Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Great turnout tonight for outdoor carols on the steps of St James, followed by hot minced pies and mulled wine.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Sharing the good news

Phew that's done.

We've just completed delivery of 3,500 Christmas cards (left) , complete with details of all the Christmas services, in St James's parish, with a further 1,750 of the St Anne's version in St Anne's parish.

On top of that we gave out fliers to 500 commuters last night at the tube (plus others to shoppers at the Blue last Saturday, and we will give out more at open air carols in the Churchyard.

Meanwhile a tweeted photo of last night's carol singing at the tube has been viewed 3,000 times.

Monday, 10 December 2018

O come all ye Bermondsey

It was good to be singing carols at Bermondsey Tube Station - thanks to  TFL and the very helpful staff at Bermondsey.

We spread a little bit of Christmas cheer to the commuters on their way home from work, and gave out 500 leaflets inviting folk to our Christmas services over the next two weeks.

There were lots of appreciative comments and a number of people captured the scene on their phones.

A few people offered us money - this is the bit that always puzzles TFL: that we are not actually collecting anything, just sharing a bit of Christmas joy from the local church to our parishiomers  and giving out a few leaflets.

Next up: Carols outside St James on Wednesday at 6pm

Christmas is coming

Great to see the Christmas Tree up in St James today (thanks Pat)

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Christmas cheer at Salmon

The Bermondsey Waiters Song in full flow, just before tea was served

To the Salmon Youth Centre for the annual Old People's Party, a Bermondsey tradition going back many years, featuring a wonderful, a memorable entertainment, a Christmas message from God's word, that old favourite, the Bermondsey Waiters Song ('we like to serve you like you was a star'), presents from Santa, and Christmas cheer all round from Bermondsey's youth centre to some of our district's  oldest residents.

A first for Jacob

Jacob conducted his first baptism this morning at St James.

Baby Sienna, pictured with her mum, is one year old tomorrow, this morning she was baptised and this afternoon she had a combined baptism and birthday party.

Congratulations and every blessing to the family.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Light in the darkness

Good to see the Christmas tree outside St James (thanks Paul). Join us for carols beside it on Wednesday at 6pm, followed by mulled wine and hot mince pies inside the church. 

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Remembering in Rotherhithe

A picture tweeted by the Dean of Southwark who gave the final blessing
To the Albins Memorial Garden on the edge of Southwark Park for the annual outdoor Christmas Memorial Service, the 19th such event put on by our community-minded local firm of funeral directors, attended by hundreds of local people, the clergy of all denominations, the Mayor, the Leader of the Council, representatives of the opposition party, Sir Simon Hughes and the Pearly King and Queen.

We enjoyed the familiar mixture of prayers by the local clergy, community carol singing, the opportunity to remember loved ones with stars on the Christmas tree, beautiful singing by professional singers, a magnificent firework display to conclude, all followed with traditional Albins generosity by hot soup, mince pies, and bread pudding for the thousand or so people who attend this unique community event.

A big thank you to Jon, Simon and the whole Albins team for a meticulously planned and executed event, which brings comfort and hope to troubled hearts at Christmas time, when the loss of loved ones is often felt most acutely.

My church

A wonderful video about the churches on Teesside (I wonder if we could do something similar for Bermondsey?):

Let Me Tell You About My Church from Transforming Teesside Together on Vimeo.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Joy to the Blue

A bit of rain wasn't going to stop us...

This year's outdoor carol singing by the Christmas true at the Blue went ahead as planned and it even stopped raining.

Lots of leaflets were given out inviting people to our Christmas services, and there was huge appreciation from passersby at our attenpt to spread some Christmas cheer in the heart of Bermondsey.

So, thank you to everyone who came and to everyone who stopped by for a chat.

Next up: Monday 10th December, carol singing at Bermondey Tube (6pm); Wednesday 12th December, carol singing outside St James.

To access the Church of England online Advent Calendar: 
click on the FollowTheStar box below

Ivan at the Men's Breakfast

We first got to know Ivan (left in the picture) when he came to us at St James for a placement as part of his training to be a Reader in the Church of England.

Ivan is a member of our near neighbours, Holy Trinity, Rotherhithe, and today he was back at St James to talk to our men's breakfast.

Ivan is married with four children. Today he told us the story of how his eldest son as a small children was diagnosed with a serious illness which has left him with serious and lifelong disabilities.

He spoke with great honesty and candour about all they have been through as a family, and how their faith in Christ has sustained them in some very hard times. It was a powerful and moving talk, interspersed with references to Scripture and prayer that have strengthened and guided him in his life as a Christian, and, now as a Reader at Holy Trinity, and as a voluntary chaplain at Guy's Hospital.

Thank you, Ivan, for coming to share so much of yourself.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

On Earth as in Heaven

I remember being enthralled as a small boy by the Apollo missions (which first produced this view of the Earth from space) and by the moon landings in particular.

Here is the latest video from Speak Life released for this Christmas. It tells the remarkable story of the men who travelled to the moon and the even more remarkable of the Man who travelled to the earth.

Have a look at it now and share it with your friends about it.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Remembering Jean

She was a St James's regular, a stalwart, that familiar smiling figure in her place at the back of church on her motorised scooter, dishing out cheery 'hello, loves' to all and sundry.

Today we said goodbye to her.

There many tributes, much laughter, and many tears as her devoted family, and extended family and friends, including her church family, came to say farewell to the lady a former churchwarden fondly called 'the duchess.'

We remembered her love of her family and her husband Joe, her love of dancing, and her involvement with C.U.M. (now Salmon Youth Centre).

We remembered that special day when she was confirmed - I have the photo on my study wall above my desk of all the candidates with the bishop, and right in the centre, beaming, is Jean herself.

For years she had thought she wasn't 'good enough' to be confirmed but then she took the plunge and what a difference it made to her to be confirmed and receive communion. It made her feel fully part of the family, Jean told me, which, of course, was exactly what it (Holy Communion) was designed to do.

We shall miss her but we thank God for her.

Friday, 23 November 2018

St Anne's by night

Atmospheric shot of St Anne's at night taken by churchwarden Graham.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

The Disciple Ship Explorers set sail

Our Discipleship Explored course came to an end last night at St James with session eight of our studies in St Paul's Letter to the Philippians and an early Christmas Dinner, with turkey, mince pies and all the trimmings.

Here is course member, Asha, with the cake she baked for the occasion - in the shape of a ship.

On the sails are the memory verses we have been learning during the course and the ship in a nice pun on the course name is called the  'Disciple Ship Explorers.'

Thanks Asha for your lovely gift which rounded off a wonderful evening for us all.

We're having a break for Christmas now but a new Wednesday night course starts on 23rd January.

Course members watching the last Discipleship Explored video

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Remembering Lilian

When Lillian at the age of 93 asked Stewart, my predecessor as vicar of St James, if he would take her funeral, he wasn't expecting that it would not be for another eight years - but in the plan of God it was. So today we had the joy of welcoming Stewart and Rosemary back to Bermondsey as we bade farewell to a remarkable lady.

Lil was  101 years old and a life long resident of Bermondsey.

From the age of 4 she was a member of the Gedling Mission in Bermondsey. She met her husband there and she continued a faithful member of that congregation until the mission closed a few years ago.

She remained a firm, clear, joyful Christian until the day she died.

Today we gave thanks for her life in St James's Church, where her husband's funeral had taken place, and where she was a regular member of our monthly Monday Fellowship.

Stewart & Rosemary Hartley back today at St James
Lillian, and Ernie, were a living embodiment of the verse that urges us to 'give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord.'

They did it to the very end of their long lives.

Now they are both with the Lord they loved and we thank God for every remembrance of them.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Thank you, Penny

Penny Molyneux (on the right) receiving a Long Service Award today in church from Marion Watson, representing the Southwark Diocesan Association of Readers.

Penny became a Reader twenty five years ago and has been our Reader here in Bermondsey for the last fifteen years.

Today was an opportunity to say a big thank you to Penny, for her upfront work of preaching and teaching, and her work of caring and encouragement that so many have benefitted from, not to mention all her work for so many years at St James's School. 

The church clock

With the scaffolding starting to come down from St James's belltower, the restored clock faces can be seen in all the glory - and the clock is once again telling the right time. Very soon it will start chiming the hours again, too.

The four clock faces hav been completely stripped back and painted; the numbers have been regilded; and the clock mechanism has been overhauled, all thanks to a grant from the Heritage for London Trust, who also funded the restoration of the dragon weathervane.

We are very grateful for their support.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Year 5's Remembrance tribute

Hear Year 5 from St James's School's tribute for Remembrance Day in a medley of WW1 songs in their performing arts class here

Friday, 16 November 2018

Sir Simon Hughes; the head boy and head girl of St James's School; vice-chair of the school governors, Jim Hutchinson;  and the vice-chancellor of London Southbank University, at the recent installation of Sir Simon as chancellor of LSBU.