Weekly Reflections

Saturday 30th May 2020

Dear Brothers & Sisters,

Alleluia Christ is risen, He is risen indeed Alleluia!!!!
 
Today we rejoice in the gift of the Holy Spirit who came so powerfully upon the Apostles transforming them from a frightened group of individuals locked down in hiding, to the newly formed Church that was to continue the Lord’s mission in the world.  That same Holy Spirit is given to each of us at our Baptism, Confirmation, Ordination indeed through any of the Sacraments that we long to receive at this moment in our history.  
 
Pentecost Sunday at St Michael’s is always a joyful experience which never fails to capture the excitement and joy of receiving God’s free gift of the Holy Spirit. Seeing the children run around the Church as tongues of fire is something I will certainly miss this year. However let us not put our enthusiasm on hold, let us call upon the power of the Holy Spirit to transform us afresh in our current situation so that all we do at home, school or at work has God’s hand upon it.
 
In the attached booklet towards the end you will find the Commission.  Had we been together in our beloved Church we would have made this commitment together both loudly and boldly. I therefore invite you from your homes to set a time aside to make that commission on this day of Pentecost.  Although we may have been robbed of our Easter season, today’s feast which marks the end of Easter symbolised by the extinguishing of the Paschal Candle, marks a new beginning for us just as it did for those first Apostles – for now God’s work continues in and through His Church – and we have the privilege to be that Church in this community. 
 
May the Holy Spirit of God set your hearts on fire with His great love, and may God’s blessing of peace and protection be with you and those you love.
 
Fr Ian, Fr Engin, Fr Andy

Wednesday 20th May 2020

Dear Brothers and sisters

Alleluia Christ is risen!!!

Our Easter celebrations now move forward to the great feast of the Ascension of the Lord. It is a feast of such great importance that it is mentioned every time we celebrate the Eucharist. After the proclamation of faith we pray:-

And so, father calling to mind his death on the cross, his perfect sacrifice made once for  the sins of all, rejoicing at his mighty Resurrection and glorious ascension we celebrate the memorial of our redemption. 

The feast of the Ascension is therefore one of those major feast days which Christians of all denominations celebrate as it reveals the destiny to which we are all called. Our true home is in heaven; united by faith and love with our exalted Lord, we look forward to our final homecoming, to be with Christ in glory. The Eucharistic prayer for today’s feast puts it beautifully 

Christ has past beyond our sight, not to abandon us, but to be our hope… for where he has gone, we hope to follow.

Although we cannot celebrate today’s feast in our usual way, I hope the attached booklet will help you and your families mark this special day in the Christian calendar. On your behalf the Mass will be celebrated in Church and you can now follow this on our new YouTube channel. The Eucharist will be available for you to watch and pray at 7pm and to do so simply click on the following link: Our YouTube channel

We are so grateful to Fr Andy, Chanelle Clarke and David Ogufere for their assistance in launching our YouTube page which we hope will become a useful tool in the days and weeks ahead. So if you can please subscribe to the page then we shall know that it is reaching you. Our Face Book page will also continue to be a source of information and services can also be viewed from there.

It seems that we are still many weeks away from being able to gather back at Church and as always the health and safety of everyone especially our most vulnerable remains our top priority.  Having spoken with many of you over recent weeks, your clergy understand and share the pain and frustration you feel and like you we long to be together again. Until then let us stay faithful and stay in touch, doing all we can to keep safe and well. 

The feast of the Ascension is a celebration of great hope – let us hold on to that hope in Christ who today promises ‘to be with us always; yes, to the end of time’. Alleluia Alleluia!!!

With our love and daily prayers

Fr Ian, Fr Engin, Fr Andy

Sunday 10th May 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters

Alleluia Christ is risen, He is risen indeed Alleluia!!!

Today had we been at Church, 12 members of our Church family would have received the holy Sacrament of Confirmation. It would have been a joyful celebration as we witnessed the candidates receiving  Holy Communion for the very first time. The fact that we are still having to read and listen to services at home is a frustrating reminder of the disruption the pandemic has caused to so many people. Of course, the time will come when our candidates will receive their Confirmation and we will rejoice with them.  

Bishop Rob who would have been with us has very kindly offered our sermon today and you will find it by clicking here

We owe a debt of thanks to Bishop Rob, a good friend to us here at St Michael’s and a good shepherd too in this part of the diocese.

Fittingly Jesus speaks loudly to us to in the Gospel (readings also attached read by Fr Andy) when he says, ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled, trust in God still, and trust in me.’  In the coming days we will be bombarded with information all related to the gentle lifting of the lock-down. There will be a lot of confusion and many mixed messages all of which build fear and anxiety. But as Bishop Rob reminds us if we seek God’s face then there is no need to be troubled, now more than ever we need to lean on our faith and trust in God still and in our saviour Jesus Christ who is the way, the truth and the life.

Once the Clergy team have any information regarding the opening up of the Church and the relaxing of any guidelines we we inform you immediately but for the time being the Church remains closed for public worship. That said, we are hoping to stream some services online soon and again we will inform you how and when that will happen.

You remain in our daily prayers and our phone calls will continue, until then we send our love and good wishes.

Yours In Christ

Fr Ian, Fr Engin and Fr Andy.

Readings for 5th Sunday of Easter:

Sunday 26th April 2020

A reflection from Fr Andy:

Luke 24:13-35
Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah[e] should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Saturday 18th April 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Alleluia Christ is risen – He is risen indeed Alleluia!!!

Our journey through Easter continues and although we remain deprived of so many things Christ is risen and in the Lord is both our joy and our hope.

This week Fr Engin offers us a reflection on Sunday’s Gospel reading where Jesus joins the Apostles in their isolation and breaks into their lock-down situation and frees them from their anxiety and fear. It is a message that speaks so clearly to us today in our current situation. You will find Fr Engin’s reflection attached to this email.

It has been wonderful to speak to so many of you over recent weeks and your clergy will continue their calls for the duration of this pandemic. That said, we also hope and pray that you will feel able to call us should you need to either to pray for you or just to chat if you are feeling anxious and in need of spiritual encouragement. As we say week by week in the Sunday booklet (also attached and available on the website) we are called by God to serve you and are never too busy to talk with you.

Many of you have expressed concerns about your stewardship giving and to this end we have included the church bank account details but also encourage you to use the envelopes you have left or to set aside week by week whatever you have decided to give to the Lord in thanksgiving. The Church account details are as follows: – 

Sort Code – 209821
Account No – 00790869

Festus requests that if you are happy to donate to the Church by standing order or direct debit then donors should use their names as the reference. Of course we perfectly understand if you are experiencing financial pressures at this time then please feel under no obligation.

Finally, please make sure you have a good look at our parish website (sincere thanks to Chanelle for her work on this)  where you will find additional prayers and devotions to be used and links to other resources ( including children’s work) and also our Face Book page  where pictures, videos and articles about the church are available. 

We look forward and long for the day when we shall be re-united in our beautiful building and assure you that we are praying for you daily in our worship at home.

May God bless you and keep you and those you love.

Yours in the risen Christ

Fr Ian, Fr Engin and Fr Andy 

John 20:19-32 Homily by Fr Engin:

[19] On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” [20] After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

[21] Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” [22] And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. [23] If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

[24] Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. [25] So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

[26] A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” [27] Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

[28] Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

[29] Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

[30] Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. [31] But these are written that you may believe[b] that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

“On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’  After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

I have been reflecting on this scene early this week. Risen Lord comes to meet with his friends on the evening of the first Easter; he comes to offer peace by saying “peace be with you!” This is not a mere acknowledgment of greetings such as saying “hi” or “how are you doing?” It is much more than a simple greeting and I think it is something that we are desperately in need of having at this time. So, I would like to share my thoughts and reflections with you, hoping that perhaps they would be an encouragement and a blessing to you.

As you may recall, we left at Mary Magdalene’s great confession saying, “I have seen the Lord!” last week. The gospel reading of this Sunday follows the last week’s reading and there are a couple of episodes taking place this week. First, Christ comes on the evening of the same day, where he meets his disciples behind the locked doors where they were hiding from Jewish leaders. When Jesus comes he offers them peace and they were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus breathes on them the Holy Spirit to strengthen and empower them to follow him. Sadly, Thomas misses the party, for some reason he was not there. When he was told that they have seen the Lord, he says, “unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my hands into his side, I will not believe.” To his word, Christ comes to meet with them again on the following Sunday, and this time he specifically ministers to Thomas by responding to his request. Then Jesus offers a universal blessing to those who believe without seeing, “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” This includes you and me. At the end of the chapter, John the Apostle gives us the reason why he wrote this gospel in the first place.

He says, “… these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

It is important for us to understand that Jesus in each encounter offers peace to his friends. This is indeed something he promised even before he embraced the cross. He said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27). So, if the “peace” is more than greetings and warm wishes, how should we understand it in these troubling times? As I am finalising this reflection, I have just heard that one of our faithful members at Bowes passed away early this morning, and we have two members passed away over the Easter weekend as well. At the end of each day, we all watch the news and hear the number of deaths in our country and around the world. I personally struggle to remain in the peace Christ promised when I hear such news. It feels as though we all live under the shadow of death and fear. What does it mean to have peace then?

The Hebrew understanding of peace (shalom) is beyond happiness and joy. The gospel presents an interesting contrast as we look at it carefully. Jesus says, “peace be with you” as he shows his hands and side, his broken body. In other words, his broken body, his pain and sufferings are the marks of the peace he promised to us. The peace therefore is not the absence of pain or suffering. But it is a state of mind and heart that despite of pain and suffering there is an immense safety and security which encompasses all of our being.   In fact, the Hebrew word for peace, which is the word our Lord must have used at this occasion is “shalom”. Shalom is one of those worlds which have multi-layer meanings. Along with greetings, it means well-being, health, prosperity, security, friendship and salvation. It means wholeness and being in a state of completion. When Jesus promised his peace, he distinguishes this with the peace that we might get from the world. He says, “… my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives…” There is something substantially different than what we might find as “peace” in this world. It is not circumstantial, nor is it depending on what we have. Instead, it is relational; it comes out of a relationship with the triune God as we accept his invitation for fellowship. When Jesus offered the peace to his friends, he invited them to be in the fellowship with him. Remember, they were afraid and confused. Yet, Christ comes to meet them on their turf, in the midst of their anxiety, confusion and fear. He comes to bring healing and he breathes on them the Holy Spirit to strengthen and empower them for the mission he has in mind for them. Likewise, I believe in the midst of our troubles, fear and confusion and insecurity, Christ comes to meet with us today. He comes to show his hands and side to remind us that he has conquered the world and that the pain, suffering even death has no power over him. He shows his hands and side to remind us that this peace he established comes with a cost, a cost he paid on our behalf. He comes to offer us peace and breathe on us his Spirit to empower us to stand firm, not to be afraid and troubled. It is my prayer friends, that God would give us grace to hold onto his peace in these difficult times and that we would experience his presence in every area of our lives.

Every blessing,

Fr Engin YILDIRIM

Easter Sunday 11th April 2020

A reflection for Easter Sunday from Fr Ian:

Dear Brothers and Sisters

Alleluia Christ is risen!!!  He is risen indeed Alleluia!!!

How I have longed to shout these words and how I have longed to hear your joyful and enthusiastic response.  Yet due to the challenges we continue to face with the pandemic we proclaim the Lord’s resurrection in our homes and places of isolation.  To a degree having our lives disrupted throughout Lent seemed almost appropriate, we felt the pain of isolation, the pain of being cut-off from those we love and those we worship with, in a sense we felt the agony and the weight of the cross.

But what now?  The Lord has risen and we are called to witness to the power of the Lord in our daily lives. Now is the time for Christ to Easter in us!  This I feel is going to be the greatest challenge for us, how do we respond to the joy of Easter amidst the fear and anxiety that still surrounds us. 

Maybe we can take courage from those first witnesses to the resurrection. Following the crucifixion they remained in lock-down hiding in fear not knowing what to do or think. Even when brave Mary Magdalene ventured out and saw the empty tomb the Apostles were not convinced they remained behind closed doors.  They entered a period of trying to work out what everything meant. They had heard the way Jesus spoke about rising from the dead, they had witnessed his many miracles and watched the number of those following his teaching increase greatly. But they had also witnessed the brutal reality of the cross and were now living with the consequences of their lack of faith.

That period of working out what it all means only made sense when the risen Christ stood among them. Into the chaos that filled their hearts and minds Jesus uttered the words ‘peace be with you.’  Peace, something they had not experienced now for months was the first gift Jesus gave them following his glorious resurrection. Having received that peace of God which passes all understanding, now the work of the resurrection can begin in and through the church.

Maybe we can see ourselves now in that period of working out what it all means. For decades we have worshipped in the same way and lived our Christian lives almost on autopilot. The disruption we have experienced has almost forced us to rethink and re-evaluate just what living the Gospel life actually means. So as we journey into the Easter season keep the prayers at home going, call on the Lord who bursts into the chaos we are experiencing and receive his gift of  peace. Also the great 40 days that follow Easter are an ideal time to reflect on all the Lord has revealed to us during this time, it will be different for each one of us but equally valuable and will hopefully reshape how we as individuals and as a community live out Christian witness. 

As always your clergy are available to talk to, you all remain in our daily prayers and please contact us with any prayer requests you may have for yourself or for others.

We are planning our return to St Michael’s and although we do not know exactly when that will be as yet, rest assured in will be a full day of celebration.

May the risen Christ bless you and those you love and as we journey into Easter may you know his peace.

Alleluia Christ is risen!!!  He is risen indeed Alleluia!!!

Fr Ian, Fr Engin and Fr Andy

Good Friday 10th April 2020

Interview with Fr Andy on TalkRADIO about the meaning of Good Friday and Easter in light of Covid-19:

Listen now.

Tuesday 7th April 2020

Released today: a free information book explaining the coronavirus to children, illustrated by Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler

https://nosycrow.com/blog/released-today-free-information-book-explaining-coronavirus-children-illustrated-gruffalo-illustrator-axel-scheffler/

Saturday 4th April 2020

A reflection for Palm Sunday from Fr Engin:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

I remember our Ash Wednesday joint service vividly; all of us were eager to embrace the season of Lent with anticipation, new learnings, which would draw us closer to God. We, as clergy spent some time in thinking and preparing meaningful events and space for you, so that this would be a fruitful season – a season that would prepare us for the joy of resurrection, Easter. Of course, what was in our mind was very different to what we all have been going through for the last several weeks as a country and the rest of the world really.

One of the buzz words is that we keep hearing is that this is “unprecedented” that this has never been experienced before at least in our lifetime. Indeed, it is true that most of us never experienced such a thing before, and this is very unique in many ways. It is also true that it effects every aspect of life and community. In light of our changing world, I have been reflecting on what we could learn about ourselves, one another, our world and indeed about God through this unexpected and unwanted experience. Particularly, as we enter the Holy Week through Palm Sunday, what hope could we draw from the life of our Lord?

I have a copy of a famous Trinity icon of Adrei Rublev. I keep it in my study and use in my prayers and devotions. I find this icon particularly useful; it is almost like an invitation to the Triune God, an invitation for communion and fellowship. Of course, one of the aspects of this icon is to see the Triune God and unity. It is such a level of unity that while we acknowledge the diversity, God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, we still speak of one God. It is also a unity that we, too, are invited to be part of.

Nonetheless, the story of the Holy Week, and indeed Good Friday is a moment in history that this unity was, albeit momentarily, broken. It was at the cross when Jesus cried out “Eli Eli Lama Sabachthani?”, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?”. It is at the cross we see there has been a certain “social distancing” between God the Father and God the Son, because at that moment of history Jesus willingly accepted to be the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. It is only at that time that this unbreakable communion and unity between the Father and his Beloved Son is broken, it is at that moment only that Jesus did not feel the closeness of his Father and felt total abandonment. 

If we reverse the story a little earlier, to Palm Sunday, there is another story to talk about. We see the triumphant entry into the holy city – crowds shouting and singing hosanna and waving palm branches to embrace this humble King who comes to save His people. Clearly, what was in their mind was very different than what takes place thereafter. Most people who knew about the promised Messiah, never interpreted the prophecies that the Messiah would also be the “suffering servant” which what our Old Testament reading (Isaiah 50: 4 – 9) clearly indicates. For them, the concept that God would embrace the pain and agony would not be acceptable since their image of God was beyond human suffering. To their surprise and perhaps ours, God who so loved the world came to redeem this world by taking “the form of a slave” so that at the right time God the Father would “exalt him and gave him the name that is above every name.”

So, Palm Sunday tells us two very different stories, one is the story that we wanted it to be. It is a story of a strong and powerful king who would give us security and confidence. The other story is about the real King who comes to embrace our humanity to the point of death. By so doing, he brings forgiveness, healing and restoration to this broken world. He reconciles us with the Father and one another. He conquers the power of sin and death, and he does all this by taking upon himself all that we would endure. As the author of Hebrews says, “therefore since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have on who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” 

Finally, my brothers and sisters, what we are experiencing is an unforgettable experience of Lent. I would like to encourage you today to remember that our Lord Jesus Christ who conquered the power of sin and death at the cross is ascended into heaven and intercedes for this broken world. Let us join in the intercession and prayer for this world – may the God of mercy continually reveal Himself in human suffering by providing hope, healing and reconciliation. Let us also pray for one another at this time, so that through this experience we would learn the true meaning of being the body of Christ.

May God fill you with his peace and protect your hearts and minds in Christ name.

Amen.

Fr Engin YILDIRIM

Sunday 29th March 2020

A reflection for Passion Sunday from Fr Ian:

Dear brothers and sisters
We are now entering the second week of lockdown the likes of which none of us have ever witnessed in our life time. The situation we all face has caused the Church and the practice of our faith to explore new and varied ways of communicating, all of which is now possible thanks to modern technology.

Amidst this whirlwind of technology, seeking an online connectedness that we are being physically deprived of, still leaves many people isolated and overlooked. In all the efforts being explored to reach a wide range of people in one go I still fear for those who have no understanding or desire to engage online.

That is why the Wood Green clergy have taken to using the telephone to contact you. My hope is that one of us should have been in touch with you in recent days (if not please call or send me your number and email address if you have one).  The one to one calls we have been making are proving to be enriching and very moving. Hearing your stories, checking on your well-being or simply just chatting is something we rarely get to do in the busyness of life and we are grateful for your concern for us that many of you have voiced.

A phrase I have heard a lot is ‘all we can do is pray.’ Although true and very well meaning, it is often said in a way that reduces prayer  to something we do when all else is lost. Prayer is the one thing that unites us to God and to one another wherever we are. In our Lent group two years ago Archbishop Rowan Williams reminded us that ‘prayer is God’s work in us;’ and ‘prayer is your promise and pledge to be there for the God who is there for you.’  Viewed in this way our prayer should be seen as a vital work rather than a security blanket into which we snuggle because everything is too much. 

I hope you have all had sight of our booklet ‘praying at home.’ In it you will find prayers for various times during the day and prayers to use as a family. The prayers are a beautiful reminder that we are the Church as much in our homes as we are sat next to one another in St Michael’s. I therefore encourage you to pray perhaps in ways you never have before because prayer is ‘God’s work in us.’

Over recent days I have been pondering on Jesus’ way of the cross, those final steps of his earthly life before being subjected to the horrors of the cross.  The tenth station of the cross sees Jesus stripped of his garments. Our Lord has everything taken away from him even his last shred of dignity. He stands before those he created naked and vulnerable. Everything gone!

To a lesser degree we have had everything we rely on taken from us; our church, our families, our friends and relationships, even our ability to walk about freely and it is a frightening and vulnerable place to be. Our ancestors in the faith knew a similar fear – from exile to wilderness, to the upper room, to the cross.  But, it was in those very moments of vulnerability that people discovered what true faith in God looked like. Those experiences although not fully understood at the time lead people to a deeper understanding of God’s love and faithfulness.

Lent is the time for entering into the wilderness with all those past and present who have had to rediscover what living in God’s time really means. We may be in lockdown – but we are not locked out of our relationship with God the Father, for nothing as St Paul reminds us can separate us from God’s love.

Although in that tenth station of the cross we see Jesus in his nakedness, stripped of everything, he still remains faithful to his calling. Even though God seems distant, which Jesus voices in his cry, reciting psalm 22, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me’, Jesus’ faithfulness and trust in God gives him the strength and courage to persevere to end.

In our wildernesses be they separation from the Church building, the Church community, our own families – the call to faithfulness is something we can all achieve, even if we have to admit ‘Lord I do not understand what is happening – but I trust in you.’

I encourage you my brothers and sisters to keep the prayer going. I find great strength in the knowledge that we are praying together, yes physically divided but spiritually united, I hope that also offers you hope and encouragement.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God. 
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, 
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7)

Be assured you are in my prayers daily.

With love
Fr Ian

Saturday 28th March 2020

Homily of Pope Francis on Mark 4:35 – 41, Jesus Stills a Storm:
https://catholicherald.co.uk/in-full-pope-franciss-homily-at-the-extraordinary-urbi-et-orbi/

Friday 27th March 2020

Rowan Williams Interview
Many of you will remember that last year we read together Bishop Rowan Williams’ book ‘Being Christian’ during Lent. On the link below, the former Archbishop of Canterbury reflects on the current crisis and what it might teach us about who we are and what we value, about faith and suffering and about the questions it poses to our economic system:

The Big Silence
Those who were attending our Lent course this year may want to catch up on the end of the last episode of The Big Silence during which we had some technical problems! You can watch it on the link below. Fast forward 19 minutes in to get to where we were: 

Gloria TV

A message from the Bishop of Kensington:

Sunday 22nd March 2020

A reflection for Mothering Sunday from Fr Andy:
Today is of course a day when many of us will be experiencing the sadness of separation from our own mothers, either through their passing from this earthly life or because of self-isolation or social distancing. I cannot pretend to be anything other than sad myself on stepping into a locked, empty and darkened church building on a Sunday when I would normally expect to see probably well over 150 of you spilling out of Church after Mass into this glorious sunshine, filled with God’s spirit and clutching daffodils, going home to be with loved ones.

These are very strange times to which we are all having to adjust. Our world is seemingly descending into darkness and yet we, as Christian people, are called to be ‘Children of Light’ as Saint Paul writes to the Ephesians in today’s epistle (Ephesians 5:8-14); ‘for the effects of the light are seen in complete goodness and right living and truth’. What does that look like in our current climate? 

Be kind to one another, help others where you can and stay in touch by all the new forms of technology we have, be disciplined in taking every precaution for the sake of those who are most vulnerable, pray for the sick and those in our hospitals working tirelessly to care for them, accept help when you are offered it if you’re in need. Know that by so doing you are holding up a light to the darkness, the very light of Christ. When we pray, when we serve others, when we love our neighbour, that’s when we reveal to others the works of God making manifest that which, unlike this wretched virus, does NOT pass; the unending grace and mercy of God.

Prayers for today:
Look upon those who call to you, O Lord,
And sustain the weak;
give life by your unfailing light to those who walk in the shadow of death,
and bring those rescued by your mercy from every evil to reach the highest good.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Come, O Spirit of God,
and make within us a dwelling place and home.
May our darkness be dispelled by your light,
and our trouble calmed by your peace;
may all evil be redeemed by your love,
all pain transformed through the suffering of Christ,
and all dying glorified in his risen life. Amen.

Links:
The Archbishop led a service of prayer, music and reflection on Mothering Sunday from Lambeth Palace which can be heard on the following link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000gm8f.