A Meditation for Holy Week

Another week has passed in these weird days of lockdown orders, of queuing patiently to get into the shops that are still open – and the distance of 2 metres now embedded for ever into our spatial awareness. The more frequent texts and calls, funny online videos often offer some amusement on what can feel like long and challenging days, and I am grateful about that.

I am also thankful for the sunshine that has appeared at the end of the week, particularly today, Palm Sunday- wearing my first T-shirt of the year! – for the birdsong I can hear outside of my flat in the early hours, and for the daily updates from the government; Professor Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical  Officer for England offers much sought after and welcome guidance and reassurance. These days are a convoluted mixture of anguish and cheer, of bizarreness and routine, of faith and doubt. 

We have now entered into Holy Week, when all our typical feelings are naturally heightened. As we travel from Palm Sunday to Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, then finally to Easter, we will all do so at home, detached from one other, not able to physically gather as a congregation in Crown Court Church. Philip, our minister is video recording Holy Week meditations in the manse, which will be a blessing to us all.

Holy Week 2020 will completely dissimilar to any we have known before. And yet the candour, brevity and the starkness of it this year, just might grant us entry to the mystery of God’s story even more than is customary. Without the celebratory nature of public worship in the beauty of Crown Court, with inspiring music from the organ and choir, floral beauty and live fellowship in the sanctuary and the hall, we will be left only with the dramatic story—the story of love, betrayal, suffering, death, and love again.

We are all feeling like displaced people, set down in a strange, alien place.  As I write this (Palm Sunday morning) I am feeling lost. Not only am I not where I really want to be, in Crown Court church, in any church. (Catholic, Protestant, Anglican- I am not fussy today!)

For a Minister, Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter is special. Not just lots of things to do, extra services to plan, sermons to write- emotionally, spiritually, for the minister and his/her congregation, it is the beating heart of the matter.  

And so Palm Sunday and Holy Week have always been  “deep” days – from waving palm branches as we sing, “All glory, laud and honour, to thee Redeemer, King, to whom the lips of children, made sweet hosannas ring,” right through the week that ends in silence as we remember, and relive, his death on the cross.  

I know there is so much worry overshadowing these days. Worry has a shrill voice in our minds and hearts right now. But let us not find ourselves out of touch with the promise that not only does our God of mercy have the whole Creation in His hands, loving and caring for it all, but God also stands with us in this time of pandemic, determined to loosen the tight grip, even stranglehold of worry, promising not to let us go, until all tears are assuredly wiped away and we are together again.

I hope we are all able to observe this Holy Week with an open heart and an open mind, prepared to tune in to what God might have to say to us all in these difficult times. I am reminded that the risen Christ went into locked rooms, where fearful disciples were gathered and isolated. In the faithfulness of God, I believe Jesus Christ will do the same for us today.

Rev Forbes Walker, member, Crown Court Church of Scotland

revrfw@gmail.com

Easter at Crown Court

Although we can’t hold our regular Easter services in the church, we will still be celebrating Easter online with

  • an evening reflection on Maundy Thursday, 9 April at 7:00 pm
  • a Good Friday reflection on Friday 10 April at 11:15 am
  • Easter readings and a reflection on Easter Sunday, 12 April at 11:15 am.

You can find all of these on our Services page here, on our Facebook page or on our YouTube channel.

Online spiritual resources

The Church of Scotland will be providing a recorded service every Sunday via the Church of Scotland website and social media platforms.

 The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Right Reverend Colin Sinclair, has prepared a brief act of worship, and this will be available on the Church’s website, and on social media, from the morning of Sunday 22 March 2020. He will also deliver a live daily reflection on Facebook beginning on the morning of Monday 23 March, at 10 am (here).

In addition the Church of Scotland has provided a dedicated listing  of churches that regularly live stream services or offer them as downloadable recordings on their Kirk Services online page.

Scotland’s Church Leaders have joined with others in the United Kingdom in calling for a National Day of Prayer, and inviting people to join together at 7 pm on Sunday 22 March to say a common prayer together; this prayer can be found here.

 

Funeral of Margaret Rees – 13 March 2020

The funeral of Margaret Rees, who died on 12 February, will be held at Crown Court Church at 10:30 am on Friday 13 March followed by refreshments in the church hall between 11:30 am and 12:30 pm.

A short committal service will be held at the West Chapel, Eltham Crematorium, Crown Wood Way, London SE9 2AZ at 2:30 pm on the same day. If you are using a satnav system to guide you, please use postcode SE9 2NL which will bring you to the entrance of the crematorium.

All who knew Margaret are warmly invited to either or both parts of the service.

Family flowers only please.  Donations can be made to Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice.

You are welcome to wear black; however, in memory of Margaret’s love of life, the family will be wearing brighter colours.

New Session Clerk

Members will be aware of the death of our Session Clerk, Peter Esslemont, last year.

The Session has invited the current Deputy Session Clerk, Elspeth Gordon, to take over the role of Session Clerk with effect from 27 February and she has accepted this invitation. We wish Elspeth every success in her new role, and look forward very much to working with her.

Derek Steel has agreed to take over the role of Deputy Session Clerk and we look forward to working with him also.

Tercentenary Gala Organ Recital

Poster for teercentenary organ concertTo complete our cycle of Tercentenary events, we will be holding a gala organ concert at 6:30 pm on Saturday 29 February 2020. The concert will celebrate the full operating capability of our refurbished organ and mark the part that music has played in our Tercentenary celebrations.

The organists will be Sean Heath our new organist; Dr Geoffrey Higgins our
previous organist and Tom Allery, Director of Music at St Mary-le-Bow Church, Cheapside, who has frequently played for us at Crown Court. 

Admission is free and there will be a retiring collection in support of Centrepoint at Bruce House.

Annual Business Meeting of the congregation – Sunday 29 March 2020

The agenda and reports for this meeting will be sent to
members of the congregation a week prior to the meeting.
Committee Conveners and Secretaries of church
organisations are therefore asked to submit their reports by
Sunday 15 March at the latest.

This is an important meeting in the life of the church, as it
provides information on how the church is being run and
provides an opportunity for members to ask questions of
office bearers on matters of interest to them. So please do
try to get to the meeting if you possibly can.

Lynda Soltysiak

A service to celebrate the life of Lynda Soltysiak who died on 30 December 2019 will be held in the church at 2:30 pm on Thursday 30 January. All who knew Lynda are warmly invited to attend.

If you would like to donate to a charity in memory of Lynda, there are links to donate to Breast Cancer UK and to St Mungo’s via her obituary.

AGM of Churches Together in Westminster

This year’s AGM of Churches Together in Westminster will
take place at Hinde Street Methodist Church, Hinde Street
W1U 3QJ on Monday 20 January at 6:30 pm. All are welcome.

Following the AGM there will be a talk by Kevin Hyland OBE,
former UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner on the
subject of “MODERN SLAVERY and HUMAN TRAFFICKING”.

It is hoped to have displays and information from various
organisations working in this field which will give everyone
the opportunity to find out further about the work that is
being done. Before this from 6.30 to 7 pm, reports on CTiW
activities during 2019 will be presented.