Upon the death of Queen Elizabeth II

A statement by the Titular Archbishop of Selsey on the death of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland, September 8th 2022

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We mourn today the passing of Her late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, for many our only monarch and for all, the longest serving monarch of our lifetimes and in the history of our nation.

Through all the vicissitudes of modern history, the warring tensions of contemporary life, much of which affected her family deeply as well as our nation, Elizabeth II was in her person the steady anchor providing continuity and stability throughout it all. This she was able to do because of her deeply held Christian faith. Not just in her patronage of charities and good causes, and sense of duty but in her very person, possessing a living faith.

In her quiet yet not understated manifestation of Christian discipleship, Her Majesty subtly taught us by example, how to fulfill the two Great Commandments; love of God and love of neighbour (cf Matthew 22:35-40). The devotion with which she kept her Coronation Oath to God for love of Him, and the depth of her personal commitment and sense of duty to neighbour in public service for love of us, her people, is a lesson in sacrificial humility for us all. Though she would likely be the first to demure, Her Majesty’s Christian example is comparable in many ways to the great historical and canonised monarchs of our faith.

The greatness of her long reign and all the major milestones of modern history through which she lived, will surely long be remembered. But what must never be forgotten, if we would truly cherish the memory of her as a person, and if we would desire a lasting legacy of her life’s achievements, it behoves us all who share her faith to ourselves manifest it as she did, in sacrificial service of each other, our society and our nation. God save the Queen.

Long live the King.

Celebrating Faith 2018

Sunday, November 18th the Celebrating Faith 2018 event organised by Brighton & Hove Faith in Action took place at Hove Town Hall. This annual event is an opportunity for the faith community within the City of Brighton & Hove to come together and celebrate the various social welfare and community development projects they are engaged in and present themselves to the wider community. Various stalls ranging from the Jewish Representative Council to the Mother’s Union were present displaying information about their activities and staffed by willing volunteers eager to share their enthusiasm!  

At 3pm the Faith Covenant between Brighton & Hove City Council and the city’s faith community represented through the Faith Council administered by Brighton & Hove Faith in Action was signed. Proceedings began with an address by the Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group Faith and Society that devised and promotes the concept of a Faith Covenant between local Councils and faith communities. The Faith Covenant is a joint commitment to a set of principles that guide engagement, aiming to remove some of the mistrust that exists and to promote open, practical working on all levels.

The initial signatories were the Rt Revd Richard Jackson, (Anglican) Bishop of Lewes representing the faith community, Councillor Dan Yates, Leader of the City Council signing on the Council’s behalf and Metropolitan Jerome of Selsey, Vice Chair of Brighton & Hove Faith in Action, the body that brokered the Faith Covenant with the Council. Afterward other local clergy and representatives present from the 108 members of the Faith Council also signed the document. 

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The Annual General Meeting of Brighton & Hove Faith in Action closed the day’s proceedings and the Officers and Trustees were unanimously re-elected for another term. The Trustees are Rik Child (Brighton Vineyard) continuing as Chair, Simon Lewis (City Coast Church) and Metropolitan Jerome of Selsey (Brighton Oratory) as Vice Chairs and Fiona Sharpe (Jewish Representative Council), Rabbi Andrea (Reformed Synagogue), Sabri Ben Amuer (Brighton & Hove Muslim Council) and Mahmut Gunyadin (The Dialogue Society).

Music Therapy

Aside from Metropolitan Jerome’s passion for the mission of Christ’s Church and his love of cooking, is… music! Throughout his life music has played an important role and this is just as true now as it ever was in his formative years. His Grace is fortunate to be able to employ his musical skills not just ecclesiastically i.e. through church music, etc and professionally ref the theatre but it is his particular delight now to combine music with his pastoral ministry.

Music therapy is the use of music to improve health or functional outcomes. Music therapy is a creative arts therapy, consisting of a process in which a music therapist uses music and all of its facets—physical, emotional, mental, social, aesthetic, and spiritual—to help clients improve their physical and mental health. Music therapists primarily help clients improve their health in several domains, such as cognitive functioning, motor skills, emotional development, communication, sensory, social skills, and quality of life by using both active and receptive music experiences such as improvisation, re-creation, composition, and listening and discussion of music to achieve treatment goals.

Receptive music therapy involves listening to recorded or live music and can improve mood, decrease stress, pain, anxiety level, and enhance relaxation. While it doesn’t affect disease, for instance it can help with coping skills. Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia are among the disorders most commonly treated with music therapy. Like many of the other disorders mentioned, some of the most common significant effects are seen in social behaviors, leading to improvements in interaction, conversation, and other such skills.

Metropolitan Jerome specialises in music therapy for groups, particularly for the elderly and for those with dementia, which has developed from his pastoral ministry to nursing and retirement homes. Music and emotion are linked in a powerful way. People respond to music from a very early age, before words and language are developed, and this continues even towards the end of our lives, when verbal abilities may be lost.

A particularly popular session His Grace delivers is titled “Name that tune” a concept developed from an old TV programme of the same name. He sings, plays or improvises well-known pieces of music from a variety of genres on piano/keyboard and patients are encouraged to literally “name that tune”! This stimulates memory and encourages listening and cognitive skills as well as social interaction as patients try to recall the names of artists and tunes and prompt each other’s memories. Group singing or “community singing” is another firm favourite with patient groups, where again cognitive stimulation and social interaction is encouraged. 

If you or a nursing or retirement home you know in the Brighton area might be interested to book a music therapy session with “Fr Jerome” as he is known, please visit the Care Activities & Entertainment agency website here to check availability and to book.

Armistice Remembrance 2018

The Armistice took place on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, between the Allies and Germany and brought the end of WWI. This year marked the centenary of the signing of the Armistice and the city of Brighton & Hove as with other places around the UK and the world, commemorated the occasion with great solemnity.

At the kind invitation of the Archdeacon of Brighton & Lewes, the Venerable Martin Lloyd-Williams, Archbishop Jerome of Selsey joined other faith leaders to offer prayers at the city’s War Memorial with Bishop Martin Warner of Chichester and fellow trustees of Brighton & Hove Faith in Action, Rabbi Andrea Zanardo of Brighton & Hove Reform Synagogue and Sabri Ben Ameur from the Brighton & Hove Muslim Forum.

Homelessness: The Hub

In 2009 Metropolitan Jerome partnered the Brighton Oratory with the Salvation Army at The Level in central Brighton to facilitate a homeless drop-in later called “The Hub”. Majors Mark and Tracy Bearcroft were the Corps Officers at the time and the Corps had employed a part-time chef, Michael to work the Community Cafe at the front of the citadel complex. On Wednesdays the Meeting Hall at the rear of the complex was opened from 0830 to 1300 for the homeless to find shelter, showers, breakfast and lunch.

Metropolitan Jerome having a background in catering assisted Michael with the cooking, providing a meal for anywhere between 80 to 100 people! A small team of volunteers ably led by the indomitable Sandra (memory eternal) would  sign the guests in, organise a clothes exchange and help with the washing up. The Brighton Oratory provided volunteers, newspapers, board games and even an art class willingly delivered by local artist and parishioner, Shirley Veater. At the time, the Salvation Army citadel was one of only two places in the city open to the homeless to have showers.

In 2011 due to finances and changes in Corps management, Michael left the employ of the Salvation Army and so it fell to Metropolitan Jerome to continue with the cooking. Various of the guests offered to volunteer in the kitchen and from this developed the concept of what would later become Cherubs Kitchen. Metropolitan Jerome noticed, as chefs do, the skills or aptitude of those who volunteered in the kitchen and would ask in conversation whether a guest volunteering had experience in catering or an interest in catering. Some clearly had, but being homeless prevented them often from getting even a trial shift in a commercial kitchen. Metropolitan Jerome tried persuading and was occasionally successful in securing at least a trial shift for some of these volunteers, but often faced the same reticence by employers ref the “no fixed abode” of the applicants.

In 2013 an opportunity arose for Metropolitan  Jerome to realise the apostolate Cherubs Kitchen. Fortunately the Salvation Army were once again able to engage a chef and so Phil moving from Croydon and a similar project there, came to restart the Community Cafe and cater for The Hub. Metropolitan Jerome was free then to focus his energies on Cherubs Kitchen.

In 2016, Phil left the employ of the Salvation Army and a chef was needed again to cater for The Hub. So Metropolitan Jerome with the new Corps officers, Majors Mike & Elizabeth Lloyd, suggested that Cherubs Kitchen now partner with the Salvation Army to manage the catering. A whole new approach was discussed to change the operation and ethos of the drop-in; no more queueing up at the kitchen hatch to collect food, table cloths and table service were introduced and more volunteers were found to encourage more interaction between them and guests to provide a warmer rather than functional welcome.  The clothes exchange was expanded to include more underwear, particularly for women, and toiletries and bath-sized towels were provided for those showering.

Since Cherubs Kitchen partnered with The Hub local corporate sponsors have contributed not just finances but actual assistance in the form of volunteers, from painting and refreshing the premises through to actual hands-on volunteers, like Maria and Barb from Asda! Other local churches have joined in providing volunteers and collecting clothing and toiletries and even a chaplain, Andy, available to sit and talk with guests. A prayer room has been made available, also providing a safe space for guests to talk with a volunteer or chaplain or one of the visitors from other agencies. Other homeless charities and projects have become involved and medical professionals too have come to facilitate flu jabs and ensure guests are registered with a GP. Just Life support workers, Arch Healthcare (Brighton homeless surgery) practitioners, St Mungo’s rough sleeping support workers and other statutory agencies have begun to use The Hub as a place to find and interact with clients. Off the fence now send a laundry van to wash and dry clothes on site in the car park!

As usual at Christmas, The Hub will provide a warm and safe place to go for the homeless and the lonely on Christmas Day, beginning with a short service of carols followed by coffee and mince pies. Metropolitan Jerome, despite having a full schedule of services for the festival, will be joined by a team of volunteers to prep and serve Christmas Lunch provided by a local catering wholesaler; His Grace will cook the lunch as he has done for the past three years, running to and from the oven and the altar on Christmas morning! A local musically talented Christian family will provide music during the meal.

Approaching its tenth year, The Hub has quietly provided a consistent and invaluable service to the homeless of Brighton. For some guests its their first experience of receiving help and being homeless, for others it provides a structure to their week, for others a place to be social, for others still a place to get clean and to get clean clothes. Whoever and whatever the reason, all are literally welcome to The Hub who are in genuine need, questions aren’t asked and guests range from those sleeping rough on the streets. to those sofa-surfing, those who are housed but can’t afford food and those who are just lonely. A great core team of loyal volunteers led by Lyn provides a genuine welcome to guests as they come in off the streets every Wednesday.

Metropolitan Jerome cooks every Wednesday and is often thanked by guests throughout the week as he makes his way around the city on foot or by bus. It’s not often one sees an Archbishop in casual and familiar conversation in the street with a homeless person, yet having been cooking and serving them food for ten years, Metropolitan Jerome is known and respected by many for whom The Hub has been and still is a place of safety and of refreshment.

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