Sadly our bellringers have had to cease ringing on Sunday morning because of the Coronavirus, but to inaugurate our first livestreamed service on Sunday, two of our bellringers (a couple) performed a special style of bellringing with two just people ringing all eight bells.
We were out this morning filming the first three of our Bermondsey Daily Messages in locations around Bermondsey: at the Blue, on the Lucey Way estate, and outside the Queen Victoria pub.
Our aim is that everyday during the Coronavirus outbreak, starting on Monday, we can put online a 3 or 4 minute daily message, subtitled 'Beautiful Words from the Beautiful Book', filmed on location around Bermondsey, with an encouraging message from God's word and a prayer for the people of Bermondsey.
Look out for the first Bermondsey Daily Message this Monday - on this blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook.
Meanwhile, don't forget to join us for our Mothering Sunday Family Service which will be livestreamed tomorrow at 10.30am at our Facebook page:
There was a good turn out for today's men's breakfast at St James.
Neil (pictured centre) was the speaker our speaker.
Like Paul, he works for Church Army and, like Paul, he comes from Weymouth in Dorset.
In fact, they have known each other since they were small boys.
Neil came from a broken family but at the age of 18 he came to know the love of God for him personally. That changed everything he knew about love and family and that was a big part of what he shared today, as he encouraged us to be embraced and changed by the power of God's love.
Today we laid Angel to rest, as a large congregation gathered at the cemetery from her family, from St James School, and from the healthcare organisations which had cared for.
We heard some of her favourite pieces of music and sung one of her favourite songs, 'He's got the whole world in his hands.'
Her stepfather spoke movingly of the special girl who won your heart when you met her, and of the deep Christian faith that has sustained him and her.
Mrs Willis, our headteacher, spoke of all that Angel had contributed to the school and enjoyed in school
Her family asked for Revelation 21.1-6 to be read with its wonderful words about the day when death, mourning crying and pain have been abolished, and when the Lord will wipe away every tear from his people's eyes.
In my sermon I said (1) We mustn't measure her life by its length but by its depth, its joy and its love; (2)We mustn't forget that Angel is with Jesus, in his safe keeping forvever: (3) We mustn't forget the end of the story - the new heaven and new earth, the day when the Lord makes everything new and wipes the tears from our eyes: (4) We mustn't forget that the Living Lord Jesus speaks to us and invites us 'to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.' (Revelation 1.6).
In her last days Angel told her step father she was ready to go home. Now she is in the Father's house - forever.
I left thankful for Angel's life, thankful for her faith and thankful for the promises of the Gospel - and so thankful for all the loving care of the staff of St James's school that made school such a happy place for Angel to be.
Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, and we gathered at lunchtime at St Mary Magdalen for our traditional service of Holy Communion for St Mary's, St James, and St Anne's churches, the three churches which together make up the Bermondsey Group Ministry.
A good congregation from all three churches gathered together to hear the Lent readings, to pray, to sing, to take Holy Communion and to receive the sign of the cross in ash on our foreheads, as the words 'turn from your sins and believe the good news' were said to each of us.
As begin our journey through Lent to the great celebration of our faith at Easter, the words of one of the hymns seemed particularly appropriate:
The opening Powerpoint slide for today's service in church
Just before school broke up for half term, we heard that Angel from year 5, had died after a long illness.
Teachers broke the news to the children on that day and led their classes in a prayer of thanksgiving for Angel's life, and today all the classes from years 3 to 6 came to church first thing this morning for a service to remember Angel.
We thanked God for Angel's life and all that she brought to our school. We prayed for her family. We sang 'Kum ba yah' (come by here, Lord) and listened to a version of the Lord's My Shepherd.
We heard from Mark's Gospel how Jesus said 'let the children come to me and do not try to stop them.' Although, we were sad that Angel was no longer with us, we realised we could be confident that she was safe with Jesus forever - and that was a good note to end on as we returned to school and the coming half term.