Church News

Jesus said, "I am ..."

In the sixth century St. Gregory composed a commentary on the book of Job and he is famous for saying that “Scripture is like a river . . . broad and deep, shallow enough here for the lamb to go wading, but deep enough there for the elephant to swim.”

As we study the I Am statements of Jesus this summer it astounds me that Jesus was able to use imagery like these to help all of us understand more of who he is, what he is like and why he came to the earth.  There is a broadness and depth that makes it shallow enough for our new believers to wade in but deep enough for our scholars and theologians to swim in.

This morning, I (Amber), will be mentioning how God has been using imagery in The Lion King since I was 9 years old to help me better understand my friend Jesus and help me to understand Scripture more.

Is there any imagery that helps you to understand our Heavenly Father more?

Thank You

In September you will receive a further update about the Sunday morning and mid-week activities available for our children and young people. Very slight changes are being made that will hopefully ensure that these activities best support our children, young people and families.

 Our mid-week group 14+ is set to have the biggest change as it moves from a Thursday to a Tuesday evening. All three of our mid-week groups will then be on the same evening helping the children and young people to transition between the different age groups. This has come after many months of consideration.  

One of the huge disadvantages of this change is that Guy Harris will no longer be able to lead the group. Guy and Rachel initially took on the responsibility of the role two years ago. Over the last year Guy has mentored and supported these young people and has talked openly and passionately about his faith, sharing with them what it means for him in his everyday life. Amber and the young people are going to miss the weekly input, enthusiasm and passion that he has poured into 14+.  

So, a big thank you Guy and Rachel for all you have done for 14+ over the last couple of years.

Wickham Grange

If you haven’t clocked the branding, Wickham Grange is the name of the new collection of town houses and apartments currently being built nearby. In more homely terms, we’ve have the privilege of a new community appearing on our doorstep. We’ve been liaising with Roxanne, the sales representative, and she confirms that it is hoped that the building works will be completed in the next 2-3 months, in readiness for Autumn sales. She has also offered to take people on a tour of one of the houses and site next Sunday after church (11 August). If you are interested, gather together as a group after the morning service and make your way over to the Sales Office.

 In the meantime, we are working together to include a profile of St John’s over there, and discussing ways we can work together to extend a welcome to new home owners.      

Book Recommendation

If you view the Summer as a chance to catch up on some non-work-related reading, then can I add a ‘God book’ to your list of must reads. It’s ‘Dirty Glory’ by the author Pete Greig, champion of the 24-7 Prayer Movement.

 It’s a very accessible follow up to ‘Red Moon Rising’ and continues to chart the 24-7 story, as it has gained momentum across the globe. Full of personal and honest stories, it’s not only a testimony to God’s faithfulness, but an inspiring call to any Jesus follower not to settle for less and coast it in our Christian walk. It’s a big claim, but I am pretty sure that if everyone in the church read this and responded, it would change us dramatically – what we do, and how we do it.  As one of the chapter closes:

 May I have the courage today

To live the life that I would love

And waste my heart on fear no more.

(John O’Donohue)

Summer Hols

We’re rapidly heading towards the close of another Academic year, and the start of those Summer weeks, where people head off in lots of different directions.

 It can feel like a slightly fragmented time in terms of ‘church life’, but whether you are stepping foot onto foreign shores, or staying at home, we hope there is some genuine space for rest and refreshment. With that in mind, we’ll be spending the next 6 weeks exploring some of Jesus’ ‘I am…’ sayings – many of which speak into the nourishment of our souls.

 These will be ‘All Together’ services. Amber has been doing a lot of thinking and research around our worship life across the generations, so we are continuing to tinker with these times together to be a rich occasion for people of any age.  

Open Church

With our church building situated on the route of a couple of walking trails, there is a fair amount of footfall passing our doors. Over the Summer, we are going to give people treading those paths an opportunity to grab a rest, and if they want, to find out a little bit more about St John’s story.

 We’ll be opening the church on certain Sunday afternoons to visitors, offering refreshments and history tours of the church/churchyard. The plan is to open up between 2-5pm on the 18 and 25 August. If you feel that you would like to be involved – could offer an hour or so on the day to assist visitors, want to help prepare the church, or generally contribute, then we would love to have you come along to a meeting at the church on Sunday 21st July at 2:30pm. We will take you through the history tours and sign people up to help. If you have any questions then please contact Dawn Tickner on 0208 462 1573 or speak with Jackie Barter.

SPRUNG 2019

Hopefully, it hasn’t passed you by that next weekend is our annual camp for 8-14 year olds. A big thank you to everyone who has been involved in the planning and all those who will be helping run the weekend.

 The fun and games will be taking place at Downe Scout Activity Centre. We are inviting families to join us on Sunday 14th July for our meeting at 10-11:30am. There will be no Creche, Sunday Club or Explore Together available at St. John’s on this day. After the meeting the WHOLE church family are invited to come to a church barbeque at 12noon, followed by a kids and adults rounders match at 1pm-2pm.

 If you are able to come and help set down and pack up tents from 9am on the Sunday it would also be hugely appreciated - especially by our Tent Man Jonathan Tickner who will have just done a whole weekend with 40 children and young people! We look forward to seeing you there.  

More Info for 'The Turning'

Planning is continuing for this London wide street mission event in September, in which Bromley is a key borough. At this stage, we would like you to note the dates in your diary and encourage homegroups to incorporate this in their planning.

 The week kicks off with a central London launch on 21 September, but the local expression really begins with a joint service on the evening of 22 September (venue tbc) and ends with a central Bromley event the following Sunday evening. During the week there will be a gathering for prayer/worship each evening and an opportunity to go out onto the streets locally, to share our faith, each day.  More information will follow, including details of some preparation/training gatherings, but this is something we'd love everyone to be a part of so do start praying. The Hayes/West Wickham 'hub' of churches includes Coney Hill Baptist, Hawes Lane Methodist, Emmanuel, St. Francis, Hope Church, DeepWater Baptist & St. Mary's Hayes – so a great cross church venture.

St John's Cricket Match

The sun has been threatening to put in an appearance for the much anticipated St John’s cricket showdown, so pack up those picnic hampers and make your way to the Warren for 1:15pm on Sunday.

 I’ve no idea what the teams are, what the standard of play will be like, how long the game will last before the first pulled muscle, but it’s time to cast aside all those excuses and put some ‘skin in the game’. If you’ve been wavering thus far, there’s still time to call John Johnes (0208 462 4728) and sign up – I’m pretty certain knowledge of the rules and experience of holding a cricket bat are not requirements for involvement!

 If exposure to a hard, red object isn’t your idea of a Sunday afternoon jolly, come along to laugh at those of us who have equal reservations, but somehow have been fooled into thinking it was a good idea! See you there.

Happy Father's Day

If I asked you what makes for a good Dad, what would you say?

 Some of us might point to qualities we saw in our own fathers, some think of what we are aiming for as a Dad ourselves, others might struggle to find a helpful frame of reference. Whatever our response, it’s deeply personal.

 Father’s Day might cause us to pause and ponder these matters – perhaps to reshape a distorted view of fatherhood, or press further into the ‘goodness’ we know is there. That’s an invitation God extends to us way beyond one day of the year. Today, we start a new series about ‘finding freedom’, looking at the book of Galatians, thinking about who we really are before God. He says it might look something like those Father’s Day reflections:

 “And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.” Galatians 4:5

'The Turning' Initiative

‘The Turning’, wait for it, is a simple street evangelism programme, which began in a Baptist church in Reading a few years ago. It has now been rolled out across the country among a variety of church traditions and this autumn it’s coming to London, with Bromley taking something of a lead.  It’s actually become a project of the ‘Transform Bromley Borough’ initiative, to bring together as many of the churches of the Borough to impact the community.

 Bromley is breaking down into 5 hubs and Churches Together in West Wickham have agreed to the hub for ‘Hayes & West Wickham’. The initiative will begin on Saturday 21 September, with more details to follow. Aware of the mixed feelings evangelism can evoke, I hope you are encouraged by the ethos behind this initiative: “At the heart of this is not some form of technique which will magically enable effective witness to happen. Rather it’s a shared opportunity for us to allow God to change our mind-set -  to look outwards, build our confidence in our faith and witness, and really see our local community as a mission field.” Please start praying about it.

Pray for the Morgan Family

We’ve recently heard from Sarah that there has been some low level unrest in Malawi, following their recent elections. The results were very close, bringing some tension and resulting in some sporadic violence.

 The opposition continue to contest the results through the court, which is only a 100 metres from Sarah and Andy’s home. She says, “whilst at no point really fearing for our safety, the past few weeks have been quite draining. Over the past week or so, schools and offices have had to shut, due to security concerns, on short notice. I have had to spend a lot of time gathering and assessing updates and making decisions about field trips and keeping staff and overseas visitors safe and updated, at the same time as making sure my own kids are ok. Andy developed cabin fever being stuck in the house for days with said children.”

 Please pray for Sarah, Andy, Evie and Ben and the situation in Malawi.

Thy Kingdom Come

You may recall this global initiative from last year – a focused 9 days of prayer between Ascension and Pentecost. The emphasis of the prayer is that God’s Spirit would empower his church to greater works of evangelism. We want to join in with this movement, so here are some of the ways to key in:

 ·         Write down the names of 5 people you know who are not Christians and pray for them every day during this period;

·         Every day at 9:30am, between Thursday 30 May to Friday 7 June, there will be prayer meetings at Coney Hill Baptist Church for all the churches across town;

·         We will post daily prayer prompts on our Facebook page during this period.

For further ideas, go to https://www.thykingdomcome.global/

All You Cricketers

Are you interested in releasing that inner Ian Botham (or Jos Butler, for a younger generation) for an afternoon? Fancy dusting off those cricket whites, which don’t quite fit any more? Haven’t unleashed a Shane Warne googly for a while…possibly ever?

 

Well, here’s your chance. We’re trying to arrange a cricket match at the Warren. Unfortunately, we have to put a minimum age limit of 13 years old for participants, as it is a hard ball game. However, the idea is to make a family afternoon of the whole event – with picnics and plenty of banter from the sidelines.

 

If you're interested, please ring John Johnes on 0208 462 4728 or speak to him in church.

Team Refresh

If you were unable to make the APCM last week, it was mentioned that in the coming weeks we will engage in a process to renew our Teams. Some of the steps will include:

 

i)                    Asking individuals if they are willing to step into Team Leader roles;

ii)                   Putting together a clear explanation of what each Team aims to do and how people can be involved;

iii)                 Give everyone an opportunity to step away from / step up to involvement in a particular team.

Please commit this to prayer – both for us collectively as a church family and how it impacts our mission, but also the individual response that you might make.

A Huge Thank You

Peter and the family have asked me to pass on their biggest thanks for the wonderful send-off we gave them last week. In their own words:

“We were overwhelmed with all your love and support. We greatly enjoyed reading all your messages in the card and note book, and we'll make good use of the Kitchen Aid once we're settled. Who knows? You might even get to experience some of its fruits if you ever come and visit.” 

Talking of which, Peter's mobile and email are the same, and their new address is St. James Vicarage, Kingsley Avenue, Ilfracombe, Devon EX34 8ET.

Peter’s installation is on 13 May at 7pm. We’re trying to pull together details of who is going / wants to go, so if possible, let Jon know today.

Love Conquers Hate

At the time of the recent tragic events in New Zealand the word “love” was used constantly. People said “love conquers hate”; The NZ prime minister advised Mr Trump to “love Muslims”. NZ Muslim leaders said how much they felt loved.

Love of God and love of neighbour is central to the three great religions. Devout Jews recite the words of Deut 6 twice a day. “Hear O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your might.” In other words, love God with all your being.

When Jesus was tested about the greatest commandment, he quoted that verse but added another from Leviticus. “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”  In other words love of God needs to be manifest in tolerance, care and support of others.

With so much tension in society at present perhaps we should be saying this daily:

“Hear O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your might. The second is this: love your neighbour as yourself”.

The Bishop's Lent Appeal 2019

The theme for this year’s appeal is ‘I came that they may have life and have it abundantly’. The Bishop of Southwark has asked if we can support projects not only in our own Diocese, but others in Sri Lanka, Kenya and Zimbabwe, including:

-          Work of the Leprosy Mission in Sri Lanka;

-          Church Army Africa’s Carlile College in Nairobi, which trains people for mission and evangelism;

-          The Diocese of Central Zimbabwe, who continues to work in very challenging circumstances, with many struggling without enough to live on, or pay for school or medical fees.

-          Sutton Women’s Centre who provide a space for women, who have often been the victims of domestic violence.

 We will take a collection for this Appeal next Sunday (14th) - Palm Sunday.