St Paul's is used for services, christenings, weddings, funerals, book groups, rehearsals, plays, meetings, school shows, concerts, Bible study courses, confirmation classes, private prayers and more! Read on to find out what our church can offer you!
Our main act of worship is on Sundays at 10am, when we welcome families and children. This is a Parish Communion following the new Common Worship service. The Liturgy is sung in a modern setting especially composed for St Paul’s by Mike Dixon. After the service coffee is served at the back of the church or in the garden, giving people a chance to meet and chat.
A christening can be part of our Sunday morning service, or we can arrange a special service. You are very welcome to use our lovely church garden or the Isis rooms which adjoin the church for a party following the christening, or to have a drinks reception at the back of the church. Please contact our churchwardens if you would like to discuss a christening at St Paul's.
St Paul's is a beautiful place to host this special day. It is also possible to have have a drinks reception in the church and its garden, or use the adjoining Isis rooms for a party. The photo above is of the wedding of Jane and Peter Valentin in June 2017, with their lovely daughters and bridesmaids Rosie and Florence! If you are interested in using St Paul's for your special day, please contact our churchwardens.
Below are some photos from the wedding of Celia Surtees and Christopher Charlwood; which was held at St Paul's
in the summer of 2015. As you can see, they had their reception in a large marquee in the vicarage garden and were fortunate to have lovely weather too!
Hiring Our Church
Our church has a superb acoustic, and is increasingly in demand as a venue for recitals, concerts and reheasals. It can comfortably seat 300 people, and the old 1920s
choir stalls have recently been removed, which means there is now a very large space at the top of the church which can be used by musicians or singers. Some groups have also hired raised staging (as
pictured below) which makes this space even more effective when used by a large choir, or you can use the red chairs we have in church. There is a good quality organ, and we have a superb Petrov grand piano. We have recently upgraded the lighting system in the church and our
multi-spot system has many different settings which can be adjusted to suit your needs. There is a high quality Bose sound system with speakers throughout the church. St
Paul's is frequently used by the Kew Sinfonia and Hounslow Symphony Orchestra for concerts, and is also the regular rehearsal venue for the West London Chorus. If you would
like to book the church as a rehearsal, recording or concert venue, please talk to either of our churchwardens:
Our Community Hall and Garden
The St Paul's Community Hall (also known as the Isis rooms) adjoins the church and can be accessed through the church and also from two separate outside doors which lead into the lovely church garden. (The upstairs Isis Rooms are currently rented by a local business.) The Community Hall has recently been fully decorated and is a lovely light bright space. The floor is wooden, and there are plenty of tables and chairs. There is a serving hatch through to the hall from the kitchen, which is well equipped with a sink, oven, hob and microwave. The community hall and adjoining church garden are available for booking for parties on Saturdays and Sunday afternoons and are very popular for birthdays and other celebrations!
To find out more, contact Anusha Rajiyah on 07515 137483
The hall leads out into a private and completely enclosed garden which contains benches and some children's play equipment making it a superb venue for a fabulous family function! If you would like to book the Community Hall and/or garden for an event, or you'd like to have a look round then please talk to Anusha Rajiyah on 07515 137483 or you can email her at email@example.com.
We sing during Communion every week and meet for a short practice session at 9:30am on Sundays. This is an informal group, no robes required and new members are most welcome! We also sometimes sing anthems on special occasions, and perform music of all kinds at the many St Paul's concerts! To find out more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Coffee club is every Friday, in church, between 10:45 and12 noon. Everyone is welcome to pop in for a chat, a cuppa and some delicious cake! We'd especially like to reach out to the elderly members of our community who would appreciate some company, so if you know anyone who may be feeling isolated, please do encourage them to come along! There will be a short overlap with the Stay and Play session, which also runs on a Friday morning, so that the toddlers can mix with our older parishioners.
Stay and Play
A friendly session for babies and toddlers together with their parents and carers. Lots of activities for pre-schoolers, both indoors and outdoors, and a cuppa and a chat for the grown-ups.
Sessions run every Friday, from 9:30-11:30 in the Isis Rooms . For more information, please contact Shelagh Allsop on 07710 385839 or email@example.com
£1 voluntary contribution per family, which includes drinks and snacks!
On Mondays, the meditation group meet at Shelia White's home at 6.45 pm for about half an hour. We practice the tradition of meditation followed by World Community of Meditation which is ecumenical. A quiet celebration of communion often follows at 7.30pm. We are often joined by members of other churches. All are welcome to attend either event or both.
Poetry and Prose Group
The poetry group was started during the Covid lockdown in March 2020 and now meets via Zoom every Thursday to share poetry, prose and conversation! We find it an inspiring and thought-provoking hour, and a lovely way to connect with others. You can join the group by phone as well as via a video link, please email email firstname.lastname@example.org if this appeals to you. We have put the poems we read durng lockdown into sixteen anthologies and you can read them by clicking on, and downloading the pdfs below.
The Youth Group is currently not running, but we hope very much that it will restart shortly. Everyone from ages 11-17 was most welcome in the vicarage between 4.30-6pm, on the last Sunday of every month. The Youth Group comprised a mixture of activities such as baking, table tennis, snooker and some discussion of philosophical or religious ideas where doubts were welcomed and questions encouraged! We aimed to provide a safe and non-judgemental space for young people to explore what they really believe and what they think about God and the church. If you'd like to find out more about St Paul's Youth Group, then please contact Bea Vickers on 07766 491716 or email@example.com
The Book Group stopped during the pandemic, but we hope to retart it again soon. It was formed by a group of Grove Park Christians who were interested in exploring spiritual texts. The books we have read include A Practical Christianity by Jane Shaw,Visions of God by Karen Armstrong, Abiding by Ben Quash, The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin, The Shack by William Paul Young, Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, Silence and Honeycakes by Rowan Williams,The Problem of Pain by CS Lewis and Muhammad - A Biography of the Prophet by Karen Armstrong. Having had a very inspiring evening with Desmond Tutu's book No Future Without Forgiveness about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, we then read Looking Through The Cross by Grahame Tomlinson, The Lighthouse by Charlotte Rogan followed by Be Not Afraid by Samuel Wells and then Towards Mellbrake by Marie Elsa Bragg, the ordained daughter of Melvyn Bragg. In Autumn 2017 we all read different books about Luther to celebrate 500 years since the Reformation, which led to a very lively and interesting discussion! If you would like to know more then please email Shelagh at firstname.lastname@example.org
Confirmation is administered by the Bishop of Kensington either here with a small group at St Paul’s or at St Paul's Cathedral, with candidates from other parishes, or another church. Candidates are prepared by the Vicar in classes, usually in the evenings or at weekends. A special class is arranged for adults if required. If you would like to be confirmed, please speak to our churchwardens. Normally children are confirmed before their first communion. All Christians are welcome to receive communion or a blessing at our communion services.
We are always happy for the church to be used for funerals and memorial services, and to talk with people as they face life's challenges. The ministry of prayer and laying on of hands, anointng and sacramental condession are also always available. If you are interested in using St Paul's for these occasions, please contact our churchwardens.
THOUGHTS FROM OUR LLM
During the Interegnum in Autumn 2022, when we were without an incumbent; our Licensed Lay Minister Simon Surtees took some of our services. You can read two of his sermons below.
SERMON FOR ADVENT 3
MATTHEW 11 2-11 A Reed Shaken by the Wind
“What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed shaken by the wind?”
If you do not have a copy of Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable on your bookshelves then I can highly commend it as a possible Christmas present either to yourselves or by dropping a hint to a loved one. It is a cornucopia of phrases, legends, and folklore many of which have become commonplace in our conversation. There are thousands of phrases and legends which have meaning to us but where they came from remains a mystery. So, it came as a complete surprise to me to see that this phrase from St Matthews’ Gospel had been included. Brewers defines it as “a person blown about by every wind of doctrine”. Well ,they are certainly not describing John the Baptist! They might be referring others who toy with the idea of one faith or belief … until the next one comes along.
This phrase from Chapter 11 has always intrigued me. I remember it from Scripture classes at School, not because I understood it then (and my guess is that the person who was teaching it to us wasn’t so sure either!) but because it was a phrase that stuck in the mind. Most importantly, and I was reminded of this when reading it today, it is one of the best examples of Jesus’ sense of humour as he responded to those who were John’s followers at the beginning of his ministry.
Who were they seeking? Why were they seeking him? What did they think they would gain from following him? These are questions from our current political discourse that we might well be asking ourselves. Jesus, however, is dismissive of it almost immediately. He plays with John’s disciples a little more knowing full well that, as far as face validity is concerned, a man dressed in a Camel’s hair suit with long hair and a breath of wild locusts and honey might hardly be considered as an example of God-given leadership. But what does that matter? If that is all they wanted then they weren’t paying attention. If they were looking for a Prophet, however, that is something else. The Old Testament prophets were clear. God had chosen Humanity to reflect divine will; God wanted people to love and care for each other; to love and care for the world which had been created for Humanity to live in; a place, as far as we know, that is unique within the Universe – although I accept we are still looking! So, if THAT is what they were seeking, they were in the right place. Simply by baptising them he was transfusing their humanity with the water of life and giving them a glimpse of the divine. Jesus concludes that, although there is no one human greater than John the Baptist, in his recognition of the will of God, he is pointing to someone even greater than himself. Don’t look to your Kings but to your servants. Typically, he does not refer to himself as that person. That will come later.
There is an Advent message here, however. Writers and storytellers like the Brothers Grimm in the 19th century, for example, knew that people who felt lost or unhappy were always looking for Saviours. They invented Fairy Godmothers and Knights in Shining Armour. Jesus knew this too and this is why it is so useful to hear this Gospel story during the season of Advent. Jesus knew from where and from whom he came. He was also well aware of where this journey might end. Even He prays to God on the eve of his Crucifixion for, to quote Matthew’s Gospel, “this cup to be taken from me”. But then, he bows to the inevitable.
By chapter 11 in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus’ ministry has begun. He has been baptised by John, so that link has already been established. He has preached practically everything he has to say to us in his Sermon on the Mount of which Matthew is the most explicit exponent of all the Gospel writers. He has chosen his 12 Disciples and sent them out to bring the good news of God. So, the message he has for John is very positive except that Jesus would never accept that what he had achieved so far was enough for God. Modern Christians, hearing this story today, have different opportunities. We too know the ending. We know that with his death, horrific as it is, comes a new beginning. It is something we celebrate at every Eucharist.
What, therefore, are we looking forward to during the season of Advent which, for the church, is always a reflective and meditative time? At Advent we prepare to re-encounter the Babe in the manger in a fresh light. We are not, or pray not to be, “reed(s) shaken by the wind” taking in every new fad being thrown around. Each year we bring to this new experiences, new encounters. We remember those we know or are aware of who have died, and we reflect on all that we can take from their lives. We look at potential opportunities through our work or in our personal lives and think of how to make the most of them in a way which reflects our own faith. In our own parish, of course, we have our own coming to anticipate and our prayers are with those who represent our hopes and aspirations as they too continue their work with the Diocese to select a new Incumbent. In many ways, in this interregnum we are preparing a path within our own community through our Christmas celebrations and up to the Spring for our own leader to come amongst us. Christ has chosen us for this. We believe that Christ chooses all if only they would respond. By responding to this call, by recognising the Truth that, as that great Advent hymn says, “comes from Above” at Advent and Christmas and by staying the course, we are choosing to come to Him, and that makes all the difference. AMEN
Sermon in November 2022
“But the lord stood by my side and gave me strength so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the gentiles might hear it” 2 Timothy 4 vs 17
As some of you know, for many years I sang with a group called The Bridgeman Singers. We were a group of disparate singers who filled in for Cathedral choirs when they were on holiday. Singing with that choir has left me with many happy memories and it is one of those that I have been thinking about in relation to the passage we heard this morning from St. Paul’s second letter to Timothy.
The weekend in question found us in Southwell Minster in Nottinghamshire. Our usual conductor was indisposed but he had sent a wonderful conductor to work with us and, from my perspective, we seemed to improve with each of the services we sang over Saturday and Sunday. For me, one of the joys of working with him, was that it was quite clear that he had a strong religious faith, and he brought this faith into his interpretation of the music we sang. This came to the fore when we were rehearsing Evensong on Sunday afternoon. At traditional Mattins and Evensong services, after the Congregation have said the Apostles Creed, the Choir, together with the Cathedral Precentor, sing Responses usually set to music composed by fine musicians. The responses begin with the Lord’s Prayer followed by direct petitions to God on behalf of the nation, the Monarch, the ministers of God, and finally the people of God. For me, these petitions are not just for those in the congregation; the congregation are praying for all people. At the last petition, the Priest sings “O God make clean our hearts within us” to which the response is “And take not thy Holy Spirit from Us”. At our rehearsal, we sang it quietly and it sounded pretty. On this occasion, however, it was not enough for our conductor. There was quiet. He looked at us and said, “You know, I think it is at this point that the Composer is trying to convey to the Congregation that they are in the presence of God…and so must we”. He was asking us to feel the presence of God and convey it in our singing. No pressure there, then!
So, what is it about today’s first lesson that revives that moment for me? Two questions come to mind:
1. How aware are we of the presence of God in this church and in our lives?
2. Why is it important for us, in this church today, and, crucially, at this time in the life of this Church?
To begin with, it is important for us to be aware of the context of this letter and, indeed, the last four of Paul’s letters. St. Paul is, after all our patron Saint Paul’s last our letters, to Titus, the two letters to Timothy and the last to Philemon are known as his Pastoral letters. They are different from his letters to the Church communities which he and his followers had established in the Mediterranean areas; those letters are about the nature of Christian worship and its practise. The last four letters are addressed to individual leaders of Christian communities; friends and followers of St Paul who had been with him and who had learnt the Christian faith from him. They are meant to be letters of support and encouragement as Paul, himself under house imprisonment in Rome, faces his own martyrdom.
And, as we ask ourselves of our own awareness of the reality of God in our lives and in this community, the place of Saint Paul in the context of the development of Christian faith is equally important.
Firstly, Paul was a Jew; what is more, he was a Pharisee who zealously persecuted Christians who dared to challenge the Pharisees orthodox view of God. As we know, because he tells us, and it is recounted by St. Luke in the Acts of the Apostles, Paul did meet Jesus and recognised Him for what and who he was, and that meeting changed his life. Why? Because, although he was, probably, aware of Jesus towards the end of Jesus’ ministry, he never met him face to face; his meeting with Jesus was AFTER Jesus’ resurrection and that changed everything. Paul’s realisation was that Jesus WAS the Son of God and his preaching and his message to the world came directly from God. It also meant that God was not only OF the world but FOR and IN the world. The impact of this experience forced Paul to suspend his disbelief.
It was, therefore, the job of Christians to make God known to the world through the evidence of Jesus’ life and ministry, his death and his Resurrection. Paul’s fellow Jews were wedded to God through tradition; they were “chosen” because of who they were. Paul’s revelation was that God was open to ALL Jews and Gentiles. The subtle difference was that, even though God was all about us all the time, in every place, to be aware of him was a matter of choice. One could ignore God and live one’s life quite peacefully. But, by choosing GOD, by being Baptised with the water of life, by meeting God through prayer and breaking bread in his name, you can take God with you wherever you are. It is at once joyous and freeing but also an awesome responsibility. In an interregnum, which we are living through, it is not only the responsibility of our Church Wardens and our Parochial Church Council, but the responsibility of us all to show that God is in this church and in our local community. We need to look after this building and ensure that all who enter are made aware of God’s presence here through the lighting of candles, the welcome we give to all who enter and to remind ourselves that it is the peace of God which, as Paul says, passes all understanding, that inspires our worship and our belief.
Jesus’ ministry enhanced Paul’s life with the message of God’s love which was also a love which he could share. And, by spreading this love, his followers could make God known to all. As we prepare ourselves for our commemoration of All Souls at our service next Sunday morning when we commemorate our relatives and our founders and benefactors whose own faith held our church together over the past 150 years, let us take a minute to close our eyes and to be with God. AMEN
St Paul's Church
64 Grove Park Road
London W4 3SB
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