One of this year’s Christmas stamps features the Madonna and Child by William Dyce.
Dyce, an artist of the pre-Raphaelite school, was church warden of St Leonard’s and is buried in our churchyard [See History page].
Apparently the Post Office will not issue these stamps to customers unless specifically asked, in case the blatantly Christian imagery offends anyone. Lisa urged the congregation on Sunday to make a point of asking for them. Last week the new Streatham Post Office (in WH Smith) didn’t even have any!
Proceeds from the Gift Day amount to approximately £860 (excluding Gift Aid) and will be divided between the Bangladesh Typhoon Appeal and the Streatham Youth Centre.
TRIO (The Responsible Is Ours)
During the Parish Eucharist on Sunday, 18 November, the churchwardens gave a presentation on the perennial problems of maintaining an ancient church and funding its ministry. We smiled at the slide entitled “The effects of aging on delicate mechanisms”, which featured not the internal workings of the organ but a comparatively youthful Bob Edmondson opposite his present grey-bearded visage.
It currently costs around £155,000 a year to run St Leonard’s, more than half of which is the Diocesan quota over which we have no control. Last year we just managed to balance the books but there are major projects ahead including:
- stabilising and rendering the inside of the tower walls which are still suffering from the effects of the fire in 1975;
- replacing the boilers and other components of the heating system which, after 32 years, have reached the end of their useful life;
- bringing the wiring up to modern standards.
The “TRIO” leaflet, which includes planned giving, gift aid and standing order forms, can be downloaded here in PDF format.
The church was broken into on Tuesday night (30-31 October), when the Spires centre and the kebab shop in Mitcham Lane were also burgled. Fortunately nothing was taken but a window was broken and several internal locks damaged. The locksmith has repaired some of the damage but sadly there were no bells for the Patronal Festival on Sunday morning because the tower door couldn’t be opened.
For the Rector, at least, it was not an unfamiliar experience - her previous church was broken into 13 times in one year.
Collections for Christian Aid raised £990 (excluding gift aid).
Proceeds from the Harvest Beer Tasting on Saturday evening accounted for £235 of this. Following the tradition of mediaeval “church ales”, about 28 people gathered in the Narthex to sample a range of 14 English and continental beers, accompanied at various stages by sausages, cheese and treacle tart.
Children and Worship
Starting with the Harvest Thanksgiving on 7 October, we will be using a form of All Age Worship at the 10.00am Parish Eucharist on the first Sunday of the month. The service will be slightly shorter and simpler with less reliance on written materials. This will initially be for a trial period of six months and the Rector and PCC would welcome feedback from the congregation. We are looking at other ways of getting children involved in the service, including admitting them to communion before confirmation, which was approved by the PCC some time ago but has not generally happened in recent years.
This is a new venture aimed at pre-school children and parents. The idea is get the very young accustomed to being in church and introduce them to the concepts of prayer and praise. Toddler Church will be on Monday mornings at 10.30am, starting officially on 15 October with a trial run on 8 October.
Conratulations to Phil Heeley who has been appointed Verger by the PCC.
Sounds of St Leonard’s
The CD “Sounds of St Leonard’s” is now on sale at £5 a copy (proceeds to the music fund), a bargain for 74 minutes worth of entertainment.
Mostly recorded last October, it features the choir singing a range of church music spanning five centuries and including two pieces specially written for St Leonard’s: the “Lupine” responses and Tom McLelland-Young’s “Prayer of Richard de Castre”.
There are also tracks by Lenny’s Singers and a number of “lighter” items. The CD begins with St Leonard’s bells and ends with the spectacular organ piece “Sortie in E flat” by Lefébure-Wely.
We are most grateful to Adrian Udal for recording and editing the CD.
Love and congratulations to Lisa and Martin Wright on their 50th wedding anniversary.
St Leonard’s Summer Fair was held on Saturday, 14 July, as part of the Streatham Festival. Prayers for good weather did not go unheeded and the rain held off although, in contrast to previous years, shorts and panama hats were not much in evidence.
The festival children’s parade arrived at noon, led by stilt walkers and the drummers of Ancestral Hands who later gave drumming workshops on the glebe. Other attractions included music by the Barber’ s Hop Quartet, “Heaven and Hell” Tours and face painting by the Rector, as well as the usual sideshows, produce stalls and tombolas. There was plenty of sustenance for the inner man with Pimms and strawberries and a stall selling sate and noodles in competition with the scouts” barbecue.
The total raised is not yet known (watch this space) but proceeds will go to St Leonard’s School.
Lisa Wright - 20 Years of Ministry
Love and congratulations to Rev’d Lisa Wright on the 20th anniversary of her ordination.
Following a first career as a drama teacher, Lisa was ordained deacon in Southwark Cathedral at Petertide 1987 and subsequently became one of the first women to be ordained priest in 1994. She is now (semi-)retired but still takes services regularly at St Leonard’s, as well as producing plays and presenting her acclaimed one-woman show “Spilling the Beans” at the Edinburgh Fringe and elsewhere.
On Sunday, 1 July, Lisa celebrated at the Parish Eucharist and was presented with an enormous chocolate cake, of which everyone partook with a glass of bubbly in the narthex afterwards.
Christian Aid Week
In addition to the door-to-door collections and tin rattling in the High Road, various events were held to raise money for Christian Aid week. Talent Night on Saturday 12 May was well attended and featured a display of martial arts as well as the more usual songs and poems, but the real show stopper was “Cell Block Tango” (from Chicago). The scouts and guides’ disco on Friday raised over £250, while those of a less lively disposition sat in the Narthex enjoying Charles Gibson’s learned discourse on the world’s classic grape varieties and tasting some fine examples of each. The final total raised was £3,384. Many thanks to Margaret Parry for once again co-ordinating our efforts.
Vestry and Annual Parochial Meetings
The Vestry and Annual Parochial Meetings were held on Sunday, 22 April, during the Parish Eucharist. Caroline Leveaux and Rob Edmondson were elected churchwardens. Rob replaces Aidan Schulkes, who takes a well-earned rest after dealing with the interregnum, but Rob is not new to the job, having been warden in the early 90s. As usual, five members of the PCC stood down after serving three years and Henry Ferguson, Phil Heeley, Andrew Hicks and Tony Nunn were elected, leaving one vacancy.
Karl Cheng presented the accounts in the professional manner to which we have become accustomed and reminded the meeting that, although the church’s current financial position is reasonably healthy, there is no room for complacency. In particular, the heating system badly needs an overhaul which will not be cheap but, if the temperature continues to fluctuate wildy, the cost to the organ could be even greater.
Reports on the various groups and activities were received. Charles Gibson enquired whether anyone possessed a suitable weapon to deal with the two pigeons who seem to have taken up residence behind the Howland memorial. The Rector, who is clearly of the school of St Francis of Assisi, had been trying to lure them out with biscuit crumbs.
Welcome to Mandy
After the long wait of an interregnum lasting nearly 10 months, our new Rector has finally arrived!
On Saturday, 31 March, in front of a large congregation, Rev’d Mandy Hodgson was collated by the Lord Bishop of Southwark, Rt Rev’d Tom Butler, and inducted by the Archdeacon of Lambeth, Ven. Chris Skilton, as Rector of Streatham.
She was formally welcomed by churchwardens Caroline Leveaux and Andrew Hicks*, the Rev’d Simon Gates (Area Dean), Fr Gerry Mulvahill (on behalf of the other Streatham churches), Keith Hill MP, Cllr Daphne Marchant (representing Lambeth Council), Amanda Cooper (Director of Spires) and representatives of St Leonard’s School. The Bishop celebrated the Eucharist, during which the choir sang Ubi Caritas (Duruflé) and the school choir with Lenny’s Singers sang On Eagle’s Wings.
* Senior ex-churchwarden deputising for Aidan Schulkes who was unfortunately indisposed on the day.
After the service all adjourned to the church hall where, in accordance with St Leonard’s tradition, a substantial buffet was laid out and wine dispensed freely, the Archdeacon having given us leave to suspend Lent for a few hours.
The Home of the Hamburger
No, not the Wimpy Bar. Members of St Leonard’s choir recently spent a weekend in Hamburg, where our very own Pamela Hall has been starring in Alan Ayckbourn’s “Game Plan” at the English Theatre.
Fortunately the play’s run has now ended and Pamela will be back to sing the top Cs in the Allegri Miserere on Ash Wednesday.
It is with great sadness that we have to announce that Sylvester died on Wednesday night, 24 January.
No matter where you were, Sylvester was always the epitome of dignity, displaying a Christian compassion that is sadly lacking in so many places today.
As a churchwarden he always put the congregation first and brought stateliness to the role, whilst retaining the gleam of a very mischievous sense of humour in his eye.
It has been an honour for us to succeed him and we will miss both his encouragement and his wisdom, as we are sure everybody will.
May he rest in peace and rise in glory.
Our love and prayers for Ethline and the family.
CL & AS
The installation of a Vodafone transmitter in the spire has finally come to pass after five years of plans and negotiations. Work began on Monday, 15 January. There will be scaffolding on the outside and inside of the tower and the bells will be out of action for at least four weeks.
Thought for the Day
Our own Jonathan Bartley was on Radio 4’s Thought for the Day on Wednesday 24 and 31 January.