Christmas Collections

New Alpha Course

Our 2019 Alpha Course starts on Thursday 24 January, 7:45 pm at SJ’s.

 

We’ve already had three people from the community sign up on the back of our Christmas Services, so we’re encouraging you all to extend an invitation to the people you know. There will be some postcard invites available next week, but you don’t need one of those to make a good, old fashioned face to face offer to someone who may be interested.

 

You can point them to our website for further details about the course. But as usual, we will  provide a meal, there will be a short video clip, and the opportunity to knock around questions on the subject matter of that evening.

 

Make it one of your 2019 resolutions to pray and ask someone!

Merry Christmas & a Joy-Filled New Year

This is a 2 week edition of our News Sheet, so you might be reading this waiting for the cork to pop on the imminent Christmas celebrations, or the festive frenzy has passed and you’re picking yourself up for the arrival of 2019.

 Either way, I hope there is opportunity to breathe deeply and take a moment to reflect and give thanks. 2018 might not have taken shape as you hoped, but the Christmas narrative reminds us that amidst real pain and insecurity, God continues to sprinkle reminders of his presence and promises to us. As we pull together the aspects of our Advent series, I hope you experience the faith, hope, joy, and peace that are found in Christ with us. God Bless.

Christmas Connections

In the next couple of weeks we will host more people from our community than at any other single point in the year – with possibly over a thousand visitors coming through our doors.

 That’s both a great privilege and responsibility.

 I’m guessing you’re not surprised to receive a plea from your vicar to pray about all these ‘hospitality moments’, but I’m going to get specific and ask you to send up a prayer every time you do something ‘Christmassy’ – eat a mince pie, wrap a present, listen to a festive tune, hang a bauble…

 It would be a true Christmas blessing if all the people who were joining us made a connection not just with St John’s, but with the Christ we worship. Amen. 

A Prayer for Advent

Lord Jesus, 
I give you my hands to do your work. 
I give you my feet to go your way. 
I give you my eyes to see as you do. 

 

I give you my tongue to speak your words. 
I give you my mind that you may think in me. 
I give you my spirit that you may pray in me. 

 

Above all, 
I give you my heart that you may love in me your Father and all people. 
I give you my whole self that you may grow in me, so that it is you, Lord Jesus, who live and work and pray in me.

 

Lord Jesus, I give you my spirit that you may pray in me.

I give you my heart, Lord that you may love in me.

Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year

Here’s a Christmas prayer of praise that fits well with our ‘Worship’ theme for the end of our Advent Series. Happy Christmas one and all.

Shout for joy

the whole earth,

and everything within.

Rejoice!

For Light has come into the world

 

The mountains sing,

the seas resound

to the praise of your name.

Salvation

once promised is here on earth

 

The angels' song

rings in the air,

a child has been born.

Hallelujah!

The Saviour of the world is here

The Pain of Waiting ...

I wonder how the Advent season has been for you?

If you’re like me, you might be a little disappointed that it hasn’t been all that different to normal, save for a spike in things to do. Whilst some of us might have used the period to reflect more deeply on Jesus’ arrival, my hunch is fewer of us will have dwelt on the other focal point of Advent – the ‘end times’. I am acutely aware that plenty of you have been living in the tension of those two perspectives – often referred to as the ‘now and not-yet’ of God’s rule. God’s kingdom has broken out, but not completely. We have a vision of the world as God yearns it to be, but not the ability to bring it about in full. We see glimmers of God’s glory in the world but have to wait for the time when that glory will suffuse the whole of creation.

That reality for some of you has meant living with the pain, fragility, and yes, disappointment of life, whilst trying to hold on to Christ’s promises.

That’s not easy, and my prayer for you all is that God’s Spirit allows you to see the ‘end’, in a way which brings real hope and peace for your ‘now’. God Bless.

Christmas Collections

This Christmas we will be taking collections across different services for the following organisations:

(i) The Children’s Society (Christingle Services)

A national charity that runs local projects, helping children and young people when they are at their most vulnerable, and have nowhere left to turn.

(ii) Bromley Night Shelter (Carol Service / Christmas Day)

This is a project run by the ‘Churches Together in Central Bromley’ to help homeless people with a connection to Bromley Borough.

(iii) Missionary Aviation Fellowship (Carol Service / Christmas Day)

Working in partnership with hundreds of other relief organisations MAF reaches some of the most remote people on our planet who struggle with malnutrition and the effects of displacement, bringing practical help, physical healing, and spiritual hope.

 

You can find out more about their respective work by visiting their websites.