Day of Prayer

prayer

St. Stephen’s will be hosting a day of prayer for the church congregation and the local community on Saturday 25th March. The church will be open for prayer from 9am till 10pm. Anyone can pop in to the church at any time.

There will be prayer stations on the themes of:
giving thanks for everyday blessings
seeking peace for our community and our world
asking for healing for ourselves and others

In addition we are organisng the following:

9.00am Prayer Breakfast
Come and join us for prayer and share a delicious breakfast – for adults and children.

Retreat Time
From 10am there will be a number of spiritual exercises and options available for those who would like to use the whole morning as a time of retreat.

11.00am Prayer for Healing
If you would appreciate prayer for healing for yourself or someone else there will be people available in the side chapel from 11am till noon.

12.30pm Holy Communion
An opportunity for prayer and praise in a simple, short and informal service of holy communion

 

Lent Groups

Our Lent groups provide opportunities to meet with justin-welby-dethroning-mammon
other Christians to share in fellowship, grow in faith,
study scripture, and pray for each other.

In Lent 2017 we are running two groups.

On Tuesday evenings – 7.30-9.30pm – at St. Stephen’s Vicarage, 25 Talbot Road, W2 5JF

Our discussions will be based on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent book – ‘Dethroning Mammon’:
Tuesday 7th March            What we see we value
Tuesday 14th March          What we measure controls us
Tuesday 21st March          What we have we hold
Tuesday 28th March          What we receive we treat as ours
Tuesday 4th April               What we give we gain
Tuesday 11th April             What we master brings us joy

On Wednesday evenings – 7.30-9.30pm – at St. Matthew’s Church, St. Petersburg Place, W2 4LA

Our discussions will be based on the Psalms:
Wednesday 8th March       Psalm 4 – Trust
Wednesday 15th March     Psalm 18 – Doubt
Wednesday 22nd March    Psalm 34 – Refuge
Wednesday 29th March     Psalm 66 – Praise
Wednesday 5th April          Psalm 90 – Frustration
Wednesday 12th April        Psalm 121 – Suffering

Please feel free to join us for either group.

 

 

Why Lent?

sign-for-lent-with-integrated-cross

Lent is a season of preparation for the celebration of Easter. It probably began as a season of preparation for those to be baptised on Easter Sunday or those to be re-admitted to the church after serious sin. It then became a season in which all Christians were encouraged to prepare for our celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

The 40 days reflect the time that Jesus spent in the wilderness in preparation for his ministry. The calculation of the forty days has varied considerably in Christian history. It is now usual to count them continuously to the end of Holy Week (but not Sundays), so beginning Lent on the 6th Wednesday before Easter, Ash Wednesday. Ashes are an ancient sign of penitence; from the middle ages it became the custom to begin Lent by being marked in ash with the sign of the cross.

This history explains the characteristics of Lent – study, self-examination, penitence, self-denial,  and generous giving. Christians still find considerable value in exercising these spiritual disciplines in the hope of change. So giving things up or fasting may reflect our desire to rely on God, humble ourselves and get rid of sinful elements of our life, while choosing to do something extra for Lent may reflect our desire to grow in Christ-like character, virtue and love for others.

For many, Lent is also a special time to meet with others; to study scripture; to pray with and for each other; to learn, support and encourage each other as collectively we seek to prune away the bad and grow the good. That is why we are inviting everyone from St. Matthew’s and St. Stephen’s to join our different Lent Groups as a means of making this a significant season for us all.

Please see the diary for details of the Lent Groups.

How we spend 40 days has the potential to change the rest of our life.

fff6e34205787aace111fb72e99c6216_-alternatives-art-2-lenten-symbols-clip-art_2314-668

Fairtrade Fortnight: Monday 27 February – Sunday 12 March

Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world.

FairtradeFairtrade Labelling was created in the Netherlands in the late 1980s. The Max Havelaar Foundation launched the first Fairtrade consumer guarantee label in 1988 on coffee sourced from Mexico. Here in the UK, the Fairtrade Foundation was established in 1992, with the first products to carry the FAIRTRADE Mark launched in 1994. The FAIRTRADE Mark is a registered certification label for products sourced from producers in developing countries.

Sales of Fairtrade products in the UK have risen from  £16.7 million in 1989 to over £1.3 billion in 2011. The largest sum is spent on sugar products – 42% of sugar sold in the UK carries the Fairtrade Mark. This is followed by cocoa products, then bananas and coffee. The list also includes things such as other fruits, tea, flowers, cotton and wine.

St. Stephen’s is a Fairtrade church and we only use Fairtrade coffee, tea, sugar, communion wine and toilet roll.

In our worship on Sunday 5th March we shall also be marking Fairtrade Fortnight by:

Þ reflecting on the biblical theme of justice for the poor;

Þ noting our role as a Fairtrade church,

Þ and encouraging each other to support this initiative.

There will be a stall selling fair-trade products so please bring some money to spend. For lunch Dora will be bringing a dish prepared with Fairtrade ingredients – maybe you would like to take up this opportunity too!

 

If you would like to know any more information about Fairtrade then please speak to Clare Allcock who is part of the diocesan Fairtrade committee.