Brunel Tutors Thriving

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Brunel Tutors – a project initiated and run by St. Stephen’s – is continuing to thrive and grow.

Good news includes improvements to the venue, new grant funding, healthy numbers attending and an additional new group aimed more at teenagers.

Led by Mike Moritz, our Community Mission Co-ordinator, and a growing team of volunteers, Brunel Tutors is a free after-school tutoring service aimed at families living on or near the Brunel Estate.

Brunel Tutors meets each Wednesday and Thursday during school term dates from 3.45-5.15pm for any children in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. Each week, exciting and lively sessions are planned to help young people develop their understanding and skills in either English, Maths or Science. The children learn as a group by having fun, through games, play and competition.

Now, in addition, an extra session has been organised on Wednesdays between 5.15-6.30pm for those studying in Key Stage 3 to offer more one-to-one support with learning, homework and exam revision.

If you would like your child to attend, offer to volunteer or just learn more please make contact through the Brunel Tutors dedicated website.

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Meeting together through Lent

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There are many fruitful ways to make the most of the season of Lent but one popular tradition is to commit to joining a Lent group. The group meet together weekly throughout Lent in order to meet with other Christians to pray, to study and to grow. If you would like to join us there are two groups meeting this year:

The Magnificence of Prayer

– an exploration of some of the great prayers of the Christian faith

Wednesday evenings from 21st February – meeting at St. Matthew’s Church, St. Petersburgh Place, London, W2 4LA

Food will be served from 7.30pm.
Lent discussions will start shortly after 8pm.
A time of prayer will start shortly after 9pm.

Praying is like breathing; it gives life to our Souls, connecting us to our creator.  

The Joy of the Gospel

– a prayerful study of ‘Evangelii Gaudium – the Joy of the Gospel’ written by Pope Francis

Pope Francis writes: ‘The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew.’ 

Thursday evenings from 22nd February – 7.30-9.30pm – meeting at St. Stephen’s Vicarage, 25 Talbot Road, London, W2 5JF

Copies of the book are available from St. Stephen’s church.Lent Group 2018

And so it begins…..

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Back in the early 90s St. Stephen’s was a closed, redundant and near derelict church. Under the leadership of Revd Tom Guillam, a team came from Holy Trinity, Brompton to refurbish and re-open the church. This took enormous faith, generosity, dedication and hard work, but with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Diocese of London, the City of Westminster and local residents the seemingly impossible was achieved and St. Stephen’s was re-opened.

However – worryingly – in 2004 one the columns in the church appeared to subside and significant cracks appeared in the structure. Over time, despite careful monitoring and many remedial repairs executed at great cost, the problem only seemed to be getting worse. More and more significant cracks were appearing in the building.  Historic England inspected the building and placed this Grade II heritage church in ‘Category A ‘ on their ‘at-risk’ register for listed buildings. Monitoring and short term repairs were no longer enough. A long term solution was required.

After years of careful examination and thorough investigation, it became more apparent where and why the building was moving.  Under the expert guidance of our architect, Colin Kerr, and our structural engineer, Sinclair Johnston, a proposal for extensive structural repairs was developed. The plan has been carefully considered, approved and supported by the Diocese of London and Historic England.

The overall project seeks to address the structural issues, preserve this historic building for generations to come, promote the important heritage of this church, enable it to continue as a place of vibrant Christian worship and discipleship, and remain a centre for significant levels of community activity.

All this has been made possible through the energy and commitment of the Parochial Church Council given over many years and the fantastic support of the wider congregation.

St. Stephen’s are enormously grateful for the financial support of the Heritage Lottery Fund who have awarded the project a grant of £181,700 which constitutes 57% of the overall cost. In raising further funds, the congregation themselves have been the major donors, with further support from grants from the Diocese of London and kind donations from neighbours and friends of the church.

And so now the work has begun with our contractor, Universal Stone, getting things underway with a flurry of activity since early January. It is anticipated the structural repairs will be completed  later this summer.

In the meantime worship continues in a restricted space in the church each Sunday, and all the usual community activities are able to continue throughout the rest of the week.

If you would like to see first hand the work in the church and learn more about the repairs being carried out, the PCC invites you to an Open Evening on Monday, 19th March anytime between 6-9pm. All are welcome.

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Turning from Christ’s birth to His passion

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How long do you celebrate Christmas?

For many, the tree and decorations go up in early December but may well be down by New Year.

Others follow a more traditional approach, celebrating the twelve days of Christmas with decorations brought down for Epiphany, 6th January.

However, at St. Stephen’s we celebrate the birth of Jesus for the full forty days – right through the liturgical seasons of Christmas and Epiphany – culminating with the Feast of Candlemas on 2nd February. Candlemas marks a shift in our worship turning our attention on from His birth and towards Lent and the Passion of Jesus.

At Candlemas, the Church remembers the story told in the Gospel of Luke  of the infant Jesus being presented by Mary and Joseph in the Temple in Jerusalem in obedience to the law and custom set out in Leviticus 12 and Exodus 13 v12. Here they meet an old man, Simeon, who is described as righteous, devout, and eagerly awaiting the Messiah to come and rescue Israel.  Simeon rejoices that, before he dies, he has now seen this child, who will be ‘a light to the nations’.

But the feast of Candlemas, celebrated by the lighting and extinguishing of candles (hence its name), is a bittersweet feast. Simeon also warns the child’s mother of the pain and suffering she is to face because of her Son. So Candlemas looks backwards to the birth of the child and the joy of Christmas, but also forwards to the suffering and death on the cross.

The closing prayer for worship on Candlemas at St. Stephen’s:

Father, here we bring to an end our celebrations of the Saviour’s birth.
Help us, in who he has been born, to live his life that has no end.

Here we have greeted the Light of the world.
Help us, who now extinguish these candles, never to forsake the light of Christ.

Here we turn from Christ’s birth to his passion.
Help us, for whom Lent is near, to enter deeply into the joy of Easter.

Here we bless one another in your name.
Help us, who now go in peace, to shine with your light in the world.
Thanks be to God!
Amen.

See St. Stephen’s Nativity Procession held on Saturday 23rd December:
VIDEO
PHOTOS