Learning to Lean
It’s over two years since that first Lockdown! Out of a combination and interest and nostalgia, I recently looked back at the first few online messages that we put out to the church during that time. In my first ‘Midweek Message’ (remember those!?!) I mentioned this verse from Song of Songs – “Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning on her beloved” – and said that whatever else may happen I hoped we would emerge from this desert-like experience leaning more fully on Jesus.
Little did we know then just how long and challenging the Pandemic was going to be. We also didn’t know with any certainty how church would change and what God would do. But for all that the last two years have brought – for all the ups and downs and twists and turns of the Pandemic – for all that has changed in our church – to lean on God still seems to be our number one priority and our biggest need.
It’ll soon be Holy Week where we once again engage with the dramatic events leading up to Easter. At the Last Supper whilst sat around the table we read that John was leaning on Jesus. Was this because he was Jesus’ favourite? Surely not. Or was it that John just knew there was no better place for him to be than close to Jesus? The same is true for us. To be close to Jesus is the best place for us. It’s where we find peace, hope, joy and love. It’s where we can hear His voice clearly. It’s where we hear His call to follow Him and receive all the grace and power that we need to do that.
When Jesus was arrested – all the Disciples fled. As far as we know only one later came to the foot of the cross to witness the crucifixion….John. I recently heard a preacher (Simon Ponsonby) say of John, “The first one leaning was the last one standing.”.
I’ve found recent months pretty hard going and once again I’ve heard the invitation to lean on Jesus and it’s an invitation to all of us. So, just as we said 2 years ago, whatever else may happen let’s be found leaning on Jesus.
My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing he cannot do
I have just finished reading a book written by Klaus-Dieter John entitled God Has Seen Us. It is a story shared around the world about the Diospi Suyana Hospital – a main hospital, dental hospital and eye hospital that was built by donations in a very poor part of Peru, where the Quechua people live in the Andes. The hospital and subsequent school are in Cusco.
Klaus and his wife, Martina John, German missionaries had a passion for making this all happen through the hand of God. In her forward, Dr Martina John writes, “Our Almighty God is not some distant creator, nor is He a vending machine that chucks out the desired answer to our prayers”.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit we can have a relationship with God. In this book, the John’s trust in much prayer, and see it a privilege to work alongside God.
They tell the story as it really is through all the ups and downs in life, the good times and the disappointments, hurts and sad times. They have a great love for the Quechuan people and indeed obtained Peruvian citizenship, which helped them to work with the Peruvian authorities. It is a story of medicine, money and miracles. I couldn’t put this book down, it captivated me.
So what did it personally say to me? God is so powerful, there is indeed nothing he cannot do, and he does immeasurably more than we can conceive. It has helped me to learn to trust God more, especially in times of difficulty. It has also taught me about the power of prayer, and to never give up on seemingly impossible situations for humans to resolve. God is indeed a loving God who wants the best for all of us.
I know that I have eternal life – starting here and now, and also in heaven. So as we consider changes that will affect our lives in Weymouth, I know that we can become a dynamic church at St. John’s – and we can go out into serving the community with God’s help.
Hello from all of us at St John’s Primary School!
As I write this we are enjoying a beautiful day of sunshine. Spring is here and we are really looking forward to be able to come to St John’s Church on 5th and 6th April to celebrate Easter.
We have had a full and busy school year so far. The staff were incredible at pulling together as a team through a difficult few weeks when COVID significantly affected us with staff illness at the beginning of January. As the term has continued we have gradually been able to relax our risk assessment. We are really looking forward to the day when we can return to the whole school meeting together for collective worship with Rev. Tom. Hopefully that is not too far away now!
The student council at school did an amazing job of organising a collection of essential items for the people of Ukraine earlier this month. Due to the power of social media, before we knew it, we were inundated with generous donations that came from all over Weymouth! Our Chair of Governors Mrs Viv Sloan organised a team of volunteers to organise, sort and box everything up. There was far too much for us to transport to Bournemouth in cars. Thanks to Matt Denton at Medisave, who arrived in a van at the end of the week, all of the donations were delivered.
Collecting essential items for the people of Ukraine
A good number of children have eagerly signed up to participate in the St John’s Church Easter Holidays Club, ’Rumble in the Jungle’. It is great to be also working with Susie and Joe to build more links between church and school. I feel excited about how this will develop and grow over the next few terms.
During the summer term we will be looking forward to celebrating an RE Arts Week (13th June onwards) After some discussion with Rev Tom we are hoping to create some art to display at St John’s Church. We can’t wait! As part of the week, hopefully, working with Susie, we will also be able to create a Prayer Space for our school community.
Thank you so much for your support and prayers over this time. Best wishes,
Amanda Aze (Head Teacher)
Here are the men who gathered for the second men’s breakfast. Many thanks to 3 or 4 early birds who prepared all the food for a very full English breakfast. It was easy to chat round the table with a mug of tea/ coffee in hand or tucking into a sausage.
Why not come and join us for the next breakfast – Saturday 2nd April from 8.30-10am.
Head in the Clouds?
Several years ago I watched a BBC documentary, presented by Stacey Dooley, on the environmental impact of saving digital data to ‘the cloud’. It wasn’t something I’d ever thought about before and it was very challenging.
How innocuous does ‘the cloud’ sound? We sometimes joke that a document is lost ‘in the ether’ when we can’t locate where we’ve saved it.
Sadly ‘the cloud’ isn’t a magical repository, somewhere in the sky, where unicorns dance and skip. Behind it are thousands upon thousands of enormous data storage servers, all of which require vast amounts of electricity to keep them cool, emitting loads of CO2. Energy is also used every time we complete a myriad of digital activities that access data in the cloud – read an email, send a text, stream videos, play games on the internet or ask Mr Google* for advice.
I am sure that lots of people reading this are much more tech savvy than me. So I apologise if this appears to be an over-simplification of a very complex issue. It’s not as if we can live easily in today’s world without having recourse to access cloud data. However, we can all do a bit of our own digital spring cleaning to minimise our personal impact. Here are a few things we can do:
- Unsubscribe to any regular newsletter emails that you never read;
- Delete any files, apps, or videos, stored in cloud storage, that you no longer need;
- Sort out your photos and delete any duplicates that are stored in cloud storage;
- Consider downloading music you listen to regularly rather than always streaming;
- When you access a website that you use regularly, type it into the address bar, rather than using a search engine. This will cut down on the data processing necessary and save energy;
- Minimise streaming – try asking yourself if you really need to watch another cute kitty/puppy/how to fold a napkin in 30 different creative ways video clip on Facebook ever again (think of all the time it will save!)
Just so you know, I’m still working on these. There may be other things you do already or think of once you start. Let me know your ideas…. don’t email me, find me at church and we can chat!
*other search engines are available
Many of you may save stamps and pass them on to various charities that you support, which is a great way to recycle. Great job, keep going!
If you don’t already, but would like to start, I am happy to collect used stamps and send them to The Society for Distributing Hebrew Scriptures. This is a charity organisation which exists to provide Jewish people worldwide with a free copy of the Holy Scriptures in bilingual format, i.e. in Hebrew and in the reader’s daily tongue.
Recycle your used postage stamps! One stamp equals one Hebrew word!
Please leave stamps on paper, trimmed with a border of at least 1/4 inch where possible.
I am still collecting used pens, felt tips, marker pens, empty blister medication packs, so now you can just add your used stamps! Bring them along to church and Dave or I will happily take them off your hands.
More recycling means less land fill. Thank you!
News from Kerry, our mission link partner in Cameroon.
Kerry writes greetings to you all from Cameroon.
The big excitement in this part of the world at the moment is the Africa Cup of Nations International Football Tournament. So the other national religion of football is being well celebrated.
Following our little outreach campaign in October, the evangelism team have been busy following up on their Mus contacts who want to hear more about Jesus and the Bible. It has been encouraging for them to see some people are genuinely searching for truth and are listening to them. Several of our evangelists are now discipling people from Mus backgrounds (MBB’s) who have come to faith in Christ.
A special gathering was held in February to encourage these new believers because many choose not to attend church because it causes them many problems.
Kerry asks us to pray
- That the gathering will have been a catalyst to formation of MBB community and
bonds as the Body of Christ
- That the love of Christ will cast out the fear that so many MMB’s live with, fear of
persecution and hostility from their communities because of Christ Pray for Kerry who will be home in April to complete her last MA module.
Kerry sends her thanks to St John’s for your support and prayers and sends her love to each one.
Lay Pastoral Assistants
The St. John’s Lay Pastoral Assistants (LPAs) are a group of people who have attended a Salisbury Diocesan course and are licensed to carry out pastoral duties in the St. John’s district of our parish. We have all taken safeguarding courses and are DBS checked.
The group is made up of Valerie and Richard Collings, Jill Flux, Alison and Malcolm Fox, Meg Fox and myself, Diane Blackwell. We meet once a term, with Tom, to discuss pastoral needs and how they can be covered.
These needs may involve practical help, like meals or giving a lift, or a listening ear and prayer to those with emotional or spiritual needs, with all conversations being confidential unless someone is at risk. There may be members of the congregation who are unable to get to church for a while and would appreciate a visit or are housebound and want to receive communion.
There are many people in our church who give the sort of care I have mentioned but being a licensed LPA means you can serve the church in a more official capacity and receive training. Anyone interested in becoming an LPA is invited to speak to a member of the team.
If you, or someone you know, would like support from an LPA please let me know .
Dates for your Diary
Sunday May 8th 4pm APM at St John’s
We are part of a Parish of 5 Anglican Churches: St Aldhelm’s, St Ann’s, St Mary’s. Emmanuel and St John’s. This makes up the Parish of Radipole and Melcombe Regis in Weymouth. The APM is an important once a year meeting to hear what the churches have been doing during the last year and to ratify people in important roles in each church.
Do come along to find out what’s been happening.
Saturday June 4th 2-5pm Open Air Fun Day in St John’s Church Grounds
This is a fun day for all ages when we invite others to join us in the church grounds. Lots of help will be needed. Let’s hope the sun will shine.
Find out more later this month.
Trim and Tidy
What a beautiful day was chosen to trim and tidy the church grounds. Most of those who came along stopped for refreshments and time together to chat. Some, who are not in the photograph continued to be active. Many containers of weeds, cuttings, twigs and rubbish were collected and taken to the tip.
A huge THANK YOU to those who helped in any way. Maybe others would like to join us in the future?