A few months before we’d ever heard of Coronavirus we prayed about, discussed at length, agreed and announced four core church values. That we are and aim to be:- Welcoming – Worshipping – Loving – Growing.
Now – post pandemic (just about!) with a new season ahead of us – and with new people having joined the church it seemed worth sharing these values again. These are the values we want to excel in, to be known for and for people to experience at St John’s.
Welcoming. All are welcome. All ages and stages of life. Whether you’re full of faith, have little faith or have no faith. Whether you’re asking questions, looking for friendship, curious about the church, on holiday or just in need of a coffee and a chat. Maybe you’re celebrating. Maybe you’re grieving. You are welcome. We can come to God as we are – and you can come to St John’s – just as you are.
Worshipping. At heart of the Christian faith is a dynamic and loving relationship with a living God. God loves us deeply and has shown this love through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and through the transforming gift of the Holy Spirit. And so we love to spend time with God and we do this at StJohn’s in a whole variety of ways.
Loving. The incredible love of God is for everyone and so we want to share God’s love generously and share the good news of Jesus clearly. St John’s is a loving community where people find friendship, acceptance, love and support. We also want to show God’s love to the wider community and as you’ll see we are involved in a whole range of practical projects which serve the community.
Growing. We want to grow in our faith, grow in our understanding of the Bible as we discover more about God, grow in our commitment to God and to each other and we want to grow in number and see more people come to find life changing faith in Jesus.
These values give us something to aspire to. They also give us a framework for asking honest questions about how we’re doing. Over the coming months we’ll be doing just that – looking at how we’re doing and seeking God on how we can live out these values as fully as possible. In September we’re going to spend some time looking at these values as a whole church and we’ll be seeking everyone’s views on how church is going – so get ready to share!
This process might lead to some changes but as of now may I encourage all of us to take personal responsibility for these shared values? Our church will most effectively radiate these values when we all make them a priority. So let’s make it our goal to be passionately committed to welcoming, worshipping, loving and growing.
The academic year is over……
I have now successfully crawled to the end of the year, after writing 7 essays, delivering 4 presentations, creating a community profile, and recording all of my placement activities here at St Johns.
Oh yes, the year has also included moving house, starting, and stopping employment at Hope House, 5 broken ribs, 1 punctured lung, pneumonia, and a bout of Covid…. And my first year of marriage to Karen. (That’s the best bit!)
So, what have I learned?
1) Lots of complicated, and dare I say unnecessary, theological terms.
2) That there are only 24 hours in one day and you cannot fit everything into them!
3) I am not as young as I used to be!
But… I have also continued to learn of God’s faithfulness. What a cliché I know! But is there anything better or more real than knowing God walking beside you, and sometimes carrying you? We were joking the other day about my journey with God. We were reminded of the footprint poem and how the only one set of prints represents God carrying us.
I think in my journey there is also a large and long Pete-shaped groove next to the footprints where God had to drag me, sometimes kicking, and screaming!
What’s next? Sunbathing, BBQ’s, sleep, and more rest and enjoying having our dining room free from books and paperwork!
Here we go again, Then year 3 (the final year). Yes, more essays to go, more big words to learn. But in addition, more exciting new opportunities for my placement here at St John’s.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support.
Quick eco tip
With the warmer weather we are now into the barbecue season; a delight for some and a dread for others.
Please consider wind direction before lighting to ensure that the smoke with not disturb or threaten the habitats of wildlife, drift across a busy road or waft across into a neighbour’s garden.
Jesus enjoyed cooking fish on the beach.
This is somewhat removed from cooking red meat on a disposable barbeque bought in a supermarket and wrapped in plastic. Please be mindful of God’s Creation by ensuring that you use re-cyclable equipment to minimise your carbon footprint. And consider what you are cooking, too.
ECO – CHURCH NEWS
We are pleased to have reached the required standard to achieve an A Rocha Bronze Eco-Church Award. Look out for the certificate on the church noticeboard and plaque on a wall somewhere in the church.
Since spring, we have been working towards the Silver Award. We were asked in the survey about our commitment to tree planting. At Silver level, the information required is more than a Yes/No, Need to find out type of answer; details of constraints also need to be included. I was glad about that, as we cannot plant trees en masse, before the car park has been updated. However, I was determined that we would plant a tree to commemorate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. In our team we discussed precise location and suitability of type.
Following a recommendation from our tree surgeon, we decided on a Prunus Amanogawa, which is an ornamental cherry tree. The shape is important, so that it will not splay out into the area used for worship and activities. The tree was planted on Jubilee Day, as originally envisaged.
It was a team effort, involving deciding on the site, which we did in advance. Then on the day waiting for the delivery, which arrived nearly two hours late because of busy traffic being the first warm-weather day and the Jubilee. Having prepared for some delay some of us had a picnic lunch and chat together while waiting. After that others arrived to dig the hole. Then after placing the tree in the hole and checking that it was straight, filling in the earth around it, staking the tree on the SW side as that is the direction of the prevailing wind. To protect the trunk from any gnawing animals a protective cover was fitted around the base. Finally, the all-important watering.
Afterwards everyone had a sense of satisfaction, not least as we had done something close to the Queen’s heart for a green canopy on her Platinum Jubilee. A good time was had by all.
Another completed project was to re-register as a Fair Trade Church.
A certificate to that effect, will soon be appearing on the Church noticeboard.
Valerie Collings Eco Team Leader
(Margaret Moore and Hilary Lidstone photographers. In the photographs Alan Shuttleworth, Josh Roper, Mike Lidstone, Valerie Collings and David Moore)
South West Awake
On Saturday 4th June from 10.30am to just after 11.00 it was a very windy. However our prayer gathering was really encouraging and meaningful to welcome in prayer God’s King- dom to the South West.
There were some 7 positions identified for this co-ordinated prayer time and date. We faced out to the sea and prayed – thanked God for His Gospel brought to these shores and more. We turned inland and prayed for the people of this land proclaiming God’s Kingdom over
the South West. We sang a well-known worship song to praise God for His goodness and thanksgiving, declaring His Kingdom in this region.
We finished with Amen after a few moments of open prayer.
The ‘Church’s Ministry among Jewish People’ is back in full swing. Shoresh (roots) Tours are once again going to the Holy Land. The ‘Bible Comes to Life Exhibition’ is happening in various venues. (hopefully one day here soon) Guest speakers are doing deputation appearances up and down the land (as did Robert Sakr recently here at St. John’s) and Christians are being taught about the Jewish roots of our faith.
We are also reaching out in love to Jewish people everywhere, to tell them that their long awaited Messiah has already come, and to encourage those who have become believers in Yeshua (Jesus) to go on growing in their faith.
In July, 8th-10th, we will be holding our annual CMJ UK conference at Yarnfield Conference Centre, in Staffordshire, to worship, hear good teaching, encourage each other, and to hear reports from the UK, Israel and around the world. This is always an exciting time, with many young people attending their Youth Conference at the same time! Last year, our new Vice President, J.John, was our main speaker, and we have the recordings if you would like to hear them. This year’s speaker is Gavin Calver, of the Evangelical Alliance.
This is just a taster of what is happening, and we would be grateful if you would bring CMJ before the Lord in your prayers, and for safe travelling for Dave & Ruth to and from conference.
Shalom & blessings, Dave Clinch
Lay Pastoral Assistants Quiet Day
On Saturday 11th June three of us – four counting our dog, Bella – from St. John’s team of Lay Pastoral Assistants, attended a Quiet Day at Hilfield Friary. We were joined by two from Emmanuel, and some from places outside our parish, including Dorchester, West Stafford, Sturminster Newton and Poole. The Day was led by Lindy, who had been in lay ministry all her life, before being ordained last year.
The weather was ideal. We were invited to take our time to explore the stations of Jesus’ death and resurrection which were in the Secret Garden – three in the morning and four in the afternoon. The stations were: The Empty Tomb, Resurrection Jesus, Mary and the Gardener, The Wounds of Jesus, The barbecue at the beach and Pentecost. There was also the option of staying in the lounge.
At midday we partook in the daily Eucharist service in the Chapel with the Franciscan Brothers, before eating our packed lunch outside in the pleasant sunshine.
The stations were impressive. All the Stations have been made from repurposed re-used left overs or natural materials found around the Friary, for example tree trunks, logs and recycled cans. These stations are three dimensional and so are totally inclusive, in the true Hilfield ethos.
Hilfield Friary has a Gold A Rocha Eco Award. It is always well worth a visit.
SPRING HARVEST 2023
We are looking at taking a group from St John’s Church to Butlins, Minehead in 2023. The dates are from 10 – 14th April 2023.
The theme next year will be Flipped -The Upside Down Kingdom. Join us for spiritual refreshment, to hear God’s voice and be inspired to return to our town to make a difference. Whatever age you are, single or a family, there is a place for you. There are single rooms, lodges and apartments.
Search online at www.springharvest.org for details and prices but do come back to me by Friday 15th July 22 if you wish to be included in our group as we have to book together. Anyone in need of financial support can apply via “Everyone In” fund details on the website. I believe there may also be a way to pay by instalments.
It’s always a blessing to stand together with thousands of other believers from all parts of the country in praise and worship to our wonderful God. Do contact me via WhatsApp, or see me at church for more details.
My teenage granddaughter in particular, was blown away by how many teenagers were in her group last year. She made lots of friends who keep in touch with her and she is desperate to go again in 2023.
God’s blessings received on a family holiday
Our daughter Rachel and family live in Singapore and came to the UK for a fortnight’s holiday in June this year, part of the holiday being taken in Weymouth. Our grand daughters Amelia aged three and a half, and Isabelle aged one, enjoyed themselves on the beach and at various local playgrounds. We were blessed with sunny weather, which encouraged the girls to paddle in the sea.
We then went up to Kent where we stayed in an air bnb in Yalding, surrounded by tranquil countryside. It was a converted oast house, where we lived upstairs and slept downstairs. We had beautiful views and the weather continued to be sunny and warm. The accommodation included a fitted kitchen with a ‘hidden’ dishwasher which we eventually discovered under the work surface as a built in facility. Also the refrigerator was full of food (surely not for us?) and there were bottles of wine in the living/dining room. The owners mentioned that this food was for their family, as they frequently use the house at weekends. However there was a gift of a bottle of Oast House apple and blackberry juice for us.
The purpose of this mini-break (our first since the pandemic) was to visit our new grandson Samuel George in Tunbridge Wells who is now nearly two months.
We returned to Weymouth thoroughly exhausted, but thankful for God’s many blessings, including:-
- That we could all meet together, which is difficult as Rachel lives overseas.
- We were given beautiful weather, a bonus for this country. Amelia in particular will remember that it is always sunny in England during June!
- We all kept well during the holiday.
- We met the youngest member of the Lidstone clan, Samuel and with his parents Peter and Sarah. We thank
God for this gift.
- We were all able to go to St. John’s Church in Tunbridge Wells on the Sunday. One of the older members of the church has a step-daughter who knew Rachel and family when they lived in Australia. What a small world!
These are the main blessings. We thank God for family and friends, and for good relationships. He created us to be relational beings. As we learned on the Wellbeing course, God has purposely given us enquiring minds; minds to learn more about Jesus and through our actions to show Jesus’ love with others.