St Thomas the Apostle - Finsbury Park


Parish Circular

HOLY WEEK AND EASTER SERVICES AND EVENTS

SUNDAY 25 MARCH – SUNDAY 1 APRIL 2018

PALM SUNDAY

10.30 AM: Procession of Palms and Parish Eucharist.

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On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in Holy Week there are services of Morning Prayer at 8.15 am and Holy Communion at 7 pm.

MAUNDY THURSDAY

at 8.15 am Morning Prayer and AT 7.30 P.M. Sung Eucharist followed by Vigil of Prayer until midnight.

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GOOD FRIDAY

at 12 noon – Stations of the Cross for Children (about 45 minutes).
AT 2 P.M. – Liturgy of the Passion of Christ.

EASTER EVE (SATURDAY) AT 9 P.M.
Vigil and First Eucharist of Easter.

EASTER DAY (SUNDAY) AT 10.30 A.M.
Procession and Parish Eucharist, followed by our Parish Easter Lunch.

This is the most important time of the year in the Christian calendar. If it were not for what happened to Jesus on Good Friday and Easter Day, we would not be here and there would be no Christmas.

Although this is the first public holiday of the year in our country, it can be helpful to remember that these are holy days. Like Sunday, which is not the Sabbath, but the Day of Resurrection that begins each week, these are days of rest from our normal routine to encourage us to get our lives in perspective, even if some people have to work to enable us to do so! I’m disappointed that even regular worshippers are away from home when we are celebrating the most important period of Jesus’ life. Without the events of these holy days there would be no holidays.

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THE ELIXIR OF LIFE

Human beings have been seeking to discover how to live longer throughout our history. Often this has taken the form of trying to find a secret ingredient, like a potion, at others using something like cryogenics (being put into a frozen state) so that we can be revived at a later date.

A recent statistic predicts that by 2050 there will be at least one million people over the age of 100 living in this country. People are certainly, on average, living longer. Some of us consider deaths at the age of 60 or 70 as being ‘premature’. There are certain assumptions about our way of life that need to be questioned, but life ‘expectation’ points to ever greater age.

Yet is quantity of life more important than, or even as important as quality of life? I suppose one possible benefit of living longer might be that we have more time to live better, a version of living in hope.

Our concerns about this have even led to people believing that whatever is lacking here and now will be made up in ‘heaven’ or somewhere else, ‘a better place’, after our death. This can certainly be helpful in making our lives more bearable, but what kind of life after death will or can there be?

The older I get the more urgent it seems that I need to live as fully as possible now and that the extent to which I manage to do that will affect what comes after I am no longer here.

Christians pray that the kingdom of God should come ‘on earth as it is in heaven’. For us the eternal life offered by Jesus Christ is something to be lived from the moment we accept the invitation. Symbolically this happens at our baptism. Christ’s body after his death was and is the Church. That is how he was raised from the dead, in the lives of those who followed him and believed in him. This is the ‘resurrection of the body’ that we affirm in our creeds, the affirmations of our faith.

Eternal life is revealed through the love that Jesus gave to all whom he knew then and there, and continues to be lived because of the generations who have tried, and sometimes succeeded in, doing likewise since.

HIGHBURY CHAMBER CHOIR

Highbury Chamber Choir celebrated its thirtieth anniversary just before Christmas with a wonderful concert at St Thomas’. You may have joined us. Their next concert is on Saturday 24 March at 8 pm.

The music will be by Victoria, a selection from his ‘Tenebrae’ settings, so very appropriate for the beginning of Holy Week, by Wilkes, Monteverdi and others. Have you noticed how rich our life is in Finsbury Park?

LOCAL COUNCIL ELECTIONS: 3 MAY

The Parish Rooms are once again serving as a Polling Station for half of the Highbury West Ward of Islington. We will be electing our three ward councillors. In 2014 Labour won all but one of the seats on the council. I don’t yet know who our candidates will be, but I do know that Richard Greening, who has been one of our local councillors for sixteen years, has decided to retire. Thank you for all you have done Richard. So we will be electing at least one new person to represent us this time.

I don’t know how many of you are aware that about four times a year there is a ward meeting for all local residents at which councillors and council officers can be held to account. I don’t find it easy to get to these meetings because of other commitments, but when I am able to be there I always find it worthwhile, though I’m also disappointed that there aren’t more of my neighbours present. Please ask your newly-elected councillors about this and get yourself on the e-mailing list.

A flourishing democracy does not happen just by voting at elections. We need to participate in between, keeping an eye not just on our own interests, but looking out for our neighbours as well. Recently many of us managed to give Islington support by opposing Sainsbury’s attempt to open yet another local store in the lower part of the former Highbury Vale Police Station. This went as far as the Planning Inspectorate, which upheld the council’s decision. In doing this we were motivated by our concern for the well-being of our community as a whole, not least the small shopkeepers, who enrich the life of this parish so much.

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