A full and exciting Bermondsey day today.
Church schools have an OfSted-like inspection every 3-5 years looking specifically at the Christian character of the school, its RE teaching and its life of collective worship. Governors and teachers together have a responsibility to prepare for this and nurture this aspect of school life.
Next was a visit to the Salmon Youth Centre where I had been invited to lead the staff bible study.
They are following a series looking at favourite Old Testament characters, and I took as my theme the
We looked at how that principle reaches its climax in the cross of Christ, where the ultimate act of wickedness is turned by God's power to the greatest good, the salvation of the world. What they (those who killed the Lord), meant for evil, God meant for good (salvation).
And that brought us to Romans 8.28 and that extraordinary promise, and God's own commentary on every believer's life: 'all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.'
I salute the staff at St James's School and at Salmon. They serve our community well. They often deal with challenging situations and challenging children. They can get a lot of flak and a lot is asked of them. There can be setbacks and disappointments along the way but - and here is the great but - if we are God's people, doing God's work we can trust in his ultimate plan for good, and rely on the promise of Romans 8.28 being worked out in our lives and ministry.
From there it was time to open up the church for the Bermondsey & Rotherhithe Community Council for a meeting that drew together councillors, community groups, police, NHS, and local people to discuss a variety of issues of local concern, with a particular focus this meetings on green issues.
It was encouraging seeing so many people come together who have a real heart for the community.
The Community Council is a great opportunity for networking and we love hosting this event at St James's.
It was also good to meet a couple of readers of BermondseyVicar.
Whilst all that was going on - in the south lounge of the church - we had our first meeting of Bermondsey Christian Training. We are starting with the Christianity Explored course and we got off to a great start with session one of the course tonight. There is a repeat on Saturday morning at St Anne's and we have about 55 people signed up for the course, a great mixture of ages, backgrounds, and different stages on the Christian journey. Fantastic.