Friday, 29 April 2011

Greetings to William and Kate from St Paul's

Many of our church family will have been watching the Royal wedding today – and what a wonderful mixture of colour. pomp and informality it was. In his sermon, the Bishop of London quoted Catherine of Siena: "Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire." What a wonderful thought! The God who wants us to know him as Abba (Daddy) has plans for us that would set the world ablaze.
Richard Chartres made the interesting observation that: "As the reality of God has faded from so many lives in the West, there has been a corresponding inflation of expectations that personal relations alone will supply meaning and happiness in life.” Sadly, those expectations are often inadequate as the recent history of Royal weddings has shown.
May our prayer for William and Kate be that their marriage may be long and happy as each supports the other and that they may know the reality of the risen Christ supporting them in their future lives.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

He is not Here!

Leading a packed church on Easter Sunday morning, Paskal Clement began by asking people what the words were on the display in the entrance (photo here). When a guess, "He is Risen," failed, someone hurriedly went out to look. "He is not here, He is risen." These were the words of the Angel to the women who went looking for Jesus in the tomb. This is the Christian message on Easter day. We went on to read those words in Matthew's Gospel chapter 28.

In the sermon, Hugh pointed out the two very different attitudes: the faithful women seeking to serve Jesus, and the worried Jerusalem authorities concocting a story of a body snatch with the soldiers. Both agreed that the tomb was empty. Jesus was not there. Much as the authorities might have liked to produce a body to support their story, they could not.

This is the miracle that shows that Christ's death on the cross to allow all who wish to, to receive life in all its fullness, in fellowship with God, was an act that had been accepted by God the Father. This is the good news, the "gospel" that the church exists to proclaim.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Early Summer Services 2011 - Our New Programme

Our new vicar, Stephen Bailey, with his wife Angie, and their children, Samuel and the newly born Joel, will be moving to Oadby in June. Steve's licensing as Team Vicar in the parish of Oadby will take place at St Pauls, at 7:30 p.m. on 29 June. Our prayers are with them as they make this big move here from Walton on Thames on the outskirts of London.

But while we await Steve's arrival, there is much to be excited about in our worship here at St Paul's. In May, we continue to celebrate the wonder of Christ's Resurrection and start a series of sermons based on Peter's first letter. Then we celebrate Pentecost when the coming of the Holy Spirit initiated the birth of the Church. And the week after that is Trinity Sunday when we celebrate the wonder of how the One God is expressed in "Three Persons" – wonderful, but something that we all struggle to understand.

Following that, we are picking up some ideas that came from the "100 Essential Readings (E 100)" that many will soon be finishing. There will be a series of five sermons on Jesus' teaching and later a series of five on his miracles.

So come and join us as we wait to see where God will take us next.

Get tour copy of the rogramme here

Friday, 22 April 2011

Make Way for the King!

It was Palm Sunday on Sunday 17 April. We were celebrating Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, but were also considering the whole story of Christ's Passion. The two themes were linked in the palm crosses that everyone received as they entered church. The palm leaf reminded us of the palm leaves and other objects that the Jerusalem crowd strewed in front of the donkey, carrying the Messiah. Twisting the palm leaf into the form of a cross reminded us that five days later that crowd would have rejected Jesus and he would be dying for us on the cross.
In our first hymn, "Make Way" children and their parents followed our Rector, Michael Rusk, around the church, waving their Palm Crosses. We then had a prolonged reading of all of the Passion story from St Matthew's Gospel. In his sermon, Michael Rusk reminded us of the centrality of the cross in our faith and the importance of being known as Christians. He encouraged us to leave our palm crosses in prominent places which might encourage others to ask what they meant, so that we could explain our faith.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

To eat or not to eat?

Each Saturday in Lent one of the churches in Oadby hosts a "Lent lunch," which is open to members of all the churches. Saturday 9 April was our turn to play host. Thank you so much to those who produced a tasty range of soups which combined with cheese and rolls and tea or coffee. However, this was not only an opportunity to get to know friends from other churches but as the donations went to Christian Aid, those in greatest need benefited as well.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Welcome Joel !

We are delighted to hear that Steve and Angie's new baby, Joel Andrew arrived at 10:55am on Sunday 3rd April, weighing in at 7lb 2oz.

Steve, who will be licensed as team vicar at St Paul's on 29 June sent us this photo and thanked us for our prayers.
We are really looking forward to the whole family joining us.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Mothers Matter!

Comfortably replete from the "Breakfast at Barney's" breakfast, we joined the 10.00 a.m. Mothering Sunday service, led by our Associate Minister, Paskal Clement. The first reading reminded us how Hannah brought up the baby Samuel to be dedicated to the Lord, while the second reminded us of Jesus’ concern for his mother, even while dying on the cross.

Paskal explained the origins of "Mothering Sunday," when servant girls were allowed to return home on the fourth Sunday of Lent and present a posy to their mothers. Then he spoke of the crucial role that both the women in our readings played in developing the spiritual life of their children. Mothers today have the same responsibility in introducing their children to the love of God in Jesus.

During the final hymn, our youngsters distributed little pots of primulas to all the ladies in the congregation.

O, Mama Mia – Men Serve!

It probably didn't escape your notice that Sunday 3 April was Mothering Sunday. But it was also the day when we were due to have our monthly "Breakfast at Barney's" – a cooked English (or continental) breakfast in the church's Barnabas Centre. Not much rest for the ladies, headed by our churchwarden, Anita Chettle, who are normally responsible. So, to show our appreciation for all that the ladies do throughout the year, the men took over – cooking and serving.

Everyone was well served and the standard did not drop as the men showed their ability. If you are free at 8:30 a.m. on the second Sunday (usually) of the month, do come and join us. We charge £3.00 and the profit goes to Christian Aid.