Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Auditory verbal

To the offices of Auditory Verbal in Jamaica Rd, just along from St James.

Auditory Verbal is a charity that helps babies and young children with permanent hearing loss to listen and talk, without the need for lip reading or sign language.'

I was there because St James's is hosting a carol concert for Auditory Verbal on the evening of 6th December.

As well as talking about the plans for that event at Christmas, it was good to hear a bit more about the work of the charity and the enormous difference their work of early intervention can make in the lives of young children with hearing loss.

You can see some of the fruits of their work on these videos

It's really good to have this excellent charity now based in Bermondsey and we are looking forward to hosting staff, parents, children, and supporters for their carol concert this December in St James

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Arthur's great idea

In the 1920s children loved sliding down the granite slope by the steps leading up to St James's portico as much as they do today.

But it gave Arthur Carr of Peek Freans Biscuit factory an idea - a full blown slide for the kids - and that was the beginning of the famous joy slide (which we hope one day to replicate).

The Churchyard already had a children's playground:

As it does today

but Arthur considered that what it really needed was a SLIDE:

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

A prayer while waiting for exam results

I like the prayer being tweeted by the Church of England for anxious students at exam time.

It's based on Romans 8.38-39:

 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Jesus at the Olympics

South African athlete Wayde van Niekerk having won the 400m Olympic gold medal tweeted (left), giving Jesus the glory.

And he told the BBC about his faith, too. Watch the video here 


Monday, 15 August 2016

Russian resurrection

Last week your blogger was on his hols in the beautiful Russian city of St Petersburg.

The now defunct Communist regime had no use for churches and many of them, like the one pictured, were converted to other uses.

We stumbled upon this church by chance but it had a fascinating story to tell.

The Soviets turned it into a swimming pool, complete with a diving board in the chancel (above), and worship and the ministry of the word halted - for a while anyway.

Then everything changed in Russia, and St Petersburg's German Lutheran Church underwent a dramatic physical and spiritual resurrection.

A picture of Christ crucified  replaced the diving board. The church was beautifully restored and is once again open for worship.

Just up the same road - in Nevsky Prospect, 'St Petersburg High Street' - the Russian Orthodox Cathedral, a museum under Communism, was thronged with worshippers, many of them young people... and a family had gathered for the baptism of its newest member.

The message was clear. In St Petersburg the church that very nearly died is alive and well.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Old Bermondsey

The City of London's new picture archive for the whole of London has more than 400 shots of Bermondsey.

You can see them here

Included is this wonderful picture of the construction of Bermondsey's most famous landmark, Tower Bridge, recently Tweeted by Southwark News:

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Uncontrolled delight

Generations of Bermondsey children have fond memories of the 'joy slide' (left) that graced the churchyard at St James's for over 50 years from 1921.

Hardly, a funeral visit goes by without someone recalling the slide, placed there by Arthur Carr (above) from the Bermondsey biscuit factory of Peek Freans.

A recent visitor to the churchyard was a lady who gave out the mats which the children glided down the slide on.

In 1921 the project caught the imagination of the national press who reported it like this:

'For today in the shadow of St. James's Church, nay, in the very consecrated ground of the churchyard itself, you will find the nucleus of areal live fun-city, a wonderful joy-slide, with the youngsters of Jamaica Road shooting down on it on their doormats at well over the speed limit, and shrieking and yelling with uncontrolled delight. '

'As fast as they could keep the pot a boiling the youngsters climbed the stairs, snatched their mats, and went over the top, yelling at the tops of their voices. Hundreds and hundreds of them shot the rapids and went back for more, and before the afternoon was over the maple slide shone like a mirror and felt hot to the touch. Mr Carr's gift is certainly the brightest thing in all Bermondsey and ought to do the local trousers trade a power of good'

Now the Friends of St James's Churchyard are actively working on a project to bring a children's slide back to the churchyard.

It probably can't be just like the 1921 slide - for one thing council funds would no longer run to a full time attendant - but it could be a new slide, a joy slide for the twenty-first century, for the entertainment and excitement of today's children.

At present its just a dream, but the dream could become a reality, so watch this space for a return to 'uncontrolled delight' among the youngsters of Jamaica Rd.

The original joy slide in operation

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Bermondsey's best

The Londonist website has been featuring some photos of 'The Best of Bermondsey'  You can view them here but here are a couple of my favourites:

The view from Bermondsey Beach  

Shopping down the Blue