Christmas at St Luke’s


Christmas is one of the most important festivals in the Christian calendar, and here at St Luke’s, we’re looking forward to some wonderful services and events over the festive period.

We begin the celebrations at the 11am service on 17 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!

In the evening, at 8pm on 17 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, we’ll have our normal Sunday family service at 11am. Then in the evening, 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 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.

Throughout Advent, after Sunday morning services, there’ll be stalls selling church members’ handmade and fairtrade gifts, so if you’ve got presents to buy, bring your wallet – a percentage of sales go to support St Luke’s.

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.

A welcome for newcomers


St Luke’s is a growing church, with new faces arriving every week, and although we endeavour to be friendly and welcoming, it can be easy for newcomers to get lost in the crowd. 

So on Friday 1 December at 7.30pm, we’re hosting our annual newcomers evening to welcome those who are relatively new to St Luke’s – although anyone is welcome, even if you’ve been around for some time.

There’ll be fizz and nibbles, and a chance to chat and get to know each other. Our vicar, Dave, will give an introduction to St Luke’s, including a who’s who and a guided tour of the building to check out those secret rooms and winding staircases you never normally see. You’ll learn more about the history and ethos of St Luke’s, and there’ll be opportunities to ask questions.

Regardless of how long you’ve been coming to St Luke’s, if you’d like an introduction to the church, you’re welcome to join us. Please email patriciatomlinson@mac.com to let us know you’re coming, so we can make sure we have enough refreshments for everyone.

Remembering those we’ve loved and lost


Many people find their way to St Luke’s through the saddest of circumstances – planning a funeral for a loved one. Others have found comfort in the love and support of people at St Luke’s during the dark time after losing a friend or family member.

As a church, we often include opportunities during regular services to remember and give thanks for people we’ve loved and lost – perhaps through lighting a candle, saying a prayer, or the shared experience of communion, which symbolically gathers together all people, both living and dead.

However, once a year there’s a special service dedicated to those who’ve departed this world. All Souls Day (also known as the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed) falls every year on 2 November. St Luke’s will be holding its All Souls service on Sunday 29 October at 4pm. It’s an opportunity to pray for departed souls, give thanks for those we’ve loved, and light a candle in their memory. Their names will be read out as part of the service.

The service is particularly popular with people who’ve attended funerals at St Luke’s in the preceding year, but anyone is welcome to attend, and some people make the journey every year.

If you’d like the name(s) of your loved one(s) to be read out at the service on 29 October, you can fill in a form (which you’ll find at the back of the church) and pass it to Pat Tomlinson. Alternatively, if you’re not a regular at St Luke’s, you can email your request to patriciatomlinson@mac.com. We look forward to welcoming you to the All Souls service to remember those you’ve loved and lost.

The Speakeasy returns


Here at St Luke’s, we’re blessed with some amazingly talented people in our congregation, from singers and musicians to actors and comedians. Our annual Speakeasy is an opportunity to be entertained by the best of the church’s talent – and enjoy a great social evening and a singalong, too.

What can you expect from a St Luke’s Speakeasy? You’ll arrive to find the church transformed into a twinkling candlelit café, with the stage set for the show. There’ll be a bar in the kitchen, and nibbles to snack on while you relax among friends and enjoy top-class musical performances, sketches, cabaret acts and a few surprise moments. Plus there’ll be a house band to lead a singalong we can all join in with. Crispin – who produces the event – will be our master of ceremonies.

The 10th St Luke’s Speakeasy is on Friday 13 October, 8pm-11.30pm. Tickets cost £5, or £2 concessions, and the event is only open to those aged 16+ (no exceptions). Tickets are on sale now at Sunday morning services and at https://billetto.co.uk/en/e/speakeasy-10-tickets-215075 (69p/56p booking fee)  – advanced sales are encouraged so we can make sure the bar doesn’t run out.

As well as a chance for us all to get together and have some fun, it’s also a great opportunity to invite friends, family and neighbours along for a relaxed evening out. So get your gladrags on, tune up your vocal cords and get ready for a great night at St Luke’s.

Feeling festive?

If you happen to visit St Luke’s over the August bank holiday weekend, you’d be forgiven for thinking the congregation is on the sparse side. That’s because a lot of St Lukers will be decamping to Northamptonshire for the weekend for the Greenbelt festival.

 

If you haven’t heard of Greenbelt, it’s a fantastic faith, arts and justice festival, where thousands of people gather to listen to great music, learn and debate at talks and seminars, spend time catching up with old friends and new, and chill out in the famous Tiny Tea Tent.

 

St Luke’s has a long association with Greenbelt. For many years, Greenbelt had its offices in St Luke’s (before we opened up the east aisle of the church to make space for our growing congregation). Many of our members are involved in running and overseeing different parts of the festival. You may even see a few familiar faces on the programme.

 

To learn more about our favourite festival, check out the website at www.greenbelt.org.uk.

 

However, if you’re in London on Sunday 27 August, rest assured that St Luke’s will still be open for business. There’ll be an 11am service as usual, and friendly faces to greet you. The rest of us will see you when we get back!

Another successful year for Nightshelter


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.

Holy Week at St Luke’s


Easter is one of the busiest periods in the Christian calendar, and St Luke’s will be buzzing with activity over Holy Week.

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 patriciatomlinson@mac.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.

Lent courses at St Luke’s

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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 martinwroe@mac.com 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’.
TJF-2015-header-501x330This 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 davetomlinson@mac.com to find out more.