Christian Unity

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity takes place this year from 18 – 25 January. This year’s resources have been prepared by the ecumenical Monastic Community of Grandchamp in Switzerland.  The theme that was chosen, “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit”, is based on John 15: 1-17 and expresses Grandchamp Community’s vocation to prayer, reconciliation and unity in the church and the human family.  Follow this link for more information about the Community:

https://www.grandchamp.org

On these websites you will find A Guide for Daily Prayer that you can use individually or as a family throughout the eight-day period.

https://ctbi.org.uk/week-of-prayer-for-christian-unity-2021/

https://unitedeschretiens.fr/semaine-de-priere-pour-unite-chretiens/

https://www.oikoumene.org/events/week-of-prayer-for-christian-unity

 

 

Starting 2021

In the season of Epiphany Mark Barwick writes:

“We have turned the page on 2020 and gladly so! But where will we find light in the darkness which persists in this new year?
Wise men (and women) still follow the light which leads to the Child of Bethlehem. Here we find a God that does not abandon us but enters our world to heal, to save and to restore. This light can appear pretty dim these days. It is there nonetheless, bidding us forward, giving us hope and yes, even joy.”

Therefore, tant même: A very happy New Year to you all!

Christmas Message on YouTube

It’s a double premiere for St. Alban’s: our own site on YouTube and a filmed Christmas message from our priest Mark Barwick, in English with French subtitles.  Recorded in the church of our kind hosts, the Dominican community in Strasbourg, his thoughts centre around the word Emmanuel: God with us, even in these difficult times.

To see and hear what he has to say, just follow this link.

Mark Barwick recording his Christmas message.

A blessed and peaceful Christmas to all!

Our Christmas Day service of the Holy Eucharist starts at 10.00am (half an hour earlier than usual!)

 

Back to church! Retour à l’église!

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
Entrez par ses portes en rendant grâce

In keeping with the government’s plan progressively to ease lockdown measures, we have resumed worship services at the Dominicans’ Chapel. You will find procedures will be similar to those in place before the most recent lockdown, except that the space between seats has been somewhat widened.  Our service of Holy Eucharist will be at 10.30h.

Don’t forget your masks!

Conformément au plan du gouvernement visant à alléger progressivement
les mesures du confinement, nous avons repris les services de culte.
Vous trouverez des procédures similaires à celles en place avant le confinement le plus récent,
sauf que l’espace entre les sièges a été quelque peu élargi.  À 10.30h  nous célébrons l’Eucharistie.

N’oubliez pas vos masques !

Church under Corona conditions

On Trinity Sunday the congregation of St. Alban’s was at long last able to assemble again in the Church of the Dominicans.  In close cooperation with the Dominican brothers, seating arrangements have been  changed and hygiene precautions scrupulously maintained.  During the service all members of the congregation wear masks, the doors are kept open, and afterwards seats and surfaces are wiped with disinfectant.  Hymn books have been replaced by hymn sheets which can be disposed of after the service. The service itself is shorter than usual, and now lasts about an hour. Parents of young children in particular appreciate that!

Communion is celebrated diffently too. Instead of forming a circle round the altar, those wishing to receive communion or a blessing go up to the chancel step one by one, and, after disinfecting their hands, receive a wafer from the priest who at this stage is wearing a mask.  The cup of wine is no longer shared.  Ushers make sure that social distancing is maintained, and all move in one direction.

We are able to sing, too, albeit quietly and wearing masks. Katherine Parsons and David Cowley accompany the congregation on the organ and guitar.

Members of the Ministry Team also organised a Zoom service of Evening Prayer on Sunday evenings for all those who preferred not to take part in services at the Dominicans. This Sunday evening service will now be replaced by an online Evening Prayer meeting on Tuesday evenings at 18.30h.

Being back in church together, albeit under rather strange circumstances, has been very much appreciated.  Elisabeth says:  “Ravie de retrouver les sourires et les petits gestes d’amitié des membres de notre église. C’est quand même mieux que les attitudes figées devant l’écran Zoom qui déforme les voix…!   And Victoria: “Through our faith, we can share the same values – that we want to share God’s grace, love with those in need.”  It is indeed good to see one another again face to face, even at a safe distance, and to be able to share in the Eucharist again.  Church is about coming together to worship and give thanks – and to celebrate a community which is open to all.  Even if at the moment we cannot meet for coffee after the service,only on the pavement outside the church instead, we hope to maintain the caring and sharing spirit of St. Alban’s  even in difficult times.

Season of Creation – Harvest / Moisson

On Sunday 4th October St. Alban’s celebrated the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi with a Harvest Festival. This also marked the end of the Season of Creation which began on 1 September. Christians around the world have committed themselves to the work of protecting the Earth, through prayer and hands-on activities.

During the service, Madeleine and Louisa took it in turns to read out the Canticle of Creation by St. Francis.

Gifts of food were donated to the Salvation Army, which provides breakfast for many homeless people in Strasbourg.

 

He’s made it! – Frederick completes his walking challenge for ACAS

Sunday 5 July: the supporters have assembled with masks and plenty of social distance, the barbecue is fired up, Nigel and Bill’s cameras and microphones are at the ready and the hero of the hour, Frederick William-Smith, embarks on his 89th lap around his house with his walker.

The last-but-one lap

For the last, the 90th lap, however, he discards the walker and relies instead entirely on his two sticks. 35 days after he embarked upon this venture, he completes the last lap and achieves the goal he set himself, to walk a total of 9 km. around the perimeter of his house. Neither heat nor cold, sunshine or rain have deterred him.

90 laps completed

 

 

 

Aged 90 – hence 90 laps – and only three months after having had a toe amputated, Frederick has proved equal to the challenge of raising  as much money as possible from donations to support the charitable giving of St. Alban’s. All those who have sponsored Frederick’s 90 laps are helping Christian school children in Pakistan to complete their education, are enabling the storm-ravaged church of the Anglican church in Foulpointe, in Madagascar,to be rebuilt and are supporting refugees in Strasbourg.

Thanks and congratulations to Frederick and his wife Maryline, and to all those who have supported this venture. Frederick has proved that even under the most arduous of Corona restrictions a man with a sense of purpose can achieve great things!

Congratulations Frederick William-Smith

Plenty of encouragement

Frederick’s Walk for ACAS

On 2nd June, the day after Pentecost, Frederick started on his 90-lap walk around the perimeter of his house in order to raise money for St. Alban’s charitable wing, ACAS.  In a short ceremony he was sent on his way by St. Alban’s priest Mark Barwick and other enthusiastic supporters.

Now, three weeks later, he has completed well over 70 laps, that is more than 7kms / 4 miles, and he is still going strong.  His goal of 90 laps is now well in sight. No mean feat considering his age – he turned 90 this year, hence 90 laps – and his reduced mobility after a recent foot operation.

The response so far has been all that he has hoped for: €2900 have already been pledged and more has been promised.  That means that ACAS (Association caritative anglicane de Strasbourg) will be able to continue supporting its long-term projects: caring for refugees in Strasbourg, educating Christian school children in Pakistan, and supporting an Anglican church in eastern Madagascar which has repeatedly been harried by hurricanes.

All are asked to continue supporting Frederick with both encouragement and donations as he completes his 90 laps and tots up the grand total of 9 km.

Through the garden, round the side of the house and along the pavement outside = 1 lap

Frederick walking in mid-June with the support of physio Stéphane and cheered on by Chantal.

Back in church again: Trinity Sunday at St. Alban’s

Half an hour earlier than usual, seated far apart in long rows in the middle of the church, hands disinfected, masks on faces: Trinity Sunday at the Dominicans was very different from usual.  The main thing though was that for the first time since 15 March St. Alban’s was able to congregate again to celebrate the Holy Eucharist. 43 people, adults and children, attended the service which was shorter than usual, and accompanied by George Temeso on the  drums. Instead of forming a circle around the altar to receive Holy Communion, we filed up one side aisle to receive a wafer from Mark at the altar steps, and returned to our seats down the other aisle.  In his sermon Mark referred to the memorial to Sir Robert Shirley in the church of the Holy Trinity in Stanton Harold, Leicestershire, which he founded in the aftermath of the English Civil War.  He had “done the best things in the worst times, and hoped them in the most calamitous.” That could be our guideline, Mark said.

Back together again at the Dominicans.

At 5 pm on Zoom there was a service of Evensong for all those who  were unable or unwilling to come to church for the morning service, led by John Murray.  In future other members of the ministry team will also lead this service every Sunday.

Tuesday Prayers continue on Zoom on Tuesdays (!) from 18.30h to 19.30h.