Tag Archives: highlights

Faith and Climate Change

In our day to day life we are keenly aware of the damage we are causing to our planet by climate change. As Christians, we should be asking how issues relating to the topics of climate change and climate justice link to our faith. Churches in the deanery are responding in many different ways.

Climate Sunday

The Climate Sunday initiative is calling on all local churches across the UK to hold a climate-focused service on any Sunday before COP26 (November 2021). 

During their local Climate Sunday, churches are invited to do one or more of three things:
Worship: Hold a climate-focused service, to explore the theological and scientific basis of creation care and action on climate, to pray, and to commit to action.
Commit: Make a commitment as a local church community to taking long term action to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions.
Speak up: Use your voice to tell politicians that you want a cleaner, greener, fairer future at the heart of plans to rebuild a strong economy. The culmination of the campaign will be a national Climate Sunday event on Sunday 5th September 2021, to share church commitments and pray for bold action and courageous leadership at COP26.

Click here for more details.

St Richard’s, Ham,  and and Holy Trinity, Richmond have both held Climate Sunday services. St Anne’s, Kew and St Mary’s, Barnes are planning to hold services.


Creationtide or the Season of Creation is the period in the annual church calendar, from 1st September to 4th October, dedicated to God as Creator and Sustainer of all life. Christ Church, East Sheen are observing this season in September with special Eucharistic and All-Age liturgies and an alternative cycle of readings around the theme of eco-justice.

Eco Church

Eco-Church is an initiative from the charity A Rocha, which helps churches become green and sustainable. A Rocha’s vision is for churches of all denominations to care for creation as an integral part of loving their neighbours and following God faithfully. This scheme provides a framework for churches to consider what actions they can take in five areas:

  1. worship and teaching
  2. church buildings
  3. church land
  4. our community and global engagement
  5. lifestyle.

Lots of churches in the deanery are working towards their Bronze award or, having already achieved Bronze, are working towards their Silver award.

More information on Eco Church can be found here.

Three useful webinars, hosted by the Church of England Environment programme, are coming up, and open to all:
An introduction and overview of eco church – getting started – Tuesday 22 June, 1:00–2:00 p.m. BOOK HERE
Working towards an award and gaining momentum – Tuesday 29 June, 1:00–2:00 p.m. BOOK HERE
Working towards net zero carbon with Eco Church – Tuesday 6 July, 1:00–2:00 p.m. BOOK HERE

COP26 Relay

This is an initiative from the Young Christian Climate Network, and is a walking/cycle relay from Truro to Glasgow, passing through London and stopping from 4-9 August. Click here for further details. Churches Together in Kew and St Mary’s, Barnes are hoping to be involved in the relay.

COP26 Vigil and Pilgrimage – 23rd October

South Bank Churches invites people of all faiths for a time of prayer for the success of COP26, the international conference on climate change in Glasgow.

You’re encouraged to make a pilgrimage on foot, by bike, by public transport, however you wish, from your place of worship – perhaps in a group – to Southwark Cathedral, arriving between 2 – 3pm. Bring a Letter for Creation to pass on to the faith leaders involved in COP.

There will be interactive prayer stations from 2pm. At 3.20 everyone will come together for a time of prayer and reflection with singer Samantha Lindo and St Leonard’s Eco Church Community, ending with a blessing by the Bishop of Kingston.

To register, click here.

St Mary’s, Barnes, is hoping to take part in the pilgrimage.

Prayer from St Anne’s, Kew

Loving Creator God, we give You thanks for the wonders of Your Creation. We ask for grace to see, as You do, the beauty and the suffering of our Planet Earth, and the grace to examine how our life choices impact on creation and on our fellow human beings throughout the world. Help us to recognise the urgency with which we need to act in relation to climate change. We pray in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

Reflection from Christ Church, East Sheen

What is a green ‘tau’? Tau τ is the Greek letter similar to the English T. Tau itself developed from the Phoenician letter Tāw X (from which the Hebrew letter Tav ת is also derived). In ancient times, tau was used as a symbol meaning eternal life or resurrection. In Hebrew tav means mark and this was the sign marked on the foreheads of those who lamented their sins (Ezekiel 9:4). For early Christians tau became an apt symbol of the cross on which Jesus was crucified.

Francis of Assisi used the tau as his mark when signing his letters and other writings. The tau cross, often made of wood, is worn by many Franciscans across the world. Francis is widely known as the saint who spoke with the birds, and to the hungry wolf in Gubio – he worked out a deal between the wolf and the people of Gubio such that they could live together in harmony. Francis was the author of the canticle ‘Brother Sun, Sister Moon’ – probably the first piece of literature written in Italian. Francis understood that everything in creation had been made by God and was deserving of equal love and respect and should be treated as brother or sister. In 1979 Pope John Paul II declared St Francis as the patron saint of ecologists, reflecting not only Francis’s love for all creatures, but also his intuitive understanding of the interconnectedness of the whole of creation. I therefore chose a green tau to represent my desire to live sustainably, protecting the earth.

Judith Russenberger

Follow Judith’s Green Tau Blog at https://greentau.org/

Holy Trinity, Richmond

Visit the Creation Care page on Holy Trinity’s website to find out what they are doing about Climate Change.

Welcome to New Clergy

St Mary Magdalene, Richmond

Congratulations and welcome to Rev Charlie Smith, who was ordained deacon at Southwark Cathedral on Saturday 26th June. Rev Canon Wilma Roest described the service as “prayerful, beautiful, holy and solemn”. She was welcomed to St Mary Magdalene as their curate on Sunday 27th June.

St Phillip and All Saints and St Luke’s Kew

Congratulations to Rev Dr Melanie Harrington on her Collation and Induction as the new vicar of St Phillip and All Saints with St Luke’s, Kew on Wednesday 23rd June. She was welcomed by both parishes at her first services on Sunday 27th June.

Prayers and Reflections

Today is the Feast Day of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles. There are a number of icons depicting these two saints. In some of them, they are shown side by side, two unrelated figures almost forced to stand in close proximity. In others, these two pillars of the early Church are depicted undertaking a symbolic task in collaboration with each other. And in yet more, the two of them press towards each other, their arms encircling one another in a warm embrace.

I’m not sure how authentic that embrace might be! That’s because Peter and Paul were opponents when it came to the fundamental issue of just how far the Christian ‘Way’ should be fully open to Gentiles. Peter believed that Gentiles would need to observe Jewish practices as a condition of becoming Christian. Paul, on the other hand, believed that the Gospel of Jesus had come to Jews and Gentiles alike, making them equal and united in God’s eyes – an early manifestation of Inclusive Church, perhaps! So the icon with Peter and Paul embracing is not a depiction of how things actually were between the two. Instead, it’s a look at how we think of them now – shown together because both were called by God to build up the Jesus movement that became the Church. They are shown embracing each other because God embraced both of them first, in spite of their differences and weaknesses.

Petertide is one of two points in the Christian calendar when ordinations traditionally take place. The other is Michaelmas, in the autumn. All those who were ordained at the weekend – along with the rest of us – live in a spiritual tradition in which two of its original giants, Peter and Paul, can hardly be regarded as upright role models! Remember the often impetuous Peter’s threefold denial that he knew Jesus at all: that cockcrow must be one of the most haunting sounds in history. Remember, too, Paul’s persecution of Jesus’s followers prior to his Damascus Road conversion. Yet one went on to become the ‘Rock’ on which the Church was built, while the other became the keenest advocate of the Jesus ‘Way’, and Christianity’s most influential missionary.

They, and we, are part of a Church that from its foundation has been in a lively and messy struggle as it attempts to be faithful to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. We all continue to struggle, just as Peter and Paul did, with who we are as the Church. How far do we go in extending this Church today as it engages with the culture of our neighbourhoods, our country, and the culture of our times? How seriously do we take the call to embody and live out the humble life, challenging teaching, costly sacrifice and liberating resurrection of Jesus Christ? And how willing are we to be transformed by our encounter with Jesus, as Peter and Paul were?

As we rejoice with those being ordained this Petertide, it’s a good time to take a fresh look at our own vocation. Although it may not necessarily be to ordained ministry (though it might…), each and every one of us is called. What does it mean for you to respond to Jesus’s invitation, ‘Follow me’?

Rev Neil Summers

Click here to read previous meditations and reflections.

Glassdoor Across the Deanery

MP Sarah Olney Meets with Glassdoor Volunteers – 25th June 2021

Richmond Park and North Kingston MP Sarah Olney visited St John the Divine, Richmond to meet local Glass Door Homeless Charity coordinators and volunteers and to learn more about the 3 churches of Richmond Team Ministry’s support for homeless people.

Thank You from Glass Door – 4 May 2021

It’s been a challenging year for so many of us, but Glass Door has been blessed to continue receiving the generous support of the church communities in the deanery throughout this difficult time. Together, we are making life better for the many individuals we call our guests.

Glass Door Update – 17 March 2021

In the last 4 months, over 6,750 meals have been served at our community dinner service, run in partnership with local churches. These meals have been served by our lovely volunteers.
Thanks to all who have kept this service running during the pandemic!

But it’s not just a case of feeding the hungry. In the last nine months, Glass Door have offered advice and support to over 1,113 people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Click here to read some of the stories.

Glass Door Meal Service at the Vineyard – 19 February 2021

Volunteers from St John the Divine, Richmond helping at the Vineyard Centre.

Glass Door Meal Service Starts – 9 November 2020

Click here to donate to Glass Door. Click here to find out more about the Dinner Service.

Homeless charity Glass Door usually operates a circuit of homeless night shelters in Richmond & Twickenham, including at St John the Divine and St Matthias, Richmond and Christ Church and All Saints, East Sheen. Due to COVID-19 the communal shelters cannot be operated this year so instead, to offer some form of support and respite, a 7-night a week hot food service will operate from the Vineyard Richmond from Monday 9 November until April. Guests will be able to access a hot meal, somewhere to warm up for a few hours and practical support from the Glass Door case workers.

As the night shelter network stopped back in March, we now need help in spreading the word to those who could benefit from the service. If you see someone regularly sleeping rough in your neighbourhood we’d really appreciate it if you could print and share this leaflet to let them know the service is available. Glass Door is an amazing charity and alongside the emergency services like the food services they have a fantastic record of helping people into long term accommodation.

Click here to read more about Glass Door’s plans for the winter 20/21.

Click above picture to find out how to join in this year’s Sleep Out (or In) appeal.

Rev James Hutchings is Sleeping Out in October

Rev James writes:
“Glass Door do brilliant work, I’m so blessed to have a roof over my head, and I’d like others to have the same chance. So, on 2 October 2020, I will be joining Glass Door Homeless Charity’s Sleep Out to bring shelter and support to men and women affected by homelessness.

I’m raising money for Glass Door because I know they are doing good work to support and shelter those in our community who are at an absolute crisis point. Glass Door welcomes everyone as their guest, giving them some stability before helping them make the necessary steps and move off the streets for good.

While running winter night shelter in a shared space may not be possible, Glass Door is committed to finding ways to ensure that individuals in need can find safe shelter, a hot meal and a warm welcome.”

Click here if you would like to sponsor him.

It’s not too late to take part yourself, either sleeping out at Duke of York Square (still allowed with covid regulations) or in your own garden with a virtual livestream to join in with.

Rev James Hutchings from St Mary’s, Barnes spent the night of 2nd October sleeping on the rectory floor instead of the usual gathering in for the Glassdoor annual sleepout in Duke of York Square.  He hoped that even that mild discomfort would sharpen his awareness of of what it must be like to be homeless in London on a night of terrible rain and what it must be to not have a secure place to live.

From Rev Anne Nickson, Richmond Team Ministry – 18th May:

At the beginning of lockdown, as our churches were required to close, we were unable to continue to offer accommodation in our buildings as part of Glass Door’s Winter Night Shelter. Thankfully the government stepped in to work with homeless charities to provide accommodation to protect these most vulnerable people and keep them safe as the crisis deepened. Sadly, this government aided assistance came to an end as lockdown began to ease and as you will be aware the numbers of homeless sleeping rough on our streets is increasing by the day.

This desperate situation will only continue to worsen as we move towards the winter and we obviously are eager to continue to support Glass Door in appropriate ways so that both guests and volunteers stay safe. At the moment – and the situation constantly changes – it seems very unlikely that night shelters as we have offered them in our churches over the last three years will be able to open, but there will be opportunities to support the homeless by working with Glass Door in other ways. Our coordinators are keeping in regular contact with the directors at Glass Door so that when the time is right we can step up and offer the help which is needed.

If you would like to know more about Glass Door then please see their website at www.glassdoor.org.uk

GlassDoor is starting to plan night shelters for the 2020-2021 season – they may not be operating rotating shelters as usual in the Borough of Richmond upon Thames, but are working hard to think about alternatives.

At our January synod meeting we agreed to give £2,000 to Glass Door to support the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons of their work in Richmond churches and their letter of thanks is below.

Update From Glassdoor – 23rd March

Shelter guests now all moved to hotels! (Apart from a few guests in the Kensington and Chelsea circuit) Glass Door shelters shut so all guests and volunteers can safely go into self-isolation.

Update From the Vineyard Community Centre – 23rd March

We are pleased to say that the government’s initiative to temporarily home rough sleepers in hotels has been initiated in Richmond and that the higher health risk of the Glassdoor winter nightshelter has now closed.

With others, we will continue to support the needs of this group with food and essentials as they now also have the possibility of staying indoors.

Our borough foodbank service continues and is very likely to increase in demand. We are in touch with our local authority to see how vulnerable groups can best be supported.

Winter 2019-20

The winter night shelters are now open until April 2020. In the Richmond Circuit the following churches will be hosting one night each week:

Sundays at St Marys, Ferry Road,Teddington
Mondays at St Elizabeths, The Vineyard, Richmond
Tuesdays at Vineyard Life Church, The Vineyard, Richmond
Wednesdays at All Saints, East Sheen Avenue, East Sheen
Thursdays at St John the Divine, Kew Road, Richmond
Fridays at Christ Church, Christ Church Road, East Sheen
Saturdays at St Matthias, Friars Stile Road, Richmond

St Michael and All Angels will host one night of the Hammersmith circuit. (A circuit is a group of 7 churches – close together in distance – who open their doors, on the same night every week, from October – April, each year offering the homeless a hot meal and a bed for the night.)

Please prayer for the men and women who will stay at the shelters and for the the volunteers and caseworkers that will help the guests to better lives.

If you would like to volunteer, please contact Megan Preston (megan@glassdoor.org.uk). For enquiries about donations and anything financial, please contact Ian Foster (ian@glassdoor.org.uk).

Individuals looking for shelter will be able to register online, by phone or by dropping into the Vineyard Community Centre. Visit www.glassdoor.org.uk/Pages/Category/shelter for more details.

If you are concerned about someone over the age of 18 that you have seen sleeping rough, you can send an alert via StreetLink who connect people sleeping rough with the local services that can support them.

On Sunday 2nd February, St Mary Magdalene reported:

After the first 60 days of this Glass Door Homeless Charity season, 422 men and 88 women have been helped with a hot meal and a bed for the night – a 20% increase thanks to a 5th circuit.

Since June 2018 caseworkers have worked with 950 individuals and helped 114 into housing and 38 into employment.

Would you be able to provide any of the following for our Glass Door guests (travel size particularly wanted): deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, face wipes, body wipes, sanitary towels, tampons, lip balm, hand cream, anti-bac gel. Please pop into the baskets at the back of St John’s or St Matthias or them into the Parish Office, Ormond Road. Thank you.

Waitrose have kindly donated oranges which have been made into delicious Marmalade, which went on sale at church this morning with profits going to Glass Door.

The Glass Door team at St John the Divine who opened their doors on 7th November

Our first evening of the new night shelter season with Glass Door. Delicious butternut squash soup, lasagne, red cabbage and peas, lots of donated fresh bread, chocolate crispy cakes made by a local school and cakes made by one of our church families.

We welcomed 20 guests in from the cold, for a hot healthy meal and somewhere safe to sleep. Case workers are on hand to support the guests in their next steps.

Thank you all for showing God’s love in action

All Saints and Christ Church, East Sheen thank Waitrose for their generous contribution towards the costs of the Glass Door night shelters.

Sleep Out 2019

On Friday 4th October more than 320 individuals slept outside at Duke of York Square in Chelsea to raise funds to run the network of local emergency winter shelters for people experiencing homelessness.
They included Rev James Hutchings from St Mary’s, Barnes (right) and our Archdeacon John Kiddle.

The total raised to date has reached over £191,000 – the highest amount raised within a week after the event, which has taken place the first Friday of October every year since 2013. Glass Door is hoping to surpass the £200,000 target before the end of the month.

Winter 2018-19

The winter night shelter project in across the deanery in partnership with GlassDoor was hosted by St Matthias and St John the Divine in Richmond and All Saints and Christ Church in East Sheen. The project has now ended and the shelters are empty…..

The work continues throughout the year click here to find out how NextDoor are looking ahead to next winter.

  1. Glass Door Update to Deanery Synod 5th June 2019
  2. We had 158 guests in our shelters – ⅓ from the UK, ⅓ from the EU and ⅓ from the rest of the world . Guests included 58 women, the highest percentage of the four circuits. However some women would just come for the meal and then go..
  3. 35 people have been rehoused.
  4. Large numbers have been reconnected with benefits and family.
  5. The Glass Door project was mentioned in a recent council meeting. This year the council have been very supportive of the project unlike three years ago.
  6. Issues arising this year that GlassDoor are addressing for next year:
    1. Need to consider disabled access
    2. Need to make closer links with women’s refuges
    3. Training in mental health issues so issues with guests can be spotted. It was noted the police needed training as well as the volunteers.
  7. The Deanery hosted 4 out of the 7 nights in the Richmond circuit and the level of volunteering has been wonderful.

One guest was quoted as saying “I had no home and lost my business but GlassDoor turned my life around”.

As the GlassDoor shelters closed in April, Father Peter Hart asked us to pray…

…for the guests who may have returned to sleeping rough or sofa-surfing.

… for all those who have been rehoused, found work, had their benefits sorted out, put back in contact with family, had their documents restored – a blessing for them.

…for the staff and volunteers at the Vineyard Centre, Richmond as they continue to offer support and practical help throughout the year.

We should also give thanks….

…for the amazing volunteers who have made the winter night shelter project in partnership with GlassDoor possible‏.

…for an amazing community response to the project. Not just from the Churches but from the wider community and local schools.

…five months of welcome, fine food and good company

Outside Worship

As the warm weather arrives but Covid restrictions still persist, many churches are moving outside!

St Mary Magdalene, Richmond is concluding all Sunday services outside so the congregation can sing!

Community Hymnalong at St Michael and All Angels, Barnes

Ascension Day Hymn Singing in the Churchyard from St Mary Magdalene, Richmond
Ascension Day Hymn Singing at St Michael and All Angels, Barnes

Children’s mass at St Michael and All Angels, Barnes

Church of England Vision Webinar SERIES

The Church of England are holding  a series of webinars that will explore what it means to be a church that is centred on Jesus Christ and shaped by Jesus Christ – a church that is simpler, humbler, bolder.

“Our vision for being a Jesus Christ centred and Jesus Christ shaped Church will help us focus on what truly matters: the Christ like life of prayer; our worship and our service; the proclamation of God’s good purposes for the world; and how all this is fed and nurtured by word and sacrament, and by our own humble acknowledgment of our need of God’s grace, so that, together, we can build a better, more hopeful future.”
Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell – General Synod, February 2021.
Click here to read full address.

Click here to find out more about the  Church of England vision and strategy for 2020s.

Forthcoming webinars in this series:

  • 30th June at 2pm: focussing on being a church that is simpler, humbler and bolder and answering any outstanding questions collected in other webinars

Click here to register for any of the webinars.

Webinar 15th June, 2021 – A church that is younger and diverse

On 15th June, Revd Canon David Male (Director of Evangelism and Discipleship for the Church of England) and panel members held a webinar focussing on the strategic priority to be a church that is younger and more diverse.

If you missed the webinar, you can view it here.

Webinar 25th May, 2021 – A church of missionary disciples

On 25th May, Revd Canon David Male (Director of Evangelism and Discipleship for the Church of England) and panel members held a webinar focussing on the strategic priority to be a church of missionary disciples.

If you missed the webinar, you can view it here. You can toggle the view between Gallery and Speaker view should you need to view the BSL interpreter.

Webinar 26th April, 2021 – A church where mixed ecology is the norm

On 26th April, Archbishop Stephen Cottrell and panel members held a webinar focussing on the strategic priority to be a church where the mixed ecology of many forms of church is the norm.

If you missed the webinar, you can view it here. You can toggle the view between Gallery and Speaker view should you need to view the BSL interpreter.

Webinar 25th March, 2021 – Introducing the vision and the three strategic priorities

On 25th March, Archbishop Stephen Cottrell and panel members held a webinar to find out more about the emerging vision and strategic priorities for the Church for the next decade.

If you missed the webinar, you can view it here. You can toggle the view between Gallery and Speaker view should you need to view the BSL interpreter.