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  1. Pop-up Food Market at St Mary’s

    Saturday 20 May 11-6 and Sunday 21 May 12.30-6

    We are launching our fundraising drive for the new community rooms with a pop-up food market. Please tell all your friends and neighbours and come along and support us!

    In addition, there is still a lot of help needed to make this a success. Please contact Claire Garrett (07880 867 444 / [email protected]) or the people listed below if you can help in any way.

    - Baking scones for the cream teas on the lawn. Helping serve the cream teas on the day – contact Julie Farley at [email protected] / 07780 051 530

    - Baking bread to sell on a church stall – contact Tamar at [email protected]            

    - Baking cakes, biscuits etc. to sell on a church stall – contact Karen at [email protected] or Sasha at [email protected]                             

    - Helping with set-up of the stalls on both days. This will mean being available from around 8.30 to help with setting up tables, possibly erecting gazebos for certain pitches, sorting electric where necessary… - contact Claire at [email protected]   

    - Helping with clear down of the stalls at the end of the market on both days – contact Claire at [email protected] 

    - Volunteering over the weekend at the market itself – we need people to staff children’s craft activities, to police a bouncy castle, to serve at various church stalls, possibly to man a bbq (still tbc) and to sell raffle tickets – please contact Claire on [email protected] if you are happy to make yourself generally available and have tasks allocated. If you would rather volunteer for a certain activity please contact the relevant person as listed above.

    - We also need people to take flyers and post through doors to advertise the market. We are liaising with Location Location estate agent to produce these and are hoping to have them available at church on Sunday.

    - Does anyone have a van or the ability to hire a van for an hour or so on Friday after school and again on Sunday evening once the market is over? We are borrowing stallholder tables from two local schools and need to transport them between the schools and the church.

    Please do join our enthusiastic team of volunteers!! The better the buzz we can create around this launch event, the higher the chances of success at getting community engagement in our building project.


  2. The Hackney Refugee Welcome Event will take place on Weds 26 April, from 4-6:30pm at Clapton Girls Academy, E5 0RB. The event will celebrate the resettlement of Syrian refugee families in Hackney and reflect on refugees issues more generally.  Speakers include Jonathan Freedland, Yvette Cooper, Diane Abbot and the Speaker of Hackney Council.

  3. Our Annual General Meeting will be held on April 2nd at 12 o’clock in the Old Church and will follow on from the Joint Service in the New Church. Please bring a plate of food to share for lunch.

    In addition to hearing what we have been up to over the past year and electing our Council, Wardens and reps, we will be spending a good amount of time hearing about and discussing the plans for the new St Mary’s Centre.

    Please don’t miss out on this! Put the date in your diary today!


  4. The PCC meets this Monday evening at 7.30pm in the Old Church.

    At the AGM in April we will be electing 4 new representatives to our Parochial Church Council (PCC).

    It is important that our Council is a true representation of our various congregations.

    With that in mind we are looking especially for greater representation from our 9.30 congregation and from BME members across our congregations.

    Might this be you? Or if not you, who would you like to encourage to stand?

  5. ‘Citizens’ are holding a rally in the evening of March 9th in York Hall. This is to celebrate all that has been achieved and to plan for the future.  What are the issues that really matter to us and our community?  All are welcome.

  6. Lent begins on March 1st with a service in the Old Church at 7pm. Our theme for this year is ‘Testing Times’. If you are interested in joining a study group please sign the list at the back of church.

  7. Everyone is welcome to join us at St Mary's this Sunday as we celebrate the beginning of Advent together.

    We have a joint service at 10.30am (so no 9.30 or 11am services) in the big church, suitable for people of any age.

    Then we hold our Advent Carol Service in The Old Church at 7.30pm with readings and music listen to and carols to join in with.

  8. ‘Buen Camino!’ are the two words that have been ringing in my ears for the last 5 weeks. Walking across northern Spain (beginning in the French Pyrenees), following the ancient medieval pilgrimage route to Santiago, I clocked up nearly 500 miles. Every time I passed a fellow pilgrim we would exchange those words, ‘Buen Camino’ which roughly translated means, ‘safe travelling’ or ‘go well’.  Since returning from Spain I find myself musing on what it was all about; indeed why did I choose to make the journey in the first place?

    I first heard about the Camino to Santiago de Compostela about 10 years ago from a friend in the Yorkshire Dales. ‘It clears out all the rubbish and puts you back in touch with what’s really important to you’, I remember her saying and her words came back to me when I was considering what to do on my sabbatical.  It seemed a good plan. So having done a minimal amount of research on what the route was like, what to take, key spanish phrases and the like, I set off. 

    The physical route took me through four regions: Navarra and Rioja, with mountains and forests, crops and vineyards, then Castilla y Leon with the relative wilderness of the Mesata and finally Galicia with its mountain streams and lush pastures.  I walked in temperatures of high 30’s through numerous medieval villages and a number of imposing cities. But alongside the physical route there was the mental and spiritual journey to be made.  This, so they say, falls into three sections: you spend the first part of the journey concerned with your body -  obsessed with the state of your feet - counting the blisters and the aching muscles.  Then (if you haven’t given up and gone home) your attention shifts more to the mind: why am I making this journey?  What am I needing to focus on? What am I needing to get out of this? But the third part of the journey is perhaps the most crucial - the journey of the heart. Having relaxed into your body, having given up on attempting to ‘sort’ your life (I speak only for myself of course!) it becomes a journey of trust and acceptance.  I found myself experiencing an inner freedom that I have only glimpsed before; a way of being in the world that enabled me to delight in it and see it as though for the first time.  In a strange way I felt I was being stripped of all my usual preoccupations and felt a deep sense of being at peace or you might say, ‘in tune’ with myself. 

    St James, Patron Saint of Spain, in whose honour the pilgrimage is made, makes many appearances along the way. Tradition has it that he landed on the west coast of Spain shortly after Christ’s death intending to take the Christian message to the people of Spain.  But he received a hostile reception and ended up returning to Jerusalem, only to die a martyr’s death.  His body was carried back to Galicia and according to tradition he was buried in a field near Santiago. It was fascinating to see how his name and his image has been moulded, re-moulded, used and abused through the centuries.  In some places he is the gentle pilgrim, bearing his scallop shell ( the symbol of pilgrimage), a staff and a gourd (to hold his water), offering encouragement to present day pilgrims.  In other places he emerges as the aggressive 9th century Moor slayer - the knight in shining armour, spearheading the re-conquest of  Spain for christianity.

    The story of St James, my story, the stories of the many thousands who walk this route every year, all converge in Santiago. What an amazing moment to stand in that cathedral at the end of the journey surrounded by fellow travellers and pilgrims, adding my prayer to the prayers of so many who’ve made that same journey over the centuries.  The swinging of the giant thurible, originally used presumably to fumigate the sweaty and disease ridden pilgrims, makes an appearance at the end of the mass as 6 men take hold of the ropes and swing it across the cathedral. What a sight to behold!

    Walking the Camino was 5 weeks very well spent!  I have no doubt that I will continue to muse on all that it has meant to me and will enjoy chatting with anyone who thinks they may just be interested in making the pilgrimage.

    (To read as a pdf, including images, see here.)


  9. Our rather brilliant church primary school has some places available for children this academic year.

    If your child, or one you know, needs a nursery place please be in touch with them directly. For Primary School places (from Reception to Year 6) you should contact the Hackney Learning Trust.

    St Mary's is rated 'good' by Ofsted, has an amazing EYFS provision for nursery and reception age pupils being built, a great staff team, has high expectations for all pupils and is really friendly and welcoming.

    Spread the word!

  10. The result of the EU referendum is already creating waves of shapes and sizes we couldn’t have imagined. And of course it has stimulated strong emotions in many people, whichever way they voted. 

    St Mary’s church, opp. Clissold park, is offering two ways to help.  Perhaps there is a need to

    - acknowledge our feelings

    - recognise our hopes

    - commit ourselves to moving forward for the common good

    Privately.  If you want a place to reflect a little, the Epiphany chapel (side chapel) in the big church has been set aside for just this purpose. It is open from 9am to 5pm every day.

    Together.  If you would like to gather with others, come to The Old Church across the road, Sunday 3rd July, 4 - 5pm.  We will create a space together where can do all those things whilst also listening to each other.


    Stoke Newington resident Emma Heseltine says

    ‘Many of you will be feeling deeply worried about the less-than-peaceful atmosphere at the moment.

    I am very worried about the potential dangers of the lack of organisation for people to express themselves, with individuals starting Facebook events clocking up over 100,000 people wanting to attend, but no sign that there is any organisation to it. Add the possibility of counter-protests by EDL and Britain First, and the lack of an "official" event could be awful. I have started this petition for the Mayor's Office to enable a safe mass rally in London. I would be very grateful if you could sign, and share widely on Facebook, email and twitter.


    Let’s work to find a peaceful and just way forward.

    Liz Watson