St Thomas the Apostle - Finsbury Park


Parish Circular

CHRISTMAS EVE: SUNDAY 24 DECEMBER

3 PM CHILDREN’S SERVICE

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Christmas carols and the story of the Nativity, lasting about 45 minutes. Please encourage your children to bring a present to put under the tree. These will be given to The Toy Project, which recycles new as well as used but unwanted toys for children in hospital, hospices, bereavement play therapy, looked after children and those in homeless families in our part of north London.

Some of you will remember that we are linked with a parish in Mozambique. This is in a poorer part of Maputo, the capital city. Their parish priest needs a better way of getting around so we are raising money to help them to provide him with a tuk-tuk. We are collecting for this until the Christmas season ends on 2 February.

11.45 PM MIDNIGHT MASS

A traditional service, beginning in candlelight, provides our first opportunity to make our communion together in celebration of the birth of Christ. Afterwards you are invited to join us in the hall for wine and mince pies.

MONDAY 25 DECEMBER: CHRISTMAS DAY
AND
SUNDAY 31 DECEMBER: NEW YEAR’S EVE

10.30 AM PARISH EUCHARIST
A service for all ages at our usual time on a Sunday.
The children will be encouraged to worship with us on both days rather than having their own activities.

SUNDAY 7 JANUARY: THE EPIPHANY OF CHRIST

10.30 am Holy Communion
This is intended for anyone unable to join us in the evening.

6 PM PROCESSION AND SUNG EUCHARIST

Epiphany (Twelfth Night) is often the first occasion when it is possible for us to celebrate together, as so many of you are away from home over Christmas and the New Year.

There is a party afterwards. The coming of the wise men from the east to worship the young child in Bethlehem is a special feast for us. We give thanks that the welcome given to foreigners has been part of the Christian tradition from the beginning.

We are delighted to welcome as our preacher Jess Swift, who became Area Dean of Islington in September. She is the first woman to hold this office. Please come to listen to her and then to meet her.

Our organ has recently been tuned so that it can continue to enrich our worship over Christmas. Meanwhile we are still fund raising for the major renovation that is necessary. You may have come along to our recent Open Day. I couldn’t be here as I was visiting friends in New York to experience how they celebrate Thanksgiving there. I don’t need to be around for everything to happen. St Thomas’ is not a building, but its people. Vicars are birds of passage.

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GATHERING TOGETHER

One person can worship alone, but doing so with others is much more encouraging. This year you may have noticed some celebrations focussing on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. In 1517 Martin Luther decided the time had come to challenge the Church about some of its practices. He believed that those in authority were making it unnecessarily difficult for ordinary people to enjoy a healthy relationship with the God they worshipped.

We are still benefitting from at least a couple of the things that happened as a result. People began to worship in their own language and the congregation sings hymns as a central part of our services. At St Thomas’ the first thing that happens once the bell rings to mark the start of our worship is that we all stand to sing together. This helps us all to participate and provides us with a common purpose. Even if we don’t sing either well or confidently, we can be uplifted by the music. Our hymns also bring us into contact with worshippers who have lived before us. Either the words or the music, and sometimes both, began life at different moments throughout the last 2000 years of Christian history.

Usually we sing in the church building, greatly helped by the organ, but sometimes you will hear us singing outside. We are continuing to take opportunities to serenade arriving football fans and so far they have responded very generously. We will be doing this on Tuesday 19 December when there is a match, before setting off around some of the nearby streets to raise money for the Islington Churches’ Cold Weather Shelter which is open from 1 January until 31 March 2018. If we call on you, please join in and make a request.

We also have a Singing Group that meets in St Thomas’ at 7.30 pm on most Thursdays throughout the year. Why not come along?

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