life ON TOWER HILL
Parish news from All Hallows by the Tower October 2017
Onwards and upwards…
After overcoming leg injuries and a 42 gruelling kilometre (26.2 mile) run, Bertrand our vicar made it through the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on 24 September to complete the Berlin Marathon.
He was running in aid of vital improvements needed to the first floor facilities in the church so we can welcome more community and charity groups. There’s still time to donate to this excellent cause.
Harvest Festival was celebrated at All Hallows on Sunday 1 October. Fresh produce was donated after the service to the Manna Day Centre in Southwark, which provides meals and support for the homeless.
The tinned and dried food we collected was given to the Tower Hamlets Foodbank. It’s not too late to bring your contributions for the Foodbank – you can leave them in the box provided in church. Items they particularly need at present are:
Tinned Vegetarian Meals (e.g. macaroni & cheese/ratatouille)
Juice (long-life)/branded Cordial
Milk (long-life) 1 ltr
Washing Powder (small/medium size)
Washing Up liquid
Time to remember
On October 12 All Hallows holds a very special event: the annual Maritime Memorial Book Service, where friends and family gather to remember those who have been lost at sea and have no known grave. A Memorial Book to record their names, and, where possible, the circumstances of their deaths, was established here in 1987.
Sadly of course new names are added every year, and are read out during the annual service. We hold these families in our prayers and hope that having a lasting memorial and focus of remembrance at All Hallows is of comfort to them.
All Hallows treasures: the Caravarca cross
This month we begin a series featuring some of All Hallows’ lesser known treasures.
Over the past year NADFAS volunteers have been engaged on a challenging but very worthwhile project: to record the entire contents of All Hallows. Working in small teams, they’ve been visiting us once a fortnight to document memorials, metalwork, stonework, woodwork, textiles, paintings and so on. When the recording is complete, they will produce an illustrated book detailing each item and its history; copies will also be sent to national institutions. Even our seasoned recorders have been surprised and at times a little daunted at how much we have here, both on show and stored away! But they have already drawn attention to objects with a fascinating history that might otherwise have been overlooked.
One of these is the Caravarca cross kept in our Treasury. Identified by the Victoria & Albert Museum as late 17th century, this is an example of a ‘plague cross’ designed to protect the wearer from illness. The design originates in Caravarca in Spain, a town famous for its miraculous cross which is said to contain a relic of the true cross.
Each side of our small brass cross, which was once gilded, is inscribed with letters. These would each have denoted an individual blessing, probably associated with S. Zacharius, who was said to have collected a set of prayers against the plague. For example, ‘D’ stood for ‘Deus, Deus meus expelle pestem a me, et a loco isto, et libera me’ (God, my God, drive the plague from me, and from this place, and liberate me). The crosses which punctuate the letters represent separate prayers for God’s protection from the plague, each one beginning ‘Crux…’ (‘Cross of Christ’).
It’s a stark reminder of the fear which plague aroused, many centuries before the disease was understood or a cure found, and a token too of the people’s hope and expectation of divine protection. For further information, see this interesting article.
ALL HALLOWS SUNDAY SCHOOL second and fourth Sundays, during the 11am service
LUNCHTIME RECITAL by Iain Gibbs and friends, Saturday 7 October, 12 noon
MARITIME MEMORIAL BOOK SERVICE Thursday 12 October, 12 noon
JUST SHARE EVENT: Ethical employment practices Tuesday 24 October, 6pm
ALL HALLOWS QUIZ NIGHT Saturday 21 October, 7pm
Join us for all these and more at: