The Old Vicarage

Exciting times are ahead as we are now in the process of purchasing the Old Vicarage. This is something being talked about quite a lot locally – and so here is an over view of what we’re doing.

Our plans are to run the Old Vic as a community and youth centre which, along with the Church and grounds, will be open throughout the week for community use. We are confident that the whole site will make a prominent, accessible focal point for the community. We will be able to offer a range of spaces in which a large variety of community groups can meet. The Old Vicarage will provide an excellent base for our current youth and children’s work and we envisage the building becoming well used for much needed local youth work in the future.

In order to part fund the purchase we are placing the Park Church on the market. This decision has not been easy but it has been unanimously agreed at DCC, PCC and Diocesan levels. Groups who currently use the Park Church are all being invited to come and use either the Old Vicarage or the church building for their groups.

In order to create the community facility, work will need to be done on both the church and the Old Vicarage. This will be a financial and practical challenge which we as a congregation will be encouraged to embrace.

You’ll hear lots more about this as the weeks go by. The St John’s Renewal Project will be launched in the Autumn as part of our fundraising campaign to develop the church site to become a vibrant and welcoming centre of the community.

For now – please pray for a smooth process, clear vision and peace and understanding in the community.

Yours in Christ

Pause for thought …

The word ‘late’ has of recent times given me a cause for thought. It is a word that has seven interpretations. But in a light mood I remembered a lady many years ago who was always late for the ladies gathering to which she belonged. I was told by the chairperson that everybody watched the clock to see how late she would be. It was not a long delay but the meeting did not start until she arrived!

Of course clock watching can be a weakness in character resulting in poor performance, incomplete work and an indication of lack of commitment. Perhaps another weakness is always being late when given a task and watching the clock to make sure not more is done than is convenient. Time is important to us all. Time to get up, meal times, bus or train times, time to expect a caller, appointments, etc.

The lady at my meeting was to share in Christian fellowship and she made it – just!

Jesus before His crucifixion had to remind His disciples of the most important appointment anyone has been called to keep. ‘My time is at hand’ were His words as He went to the cross to accomplish God’s plan for our redemption. Through His death, resurrection, ascension and the releasing of the Holy Spirit we might find that our inherent weaknesses can be dealt with. We can know the full joy of Christian living and fellowship. We do not have to make an appointment to sort ourselves out. Whether it is the first time to come to Jesus or to enrich and strengthen our faith, Scripture tells us “… now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6 v2

My lady missed nothing of her time together with others but the only time we can get right with God is now! It is now that we must come with all our needs and weaknesses. This is how Jesus put it, “Ask and it will be given you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7 v7

Think about it, but don’t take too long, you cannot leave it too late. You may be missing the most important meeting of your life.

John Downer

Congratulations to Joanna Boyd

On Thursday 24th May I had the honour of being invited to the grounds of Buckingham Palace to receive my gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. Prince Edward visited my group and congratulated us on our achievements.

The Duke of Edinburgh Award involved me doing an expedition across Dartmoor which included navigating 80km over 4 days through thick mist with 18kg on our backs. I also did 12 months of volunteering. For the ‘skill’ section I chose to continue with my piano and oboe lessons in order to work for exams in both instruments. I was also required to do 6 months of physical activity, for which I used my membership of Weymouth Rowing Club and my participation in friendly intra-club competitions.

Focus … Ignite

Since taking over leading the ‘Ignite’ youth group in September last year, I have had the privilege of regularly meeting with these young people on Sunday mornings. I feel fortunate to say that both their teaching at home, and in previous groups, has made my job much easier than it could have been. So this past year has been mostly about bonding socially as a group, and making sure that we are all on the same page when it comes to some of the more difficult issues. This couldn’t have been done without helpers past and present, so a huge thank you to those who have been involved.

In terms of teaching, we began the year by finding out what questions the group wanted answers to, and what issues they were interested in. These ranged from the creation of the universe, to more important issues like why we have biscuits after church. The more we dug the more we found the need to ‘myth-bust’ certain topics. Interesting conversations ensued over toast, and we were able to delve into the Bible to learn more and more.

Recently, we have been focusing on prayer and learning about the Holy Spirit, particularly the fruits and gifts. When Daisy was taken ill it was a real test of this for us. The maturity that emerged in this difficult situation though, made me very proud, and very confident, as we go forward into a very exciting and interesting time for St John’s youth and children’s work.

Elliott Bailey

Churchwardens’ Visitation

Les and I, with more than 80 other Churchwardens gathered in St Mary’s Church, Winterborne Whitechurch for one of the Archdeacon’s Visitations. We made our Declaration and were admitted to the office of churchwarden by the Archdeacon of Dorset, Antony MacRow-Wood.

Each year the Churchwardens are given a charge. This year, our retiring Archdeacon of Sherborne, Paul Taylor, included this in his last charge to us.

“For it seems to me that pastoral encounter and care is at the very heart of where we meet and show God, which as far as I can see, is exactly the mark of all that Jesus did.

I have discovered that the Christian story springs to life, as we each help each other bring it into play in the context of our actual situation, as we learn to read our own stories through the stories of Jesus and the wider Bible in which they sit. It is important that we hold this in the forefront of minds as we think about what is most important about the local church. It is that trusted and ever available presence, where people, especially at times of most need, will feel able to talk to their priest and Christian neighbours and know, whatever their uncertainties about faith, that they will be listened to and be touched by God’s grace, which is offered through our words and actions. As congregations, as Churchwardens and clergy, we need to remember this and also seek to share in that key pastoral care of our community, as Jesus entrusted his ministry to his Church.”

Les and I, supported by Linda and Tom (Barry was unwell) enjoyed meeting so many different people in a church we had never visited before.

Michael Miles