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Hellos and Goodbyes

We’ve recently had a number of changes to the team at Moot and thought we’d update you on who’s been coming and going.

Firstly: with a heavy heart we said goodbye in April to our temporary Priest Andrew Norwood. Andrew joined us in September 2015 at the beginning of our interregnum and over the last year and a half has supported us wonderfully both spiritually and practically, including guiding us through a period of reflection on who we are as a community. We are extremely grateful for Andrew’s presence over the last period and will miss him!

On a happier note, in March we welcomed Gonzalo Cabezas Talavero to the Moot team as Cafe Manager and Building Manager. He will be splitting his time between managing Host and helping the community make the best use use of our beautiful building. Make sure you say “Hi” to him when you next swing by the cafe. He is working with the staff to create some innovative new drinks so be sure to ask to try any new creations.

We also say farewell (as a Moot staff member) to Effie Gemi-Iordanou who has most recently been working in the Moot office improving processes and getting things in shape, but has also worked as a barista in the Host Cafe as well as volunteering with Moot before that and through the years! Effie has been working in one way or another since 2014 so we’re glad that although she’s ending her current role at Moot that we can still hope to see her around the community in the future.

Lastly, we look forward to the arrival of Paul Kennedy our new Priest-in-Charge who will be licensed on Monday 8th May (see information about the event here). We will share more details about Paul and his background in the coming weeks.

 

POSTED 03.05.17 BY: Paul Woodbury | Comments Off on Hellos and Goodbyes

Maundy Thursday Reflection: Gethsemane by Mary Oliver

The grass never sleeps.

Or the roses.

Nor does the lily have a secret eye that shuts until morning.

Jesus said, wait with me. But the disciples slept.

The cricket has such splendid fringe on its feet,
and it sings, have you noticed, with its whole body,
and heaven knows if it ever sleeps.

Jesus said, wait with me. And maybe the stars did, maybe
the wind wound itself into a silver tree, and didn’t move,
maybe
the lake far away, where once he walked as on a
blue pavement,
lay still and waited, wild awake.

Oh the dear bodies, slumped and eye-shut, that could not
keep that vigil, how they must have wept,
so utterly human, knowing this too
must be part of the story.

Mary Oliver

POSTED 13.04.17 BY: emjric | Comments Off on Maundy Thursday Reflection: Gethsemane by Mary Oliver

Welcome to Lent

Lent looms ahead of us, and that can at first seem quite ominous. Perhaps it’s because I’ve just used the word “looms” and that really isn’t helping.

I have had mixed feelings about Lent in the past. It feeds into my regimented, “I need to do X, Y & Z in order to be good enough” mentality and really isn’t healthy. One year I had a spreadsheet. All the things I was going to do and not do, all the books I was going to read. Lent eventually became another reason to beat myself up and to set myself up for certain failure.

Lent is perceived to be a solemn time of year, with its emphasis on repentance and self-examination. Ash Wednesday seems to be a rather bleak day as we are made to face our mortality with the imposition of ashes. But Lent takes its name an old Anglo-Saxon word len(c)ten, meaning “spring season”. The lengthening of the days is a key clue to the season here, as we set aside a time for self-reflection as we prepare for the renewal of life at Easter.

Yes, it begins with ashes and “Remember that you are dust”, but Lent is actually a time of growth. In order to grow well, yes, some pruning may be involved, but the aim of Lent is to provide the adequate conditions to ensure that we thrive and flourish.

How can I do Lent corporately?

Lent is a journey we go on together. I think a lot of our ideas about Lent can tend to be quite self-obsessed and we can risk navel gazing (I am preaching primarily to myself here). As a community our primary Lenten activity will be our Book Group, discussing Paula Gooder’s Lent book, meeting on Sunday afternoons. Of course, throughout the week, we will read as individuals but we will gather together as a community to discuss themes and ideas that have arisen from the readings. During the week, there is always the Facebook group or the blog as a way of keeping this communal discipline going.

Other things you may want to consider are:

  • Making a commitment to attend a particular service, say evening prayer on Wednesdays.
  • Going to a meditation group or taize service throughout Lent as a way of anchoring yourself in Moot’s communal life. Notice I say “a” thing – this is totally dependent on capacity.
  • Maybe, in some cases, a more faithful Lenten practice would be to stop attending a certain thing each week – providing that it is appropriate to do so!

And how about individually?

For 2017, I’ve been reading Daily reflections from Frederick Buechner and there was one recently on the theme of Lent. It framed Lent in a way I’ve never thought about before. 40 days is roughly a tenth of the year, so Lent is a kind of spiritual tithe: a period which we commit to God in a specific way. For some that may mean adding a new daily practice, say setting 10 minutes aside each morning for silent meditation or committing to praying the examen. For others, the giving up chocolate thing (*or booze, TV or whatever you fancy) may be just for you! What matters is the intention. How is this commitment to abstain from X, Y or Z going to make me different come Easter Sunday?

I gave up my daily habit of watching Neighbours one Lent at uni, to which a friend said “What’s sinful about Neighbours?” She was right. There was and is nothing wrong with watching antipodean soap operas. But I gave it up as a way of committing that time to God. The tithing analogy is useful here: just as I set aside a proportion of my money, by abstaining from something I am setting that apart as an offering.

Some ideas for your own personal Lenten tithe can be found on Rachel Held Evans’ blog – she hasn’t done it recently (I think parenthood has other demands on her time!) but in the past she has compiled “40 ideas for Lent”, which I have found really useful. 40 ideas doesn’t mean doing 40 things: but it is a good starting place for thinking about things that might help you grow in this season.

Whatever you do, don’t make a spreadsheet. What I mean is, don’t follow my mistake of piling expectations on yourself so that Lent becomes another burden rather than a gift. To end with an observation from Buechner:

“[Lent] can be a pretty depressing business all in all, but if sack-cloth and ashes are at the start of it, something like Easter may be at the end.”

POSTED 03.03.17 BY: emjric | Comments Off on Welcome to Lent

Lent & Easter at Moot

There will be a number of particular services over the Lent and Easter period, which we hope you’ll join us for. You should be able to see them on our events calendar, but here’s a list of a few highlights:

Ash Wednesday March 1st 6.30pm – Ash Wednesday Service (Ashing and Eucharist)

Sunday March 5th 4.30pm (and every Sunday through 9th April) – Lent Book Discussion Group

Maundy Thursday 13th April 6.30pm – Footwashing Service and Vigil

Good Friday 14th April 6.30pm – Tenebrae Service

Easter Sunday 16th April 6pm – Easter Eucharist and Social

 

POSTED 27.02.17 BY: Paul Woodbury | Comments Off on Lent & Easter at Moot

Merry Christmas! (and opening times)

Merry Christmas from all of us at Moot!

We hope you enjoy peace and rest over the Christmas season, and look forward to seeing you in 2017. The church (and related activities) will pause until the new year, when meditation group will resume, along with Serum, on the 4th January. Our first Sunday evening service back will be on the 8th January.

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POSTED 25.12.16 BY: Paul Woodbury | Comments Off on Merry Christmas! (and opening times)

Open House London at SMA

Yesterday Moot took part in the annual Open House London event, opening up St Mary Aldermary for the whole Saturday as well as the Host Cafe. Based on the huge number of historical fliers we handed out and the great success of the cafe, we estimate around 500 people came through the church building – a great success!

Here are a couple of photos from the day.

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POSTED 18.09.16 BY: Paul Woodbury | Comments Off on Open House London at SMA

New Thursday Evening Service

 

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We are starting a new, short contemplative service this week – Moot on Thursdays – for members of our community and anyone who would like to join us at St Mary Aldermary on Thursday evenings. It’s a quiet reflective service at the end of the working day – comprising of some prayers, silence, reflection and simple chants. All are welcome to join – you won’t have to ‘do’ anything, you can particpate as much or as little as you wish. We start at 6.30pm and finish at 7 – with wine and nibbles if you wish to hang around before heading home.

 

POSTED 06.07.16 BY: Paul Woodbury | Comments Off on New Thursday Evening Service

Easter at Moot

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Listed below is the list of what we’ll be up to at Moot in the week running up to Easter Sunday. Please join us for some or all!

Palm Sunday (March 20th)

Taize Service (6pm)

Maundy Thursday (March 24th)

Service of Eucharist with Footwashing (6pm)
Prayer Vigil (7pm)

Good Friday (March 25th)

Attending “The Three Hours” event at St. Paul’s Cathedral led by Pádraig Ó Tuama (Noon)

Easter Sunday (March 27th)

Easter Eucharist (6pm)

POSTED 12.03.16 BY: Paul Woodbury | Comments Off on Easter at Moot

Candlemas: A Liturgical Pause

(re-posted from Where Do I Begin? – the blog of our own Emily Richardson – originally published 02/02/2015)

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I think I’ve decided that Candlemas is my favourite festival of the Christian year. I only just realised this. I’ve only really recently become familiar with Candlemas itself, actually. When I was at university the second half of the academic year was named Candlemas semester. But that was just what it was: a name. I didn’t have the first idea of what it was. It was like Christmas but with added candles? Maybe? Like I say, I really had no idea.

Candlemas is another name for the Feast of the Presentation. It recollects the story in Luke 2 where Jesus’ parents brought him to the Temple to be dedicated to the Lord. Apart from the Holy family, there are two other key players. Simeon, who we are quite familiar with because of his number one hit: “Nunc Dimittis”, and Anna, who is an old lady who lived in the Temple. As you do. There is a lot of talk about waiting, about expectation, about the light of the world and about the fulfilment of ancient promises.

In the church, it is traditionally the day when the candles are blessed for use throughout the coming year. It marks the end of the Christmas and Epiphany seasons and is the start of Ordinary Time. It is the day the crib comes down and the last traces of Christmas are put away for another year.

But I realised in the service yesterday that it contains elements of all the major events in the Christian year. It is like a liturgical year in microcosm.

First there is waiting. That takes us back to Advent. Simeon and Anna – and the whole of creation – have spent their whole lives waiting. The promise of light that we are longing for in the weeks leading to Christmas is something that is always not yet. There is always an aspect of waiting and of longing.

Then we have Christmas. God born to us. Christmas is present in the story in the ordinariness of a small child. God in flesh. Christmas is all about incarnation, and the Candlemas story has that right at its heart.

Then we have epiphany. The light come into the world. This is the object of Simeon’s song. At epiphany we remember the visit of the Magi – foreigners are let into the secret of the coming of the messiah. This is a new kind of king, sent for everyone. Especially outsiders. I was thinking about Anna and Simeon who, although are firmly within the story of Israel, are in a way outsiders. Two elderly, dareisay, eccentric people. Not people of particularly high regard. And yet they are the ones who see the light. They recieve the revelation. Just like the magi and the shepherds.

Simeon’s prophecy that the child is destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel and that a sword will pierce Mary’s soul too looks forward to the next season of the church. The period of Lent and Holy Week, when we focus on the passion of Jesus. Candlemas serves as a sort of halfway point. A pause, a resting place when we prepare for the shift in our focus from incarnation to redemption. What, until recently, to me felt like an insignificant holy day in the church’s year actually serves as a pivot in the liturgical calendar.

And, of course, the hope and faith of people like Anna and Simeon and the change it brought to their life points us forward to Easter and the hope of resurrection. Anna “spoke about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem” – this child is a sign of the new creation which is brought into being at Easter with the discovery of the empty tomb.

Finally, Candlemas transitions us from the twinkling lights of Christmas into the everyday-ness of Ordinary Time. At church yesterday we had a very moving ritual at the end of the service where we extinguished our (newly blessed) candles as a symbol of the end of Christmas. But it was not a bleak experience. We weren’t plunging ourselves into darkness, but rather pledging to be bearers of that light ourselves as we went out into the world. Simeon saw that the light of the world had come in the most unexpected disguise: a fragile and ordinary baby. What is remarkable about the event at the Temple was precisely that it was an unremarkable event. Children were brought to the Temple everyday – this was a usual occurrence – and yet, God uses this usual, ordinary happening to reveal his light to the world.

So, I have been converted. I am a fully fledged, Candlemas-loving girl. This one day points us in all directions throughout the Christian year and the richness that brings to the liturgy is something that I will savour for the coming weeks.

Happy Candlemas!

 

POSTED 31.01.16 BY: Paul Woodbury | Comments Off on Candlemas: A Liturgical Pause

Carol Service Wednesday 9th!

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Come and join us for our traditional Carol Service with carols led by professional singers, and lessons read by members of the Moot community.  Bring your friends for this special service which will last about 45 minutes followed by mulled wine and mince pies.  We will take a collection during the service to go towards Moot’s work.

POSTED 07.12.15 BY: Paul Woodbury | Comments Off on Carol Service Wednesday 9th!