The Story …

I wonder what your favourite story is? Often the stories we love are the ones that we can relate to – where the characters go through things that we’ve been through. Other stories are loved because they involve a range of fascinating characters who have us hanging on their every word. Some stories are loved because of the amazing and surprising things that happen in them. Others still are loved because of all the twists, turns, highs and lows that keep you guessing until the end.

Well with Easter approaching we’ll soon be immersing ourselves afresh in the story that has it all…

…The joy as Jesus enters Jerusalem as the crowd go wild with excitement. The love and friendship amongst Jesus’ followers. The simmering tension as opposition grows giving rise to conspiracy and betrayal. Corruption, injustice and violence as Jesus is arrested and put on trial. We see the fear, confusion and denial of his friends. On Good Friday we remember Jesus’ death – and there we see suffering, cruelty, rejection, abandonment, pain and death. We see a grieving, heartbroken Mother and the despair and hopelessness of Jesus friends. Then on Easter Day we celebrate that Jesus rose from the dead! Faith restored, hope renewed, grief turned to joy and fear turned to confidence. Then we see a group of people – full of hope and love – living their lives with purpose, knowing that Jesus is alive and with them…

It’s all there isn’t it? At the heart of the Christian faith, in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus we find all human experience. And this is no mere story. This is the truth that countless people over the last 2000 or so years have heard, believed and found to be true. That God is alive, that God loves them and that God is with them.

I invite you once again this Easter to ponder, engage with, enter into and share the amazing, life changing and ongoing Easter story.

Annual District Church Meeting 2017

After a delightful time of fellowship over our shared lunch, 49 people attended the ADCM led by Tom Coopey.

The meeting opened with prayer. As Tom had not been at St John’s during 2016, he invited those present to share some of the special blessings of the year. Praise and thanks were given for the Art Exhibition, a strong sense of family in our Fellowship and home groups, the various prayer ministries, our leaders and musicians and faithful preaching from God’s Word week by week.

This year Anne Bond retired from the DCC and Jane Downer handed over the compiling of Prayer and Reading rotas to Roy Worrall. Much appreciation was expressed to them both for their long service.

Churchwardens Les Mould and Michael Miles were nominated for a further year (to be ratified at the Parish Meeting). David Moore and Tessa De La Mare were re-elected Deputy Wardens. Jill Flux will also be helping the Wardens. Sue Dowle, Sally Horrell, Jill Flux and Ian Clothier were re-elected for a further term. Pat Worrall and Roger Welch were also elected. Meg Fox was re-elected as Deanery Synod member. A full list of the DCC will be posted at the back of the Church.

Frank Akerman presented the accounts for 2016. There was generous giving on the gift day for the Tower Project, which with other grants and legacies is sufficient to cover the cost of the works. (Completion is due in May). He summed it up in this way. “We have again had many blessings this year, with some very generous donations for specific purposes. Our general costs have remained fairly constant but our income has fallen. If income does not increase our projected shortfall for 2017 is £6-7000.”

The church reports gave a picture of all that had happened during the year and the number of people who take an active role in the life of St John’s. We are specially thankful for the arrival of Tom, Susie, Noah, Poppy, Isaac and Jacob.

Tom presented his first Annual Report just 8 weeks after his licensing.

He thanked everyone for the warm welcome he and his family received, before moving on to share a special verse that he had been given just prior to his licensing. Colossians 4 v 2: “devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”

Tom felt that this was a key verse, not just for the start of his ministry here, but for us all as a church.

His long term hope and vision, is that St John’s would be a place that draws people in, where people meet with God, engage with His word, experience a depth of community and are equipped for mission and that we as a church would be a blessing to our district and beyond. This is something to prayerfully aim for. He hopes that we can commit to this broad vision together.

Spring Work Party

The sky was blue, the sun shone and there was a cool wind. However those who worked outside soon warmed up with their efforts. Thirteen gardeners mowed, pruned, hoed, dug, swept, weeded and cleared away.

Meanwhile indoors seven more were beavering away dusting, brass cleaning, sweeping, cleaning glass doors, hoovering, polishing and tidying. Also the night before the eagle was cleaned.

During the morning we all sat down together to enjoy a chat, cakes and a cuppa. Its always so lovely to ‘make good work’ together.

Hope you have noticed the difference. Maybe you’d like to join us next time.

There will be grounds’ work continuing throughout he summer—grass cutting, weeding, hoeing, litter collection etc. If you are able to help occasionally please let Michael and Linda know.

St Mary’s 200th Anniversary

On Mothering Sunday at St Mary’s Church many gathered for a special service. The service marked the 200th anniversary of the dedication of the building.

In the welcome at the front of the service sheet Rev Pip Salmon emphasized that, ‘we were not celebrating and giving thanks for bricks and stones but for the generations of faithful men and women who have worshipped on the site; for all the ministry and mission that has been done and for changed renewed lives. However, more than anything we were giving thanks for the faithfulness of our loving God.’

The Bishop of Sherborne, the Right Reverend Nicholas Holtam preached and afterwards talked with many people .