Monday, September 15, 2014

Funeral of the late Comfort Adekunle - Tuesday 23 September

Comfort Adekunle, a member of St Mary's for over forty years, died suddenly on Sunday 7 September 2014. We are bereaved to have lost someone of exceptional faith and character, whose example of trust in the goodness of God has been an inspiration to generations of our church community.

Simon Harvey, vicar of St Mary's writes,

"Comfort's contribution to St Mary's has been immense. She has been an active member of the Parochial Church Council for decades, a key member of the prayer ministry team and a caring minister in our healing team. Comfort served the Diocese of London generously through its Diocesan Synod and local churches through the Deanery Synod. She regularly ministered the sacrament of Holy Communion at St Paul's Cathedral and counted it a great privilege to enable people commune with God. She truly encouraged people to 'draw near with faith'.

"But beyond these official roles we will treasure her for her inspiration. In meetings, Comfort ensured that all that we decided had been rooted in prayer. Her faith was keen and she was wonderfully clear that all that we do as a church should reflect our calling to be servants of God in Jesus Christ. She was a wonderful advocate of the radical refurbishment of our church crypt and would energetically support any proposal that furthered mission.

"Comfort embodied the way of living that Jesus encouraged when he asked that his followers be salt and light in the world. She was fearless and brave but she could also be tender, inclusive and welcoming.

"I shall miss her advice, her support and her deep commitment to pray for our church. While we mourn her passing and pray blessings of assurance for Victor, David and Elizabeth, we also know that heaven rejoices to welcome her home."

The funeral will be at St Mary's on Tuesday 23 September at 1pm and will include a celebration of Holy Communion. The service will be followed by refreshments and all are welcome to attend.

[This page may be updated with further details as they are confirmed.]

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Services on Sunday

Sunday 21 September 2014

11am Holy Communion Gloria Naylor preaching. Conflict 3: Jealousy and grace. Bible reading: Jonah 3.10-end of 4: Matthew 20.1-16

6pm Evening Worship Simon Harvey preaching. Relationships in the family and at work. Bible reading: Ephesians 5:21-6:9; Luke 10:25-37

Thursday, September 11, 2014

SMS Youth Club is back!

Our SMS Youth Club starts its 2014-2015 sessions this Sunday evening for young people in school years 7, 8 and 9.

The club is open from 6 - 7.30pm every Sunday during term-time and features great free activities including, pool, table football and Wii games. 

Everyone is welcome so please come along or get in touch with our Youth Minister, Tim Broadbent, if you or someone you know would like to join in.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Open House Weekend 20-21 September 2014

We are really excited to be taking part in the Open House London weekend which encourages people to visit churches and other buildings of interest in the capital.

Last year we welcomed over 250 extra visitors to St Mary's who came to share in the history and appreciate the architectural features of our church.

This year we will be welcoming visitors and offering them the chance to visit St Mary's as well as providing tea and coffee, special activities for children, and tours of crypt and the church tower with its spectacular views of London.

Please make a note in your diary and visit us and any of the other buildings that will be exceptionally open to the public for free on this special weekend.

Sharon Ellis - Childcare Services Manager

We're delighted to welcome Sharon to her new role with our partners, SMICP. Sharon will be leading our pre-school and play scheme services.

Sharon tells us that she's looking forward to meeting the children and their parents next week and to seeing how we can do even more together to improve the lives of people in Islington.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Safeguarding - We must never let anxiety about consequences stop us from acting on concerns

Simon Harvey writes,

The facts of the Rotherham child abuse scandal are appalling. Over fourteen hundred children were sexually exploited between 1997 and 2013 by gangs of men.

This follows waves of reports in recent years; the almost unbelievable scale of the abuses committed by Jimmy Savile and convictions of well-known public figures every few months. In recent decades, the dreadful denial of churches, children's homes, hospitals and boarding schools has been uncovered and there's been a radical change as the once-unthinkable is now something which must be talked about and acted on.

The particularities of the Rotherham case are now being discussed. The fact that the perpetrators are men of Pakistani heritage and that the victims are white has led to some outrageous comments by extremists. Their fury must not stop the particular facts of this case from being explored fearlessly. As a society, we've learned (and too often also forgotten) that anxiety about raising concerns is the biggest obstacle to protecting the welfare of children and vulnerable people. We share in the guilt if our reaction to discovering the possibility that someone is being abused is to let fear of the consequences of taking it further paralyse us.

The particular details matter in getting to the bottom of each case. But let's not fool ourselves when it comes to the general picture. Child abuse is not a problem for one town alone, nor only for those who are befriended by men of a certain ethnic origin. The lesson of the seemingly endless succession of child abuse cases is that it is everywhere. No corner of society can claim that this is not their problem. Mark Easton's brilliant piece for the BBC describes research implying that a million children may be suffering from abuse right now.

As a society, we have failed our children and we're only just learning how bad this failure has been. I wonder how many of the adults who are our friends, colleagues and neighbours bear the scars of childhood abuse. I wonder how many are abusers.

On starting training for ministry in the church two decades ago, I wanted to ensure that I was prepared for what I assumed could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience of responding to a concern about child abuse. I have learned that such concerns must be commonplace. Our vigilance must be routine, something that we pay attention to as much as the risks of fire and accident. If it's not, we're simply not going to be listening when our children want to tell us something.

At St Mary's we keep a promise. If a child tells us that someone in their life is harming them, we take them seriously. We always act on these concerns. We abide by the safeguarding policy of the Diocese of London not because it's a piece of unavoidable bureaucracy but because it saves children from suffering.

If you have any concerns about the welfare of a child, don't delay. Report it immediately.

St Mary's featured in the latest book by Siobhan Wall

Siobhan Wall's "Quiet London" series has been a tremendous success.

We're delighted to feature as one of the hundred quiet places in her latest book, Quiet London: Quiet Corners. Our church is now open every day, except certain bank holidays, providing an oasis of peace, historic interest and an opportunity for quiet prayer.

The publisher describes the book:

London is an exciting, vibrant and often noisy city but this busy metropolis also has a quiet side. Siobhan Wall encourages Londoners and visitors to the capital to wander away from the crowds and discover calm amid the hustle and bustle.

This is a guide to over 100 quiet corners in the city. There are peaceful gardens to enjoy, green spaces to wander through, places to rest, relax and recuperate, to meditate and invite mindful contemplation.

With evocative photographs and a short description for each location, including travel, access and contact details, Quiet London: Quiet Corners reveals the hidden, tranquil places in one of the world’s liveliest cities.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Four opportunities for work at St Mary's Youth Club

St Mary's Youth Club is offering an exciting opportunity for up to four young people aged 16-19 to be employed, to get trained and to be involved with shaping the youth club.

This includes the chance to earn £120 each month working part-time with access to accredited training over a period of three months.

To request an application pack, please contact 0207 183 2640 or 07816 073016. Get your application in soon and you'll need to be available for the Open Day on 3 September 2014, 6.30-8.00pm.