Lent 2017

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A Prayer for Lent

Father you call us to learn
to trust you in famine as in feast,
and to seek your kingdom before all things.
As we begin this season of Lent
give us joy in the simple things
gratitude for what we have
rather than disquiet over what we don’t.
And may we discover in your presence
a peace that the world cannot give.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Lent is a season in the year of the Church which follows Jesus into the wilderness for 40 days. It is a time of stripping things back and choosing a simpler quieter life, so better to encounter God.

One of the things we will be doing together is reading a book as a Church family. The book for this year is by ++Justin Welby called Dethroning Mammon. It is an examination of the place that money plays in our society, and what it looks like to genuinely trust in God rather than finance. There are 6 chapters, and we plan to read one a week, you can reflect on it in the comments below, or after church each Sunday.

To get hold of a copy obviously you can buy it from Amazon. But given the subject matter it might be a thought to buy it from somewhere that treats its staff better.

If you are near Westminster my favourite bookshop is here.


Spring 2017


New years resolutions come and go. But there are some resolutions that endure. These are God’s resolutions for you. No matter who you are. These three resolutions, simple yet profound are what God requires.

He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8

Over the next 3 weeks we are marking the beginning of a new year by reflecting on what it means to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God.


Christmas 2016




We have a busy and exciting few weeks running up to Christmas.
Here is what is going on at Church
4th December 8.30pm –  As part of our ‘Just Cause’ advent project there will be a screening of ‘Before the Flood’ after church on Sunday 4th December
beer-and-carols-2016-001 11th December 8pm – Beer and Carols is a new thing this year – a post church beer & carol-fest. We will have a slightly shorter than usual service which will be finished in time for Beer & Carols at 8pm.
17th December at 7pm – Christmas Meal Always a fabulous night and a culinary tour-de-force by John Lewis. This year will be an 8 course Italian tasting menu. Tickets are £10 and all proceeds go to our Childrens & Youth work.
18th December at 7pm – Carol Service. Our biggest service of the year, a beautiful candle lit service of carols and Christmas goodness. Invite your friends, and be on time!

Barnsbury Parish Cèilidh


Were putting the Barn dance into Barnsbury. Our annual Parish Cèilidh is a fundraiser for our Children and Youth Work, and it is a fabulous event with food and drink, dancing and laughter. Whether you are a seasoned Do-si-do-er or a squaredance-o-phobe, we promise you will have a great time. Bring your friends.Tickets are £10 on the door. It is one of the highlights of the year.

Day of Prayer

Day of Prayer.jpgOne of our commitments this year has been to pray more as a community, and as we approach Advent, and all the joys and wonder and opportunities that the Christmas season brings, we are planning to spend another day in prayer on the 30th October.

We would encourage the whole community to set aside time that day for prayer. But specifically we will have a continuous cycle of prayer in the chapel. And you can sign up to take an hour during the day.


As before the chapel will be set up to be a place that helps you to pray, with creative ideas and lots of inspiration. Praying for an hour might sound intimidating. But once you get there, the time really does fly by. And time in the presence of God is never dull.


Thank you all for your contributions to this lovely day. The chapel is a blaze of creative prayer, and we had people joining in our hour by hour prayers from all over the world.

If you want to keep the prayer, or use them again another time you can download them here: COTC Book of hours.

Images from the day.

YWAM Bolivia 25th Anniversary



On Saturday 29th October Church on the Corner are proud to be hosting the 25th Anniversary celebration of Operation Restoration Bolivia.
This amazing charity has been working with kids who live full time on the streets of Bolivia, supporting them, providing an education and helping them build the resilience that they need to live well.  Our own Susie Procter volunteered with them in 1993/94 and it had a massive impact on her life including defining her choice of career working with the homeless and disenfranchised.

The London celebration and thanksgiving for 25 years of the work will be taking place at COTC starting at 4pm.

4pm – Gathering
5pm – Food & fellowship
6pm – Presentation and Celebration – Roger and Isha Hulford
Please join us for this celebration of all the Lord has done through Operation Restoration over the last 25 years and look forward to many more.


Church on the Corner, 64 Barnsbury Road, London, N1 0ES

How to get here.

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Autumn 2016

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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 www.prayersonthemove.com

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. churchonthecorner.org.uk/advent2015/

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.

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