A message from the Parish Priest Fr Philip Barnes  

Dear friends and parishioners of St Stephen’s,


St Stephen’s Gloucester Road is a rather festive sight at the moment. The temporary lights are installed for us to see by whilst the new lighting scheme is installed, and strung across the pillars they make the church look rather jolly! It’s great to see the work is cracking on, and already some of the old fittings have been removed, and you’ll be able to see progress on Sunday.


It’s been another week of announcements of regulations as we continue to navigate our way through the pandemic. You’ll have seen from the news that Places of Worship are not affected by the latest ‘rule of six’, although we’ve yet to see the details of how the regulations will operate! At this stage its very much business as (new) usual.


We’ve an exciting Sunday ahead of us. Firstly, we’ll be welcoming our new Organ Scholar, Jim Cooper. Jim comes to us following a period as Organ Scholar at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, where he studied music. He’s now working as an auditor and is studying towards his Chartered Accountancy exams. We’re absolutely delighted that he’ll be joining us – please look out for him on Sunday and make him welcome!


Greg and I have been thinking together about how we can chart a safe course over the next few weeks for a return of our regular quartet of singers, increasing the repertoire of music to enhance the 11am Sung Mass. This Sunday we’ll have three singers (all from the same household) Matt Kay and Kate and Helen Ashby. They’ll be singing a setting of the Mass by Rheinberger, and a beautiful motet by a seventeenth century composer, Caldara. What a treat this will be, and we look forward to seeing our music programme gradually return in the weeks to come – though I’m afraid it appears congregational singing will not be returning yet (like me, you’ll have to make do with singing hymns in the bath).


Another exciting music development is that we will be hosting a concert for the first time in seven months on Sunday 20 September. Members of the Orion Orchestra will be returning to St Stephen’s for a chamber concert – just three performers – to perform works by Mozart, Schummann and Brahms. Social distancing will be in place, and to attend you’ll need to get a ticket in advance from www.orionorchestra.org.uk     


For those unable to be in church of Sunday the link for our livestream will be: https://youtu.be/oWrF0JUoteo


I hope you have a good weekend, and send you my love and prayers,


Fr Philip



020 7937 4263

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