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Fr Josh Harris writes...

All of us here at St Katharine Cree are devastated to hear of the sudden and unexpected death of Fr Marco G Lopes, Vicar of St Martin's Plaistow and leader of the Luso-Hispanic Mission in Newham, on Monday morning.

Fr Marco has been a great friend to St Katharine's in the recent renewal of our ministry among City workers. He has prayed with us and for us often; he has led us in worship in Spanish and English; and he has given us constant encouragement and support in all kinds of ways. He and St Martin's were crucial to shaping our Living Wage Week service and the trilingual London Cleaners Carol Service in December. Among his many strengths and gifts, we will miss his good humour, prayerfulness, laughter, and gentle kindness.

Today at the Eucharist we prayed for him, for his wife Mary Ann, for his children Eunice and Rafi, and for the community of St Martin's. We will continue to pray for them, and all those who grieve this loss, here at St Katharine Cree.

The Diocese of Chelmsford has published a tribute to him which you may read here.

We are so excited to be running a new Storytelling and Leadership training course for women here at the St Katharine Cree starting in just a few weeks. You can find out more details and register here.

This four part course - across four Saturday mornings in February and March - is for all women who want to raise their confidence, strengthen their leadership skills, to build community, and to learn how sharing stories can help us work for positive change.

Highly interactive and a lot of fun - but keeping a safe, confidential, and supportive space - the course will be led by Ivonne Loján and Dr Claire Moll-Namas (pictured below) from the St Katharine Cree team. Both women are experienced community organisers and leaders and this course builds on our very successful Spanish-language training in 2022.

This course is free of charge (including lunch) but spaces are limited so please register yourself or send the information to someone you know who might want to come! You can register at

We are grateful to the Near Neighbours Programme for funding this work. If you'd like to discuss partnering with us to support future training events and our work to identify and raise up new leaders in London, please contact the Priest-in-Charge Josh Harris.

“God chose Mary, Joseph and the shepherds - simple people - to proclaim the new kingdom. Once we have been blessed with the presence of Jesus, we have the responsibility to share that experience, to proclaim his Gospel”

A packed church heard these words from Ivonne Loján at the first ever London Cleaners Carol Service on 10th December 2022. Having worked as a cleaner, Ivonne is now on the team building a Guild Church for Workers at St Katharine Cree in the City of London.

As Ivonne explained, the Gospels emphasise the place of the poorest and most marginalised in the story of Jesus’ birth. The Carol Service included powerful reflections from cleaners and community organisers on passages from Isaiah, Matthew and Luke - telling the story of their faith in Jesus, and how it sustains their own struggle for dignity and justice.

The service was held at St Katharine Cree, in partnership with Clean for Good - an award-winning ethical cleaning company, founded by another City church and two Christian charities, after a listening process with London cleaners. The trilingual service included music from the Portuguese Choir of St Martin’s Plaistow.

The service came just weeks after Bishop Sarah visited St Katharine’s to lead the first ever Living Wage Week Service, which included testimony and reflections from London’s care workers. Both services had a strongly ecumenical element, with testimony from Pentecostals and Roman Catholics. In particular, they reflected the growing partnership between St Katharine’s and their Roman Catholic neighbours in the Oblates of Mary Immaculate at Tower Hill.

As Fr Josh Harris explains in his Lion Sermon, St Katharine’s ministry recognises the place of workers who are socially and economically marginalised within London's economy, but on whose work the prosperity and success of us all depends:

Prosperity is sustained not by building walls around our own kingdoms of comfort, but weaving together the many diverse strands of the modern City into seamless and strong relationships of trust and dependability. We all have our different vulnerabilities; but we all have strengths to offer; we all have a part to play. On the foundation of solidarity we can build a better future beyond crisis.

Workers who are marginalised stand - as in the New Testament - at the very heart of the Church alongside all those who long for a just and hopeful future. As the Guild Church for workers in the City, we want to play our part in reweaving the fabric of our City here, by supporting workers to gather together to share their stories, to encourage each other, to pray, to build relationships of trust and mutual respect and exchange.

Enjoy some pictures from the evening - and join us next year!

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