Saturday, 28 December 2013

Principal Services – January-March

Happy New Year! Welcome to the start of 2014

This term we are going to work our way through the letter Ephesians and see what we can learn from Paul’s letter to the church he planted in this place.

Just before we enter Lent I look forward to welcoming Kevin Wren from the organisation South Asian Concern. SAC’s vision is for South Asians to become disciples of Jesus and their aim is to equip the church to share the good news of Jesus with South Asians. Hopefully Kevin will have much to say to help and inspire us to reach out into our local context as we seek to be a church that welcomes all.

Through Lent we shall look in details at the words of the creed. We often recite the creed at a Communion Service. Here we have an opportunity to try and understand more fully the words we say.

Yours in Christ,
 
Steve
Revd Steve Bailey 

Full Details

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

A Very Happy Christmas from St Paul’s

We joined together in church, this Christmas morning, to celebrate this anniversary of Christ’s coming to Earth for us, at Bethlehem.

There was much joyful festivity as people recounted the gifts they had received – and the time they had got out of bed this morning to find them ! But, using the illustration of a wrapped Toblerone, Steve explained how, even if it wasn’t exciting unwrapping a Toblerone, because the content is obvious, the content was still valuable. The Jews had not been looking for a Messiah in a humble stable, but God's gift of Jesus to us is unmeasurable – the gift not just of the baby in the stable, but the one who died for us at Calvary.

As our season of Christmas services comes to an end, may we wish everyone a very happy Christmas and the joy and peace that the Christ child brings.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christingle and Crib Service

The popular Christingle and Crib Service was held at 4.0 p.m. this afternoon. The church was packed with about 150 expectant children and parents.

Excited children helped to answer Steve’s questions about the events of Christmas – what happened – what did it mean? Then our young people acted out the story of that first Christmas, with some modern explanations (Mary: “I’m about to pop!”)

Then came the retelling of the meaning of Christmas, using Christingles (see previous blog), illustrated by children holding giant replicas of the parts. All the Christingles were then distributed and were lit while we sang “Silent night.”

For prayers, we were all invited to write our prayer on a strip of paper (a piece of “hay”) and leave them in the crib.

There were mince pies and biscuits for everyone, afterwards.

Next, at 11.30 p.m. comes the Midnight Christmas Communion.

Getting Ready for Christingle

Yesterday afternoon a group of helpers, assisted by some very helpful children, turned 300 oranges into Christingles, ready for our Christmas Eve Christingle service.

Oranges, representing the world, were cored out at the top to receive the candles (surrounded in tinfoil for protection) representing Jesus as the Light of the World. Four cocktail sticks representing both the four corners of the world and the four seasons were added, together with fruit and sweets to represent God’s gift of the harvest. A red ribbon around the equator represented the blood that Christ shed as he died on the cross to bring people back to God.

Now the trays of Christingles are waiting for the service. Do join us for this service at 4.0 p.m. on Christmas Eve afternoon.
 

Monday, 23 December 2013

With the Children to Bethlehem

The second half of our service yesterday morning was a musical nativity play. It was wonderful to see the enthusiasm of the children as they recounted with acting and singing the greatest story ever told.

The children were at their best as not a word was lost – even for those sitting at the back of church. And the children and congregation both thoroughly enjoyed it.

A lot of people put in a lot of hard work, so thank you to them, but particularly to Megan Lloyd who was the driving inspiration. Well done!

The Christmas story, as told by the children, was the outworking of Isaiah’s prophecy of “Emanuel,” God with us, which had been the theme of the first half of the service, where the sermon had been given, appropriately, by our member, Emanuel Oladipo.

Our next Christmastide services are our Christingle service at 4.0 p.m. on Christmas Eve, followed by the Christmas Eve Communion Service at 10.30 p.m. and the Christmas Day Family Communion Service at 10.0 a.m. We would love to see you at one of these.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Follow us to Bethlehem

Yesterday, 15 December, was our annual Carol Service. Over 100 people gathered to remember again the Christmas story through readings and carols. There were a number of innovations this year. The service itself was a week earlier than usual, hoping that some people might be freer to come, away from the main Christmas festivities.

Other innovations were a greater proportion of congregational carols, including two modern ones. There was also an enthusiastic instrumental rendition of “Silent Night” performed by some of the children.

Whatever the innovations, the truth of the story of God become man in poverty at Bethlehem remains everlasting.

After the service, we remained in the church for mulled wine and mince pies. The Christmas season is really here!
 

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Ding Dong Merrily at Sainsbury’s!

Sainsbury’s at Oadby invited churches to sing carols in their foyer this Saturday morning. St Pauls was pleased to respond and some 30 members of the congregation, including people who will be singing at our own carol service, tomorrow, arrived for an 11.0 AM start. The staff at Sainsbury’s made us very welcome and we enjoyed taking part. We sang the well-known Christmas carols and this seemed to be appreciated by shoppers.
 
We had tins with chocolates to give out (provided by Sainsbury’s), to wish people a “Happy Christmas.” But enormous numbers of people seemed to think that we were collecting. (Does having a tin in Sainsbury’s automatically mean that you’re a charity collector?!) As people dropped coins in the chocolate tins, a quick decision was made to send the money to "Embrace the Middle East," a Christian charity that works with children and needy people in the Middle East. Over £200 was donated.

To everyone who heard us, we‘d like to wish a “Very Happy Christmas.” Would you like to join us, tomorrow, 15 December at St Paul’s Church, Hamble Road, Oadby, at 7.0 PM, when we will be having our Carol Service.

Christmas at Barney’s

Every second Sunday of the month, to coincide with “All Together Church,” our all age service, hard-working volunteers lay on breakfast in the Barnabas Centre. For obvious reasons, this is called "Breakfast at Barney’s." There is always a choice of a full English cooked breakfast or a continental one.

To celebrate the Christmas season, "Breakfast at Barney’s" last Sunday was especially festive with Christmas crackers and the waitresses in seasonal costumes, including antlers with lights! The crackers duly revealed the party hats, though only the brave (including the vicar) were seen to wear them.

Over the Christmas season there will be events of a much more important nature. But this was an enjoyable start.

Preparing Together

For all Christian churches, Christmas is one of the highlights of the year, when you remember how Jesus, the Son of God, became one of us, as a baby at Bethlehem.

We are fortunate in Oadby that we have a tradition of the Christian churches working together, under the umbrella organisation called “Churches Together in Oadby.” So, together we prepare a Christmas Card, with details of all the services of all the churches. Then, all the streets are divided up and shared between the different churches.

So, if you’ve seen us wandering the streets of Oadby with piles of white envelopes and popping them through people’s doors, that was what we were doing.

If you’ve received a CTO Christmas Card, do look into it and see if there are services at which you’d like to join with one of the churches over this Christmas season.

Happy Christmas!

 

Friday, 13 December 2013

Christmas Assemblies

This week Lou (our Youth Worker) and I have been into Manor, the local High School to do Christmas Assemblies.
Lou used the following clip, which is excellent, to share the real meaning of Christmas with the kids and they were captivated watching it.
Here is the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OpWyZGTKyU

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Gift Day

Laying Gifts on the Table
Christmas is coming, when we remember Jesus, God’s greatest gift to the human race. Christmas is also a time when, traditionally, we too give and receive presents.

But first, at St Paul’s, we delight to give gifts to others in our society who are in great need. We held the gift service this morning. As already mentioned (Blog 19 November) the withdrawal of local authority grants has meant that only one of the homes for mothers in need, to whom we previously gave presents , is still open. So, during this morning's service, members of the congregation took up presents to be given to be children at this remaining home and also presents for asylum seekers with whom the Welcome Project is in contact. Additionally, monetary gifts were received to help the one continuing home keep functioning.

Our prayer, now, is that the gifts may be appropriate and give joy to those who receive them.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Love your enemies

The whole world is mourning the death of Nelson Mandela – someone who managed to rise above the treatment he had received at the hands of the white South African authorities and unite that great nation. It was Jesus who said: "But I tell you: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, (Luke 6:27)”

As far as I know, Nelson Mandela had no Christian faith, but by his life he showed the power of those teachings of Jesus. Mandela went much further than simple nonviolence. He went out of his way to include those who had once been his enemies.

With, for once, a united world, we mourn the death of this great statesman and give thanks for his life.

Hark the Glad Sounds!

As we await, with joy, the coming of Christmas, a frequent event is a Carol Service. On Thursday 5 December, it was the turn of the Thursday Morning "Coffee Pot."

As they gathered in the Church, our Vicar, Steve Bailey, led a Service of Christmas carols and readings and reminded us of a God who does not change. Also at the service was the Parkinson's choir, who sang five Christmas pieces and were warmly applauded.

The morning concluded as we gathered round the tables and enjoyed mince pies, sherry and coffee together. It was a good foretaste of other things to come, such as St Paul’s main Carol service at 7.0 p.m. on Sunday 15 December. Do join us there.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

The Bible has Arrived

Well, the well-publicised series of two hour broadcasts on the Bible eventually started last Saturday with "Beginnings." Apparently, 1.2 million viewers watched it,  - which is 5.62% of the viewing public.
The series is obviously of great interest to the Jews who trace their lineage back through Abraham to Noah and Adam. But it is also of foundational importance to Christians for whom Abraham is their ancestor not by blood but by faith.
The series already demonstrates how humans have an inbuilt tendency to turn away from God – whether that be Noah's neighbours or the Israelites recently freed from Egypt. But it also tells how God rescued people and how he fulfilled his promises: Noah rescued from the flood, Abraham and Sarah given a son, the Israelites freed from Egypt. 
The next instalment, "Homeland" is on Channel 5 next Saturday, 7 December.

Gartree Mission Week

We have had a fantastic week in Gartree with Christian band, Twelve24. The band led assemblies and RE lessons for every class in the school, which is 750 students in total. They brought an inspiring message about how we encourage and build each other up in the words we say but also the amazing truths that God has to say about us and the awesome love that he has for each one of us. The students loved the music and we saw some impressive dance moves during the week and they really engaged with the lessons and discussions.
We ended the week with an amazing gig, 150 young people came, approximately 120 came out at the response time who I had the privilege of praying for and 43 took away a response pack which included a bible and various contacts and information about becoming a christian and what it's all about.
So all in all an amazing, inspiring and God filled week. I was bowled over by the work God did and we pray that as youth workers leading the CU in that school, we can continue to share God's love and truth with those young people and help and encourage them on their journey with God.

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurabley  more than we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever."
Ephesians 3:20-21

Friday, 29 November 2013

Welcome

I was at a training event this week and was struck by this quote from another church present.

'The person you don't know is more important than the person you do.'

In a church community it can be very easy to just speak to those you know. As we seek to be a welcoming community it is important to take the above quote to heart and make time for those you don't know.

Whatever your background or life story, we believe that you are precious to God and we look forward to getting to know you better.

We look forward to welcoming you to St Paul's, you can see how we get on trying to make you feel important and valued.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Stir Up Sunday

Last Sunday, 24th November, we celebrated 'Christ the King'.
This celebration comes at the end of the churches liturgical year. Next Sunday is the start of Advent.
The set post Communion prayer for Christ the King is as follows:
Stir up, O Lord,
the wills of your faithful people;
that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works,
may by you be plenteously rewarded;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
This Sunday became known as stir up Sunday and was often the day people went home and made their Christmas puddings!
It is a brave prayer to pray, when we most often prefer the safety of our comfort zones, to ask God to stir us up and use us for His will and purposes.
May it be so! Amen.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Yoga

Spotted this interesting article about Yoga on the BBC website yesterday and how it is viewed by different faith groups. Well worth a read http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25006926

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Good News for the Poor ?

Traditionally, like many churches, St Paul's had a "Toy Service" in December, where the toys were given to an orphanage. At Christmas, we remember how Christ came as a baby of a poor family and later proclaimed "Good News to the Poor" and as those who follow Christ, it was appropriate to provide toys for less fortunate children.

With the changing provision for children away from orphanages, in recent years, we have sent our gifts to Mother and Baby Homes and Refuges in the borough. It came as a shock, this year, to discover that council cutbacks have resulted in four of the five homes closing. The other exists entirely on charitable funding.

As a result, this year, our gifts will be limited to the one home. But we will also be collecting money for "Action Homeless’s Winter Appeal." In addition, we will be providing gifts to the diocese’s "Welcome Project" which seeks to help asylum seekers, many of whom are utterly destitute.

We are told that the general public supports the financial cutbacks, but we need to be aware of the effect that they are having on the most vulnerable people in society.

Friday, 15 November 2013

The Bible



Will you be watching? Don't miss it, the Bible brought to life in five two-hour episodes.
1. The Beginning
2. Homeland
3. Hope
4. Mission
5. Passion

Full details are available here
Order a Souvenir Guide here 

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Youth Update

Our Youth Worker Lou writes......It’s been a busy and exciting term, here are just some of the ways that God is working with our young people.

Friday Night Youth Friday Night youth is going really well, we have a good core of about 13 young people who gel really well together, we went to see a Christian singer/song writer on the 11th October and we may be going to see another Christian band play at a gig connected to the school’s mission at Gartree High School.

Sunday Morning Youth Our Sunday morning group is growing and running well, we have been exploring the relevance of the 10 commandments, which has provoked some brilliant discussions. As you may have noticed we have been looking to engage our young people in serving in our family services, in drama and worship, with a drama planned for the Christmas eve service so watch this space J
CY We’re now on week 6! How time has flown. We have a group of 8 young people, which is a mixture of our Sunday morning and Friday night young people. We meet together, eat, play games and look at a different aspects of the Gospel message each week. The course ends with a feedback form to reflect on the difference the course has made and what they may like to do next, whether that is to join our Sunday morning group or to explore confirmation or baptism.

Beauchamp CU This term we have changed our room, our publicity and started with a passion and drive to try and encourage more people to be part of the group. The numbers have already tripled and it’s going really well. We now have a leadership team made up of students and the youth workers involved and we’re looking into different mission ideas to connect with the rest of the school.
Gartree Gartree CU continues to attract a lot of young people who don’t have any connection with church, which is great. On the 1tth November the Christian band twelve twenty four are coming to the school to run a weeks mission including assemblies, RE lessons and a gig at the end of the week, Luke (OBC), Josh (St Luke’s) and I will be heavily involved with that, which is exciting.
Manor Manor CU continues to draw a variety of people from all sorts of backgrounds and religions. We have been running sessions on our identity in Christ. We have also done harvest assemblies and will be coming back to do Christmas assemblies in a few weeks time and at the end of that week, we’ll be running a “grill a Christian” lunchtime event to invite students to come and ask big questions about faith.
Please continue to pray for our young people, God has really blessed us in the last year and we pray in expectation that He can do even more

Sunday, 3 November 2013

High Tea

On the afternoon of Saturday 2nd November a special afternoon tea was held in the Barnabas Centre. Margaret & Wendy have had a passion to reach out to our local community with these teas and the numbers have steadily increased through the year. Saturday's special High Tea was their way of ending the gatherings for this year and it was all hands on deck to make sandwiches, scones as well as lots of delicious cakes.

Over 50 people turned up and enjoyed the afternoon! The sandwich makers had to get busy producing more but there was more than enough to feed everyone.

During the afternoon we also celebrated Sheridan's 65th birthday.
This wasn't just afternoon tea, this was a Margaret and Wendy High Tea special!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Clearing the Grounds

This morning a team of 10 under the leadership of Mick Ellis did a clear up around the grounds of St Paul's. Their super effort resulted in 19 bags of garden waste to go off and be recycled! Thanks go to all involved and to those who provided refreshments mid morning.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Night Light's

Last night St Paul's hosted an alternative event to Halloween. Our Night Light's event was from 5.30-7.0pm and offered young people a whole vari ety of games including apple bobbing and doughnut eating. As well as craft activities with glow in the dark stickers and cake decorating there was plenty to keep everyone amused.

Our theme was Jesus the Light of the World. We sang a song called 'Let your light shine' and then were reminded that the light and love of Jesus Christ was bigger and brighter than the dark. We heard from John 8 where Jesus said he was the light of the world but also Matthew 5 where Jesus says 'You are the light of the world'. We were reminded that we are called to reflect the light and love of Jesus and share it with all the world.

We finished our celebrations with a shared tea together. Good fun was had by the 19 young people who came along. Our next Fun@4 celebration is on Sunday 8th December which follows the same format (games, craft, song, stories and food) as we think about advent and getting ready for Christmas.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Celebrating the Bible


Sunday 27 October was widely celebrated as "Bible Sunday." At St Paul's, everyone was encouraged to bring a Bible with them, especially ones that had a particular significance. Our Reader (lay Minister) Colin Chettle, who was leading the service, asked people what lay behind their choices and demonstrated how fortunate we were to have such a range of different translations and paraphrases. He also amused the young people (and probably others) with some (rather bad) jokes about the Bible, such as: Question: who was the best comedian in the Bible. Answer: Samson, he brought the house down!

In his sermon, are our other Reader, Hugh James, showed the importance that Jesus gave to the Bible of his time, the old Testament, and based his claims of being the Messiah, on it. He went on to show how Paul the apostle based his teaching using the words of Jesus and those of the old Testament as of equal value. He challenged the church to take time to "read, mark, learn and inwardly digest" the words of the Bible.

To Christians, the Bible is of vital importance as it tells of God's love for the world and the way that he has brought liberation through Jesus. Yet there are still many people in the world who have yet to have the Bible translated into their own "heart language" – their primary language. And there are many others who live in areas of the world where the Bible is a forbidden book and owning one is an imprisonable offence.

We remembered both these groups in our prayers as well as the Bible Society and others, who seek to make the Bible available to all.

 

 

 

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Fully Alive? .....being apprentices of Jesus

Every year, the diocese of Leicester helps to resource local churches, such as St Paul's, by putting on a "Bishops Lay Congress." This took place today. The belief underlying the Congress was that while "Church" was often unpopular, people were still drawn to the character of Jesus.
If that is so, it's important that individual Christians should demonstrate Christ to the world around. It raised questions such as what is it to actually follow Jesus? What are the disciplines, the practices and the habits of heart and mind that Jesus calls us to in following him? How is it we are to be truly his disciples and so become more fully alive?

The first keynote speaker was Mark Russell, the CEO of the Church Army. This Northern Irishman with a winsome personality stimulated us, challenged us, and offered us suggestions of how we could be more like Jesus.

In the second address, the Bishop of Leicester, Tim Stevens, pursued this subject in a thoughtful, but quieter way.

The day was completed with opening and closing worship, workshops and a question and answer session.

We went away challenged to be the body of Christ in our locality, in our case Oadby.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

He did it!

Mark Batchelor (alias Marathon Man) has completed the marathon mentioned in the blog on 4 October. He reports:

“It went well, despite the rain! I ran all 26.2 miles in 3 hours and 39 minutes. The provisional results placed me 138th which, being my first marathon, is a personal best! Thanks, in no small part, to the overwhelming generosity of St. Paul's over £400 has been raised for the Joe Humphrey Memorial Trust. Many thanks to all who have contributed and shown your support, it has been very much appreciated.”


Flying for Life



This month, the Christian organisation that we are supporting and focusing on is the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF).

At the end of World War II, God Amazingly put this same thought simultaneously into the minds of Christian airmen in the UK, USA, Australia, and South Africa: “Aircraft have been so powerful in spreading death and destruction during the war. Why can’t they be used to bring life and hope in peace time?” “‘Let’s seek to use small planes to bring help to needy people in the inaccessible areas of out world.”  They didn’t know each other at first. Connecting later, each group took the common name of Mission Aviation Fellowship.

That has grown from small beginnings to a dynamic Christian organisation operating more than 130 single or twin engine light aircraft in around 25 countries in the developing world. Flying across hostile environments, MAF reaches the world’s most isolated people. It partners with over 1,000 organisations to bring physical and spiritual care to those who need it most.

One of our own members, Keith Waddell, who is an eye surgeon in Uganda has frequently used MAF planes to transport his Eye Teams into remote areas, such as Southern Sudan and areas made inaccessible by road by rebels such as the Lord’s Resistance Army.
 
Link to the MAF UK website
 

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Harvest

Today we held our Harvest Celebrations at St Paul's.
As well as singing the traditional harvest hymns of 'Come ye thankful people come' and 'We plough the fields and scatter' we also sang 'Cauliflowers fluffy'. Many of our young people know this song from Harvest assemblies at school. You can listen to it being sung here.

Although a much loved song, it makes no reference to the provider of the Harvest, no mention is made of God.
Doug and Aileen wrote an extra verse and final chorus which we sung at St Paul's this morning. It goes....

Give thanks to the Father, for every good thing,
Now and forever His praises we'll sing
Lord, we love you every day,
Altogether we want to say:

The apples are ripe, and the plums are red,
Thank you, Lord, for our daily bread. Yeah!

Not only was this a great ending to the song but is also tied in beautifully with our Bible reading from John 6.25-35 in which Jesus calls himself the bread of life.

All the Harvest gifts given this morning went to the work of the Welcome Project, providing for Asylum seekers in Leicester. The fresh produce was sold and funds give to Tearfund.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Coffeepot Harvest Lunch

On Thursday 10th October the members and friends of Coffeepot came together to give thanks for the harvest. We sang and prayed and then sat down to a three- course lunch. After soup sandwiches and sweet we met with Wendy Martin from Send a Cow , an organisation which helps families in Uganda and Burundi to get a start in farming  and develop agriculture.  Coffeepot has been raising money for SAC over the year. Wendy gave us an update of the organisation’s work, and on our behalf Jenny presented her with a cheque for £550. The coffeepot team had organised  one of their fantastic raffles, thanks to them for some lovely prizes. Our thanks to all the people involved in making the harvest Lunch a great success.


Friday, 4 October 2013

Marathon Man

Mark Batchelor, a member of St Paul's writes....
On the 13th October at 9.15am I will be starting out on all 26.2 miles of the Leicester Marathon. This represents for me a great personal challenge and the culmination of months of training. Although I will run as fast as I can I doubt I’ll be back in time for church that week, nevertheless I would like to make a plea for sponsorship! The Joe Humphries Memorial Trust is a charity established after the sudden death of Joe, a 14 year old from Leicestershire. The trust promotes awareness of sudden death in young people (SADS)and teaches people how to react in these situations as well as inspiring young people to fulfil their potential. It is a charity that I work with as part of my role as a schoolteacher at Bushloe High School.

If you feel able to contribute a convenient way to do this is by using the following web link:

Friday, 27 September 2013

Principal Services October to December

Dear Friends,

New Service Programme

during hese next few months we continue with our sermon series which focuses on our Frontline, the places where we spend most of our time outside of church. We are thinking about how we can bring a positive Christian presence into each of these place. Hopefully our 'This Time Tomorrow' slots are raising our awareness of the many different places that we serve God and encouraging us in all we do. I am looking forward to hearing stories of how God is working in all these places.

As our Frontline journey concludes so Advent journey begins, culminating with our Christmas celebrations. Our Carol Service this year will be on the 15th December
 May I wish you all a blessed and peaceful Christmas.

Yours In Christ,

Steve,
Revd Steve Bailey

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Archbishop Speaks out on Peshawar.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has spoken out about the killing of 83 worshippers at All Saints Church, Peshawar, Pakistan. Despite earlier silence (see blog. 25 September) his comments were picked up by the news broadcasters.

He called those killed, Martyrs, as they had died worshipping Christ. His comments can be read here.
 
Listen to the whole Radio 4 “World at One” interview with Justin Welby on violence against Christians here.

TEAR Fund

Saint Pauls uses 10 % of what we are given to support charitable causes in the UK and abroad. We have decided, each month, to publicise and to concentrate our prayers on, a different cause.

The organisation we are featuring this month is Tear Fund. This is a Christian Relief and Development organisation that works by supporting the actions of churches who are local to where the need is.

Tear fund describes its brief as follows:
“We're Christians passionate about ending poverty. We go to where the need is greatest, working through local churches to unlock people's potential and helping them to discover that the answer to poverty is within themselves. When disasters strike, we respond quickly. We won't stop until poverty stops. What drives us is a belief that the local church is a powerful force for transformation in communities living in every kind of poverty. Inspired by the example and teaching of Jesus, we recognise that people have deeply interconnected material and spiritual needs, and we seek to meet those needs by working through our local church partners.“

At St. Paul’s we support Tear Fund to make a difference in the world, on our behalf, being Jesus’ eyes, hands and feet, just as he asked us to.
 
Link to Tear Fund

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Massacre at Peshawar

We have all watched shocked at the massacre of the shoppers at the mall in Nairobi, Kenya. On Sunday, 22 September, just one day later, 83 people, a similar number, were killed in All Saints Church, Peshawar, in Pakistan. As someone who tries to keep abreast of the news, I was surprised that this did not reach any of the headlines that I saw.

This is only the last of many sufferings of the church in Pakistan. We need to keep it in our prayers and pray for the injured and those who have lost relatives. Above all, we need to pray that the Pakistani authorities may be prepared to take responsibility for the security and welfare of their Christian co-citizens.

What a privilege it is to be able to go to church, in Oadby, at Saint Pauls, safely on Sunday.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Clergy Conference

I have just returned from a clergy conference held in Swanwick. Every two years the diocese of Leicester hosts a conference for all its clergy. This years theme was 'Good News in a changing world'.
There was an interesting selection of speakers including Anthony Seldon, who is Master of Wellington College. This school has 8 aptitudes by which it encourages its children to learn and grow. They are moral, spiritual, logical, linguistical, physical, cultural, social and personal. You can see them here. He spoke on some of the similarities between clergy and head teachers and encouraged us to look after ourselves as we care for and nurture others.
Another speaker, Dave Bookless from Arocha encouraged us to care for all of God's creation and spoke of the biblical mandate for caring for the world.
A series of bible studies on the book of 1 Peter were led by Loveday Alexander, Canon Theologian of Chester Cathedral.
The conference began with this flash mob clip of the Hallelujah chorus, which is a must see if you have not come across it. We were reminded that we are the bearers of good news that society is open to hear.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Lost!



The sheep reunited and the collected prayers

Today was an "All Together" All Age Service. Instead of a lesson, the young people gave a dramatised reading of Luke 15. By the end of the reading, there were 99, furry toy sheep and nine coins on the table at the front and one abandoned coin and one lonely sheep at the distant end of the aisle.

 The reading had reminded us how Jesus had been criticised by the Pharisees for associating with those whose actions have made them social outcasts. But he explained to the Pharisees that the very reason that he had come was to retrieve the lost – exactly those who were shunned by the Pharisees.

In his talk, Steve explored the emotions that came with being lost and how Jesus wanted to bring people back into relationship with him.

When Angie Bailey then led the prayers, (having already istributed paper stubs with the outline of a sheep) she invited us to write on that sheep the names(s) of people who are “lost” for whatever reason – emotionally, physically or spiritually, for whom we wanted to pray. People then brought their “sheep” and left them within the sheepfold at the front of the church. We united all our prayers in the Lord’s Prayer.

 Thank you to all who helped make this such a meaningful service. If the descriptions don’t make much sense, you should’ve been there!

Monday, 9 September 2013

Justin Welby at the HTB Leadership Summit

Here is a link to Shaped by God the Diocese of Leicester vision for mission resource and blog.

Barry Hill, the diocesan Mission Enabler has posted an interview with Justin Welby at the HTB Leadership Summit which was held at the Albert Hall in March this year. The interview is well worth a watch.

I was particularly struck by two things that Justin said.
The first was that we are called to be a risk taking church. It is in Christ that we find our absolute security but not safety as we are called to take risks in His name.

The second thing that struck me was as Justin was talking about his background in reconciliation and relating this to his experience in the church. He said we cannot live for our own cause to win but rather we must live for Christ's cause to win.

A fascinating interview.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

All the fun of the fair!


Today St Paul's held a fair on Hamble Green and in the church as an event for the wider community and to raise money for Rainbows Children's Hospice.


Want a Garden Plant?


Many prayers were answered for the forecast rain to hold off!










Fun for All - Bouncy Castle



A good day was had by the many who came along. The homemade cake stall sold out. Lots of cream teas were eaten, as were all the hot dogs off the BBQ.







Prizes galore - Tombola

There were fun and games a plenty for the young children and a huge bouncy castle. Lots of hand made crafts and henna, face painting, raffle, tombola, a plant stall and plenty of books and bric-a-brac were also available.







Look as mad as you like -  Face Painting

Many thanks to Sue & Wendy who masterminded it all.

These photos are just a taster of a very happy day.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Carrying the Cross

On Wednesday this week as I cycled back home from Morning Prayer and a staff meeting at St Peter's I was struck by the sight of a man carrying a huge wooden cross along the A6.

I stopped and chatted to Alan who explained about his walk from Manchester to London carrying the Cross as an act of witness. I was able to pray with him and encourage him on his way.

If you want to read more about his walk here is a link to his blog. There is this picture and a story of our encounter on the 4th September.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Solidarity with Christians Worldwide

At our Sunday morning service, we were privileged to hear from Revd  Stuart Windsor the National Director of Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) and we also saw one of their short videos.

Stuart challenged us to follow the calls of the Christians in the early church be prayerful and concerned for other Christians across the world who are suffering for their faith. He highlighted particular problems in Eritrea, Northern Nigeria and North Korea. In North Korea, people are put in prison without trial, simply for having friends or family who are Christians and they may bear children who reach adult life without leaving prison.

Christians may be in very difficult positions, needing relief and assistance, but that is not the role of CSW. Theirs is one of advocacy – of claiming the Human Rights of religious conviction and conversion. They interact with government leaders, UN organisations and NGOs. Whilst a Christian organisation, CSW upholds the rights of all religions to choose and practice their faith.

CSW is currently running “Operation 18”. This relates to article 18 in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights,” which guarantees the rights to choose and to change one’s religion. CSW is organising a petition upholding the right of everyone to choose and practice their faith. The Operation 18 petition will be delivered to: Baroness Warsi, UK Minister for Faith & Communities, Eileen Donahoe, US Mission to the UN in Geneva, Baroness Ashton, High Representative for the EU, and to the Heads of Mission to the UN for Australia, Brazil & Canada.

All church members were encouraged to sign postcards which were part of this petition. If you wish to know more, there are links as follows:
  Christian Solidarity Worldwide. Homepage
  The “Operation 18” petition.

We pray this petition may influence world leaders such that the plight of many, including Christians, may be alleviated.