Electoral Roll

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.

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.

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.

Life in Lent

Lent is often associated with denial of one sort or another, but it’s not always accompanied by such a great understanding as to why we’re foregoing the Cadburys.

Here’s a simple, but great quote from a vicar this week to motivate you to embrace Lent:

The idea of Lent is that Easter is so mind-blowing that to hope to engage with it we need to get in training. So, we make space for God by 6 weeks of forgiving, saying sorry, reading the Bible, caring for and standing with those in need, fasting and praying.

 To help you along the way, our Lent series called ‘Seven Words’ begins this Sunday. We’ll take a look at some very simple words, which will invite us to embrace some practices to prepare for Easter, but which also have the potential to help us adjust our long term approach to life and 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.

His-Story

His-Story

It has been said that those that forget the past are doomed to repeat it. This is usually applied to our national history, and especially wars, but I also think this applies to the church.

 When Christians forget those that have gone before us, we often repeat the same mistakes. Likewise, when we are attentive to learn from those who have gone before us, it helps us follow God. The author of Hebrews reminds us of this in chs 11-12. After listing the works of the patriarchs, he says:

 ‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us’. (12:1)

Perhaps the idea of looking at church history seems dry and dull, but it doesn’t need to be. Our history is filled with great stories of God’s mighty works, and faithful people, ready for us to delve into.

 Here is a great place to start: 5minutesinchurchhistory.com

5 minute long podcasts about events in church history. Easy to listen to, perhaps on the way to work one day each week, to help us look at the great cloud of witnesses that have gone before us, and point us to Jesus.

Remembering to Receive

For all the virtues of marking the season of Lent, there is a risk that all our efforts of self-denial deplete us, rather than animate us with the life of God.

 This might be true of life generally, and can be compounded by the service we give to the church. We become martyrs to how well we can bear the burden of an overworked existence. But the fast we choose is not intended to be a self-destructive sacrifice. It might just be that some of us need to recall what it means to be a Receiver. It’s possible to become so used to being the Giver, we forget to put our hands out for ourselves.

 God will often bless us through His people, if we but allow it. To put it another way, ‘being loved well reorients us’. There is an opportunity this evening to be a Receiver – we have Ruth Fazal ministering to us, and she would love nothing more than for us to receive God’s Blessing through her.

 I hope you’ll receive the chance with joy.    

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.