A variety of commemorative projects are planned for the church, to create lasting memorials to our 200th anniversary. These will be around to serve the congregation and the parish for many years to come.
Tree of Life
Christopher Townsend’s new polished steel candlestand, to replace the rather functional one which is presently situated in front of the icon, is currently being made in his workshop in Oxfordshire. It will be installed and blessed by Bp Stephen Platten at a special celebration of Choral Eucharist at 6.30pm on Sunday 27 September.
After much searching, we think we have at last found a designer and maker for our set of three copes. Conversation is at an advanced stage with Constance MacKenzie, a brilliant young designer who works mostly on historical and theatrical costume (including work for Glyndebourne). She would bring to the commission flair and exquisite craftsmanship. Many thanks to Tamsin Thomas for effecting the introduction.
Music plays an important part in our life as a church, and is central to our attempts to offer to God the best in worship that we can. We have engaged Bishop & Sons to perform a thorough clean and maintenance on the organ to keep it in rude health for the forseeable future. At the same time they will carry out work to make the instrument more tonally flexible; the wind pressure will be reduced to bring the volume of the instrument down, the great mixture will be reconstituted to make it less piercing, and an additional mixture as well as two soft flute stops added to the great to create a better-blended “classical chorus”. The great tuba will be replaced with a trumpet (the former remaining on the choir as a solo stop), and the swell contra fagotto, which is currently sharing pipes with the oboe, will be completed. The work is due to begin in mid August; photos will of course be published on this website!
We were delighted that organist and composer Philip Moore accepted a commission to compose a motet, and even more delighted to hear it premiered during our Patronal Festival on June 22nd. The text was taken from the office hymn for our patron John the Baptist, Ut queant laxis.
One of our Bicentenary projects is in fact already complete! The parish kitchen was in need of refurbishment (having been installed in the 1970s when the Church Hall complex was constructed), and now boasts increased storage capacity as well as up-to-date cooking facilities. In the church itself we need to reconfigure the porch to make the building fully wheelchair-accessible, and a new lighting scheme has been drawn up, both to give us greater flexibility and to reduce our energy consumption.
Capital project in the developing world
The kindergarten playground at Neve Shalom/Wahat-al-Salaam has been grassed with all-weather artificial grass. NSWAS (the name means “oasis of peace”) is a kibbutz halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, where Jewish and Arab families – Muslim, Jewish and Christian – live side by side, and host numerous school and other groups at their “School for Peace”. They are delighted with the playground improvements, for which we gave £6,300. A further £17,000 has been given to the Amos Trust, as our agents for this purpose, towards major playground improvements at the Wi’am Reconciliation Centre in Bethlehem. This work should start shortly. Conversations continue with the local St John’s Wood Adventure Playground about how they would like to use a grant from us.