St Stephen’s news update – 29th June

Visit www.ststephenscanonbury.org.uk for all our latest mailings and information and for our podcast services.
Contact John at vicar@ststephenscanonbury.org.uk or 02072267526

Welcome to our Monday mailing.

Returning to worship in the Church
From this coming Sunday (5th July) services can resume in Churches but with a number of restrictions in place.
There will be a service in St Stephen’s at 11 am on Sunday but we realise that many will still be unable to attend at the present time.
The service will be Morning Worship and will last for 30 minutes.
We will broadcast the service on Zoom so you can also join us at home.
The link will be on the website and in the Thursday mailing.
We will also post a recording of the service on the website and on the recorded telephone line as soon as we can after the service has finished. (This Should be by about 1 pm each Sunday).
We will continue to provide a podcast for younger members both on the website and on the telephone service.
Social distancing will have to be maintained in the Church and the pews have been moved to enable this.
This restricts the number of people who can be in the Church but we hope also to provide an overflow in the halls where the service can be heard.
At the moment we cannot sing and cannot allow socialising before or after services.
We also cannot provide Sunday School or a youth group or any materials/facilities for children in the Church. The crèche cannot be used either.
You are still asked to think carefully about attending.
If you are in the vulnerable group and have been asked to shield it is advised that you do not attend yet.
If you are unwell or have any symptoms – temperature, cough, lack of taste and smell – you must not attend.
If you have been instructed to isolate because of contact with someone who has had symptoms you must not attend.
This though is an important step on our way back to being fully open as a Church for the parish and the local community.
If you feel confident to attend you are very welcome to join us.
Please aim to arrive from 10.45 am onwards. You may need to form a socially distanced queue at the door as it will take longer than usual to get everyone in and seated safely.

Meeting on Zoom
It will not be possible for us to meet on Zoom after the Sunday services. As many have appreciated this time though I will explore if we can set up an evening Zoom meeting for a catch-up and a short service of Compline each Sunday. More information to come.

Val Bull
We give thanks to God for Val who died peacefully in hospital last week. Val and her husband Arthur were at the centre of St Stephen’s for many years and we rejoice that they are now reunited and that Val is at peace after several years of illness. Please pray for her sons, Peter and Richard, and the family as they arrange her funeral.

Mary Allen
Please continue to pray for Mary and her family supporting and caring for her. Mary is at home but, with dialysis and other appointments, spending a large amount of time at the hospital. She is grateful for your prayers and support.

Morning, daytime and evening prayers now on recorded telephone service
You can now access our daily pattern of prayer on the recorded telephone service – 02080501091. Along with our weekly service and children’s podcast, you can now ring in for a moment of prayer at the start of, during and at the end of your day. It will only take a couple of minutes. Give it a go and let me know what you think.

Lock-down Podcast
Our ‘Lock-down Podcast 4’ is now online for you to listen to. You will find reflections from Katie Melville’s garden, a summer poem from Fran Trafford, the view from Kuala Lumpur from Tim and Rachel Green and thoughts on working with the homeless during lock-down from Rachel Woolf.
Visit: http://www.ststephenscanonbury.org.uk/sermons-services/
Where you will find all 4 of our lock-down podcasts.

A time to reflect
Each week you are invited to listen to an online talk and then meet to discuss this on Wednesday evening at 8.30pm on Zoom.
This week we continue the C S Lewis theme we started last week with a talk given by my old doctrine lecturer, Alistair McGrath, as part of the St Pauls’ Adult Learning series. Alistair is talking about his biography of Lewis and some of the insight he gained into his life and work.
The link for the talk is:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jPPfHVncYg
The Zoom link for our meeting on Wednesday is:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84697630447?pwd=MWpRUGVLVWR6Z0t2SmlUMGtHMWdIdz09

I’ll send an email with some starter questions for our discussion.
All are welcome to join us.

PCC Secretary
Joy Faulkner-Mpeho has stepped down from the role of PCC secretary as she and Rufin prepare to become parents later in the summer. So the PCC needs to find someone who will take on the administrative tasks that help the council run smoothly. This includes communication with the council members via email to send papers for meetings, accept apologies, set up Zoom links; overseeing the taking of minutes (sometimes by the secretary but also by others) and distributing these as directed; receiving some communications from the diocese and handing information on; helping to facilitate Standing Committee meetings.
It is not necessary for the secretary to be a member of the PCC but they can be co-opted for this purpose or stand for election to the council.
It would be helpful if we can find an interim secretary to cover the time from now until the annual meeting in September, hoping that someone might take this on and then want to continue.
The secretary will work closely with me as PCC chair and it is not necessary to have any experience of this role in order to take it on. All that is needed is some basic admin skills along with basic IT skills as well.
The PCC secretary is an important role that enables the governance of the church to work smoothly and the PCC to deal with issues efficiently.
If you feel you have the skills for this role and would like to explore more about it, please get in touch with me at vicar@ststephenscanonbury.org.uk
Thank you

Resource hub from St Paul’s
If you are looking for some stimulating things to listen to or read, St Pauls’ has drawn a range of their resources together into a resource hub. You can find it at
https://resourcehub.squarespace.com/

2019 Annual Report and Accounts
We have not been able to hold this year’s annual meeting yet but our accounts and annual reports have now been signed off by our independent examiner. You can find the full report, a summary report and a summary account on the church website.
http://www.ststephenscanonbury.org.uk/annual-report-and-annual-meeting-2020/
If you would like to view the full church accounts please get in touch through the office at administrator@ststephenscanonbury.org.uk

Please think and pray about whether you could take on one of the roles we need to appoint at the annual meeting which we hope will be on Sunday 20th September.
2 Church Wardens
2 Deanery Synod Representatives
4 PCC Members
If you would like to talk about taking on any of these roles you can talk to me by phone or email.

Daily Hope Phone Line - 0800 804 8044
The Church of England has launched a new ‘Daily Hope’ phone line. The number is 0800 804 8044. This is free to call and offers messages, services and hymns 24 hours a day. If you know people who are not connected to the internet tell them about it and try it out yourself.

Keep praying
I have updated the prayer requests list which is now on the website at:
http://www.ststephenscanonbury.org.uk/prayer-requests/
The list is quite long now so do divide it up for your prayers during the week.
There are also links to prayer resources especially for this time.
http://www.ststephenscanonbury.org.uk/praying-together/
A prayer for each week is also on the ‘Praying Together’ page along with our own pattern of prayer.
Email me or phone to add requests to the list.


St Stephen’s news update – 25th June

Visit www.ststephenscanonbury.org.uk for all our latest mailings and information and for our podcast services.
Contact John at vicar@ststephenscanonbury.org.uk or 02072267526

Welcome to our news update

Returning to worship in the Church
You will have heard the announcement that services can resume in Churches from Sunday 5th July. There will be many restrictions on this though to ensure that Churches are as safe as possible for everyone.
There will be an 11 am service at St Stephen’s on Sunday 5th July. It will last for 30 minutes and include liturgy, prayers and a reflection as in our podcast services. At this time we cannot sing or share Communion together. Social distancing will need to be maintained but households can, of course, sit together. The arrangement of the pews has been changed to maximise the number who can attend but inevitably this is limited. To maintain social distancing 17 individuals or households can attend. Unfortunately, we will need to keep to this limit on attendance but really hope it will not be necessary to turn anyone away. If however, we find that new people come to services and we are over capacity, we hope that regular members will be prepared to give up places to enable the Church to be welcoming to those who might be attending for the first time. The service will also be available online and on the telephone service as we have been doing throughout the lockdown.
You are still asked to think carefully about attending. If you are in the vulnerable group and have been asked to shield it is advised that you do not attend yet. If you are unwell or have any symptoms – temperature, cough, lack of taste and smell – you must not attend, and if you have been instructed to isolate because of contact with someone who has had symptoms you must not attend.
In order to maintain social distancing, we will need to be strict about how the service runs. When you arrive you will need to use hand sanitizer and then go straight to a place observing the markings on the pews and the floor. You are then asked to remain in your seat throughout the service unless it is absolutely necessary to move. At the end of the service you will be asked to leave the Church carefully, maintaining distancing at all times. It will not be possible to stay behind to talk with friends and we cannot serve after-service coffee.
Unfortunately, we will not be able to resume our Sunday School or youth group immediately but we will be exploring how we can do this safely in the near future. Unfortunately, we also cannot offer children’s resources in the Church or make the creche available either.
Clearly these restrictions will change the character of our gathering but this is a significant stage on our pathway out of lockdown. If you feel confident about attending on 5th July you are very welcome to join us.

Val Bull
Val died peacefully in hospital yesterday. We give thanks for her life of faith, humour, friendship and service. Val and Arthur were at the heart of St Stephen’s, and particularly the Almorah road church plant, for many years, giving their time and energy freely and lavishly to worship and service. We are thankful for all that Val has brought to us and rejoice that she now knows the reward of her faith in the wonder of her heavenly home. Please pray for Peter and Richard and all the family as they come to terms with her death and begin to arrange her funeral.

Black lives matter
I apologise that our past news updates and bulletins have been accidentally deleted from the website, including the ‘Black lives matter’ mailing and resource list. I will include that mailing at the end of this one so you can still access the resources listed.

Recorded telephone service
You can now access our recorded services and podcast for younger people on a local phone line. The number is 02080501091. Calls will be charged as local calls or will be included in the minutes in any call package or contract you have on landline or mobile. Very soon you will also be able to access our daily prayers which are a chance to pause and pray for a couple of minutes in the morning, during the day and in the evening. I hope this will be an easier way for some to access this material.

St Stephen’s lock-down survey
Thank you to the 27 people who completed the lockdown survey. We are now analysing the results to help us in our planning for the next few months and into the future.

Lock-down Podcasts
Our ‘Lock-down Podcast 4’ is now on line for you to listen to. You will find reflections from Katie Melville’s garden, a summer poem from Fran Trafford, the view from Kuala Lumpur from Tim and Rachel Green and thoughts on working with the homeless during lock-down from Rachel Woolf.
Visit: http://www.ststephenscanonbury.org.uk/sermons-services/
Where you will find all 4 of our lock-down podcasts.

This Sunday
A service and reflection and a podcast for younger members will soon be posted for this Sunday. This week the reflection is by Margaret Evans. There will be another podcast for younger members as well with another Billy adventure to enjoy.
You can find the podcasts by visiting:
http://www.ststephenscanonbury.org.uk/sermons-services/ You can also now listen to them on the phone by dialling 02080501091.
If you can, listen at 11 am on Sunday so we can worship together even though we are separated. If you can’t listen at this time though, find your own time and space to pause for worship and reflection. The recordings of all our lock-down services are always available on the website to use.

Sunday meeting on Zoom
Once again you are invited to log in to our Zoom meeting at 11.30 am on Sunday to catch up over coffee. This is a chance to tell us what has been happening for you this week, comment on the service and sermon and to share any prayer points for our prayer requests list.
The link for the Zoom meeting is below and will be at the top of the ‘Sermons and services’ page on the website.
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84961803983?pwd=RFFIb1VkMWFCMDJyRFVibTdpa1prQT09

A time to reflect
Each week you are invited to listen to an online talk and then meet to discuss this on Wednesday evening at 8.30pm on Zoom.
This week we continue the C S Lewis theme we started last week with a talk given by my old doctrine lecturer, Alistair McGrath, as part of the St Pauls’ Adult Learning series. Alistair is talking about his biography of Lewis and some of the insight he gained into his life and work.
The link for the talk is:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jPPfHVncYg
The Zoom link for our meeting on Wednesday is:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84697630447?pwd=MWpRUGVLVWR6Z0t2SmlUMGtHMWdIdz09

I’ll send an email with some starter questions for our discussion on Monday.
All are welcome to join us.

2019 Annual Report and Accounts
We have not been able to hold this year’s annual meeting yet but our accounts and annual reports have now been signed off by our independent examiner. You can find the full report, a summary report and a summary account on the church website.
http://www.ststephenscanonbury.org.uk/annual-report-and-annual-meeting-2020/
If you would like to view the full church accounts please get in touch through the office at administrator@ststephenscanonbury.org.uk
If you would like to talk about taking on one of the roles that will become vacant – Church Warden, Deanery Synod representative or PCC member – please contact me for a chat.

Church of England Survey
The Church of England has launched a survey of church members to gain views and experiences of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Everyone is invited to take part.

Hard questions for hard times
This is a series of short videos from St Paul’s in which people answer some of the pressing questions of our time.
The question posed for this week is ‘Has the pandemic shaken your faith in God?’ A number of writers reflect on this question in a series of short video clips.
You can also search for ‘St Paul’s Hard questions for hard times.’

Daily Hope Phone Line - 0800 804 8044
The Church of England has launched a new ‘Daily Hope’ phone line. The number is 0800 804 8044. This is free to call and offers messages, services and hymns 24 hours a day. If you know people who are not connected to the internet, tell them about it and try it out yourself.

Resource hub from St Paul’s
If you are looking for some stimulating things to listen to or read, St Pauls’ have drawn a range of their resources together into a resource hub. You can find it at
https://resourcehub.squarespace.com/

Keep praying
There is a list of prayer points at the top of the ‘Praying Together’ page on the website. I will update this each Monday after our Sunday Zoom meeting.
If you have a prayer request for yourself, your family or others, you can also email me at vicar@ststephenscanonbury.org.uk

Black lives matter

In the light of recent events in the USA with the death of George Floyd and many of the inequalities and disadvantages experienced by many minority groups exposed by the Coronavirus Pandemic, our Zoom meeting on Sunday was devoted to reflecting on the issue of racism.

This email is to share some of the responses that have come from the Church of England and to provide you with resources that others have found helpful in finding out about and reflecting on the historic context and contemporary issues of racism.

Statement from the Archbishops.

In the light of the death of George Floyd and the unfolding protests, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York issued this statement.

A statement from Archbishop Justin Welby and Archbishop John Sentamu in response to events in the United States of America:

“Recent events in the United States of America have once again drawn public attention to the ongoing evil of white supremacy. Systemic racism continues to cause incalculable harm across the world. Our hearts weep for the suffering caused – for those who have lost their lives, those who have experienced persecution, those who live in fear. God’s justice and love for all creation demands that this evil is properly confronted and tackled. Let us be clear: racism is an affront to God. It is born out of ignorance, and must be eradicated. We all bear the responsibility and must play our part to eliminate this scourge on humanity.
“As Dr Martin Luther King Jr said, ‘In a real sense, we are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Therefore, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’
“We pray that God’s abounding wisdom, compassion and love will guide leaders across the world to forge a better society.”

In a mailing to Stepney clergy sent on Sunday 7th June, Bishop Joanne wrote:

Racial justice

In the light of recent events in the US and protests there and in the UK, I suggest revisiting Archdeacon Liz’s conversation with Bishop Michael Curry last year in which they discussed the experience of black people in the US and UK. You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0ZGkq4ZcHo
I have also been grateful this week to Revd Roxane Liddell and Revd Dilly Baker who drew my attention to this blog by Revd Azariah France-Williams:
https://scmpress.hymnsam.co.uk/blog/the-death-of-george-floyd-is-the-death-of-every-black-human. It is powerful and I recommend it.
What is happening around us is serious and long overdue. We need to take time to understand our own part in what is wrong, repent where needed, and make some definite commitments to changing what we can. This is just the beginning of a conversation which we need to have across the Diocese of London. Bishop Sarah has asked me and Revd Dr Jason Roach to work with the Deans of Black and Minority Ethnic ministry as convenors, to support them in leading the conversation about racial justice here in our church.

When we met on Zoom on Sunday several people shared information about books and videos they have found useful as an aid to trying to listen to and understand a little of what both historic and contemporary voices say about the causes of and experiences of racism.

These are listed below. They are not offered as an ‘approved’ list of resources but as suggestions from across the St Stephen’s community of things that people have found helpful.

YouTube videos
Akala - talking about everyday racism

Akala - interviewed on Good Morning Britain about knife crime and race

Reni Eddo-Lodge - interviewed about her book ‘Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race.’

You could also search for:
‘Akala addressing the Oxford Union’
‘Reni in conversation with Emma Watson for Our Shared Shelf bookclub’

Also, see the videos highlighted by Bishop Joanne above.

The Netflix documentary The 13th, about incarceration in the US, is very powerful

Books
Why I’m no Longer talking to white people about race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
The Slave Trade by Hugh Thomas
Slay In Your Lane by Yomi Adegoke & Elizabeth Uviebinene
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Ghost Ship by A.D.A France-Williams: Institutional Racism and the Church of England this book isn’t out yet but is due at the end of July.
Ghandi – Racism and the British Empire
Behold America Sarah Churchwell
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

The issue of societal and institutional racism in the UK, USA and across the world must lead all who have enjoyed and exercised power and privilege to self-examination and collective and personal repentance.
Over the next weeks, months and years we will need to seek how we can address these issues as a church and contribute to the national and international movement to recognise and tackle this and all forms of injustice.


St Stephen’s news update – 22nd June

Visit www.ststephenscanonbury.org.uk for all our latest mailings and information and for our podcast services.
Contact John at vicar@ststephenscanonbury.org.uk or 02072267526

Welcome to our Monday mailing.

St Stephen’s lock-down survey
This is your last chance to complete the St Stephen’s ‘lock-down survey.’ The survey seeks to get your views of what we have offered during the lock-down and how you are feeling about eventually returning to worship in the Church. Your feedback will help us shape what we offer over the next few months and help us begin to discern what this lock-down experience might be teaching us for the future. Please complete the survey today or tomorrow, if you haven’t done it yet, and we will analyse the results later this week. The average completion time as been 8 minutes.
The link to the survey is
https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/V9D982J
Thank you.

Lock-down Podcast
Our ‘Lock-down Podcast 4’ is now online for you to listen to. You will find reflections from Katie Melville’s garden, a summer poem from Fran Trafford, the view from Kuala Lumpur from Tim and Rachel Green and thoughts on working with the homeless during lock-down from Rachel Woolf.
Visit: http://www.ststephenscanonbury.org.uk/sermons-services/
Where you will find all 4 of our lock-down podcasts.

Recorded telephone service
You can now access our recorded services and podcast for younger people on a local phone line. The number is 02080501091. Calls will be charged as local calls or will be included in the minutes in any call package or contract you have on landline or mobile. Very soon you will also be able to access our daily prayers on this number. these are a chance to pause and pray for a couple of minutes in the morning, during the day and in the evening. I hope this will be an easier way for some to access this material.

Mary Allen
Mary would like to thank you all for your prayers for her at this time. She is at home but having additional dialysis treatment each week. Pray for Mary and her family and doctors as they decide what will be the best continuing treatment and care.

Val Bull
Val is still in hospital and is very unwell. Pray for her and her sons, Peter and Richard, and all the family at this time.

Abi and Peers Ronan
Abi has told us that their move to New York has been delayed due to travel difficulties at this time. Pray for them as they wait for travel restrictions to be eased.

‘Black lives matter’
As a church we want to find ways to encourage reflection and discussion on the issue of racism and particularly to hear the voices of those in our community who have experienced racist attitudes and treatment. We will be developing ways of doing this in the near future. In the meantime, this issue has featured in our Sunday Zoom meetings over the past few weeks and a number of books and online resources have been highlighted by different people. We recommend you look at some of these as you hear about and reflect on the issues that are highlighted in the daily news. You can find a list of resources by visiting the news and information link on the website and scrolling through some of last week’s mailings.
http://www.ststephenscanonbury.org.uk/coronavirus-information/

Easing the lock-down
It is now possible for Churches to be open during the day for private prayer and for small funerals to take place. At the moment we do not have plans to open St Stephen’s during the day as this has not been our tradition before. We will though be preparing the Church so that socially distanced funerals could take place if needed. Locally, St James Prebend Street is now open during the day and St Mary’s Upper Street are planning how they can do this but are not open yet. We will need to wait for permission from the government for any further activities to take place in Churches.

Church of England Survey
The Church of England have launched a survey of church members to gain views and experiences of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Everyone is invited to take part.
Visit this link

Sunday Podcasts
I hope you enjoyed the podcasts for last Sunday. All the recordings remain on the website so you can listen again or catch them at a later time.
http://www.ststephenscanonbury.org.uk/sermons-services/

Next Sunday the reflection will be by Margaret Evans. There will be another podcast for younger members as well with another Billy adventure to enjoy.

We will meet up on Zoom at 11.30 am again. The link will be on the ‘Sermons and services’ page and in Thursday’s mailing.

Tell others what we are doing
Feel free to ‘Tweet’ or share links to our services and podcasts via social media. The shorter, easy to access services are a great introduction to St Stephen’s and many people who would not usually attend church are making time to listen at home to podcasts or live stream services.

Time to reflect
A time to reflect.
Each week you are invited to listen to an online talk and then meet to discuss this on Wednesday evening at 8.30 pm on Zoom.

This week you are invited to step back in time to 1944 and listen to one of C S Lewis’s legendary broadcasts on the BBC. The series of talks, that became his book ‘Mere Christianity,’ spoke of the Christian hope to a nation and a world in the grip of the darkness of war. Although we have to overlook some of Lewis’s less than inclusive use of language from over 75 years ago, his talk, ‘The new men,’ is still both a rich and ‘down to earth’ exploration of Christian hope with relevance for us today. This is also the only surviving original recording of these broadcasts so a chance to hear Lewis’s actual voice.
The link is:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3jYLGcDUFE
The Zoom link for our meeting on Wednesday is:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84697630447?pwd=MWpRUGVLVWR6Z0t2SmlUMGtHMWdIdz09

I’ll send some discussion questions round in a separate email.
All are welcome to join us.

Resource hub from St Paul’s
If you are looking for some stimulating things to listen to or read, St Pauls’ have drawn a range of their resources together into a resource hub. You can find it at
https://resourcehub.squarespace.com/

2019 Annual Report and Accounts
We have not been able to hold this year’s annual meeting yet but our accounts and annual reports have now been signed off by our independent examiner. You can find the full report, a summary report and a summary account on the church website.
http://www.ststephenscanonbury.org.uk/annual-report-and-annual-meeting-2020/
If you would like to view the full church accounts please get in touch through the office at administrator@ststephenscanonbury.org.uk

Please think and pray about whether you could take on one of the roles we need to appoint at the annual meeting which we hope will be on Sunday 20th September.
2 Church Wardens
2 Deanery Synod Representatives
4 PCC Members
If you would like to talk about taking on any of these roles you can talk to me by phone or email.

Daily Hope Phone Line - 0800 804 8044
The Church of England has launched a new ‘Daily Hope’ phone line. The number is 0800 804 8044. This is free to call and offers messages, services and hymns 24 hours a day. If you know people who are not connected to the internet tell them about it and try it out yourself.

Keep praying
I have updated the prayer requests list which is now on the website at:
http://www.ststephenscanonbury.org.uk/prayer-requests/
The list is quite long now so do divide it up for your prayers during the week.
There are also links to prayer resources especially for this time.
http://www.ststephenscanonbury.org.uk/praying-together/

A prayer for each week is also on the ‘Praying Together’ page along with our own pattern of prayer.
Email me or phone to add requests to the list.