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.