Notices w/c 12 July


I’d like to remind everyone of a few things – 

* In order to enable social-distancing please don’t sit in the roped-off pews. In response to feedback we are making the signage clearer. Please be particularly aware of the people around you, bearing in mind that some people feel more comfortable than others about being in public.

* After a service (and particularly the 10am Parish Mass) please could you all leave the building fairly promptly, so that we can clean the building in preparation for the next service. I realise that many of you want to catch up and are delighted to see one another, but safety invites us to disperse relatively quickly. 

* It’s also important that we model good practice outside as well as inside. Talking outside is better, but please don’t gather around the entrance/exits of the church after Mass, particularly on the south (Charles Street) side, and keep social distancing when doing so. Last week, there were a number of pedestrians seeking to come through the churchyard path and it was difficult for them to do so safely. If you would like to talk to someone can I suggest that you come inside the cloister courtyard or go further out into the street.

Apologies for this direction, but I’m sure you’ll agree it is important. I recognise that not everyone feels able to come to church at present or to receive Communion whilst at church. If you have any questions or concerns please do get in touch.

This Sunday we continue our series of July reflective Evensongs. This week Philip Berg, our occasional organist and organist to the Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy, will be playing a short recital from just after 5.30pm, with Evensong beginning at 6pm. Do come and listen to him and stay on for the service, at which Andy Puddifoot will offer a reflection on his own personal experience during lockdown thus far and the pandemic. 

Recital before the service
Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue in C (BWV 564) – J. S. Bach
Ciacona in E minor – Buxtehude
O Gott, du frommer Gott – Karg-Elert
Rhosymedre – Vaughan Williams
During the Service
Psalm Prelude, Set 1, No. 1 (Ps. 34, v. 6) – Howells
(“This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.”)

After the Service
Schmucke dich, O liebe Seele (BWV 654) – J. S. Bach

It was great to start off our services again so well last Sunday. We had our Children’s Mass in the Nave, and hopefully managed to make it interactive whilst also socially-distanced! We will continue to have Children’s Masses at 11.30am for the next two Sundays (12th and 19th) and then on the final Sunday in July …

Originally scheduled to take place in May, we have now decided to hold this service on the last Sunday in July (26th) at 11.30am in the Vicarage Garden (or in church if wet). You may have seen a September date mentioned, but the July date is probably better to finish off the year and we can have a ‘back to school’ service on the first Sunday in September. We look forward to meeting your feathered, furry and scaly friends! 

8am Low Mass
9am Morning Prayer
10am Parish Mass (live streamed, links and orders of service can be found on the Welcome page here)
11.30am Children’s Mass
6.00pm Organ Recital (from 5.30pm) and Evensong with reflection

VOLUNTEERS URGENTLY NEEDED. As part of the recommendation for opening church to the public we need a large group of people to help with brief but regular cleaning of surfaces within church. This can be done in your own time, appropriate protection and materials will be provided and is neither time-consuming nor difficult. Volunteers should be people who are not considered to be in the vulnerable. Please consider offering your help for a job perhaps as little as once a fortnight that will take less than half an hour, and for a limited period only.

FiSH OPEN GARDENS. Like many other events this is going virtual this year but Fr Stephen shares the Vicarage garden, along with parishioners Fiona and Andrew Brannon and Coralie and James Day too! You can see the gardens here.

PARISH OFFICE. During this time of reduced activity, the Parish Office will be open for half its usual hours. To ensure consistent cover a few hours will be covered each day Monday to Thursday, so please do keep using the office email as a contact point.

CALLING ALL COOKS. Please do send the Parish Office your favourite recipes for our Parish Cookbook. Here’s what we are looking for:
• Recipes with a list of ingredients and a short and clear method.
• A broad spread from savoury to sweet and baking, for adults and children.
• Recipes can be familiar favourites but with your own title (e.g. Lizzie’s Shepherd’s Pie) or a family recipe with a personal twist. If you have a personal story to add to it even better.
• No food pics (very hard to look good!) but may ask for a pic of you doing food prep to illustrate and bring to life.
• Up to 3 recipes per person.
The Parish Office will edit and have it professionally printed. The Cookbook will be sold as a unique gift to raise parish funds and will retail at something like £15 or £20. In due course we will ask for advance orders to ensure an adequate print run.

Public Worship to Resume


It brings me great joy to tell you that public services at Saint Michael’s resume this Sunday 5th July, following national guidelines. The last few months have been very difficult for all of us, in different ways, for some more so than others, and the future is still very uncertain. Nevertheless, coming together to worship is an important step and a sign of hope, and I want to encourage as many of you as possible to feel confident about coming back to church. With a variety of services there is something for everyone:

8am Low Mass – this is a smaller service and it might be more appropriate for those who feel they are vulnerable.

10.00am Parish Mass – this service will also be live streamed on social media and accessible through the website for those who are unable to come to church.

11.30am Children’s Mass – families with children are encouraged to attend this service (at present there is no Sunday School at the 10am Parish Mass).

6.00pm Evening Prayer with reflective music and address. Each Sunday in July I am inviting someone from St Michael’s to share how the pandemic and lockdown has affected them and we begin with Mother Judith Roberts, Assistant Priest. The aim of this service is to provide silence, music and words to help us reflect on our ongoing experience.

Mid-week Services also resume with Morning Prayer at 9.00am every day (except Friday) and Mass at Noon on Wednesday and 9.30am on Saturday. These services may be especially appropriate for those who would prefer smaller gatherings than on Sunday.

Remember that the church is open every day (except Friday) from 8.45am until dusk for personal prayer.

Safety Measures

Below, I describe some of the measures in place for everyone’s safety so that you know what to expect and what we are doing to keep you safe:

  • Entry to the church is by the main entrance on Charles Street only. We would ask that you don’t use the Priest’s Door on Elm Bank Gardens.
  • Please aim to arrive early. A good few minutes before the service will help us regulate arrivals.
  • It’s particularly important to use the hand sanitiser on arrival.
  • Most services will be in the Nave to facilitate social distancing.
  • There will be stickers on the backs of the pews indicating suitably distanced ‘seating areas’. Please only sit in these places. Each of these can be for one person, a couple or for a family of up to five people.
  • Orders of service will be on the pews – extra ones will be laid out individually on a table at the back of church. The orders of service will be ‘quarantined’ afterwards, so that they are safe to use the following week. You are also welcome to keep your order of service and bring it back with you, or print off your own personal copy. Download a copy here.
  • Sadly, current guidelines mean we are unable to have singing except for a solo cantor with all responses being spoken. However, we have an opportunity to enjoy our wonderful organ even more!
  • At Communion, please follow the directions of the Stewards. Communion will be distributed in one form – the Body of Christ – in a standing station in the Nave. I realise that there are particular anxieties around receiving the Sacrament. I want to reassure you that every effort is made to ensure hygiene. Obviously, the moment of receiving Communion is one of the very few moments when social distancing isn’t possible. However, the moment of proximity is so brief that risk of transmission is considered almost negligible. Even so, some people may choose not to receive the Sacrament at this time and that is understandable.
  • After larger services both of the north and south doors will be open to aid departure. Unfortunately, we must ask you not to stay and socialise in church after the service is over so that we can clean the building and prepare for any services that follow.
  • You are invited to make a donation to the collection at the end of the service rather than at the offertory.
  • With these precautions in place a facemask isn’t necessary but, of course, you are welcome to wear one if you wish to.

This is just a summary of the temporary safety measures we are putting in place. We have tried to keep them subtle, common-sense and proportionate while also taking risk seriously. If you are uncertain or anxious please feel free to talk to me and I am happy to explain in greater detail. I realise it all sounds rather daunting but I’m sure we will get used to it. It’s true that worship will be rather different for a time, but by also keeping our worship as familiar as possible, I hope it will feel like a joyful homecoming.

Life after lockdown

Many of you have shared stories of life under lockdown; the positives, the negatives, how it has affected your spiritual life and a vision for a different future as a result. It is with these mixed feelings and difficult experiences that we re-enter the House of God to lay them before the Lord in prayer. At this time, I am mindful that the word ‘church’ means ‘those who are called together’ and so it is the very nature of our Christian faith that we should come together to worship if we possibly can. Nevertheless, there will be people who are still shielding and if that is your situation then you remain very much in our prayers. Please do let me know so that we can keep in touch and support you. Thank you for bearing with this lengthy letter, but let me finish with the beautiful words from this Sunday’s Gospel, as both encouragement and comfort:

‘Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’
(Matthew 11.28-30)

May the Lord who brings rest to the weary, and strength in time of need, grant you his blessing.

With love and prayers,

Father Stephen

Face coverings in Worship

On the use of face coverings at worship

Dear Parishioners,

I’m sure many of you are now becoming used to using a face covering in shops and other places. It felt strange to begin with, but it now feels increasingly routine, albeit a little inconvenient and sometimes uncomfortable.

As mentioned last Sunday, the government has extended the use of face coverings to other indoor settings including churches. There will be a range of views and feelings about this, but whatever each one of us may think, it is law rather than guidance and we have only limited discretion in its application.

No one should feel discouraged from coming to church because of this, for the following reasons –

First, because it is really a very unimportant thing compared to the great joy of being able to worship together, which is our duty and our joy as Christians, and this is surely more important than any small inconvenience such as this.

Second, we are in the fortunate position of having a spacious and well-ventilated building that lowers any risk considerably. The introduction of face coverings may look and feel disconcerting, but the wider measures we have put in place make us Covid-secure.

Third, we are in an area which currently has very low community transmission, we pray that this may continue, and that these measures, which arise from an abundance of caution, may further help in this regard.

Fourth, our Christian faith requires a particular attention for the needs of the vulnerable and to consider others before ourselves. The wearing of face coverings protects others more than it protects us, and we may therefore see it as an act of loving care to our neighbour.

I want to emphasise the breadth of the term ‘face covering’ which can mean a scarf, mask, bandana or anything else that covers both nose and mouth. Bearing this in mind, please put your face covering on before or as soon as you enter the church for a service. Please do not be offended if a Steward gently reminds you, and they will have some spare disposable face coverings available for those who come without. On principle, I do not believe anyone should be turned away from worship whilst still upholding the law.

Of course, there are exemptions for children and for adults for a variety of health reasons, some of which may be invisible, so we must not judge someone who is not wearing a face covering, and I leave it to individual consciences to consider how exemptions may relate to their own circumstances. If you have reason to be exempt then please mention this to the Stewards, but you are not required to give the specific cause for your exemption.

Those leading worship in some way, such as readers, cantors, readers and intercessors, are permitted to remove their face covering to aid communication, especially when they are more than two metres away from anyone else. For the same reason, clergy will only wear a face covering at the distribution of the Sacrament when close proximity is inevitable. When receiving Holy Communion, remove or pull down your face covering immediately beforehand, replacing it after you have consumed the Body of Christ.

Finally, let us redouble our efforts in praying for our world, the church and our parish at this time when many people are suffering and fearful for the future. I write this reflection on the feast of the Transfiguration when Christ’s glory is revealed to the disciples on the mountain top. Likewise, in the midst of a world thrown into confusion by this virus, may we as Christians still discern the light of God’s glory shining through the darkness, as we look forward to the day when we can be close together again.

Father Stephen, Vicar
6th August 2020
Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord

Appointment of honorary organ scholar

We are delighted to announce that Ismail Mardin has been invited to take on the honorary role of Organ Scholar at St Michael’s. Ismail Mardin is an 8th Form Pupil at St Paul’s School, and also attends the Junior Department of the Royal College of Music. He has been studying the organ for several years with Philip Berg,  Master of the Music at The Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy . He is an admirer of all organ music, and one of his lasting memories is a visit to Bach’s church in Leipzig, the St Thomas Kirche, during a family road trip through Saxony and Thuringia.  

Apart from classical music, he is also an avid fan of jazz and has played with St Paul’s groups at the Bull’s Head in Barnes. As Ismail has played at St Michael’s over the last year and grown in expertise in liturgical music we felt it was right to honour him with this voluntary position as a sign of our thanks and hope it will be of benefit to him in the future as we continue to enjoy his musical skill.

St Michael’s Cards

We have produced a beautiful card with an image of the Adoring Angel from one of the windows in the Lady Chapel.  Packs of 6 for £5 and 15 for £10! Available from the Parish Office.

Photograph: Judy Totton

Vision Card feedback

Vision Card 2019 In preparation for our PCC Away Day on 21st September, Fr Stephen would like to give the congregation a chance to write some comments for the PCC to take into account as they consider St Michael’s new Mission Action Plan.

Please return comments via the card to the Vicarage or Parish Office (email to no later than Wednesday 18th September.

Are You A Piano Player?

If so, we need your help playing for the 11.30am Family Service on some Sunday mornings.  It’s a good chance to dig out old music and enjoy playing it again as well as a few hymns.  Please let the Parish Office know if you, or anyone you know, could help us out.

Tel: 020 8876 5230 or email

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.