Friday, 28 December 2012

The Queen's Christmas Message 2012

At Christmas, the Queen broadcast her Christmas message, as she has done each year, continuing the tradition set by her grand father, and televised since 1957. She spoke of the enthusiasm, fellowship and friendship of those celebrating the Diamond Jubilee; of the achievement courage and dedication, training and teamwork of the athletes and of those helping to organise the Olympic and Paralympic games; of the devotion, commitment and sacrifice of those helping in public service, particularly in the armed services.

She also related this to the inspiration that comes from those who were part of the Christmas story, such as Mary and Joseph and indeed, to the Christ child himself; and said that her prayer this Christmas Day was that his example and teaching would continue to bring people together to give the best of themselves in the service of others.

But toward the end of her speech, she said this: "The carol, 'In The Bleak Midwinter,' ends by asking a question of all of us who know the Christmas story, of how God gave himself to us in humble service: 'What can I give him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb; if I were a wise man, I would do my part'."

And she concluded: "The carol gives the answer 'Yet what I can I give him - give my heart'. "I wish you all a very happy Christmas."
That question, of how we should respond to Christ, is of essential importance. It's what we will be exploring at the Alpha Course on Tuesday evenings (for details see post of 5 December).

See the Video of the Queen's message.
Full text of the message
Contact us if you might be interested in the Alpha Course

Sunday, 23 December 2012

God is With Us – Come and Celebrate Christmas 2012

After all the preparations, Christmas 2012 is in full swing at St Paul's.

Join us at 7.0 p.m. on Sunday 23 December for our much loved "Carols by Candlelight" when we will read again the Christmas story, sing carols old and new and hear other Christmas readings – all by the light of hand held candles.

Join us again for the Crib and Christingle service at 4.0 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Monday 24 December, when we will recount again the Christmas story in a way that children (and many adults) will enjoy.

Our Christmas midnight Communion takes place at 11.30 p.m. on Christmas Eve, when, in the stillness of night, we combine the thoughts and carols of the Christ child in the manger, with the memory of his death on the cross which was the reason why he came to earth.

On Christmas morning at 10.0 a.m. comes the climax of Christmas, when we join altogether for the Family Communion and remember Christ "Born This Happy Morning."

Do join us if you can. May you have a Very Happy Christmas.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Those Who Prepared the Way – Three


As we light our Advent Ring for each of the Sundays of Advent, we reached the third candle on Sunday 16 December. Each of the candles represent people or a person whose lives led up to Christ's coming at Christmas. The first candle had been the patriarchs (the leading fathers of Israel) Abraham Isaac and Jacob. The second had been the prophets whose message had told that the Messiah (Jesus) would come.

But who is candle three? The children were given a variety of clues including his desert diet – locusts and wild honey. The honey was pretty popular but there was general agreement that the locusts/insects were not going to be anybody's choice for dinner!

The third candle was for John the Baptist, Jesus second cousin, whose mission was both to call on the people of his time to repent of their sins and to announce the coming of Jesus. The call to change from what we are doing wrong is still equally relevant today.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Brookside School Visit


On Thursday children from the Foundation Stage of Brookside School came along to St Paul's to hear the Christmas story.
During their time with us they also lit the advent candles, built up a nativity scene, sang 'Away In a Manger' as well as looked around the church.
The children brought with them some decorations they had made. They are pictured hung on our tree. Each child had made their own one and on it they wrote their 'wish' or 'prayer' for others this Christmas season.
It was great to welcome the children and to see them join in so well.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Thought Provoking

For the last few years a group called Church Ads has produced a different poster each Christmas under the slogan "Christmas starts with Christ". They try to come up with an eye catching image and then provide it free for churches to use, as well as encouraging them to sponsor a prominent advertising location. The idea is that a co-ordinated effort and common image will stick better in peoples' minds. This year's image is called 'Godbaby' and features an image of one of those life like child's baby dolls. The slogan underneath reads "Godbaby. He cries, He wees. He saves the world". What is your reaction to that? For those who find it too in your face then there is an alternative slogan, "Godbaby. The gift that loves you back".

Personally, I find the image a bit off putting. I think it would have been better if it had been a real baby. Surely what the first slogan is trying to remind us is that Jesus came as a real human being and lived on earth. Jesus experienced all that we do and humbled himself to become a tiny baby. Often it is this side that we forget and so the slogan that 'he cries and wees' is meant to remind us of that very human nature of Christ. A picture of a human baby would have reminded us of this much more.


I pray that this Christmas you may encounter afresh the God baby who loves you beyond all measure.


Have a blessed Christmas and a peaceful New Year.


Steve

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Good to Give…

As we approach Christmas it is natural to think about giving. Jesus was the greatest gift that God could give the world he loved. And so, at Christmas, we too give gifts. But most of those are given to family and friends who we already know well.

But last Sunday was special as most of the congregation had bought and wrapped gifts for people they did not know. During the "All age" and Parade Service, they were brought forward and, afterwards, they were sent to the children in Mother and Baby Homes, Women's Refuges, and Sheltered Housing. Other people brought gifts for asylum seekers cared for by the Welcome Project.

Our reading and sermon was about the woman whom Jesus commended for giving a couple of coins, which were all that she had.  It reminded us that God values us for what we are, however little we are able to give. We pray that our modest gifts may be an encouragement and sign of God's love to those who receive them.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Alpha 2013 Course Dates

St Paul's is planning to run an Alpha course in the New Year. Below are the dates set for the course. For more information or to register an interest in the course please contact Steve on 0116 271 0519 or email vicarstpauloadby@gmail.com
To find out more about Alpha please vist the Alpha website

Tue 5 Feb Alpha Launch Event - Christianity: Boring, Untrue and Irrelevant?
Tue 12 Feb Half Term
Tue 19 Feb Week 1 Who is Jesus?
Tue 26 Feb Week 2 Why did Jesus Die?
Tue 5 Mar Week 3 How can we have Faith?
Tue 12 Mar Week 4 Why and how do I Pray?
Tue 19 Mar Week 5 Why and how should I read the Bible
Tue 26 Mar Week 6 How does God Guide us?
Sat Holy Spirit Day – either 23 Mar OR 13 Apr
Tue 2 Apr No meeting, Easter week
Tue 9 Apr Week 7 How can I Resist Evil?
Tue 16 Apr Week 8 Why and how should I tell Others?
Tue 23 Apr Week 9 Does God Heal Today?
Tue 30 Apr Week 10 What about the Church?

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Welcome Bishop Tim

On Sunday 2 December 2012, the Bishop of Leicester, Tim Stevens, visited the Parish of Oadby. He came to lead services for the first Sunday in Advent. First, he celebrated at the 8.0a.m. service, after which we all joined for breakfast in the Parish Hall (many thanks to those who have worked hard to make that possible).

The congregations of both churches (St Pauls and St Peter's) joined together for the main Communion Service at 10a.m in St Peter's. The large congregation was in good heart as it was led in worship both by the organ and choir and also by the youth band.

Advent is the time when we look forward to celebrating Christ's coming at Christmas and also his final return at the end of time. We also look forward to his reign of justice and peace being established on the Earth.

After the service people crossed the road for refreshments in the Parish Centre and after these, Bishop Tim answered people's questions. Although these were varied, questions about women bishops were much to the fore!

It was good to have our Bishop with us and for both churches to join together in worship.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Nev Goes Strong at 90

Today, at Coffee Pot, St Paul's Thursday morning group, we were celebrating Nev Lindley's 90th birthday (actually tomorrow). Nev was in very good heart as he reminisced, including wartime experiences as an air traffic controller – when two Halifax bombers collided just by his control tower  – and his experiences as an engineer back in Leicester.
Although widowed for 16 years, he has many family living nearby. His granddaughter had cooked an array of different cakes which all of us who attended enjoyed. We sang a tuneful (?) "Happy birthday" to him.
May Nev have many more years of good health.
It's always good to celebrate anniversaries and of course, in a months time, we celebrate the greatest birthday of all: Jesus birth. Do come and celebrate with us at St Paul's:
Sunday 23 the Carol Service at 6:30 p.m.
Monday 24, Christmas Eve, The Christingle Service at 4.0 p.m. and midnight Communion at 11.30 p.m.Tuesday 25, Christmas Day, Family Communion at 10.0 a.m.
I hope that you will be able to come and celebrate with us.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

General Synod: Vote on Women Bishops

On Tuesday the governing body of the Church of England;- General Synod, voted on the issue of allowing women to be ordained as Bishops in the Church. Synod is made up of 3 'houses' Bishops, Clergy and Laity. For a measure to be approved it needs to gain a majority of two-thirds of the vote in each of the 3 houses. The houses of Bishops and Clergy voted clearly in favour but the house of Laity was much closer. Here there were 132 votes for 74 against and 9 abstentions. The house of Laity needed just a further 6 'yes' votes for the bill to pass but because it fell short the bill failed.

There have been a variety of reactions to this as you might expect. Much sadness from those who have worked tirelessly over many years to try and make women Bishops happen. There have been questions over the way Synod works, with many suggesting that it doesn't. 42 of the 44 dioceses voted in favour of Women Bishops, so why does General Synod not reflect this? I read a comment that said you can be president of the United States with 51% of the vote but not a female bishop with 74% of the vote. Many other countries in the worldwide Anglican communion are in shock as they already have Women Bishops. Others are delighted that the measure failed, including many women.

John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, suggested in a radio interview that it was not the idea of women bishops that was rejected but rather the legislation that the church was suggesting to offer an alternative for those who in all good conscience could not receive the ministry of a female bishop.

The outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, urged Synod to rebuild trust. The Archbishop elect, Justin Welby, tweeted that is was 'a grim day' for the Church and is keen to see this issue resolved.

Personally I am in favour of Women Bishop's and do not think the events of the last few days have done much to endear the work and mission of the Church to the watching world. However, the thing that makes me most sad is to see the in-fighting between the different 'sides'. More than anything now is a time for much love, grace and care for one another and a huge amount of prayer. This issue, along with the many other contentious issues that the church faces, is not going to go away and will, in time, need to be revisited and resolved. However, nothing should take us away from the great commission to go and make disciples and share the good news of the love of Christ with all.

Monday, 19 November 2012

God's Economy

We are living in a world that has been dramatically affected by economic decisions over the last four years. Bankers have become the modern day pariah . Justin Welby (newly nominated Archbishop of Canterbury) once wrote a booklet, based on his student dissertation, entitled "Can Companies Sin?" Jesus spent a lot of time talking about money. It was therefore appropriate that this year's Bishop's Lay Congress looked at the issues of finance and big business and was entitled "God's Economy; Christian approaches to the common good."

The conference, attended by several members from St Paul's, had Clifford Longley, the well-known Catholic journalist, broadcaster and writer as the keynote speaker, supported by three other leaders in the economic and business field, who led tutorials and joined with the Bishop in a question and answer session.


The thrust of Clifford Longley's exposition was that the economic problems could not be resolved simply by an increase in regulation. There had been a belief around that the market could be made to function simply by self-interest (greed!). This had failed. What was actually needed was Virtue Ethics (what you are, not what you do, resulting in doing good when no one
is looking). Using a number of scenarios he demonstrated how "doing right" was actually of benefit to the company, its workforce and society – and ultimately to its shareholders.

At the beginning, he raised the question: " Is capitalism redeemable?" His conclusion was "possibly" as he offered suggestions of changes, such as the John Lewis, Cooperative or German model rather than the PLC one. It was a conference which stimulated the grey cells but was of great relevance to life today.


This was the most recent of a series of excellent stimulating "Bishops Lay Congresses." Watch out for next year's!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Remembrance Sunday


Tomorrow is Remembrance Sunday. This year it falls on the 11th day. At St Paul's we will be observing 2 minutes silence on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour.

Our Bible reading from John 15 contains the words of Jesus, 'Greater love has no-one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.' We will be thinking about friends, about those who we don't know who gave their life for our freedom and about the greatest friend of all, Jesus, who laid down his life for each on of us.

Do join us, you will be made very welcome!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Clearing the grounds

On a wet Saturday morning a brave team of people turned up to help in a grounds clearing exercise at St Paul's. Hedges were trimmed back, leaves raked and the whole place was tided up.
Huge thanks to Mick Ellis and David Smith who led the morning, to Wendy and Margaret who encouraged the workers with hot drinks and bacon butties.
Thanks too to all who volunteered through the morning, it has made a huge difference.
We praise God for the beauty of creation and the changing times and seasons.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

John Starie's Funeral Talk

On 19th October St Paul's church family gathered with many others to give thanks for and celebrate the life of long term member John Starie.
During that service I was able to share some of John's testimony after his stroke in 1988. Many people were encouraged by John's own words and have requested to see them.
Follow this link to read it for yourself.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Joining together to support the Bible Society

As this Sunday was Bible Sunday, the united Oadby churches, "Churches Together in Oadby" held a joint service in the evening. This year, it was held at St Paul's, with the service led by our vicar and with a talk by Katie Okafor, a representative of the Bible Society of Great Britain and Ireland.

Katie talked of the many different groups that do not at present have the Bible in their own language, but for which the Bible Society is committed to publish Bibles. She told of her visits to Africa and how she had seen the people’s thrill as they received their Bibles.

But even when the Bible is translated, there is a problem for those who cannot read. She showed us "The Proclaimer" (which she is holding in the photograph). This piece of electronic wizardry has been developed and produced by the Bible Society and contains and plays the Bible in multiple languages. A Christian worker can take "The Proclaimer" into an area with whose mother tongue they are unfamiliar and yet can allow the people there to hear the Bible’s message in their own language.

As Christians in England, we are so fortunate to have the Bible in our own language and to be able to read it. It's a joy to be able to support the Bible Society as they help others to hear the Good News of God's love for them.


Sunday, 28 October 2012

Bible Sunday – Share the Good News – Welcome to Samuel

This Sunday is "Bible Sunday." Recently, St Pauls has been deciding which of the many good English Bible translations it will use routinely in its services. That is not a choice that is open to the majority of the world. There are still many who do not have even one version in their first language.
Today, we were privileged to have as our preacher Emmanuel Oladipo, one of our own congregation. Originally from Nigeria, he has worked in many Christian roles to make Scripture's message of the love of God, demonstrated through Christ, widely known.

Now officially retired, he continues to work with the Langham Partnership, encouraging Christian Preachers around the world to understand and proclaim the message of the Bible, and to encourage each other. This work was founded by the late Rev Dr John Stott, Rector of All Souls, Langham Place in London.

Emmanuel introduced us to three of the members of the Langham Partnership that he had met and worked with in Africa – facing situations very different to our own.

In his sermon, Emmanuel spoke of the way St Paul wrote about Timothy in his letter to him in the Bible, and how Timothy had been brought up by his mother and grandmother to know the message of Scripture (in those days just the Jewish Scripture). Today, we welcomed the Garforth family as they brought Samuel to be baptised. Emmanuel emphasised how Samuel’s parents and Godparents should fulfil the same role in bringing up Samuel to know God for himself, just as Timothy's family had done for him.

It was good to meet Samuel and the family and we pray that they will continue in the Christian Faith, supported by our prayers and best wishes.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Praying for the Mission Aviation Fellowship

St Paul's gives away 10% of the gifts it receives to a number of different Charities and Christian Agencies. One of these is the Mission Aviation Fellowship, often known as MAF, whose special Sunday was yesterday. Our church’s local representative organised a display of its work in the foyer and we remembered it particularly in our prayers.

MAF organises a network of 142 light aircraft across the world, whose primary purpose is to enable Christian agencies to reach areas of need that would not be easily reached by conventional transport. The problems may include evacuating people with acute illnesses, helping Christian workers make journeys of long distances or over difficult terrain, or where there is flooding in wet seasons and over regions of armed hostility. They also help in disaster relief. When not needed for Christian or Charitable work, the aircraft are available to support the local transport infrastructure.

One of our other Mission Links, Keith Waddell, the eye surgeon based in Uganda, has often depended on MAF for transport into remote areas, including Northern Uganda where the Lord's Resistance Army insurrection has often made land transport unsafe, and he has also used it for journeys into Southern Sudan.

We pray that God may bless this facility, that it may continue to benefit work in the Third World, and that its planes may fly safely.

For more information about MAF click here.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Thank You for the Harvest

Harvest has always been a time of celebration – a time when for the farmers the year’s hard work had at last produced the crop. Though we now live in a mechanised age, rather remote from the agricultural yearly cycle, Harvest Festival remains a time to celebrate and to give thanks to God for his goodness as he provides for all our needs.

This year, we celebrated on Saturday night with a Barn Dance. Then, on the Sunday, we had our Parade Service when people brought gifts as a mark of thankfulness for God's provision. Non-perishable goods were sent to the "Welcome Project" for asylum seekers in Leicester, while perishable goods were auctioned and the money sent to TEAR fund, a Christian relief and development organisation.

One very special offering of thanks was for Oliver who was presented for baptism. We pray that he may grow up to be a lifelong servant of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

John Starie – 1933 - 2012

A week ago John Starie died. With his death St Pauls lost one of its most committed members who, despite enormous problems had made an outstanding contribution to the life of this church.

John had been born in Leicester in 1933, the youngest of five children and went on to Alderman Newton Grammar School. He attended Sunday school, committed his life to Christ at the age of 14 and was received into membership of the Methodist Church in 1952. In the youth club, there, he met Beryl; they married in 1955 and had three children. Although his son died tragically in 2005, two daughters outlive him.

In 1960 he became a Methodist lay preacher; although somewhat disillusioned he subsequently left the Methodist Church, though retaining his Christian faith. He joined St Peter's, our sister church in Oadby in 1980 and was confirmed.

At work, John started as a buyer for an engineering company, but then went as a mature student to train in Birmingham as a Probation Officer and joined the Service in Leicester.

In 1988 he suffered a massive stroke which affected both his speech and mobility. He and Beryl joined St Paul's in 1988, a few years after it had been founded. They subsequently moved to Oadby, where they shared a house with their friends Gordon and Diane.

Inevitably, John's stroke curtailed what he was able to do, but he was still more active than many others in full health. He prepared the churches monthly "prayer starts." With Beryl, he was a Home Group leader, the church's representative for the Evangelical Alliance, also for "Churches Together in Oadby" and the church's contact person for their CMS mission partner, Jane Jerrard.

John was an inspiration in the way that he managed to overcome his difficulties with a warm smile. You could rely on his presence at prayer meetings. His mobility scooter was not only a means of transport but even a means of Charity fundraising as he joined the "Ride and Stride" sponsored visit to Leicestershire churches.

A "well done Good and Faithful Servant" awaits him in heaven. He will be much missed here. Our thoughts and prayers are with Beryl, his family and his friends. His funeral is at St Paul’s at 12:30 on Friday 19 October.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Welcoming the stranger


The Welcome Project was established in 2001 and it serves asylum seekers in Leicester by offering practical advice and assistance to individuals and families who, in fleeing from war or persecution, arrive destitute in this country.

We’re grateful that, as a church, we have links with the Welcome Project through several members of our congregation who invest large amounts of time and energy in this work. So, at our Harvest Service on Sunday 14 October,  we’ll be collecting non-perishable food for the project as we give thanks for God’s goodness and provision to us.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

The Blind See

The Guardian Newspaper is running an International Development Achievement Award. Today is the last day to vote to support any of the five individuals whose lives have been committed to different aspects of development in the Third World. All tell stories of incredible commitment.

However, one of them is special for St Paul's, as Dr Keith Waddell has had a long-standing link with our church. He lives near the church and worships with us when he is not in Uganda, continuing his life's work of bringing eyecare to every corner of that country. Although now over 70, he goes on with that task – and indeed, is extending it into many neighbouring countries as well. He has built a programme that trains specialists and medical officers to continue the work of enabling the blind to see, even when he is not there. It has been a privilege to support the work in a small way.

Whether Keith wins this award or not, he can be sure of God's final words: "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Strictly Come (Barn) Dancing

Inspired by the latest series of ‘Strictly’? We may not be able to rival the ballroom setting or to offer a glitterball trophy but why not join us at our Harvest Barn Dance on Saturday 13 October at 7.00pm? No great talent required – just lots of enthusiasm as we dance to live music by ‘Speed the Plough’ and enjoy a Ploughman’s supper together. Soft drinks provided or bring your own bottle.

Tickets £7 for adults, £5 up to 18 years old.
Available by contacting Sheridan on 07931726661

What's Coming? Principal Services – October - December

As we enter into October we continue our journey through the book of James, pausing on the 14th to celebrate Harvest. Also in October we welcome Oliver Pegg on the 14th and Samuel Naylor-Garford on the 28th, both coming with family and friends for Baptism.

In the evening of the 28th St Paul's is hosting the Churches Together in Oadby service for Bible Sunday with a guest speaker from the Bible Society.

In November we move into the “Kingdom Season” when we remember what life means if Christ really is king. This culminates on Sunday 25th November when we celebrate Christ the King.

As Advent then starts, on 2 December, we welcome Bishop Tim as he visits the parish, with a joint service at St Peter's.

Then comes Christmas!

We hope you will come and join with us in this varied programme.

Steve
Revd Steve Bailey.

Link to Programme

Monday, 1 October 2012

Friday Night Open Youth Club

St Paul's open youth club restarts for the autumn in the Barnabas Centre (behind St Paul's) this Friday, 5 October. Louise McGoldrick, our new youth worker, supported by a number of members of St Paul's, will be leading an attractive mix of activities for young people.

If you are of middle-school age and want something to do this Friday evening, do come along at 7 pm onwards and join the others – to chill out or get involved.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Those in the Background – Thank You!


If you attend any church, including St Paul's, it's natural to notice those up front – the Vicar or other ministers and perhaps those doing the readings and leading the prayers, and perhaps the music group.

But in order for our services to take place there are a mass of other people working in the background. But it's easy to forget their contribution. This picture of Dave Smith who faithfully tends the grounds each week reminds us of the many others who clean, make coffee, care for children, do repairs or run the audiovisual system – and I must have left some out.

It's an important teaching of the Bible that we all have different gifts. And we should use them all in serving God. As St Paul wrote: "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:17

Thank you, so much, to all who help our church run smoothly.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

The Police in Our Prayers.

This last fortnight, the police have been much in our thoughts. The report of the Hillsborough disaster reminded us of the consequences of them making the wrong split second decision and the temptation to misuse the position of authority. But this week, the cold-blooded murders of Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes, police officers from Manchester, reminded us of all that is good in the police service and of the risks that police officers carry out everyday on our behalf.

Like many other churches across the country, we held a one-minute silence during the morning service and we used the following prayer, written by the Bishop of Manchester.


Almighty God, we pray for all who, at this time, mourn Fiona and Nicola. We ask for your comfort and strength to be especially with their loved ones and colleagues.

And as we pray too for those who continue to be in danger from this violence, we give thanks for the constant courage, and devotion to duty, of the police, and all who take risks to protect our communities. May they be strengthened for the tasks they face and supported in the commitment they give, that they may further the well-being of all and enable our society to be loving, just and at peace.

We ask this in the name of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

To those who serve in the police force, we say "thank you" and you are in our prayers as you go about your daily job.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Where Next?

One of the biblical proverbs is "Where there is no vision, the people perish (Proverbs 29:18)." So we invited Mike Harrison, the Leicester Diocesan Director of Mission and Ministry to direct our thoughts as we tried to consider which priorities we believe that God is leading us into.

After our regular morning communion service (at which we welcomed Mr Liam Powell: see previous post) we held a communal lunch. Would people provide enough to be able to share? Answer: everyone was well fed with plenty over.

We then stayed, grouped at our tables, as Mike encouraged us to do some "blue sky thinking." Where would we like St Paul's to be in 2020? Each table was asked to write a newspaper front page detailing what had been done, were it to actually have been achieved (including a catchy headline).

When these were read out, each table was asked to select two priorities. Similar ones were grouped and the results recorded on the whiteboard at the front. Each member was then given three "votes" (sticky dots) which they stuck on the board over the three priorities that appealed to them. Having established some priorities, much work will have to be done in fleshing out the details.

It sounds like some busy Church Council Meetings for the future! But if the procedure has helped us establish God's will and has given each of us a vision for the future, it will be well worthwhile.


Our Prayers and Best Wishes for Manor High School's New Head

St Paul’s values our many links with the local community. However, Manor High School, the local middle school, has a special place in our affection as it was there that the first services were held which eventually developed into St Paul's Church. Since then, our Vicars have regularly been invited to take assemblies there.

When Mrs Sheila Major was first appointed as Head Teacher at Manor, some eight years ago, we were thrilled when she came to St Paul's and told us of her hopes for the school and we prayed for her and her work.

Now, as she has retired, she returned to this Sunday morning’s service and told us how the school has developed, including its new status as an Academy. We were thrilled that her successor, Mr Liam Powell came with her and told of his hopes for the future.

Steve then prayed for Mrs Major in her retirement and Mr Powell as he faces the new challenges. He also prayed for the work of all the staff and students of Manor High School. We look forward to continued links there.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Will we see you?


For a number of years, many churches in England have celebrated "Back to Church Sunday." This year, this is on Sunday 30 September and St Paul's will again be taking part.

Sometimes, people have drifted away from church, not because of a rejection of their faith, but because they met a time in their professional or family life which was particularly busy, or because a move to a new area severed the link with their old church.

Back to Church Sunday is the opportunity for people to come back easily to what they once held precious. Here, at St Paul's, our service is at 10 am and will be led by our Vicar, Steve Bailey, and the preacher will be the Rector of the parish, Michael Rusk.

Why not come and join us? You will be very welcome.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Welcome Lou!

At an our morning service, today, Steve welcomed our new Youth Worker, Louise McGoldrick. Lou then told us a little about herself, a Leicester lass, being born and brought up in Leicestershire, going to shools in Oadby and then taking a Social Work degree at De Montfort University.

She shared how, during her time at university, God had convinced her that she should be undertaking some full-time Christian Service. She had subsequently spent two years at St Luke's Thurnby training in Christian Ministry and Youth Work. She also spoke of her concern for young people and how she wished to make Christ known.

We look forward to her time among us and promise her our prayers for the work she will be doing as she builds on the work that Ellie Williams established last year.


Sunday, 26 August 2012

Bring on the Paralympics

The Paralympics are upon us – a wonderful reminder of the value of the lives of people who may be disabled in one aspect but are marvellously able in others. (For those who are PC minded, I am sorry about the word "disabled" but at least people know what it means and I find the word "alternatively abled" ludicrous.)

Celebrating the value of disabled people is something that is at the core of the Christian message. Christ made it clear that he did not come for the fit and healthy but for those who had needs – in whatever aspect of their life that might be. It's a message that is reinforced at St Paul's when visitors may be surprised to find the service being led by myself, as one of its lay ministers, from a wheelchair.

When I joined St Pauls, the then vicar, Brian Robertson, asked me what I could offer to St Paul's and then asked: "have you ever thought of becoming a lay reader (a lay minister). When I suggested that I had dismissed the idea as I was in a wheelchair, his response was that if this was from God, the problems could be overcome. I have now served St Paul's as a lay reader for eight years.

Society has often been very slow to recognise the value of people with disabilities – as was shown in the recent BBC film "The Best of Men." And, despite the words of Jesus, the church has often been slow to do that, too. But, praise God, when society and the church actually do realise the immense value of those with disabilities. So it's wonderful, now, to be celebrating in the Paralympics, the skills of those who have overcome immense problems.

I am sure that we will all be looking forward to watching their athleticism.


Sunday, 12 August 2012

Going for Gold

Our monthly All Age Service, today, coincided with the final day of the Olympics. No one was in doubt as they arrived that this was to be special as the church was decked in bunting and flags.

Early in the service, the children carried models of the Olympic flame around the outside of the church, reminding us that just as the Olympic torch brought good news of the coming Olympics, so we have good news of the love of Christ to pass on.

The international aspect of both the Olympics and the Christian church was reflected in a quiz in which the congregation identified 10 national flags. (They were a bit slow on Burundi). Then the children brought forward a number of national flags and placed them in containers on the Holy Table.

Another quiz identified which of 10 actions found in the Bible are the basis of an Olympic sport To some people's surprise, these included archery, sailing and the javelin. However, synchronised swimming missed out!

During our talk, we looked at the way that St Paul used the analogy of an athlete training, running the race, and receiving a prize as teaching on the way that we should be prepared to run the Christian race with its final glorious prize of being in the presence of God.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Celebrating a Marriage

St Pauls is not a pretty mediaeval country church, as a result, we are not inundated with wedding services. So last Saturday was special, when we had the joy of the marriage of Eleanor to Lewis. Eleanor’s mother is our current churchwarden, while her father is one of our readers (lay ministers) and a former warden. So this was very much a family occasion for the church. Lewis is an enthusiastic footballer and his team colleagues contributed to the squash in the packed church.

Steve reminded us that marriage is a God-given gift for society and he spoke of four different aspects of love (that are actually different words in Greek) and how Eleanor and Lewis will need all of them in their life together.

We wish them all God's blessings in the future.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Amen!



This coming Sunday we reach the end of our sermon series on the Lord's Prayer and consider the importance of this little word that comes at the end of prayers, Amen.

At St Paul's a few weeks ago I took my first wedding here which was a real privilage and a joyous occassion. At a wedding service the couple enter into an agreement together, the ceremony marks the start of something new that they will invest in together.

When we say Amen at the end of a prayer it is a bit like entering into an agreement with God. Amen is not just an end to our 'list' of things that we have prayed for but rather a promise to live out we have said, to 'let it be so'. We enter into agreement with God that his kingdom will and way be done in our lives.

Join us this Sunday as we say Amen together to all we have learnt from this familiar pattern of prayer that Jesus taught us.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Seeking Approval

I have just read an article on the BBC Sport website about a programme to be shown tonight about the Olympic Cyclist Victoria Pendleton. You can see the article here. In it Victoria is very honest about how she feels "trapped" by her success and reveals her lack of self confidence.
The line that struck me most was her admission of seeking approval in those around her.
I am sure that this is something we can all identify with. We often seek our significance, self worth and security in the wrong place. Only God can provide us with all these things yet we so often get caught into looking to others to provide them for us.
By the end of the article I felt that Victoria has put a huge amount of pressure on herself and that if she doesn't win gold she is going to be very disappointed.
However, I commend her whole heartedly for being so honest and real. This is something we need much more of. I also would love to see her win and she sure has the talent and ability to do so.
All of the athletes at the games will have worked so hard and given the best but only so many can win gold medals. But the truth is that for all those that look to God for their approval will find they are all winners in His sight.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Forgiveness

As we continue our Sermon Series on the Lord's Prayer we arrived on Sunday at possibily the trickest clause 'forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us'

To quote HM The Queen 'God sent into the world a unique person - neither a philisopher nor a general, important though they are, but a Saviour, with the power to forgive. Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian faith. It can heal broken families, it can restore friendships and it can reconcile divided communities. It is in forgiveness that we feel the power of God's love.'

We celebrated the freedom forgiveness brings and had the opportunity to come again to God in forgiveness as we wrote in felt pen on bits of tin foil and then came and 'washed away' our sin in water.

We were also delighted to be joined for our service by the Mayor of Oadby & Wigston Cllr. Lynda Eaton. It was good to be able to interview her, learn more about our Mayor and pray for her near the start of her mayoral year.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Messy Church

At St Paul’s Church, Oadby we are wanting to serve you in our community by running a FREE monthly activity for primary school children and their parents/carer.

So that we put on what is best for you can you spare 1 minute to answer 5 brief questions by clicking on the link below. Thank you!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Programme of our Main Services – July - September

As we journey through these next three months we begin by continuing our Sermon Series on The Lord's Prayer. Hopefully, by now, you are beginning to discover the rich treasures contained in this very familiar prayer.

In August we have a couple of 'stand alone' services with their own particular topic and then we begin a new series of teaching. The book of James is famously known to be described by Martin Luther as 'an Epistle of straw'. This may be because James is a very practical book and focuses on the importance of what we do and how we live our life. This can detract from the grace of God which is freely given and cannot be earnt. However, our faith should govern how we live our lives. As James himself says 'faith without deeds is dead' (2.26)

The 30th September is Back to Church Sunday and will present an ideal opportunity for you to invite friends and family to join us.

At St Paul's we welcome people at any time and are especially delighted to be joined by the Mayor of Oadby & Wigston at our service on 8th July.

Yours In Christ,

Steve Bailey (Vicar)

Full details of the programme

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The Olympic Flame has Arrived

Yesterday, I joined the mass of people lining the A6 Glen Road to watch the Olympic Flame pass through Oadby. There was a good, well tempered crowd, as people lined the road several deep. Those on the official buses whipped up the crowds in their enthusiasm, like Butlins redcoats. And people were happy to respond. We'd taken this "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to look at a flame not substantially different from the one on the gas hob at home! But there was a buzz, an enthusiasm, and a sense of well-being.

Why do crowds produce that feeling? Sometimes, it's harmless, as it was yesterday, or as it is at Leicester Tigers Rugby or Leicester City football matches. On other occasions, it can be for good, like the crowds that welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem as Saviour. On yet others, like Hitler's rallies, or the crowd in Jerusalem crying: "crucify him!" regarding Jesus, or the London riots, the mood of the crowd can be used to encourage the greatest of evils.

Yesterday, as over the Jubilee celebrations, the crowd produced a feeling of cheerful well-being. But let's always beware of the danger that crowds’ emotions can produce.


Sunday, 1 July 2012

The Vicarage Garden Party - it must be summer, even if it's cold and wet!

Yesterday, Saturday 30 June, Steve and Angie welcomed the congregation of St Paul's and friends to share their garden in a garden party. Remarkably, for this summer, it stayed dry for the first three quarters of the time and we were able to enjoy the (admittedly weak) summer sun – and even watch the vicar joining his son on the trampoline! There was coffee, tea and a great range of cakes available and plants were on sale for charity.

It was a wonderful time for chat and renewing friendship until the rain (inevitably) came, when we all went into the Barnabas Centre and continued the good time of friendship.

Very many thanks to Steve and Angie for making their garden available and to the social team who organised the event and made the cakes.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Your Kingdom Come

We are continuing our sermon series on the Lord's Prayer. Colin spoke about 'Showing Some Respect' as we focused on the line 'Hallowed be your name'.
Last Sunday Hugh looked at the question 'Who's really in charge?' as we looked at the phrase 'Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.'
Join us this week as we move onto the next line 'Give us this day our daily bread.' Emmanuel will be encouraging us to remember the importance of prayer and trust God to provide for our needs rather than spending all our time worrying.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Our Father in Heaven

Last Sunday we began an 8 week sermon series on the Lord's Prayer.

Each week we focus on a line of this famous prayer and explore it further.

At our All Together service we explored the privilage we have in praying to Our Father, our Abba our Heavenly Daddy.

We also noticed that in this family prayer Jesus starts by saying 'Our' Father and not 'My' Father. No where in the prayer is the language singular, it is all something we share, together.

Finally we looked at the balance of coming to Our Father and yet recognising that He is the creator of all. God know us but is also much bigger than us. We have the awesome privilage of praying to Our Father in Heaven.

Join us next week as we move onto the next line 'Hallowed be your name.'

Monday, 4 June 2012

Enjoying the Kingdom

Jesus called his followers to be children of the Kingdom of God, following his ways. But he was also keen that we should be good citizens of our country on earth. As a church, therefore, we were delighted to take part in the Diamond Jubilee celebrations and commemorate the Queen's 60 year reign.
But to do that, we were keen that members of the congregation should be part of the whole community. So we moved our Sunday morning service on 3 June from 10 am to 9.0 am, so that members could take part in their local street parties. Although the rain did not help and some parties moved indoors, there were reports that this had resulted in some good times of neighbours getting to know each other much better.
On the Monday afterwards, St Paul's took part in the "Big Lunch," when the different community organisations in Oadby set up stalls in Ellis Park, provided free entertainment and portrayed the work they were involved with. St Paul's youth club had a stall and in the neighbouring stall (photo) we offered a coconut shy to those who passed.
This has been a great weekend for community activity. Long live her Majesty! And may we be doing this again in 10 years time.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Happy birthday! 1980 years old!


We all celebrate anniversaries. Jesus died on the cross when he was about 32, after promising that he would send the Holy Spirit to encourage and guide his disciples. And during the Jewish feast of Pentecost, soon after, about 1980 years ago, a violent wind and tongues of fire fell on the frightened disciples. Transformed in attitude, they went out into crowds from many nations, telling of the work of Jesus and, somehow, everyone understood the words in their own language. Then the apostle Peter stood up, proclaimed how Jesus had come to save the world and explained how the Holy Spirit was what the Jewish prophets had been waiting for. 3000 people then denounced their sin and declared their faith in Christ. The church had been born!

So, this last Sunday, Pentecost, we celebrated the anniversary of that birth. At our morning Holy Communion service we considered the importance of making ourselves available for anything that the Holy Spirit was wanting to do with us, now. And then, at Communion, we remembered the death of Christ, to whom the Holy Spirit points. In the evening, we celebrated with a special Pentecost "Songs of Praise."

As at all birthdays, we wish the Church well in the coming year.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Colours of Life

The Diocesan Lay Congress on Saturday, 26 May, called “Colours of Life” was rather different this year – as an all-age family celebration at the Samworth Academy. Some of us went from St Paul's. There is much to celebrate – Pentecost Sunday, the birthday of the church, is tomorrow; we are celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics will soon be upon us.

Guest speaker, Graham Tomlin drew the comparison between the athlete in training and the Christian life. What lengths the athlete (and even many ordinary people) go to, to get "fit." How much more important that the Christian should discipline their life, both to know God better for themselves and to show to those around the difference that God makes.

Another emphasis was how Sin destroys community and the importance of the Church being involved in all these celebrations which will bring people together, so that others may see the loving God, who wants to restore fractured relationships.

But there was also plenty of fun with bouncy castles, face painting, magicians and "messy church" which showed how worship can be fun for all ages. Add in a gospel choir, a Taizé Eucharist and a Celebration Service and there was something for everyone.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

A Third of a Millennium between Them!


This week, four of the members of St Paul's midweek group, Coffee Pot, celebrated important birthdays. Between them, Joyce, Edna, Phyllis, Vicki and Sheila (from left to right on the photo) celebrated 363 years. For Phyllis, it was the big 90 so there were balloons and fizz, which we all enjoyed. Many thanks to Phyllis and her family who also revealed photos of her early life. What a stunner!
We wish all these ladies many more happy and active years.
Keeping anniversaries is important for us as individuals and it is also so in the life of the church, as we remember the anniversaries of the events in Christ's work to set us free. In the communion service before the party, we remembered Christ's ascension as it is Ascension Day today, and we begin to prepare ourselves for another festival – Pentecost.
Let's keep on celebrating many more anniversaries.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Coffee Pot

Coffee Pot is our regular Thursday morning activity at St Paul's. At 9:45 a.m. we hold a Communion service in the side chapel. The congregation there is a mixture of those who for different reasons are unable to attend on Sundays and those who welcome a second, midweek opportunity to meet to worship God. Although, perhaps, quieter than the Sunday service, this service is thoughtful, good-humoured and welcoming.

After the service, around 40 join for Coffee and Biscuits (unless one is lucky enough to be present on a birthday when you might get cake!). Everyone is welcome to this, whether or not they have been to the service. Sometimes, there is also a gentle exercise class. It's a time when many who are older welcome the opportunity to get out and join with others.

If you are free on a Thursday morning, do come and join us.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Farewell, Richard. Thank you and God be with you.

Richard Atkinson, who has been the Archdeacon of Leicester for some 10 years has now been appointed Bishop of Bedford. This is a suffragan Bishop in the diocese of St Albans.

Richard has been a good friend and support to St Paul's, especially during the times of vacancy between Vicars. So it was good to be present at a service of thanksgiving in the Cathedral on Saturday 27 April, when we considered many of the activities of witness to our faith in Christ that Richard had been involved with. There was also a time of fellowship and refreshment in St Martin's house afterwards.

We would like to thank Richard for all the help that he has given us and wish him God's every blessing in his new work in Bedford and in the diocese of St Albans.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Welcome Anita and Bryan

In his work in the world, God chooses to use people. Last night was the Annual Meeting of the Parish of Oadby. We looked back at the work of St Peter's and St Paul's in the last year and looked forward to the next. At St Pauls, Paul Webster stood down after seven years as Churchwarden or Deputy Churchwarden and he was presented with a gift to say "thank you."

Anita Chettle was elected as the new Churchwarden at St Pauls and Bryan Philpott as deputy. We offer them our prayers as they undertake these leadership roles. New members were also elected to the Parochial Church Council and (St Pauls) District Church Council.

Looking back there were reports on each of the activities that have taken place in our churches and also a financial statement of the money that was raised and spent this year. We are so grateful to God that we were able to match our financial obligations and we want to thank each member who gave so willingly. Far from the popular myth of substantial central funding, all our monies have to be found locally.

We concluded with three people giving presentations of work that they had been involved with. This included a street party, the Jakin pregnancy counselling service and a visit to Pakistan.

We give thanks to God for his blessing in the past year and look forward to seeing his work in Oadby in the next.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Spring Harvest

A small group of us from St Paul's have just returned from Spring Harvest. This 6 day event was held at Butlins in Skegness. The theme of the week was 'Church Actually – God's brilliant idea.'
There was an all age service each morning called Good Morning Big Top. Each day also had a Bible teaching session based on readings from John's Gospel. These were given by Ness Wilson who leads Open Heaven Church in Loughborough and were well received.
In the evening there was a celebration service in the Big Top with worship led by Geraldine Latty and a different speaker each evening. The whole event was very uplifting and encouraging and it is hoped to take a bigger group next year.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Proclaiming One's Faith.

The Resurrection on the first Easter was a proclamation by God the Father that the death of Jesus was no accident but had been part of his plan to save the world. So he raised Jesus to reign with him in glory.

In the early church Easter was the occasion when many were baptised to show their faith in this risen Christ. This year, there was a service of baptism, renewal of baptismal promises and confirmation at Leicester Cathedral, which took place at 6.0am to coincide with Sunrise. One of our younger members of the church, Katie Tincello took part and confirmed her faith as the Bishop of Leicester laid hands on her head.

About 15 people from St Paul's went to the service to support Katie. We wish her well in her future life in Christ.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

What Comes Next?

Happy Easter!

The start of our new service card for April - June coincides with Holy Week and Easter. Easter is the biggest festival in the Christian calendar and we continue to celebrate the good news of the risen Christ for as long as we have journeyed through Lent – 40 days. After 40 days we come to the Ascension and then 10 days later celebrate Pentecost, when we remember the coming of
the Spirit.

After all our celebrating we come to Trinity Sunday. Please note that this service will be an hour earlier, at 9am, to allow folks to come to Church but then return home as soon as the services finishes to take part in your local Street Party for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. If nothing is happening where you live, why not get involved in making it happen?

As our journey continues into what the Church creatively calls 'Ordinary Time' we start a sermon series based on the Lord's Prayer. Over the next 8 weeks we will look at a
line of the prayer and explore its meaning. This is part of our 2012, Year of Prayer and will hopefully help us to engage with the very familiar words of this well used prayer.

Yours In Christ,

Steve

Revd. Steve Bailey

Monday, 2 April 2012

Run-up to Easter!

With this last Sunday being Palm Sunday, we are now into Holy Week when we remember the events that led up to Christ's death on the Friday, by which he forgave our sin, and Easter Day when God the Father raised Jesus from the dead, showing that the events on Good Friday were his will.

So there is a lot on this week:

On 4 April Lent Course 2012
The final session of our Lent course, considering the baptism promises, is "Do you submit to Christ as Lord?" with the response "I submit to Christ." It will take place at 2.00pm, repeated at 7.30pm, in the Barnabas Centre.

On 5 April (Maundy Thursday) we remember how Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper to commemorate his death as he celebrated the Passover with his disciples.
At 9.45am we have our regular "Coffee Pot" Holy Communion.
At 7.30pm we have a special service of Holy Communion to remember that first supper

On 6 April (Good Friday) we remember Christ's crucifixion as a sacrifice for our sin.
At 9.30am we join Churches Together in Oadby for a service at the Baptist Church.
At 10.30am - 12.00 noon many of us will be joining the Christ in the Centre reenactment of Christ's final hours, in Humberstone Gate in Leicester City Centre.
At 2.00pm there is a Meditation at St. Peter’s.
At 7.30pm we will be having our own Service of Meditation at St. Paul’s with music and readings.

On 8 April, Easter Day, we look forward to the joy of the Family Communion as we celebrate the presence of the risen Christ among us.

So, we have many special services during this very special week. I do hope that you will be able to join us at several of them as together we remember Christ's conquest over the powers of death and his gift of life to us.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

The Way, the Truth and the Life

Yesterday, in the fourth of our Lent series on the promises that are made at Baptism, we were considering the promise which is made in response to the question: "Do you come to Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life?

People often see Jesus as good but possibly misguided. His claims for himself are so incredible that that position is not an option. As CS Lewis saw it, Jesus was either a bad man, a madman or the God man. If he was either of the first two, his teaching does not merit our attention. If he was God with us, his claims on our lives are absolute.

We looked at what Christ meant to each one of us and how we would share that with those who do not know Christ. We even tried to tell the story of our Christian journey to our neighbour during the very limited time that it took for a match to burn out!

At the end, we were asked to write down three words that summarised what Christ meant to each of us. These were fed into a computer and a "Wordle" was constructed. This is shown at the top of this blog, where the size of the words indicates how frequently they were used. To see the Wordle full-size, click on the picture or here. The commonest response was "Saviour," the one who rescues us from sin, guilt, fear and circumstances.

There is still time to join us on Wednesdays at 2.0pm or 7.30pm for the last two promises.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Celebrate - with Ida

As Christians, the Bible tells us that we should be involved in the emotions of those we find around us. St Paul tells the Christians at Rome: "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep." Bereavement, sickness and disappointment are common and it's important that we share in these sufferings with those who are being affected.

But it's wonderful when we can join in with the rejoicing of those who rejoice. This weekend we celebrated with one of our congregation, Ida, (the mother-in-law of our previous vicar) who reached the milestone of her 80th birthday. Once a month we celebrate the birthdays of all the members of the congregation who have a birthday that month. So, yesterday, Ida too, received her chocolate as we sang to them all:
"Happy birthday to you,
To Jesus be true,
May he guide and bless you.
Happy birthday to you."

Over coffee and tea afterwards, we all enjoyed a piece of Ida's birthday cake.