Family Newsletter – Spring 2022 & Sunday Club Workshops

Please find the Spring newsletter here.

Sunday Club Workshops – 23rd January and 20th March
12 Noon to 2.00pm

After the fabulous turnout at our first Sunday Club last term we are continuing our workshops with not one but two this term!

Saint Michael’s Sunday Club for ages c.4-10, follows on directly from the Children’s Mass at 11.30am, with lunch and then some activities, teaching and crafts. Although we will need extra help from one or two parents each time, most of you can put your feet up for a couple of hours! The aim is to give children some well-prepared and structured input about the Christian faith in a way that is both relevant and fun. Following on from last term’s session with an environmental theme of God the Creator, this term we will be focusing on the life and teachings of Jesus and as we approach the Lent and Easter season.

To help with catering, if you could let Gemma know your children are planning on coming that would be really helpful, but do come anyway even if you haven’t. Please also let us know any allergies, medical conditions etc.

Epiphany Greetings

For a dowloadable copy please click here

Dear Parishioners,

As we begin 2022 and celebrate Epiphany, I write to you to express my prayers for God’s blessing on you in this New Year and share with you some hopes for the future.

‘They were overwhelmed with joy’ (Matthew 2.10)
The ongoing pandemic continues to challenge everyone, but I am struck by the verse in Matthew’s Gospel in which the Magi are ‘overwhelmed with joy’) as they enter the house where Jesus was. In the same way, I hope that your faith may bring you that same joy even, indeed especially, in the current circumstances.

‘O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness’ (Psalm 69.9)
I want to express our thanks and praise to our Director of Music, Martin Neary, as he prepares to step down at the end of this month. Martin has been a great blessing to Saint Michael’s – his musicianship and experience have been gifts to us all – so it is with sadness, mixed with thanksgiving, that that we say farewell to him and his wife Penny, as forever dear friends who are welcome among us. As an appreciation of our thanks to Martin, we are currently collecting for a leaving gift for him, and I do hope you will consider contributing to this. If you would like to do this please use the giving information at the end of the letter and let us know it is for this purpose.

Martin’s last day with us will be Sunday 30th January. There will be presentations and tributes to Martin during the 10am Family Mass. There is also Choral Evensong at 6pm that evening, when we will be joined by our newly-appointed Director of Music – Laurence Williams – so do join us to welcome him.

Even as we say farewell to Martin, we are excited by the arrival of Laurence as his successor, particularly as Martin taught Laurence when he was a chorister at Westminster Abbey! Laurence is a freelance musician, working both in London and internationally as a singer, choir trainer, organist and teacher. He is passionate about introducing people to choral music. Laurence has a great deal of experience running children’s choirs and will be working towards launching our own children’s choir in the near future.
Laurence’s first Sunday with us will be 13th February.

‘They offered him gifts’ (Matthew 2.11)
Epiphany is the season of gifts, and so it’s a good time to reflect on your giving to Saint Michael’s. Changing patterns of attendance because of the pandemic have been very challenging for Saint Michael’s. Moreover, changing patterns of how we carry and spend money continue to affect church as we gradually adjust to different ways of receiving donations.

Please may I ask you to consider three things about this –

First, to encourage you to use the contactless payment stations for cards and mobiles in church. These have been available for some time after services, but now we have one permanently installed that can be used any time the church is open. I know that some of you will appreciate the opportunity to use these machines in your own time rather than in the rather brief period at the end of services.

Second, to ask you to consider making an Epiphany offering, especially if the pandemic prevented you from attending services at Saint Michael’s over Christmas, when you might have made a donation. Attendance at Christmas was, understandably, greatly reduced and with it the collections at these services, which are normally some of the most significant in the year.

Third, I must, as ever, encourage as many of you as possible to donate by standing order. This really is one of the most important things anyone can do to support Saint Michael’s, and whether you can give a small or a large amount it is the regularity and dependability that matters so much to us. It’s very easy to set up – just contact the Parish Office which will send you the form, and we will process it for you.

Details of how to give can be found at the end of this letter. Thank you for your gift, and all the many ways that all of you already give to Saint Michael’s whether financially, or in your time and skills.

‘Jesus …. revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him’ (John 2.11)
Each new year at Saint Michael’s, we begin gathering together children and adults to be prepared for Confirmation. It is a sign of the health and strength of our church that every year there are many candidates wanting to affirm their Christian faith in this way.

Children are confirmed from school year 6 and upwards. We have found that Sundays at 4pm seems to be a good time for preparation sessions. Please send names of children to be confirmed to me or the Parish Office as soon as possible.

Adults should not be shy about coming forward for confirmation. There are two common reasons for reticence; on the one hand, many are under the mistaken impression that to be confirmed you have to believe everything and have all the answers! Quite the contrary – confirmation is about being willing to continue on the journey of discovery, and questioning your answers more than answering your questions. On the other hand, people are often held back by concerns over time. My motto here is to do the preparation that is possible rather than the preparation that is impossible. Each year, depending on the candidates, we work out something practical and flexible that reflects individual schedules and needs. If you are an adult who has not been confirmed and you would like to consider this, please do have a conversation with one of the clergy.

The Bishop of Southwark will be with us for a Confirmation service on Sunday 17th July at 10am.

‘Full of grace and truth’ (John 1.14)
My friends, there is so much to look forward to in the year ahead and I hope you have received a copy of the 2022 Parish Calendar, which is available here and in church.

As Christians we date each year as Anno Domini or ‘Year of the Lord’ to indicate that we live in an age of grace, where the love of the Father has been revealed in his Son through the visit of the Wise Men, in Christ’s baptism in the Jordan and by the miracle at Cana. Nevertheless, each year, it is up to us to make this grace visible and expressed through our lives both individually and together. The words ‘fullness’, ‘abundance’ and overflowing’ are key words in the Gospels to express all the wonderful things God has in store for us.

So I encourage you to join us at Saint Michael’s in prayer and worship, fellowship and mission, so that everyone can share in this love. As St John says, ‘we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth’. For this and God’s many blessings and gifts to us, let us be filled with hope, joy and thanksgiving in the year ahead.

With best wishes and prayers,
Father Stephen Stavrou, Vicar


  • If you are making a cash donation, we ask you to Gift Aid your offering using the blue envelopes provided in the pews.
  • You can donate by text; simply text SAINTMICHAEL to 70470 followed by the amount you wish to give (e.g. SAINTMICHAEL£10) up the value of £20 – although you can donate more by texting again.
  • There is a contactless giving machine at the back of the church. Simply tap the amount you wish to give (up to £40) and then hold your card or phone over the contactless symbol on top.
  • A bank transfer can be made to our account no. 10774065, sort code 20-72-33

New Director of Music & Organist

Interviews and auditions were held on Saturday 11th December and I’m delighted to announce that Laurence Williams was offered and has accepted the position of Director of Music and Organist at Saint Michael’s to succeed Martin Neary. Laurence will take up his role in February. Some of you may recognize Laurence as he has often sung in the Barnes Music Festival Concerts held at Saint Michael’s each year.

About our new Director of Music: Laurence Williams is a freelance musician, working both in London and internationally as a singer, choir trainer, organist and teacher. He is passionate about introducing people to choral music and is the co-founder of Dowland Youth Works, a group set up to introduce teenagers to secular lute song and renaissance music more generally. He is also the Music Director for East Grinstead Choral Society and for Children’s Voices of Enfield. He is accompanist to a number of choirs including London Concert Choir and Islington Choral Society and regularly plays organ in churches around London. He is very excited to take up the post of Director of Music at St. Michael’s and All Angels, Barnes.

Appointment of two organ scholars

For the year 2021-2022 we are delighted to have two Organ Scholars at Saint Michael’s – Ben Law and Cameron Soo. If you might be interested in auditioning for our Organ Scholarship, please get in touch with the Parish Office.

Ben Law

“I am in the Upper 8th at St Paul’s School and am planning to study music at university next year.  I started studying the organ with Philip Berg at the age of 11 having played the piano from the age of 3 and then the oboe from the age of 8.  I am heavily involved in music-making at school as well as being a member of the London School’s Symphony Orchestra, which performs at the Barbican.  I was christened at St Michael’s and have been brought up here, as well as being a member of the St Paul’s School Christian Union, so St Michael’s is my spiritual home. I am looking forward to developing my playing over the next year under the expert guidance of Martin Neary and Philip Berg.  I feel privileged to be able to play the organ for services here during my last year at school.”

Cameron Soo

“I am a music scholar in the Upper 8th at St Paul’s School, learning the organ under Philip Berg. I have been passionate about music from a young age, and also play the violin and both jazz and classical piano. I sang in the Colet Court Recital Choir, which introduced me to liturgical music and sparked my interest in the organ. I am now a member of the school Chapel Choir, and have sung in St Paul’s Cathedral and various colleges in Oxford and Cambridge. I am grateful to St Michael’s for giving me the opportunity to take part in its worship through music. I hope this will build my confidence so I can continue to play in the future.”

Pastoral Letter from Fr Stephen

Tuesday 20th July, 2021
Feast of Saint Margaret of Antioch

Dear Parishioners,

The lifting of corona virus restrictions this week will have brought relief and joy for some, and anxiety and uncertainty for others. As I think of these diverse responses I am reminded of Saint Paul’s words in Romans 12.15-16 when he tells us to ‘rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep’ so that we might ‘live in harmony with one another’. Although life will look a lot more normal, it is important to remind ourselves that the pandemic is not over.

Throughout the pandemic Saint Michael’s has continued worship and church life as far as possible, as an affirmation of the importance of the spiritual life to individuals and the community, whilst working within the guidance in effect at the time to mitigate virus transmission and keep everyone as safe as possible – and I thank God that we have not had any cases linked to church.

In this new phase of our life together, I would like our watchwords to be caution and courtesy. Caution in terms of moving forward carefully and continuing with some of the infection control measures which are now usual to us all. Courtesy in terms of our attitude to one another and being sensitive to different needs as part of our Christian vocation to love one another.

I see the next few weeks between now and the end of August as a transitional period, in which we learn as individuals and as a parish how to negotiate the new situation. Having consulted with Churchwardens and PCC, I describe below how Saint Michael’s will respond to the lifting of restrictions, particularly with regard to worship. These will be reviewed in the days ahead and particularly at the start of September. I hope that they will provide both comfort and encouragement to all of you, however you are feeling at this time.

  • Sanitiser will continue to be available, and you are strongly encouraged to use this when entering the church. The clergy will continue to use Sanitiser regularly throughout services and testing themselves regularly for your reassurance.
  • Seating will continue to be separated with alternate pews roped off. Although there is no requirement for social-distancing it is still strongly encouraged where possible, and the ropes will assist those who wish to remain socially-distanced. You are welcome to sit with whoever you like and in whatever number, but as a courtesy do check with someone that they are happy with this. The abundance of seating at Saint Michael’s means that there is room for people both to sit together or to remain separate as they prefer. Masks are not required any longer, but some (perhaps many) will wish to continue wearing them. We are fortunate to have a large and well-ventilated building that lowers the risk of virus transmission, and to facilitate this the doors of the church will continue to remain open during services. If deemed necessary, we may designate some areas of the church for people who wish to wear masks and those who don’t, particularly with regard to singing (please see below) The Clergy will continue to wear masks to distribute the Sacrament.
  • Singing will perhaps be the most noticeable change to services, and I know how many of you are looking forward to singing hymns again. We will restart congregational singing from this Sunday, but as part of our courtesy to each other I ask that those singing without a mask sit in the front half of the church, so that those who are being more cautious can sit behind.
  • Holy Communion will continue to be distributed in one kind (the Body of Christ) from a standing position – for most services this will be in the Nave as now, although the 8am Low Mass will be in the Lady Chapel. Whilst I would dearly love to see the return of the Chalice, prudence would suggest delaying this for what I hope will only be a little longer. Likewise, while kneeling to receive Communion is an important reflection of our devotion to the Sacrament, it is more practical at this time to continue standing.
  • Welcome Cards are no longer necessary to record attendance of everyone at worship. However please look out for emails from church as it might be necessary to inform everyone of any confirmed cases, and therefore to contact those who were present on a particular Sunday. Welcome Cards will be available for new worshippers to fill in.
  • Collections will continue to be taken at the back of the church rather than passing around collection bowls, and this may turn out to be a permanent change as many people have said they prefer it! I would also like to encourage you to use the contactless payment machine, and if doing so, remember that it can be used before the service as well as afterwards. As ever, we encourage regular members of the congregation to donate via Planned Giving using the information on the Giving page of the website.
  • The Peace continues to be shared without physical contact, except for those within the same household or where you know physical contact is welcome. Indeed, many people have not expressed enthusiasm for a return to shaking hands at the Peace.
  • Holy Water is available again, but you are invited to use sanitiser beforehand. The Lady Chapel and the Prayer Board beside the Shrine of Our Lady are in general use again.
  • Refreshments, social events and meetings can now resume to a large extent and with no limitations on numbers. It is worth remembering that in all cases it is prolonged proximity, particularly indoors where risk is greatest, and therefore as many activities will take place outside as possible and I would also ask you to bear this in mind. Those preparing food and drink will continue to take infection control measures for your reassurance.
  • Livestreaming of worship continues at a reduced level, with a service being broadcast once a month. A list of dates can be found on our website.

The measures above are not necessarily exhaustive and some other changes will be brought in gradually, so do get in touch if you have any questions. I want to thank all of you for your faithfulness to God and your support for Saint Michael’s during this time. I am particularly keen to hear from those of you who might need to take extra care so that I and the other Saint Michael’s clergy can continue to support you.

To download and print this letter please click here.

With prayers and best wishes,

Father Stephen Stavrou

General Data Protection Regulation

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force on 25 May 2018, superseding the Data Protection Act 1998.

Organisations will no longer be at liberty to contact people on their mailing list with circulars, appeals or general information, without their explicit consent.

Read our Privacy Notice by clicking on the link setting out your rights and our obligations (see SUMMARY below).

Please click here to view the consent form.

If you are already on St Michael’s database:

  • you will receive a personal email or letter where no email address is available;
  • you will have been asked to confirm whether or not you wish us to continue to hold your details and to use them to send you information;
  • if you choose to remain, you will be given access to your personal information and will be able to correct or update it yourself online at any time.

SUMMARY (Privacy Document)

Our commitments:

  • we understand that it is very important that we protect the privacy of your information and we will store it securely;
  • we will only use the data for the church’s administrative needs, including claiming Gift Aid on donations, and to contact you about church activities;
  • we will not supply your data to anyone else (unless legally obliged to do so);
  • we will not hold the data longer than is needed to enable us to fulfil these purposes.

Your rights:

  • You have the right to see the data we hold on you, to correct errors, to have it deleted from our records and to complain to the authorities if you believe it is being misused.