Our friends and neighbours at Hope Church Islington have a weekend of celebration to mark the two hundredth anniversary of the building of the church of St Mary Magdalene on Holloway Road.
As Islington's population began to grow it became clear that the parish needed a second church. This was the first step in a remarkable period - over three dozen churches were built within St Mary's original parish over the course of the next eighty years.
We congratulate our neighbours on reaching this big anniversary and pray God's blessing on their ministry and mission.
We're delighted to welcome Vanessa Haruperi to work at St Mary's Youth Club in the role of Youth Development Manager, covering maternity leave for Rebecca Mills.
Vanessa writes, "Most of my work experiences have been in the local community with adults, children and young people. I have worked with young people in youth work, tutoring and mentoring roles across a range of settings such as youth centres, alternative provision (Pupil Referral Units), Saturday schools and the church. These experiences were great, as they allowed me to build relationships, provide educational support and guidance and encourage positive avenues for young people to pursue. I thoroughly enjoy building relationships with young people and providing opportunities to promote their personal growth and development.
"I am excited about joining the team and look forward to working alongside you all and making a contribution to SMICP."
St Mary's Youth Club is run by SMICP, an independent charity formed by St Mary's Church as a local partner for serving the people of Islington on our premises.
The General Synod of the Church of England meets in York for a five day meeting from Friday 11 July until Tuesday 15 July. There's an understandable nervousness as well as excitement about what will happen.
I've written before about our hope that women as well as men may soon be able to share in the leadership of the church at all levels and it was disappointing that the previous legislation failed to pass in 2012. The new arrangements are simplified and have received support in all of the dioceses of the Church. But there's little room for complacency and it will be important for any unresolved differences to leave a legacy of trust and confidence rather than tension.
We'll be praying for the Synod as it considers all the issues on its agenda and I'll be hoping that we'll soon be looking forward to the first appointment of a female bishop in the Church of England.
'Does God wear trousers?' is not a typical question you might find on a church website. Its actually the title of an article I wrote for the London Diocese on working with children in church. The article (below) is about encouraging children's natural curiosity, their search for God and the importance of these questions. Please feel free to read and comment on the article, all feedback welcome. One question that emerged from a child who went to our Kids Church this week was, 'in heaven, will pancakes talk?' Brilliant!