Our weekly news can be downloaded here (PDF).
This week -
Pentecost Film Project 2.0
ANOTHER CHANCE to record a short video on your phone
We've had a great response to our first collection of Pentecost videos and the Holy Spirit is still pouring out upon the people of St James's!
We are offering you another 2 WEEKS to submit a 2-minute video for a second edition of our stories of lockdown. Please email your film to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wed 10 June and we will upload as many as we can to our YouTube channel. (The videos won't be listed for public access and a link to view will be sent to everyone registered for church emails.)
See our 16 May newsletter in its full glory here
Test version below
SUNDAY 17TH MAY IS ROGATION SUNDAY
This is the Sunday when traditionally the bounds of the parish are beaten. Last year, a group walked the boundaries of the parish in person. This year, online, we have no boundaries! Join us at 11am on YouTube for the Parish Eucharist, which will include contemplative film for meditation and prayer by Sara Mark, and a reflection from the Eco Church group.
Please join for coffee on Zoom afterwards, with thanks to Michelle for hosting.
Ascension Day 6pm Thursday 21st May
Join us on Zoom for a service for Ascension Day focussing on the spiritual wisdom of the mystics. Please bring along anything you’d like to contribute; a poem, a prayer, a reading, or just come along! The mystics such as Mother Julian of Norwich, the unknown author of the Cloud of Unknowing, Hildegard of Bingen, Richard Rolle, Margery Kempe, Meister Eckhart, Thomas Traherne, Thomas Merton speak of the oneness of God, the divine spark in all of us. Holistic spirituality, and a deep connection with the natural world feature strongly. A simple Eucharist service of prayer and contemplation with silence, music, Scripture, and the mystics. Everyone welcome. Please email email@example.com for a zoom invitation.
Eco-contemplative liturgy on Zoom at 9.45am on Sunday 24 May
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, twig or stone before the liturgy. Participants will be invited to speak about their garden or view or object or experience of the natural world during lockdown if they would like. There will be a service sheet available on the website in due course.
Pentecost Sunday 31st May 2020
Pentecost Film Project: Get involved and make a short film!
The Pentecost story is told in the Acts of the Apostles Chapter 2. Do read it if you can: it’s a great moment when the mystery of the Holy Spirit caused people to connect with each other and with God in a new way after the death and resurrection of Jesus. This was a moment when people heard each other in a new way, and the Spirit was somehow giving them a deeper understanding and empathy for each other, and a deeper mystical, empowering connection with God.
While we are separated physically from each other, the festival of Pentecost, with its focus on spiritual connection and empathy for each other, seems more relevant than ever. Do you have a short story or reflection you could send us? We’d like to ask you, if you’d like to, to make a short film, up to 2 minutes, on your phone, telling a story of your experience of lockdown. We would like to put them together and upload to our YouTube channel as part of our marking of Pentecost.
There are so many different experiences of this pandemic amongst our own congregation and community; some have been working throughout, in care homes, in the NHS, working from home. Some have been furloughed, others have been shielded or at home staying safe. Some of us have been ill, some bereaved. After these weeks of lockdown, some are finding this situation very hard; some are struggling with fragile mental or physical health. Some have found new meaning in the natural world or relief at a less hectic life. We are very fortunate to have a professional filmmaker in our congregation, Carolyn, who has made a short ‘how-to’ film to help all of us who will be trying this for the first time. This ‘how-to’ film will be on our Youtube channel from Saturday 16th May. Please email your film, by 6pm on Thursday 28th May, to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will put as many as we can together to upload to our Youtube channel, telling the story of this Pentecost in our own way.
Online liturgies, prayers, opportunities to meet and support one another
The cluster groups help us keep in touch and support one another. It’s never too late to join in if you would like to connect with a smaller group of St James’s people. Different groups are operating differently; some are on WhatsApp, or Zoom, email, or phone. Please email Joan at email@example.com to join one.
Your clergy John, Daniel, Ivan and Lucy are here to help you too – please get in touch through the website.
New Assistant Churchwardens
The Churchwardens, Deborah and Trevor, write…
We are delighted to welcome Claire Wright and Ben Bloom as Assistant Churchwardens to help support the life of our congregation along with us.
One of the important roles for John, our new Associate Rector, is to help maximise the emotional and spiritual well-being of our congregation and he’s jumping straight in by hosting a 20-minute online relaxation session on Zoom at 9am every day for 20 days (excluding Sundays) starting on Tuesday 19th May. Each morning, John will lead you through some gentle stretches, breath-work and mindfulness exercises that will help calm your mind, reset your stress system and set a positive intention for the coming day. If you’re theologically-minded, you might call it ‘an inclusive fresh expression of participative embodied liturgy in virtual space during an pandemic’ but that’s a bit of a mouthful, so we’re just calling it The 9am Reboot!
You only need a very modest amount of physical agility and it’s suitable for people whenever they are on their spiritual journey. Try it once. See if you like it. Come back as much or as little as you want but you will get the deepest benefit if you can join every day. You don't need any special equipment. Ideally, you'll sit on the floor, maybe on a mat or a cushion. (You can sit in a chair but you won't have enough room to fully do all of the movements.) And wear loose comfortable clothing you can move around in.On Tuesday 19 May at 9am when you are ready to join the session please click on this link (please join a few minutes early if you need to check your audio/video):
If you have any queries at all about The 9am Reboot, just drop John an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call for suggestions, feedback and ideas
As we continue to develop our online support, connections, liturgy, events, we would like to hear from you what would be most helpful for you as we go along in these strange times.
Thank you so much to you, our volunteers and also to our skeleton staff who are, along with you, learning about what is helpful and what isn’t and how to do it! Some ideas suggested so far are that we might run a series on the Psalms, as a continuation of our Gospel Conversation series, to discuss the amazing variety of lament, rejoicing, distress, anger and praise that is found there. And to write our own psalm in the process. We could run more discussion or theological conversation and reflection if that is something that would be helpful. Or run an online version of our Camino course, an introduction to the Christian faith for beginners and experienced alike. We are looking into a way to make prayer requests more widely shared too. We have been delighted to be joined by people from all over the world and value our visitors hugely.
All feedback is welcome so please do be in touch with your thoughts and ideas about what would help and support you and what you would like to see.
A resource to support mental health
Our refugee and asylum support worker, Jo Gowers, has put together some material to aid all of us in these times. Please find a guide to ‘Looking after your mental health during Covid 19’ here, with thanks to Jo. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MPv_1ab2pdkqG_LmHLGT7cHRoSTDZQ3JZRC2W3VNse4/edit?usp=sharing
Our Caravan Counsellors are continuing to offer listening support 7 days a week
The Caravan Listening and Counselling drop in service normally operates in St James’s garden 7 days a week, in partnership with CCPE. The Caravan coordinator, Ian, writes "The caravan phone counselling service is growing consistently. Some are being referred on by many NHS services and centres, and it is good to have capacity to help support the NHS and all the people who call for support. There is also the opportunity for people to move to zoom if they find a therapist they want to continue working with. We have also been doubling up some of the shifts as the service has grown."
Please let others know, or call yourself, if you need them.
And finally… in aid of Christian Aid (Christian Aid Week is 10-16 May)
The St James's Pub Quiz Thursday 21 May, 7.30pm-8.30pm
Email email@example.com to receive details including the Zoom link
Come and join us for an evening of fun, thanks to the Circus Spirit group and our pastoral assistant Elijah Kinne. Everyone more than welcome with the opportunity to donate during the quiz if you wish!
Saturday 9 May 2020
Welcome to the weekly update during lock-down from St James’s Piccadilly
(Click Read More)
See here for the eNews from the Rector and Churchwardens. Main items:
Over 90% of our income disappeared overnight with the closure of the market in the courtyard, the closure of the church building, cessation of services and the stopping of the concerts and events programme. St James's has a dedicated and close-knit staff team. We have had to furlough, cut hours, change contracts and limit work for all our staff, who are facing a very uncertain future, as are many of you, at the moment. Read message from the Rector and Churchwardens here
Click 'read more' to see the St James's Newsletter of 7 April 2020
Death Cafés for St James’s Church Piccadilly
Come join us, over (virtual) coffee and cake, to chat about death.
Death Café is an international movement that offers safe places for people to explore their thoughts about death, and to discuss them with others. For the St James’s community, we will hold a series of facilitated, small group discussions using the online platform Zoom.
On the advice of the Archbishops we have suspended all public worship for the forseeable future. This means there won't be any Communion services or other services on Sundays or during the week. Prayers will still be said by the clergy and vergers each day in church, but no public services will be held. We shall shortly update this, with additional news about other events that take place at St James's.
Lucy Winkett Rector
This is your opportunity to get involved in helping to shape the future of St James's
This year’s Annual Meeting of Parishioners and Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) will take place on Sunday 19 April commencing at 1.30pm. Follow Read More
We have dates for the ordination of two former members of our community and our new Curate
The PCC invites you to join the discussion on
all things St James’s in a World Café format with a simple lunch, lively conversation, and prayerful consideration of our future.
What is an ‘inclusive church’? How can we be more ‘adventurous’? How can we prepare well for the redevelopment project? Do we have our priorities right as a church? What about Planned Giving?
Join the discussion and have your say . . .
This is just one of hundreds of comments made as part of the PCC's survey of our community, friends and contacts. Thank you to everyone who responded. See the report, here
We are saddened to hear of the death of Margarita, who has been associated with St James's over many years. She previously served as a member of the PCC and as Treasurer. We send our condolences to her family.
May she rest in peace and rise in glory.
The funeral took place at St James's on Saturday 15 February 2020
Introduction For 8 years, St James’s Church has developed and run the ‘Camino course’, a 12 week course meeting fortnightly on a Wednesday evening from Advent (December) to Ascension (May). Named after the Camino pilgrimage route in Spain, Camino (meaning ‘pathway’) is a chance for up to 25 people at a time to get to know each other, learn, discuss, pray, and explore their faith in an open and inclusive spirit.
Because of demand, it has not been possible for participants to repeat the course and the desire has been expressed for more opportunities to travel together through life’s adventures and challenges as a congregation and community.
Camino Companions We invite anyone who would like to, to develop with us a longer term companionship, travelling with Christ and walking with each other. Centred around silence and a simple celebration of the Eucharist, followed by a chance to talk, becoming a companion along the Way for each other will give us a chance to deepen existing friendships and make new ones. The word ‘companion’ means ‘one we break bread with’, giving expression to the prayer we say every Sunday ‘we are all one body because we all share in one bread’ (Click 'Read More')
John, who is to join the clergy team as St James's as Associate Rector, writes: "At the start of Advent 2012, I first joined the congregation at St James's. I was a human rights lawyer and university lecturer, fresh from six months in Alcoholics Anonymous, which had triggered a massive Christian conversion. I arrived bewildered by what was happening to me, awkward and self-conscious, and kept bursting into tears whenever the Eucharist was being celebrated. And St James's welcomed me with open arms. I started confirmation preparation, which was fantastic, but I had a nagging sense there was something more. Within a couple of months I went to Lucy and blurted out 'I think I'm meant to become a priest!' Instead of laughing and telling me it would wear off (as I imagined she would), she wanted to know more about the story of my life and what I knew of God and we began ordination discernment. Since then I've spent a year as a parish assistant in Manchester; three years living with the monks in Mirfield, West Yorkshire; and three years serving as a curate in Chelsea. It's a glorious surprise to be coming back to St James's as a priest and I look forward to meeting old friends and making new ones. As I began training, important people told me that St James's Piccadilly wasn't very 'representative' of the Church of England. Seven years later, I can confidently affirm they are entirely correct! But I wish it wasn't like that so I am coming back to immerse myself in St James's and its people and learn all about the hidden wiring and secret ingredients in the hope I might carry some of that forward into whatever God has in store for me next."