Letter from the Minister

Hello to everyone!

No weddings at the church in 2020, but something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue, for the final newsletter of this strange year, in which my Christmas gift to Camden Registrar Office will be four yellow declarations of quarterly ‘nil returns’.

Beginning with the blues, as might be expected, there is no shortage of sad news in the church this Advent. Just this week I’ve heard from Jean. Jean is a local guitarist who has played at the church on several occasions. He is also my first personal contact suffering from ‘long covid’, as far as I know. What I learnt from Jean brought home to me again how terribly serious a disease we are all up against. On a similarly blue note, several people from the congregation have been made redundant as a result of the pandemic, and quite a few self-employed members have seen regular work dry up entirely. I’m sure our prayers are all with Jean, with everyone suffering from and bereaved by Covid-19, and with all those seeking new work and unsure about the future.

They say that Luther was once asked what he would do today, if somehow he found out that the world would come to an end tomorrow, and apparently he replied that he would plant a tree. That approach to planning cheers me up, and seems eminently sensible at a time like this, when so many plans are made in vain. So in the spirit of Luther’s sapling, I’ll share a few things we hope to do as part of Heath Street’s ministry, even if it’s distinctly possible that some or all of them may end up being cancelled (and will perhaps already have been cancelled by the time this newsletter reaches you!)

‘Something old’ is another reprise of our by-now traditional advent storytelling series, scheduled for 7.30pm on the first three Fridays of Advent. These sessions will probably be recorded; hopefully they’ll be filmed; and just possibly they’ll be live-streamed. But the plan is for them to happen in good old reality too, albeit socially-distanced and appropriately disinfected. I would encourage everyone in the local area to come to all of them! It’s tempting to say that not every church has the luxury of having its own storyteller, but actually that would be misleading. The art of the storyteller is no luxury for a Christian congregation. Telling stories is at the core of the worship and service of our storytelling Messiah. So this is a great chance to prepare ourselves once again for the coming of the Christ-child. Let’s not neglect it, but let’s allow ourselves to be led once more deep into the mysterious world of holy scripture as we sit at Wilf’s feet (chairs also available).

‘Something new’ for 2021 is a year-long series of theology lectures which I am in the process of collating. My idea is to make a curated selection of modern scholarship, so that if anyone were mad enough to watch all 53, she would get to 2022 with a reasonable grasp of some of the live conversations in contemporary theological thinking. The plan is to meet via Zoom every Friday night, where I’ll first present a brief resumé of the lecture before my fellow zoomees discuss how cogent, convincing and/or comprehensible they found the week’s offering.

When I started this letter I wasn’t sure where I was going with the ‘borrowed’! However, I’ve been preaching long enough not to let that stop me, so I’ll sign off with something – or rather someone – who is both new and borrowed, the newest-born child of our shared congregational life, Ayla Rose.

I say borrowed, because all our lives and moments still belong to the generous God who has loved us and all creation into existence. All of us still belong to God, even though we are so often forgetful of God’s awesome generosity, taking one another’s company for granted as if we enjoyed all the rights of ownership. How fragile a hold we have on life is something we’ve all been joyfully but painfully aware of with respect to Ayla Rose. As regulars will know she was born very prematurely, and mum Parisa and dad Behrang have been with her in hospital for some weeks now. Our prayers have been with them and remain with them. The hope is that mum and dad will be able to take Ayla Rose home for Christmas, and that grand-mum Zholiet will be able to hold her for the first time.

In prayer and with love,




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