Church on the Corner

Church on the Corner is an young Anglican church in Islington, London

Advent 2015.001

Children know all about Advent as the season of anticipation, as they open the doors of their advent calendar and impatiently count down the days until Christmas. But we know that Advent is more than just anticipating Christmas.

Anticipation is a beautiful thing, but one all too often lost in an on-demand culture.

Our advent project this year explores the experience of anticipation. What does it mean? What is it like? Where do we experience it in the world? What are your stories of having anticipated something? Where is anticipation expressed in art or nature? What are you anticipating in life or in faith?

Using words, images or any other medium – you are invited to reflect on your experiene of anticipation and contribute a thought. Make it concise, pithy, poetic, visual, provocative, inspiring or moving. 

Each day in Advent one member of our community will email out their reflection to the eGroup  at ~9am and we will collate the work on our website.

1st Mark Fletcher
2nd Stephanie Manson
3rd Ellie Welsh
4th Stavroulla Andreou
5th Helen Coffey
6th Chloé Smith
7th Izzy Turner
8th Cat Seaton
9th Tadz Billam
10th Jen Ehninger
11th Suzanna Hamilton
12th Georgie Wright
13th Helen Raftery
14th Bill Ehninger
15th Hiten Jethwa
16th Ruth Mawhinney
17th Kate Monaghan
18th Sarah Bowers
19th Luke Bowers
20th Ruth Mead
21st Anna Schultz
22nd Suzanna Bidgood
23rd Emily Hockley
24th Bevan Goldswain

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Compassionate God and Father of all,
we are horrified at violence
in so many parts of the world.
It seems that none are safe, and some are terrified.

Hold back the hands that kill and maim;
turn around the hearts that hate.
Grant instead your strong Spirit of Peace –
peace that passes our understanding
but changes lives,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Carol Service Invitation 2015

Our Carol service is always such a brilliant church family event. But it is also a really lovely and inspiring service to invite friends to, whether they are used to going to church or not. We will have invitations available at church for you to give away, or you can download this one to send by email.

This beautiful and unlikely book written by a poet who moved from New York city to South Dakota in 1972 is hard to classify.

It is part a social history, a study of life in the small prairie towns at the heart of America. These communities are famous for their hospitality and friendliness, and yet struggle to tell the truth of personal hardship, financial plight, the sense of isolation and the cost of wrestling a living from the land.

“The plains are not forgiving. Anything that is shallow – the easy optimism of the homesteader; the false hope that denies geography, climate, history; the tree whose roots don’t reach ground water – will dry up and blow away”

It is a reflection on the human condition, and how it plays out in small, often isolated communities. Love and faithfulness, bitterness and betrayal, community and loneliness and how we respond to hardship and disappointment. Small town attitudes are often rooted in an inflated sense of self importance, and a suspicion of the outsider.

“if they were any good they would have gone somewhere else”

And then it is a work of poetry. The plains are a unique landscape, synonymous with the wild west, and the author has a poet’s ability to articulate the beauty and wonder of the vast natural world that she inhabits, where human activity barely registers on vast landscape under an eternal sky, and at the same time to observe the simple beauty of ordinary moments in life.

I’m at a hermitage in high summer. At four this morning a bird began singing in the grove; within an hour he had raised a chorus. The wind comes up, then suddenly is still, in the green flame that is this world.

And underpinning all of that is a gentle but rich spirituality, Norris describes herself as ‘a fledgling ascetic’, and she draws parallels between the monastic tradition and the lives of those who inhabit these deserted places of America.

“Here we discover the paradox of the contemplative life, that the desert of solitude can be the school where we learn to love others”.

Peaceful, soulful , insightful and contemplative. One of the loveliest books I have ever read.

Statue of St. Peter and the Bascilica's facade

Our Autumn sermon is studying the first of the great Epistles to the global church from St Peter. Written from the heart of the Roman Empire it calls Christians to live faithfully in the midst of an alien culture, and what it looks like to build lives and communities that invest in eternity.

The story so far

In AD64 Peter wrote from the church in Rome to communities of Christians scattered across the empire. And he speaks to them as Exiles; as those who are far from home, inhabiting an alien culture. He reminds them that just like Daniel and his friends taken into captivity in Babylon, if they are to hold onto their identity as the people of God against the cultural and economic pressure of their society, they are going have to live in a deliberate fashion. To prepare their minds for action, to choose holiness.

Living in an great city gives us this strange privilege of being anonymous, not defined by our past, but the danger is we gradually lose sense of who we actually are. If we are only defined by how people see us, we are ironically answerable to everyone. And anonymity generates anxiety. Peter’s antidote to that is that as we learn to call God Father we live in ‘reverent fear’. Not a fear that paralyses us, but a respectful awe. If the God of the Universe has called you to be his child I must live like it matters. Fear God and you need fear no-one else.

And that step of accepting God as your Father, means that something changes in the essential you. Your soul – your psyche in Greek – is a like a child that needs to be nurtured with pure spiritual milk. That is obviously the word of God – but it is more than that. It is ‘tasting and seeing that the Lord is good’ – that day to day experience of the love and kindness of God so that like a child in a loving family you grow up into the person that you were created to be.

And that is not just an individual project – you are part of something eternally significant. Just like the Old Testament people of God rebuilding the Temple, so we are part of building a holy temple –  a community that is open to all and that is all that Israel was intended to be. Of course much building work looks quite ordinary, and it is easy to forget its significance. When you help out with youth work, or sing Christmas Carols in a care home or any number of other ordinary parts of the life of church you are part of building something that will last into eternity.

Almighty God,
who built your Church upon the foundation
of the apostles and prophets,
with Jesus Christ himself as the chief cornerstone:
so join us together in unity of spirit by their doctrine,
that we may be made a holy temple acceptable to you;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.


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