St Thomas the Apostle - Finsbury Park

Parish Circular


20 – 27 MARCH 2016


In the Christian tradition each day begins with sunset the previous day, hence the various ‘eves’ that we honour such as at Christmas and Hallowe’en. So on the eve of Holy Week Highbury Chamber Choir is offering one of its regular concerts at St Thomas’ at which they will be singing music by Tallis, especially his setting of the Lamentations of the prophet Jeremiah, as well as Josquin and Byrd. Tickets can be bought at the door @ £7 each.


10.30 AM: Procession of Palms and Parish Eucharist.

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in Holy Week there is a service of Holy Communion at 7 pm. After the service on Monday 21 March, promptly at 7.45 pm, we are screening Pasolini’s film ‘The Gospel according to Matthew’, as one of our regular series of Movie Nights. These are free and are held in the Parish Rooms. Please enter by the gate in Monsell Road.

Sung Eucharist followed by Vigil of Prayer until midnight.



At noon – Stations of the Cross for Children (about 45 minutes).

AT 2 P.M. – Liturgy of the Passion of Christ.


Vigil and First Eucharist of Easter.


Procession and Parish Eucharist, followed by our Parish Easter Lunch.



On the cover there is a linocut print by Andrew Anderson, who lives and works in Norwich, of Jesus with his apostles at the Last Supper, which we commemorate on Maundy Thursday, to reflect Jesus’ commandment that his followers are to love one another as he loves them. Interestingly Judas, who betrayed him, is not depicted, although he was there. This reflects the ambivalence to Judas over 2000 years of Christian history. In our chapel he is shown with a black halo! Yet Jesus included Judas both by washing his feet and inviting him to participate in the meal. He also doesn’t prevent Judas from kissing him before his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Our need to reflect on what makes for good and healthy relationships has been much on my mind recently. Jesus’ worked hard to perceive what it was like to be the other person and never gave up on anyone even if they ignored, rejected or turned away from him. ‘Father forgive them, they don’t understand what they are doing’ is attributed to him on the cross.

What light might this cast on the discussions about the place of the United Kingdom in the European Union and our response to the problems being created by the number of people trying to migrate between countries?

There is soon to be an extraordinary coincidence. Over the weekend of 10 – 12 June we are encouraged to celebrate the ‘official’ birthday of the Queen. (She will actually be 90 on 21 April.) We are intending to do so at St Thomas’ by having an open day, certainly involving refreshments and music, but possibly also an opportunity for dressing up in clothes that could have been worn at some point 1926-2016 on Saturday 11 June.

Then on Thursday 23 June, we are invited to participate in the referendum to decide the future of the UK in the EU. I expect many of us have not finally decided yet, but we will need to do so by then as we can’t complain later if other people make a decision we don’t like ‘on our behalf’. For many of you St Thomas’ will be your polling station.

My question is whether having the celebration of the Queen so close to the referendum will affect the decision we make individually and together?


Her Majesty is not the only one with a birthday in April as mine is on 16 April, although I will be a mere 67 years old!

St Thomas’ has decided to mark this as part of our fund-raising with a ‘Vicar’s Birthday Bake Off’ in the Parish Rooms on the day itself, Saturday 16 April from 2 until 5 pm. This is open to the whole parish. There will be a choice of categories to enter including a children’s category. You can sign up in advance or turn up on the day. Cakes will be sold after the winners are announced. There will be tea and coffee available to buy. Money raised will go to St Thomas’ building fund. I’ve mentioned previously that we are investigating ways of making more and better use of our buildings. We have been offered a generous grant by Richard Cloudesley’s Charity to commission a feasibility study to explore how we might go about this so there are certainly some large potential expenses concerning the building. I hope as part of this we will be able to consult fully with our parishioners about how St Thomas’ can become even more of a community asset.


On Sunday 24 April we are holding our Annual Parish Meeting in the Parish Rooms, 75 Monsell Road. This will start at noon soon after the end of our regular 10.30 am service. You are invited because we are here for all the local community, the parishioners, not just ourselves, the congregation. We want to continue to be here, but have spent the past 12 months very aware of our financial challenges. The Pentecostal Church which had worshipped on Sunday afternoons for nearly 20 years moved on last May. We are delighted that in the autumn we were able to let the hall every Sunday afternoon to the Castellers of London, who build human towers as part of a tradition going back for over 200 years in Catalonia. They aim to have fun as well as to keep fit. They invite you to join them from 2 until 5 pm on most Sundays. ‘Ours’ is the first group to be established in the UK. You may have seen them inside St Thomas’ during our open day last October. Either just come along or find them at





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