'Jesus talking to Nicodemus,’ Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937)
THIS WEEK'S READINGS
Genesis 12. 1-4a · Psalm 121 · Romans 4. 1-5, 13-17 · John 3. 1-17
‘The wind blows where it chooses’ (John 3:8)
Today's account of Jesus' meeting with Nicodemus is a dense and complex text, rich in paradox, irony and word play. Both this and the other incidents from John's Gospel we will be reading about over the next few Sundays, share this intricate richness, and all would gain from a deeper study and exploration than is possible here.
Nicodemus is a Jewish leader who honestly senses that there is more to Jesus than his colleagues have allowed. He desperately wants to understand more, but is hampered by tradition and literalistic ways of thinking. His night-time visit suggests some anxiety about the way Jesus leads him on, using familiar images but presenting them in unfamiliar and slightly startling ways, teasing Nicodemus into expanding and deepening his understanding: 'Are you a teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?' (v10)
And so we alight on one thread: Jesus comments on the nature of the Holy Spirit. 'The wind blows where it chooses'. The Greek word pneuma means both 'wind' and 'spirit', and a similar conjunction of images is found in Genesis 1:2. In a way we are all Nicodemus, pulled conflicting ways: on the one hand towards the supposed security of what is known and familiar, and on the other, towards the exhilarating, life-giving risk of following the unpredictable dance of the Spirit.
Holy Communion in a time of Coronavirus
From this Sunday, following advice from the Diocese of London and recognizing that some choose to protect themselves from infection by not shaking hands, please do feel at liberty to exchange the Peace with your neighbour in words only.
As in previous weeks:
Do not intinct. Because hands can be as much a source of pathogens as lips, intinction (dipping the bread into the wine) is no safer than drinking and can introduce germs into the cup. Intinction can also threaten those with certain immune or allergic conditions. For instance, those with gluten intolerance for whom traces of gluten can be hazardous are at greater risk when other communicants have dipped their communion wafer into the wine.
Consider receiving Holy Communion in one Kind. It is Anglican teaching that to receive the sacrament in one kind only (ie. just the bread) is to receive the sacrament in its entirety. The celebrant should always receive from the Chalice. Should a communicant feel ill or not wish to drink from the chalice then he or she ought to receive the consecrated bread alone. There is no need at this stage to cease offering the chalice to the congregation.
Our prayers continue to be with those who have been deeply affected by Coronavirus, those who are or have been sick, those isolated, for health specialists and authorities who are combatting the spread of infection, and of course for all who at this time are feeling anxious.
Cleaning Guild looking for new volunteers
This Saturday (March 7) our Cleaning Guild will spend a couple of hours - as they do on the first Saturday of every month - dusting and polishing our Church to keep it beautiful for all who step into it.
The volunteers are a dedicated group without whose efforts we would quickly find dust and cobwebs appearing and our beautiful metal ornaments no longer gleaming.
Would you like to join the Cleaning Guild? The Guild begins its tasks at 11am and finishes before 1pm with a short time of prayer and a delicious sandwich lunch. If you can't make it every first Saturday of the month, come when you can.
A special desk job!
The welcome Desk at Holy Trinity ensures that visitors to our church receive a warm welcome. But although we try to staff the desk between 10am and 4pm in two-hour slots each day, there are still quite a few gaps.
The photograph shows Joan Rawle, who volunteers to sit at the Welcome Desk on Fridays from 12 noon to 2pm. You may or may not be able to be here very week but if you could volunteer to ensure that this great tradition continues, speak to our Parish Administrator Sophie Wilson by e-mail or phone (details below).
Amelie hopes to be first RBKC Youth Mayor
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea have launched their first Youth Mayor / Youth Council programme and one of our Junior Church members - Amelie Wilson-Schafer - has been chosen to be a candidate. She will automatically be a part of the RBKC Youth Council. We as a church community are very proud of her!
Amelie has written an election statement and created a video manifesto to let young people aged between 11 -19 who live, study or work in RBKC, have the opportunity to vote for change and exercise their democratic rights to vote. Her video will be shown in schools and colleges around the borough, before classmates and peers cast their votes. The successful candidate, and the Council’s first Youth Mayor, will be announced by The Mayor of Kensington and Chelsea, Cllr Will Pascall, at a ceremony on Friday 20 March.
Once formed, the Youth Council will have a fund of £40,000 to allocate to projects that it wants to support. It will link up with the borough’s young people via the Youth Forum Network and feed their views into Council decisions and conversations, making sure they have a voice when decisions are made.
"I am the ideal candidate to become the next Youth Mayor of RBKC because: I believe that I have the skills to gather ideas and information from my peers to make sure my ideas and campaigns are related to as many people as possible. If you vote for me, I would like to increase the daily amount of exercise young people are getting. I would do this by making better use of the wonderful green spaces Kensington and Chelsea has on offer, by developing and hosting a range of free exercise and sports clubs so there is something for everyone and the teaching of easy exercises that one can perform at home every day. These clubs would increase social activity and face-to-face conversation, which increases emotional well-being, this could also improve academic ability and self-esteem. I would like to create Study Hubs and Revision Areas with the relevant IT equipment that some young people might not have on offer at home. I would like to raise the awareness of the misuse of social media and put support in place to help with this. Another big issue I want to tackle is the pollution problem and I would like to introduce and create bike lanes in Kensington and Chelsea for an emission free way of transport, another way of lowering pollution levels would be to try and enforce air purifying plants into all public parks and spaces… If you vote for me, together we can make Kensington and Chelsea a more environmentally aware borough."
'Great things are said of you, O City of God'
Last Sunday (March 1) the Parish Room was full to over-flowing to hear our Rector Fr. Nicholas speak about his seven years as Parish Priest of the Church of Christ the King in the City of God in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Fr. Nicholas explained that back in the 1960s, the community had been built to try to improve the housing conditions of those who were living in the city's slums but had quickly been neglected by the authorities and overtaken by drugs traffickers.
The Anglican Church has been in Brazil for over 200 years and a chapel and nursery school was built in Cidade de Deus (as it's known in Portuguese) soon after the housing estate was completed in 1966. A church building followed in 1991.
Fr. Nicholas first learnt about the neighbourhood when he watched Fernando Mereilles' award-winning film 'City of God' in 2003 and told his listeners how thanks to the Bishop of Rio de Janeiro at the time and the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society - Partners in the Gospel) he became in 2008 the first full-time Anglican priest the community had been given.
Colourful photographs of the many community projects that had been started demonstrated how in spite of the pain, deprivation and violence that had made the 'City of God' so notorious, there was immense resilience, solidarity and joy to be found amongst the Brazilian people who lived there.
Our Lent Appeal this year seeks to raise funds to support the work of the church there and ensure that Fr. Nicholas's successor - Fr. Antonio Terto - can continue to minister to this very needy neighbourhood. Lent collecting boxes - made by the Anglican mission agency USPG who support the work in the City of God through their 'Partners in Ministry' programme - are still available after all the Sunday services if you would like to take one and return it to church during Holy Week.
The Beauty of Holiness
There is nothing more compelling than a life lived for others that brings love and joy to the world. We may think of one of the saints or perhaps a neighbour who makes a big difference to our community. All too often our awareness of our own frailties and faults discourages us from seeking to emulate those spiritual giants but we are all called to be 'something beautiful for God’ and by His grace working in us we can be transformed.
The season of Lent provides an opportunity to engage our whole selves in just such an adventure. Its forty days recall the time Jesus spent in the desert preparing himself for the offering of his life. Originally, it was the time when new Christians prepared for baptism at Easter or when those separated from the life of the church through sin were restored to its fellowship.
There is something for everybody at Holy Trinity this Lent to help us grow in the beauty of holiness. Not everything will be for everybody. But I pray that through study, self-examination, penitence and prayer you will come to Easter Day renewed for your witness in the world.
Fr. Nicholas Wheeler · Rector
Learning from the women of Zimbabwe
A beautiful Spring morning provided the backdrop for this year's World Day of Prayer at St. Mary-the-Boltons on Friday (March 6). Members of Holy Trinity attended the service along with representatives from churches across the borough and in the presence of the Mayor of Kensington and Chelsea.
The theme of the service was ‘Rise! Take Your Mat and Walk’ and was prepared by the people of Zimbabwe. Worshippers heard a letter read by Zimbabweans reflecting on the life of their nation, the things they were proud of and the things they wanted to change. The story of the healing of the paralysed man in John's Gospel provoked questions about where in our lives and communities we need to hear Jesus' life-changing question: "Do you want to be made well?"
Temptations turned to Ash for start of Lent
Children at Holy Trinity Church of England Primary School began Lent this year on Ash Wednesday with a special liturgy led by Fr. Nicholas and Fr. Grant in the hall and the playground.
The service began with readings from the Bible including the story of Jesus' temptation in the desert by the Devil. Earlier in the day the children had been invited to write about or draw a picture of their greatest temptation. In the playground, each class placed its 'temptations' on the fire.
Pots of ash were then distributed later in the week to each classroom and placed in the prayer corner as a reminder of the temptations which had been turned to ash.
One of our clergy conduct two assemblies in school every week and pray at the 'Special Mentions' assembly in Holy Trinity Church on Friday afternoons when children who have performed particularly well during the week are singled out for praise.
Pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2021
It is always very moving to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, there is so much to see and experience and learn together. St Jerome said: ‘Five gospels record the life of Jesus. Four you will find in books and the one you will find in the land they call Holy. Read the fifth gospel and the world of the four will open to you.’
We invite you to come and know this for yourselves whether you are new to the Holy Land or have been many times before; there are always new sights and sounds to reflect upon. Reading the gospels will never be the same again and by visiting the Holy Land we are standing in solidarity with our brothers and sisters there too. To have the chance to meet the ‘living stones’, the local Palestinian and Israeli Christians who are the ongoing, living church in the region, is humbling.
Our pilgrimage will include the sites where the most important events in Our Lord’s life and ministry took place: in Jerusalem and the surrounding area and further north in Galilee. We hope that if you have never been on pilgrimage to the Holy Land before you will choose to join us and, if you have been before, we welcome you back. Our journey is a life changing as well as faith changing experience. We invite you to journey with us and to share in this great opportunity to see those places we read of in the Scriptures.
The cost is £1,995 sharing a twinbedded/double room with ensuite bathroom. We stay in two religious guest houses - St Andrew’s in Jerusalem overlooking the Old City and in Galilee we stay at the popular Pilgerhaus in Tabgha right on the lakeside. The tour is on a full-board basis with buffet breakfast, lunch and evening meal included daily. Touring is by airconditioned coach and we will be accompanied by a local guide who will share leadership responsibilities and look after the formalities of hotel check-ins, etc. All entrance fees are included as well as gratuities.
For more information, see the brochure in church or contact email@example.com
CONCERTS and EVENTS
News from THE DIOCESE OF LONDON
The Real Easter Egg campaign
Ten years ago churches and schools from London Diocese helped establish a mission project which has reached millions of people, crosses all denominations and offers individuals a simple way to share the Easter Story while supporting Fairtrade and charitable projects.
The idea began in 2008 when David Marshall, a former Church of England Communications Director, was given a chocolate Easter egg. On the side of the box it read: ‘Easter is the festival of chocolate and loveliness’. He searched for an Easter egg which mentioned the Christian story of Easter. It became clear that out of the 80 million eggs on sale there was not a single manufacturer who was willing to mention the religious aspects of the festival. So he asked churches and schools to help crowd fund The Meaningful Chocolate Company to manufacture the UK’s first ‘Real Easter Egg’. For it to be a ‘Real Easter Egg’ it had to reflect the Easter themes of hope and new life and do three things – have a copy of the Easter story in the box, be made from Fairtrade chocolate and support charitable causes.
Ten years on, more than a million eggs have been sold with over 750,000 sent through the post. The rest have been sold through retailers and supermarkets. Nearly £275,000 has been donated to charitable projects with Fairtrade Premium fees paid to farmers allowing them to buy everything from school books and solar panels to providing fresh water.
For Easter 2020, there are five types of Real Easter Eggs available all with new content. Each egg has an edition of the Easter story included. There is a new 24-page version in the Original and Dark eggs with activities, biblical text and a prize competition worth £200. There is a poster activity version of the Easter story in the Sharing Box and Fun Pack and a simple guide version in the Special Edition. Both the Original and Dark 2020 eggs are plastic free and all our chocolate is Palm Oil free.