Monday, 31 March 2014

Mothering Sunday

For centuries, Mothering Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Lent, has been the opportunity to remember mothers. In a bygone age, it was the one Sunday when servant girls were allowed to go to visit their mothers. Whether or not we have all been mothers, we have all had mothers and in the majority of cases, the memory is a happy one.

In our service yesterday, the children took posies of daffodils to their mothers and then to all the other ladies in church.

The service coincided with the third of our series of sermons on the Creed, in this case “We believe in the Holy Spirit.” We noted that not only is the Hebrew word for the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament (ruach) feminine, but also that her role in caring and encouraging Christians is parallel to that of a mother.

The service concluded with Holy Communion, with opportunity for prayer for healing; healing of all sorts being another role of the Holy Spirit.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Thanksgiving for Ida Williams

Today, we held the Thanksgiving service for Ida Williams. Originaly from Jamaica, Ida moved to Oadby from her adopted town of Wolverhampton in the West Midlands some 10 years ago when her son-in-law, Simon Harvey, had become vicar of St Paul's.

Despite being transplanted from original surroundings, Ida rapidly established roots in Oadby being a much loved member of the congregation. Sadly, in recent months, her health had deteriorated and she left Oadby to join her daughter, Jennifer and Simon in their new vicarage at St Mary's Islington. However, she became even sicker and died two weeks ago.

Her funeral was held in Wolverhampton and although a few people from St Paul's were able to attend, many could not. Therefore, we held a service of thanksgiving for her today, which is the day of coffee pot, of which Ida was a regular member. About 40 people gathered to remember her.
The service was led by our vicar, Steve Bailey, using much of the background that Simon Harvey had provided. We sang two hymns which had been sung and two readings that had been used at her funeral and Gill Williams gave the same appreciation that she had used then.

People had the opportunity to talk of her love of the Lord Jesus, her very personal prayers and her prodigious knowledge of Bible texts. They also spoke of the warmth of her welcome and her pride in her flat. In concluding prayers, we thanked God for her life.

Ida, it was a privilege to know you. Now you are with your Lord.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Ruth Valerio speaks of A Rocha on 27 April

As Christians, we believe that the God we worship is the creator of heaven and earth. It’s therefore important that we steward the resources that he has given us in a sensitive way. A Rocha is a Christian environmental and conservation movement.

It is therefore a great privilege to have Ruth Valerio, who is the Theology Director for A Rocha, to speak at our morning service on 27 April. She will be introducing us to A Rocha and helping us to think about how we can live in a way that honours our creator God and his creation.

She has written an excellent book ‘L is for Lifestyle’ and runs the A Rocha programme ‘Living Lightly’ as well as having recently finished her PhD! She is also part of the leadership team of Spring Harvest, the Christian conferences.

Website for A Rocha

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Relationship Central – The Marriage Course

St Pauls  is going to run  a seven session Marriage Course. This course has been prepared by Holy Trinity Church, Brompton, which is well known for the Alpha course. It is a real opportunity to invest in your marriage and give your relationship an “MOT.” It is not designed for relationships encountering difficulties.

There will be practical talks that are informative and fun played on DVD. During the session there will be Coffee and Dessert provided. Each participant will receive a workbook. But there is never any group work and no one will ever be asked to share anything about their relationship with anyone other than their partner.

The course will run in the Barnabas Centre on Tuesday evenings from 7.30pm, beginning on 6th May and finishing on 24th June with a break for half term week. There is a £20 charge per couple for the course to cover costs.

For more details and to reserve your place, please contact Karen & Richard Chipps 0116 271 6197. You can also see the Relationship Central website for more details, click here . Our vicar and his wife did this course a few years ago and recommend it strongly. So do enrol soon on this excellent course.

Lent Lunches

As every year during Lent, Churches Together in Oadby are organising Lent lunches. Each Saturday lunchtime, one of the churches put on a simple lunch of soup, bread roll, cheese and tea or coffee.

This started, last Saturday at St Paul’s and continued today at St Peter’s (see photo). Not only is this an opportunity to eat modestly but it is also an opportunity to meet folk from other churches. 

The profits from the contributions go to Christian Aid and will help people in countries where our modest meal would seem a feast.

The rota for future lunches is as follows:
29 March    URC, Rosemead Drive
5   April     Oadby Baptist Church
12 April    Trinity Methodist Church

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Evangelism for those who are Lost for Words

Our Lent Course for 2014 started last night when 40 people gathered in the Barnabas Centre. The particular course we used, called “Lost for Words” was laid on in response to people’s request for something that would help them, practically, to share their faith.

The explosive growth of the new Testament Church came from the early disciples following St Peter’s words: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” (1 Peter 3:15)

In this first session, we explored what reaction the word “evangelism” gave to those present. We looked at the positive as well as the negative aspects of sharing our faith with friends, colleagues and family.

We look forward to learning more in subsequent weeks. If you would like help in sharing your faith, do join us on Tuesdays at 7.30 p.m. in the Barnabas centre.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Draw Your Sword !

A few weeks ago, during our sermon series on Ephesians (see blog 24 February) we were considering “the Armour of God” including “the Sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.” In his talk at the all age service yesterday, Steve Bailey (the vicar) was talking about the importance of Scripture. In the spiritual fight during his time in the wilderness, again and again it was the words of Scripture that Jesus used to rebut the devil.

We then practised “Sword Drill” as Steve read out a Bible reference and everyone competed to find that verse in their Bibles as quickly as possible. The winner was the first person who found the verse and read it out. There was a subsidiary competition between those who used paper Bibles and those who were using Bibles on their Smartphones. Each of the verses we looked up spoke of the importance of Scripture in different circumstances in life.

Some people were incredibly quick on the draw. It’s a challenge to all of us to be equally familiar with our Bibles.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Lent – Anointing with Ashes

The season of Lent started on Wednesday, when we joined with other Oadby churches at Trinity Methodist Church for a joint Lent service. In Lent we remember the hardships of life, including its temptations, as we remember the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness, right at the beginning of his ministry, being tempted by the devil.

During the service, the Minister anointed each worshipper’s forehead with ashes in the sign of the cross, while he spoke these words: “remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

As Jesus fasted in the wilderness he was at his most frail. For us, too, Lent is a time to remember our frailty and our dependence on God. Unlike Jesus, we have not always succeeded in resisting temptation. But the wonder of the cross is that it reminds us that He has forgiven us.

Lent – Count Your Blessings

As people identify, in a small way, with Christ’s temptation and his fast in the wilderness, it is customary to give up some luxury during Lent – chocolate, sugar, alcohol perhaps. However, Steve Bailey, our vicar, is encouraging the members of St Paul’s to take part in Christian Aid’s “Count your blessings.”

As members of the wealthy West, for each day in Lent, Christian Aid is challenging us to do something or give something that will make a difference to those less fortunate than ourselves.

There are more details on Christian Aid’s website here.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Christ for the Nations

Kevin Wren who works for South Asian Concern joined us for our morning service today and also preached.

He made the interesting observation that while many churches called themselves multicultural, what they were actually was multi-ethnic. While emphasising that Jesus Christ has come for the whole world, he also emphasised the importance of allowing South Asians to continue their own culture when they began to worship Jesus. He challenged us as to what our attitudes were. He also suggested that South Asians were often more willing to talk about Jesus than white British.

After the service Kevin manned a stall and spoke to members of the congregation about his own work (see here) and about their experiences, as well as offering literature.

Hopefully, his suggestions will make us wiser and more sensitive as we seek to share our faith.

10 Commandments – Still Valid Today

During SuperTroopers (our Sunday School) our young people learnt how Moses had gone up Mount Sinai, while the Children of Israel had camped around the base. At the top of the mountain he had seen God’s glory and received the 10 Commandments.

To illustrate the story they had made a Papier Maché model of Mount Sinai which they brought into the main church at the end of the service to show the rest of the congregation. They also brought banners with the 10 Commandments written on them.

Pancakes and Quiz Night

With the season of Lent starting next Wednesday, on Saturday evening we held a Pancakes and Quiz Night. Everyone received a delicious pancake (see photo) and then we all took part in a quiz which started with photos of celebrities on the tables and flags on the wall to recognise, and then rounds of questions on different subjects ranging from music of the 60s to children’s TV programmes.

Even for those who would have preferred different questions (as is always the case) the evening was one of great enjoyment, friendship and laughter.

Many thanks to the social committee who had organised the event, made the pancakes and arranged the quiz.