A triple challenge for today

The church doors will reopen this month as the weekly 9am service returns as of Sun 11th April. A second service will then be added as and when feels appropriate and in time we look forward to more activities opening up – but we are still in a time of waiting.

We might be tempted to wait until we are back together before thinking too much about the future. Admittedly there are some things that we just don’t know – and won’t know until the doors are fully open again. Things such as: how confident will people feel to return? Do people want to come back? Have some people left – and we just haven’t realised? What restrictions will be in place? Will we have new people? How do we develop our online mission?

But for all the unknowns and the need for patience there are three areas that the church can engage in NOW.

There is no need to wait for the following:-

Let a wave of prayer start now. Let’s not wait but get on our knees now. Over these next months I want us to enter a season of committed and passionate intercession and careful listening. We need to hear from God clearly. We need His wisdom, His strength and His vision as we look to what’s coming next. What did Mary say to the servants at the wedding when the wine had run out? “Do whatever He (Jesus) tells you.” So we need to be listening!

Build Relationships.
Don’t wait for the building to open to deepen your relationships with people at church. We have lost something profound this year. Rebuilding is needed and it will only happen if we all make an effort with each other. A period of reconciliation is needed – and it can start now. It’s been a tough time – and all have been affected. Let’s resolve to be kind to each other. Start building relationships now. It’s not just the job of a few but takes a mutual commitment. Pick up the phone, go for a walk, write a card – do whatever you can do to rebuild relationships.

Connect with non – Christians
Our emphasis on Sunday mornings after Easter is Alpha – an introductory course to Christianity. The 9am service and 10.30am online service will both follow the Alpha material. It will be a great refresher for us all – but why not also invite people who don’t know Jesus to attend? Let’s also be praying for people to come to faith and asking for God to give us both boldness and sensitivity to share the Gospel clearly.

Exciting times are ahead. There are some things we still have to wait for. But let’s not wait to pray, to rebuild friendships and to share our faith.

Let’s go for it!

With love

Food Bank

Thank you so much to everyone who has been able to contribute to Food Bank by dropping food off in our porch during lockdown. I have received the following note from the organisers:-

We currently have sufficient stocks of pasta, baked beans, tinned soup and tea.

Food items we generally run short of are:-

  • Tinned meat
  • Tinned fish
  • Tinned fruit
  • Custard (ready to eat)
  • Tinned rice pudding
  • Coffee
  • Tinned vegetables
  • Pasta sauce
  • Tinned potatoes / mashed potato
  • Squash
  • Long life milk

Many thanks for your continued support.

On a personal note, if you have any plastic bags you don’t need they would come in useful as I’ve gone through all mine!
Tony and I will continue collecting from our porch and taking the food weekly to Food Bank, but when the church is open again please feel free to leave your contributions there.

You may remember my suggestion of ‘One Thing’ – each household contributing one item per week, which would not overburden anyone but supply many needy local people with the help they need.

Thank you again.

Diane Blackwell


Meg’s Falling Blessings: March Jottings 2021

We have also been greatly blessed by meals from the St John’s family.

Delicious hot meals ready to plate and eat; ready to heat and all arriving timely.

We have been really blessed, felt loved and very much welcome.

The response to my request for ‘a week of meals’ – a real expression of Love.

I kept getting the phrase in my mind – Acts 2 Church. So, I turned to Acts 2 and read until I got to verse 46: “And every day they were steadfastly continuing with one accord in the temple and breaking bread at each house. They were partaking of food with gladness and sincerity of heart.”

Well, we haven’t been able to meet in church ‘properly’ for some while, yet the meals we shared felt like true hospitality and we certainly partook with gladness. And the gift-ers of the food certainly did so with sincerity of heart.

The meals described in Acts 2 are the fore-runners of Holy Communion. I don’t think it stretches too far to say it is like we have shared Communion with the providers of the meals even if we didn’t actually eat them in their company.

With thanks

Frances, Phil and Frank

Mike’s Life in Lockdown: March Jottings 2021

I was interested to read Mike’s remarks about Jigsaws in the last edition of Jottings. It took me back a good many years to when my parents and I did jigsaws made by my uncle. He retired from teaching after the war and set up a business producing the puzzles. As pictures were hard to come by he used old calendars and travel books and sometimes British Rail posters. He cut each piece and my grandmother sandpapered them. Of course there were no pictures ashe had cut them up! Through the years we really enjoyed the challenge. Even when we found a ‘shop’ puzzle with a picture, we were not allowed to look at it! The only information available was the title, the size and the number of pieces.

There is a Puzzle Club in London where my uncle’s work was much in demand, I wonder if it still exists?

Anne Bond

Thank You

Phyl and I would like to thank all our friends and church family for your love and prayers over the last few years, which have been problematic. Visits to DCH still ongoing but District Nurses finally finished On the night of my last operation I felt quite relaxed and felt the strong presence of God with me.

The Doctors, nurses and aftercare team have been brilliant. They all wished Phyl a very happy 80th birthday when she came to visit, which made her day which I couldn’t give her.

So, thank you my friends. Look forward to seeing you all again when we can get together.

Phyl and David Willshire

Eco Church Team

Around a year ago the DCC decided to take up the challenge of becoming an Eco Church. We will be following a programme run by A Rocha UK which helps churches to become more sustainable, eco aware and friendly. A Rocha then award Bronze, Silver or Gold Eco Church status.

This is going to be quite a journey and will lead to some costly but life – giving changes. I also hope it will be enjoyable as we set about trying to better love the world God has given to us.

The newly appointed Eco Team were commissioned at our Annual Meeting last month and are now meeting to establish how to move this project forward.

Please pray for the team:

Valerie Collings, David Boyd, Sarah Omond, Mike Lidstone, Ruth Clinch and Sally Horrell.

Others may well join in as well and if this is a team you would be interested in joining then please email Valerie Collings on

The team will research and advise but I hope we can all embrace this as an essential part of our worship, discipleship and mission.

Tom Coopey

Gift Aid

This is good news from Sian Dobson, our Treasurer taken from her report on the Financial Statement at 31 December 2020. “For much of this year the church has been in lockdown due to the covid19 pandemic. Initially this impacted income significantly as the weekly offerings (open plate) were not collected, income from weddings and funerals was low, and the rent from the Park church was not collected as they were also in lockdown. However giving by standing order has increased and also people have given by cheque and online payments. Total giving has increased by 6% compared to 2019.”

In 2020 the year’s Gift Aid amounted to £12,619. St John’s Church is recognised as a charity so we are eligible to claim Gift Aid on donations for those who pay tax.

What is Gift Aid?
Gift Aid is one of the simplest and most effective ways of giving to charity. It is a scheme administered by the Inland Revenue which allows us to claim 25p for every £1 that you donate if you pay tax. So, for example, if you donate £20 we can claim an extra £5, making your gift worth £25. If you pay tax but have not given us permission to claim Gift Aid please reconsider.

What do you need to do?
All you need to do is fill out a Gift Aid Declaration Form available from Sian or me. Probably the most convenient way to donate is by monthly giving using a standing order from your bank. Alternatively you can use the brown envelopes in church . If you use the envelope system a code number can be given to avoid completing name and address details each time and also keeps your donation more private.

But Remeber!
We cannot claim more gift aid in a year for an individual than the amount of tax they pay.

Thank you
To all those who gift aid their donations and also to those who give but are not eligible to gift aid.

Linda Miles

Thank you for this collage sent by Pete Evans-Jones

Thanks to Pauline Neals for sending this poster

As we potter in the garden
It’s good to hear
The birds chirping
As they flitter amongst the trees. And to see the bright daffodils Swaying in the breeze.
Often the squirrels race around Chasing each other
With wild abandon.
I am in awe
Of the wonderful wildlife
And our beautiful countryside
After His creation
“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” And it certainly is.

Linda Miles

Easter Greetings from Alison and Malcolm

We hope this letter finds you safe and well. Malcolm and I have had a very busy start to the year and have missed being able
to see our friends at St John’s regularly. We thought you might like an update on what we have been up to.

Sadly, the need for counselling and support services continues to see an increase in demand. The longer-term effects of the COVID 19 pandemic and multiple lockdowns upon many people’s mental and physical health, continues to be very apparent. Having qualified as an EMDR (Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) practitioner, Alison is working with ever increasing complex trauma cases She is hoping to be able to go back to face-to-face meetings, with the most vulnerable clients after Easter. Malcolm has finished his level 3 counselling training and has passed both the exam and portfolio, which he is very relieved about.

We have started to take bookings for our B & B Tranquillity Retreats Weymouth and feel blessed to be able to use our gifts of hospitality in this way.

Due to the success of raising funds for Dorset Anti-Bullying Service (www.dabsonline.org) our not-for-profit project, which supports adults who have experienced bullying, we do not need to raise funds this Spring. Therefore, we are selling the seedlings we are growing to raise funds for St John’s Church Renewal Project. We have organic tomato, lettuce, runner beans, broad beans, radishes, beetroot, celeriac, courgettes, peas, mangetout and many more. They are £1 each and all proceeds will go directly to St John’s. We thought this was particularly appropriate given as a Church we have been studying Saying Yes to Life. If you would like any plants please make contact. They can be collected or delivered complying with government guidelines.

We hope we can see you in person before too long and celebrate our Risen Lord.

We send you our love and prayers. Malcolm and Alison xx

Dates for your diary
  • April 2nd Good Friday 2-3pm In Church – An Hour at the Cross (an hour of reflection)
  • April 4th Easter Day 10.30am Open Air Service in the church grounds (singing allowed)
  • April 11th In Church 9am Service
  • April 18th In Church 9am Service
  • April 25th In Church 9am Service

(Face coverings will need to be worn in the church and social distancing observed)

  • June 19th 10.30-11am South West Awake A chain of prayer along the South west Coast Path