Good news about our gutters

A broken downcomer at church

A broken downcomer at church

Over the years we’ve suffered at St Chrysostom’s from water ingress in different parts of the church. This has partly been due to design faults, but more significantly to inadequate guttering and downcomers causing water to flow onto walls, and resulting in damp. We’ve addressed issues as best we can when they have arisen, with our limited means.

Recently the government announced a grant stream to help listed places of worship with roof problems. We decided to apply.

Our churchwardens in front of scaffolding set up to help look at damp problems.

Our churchwardens in front of scaffolding looking at damp problems.

Applications had to be in quickly and so Desmond, one of our churchwardens and Edward, our treasurer got to work and gathered paperwork and put together an application.

On Thursday we were delighted to learn that we were successful in our application and that we have been awarded £85,800 to go towards renewing guttering etc (it’s expensive work).

This is wonderful news, not only in helping us bee water tight as a church but also because it helps us get on with other work about the church building, and encourages in our work for St Chrysostom’s future.

Church members were delighted to hear the news and after Mass on Sunday Fr Ian thanked Desmond and Edward for their diligence and hard work, without which we would have not got the grant.

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Eleventh Station – Jesus nailed to the cross for us

Jesus Nailed to the Cross for us

We adore you O Christ and we bless you
Because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world

“When they came to the place that is called “The Skull” they crucified Jesus there, with the criminals, one on his right hand and one on his left. Then Jesus said “Father forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

Of course they knew what they were doing- they were hammering nails into living flesh. But they did not know and could not know  in their own flesh the level of pain, the body’s reaction to it all.

Jesus we thank you for those words of forgiveness. When we need to forgive give us grace to remember no-one else can know how much, and in what way, we are hurt and so help and teach us how to forgive, and how to accept your forgiveness.

(Our reflections and prayers for the Stations of the Cross this year have been written for us by Sister Jean Mary CHN)

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Tenth Station – Jesus stripped of his garments

Jesus Stripped of His Garments

We adore you O Christ and we bless you
Because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world

“They divided my clothing among them and for my garments they cast lots.”

Playing dice for Jesus’ clothes was a game, a diversion for the soldiers  – they were doing their job. Before the crowd he was stripped of any remnant of dignity – and yet the thief, the centurion, and those who loved him, and perhaps those who had heard him and respected him saw within his true, innate dignity as son of the Father.

We pray Lord, that we too will learn to see you, and recognise you in the midst of squalor, and poverty knowing that you dwell among and within all those in need.

(Our reflections and prayers for the Stations of the Cross this year have been written for us by Sister Jean Mary CHN)

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Ninth Station – Jesus falls for the third time

Jesus Falls for the Third Time

We adore you O Christ and we bless you
Because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world

“He was despised and rejected by others, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, as one from whom others hide their faces; he was despised and we held him of now account”

Is this really the teacher they all flocked to hear ?  Now despised, mocked and beaten.  Why should he struggle to get up and go on, why not die there in the street ?  Except that Rome demands it –  the victim must be crucified alive.  And this also the Father’s will, the cup must be drained to the dregs.?

Jesus we pray for the grace, strength and love to be faithful to the end.

(Our reflections and prayers for the Stations of the Cross this year have been written for us by Sister Jean Mary CHN)

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Eighth Station – Jesus speaks to the weeping women

Jesus Speaks to the Weeping Women

We adore you O Christ and we bless you
Because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world

“A great number of people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing to him,but Jesus turned to them and said “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me but weep for yourselves and for your children”

The women weep for Jesus as though they are totally immune from pain, and his fate is unrelated to theirs  He reminds them  his fate is also theirs – that all in Jerusalem will suffer.

Remind us Lord that our sin was and is the cause of your pain, at the time of your passion, and today when you suffer in and with your children. With your grace may we recognise you and minister to all whom we meet in need or in distress

(Our reflections and prayers for the Stations of the Cross this year have been written for us by Sister Jean Mary CHN)

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Seventh Station – Jesus falls again under the cross

Jesus Falls Again under the Cross

We adore you O Christ and we bless you
Because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world

“Yet we accounted him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted.”

How fickle is the mood of the crowd.  Once they swarmed from all of Judea and Galilee to be near him, to listen, to experience his compassion and concern and to be encouraged by his words. Now they jeer as he falls again, totally exhausted.  Yet he will get up., and go on seemingly alone.

Jesus, forgive us when we follow the crowd, afraid to stand out, or challenge. Forgive us too when we fall, frequently into sin, let us know your forgiveness, and your grace that we may be more faithful.

(Our reflections and prayers for the Stations of the Cross this year have been written for us by Sister Jean Mary CHN)

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Mary’s YES: A painting, and a poem

Tanner

for March 25th Feast of the Annunciation

How do you picture in your mind Gabriel’s visit to Mary?

Several members of St Chrysostom’s Church have said how much they appreciate the African American artist Henry Ossawa Tanner’s painting of the Annunciation (1898). Tanner visited the Holy Land and influenced by what he saw, he created this unconventional painting of the messenger of God  announcing to Mary that she will be the mother of the Son of God. Our Lady is depicted as an adolescent dressed in crumpled Middle Eastern peasant clothing. Gabriel appears only as a shaft of light. (The Philadelphia Museum of Art has this painting in its collection and has prepared a good study guide, intended for young people, but suitable for all here. )

Poets have depicted the Annunciation in many ways too. The English born American poet Denise Levertov’s Annunciation is a moving reflection on Mary’s ‘Yes’ to God. The poem (which can be read in full here) concludes with the striking words:

She did not cry, ‘I cannot. I am not worthy,’

Nor, ‘I have not the strength.’

She did not submit with gritted teeth,  raging, coerced.

Bravest of all humans,  consent illumined her.

The room filled with its light,

the lily glowed in it,  and the iridescent wings.

Consent,  courage unparalleled,

opened her utterly.

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