A three part round with verses taken from Psalm 137: “How shall I sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? As for our lyres we hung them up on the willows that grow in that land.” – Music composed by our Director of Music, Yotin Tiewtrakul, to welcome our new chaplain Revd Jules Barnes. We hope that Hamburg will turn from a “strange land” into a new home for her!
In this week we’d like to share with you Dietrich Buxtehude’s “Passacaglia in D Minor” played by our organist Jochim Trede at one of the concerts celebrating our 400th anniversary in 2012.
A “passacaglia” is a musical form in which a short bass line is repeated over and over again while on top of that variations flourish.
Is there something meaningful in your life to which you keep returning to? For some it’s a book they can never get tired to read again and again. For others it’s a special place they like to visit. Maybe you discover that there’s a constant meaningful theme in your life and a lot of variations on that? You can take your time to reflect on that while listening to Buxtehude’s Passacaglia:
Today on Ash Wednesday we enter the Forty Days, the season of Lent. Some ask: “What could I do to make the weeks in which we prepare for the celebration of Easter meaningful?” But you could also put the question in another way: “What can I leave out, so that I can make space for God’s doing in and around me?”
Often it seems really hard work to limit yourself and to leave a space open. When we post something each Wednesday in Lent here we hope that we don’t feed that impulse to add more and more things to your to do list (even if that’s a spiritual to do list!). So here’s a 12 minute organ piece played by Jochim Trede, our organist: Choral III in A Minor by César Franck. If it’s hard for you to “do nothing” start with small steps and listen to a piece of music. It’ll give you a good “excuse” if people raise their eyebrows and think that you’re just sitting around idly while in fact a) you’re listening to music and b) you’re holding a space of waiting and listening (and that’s the ground for prayer!).
17 February marks the beginning of Lent. We are not having our own service, but there are two opportunities to join other services online:
Our sister church in Berlin, St George’s, has invited us to join them for their streamed Ash Wednesday service.
The service will be livestreamed at 19:30 CET (on Facebook and available later via YouTube).
The Diocese in Europe Service of Evening Prayer is also at 19:30 CET.
Rev’d Sam Van Leer (Acting Archdeacon of NW Europe) will lead the service. Bishop Robert is the preacher. The liturgy includes an invitation to light three candles at the start of the service and extinguish them at certain moments during the service.
You can watch the service being livestreamed on the diocesan YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/S79rMG_zEWA
Mark’s group will continue to look at some saints, this time saints who are ‘linked’ to Germany, not necessarily German saints, and not necessarily canonised, but who are celebrated on festival days in the Church of England. He would like to share with you a basic biography of a few of these personalities, namely: Alcuin, St Elizabeth of Hungary, Tyndale and Margery Kempe. After each talk, there is a chance to share views of these theological figures, as well as to meditate and draw lessons from their example in our own lives. The sessions are about an hour long. These Lent talks and thoughts will be on Tuesdays (23 February, 2 March, 9 March and 16 March at 7pm via Zoom). Please email Father Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested and he will send you a Zoom invitation.
Issue 77 of our parish mag, Becket News, is out. It’s turned out to be a bumper issue with a distinctly Christmassy theme that somehow suits the dusting of snow many of us have received this week. There are plenty of other subjects covered, too, such as safeguarding, racial diversity, the Church Recording Project and, of course, our new Chaplain designate.
Our Archdeacon, Ven Dr Leslie Nathaniel, has written us a pastoral letter encouraging us to persevere through the Covid-19 pandemic, moving forward with confidence towards Easter. You can read the full text here.
Why are we making such a fuss about a virus? Surely we don’t really need to close the church!
Covid-19 is a highly infectious disease that in severe cases causes acute breathing problems and even death. Although older people, especially those with existing medical conditions, are most at risk, Covid can hit younger people badly, too. Not everyone with the virus develops symptoms, but they can still infect other people without realising it. If we’re not careful, a church service could become a way of passing the virus on to lots of people. It’s up to us to do all we can to keep others safe, and so that’s why the church is closed at the moment.
Some people don’t believe Covid-19 is that serious, comparing it to seasonal flu, and there’s a lot of misinformation and conspiracy theories on the Internet. If someone asks you for a source of reliable information about the virus, you could recommend the public health information from Hamburg’s health ministry (in English). If they’re interested in learning about the science, you can refer them to insidecorona.net, a website operated by the University of Hamburg’s Coronavirus Structural Taskforce.
In view of new, tighter restrictions on church services, the churchwardens have taken the decision to extend the closure of the church until at least 14 February 2021.
The text of the 19 January desicions of the Ministerpräsidentenkonferenz (in German) can be found here.