Category Archives: Our Parish

A glimpse into the future- and into the mirror!

What 3 words spring to mind when we imagine All Hallows in the year 2020? Here are the results from APCM Sunday. This is how we want to define ourselves into the future- and it’s very joyful, hopeful reading…

3 words wordle


And here’s how we see ourselves at the moment… Praise God for a short list of Weaknesses/Threats and loooooong list of Strengths and Opportunities!


The people!

Lots of love around

The warm acceptance of diversity

The café – enabling other works in the building

Fantastic garden space

Lots of people involved in different ways


Sense of fun

Shared lunches

We share bread and wine

We learn about God

We pray

We are an active church, and we go on outings

We have new people with us nearly every week

‘As a visitor, it is very friendly and dynamic’

Focus on social justice

Safe space to be LGBTQI

Sociable and extroverted (although this can be hard for some)



Good childrens’ work





Enthusiasm, energy, joy

Mix of people


‘It’s not like other churches… I mean it was so informal and full of love’ (Muslim police officer after licensing service)


Work with asylum seekers

We work together to make decisions about our life

Deep-thinking friends to share faith with

Weekly communal worship

PLAYING after church!



Not well-known enough

Need more fellowship

We’re all very busy – lack of time to meet together

Some services are long- especially all-age services

All-age services need to be inclusive of all ages, not just children

We find fault too easily, feed back more negative than positive, too much intellectual critiquing

Quiet people get overlooked- this is not inclusive

Intellectual- dominant balance of power in favour of the articulate



We are a close community, so newcomers can be ignored and feel a bit alone

Burn out! Too few people doing too many jobs

Overwhelm caused by too many desparate needs

Disunity caused by too many competing agendas (asylum seekers, LGBT, environment, worship, creativity) – need to work together

From all who are narrow-minded- religious and secular extremists




‘Losing’ elderly, increasingly frail parishioners

Capitalist greed



Reconnect with the local community- in service and worship

Links to/with other churches / communities

Growing in ‘discipleship’ – groups for fellowship and reading/applying bible and God’s kingdom to our everyday lives

Engagement with freshers week – followed up by beer & questions in the Royal Park pub

Taking a weekly ‘attendance register’ – making sure no-one goes unnoticed and uncared-for

Opening up access to the garden

More events etc to draw people in

The café and church as a community resource

To grow and change

Spreading a fair and equal philosophy to other churches

Messy Church for the community

Safe place to be gay/bi/trans-sexual

Focus outwards – serve and connect with the community, visit people in their homes

Space for creativity in worship and services

Another service- either 8am eucharist or afternoon/evening experimental worship

People often say ‘I don’t go to All Hallows much, but I’m glad it’s there- it gives hope for the church.’ WHY do they say this, and do we need to listen to why?

More food, cake and MIDNIGHT FEASTS!

More parties and events

More camping and walking trips

More learning bible history

More games

Advertise/publicise ourselves better

Tell people about All Hallows and what we do

Invite friends to come to church and to events/trips

Do a sponsored walk

Fresh eyes / new energy

Local multi-cultural friendships- mosques, churches, BLC, Neighbourhood Forum

Expectancy of great things from God

More children keep appearing!

Church AGM Sunday 19th April

On Sunday 19th April we will be hearing and praying about the different areas of the church life over the past year. Straight after the service will be the brief but important business of electing church wardens and PCC members for the next year, followed by a “bring and share” lunch. Over lunch we will be continuing our discussions from Holy Week on dreaming and praying for the next 5 years. Please join us!

To vote in the PCC you need to be on the All Hallows electoral roll. If you aren’t already and would like to be please contact Rachel Parks (

If you are interested in joining the PCC please feel free to discuss with Andrea Hill ( or any current member of the PCC. We are a friendly bunch who meet once a month to discuss and make decisions on a whole range of issues in the life of the church. We always welcome new members.

Message from the Church Wardens

It is with mixed emotions that we announce that the Rev Steve Smith will be leaving All Hallows’ in February 2014 after 5 years as vicar. Steve will be taking up the role of vicar at Mabe and Ponsanooth, near Falmouth in the Diocese of Truro, Cornwall.

We will be extremely sad to see Steve go but we are also happy for him as Simon is already working in Falmouth.

Please pray for

  • Steve in the next few months as he prepares to leave,
  • for Simon,
  • for the parishes of Mabe and Ponsanooth,
  • for ourselves at All Hallows’ as we prepare ourselves for a period of time without a vicar
  • for those who will be supporting us in continuing our ministry

We will be having a shared lunch after church on Sunday 1st December when we will have an opportunity to share our thoughts and feelings. We would be delighted if as many members of the All Hallows’ community as possible could be there.

Jan and Paul

Jan Betts and Paul Magnall
24 Nov 2013

Steve’s sermon notes for 20th Oct


Genesis 32.22-31
Psalm 121
2 Timothy 3.14 – 4.5
Luke 18.1-8

· Firstly a few words about the readings today and how they are partly at least about prayer and the need to be persistent in prayer:

Psalm 121 asks “Where does my help come from?” and the answer – “From God who made heaven and earth. If you like, a pre-requisite to prayer, knowing who you’re praying to;

· Genesis 32: Jacob at the Jabbok – “Bless me” – grabbing hold of God – even if you don’t know at the time that it is God; being bold, persistent, risking even being rude or selfish. Wrestling with ‘God’, or your conscience, or fate, or your demons… God as a help is in all…..

· 2 Tim 3.14-4.5: Scripture is there as a help … “proclaim the message: people will look elsewhere than God , so carry out your ministry fully – do the work of an evangelist… (meaning tell teach tend transform treasure – 5 MARKS OF MISSION) live out the gospel. To be persistent in these is also a form of practical praying.

· Luke 18.1-8 The judge has no fear of God or respect for people. If he could ultimately grant the woman justice, how much more will a loving God give justice to those who cry out to God day and night. Also an encouragement to those in difficulties – and an encouragement to be faithful in prayer for ourselves and others.

But as well as the traditional exposition of the readings for today I want to talk about a related issue: justice and how we respond to issues of justice today.

Last week Jack preached a great sermon on Jesus healing of the 10 lepers and used the nine lepers who didn’t return to thank Jesus, as alternative models for discipleship.

In his sermon he asked the controversial question, “Can the touch of Jesus become what seems to be not a blessing but a curse?”

The Old Testament reading for this Sunday is the story of Jacob at the ford of the river Jabbok wrestling with a strange figure all night. At daybreak Jacob receives a wound to his hip from the figure (who Jacob takes to be God ) who then proceeds to bless him. I found myself thinking, what kind of a message this was… That God can strike hurtfully one moment and then proceed to give a blessing (and then only after much pressing).

That of course is to view these things in very black-and-white terms and there are times and situations when we need to let go of our either-or mentality and see beyond such thinking for the ways in which seeming curses, injustices, disappointments, and so on might, when looked at through the lens of the grace of God, actually bear the seeds of blessing.

In the bible, examples might be Abram’s wife Sarai’s inability to bear children – it was this in part that led to God’s covenant with Abraham and the promise of descendants more numerous than the stars in the sky and the grains of sand on the seashore.

Or the Israelites’ slavery in Egypt which in the end led to freedom in the promised land… ?

And of course God can and does bring good things out of bad but it strikes me that if we start to justify bad stuff by looking at it in retrospect, in the light of good stuff that happens later on, we can get dangerously close to condoning almost anything – and worse, giving the chilling message to those who suffer dreadful poverty or illness or torture in the here-and-now, that one day it’ll all be put right … and in doing so we discount their suffering in the present moment and demonstrate our inability to really empathise with those who suffer.

Back to the gospel story of the woman and the unjust judge:

It seems to me it’s all too easy to judge and to condemn those who may well be guilty as hell; those who absolutely brought it on themselves … but are they not, like us, people for whom Jesus Christ lived and died as he did and shouldn’t that make a difference in how we treat each other, regardless of how good or bad we see other people as??

I watched The da Vinci Code the other night (again) and in amongst all the sifting through clues and codes and things, there was one particular line spoken by a character who turns out unexpectedly to be a baddie: “We tend to see what we look for”

Cue the gorilla in the basketball game! – This is a set-up where people are asked to watch a video of a basketball game between a black-shirted team and a white -shirted team and (on some pretext to with research or similar) asked to count the moves made by the white-shirts. Afterwards when they’ve all answered what they thought was the point of the video clip, the audience is asked if they noticed the gorilla moving amongst the players. People don’t believe it but on re-playing the clip, there, walking nonchalantly through the basketball players, is a man in a gorilla suit. And not one person notices him! We see what we look for – in that case what we are told to look for; and our subconscious mind blanks out everything else!

Is it possible I wonder, that the woman in the gospel story recognised perhaps at an sub-conscious level, something good, potentially, (even something of God, maybe) in the unjust judge? That vestigial bit of him that, though hidden by his bruised and cynical humanity still resembled the God in whose image he was made? Could it have been this that made her persevere in complaining and giving him no peace? Or maybe it was just her plain need for justice. It is just a story Jesus made up, anyhow. BUT:

The important question that I think needs asking is, What do we look for in other people?

· A target for our desire to avenge another’s suffering?

· An excuse to punish someone for an injustice done to us?

· Someone to help perpetuate and provide the pay-off in the self-destructive games we play and replay throughout our lives if we’re not careful?

· Someone to make me feel better about myself, by comparison?

· Other….

Because if we are looking for these, even unwittingly, we are liable to completely miss the hurt child of fifty-something whose selfish, arrogant or hurtful behaviour is hurting him-or herself – behaviour that may be an unwitting cry for help to get out of the pit that they can’t climb out of by themselves. So when I say I am strongly in favour of justice and especially social justice, which is often about finding justice for other people, what exactly do I mean? What am I after?

1. What is ‘just ‘according to the law (Which law? Whose interpretation of the law? Mine?)

2. What I’d like to happen to others (good things – blessings – to those I see as good people; punishment or shame – cursings – to those I see as bad)?

Ø We’re not told what the woman’s case was about; all we know on that score is that she ‘wanted justice’– compare the story of the King and the thief (The king granted the thief, having been found guilty, a boon; he asked for justice, to which the king replied, “Then you shall hang; if you had asked for mercy, mercy is what I would have given you.”) The Christian message contains includes the idea that justice -real justice- cannot be divorced from mercy: “Justice and peace have kissed (or embraced) each other – they have become enmeshed…

Ø So the demand – or even the request for justice is one we should take very seriously and think very carefully about and remember that we are called by the merciful God to show mercy too. And what we expect in terms of justice, for ourselves or others, may be very different from the expectations, the needs, or the desires, of others.

Ø Finally, Jacob says in the old testament reading, “I have seen God face-to face” – and later sways to Esau, “Truly your face is the face of God”. If the face of God can be seen in those who have, or might, cause us pain, let us determine always look for the face of God in the face of every person we meet – whoever they are ‘just or unjust’. We may be surprised at the blessings that ensue.


Terrarium at All Hallows                                                                       

Saturday August 10th saw an exciting evening of brilliant contemporary dance, visual art and fantastic break dancing.

First up was ‘Terrarium’ with Simon Birch Dance, fresh from their successful tour including the City of London Festival and the SALT festival in Cornwall. Debbi Purtill and James Southward performed the powerful and moving to John Hughes’ specially-composed soundtrack played through eight ‘Ambisonic’ speakers and the effect was breath-taking.



In an extended interval the audience had the chance to view an exhibition of beautiful visual art by Sheffield artist Trish O’Shea and local artist Nick Greenhall.


To cap the evening off, break dance group Shaolin Shadow gave a magnificent display of break dancing followed by a ‘dance battle’ – inviting some local lads to join in and show off their skills too.


Quite apart from being a scintillating  evening’s entertainment, the event raised over £700 towards our plans to repair and renovate the church roof – but even more wonderful than that was the atmosphere of excitement, togetherness and sheer delight in  the variety of creativity that was so generously on offer. Many thanks to the artistic contributors and to all whose efforts (box office, bar, food, raffle) made the evening so lovely and so memorable.

Love to all, Steve

A Fundraising evening for All Hallows! Saturday August 10th 7pm


  • A great chance to see Contemporary dance piece ‘Terrarium’ which toured North York Moors National Park last year and this year tours London and Cornwall;
  • PLUS: TWO break-dance crews including our own Crucial Crew who practice at All Hallows every week;
  • PLUS: Music, visual art exhibits (Some for sale)  and refreshments  & raffle tickets (all for sale! )
  • PLUS: BAR!

Tickets £6 on the door (children & students half price) or book online at:

Please come and support All Hallows’ ministry among the people of this parish and wider afield,

Steve Smith, vicar

A gift from the past…

These four stoles (pictured) arrived recently with the accompanying letter from Mrs Rosemary Evans of Bedford. Mrs Evans writes that the stoles belonged to the late Reverend John Frame (vicar of All Hallows 1942-50) and were passed to John’s sister Joyce, who thought we might be glad to receive them.


The letter goes on:

“After being educated at Reading School, (John) went on St Edmund Hall, Oxford, graduating with an honours degree in Modern History in 1935; his ordination as a priest in the Church of England followed training at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. His curacies in Leeds between 1937 and 1940 were at St George’s and St Cyprian’s churches and during his incumbency at All Hallows church (1942-50) he was at some time Scoutmaster of the 11th Northwest Leeds Group. After leaving the church he taught religion and other subjects for many years until his retirement in 1977, dying in October 1986. I do hope that the stoles can still be put to good us.”

I’m very glad to think that his surviving sister felt that these stoles should return to the church where her brother was once incumbent.


“Have your say!”

This last week, like a lot of people, I’ve been laid up with a chest cold and I’ve watched and listened to more TV and radio than I normally do in a whole month!

Apart from the aftermath of the death of Margaret Thatcher and the tensions between North Korea and most of the rest of the world, the one thing that’s struck me most coming over the airwaves is the almost constant invitation to ‘Have Your Say’…

It seems that there’s not much going on in the world that you and I are not required to have an opinion about: has the local authority got its social care policy right, did the murderers get a long enough sentence; does global warming really exist, what do you think about the proposed route of the High Speed Train, should we bring back dog licences, should we eat more horsemeat, the list is seemingly endless and we’ve all got to be on one side or another, it seems, and we’ve all got to have our say – let everyone else know where we stand!

Opinion has been sharply divided this week between those who are fans of the late baroness Thatcher and those who are not; on the one hand those who believe she ‘made Britain great again’ and on the other those who like Glenda Jackson see in the Thatcher era’s spiritual legacy “Sharp elbows, sharp knees, greed, selfishness, no care for the weak…” – The one thing everyone seems to be agreed on is that Margaret Thatcher in death as in life divides opinion.

The thing about opinions is that while most people seem to have them, the ones that get as far as the TV or radio are not really listened to – in the sense of being taken seriously; they don’t seem to have any real power or influence; it seems to me they are just there to fill the air-time or maybe to lend some dignity to the idea that our opinion actually matters, if only to ourselves listening to ourselves on the media, being famous.

There are those who look at the opinions of the masses even more cynically: Oscar Wilde is quoted as saying, “By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.”

But whether educated or worthy or not, the point of having an opinion is surely to try to persuade others to agree with it and all this got me thinking about what happens when our opinions are just discounted or ignored… and it seems to me that two things tend to happen: Either

1) Frustration understandably leads to anger. The danger here is that if no one heeds our call we can be drawn into letting the sharpness of life make us sharp-elbowed – and that way lie aggression and even violence. OR,

2) Frustration understandably leads to apathy The danger here, like so many broken ex-working communities is to then fall into depression and even into despair.

Opinions are to do with a desire for power or influence and at root I guess they are about making judgements – and judgement is about taking responsibility.

For us Christians, judgement and responsibility are things w of the church for the e need to take very seriously. For us, being the eyes and hands and feet and mouthpieces of Jesus Christ, our opinions, reflected in the judgements we make and the responsibilities we take, speak volumes about just how much Jesus actually influences our lives.

This next week sees the Annual General Meeting of the church here at All Hallows and we shall be electing some of the leaders of the church for the coming year.

You may or may not think that the leaders of the church should demonstrate the same qualities as the late Margaret Thatcher – although one thing everyone I’ve heard who has been thoughtful and gracious in their responses to Mrs Thatcher’s legacy has mentioned the fact that whatever else you thought of her, she took her responsibilities very seriously.

We at All Hallows are a very small congregation in number and it’s vital for the life of the church that everyone here takes very seriously the fact that we all have a part to play in one form or another, whether on the Parochial Church Council, or helping with admin or caretaking or room bookings or cleaning or helping with Kids Church or taking communion to sick people at home or whatever. It’s far too easy to “let others get on with it” and treat the church like a club that you might belong to, but not take responsibility for… because the world we live in, whether you believe it’s Thatcher’s legacy or not, is full of people who need to hear the gospel message from a church that is full of people who take that message, and those people, seriously enough to take responsibility for them.Today’s gospel ends with the three-fold ‘Do you love me?’ question to Peter and the command at each response ‘Well then do something about it – feed my sheep’

Have your say by all means but love needs to be seen in action.

Are you on the Electoral Roll?

Once every six years the electoral roll is renewed, this means that everyones name is removed from the electoral roll and you must make a new application to be put back on it.

What is the electoral roll?
It is the parish church’s register of electors; if you are on the Electoral Roll, you are entitled to nominate, be nominated for, and vote for membership of the PCC and Deanery Synod.

So, are you on the electoral roll?
Well, if you haven’t filled in a new form this year then, no, you aren’t!

What do I need to do?
Attached to this post is an application form that you can fill in to join / rejoin the electoral roll. You can also get a paper copy at Church. This form also contains space for you to add your details (phone and email address)  for addition to the All Hallows’ Church Directory. If you do not want any of those details to be included in the Directory please tick the boxes accordingly.
Please return completed forms to the Electoral Roll officer (Bob) or to any of the clergy or church wardens.


Electoral Roll Form

Waxwings at All Hallows!


Photo taken Sunday morning 18th November 2012

looking west from All Hallows. The total number of birds in this flock was 53 !