Ready for the Journey

Our son, Noah, has just got back from his first ever school camping trip. In preparation for the trip we were sent home a kit list to ensure that he had everything he needed for his time away. The items on the list were all necessary for Noah to stay safe, stay well and have fun. So we set about looking for all the items and eventually managed to tick everything off on the list. Noah had a great time.

Being prepared is essential for any journey and any adventure. We have a long-standing tradition at St John’s of holding a Leavers’ Service to which all of the St John’s School Year 6 children are invited, along with their families. This is happening this year on Sunday 8th July at 10.30am. At this service we pray for the children and we present each of them with a Bible. Over their years at the school the leavers will have heard the Gospel many times and have been consistently taught and shaped by Christian values. They will have attended many services in the church and we hope that by the time they leave they feel a connection to the church and see it as ‘theirs’. As they move to secondary school they embark on a new, adventurous and uncertain chapter in their lives. We want them to feel supported and be equipped for this journey.

God’s word is a lamp to their feet and – just like Noah needed a torch for his camping trip – these young people need God’s word for this next stage of their lives.

And so – please could you consider giving this immeasurable gift to a young person this year? You are likely to never know the difference it makes – but you can rest assured that it will make a difference. If you would like to buy a Bible for a School Leaver then please use the small brown envelopes on the Welcome Desk – and fill in the Gift Aid info if you are able to do so. The Bible’s cost £16 each but donations of any size are very welcome and much appreciated.

Thank you so much

The Archdeacon’s Visitation

Every year parishioners elect Churchwardens to represent them and to work with their parish priest in enabling Christian mission and ministry in their parish. At the Archdeacon’s Visitation service the Churchwardens are sworn in as officers of the Diocesan Bishop.

This year Les and Michael will attend the Visitation at St Mary’s, Winterborne Whitechurch. Anyone is invited to the service on June 7th at 7.30pm.

Focus … SaturDads

SaturDads started to meet last Autumn. Tom asked for volunteers and John, Frank, Roy, Ivor, Peter and I agreed to help and so the journey began.

We meet on the first Saturday morning in the month from 8.45 to noon at the Park Church where we set up the toys and play areas for the children. Bacon rolls, toast and jam and gallons of tea and coffee are provided! It is a wonderful way to meet the dads and to have very informal chats about everything from football to does God exist. The dads seem to enjoy these mornings as they keep coming back with promises of more friends also coming. So far the extra numbers haven’t happened, which is just as well, as we would need more helpers to manage them! (We get about 6 dads plus children)

However we are praying more dads will get involved and hope we can get more guys from Church to help – it’s great fun and a really good way to spend a Saturday morning no matter what the weather!

Tony Blackwell

Our visit with Pat Blanchard

This March we were fortunate to go on a cruise from South America, through the Panama Canal ending up in Florida. We cruised up the west coast and were due to stop for a couple of nights at Lima. We had contacted Pat Blanchard before we left home to see if we could meet up. Following some confusion over which of the three escalators in the shopping mall we were supposed to meet by we eventually found Pat who whisked us off by taxi and then a bus through the centre of the city and out to the shanty town area. (Bus driver ex Formula 1, we reckon, from his driving style!)

A short walk from the bus brought us to Shalom, the centre where Pat works with children and young adults with physical and mental disabilities. The building also doubles as her church, and her home, as she lives in one of two apartments on the upper floors.

After Pat had shown us round the centre, (including a ride in the famous recently installed lift!) we went for a walk around the area where we met some of the folk she works with, who, despite their disabilities and challenging living conditions were amazingly friendly and cheerful. After Pat had kindly given us lunch in her apartment, she took us by bus again down to Miraflores, the coastal resort of Lima. There couldn’t have been more of a contrast to the area around Shalom. There was a huge and lush green park, with lots of top class hotels and expensive apartments. After a walk along the esplanade we headed back to the ship.

We felt very privileged to meet with Pat in her home and work environment, and were so grateful to her for giving up her precious Saturday afternoon for us. It brought the Shalom project alive, and gave us a much sharper focus for our continuing prayers for her and her community.

Pete & Shirley Evans-Jones