Big Welcome to Lucas

It was just over 2 years ago that Lucas’ older sister, Ellie, was baptised here at St John’s and now it’s his turn to take the plunge.

 Whether it’s your first or fifth, there is something special about having a public platform to express your gratitude for the gift of a child, not to mention receiving prayer for help in the sometimes-daunting task of being a parent. 

 We hope that all of you who’ve come to support Ben and Anna, and cheer on Lucas, feel at home. We are aware that there are elements of gathering in an old building on a Sunday morning which may not be immediately familiar. Don’t feel you need to put on any airs and graces -  we simply encourage you to soak up what’s going on and join in with whatever you feel comfortable with. God Bless.

May I Never Become 'Too Busy' To Pray

This was the headline from a letter recently written by the Chief Executive of CMS – a sentiment which I suspect few of us would contest.

 I wonder though if you have had the privilege of a break over the Summer, you were struck by the contrast of the pace of life ‘on holiday’ and the speed of your ‘normal’ existence. There is something about that which is right and natural, but as you resume your usual activities (and even if that is a few weeks off yet), I hope that it’s not your prayer life that gets the squeeze.

 It is a singular blessing of being part of God’s family that we get to pray for one another. As I write this, I can think of many members of St John’s who are facing tough times, and I know how much they value being held up in prayer. Let’s continue to uplift each other in this way, and never find ourselves with so much on that we haven’t got time to pray. God Bless.

Your Skin's Got a Beautiful Glow

Some people just seem to be blessed with flawless skin and a natural glow, whilst the rest of us have to rely upon resigning ourselves to our genetics or trying to circumvent nature with an array of astronomically expensive cosmetics.


Yet for everyone, even for common folk like me, there seems to be an even greater glow when we are doing what we are made to do. When we are doing what we are passionate about there seems to be a certain je ne sais quoi about us, a sort of glow from within. Just think about how your Grandad just seems to light-up when he starts talking about trains.


Today the church celebrates the Transfiguration of Jesus, when he is revealed to his disciples in His glory. Not a soft, natural glow, but a dazzling, brilliant light as He is revealed for who he is: the one to whom the scriptures testify, the one to whom the Law points, the one of whom the prophets foretold, the one to whom the Father declares, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!’

 This is not just a fun story, or a spiritual make-over, but a reminder of who the Jesus we worship is, and who is with us even at the bottom of the rope.

 Read the story of the Transfiguration in Matthew 17: 1-13 and Mark 9: 2-13

'I Told Them of the Gracious Hand of God Upon Me.' Nehemiah 2:18

Youll hear this verse come up a lot in todays service. Without wanting to steal too much of Sallys thunder, its a cornerstone of Nehemiah.

 We tend to be drawn to successful people. It used to be people who were rich but I think most of us are a little too cynical of that now. Instead I think we tend to be drawn to people with power and fame. We are drawn to the pop stars and the politicians. Were drawn even more so to the revolutionaries and the movement starters. Just look at all the T-shirts with Che Guevara or Steve Jobs on. As Christians we are drawn to the big names with the big churches. Its them that get invited to the festivals and sell the books.

 When Nehemiah went to Jerusalem he didnt tell them about his power, but of the gracious hand of God on him. What if instead of looking for the next big name, we look at who has Gods hand upon them? Sometimes that can be the same person (after all, Nehemiah was a cup-bearer), but it is not always a given. I doubt I need to list Christian ministers that have flown on power, then crashed and burned!

 And what about you? Where in your life can you see Gods gracious hand at work? What would never have happened without God working in you?


There is a study that looks at whether poverty can be eased by giving money. It looked at claims that giving money is a waste as the poor would only squander it. Better, they say, to spend it on their behalf. However, the study had a different outcome. It suggested that if you give poor people money, it allows them time to think about things other than what seems most urgent. It is then that people get an education, a good job, and get themselves and their families out of poverty.

 I think this parallels with faith too. People are often so busy trying to sort out what they feel is most urgent: food, rent, the next gizmo, that they don’t stop to think about if there is more to life than this. They are trapped in a cycle of spiritual poverty.

 Inquisitive? is a chance for your non-christian friends and colleagues to take time out, to think, and to express their opinions. Together we pray that we can think together, and use it as a step in the way out of spiritual poverty.

 Over the summer, have a think who you might like to invite. Who do you know that needs some time to stop and think about what really matters? See the flier, or talk to Peter, Jon, or Nick for more information.

Welcome to Jackson's Fan Club

It is almost 3 years to the day that Sophia was taking the plunge here at St John’s, and it’s our pleasure to rally behind her younger brother as he follows in her footsteps to be baptised. We extend a particular welcome to all of you who have made a special trip to be here and lend your support. Baptism is intended to be a ‘family occasion’ in the widest sense of the meaning and it’s a perfect opportunity to come together and celebrate.

 As it says in the introduction to the ceremony:

 ‘Baptism marks the beginning of a journey with God which continues for the rest of our lives, the first step in response to God’s love. For all involved…it is a joyful moment when we rejoice in what God has done for us in Christ, making serious promises and declaring the faith.’

 We hope you experience and bask in that joy today.

Deepening Discipleship

This is one of the aims Southwark Diocese is committed to resourcing. They have produced a programme of training and events, which can be found at The programme is based on the idea of whole life discipleship, with 5 main sections, including:

 Conferences, Roadshows and Courses - including day conferences on spirituality, evangelism and discipleship;

  • Growing in Confidence - Training to support growth in parish/church life;

  • Sent in Service - Thinking about practical engagement with our communities and workplaces in the service of God’s Kingdom.

  • Called by the Spirit - Helping Christians play our part in a growing church, including a calling to authorised ministry.

  • Going Deeper: Engaging Spirituality for Contemporary Life - Promoting a deeper commitment to Prayer and a fresh sense of the Spirit’s empowering in our everyday lives.

    Have a look, and if you are personally interested in anything on offer, or think it would be good to pull together a group, then let Jon know.

No Commentary Needed

“We know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we’ll never have to relocate our “tents” again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what’s coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we’re tired of it! We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.


That’s why we live with such good cheer. You won’t see us drooping our heads or dragging our feet! Cramped conditions here don’t get us down. They only remind us of the spacious living conditions ahead. It’s what we trust in but don’t yet see that keeps us going. Do you suppose a few ruts in the road or rocks in the path are going to stop us? When the time comes, we’ll be plenty ready to exchange exile for homecoming.”

(2 Corinthians 5:1-8)

Young People & Families Worker

For those of you who couldn’t be at the Assembly Rooms last weekend, it was announced that the PCC have agreed to proceed with the appointment of someone to oversee our work with young people and their families.

 The plan is to flesh out some of the details for the church before the Summer holidays. We’ll set out the vision for the role, the benefits we imagine the employment of someone will bring, as well as details of how we hope to finance the position. This will give the church the summer period to consider the proposal prayerfully, with a view to seeking a response in the Autumn, which will establish whether we can see the hope become reality.

 It is an exciting prospect and feels timely.

 We ask you to continue holding the idea before God in prayer and invite His leading as we proceed.

Happy Father's Day

The essence of the FATHER'S role

Is to mirror God's own heart

And to value instruction in God's ways

With the grace that God imparts


Every father needs God's wisdom

To carry out his role

As the tower of strength and support,

For each fragile heart he holds


And there's no greater reward in life

For a father to take his place

And uphold the values of the Lord

With integrity and grace.

It Is Well With My Soul

Many of you know Gari Glaysher, who has played in our worship band on a few occasions. He is undertaking a Church Tour, performing songs from a new album he is releasing, ‘It is Well with My Soul’.

 The concert is coming to St John’s on 17 June at 7:30pm. The aim of the tour is to showcase Gari’s album, but also raise money for different charities. To keep the costs down, there won’t be any tickets on sale, but there will be an entry fee of £5. The proceeds will go towards the work of Premier Lifeline.

 It should be a great evening of music, and there will be hard copies of Gari’s album available for purchase on the night. I am also led to believe that our very own Jonathan Faint might be putting in a ‘guest appearance’ – so if that doesn’t convince you, nothing will! Put it in the diary and invite your friends along for what should be a very enjoyable time.

Thy Kingdom Come

Today is the last day of the ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ prayer initiative. I hope you can join us after the service this morning for prayer in the side chapel. There is also a Churches Together service this evening, at Emmanuel URC @ 6:30, where we will hear a little more about what has gone on. Every one is welcome to both.

 If you’ve not been involved so far, then don’t fear as it’s not too late. You can still look up the resources at and use them at your leisure. Even more so, you are not too late as Jesus has called us to pray ‘Thy Kingdom come’ for about 2000 years, and still calls us to pray it today. If you have been involved then I hope you know God’s blssings through it. Let us not give up on praying!

 When we pray for God’s kingdom to come we are not praying for social reform but for spiritual revival. We are praying that God would be praised on earth and that His ways would be known. If you have not done so as of yet, then can I encourage you to regularly pray for 5 people you know to know Jesus. A good way to remember is to tie 5 knots in a string, and use it as a bracelet or keyring.  To God alone be the glory!

Meeting at the Assembly Rooms

On 18 June, our 10am service will be at the Assembly Rooms, rather than in the church building, with a picnic afterwards. The plan for the morning is to look in more detail at our vision as a church, and particularly, the three priority areas for the coming season. If you missed the APCM and haven’t caught the notes, the priorities are as follows:  

  • Equipping People to Engage Where They Are;
  • Developing a Culture of Hospitality;
  • Serving the ‘18-35’ Age Group More Effectively.

 We’ll flesh out in more detail what we mean by each of these, but the hope is that we will come up with specific goals we will pursue to develop these areas of focus.

 If you get the chance to think and pray about it in advance, all the better.

'Children & Youth Review' Update

We hope you are aware that the PCC recently considered the main findings that emerged from feedback we received across our children’s and youth groups. If you wish to see the headlines from the responses, we have posted them on the church noticeboards. One of the immediate challenges is to find leaders to replace those stepping down from 14 plus and Club 2000. We are having discussions with people about this, but if you feel you might be able to help in the future in a supportive capacity (rather than overall leadership), then do have a chat with Jon, as we need more helpers.


A natural conclusion from the review is that our work with children and young people cannot flourish in its existing format without someone who has the dedicated time to oversee it. The PCC are agreed that we must act now. We need to decide whether we employ someone to this end, and so an extraordinary meeting of the PCC has been called to pray into this and arrive at some conclusions. We will keep you posted as this unfolds, but in the meantime the leadership values your prayers and welcomes any insights you may wish to share. 

It's OK To Not Be OK



Churches are sometimes very adept at bandying around the idea of ‘authenticity’, but aren’t always so great at creating an environment in which those who are finding life tough can feel safe enough not to ‘have it all together’.

 The above is the title of the teaching series that begins this Sunday. A sermon series will only take us so far. However, it’s intended to be one element to help us consider what it means to be faithful Jesus followers, but followers who are honest that faith doesn’t sweep away the impact of the struggles that life throws up. 

 Over the coming weeks, we’ll look at things such as doubt, anxiety, fear, busyness and loneliness, trying to avoid superficial sticking plasters, but inviting God’s Spirit to be at work in the places which ail us.

 Everyone’s welcome – unless of course, you’ve got it all sorted.

Thy Kingdom Come - A Global Wave of Prayer

We’ve been looking at the Lord’s Prayer recently, and this entreaty which comes from the prayer that Jesus taught is the title of a ‘call’ to Christians in the UK and beyond. The Archbishop of Canterbury is inviting followers of Christ around the globe to join a wave of prayer between Ascension and Pentecost (25th May – 4 June).

 The purpose is specific - to pray that people we know might come to know Jesus.

 The hope is that as Christians unite together in this prayer, we will all be given new confidence and encouragement by the Holy Spirit to become more effective witnesses. We’re going to join in with this movement, starting this Sunday at our Prayer Evening. But look at the noticeboards in church, and go to, for resources to help individuals, families and churches pray.

Serve, Enable, Lead: Resourcing Discipleship & Lay Leadership


This is the theme for the Diocese’s Lay Conference 2017, which for our area is being held on Saturday 10 June, 10am-4pm.

 If you can answer either of the following questions in the affirmative, then there will be something for you:

 Are you keen to see the church develop and grow?

Are you looking for ways to develop your Christian life?

 There is a huge variety of workshops on offer, as well as some high-quality headline speakers. I suspect the most benefit will come from going in a group so that follow up discussion can be had. See the noticeboard for more details of content of the day, but if you want to go, please can you let Margaret Kingman know in the next couple of weeks.

Happy Easter

You may have picked up the controversy

this week over the National Trust’s ‘egg-

hunt’. The Archbishop of York has said it

was tantamount to “spitting on the grave”

of John Cadbury. It certainly is a sad thing,

but let us not fall into the same trap of which

we warn other, namely conflating Easter

with chocolate.


Yes, let’s enjoy the Chocolate, but also

remember that we are declaring the

Resurrection of our King, and his victory over

death and sin. And so let us say with Paul,

I want to know Christ – yes, to know the

power of his resurrection and participation

in his sufferings, becoming like him in his

death, and so, somehow, attaining to the

resurrection from the dead.” (Phil 3:10-11)


Christ, yesterday and today, the beginning

and the end, Alpha and Omega, all time

belongs to him, and all ages; to him be glory

and power, through every age and for ever.