Autumn 2016

COTC Whats on Autumn 2016.001.jpeg

What’s on this term…

Sunday 25th September – Folk on the Corner. The first session of this monthly Folk music gathering hosted by Tadz & Ruth starts tonight. More information on their Facebook page

Monday 17th OctoberN.T. Wright at St Mellitus College
You have probably heard of Tom Wright and even if not you have almost certainly been influenced by his work (whether you realise it or not). He is a brilliant New Testament Scholar, and someone who has done more to deepen our understanding of the NT than (I think) anyone in the last century.
Tickets are free, but need to be booked in advance

Friday 28th October – Pumpkin Carving & Pizza
at Church on the Corner.

Sunday 30th October – Day of Prayer

Saturday 5th November – Bonfire Night

Saturday 12th November – Parish Ceilidh. After the triumphant success of last year’s Ceilidh, which raised £5000 towards our youth and children’s work, we are going again. It will be even bigger and better than last year. So dust off your Barn Dancing skill and your cowboy boots* and come along. (*Cowboy boots optional)

Sunday 27th November – Advent project begins

Saturday 17th December – 4pm Bemerton Carols. Community Carol concert at the Padget Centre on the Bemerton estate.

(Note the change of date) Saturday 17th December 7pm- Christmas Dinner. Will it be a Christmas roast with all the trimmings or a 9 course italian tasting menu? We don’t know yet, but this is not a lovely annual tradition, and a great event to bring your friends along to.

Sunday 18th December – Carol Service. Our biggest service of the year, and always a treat, with traditional carols and mulled wine. Invite your friends.

Thy Kingdom Come


This weekend we will be praying for 24 hours in response to the Archbishop’s call to prayer for Pentecost. Members of church will sign up to pray in the chapel for an hour through the day and night.

Our chapel room has been transformed into a creative prayer space, and will gradually be filled with creative expressions of prayer.



Holy Week


Holy week is the most solemn week in the Christian year, marking the days leading up to Good Friday and the crucifixion. It begins with Palm Sunday and then enters into the last days of Jesus earthly ministry and ending with the great celebration of Easter – traditionally the time for Baptism & Confirmation.

Fittingly we celebrate these events alongside the other Christians in our community and so there is a different pattern of services at church.

20th – Palm Sunday – 7pm at COTC
24th- Maundy Thursday – “The Last Supper” 7.45pm at the Padget Centre
25th – Good Friday
Walk of Witness – 12pm in the Angel Centre
The Service of Shadows – 6.30pm at COTC

26th – Easter Sunday
10.30am Family Service at St Andrews
2.30pm Baptism Service at St Andrews
No evening Service at COTC.


Lent 2016


In our homegroups over Lent we are going to be using some excellent material created by Winchester Diocese based on the Rule of St Benedict.

St Benedict wrote his rule for christian communities over 1500 years ago, and it has been one of the most influential documents in the history of the world. Probably no document other than the Bible has so shaped western Christianity, and ‘The Rule’ is credited amongst other things as being one of the foundations of democracy, and saving civilisation in Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. As a result St Benedict is the Patron Saint of Europe.

It will be unfamiliar to many of us, and isn’t always comfortable reading, but it is filled with practical, pastoral wisdom, and many would attest to the benefit of its spiritual disciplines.

The material can be found on the Winchester Lent Course website.

If you are looking for good reading this Lent I would recommend a couple of books based on the rule of St Benedict.

One is by my new favourite Author Kathleen Norris called ‘The Cloister walk’. (You can find my review of her first book ‘Dakota’ here.)

And the second is called ‘Seeking God – The Way of St Benedict’ by Esther de Waal.


Prayers on the Move

Prayers-on-the-Move-flyerThe Bishop of London writes:

Whatever our church tradition, we know that authentic prayer – listening deeply and responding obediently – takes time. Our busy city life will eat up all available hours and it is a good discipline to remind each other of the importance of prayer by having deliberate seasons of waiting upon God.

With this in mind, I am very happy to be a part of ‘Prayers on the Move’, a campaign during Lent by SPCK to encourage prayer as part of London’s daily life.

There will be many ways for us to be involved in this endeavour. The adverts on the Tube will provide an opportunity for Christians to talk to their friends about prayer. Parishes may wish to organise a related outreach event, hold a prayer vigil, walk or flashmob near their local Tube stations or distribute prayer leaflets.

Prayers on the Move will launch on 9 February and the adverts will be in trains for the last two weeks of February. Resources to support churches in engaging with the campaign will be available from

Advent Project 2015


Our Advent project for this year is now complete. Thank you to all who contributed, and for the beauty, wonder and inspiration.

Advent 2015

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 share their reflection and we will collate the work on our website here.

Continue reading “Advent 2015”


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.

Book Review – Dakota

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.

Strangers and Pilgrims

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.

Bemerton Soul 2015


One of the highlights of the year is Bemerton Soul. It is a holiday club that we run on the Bemerton Estate in the first week of the summer holidays. We talked to three people from Church on the Corner who got involved for the first time this year.

What made you sign up for Bemerton Soul? I came along to the Sunday service last year and thought it looked really fun, and it’s a good way of reaching out to people in the local area.
What did you do on the day? I was part of the best team (Red of course) and spent a lot of time running round, shouting encouragement in games, wearing lots of red accessories, and helping the team think about the Bible stories we heard and what they meant.
What were your favourite moments? Getting soaked on messy water day, and winning the first ever game of Octopus on the first day!
Any other reflections? As well as getting to know the young people it was a good opportunity to get to know other Christians in the area. Hopefully the effect of Bemerton Soul will continue year round.

What made you sign up for Bemerton Soul? I wanted to be involved with something the parish was doing for the community.
What did you do on the day? I supported the youth football group. Helping to set up the pitch before hand, and then welcoming and engaging with young people throughout the session.
What were the highlights/ favourite moments The football mini games were a great way to work together an get to know the young people. After one of the testimonies I asked one of the young people what they thought of it and we had a conversation about God and the Big Bang.
Any other reflections? Bemerton Soul was a great way to raise the profile of the work the parish is doing all year round in the community. I was glad I took part and will do so again next year!

What made you sign up for Bemerton Soul? I was already involved in the GAP and I wanted to continue to be involved with the community.
What did you do on the day? Bubble station!
What were the highlights/ favourite moments Seeing the younger kids playing together and getting excited over something so simple.  The amount of joy that the kids got out of some soap, water and string was amazing!
Any other reflections? It was really nice to be a part of a community wide event that not only included the kids that participated in Bermonton Soul, but their families as well. Since we attend COTC, we don’t often get to meet and socialize with members of the community that may attend other churches in the parish — or not attend at all!

Bemso3 Bemso4 Bemsofootball

Bemerton Soul will be back next summer. If you have been inspired to get involved speak to our rather talented children’s worker Steve Mawhinney.

Cally Festival

We had a delightful time at the Cally Festival this year, met lots of lovely people and got a reputation for oursleves for the quility of our free tea & cakes. There are worse things to be known for! Nice write-up in the Islington Tribune too.

The Barnsbury parish stall was perhaps the busiest of the day as volunteers from St Andrew’s, All Saints’ and Church on the Corner worked non-stop distributing free drinks and cakes.

Thanks to all of you who came along, helped out, distributed flyers or baked cakes.

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