Drawn into the story

Do you have a favourite Christmas film? And have you watched it yet this year? There are lots of Christmas films I enjoy but I confess that my favourite is probably ‘The Muppets Christmas Carol.’ I love the humour, the music, and the way they tell the classic story. It’s a great story, well told and it’s brilliantly ‘Christmassy.’

Over the next few weeks we’ll be immersing ourselves once again in the infinitely greater story of Jesus’ birth. They say that familiarity breeds contempt – but my experience is that every year God speaks afresh through the remarkable events that surrounded the birth of Jesus. I’m particularly struck by the diverse range of characters who are drawn into the story; an ageing Priest, his wife and their baby Prophet, a carpenter, a young woman, a jealous King, the Angel Gabriel, lowly Shepherds, a choir of Angels, Simeon and Anna, the Magi and – at the centre of it all – Jesus. The chaotic nativity plays that we’ve all seen (which manage to incorporate all these characters and more!) can speak powerfully about who Jesus is and what it is to be Church. He draws in the powerful and the powerless, the faithful and the faithless, those who are near and those are far away, the weak and the strong, the rich and the poor, the good and the bad, the old and the young. Church too must draw in all, welcome all, allow all to see Jesus and be part of the on-going story of knowing Him. With J.John and our other carol services we have lots of opportunities to do this. So who could you invite to be drawn into the story this year?

This is our first Christmas at St Johns – and we look forward to celebrating with you.

Remember our Mission Partners at Christmas time

It was lovely to welcome Kerry Stillman on her first visit to St John’s. Kerry is a physiotherapist working in a hospital in Cameroon. We saw a video which focussed on three people whose lives have been changed. Her talk was about Peace; the peace of God, peace with God and peace with others.

Her particular prayer was that she will be ready to return to Africa.

Please remember Pat Blanchard in your prayers. She works in Peru but needed to return to England as her mother died recently.

David and Shelley Stokes are in England until March when they will return to Argentina. They are staying in a friends house in Salisbury and are busy visiting and speaking in churches that support them. Pray for safe travelling and time to rest and be with their children.

Sonia Hindes who works with Arise in Capetown has also had to return to England recently because her mother has been unwell. Sonia is working to encourage the fostering and adoption of children without a family.

Well, what a good first term we have had at our new toddler group, Little Fishes. We meet every Monday morning at the Park Church Centre, where the children have fun playing with toys, making new friends and singing songs (shown in the photos). We have really enjoyed getting to know some of the local families and seeing them making new friends with other parents, whilst enjoying the tasty cakes that many of you have baked for us – thank you! Please do keep praying for us as we continue to build friendships and build community in the Park District. We are always looking for people to bake cakes for our group, so please do sign up at the back of church if you are able to. Thank you!

Susie Coopey

Thank you to all those who worked on the preparations for the All-Age Remembrance Service. Everybody was given a large red poppy on which to write their prayers during the service whilst the children were occupied quietly at the back making a display. We put our prayer poppies on the Communion Table and at the end of the service the children came to show us their work. During the 2 minutes silence you could have heard a pin drop. Then the sound of the trumpet echoed round the church. It was interesting to learn that Jelly Babies were originally called Peace Babies. This was part of the talk. There was a supply of Jelly Babies to go with coffee.

A truly memorable service.