Monday, 31 October 2016

One little word

Today is Reformation Day, the day we remember what happened in 1517 when an obscure German monk called Martin Luther nailled his 95 Theses to a door in Wittenberg and changed the world for ever.

Next year is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and our local Lutheran Church, the Norwegian Church in Rotherhithe kicked off a year of celebrations in a special service last night, to which all the local churches were invited.
Norwegian Church, Rotherhithe

Most of the service at which the Bishop of Southwark was the guest preacher was in English, but it was good to hear the Norwegian choir sing some parts of the service in their native language.

A special treat for your blogger was singing Martin Luther's great hymn 'A mighty fortress is our God.'

I particularly like verse 3 where Luther takes on the devil and all his wiles, confident in the power of a word from God, ('one little word'):

And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth shall triumph through us;
The Prince of Darkness grim -
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him

Wonderful stuff. Thank God for Martin Luther and thank God for the rediscovery of the life-changing Gospel that came with the Reformation.

As the reformers were fond of saying: to God alone be the glory!

Friday, 21 October 2016

Changing Bermondsey

From Twitter, a view of St James Church along Frean Street, with Albins Funerals on Old Jamaica Rd (left).

Here's another view (also  of Frean Street) showing the transformed scene today:

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Thomas's story

This is the full version of the video from which I showed an excerpt at St James this morning:

Thomas Blumire - Testimony from Holy Trinity Church, Redhill on Vimeo.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

The bishop and the four 'alls'

Bermondsey's own resident bishop, Graham Kings (left), was the speaker at today's Annual General Meeting of the Salmon Youth Centre.

Speaking on the great commission in Matthew 28.16-20, Bishop Graham, Mission Theologian in the Anglican Communion, told us about the four 'alls' of Matthew 28.

Jesus has ALL authority in heaven and earth. He sends us to make disciples of ALL nations. He instructs us to teach ALL that he has commanded. He promises that he will be with us ALLways.

The AGM was interspersed with songs of worship, a brilliant dance by two of the youngsters, and some moving testimonies, including from one young man who said his life had been transformed since he 'committed his life to God.'

In addition, we heard reports of the past year at Salmon, as well as transacting the formal business, and receiving the accounts, all presided over by St James Adrian Greenwood, Chair of the Trustees.

Salmon, founded in 1906 as the Cambridge University Mission, is a Bermondsey phenomenon.

Last year Salmon worked with 2,000 young people aged 6-25, with 400-500 attending Salmon activities each week.

In addition to the staff, there are 16 young leaders and 7 apprentices. 5 young people were awarded Silver Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

'Our mission' says the centre 'is to inspire young people to fulfil their potential and contribute to the community, within a framework of Christian values.'

Life story

Jan Lynas (right)
Hot on the heels of last week's Men's Breakfast at St James, today it was the turn of the ladies, with the latest in a series of women's breakfasts.

The speaker today was Jan Lynas, who is a Reader at St George's, Battersea, who told the story of her faith, as it has developed throughout her life, making another successful breakfast for the ladies at St James & St Anne's.

The Bermondsey big bake

Big Bake is a nationwide event, sponsored by Christian relief agency Tearfund, designed to get people baking to raise lots of money for the world's poorest people.

 Headed up by Marian Greenwood (left) a team of devoted bakers have raised over £500 for Tearfund in their churchyard sales to passers-by. Fantastic.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Wedding joy

Travelling to the reception in a Routemaster London bus has certainly become a popular option among wedding couples at St James - and it was the choice of congregation members, David and Sonal, for their wedding on Saturday.

They also particularly wanted a photo of their guests in front of the Ascension picture (left). It made a memorable scene.

We have enjoyed getting to know the happy couple at St James and we wish David and Sonal God's richest blessing in their new life together.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Cherry Garden harvest

Each year the children of Cherry Garden School, the special school for children aged 2-11 in Southwark Park Rd, comes to St Anne's for their harvest festival.

Today was the big day and the children had a great time performing their harvest play and singing their favourite harvest songs, as well as donating a mountain of food for the Manna Centre for homeless people at London Bridge.

Cherry Garden School, rated 'outstanding' by OfSted, does a wonderful job serving children across the borough.

In due course, Cherry Garden will be moving to a new purpose built building in Peckham, but at present they are a very valued part of our community in Bermondsey, and St Anne's loves its connection with the school, where Paul is one of the governors

Sunday, 9 October 2016

And the Ambassador popped in

John Casson (left) with St Anne's member, Dave
Her Majesty's Ambassador to the Republic of Egypt popped in to St Anne's this morning, but then, John Casson has been a member of St Anne's for more than a decade.

Before his call to Egypt he worked in Downing Street as the Prime Minister's Foreign Affairs Private Secretary. He also had the distinction of being the only person who really understood how St Anne's heating worked.

It was good to have John with us at St Anne's for our service today, good to hear his news, and good to pray for him and Kat as they serve the Lord in Egypt.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Sausage, bacon and the God who calls

It was Men's Breakfast time again at St James this morning.

A good crowd of blokes sat down to the traditional full cooked breakfast (left), washed down with copious quantities of tea, coffee, and orange juice, proceded by cornflakes, toast, & marmalade, all for the princely sum of £2.

Each time we meet we have a speaker who tells their story of faith.

Today it was the turn of your blogger, speaking on his journey from 'Battersea to Bermondsey.'

Never in a million years did your blogger think he would end up as a vicar, let alone a BermondseyVicar.

But an unexpected conversation on an A level biology field trip, opened the door to a whole new world of faith, which in the fulness of time, led a Battersea boy to becoming a Bermondsey Vicar.

If there is one thing we have learnt from our speakers at the Men's Brekkie it is this: if God calls you, who knows what you might become and what you might do - in his wonderful and unexpected plan.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Faith pictures

Faith Pictures is a new course from Church Army which we are using at St James and St Anne's.

It is designed to help church members talk naturally about faith with their friends. Its billed as 'a fresh way to talk about things that matter.'

Faith Pictures got off to a great start at St James last night, beginning with a meal of bangers and mash, as we started to think about what subjects we find easier to talk about than others, and what might be some of the obstacles that prevent us from sharing our faith.

The various obstacles were labelled: 'blush (it's too private), hush (I wouldn't know what to say), rush (I'm too busy), push (I don't have the right to force my views on someone), gush (I wouldn't be able to speak intelligently about my faith), mush (my faith is too confused), and crush (I'm scared how people might respond).'

Next week we going to start the process of overcoming these obstacles to naturally share our faith.

In the meantime, here's the introductory video to the course:

Introduction to Faith Pictures (subtitled version) from Church Army on Vimeo.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Monkey business at Dockhead

For years it was famous as 'Blackwall Fire Station' in ITV's London's Burning, but  Dockhead Fire Station, now with a brand new building on its site near the river in Bermondsey, had a community open day today, to which St James's Church had been invited.

(The fire crew, together with engine, had previousy attended our community fun day in the Churchyard on the occasion of the Queen's 90th birthday).

It was good having a local church presence. We had some photos of church activities and some
leaflets to give away and it was a great opportunity to meet people, at this event, to which loads of people came.

In an interesting mix of old and new, the Fire Brigade were demonstrating some of their newest high tech equipment, as well as displaying a range of photos from bygone times.

I was particular intrigued by the photo of  the fire crew at Dockkead from about 1910, accompanied by their pets, one of which was a monkey. I can't quite see that being allowed today.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

All is safely gathered in

We had our united benefice harvest supper in St Anne's Hall tonight.

As is so often the case with bring-and-share meals, we had a veritable mountain of food, reminding us of the bounty of God's provision through the harvest.

Meanwhile, next door in the church, everything was ready for tomorrow's Harvest service, where we will once again be collecting gifts of food for the work of the Manna Centre, and this will be swelled by gifts from the children of Cherry Garden School when they come for their harvest service at St Anne's on October 10th.