We are most impressed that the Rector’s purple shoes match her Advent stole perfectly.
The Sunday School children will be doing a Nativity in Church on Sunday 20 December. Children are invited to come dressed as their favourite character - Mary, Joseph, wise person (with gift), shepherd, angel, innkeeper, animal. Parents are invited to dress up too!
Closure of Bell Tower
Following a second person being injured while bell ringing (the first accident was about three years ago) the Rector and Churchwardens have decided to close the bell tower for bell ringing until the repair work on the ringing chamber has been completed. Fortunately both accidents resulted in minor injuries, but we have decided we cannot risk a more serious incident. We are awaiting a faculty for the repairs, but these will not be undertaken until we have raised the £20,000 necessary to pay for the work. If you would like to discuss this further, please speak to the Rector or Churchwardens.
Dyce Memorial Fund
The PCC has a fund of £828.05 designated for the repair of the Dyce Memorial. The Victoria and Albert Museum tell us that the memorial is beyond repair. The PCC would like to put this money towards the repair of the ringing chamber. However, if you or any one you know contributed towards this fund and are not happy with it being put to this use, please speak to the Rector or write to her by the end of this year.
The Fire Practice happened on Sunday 15 November and passed uneventfully - everyone was on the Glebe by the time the Fire Brigade turned up. Shame we missed the last hymn though!
St Leonard’s Day (6 November)
Our Patronal Festival was celebrated in fine style with a Choral Eucharist to mark the 300th anniversary of the birth of Samuel Johnson and celebrate his links with the parish. The Howland Sermon*, which has not been given for some years, was preached by Canon Dr Jane Steen, a noted Johnson scholar and Canon of Southwark Cathedral. The choir, singing from the west gallery with a small band of instrumentalists in true 18th century style, performed the Halleluia Chorus from Handel’ Messiah and Thy word is a lantern by Purcell. Dr Johnson himself was present, reading from his works and re-enacting his famous last visit to Streatham when he kissed the font goodbye.
Afterwards everyone adjourned to the church hall to continue the celebrations in the manner to which we have become accustomed, with Sue and Charles Gibson respectively organising the catering and putting up a plentiful supply of fine wine.
[* Elizabeth Howland, whose memorial to her husband dominates the porch, left a bequest for a sermon to be preached annually in St Leonard’s on the subject of the Elizabethan Settlement. The practice fell into abeyance during the last century, although sporadic attempts were made to revive it.]
There is a briefing paper in the Narthex which explains both the latest developments in the drafting of the new measure on Women Bishops and outlines the Pope’s statement this week on welcoming Anglican clergy into the Roman Catholic Church. It gives a good outline of the issues and suggests ways you might like to be involved in this significant development in the life of the Church.
Sue and Alice would like to thank all those who enjoyed the Swap Shop and donated so generously to the Spires. We gave them £270!
Arthur Smith has made a film in St Leonard’s Churchyard and Crypt. This was shown on the One Show on BBC 1 at 7.00 pm on Friday 9 October.
Priciples For Stewardship
Sunday 11 October - Preaching on the theme of today’s Gospel reading, the story of the rich young ruler, the Rector introduced the Priciples For Stewardship agreed by the PCC during its Away Day earlier this year. This is not to say that we should go and sell all that we have, but that “God’s share” should be our first priority and that the Church of England’s recommendation of giving 5% of net income to the church and 5% to other good causes should at the very least be a goal to which we aspire, even if we feel unable to make that committment immediately. The document “Priciples For Stewardship at St Leonard’s” can be downloaded here.
Inclusive Language in Hymns
The PCC will be holding an open meeting on the subject of inclusive language in hymns. All members of the congregation are welcome to attend. The meeting will be at 7.30 pm on Monday 26 October in the Church Hall.
The Younger Church Committee has produced a Parents Handbook with lots of useful information for those attending our church with children. Copies are now available in the Narthex or it can be downloaded here: [PDF].
Dr JOHNSON DAY
Saturday 12 September 2009 at St Leonard’s Church
A celebration of the 300th anniversary of the birth in 1709 of Dr Samuel Johnson who regularly visited Streatham between 1766 and 1782 and stayed with Henry and Hester Thrale at their home at Streatham Park.
Exhibition and Bookstall 11 am to 4pm
Local History Tour around environs of St Leonard’s - Starting at 2pm and lasting approx 2 hours.
Start at St Leonard’s. Introduction and brief outline of Streatham Village and Church at Johnson’s time. Walk to Tooting Bee Common. Outline of common in Johnson’s time. View site of Dr. Johnson’s Tree and to Dr. Johnson Avenue. Led by Graham Gower.
To Streatham Park. Visit Plaque marking Dr.Johnson’s visit to Streatham Place in Coulson Way. Brief history of the house. Visit to the famed Mulberry tree under which Johnson sat in Pringle Gardens. Led by Brian Bloice.
Back to St Leonard’s Church. Exhibition and tour of church including Thrale monuments with epitaphs by Johnson. Visit Crypt to see Thrale vault. Led by John W Brown.
Further Information from , 220 Woodmansterne Road, Streatham SW16 5UA. Tel: 020 8764 8314. Website: streathamsociety.org.uk
We need somebody to play the drum during our Celebrating Together Service on the first Sunday of the month. Please speak to Mandy if you can help.
Southwark Diocesan Certificate in Biblical and Theological Studies
This course, which runs from September 2009 to July 2010, will take place at St Leonard’s Church on Tuesdays from 6.30-9.00 pm. For further details collect a form from the Narthex.
Director of Music
St Leonard’s is currently seeking to appoint a new organist and choirmaster. The deadline for applications has been extended to 1 September and interviews will take place on Thursday 10 September. Click here for more information and the application form.
At the recent APCM Martin Wolf, who has held the post since Easter 2002, announced his intention to stand down at the end of July. As we all know, Martin is a first rate musician who devoted an enormous amount of time and energy to maintaining the high standard of music that we have come to expect at St Leonard’s, but he had found it increasingly onerous to cope with this on top of the demands of a full-time job.
On Sunday 26 July a presentation was made to Martin during the morning service, after which we had the opportunity to take wine with him in typical St Leonard’s style. At Choral Evensong the choir performed Martin’s own Brinkburn Service, which they had been rehearsing for months, before retiring to Martin’s flat to take more wine and pay their own tributes to an outstanding leader and a good friend. Fortunately Martin is not moving away and may be persuaded to play or sing from time to time.
The final total raised during Christian Aid Week was £2,819.27.
Four members of St Leonard’s, Rebecca Lloyd, Barbara Preston, Sarah Okello and Anna Gordon, were confirmed by the Bishop of Kingston at All Saints, West Dulwich, on Sunday 12 July.
Bothered and Bewildered
We should like to congratulate Ann Morisy on the publication of her third book Bothered and Bewildered: Enacting hope in troubled times (published by Continuum).
Thanks to Andrew Hicks and Robert Owen who have agreed to jointly take on the role of Treasurer. Andrew will be responsible for financial planning while Robert will handle the day-to-day book-keeping. And thanks again to Karl Cheng who stood down at the APCM after expertly managing our finances for several years.
Consultation re. the building of St Leonard’s
As you may know, the PCC is looking at ways to make the most of our beautiful church. The rebuild is now over 30 years old and there are aspects which, modern at the time, are now showing wear and tear, such as the kitchen and loos. There has also been some change in how the church is used - because of the light and airy architecture put in place after the fire, it has become a sought-after local venue for church and community groups in Streatham and beyond.
If we want to follow through with making our church a focal point for a range of activities, then some extension or remodelling of the space is needed. This is particularly true of the space which is not used for worship. There was an initial consultation held on a Saturday last year which many attended, and this threw up four main options, but others are possible. The PCC wants to take this forward as part of the fairly lengthy process of consultation, agreement with the CofE and with local planners and of course raising the appropriate funds.
The first step is a consultation with the congegation and with those organisations who might use the church and whose support would increase our ability to win funds for any change. We will have a consultation with you in July or August - more details to follow. In terms of other groups to approach for their views, the small group coordinating the consultation needs your help. I have listed our first thoughts below. Please let us have your ideas on who we should speak with amongst organisations who use, or might use the church, and whose views would be valuable. If you are able to give me details of a contact and address or email as well as the organisation’s name, that will save the small team working on this a lot of time.
You can ring me on 07967 206634 or or give your ideas to Mandy, the church wardens or Mimi.
Groups thought of so far: Uniformed organisations, St Leonard’s, Broomwood and Sunnyhill Schools, Town Centre Group, Police, the Spires, English Martyrs and the Synagogue, Ballet schools, Streatham Youth and Community Trust, Streatham Drop In Centre.
Following an increase in anti-social behaviour in the Churchyard, the Rector and Churchwardens have decided to lock the Churchyard until the 28 June. There will be access only to Church.
Christian Aid Week - 10 to
17 24 May
As usual, St Leonard’s demonstrated that there is more to Christian Aid Week than rattling tins in the High Road - it can be fun too.
Your correspondent is unable to report on Sue and Alice’s Swap Shop, being of the wrong gender to participate, but we gather the evening was a success.
The Yarletts’ house was full to capacity for Sunday lunch which consisted of several of Nicki’s delicious home-made curries with appropriate accompaniments, followed by Jim’s excellent carrot cake.
There was a treat for discerning palates at Gibson’s G8 Wine Tasting - 8 wines based on the letter G (including one named after the man himself). And how convenient to have a large stone wine cooler just inside the door!
Over 40 people turned up to a Sunday afternoon recital by Tony Nunn and Alan Littell of the songs of Flanders and Swann, proving perhaps that their peculiarly English brand of humour is as timeless as ever.
Thanks to Joyce Joko-John for co-ordinating things this year. The final total raised for Christian Aid has yet to be announced but watch this space.
The first meeting of the new PCC was held on Monday 18 May. The new members were welcomed by the Rector. Sarah Parry was elected Secretary and Moyra Heggie was elected Vice Chair.
Sue Hutson, Diocesan Community Development Officer, spoke to the PCC about the plans to develop St Leonards. Caroline Leveaux volunteered to lead a steering group that will oversee a consultation of local and church groups into the development. Any assistance from members of the congregation who have experience in consultations would be gratefully received.
The PCC agreed to accept the tender from Austin’s for the refurbishment of the heating system. Work is expected to start on 30 June.
Nominations for the Diocesan Synod are in June, the papers are in the Narthex. You don’t have to be on the Deanery Synod or the PCC to be nominated. Bishop Tom will be stepping down next year so it will be an interesting time to be on the Diocesan Synod.
“Now is the Month of Maying”
If there’s one thing St Leonard’s is good at it’s celebration and we welcomed May Day in traditional style, with merry lads and lasses frolicking, not upon the greeny grass but in the nave to the music of the Nellie Belle Band.
There was a distinctly English flavour to the refreshments with two firkins of Wandle Ale from the local Sambrook’s Brewery, Suffolk cider and Three Choirs wine. In the interval there was bread and cheese and a couple of splendid hand-raised pies (our Rector has hidden talents). Any profits will go towards the cost of overhauling the church heating system.
Bells at Dawn
About 50 people gathered outside the west door of St Leonard’s as the Easter bonfire was lit at 6am. The paschal candle was carried up the nave in darkness, the “Exultet” sung and prayers said. Then: “CHRIST IS RISEN!” proclaimed the Rector, “HE IS RISEN INDEED!” bellowed the Verger up the spiral staircase and the bells rang out, accompanied by a cacophany of rattles, whistles and sundry instruments making a merry noise to the Lord. The service continued in a slightly more restrained mode as the Gloria of Byrd’s Four Part Mass echoed round the building. The font was full to the brim when Mandy took the sprig of holy rosemary and proceeded to enthusiastically asperge the congregation (somewhat drenching her robes in the process).
Indeed the font has probably seldom seen such activity in its 600-odd year life. At 10 o’ clock, over 200 came to witness the baptism of Molly and Emily and their admission to Communion, along with Isabel, Amelia, Milo, Turner, Tanner, Billy and Theo. “God is full of surprises” Mary told us, and the resurrection is the greatest of them all.
Choral Evensong was also well attended. After lustily singing “The Strife is O’er” and Wood in E flat (not to mention numerous motets during Holy Week) the choir well be taking a well-earned rest on Low Sunday.
Mouse Ear, Hart’s Tongue, Guernsey Fleabane and Cat’s Ear
At first glance the above looks like a list of ingredients for a witches’ potion but is in fact just some of the 109 different plants, shrubs and trees identified in the graveyard surrounding our ancient parish church of St Leonard’s.
Over the past year members of the South London Botanical Institute (SLBI) have been undertaking a detailed survey of the plants to be found in “God’s Acre” as part of an ongoing project to monitor the changes and evolution of the graveyard.
Among the SLBI’s discoveries of particular note was one of the oldest hornbeam trees to be found outside a park/common setting in south suburban London which tilts somewhat precariously in the north eastern corner of the graveyard opposite Andrew’s Estate Agents; a beautiful silver-leafed hedgehog holly near the Nicholl grave just by the south eastern end of the chancel extension; a walnut tree opposite the tower on Tooting Bee Gardens; and what is almost certainly the highest growing oak tree in South London - a small holm oak growing from a crack in the church tower alongside the plaque recording the thunder bolt that destroyed the spire in 1841.
Wildlife has been less plentiful, not counting a few casual drinkers; we only came accross a garden snail, a bumble bee and a lady bird. However, birds were more numerous and among the 15 species identified were a greenfinch, magpie, ring-necked parakeet and a wren. No sparrows were seen, but this may have been due to the sparrow hawk that was spied circling the church. One bird’s nest was discovered, lodged in a low hollow about 5ft from the ground in a tree facing Streatham High Road. However, it probably dates from last year when the tree was heavily covered in ivy and protruding growth that provided cover, which has now been removed by pruning. It is unlikely that in its present exposed state it will be occupied, but hopefully it will provide a source of material for other birds to cannibalise when building new nests.
Our thanks go to Roy Vickery and his colleagues from the SLBI for conducting the survey.
John W Brown
Ecumenism in Streatham
There are fresh attempts to try and organise Streatham Churches to work together. The group who are initiating this are hoping there will be two representatives from all Churches in Streatham to form a steering group. If you are interested, please speak to Mandy.
St. Leonard’s School are collecting Sainsbury Vouchers (these go towards sports equipment) Please start collecting these vouchers and put them in the box in the Narthex.
The PCC met on 16 March in preparation for the APCM on April 26. We were reminded that Christian Aid week is approaching and Margaret Parry would like to hand over the co-ordinating role, so we are looking for a volunteer or volunteers to help.
Rob Edmondson reported that we are several steps closer to starting badly needed work on our heating system and on the bell tower to ensure the safety of our ringers. We also talked about where the choir sits. You may have noticed we have been trying out various positions. The choir will be in the gallery after Easter for a trial period. If you have any thought about where the choir sits, do make your views known to one of the PCC members who will discuss further in May.
Finally, nomination forms for the PCC will appear in the narthex shortly. Do consider whether you would like to serve the parish in this way.
Diocesan Synod: Elections are approaching for diocesan synod and a parish of the size of St Leonard’s should think of proposing a candidate. Not least the synod has a role in approving the diocesan budget. Nomination forms are on the notice board in the narthex. Please return them to Alice Hicks.
Lent Film Club - Sin and Salvation in Cinema
At 8pm on Fridays in Lent in church. The film will be followed by a glass of wine, nibbles and discussion. See the Events page for more details.
Who Runs the Church of England?
There will be a short (half an hour including questions) presentation by the Rector on how the church of England is run from parish level through to Deanery and Diocese and up to National level at 11.30 in Church after the service on the 29 March. Come along and find out how the Church of England is organised and how you can be involved in it. A chance to ask all the questions you never got around to before about how the Church of England works.
On 8 February at 6.30 p.m. as part of the Taizé style worship we will have another in our series of interviews. On this occasion the Rt Hon Keith Hill MP will be interviewed by Jim McAuslan. Keith has been MP for Streatham since 1992 and is described in Routledge’s Almanac of British Politics as “one of the government’s insufficiently sung heroes”.
14+ Group - Eye on the World
Come and meet like-minded Young People for FUN, GAMES and, a PHILOSOPHICAL CHAT ABOUT GOD, THE UNIVERSE AND MORE.....
Venue: St Leonard’s Date: 8 February 2009 Time: 5 to 6.30 pm
For information contact:
, , or .
Also welcome are those 13 year olds who will soon be 14.
Freedom Group for all retired folk
Next meeting is 9 February from 12.30 to 3 pm. Said Eucharist 12.30 followed by light lunch. Marion Marples will talk to us on Pilgrimages. Guests always welcome.
First Communion Classes
First Communion Classes will start on 31 January. Children will be admitted on Easter Day at the 10 o’clock service. Any child who has been baptised may be admitted to Communion. Children who will be 7 years or over on Easter Day need to attend the classes starting on Sunday 31. If your child would like to be admitted to Communion, please complete the form in the Narthex. If you would like to know more about our Policy, please speak to the or .
New home for the crèche
The creche has now moved upstairs to the clergy vestry, a bigger, brighter space for our under fours. If any creche users are unsure of the way, the sides people will be pleased to help you.
Volunteers Fair - Helping Hands
Sunday 1 February: after church until 12:30 pm
Ever wondered whether there is a church activity that you could get involved in? Now’s your chance to find out more. Stay behind after church on 1 February and there will be representatives from various groups connected with the church (e.g. The Spires Centre, church cleaning, bell-ringing....) who’ll be able to tell you more about what it means to get involved. Go on, try something new in 2009.....if you want any further information, please contact .
The final amount raised by the Christmas Fair was £1425.72. Many thanks to all.
Christmas Greetings Board
The total received was £190. We are able to donate £95 to The Spires Centre and £95 to The Childrens’ Society.