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.

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.