We are delighted to announce that the first of Adrian Powell’s stone sculptures have been placed in the New Church. When complete there will be a set of eleven, each depicting a scene from the Passion of Christ. If you are interested in commissioning one, please speak to Dilly.
Savi Hensman, a member of St Mary's has written a book, published by Ekklesia, called Sexuality, Struggle and Saintliness: Same-Sex Love and the Church.
Here's what Savi says about it:
There has been much controversy over Christian attitudes to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and same-sex partnerships. The book outlines the shift in thinking on sexuality among numerous theologians over the past century, delves beneath the surface of recent debates in various churches, looks afresh at the Bible and tradition and examines how those with different views on this issue can remain in fellowship.
If you'd like to buy a copy you can find it here. Savi has offered to lead a discussion on the book and the subject, so keep you eyes/ears open for news on when this might happen.
Lots going on at St Mary's over Holy Week and on Easter Day.
Palm Sunday, 20th March: we gather at 9.45am outside Abney Park, in the High Street, joining with Christians from all over Stoke Newington for the Palm Sunday Procession. Our service begins at 10.30am in the New Church, the largest of our two church buildings.
Monday, 7.30pm, Film Night in the New Church Rooms.
Tuesday, 8.30am, Morning Prayer and Eucharist.
Wednesday, 7.30pm, Eucharist followed by meditation (you are welcome at either or both).
Maundy Thursday, 7.30pm, Open Table in the Old Church, remembering Christ's last supper, including a simple meal, meditation and informal communion.
Good Friday, midday to 3.00pm, service of reflection and meditation.
Easter Day: 5.30am, Vigil in the Old Church. 6.30am, Dawn Eucharist in the New Church. 11.00am, a celebration of Easter for all ages.
There are two great opportunities to experience Evensong in vastly different ways over the next week or so.
This Sunday there will be Evensong in The Old Church as usual, at 6.30pm. This month it will include VOX - the wind harp installation that is part of the Breathe Festival - and all the other music will be a little simpler and more meditative than usual.
The following Saturday at 4pm our friends at St John the Evangelist, Brownswood Park will be holding a Choral Evensong, sung by the alumni choir of St Chad's College Durham (see flier).
With the second Open Table event nearly upon us - this Friday (4th March) - a quick update to let those who weren't there know that the Open Table held on 18th February was a great success: wonderful food, good company and great speakers Sheila Melzak and Robin Samson, who introduced the theme of hospitality from a Jewish perspective.
If you'd like to attend The Open Table this Friday please let Matt know (firstname.lastname@example.org). The speaker will be David Barclay on the theme Just Money. Or you everyone is welcome to attend on Monday 14th March where the speaker will be Chris Baker on the church as agent of flourishing community.
We have now run the Night Shelter on 9 Wednesday nights. So far every night things have gone quite smoothly - there haven’t been any major problems, although having to provide a hot meal for our guests without a working oven in the New Church Rooms was tricky (many thanks to Dilly for allowing us to use her kitchen).
Each night we have had around 23 to 25 people for supper, and then 9 or 10 of them go off to St John-at-Hackney to sleep, leaving us with 15 people staying overnight. We continue to have more women staying than ever before - one night, we had 8 women, although since then there have been 6 or 7 women each week. We work hard to provide a warm welcome and a peaceful atmosphere for our guests as well as a hot meal and comfortable beds.
Our professional Night Shelter workers continue to work with our guests to try and help them move on to more long-term accommodation. They say this is increasingly difficult in the current economic climate, but they have had some successes: out of 78 guests in total this winter, 24 have moved on positively, to other night shelters, hostels, council accommodation, privately rented flats, and one to a live-in job. Sadly we have had to ask 7 people to leave the shelter during this season.
We will be running the shelter for 5 more Wednesday nights before we close at the end of March. We still have gaps on our volunteer rota for people to help overnight or on Thursday mornings. Donations of new socks or underwear are always appreciated by our guests.
Many thanks to all who have helped to run the shelter so far this winter.
A group of 20 (17 adults, 2 children and a dog with a Stop Trident scarf) gathered outside St Mary’s church on Saturday Feb 27th to make their way together to the national Stop Trident march from Marble March to Trafalgar Square. Speeches in the Square from committed political, trade union, religious and pressure group leaders, plus Vanessa Redgrave, between them filled out the whole picture. If you wanted to be there, but couldn’t, or are not yet convinced of the case, see this recording of Jeremy Corbyn’s talk.
Don't forget to sign up for The Open Table next Thursday (18th) - we're excited to announce that we get two speakers for the price of one:
Robin is a lay service leader, music leader and Bar/Bat Mitzvah teacher at Kehilla North London who meet in St Mary's rooms every Saturday. Sheila Melzak's relationship with Jewish thought is rooted in her parents experiences of the Holocaust and her interest in philosophical and historical references to the subject of community responses to strangers.
Sheila and Robin will speak on the theme of 'The gift of the stranger: hospitality from a Jewish perspective.'
Please contact Matt if you'd like to attend - everyone welcome (email@example.com).
A big thank you to the many people who have offered time, skills or items for the Grand Fundraising Auction. Unfortunately, due to slow sales of the tickets the organising committee has decided that the Grand Fundraising Auction set for 20th Feb will be postponed.
However, you now get two for the price of one!
Mini Auction of Perishables. After the Mothering Sunday service on 6th March (joint service starts at 10.30am) where time-dependent items and some gifts will be auctioned alongside a healthy dose of great coffee, nibbles and soft drinks.
Musical Social. In May (date to be confirmed) in The Old Church where the majority of items will be auctioned. Keep your eye out for more details soon.
There is lots going on over Lent this year at St Mary's - be sure to see one of the postcards at the back of church or look at What's On.
We will be looking at how we live out - as individuals but primarily as a church community - our mission statement: Our calling is to share the loving hospitality of God, seeing Christ in friend and stranger.
Saturday 20th February in The Old Church; Doors Open at 7pm
Auction items to date include:
an evening of entertainment for your party guests by St Mary's talented musical directors Iwan and Michael
pottery workshop for children
two tickets for an Arsenal home match
an electric sewing machine
What can you offer? An unwanted Christmas present, an evening's babysitting, a crochet lesson, your holiday home even. Please use this form to email your offer to the address on the form by 6th February 2016
Tickets for the auction @ £8, which includes a drink and finger food will go on sale, from 24th January.
All proceeds from the auction will be shared between
support to the community of our twin church in Tete, Mozambique
our building fund to improve facilities for the many community organisations that use St Mary's buildings.
The prayers contained in this booklet are from the heart, some of them are raw with grief or sadness; some are doubtful and despairing, others bubble over with thanks and joy. All of them are offered by those who’ve wandered into the church and found it to be a safe and sacred place where they can be honest with themselves and God.
These inspiring and moving little booklets make great gifts for others or for yourself. They're only £2 each to cover costs (but feel free to give more if you'd like). If you'd like to buy any then see Matt.
A wonderful service of carols, music and readings by candlelight last night... photography hampered by the record congregation of over 500 people, so no images to show you. Standing room only after 6.55pm. Apologies if you ended up without a seat, candle or service sheet!
Great fun was had by all at the Christingle & Nativity service on Saturday afternoon. Here are a couple of photos.
Once again, Iwan and I would very much like to invite you to sing in the choir for the carol service which will be held on the evening of Sunday 20 December. Rehearsals for this will take place on Sundays 22 and 29 November, and 6 and 13 December at 4.30pm in the New Church. There will, of course, be a final rehearsal on the day of the carol service. Ideally, we would like you to attend all the rehearsals but please try to come to as many as you can remembering that the final rehearsal is compulsory.
We are holding an Advent carol service on the evening of Sunday 29 November but are intending to include mainly solo items so that the choir can concentrate on the carol service music.
We have not yet finalised the repertoire but will let you know as soon as we can.
Please could you let me know if you are able to sing in the choir at the carol service and also if you are planning to attend Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve because, depending on numbers, we would like the choir to sing at that service too if possible. It would also be useful if you could give me an indication of which rehearsals you are unable to attend.
So just to recap, dates are: Sunday 22 November, 4.30pm Rehearsal Sunday 29 November, 4.30pm Rehearsal Sunday 29 November, 7.00pm Advent Carol Service Sunday 6 December, 4.30pm Rehearsal Sunday 13 December, 4.30pm Rehearsal Sunday 20 December, 4.30pm Rehearsal Sunday 20 December, 7.00pm Carols by Candlelight Thursday 24 December 11.30pm Midnight Mass
There was a huge response to the call for donations for refugees in Calais via St Mary's and the Rose & Crown. This was all taken over at the end of October to some of the people who need it. This is a photo of Flossie sorting it all out at the back of church.
This is a photo of the first six baby gro-bags completed. You can see the craft and love shown in every stitch! More to come, we are reliably informed. All to go out in a shipment due to leave about the middle of November, via Rescue4Children. Any further info from Liz Grande.
Saturday 28 November 10-5: Winter Design Market, St Mary's Old Church N16 (Stoke Newington Church Street next to Clissold Park) - design stalls, mulled wine and mince pies, foodie gifts, music. Get in the mood for the festive season!