A VERY CIVIC OCCASION
Twenty-two Mayoral people and many other local dignitaries helped to fill St Giles’ church on February 20th. They had come to attend the annual Civic Service, which was held at St Giles’ because its Rector, Adrian, is also Chaplain to the Mayor of Hillingdon, Cllr David Yarrow.
Lessons were read by the Deputy Lieutenant of Hillingdon (Wing Commander Ed Partridge), the Mayor, and the Deputy Leader of the Council (Cllr David Simmonds). St Giles’ choir sang an anthem and the Glebe School Choir sang ‘Them Bones’ and ‘World in Unison’, for which they were roundly applauded.
In his address, Adrian said that Ickenham was a very nice place to reside and its community works because its people know each other well, look out for each other and feel as though they belong. The environment is pleasant and well located, the shops thrive but none of these aspects contribute to the community unless people feel known and valued. Robust community is made up of affirmed and involved individuals. “If that’s what the Big Society is about”, he said, “then I believe in it!
“The parable of the Good Samaritan”, he continued, “provides Jesus’ perspective on building community, and introduces the extremely important element – mercy. Mercy is what motivated a group of people to set up Hillingdon Autistic Care and Support: similarly, Churches Together in Uxbridge formed the Hillingdon Food Bank. Both these bodies are the current Mayors’ designated charities. Organisations like these are helping to restore, support and affirm individuals and build community; it is a way we respond to God’s mercy to us.”
The service concluded with the glorious hymn, ‘Thine be the Glory, Risen, Conquering Son’ and the procession of clergy, Mayor and Mayoral party made its way to the Derek Kneale Hall where refreshments were enjoyed, along with meeting and greeting friends old and new.
FROM ST GILES’ CLERGY
As I write this, events in Cairo have dominated the headlines. The world looked on at the demonstrations in Tahrir Square, hoping and praying for a peaceful resolution. For many days, the people’s hopes for liberty from injustice and poverty were unfulfilled, but then suddenly and unexpectedly, Mubarak resigned and the celebrations began - freedom and dignity for all in Egypt had become distinctly possible after 30 years’ of dictatorship.
In January this year, one of the rescued Chilean miners, José Henriquez, came to the UK to speak of his experiences. He spoke of the ordeal of not knowing whether they would be found, of only having one day’s fresh water and 3 days’ supply of food, of hearing the sound of a drill missing the cavity where they were trapped. He also spoke of leading the other 32 miners to pray together twice a day for God to rescue them, and of how their liberty was as a result of God miraculously answering their prayers and guiding the rescue operation. He described what it was like emerging into the sunlight – “It was just so obvious that our prayers had been answered. I was overwhelmed and excited,” he says. “What seemed impossible had become real.”
In the Lent groups this year, we are going to be exploring four images of God’s salvation, one of which is that we are captive, but can be set free. We might not be held captive by corruption or poverty like the people of Egypt, nor incarcerated like the Chilean miners, but plenty of people are imprisoned by guilt, chained to bad habits, locked up in purposelessness. God in his mercy wants to set us free and has sent Jesus into the world to break the power of sin by his death on the cross, and offer us forgiveness and a fresh start. The Lent groups will each approach the exploration of God’s Salvation differently, covering a range of methods from listening, to a talk, to contemplative prayer. Pick up a flyer from either church for more information.
At 6.30pm on Sunday 22nd May, there will be a Service of Healing at St Giles’ with the theme, ‘Nothing is impossible with God’. It will include stories of answered prayer and an opportunity to receive prayer for healing. Please make a note of it in your diary and come along.
DROP-IN FOR THE BEREAVED. Third Monday of each month. St Giles’ Church Hall, 2pm to 3.30pm. A friendly, informal opportunity for a chat, over a cup of tea, with other bereaved people and bereavement visitors. The next meeting is on Monday 21st March (then Monday 18th April). Just come along, or ring the Rectory (622970) if you would like to talk to someone first.