APCM

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.

For Everything There is a Season

This week we’ve been catapulted into tropical weather. With snow on the ground only a few weeks ago, you could be forgiven for thinking that Spring was overlooked and we moved from Winter to Summer in a single bound. The more typical transition through the seasons gives us space and time to adjust.

An abrupt change can be disorientating.

This is equally true for the changing seasons of life. Most of us understand that with the long view, different periods of life have their own distinctive hue. But when we are jolted into change unexpectedly, it can feel like we lose our bearings. If you’re weren’t ready for the season you find yourself in, or you’re simply not sure what season you’re in, I hope you can draw on the truth the author of Ecclesiastes arrives at after talking about a ‘season for everything’ – ‘everything God does will endure forever, nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.’ (Ecclesiastes 3: 14)

Gravetalk

Is a Church of England initiative to help encourage people talk about the subject that most of us avoid – death and dying. The idea is to provide a café space to talk around this subject, give people a chance to think about their funeral and generally air their thoughts.

We’ve joined with St Francis & St Mary’s to run Gravetalk at Corza Café on West Wickham High Street. Details are contained on the postcard you should have received at church. We are doing a trial run this Tuesday at 7:30pm, which is designed for those in the church. A free buffet will be provided (a mix of hot and cold nibbles) and we’ll be encouraging people to buy their own drinks. It’s an opportunity to see how it works and for you to provide feedback in readiness to going live for the evening of 24 May, which will be for the whole community.  

We appreciate its short notice, but it would be great to have as many of you there as possible. If you could let Margaret know if you can make it, that will help us keep a track of numbers. 

 

APCM Preparations

Hopefully you’ve noted the date for our church AGM – 22 April.

Today is the last day for returning forms for joining the electoral roll. They can be put in the box in church, or given to Paul Kingman / Geoff Batten. For those of you less familiar with Church of England procedure, this is a way of keeping track of our membership. It also gives you the right to vote at the APCM. More positively, it indicates that you view St John’s as your spiritual home, and you’d like to be involved in the shaping of our future.

We also want people to consider whether they might wish to become:

·         A PCC Member - we refresh a 1/3 of the elected members of our leadership each year, so if you’re interested in helping steer the church, speak to Jon.

·         A Welcomer - we refresh our welcome rota annually, and if you want to become part of the welcome team, we will provide training. Please do speak to one of the wardens.

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.

Amen

Looking Through The Cross

This week I re-discovered a book with the above title, which a few years back was the Archbishop of Canterbury’s recommendation for Lent. Essentially, it is an invitation to allow the impact of the cross to seep into the marrow of who we are, so we might see our whole world through that prism. That’s important for us individuals, but equally so as a church body. As Justin Welby himself remarks in the foreword,

 The impact of the Cross has to be felt and reflected in each generation. Cross-shaped churches may be the architectural norm – but they are also the spiritual exception. Just as we each find the pattern of our lives too easily conforming to contemporary culture, so the pattern of the life of the church tends to do the same. We need to rethink what a cross-shaped church means in a very non-cross-shaped culture.’

As we hurtle towards Holy Week, I hope you take time to ponder afresh on that which stands central to Easter and our faith.

Roll Up, Roll Up!

ROLL UP, ROLL UP!

Excuse the awful pun, but today is the last day for returning application forms to be included on St John’s electoral roll. You can either drop your form in the box, or return it to Paul Kingman or Geoff Batten.

 That’s part of the preparations for our APCM which will be held on 23 April @ 11:30am. Another element is for people to put themselves forward for one of the various posts that are up for election. These include:

  •  PCC Members – helping shape the direction of St John’s.
  • Deanery Synod Member (which gives you an automatic right to sit on the PCC) – see the leaflet on the new noticeboards for further details;
  • Welcomers – we refresh our welcome rota annually, and if you want to become part of the welcome team, we will provide training.

 Nomination Sheets will be available in church from this Sunday. If you want to find out a little more about any of these then chat to Jon, or the wardens.

Want to Join In?

We are fast-approaching that time of year when we conduct some of our official business and hold the church equivalent of an AGM (scheduled for 23 April).

 Some of the formalities include ensuring that our church membership list, called the electoral roll, is up to date. Having your name on the roll gives you the opportunity to vote at the APCM, as well as stand for election to our leadership body, the PCC. It’s by no means an absolute requirement to be a part of St John’s. But as well as helping us gain a feel for our numbers, it’s a good way to indicate your intent – that you wish to be viewed as someone with an appetite to partner in God’s mission here.

 So, if you’ve joined us more recently, or you didn’t get round to it last year, we 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, 26th March.