Church News

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.

Good Friday

There is a different format to our Churches Together activities this Good Friday.

 We’ll meet at St Mark’s Church at 10am as we have in years gone by, but rather than the ‘walk of witness’ and gathering in the Swan, there will be reflections taking place at 6 stations at different points in the High Street.

 Different Cafés and shops have agreed to put up posters in their window during Holy Week, depicting some of the themes of Good Friday – Fear, Betrayal, Forgiveness, Hope, etc. Groups will gather at these points to distribute Hot Cross Buns to the public, but also partake in a reflection around the theme that is at their venue. This will then be followed by a service at St Francis, with Children’s Activities in the church hall.

 The more people who opt to support this event, the more effective it will be, so we hope you can join us on this day which lies at the heart of our faith. 

Churcher Family Farewell

Hopefully, you have all registered the fact that Peter’s last working day in the parish is on Easter Sunday.

 To give him and the family the send-off they deserve, we’ll be having a big tea and cake party immediately following the service on that day. We recognise that Easter will mean commitments for many of you, so we will bring the shedding of tears to an end in plenty of time for you to make it to any lunch engagements.

 That’s about all we can give away publicly (wink, wink), but it’s also worth reminding you of the date of Peter’s installation at his new job in Ilfracombe – 13 May, 7pm. If you were thinking of making the trip, or hoping to but weren’t sure how you might get there, please can you let Jon know so we can think about travel arrangements.

Maundy Thursday

In a change from our usual Maundy Thursday activity, both Coney Hill Baptist Church and St John’s have been invited by West Wickham & Shirley Baptist to join them to see the Riding Lights Theatre Company present ‘The Narrow Road’.

 If you haven’t seen any of the Riding Lights productions you are missing out. They are one of the UK’s most successful independent theatre companies, with international renown. Amazingly, we’re being offered tickets for free, so if you’d like to come please can you sign the sheet in the Information Point.

 As an alternative, there will still be a communion service taking place at St Francis at 7pm on Maundy Thursday evening, to which there is also an open invitation.

Assembly Rooms 24th March 2019

As we do at intervals through the year, we will be gathering for our 10:00am Sunday Morning Service on 24 March at the Assembly Rooms on Gates Green Road. 

 As a way of drawing our series on gifts to a close, we will consider a self-assessment tool which helps us to consider our personality and how that affects the way we do things. It really complements the Spiritual Gift Assessment Tool (which can be found on the website, if you haven’t yet given it a go!) and helps us work through a different aspect of our gifting – how we tend to exercise our gifts, and in particular, when our way of being can hinder the best expression of those gifts. It’s really helpful, and there will be plenty of laughs along the way, so don’t miss out.

 The young people, up to Year 9 will be doing activities together with Amber in the hall next door to help them understand more about themselves and how they relate to other people. There will also be creche available.

Finding God in the Wilderness

Come and be Refreshed

Saturday 23rd March 2019 at St. John’s, 2:00-4:00pm

 This afternoon will provide an opportunity to spend quiet time with God, as part of our journey through Lent. Why not give yourself the opportunity to hear from God, experience His presence, see His beauty and quench your thirst?

 The church will be open to welcome all who would like to come - families too, with reflective activities suitable for children alongside the adult ones.

 We look forward to meeting you to celebrate God’s love for us and our love for God.

Lent Book

Believe it or not lent is fast approaching (6th March).

That means at least 2 things:

  1.  You need to go and get things ready for Shrove Tuesday (aka Pancake day – 5th March - I take mine with lemon and sugar)

  2. You need to make sure you’ve got yourself a copy of ‘The Resilient Disciple’ by Allain Chapman which is our lent book for 2019.

 There is a chapter for each day in lent, except Sundays as they don’t count although there is a introduction to each section the can be read on a Sunday if you get withdrawal symptoms. They are really short so only a few minutes of reading leaving plenty of time for prayer.

 For those that want to there is a lent group to discuss the book and encourage one-another at Peter’s house (7 Woodland Way) every week starting on the 13th March from 7:30 – 9pm. It is by no means compulsory but is open to everyone.

 You can get the book online at your retailer of choice for c. £7.53, although Peter has a few copies for £6 on a first come- first serve basis.

 For more info talk to Peter or call on 07803253286

ChurchSuite

No, I’m afraid it’s not a new, fancy-shmancy room installation in the church. You may recall a while back we mentioned that we hoped to move to some cloud-based, church admin software. Churchsuite is that. In slightly less technical language, this is a computer/mobile phone based system that we hope will improve our church organisation and communication.

 The intention is to use it for things like rotas, calendars, contact details and organisational communication. Further down the road, it has the capacity to be used for event bookings, payments, training modules and targeted emails. We’re all signed up and most of the database has been populated, but at this point we might need this from you:

i)      If you suspect the email address we hold is out of date – your latest contact email;

ii)    Without a GDPR Consent form for us, we can’t include you on the system.

 Please send either/both to Margaret at the Parish Office and we will shortly let you know what the next steps are for getting the system up and running.

NB The photos of the crocuses above and snowdrops and crocuses below were taken in St John’s churchyard on 14th February. They can be seen in the top part of the churchyard. A stroll up there to see them will lift your spirits.

Snowdrops & Crocuses in St John's Churchyard.jpg

Crocuses and snowdrops in St John’s Churchyard.