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Sunday 19th November 2017 11:00
Sung Eucharist for the Second Sunday before Advent with parallel Children's Ministry followed by Coffee Hour
Celebrant and Preacher: Rev'd Nathanial

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16th September 2011

Dear People & Friends of St. Clements,

This week’s message comes in three parts

  • Details of what is happening this Sunday & in the coming week.
  • A note about things slightly further ahead including details of what is happening whilst I’m not here for over two & a half weeks.
  • A note about issues in relation to hymns & music.

The week ahead at St. Clement’s

Sunday 18th September at 11.00 – Family Eucharist celebrating Harvest Festival

This coming Sunday, we are going to celebrate that, in the words of the well known harvest hymn, “All good gifts around us, are sent from heaven above” and give thanks to God for his goodness. As I remarked last week, as we don’t own our Church building, we unfortunately cannot decorate it in advance of the service as would be the case in the UK & elsewhere in the world. But I invite you to come to Church with a gift of fruit or vegetables, either fresh or tinned/packaged, that can be brought forward & laid in front of the altar as part of our worship. There will be no separate Children’s Ministry this Sunday as I plan to involve them within our worship & the service ought to be a little shorter than normal!

Your Church Council have agreed that all the donated produce will be given to the Salvation Army to support their work with the homeless & poor in Prague. Major Ruth Stannett, the deputy national leader of the Salvation Army in the Czech Republic, has assured me they can use all your gifts at a couple of their centres within the city. I will probably need some practical help to load everything into my car after the service so I can deliver it later on Sunday or first thing on Monday morning.

Our worship will be followed by a Church Family Picnic in the park on Lannova, between the Church and the Vltava River. Many people said after our previous picnic at the same venue on Sunday 26th June, that “we should do it again before the end of the summer” – so we are!!!!

Please bring picnic food that can be shared, enough for you (singular or plural!) + a bit extra so we can invite people on the day who haven’t brought anything with them. Back in June, a number of visitors to Church stayed on for the picnic and we were able to feed them. As previously, we’ll make sure that there are paper plates, plastic cutlery & serviettes. The park itself has numerous tables & benches that we can use. Again as last time, there will be entertainment for the children.

I am aware that currently, the Weather Forecast for Sunday is not good. Therefore if weather conditions are not suitable, we will adjourn to the hall on the third floor of Klimentská 18 and have an indoor picnic instead!

As well as planning to come yourselves, think about who you could invite to come too – both to the Harvest Festival Service & to the picnic.

Tuesday 20th September 6.30-8.00pm in the small meeting room on the first floor of Klimentská 18

This coming Tuesday, I’m very pleased to be able to announce that Katarina Repkova, a Slovak member of our congregation, is going to speak to us about her experience of growing up under the Communist regime that ruled Czechoslovakia during the early part of her life & what is was like to be a practicing Christian then. Then, in her teenage years, what it was like living through both the Velvet Revolution & the Velvet Divorce. As usual, there will be light refreshments and the opportunity to discuss the issues raised and to ask questions. I’m most grateful to Katerina for agreeing to be our speaker at relatively short notice as the visiting academic who I’d invited to speak, is not available.

Thursday 22nd September 7.00 – 8.30pm – venue tba.

Reliable or Rubbish: What is the Point of the Bible? The third session of our course on the basics of Christianity – The Relevance of Faith in a Modern World

The pattern of the evening is Food – Talk – Discussion. As food is being provided, it is very helpful to let David Hellam david(at)hellam(dot)net or Tel. 722 223 097 know you are planning to come.

Please note – We have run into problems regarding a venue as, from this coming week, the hall on the third floor & the small meeting room on the first floor of Klimentská 18 are both in use on Thursday evenings. New venue is: Namesti Interbrigady 949/3, Prague 6 – the home of David & Alison Hellam. Take Tram 8 to Zelena & phone David if you cannot find it!

Looking a little further ahead……

From Thursday 22nd – Sunday 25th September, I will be in Bucharest, along with Jack Noonan, attending the annual Eastern Archdeaconry Synod. This brings together the clergy and elected lay representatives from the Anglican Chaplaincies that are scattered across the Eastern Archdeaconry of the Diocese in Europe. Our Archdeaconry stretches from Poland, the Czech Republic & Austria eastwards including all the former Soviet Union (except the Baltic States), all the former Yugoslavia, Greece & Turkey.

Following the Synod meeting, I am taking the remaining two weeks of my Annual Leave and will be back on duty on Wednesday 12th October.

Whilst I am away at the Synod and then on holiday, your Locum Chaplain will be my former colleague from the UK, Rev’d Kathy Ferguson. From the evening of Thursday 22nd September when she arrives, until the morning of Monday 10th October when she flies back, Kathy will be living at the Chaplaincy Flat. She will be the Celebrant & Preacher on the three Sundays, 25th September, 2nd October & 9th October.

All of you who were worshipping at St. Clements a year ago will remember Kathy as she came as Locum Chaplain for two weeks in October 2010. Kathy was my part-time Assistant Priest for three years whilst I was Rector of the Shelswell Group of Parishes in North Oxfordshire. During that time, she had the distinction of conducting the wedding of Sybille & myself. Our wedding anniversary actually falls during the time we are away on 1st October. She now lives in ‘active retirement’ in Mid-Wales.

As well as conducting Sunday worship, Kathy will be leading two sessions entitled Ways into Prayer on the evenings of Tuesday 27th September & Tuesday 4th October. As well as talk and discussion, these two evenings will include actual practical praying/meditation, putting into practice what has been talked about and discussed beforehand. Back in May/June, when I asked for subjects that people would like tackled during the Autumn, Prayer was suggested by a number of people. Kathy has promised to write a couple of paragraphs explaining in more detail what she hopes to cover during these two sessions, which will go out in my Weekly Message next week, just before I depart for Bucharest!

A note about Music & Hymns

Music and singing are an important part of our worship. Many of you have told me that the quality of our music, particularly the organ playing of Professor Michal Novenko, is one of the reasons you enjoy worshipping at St. Clement’s.

The hymn book that we currently use, was adopted in 2001, soon after the arrival of my predecessor as Chaplain, John Philpott. It contains a very wide range of both traditional hymns and more modern hymns/worship songs. In my choice of what we sing each Sunday, I try to keep balance between both, as well as making sure what we sing ties in with theme of the set Biblical Readings for that Sunday. I have also tried to widen a little, the repertoire of hymns and songs that we now sing in comparison to a few years ago.

However, one thing that I am very aware of is that, with a congregation that comes from such a wide variety of backgrounds, some of you will not know or have sung previously, some of the hymns we sing. And even if you do know a certain hymn, you are used to singing it to a totally different tune! In particular, Americans seem to sing the same hymn to a totally different tune to that familiar with British people. And our hymn book is of British origin & therefore tends to set hymns to the tunes they are most commonly sung to in the UK.

Marshall Johnson raised this issue with me & has lent me his music copy of ‘The Hymnal’ of the Episcopal Church of the USA with a list of hymns. I’ve now tried a couple of times, to use a hymn on Marshall’s list & ensuring that the tune we sing it to is also the one it is set to in ‘The Hymnal’.

Last Sunday, we sang ‘Just as I am, without one plea’. Instead of singing it to the tune Misericordia as we’ve done previously, (the first tune in our hymn book), we sang it to the tune Saffron Walden, (the second tune in our hymn book) but also, the first tune to which the hymn is set in Marshall’s American hymnal. But afterwards I was told by two other Americans, that they didn’t know that tune either!

Therefore, this note is to say that I am aware of the issue and I am trying to be as inclusive as possible. However, I don’t think it is a problem we will ever solve completely. Instead, let worshipping with English-speakers from a whole variety of backgrounds and countries, be a broadening of your horizons and the learning of new hymns & hymn tunes.

And finally……

A big thank you to those of you who have kindly ordered things from Amazon.co.uk using our link . You have already generated a little income for St. Clement’s. Remember to always click the link first & before you start ordering. For more information feel free to contact the webmaster sybille(at)sybilleyates(dot)com or have a look here

Best wishes