After a desperate plea for help, Metropolitan Jerome stepped in at the last minute to substitute for the originally planned speaker at today’s CAMEO (Come And Meet Each Other) afternoon tea at Dorset Garden’s Methodist Church. It was their last meeting of the year before their Christmas Party next month and they had been expecting a talk on Sussex Wild Life!
After hymns and prayers with Cynthia and a few jokes and members updates with Shirley, His Grace began with a performance (voice and piano) of “Mrs Beamish” by Richard Stilgoe. He then regaled the audience with tales of his recent trip to Chicago for the ordinations and the amusing differences he’d observed in culture and perception quoting the Irish writer George Bernard Shaw who once said: “England and America are two countries divided by a common language”! Then he gave an update on local affairs within the faith community in the city, invited all to the Celebrating Faith 2018 event this coming Sunday and explained the concept of the Faith Covenant to be signed at the event.
Metropolitan Jerome then introduced a discussion about tackling isolation and loneliness, a theme recently discussed at the city’s Faith Council and particularly relevant to groups like CAMEO which provide somewhere for the lonely and isolated to go and interact socially with others. A lively discussion ensued with CAMEO members recognising the value a gathering such as theirs and expressing a willingness to support any efforts to facilitate similar groups and reach out to potential members. The idea of a brochure detailing the “when and where” of similar groups that could be distributed to neighbours as well as in churches and libraries, recognising that many older people are not familiar with online media and social websites was discussed and His Grace promised to bring this to the Faith Council’s discussions and ideas.
Then followed some community singing with Metropolitan Jerome at the piano. War time songs in honour of the Armistice centenary were heartily sung with word-sheets provided by a member “just in case”! Then followed afternoon tea and lively group discussions about the topics in the talk and of course, catching up with each others news. After a selfie with His Grace, a final hymn and blessing rounded off the afternoon.
CAMEO’s Christmas Party is Thursday, December 6th from 2pm CAMEO’s next meeting is Thursday, February 7th from 2pm in 2019 and fortnightly thereafter at Dorset Garden’s Methodist Church in the small hall.
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.
On Sunday 18th November, a signing ceremony of the Brighton and Hove Faith Covenant will take place at Hove Town Hall during the Celebrating Faith 2018 event hosted by Brighton & Hove Faith in Action.
The Faith Covenant is a joint commitment between faith communities and local authorities 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 Faith Covenant was approved by the City Council with unanimous political support in October, has the support of 70 faith groups in the city, and heralds a closer working relationship between the City Council and the Faith Community in the delivery of social welfare and community development projects.
The Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group Faith and Society that devised and promotes the Faith Covenant, will attend the signing ceremony and give a speech. He will be joined by the Bishop of Lewes, the Rt Revd Richard Jackson, Councillor Dan Yates the Leader of the City Council and the Archbishop of Selsey, Metropolitan Jerome OSJV the Vice-chair of BHFA.
The Faith Covenant has been adopted by 12 local authorities across the country since its launch in 2014, covering over 5 million people. The signing ceremony will take place at 3pm in Hove Town Hall and the media is invited to join us.
In October of 2018, Archbishop Jerome as Servant Superior of the Congregation of the Divine Charity, the umbrella congregation for religious and apostolic life in the Orthodox Old Roman Catholic Communion, visited Chicago and the Franciscan Friary of St Felix home to the Missionary Franciscans of Christ the King. The primary purpose of his visit was to ordain Friars James Alaniz and Thomas Gierke as priests.
The ordination Mass took place on Sunday, October 7th the feast of Our Lady of Victory, the anniversary of the decisive victory of the combined fleet of the Holy League of 1571 over the Ottoman navy at the Battle of Lepanto. The Pontifical Solemn Mass was offered in the historic Church of the Atonement and was beautifully sung by a hand-picked schola under the direction of Mr Kevin Allen, an internationally acclaimed composer of polyphony and expert on chant. The resident organist at Atonement, Mr Charles Sega accompanied the hymns and improvised organ preludes as required to cover some of the liturgical action.
The serving team, though unfamiliar with the traditional Latin Rite of Ordination and having only received a few minutes of instruction before the liturgy from the MC, Monsignor Kelly, served beautifully. A large congregation of family, friends, colleagues and well-wishers witnessed the traditional and deeply moving Rite of Ordination, following in their bilingual missalettes Latin/English the liturgy and descriptive notes. All enjoyed the hospitality of the Friars afterward who laid on refreshments and wine to celebrate the occasion.
The following day, the newly ordained priests offered their first Masses, Missa Cantata and both were solemnly sung with the schola, organist and director that assisted the Pontifical liturgy the day before. One Mass at 0900 offered by Fr Thomas OSF and the other by Fr James OSF at 1100. Being a weekday it wasn’t possible to field a full team of servers so Monsignor Kelly and Archbishop Jerome assisted, the latter acting as MC for the new celebrants.
Following each First Mass by the new priests, a procession took place to the Shrine of Our Lady, pausing along the way all the clergy momentarily kneeling, to salute the mother of the new priest. Each priest’s mother was presented by her son with a red rose tied with the manutergium – the hand-towel that had soaked up the sacred Chrism used to consecrate the hands of the new priests at their ordination – the rose plucked from the midst of a bouquet of white roses that were afterward presented to Our Lady by the new priests, now her sons by adoption. Needless to say, both mothers and sons were deeply affected by this act of honour and humility and certainly Our Lady’s prayers will bless their ministry as they strive to act “in persona Christi”.
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.
In 2013 an opportunity presented itself that enabled Metropolitan Jerome to realise a way of supporting and enabling people to find training and employment and a way out of homelessness. A local publican mentioned to His Grace that he was looking for someone to franchise his pub kitchen to.
At The Hub homeless drop-in His Grace helped start in 2009, Metropolitan Jerome realised that some of the guests volunteering in the kitchen obviously had experience or an aptitude for catering. However, due to the social stigma attached to homelessness, potential employers shied away from accepting referrals for trial shifts – the standard industry way for employers to assess and recruit employees. When the opportunity to run a commercial franchise kitchen was presented, His Grace quickly realised that he could provide the opportunity for his guests others were reluctant to.
The Regency Tavern, an early 19C venue in central Brighton infamous for its faux Regency decor inspired the name of the new apostolate, Cherubs Kitchen, named for the Baroque putti that adorned the walls of the tavern! Figuratively too of course, putti – cherubs – have often been portrayed in art with cornucopia i.e. horns of plenty and associated with feasts etc. and of course, cherubs are often depicted with wings and associated with angels – the venture’s name seemed obvious! So it was that Cherubs Kitchen began operating at the venue from March 2013 and began providing NVQ Apprenticeships in catering six months later. From the original venue the franchise eventually spread to four others across the city of Brighton, each employing disenfranchised people who just needed a helping hand to get their lives back on track.
A variety of people have been assisted by Cherubs Kitchen in the five years since its inception through the following ways;
work experience: providing the opportunity to experience a commercial catering environment with a view to exploring a possible career in catering;
work placement: particularly for those requiring work rehabilitation, i.e. who are hoping to return to work but need to regain confidence in social interactions and team working as well as getting back into a scheduled routine;
NVQ apprenticeships: particularly for those who want a career in catering and need the qualifications to get them started, Cherubs Kitchen provides mentoring and coaching in the work-place for apprentices to gain experience and skills quickly, while earning.
The next stage in development for Cherubs Kitchen is to widen the scope of mentoring and training to facilitate placements in other commercial kitchens, bridging the funding gap ref apprenticeship costs and supporting apprentices in work to encourage employers to take and provide a chance for someone to turn their life around.
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.