Activities January-June 2019 

Sunday 29 June - Progressive Lunch to Celebrate the Arrival of Our New Curate, Alex Norris

Alex had been ordained Deacon in St Paul’s Cathedral on Saturday and on Sunday we celebrated his arrival at St Giles’ with one of our famous Progressive Lunches. Vivian and Penny had worked hard organising cooks and guests beforehand and were delighted at the response received for this very special occasion. 

After the Family Eucharist, five members of Alex’s family including his wife Keri and other visitors came to the Rectory garden for a glass of prosecco and canapes in the sunshine.

Then 30 of us sat down to lunch in the homes of our hosts Cyril, Mona, Cath, Tim and Louise and Wendy. Desserts and coffee are always served back at the Rectory so it’s quicker to get back from the nearer flats but there was still plenty of choice for the later arrivals

Spending time with each other over lunch in one another’s homes is a great way to get to know new arrivals, to catch up on news, and strengthen friendships and we look forward to more like this in the future. 


A donation of £115 was made to Hackney Food Bank

Friday 21-Sunday 23 June 2019 Parish Weekend at Othona

Another year and another visit to Othona and yet each year is different. Some of us had been many times before, for others it was their first time.

We know we have arrived when we catch a glimpse of the Chapel standing alone in the wildflower meadow as the taxis turn into the road leading to the Othona Community. This year the meadow had not yet been mown so we had the additional pleasure of seeing how many wildflowers we could name.


We surprised ourselves by everyone getting the right trains and arriving when we had planned to do so. This was a bit of a first which meant we all sat down to supper together. Zoe, a volunteer, had cooked shepherd’s pie and there was trifle made with raspberries from the garden. We all ate a lot – the fresh air gives us an appetite – and the home-made food is very good.


We had time together in the quiet room which looks out over the rose garden and labyrinth. We used the ‘The Sacred Art of Joking’ by James Carey as the basis for our discussions. We learnt that Ros’ family took it in turns to tell riddles after Sunday lunch; that’s how she knows why the elephant had ridges on its shoes. One person reflected that they thought neither parent had a sense of humour and there was not much laughter in the house when growing up.  On Sunday the reading was Sarah laughing and the question raised of Isaac being named ‘laughter’. Did he catch his laughter from his mother? Who teaches us to laugh?

It wasn’t all talking, Mona had two sessions with us on the Saturday morning, in the second we had to enact Noah’s sons covering their father’s nakedness. This was really funny, and we probably won’t be able to read Genesis 9 with a straight face again.


On the Saturday afternoon we divided ourselves into the walkers, the swimmers, the gardening party and the comfortable sitters. The walkers astonished themselves and the rest of us by the 6.5 miles which quickly became 7 and then ‘almost 10’. Dawn could account for 16,000 steps so presumably the others could too.

The swimmers had been told the water was warm – and it was - the sun warming the mud flats as the tide came in. There were 4 swimmers and several buoys – can you recognize the swimmers?


For supper we enjoyed a barbeque outside in the balmy summer evening air, prepared by Tim, the Centre Manager.


Those of us at Morning Prayer in the chapel on Sunday morning were sitting in silence when a woman in wellington boots accompanied by three dogs strode into the chapel. She walked to the front, lit a candle, turned around and took the dogs out with her, back into the sunshine. We were about our prayers and she was about hers.

We made a goodly sound in our music, helped by having several competent singers among us. Essa played the viola for us before or after services. Cedd made the journey from Lindisfarne to Bradwell and in Essa’s improvisations there were the tonalities we associate with Scottish music which must have been familiar to Cedd.

The light and the wide-open skies are amazing as are the sunsets as we walk back from the chapel after Compline.


This is the time to slow our pace, to stand and stare at the wonders of God’s beautiful world around us. 


After the Eucharist in the Chapel we asked a passing dog walker to take the group photograph.

Mona concluded our Sunday morning session by repeating an exercise we have done before. Standing outside we simply wait in complete stillness, aware of the world around us - the sounds, the scents, the presence of others somewhere near.

Thus, centred we enjoyed an excellent Sunday lunch before the homeward journey, leaving our thanks for this holy place that is one of our points of return.

Saturday 15 June and Sunday 16 June


Emergency Food Bank Collection outside Waitrose in Cherry tree Walk


New extended collection for Hackney Foodbank “a huge success”


In 2004 there were two Trussell Trust foodbanks in UK; fifteen years later there are more than 1,200. It is a scandal that more than 14 million people are living in poverty; supporting foodbanks is one of the ways we can do something about the scandal.


The Trussell Trust recently announced that its food bank network - including the Hackney Foodbank - distributed 1.6 million three-day emergency food supplies to people in crisis over the past year, a 19% increase on the previous year. More than 500,000 of these went to children.

St Giles’ with St Luke’s first started collecting for the Trussell Trust’s Hackney Foodbank in 2014 sparked by an initiative in churches in the City of London to support the charity.

We can take a different approach from other churches because here we have so many local residents: we do not simply have a collection box for food in St Giles’; rather we go to the supermarket and hold collections there. Our food collections have become the largest one-off donations Hackney Foodbank receives.


Waitrose Barbican and its Partners have always been wonderfully supportive of the collections made there, and, knowing how much the need for the Foodbank’s work has increased, recently asked what more Waitrose could do.

From that came the idea to extend the collection over a long weekend, St Giles’ lengthening the hours of its Saturday collection, Wesley’s Chapel adding a new Sunday collection, and Waitrose Partners a new Monday one. 

So, on a Saturday morning, the St Giles’ team greeted shoppers, handed out lists, crated up donations and stacked “cages” high with food and toiletries. We were fortunate that two new couples joined us - Tim and Charis and Les and Kelly. Tim knew how to appropriate crates from the fruit and veg aisle and showed his skill as a former supermarket shelf stacker in his student days.

On Sunday afternoon, a team came from Wesley’s Chapel and almost ran out of shopping lists despite printing an additional 200.  Our neighbours are very generous. ‘Thank you for being here; thank you for giving us the opportunity to help: we lead such privileged lives.’


Jennifer Smith, Superintendent at Wesley’s Chapel, commented “Shoppers took real pleasure engaging with this, and adding Foodbank items to their shop.  Anyone who is interested at all should get involved in the next collecting weekend 14/15 September.  A delight to give that pleasure to the folk donating, let alone the benefit to the Foodbank.”

And JoJo Bautista, a volunteer from Wesley’s Chapel added “Thank you very much for the opportunity that we had last Sunday at Waitrose for asking people to help the Hackney food bank emergency appeal’s a reflection for me not only as Christian but also as a human being that we should do something in our own little way and do it silently to care and serve our brothers and sisters should be involved in social issues of the community and I think it’s a good start for all of us ...there is inner peace and joy in serving God whether we are inside the church but the most rewarding is we are sharing God’s love and peace for others by these kind of ministry...working for community...I am here if you needed me in the future for God’s glory and praise ...Blessings!”

Jared Hughes, Manager and Partner of Waitrose Barbican and Clerkenwell challenged us to collect 2000kg of donations over the weekend, and we are thrilled and somewhat amazed to report that the combined team work of Partners, St Giles’ and Wesley’s Chapel collected 1840kg - enough for 4400 meals and exactly four times more than our previous one-day collections.


Gail Curry at the foodbank said “A massive thank you for all you did in making last week’s collection a huge success! Our shelves are well stocked now.”

Christopher Gadsden, St Giles’ Food Bank Co-Ordinator said “Thank you to everyone who so generously helped - shoppers, Partners, volunteers and all at Hackney Foodbank. Particular thanks to Marie and Ruby, Partners at Waitrose Barbican.”


           Next Food Bank Collection the weekend of               14/15 September 2019

23 and 29 May to 9 June Book Fair 

Another very successful book fair and result. The book fair total for May/June was £3,345.49.


 A message from Katharine to the volunteers:

 ‘Thanks to the election on 23 May you raised over £3,000 for church funds. The increased length of the fair meant that we asked for more of your time than usual and you generously rose to the challenge. It’s not only your interest in books but your enjoyment of meeting people that makes the fairs so worthwhile. Thank you for your friendliness as well as your willingness to sort and sell books for long hours on end.

Thursday 23 May The Election Day Book Fair Result

We raised nearly £500 on the day. Thank you to all involved.

Sunday 7 April – Gail at 60

After the Parish Eucharist, we celebrated Gail’s 60th Birthday with bubbly and a splendid cake made by John. We all sang ‘Happy Birthday’ with choir and organ too.   

31 March  Mothering Sunday


On Mothering Sunday, we again observed our new tradition of polyanthus instead of daffodils. It all began last year with a very cold spring and an early Easter; the swap seemed to go down rather well, and we found that polyanthus last longer indoors than daffodils.

In spite of it being Lent, the darker coloured ones were used to decorate the altar during the service.


William, from the Sunday Club, did the first reading and there was a story sermon about mothers. Mary the mother of Jesus – with a meditation for the adults suggesting that she and her other children found Jesus strange and puzzling. Katharine then spoke about Helena, a Christian and mother of Constantine, who wasn’t posh enough for his father. Because of Helena and Constantine, the world changed, and Christians were no longer persecuted. We worked out that she was in her 60s when Constantine sent her in search of relics for his churches – Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and St Peter’s in Rome.


There were polyanthus for all the adults and everyone held them up at the end to be blessed.


Sunday 31 March Annual Parish Church Meeting


Following the Parish Eucharist and time for coffee, the Annual Parish Church Meeting was well attended with 27 members present.

Katharine chaired the meeting with Gwen Rogers as clerk.


The meeting elected Tim Middleton and Lorraine Mullins as Church Wardens for 2019/20. Katharine thanked the Church Wardens and other officers for all their work in the past year.


The following were elected to the PCC until APCM 2022

John Bryden, Wendy Ellis, Vivian Elliot and Mark Hunter.

Existing members until APCM 2020 are, Kathryn Elsby, David Freeman, Catherine Urquhart and Anne Marsden Thomas and until APCM 2021 Mona Henshall, Susan Royce, Penelope Sharpe and Malcolm Waters. Joanne Williams was co-opted to the PCC for the coming year.

Ex officio members are the Churchwardens, the Alderman for Cripplegate Ward and the Deanery Synod Representatives, Gwen Rogers and Daniel Gerring.


The following sides persons where elected.

Jeremy Barnard

Gail Beer

Ros Davies

Gail Davis

Vivian Elliot

Wendy Ellis

Christopher Elsby

Kathryn Elsby

Essa Flett

David Freeman

Simon Freeman

Christopher Gadsden

Daniel Gerring


Amanda Gibbon

Diana Morgan Gray

Eileen Hall

Patricia Hall

Roger Hall

Mona Henshall

Louise Hunter

Mark Hunter

Cyril Leroy

John Marshall

Tim Middleton

Roddy Morriss

Susanna Morriss


Lorraine Mullins

Tim Passey

Susannah Pillay

Susan Royce

Dawn Runnicles

Lewis Slater-Horgan

Anne Marsden Thomas*

Catherine Urquhart

Malcolm Waters

Dorothy Webster

Joanne Williams

Peter Woods

* not on the rota

Katharine thanked all who had served as sides people for their courtesy and hospitality.


The new Church Electoral Roll was received. Church Representation Rules have required a completely new roll every sixth year (since 2007). There were 146 enrolled in 2018 and as many as possible were invited to enroll again. The total enrolled in 2019 was 122.

An attentive audience study the next item on the agenda or look at the very informative and excellent Annual Report prepared by Gwen Rogers


The Annual Report and Financial Statements of the PCC [Registered Charity 1138077] and of its associated endowed charity the Cripplegate Church Sworder Foundation for the year to 31/12/2018 & the Report of the Independent Examiner were approved.

As always, the Treasurer, John Bryden, illustrated the church finances with props derived from old copies of the Financial Times. This year income was represented by an enormous pie cut in slices of which among the largest was a generous bequest of £60k. Expenditure was a somewhat smaller pie which when pinned to the income pie showed the profit made in 2018 as a halo.

John was congratulated and thanked for all the hard work that had gone into preparing the accounts and also to Alan Clements the independent auditor.


In her closing remarks Katharine said that we learn from each other that living the kingdom of God is really very simple. We heard in Rachel’s ‘God at Work’ sermon that Mona - who she met on the estate - just said, ‘Come to St Giles’’. It did not take a strategy plan to make an invitation, nor does it entail going on a course to understand that we are offer ‘Sanctuary Space’ by having the church open during the day. We make no demands of those who come to light a candle, write a prayer or simply sit. We just do stuff guided by instinct, compassion and the Holy Spirit.  And we learn from each other as travelling companions, this year we have been travelling with Doris as she discerns her vocation to the ordained ministry and in June we will be joined by Alex in his formation as the curate.


Tim’s thanks to Katharine on behalf of the parish were greeted with enthusiastic applause.

Saturday 9 March to Saturday 6 April

Ecumenical Lent 2019 Study Group

Our meetings are held at St Giles’ Church, Wesley’s Chapel, St Joseph’s Church and Jewin Welsh Church.

We start at 10.00 with coffee or tea and the study session from 10.30 to 11.30.

We always learn extraordinary things about one another when we sit down and listen and talk together over the course of five weeks.

We always learn extraordinary things about one another when we sit down and listen and talk together over the course of five weeks.

This year our starting point was ‘The Sacred Art of Joking’ by James Carey. We were told about the grandfather who was a pantomime dame, and another one who dressed as a bear during carnival. The daring ones told jokes to the group, and we watched clips of Mel Brooks as a waiter at the Last Supper and as Moses dropping one of the tablets of stone – that’s why there are only ten, not fifteen, commandments.

James Carey has made us more alert to the teaching of Jesus, and the ridiculous incongruities in well-known stories. No seed yields a hundredfold, no tree needs to be manured.


And Easter: Risus Pascalis (the Easter laugh). ‘Any tradition that makes Christians laugh more and see the comedy that God has woven into the text of the Bible and fabric of the universe would be very welcome.’ Even Easter itself.

Saturday 23 March Food Bank Collection outside Waitrose

The weather was spring like on Saturday 23 March when we made the first collection of the year at Waitrose Barbican for the Hackney Foodbank. As always, everyone at Waitrose was wonderfully helpful, and the total collection was enough to provide nearly 1100 meals.

Thank you to Amanda, Simon, Brigid, Mo, Doris, Lewis, Alex and, of course, Katharine for their help and enthusiasm and to Tanya, Warehouse Manager at the Foodbank, and her son Deiondre for arriving with the van perfectly on time to take everything away.


Those of us collecting never cease to be impressed by the generosity of so many Waitrose customers. It really is heart-warming.


The next collection will be on Saturday 15 June. 


A message from Hackney Foodbank




Sunday 3 March Albert’s First Visit

Sarah and John were married at St Giles’ and, over the years, we have watched their family grow. Noah now has a brother Albert Edward - known as Alby - who was born on 25 January. On Sunday 3 March Katharine welcomed and blessed him during the Parish Eucharist. The congregation then were able to greet him as we all exchanged the Peace. We look forward to welcoming Albert, his family and friends for his Baptism later in the summer. 

Sunday 24 February - Admission of the Baptised to Communion

Fred, Martha, William and Imogen made their first Communion during the 10.00am Parish Eucharist. Over the past weeks, we have met for a time of preparation telling the story of the Passover and the Last Supper and thinking about bread and wine, remembering together on Sunday mornings and saying our prayers. At the end of the service the children each received a holding cross with the words: ‘God has touched us with his love and nourished us at his table. As God’s pilgrim people, may we continue to explore the Way of Christ, and grow in friendship with God, in love for his people, and in serving others.’ Families had been busy baking and the children invited us to share cakes over coffee and squash afterwards.

St Giles’ February Book Fair

Congratulations to all the Book Fair Volunteers for helping to raise £2,610.97 over the 10 days.

Thanks to all who donated and bought books too. 

Another great result.

Where to visit us:-

St Giles' Cripplegate Church
Fore Street
London EC2Y 8DA


Registered Charity               Number 1138077

As we are now in a national lockdown and with a NHS emergency in London there will be no services in church for the time being, but we will be broadcasting a service at 10am on Sundays via our YouTube page here  


Sunday 17 January Epiphany 2

Details of Music and Readings here

Please click here if you would like to make a donation.

Join the Virtual Coffee morning at 11am   

Click here to join.

Weekday Services

08.30 Morning Prayer (Monday to Thursday in the Chancel)


18-25 January - Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 

Ecumenical Service from Wesley’s Chapel

Click here to join



27 January 2021                    Home Prayer Group - Lectio Divina 19.30 via Zoom. To join contact Suzanne Royce


The church is open for private prayer

The church iremains open from 11.00-16.00 Monday-Friday for private prayer. Please observe social distancing and any other instructions required when visiting the church.


Private Prayer and Reflection on first Thursday of the month 

You are invited to join others in church on Thursday 7 January  Please bring the monthly prayer sheet  here. If you are not able to join us, we hope you will continue to pray with us wherever you are.

Dates for 2021 

4 February, 4 March, 1 April, 6 May, 3 June, 1 July, not in August, 2 September, 7 October, 4 November, 2 December. 


Cleaning Angels

The monthly sessions on the first Thursday of the month from 13.30-15.30 including tea and cake.- with the current lockdown 

Cleaning Angels is suspended until further notice. 
Dates in 2021

4 February, 4 March, 1 April, 6 May, 3 June, 1 July, not in August, 2 September, 7 October, 4 November, 2 December. 


2021 Dates of PCC meetings in church at 19.30 

25 January
16 February – Shrove Tuesday Supper*
23 March
w/b 3-May Supper*
22 June

* in the Rectory at 7.30pm


APCM Sunday 25th. April 2020 incl. PCC Meeting 


Parish Office Opening Hours

Mon-Fri 11.00-16.00

Tel: 020 7638 1997

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