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Sunday 29 March 2020
Fifth Sunday of Lent
Remember to put your clocks forward one hour TONIGHT
This week's REFLECTION
'The Raising of Lazarus’, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610)

Ezekiel 37:1-14 · Psalm 130 · Romans 8:6-11 · John 11:1-45

‘...those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them’ (John 11:10)

The writings of John are an object lesson in the expressive use of darkness. Caravaggio's masterpiece 'The Raising of Lazarus' echoes this well. Darkness occupies the whole upper half of his canvas. We see Jesus, in the presence of Martha and Mary, calling the dead man back. Caravaggio shows the exact moment of transition from death to life. Lazarus' outflung arms - reminiscent of the cross - suggest death, while new life is indicated by the light from Christ that warms the stone-cold corpse of his friend, and by the palm of Lazarus' right hand, which opens upwards, flower-like, reciprocally to receive Christ's illumination.

In many ways, this is best understood as a call scene. What we see is a call by God to an individual to leave darkness behind and enter the light. In the painting, darkness and light visibly separate out and intensify. How appropriate that Lazarus' story is told in John's Gospel, a Gospel so deeply pervaded by the great conflict of light and dark, the Gospel that starts off declaring that Christ is Light. John depicts Jesus' incarnation as a sort of provocation, which prompts the children of light and the children of darkness to reveal themselves with their 'No' or 'Yes' to him. We may think of our own responses to Christ in this framework. How can we open our hands to receive his light?

Ben Quash

A Passion that must lift high the Cross

The pace of events is moving ever more quickly as the Coronavrius Pandemic advances on us in the United Kingdom and makes so many impacts on our daily lives. Since writing to you last week, we have been asked by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York not just to suspend public worship but to close Holy Trinity Church indefinitely. The clergy, staff and churchwardens have endeavoured to ensure that the life of our community moves forward in faith, hope and love albeit it with us all working from home. Please do keep connected to your church family by watching our daily worship broadcasts and writing to us by e-mail or if in special need our emergency mobile number: 07842 486514

This Sunday we enter Passiontide, the last two weeks of Lent, when the Cross and Passion of the Lord move ever closer into focus.  Holy Week is coming!  And though we will not be able to celebrate it as we normally would, we will keep it as faithfully as we can at Holy Trinity, live-streaming adapted liturgies and giving you resources to pray through these most holy days at home.  Don't be mistaken: Easter is not cancelled!  As the shadow of the Cross is cast upon our world, the Church urgently needs to proclaim the saving Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord.

As Pope Francis, in meditating on the Gospel account of the stilling of the storm, said this week: "The Lord asks us and, in the midst of our tempest, invites us to reawaken and put into practice that solidarity and hope capable of giving strength, support and meaning to these hours when everything seems to be floundering. The Lord awakens so as to reawaken and revive our Easter faith. We have an anchor: by his cross we have been saved. We have a rudder: by his cross we have been redeemed. We have a hope: by his cross we have been healed and embraced so that nothing and no one can separate us from his redeeming love."

Fr. Nicholas Wheeler

National Day of Prayer

“The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.” John 1:5.   
Fr. Nicholas joined the National Day of Prayer
at 7pm on Sunday 22 March
by lighting a candle in a window at the Rectory


Archbishops tell clergy to 'Stay at home!'

The Archbishops of the Church of England have written to the clergy asking them to keep their churches closed and stay at home. Whilst the Government's advice suggests that priests may go to their churches alone and to broadcast an act of worship, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York say their own medical advice has led them to go even further and ask the clergy to remain indoors and set an example to others. The Bishops of our own Diocese have allowed an exception where the Parish Priest lives immediately next to the Church. At Holy Trinity Church, where Fr. Nicholas and Fr. Grant live nearby but not next to our church building, the clergy are abiding by the Archbishops' request, albeit with regret.

Letter from Archbishops and Diocesan Bishops of the Church of England to all clergy in the Church of England

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Stay home, protect the NHS and save lives

We are writing further to you given the rapidly changing nature of the situation in our country
at present. We want to thank you for the ministry you are exercising and for the creative and
imaginative ways in which you are responding to the crisis and showing the love and care of
Christ to the communities we serve, particularly to the most vulnerable in our society.
As we move towards Passiontide, focussing on what Jesus did for us on the cross, more than
ever this is brought into stark focus.

We want to reiterate the advice we have already sent. The government’s is asking us to stay at
home, protect the NHS and save lives. We call upon all our churches and church leaders,
clergy and lay, to follow this advice.

We are in a time of great fearfulness. The numbers of those becoming seriously ill and dying
is increasing. It therefore remains very important that our churches remain closed for public
worship and private prayer. The Church of England is called to model the very best practice.
We must lead by example. Staying at home and demonstrating solidarity with the rest of the
country at this testing time, is, we believe, the right way of helping and ministering to our
nation. Therefore, for a season, the centre for the liturgical life of the church must be the home,
not the church building.

We recognise that this has its challenges. But many clergy and lay people have already started
streaming and live streaming daily worship from their homes. Often they create prayer spaces
or a small oratory in a room or the corner of a room. It is hugely encouraging to hear stories of
how our prayers and loving actions are blessing our communities and reaching out beyond our
usual congregations. Similarly it is wonderful to hear stories of innovative pastoral practice
and spiritual care being undertaken in new ways. Thank you for this.

Not being able to use our church buildings is, of course, a huge loss to us all. We are aware
that for many clergy it is hard not to be able to pray and worship in their church building; and
for many lay people, not even being able to see worship going on in their church building is
difficult. Streaming worship from home shows that we are alongside those who are having to
self-isolate and those who are forgoing so many other things in their lives that they used to rely
on. It also shows that we are facing up to the same restrictions as them and doing all that we
can to take a lead in encouraging people to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.
Moreover, to pray from and in the home may help us to show that the church is, as we all know,
us, the people of God, not our buildings.

Nationally, the Church is making a growing range of digital resources available including
weekly video broadcasts each Sunday; daily audio for prayer for the day and night prayer;
webinars for churches; daily #LiveLent content; new mental health reflections; and apps and
smart speaker skills. Lots of this content is also available in downloadable and printable
formats. Explore everything available here. More will be added in the weeks and months

The BBC is also offering services on television and radio and online which people can access
and we are working closely with them. This will be especially helpful for clergy who do not
feel confident in streaming services themselves. No one should be under pressure to stream
worship or feel guilty if they can’t.

Some of our communities do not have access to the internet. Please, therefore, do all that you
can to ensure other resources are available and pastoral care is offered to all. For example, we
know many places have set up telephone networks and these are crucial for keeping in touch with the vulnerable, isolated and elderly. We are endeavouring to make other resources for
prayer and worship at home available, particularly for Holy Week.

The decision to close the church buildings and to prevent them being used for streaming has
been a very difficult one. Some government advice suggests that we should be able to allow
streaming from church buildings. Our advice, however, is that we should go the extra mile in
following the clear public health advice and guidance which is to stay at home and to stay safe.

The government guidelines also continue to assert that funerals can take place in church
buildings. The medical, epidemiological and public health advice we have received clearly
indicates that this represents an additional layer of risk that we don’t need to take. Cleaning a
church building after a funeral is much harder to do than a crematorium chapel. Furthermore,
the ability of a parish priest to control the number of mourners will always be compromised by
the proper instincts to care for the bereaved at the moment of a funeral. Of course, this is costly,
but we believe the cost is less likely to be in human lives. Consequently, we are continuing to
ask clergy to conduct funerals at the graveside or in a crematorium chapel.

We are very aware of how quickly events are changing and we will keep under review all our
advice and guidance.

If Government guidance changes we will consider our own guidance. Our priority is to stay
at home, protect the NHS and save lives. Our prayers are with you all; let us all support
one another.

With every blessing,

+Justin Cantuar
+Sentamu Eboracensis

Pope Francis blesses the world

On Friday night (March 27), Pope Francis led a profoundly moving moment in an empty St. Peter's Square in Rome. Normally, the Holy Father gives his Urbi et Orbi ('to the City and the World') address and blessing at Christmas and Easter when thousands throng St. Peter's to celebrate. This extraordinary blessing was held in keeping with the gravity of the current global situation, as more than half of the world’s population is confined to their homes to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

On a bleak and rain-swept night, Pope Francis said: 'We have gone ahead at breakneck speed, feeling powerful and able to do anything. Greedy for profit, we let ourselves get caught up in things, and lured away by haste. We did not stop at your reproach to us, we were not shaken awake by wars or injustice across the world, nor did we listen to the cry of the poor or of our ailing planet. We carried on regardless, thinking we would stay healthy in a world that was sick.' 

Encouragement from Bishop Graham

In this challenging time of social distancing, the Bishop of Kensington offers some encouragement and reflections. What is our role in this battle that we face?

Daily staff meetings take to the internet

Having started meeting every day to coordinate our pastoral and administrative response to the Coronavirus Pandemic, the clergy, staff and churchwardens began speaking from their homes via video conference this week. Our Treasurer David Fairlamb and Finance Assistant Sheila Doutel are working hard behind the scenes to keep our financial life moving forward and Assistant Churchwarden John Renz is helping us to take care of our staff and service providers.

'Reach out and touch' by telephone

Over the past couple of weeks, Holy Trinity Church has sought creative ways to ensure that pastoral and spiritual care is still available to the whole parish. The ‘Taking Care’ project has enabled us, so far, to ensure that at least 30 households within our congregation have regular contact. The list is growing as are the number of volunteers undertaking these phone calls. All of this is testament to the fact that our church is more than a building made by hands. The ‘Taking Care’ project stands us in good stead for when we are able to worship in Holy Trinity Church again! 

Sloane Square shuts down

Shopkeepers in Sloane Square started to close their doors on Monday (March 23) ahead of the Prime Minister's address to the nation limiting movement in the light of the Coronavirus Pandemic. The clergy went out for one last time to encourage our business community. In Pavillion Road, 'Bread Ahead' were launching an online baking school, Brian from 'Jacques Flowers'  giving away what remained of his stock and Sid, the newspaper vendor outside Sloane Square Underground Station, had an amusing message from the latest edition of  'Private Eye'.

School staff step up for key worker children

Holy Trinity CofE Primary School opened its doors on Monday (March 23) to the children of key workers as our dedicated staff, led by Headteacher Avis Hawkins, turned out to deliver support to families in the frontline of the fight against Covid-19. The portico of Holy Trinity Church became a temporary distribution centre for homework and school meals. By the end of the week only six children were being looked after but a plan has been put in place to continue the service until Friday 3 April when the Spring Term is due to end.

Daily worship LIVE 

The clergy continue broadcasting services twice a day but now from their homes. As well as watching on our parish Facebook Page you can now join us on our Youtube Page:

This week we will be 'on air' at the following times:
11am The Eucharist

10am Morning Prayer
6pm Evening Prayer and Benediction

10am Morning Prayer
6pm The Eucharist

If you would like to tell us what you think of what we are doing, or send a prayer request to be included in a broadcast, drop us a line at

Magnolia magnifies the Virgin Mary

We celebrated the Feast of the Annunication of the Lord on Wednesday when the Archangel Gabriel told the Blessed Virgin Mary that she would become thew mother of God's only Son. Fr. Nicholas broadcast an act of worship from the Rectory Garden at 11am following the call from Pope francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury to pray the Lord's Prayer.

A time to keep on giving

The present situation is having a dramatic financial effect on many people and organisations. Holy Trinity is not immune from this. Without public worship on Sundays and weekdays our income is being drastically impacted. Some members of the congregation already give by standing order, direct debit or through online payments. If you are not doing this already, we would be so grateful if you could start:

Holy Trinity Church PCC
Account Number: 23364580
Sort Code: 60-19-26


A new time to say 'thank you and goodbye'

We very much regret that our planned 'farewell' to our Assistant Priest - Fr. Grant - will not be able to take place on Sunday 19 April owing to the Coronavirus Pandemic. Neither will he be Instituted and Inducted as Vicar of All Saints, New Cross on Monday 4 May in an act of public worship but privately by the Bishop of Southwark instead. 

However, we very much hope that once we are allowed to gather together again, Fr. Grant will return to Holy Trinity, Sloane Square for the celebration of his ministry here that he very much deserves.

Fr. Nicholas

Keep saving those coins for the City of God!

Owing to the Coronavirus Pandemic our Lent Appeal for the City of God in Rio de Janeiro has been suspended temporarily. Please keep your collecting box at home until such time as public worship can resume.

'The apparently sacred cows of capitalism are going to be slaughtered'

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams was interviewed on BBC2's Newsnight programme this week:
Parish Diary
All services are closed to the PUBLIC but available online at
The Fifth Sunday of Lent

Intention: Parish and People                   

11.00am   The Eucharist

Preacher: The Revd. Grant Bolton-Debbage

Monday 30 March
Intention: The sick

Tuesday 31 March
Intention: Doctors and Nurses
10am Morning Prayer
6pm   Evening Prayer and Benediction

Wednesday 1 April
Intention: Teachers
10am Morning Prayer
6pm   The Eucharist

Thursday 2 April
Intention: Shopworkers
10am Morning Prayer
6pm   Evening Prayer and Benediction

Friday 3 April
Intention: The clergy
10am Morning Prayer
6pm   Evening Prayer and Benediction

Saturday 4 April
Intention: The Government
10am Morning Prayer
6pm   Evening Prayer and Benediction

Palm Sunday
Intention: Parish and People                      
11.00am   Blessing of Palms and the Eucharist

The Revd. Canon Nicholas Wheeler

The Revd. Grant Bolton-Debbage

The Rt. Revd. Dr. Michael Marshall

Jeffrey Kabel
Carolyn Hallett

Gill Dunley
John Renz


David Fairlamb

Martin Bonham

Sophie Wilson
Telephone: 020 7730 7270

Clinton McMaster
Telephone: 020 7730 7270
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