Bishop's Lent Call

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”.

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. 

 

Happy Easter

It may well be that you’re picking this up on Maundy Thursday, so I hope you allow yourself to journey through the trauma of Good Friday before arriving at the celebration and wonder of Resurrection Sunday.

When we do arrive at Easter Sunday, I can think of few better ways to mark the weekend which is central to the Christian faith than having up to 8 of our church family come forward to re-affirm their baptismal vows, or be baptised for the first time.

It’s an utterly fitting response to the reality of Jesus’ death and his defeat of death, and one that I trust will spur us all on in our journeys of faith. I hope you are looking forward to worshipping the risen Lord together.

Happy Easter!

Calling All Young(ish) Adults

Thank you once again to all those in the 18-35 age category who completed our on-line survey. The PCC recently collated the responses and looked to identify any strong, common threads running through them. As a follow up to this, we’d like to invite anyone in this age group (whether or not you completed the survey) to a get together at SJ’s. The aim is to check that we’ve accurately heard what you were expressing, to dig beneath the comments and start thinking about what we might do in response.  

The meeting will be at 10am on Saturday 21 April. Childcare will be provided along with some bakery goodies.

We’ll try not to rob too much of your Saturday, but real value will come from having a good number contribute to the conversation, so do try and carve out the time.

Thanks, Jon.

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.

Easter Baptisms

There is a long tradition, stretching all the way back to the Early Church of baptising people on Easter Sunday.

It’s not hard to see why.

As the baptism liturgy states the water of baptism is a “sign that we are buried with Christ in his death, we share in his resurrection, and we are reborn by the Holy Spirit”. So as Christians around the world celebrate the risen Christ, what better time to welcome newcomers into His family!

This Easter Sunday we are going to do just that. We are hiring the baptism pool and at least 2 of our young people will publicly embrace their first identity as children of God. It promises to be a great celebration.

We want to extend the offer of baptism to anyone who hasn’t yet taken the step.  If you are interested, but not sure what’s involved or whether you’re allowed, please don’t hesitate to speak to Jon or Peter.

The Bishop's Lent Call

Since 1986, successive Bishop’s in Southwark have issued a ‘call’ for parishes to use Lent as a time of prayer and contemplation, as well as raise money for specific projects here and abroad. In that time, over £1 million has been raised for more than 150 projects. We will take a collection over the Easter weekend for the projects chosen this year, which include:

The Holy Land – The Al Ahli Arab Hospital & The Al Shurooq School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Zimbabwe – The dioceses of Masvingo, Matabeleland & Manicaland and their involvement with many schools.

Southwark Diocese – Bede House, The Association for Pastoral Care in Mental Health & The Spires Centre.

Further details of these projects can be found at the MOP noticeboard in church.