SAINT THOMAS THE APOSTLE
CHRISTMAS EVE: TUESDAY 24 DECEMBER
3 PM CHILDREN’S SERVICE
We begin our Christmas with 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 north London.
I’m delighted to let you k now that during the last 18 months we have been able to raise money for our link parish in Mozambique to buy a car for their priest to get around where there is little public transport, to renovate the vicarage and to mechanise the well in the church compound so that it can be used by the neighbours. This means that on Christmas Eve we will be raising money for Akwaaba, a charity that works with migrants in Hackney on Sundays: https://akwaaba.org.uk We are collecting for this until Christmastide ends at Candlemas on 2 February at 10.30 am.
11.45 PM MIDNIGHT MASS
A traditional service, beginning in candlelight, enables us to make our communion together in celebration of the birth of Christ. Please join us in the hall afterwards for wine and mince pies.
WEDNESDAY 25 DECEMBER: CHRISTMAS DAY
10.30 AM PARISH EUCHARIST
The children will be encouraged to remain with us rather than having their own activities so that we can celebrate together. We will also all worship together on Sunday 29 December at 10.30 am.
SUNDAY 5 JANUARY: THE EPIPHANY OF CHRIST
10.30 am Holy Communion
This is intended for anyone unable to join us in the evening.
There is no 8.30 am service of Holy Communion on this Sunday.
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 for the first time Joanne Grenfell, Bishop of Stepney, who started her ministry amongst us during the summer. She will have the responsibility of appointing my successor, so I wanted her to experience St Thomas’ as it is now on a festive occasion. Previously she was an archdeacon in the Diocese of Portsmouth and is the sixth Bishop of Stepney since I was appointed in 1988. Bishop Grenfell will consult with others about the appointment, not least the congregation here. I also hope the vacancy will be advertised, although it wasn’t 30 years ago!
IMMANUEL: GOD WITH US
The challenges facing us in our generation can seem overwhelming. Where do we start? Can we in fact do anything that makes much difference? I’m typing this in the midst of the General Election campaign. By the time you read it we will probably know the result. At the very least I hope you voted, assuming you were qualified to do so. The various political parties will be publishing their manifestoes this week. They will have been juggling with the order of priorities. What matters most to them and to us?
In October we held our Community Eco-Fair. We were delighted so many of you were able to join us, but especially to be able to host so many different groups who understand the climate emergency to be our greatest challenge as the afternoon gave them the chance to network and encourage each other.
There are other matters jockeying for priority: our relationship with the European Union, the strains and stresses of the National Health Service, the lack of genuinely affordable housing, as well as the lack of sufficiently supportive provision for the care of the elderly.
None of these problems is insuperable if we can work together to find solutions. The revelation we celebrate at Christmas, which is fulfilled at Easter, is that, whatever is happening to human beings in the world which we share, is within the love of God. Problems and challenges arise when we work against that love, often without understanding that we are doing so until after the event, though sometimes more wilfully when we act despite the evidence.
There is no reason either to despair or to behave selfishly while there is life and a world in which to be alive. God is with us and nothing can separate us from the love of God.
Rev’d Prebendary Stephen Coles
The Cardinal’s Hat, 25 Romilly Road, London N4 2QY
Facebook: St Thomas the Apostle Finsbury Park
Charity Number 1179777