Sunday, 27 January 2008

Random Fish

For a reason which is too complicated to get into here, the group for teens at St Paul's is called Random Fish.

Random Fish gather in the Barnabas Centre at St Paul's from 7pm to 9pm. Email Doug or Jennifer for details.

Friday, 25 January 2008

Lambeth Conference appoints a cartoonist in residence

Dave Walker's CartoonChurch blog is high on my reading list each week. Dave's recently announced that he's been asked to be cartoon artist in residence at the 2008 Lambeth Conference. Bishops from all over the world will come to the UK in July and the conference itself will run from 16 July to 4 August 2008 at the University of Kent in Canterbury. Dave says he's "very excited" by the prospect.

I'm excited about the prospect of Dave's cartoons, which are sure to leaven the sometimes ever so slightly tedious ongoings at these events.

The video here has been uploaded by Lambeth Palace to YouTube to mark the launch of the 2008 Conference.

Called to ministry?

The annual diocesan Vocations Day is being held on Saturday 23 February, at St Philip's Church, Evington. The day will include:
  • time for prayer and reflection
  • guest speaker Charles Richardson, Vocations Adviser in the Diocese of Southwark and editor of This is our calling (SPCK, 2004).
  • Gill Jackson, Director of Social Responsibility for the Diocese of Leicester
  • Mike Harrison, Director of Mission and Ministry for the Diocese of Leicester
  • workshops with people already exercising authorised ministry (Readers, pastoral assistants, evangelists, ordained ministers).
The day is free but contributions towards the cost of lunch would be welcome. To book a place, request a registration form from Claire Stapleton.

Can I get married in church on Sunday?

It's a question that we're being asked more and more. With wedding reception venues taking bookings three or more years in advance, the availability and cost of the traditional Saturday wedding is a real problem for many couples.

We've had Sunday weddings in Oadby parish in the last couple of years and it works well.

There's less flexibility in timing due to the other services, but it's quite possible to have a wedding at 1.00pm or 2.00pm, which are the prime times to marry.

For more information about weddings in Oadby, use the weddings link on the labels and categories section on the right of every page.

Next Sunday at Ten - 27 January 2008

Service of the Word
Leading: Simon Harvey
Preaching: Simon Foulds
Leading music: Doug Tincello
Isaiah 9. 1-4 Jill Williams
Matthew 4. 12-23 Anita Chettle
Leading prayers: Elena Williams

It's a pleasure to welcome Simon Foulds of Bible Society to preach at today's service. Bible Society works to make God's Word heard, read and respected in this country and overseas.

Passion TV series

The Diocese of Leicester's website is featuring news of a new BBC TV series:

The series, which starts on Palm Sunday 16th March, will be scheduled in peak time on BBC1. It is likely to attract audiences in excess of 10 million. It tells the story of the last week of Jesus’ life, His trial and crucifixion. The last episode, to be broadcast on Easter Sunday 23rd March, dramatises His post-resurrection appearances. It has been made by award-winning drama producer Nigel Stafford-Clark, who was responsible for Bleak House and Warriors. The cast includes Cold Feet star James Nesbitt as Pilate and EastEnders actor Paul Nicholls as Judas Iscariot. The part of Jesus is played by the relatively unknown Joseph Mawle, who at 33 is the same age as Jesus during the events of the Passion.

More information about "The Passion" at the Churches' Media Council.

Jesus and the Christian Gospel for all?

I've just received publicity for a training event at St Philip's Centre for Study & Engagement in a Multi-faith Society. It promises exploration of "how to offer the challenge of the Christian faith to our Hindu, Sikh or Muslim neighbours".

The day is led by Canon Dr Andrew Wingate, who has an international reputation for inter-faith dialogue and understanding, and Revd John McGinley, an evangelical vicar from Hinckley.

This is a rare opportunity to reflect on issues of the church's mission, friendship, engagement and evangelism in multi-faith neighbourhoods. I hope to be able to attend.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

How to downsize your church

Some excellent advice from the Diocese of Chichester here.

'Called?' Vocations Day 2008

Here's the information for this year's Vocations Day. I'll be very much involved as usual, helping people explore Reader ministry.

Vocations day is an opportunity to explore and discern your ministry, whether this may be a formal lay ministry of some kind or simply mean being more involved with your church, this day will help you to realise your calling.

This day will give you the opportunity to hear from those already working as lay ministers and meet the officers responsible for particular ministries.

This day will be of value to anyone interested in finding out about opportunities to serve and minister within the church. Speaker: Rev Charles Richardson Ordained in 1979, Charles has been involved in vocational work for the whole of his ministry. After two curacies he spent five years as a Selection Secretary and Vocations Advisor at the Ministry Division. As Rector and Rural Dean in Hastings he continued to offer vocational advice and on his appointment as Vicar of St. John's, East Dulwich, he became Vocations Advisor for the Woolwich Area in the Diocese of Southwark. He is a Pastoral Selector for Bishop's Selection Conferences. He edited and contributed to a recent book on calling, This is our Calling (SPCK, 2004).

Booking necessary, please contact Claire Stapleton at Church House Tel: 0116 248 7417 or E-mail:

Friday, 18 January 2008

Booking the church and Barnabas Centre

I'm delighted that Cynthia Foulds has offered to take on the administration of the bookings for the Church and Barnabas Centre by community groups. Sue Boyden will continue to administer the invoicing. This has become a key area of our ministry and service to the wider community and a source of valuable income. In 2007, our buildings were occupied for two thirds of the available sessions and raised almost £17,000 in income.

To book the church or Barnabas Centre, contact Cynthia on the new bookings line - 07931 726661, or by email.

Pennbury public meeting - 1 Feb 2008

The website of Leicestershire Aero Club is reporting that a public meeting to discuss the proposed eco-town is being held at the Billesdon Coplow Centre on Friday 1 February at 7.30pm. The development, under the working name of "Pennbury", is being proposed by Co-operative Group on land they own just east of Stoughton.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Next Sunday at Ten - 20 January 2008

Third Sunday of Epiphany, "The Lamb of God"
10.00am Holy Communion
Presiding: Revd Simon Harvey
Preaching: Nick Williams
Leading music: Bryan Philpott
1 Corinthians 1.1-9 read by Elena Williams
John 1.29-42 read by John Aires
Leading prayers: Vivien James
Welcoming: Ruth Smith
Sidespeople: Sue Boyden and Judi Jones
Assisting at Communion: Derek Bowering and Sue Crofts

In the season of Epiphany we hear readings which tell of the way that the person and purpose of Jesus were revealed. John the Baptist proclaims him to be "The Lamb of God". It's a rich theme, borrowing images from the Old Testament and just as relevant today.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Oadby gets a Google Maps update

I've just noticed that Google has updated its aerial photography and that Oadby is now shown in even greater detail. Check this map for a shot of St Paul's, showing a huddle of people on the edge of the pavement between my house and the church. Is this you? Or me? From the angle and length of the shadows, the fact that our old blue car appears, the lawn is as dry as bone and there are few cars down at the schools, it looks to me like an afternoon on late summer's day in 2006. The car parks at Asda and Sainsbury's are strangely quiet too. Curious.

Pennbury - Leicestershire's eco-town

Update: 3 April 2008 - decision is announced.

It's quite hard to find accurate information about the proposal for a new town of 15,000 to 20,000 new homes between Oadby, Great Glen, Thurnby and Houghton. The working name "Pennbury" has been given to the plans to develop land owned by Co-operative Group, including Leicester Airport.

The national initiative to build ten new towns has apparently attracted fifty proposals and a decision about which will proceed is expected in February 2008.

The key idea is to increase the supply of affordable housing and to overcome the burden that's often caused to existing infrastructure when housing estates are added to existing settlements. According to the Eco-towns prospectus there will be an emphasis on self-sufficiency and "zero-carbon" development for the new towns, and "a good range of facilities within the town including a secondary school, shopping, business space and leisure".

Understandably, the prospect of such large-scale development has already raised a lot of local concern, though it's hard to make a judgement at such an early stage. From the perspective of the Christian churches, I can see how the gradual expansion of suburban villages like Oadby has not always been matched by investment in infrastructure (including new places of worship). It would be encouraging if planners for new housing, large or small, took the needs of faith communities into account and understood how faith perspectives could contribute to a healthy town.

For those who want to find out more about "Pennbury", here's a selection of currently available resources:
Churches Together in Britain and Ireland have created a resource Church in New Housing Areas, which attempts to "bring heart and soul to new communities". If the proposal for Pennbury receives government backing next month, I expect this will be a major issue for the new Gartree North Mission Partnership, which is centred on the area touted for development.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

All set for Alpha

Though there's not been much news on this blog, we're excited about the Alpha Course which starts on Tuesday. The response has exceeded expectations, though I want to be a little reticent about numbers until we see who actually comes along.

For anyone on the course who drops into the blog, let me assure you that we will never report who participates or what is said by any of our guests. Just in case you thought that your name might appear here, it won't! I hope you'll have a great time.

DCC Meeting - January 2008

Last week's meeting discussed:
  • the Alpha Course
  • a review of our Christmas services (attendance was 13% higher at the four main services than in 2006)
  • church growth in 2007 and beyond (our overall total adult weekly attendance rose by 7% in 2007 to 95.
  • the decline in numbers of children coming to our Parade services from uniformed organisations.
  • secretarial provision
  • arrangements for the Annual Parochial Church Meeting
  • the launch service for the Gartree North Mission Partnership

Friday, 11 January 2008

Next Sunday at Ten - 13 January 2007

Each year, churches around the world mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Christ prayed that the church should be one, and we join our prayers with his. We look forward to welcoming Ant and Karen Johnson, from Oadby Baptist Church as part of the annual CTO Preacher Exchange.

13 January 2008 – Second Sunday of Epiphany
10.00am Family Service

Leading and preaching: Ant Johnson and Karen Johnson
Music Leader: Doug Tincello
Sidespeople: Jonathan Hales and Sue Crofts
Welcomers: Jennie Frith and Gill Aires

Guest preacher - Simon Foulds

On 27 January, we'll be welcoming guest preacher Simon Foulds to our ten o'clock service. Simon is Regional Manager of Bible Society, with responsibilities for the East of England.

Simon will be speaking on Matthew 4.19, "'Come, follow me', Jesus said, and I will make you fishers of men." He'll talk about our need to be fishers of people, in our local community but also around the world and the importance of the Bible in doing that, sharing stories how people have come and followed Jesus as they engage in the Bible.

Monday, 7 January 2008

Christmas Toy and Gift Service

The response to December's Christmas Toy and Gift Service was remarkable. Thanks to the generosity of the congregation we gathered bag after bag of toys for the children and young people who live at Border House Hostel. Today, I received a letter from them. Aileene Morris, the manager of the hostel writes:
"I would like to thank you all for the very, very kind donations of toys that you have sent in for the children and families at Border House Hostel.

The difference that your kind thoughts and generosity have made to our families is priceless. Our families come to us with very little and even the smallest drop of human kindness gives them the strength to endure the hardship they face. And at this time of year your gifts have much more meaning to our families.

Our biggest thank you is from the children. The look on the faces of the children when they received their gifts was a reward in itself.

May we take this opportunity to wish you and your families love, peace and happiness for 2008."

Friday, 4 January 2008

Principal Services Epiphany and Lent 2008

Only rarely does Easter fall as early in the year as this. We almost tumble from the season of Epiphany, with its focus on the revelation of who Jesus is, into Lent.

This year, the readings for Lent show us the promises made and fulfilled in Jesus Christ; promises of everlasting life. So this is a time for exploration and discovery – not as spectators but as adventurers. Choose life in 2008!

6 January 2008
10.00am Holy Communion for Epiphany
Mysterious visitors come to worship
Ephesians 3.1-12 and Matthew 2.1-12

13 January 2008
10.00am Parade Service and CTO Preacher Exchange
Guest preachers: Anthony and Karen Johnson

20 January 2008
10.00am Holy Communion
The Lamb of God
1 Corinthians 1.1-9 and John 1.29-42

27 January 2008
10.00am Service of the Word
Simon Foulds – Bible Society

3 February 2008
10.00am Holy Communion
On the mountain top
Exodus 24.12-end and Matthew 17.1-9

10 February 2008
10.00am Parade Service
Poverty and homelessness

17 February 2008
10.00am Holy Communion
Being born from above
Genesis 12.1-4a and John 3.1-17

24 February 2008
10.00am Service of the Word
Thirsting for life
Exodus 17.1-7 and John 4.5-42

2 March 2008
10.00am Parade service for Mothering Sunday
A baby hidden in the rushes
Exodus 2.1-10

9 March 2008
10.00am Holy Communion
‘Everyone who believes in me will live’
John 11.1-16 and John 11.17-45

16 March 2008
10.00am Holy Communion for Palm Sunday
The Passion of Christ
Seven readings from Matthew’s gospel: 26.14-30, 26.31-46, 26.47-68, 26.69-27.10, 27.11-26, 27.27-44, 27.45-66

20 March 2008
7.30pm Holy Communion for Maundy Thursday
Jesus washes the feet of his disciples
1 Corinthians 11.23-26 and John 13.1-17, 31b-35

21 March 2008 – Good Friday
9.30am CTO Joint service at St Peter’s, Oadby
From 10.30am Christ in the Centre, Leicester
7.30pm CTO Joint service at URC, Oadby

23 March 2008 – Easter Day
10.00am Holy Communion for Easter Day
Alleluia! He is risen!
Acts 10.34-43 and John 20.1-18

Dementia Awareness Training - 15 January 2008

The Volunteers and Carers Project at VAOW have partnered with the Alzheimer's Society to provide a day of training here at St Paul's on 15 January 2008.

For more information, or to book one of the limited spaces, contact Sarah Lambrianou or Gurjit Sanghar on 0116 282 0026 (ext. 26). A free sitting service for the person cared for can be provided and transport arranged. The event is free but booking is essential.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Next Sunday at Ten - 6 January 2008

6 January 2008 - The Feast of Epiphany
10.00am Holy Communion

Epiphany is the feast and season in which we reflect on the revelation of God’s love in Jesus. The ‘wise men’ are mysterious figures. Little is known of their origins but the purpose of their visit is clear – a King has been born and they wish to honour and worship him. Let us do the same.

Presiding: Revd Simon Harvey
Preaching: Revd Mark Battison
Music Leader: John Griffin
Ephesians 3.1-12, read by Gwynneth Roy
Matthew 2.1-12, read by Sue Crane
Prayers for the needs of the world, led by Christine Kilbourne
Sidespeople: Doreen Wright and Dinah Cheney
Welcomer: Gill Aires
Communion Assistants: Vivien James and Colin Chettle

Preacher exchange 2008

As well as the services for the 2008 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity we look forward to the annual CTO Preacher Exchange. Every January, the congregations of Oadby's main churches welcome a minister from another church to preach.

This year at St Paul's, we have two guests from Oadby Baptist Church, Ant and Karen Johnson. The service will be at 10.00 on Sunday 13 January and will be about an hour long. It promises to be an interactive and creative service, in which the children will be able to participate.

Oadby's Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

2008 is a special year, marking the 100th anniversary of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

The Week of Prayer was first marked by Father Paul Wattson, an Episcopalian Franciscan priest in the USA. The resources have therefore been produced in this centenary year from within the United States of America. The image is from Ground Zero and symbolises the sense of praying for peace and reconciliation, both within the Church and the world.

The aims are:

  • To pray as Christ prayed "that they may be one".
  • To pray for the unity of all Christian people as we share in Christ's ministry.

Readings and meditations focus on Paul's advice to "pray without ceasing". Resources for the week, produced by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, include a service pamphlet, prayer cards and poster.

The Week of Prayer offers opportunities to meet and pray with fellow Christians of different denominations in your locality. Often new local initiatives emerge out of meeting and praying together in this way.

Churches Together in Oadby is affiliated to Churches Together in Britain and Ireland and as usual we'll be marking the week of prayer for Christian Unity with a series of services:

Friday 18 Jan 6:45pm to 7.15pm at United Reformed Church, Rosemead Drive
Saturday 19 Jan 10am at Oadby Baptist Church, followed by Forum Meeting
Sunday 20 Jan 2008 6:30pm United Service at Oadby Baptist Church
Monday 21 Jan 6:45pm to 7.15pm Church of the Immaculate Conception
Tuesday 22 Jan 6:45pm to 7.15pm Trinity Methodist Church
Wednesday 23 Jan 6:45pm to 7.15pm at St. Peter's Church
Thursday 24 Jan 6:45pm to 7.15pm at St. Paul's (Barnabas Centre)
Friday 25 Jan 6:45pm to 7.15pm United Reformed Church, Rosemead Drive

Breakfast at Barney’s

Start the new year with a banger! The next Breakfast at Barney’s is on 13 January, serving from 8.30am onwards.

Come and tuck in to a full cooked or light breakfast before church. Please book with Anita Chettle.

Image: Flickr Username: rick Creative Commons Attribution License

Church curry night

Leave the turkey behind and beat off the January gloom with a spicy dish at the next church curry night.

We’re having another church curry night at The Blues (Severn Road) at 7.30pm on Wednesday 16 January 2008. It’s a great way to get to know each other. Why not invite family or friends? The cost will be £10 per person – please book with Teri or Paul Webster.

Image: Flickr roland Used under Creative Commons Attribution License