Surrounded

Do you ever feel overwhelmed? I do. I expect you do too.

The last two years have been a challenge and that challenge has shown itself in lots of different ways. A global pandemic will have left its mark on all of us one way or another. I’m aware at the moment of people going through really hard times. There are challenges.

But there are also amazing things to celebrate! Church is opening up again – and not only that – growing and drawing new people in. If you are new or even newish – welcome – we’re so glad you’re here. These are exciting times as we are worshipping and growing together after long periods of being separated. So much to give thanks for!

Of course for some, physical church attendance is still not possible and we must all be looking out for each other and helping people to still feel loved and connected. But in truth, even things going well and changing can bring its own sense of being overwhelmed, however exciting it is!

In 2 Kings 6 the Prophet Elisha and his servant are surrounded by the Aramean army. They feel overwhelmed. Elisha prays that their ‘eyes would be opened’ and then they see an even greater army surrounding them, protecting them and ready to fight for them. It’s a picture of what it really means that God is with us even when we feel overwhelmed. Let’s pray that God would open our eyes to see the truth that He is with us and that even when we feel overwhelmed we are in fact surrounded by God.

There is a worship song with the line, “It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by you.”
May we know the truth of that in the overwhelming moments.

With love

Thank you from Tearfund

Dear Friends

Thank you so much for your recent gift of £80, given instead of sending Christmas cards within your church family. The generosity and faithfulness of your church will mean that around the world people like Juliet, from Bangladesh, will be safe and ready when disaster strikes.

The climate emergency is already having a massive impact on people living in poverty. Floods, storms and droughts are destroying homes, wrecking crops and ruining lives.

But, thanks to the support of your church, hope is very much alive.

Your church’s gift will enable our network of local churches and partners to equip communities with the tools and techniques they need to adapt. These include more resilient housing, early warning systems, and training in emergency first aid – providing the ability to be ready and safe when disaster strikes.

Please keep praying for the people of Bangladesh. Prayer resources are available on the Tearfund website www.tearfund.org/get-involved/pray.

Poverty isn’t God’s plan. You are. Thank you to all the St John’s Church family for making our work possible, and for showing Christ’s love in such a practical way. We wish everyone at St John’s the richest blessings for the coming year.

‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.’

Romans 15 v 12-13

Tearfund Donor Care Team

Thank you from CMJ UK

Churches Ministry among Jewish People

From a recent letter to our church:

Dear St John’s Church

As a valued supporting church, we want to thank you for your financial support over the last 12 months.

In supporting CMJ UK, you are supporting our 3-fold ministry:

Evangelism – There is much work to be done! Jewish evangelism is very much a ‘live issue’ in the Church of England today with the publication of ‘God’s Unfailing Word’. In the UK, CMJ has three Community Based Evangelists.

Education – There is much work to be done! Currently, our advocacy, deputation and Bible Comes to Life teams are involved in a variety of Churches and Messianic Fellowships in which our ministry in preaching/teaching is growing significantly.

Encouragement – There is much work to be done! Currently, via social media, our annual conference, standing up against anti-Semitism along with many personal contacts, Jewish Believers in Jesus are nurtured and strengthened.

Regular news is sent out quarterly to us and if you would like to receive a copy of News and Views from the UK and Israel, please speak to Dave Clinch.

For we were all baptised by one Spirit so as to form one body – whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. And so the body is not made up of one part, but many.

1 Corinthians 12 v 13 & 14

Thank you to Ruth and Dave Clinch, our representatives for Tearfund and CMJ UK.

A few notices from Tom

Get a room! Here’s how…

If you want to use any of the rooms in either church or Hope House – then from now on please book via Trudy Dickson at the Parish Office.

Please also note that Trudy cannot take bookings – or any other administrative enquiries – outside of her working hours. Please respect the fact that when Trudy is at church on a Sunday she is not at work. Thank you.

Parish Office: 01305 786043
parishoffice@ramr.church
The office is open between 9-4pm, Monday – Friday

Hope House Prayer Time

All are invited to come and pray at – and for – Hope House for half an hour every Monday at 12.30pm. This is an opportunity to pray specifically for the growing ministry of Hope House and our work with children, families and young people. If you can’t make the meeting you can commit some time to pray for Hope House every week. Let’s get that amazing place – and amazing people working there – flooded with prayer.

Wednesday Prayer time 9 – 9.45am every Wednesday in Church.

In line with national guidelines the prayer meeting will return to being in person as of Wed 2nd Feb. I hope you’ll be able to join us.

Men’s Breakfasts: 8.30 – 10am: Sat 5th Feb 2022, Sat 5th March and Sat 2nd April

All the chaps are invited to come and enjoy a cooked breakfast at St John’s. At the first breakfast in Feb we’ll be talking about how we can develop a brilliant men’s ministry – so please feel free to come and share your ideas and dreams about what this could involve. If these first three breakfasts go well – they may become a regular feature. Looking forward to seeing you guys there!

ADCM: Church Annual Meeting. Sun 3rd April.

Our annual meeting is a moment to review the past year as well as look to the future. It is also the meeting during which we elect Church wardens and new members of the church leadership committee (the DCC).

There is also a Q&A and financial presentation. We will be having a Bring and Share Lunch after the 10.30am service followed by lunch. Please note that if the Covid situation changes, our plans may also have to.

Date for your Diary.

The APCM (annual meeting of the Parish – our family of churches) will be held on Sun 8th May – all details to be confirmed but please save the date.

Leadership changes

There have been some changes to key leadership positions at St Johns.

Home Groups

Michael and Linda Miles have stepped back from the role of Home Group Co-ordinators. They have served in this capacity for 20+ years and we thank them for their hard work and service. Tony and Diane Blackwell have now taken on the co-ordination of Home Groups.

Prayer Ministry

Our Prayer Ministry Team is now being led by Stuart and Vicki Sharkey. With thanks to Diane for co-ordinating this team in recent years – and with prayers for Stuart and Vicki as they now lead this ministry forward.

Church Treasurer

Sian Dobson has stepped down as Treasurer – after several years of hard work in what was only ever meant to be a temporary role! Thank you Sian. David Boyd has very kindly stepped up and will taking on the treasurer role. Thank you David.

Future Changes.

Other significant changes will be announced in due course. Please pray for wisdom and discernment as we look for people to take on various leadership roles in church.

The Annual meeting on Sun 3rd April will be an opportunity to offer formal thanks for those who have stepped down as well as to pray for all involved in leadership.

Family

My biological family has always been small and somewhat dysfunctional. Throughout my life I have seen friends leaning on their families during hard times, celebrating with them during good times and just sharing life with them over the years. At times I admit to elements of jealousy of those having a wider support structure of people who care and are interested in how you are doing.

While I am now married to the wonderful Karen, we have created a small bubble of our own ‘family’. (Me, Karen, and a couple of teddies!) I still have not had the extended relationships so many enjoy. Well at least until now!

Being so unwell over Christmas and New Year has opened my eyes to the family which I am part of here at St John’s. Both Karen and I have so much appreciated being able to share the difficult times with you, ask for prayer and have you standing beside us.

We have been inundated with offers of help, both practical and spiritually. The support has been overwhelming and has been such a blessing – thank you.

Church often use terms like ‘church family’ almost as a basic requirement for their website and other publications. However St John’s has demonstrated this sincerely and we are so grateful.

Thank you, family, Pete Naylor

What a wonderful day

Mike and I have just returned home after a sunny, but cool walk along the esplanade in Weymouth, listening to the small waves gently breaking on the sandy beach. Naturally of course, we stopped to have a hot drink at our usual outdoor café next to the beach.

So it reminds us of happy times. Although we had to change our Christmas arrangements at the last moment (mainly due to Covid) it meant that we had quality time together with our daughter and family from Singapore, as they spent a few days in Weymouth.

Our grandchildren were delightfully – very active and chatty. Oh for those days of ‘natural innocence’ where each day holds new experiences. Jesus is very fond of children – indeed we are all God’s children and are made in his image. We can come to Jesus with all our problems, in both sad and happy times, and He will keep us close to himself.

Just as young children are very curious, so we can ask God to put the ‘divine spark’ in our lives, to enable us to see the world from God’s point of view. We are all part of God’s family at St. John’s Church, so may we offer ourselves up to help and serve others.

Therefore as we start a New Year, may we continue to walk life’s journey with Jesus, learning to lean on him and be willing to obey his commands? He only wants the best for us.

Hilary Lidstone

Mens’ Breakfast – Sat 5th Feb Sat 5th March Sat 2nd April 8.30-10am
eco team

Green shoots are appearing in the two tubs at the church entrance. I was encouraged and excited to see them emerge about three weeks ago. These are from daffodil bulbs which were planted by our congregation on 12th September last year, at the end of our Climate Sunday Service. At this stage, they symbolise the progress we are making towards becoming an Eco Church. As with that process of germination, all has been hidden for a while, as important work goes on behind the scenes.

It must be appreciated that becoming an Eco-Church and gaining an award, be it Bronze, Silver or Gold, is not and cannot ever be, an end in itself. The arrival at any such point is merely a spin off from the continuing shifts being made towards adopting new ways of working, which are gradually lining up with how God intended us to care for His Creation. The Eco -Team is continuing to use the prompts in each of the five sections* of the A Rocha Survey, to identify and examine where and how changes can be made, which enable us, as a church – as well as individually – to alleviate our carbon footprint, thereby helping to mitigate the devastating effects of climate change.

Much has been achieved in the past ten months. But there is still much to be addressed. Some of it is exciting, like the planning of where to put nest boxes, bat boxes and bug hotels, and the construction of these at an envisioned workshop for young people in the spring. A Land Management Plan will soon be available for perusal. It is very much hoped that this will be the year when we can establish a definite spot for raised beds and actually get some vegetables planted! It is also the year to plant at least one tree, to commemorate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

All this optimism however sits in front of a backdrop of daunting and depressing constraints. Firstly, as with any garden design project, nothing can be done regarding planting anything until all hard core for car parks is in place. Understandably, the car park fringe area is ‘on hold’. Secondly, the discovery of the presence of Japanese Knotweed means that to avoid long term complications and expense It needs to be eradicated and has to be cordoned off and treated with toxic chemicals. This involves a considerable delay while the treatment takes full effect and not only that, an area of within seven metres from the affected area should not be planted to avoid further contamination or the death of any new plants. More Japanese Knotweed has been discovered behind Hope House. So that area too is out of bounds. This only leaves the sunny spot to the south of Hope House, which can be considered for moving forward this year on the land section of the A Rocha Survey! It is envisioned that the existing lawn area will be preserved, and the margins will be developed for raised beds. Planting for a sensory garden is also being considered so that the area will be as inclusive as possible.

While the Land section can therefore only move forward at what seems like a snail’s pace, there is plenty else to be getting on with in the Community and Global Engagement and Lifestyle Sections. We are currently looking into becoming a Fairtrade Church. It would be appropriate if we could achieve that status this year, as Twenty Years of Fairtrade Communities are celebrated nationally. However, twenty years ago the backdrop was very different with the move towards globalisation; foreign travel was seen as a desirable and fashionable ‘must have’. Nowadays, concerns about carbon emissions mean that we are looking through a different lens. We need to combine Fairtrade with Organic so as not to defeat the ultimate goal of helping the poorest communities, who struggle to survive in the face of climate change.

There is therefore much to pray about, much of which is still to be realised. In the words of a well-known traditional hymn, “God is working His Purpose Out”. We must wait patiently in faith for the Lord to act.

*Worship & Teaching, Buildings, Land, Commu- nity and Global Engagement, Lifestyle.

Valerie Collings (Church Eco-team Leader)

At a recent family prayer meeting, Diane Blackwell’s daughter Becky had the following word from the Lord. Becky’s prayer for 2022 is that we go into our room, close the door and pray.

Start with prayer before you speak or act This will pierce the malaise. As you see things happening in the world – pray. Don’t hide from the news but pray over it. We must think about what we watch and read. Commit everything to prayer. Don’t give up because nothing is too big for God. David, Moses, and Jesus all spent time with God before they acted. There are supposed to be more Christians than any other religion, but it doesn’t show! The word of God has been twisted. We need to encourage each other to pray. Our prayers are not a drop in the ocean… our prayer IS the ocean. Our prayer may be as big as a mustard seed – but God sees the tree. We must stop dumbing down our prayers and have the confidence not to quit on praying. The seed is the spark of life. Be encouraged because we don’t know what our prayers can achieve. Don’t look at the size of our faith but see who God is.’

Many thanks to all our writers. The views and opinions expressed are those of the contributors.

There will not be a January edition so please submit articles for February (of less than 300 words), dates or information to Linda and Michael Miles before Friday 21st January.

We wish all our readers a Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year
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