Saint James

 Newsletter

Navigation   

The Parish of

St. Peter,

Bushey Heath

April 2017

 

From the vicar

 

In common with many parish churches St. Peter’s contains some interesting and inspiring stained glass windows dating from different periods in the building’s life and depicting a number of different themes. It is always a pleasure to be able to spend a little time looking at them and a delight too when visitors comment on them and express their appreciation of what the artist has achieved.

 

It is always a surprise therefore when a visitor appears and suggests that the windows, and by association the other works of art at St. Peter’s, are ‘not what the gospel is really about’. It is hardly a surprise to learn that the gospel is really about something other than stained glass windows. So much is self-evident. The surprise is that somebody should think that we, or our forebears, went to the expense and trouble of installing these things for their own sake, rather than to the glory of God. The suggestion that St. Peter’s is simply a kind of ecclesiastical art gallery does not bear much scrutiny. First, because those of us who worship at St. Peter’s have a much clearer understanding of the gospel than our visitor implies and secondly, because our decorated windows have much to teach us about that gospel. I hope to show, by sharing some thoughts about the windows, that our visitor’s comment is a facile misrepresentation of our faith.

 

The statements made by the various windows which we enjoy looking at are about the fundamental truths of the gospel. They are statements about the faith which we hold and about the people of God, both ourselves and those who have gone before us. It would be true to say that the windows are an illustration of faith and how it works.

 

The east window which depicts the crucifixion is a very traditional image, made all the more striking by its size. Quite rightly it is the first image to demand our attention because it describes the event of our salvation. This is the moment when Christ died for us, for mortals, for sinners, for those he loves. The window is a very traditional, Anglican focus of faith and is none the worse for that. It reminds us of the ‘faith once delivered to the saints’ which we still hold dear and proclaim afresh.

 

The west window, in contrast to the east, is remarkably adventurous. Unlike its opposite number it was designed in a dramatic, contemporary style and consists of vibrant colours best seen in the evening sunshine, but still glorious at any time of day. Significantly it is a war memorial, a response to the pain of loss felt by a particular family and by extension a whole generation. What is truly remarkable about the west window is its declaration of hope; hope in the gospel. The window depicts the fruits of the Spirit from the Epistle to the Galatians and is a wonderful expression of faith and a generous aid to teaching about the Christian life. What stands out in addition to these very obvious joys is the fact that a bereaved family did not choose a Calvary, or a weeping angel or a ponderous youth, but a declaration of the work of God’s Spirit enabling his people to live the gospel. This window speaks of faith lived and life transformed.

 

I am particularly fond of the windows by Joan Fulleylove which are situated in St. George’s Chapel (except for the single light window in the ambulatory just outside). Her work is simple, stylised and perhaps naïve – and yet real. Once again this is faith being lived out. My favourite is St. Oswald, the progenitor of Christian England whose work the present generation seems intent upon destroying. Oswald of Northumbria was a ruler and a warrior and yet also a man who engaged directly in evangelism and the service of the poor. This depiction of him presents us with an uncomfortable reality; a man who bears the burden of a Christian king. Another notable figure is that of St. Francis, hollow and drawn, representing a devotion that the world cannot understand, an image that people do not want to see. It is a compassionate image, but also a accusatory one. The words of Jesus (Matthew 25: 31f) should haunt the viewer.

 

Space allows for a brief comment on the most recent addition, the Blessed Sacrament window. This is a simple representation of life with the Lord. There is a walk with him by the ‘Galilean Lake’, a time of teaching in the hill-country where a wonderful miracle is performed; the faithful gathered to break bread whether in the Upper Room or at a Pontifical High Mass. It represents the completion of faith because in the celebration of the sacrament of the altar we are with the Lord. God is with us and gives himself to us.

 

There is so much more in many of the windows at St. Peter’s. They enhance our worship, they are an aid to teaching the faith and they are a fitting memorial to those who now rejoice upon another shore. Perhaps better than words can ever do they show how faith and life go together, how God transforms his people with his presence and by doing so furthers the work of his kingdom.

 

PRAYER FOCUS

Pray for those who are persecuted for their faith, that all Christians may be free to worship and proclaim that the Lord is risen.

 

From the diary…

 

Tuesday 28th March, 8.00pm

Holy Hour for Lent with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament

‘The Penitential Psalms’

Thursday 30th March, 12 noon            Stations of the Cross

Wednesday 5th April, 10.00am             MU Corporate Communion

Thursday 6th April, 12 noon                Stations of the Cross

Saturday 8th April, 2.00pm                  Wedding (Keiron Rowe and Dayner Fagan)

Palm Sunday

9th April

Holy Communion with distribution of palms

 

8.00am (said)

9.30am (sung, beginning with the procession in church)

11.15am Family Service

 

Hosanna to the Son of David

Monday 10th April, 12 noon                Chrism Mass at Chelmsford Cathedral

Tuesday 11th April, 11.00am               Service at Heath House

Wednesday 12th April, 10.00am           Low Mass (Wednesday in Holy Week)

Easter Triduum

Maundy Thursday

8.00pm                        Maundy Mass

 

Good Friday

9.30am            United Service of Witness outside St. James’s Church, Bushey

12 noon                       Devotions, ‘How did we get here?’

2.00pm                        Liturgy of the Passion

 

Easter Eve

8.30am             Morning Prayer and Litany

7.00pm                        Easter Liturgy

 

Easter Day

8.00am            Low Mass

9.30am            Festal Mass

Wednesday 19th April, 10.00am           Low Mass (Wednesday of Easter Week)

Saturday 22nd April, 1.00pm                Wedding (George Windsor and Lucy Duncombe)

Sunday 23rd April, 11.00am                 Annual Meetings in church

Wednesday 26th April, 10.00am           Low Mass (St. Mark, Evangelist, tr.)

 

Contact details:

Vicar: Fr. Andrew Burton SSC, a priest of the Society. (020 8950 1424). Usual day off Monday.

Churchwarden: Mrs. Anne Swerling (020 8950 8923)

 

Text a prayer request to our Prayer Line on 07939 379018. Private prayer will be offered for 2 weeks.

www.stpeterbusheyheath.org.uk