Thy Kingdom Come
Once again we’ll be taking part in Thy Kingdom Come – a national prayer initiative that runs between Ascension Day (Thurs 10th May) and Pentecost Sunday (20th May). Churches around the country will be holding various prayer events during this time and a local Beacon Service will be held at St John’s on Tues 15th May – I hope you’ll be able to attend.
At the heart of Thy Kingdom Come are two prayers; ‘Come Holy Spirit’ and ‘May people come to know Jesus.’ These two prayers are inseparable because without the Holy Spirit we can do nothing fruitful for God.
The Holy Spirit is the enabler of mission and so if we want to be effective in mission then we have to be open to the Spirit.
So for the next few weeks we are going to be learning more about the Holy Spirit in our Sunday morning services. Maybe you’re already an expert, maybe this is something quite new for you – or perhaps you know a little but long to know – and experience – more. Wherever you are – I hope that you will find this to be a stimulating topic which deepens our understanding of the person and work of the Holy Spirit. But much more than this – I pray that this will be a time of spiritual renewal for us as we welcome and receive the gift of God’s Spirit.
So may I encourage us to be open, as always, to God and to make it our prayer that we will come to know more of the comfort, truth, gifting and empowering of the Holy Spirit here at St John’s.
Come Holy Spirit.
Thank you so much to everyone who gathered to celebrate the Passover Seder here at St John’s at the end of March. Thank you to all who planned, shopped, prepared food, baked, collected tables, crockery or glasses, moved tables and chairs, set places, served food, lit candles, read words, hunted for the afikoman, manned the sound/AV desk, washed up, dried up, vacuumed up, disposed of recycling and put everything back as it should be. The generous donations of those who came meant that all costs were covered and we were able to send a cheque to CMJ for £155 – thank you! You’re all brilliant!
We were thrilled to welcome Ralph & Helen Goldenberg and David & Christine Rose who led us through the evening and hope that all were blessed by their sensitive ministry. Please pray for them as they develop Beit Chesed (House of Loving Kindness) – a meeting place of warmth, Messianic worship and discovery of Jewish roots of faith. Meetings happen regularly throughout the year. Please ask us if you would like to know more.
Ruth & Dave Clinch
On Easter Saturday we hosted our Easter Fun Day at St John’s. I am sure those of you who came would say what an amazing day we had. We had over ninety visitors that day who came to enjoy the many activities and festivities we had set up for them. For the little ones we had face painting, cake making, bouncy castles and games galore. For the parents – a well-deserved piece of cake and cuppa!
A big thank you to all who contributed – from the baking of cakes to supervising the different fun stations we had running. Without you it would not be possible. I am sure you will agree the effort was worth it. Being able to serve our local community in such a practical and fun way is such a privilege and one we do so well! Well Done Team!
Annual Parish Church Meeting
The Annual Parish Church Meeting was recently held at St Aldhelm’s. During the service the churchwarden’s were commissioned.
(In the photograph are Iona McCleod, Michael Miles, Jill Miller, Rachel Whitehouse, Anne Crabbe, Margaret Horton and David Winterbourne. Les Mould was unable to attend). Following the service we enjoyed a shared lunch, then the main meeting.
Revd Nick Clarke emphasized the importance of the Safeguarding of children, young people and vulnerable adults. He challenged us to be ready to witness for the Lord Jesus.
Revd Tom Coopey is to review youth work within the parish. This challenge was raised:- could the church consider providing a range of activities for any young people living within the borough?
Vision and Mission Meeting
Recently Tom invited all DCC members and Elders to gather for a meeting about Vision and Mission. Beforehand, we had to write a letter to an imaginary couple who had left St John’s for travel and had been out of contact for 10 years. They had made contact again, hoped to be back in England and were looking forward to visiting St John’s. They asked how things were going at St John’s, what the church was like now, what sort of things we did and how the church had changed (or not changed) since they had been way. We shared our letters to see what commonality we each had.
The aspects of church life that we all brought out were – our welcomers, an increase in the worshipping community, the leading of worship by our musicians and singers, the faithful preaching and teaching of God’s Word, hospitality and our active involvement in our local community.
Growth points included broadening the overall age profile of our congregation, encouraging new musicians and singers, looking at ways to enhance the building environment for greater use in worship and during the week, and supporting our young people and their leaders.
You will see that many of the comments are not new but the question posed is how we discern the priorities Jesus wants for His work in this place.