Magazine November 2021

St Mary’s Parish Magazine | NOV 2021 £ 1
is published monthly by the Parish Communications Committee.
Please put your £1 contribution for the magazine in the box provided.
This will help us to defray the cost of printing. Thank you!
Mary Bennett, Sue Bingham, Judith Rice Nickson, John Sabido & Ali Smith
Judith Rice Nickson
Contributions for the next issues should be emailed to:
BEFORE Monday 6th December 2021
The views expressed in the articles in this magazine
are the personal opinions of the authors only.
“an excellent parish magazine”
Bishop’s Visitation Report 2017
Susan Bingham
In the next instalment of our occasional series,
Theresa Freeburn recalls the impact of the pandemic on
her work as a primary school music teacher.
One week before the first lockdown in March 2020, there was
a real sense that everything was going to change. I remember
one Year 3 boy, just 8 years old, coming up to me and
saying:”Does this mean that I’m not going to learn anything
else on the recorder?”. A Year 6 child asked me “Are we still
going to be able to do our Year 6 show?”. My only answer was
“I don’t know”.
Though several friends were saying that the lockdown would
be just for a few weeks, I was frightened and thought it would
be for a long time. We had been going to do a concert the
following week, but instead we brought it forward and
performed it to the children on the last afternoon of school,
even though by that stage many were already not coming in.
When the children left after the concert, I cried.
During that first lockdown, schools were still open for kids who
were vulnerable and for children of key workers: so children
from several schools were being brought together in one
school in mixed year groups. I was going in once a fortnight to
assist in the general provision of online lessons: certainly when
it came to online maths I was really glad that there was always
another teacher to take the lead.
At the same time, I was being asked to provide remote
content. My headteacher said “I want you to provide three
singing assemblies a week [for younger children; for Years 1-2;
and Years 3-6]”. I had been that person at work who was
hopeless with technology and asked my son, Sebastian “What
can I do?” He said: ”Well, the first thing you’re going to do is to
buy a new Macbook”. He taught me how to film myself and
how to use iMovie and edit. In the first films I made I had no
idea how to put them together, but by the third or fourth week
I was doing some serious editing and overlaying soundtracks.
The very first task was to arrange remote teaching of the
school’s instrumental lessons, and to make sure all the
instrumental teachers had got to grips with online teaching.
Perhaps surprisingly, some children made more progress
through remote lessons than they had done through in-person
classes. I think it was because the children really appreciated
live 1-1 contact with an adult outside the family, but mostly
because the children practised more, as there was simply
nothing else to do.
At the end of the first lockdown, I put together the first of two
whole school multi-screen lockdown music videos. I invited all
the children to participate and children sent me videos of
themselves singing or playing a song called “Amani Utupe”
which is the Swahili phrase meaning “Grant us peace, give us
courage”. Well over 100 took part.
In the second lockdown, I continued with the singing
assemblies, but this time I also delivered weekly live lessons to
every year group. Out of a group of 60 children, I could see 16
faces on screen but wasn’t sure how involved the other 40
plus were. I tried to involve many more students by asking
them questions but there was an element of teaching into a
void: it’s weird not seeing how the whole room is reacting,
Even though we are back in the classroom now, there are
undoubtedly some longer-term changes. For a start,
I discovered some amazing online resources that I have
continued to use – such as a US elementary teacher who has
playlists for different musical activities. Also, I will still film big
school events like the Year 6 summer production and Christmas
concerts and Nativities, so that relatives who perhaps live miles
away or in another country can enjoy them too: it’s really not
that difficult to do.
There has definitely been a bit of a hit on singing, as there
were all those months when we just weren’t allowed to sing.
I’m putting a lot of emphasis on singing at the moment to make
up for lost time, but I hope that by Christmas the children will
sound as good as they used to. And the other immediate
effect on my work? Well, that will be wearing lots of layers in
the classroom, so we can have windows open and help to
defeat the virus that way.
All parishes have been asked to take part in the
consultation ahead of the synod in Rome in October 2022.
Monsignor invited Colm Lanigan and Una Palmer to
help organise the parish response on three themes:
Communion, Mission and Participation.
The work was carried out to meet the original deadline of 18
November, with various ways for parishioners to respond to
questions on these themes. Each topic was broken down into
three areas: our own parish; the local area; the universal
Church. Though the deadline has now been extended into
January, the substantive work has been completed, and the
below is a summary of what St Mary’s submission to the
diocese looks like.
1 Communion
1.1 Parish life
The parish is fortunate in having some excellent facilities,
including the large garden which is much appreciated. There is a
suggestion that the meditation group, suspended during the
pandemic, should be re-started, and that possibly a prayer
group and Bible reading group might be added also. There was
discussion of groups for young people, both post-confirmation,
and between first Holy Communion and Confirmation. There
could also be better street signage giving directions to the church.
1.2 The local area
London seems to operate as a number of villages, so that
people no longer instinctively look for their nearest church, but
for a local church that suits their own personal wishes and style
of worship. As a result, inter-parish partnership is not always
easy. There was a suggestion that charitable work might be
more locally focused, and the Justice and Peace Group is
reviewing this.
1.3 The universal church
There is a real need to review the position of women in the
Church. Though women already play some leading roles in the
life of the Church, the ultimate decisions are always male-led:
in some cases the life of the parish is shared, but in others the
role of the male priest is dominant.
It was proposed that the question of the ordination of women
to the priesthood should be re-examined as a theological
issue. A change would have implications throughout the world,
including in regions where male and female roles are more
differentiated than they are in, say, Western Europe. These
barriers may well be dismantled in the coming years, and the
Church should help to make this possible.
There is also the whole question of the pyramid structure of
leadership, with scope for many decisions to be made through
consultation. For example, a new priest coming into a parish
should not have the freedom simply to impose his own ideas,
but should act in partnership with the people of the parish and
what has gone before.
Members of the LGBTQ+ community should also be
considered, with pastoral support and consideration for the
possibility of arranging formal blessings for same-gender
partnerships. There is also a need to reconsider how those
who have entered into a second marriage might still be able to
receive Holy Communion.
2 Mission
2.1 Parish life
There is a need to improve catechesis for adults, not least as
the basis for missionary work, and a recognition that greater
knowledge of the Bible is important for all age groups. There is
a proposal to form a Catholic Men’s Group. There is a need to
welcome and encourage newcomers to the parish. There
needs to be further work on how online communication can
foster the mission of the Church within the parish. In recent
years, more than 100 members of the parish have been able to
visit the English Seminary at Valladolid in Spain
2.2 The local area
There is already co-operation with other local churches on
practical social action such as food banks. Members of the
parish also take part in local churches acting together, for
example through the Christmas Eve procession and the Good
Friday procession through Blackheath.
2.3 The universal Church
As before, the role of women in the leadership and the
hierarchy of the Church must be fully considered. To many
people, leadership at the Vatican seems remote, and better
communication on a broader Catholic level would be welcome.
When it comes to potential converts, personal witness is more
effective than confrontation.
3 Participation
3.1 Parish life
St Mary’s is already seeking to be inclusive in what it offers
parishioners, for example through facilities for children, and
post-Mass coffee mornings. Beyond ideas mentioned earlier in
this summary, proposals include a summer fete, regular social
events, and better sharing of information about what is
happening in the parish and the diocese.
3.2 The local area
Arrange visits of individual parishes to the Cathedral to share in
a Mass once a year.
3.3 The universal Church
A spirit of welcome by priests in all parishes – making sure
there is not an over-zealous application of rules – so that all
groups are made welcome and none is marginalised. This
would include, for example, those in second marriages and
those in same-sex relationships. As before, the role of women
in the Church is most important, and the ordination of women
should be considered.
My last brush with formal religious education was at the
age of 13, so I was intrigued when my wife, Margaret,
suggested that we register for the Bible Timeline Course,
writes Stephen Lear.
I have always found the 73 books of the Bible somewhat long
and daunting to follow and this course provided an opportunity
to gain a clearer understanding of how the various sections fit
together to form a coherent whole.
One of the insights of the course is that the Bible consists of a
narrative comprising 12 chronological periods from Adam and
Eve to Jesus Christ and covering the Old and New Testaments.
These periods are colour-coded on a timeline chart which, alas
does not translate well to a B&W page! The timeline begins with
the Early World, the Patriarchs, Exodus and Desert Wanderings,
and continues through to Messianic Fulfilment and the Church.
This narrative describes how over time the problem of Man’s fall
from grace in the Garden of Eden is solved by Jesus dying on
the cross to save mankind – in short, the salvation story
showing God’s awesome love for Mankind.
Another theme is the evolution of God’s family plan traced
through a series of covenants, beginning with One Holy Couple
(Adam & Eve, Genesis1-3), then One Holy Family (Noah,
Genesis 9), One Holy Tribe (Abraham, Genesis 15), One Holy
Nation (Moses, Exodus 24), One Holy Kingdom (David, 2
Samuel 7) and finally One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church
(Jesus, Luke 22). The course also traces the genealogy of
Jesus – starting with Adam, Seth, Noah, Shem, Abraham and
Isaac through to Zedekiah, Zerubbabel and Joseph and Mary.
It provides the historical and political background to the Bible –
for example, by showing the reigning world power for each time
period – Egypt (Early World to Royal Kingdom, 3000-1000 BC),
Assyria (Divided Kingdom, 930-722 BC), Babylon (Exile, 722-538
BC) through to Greece (Return, 483-166 BC) and Rome
(Maccabean Revolt, Messianic Fulfilment and the Church, 167
BC to AD 68 onwards). It also matches books in the Bible with
secular events in history – for example, Israel’s darkest period
(Divided Kingdom, 930-722 BC) coincides with the first Olympic
Games (776 BC) and the founding of Rome (753 BC). The
timeline chart also geographically represents where Bible events
occurred ranging from the Land of Canaan (Nehemiah rebuilds
Jerusalem’s Walls) to the South & Egypt (Slavery in Egypt) and
Northern Countries (Babylonian Captivity).
Interspersed between the 14 narrative books of the Bible are
59 supplemental books which deal with other topics and are
placed in their historical context on the Bible Timeline – for
example, poetry (Song of Songs), prayers (Psalms), laws
(Leviticus), Proverbs and the Wisdom of Solomon. These
culminate in the Book of Revelation which was written in the
early years of the Church.
The course is run by Catholic speaker, Mauro Iannicelli,
through eight weekly live-streamed talks, based on Jeff Cavins’
worldwide-famous Bible Study. Additional materials which are
available include a colour timeline chart, study questions and
recommended reading. Mauro delivers this interactive course
with humour, a lightness of touch and most importantly great
enthusiasm. It may be taken by an individual, a group of “study
buddies” or at a parish level and is free of charge. It has
allowed us to “grasp the big picture of the Bible from start to
finish” and given us the confidence to navigate its various
sections and how they fit together, including how the Old
Testament pre-figures the New. We would recommend this
course to fellow parishioners who are looking to deepen their
Christian knowledge and faith. Although the course is currently
nearing completion, it is likely to be offered again in the near
future. In the meantime, Mauro will shortly be running an online
Advent course for those who wish to gain a better
understanding of the events and gospels leading up to Christ’s
birth. Don’t forget to register at .

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