Welcome to St Andrew's N16
Christmas Carol Service 2020

The Revd Charis Enga, our parish priest

We will be reflecting on the Christmas story through the eyes of Mary...

...and through our own experiences of life in Stamford Hill in the midst of the pandemic

First Carol: "O Little Town of Bethlehem"

Hackney Singers rehearsing in St Andrew's N16 in December 2020. The choir rehearse regularly in our church.

First reading: Luke 1.26-38

Naomi's story

Mary was a poor young woman in an occupied country. She knew life was out of her control. Yet she believed the angel's promise that "with God all things are possible."

Life this year has been "out of control" for each of us.

What can we learn from the experience of Mary - and of people here in Stamford Hill who have trusted in God in challenging times?

Sam's story

Sam had no religious background, but a growing sense of the reality and presence of God. She explains to Charis what led her to begin to say "yes" - as Mary did - to God's call.

Second Carol : "Silent Night"

A gift to St Andrew's from St Paul's CE School, Whitechapel.

Second reading: Luke 1.29-55

Keisha and Froi's stories

God's choice of Mary echoes the choice he makes throughout the Bible and throughout history: to work most powerfully through people the wider world overlooks and marginalises.

That's why St Andrew's is committed to community organising, which places those who experience injustice at the heart of the struggle for change.

Members of our congregation who live in Sandford Court have been working with their neighbours to relocate a Covid testing centre which has been put up, with no consultation, next to their homes.

Many residents are low-income key workers, risking their health to serve others. Their children have lost a vital safe space to play. Older residents are fearful of going out. They all agree a testing centre is needed locally, and are urging a more appropriate location.

No wealthier estates in London have been treated in this way. As so often, those who are least privileged are bearing the highest burdens during the pandemic .

The Sandford Court campaign has hit the headlines. It was the main story on BBC London News earlier this month. Local residents are discovering that together they do have power.

It's one of many ways churches, mosques, synagogues and schools are organising together, to ensure that every voice is heard in shaping the future we build together after Covid-19.

Froi is a community organiser in Hackney. Keisha is a member of St Andrew's who lives in Sandford Court. They reflect on the campaign in the light of Mary's song.

Anthem: African Magnificat

We discovered this amazing music through the People's Rosary Project which we have been taking part in this Advent with friends from across east London.

Third Reading: Luke 2.1-20

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Christmas

The child in the manger is none other than God himself.  Nothing greater can be said:  God became a child.  In Jesus, the child of Mary lives the almighty God.
Wait a minute!  Don’t speak; stop thinking!  Stand still before this statement!  God became a child!
Here he is, poor like us, miserable and helpless like us, a person of flesh and blood like us, our brother.  And yet he is God; he is might.
Where is the divinity, where is the might of the child?  In the divine love in which he became like us.  His poverty in the manger is his might.  In the might of love he overcomes the chasm between God and humankind, he overcomes sin and death, he forgives sin and awakens from the dead.
Kneel down before this miserable manger, before this child of poor people, and repeat in faith the stammering words of the prophet:  “Mighty God!”  And he will be your God and your might.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was killed in 1945 for resisting the Nazis

Third Carol: "Prickly Thorn, Sweetly Worn"

God surprises humanity by turning up as a baby in a manger. So we at St Andrew's are always looking for the God of Surprises in both the secular and the sacred.

Click here to listen to our friends Morris Folk Choir who sing with us each Christmas bringing us joy in this song recorded in lockdown.

Fourth Reading: Luke 2.22-38

Renee's story

Renee has worshipped at St Andrew's for ten years. Here she reflects on Simeon's prophecy to Mary - that a sword will pierce her heart through the suffering of and death of Jesus.

Fourth Carol: "I wonder as I wander"

Morris Folk Choir, who sing at St Andrew's each Christmas.

The Revd Charis Enga - A Call to Action

Click here to register for our neighbourhood Zoom conversation Pondering the pandemic, where is hope?

The Revd Charis Enga - Christmas Blessing

Final Carol: "O Come All Ye Faithful"

Hackney Singers rehearsing in St Andrew's N16 in December 2020. The choir rehearse regularly in our church.

Merry Christmas from all at
St Andrew's N16!


Image: Madonna and Child in St Andrew's church


St Andrew's Stamford Hill PCC | CCLI No.578880 | Registered Charity No.1169368.

St Andrew's is part of the Organising for Growth project of the Centre for Theology and Community, and we are grateful for support from friends at St John's Hoxton, St George-in-the-East and St Mary's Walthamstow in the production of this service