This week at St Peter's

Please note that since publication of this newsletter, the Donald Barnes Memorial lecture and the Mark Crooks Jazz Quartet concert have had to be cancelled as a result of the lockdown due to COVID-19




PARISH NEWS SHEET 29 October 2020



Please note these forthcoming events:

Saturday 31st October at St Peter’s

We are delighted to invite you to our next concert at St Peter's Belsize Park
a piano recital by Matthew Drinkwater at 7.00pm on Saturday 31 October.   
Matthew played at St Peter's a few years ago, and we welcome him back most warmly.                   

Matthew will play a selection of works by Schubert, Liszt and Grieg.   
The full programme is shown below.   

This performance, in common with concerts at other London venues, will be subject to current
public health regulations. 
The audience will be limited in size to a maximum of 50 in socially distanced seating.   
Everyone will be asked to sanitise hands and write down their contact details as they arrive.   
Face coverings are required unless you have a medical exemption.

Tickets at £10 per person may be reserved in advance by emailing the churchwardens:   

Payment in cash (a banknote in an open envelope, please) will be taken on the door on the evening of the performance. 
Admission will necessarily be restricted to those who have made a prior reservation.

Interval drinks will be served to the audience in their seats (with a request for a cash donation to cover costs.)


Schubert:   Sonata in G major D.894


Liszt:   Harmonies poétiques et religieuses S.173: Funérailles 

Grieg:   6 Lyric Pieces op.43

  1. Schmetterling (Butterfly)
  2. Einsamer Wanderer (Solitary traveller)
  3. In der Heimat (In my country)
  4. Voglein (Little Bird)
  5. Erotik (Erotikon)
  6. An den Fruhling (To the Spring)

Liszt:   Harmonies poétiques et religieuses S.173: Cantique d’amour

Matthew Drinkwater, an alumnus of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the Royal College of Music, has performed extensively as a soloist and collaborator across the UK and abroad, most recently in 2019 and 2018 at Edinburgh Festival, the BBC Proms, Buckingham Palace and elsewhere.

Chamber music and accompaniment are a central part of his performing career, working with the Poznansky Trio, cellists Willard Carter and Sebastian Poznansky, and baritones Theo Platt and Paul Vialard to name a few.

He has also had performances broadcast on BBC Radio 3, Classic FM
and ITV television.

Sunday 1st November on Zoom

This Sunday is All Saints Day, and in our virtual 10.30am Eucharistbeamed from St Saviour’s church - we will honour that commemoration of all those who first trod the path of Christian Faith and, in many cases, gave their lives to witness to Christ (the hymn ‘For all the Saints’ will feature, for instance). But we will also be taking the opportunity (as the Festival falls only the next day, on 2nd November) to observe the Feast of All Souls. We will devote time to remembering departed loved ones whose names have been submitted (by this Saturday afternoon, N.B.) to be read out, and candles to be lit for them, in a simple ceremony of loving remembrance.

If you would simply like to participate with us as the service takes place you can find links from Saturday evening on either of our websites
( or

Wednesday 4th November

The Annual Donald Barnes Memorial Lecture will this year be given by Bishop Richard Harries (Lord Harries of Pentregarth – writer, broadcaster and former Bishop of Oxford).

His voice will be familiar to many from Radio 4’s ‘Thought for the Day’, and we are delighted to welcome him back to St Peter’s, where he will speak (from 2.30-4pm)
on the subject ‘T.S.Eliot’s Four Quartets Re-visited’, and sign any previously bought books of his which are brought along.





R I C H A R D    H A R R I E S

(Lord Harries of Pentregarth – writer, broadcaster and former Bishop of Oxford)

“T.S.Eliot’s Four Quartets  Revisited”

on Wednesday 4 November from 2.30 -4pm

in St Peter’s Church, Belsize Square, London NW3 4HJ


Free lecture but donations welcome

This event, like everything else, will be subject to current public health restrictions. 
The audience will be limited in size to a maximum of 50 in socially distanced seating.   
Everyone will be asked to sanitise hands and write down their contact details as they arrive. 
Face coverings are required unless you have a medical exemption.

Admission will necessarily be restricted to those who have made a prior reservation – by email to the churchwardens:

For enquiries phone: 020 7341 1202.

NB :  Books cannot be sold at the event, but  Richard Harries will be happy to sign any copies you bring.

Daunt’s Bookshop will have copies of his two most recent books,
“Haunted by Christ: Modern Writers and the Struggle for Faith” and
“Seeing God in Art: The Christian Faith in 30 Images”, both published by SPCK.


For those unable to attend the Lecture in person, it will be available to view on St Peter’s and St Saviour’s YouTube channel from the next day.   

Click on


Jazz at St Saviour’s Saturday 7th November 6pm

A reminder of this fun event with three leading jazz artists.
This is a welcome return to St Peter’s by The Mark Crooks Jazz Trio,
whose last gig there in February was a joy hear.

Virtuoso reeds player, Mark Crooks (The Lincoln Center NYC, John Wilson Orchestra) leads his acclaimed trio in an evening of swinging jazz standards and authentic Latin American song.

Joined by award-winning vocalist/lyricist Georgia Mancio (Alan Broadbent,
Ian Shaw, Bobby McFerrin) and stellar guitarist Colin Oxley (Stacey Kent,
Scott Hamilton, Bill Charlap). 

An evening of beautiful and uplifting music – in a Covid secure environment
(please come with a face covering) - from three of the UK’s finest jazz musicians.

To reserve a place (numbers have to be limited!) email or ring/text 07968 167454



…and of considerable local interest…

with my apologies to Janet (author of this piece) for not getting round to this News Sheet sooner!

Perhaps, like me, you had been assuming, especially with work on HS2 literally under our noses in Adelaide Road, that this controversial railway project is now a fait accompli and that all protest has fallen silent. Not so. If you saw the Camden New Journal of 3 September, you may have read about the protest taking place against the felling of the giant plane trees in Euston Square gardens to make way for a temporary taxi rank ahead of the construction of a new railway terminus, and you will have noted the striking photograph of the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, in conversation with one of the organisers on his visit to the protest. In the same week, commenting on the larger demonstration by Christian Climate Action in Parliament Square, which he also attended, Lord Williams said: 'People of faith . . . believe they can make a difference of some kind and that that difference is worth making. We’re at a remarkable moment of opportunity. People are talking about building back better. We have to take that opportunity. It’s not just recovering what’s been lost but building again something that is genuinely more sustainable. Because, in the last few months, we have seen the possibility of some alternatives that might work, and I think people of faith ought to be on board with making those alternatives work.' (Church Times, 4 September 2020. p. 2)

The Camden New Journal issue of 10 September had further coverage of the protest at Euston, and the correspondence pages carried two letters, one containing links to petitions open for signing:

The latter is concerned specifically with the threat to the water supply posed by the drilling of piles to carry a viaduct across the reservoir in the Colne valley.
And for further information about the plans for the Private Members' Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill, see

The Camden New Journal continues to cover the subject, and the issue of 17 September carried a letter commending Camden Council for its decision to embed legal duties relating to the climate and ecological emergency into its constitution.

As at the time of writing (18 October) the Tree Protection Camp in Euston Square is still in place.

Janet Cowen


St. Luke the Evangelist Feast Day - October 18 - Saint of the Day -
St Luke – Evangelist, Physician…and Artist


18th October is the Feast of St Luke the Evangelist.
At our Sunday Eucharist on that day, earlier this month,
our Children’s Minister, Revd. Petrica Bistran – himself an artist and painter – preached an inspiring sermon which opened out our appreciation of this 1st century saint




I’m very excited to be able to speak today on this special feast day of St Luke the Evangelist. Of the three synoptic gospel writers, he is my favourite. And you will see why.

We don’t know much about his life, unfortunately. We know that his name is Greek. He was probably born in the Greek city of Antioch, in ancient Syria. But he might have been a Hellenised Jew rather than a Gentile. We believe that Luke is the author of the Gospel that bears his name and the book of Acts. The two books are, in fact, one literary masterpiece.

We also know that Luke was not an eyewitness to the ministry of Jesus. So he was probably a disciple of St Paul. Paul tells us in his letters that Luke was indeed a very faithful companion and co-worker with him in the field of mission and, famously, a physician (Phile. 1:24, 2 Tim. 4:11, Col. 4:14). But nothing more is made of the fact that Luke was a doctor. His medical skills may have contributed to his livelihood. But from what we read in the Acts of the Apostles, we can say that Luke’s principal occupation was that of a missionary more than anything else.

Luke used much of his ink to write about Paul and his great missionary journeys. And he also wrote sections of the book of Acts in the first-person plural, “we”, which shows that he contributed greatly, alongside Paul, to the spread of the gospel to the Gentiles. But there’s something else that adds to the image of St Luke as a physician, and that is the way he writes about things. We can see from his writing a ‘scientific’ mind at work. The many accounts of miraculous healing that are found in his books are told in a language that only a doctor would use. He pays great attention to details. But his sharp eye and great ability to record facts make him not only a writer interested in empirical knowledge but also as great historian. The “we” sections in the book of Acts, for instance, are similar in style to travel reports found elsewhere in writings of the Greco-Roman period.[1] He is not only a well-informed historian, but a very clever one, because he wants to tell God’s truth almost as a historical fact.

However, and this is why he is my favourite, there’s something else in his writing that make him one of the most interesting and powerful N.T. writers. He is not only a highly educated first-century scientist, he is also an artist! Of course, Luke is not only the patron saint of physicians and surgeons, but also artists and writers, students, and even butchers (a lost art in some parts of the world)!

There is a long and strong tradition of Luke as a painter. He is believed to have been an icon painter, the first who gave us the image of the Mother of God holding the Child Jesus at her side. Luke is very often portrayed in art as someone who is painting a portrait of the Virgin Mary. I don’t know if he was an actual painter (I like the idea as a painter myself, and who knows), but he definitely painted in words a world so beautiful and, at the same time, so believable that it’s hard to resist! He was an artist in conveying God’s truth in a winsome and compelling way. We don’t have time to go into many details today, but here are a couple of reasons why for Luke art and beauty are just as important as objective facts and
scientific knowledge.

First, Luke knows that there is more to our physical reality than we can see, and he wants to help us be able to penetrate the opacity of our world so that we might see God’s very presence in the world. Luke does not claim to be an eyewitness, but instead one who has "carefully investigated everything from the beginning" and wants to "write an orderly account" of what has taken place. (Luke 1:1-4)

One of my questions then is, what are all those angels and supernatural miracles doing in a report that claims to be historically accurate? Right from the beginning of his gospel, when he tells the story of the birth of John the Baptist, it is the angel of the Lord (angel Gabriel) who is conducting God’s business with the father-to-be of John the Baptist. And then there’s the famous visitation of the angel to Mary, a virgin, who is to give birth to the Saviour of the World. And then again, an angel of the Lord tells the shepherds to rejoice because the Messiah is born! And then suddenly an army of heavenly beings appear with the angel outside Bethlehem, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven…” (Luke 2:14).

Why so many angels? It would be quite embarrassing even for a first-century, respectable doctor and historian to talk about angels with such ease as if they are our upstairs neighbours. But angels are not a problem for Luke, because for Luke our physical world is not a disenchanted, empty and meaningless place, but one that is saturated with the spiritual. The thin places when heaven meets the earth can be anywhere and experienced at any time. God’s world has come very near us!
(Luke 10:9)

Second, Luke knows that God’s objective truth can be so much more easily accepted when presented beautifully. Beauty has the power to attract us and lead us to truth. Luke makes great use of artistic devices (poetry, visual imageries, great story telling) to help us believe that which seems unbelievable. What is unique to his gospel is truly beautiful! He has given us the Magnificat and the song of Simeon. Two of the most beautiful pieces of poetry ever written!

Only Luke’s Gospel tells the parables of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son, and Luke recounts them with exquisite, emotional detail. What would the good news of Jesus be without the great parable of the Prodigal Son? And only the Gospel of Luke relates, with superb literary skill, the powerfully-intimate and psychologically-charged story of Emmaus, when the eyes of two disillusioned disciples were open to recognise the risen Lord! He writes his gospel as if God’s reality and truth can only be understood in beauty and expressed through art! The Greeks wanted knowledge and the Romans wanted power, but what Luke seems to be saying is that Christianity can offer a spirituality that is filled with beauty and art, and therefore good and true!

In our reading for today from chapter 10 of Luke’s Gospel, Jesus sends his disciples ahead of him to prepare his way. The disciples will have to go to every town and village where Jesus would go, but they will have to stay only in the houses where they are welcome, only in those places where they find peace and hospitality, in other words, beauty. And only then are they to perform miracles, to heal the sick and cast out demons, to express God’s goodness. And after all that they should say “the kingdom of God has come near you,” that is God’s truth. (Luke 10:8-9)

For Luke there’s a natural movement from beauty to goodness, and from goodness to truth. He knows that truth, even God’s truth, cannot be forced on people, and that God’s truth should not come before his beauty and goodness. They are all manifestations of the same divine reality! For Luke science and beauty are not in opposition to each other but come from the same Creator who has made all things work together in beautiful harmony. Luke is “Fra Angelico” of the gospels, with his vision of total harmony!

Today, as we celebrate St Luke the Evangelist and Physician, we remember and celebrate all the physicians, doctors, nurses, medical stuff and scientists whose work is indispensable in our fight against this terrible virus. But today we also remember and celebrate the artist, the musician, the poet, the maker of beauty, and we embrace and encourage the arts which play their crucial part during this difficult time in, quite frankly, keeping us sane! The arts continue to give us hope, pleasure and beauty for our minds and hearts and our homes.

Our society is shutting down again as the second wave of coronavirus seems more and more inevitable. And by all accounts, we’re heading into a bleak and tough winter filled with uncertainties and confusion. But today, on this special feast day, we are reminded that however dark and hopeless the world may get, there’s always the possibility of a miracle, an angel, something supernatural and beautiful just around the corner. The miraculous is not far removed from the everyday. Amen.



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