Strictly or X Factor?

That’s the big question at this time of year. Do you prefer to watch celebrities trying to dance or aspiring pop stars trying to sing? (Or do you avoid them both?) Whatever the answer – one of the most entertaining aspects of these programmes is the judging. Having sung or danced their hearts out the contestants face the panel of expert judges ready to be congratulated, advised, criticised or even humiliated in front of an audience of millions. And it’s the nasty judges we love the most isn’t it? When Craig Revel Horwood raises an eyebrow and simply says the word, ‘dreadful’ or when Simon Cowell tells a young person that they have the worst voice he’s ever heard – it makes for good telly. It makes us cringe, sympathise and laugh all at the same time.

Our society has a pre-occupation with outward appearance and talent – any trip around the shops or a brief watch of TV adverts will tell you that. This will affect us all to some extent in terms of how we judge ourselves and how we judge others. Our current study of the life of David began with this challenging truth from God’s Word, “Man judges by outward appearance but God looks at the heart.” 1 Sam 16:7. With these words God told Samuel to drop all of his preconceptions in the process of discerning God’s chosen King. The world might judge on physical attributes but God’s concern is with and for our hearts. David, as it happens, was a handsome man but he wasn’t the tallest or the strongest. He was chosen as God’s anointed King because his heart was humbly set on God. This set him apart and set him on a trajectory of a faithful, even if imperfect, walk with God.

And so as we study David and as we meet to worship and to pray I hope that we will allow God access to our very hearts and ask God to make them soft, open and ready for all He calls us to do.

I prefer Match of the Day by the way (which is just as bad really…!)

God bless

Living faithfully by John Pritchard

(Bishop of Oxford until his retirement in 2014)

John Pritchard has written several very practical and helpful books for those with the responsibility of leading intercessions, both in church services and with small groups. This recent publication is more of a handbook for living as a Christian in everyday life. It is not a book to read from cover to cover, but more of a guide to refer to as situations arise. Handling Money, Facing Temptation, Working Faithfully, Sharing Faith among them.

The chapters are divided into sections headed What’s the problem? How could we think about this? and What could we do differently? followed by some appropriate quotes, a Bible passage and suggestions for further study. These sections would be good for use in home groups or perhaps as a project for Advent or Lent. The authors aim is to help us all live as Christians from Monday to Saturday. But he has a sense of humour too. Under the heading Going Shopping, he says that many of us have obsessions in our shopping habits.

Apparently Simon Cowell has 50 pairs of identical trousers in spite of it being a well- known fact that you can’t wear more than one pair at a time!

The Bishop says, “It isn’t church going that is the essence of being a Christian, but following Jesus on the path of daily discipleship, being different and making a difference as we go”.

This book should prove to be very helpful.

Anne Bond

The Jones’ Family Picnic

My parents and all the Jones’ on my mother’s side of the family decided that it would be good to meet up as a wider family. My Uncle Keith (Keith Jones Christian Bookshop in Bournemouth) and the family got together to plan the day.

Nomansland in the New Forest was chosen as the venue. Letters were sent out to all the family and we so enjoyed our day together that we decided to make a date for the following year.

On July 28th this year we all met up again to celebrate our 40th anniversary, remembering all our loved ones who would normally have been there but have gone home to be with their Saviour. The sun shone and we had a wonderful day together. What a lovely legacy for parents to leave behind – hopefully we will celebrate our 50th.

Jen Davis

Thank you

Many thanks to those who opened the church and welcomed visitors during August and the early part of September.

Our visitors included cruise passengers—14 on one day. Others were curious to see inside. One lady from Australia wanted to look in the church where her mother was married.

In September Riders and Striders, raising money for Dorset Historic Churches Trust, called in to rest or to take refreshments after their efforts of cycling or walking.

For the first time, visitors came as part of Dorset Architectural Heritage Week and showed interest in our beautiful building.

News from St John’s School

A warm hello from St John’s Primary School at the start of a new school year. We have enjoyed welcoming new teachers and support staff to the school this September. On an INSET day in the first week we spent some time thinking about the school’s vision and values. Our values are friendship, courage, respect, forgiveness, compassion and truthfulness.

Our mission statement is:-

Growing and learning together, sharing the love of God.

This is underpinned by what Jesus said to His disciples – “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. John 13:34.

As a school community we want to ensure that we live this out through putting our values into action every day. As we grow and learn together the good news is that with God’s help we can be a school where faith and living out our school values make a difference to the lives of everyone in our school community.

We look forward to visiting St John’s Church on 9th October for our annual Harvest Service. Thank you so much for your ongoing support and prayers.

Best wishes,

Amanda Aze Head Teacher

Ride and stride

The Dorset Historic Churches Trust is dedicated to the preservation of Christian churches open for public worship. St John’s church has received money from the trust in the past so we decided to take part in their annual Ride and Stride sponsorship event visiting participating churches on foot or bicycle or horse.

This was our second time in joining in the event. David and I choose to ride our bikes around Weymouth and the surrounding countryside. We created a slightly different and more challenging route from last year choosing 16 churches from the available list. It was fun way to explore inside local and more remote churches while enjoying beautiful views of Weymouth and blackberry laden hedgerows.

It was great to meet other ‘riders and striders’ along the way, including a walking group from St Aldhelm’s church.

Thank you to everyone who provided much needed refreshments and encouragement to keep us going and especially to all our sponsors.

David and Anne Boyd