And the winner is…

There are lots of winners and losers around at this time of year. Whether it’s the Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League, BAFTAs, the Grand National, Premiership Rugby, Snooker or even the Eurovision Song Contest – in recent weeks the winners and losers have respectively won and lost. And as a nation we are heading back to the polling booths and soon enough the political winners and losers will be known.

Winning – in the world’s eyes – is simply about being the best. The Bible, however, turns our notions of winning and losing upside down. When Jesus’ friends were jockeying for position He said, “Whoever is the least of you will be the greatest.” (Luke 9:48). In the Kingdom of God the true way to win is to put your own agenda to one side and serve and love others. We must let this guide our thinking and decision making over the coming days.

The following is taken from a letter written by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York with regard to the election.
“In the midst of a frantic and sometimes fraught election campaign, our first obligation as Christians is to pray for those standing for office, and to continue to pray for those who are elected. We recognise the enormous responsibilities and the vast complexity of the issues that our political leaders face…..

Our second obligation as Christians at these times is to set aside apathy and cynicism and to participate, and encourage others to do the same.”

The Tower Repairs

We are pleased to report that the work on the tower has been completed. This is the last major work which was highlighted in the 2013 Quinquennial Inspection.

In the first phase before Christmas, the tower was cleaned of pigeon guano accumulated over a number of years. The concrete floor of the tower was suffering from deterioration due to rusting iron reinforcement rods. The floor was removed and replaced with a wooden one. A small number of alterations were made to give an access to the roof and to improve drainage. The most recent work involved replacing the fixings that hold the pigeon screens in place and a final clean. Wooden ladders have been replaced with metal ones and minor stone work has been attended to. Accessing the spire was by climbing external ladders and abseiling down ropes attached to the top of the spire as shown in the photographs. We would like to thank Colombo and James from Strachey’s the contractors, Daniel and Peter of John Stark and Crickmay, the church architects.

The tower still has to be monitored. Whilst the external ladders are in place there will be an inspection by an engineer to provide guidance for the care of the tower over the next 10 years.

The cost of the repairs was met from legacies, our Gift Day last year, and grants from the Cox Trust, The Erskine Muton Trust, the Dorset Historic Churches Trust, The Allchurches Trust and The National Church Trust. We are thankful for the generosity of church members past and present and our donors.

We would like to express our thanks to the Dorset Historic Churches Trust by joining in their Ride and Stride event in September. Please look out for the information coming out soon and be ready to walk or cycle or sponsor the walkers and riders or be welcomers when our church is open.

Michael Miles

News from St John’s School

Our Deputy Headteacher Mr Richard Pask will be retiring at the end of the Summer Term. Richard joined St John’s School in 2008 as Deputy Headteacher and has been fully committed to this role. Richard has taught in Year 5 and 6 during the time he has been with us at St John’s. I know you will want to join me in thanking him for all his hard work and also wishing him well as he looks ahead to spending more time pursuing other interests, including his passion for Drafts/Checkers, as featured in the The Dorset Echo recently!

This will mean that there will be a new Deputy Headteacher and Year 6 Teacher joining us in September. Her name is Mrs Claire Taylor. Mrs Taylor is currently Head of Maths at St Osmund’s CE Middle School in Dorchester. We look forward to welcoming her to St John’s.

Mrs Pauline Neels, St John’s office manager will also be retiring at the end of the summer term. Pauline has worked at St John’s School for 26 years and her commitment through work and prayer during these years has been such a blessing to the school. I have very much appreciated her knowledge and professional approach, especially when I joined the school as a new Headteacher four years ago. I know you will want to join me in thanking her and wishing her well for the future.

Mrs Eli Kerr, who has been on maternity leave this year, has also decided to finish working at St John’s to enjoy time with her family. I would like to thank her for all the creative and artistic work she has been able to draw out of the children during her time at St John’s. We hope the staff who are leaving will keep in touch.

As you will already know, the school is in the process of becoming part of The Diocese of Salisbury Academy Trust (DSAT). We are on track to convert to academy status on 1st July. In doing so we will be joining a partnership that also includes St Andrew’s Primary School, Beechcroft St Paul’s Primary School and eventually also All Saints Secondary School. In addition DSAT is made up of 9 other academies throughout the diocese. We will continue to be known as St John’s Church of England Primary School. Please pray for God’s blessing on the school as we move forward and become an academy. Please also pray that we will be able to recruit replacements for Mrs Neels and Mrs Kerr.

We look forward to our Leavers’ Service at St John’s Church on Sunday 9th July at 10.30am. Thank you so much for your support and prayers,

Amanda Aze Headteacher

Keep your eyes open

Recently whilst on a short break we came across this plaque when walking in Arundel Park. It prompted us to invite you, whilst you may be out and about during the summer, to photograph or write about other interesting or thought provoking Christian objects. What about an unusual church building, a memorial or stained glass window?

It would be good to share these in Jottings.

Linda and Michael Miles