Pilgrimage to Iona

Today, a group of 14 members of St Paul’s aged between 12 and 73 will be setting off for the Scottish Island of Iona for a week’s retreat, renewal and refreshment, staying at the Abbey as guests of the Iona Community.

Please think of us as we embark on our long journey – we’ll be thinking of you all on the Island.

On the final leg of our long journey to the isle of Iona, we passed the Iona Community young people’s contribution to the Bunnessan annual scarecrow competition, warning of the dangers of the UK’s nuclear submarines in the waters of Argyll, one of the community’s concerns as part of our engagement for justice and peace.



Save the Musicians Church

A flashmob choir singing outside St Sepulchre

There is a bitter irony, during this BBC Proms season, in the announcement by the PCC of the National Musicians’ Church, St Sepulchre-without-Newgate, that amateur and professional musicians will no longer be permitted to hire the church for rehearsals and concerts. The ashes of Sir Henry Wood, founder of the Proms, lie in its north chapel, which is dedicated to the commemoration of significant British musicians.

“The sheer diversity of those opposing this decision from the highest profile conductors, instrumentalists and broadcasters in the country, to educational and industrial leaders of the music industry and also to members of the clergy, collectively illustrate the obvious; that a substantial and open rethink of the hiring policy at the National Musicians’ Church of St. Sepulchre’s is needed.

The church has benefited hugely from many of their talents in the form of choral music and performances in the concert hall; for St Sepulchre’s, the National Musicians’ Church, not to acknowledge this is a simple act of betrayal.

Clearly, the current situation is unsustainable and should result in meaningful change. We appeal to all sides to begin an open and respectful dialogue to end the current crisis. A reiteration of the practical concerns within St. Sepulchre’s and piecemeal gestures to the ministry of musicians will be met with a cool response.

Banning musicians from the Musicians’ Church is as crazy as banning football fans from Wembley.

Christianity is about spreading a generous message to as many people as possible, not one that protects itself. Generosity towards the many should be of premium not just space, because the Anglican Church should welcome all, rather than just the saved, elected and lucky few.”

Richard Robbins, Save the National Musicians’ Church Campaign

As a church in the liberal tradition of the church of England, dedicated to providing rehearsal and performance space to musicians in SW19, St Paul’s Wimbledon Park asks the PCC and priest in charge of St Sepulchre to reconsider their decision.

Fast in memory of victims of nuclear bombs

Watch outside the MoD offices in Whitehall, commemorating the victims of the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 72 years ago and stating our opposition against nuclear weapons.
Some of us have been fasting since Sunday, 8.15am, when the first bomb was dropped and will continue until 11.30 am tomorrow, Wednesday, when the second bomb was deployed.
Nagasaki: Midori’s Rosary – a poem by Rowan Williams
The air is full of blurred words. Something
has changed in the war’s weather. The children
(whose children will show me this) have been sent
to the country. In the radiology lab,
Takashi fiddles, listening to the ticking bomb
in his blood cells, thinks, once, piercingly,
of her hands and small mouth, knotting him in
to the long recital of silent lives
under the city’s surface, the ripple of blurred Latin,
changing nothing in the weather of death and confession,
thinks once, in mid-morning, of a kitchen floor, flash-frozen.
When, in the starburst’s centre,
the little black mouth opens, then clenches,
and the flaying wind smoothes down the grass
and prints its news black on bright blinding
walls, when it sucks back the milk
and breath and skin, and all the world’s vowels
drown in flayed throats, the hard things,
bone and tooth, fuse into consonants of stone,
Midori’s beads melt in a single mass
around the shadow with its blackened hands
carved with their little weeping lips.
Days earlier, in Hiroshima, in what was left
of the clinic chapel, little Don Pedro, turning
from the altar to say, The Lord be with you,
heard, suddenly, what he was about to claim,
seeing the black lips, the melted bones,
and so, he said, he stood, his small mouth
open, he never knew how long, his hands
out like a starburst, while the dialogue
of stony voiceless consonants ground across
the floor, like gravel in the wind, and the two
black mouths opened against each other,

Nobody knowing for a while
which one would swallow which.

An explanatory note:
Midori Nagai was a young housewife from an old Nagasaki Catholic family who died in the bomb blast in 1945; her husband (Takashi) was a radiologist, and after the war became a peace activist. The melted rosary is preserved at a museum in Nagasaki commemorating Takashi Nagai’s work.

Rowan Williams is a poet, critic and theologian, and former archbishop of Canterbury. He is Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge.

Parish Administrator

The PCC has decided to create a part-time post of Parish Administrator to support the ministry team, visiting clergy and church wardens during the interregnum period. Part of the job will be keeping the website and parish records up to date, and looking after enquiries and church bookings.

The post will start on 1st November 2017, and be for one year in the first instant, with the possibility of renewal. The number of hours each week will be at least 8 and not more than 12.  Attendance at an office in the community centre will be required for a half-day on Fridays and at least one other half day, but some work will be possible from home. Pay is £12.50 per hour.

It would be great if we could appoint someone from our own congregation, so please consider if you or someone you know would be suitable.  Detailed job description and person specification available from me, Margaret Brown (margaret.brown@kcl.ac.uk; 020 8789 4344). I’m happy to discuss informally with anyone who is interested.

Deadline for application (by letter with CV) is 11.00pm on Monday September 11th.

Parish Administrator Job Description 

From the Churchwardens

  1. Farewell to Heinz and Margery The last 10am service that Heinz will conduct as Vicar at St Paul’s will be on January 28th 2018, our Patronal Festival (the Sunday when we celebrate the Feast of St Paul). Afterwards there will be a party to say farewell to Heinz and Margery and to thank them for 19 years of service to St Paul’s. Details later but please keep the date.
  2. Arrangements for the Interregnum It is likely to be at least 9 months before we have a new vicar in place. During the interregnum period we are committed to continuing the pattern of 10am services as at present so are getting in place a programme of visiting preachers. Nicky will be away until after Easter but will then as now be available on two Sundays each month. Other colleagues from the deanery have agreed to support us. We are unlikely to be able to continue weekday services or the 8am Sunday service, but are hoping to have the occasional evensong. We have also decided to appoint a part-time Parish Administrator especially to help co-ordinate activity during the interregnum (see advert).
  3. Parish Profile As part of the process of recruiting a new vicar, we have to produce a Parish Profile describing distinctive features of St Paul’s and explaining how we see the church developing in the future. To enable everyone to contribute to this we will be circulating a questionnaire during September and October, and are organising an open consultation meeting with small discussion groups on Sunday October 8th at 11.30. Please note the date as we would like to have a healthy attendance.
  4. Vicarage The Archdeacon of Wandsworth, John Kiddle, together with the Diocesan secretary, Ruth Martin, have been to look round the Vicarage. They recognised its impracticability as a family residence, at least in its current condition, and seemed sympathetic to our desires not to lose use of the garden and to use the building for some worthwhile purpose. The PCC will be meeting with the Archdeacon about the appointment process and interregnum support on September 20th, and will ask about further progress then. We will try to keep everyone informed about what is happening. Please ask us if you have any concerns or suggestions.

Bob Essert and Margaret Brown (Church Wardens)

Gay spiritual health

A leading gay activist in the Church of England,  Jayne Ozanne, who says she endured “spiritual abuse” because of her sexuality is urging the church to ensure the safety of LGBTI Christians.


Read her essay here.

Grenfell Tower

THE GUARDIAN Letters Friday 16 June 2017

In 2014, I received my Kensington and Chelsea council tax bill and a letter from the leader of the council, Nicholas Paget-Brown, explaining that all residents who pay council tax in full would “receive a one-off payment of £100”, to be deducted from the bill. This bonus, the letter continued, was due to the council’s careful management of its finances over the years, “consistently delivering greater efficiencies while improving services”. Austerity, K&C style: you give to the rich while taking from the poor (nobody with discounted bills or claiming council tax support was eligible to share in the bounty of the town hall blue-chips).

On a Conservative website, Paget-Brown further explained that “thanks to an overachieving efficiency drive”, the council was “well ahead of [its] savings targets for the year”. Triple AAA credit status, how nice. In deciding what to do with this surplus, he continued, “we have taken the view that it is simply wrong to discount from our calculations whose money this was in the first place. In short, we think the right place for it is back with our

In May 2014, the local election returned a huge majority of Conservative councillors. Business as usual. For years, the Royal Borough has got away with bribing the electorate with its own money. For years, the Royal Borough has been running huge underspends in its revenue budgets which it then transfers into capital reserves. The underspend in the 2016-17 adult services budget alone is £1.9m. Apparently, adult services in the area are doing so well they don’t need the money. And every other social service must be performing brilliantly, as the council’s projected reserves of £167m by the end of 2016-17 has climbed to a staggering £209m – that’s £42m surplus to requirements. How many sprinkler systems is that?

As the toxic ash of Grenfell Tower’s vanity cladding falls over the neighbouring streets, we are left with the acrid truth in our throats: regeneration in the Royal Borough is in fact a crime of greed and selfishness. I took the refund. At the time, I felt uncomfortable with this decision and the ways in which I justified it to myself. And then I forgot about it, until the smoke drifting into my flat in the early hours of Wednesday woke me up. Today, I gave it back. It wasn’t ever mine to keep. I handed it over in cash to a vicar running a refuge for the victims of the fire in a local church. I explained that it was not a donation, not a charitable act, that it was guilt money and he was doing me a kindness by taking it off my hands.

If you live in Kensington and Chelsea, please, give your rebate back. But not to the council, which seems to have trouble in identifying those – “our residents” – who might actually need it.                                                                   Name and address supplied


Read Giles Fraser’s comment here.