Please encourage friends to join us, especially when something is of special interest.

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

April 21: cancelled
May 19 tbc: Betty
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

Calendar for April

Latest News on Events

We are looking at ways to provide our Sunday Services in light of current developments. Please check the website often.

Thursdays 7:30pm going forward - Choir Practice suspended until further notice

Holy Week, Easter Services and Agape Meal are cancelled

Coffee, Cake and Concert – cancelled

Fellowship – cancelled

Coffee Morning – cancelled

APCM is postponed - more details to follow

The Parish Feast is being rearranged

Southgate Youth Opera production – cancelled

Southgate Symphony Orchestra Concert - (at St Stephen's Bush Hill Park) cancelled

Oberammergau pilgrimage cancelled – McCabe will be in touch.

Please check the Website for more news on future events


Items for the May 2020 edition to the editor by Sunday 12 April. Please use the magazine section of the pigeon-holes or email to 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 dates please contact either Michael or Janet Dixon.

Magazine Stapling Rota

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

25 April 2020 (tbc)
Helen Clarke, Ken Cope