All Saints Margaret Street

Parish email 27 March

Saturday 28th March 2020

Dear Friends,

Stations of the Cross will be streamed this evening at 7pm together with photos of the images in church. Here is the link:

[the link will remain active after the streaming]

Daily Masses, including Sunday's Mass, continue to be live-streamed at 12 noon(Sunday's will include a brief homily).


The April Parish Paper has been delivered and will be available from this Sunday. It will be posted to our usual subscribers and I will put it on the website soon after Sunday, but if you are not on the subscription list and would like a copy posted to you please let me know.


In this parish Paper I've written something about the Hail Mary, which leads neatly to commending another devotion many of us will find more than usually helpful at this time: the Rosary

The Bishop Of Fulham has made a YouTube video about the Rosary which you may like to watch and Fr Julian has written a note about that (with a link to the video) which you will find below.


Reflection on Sunday's readings (which can be found below this message):


Lent proves difficult for many affluent Western Christians, for it recalls the inability of human beings to save themselves from what Henry James called the 'pain of consciousness'. Confronted with the multiple problems of contemporary society, whether of health, economics, social justice, or the environment, a conventional response is to ask,"What do we do?" In the face of a pandemic virus we are suddenly brought up against this question from multiple angles every day.

The readings for this Sunday suggest that it is not within human power to 'do' anything about ultimate problems. The prophet surveys the valley of dry bones, symbolic of an unrepentant Israel, and asks God how to bring about their enfleshment. The Gospel story of Lazarus prompts a parallel question, for death itself leaves many of us asking what we can do, and what we should do, how we can alter the situation so that it proves less devastating.

Strikingly, neither of the texts answers that question, for these are instances in which human beings can do nothing. The dry bones in Ezekiel 37 cannot find flesh for themselves; they cannot even cry out to God for help. Only God can breathe renewal into human life, send the Spirit, raise the dead. 

Of course, that triumph does not always find a welcome, as the story of Lazarus dramatically reveals. There is not much rejoicing at the raising of Lazarus. Since the giving of life projects a future full of surprises, it turns out to be a menace to those who think they control the future. They respond the only way they know, with violence. They even plot to do away with Lazarus (John 12.9-10). But the larger story confirms that life will not be overcome by death. What remains beyond the raising of Lazarus is not only Jesus' death, but his resurrection and his persistent giving of life.

This Sunday, the fifth in Lent, is also known as Passion Sunday. It is the day when, traditionally, we veil our crucifixes and images in order to unveil and contemplate the crucified Christ afresh on Good Friday. The whole Passion according to Mark used to be read every year on this day (hence the name of the Sunday). Now, instead, we're confronted with the prophetic act of Jesus raising Lazarus, unwilling and to some unwelcome, from the dead (as I've just noted, a plot is immediately hatched to kill him again to make sure this story does not carry weight). Lazarus is raised to indicate that, under God, the bonds of sin and death can be broken. And it points forward to the death of Christ which we Christians need to look at and contemplate afresh each liturgical year, but with the eyes of faith in the future and the glimpse of Easter glory on the horizon.


Yours in Christ


Fr Michael Bowie

Lent 5  Collect and Readings



Most merciful God, 

who by the death and resurrection of thy Son Jesus Christ 

hast delivered and saved the world: 

grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross 

we may triumph in the power of his victory; 

through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, 

who liveth and reigneth with thee, 

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, 

one God, now and for ever. 


FIRST READING:  Ezekiel 37.1-14 

A reading from the Prophecy of Ezekiel 

The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all round them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, 'Mortal, can these bones live?' I answered, 'O Lord God, you know.' Then he said to me, 'Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.'   

So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, 'Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.' I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.   

Then he said to me, 'Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, "Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely." Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.'    



PSALM: 130 

Out of the deep have I called unto thee, O Lord : Lord, hear my voice. 

O let thine ears consider well : the voice of my complaint. 

If thou, Lord, wilt be extreme to mark what is done amiss : O Lord, who may abide it? 

For there is mercy with thee : therefore shalt thou be feared. 

I look for the Lord; my soul doth wait for him : in his word is my trust. 

My soul fleeth unto the Lord : before the morning watch, I say, before the morning watch. 

O Israel, trust in the Lord, for with the Lord there is mercy : and with him is plenteous redemption. 

And he shall redeem Israel : from all his sins. 


SECOND READING:  Romans 8.6-11 

A reading from the letter of St Paul to the Romans 

To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law-indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.   

But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.   



GOSPEL:   John 11.1-45 


Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, 'Lord, he whom you love is ill.' But when Jesus heard it, he said, 'This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God's glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.' Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.   

Then after this he said to the disciples, 'Let us go to Judea again.' The disciples said to him, 'Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?' Jesus answered, 'Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.' After saying this, he told them, 'Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.' The disciples said to him, 'Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.' Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, 'Lazarus is dead. For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.' Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow-disciples, 'Let us also go, that we may die with him.'  

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, 'Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.' Jesus said to her, 'Your brother will rise again.' Martha said to him, 'I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.' Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?' She said to him, 'Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.'  

When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, 'The Teacher is here and is calling for you.' And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, 'Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.' When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, 'Where have you laid him?' They said to him, 'Lord, come and see.' Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, 'See how he loved him!' But some of them said, 'Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?'  

Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, 'Take away the stone.' Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, 'Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead for four days.' Jesus said to her, 'Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?' So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upwards and said, 'Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.' When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, 'Lazarus, come out!' The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, 'Unbind him, and let him go.'  

Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.







Those who are sick or distressed and have asked for prayers: 

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Kylie Moore-Gilbert, Mayshee Eyob,

Victor Sharp, David Fettke, Joan Cooper, Jenni Black,

Elizabeth Dennis, Helen Mannion, Vallery Tchukov, Hilary Anne,

Sara Vice, Lenore Kimbrough, Fr Ron Swan, Darryl d'Souza,

Katherine Lee, Chris Gudgeon, Fr Kevin Hunt, Nicky Yeo,

Lorna Smith, James Shrimpton, Tim Knight, Beth Klausing 


Those known to us recently departed: 

Sian Evans, Margaret Clark, Yvonne Burgess-Jones


Anniversaries of death this week:   

Georgina Carlton-Williams, Joseph Semlyon, William Ingarfill, Mani Blake, Cecil Saltford-Beaman, Hilary Chadwick-Healey, John Hanvey, Holbrook Gaskell, Charles Gage-Brown, John Rowe Pr, Robin Powis, Alexander Burnett-Brown, Harold Gaunt, John Wallace, Sister Mary Estelle, Grace Trembath, John Gaskell Sr., Beryl Harding, Patrick Scott Pr, Elizabeth Usherwood, Margaret Roche






Fr. Julian Browning writes: 

Greetings from the well-appointed cell of a hermit with a full freezer! Sitting here in self-isolation, I am mocked by the glorious weather in the park overlooked by my flat, but it is my rule only to venture forth cautiously at 7 a.m. Like the children now in home-schooling, we require a timetable. Pascal told us that all of humanity's problems stem from our inability to sit quietly in a room alone. There's a challenge for the self-isolating Christian! We know that finding a place of prayer, even just a chair by a window, helps us to break out of isolation into the company of God. And yet, in my experience, we will do anything, the ironing, listening to the news (again), checking emails, counting our few remaining fresh eggs, anything to avoid or delay sitting quietly in prayer. But the greater our obstinacy and resistance, the greater the consolation and the efficacy of that prayer time when we do give in and sit down. To that end, I encourage you to watch this video released by Jonathan Baker, Bishop of Fulham, this week: 

Even if the Rosary is not your chosen path of prayer, Bishop Jonathan shows us a way beyond self-isolation. One of the dictionary definitions of isolation is "separation from other things or persons". A few minutes prayer time each day takes us beyond ourselves to find our place in the Kingdom of God, once again in communion with all the saints, living and departed, and with each other.




Lent Appeal 

Please give generously to the three causes we are supporting this year: the Bishop's Lent appeal (addressing climate change emergencies in Angola and Mozambique), the Soup Kitchen at the American Church (helping homeless people)& the Helen Bamber Foundation (helping asylum seekers, refugees and survivors of extreme violence).



Lent Books

In the March parish Paper I suggested some books for Lent and am repeating those suggestions below, in case you are now looking for something to order online:


How to sit with God: a Practical Guide to Silent Prayer, by Jean-Marie Gueuellette OP (2018), recently published in English. It is, as it says on the cover, a very practical resource which aims to demystify silent prayer: Fr Gueuellette shows that this form of prayer is not an elite activity, nor is it fundamentally difficult, once it is understood.


A very different book, from our almost-neighbour, Fr Sam Wells of St Martin in the Fields, is Walk humbly: Encouragements for Living, Working and Being. This deceptively simple book, suggesting an almost behaviouralist approach to Christian living that is nonetheless deeply rooted in scripture and Christian tradition, will repay slow reading.


Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP has recently published Alive in God: A Christian Imagination. This is a much longer but extremely readable book in which Fr Timothy argues that we must show how everything we believe is an invitation to live fully. He sees imagination as our indispensible tool in understanding our Lord's words, 'I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.' Abundant life is the horizon for which Lent ought to aim, and this book will be stimulating companion.


For those who would like to deepen their understanding of the Mass, I repeat my recent plug for  The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: A Search for an Acceptable Notion of Sacrifice, by Michael McGuckian SJ. The more we understand what we do in church, the better we will worship.






For the foreseeable future the Parish Office will not always be staffed.
James Sherwood will usually be in the office on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

From Tuesday to Saturday, Peter Little will also be in and around the church working as sacristan / verger.

The best way to get in touch with the parish is by email:

E:         (T: 020 7636 1788)





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If you would like pastoral assistance, please contact:

The Parish Church of All Saints Margaret Street, 
London W1W 8JG 

T: 020 7636 1788.  E:

Assistant Priest: Fr Michael Bowie 

T: 07581 180963  E: 

(Day off: Wednesday) 

Safeguarding Officers: Please raise any concerns you have with:
Chris Self (Vulnerable Adults) and Janet Drake (Children) 

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THANK YOU for all donations supporting the Church's work and worship, choir & music and care of its heritage buildings.  

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Parish Legacy Policy 

We are always delighted to hear from anyone who wants to support us with a donation. Our PCC Legacy Policy though is to encourage people to leave bequests specifically to one of our two related charities to be used for purposes of lasting value (rather than day to day costs): 

All Saints Choir & Music Trust (Charity # 802994) or 

The All Saints Foundation (Charity # 273390). 

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