Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Farewell to Delorine

It was a fond farewell to Delorine (pictured with St James churchwardens Marian and Pat) on Sunday.

Delorine, is training for the ordained ministry with St Augustine's College, and has been on placement with us at St James for eight weeks.

During that time she has thrown herself into a wide range of parish activities and has well and truly endeared herself to our congregation.

Yesterday she preached for the first time at St James, having previously led a Family Service. 

We shall all miss her, but wish her God's richest blessing in this, her third and final year, of ministerial training.

And finally, thank you Delorine, for that wonderful cake that you bought for us to share after church on Sunday.

Monday, 11 November 2019

Armistice in Bermondsey

Armistice Day began in Bermondsey with the St James School Armistice service in church, with all the children standing in respectful silence for the two minutes silence.

Next up was the service at the War Memorial in West Lane (left), attended by the Mayor, the Leader of the Council, councillors, prospective parliamentary candidates for Labour and the Liberal Democrats, the Pearly King and Queen, alongside representatives of the emergency services, tenants association, community organisations, political parties, London Southbank University, schools, local businesses and many members of the public, for the two minututes silence at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

We sang, we prayed, we remembered.

 Photos from Gary Glover and SE16 community Twitter feeds.

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Bermondsey remembers

Our Remembrance Day events in Bermondsey began  with an Act of Remembrance in brilliant sunshine at the war memorial in Old Jamaica Rd (left), with the Army Cadets, the Veterans, councillors from both political parties, former MP, Sir Simon Hughes, and members of the public.

Meanwhile, back in St James's we were getting ready for our main Remembrance Sunday service, at which, Delorine (left), our placement student from St Augustine's College was the guest preacher.

After the service we all moved to the Narthex where Pat laid a wreath at the Boer War Memorial and David laid a wreath at the memorial to the ten young men of the St James Bermondsey Bible Class who gave their lives in the First World War.

It is good to take this annual moment to pause, to remember, to give thanks, and to pray for peace in our troubled world.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Through all the changing scenes

Changing views of St James, first from 1905 (thanks Pat)

Then from BermondseyBeat, three pictures - first of a 1950s shot of the young Tommy Steele signing autographs outside his Frean St house, with St James in the background

Then of the church before it was restored and before recent redevelopments with prefabs in the foreground

And the scene today:

Tuesday, 5 November 2019


Congratulations to Torbjorn Holt, Rector of the Norwegian Church in Rotherhithe, on being invested with the Lancelot Andrewes Medal for Godly Service and Zeal of the Gospel by Bishop Christopher.

Torbjorn will shortly be leaving London after 14 years service to the Norwegian community in the UK and 14 years as a valued member of our Bermondsey Deanery Chapter.

We wish Torbjorn God's richest blessings for the future.

Monday, 4 November 2019

Bermondsey brew

Bermondsey Brew, St James community cafe which runs from 2.30pm to 4.30pm on Monday afternoon, continues to draw in a wide range of people, of all ages, from the community for delucious homemade cakes, tea, coffee, squash for the kids, and the chance to chat, make friends,  play a board game or cards, or if you are of a certain age, run around a bit and let off steam after a day at school.

A recent addition to the Bermondsey Brew menu is story time for the kids at 4pm, which gives the children, hot foot from school, and having filled up on some cakes and bread, the chance to settle down at the front of church and hear a Bible story told by Jacob.

Today the youngsters were hearing about 'Jonah and the very Big Fish.'

Do join us any Monday at St James from 2.30pm to 4.30pm for Bermondsey Brew. (PS whilst donations are welcome, everything is free at Bermondsey Brew).

Monday, 28 October 2019

Secret of a long life

We have many people of Nigerian heritage in Bermondsey and I love  this BBC video  about a doughty 104 year old who puts her long life down to native food and believing in Jesus. God bless her.

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Welcome Dag Magnus

To St Olav's Norwegian Church in London, Rotherhithe for the welcome service for Dag Magnus Hopstock Havgar, pictured with his wife, Cathrine.

Dag Magnus has been senior chaplain at the Norwegian Church in Torrevieja, south of Alicante in Spain. He has previously worked in the same role at the Norwegian Church in Miami in the US. He was a parish priest in two parishes in Norway before moving abroad. He is married to Cathrine Hopstock Havgar, also a priest. She will work 50 per cent of her time at the church in Rotherhithe. They have two grown up daughters who live in Norway. 

Welcome to Bermondsey Deanery to Dag Magnus and Cathrine. We are looking forward to getting to know you.

Saturday, 19 October 2019

St Augustine's at St James

St James hosted the annual wards ceremony today for St Augustine's College of Theology, at which Karowei, the Bishop of Woolwich, was the guest speaker.

Placement student Delorine is studying at St Augustine's as is Mandy who has just begun reader training.

St Augustine's, formerly the South East Institute for Theological Training, prepares candidates for ordination and reader ministry, from (mainly) the dioceses of Chichester, Rochester & Southwark.

It was good to host today's event at St James. Congraulations to everyone who received their awards today at the conclusion of their period of study.

Monday, 14 October 2019

St James Harvest Thanksgiving

St James Harvest Thanksgiving service this morning, included a thanksgiving for the birth of Caleb (left), the newest addition to Asha and David's family.

It was good to be reminded that we have so much to be thankful for - the harvest itself, of course - and then the wonderful gift of each other - and everything else God gives us.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Men's breakfast

Paul and I  first got to know Jon Westall when he came to be curate of St Peter's, St Helier in 1999.

Twenty years later, Jon is the vicar of St Dunstan's in East Acton  and was the guest speaker at yesterday's men's brekafast at St James.

Jon grew up in a brethren family in Cardiff. His baptism by full immersion at the age of 14 was a powerful experience of the love of God for him personally.

A period teaching in Zimbabwe, was followed by a period teaching Physics in the UK, during which times the call to the ordained ministry became clear. Theological college followed and then our paths crossed for the first time when Jon came to be curate of St Peter's, the church of which I was then the vicar.

Speaking of some of the harder things that happen in life, Jon said that, although we often cannot fully explain them, we can be absolutely certain of the love of God on the basis of what God has already done for us and given us in the death and resurrection of his son.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

I was a stranger

I am grateful to a correspondent for putting me on to this 1957 documentary about the Salvation Army's work in Bermondsey, a wonderful insight into old Bermondsey and Christian mission:

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Re-imagining evangelism

To All Souls Church, Lagham Place (left), for the annual Evangelism Conference.

'Evangelism re-imagined' was the theme of this year's conference with US speaker, Dr Randy Newman.

Here's a bit about him from the website of the college where he teaches: 'Randy Newman is a teacher and writer with Connection Points, a ministry that seeks to engage people’s hearts the way Jesus did... He is the author of Questioning Evangelism, Corner Conversations, and Bringing the Gospel Home, three books that seek to help Christians articulate their faith in winsome ways.'

A really good conference with lots of practical input and ideas on the task of sharing the good news. 

School Harvest Thanksgiving

St James's School came to the church yesterday for their Harvest Thanksgiving Service, bringing gifts for the Manna Centre at London Bridge in its work with homeless people.

We sang a great selection of harvest songs (We plough the fields and scatter; Autumn days; I love the sun and I've seen the golden sunshine) and I spoke from Matthew 14 about the day when Jesus walked on the water and showed that he was in charge of everything.

In introduced the children to one of the Lord's nost remarkable creatures - the Jesus Christ Lizard, so called because it can walk (or at least, run) on water:

The lizard achieves its feat by being very light, running very fast, and by having curiously shaped feet.

When Jesus walked on the water - and when at Jesus's command, Peter did so to - God-in-the-flesh was demonstrating his Lordship and mastery over everything he had created.

He created all things and all things operate at his command. He is the Lord of the harvest and the Lord of everything.

Monday, 30 September 2019

Schools week 2019

School Week 2019, actually taking place over two weeks in St James, is currently in full swing.

Key Stage 2 children from Riverside and St James's schools are coming a class at a time to St James's Church for our fourth annual schools week.

This year's theme is the Parable of the Lost Son from Luke 15.

The children move around to three stations.

At each station they hear the story told by one of the three characters in the story: the father, the older son, and the younger son, so that, by the end of the session, they have heard the story three times, but told each time from the angle of one particular character.

Having heard the story the children fill in speech bubbles in the book we have produced for the week, containing drawings of the principal scenes of the story (and the full text of the Bible story from Luke 15). Then they read out what they have written to the whole group.

We have had some wonderful contributions from the children.

Then we gather together to hear why Jesus told the story and who the three characters represent:

'In the story Jesus told, the father is like God who welcomes us and forgives us when we come back to him

In the story Jesus told, the younger son is like anyone who knows they have done something wrong and comes to God for forgiveness.

In the story Jesus told, the older son is like the Pharisees who grumbled about Jesus welcoming outcasts and even eating with them.'

Finally, each character has a final word.

The younger son says he really messed up and he couldn't believe it that his dad forgave him and welcomed him back,.

The older son says 'I am still angry. And I DON'T believe you should get a second chance.'

The father says to both his sons 'I have always loved you and I always will.' Then he turns to the older son and says 'If you mess up like he did' (pointing to the younger son) ' I would do the same for you that I did for him.'

It's been a wonderful week sharing this most powerful parable about our loving God and Father.

The younger son, the older son, and the father

Sunday, 29 September 2019

St Anne's celebrates

From the October issue of The Bridge, newspaper of the Diocese of Southwark:

You can read the full article here on page 3 of the online version of the newspaper

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Light in the world

To Westminister Central Hall for the Ligonier's  Ministries Conference, the first time this Bible teaching ministry from the US has had a conference in Lomdon.

Here's they unpack the theme of today's inspiring conference in Westminister: 'Jesus Christ has told us that He is the light of the world, and if we follow Him, we will not walk in darkness. Yet He has also told us that Christians are the light of the world. This is because He has redeemed us and caused His light to shine in our hearts, so that we might shine forth in the darkness ourselves. In order to grow in Christ and become more effective servants of Him, we must know the essential truths about Christ and what it means to live the Christian life. This conference will present core truths of the Christian faith in order to equip believers to shine as lights in this world.'

You can watch videos of today's conference addresses here

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Well done, Graham

Well done to St Anne's churchwarden, Graham, who has successfully completed a 150 sponsored cycle ride for church funds.

In honour of St Anne's 150th Anniversary, Graham cycled the 150 miles from Winchester to Canterbury, a magnificent achievement.

It's not to late to give - see Graham's crowbfunding website here

Saturday, 21 September 2019


Shine Night Walk for Cancer Research passing through Bermondsey tonight.

Remembering Mary

A large congregation gathered in St James yesterday to say to farewell and give thanks for the life of Mary Ellery.

Mary served for many years as a councillor for a ward in Peckham, culminating in her election as Mayor of Southwark in 1992.

She gave herself heart and soul to serving the needs of her constituents and working for the local community, whilst being involved in her local church where she served as churchwarden for many years.

Yesterday's congregation, in addition to her large extended family, included several former mayors of the borough, Sir Simon Hughes, and Harriet Harman, MP for Peckham and Camberwell, who gave one of the tributes. It was a life well lived with much to be thankful for.