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.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Services on Sunday

Sunday 31/08/2014

11am Morning Worship Gloria Naylor preaching. "Deny yourself, take up your cross, follow me" Bible reading: Jeremiah 15.15-21; Matthew 16.21-28

6pm Holy Communion Simon Harvey preaching. Good News for the whole world Bible reading: Ephesians 3:1-21; Mark 1:14-20

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.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Confirmation service 2 November 2014

Confirmation at St Mary's in 2011
If you've been baptised and are serious about your Christian faith, being confirmed is the natural and appropriate thing to do.

In the Bible, we find that those who have been baptised and seek to follow Jesus Christ receive the prayers of the Church and the laying on of hands. Representing the wider church beyond a particular congregation, the bishop prays the prayer of confirmation personally for each candidate.

In the Church of England, those who receive Holy Communion have normally been confirmed, or 'desirous of being confirmed'. We also encourage those who are visiting us from another church where they usually receive the sacrament of Holy Communion to do so with us.

The Bishop of Stepney, The Rt Revd Adrian Newman, is joining us at our main eleven o'clock service on 2 November for the next confirmation. For full information about confirmation, download our introductory leaflet.

Please contact Simon Harvey for more details or to register your interest.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Iraq - Stop the Slaughter

The Archbishop of York has issued prayers for Iraq, which we've reproduced below:

Holy God, your Holy family was driven into exile and many holy innocent boys were massacred, we hold before you today the suffering people of Mosul. Amen

Hold in your loving arms, all those who have been caught up in this conflict. We pray for those forced to flee their homes, all who have lost friends, family and possessions and who now face an uncertain future. Bless our Christian brothers and sisters who have seen the destruction of their churches and communities and for our Muslim neighbours who have also experienced destruction and suffering. Amen.

The Church of England is encouraging people to download this poster (or this printer friendly version) and to display it in homes, churches and noticeboards to display their support for all religious minorities fleeing persecution.

The poster uses the Arabic letter, "N", which has been daubed on the homes of Christians (often called 'Nasrani' in Arabic) in Mosul to identify them as targets for persecution or execution. This symbol has been picked up around the world as a way in which we can identify with those from all religious and ethnic communities who are being targeted by ISIS. As a church, we are committed to championing freedom of religion and belief worldwide as a fundamental and internationally recognised human right. Even in the UK, we stand firmly against any labelling or targeting of people on the basis of their religion, and we work for a society that continues to be welcoming and respectful of all faiths.

The Archbishop of Canterbury issued a statement on the situation in Iraq.  In the statement Archbishop Justin stated "It is extremely important that aid efforts are supported and that those who have been displaced are able to find safety. I believe that, like France, the United Kingdom's doors should be open to refugees, as they have been throughout history."

Donations can be made to the Anglican Diocese for Cyprus and the Gulf which is part of the Church network functioning alongside the Kurdish authorities in the absence of the normal international relief agencies. The immediate need is funds for food. The next priority is providing accommodation for those sleeping in schools or even in the streets. People on the ground in Erbil expect even more refugees from the surrounding area. Funds from various church agencies worldwide are being pooled through this committee in the attempt to meet the needs of as many as possible, among both Christians and non-Christians, all who have lost their homes and livelihoods, and have been looted of all worldly possessions.

Gifts can also fund the work of Canon Andrew White at St. George's Church in Baghdad and his Foundation for Relief and reconciliation in the Middle East. Canon Andrew White has provided harrowing insight into the persecution being suffered by Iraqi Christians and the Iraqi people by ISIS.

Donations are also encouraged to Christian Aid's Iraq Crisis Appeal. Christian Aid is responding to the humanitarian crisis by working through long standing partners that are operational in the North of Iraq and Kurdistan.