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A message from our Churchwardens, Deborah Colvin and Trevor Lines:
We will all want to thank Graham Cooper for his tremendous work in organising the APCM and presiding over the various elections. You will see below the names of those who have been elected to the PCC and the Deanery Synod, but before we just rush to focus on the election results, it is important to thank everyone who was involved.
First, can we give thanks to ALL of the candidates, particularly to those who have not been elected on this occasion. All of them were generously offering to give their time and talents to the church. We were blessed to have so many candidates this year and we hope that those disappointed this time know that their contributions are still cherished. If you have a chance, you might like to thank them personally.
Secondly, a big 'thank you' to the six people who are leaving the PCC or the Deanery Synod. They are Carolyn Davies, Robert Duirs, Leah Hoskin, Evelyn Namutebi, Raks Patel and Pearl Willis. Your service and commitment to the church for the past three years (or more!) is hugely appreciated.
Thirdly, congratulations to those who are newly elected or re-elected. These are challenging times for the church but there are some exciting opportunities as well!
And, finally, thanks to Revd Lucy, Revd John and Claire Wright for their smooth management of the meeting on Zoom. THANK YOU!
In the election of lay members to the PCC, the following were elected to serve until the 2023 APCM:
Monica Bashade, Alison Beck, Ben Mariam, Lia Shimada, Wilson Wong, Claire Wright.
In the election of Deanery Synod Representatives, the following were elected to serve on the Synod 2020-2023: Julie Cunningham, Shirley Dixon, Ros Fane, Jo Hines.
Also on Sunday 18th October, at the Annual Meeting of Parishoners, Deborah and Trevor were elected to serve as Churchwardens until the next Annual Meeting of Parishoners in 2021. We are tremendously grateful to them for their commitment and ongoing hard work.
Our Eco Contemplative Liturgy this month will be held on Sunday 25th October at 3.00pm on Zoom. Please not the later start time.
If you are in the fortunate position of having some outside space, please do Zoom from outside, or from a window/door with a view. Alternatively, you might like to collect a leaf, flower, stone or shell before the liturgy. Participants will be invited to speak about their experience in their garden, view or object if they would like to.
The session will be open from 2.45pm. Arriving before 3.00pm will enable any glitches with audio or video to be sorted. You are welcome to stay a while afterwards to chat with others.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org in order to get the Zoom link and liturgy sheet. Those attending regularly will get an email with the details.
For our fourth post during Black History Month, our churchwarden Trevor has been researching the story of Ottobah Cugoano, baptised here in St James’s Piccadilly on the 20th August 1773:
Quobna Ottobah Cugoano (to give him his full name) was born around 1757 in that part of west Africa that we now call Ghana. Ottobah belonged to the Fantes (‘the leavers’) who were the section of the Akan people that left to set up a new, more northerly, settlement at Mankassim. The Fantes still thrive to this day, with one of their recent prominent figures being Khofi Annan. At the age of 13, Ottobah. was kidnapped by slave traders while playing in a field with around eighteen to twenty other children. They were all seized and then shipped to the West Indies. At the end of the arduous journey, Ottobah was sold to a plantation owner in Grenada. He became a forthright critic of slavery and his influential book, Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slavery (1787) is still in print today. In his book, he wrote vividly of the brutality and cruelty that was meted out to the slaves. Hard labour, beatings and lashings were commonplace all against a background of abject hunger.
Fortunately for Ottobah, his time in the plantations was limited when he was bought by an English merchant in 1772 and brought to England. He gained his freedom that same year, as a result of the Somersett Case which some people misinterpreted as an abolition of slavery in England. He was indeed fortunate to be freed because he didn’t live long enough to see slavery actually abolished by parliament.Now in London, Ottobah learned to read and write. He adopted a Christian faith and was baptised at St James’s, taking the name John Stuart. By 1784, he had been employed as a servant by the royal artist Richard Cosway and his wife, Maria. This connection brought Ottobah into contact with prominent figures of the time, including the poet William Blake, who was himself baptised in St James’s as an infant in 1757.
Ottobah soon became one of the leaders of London’s African community. Along with Olaudah Equiano, he was very active in the ‘Sons of Africa’ group which condemned the practice of slavery and campaigned for its abolition. They lobbied public figures and wrote regularly to the newspapers. In 1786, Ottobah and fellow campaigner Wiiliam Green, played a key role in the rescue of Henry Demane. Demane, a kidnapped black man, was set to be shipped back to the West Indies. Ottobah and Green contacted Granville Sharp (a well-known and well-connected abolitionist). Sharp intervened and Henry Demane was removed from the ship before it sailed.
The following year, Ottobah published his book. It was the first British publication in which an African argued for the end of the slave trade and the freeing of all slaves. Ottobah steered clear of too much autobiography and instead focused on a largely religious and philosophical line of argument. He was, of course, writing to engage a white and sceptical audience. Four years later, in 1791, Ottobah published a shortened version of his book specifically for the ‘Sons of Africa’ in which he showed some support for British attempts to help freed slaves to return to Africa and he also called for the establishment of schools in Britain specifically for African students. He travelled extensively around Britain to promote the ideas contained within the book.
Thereafter, we have no further information about Ottobah. We have no record of his death nor where he was buried. What we do know, is that he was a man of grace who spoke with passion and determination. Africans, he wrote, ‘are born free, and are brought up with as great a predilection for their country, freedom and liberty, as the sons and daughters of fair Britain’.
Following her ordination on 26th September and her first Sunday on the team, Mariama has sent a card to the St James's family. Welcome to St James's Mariama!
2020 marks the 80th anniversary of the bombing of St James’s Church, Piccadilly during the Second World War. On the evening of 14th October 1940 a high explosive bomb landed in the courtyard, destroying the rectory, and incendiary bombs hit the church setting fire to the roof.
A huge range of events are taking place around the world for Black History Month during October. Each week we'll be recommending something you may wish to explore - and you can find full listings for all the UK events at www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk. Two weeks ago, we encouraged you to discover the work of visual activist Zanele Muholi (see our blog post here). Last week, Carolyn, Jo and Raks recommend some of their favourite books and films about race. This week, we offer you 3 short videos about how White people can be good allies in helping to combat systems, institutions and ideologies that negatively affect Black people and their communities.
St James’s is a church with a rich spiritual life and social impact, and a rich cultural life too.
Celebrating our heritage is a fundamental part of being a church and we are hugely grateful to the Culture Recovery Fund for awarding us a grant that will help us:
continue to support musicians and artists in a vibrant cultural programme
that reflects contemporary London,
work with new partners to share our rich history (since 1684)
with new audiences in creative ways,
& transform our online presence
with a new website and digital interpretation of our historic church.
We hope you will join us in-person and online
for a creative explosion of activity at St James's over the coming months!
A huge range of events are taking place around the world for Black History Month during October. Each week we'll be recommending something you may wish to explore - and you can find full listings for all the UK events at www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk. Last week, we encouraged you to discover the work of visual activist Zanele Muholi (see our blog post here). This week, Carolyn, Jo and Raks recommend some of their favourite books and films about race.
Georgina Elsey and Susy Brouard from our congregation, and and our new Curate Mariama Ifode-Blease were all ordained last weekend.
Our new curate Mariama was ordained Deacon at St Paul's Cathedral on Saturday 26th September. She's standing to the left of Bishop Sarah in this photo, with Georgina on the far-right, and Paul (the new curate at St Anne's Soho) on the far-left.
Here's Susy after her ordination at Christ Church Oxford on Sunday 27th September!
"Everyone, from all communities, needs to embrace Black History Month as a starting point for exploring, discovering and celebrating Black history, heritage and culture – both past and contemporary. From the incredible achievements and contributions, to the many untold stories and barriers to progress – the day-to-day reality of institutionalised racism."
Catherine Ross - guest editor of Black History Month 2020 (read Catherine's full article here)
A huge range of events are taking place around the world for Black History Month this October. Each week we'll be recommending something you may wish to explore - and you can find full listings for all the UK events at www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk
TGI* Theatre! including the Licensing of The Revd Lindsay Meader - Wednesday 30th September at 6.30pm
Theatre Chaplaincy UK's annual TGI Theatre celebration, will be live streamed from the Actors' Church, St Paul's Covent Garden, on Wednesday 30th September at 6.30pm. It will include the Licensing of our former Associate Rector, Lindsay Meader, in her new role as Lead Theatre Chaplain for the Diocese by the Bishop of London, The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally.
The evening will include contributions from Dame Judi Dench, Dr Rowan Williams, David Suchet, Stephen Fry, Nica Burns OBE (CEO, Nimax Theatres), Julian Bird (CEO, Society of London Theatre), Maureen Beattie (President of Equity), and West End performers Sharon Rose (Hamilton), Nadim Naaman (The Phantom of the Opera), and Lucie Shorthouse (Everybody's Talking About Jamie).
Click here to watch the live stream on St Paul's Church Covent Garden YouTube channel.
*TGI = Thank God It's Theatre!
Annual Meeting of Parishoners and Annual Parochial Church Meeting - Sunday 18th October 2020 at 4.30pm on Zoom
This year’s Annual Meeting of Parishioners (AMP) and Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM), having been delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, will take place on Sunday 18th October 2020 at 4.30pm by Zoom.
Each year at the AMP, we elect/re-elect churchwardens, to serve for the next twelve months. At the APCM, we appoint new PCC members to any vacancies that arise. PCC members serve for a term of office of three years, and may stand for re-election (although our practice is that they should step down after two three-year terms). This year, five current PCC members come to the end of their term of office and a further PCC member has decided to step down, and there are therefore six vacancies (although three of the current members have advised of their intention to stand for re-election).
This year, we shall also be holding elections for Deanery Synod representatives, also to serve for a three-year term. This is an important role, ensuring that St James’s has a voice in the wider church. Deanery Synod representatives sit on the PCC, in addition to attending typically three Deanery Synod meetings each year.
Membership of the PCC provides individuals with an opportunity to help guide the work of St James’s. This is a particularly challenging time, as St James’s looks to adapt to the future through the current Covid-19 pandemic.
As St James’s is a registered charity, PCC membership also involves becoming a trustee of the charity. New PCC members are provided with an induction that explains these responsibilities more fully. The PCC acts with collective responsibility for decision-making.
If you are interested in standing for the PCC or as a Deanery Synod representative and would like to know more about what’s involved, please contact the PCC Secretary, one of the churchwardens or any member of the clergy team. We are particularly keen to see an increase in the diversity of membership of the PCC.
To join the PCC you will need to have been on the electoral roll for at least the last six months and you will need to be nominated and seconded by other members of the electoral roll. Nomination forms are available by email from Graham Cooper, the PCC Secretary email@example.com. Completed nomination forms should be submitted to Graham by Monday 5th October. They should be accompanied by a short statement (maximum 100 words), setting out your commitment and what you believe you could bring to the role.
In the event that there are more nominees than vacancies for the above positions, elections will be held at the AMP and APCM. Voting at the meetings will take place by Zoom online poll, but if you are unable to attend, you may vote by post, provided that you have registered for a postal vote in advance. To do so, please register by advising the PCC Secretary by Monday 12th October.
Our former Associate Rector, Lindsay Meader, is to be licensed to her new role as Lead Theatre Chaplain for the Diocese by Bishop Sarah on Wednesday 30th September at 6.30pm. This will take place at the Actors’ Church (St Paul’s, Covent Garden) as part of Theatre Chaplaincy UK’s annual TGI* Theatre Celebration.
Lindsay says: "It seems almost impossible that it's just over a year since my last Sunday at SJP, and goodness, what a bizarre year it's been. I am (finally!) to be licensed to my new role as Lead Theatre Chaplain for the Diocese on Wednesday 30th September at St Paul's Covent Garden. You won't be surprised to know that we've had to make a number of adaptations due to Covid restrictions and yesterday had to halve the number of people present for the second time, to only 15! Nonetheless, you are warmly invited to join via the live-stream and it would mean a great deal to have your support. As soon as the live-stream details are available, they will be posted to here. I'll also post them on @TheatreChaplain and @TCUKchaplains and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/TCUKchaplains) or you can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. As you doubtless realise, this is a pretty desperate time for the theatre industry, so please do hold us in your prayers."
*TGI = Thank God It’s Theatre
We pray for everyone being ordained this Michaelmas, especially Georgina Elsey and our new curate Mariama who are both being ordained at St Paul’s Cathedral on Saturday 26th September at 2.30pm. Lucy will be attending the special socially-distanced service to represent St James’s and everyone can watch via the St Paul’s YouTube channel here.
Our dear friend Susy Brouard is also being ordained at Christ Church Oxford on Sunday 27th September at 3.00pm. Susy writes:
Dear all, I would appreciate your prayers in the run up to my ordination to the Diaconate on Sunday 27th of September at 3.00pm. It will take place in Christ Church, Oxford, and will be live-streamed. The stream link is: here but to play it safe you might just want to go to the Christ Church Oxford YouTube channel. If you can't watch it live don't worry as it should be up there for a couple of weeks. I have now been in Kidlington and Hampton Poyle (five miles north of Oxford) for a couple of months and really enjoying my time as curate. Thank you for your ongoing love, prayers and support, Susy
Thank you for your prayers, your generosity and your continued commitment!
At our 11am Eucharist in the courtyard this Sunday, we welcome Julie Cunningham, who will dance as part of the service. Julie is a longstanding member of St James’s congregation and founder of Julie Cunningham and Company.
The dance is part of a piece called m/e and is offered as part of our liturgy.
"I made m/e using a collection of images of people who felt like part of my herstory. I was looking for queer gesture - that is, something we can’t recognise, that is not obviously something. I tried to embody that, see how it felt and find ways to move between them. So it’s sort of a time travel between the lives of the people that mean something/have affected me but then also a time travel through my own self and life, a way of sorting through things, looking at them and noticing what they feel like. It’s layers, and knowing that every moment of experience of one life is lived in every moment. In that way you can’t possibly feel alone."