Weekly reflections

Thoughts and prayers from the Wood Green team

Parish letter - Ash Wednesday and 1st Sunday of Lent

Dear Brothers & Sisters

‘Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return, turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel’.

With these words our Lenten journey begins and I look forward to seeing you at one of our Ash Wednesday services either at 12noon at St Michael at Bowes or at 7pm at St Michael’s Wood Green. We have produced an order for a good keeping of Lent which you will find in both churches in the parish. Our hope is that this year will see many of you returning to church to take up the Lord’s invitation to ‘take up your cross and follow Him’.

The disciplines of Lent are all too often seen negatively as something to be endured until we reach the joy of Easter. Such an understanding can deprive us of the real grace of Lent which when received deepens our awareness and understanding of God’s love for us and His presence within us. Brother Roger (Taize Community) liked to recall that ‘Lent was not a time for austerity or sorrow, or a period to cultivate guilt, but rather a season to sing the joy of forgiveness and to discover little springtimes in our lives.’

On the first Sunday of Lent, we will hear how Jesus following his temptation in the wilderness makes his way to Galilee where he proclaims the Good News from God. ‘The time has come and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News.’ In other words Jesus is saying turn back to God and receive the blessings He wishes to pour upon you. We are invited to a conversion: not to turn in on ourselves but to seek communion with God and also communion with others.

We look forward to walking with you this Lent as together we respond to God’s great love for us, for He loved us so much that He gave His only Son – may our response to that love this Lent bring us ever closer to our Lord and God.

With love & prayers

Fr Ian (on behalf of the Wood Green Team)

Prayer for the week

Lord, open our eyes
and we shall behold your glory.
Lord, open our ears
and we shall hear your call.
Lord, open our hearts
and we shall know your love.
Lord, open our lives
and we shall reveal your glory. Amen

Week at a glance

Ash Wednesday Masses (14th February)
12noon St Michael at Bowes
7pm Parish Mass St Michael Wood Green

A reminder that a booklet of all services for Lent and Easter is available in Church.

Sunday 18th February (First Sunday of Lent)
08.30 am Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green
10.30 am Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green (Blessing of Icons & Crosses for use at home, please bring one with you)
11.00 am Parish Eucharist at St Michael-at-Bowes
6.00pm Stations of the Cross at St Michael Wood Green

Tuesday 20th February
11.00 am Eucharist at St Michael-at-Bowes
12.00noon Lent Bible Study

Wednesday 21st February
11am Church open for silent prayer
12.00 noon Mass

Thursday 22nd February
2.00 pm Prayers for the parish at St Michael at Bowes
7.00 pm Lent Group exploring the Last Supper

Friday 23rd February
9.00am Devotions at the Cross
5.30pm Mass and breaking of the fast

Saturday 24th February 2024
12.00 noon Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Notices

Stations of the Cross – This beautiful and moving Lenten discipline will take place every Sunday evening in Lent at 6pm. lasting about 50 minutes it leads us to a deep understanding of Christ’s passion.

Tuesday Lent Group – Following the Eucharist at St Michael at Bowes there will be a Lent Group entitled ‘Come and See’. All are welcome.

Wednesday Drop-In – Join us at the Drop-In on Wednesdays between 10.30am and 1.30pm. Warmth, fellowship and refreshments available for all. All are welcome!

Thursday Lent Group – 7pm at St Michael’s Wood Green our Lent Group will study the Last Supper. A time of scripture reading, reflection, discussion and prayer as we ponder the Lord’s call to ‘do this in remembrance of me.

First Communion & Confirmation Classes – If you or your children would like to be prepared for first communion and Confirmation, please let Fr Ian or Fr Engin know. Once expressions of interest have been received, we shall make arrangements for classes to begin.

Pilgrimages – If you would like information about the pilgrimage to Walsingham in August or the pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi in September 2025 please see the information at the back of the Church or speak to Fr Ian or Carol.

A gentle reminder – Your clergy are called by God to love and serve you. If there is anything you want to speak about in confidence, or if there is anything you want us to pray for, or should you know someone who is unwell and needs a visit – please let us know. Should you wish to make your confession as part of your Lent preparations please speak to us to make arrangements.

Parish letter - Sunday 11th February 2024

Dear Friends in Christ,

I pray that this finds you well.

It is hard to believe that we are nearly coming to the middle of February, which will be the beginning of Lent. There are a few weeks before Lent, which are considered “ordinary season” and this coming Sunday is the last one. Gospel reading will be Jesus healing a leper (Mark 1:40-45). Leprosy refers to an array of skin diseases that rendered a Jewish person “unclean” and required a lifelong isolation from society including one’s own family. The person with such an infectious disease must wear torn clothes, let hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of the face. They would live outside of cities in caves and open spaces and if they approach anyone they are to cry out “Unclean! Unclean!” to warn the person. In this case however, the leper has confidence that Jesus might be able to reverse the condition and so begging for help, bowing before Jesus and saying you are able to make me clean.” The story gives us several thoughts: on the one hand, we Jesus’ authority as one who has the power of diseases such as leprosy. This is of course consistent with the rest of the Gospel, where we see Jesus’ authority over many things. It gives us a glimpse about the life of a person who is considered “unclean”. It of course reveals the heart of God in pouring out his love, his acceptance and healing upon this man. It also shows us the faith that this leper had. His words of trust are a powerful example of such faith as well as his posture before Jesus.

As we are preparing for Lent, perhaps we could take some of these themes for ourselves: on one hand, we could reflect on the faith shown by this unnamed leper, but also on we can reflect on people who are seen as perhaps “unclean” or people who have stigma in our greater community and ask God to give us grace to show his love and acceptance to those who are seperated from society. After all, Lent is a season for self-examination. Perhaps we could learn from both Jesus and the leper.

Fr Engin YILDIRIM (On Behalf of the Team)

Prayer for the week

Father, your Son accepted our sufferings,
teaching us the virtue of patience in human illness.
Hear the prayers we offer for our sick brothers and sisters.
May all who suffer pain, illness or disease
realise that they are chosen to be Saints,
and know that they are joined to Christ
in his suffering for the salvation of the world. Amen.

Week at a glance

Important Notice:
There will be no service on Friday, February 9th 2024

Sunday 11th February 2024
08.30 am Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green
10.30 am Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green
11.00 am Parish Eucharist at St Michael-at-Bowes

Tuesday 13th February
11.00 am Eucharist at St Michael-at-Bowes
12.00 noon Tuesday Bible Study; Discussion (Book of Exodus Chapter 18)

Ash Wednesday 14th February 2024
12.00 noon Ash Wednesday Service at St Michael-at-Bowes
7.00 pm Ash Wednesday Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Thursday 15th February 2024
2.00 pm Prayer at St Michael at Bowes for the Parish
7.00 pm Lent Holy Hour

Friday 16th February 2024
12.00 noon Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Saturday 17th February 2024
12.00 noon Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Notices

Tuesday Bible Study: Bible Study; Discussion on Tuesday’s from12.00 – 13.00. This coming week we will continue looking at the book of Exodus chapter 19

Ash Wednesday: We will offer two services on Ash Wednesday (February 14th ). The noon day service will be at St Michael-at-Bowes Church and there will be a minibus available from Wood Green should you wish to attend this service.

The Ash Wednesday Parish Mass will be at 7pm in St Michael Wood Green.

Wednesday Drop-In – Join us at the Drop-In on Wednesdays between 10.30am and 1.30pm. Warmth, fellowship and refreshments available for all. All are welcome!

First Communion & Confirmation Classes – If you or your children would like to be prepared for first communion and Confirmation, please let Fr Ian or Fr Engin know. Once expressions of interest have been received, we shall make arrangements for classes to begin.

Pilgrimages – If you would like information about the pilgrimage to Walsingham in August or the pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi in September 2025 please see the information at the back of the Church or speak to Fr Ian or Carol.

A gentle reminder – Your clergy are called by God to love and serve you. If there is anything you want to speak about in confidence, or if there is anything you want us to pray for, or should you know someone who is unwell and needs a visit – please let us know.

Palm Crosses – Please return your palm crosses from last year that they may be burnt in
preparation for Ash Wednesday on 14th February.

Lent 2024 – Your guide for keeping a good Lent will be available on Sunday

Parish letter - Sunday 4th February 2024

Dear Brothers & Sisters,

I begin by offering my sincere thanks for all the kindness you showed last week as I marked my 60th birthday. I had no idea that such a huge surprise had been planned at the end of last Sundays Mass and I remain humbled and grateful for the love shown, it will never be forgotten – thank you all.

In the Gospel on Sunday we witness the healing power of Jesus. To understand the power of God active in the deeds of Jesus, we must recognise all that stands in opposition to good. It comes in many different forms. Some people suffer sickness and need healing; others suffer from the evil deeds of others and from sin. Sin causes disorder or dis-ease, and divides relationships. The power of evil (as we shall see in Lent and Holy Week) is mysterious, but cannot be denied. However, as we shall hear on Sunday, the Gospel teaches that the power of God is always greater than any other force, be it sin, sickness or evil. Of course, the first followers of Jesus did not fully understand him or the message he was proclaiming until after his crucifixion and resurrection. We are an Easter people, therefore let us have confidence that the mighty power of God is greater than any other force and it is within His love that we are liberated from sin, suffering and evil.

You remain in my daily prayers

Fr Ian (On behalf of the Clergy)

Prayer for the week

Everlasting God,
you give strength to the powerless
and power to the faint;
you raise up the sick
and cast out demons.
Make us agents of healing and wholeness,
that your good news may be made known
to all creation. Amen.

Week at a glance

Sunday 4th February 2024
08.30 am Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green
10.30 am Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green
11.00 am Parish Eucharist at St Michael-at-Bowes

Tuesday 6th February 2024
11.00 am Eucharist at St Michael-at-Bowes
12.00noon Tuesday Bible Study (Book of Exodus)

Wednesday 7th February 2024
12.00 noon Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Thursday 8th February 2024
7.00pm No Holy Hour for 2 weeks

Friday 9th February 2024
12.00 noon Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Saturday 10th February 2024
12.00noon Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Notices

The Presentation of Christ (Candlemas) Parish Mass 7pm – we look forward to seeing you on tomorrow evening at 7pm for the important feast of Candlemas. This is the day Simeon recognises the baby Jesus as the ‘light for all nations.’

Tuesday Bible Study: Bible Study & Discussion on Tuesday’s from12.00 – 13.00. This coming week we will continue looking at the book of Exodus

Wednesday Drop-In – Join us at the Drop-In on Wednesdays between 10.30am and 1.30pm. Warmth, fellowship and refreshments available for all. All are welcome!

First Communion & Confirmation Classes – If you or your children would like to be prepared for first communion and Confirmation, please let Fr Ian or Fr Engin know. Once expressions of interest have been received, we shall make arrangements for classes to begin.

Table Top Sale at Bowes – Bowes announces a Table Top Sale on Saturday, February 3rd 2024 between 12.00 and 15.00. All are welcome to join us.

Pilgrimages – If you would like information about the pilgrimage to Walsingham in August or the pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi in September 2025 please see the information at the back of the Church or speak to Fr Ian or Carol.

A gentle reminder– Your clergy are called by God to love and serve you. If there is anything you want to speak about in confidence, or if there is anything you want us to pray for, or should you know someone who is unwell and needs a visit – please let us know.

Palm Crosses – Please return your palm crosses from last year that they may be burnt in preparation for Ash Wednesday on 14th February.

Lent 2024– Your guide for keeping a good Lent will be available next week. This will include additional services and Bible studies and opportunities to pray in Church as well as receiving anointing and making confession.

Parish letter - Sunday 28th January 2024

Dear Friends in Christ,

I trust you all are well and enjoying God’s presence in your lives.

We journey with the gospel of Mark this year, and at the beginning of the gospel, the Evangelist makes it clear that this book is good news of Jesus Christ who is the Son of God (Mark 1:1). Jesus’ identity is affirmed gradually in this gospel by various people including Peter (Mark 8:29), and Centurion, “Truly this man was God’s Son!” (Mark 15:39).

Like his identity, Mark highlights the distinctiveness of Jesus’ authority. The difference in Jesus’ authority is evident in both his teachings as he teaches not like other scribes, but as one who has authority. But this authority is also present in Jesus’ deeds such as healing the sick and rebuking the wind. Today’s gospel leads us to another realm of recognition of Jesus’ identity and authority; even the unclean spirits recognize who Jesus is and he rebukes them and delivers the person who is possessed by evil spirits.

I think this story gives us some food for thought as it is very rare, if any, to talk about the spiritual warfare aspect of Christian discipleship. It is no surprise that Jesus is confronted by an unclean spirit right at the beginning of his ministry and somewhat in an unexpected place, a Synagogue. This reminds us that there indeed is a spiritual warfare going around beyond our immediate recognition. Often, we see some Christians, particularly those who come to faith recently struggle on various additions, unforgiveness, relationship problems, previous hurts, and pains, all of which could be a gateway for evil spirits to intervene. We would need discernment at such times to see if something beyond natural happening here. There are times where we need to deal with unclean spirits to bring healing and deliverance to those who are oppressed by evil spirits. As a priest, I only wish that our ministry would be neat and clean without dealing with evil spirits. The truth is that Jesus had to deal with it all through his ministry, and what is real for him is real for us too.

The good news however in this story is that Jesus has authority over evil spirits too. They fear when they hear the name of Jesus, and he rebukes them with a single word. As ones who are washed away by his precious blood and ones who belong to Jesus, we too need to acknowledge the authority given to us as Christians in our journey. When we need to take a stand firm against evil spirits, we will do so by the power given to us in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Fr Engin YILDIRIM (On Behalf of the Team)

Prayer for the week

God our creator,
who in the beginning
commanded the light to shine out of darkness:
we pray that the light of the glorious gospel of Christ
may dispel the darkness of ignorance and unbelief,
shine into the hearts of all your people,
and reveal the knowledge of your glory in the face of Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.

Week at a glance

Sunday 28th January 2024
08.30 am Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green
10.30 am Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green
11.00 am Parish Eucharist at St Michael-at-Bowes

Tuesday 30th January 2024
11.00 am Eucharist at St Michael-at-Bowes
12.00 noon Tuesday Bible Study & Discussion (Book of Exodus Chapter 17)

Wednesday 31st January 2024
12.00 noon Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Thursday 1st February 2024
7.00 pm Holy Hour

Friday 2nd February 2024 (Presentation of Christ in the Temple)
12.00 noon Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Saturday 3rd February 2024
12.00 noon Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Notices

Tuesday Bible Study: We started our Bible Study & Discussion on Tuesdays between 12.00 – 13.00. This coming week we will be looking at Exodus chapter 17.

Wednesday Drop-In – We have resumed Drop-In on Wednesdays between 10.30am and 1.30pm. All are welcome!

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity – Church worldwide joins in prayer this week to pray for unity. Let us also join in their prayers during this week.

The Presentation of Christ in the Temple – St Michael at Bowes will celebrate this Feast day on Sunday, whilst there will be a Mass on its Feast Day, which is Friday, February 2nd at St Michael Wood Green.

First Communion & Confirmation Classes – If you or your children would like to be prepared for first communion and Confirmation, please let Fr Ian or Fr Engin know. Once expressions of interest have been received, we shall make arrangements for classes to begin.

Table Top Sale at Bowes – Bowes announces a Table Top Sale on Saturday, February 3rd 2024 between 12.00 and 15.00. All are welcome to join us. (please see the flyer attached)

Pilgrimages – If you would like information about the pilgrimage to Walsingham in August or the pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi in September 2025 please see the information at the back of the Church or speak to Fr Ian or Carol.

Your Clergy – A gentle reminder that we are called by God to love and serve you. If there is anything you want to speak about in confidence, or if there is anything you want us to pray for, or should you know someone who is unwell and needs a visit – please let us know.

Parish letter - Sunday 21st January 2024

Dear Brothers & Sisters,

January is often regarded as a difficult month, where the winter blues set in after the joy and celebration of Christmas. However, January is also a month for new beginnings and a resetting of our lives, values and priorities. Viewed this way, January can actually be an exciting month full of hope.

Our Gospel this coming Sunday is all about new beginnings. Jesus’ opening words are ‘repent and believe the Good News’. It is where the Gospel begins. In his Gospel, Mark is just beginning to tell us the story of Jesus. He has set out his main character’s credentials; he has shown the witness of John the Baptist and how the prophecies and scriptures are being fulfilled. Now he introduces Jesus. It is a time of great danger and tension, John the Baptist is in prison and there is much unrest. It is at this crucial time that Jesus begins his public life with a clear mission statement. The time people have longed for has come! The Kingdom of God has come! God’s presence in the world is clear for all to see.

We know, as people of God, that people’s lives were transformed by what they saw and heard in Jesus. We too are part of that transformation for our encounter with the Lord has changed us. We are daily called to ‘repent and believe the Good News’. That means we must turn back to Christ, leaving behind the bits that impede our relationship with the Lord and strive to live as members of His body.

At our last Church Council meeting we recognised that since the pandemic people’s lives and attitudes have changed. Although showing signs of recovery across the Wood Green Team, there are still a significant number of people yet to return to regular worship in Church. We recognise that habits and priorities may have changed over recent years, but maybe now at the beginning of a New Year is the time when we can hear afresh God’s call to ‘follow me’.

We look forward to seeing you and send our love and prayers.

Fr Ian (On behalf of the clergy)

Prayer for the week

Eternal God, the refuge and help of all your children,
we praise you for all you have given us,
for all you have done for us,
for all that you are to us.
In our weakness, you are strength,
in our darkness, you are light,
in our sorrow, you are comfort and peace.
We cannot number your blessings,
we cannot declare your love:
For all your blessings we bless you.
May we live as in your presence,
and love the things that you love,
and serve you in our daily lives;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

St. Boniface (ca. 672-754)

Week at a glance

Sunday 21st January 2024 (3rd Sunday of ordinary time)
08.30 am No 8.30am this week only
10.30 am Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green
11.00 am Parish Eucharist at St Michael-at-Bowes

Tuesday 23rd January 2024
11.00 am Eucharist at St Michael-at-Bowes
12.00 noon Bible Study

Wednesday 24th January 2024
12.00 noon Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Thursday 25th January 2024
7.00 pm No Holy Hour for next 2 weeks

Friday 26th January 2024
12.00 noon Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Saturday 27th January 2024
12.00 noon Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Notices

Tuesday Bible Study: At St Michael at Bowes
Tuesday Bible Studies are open for anyone to come and see.

Wednesday Drop-In – Join us every Wednesday between 10.30am and 1.30pm. For warmth, refreshment and fellowship in St Raphael’s Centre next to the Church. All are welcome!

First Communion & Confirmation Classes – If you or your children would like to be prepared for first communion and Confirmation, please let Fr Ian or Fr Engin know. Once expressions of interest have been received, we shall make arrangements for classes to begin.

Pilgrimages – If you would like information about the pilgrimage to Walsingham in August or the pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi in September 2025 please see the information at the back of Church or speak to Fr Ian or Carol.

Your Clergy – A gentle reminder that we are called by God to love and serve you. If there is anything you want to speak about in confidence, or if there is anything you want us to pray for, or should you know someone who is unwell and needs a visit – please let us know.

Parish letter - Sunday 14th January 2024

Nathaniel’s Epiphany
A fugitive and exile, Jacob slept,
A man of clay, his head upon a stone
And even in his sleep his spirit wept
He lay down lonely and would wake alone.
But in the night he dreamt the Heavens parted
And glimpsed, in glory, as from Heaven’s core,
A ladder set for all the broken-hearted
And earth herself becoming Heaven’s door.
And when the nameless Angel named him Israel
He kept this gift, whose depth he never knew;
The promise of an end to all our exile,
For now a child of Israel finds it true,
And sees the One who heals the deep heart’s aching
As Jacob’s dream becomes Nathanael’s waking.
(Malcolm Guite)

Dear Friends in Christ,

I trust and hope that you all are well and have had a blessed Christmas. We tend to make decisions and resolutions as we enter a new calendar year, it is as though there is something magical in it. In some ways, I presume we feel an occasion to reset or even reverse things that we are not happy with. Therefore, the New Year becomes an opportunity and an occasion for new beginnings. The theme of new beginning goes hand in hand with our theme of the season, the Epiphany, which of course means revelation.

The gospel reading of this Sunday takes us to beautiful story of an “Epiphany” where Philip, one of Jesus’ disciples finds Nathanael and says, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law, and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth.” Nathanael’s first response is that of doubt. But Philip leads him to Jesus in an honest, gentle, and loving way by saying, “come and see.” The theme of invitation and experience is all through the gospel as one might remember the same invitation from Samaritan woman for example. This beautiful invitation reminds me several things: firstly of course, it is an invitation to all, everyone. “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son” says the gospel. No matter where we are in life, what we have done in the past, Jesus invites us to himself. Secondly, this is not an invitation to a sect, an organisation, or a set of beliefs, but to a living person named Jesus, without him there is no salvation. Thirdly, it is an invitation for an experience personally.

I also would like to mention the nature of this invitation. Both Philip and a later unnamed Samaritan woman invite their friends to Jesus to come and experience him. Recently, I read an article which says that 85 percent of people who come to faith as an adult come through an invitation from their friends. This is stunning given that we spent a lot of time and money for many other means of invitations like social media and campaigns. What it says simply put is that people trust their friend’s experience more so than anything else. This reminds me of what Michael Ramsey once said, “we gather for worship and scatter for mission.”

My friends, as Parish of Wood Green we are looking for new beginnings in both our personal and collective life where we ourselves meet with Jesus and experience his love and grace. We are praying to be bold and courageous to invite our friends and strangers to him, who is the fountain of life. My prayer is that our God of love would fill each one of us the kind of compassion for the lost and grant us wisdom and divine encounters to invite people to come and see.

Fr Engin YILDIRIM (On Behalf of the Team)

Prayer for the week

Almighty God,
in Christ you make all things new:
transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace,
and in the renewal of our lives
make known your heavenly glory;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Week at a glance

Sunday 14th January 2024 (3rd Sunday of ordinary time)
08.30 am Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green
10.30 am Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green
11.00 am Parish Eucharist at St Michael-at-Bowes

Tuesday 16th January 2024
11.00 am Eucharist at St Michael-at-Bowes
12.00 noon A Movie called “Of Gods and Men”

Wednesday 17th January 2024 (Antony of Egypt, Hermit, Abbot)
12.00 noon Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Thursday 18th January 2024
7.00 pm No Holy Hour for next 2 weeks

Friday 19th January 2024
12.00 noon Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Saturday 20th January 2024
12.00 noon Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Notices

Tuesday Bible Study: We are resuming our Tuesday Bible Study group this week. We will watch a movie called “Of Gods and Men” which is based on a true story taken in Algeria in 1990s. Next week, we will go back to the book of Exodus where we left before Advent.
Tuesday Bible Studies are open for anyone to come and see.

Wednesday Drop-In – We have resumed Drop-In on Wednesdays between 10.30am and 1.30pm. All are welcome!

First Communion & Confirmation Classes – If you or your children would like to be prepared for first communion and Confirmation, please let Fr Ian or Fr Engin know. Once expressions of interest have been received, we shall make arrangements for classes to begin.

A special thank you to Fr Ian who supported me during my break after Christmas, and from our ministry team at Bowes. I am grateful for their support and prayers.

Parish Letter - Epiphany Sunday 2024

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

On behalf of the Wood Green Team I wish you all a very happy, holy and healthy New Year, may 2024 be a year of blessing for you and those you love.

We begin 2024 with the keeping of the feast of Epiphany, which is a celebration where God reveals His love for all peoples. People of every race, creed and colour are invited to glory in the birth of Jesus Christ. His birth, life, death and resurrection free us from sin and reconcile us with God. The feast of the Epiphany is a revolutionary feast. Christ is revealed as the saviour, not of a select group of people, but of all peoples for all time.

God sent Jesus into the world to reconcile people with Him and with one another. As people reconciled with God through Jesus we share in that ministry of reconciliation. The world for far too many is a place of hostility. Wars rage, people are forced from their homeland and we witness daily the abuse of power and privilege.

As people called and chosen by God we must do our part to knock down the walls and barriers which separate and divide us and in their place build bridges so that God’s great work of healing all wounds can continue. The Church has to be a place where all barriers are removed, a holy place where there is room for everyone. Power and privilege can play their part, but let us use them as our Lord intended, for in him we see the power of humility and the privilege of service.

With love, prayers and gratitude

Fr Ian on behalf of the Wood Green Team

Prayer for the week

In the darkness, light shines.
In the midst of troubled waters, a hand reaches out.
We are not alone on this journey of faith.
When we seek God, we shall find God.
God forgives, renews, and restores —
let us go forth and do the work of God. Amen.

Week at a glance

Sunday 7th January 2024
No 8.30am this Sunday
10.30am Mass of the Epiphany at St Michael Wood Green
11.00am Holy Eucharist at St Michael at Bowes

Tuesday 9th January
11.00 am Eucharist at St Michael at Bowes

Wednesday 10th January
12.00 noon Mass at St. Michael Wood Green

Thursday 11th January
7.00pm Holy Hour at St. Michael Wood Green

Friday 12th January
12.00 Noon Midday Prayer at St Michael Wood Green

Saturday 13th January
12noon Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Notices

Feast of Epiphany – This coming Sunday (7th) we celebrate the great feast of Epiphany. At the end of the service, chalks will be blessed and available for you to mark your houses with the traditional New Year’s blessing 20+C+M+B+24. The words for the blessing will be available also after the Mass. Please do all you can do be in Church this week as we dedicate this New Year to our Lord.

Final call – There are still a few unclaimed raffle prizes, please check your tickets and bring them on Sunday, you may be a winner!!! Thank you for supporting our fund-raising efforts.

Tuesday Bible Study: We will have a break from our Tuesday Bible Studies at St Michael at Bowes will resume on January 16th 2024 at 12.00noon.

Wednesday Drop-In – We will resume on 10th January 2024 from 10.30am – 1.30pm

First Communion & Confirmation Classes – If you or your children would like to be prepared for first communion and Confirmation please let Fr Ian or Fr Engin know. Once expressions of interest have been received we shall make arrangements for classes to begin.

Thank you – Fr Ian & Carol and Fr Engin & Mine are very grateful for all the kind cards, gifts and messages received over Christmas – thank you all.

Fr Ian & Fr Engin wish you all a very holy, happy and blessed New Year.

Advent Sunday, Christmas & New Year Parish letter 2023

Annunciation

We see so little, stayed on surfaces,
We calculate the outsides of all things,
Preoccupied with our own purposes
We miss the shimmer of the angels’ wings,
They coruscate around us in their joy
A swirl of wheels and eyes and wings unfurled,
They guard the good we purpose to destroy,
A hidden blaze of glory in God’s world.
But on this day a young girl stopped to see
With open eyes and heart. She heard the voice;
The promise of His glory yet to be,
As time stood still for her to make a choice;
Gabriel knelt and not a feather stirred,
The Word himself was waiting on her word.

by Malcolm Guite

Dear Friends in Christ,

I trust that you all are well and preparing for the Feast of Christmas!

Once I heard a priest say that Christmas is the best news one could ever hear, and if we are not sure about it, we may be missing the point. As a Christian, I think Christmas is somewhat hijacked by popular culture and capitalism. It is as though there are several competing threads during this season of Christmas. On the one hand, for convenience if not for anything else, the current business trend would elevate this season to boost the economy. We are all experiencing this almost from the beginning of Boxing Day to the New Year. There are many opportunities to buy things we like and not necessarily always need. We help large companies to hit their sales targets before the end of the year.

Then, there is the story of traditions, holidays, visiting our loved ones, decorating our homes and gardens, and even more. One might hear people using different words for this season like winter holidays. Television offers literally hundreds of Christmas movies with themes of love, romance, family, and feel good. For most of us, it is a matter of convenience to give a break from the hustle and bustle of “normal” life during this season before we hit the winter.

As Christians however, amid these competing narratives we celebrate somewhat a simple and yet an amazing story of Christmas. It is a story, in which we meet God sharing our humanity by allowing himself to be a vulnerable baby in the hands of humanity. It is a story of love, a story of God’s saving act for us.

This is indeed a mind-blowing story, that we can only comprehend once we are touched by his love and grace. It is a story of God coming to our messy world to guide us to heaven and unite us with himself. It is a story where we see the human face of God in a baby, named Jesus.

Unlike the other competing stories, this story does not give us an instant or even temporary gratification. Instead, this story gives us a grounding and anchor, so that even in pain and suffering we can find deep peace and joy knowing who we are in Christ and where we are heading to.

So, my question is which story do you want to be part of? Which story do you find yourself in? I do hope that we all could take a step back to remember why we celebrate this season as Christians, and even though there are a lot of appeals to the other stories, we find our centre in the true Christmas story, God came among us in Jesus.

Wishing you and your families a blessed Christmas and New Year.

Fr Engin YILDIRIM (On Behalf of the Team)

Prayer for the week

Eternal God,
in the stillness of this night
you sent your almighty Word
to pierce the world’s darkness with the light of salvation:
give to the earth the peace that we long for
and fill our hearts with the joy of heaven
through our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Next two weeks at a glance

Sunday 24th December 2023 (Advent – 4)
8.30 am Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green
10.30 am Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green
11.00 am Parish Eucharist at St Michael-at-Bowes
11.30 pm Midnight Mass at St Michael’s Wood Green

Monday 25th December 2023 (Christmas Day)
10.30 am Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green
10.30 am Parish Eucharist at St Michael-at-Bowes

Tuesday 26th December 2023 (St Stephen’s Day)
11.00 am Eucharist at St Michael-at-Bowes

Wednesday 27th December 2023
12.00 noon Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Thursday 28th December 2023
No Holy Hour

Friday 29th December 2023
12.00 noon Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Saturday 30th December 2023
12.00 noon Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Sunday 31st December 2023 Feast of the Holy Family
8.30 am Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green
10.30 am Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green
11.00 am Parish Eucharist at St Michael-at-Bowes

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2024

Tuesday 2nd January 2024
11.00 am Eucharist at St Michael-at-Bowes

Wednesday 3rd January 2024
12.00 noon Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Thursday 4th January 2024
7.00 pm Holy Hour

Friday 5th January 2024
12.00 noon Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Saturday 6th January 2024
12.00 noon Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Sunday 7th January 2024
10.30am Parish Mass of the Epiphany 10.30am St Michael Wood Green (+blessing of chalk)
11.00am Parish Eucharist at St Michael at Bowes

Notices

(Please note this parish email is for the next two weeks hence its length).

Tuesday Bible Study: We will have a break from our Tuesday Bible Studies during Christmas. We will resume on January 16th 2024 at 12.00noon.

Post-Christmas Break: Fr Engin and Mine will be away after Christmas until January 11th

Wednesday Drop-In: We will resume on 10th January 2024 from 10.30am – 1.30pm

Fr Ian & Fr Engin wish you all a very holy, happy and blessed Christmas, we look forward to celebrating our Saviours birth with you and your families. Do join us at Church, which in itself is a wonderful witness to the world. As we heard last Sunday, we have so much to look forward to in 2024 and whatever the changes and challenges ahead we know that God-Is-With-Us.

Parish Letter - 3rd Sunday of Advent 2023

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This Sunday will be the 3rd Sunday of Advent which is known as Gaudete Sunday. In Latin Gaudete means ‘rejoice’. It means that we can light the rose-coloured candle and lighten the mood of Advent, just as we do on ‘Refreshment Sunday’ in Lent. The Gospel reading, like last Sunday, is about John the Baptist.

The reading tells that John the Baptist said: ‘I baptise with water; but there stands among you – unknown to you – the one who is coming after me; and I am not fit to undo his sandal-strap’. John the Baptist shows such humility for Christ!

It is fitting that we recognise John’s humility on Gaudete Sunday, for humility can lead to great inner peace and joy. By letting go of the need to be better than others, we can let go of that awful anxiety to compete with each other. We no longer need the higher-status job, the more expensive car, the designer clothes. We can acknowledge our smallness and our reliance on God in everything we do. Through humility we become our true selves.

Like John the Baptist, we are not fit to undo Jesus’ sandal-strap, and yet Our Lord came down to Earth to be one of us, to be born as a small, vulnerable baby in a stable and laid upon hay.

When one of our Followers lights the Gaudete candle on Sunday, let us remember what Christ did for us. Let us give thanks and be filled with joy.

With Love and prayers,
Sister Pat, on behalf of the clergy

Prayer for the week

Father,
Help us to find humility within ourselves. To turn away from the brash, noisy world which promises joy through spending money. To look toward the little Baby in the manger. To believe in what he promises. To live in his love. To find joy in his peace. Thank you Father for bringing such joyful light into our dark world.
Come Lord Jesus, Come. Amen.

Week at a glance

Sunday 17th December 2023 (Advent 3)
08.30 am Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green
10.30 am Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green
11.00 am Parish Eucharist at St Michael-at-Bowes

Tuesday 19th December 2023
11.00 am Eucharist at St Michael-at-Bowes
12.00 noon Advent Study

Wednesday 20th December 2023
12.00 noon Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Thursday 21st December 2023
7.00 pm Holy Hour with Advent reflection St Michael Wood Green

Friday 22nd December 2023
12.00 noon Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Saturday 23rd December 2023
12.00 noon Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Notices

Christmas wreath making workshop at Wood Green: 10am – 12noon this Saturday
Join us this Saturday at 4pm for a Christmas Concert and Carol Service performed by Occasion Voices

Drop-In in Wood Green meets for the last time this year on Wednesday 20th December: Join us for refreshments and celebrations from 10.30am and after Mass at 12noon.

Advent Study Groups:
St Michael-at-Bowes offers Advent Study and Discussion on each Tuesday during Advent between 12.00 – 13.00 and St Michael Wood Green offers on every Thursday at 7pm -8pm

Memorial stars are available now for you to remember your loved ones and place on the Christmas Tree

Sunday 24th December – At Wood Green, our Followers will take over the first part of 10.30am Sunday Parish Mass with their Nativity presentation.

Christmas raffle will be drawn after the 10.30am Mass on Christmas Eve

Christmas Services
Midnight Mass 11.30pm at St Michael’s Wood Green
Christmas Day Mass 10.30am Wood Green
11:00am at Bowes

If you are going away for Christmas we wish you a blessed, happy and holy celebration of our Lord’s birth. May His light and peace shine upon you and those you love

Parish Letter - 2nd Sunday of Advent 2023

O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples;
Before you kings will shut their months,
To you the nations will make their prayers:
Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.

Dear Friends in Christ,

Wishing you all a blessed Advent!
We are approaching the second Sunday of Advent. This week we will be hearing about John the Baptist and his message of Good News. After nearly four hundred years of silence, God speaks to his people through John the Baptist, a simple and somewhat peculiar prophet from the wilderness. Whilst his message is about the coming kingdom of God, and therefore a message of hope and salvation, it also invites hearers to repent and prepare themselves for the coming kingdom. Repentance is at the heart of Christian faith; it is coming into alignment with God about the human condition that we all fall short of God’s glory and is a covenant that we will turn away from our futile ways. We can’t please God without acknowledging our need for repentance. John identified himself as one who prepares the way for the Messiah, a voice and a messenger.

As Christians we are preparing to celebrate the greatest gift given to us, Christ-child. But, we also believe and hope that the one who came as a baby to share our humanity to the point of death shall come at the end of the age as our Lord and King. Therefore, I wonder if we could relate to John’s message in a way to also prepare our hearts by acknowledging our shortcomings during this season of Advent. I wonder if we collectively can be a beacon of light or a voice for the world in our words and deeds to point out the one whom we wait. My prayer is that God would prepare our hearts with anticipation and hope of the coming Advent as we celebrate Christmas this year.

Every blessing,

Fr Engin

Prayer for the week

Almighty God,
purify our hearts and minds,
that when your Son Jesus Christ comes again as judge and saviour
we may be ready to receive him,
who is our Lord and our God.

Week at a glance

Saturday 9th December 2023 St Michael-at-Bowes Christmas Lunch 1pm

Sunday 10th December 2023 (Advent 2)
08.30 am Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green
10.30 am Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green
11.00 am Parish Eucharist at St Michael-at-Bowes

Tuesday 12th December 2023
11.00 am Eucharist at St Michael-at-Bowes
12.00 noon Advent Study & Discussion (Session 3)

Wednesday 13th December 2023
12.00 noon Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Thursday 14th December 2023
7.00 pm Holy Hour with Advent reflection St Michael Wood Green

Friday 15th December 2023
12.00 noon Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Saturday 16th December 2023
12.00 noon Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green
4.00 pm Occasional Voices Christmas Concert at St Michael Wood Green

Notices

Drop-In in Wood Green: Join us every Wednesday from 10am for our Drop-In. Teas, coffee, light refreshments are freely available.

Advent Study Groups: St Michael-at-Bowes offers Advent Study and Discussion on each Tuesday during Advent between 12.00 – 13.00 and St Michael Wood Green offers on every Thursday at 7pm -8pm

Christmas wreath making workshop at Wood Green: 10am – 12noon

Sunday 24th December – At Wood Green, our Followers we take over the first part of 10.30am Sunday Parish Mass with their Nativity presentation.

Christmas Services
Midnight Mass 11.30pm at St Michael’s Wood Green
Christmas Day Mass 10.30am Wood Green
11:00am at Bowes

Parish Letter - Advent Sunday

Dear Brothers & Sisters,

Today as we approach Advent Sunday we prepare for a new liturgical year. We begin afresh a cycle that carries us right through our Christian story – from Advent to Christmas and the Epiphany – then on to Jesus’ Public life – Lent follows on and the drama of Holy Week culminating in the celebration of Easter and the Easter season till the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. On it goes till Advent time comes round again and the cycle begins for another year. What a gift it is to have this rhythm and pattern in our Christian lives! It provides a general framework that shapes our worship with prayers, readings and intercessions during the different seasons.

What is more, we are called to insert this cycle into the living of our lives and rhythms of our family, community and our church! And so our lives, enriched by this pattern of prayer and worship, continue their journey in faith, hope and trust to that day when God, who through Jesus, shared in our humanity calls us home to share in His divinity.

Advent provides a fresh opportunity to enter into that living relationship with the God of love with a new resolve and a determination to follow him more closely. One of the constant prayers of your clergy is that our churches will reach out into our community enabling others to experience God’s love. As we hear the various voices of Advent calling us back to God, maybe we too can become prophets of our time, living reminders to those around us that God is near!!!

Wishing you a holy and blessed Advent

Fr Ian on behalf of the clergy

Prayer for the week

Lord,
We shudder at signs we see.
Anxieties bombard us. Our hearts are afraid.
Lord, Let us be vigilant, hold our heads high.
Make us an Advent people with hope as our stronghold.
Jesus, You once came into our world with all its sorrows.
Keep us awake and alert to your presence
in the midst of our struggles now.
Tell us again that your love will triumph.
Come, Lord Jesus. Amen

Week at a glance

Advent Sunday 3rd December 2023
08.30am Said Mass at SMWG
10.30am Parish Mass at SMWG
11.00am Eucharist at St Michael-at-Bowes
6.00pm Joint Advent Service of light at St Michael at Bowes

Tuesday 5th December
11.00am Eucharist at St Michael-at-Bowes
12.00 noon Advent Reflection Bible Study at St Michael-at-Bowes

Wednesday 6th December
12.00 noon Parish Mass at SMWG

Thursday 7th December
7.00pm Holy Hour with Advent reflection at SMWG

Friday 8th December
12.00 noon Mass at SMWG

Saturday 9th December
12.00 noon Mass at SMWG

Notices

Advent Sunday Service of Light 6pm on Sunday, December 3rd at St Michael at Bowes: A joint service of music, readings and reflections to lead us into the holy season of Advent

Drop-In in Wood Green: Join us every Wednesday from 10am for our Drop-In. Teas, coffee, light refreshments are freely available.

Christmas Lunch at St Michael at Bowes on Saturday, December 9th between 1pm to 4pm. The tickets for adults £15, for children under age 13 £7.50 For family of four £30

Tuesdays in Advent – Advent themed Bible study following the 11am Eucharist at St Michael at Bowes.

Thursdays in Advent – Advent themed reflections during Holy Hour

December 16th – Occasional voices Christmas Concert at St Michael’s Wood Green 4pm

Sunday 24th December – At Wood Green, our Followers will take over the first part of 10.30am Sunday Parish Mass with their Nativity presentation.

Parish Letter - Sunday of Christ the King - 26th November 2023

Dear Friends in Christ,

Our King is calling from the hungry furrows
Whilst we are cruising through the aisles of plenty,
Our hoardings screen us from the man of sorrows,
Our soundtracks drown his murmur: ‘I am thirsty’.
He stands in line to sign in as a stranger
And seek a welcome from the world he made,
We see him only as a threat, a danger,
He asks for clothes, we strip-search him instead.
And if he should fall sick then we take care
That he does not infect our private health,
We lock him in the prisons of our fear
Lest he unlock the prison of our wealth.
But still on Sunday we shall stand and sing
The praises of our hidden Lord and King.
(Malcolm Guite)

We are celebrating the Reign of Christ, Christ the King, which neatly reminds our eternal hope that Lord Jesus who sits at the right hand of the Father will return at the end of the age. It reminds us that we live in a time of paradox; already and not yet. It is already, because we believe that Risen Christ conquered the power of sin and death, and we as Christians enter into the fellowship with God through his precious blood at the cross. At the same time, it is not yet, as we already see that though there are signs of the kingdom, it is not fully established yet. Therefore we are awaiting for this kingdom to come.

But, we are not waiting passively. This is not the message of Christianity. Jesus gives us another parable, about how we live our lives in waiting. It is a life that is actively seeking to restore the kingdom of God by serving others, those who are sick, lonely, hungry, and oppressed. In fact, Jesus says in your act of mercy to those whom you serve, you will find me. In other words, he identifies himself with those who are in need.

As we celebrate the Reign of Christ, let us be mindful that we are invited to be part of active service for the coming kingdom of God. May God give each one of us grace and strength to be faithful in our service.
Amen.

Fr Engin YILDIRIM (on behalf of the Team)

Prayer for the week

Almighty Father,
whose will is to restore all things
in your beloved Son, the King of all:
govern the hearts and minds of those in authority,
and bring the families of the nations,
divided and torn apart by the ravages of sin,
to be subject to his just and gentle rule;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Week at a glance

Sunday 26th November 2023 (Christ the King)
10.30 am Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green
11.00 am Eucharist at St Michael-at-Bowes

Tuesday 28th November 2023
11.00 am Eucharist at St Michael-at-Bowes
12.00 noon Advent Study Group

Wednesday 29th November 2023
12.00 noon Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Thursday 30th November 2023
7.00pm No Holy Hour for this week as St Andrew’s Day
Mass at St Andrew’s Alexandra Park

Friday 1st December 2023
12noon Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Saturday 2nd December 2023
12.00 noon Parish Mass at St Michael Wood Green

Notices

Drop-In in Wood Green: Join us every Wednesday from 10am for our Drop-In. Teas, coffee, light refreshments are freely available.

Next week is Advent Sunday 3rd December – The beginning of the Churches New Year.

Advent Sunday Service of Light 6pm on Sunday, December 3rd at St Michael at Bowes: A joint service of music, readings and reflections to lead us into the holy season of Advent

Christmas Lunch at St Michael at Bowes on Saturday, December 9th between 1pm to 4pm. The tickets for adults £15, for children under age 13 £7.50 For family of four £30

Tuesdays in Advent – Advent themed Bible study following the 11am Eucharist at St Michael at Bowes.

Thursdays in Advent – Advent themed reflections during Holy Hour

December 16th – Occasional voices Christmas Concert at St Michael’s Wood Green 4pm

Sunday 24th December – At Wood Green, our Followers will take over the first part of 10.30am Sunday Parish Mass with their Nativity presentation.