Weekly News 28th February 2-16/ It's Official ...


IT’S OFFICIAL… I am pleased to announce that Bishop Christopher has given formal approval to Peter Churcher joining us to serve his curacy. Peter, Josie, and the kids (Sophie, Faith, Izzy and Xander) will move to the area in June. Please pray for them as they prepare and all that comes with moving. Here's a photo of 'family Churcher':

Peter Churcher and Family

Click here to download   Weekly News 28th February 2016

Weekly News 21st February 2016/ Electoral Roll


ELECTORAL ROLL It may not be the most eye-catching of titles to front the News Sheet, but we are coming round to the time of year when we have the church equivalent of an AGM (scheduled for 17 April after the 10am service)

Part of preparing for that is to update our list of members. You don’t have to include your name on the electoral roll to be a part of St John’s, but it does give us a snapshot of our numbers. It also gives you a more formal say in what happens in the church, by allowing you to vote in elections at the APCM, and stand as a candidate for our leadership body - the PCC.

If you’ve joined us more recently and your name isn’t yet on the roll, we’d encourage you to submit an application form. You must be baptized, at least 16 years of age (or sixteen on your next birthday), and live in the parish, or have worshipped at St. John's for at least six months.

Application forms will be available in church. Please return one either by putting it in the box in the church, or by giving it to Geoff Batten or Paul Kingman by Sunday, 13th March.

Click here to download   Weekly News 21st February 2016

Weekly News 14th February 2016/ Slowing Down


SLOWING DOWN As we move into Lent, Geoff starts our ‘Letting Go’ series by encouraging us to think how we might drop living at a pace which inhibits our ability to receive God’s direction.

Living frenetically is a contemporary curse and it impacts our spirituality.

It’s not easy to rectify, but we want the church to take seriously the call to ease off the accelerator and give ourselves more fully to God. As part of that endeavor, we’ll be running a ‘Quiet Day’ for prayer and reflection on Saturday 5 March, from 10:00am – 2:00pm.

You can drop on at any point during that time window. There will be different things to explore around the church at your own pace, as well as some suggestions for on-going practices that you might want to continue into Lent.

It’s slowing down to know again that ‘He is God’ (Psalm 46:10).

Click here to download    Weekly News 14th February 2016

Weekly News 7th February 2016/ Ash Wednesday


ASH WEDNESDAY This Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent – the season of waiting, reflecting and fasting – with a call to repentance.

It’s not a word that is going to win any awards for popularity these days. The church, not always famous for its unity and grace, can throw the word around too easily, using it as a weapon by which to beat others. But the invitation to ‘change our thinking’ (the literal meaning of repentance) runs much deeper than confession of wrongdoing. It cuts all the way to how we see the world, and significantly, how we recognize God’s presence in and amongst us.

It’s no bad question to ask ourselves how open are we to seeing things differently?

If you want to mark Ash Wednesday there is a Churches Together joint service at Emmanuel URC at 8.00pm. There will be an opportunity to be marked with the cross in ashes and receive communion, as well as experience a little how different traditions see the season of Lent.

Click here to download   Weekly News 7th February 2016

Weekly News 31st January 2016/ 'Letting Go' for Lent


‘LETTING GO’ FOR LENT It doesn’t seem so long ago that we were taking down the Christmas decorations, but the season of Lent is fast approaching, with Easter in its sights.

Lent is used by people around the world to prepare themselves for the marking of the events which are central to the Christian faith. It’s a good time to clear out some clutter – let go some of the things that might hamper our walk with Christ. That’s usually stuff that runs a little deeper than the amount of Cadburys we munch in a week. So this Lent, as a church we’re going to be looking at some ‘beneath the surface’ things that with Christ’s help we can surrender. Our ‘Letting Go’ series will consider the themes of ‘Hurry, Complaining, Comparison, Fear, and Hiding’.

We’ll also be running a retreat-style morning and a prayer day during lent, so there will be plenty of opportunity for us to draw closer to our Saviour.

Click here to download    Weekly News 31st January 2016

Weekly News 24th January 2016/ Next Sunday at SJ's


NEXT SUNDAY AT SJ’s As we’ve already hinted, our gathering together as a church next Sunday will take place at SJ’s. This is to give as many people as possible a chance to see the changes that have been made, in the hope that it will generate some further excitement about the vision for SJs, help each of us contemplate our individual involvement, and inspire us all to continue in prayer for its use.

Obviously, the place isn’t big enough to cope with everyone descending on it all at the same time. Therefore, SJs will be open from 9:30am-12:30pm and you are welcome to drop by at any point during that window. The team who have been steering the refurbishment will be on hand for discussion, and there will be activities lined up for the kids.

Don’t forget if you would like communion beforehand, then the 8am service will be taking place as usual.

Click here to download   Weekly News 24th January 2016

News 17th January 2016/ Unveiling SJ's


UNVEILING SJ’s This week we’ll be putting most of the finishing touches to SJ’s, following which there is a wealth of organizational matters to deal with, including risk assessments and familiarizing ourselves with how everything works.

We’ve said all along that we hope as many people in St John’s as possible will take ownership of how we will utilize this resource for God’s purposes. With that in mind, on the 5th Sunday of this month (31st January), we will not be meeting up at church at 10:00am in the usual manner. Instead, we will be opening up SJs over an extended period and are inviting you to come in and have a nosey. There will be materials for people to engage with – not least of all, things encouraging us to exercise our prayer muscles for how the place will be used.

We’ll roll out further details of timings next week, and if you would like to receive communion that week, then the 8am service is running as usual.

Click here to download   Weekly News 17th January 2016

Weekly News 10th January 2016/ Link to Hope Vulcanizare Project


LINK TO HOPE VULCANIZARE PROJECT Would you like to join the next working party helping out in Dancu, Moldova, between 26 March & 2 April?

The main Vulcanizare project is now complete, so the party will be working alongside a team of Moldovans to build an extension onto the Vulcanizare. This will be used as a classroom and workshop, where skills in wood and metal work will be taught to the young people to give them a trade and learn skills to help them secure employment.

You don’t need any building skills – just enthusiasm and energy!

You will need to be able to raise £300 which will be used for building materials, as well as cover your flight costs (currently about £250) and provide a £100 contribution towards accommodation and food.

Please speak to Milly Johnson if you are interested.

Click here to download   Weekly News 10th January 2016



Weekly News 27th December 2015 & 3rd January 2016/ Happy New Year


HAPPY NEW YEAR You’re may be picking this up with 2016 imminent, or you’ve already seen the New Year in. Either way, it’s quite possible that amidst all the activity of Christmas, the New Year is upon you and there has been little opportunity to consider the landscape of the coming year.

Whether or not you have given dedicated head-space to contemplate 2016, it’s likely you harbor certain hopes and expectations for what lies ahead. And yet, the past year has contained enough personal challenge for many of you to encourage us all to sit lightly to our plans, but cling tightly to God. I hope you will carve out time to ponder the future, and in so doing, commit yourself afresh to the knowledge and security of ‘Immanuel’ – and seek his face.

As an old Anglican prayer goes, ‘Oh God…grant us, in all our doubts and uncertainties, the grace to ask what you would have us to do; that your spirit of wisdom may save us from all false choices, and in your straight path we may not stumble; through Jesus Christ Our Lord.’

 Not a bad prayer to start the year.

Click here to download   Weekly News 27th December 2015 & 3rd January 2016

Weekly News 20th December 2015/ SJ's Steeped in Prayer


SJ’s STEEPED IN PRAYER The finishing line, in one sense, is now in sight - we heard from the planning department this week that they are looking favorably on our application and they are just waiting to hear from TFL before approval can be granted.

In another sense, the end of the refurbishment signals the start of something…something which we hope will be more than just a nice redecorating job. It would be very easy for us to rush headlong a full schedule of activities at SJ’s, and then ask God to bless what we’ve decided to undertake. Rather, we want to continue to commit the place and its possible uses to prayer, and seek God’s direction. The team are thinking about ways in which we can all get a feel for the place when it opens, and pray there in groups.

We will start slowly.

And we’ll move when God shows us.

Click here to download   Weekly News 20th December 2015

Weekly News 13th December 2015/ Glory to God


GLORY TO GOD If you were in church last week you would have been in Nick’s “choir of angels.” If you were not here then ask someone who was here to explain. Or listen in to the talk on the web site.

Nick says that he was really surprised, and pleased, at the number of people who said how much they enjoyed singing the words of the angels to the shepherds.

In case you may be wondering, it was not plainsong! Nor was it a high church responsorial anthem! It is called the “Peruvian Gloria” and it is a simple setting of a Gloria put to music by a church in Peru. Nick first heard it at his ordination service in Rochester Cathedral.

Some of us may have noticed this week that the tune sort of sticks in our mind. As we go over it in our heads we are actually continuing to praise God. Whether we sing it or say it let’s praise God as we continue to prepare for Christmas

Glory to God, Glory to God, Glory to the Father (repeat)

          To God be Glory forever (r)

          Alleluia Amen, Alleluia Amen, Alleluia Amen.

Click here to download   Weekly News 13th December 2015

Weekly News 6th December 2015/ The Challenge of the Shepherds


THE CHALLENGE OF THE SHEPHERDS The shepherds were minding their own business on the hillside when an angel told them about the birth of Jesus, come to be the saviour of the world.

The story prompts some challenging questions. Try them over a family meal, a coffee or a beer with a friend, or in your church Home Groups. See how far you get.

1.     In what way do you feel the world still needs saving today?

2.      How do you think you would react if an angel appeared to you and told you that God was coming as a human to sort out the mess in our world?  Why did you answer that way?

3.     Consider the statement “Jesus came for everyone.”

How does that apply to us? For instance, where might we need to be saved from ourselves?

4.      Look back on your discussion above...

a.  Why does it take Faith to accept that Jesus came as a saviour?

b.   What is stopping people following Jesus today?

Click here to download   Weekly News 6th December 2015

Weekly News 29th November 2015/ In The Space of a Few Days


IN THE SPACE OF A FEW DAYS! Sitting down to write there has just been a news flash. A Russian fighter has been downed by Turkey.

Earlier this morning the news was about the increased spending on UK defence.

Yesterday, in the wake of the horrors of Paris last week, a body bomb was found discarded.

And, Brussels is in lock down for the fourth day.

We could go on listing but that’s surely sufficient to remind us that our world is very unstable and our peace and peaceful coexistence is so fragile. What should be our Christian response?

Whatever our politics or views on defence, in our democracy of freely elected leaders we are called to pray for those leaders and the leaders of all countries engaged in these struggles. Pray that they will have wisdom and sound judgement in their decision making; that they will be guided to protect us and our way of life; and that they will find a path to defeat evil and restore a lasting peace.

Click here to download   Weekly News 29th November 2015

22nd November 2015/ The Cast of Christmas


THE CAST OF CHRISTMAS! Next week is Advent, the start of our time of preparation for Christmas. To help us prepare, Jon left behind a short sermon series that he called “The Cast of Christmas.” We’ll look at the prophets, the shepherds, Mary and Joseph, the Magi and Jesus himself. That short cast list points us towards one of the purposes of Advent. Looking forward to the coming of Jesus.

The prophets flag up the failings of human kind and our helplessness without someone to rescue us, and then they promise a saviour to get us out of our mess. And, when Jesus comes from the very first lives are touched and changed. His presence is felt.

Let’s resolve to use the time of Advent well. As we approach this series try to imagine how one of the shepherds, or the Magi, might have described the impact of Jesus on their life. “Before I was.....then, suddenly, I was.....”

Or, better still, put yourself into the cast and describe how you would have felt had you been singled out.

Click here to download   Weekly News 22nd November 2015

Weekly News 15th November 2015/ A Week's Thought Process!


A WEEK’S THOUGHT PROCESS! At first Andrew White (vicar of Baghdad!) was talking about his ministry in Iraq. Now with progressing MS and exiled to Jordan for safety, he spoke of the dangers of his work and the tragedies suffered by him and his church members as one after another Christian friends were killed.

Then, a few days later a friend told me about her ageing dad, gone out to Afghanistan again, to support and encourage Christian workers.

On day seven I bumped into someone who told me that his church had a couple of people “behind the scenes” in Afghanistan, helping Christians.

Amazing I thought. As together we learn here about sharing our faith in the safety of, say Costa or the local pub, there are Christians putting themselves on the line in far off parts.

As we pray for these people sharing their faith in danger zones, let’s resolve to grasp opportunities that present here, to tell our story and share our faith.

Click here to download   Weekly News 15th November 2015

Weekly News 8th November 2015/ 100 Years On


100 YEARS ON...! This week a political leader wondered aloud whether it is right for us still to be featuring WW1 in our “remembering”. Then, later in the week, politicians let it be known that there would be little support for military action in Syria. And it is in that second point that we find the answer to the first.

We remember all recent wars not only to give thanks for the noble sacrifices of our troops but to ensure that we keep the horrors of death and destruction in mind when military decisions are being made today.

In our act of remembrance in church together, we will give thanks for the sacrifices of the past, pray for continuing peace throughout the world today and for wisdom and sound judgement in those leaders who are called to make such important decisions. Let that be our prayer in the week ahead.

Click here to download   Weekly News 8th November 2015

Weekly News 1st November 2015/ In 45 Seconds


IN 45 SECONDS..... Here’s a challenge to work on over the next week or so.

In our current sermon series we have been hearing a lot about telling others about the good news of Jesus. Last week Dan gave some terrific pointers helped by some memorable free hand illustrations. Remember!

So, in the quiet of your home, or out walking, practice how you would answer one of these questions, or something like it.

“Why is your faith so important to you?”

“Why do you go to church?”

“What do you believe?”

That’s it. You may be invited to use your answer soon.

Oh... and your answer must not be longer than 45 seconds.

Click here to download   Weekly News 1st November 2015

Weekly News 25th October 2015/ Light the Night


LIGHT THE NIGHT As we have done for many years, we will run our ‘LTN’ alternative to some of the usual Halloween celebrations on 31 October.

The action begins at 6pm, and there will be food, crafts and fireworks. The event is typically well attended, so any assistance that you can give would be much appreciated. Please let Julie Lancaster know if you can help out, either with the set up/clearing away, or with the laying on of the various activities themselves.

There is also an opportunity to pray for the whole evening - for safety and more widely, for our on-going positive engagement with the wider community that this occasion represents. This will take place on Monday 26 October, 8pm, at 11 Sylvan Way.

Click here to download     Weekly News 25th October 2015

Weekly News 18th October 2015/ Jon Taking Time Out


JON TAKING TIME OUT From 23 October to 10 December, I shall be taking a sabbatical break. All vicars are encouraged to do this at certain intervals to recharge spiritually, mentally and physically, and find space to reflect and pray. There might just be a little bit of surfing involved in my case as well.

My absence has been planned carefully with the wardens and cover have been provided for all the usual parish activities. Richard and Jonathan will be responsible for the overall well-being of the church, in the same way they would be if the church was in a vacancy. If there are any concerns with buildings, programmes or other general, church-related issues then please contact them on rcienc@waitrose.com (020 8462 1737) or jtickner@btconnect.com (202 8462 1573)

Nick Lang will be the first point of contact for any matters of a pastoral or personal spiritual nature and he is happy to be contacted at any time on niklang23@gmail.com (020 8650 6151).

Click here to download   Weekly News 18th October 2015

11th October 2015/ Memorial Service Next Week


MEMORIAL SERVICE NEXT WEEK Next Sunday at 3pm we are hosting a Thanksgiving Memorial Service for anyone who has been bereaved in the recent past.

People from our community who have been through a funeral in the last year have been invited along, but the invitation extends to anyone who wants to remember and give thanks for the life of a loved one, no matter when they may have passed away.

Please let friends or neighbours who may find it helpful know, and if they are unable to make it, they can provide the name of the person they wish to be remembered and it will be included as part of the service. Tea and cakes will be provided afterwards.

If you are interested in coming along, please let Sue Watson or Maureen Lang know. Thank you.

Click here to download   Weekly News 11th October 2015