Secretary's report

Dear Friends,

I hope you all had a good Summer.

Our Church family continues to grow. On 2nd September, we were delighted to welcome a new Church Member, Beauty Kunene. We also have several new regular members of the congregation, some of whom have accepted our invitation to attend the Church Meeting and learn more about our activities and volunteered their help.

On 3rd September, we commenced our month long harvest celebration with a well-attended (and supplied!) pot luck lunch after the service. Throughout September, Ewan’s sermons adopted a harvest theme and we collected food and clothing for refugees. Celebrations culminated in a special harvest festival service on 1st October.

We continue our involvement with refugee support. At the end of September, together with Susan LeQuesne and our Childrens’ Worker Wilf Merttens, I attended a special meeting of Churches Together in Hampstead, to discuss the group’s sponsorship bid. That meeting was packed with representatives of churches in the area, including a number involved in the Parish Church’s bid. Wilf and Ewan were both involved in a joint launch event (Welcoming the Stranger) at Hampstead Parish Church on 13th October. The event was extremely moving, featuring individual refugee testimonies as well as music and speeches of support (including from our local M.P. and a representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury): it ended with a very welcome feast of falafels! 

Our service on 5th November welcomed back Merit, one of the singers at Welcoming the Stranger, who enriched our worship with songs from the Syrian Liturgy, accompanied by a traditional instrument called a qanun. Later that afternoon, as previously at this time of year, in recognition of All Souls, Ewan offered a contemplative service for the bereaved.

Some of you may have noticed (surely not!) that this year is the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation (or at least of the ‘posting’ of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses). I have a bit of an interest in this area and have attended a couple of events: a meeting of the Christian Study Group (at Hampstead Parish Church on 25 October) on Archbishop Cranmer and (with Edward Humphreys), the Annual Meeting and Lecture of the fearsomely entitled Protestant Dissenting Deputies. Elsewhere in this newsletter I have provided an account of the lecture, which this year, was by The Revd. Dr John Bradbury, Minister of Emmanuel United Reformed Church and former Vice Principal of Westminster College Cambridge and entitled, Luther’s revolution- then and now. The Deputies are really not at all fearsome. The body, which is comprised of ministers and elected lay people, was established in 1732 to fight for the removal of restrictions excluding Protestant non-conformists from many areas of public life. Representing churches across the country, the Deputies have a long history of achievement in support of free speech and civil rights and serve to keep alive their historic right of direct approach to the Monarch. The current Secretary of the Group is also the General Secretary of the Free Churches Group, a network of 24 national churches in the Non-Conformist, Evangelical and Pentecostal traditions, providing healthcare and prison chaplaincy services and education support. The late Godfray LeQuesne was for many years Chairman of the Deputies, presiding over the Annual Meeting and Lecture.

Finally, at the time of writing, we are looking forward to a rich program of events and services for Advent and Christmas. Full details are on the church website or you can contact me at t.thom@hotmail.co.uk for further information.

Have a lovely Christmas,

Theresa


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