A Pentecost talk the morning after the atrocity on London Bridge and Borough High Street…
Here at St Luke’s, one of our biggest projects each year is our part in the Islington Churches Cold Weather Shelter (overseen by CARIS: www.carisislington.org). Throughout January-March (the coldest three months of the year), we open our doors each Saturday night/Sunday morning to offer a hot meal, a bed and a cooked breakfast to homeless people (six other churches in the area cover the rest of the week).
We’re pleased to report that 2017 was another successful season for Nightshelter. We hosted around 14 guests each week (around 100 in total). As well as home-cooked meals and a safe, comfortable place to sleep, guests were able to make use of the shower cubicle and washroom, which we installed a couple of years ago for this purpose. We also offered recreational activities and other services.
Around three quarters of this year’s guests moved onto other accommodation, such as supported housing, hostels, rented accommodation or returning to family or friends. This shows the vital role the project plays in helping to break the cycle of homelessness. One guest said of the warm hospitality he enjoyed at St Luke’s: “It’s that little bit of love – it makes all the difference, especially when you’ve never had it.”
Over 6,000 hours of volunteer time went into making the 2017 Nightshelter run smoothly – as well as thousands of pounds’ worth of donations of food, clothing and toiletries. Without the involvement of so many members and friends of St Luke’s (inside and outside the congregation), the project wouldn’t be possible, so thank you to everyone involved. A very special thank you goes to Dan, Sarah, Emma, Stef, John and Rosa, who ran our part of the project and coordinated our many volunteers with skill, commitment and compassion.
Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Easter) commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, before the tide turned, leading to his crucifixion five days later. So on 9 April, in keeping with tradition, we’ll start our 11am service in the garden before processing into the church carrying woven crosses.
On 13 April, we’ll gather in the church for a Maundy Thursday meal at 8pm. Food is provided but you’re invited to bring a bottle. A relaxed and sociable meal will be followed by a brief meditation and table communion. (Please email email@example.com if you intend to come, so we know how many to cater for).
Good Friday meditations at 12 noon on 14 April will be a short, reflective service, when we’ll use a series of ‘stations’ to aid our contemplation. These artworks or installations are created by members of the congregation and this year the theme is the words of Desmond Tutu:
‘Goodness is stronger than evil,
Love is stronger than hate,
Light is stronger than darkness,
Life is stronger than death.’
On Saturday 15 April, we’ll gather at 11.15pm for the most dramatic service of the year. The Vigil of Fire (midnight mass) uses darkness, fire and light to meditate on the dark hours after Christ’s death, followed by his glorious rising.
On Easter Sunday, 16 April, we’ll be back in the church for the family Easter celebration at 11am – a light, bright service, including activities for the kids.
Whether you’re a regular at St Luke’s, an occasional visitor or have never joined us before, you’re very welcome at any of our Easter events.
As we move into Lent – the period of 40 days before Easter – we have various opportunities at St Luke’s for thought and reflection, including two evening discussion groups meeting over the next five weeks.
Associate vicar Martin Wroe is running a course on Monday evenings on the subject of ‘Finding a Hidden God’. Focusing on discovering the divine in unexpected places, the group will meet at the Wroes’ home from 7.45pm. The course begins on Monday 6 March, but you can join later if you miss the start. Places are limited. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details and to book a spot on the sofa.
On Wednesday evenings, our vicar Dave Tomlinson will be running a course on ‘The Jesus Fatwah – love your Muslim (etc) neighbour as yourself’.
This explores Christianity and other faiths in a fraught and troubled world, using film footage of 17 Islamic and Christian experts to stimulate discussion. The group will meet in the side hall at St Luke’s at 7.45pm, starting on Wednesday 8 March. Bring a drink of your choice – nibbles will be provided. All are welcome. And you can join late if you miss earlier sessions. Email email@example.com to find out more.
Have you ever tried to enter the long black branches of other lives —
tried to imagine what the crisp fringes, full of honey, hanging
from the branches of the young locust trees, in early morning, feel like?
Do you think this world was only an entertainment for you?
Never to enter the sea and notice how the water divides
with perfect courtesy, to let you in!
Never to lie down on the grass, as though you were the grass!
Never to leap to the air as you open your wings over the dark acorn of your heart!
No wonder we hear, in your mournful voice, the complaint
that something is missing from your life!
Who can open the door who does not reach for the latch?
Who can travel the miles who does not put one foot
in front of the other, all attentive to what presents itself
Who will behold the inner chamber who has not observed
with admiration, even with rapture, the outer stone?
Well, there is time left —
fields everywhere invite you into them.
And who will care, who will chide you if you wander away
from wherever you are, to look for your soul?
Quickly, then, get up, put on your coat, leave your desk!
To put one’s foot into the door of the grass, which is
the mystery, which is death as well as life, and
not be afraid!
To set one’s foot in the door of death, and be overcome
To sit down in front of the weeds, and imagine
god the ten-fingered, sailing out of his house of straw,
nodding this way and that way, to the flowers of the
to the song falling out of the mockingbird’s pink mouth,
to the tippets of the honeysuckle, that have opened
in the night
To sit down, like a weed among weeds, and rustle in the wind!
Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?
While the soul, after all, is only a window,
and the opening of the window no more difficult
than the wakening from a little sleep.
Only last week I went out among the thorns and said
to the wild roses:
deny me not,
but suffer my devotion.
Then, all afternoon, I sat among them. Maybe
I even heard a curl or two of music, damp and rouge red,
hurrying from their stubby buds, from their delicate watery bodies.
For how long will you continue to listen to those dark shouters,
caution and prudence?
Fall in! Fall in!
A woman standing in the weeds.
A small boat flounders in the deep waves, and what’s coming next
is coming with its own heave and grace.
Meanwhile, once in a while, I have chanced, among the quick things,
upon the immutable.
What more could one ask?
And I would touch the faces of the daises,
and I would bow down
to think about it.
That was then, which hasn’t ended yet.
Now the sun begins to swing down. Under the peach-light,
I cross the fields and the dunes, I follow the ocean’s edge.
I climb, I backtrack.
I ramble my way home.
Here at St Luke’s, our main event of the week is an all-age communion service on Sundays at 11am. A relaxed gathering based on the Anglican tradition – with a few elaborations – this is where you’ll get a sense of how we do things at St Luke’s and have a chance to meet many of us. There are activities for children and a DIY crèche, and we enjoy catching up afterwards over tea and coffee (and cake, if we’re lucky).
However, we also have a variety of different services during the week that you might enjoy and find helpful. They usually follow this pattern (with some flexibility):
Every Sunday 9.15am: Holy Communion.
This service is short and sweet, with a said Eucharist (no singing) and no sermon.
Enter via the side door in Penn Road.
First Sunday of the month, 7pm: Choral Evensong. A cathedral-style (albeit rather smaller!) musical service led by our lovely choir in the chancel (that’s the bit at the front of the church, behind the altar).
Second Sunday of the month, 7pm: Soul Space. Ambient, chill-out worship, using music and images to inspire thought and reflection.
Fourth Sunday of the month, 7pm: Listen To The Silence.
Based on evening prayer from Iona, this service of quiet draws on Celtic spirituality, which finds a holy presence in all of creation.
Every Wednesday and Thursday, 9.30am: Morning Prayer. Simple Celtic prayers to start the day. Enter via the side door in Penn Road.
We also have various social events when we get to hang out together and enjoy each other’s company. These include a church lunch on the third Sunday of the month, after the service; and a new pub lunch get-together on the first Sunday of the month.
Whether you’re an old timer at St Luke’s, a newbie or you’re simply interested in checking us out, you’re very welcome at any of our services and events.
‘Trinity – After Rublev’ by Meg Wroe, is a new interpretation of one of the most famous of all Christian icons, by the C15th Russian painter Andrei Rublev. Daisy Holland’s icon, originally conceived for our Easter Stations last year, reflects the refugee crisis by depicting Jesus walking through the deep waters of the Mediterranean carrying a small child.
‘Trinity – After Rublev’, features three members of St Luke’s – Kathleen Wenaden, Beatrice Addo and Julius Ajeigbe – and was first shown as part of the All Saints Day Service at St Paul’s Cathedral last November. The piece was inspired by an observation by Elizabeth Henry, National Adviser for the Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns in the Church of England, who said that when people from black or minority ethnic communities enter church buildings they often won’t see themselves represented in the iconography or visual art.
‘Art should be better than this,’ Bishop Adrian told the congregation at St Luke’s, ‘Countering the unconscious bias in our attitudes and approaches – especially with reference to diversity and difference.’
(Many thanks to Stefano Cagnoni for the photographs)
Bishop Adrian Newman is joining us to bless our two new icons, painted by Meg Wroe and Daisy Holland, and to get to know the church better. He’ll be preaching on art and spirituality, and we look forward to meeting him and hearing what he has to say.
The Rt Revd Adrian Newman has been Bishop of Stepney (our area diocese) since 2011. He was once introduced as ‘the most un-Dean-like Dean in the Church of England’ – a description he quite liked, and he’s currently doing a good job of being ‘a most un-Bishop-like Bishop’. He should feel at home at St Luke’s, a most un-church-like church!
Please join us in giving Bishop Adrian a very warm welcome.
Our vicar, Dave Tomlinson, makes regular appearances on Pause For Thought on Radio 2 and Martin Wroe appears on Thought for the Day on Radio 4. This week, Dave delivered a new year message to listeners of Radio 2’s Breakfast Show with Sara Cox. In it, he offers good advice for creating a happier life in 2017 (and reveals that wearing a clerical collar makes you a bit of a lady magnet!).
You can have a listen here:
For more pearls of wisdom from Dave and our other inspiring speakers, you’re always welcome to join us for our all-age service at St Luke’s, every Sunday at 11am.
May 2017 be your best year ever!
We begin the celebrations at the 11am service on 18 December, which will be given over to the children’s nativity play. The kids are rehearsing hard on a fun and creative interpretation of the Christmas story – not to be missed!
That evening, at 8pm on 18 December, we have our annual candle-lit carol service. The St Luke’s choir will lead us in favourite hymns and carols, and wow us with some of their own stirring performances, too. Afterwards, there’ll be mulled wine and mince pies.
On Christmas Eve at 11.30pm, we gather for midnight mass. We’ll see in Christmas Day with a beautiful candle-lit service, and more evocative performances from the choir. There’ll be an opportunity to remember absent friends, who we often miss more than ever at this time of year.
On Christmas morning, there’ll be a family service at 10.30am (earlier than our usual services, so you can head home to get the dinner sorted). It’s a joyous all-age gathering to kick off the big day with a celebration of the true meaning of Christmas.
Whether you’re a regular at St Luke’s, an occasional visitor, or you’ve never joined us before, you’ll find a warm welcome at all our services over the festive period. Season’s greetings to everyone in the parish of St Luke’s, West Holloway, and beyond.