There was a quite incredible moment at this year’s Glastonbury Festival (I wasn’t there – but had to settle for watching on the TV). The headline act was a rap artist called Stormzy who performed to a crowd of many thousands – plus millions more watching on TV. As night fell and the lights came on he announced, somewhat surprisingly, “We’re going to give God all the glory,” and then performed a song called ‘Blinded by Your Grace.’
The performance was powerful, emotionally delivered – and even from my living room – I could sense there was a kind of ‘magic’ in the air that live music has the power to evoke. The words of the song are:- “Lord, I’ve been broken, Although I’m not worthy – you fixed me, I’m blinded by your grace, You came and saved me.”
What struck me were the images of the huge, and largely secular audience, singing along, visibly moved and seemingly lost in the moment as these words were sung. These are not the words you expect to hear at a secular festival – but they seemed to resonate deeply with people. It was a worshipful moment – and it looked like something ‘more’ was happening.
I think people – all people – long for grace. Whether or not it can be neatly articulated or expressed in a Biblical way – grace is what we all long for – and what we know we need – and what we know our world needs.
The good news of Jesus really is good news. Through Jesus amazing grace has been given to us. We are broken and unworthy yet loved, forgiven, accepted and restored by the God of grace.
Grace cropped up in an unexpected place – it was creatively communicated and it got people’s attention and – even if only for a moment – had a powerful effect. The world is longing for grace – and we know that it is found in Jesus.
Who can you share God’s grace with this summer? The evidence of the crowd at Glastonbury is that people might just be more open to the message of grace than we realise.
May we know God’s grace – and be ready to share it with confidence.
Working at Broadlands
After a Sunday morning service I was talking to John (probably our oldest member of the congregation) about some of his memories. I really enjoyed listening to his recollections of meeting the Queen so asked him to share them with us all. Maybe others would like to share their early memories.
I went to work on the Broadlands Estate, Romsey for Lord Mountbatten in 1959. His herd of forty large white pigs had been cared for by my predecessor who Lady Mountbatten did not want to pension off. However I was appointed and by the time I left the herd had been increased to four hundred sows plus their young, who were fattened up to make sausages and pies for the Walls factory in London.
My wife, my son, daughter and I were living at that time at 2, Home Farm Cottages in the middle of the estate.
One day my wife Grace was upstairs stripping the sheets from the beds ready to do the washing. Suddenly there was a knock on the door and she called down, “I’ll be there in a moment!”
When she came down the stairs there at the front door stood Lord Mountbatten with the Queen! He asked if he could show her the newly refurbished bathroom tucked away just behind the front door. Fortunately it was clean! I think my wife was slightly embarrassed to be found carrying dirty laundry over her arm, but was very pleased to meet the new young Queen.
Another day I was at home having a well-earned breakfast at 9.00am having completed my 6.00am shift feeding the
pigs when there were shouts outside the house. I heard “Horscroft!” and rushed outside to be confronted by Lord Mountbatten, accompanied by the Queen. He said that Her Majesty would like me to show her the pigs. As I gave her a guided tour she seemed to know more about the pigs than Idid!
During the following years the Queen was often to be seen riding on the estate, presumably enjoying the peace and quiet of the secluded walled estate away from her busy schedule in London.
Summer Funday 2019
We were blessed with good weather which encouraged many to join us for our Funday.
Families gathered on the grassy area to enjoy the various activities and games, including the ever popular bouncy castle and face-painting. Other folk sat at tables in the shade to enjoy their cream teas whilst listening to the great music provided by our very own Pete, Ian, Tom and Carleton. Such a great atmosphere was created that a few folk got up and danced!
Our catering team and waitresses were kept very busy serving nigh on 100 cream teas, while working in far from the easiest conditions, but always with a smile on their faces. The church was open and a good number came in to look around and chat.
Most things were free. Money raised from donations for cream teas, sale of bric-a-brac, books and homemade cakes and home-grown veg will be given to The Lantern Trust. Altogether, the afternoon was a great success and a lovely opportunity for us as a church family to serve and bless our community.
Many gladly and willingly served both one another and our visitors in an atmosphere of love and friendship – no job too great or small. For me, this was such a lovely picture of ‘The Church’ working at its best. I’ve said before, and I say again, it is a joy and a privilege to be part of such a great church family.
God Bless You All,
Tessa (de la Mare)
News from St John’s School
An update of what has been going on at St John’s Primary School over the past few weeks……
Year 5 enjoyed a fantastic residential trip to Carey Camp before the half term holiday and Year 6 had an action packed time at PGL Torquay. Year 4’s residential trip to Leeson House was also very successful and the children’s behaviour was outstanding!
During the week of 17th June the whole school thought about our Christian value of respect.
We all spent time thinking about how we can be respectful to each other, to people who serve our community and to people who have beliefs and cultures that are different from our own.
A great big thank you to Susie Coopey and an amazing team of volunteers from St John’s Church who created our Prayer Space in a marquee on the field. Thank you also to the team who welcomed children to the church during the week.
We have some staff changes for September. We are sad to say goodbye to Mrs Ricketts who is going to spend more time with family and Mrs Hardinge who will be going to work at a school in Dorchester. They have both been brilliant in their teaching roles and we are all going to miss them very much. We wish them well as they move on to new things. Thank you and good bye also to TAs Mrs Williams, Mrs Freeman and Miss Gerry – Smith who are moving on to new things.
Mrs Sue Rothwell who has worked at the school for many years as our finance officer will be retiring from this role at the end of term. Sue has been an invaluable member of our school office team and has done an amazing job. She will continue to work 4 hours a week doing a nursery finance role.
We will be welcoming Mrs Childs to teach with Mrs Dennis in Year 1, Miss Fancy, who will be joining us to teach Year 5 and Mrs Rist who will be teaching nursery & pre-school.
We look forward to beginning a new chapter in September. But first a rest!
Best wishes from all of us at St John’s School, Amanda Aze Headteacher
Lay Pastoral Assistants
In January I joined some other members of St. John’s to complete a Lay Pastoral Assistant Course for Salisbury Diocese. It was run by Nick, Tom and Jo and at least 30 people attended from the wider parish and beyond (as far away as Portland!).
The course itself was brilliant and we worked at a smart pace through 10 sessions over four weekends.
Subjects covered included:
Who are we?
Who am I?
Journey of life
Learning to listen
Engaging with families
Coming alongside those with acute and chronic illness
Valuing later life
Why and when we visit
Our role at a time of loss Knowing our limits
We all had to attend safeguarding courses and be DBS checked to ensure we were safe to help vulnerable people and to be safe ourselves.
Although Nick, Tom and Jo led most of the sessions we also had talks by the Rev. Geoff Hebbern, the Rev. Pete Legg and the Rev. Ron Martin.
Personally I enjoyed the time spent in twos or small groups discussing the subjects we were studying and having the opportunity to get to know other Christians from around Weymouth and Portland.
We were commissioned by Bishop Karen either at St Aldhelm’s in May or at St George’s, Poole in June.
St John’s now has five commissioned LPAs; Jill Flux, Alison and Malcolm Fox, Meg Fox and Diane Blackwell. We will be meeting soon with Tom to discuss how we can best work together for the Lord in Weymouth.