Sunday, 22 January 2017

The deplorable dinner

If he had been in Washington on the night of the inauguration, Jesus might well have gone to the DeploraBall. It's the kind of thing he did in his earthly ministry.

Hillary Clinton famously called some of Trump's supporters 'a basket of deplorables' and then some of the deplorables hit back by organising their very own DeploraBall in DC on the day of the presidential inauguration.

Of course, I don't really know what Jesus would have done, but I do know he made a habit of meeting with 'deplorables' and he himself was roundly deplored by just about everyone for doing so.

I like Caravaggio's painting (left) of the calling of St Matthew.

I showed it to the children at assembly in St James's School recently.

It depicts the events of Mark 2.13-17 where Jesus, having called a notorious deplorable (Levi the tax collector) to follow him, is seen eating with a whole bunch of 'tax collectors and other outcasts.'

It was the ultimate DeploraBall and liberal public opinion was predictably scandalised.

As for Jesus (if you can use that word of him), he was unrepentant. 'People who are well do not need a doctor, but only those who are sick' he said. 'I have not come to call respectable people but outcasts.'

Personally, I don't think anyone should be called a 'deplorable' but if there are going to be any deplorables around, let's be clear about one thing: Jesus would make a bee line for them.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Building in Bermondsey

Thanks to Pat for these photos from a few years ago of the construction of the flats that now face St James's Church:

The flats as they are today

Thursday, 12 January 2017

New bells

Southwark Cathedral has a new set of bells and as I passed through the Cathedral today I saw one of them being painstakingly winched up into the bell tower, and joined the little crowd that had gathered to watch the spectacle, and to capture it for posterity on their phones - as I did:

The next bell to be winched into place

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Diving under Bermondsey

On the rail tracks running through Bermondsey Network Rail have been busy building something called the 'Bermondsey Dive Under', a kind of rail underpass, all part of the plan to disentangle the tracks coming out of  London Bridge and speed up train journeys.

The new 'dive under' is now open for business and they have just uploaded this video showing the view from the driver's cab as a train travels through it - watch out for a glimpse of St James's Church on the left:

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

King of all the world

We were a couple of days early but today's start of term service for St James's School today in church took an Epiphany theme.

No one know exactly how many wise men there were. There were three gifts, that's for sure, but how many men, Matthew doesn't tell us.

In the school nativity play the wise men arrive hot on the heels of the shepherds, but in the Bible the wise men's visit comes later, possibly much later

They come to see a 'child' not a 'babe lying in a manger.'

Perhaps by the time they arrive the baby is already a toddler? Who knows?

But one thing is certain the mysterious visitors from the East are a kind of foretaste of what is to come, as all across the world, and all through history, foreigners (people like us!) from distant lands, will come to worship Jesus.

The children's song, It was on a starry night, a favourite with the children in our school, gets it right when it says: 'a boy was born, king of all the world.'

Monday, 26 December 2016

'I am one of them' says the Queen

"At Christmas our attention is drawn to the birth of a baby some two thousand years ago." said the Queen in her Christmas Day broadcast yesterday.

She went on to say: "It was the humblest of beginnings. His parents Joseph and Mary did not think they were important. Jesus Christ lived obscurely for most of his life and never travelled far."

"He was maligned and rejected by many though he had done no wrong. "

"Yet billions of people now follow his teaching and find in him the guiding light for their lives"

"I am one of them" she said.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Thank God for his indescribable gift

Sing lullaby!
lullaby baby, now reclining:
sing lullaby!
Hush, do not wake the infant king;
angels are watching, stars are shining
over the place where he is lying:
sing lullaby.

Sing lullaby!
lullaby baby, sweetly sleeping:
sing lullaby!
Hush, do not wake the infant king;
soon will come sorrow with the morning,
soon will come bitter grief and weeping:
sing lullaby

Sing lullaby!
lullaby baby, gently dozing:
sing lullaby!
Hush, do not wake the infant king;
soon comes the cross, the nails,, the piercing,
then in the grave at last reposing:
sing lullaby!

Sing lullaby!
lullaby! Is the baby waking?
sing lullaby!
Hush, do not stir the infant king,
dreaming of Easter, joyful morning,
conquering death, its bondage breaking:
sing lullaby!

Friday, 23 December 2016

Nativity scenes

During the past week the Diocese of Southwark have been tweeting  pictures of the nativity by children from St James's School.

For blog readers, here they are and well done to the children involved

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Our new bishop

The new bishop designate with Bishop Christopher
From the blog of my old college, Oak Hill Theological in north London, an article about former student Karowei Dorgu, soon to be our Area Bishop (the Bishop of Woolwich) in south-east London:

New Bishop of Woolwich is a 'pastoral and joyful' former student

The college community is delighted to hear that Revd Prebendary Dr Woyin Karowei Dorgu is to be the new Bishop of Woolwich.

Karwoei trained at Oak Hill from 1993-95 and was a curate at St Mark’s, Tollington Park, from 1995-98. He served as curate at St John the Evangelist, Upper Holloway, for two years before becoming its vicar in 2000, where he has been ever since.

For many years, Karowei has been an Oak Hill placement supervisor. Paul Woodbridge, Director of College Placements, says, ‘All the students who have been placed at St John the Evangelist speak warmly about him, how pastoral and approachable he is, as well as joyful. Everyone speaks of how much they have learned from him, in his love for his congregation, his pastoral approach to people, and the way he leads services and preaches.’

Karowei is married to Mosun, and they had two sons, Timi and Josh. Tragically, Josh died suddenly at the age of 18 in January 2015. Karowei will be consecrated Bishop of Woolwich in Southwark Cathedral on 17 March 2017."

From Oak Hill blog

Nearly Christmas

Christmas is definitely coming. Even the Archdeacons have donned festive gear:

And a mysterious visitor has been spotted walking through Thorburn Square;

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Cherry Garden at the Blue

Cherry Garden special school in Southwark Park Road, of which Paul is a governor, had a very special outdoor service at the Blue on Tuesday.

Children, staff, and parents sung and signed the carols, and Russell from the fish stall accompanied them on guitar.

It was a very special event by a very special school.

When God became small

It is the end of a busy term at St James's School and it was good to welcome everyone in to the church this morning for our end of term Christmas service.

We sang some favourite new and old carols, and what a great sight it was to see the whole school singing 'It was on a starry night' with great gusto AND doing the actions.

Two children read the story of the nativity from Luke 2. Paul led the service, and I spoke about how the 'great big God' who made the universe became so small, and so vulnerable, when he was born in the baby. The little Lord Jesus was asleep in the hay. A boy was born, king of all the world, and all the angels sang for him. The bells of heaven rang for him.

Now its time for a well deserved rest for staff and pupils. A very happy Christmas everyone.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Joy to the world

We had a wonderful service of Carols by Candlelight at St James on Sunday, which included the Sunday School Nativity (left), Kristina from Bermondsey Voices singing 'How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace' (from Messiah), 'Hearts waiting, waiting on a Saviour' by our own singing group (thanks Roger and team), and lots of congregational carols, with Nick on the organ, and Peter on the piano.

Thanks to Jos for these photos of a memorable night:

New bishop visits Bermondsey

The new bishop & his wife at the Community Kitchen
When the Queen appoints a new Bishop of Woolwich, what do you do with him?

Bring him to Bermondsey, of course.

That's how Dr Karowei Dorgu, whose appointment as Bishop of Woolwich (ie the SE london boroughs of Southwark, Lewisham, & Greenwich) was announced on the 10 Downing St website at 10am today, came to have lunch at Bermondsey Community Kitchen at the Blue.

BCK boss Mike telling the bishop about the project
Not only did the new bishop and his wife have the chance to sample some delicious BCK food, they got the chance to hear about one of Bermondsey's best community projects.

Unemployed youngsters are trained in catering skills under the watchful eye of Mike, whose brainchild the Community Kitchen first was.

So far, all have gone off to get jobs in the catering business.

As for our new bishop, he went off, fortified by Bermondsey's best grub, to meet the clergy of the Woolwich Episcopal Area.

Every blessing to him and his family as he moves to south-east London to be the shepherd of the flock in this corner of God's world.
Preparing a meal fit for a bishop

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Happy birthday, Tommy

Bermondsey boy, Tommy Steele, is 80 years old today.

Here is a picture of him signing autographs in the early days of fame outside his house in Frean Street, with a foggy St James's Church in the background.

These days a new block of flats has replaced the old terraced houses but Tommy Hicks (aka Tommy Steele) is remembered in its name of Hicks House.

Happy Birthday, Tommy.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Christmas festivity

To the Age Concern Healthy Living Centre in Southwark Park Road for their annual Christmas lunch and party.

The centre is a great meeting point for the retired community in Bermondsey and Paul and I were once again delighted to enjoy their Christmas festivities, which included a sumptuous lunch prepared by Yalding's chef, Ken, all presided over by the centre mananger, Katrina.

Also included in the guest list was the Mayor of Southwark, Cllr Kath Whittam, sporting a Christmas jumper, as part of Save the Children's Christmas jumper day.

On our table two ladies told me how they had been married at St James's. One had just celebrated 50 years of marriage, and the other had been married for 66 years to her husband.
That was something really to celebrate.

Meanwhile back at the church, it was the St James School Key Stage 1 Nativity and here are some photos of that event taken by Jos. Well done everyone

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Hark the herald

There was a good turnout of carollers for tonight's open air carol singing in St James's Churchyard, swelled by some visitors who joined us, and by some passers-by who stopped to join in.

Others captured the scene on their mobile phone.

Either way, the message got out, and then it was time for mulled wine and mince pies, rounding off an excellent evening.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Auditory verbal

The local charity working with deaf children, Auditory Verbal, have just published a wonderful slideshow of last week's carol event at St James.

You can view it here

Monday, 12 December 2016

O come all ye Bermondsey

We had a great band of carollers for our annual carol-sing at Bermondsey Tube tonight.

TFL were very confused that we didn't actually want to collect any money, just sing, spread a bit of Christmas cheer, and tell the locals about the upcoming Christmas events at St Anne's and St James. Next up: Carol singing outside St James on Wednesday at 6.30pm. Come and join us.