Our church has a local group (known as the "Cell of Our Lady of Walsingham and St Gabriel") of the Society of Our Lady of Walsingham (SOLW). Our Parish Priest is also a Priest Associate of the Holy House (PAHH) at Walsingham. We offer a mass with intention for the Shrine at Walsingham once every month, as well as holding a Cell social meeting (usually with lunch) several times each year, and each summer we organise a residential pilgrimage week at the Shrine in north Norfolk.
Walsingham, a tiny Norfolk village, has for centuries been a centre of pilgrimage from across Europe, because of an appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary to a local noblewoman. Walsingham is a special place, where pilgrims experience rest, refreshment, peace, healing, and closeness to God. New Cell members are welcome.
Cell Superior: The Rev'd Timothy L'Estrange, PAHH
Cell Secretary: Major Matthew Christmas
We greatly value our musicians. Sadly, David Carter (our Organist and Director of Music for 54 years) died suddenly on 7 February 2020. He had been admitted to the Order of St Mellitus in 2016 by the Lord Bishop of London, in recognition of his exceptional service.
Yangsook Shon is now our Organist, and we have a number of cantors, singers, organists, and others who support our music department. We also have the occassional support of visiting choirs.
Parish Organist: Mrs Yangsook Shon
Parish Cantor: Mrs Elizabeth L'Estrange
GUSTO stands for "Gabriel's United Social Team Organisation", although nobody ever uses the full name! The members plan our church's social life. We enjoy a range of quiz nights, afternoon teas, seasonal fairs, recitals, and other social gatherings, so the work of GUSTO is very important. There are usually opportunities for new members on GUSTO to help share fresh ideas as we plan and organise our social life.
Chairman: Mrs Sandra Busby
We used to speak of "altar boys", but these days sacristies are staffed as much by women and girls as by men and boys. New volunteers are always welcome to join the team. The work of the Sacristy Team is highly important, very varied, and deeply rewarding, and helps to keep the liturgical "show on the road". It consists of "Servers" who are the public face, assisting during services, and "Sacristans" who work behind the scenes, keeping store cupboards stocked, linens washed, and vestments repaired. New volunteers are always welcome, with full training provided.
Sacristan: Mr Mark Corcoran
Head Server: Mrs Elizabeth L'Estrange
Holy Dusters meet from time to time (roughly once a month) to carry out church cleaning, gardening, polishing, and tidying duties. The Holy Dusters keep our church building, and its gardens and other grounds, looking clean, tidy, and smart all through the year. Although some people are regulars, absolutely anyone can turn up to Holy Dusters - experience, membership, and subscription are all NOT required! We will welcome anyone to our gatherings, will provide equipment and instruction, and above all we will be pleased to see you.
About some former groups:
Community Mentoring: From 2012 to 2019, we ran a successful Community Mentoring service at St Gabriel's, in conjunction with a London Probation Service local group for Community Payback. Former members of the programme are always welcome to return and say hello.
Women's Fellowship: For most of the life of our parish, we have had a dedicated social group for women. Originally known as the "Women's Association", it became the "Women's Fellowship". The group disbanded at the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, although we are keen to re-launch a similar group as normality returns.