life ON TOWER HILL 11/17


Parish news from All Hallows by the Tower                      November 2017


christch2Moving on

At the end of October we heard the news that Bertrand our Vicar will be leaving All Hallows to take up a new post as Dean of Montreal and Rector of Christ Church Cathedral there.  This is an exciting new challenge as he explains:

‘It is a huge honour and privilege for me to have been invited to serve the bilingual Anglican Cathedral Community in Montreal, and I relish the prospect of being able to integrate both anglophone and francophone sides of my personality in order to share the Gospel in this new context for me.’

Inevitably, this announcement will bring change at All Hallows. ‘We have achieved much at All Hallows in recent years’, says Bertrand, ‘and I am tremendously grateful to our Churchwardens, PCC, staff and volunteer team, and all those who have given their time and energy to continue God’s mission on Tower Hill and expand it beyond into cyberspace.’

Bertrand’s last Sunday at All Hallows will be on the Feast of Candlemas (transferred), on 4 February 2018, and announcements will follow about plans for our farewell to him.  After twelve successful years of ministry here, he is held in great affection and will be much missed.



JakeContinuing our series on All Hallows people, this month we meet Jake Kirner, our part-time Verger.

Jake joined us in September this year and works three hours on weekday mornings before speeding off to his other verger’s job at St Giles, Cripplegate.  Jake has a degree in music; he was previously a classical singer and has also worked in music publishing. He has been a concert verger at St Sepulchre without Newgate and his musical connections have already proved useful at All Hallows.  The practical skills needed in his job – maintenance, security, preparing for special services and keeping the church looking tidy and welcoming – have been honed not only by his previous experience as a verger but also by his home life: he lives on a narrow boat, constantly navigating either the River Lee or Regent’s Canal.

Jake says, ‘I enjoy problem solving, from broken locks to overbooked concerts and all the glamorous and mundane things in between.  All Hallows has many lights to fix and artefacts to protect, but I hope also to help the church prosper in its role in the community through concerts, special services and other events that bring people together.’

Send hope for Christmas – 5, 13 & 19 December

Poster for letter writingAdvent is a time when we wait in hope and expectation, but for many in the world today there is little prospect of hope. Do join us to write Christmas messages to some of those who most need to hear it – isolated victims of torture – and send some hope this Christmas.

Come along any time between 12.30-2pm on Tuesday 5, Wednesday 13 & Tuesday 19 December to write cards over a sandwich lunch. Cards will also be available to write after Sunday services in December and after the Taizé service on 13 December.

All are welcome to join us, whether for 15 minutes or for a whole session – whatever time you can spare.

All Hallows treasures… the Roman Stele

Continuing our series on the treasures of All Hallows, this month our Education and History Officer, Adey Grummet, describes an intriguing Roman carving:

Roman steleIn the Crypt Museum of All Hallows is a Roman funeral stele, or grave marker, for a married couple. Although the female head of the image has been lost, it is inscribed to Demetrius and Ateidia, who lived and died together. The draping of the male toga shows that Demetrius was an established citizen and Ateidia’s gown is also of finely woven and draped fabric. More than this of their story can only really be imagined but the Londinium of Roman times was a prosperous and populous trading centre and garrison city.

One possible scenario is that the couple died together in the Antonine plague between 160-180AD. All Roman burials took place outside the city’s wall, which had been completed in stone by the 2nd century. It was a section of this wall that, centuries later, was uncovered and then destroyed during the building of the first underground station on Tower Hill around 1880-81. Soil and material from these diggings was taken to the Tilbury marsh and used as landfill, our stele perhaps amongst it all.

Then, it was dug up once more during the building of Tilbury docks between 1882 and 1886. At this point, someone tucked it away in the corner of an office and there it remained unnoticed for a few more decades. It was not until 1932 that it was brought to the notice of the Port of London Authority. The stele was then examined and found to be genuine and was brought back to Tower Hill for exhibition in Revd ‘Tubby’ Clayton’s new museum under All Hallows, where it can still be seen today.

Upcoming events

CONCERT FOR ST CECILIA’S DAY – Saturday 25 November, 6.30pm                                 East London Chorus: Bach, Mozart, Rheinberger, Finzi and Britten

LUNCHTIME CONCERT – Wednesday 29 November, 1.10pm                                          Johan de Silva (Baritone) and Christopher Moore (Piano) 

ADVENT ACTIVITY AFTERNOON – Sunday 3 December                                                      Help decorate All Hallows

SEND HOPE FOR CHRISTMAS – 5, 13 & 19 December, 12.30-2.00pm                                      Write cards for victims of torture


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life ON TOWER HILL 10/17


Parish news from All Hallows by the Tower                                 October 2017



Onwards and upwards…

Bertrand marathon medalAfter 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 time

Harvest 2017 rotatedHarvest 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 Fruit
Mashed Potato
Tinned Vegetarian Meals (e.g. macaroni & cheese/ratatouille)
Juice (long-life)/branded Cordial
Milk (long-life) 1 ltr
Jelly (cubed)
Washing Powder (small/medium size)
Shaving foam
Washing Up liquid

Thank you!

Time to remember

maritime memorial book 2On 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.

Upcoming events

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:

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life ON TOWER HILL 09/17


Parish news from All Hallows by the Tower                                 September 2017



Stewardship Sunday

Many thanks to Tilly and Evie, two young members of our congregation, who made the video above. It was shown at our special Eucharist for Stewardship Sunday on 3rd September, as we reflected on the ways in which we can give back to God some of the gifts – both in goods and in talents – that he has given us. As the video shows, All Hallows is a special place to many people, and we need the support of all our members to continue our mission here on Tower Hill.

Please look at the stewardship page on our website for more details of how you can donate to All Hallows or help in other ways.

Meet… Angie

angie2Continuing in our series on the All Hallows team, this month we feature Angie Poppitt, our Operations and Finance Manager. Angie runs the parish office, co-ordinates services and events, manages the church finances and is also PCC Secretary – in other words she is a lynch pin of the organisation and fount of All Hallows knowledge!

‘What I like about the job is its huge diversity’ she says.  ‘One minute I might be choreographing our triennial Battle with the Tower of London or wrestling with a cash flow spreadsheet, and the next making tea for a homeless visitor to the church or arranging a guided tour for a U3A group.’

Before coming to All Hallows Angie spent ten years working in politics, organising conferences and seminars as well as dealing with PR and publicity. She had previously worked at St James the Less in Westminster, as well as being involved with a number of different charities, including a stint in Uganda helping to train youth workers.

A happy All Hallows memory is co-ordinating a celebrity chefs’ pancake race soon after she joined, which got good press coverage and helped to raise money for the Sport Relief ‘Run a Mile’ challenge.

Bertrand marathonBerlin Marathon

Speaking of running, you may have heard that Bertrand our Vicar missed out on this year’s London Marathon owing to injury.  The good news is that he is back on track, and will be running the Berlin Marathon on September 24th to raise funds to upgrade parts of our building for community use.

Please click here to donate via his fund-raising page.


Upcoming events

ALL HALLOWS SUNDAY SCHOOL second and fourth Sundays, starting on 10 September, during the 11am service

HARVEST FESTIVAL Sunday 1 October, 11am

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:

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