Sunday, 29 December 2019

Congrats Barbara and Lawrence

Congratulations to Barbara and Laurence who celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary at St James today, surrounded by their children, grandchildren, family friends and St James church family.

The happy couple met and married in their native Sri Lanka, before moving to the UK.

Here they are, pictured on their wedding day, New Year's Eve, 1969:

And here is the wonderful cake prepared by their family which was shared by the congregation after the service:

Thanking God for 50 years in St James today

Monday, 23 December 2019

Carols by candlelight

They poured in for Carols by Candlelight at St James last night.

The Sunday School children performed their nativity tableau (left); the music group led us beautifully; Jacob preached and, by general consensus, it was one of our best carol services ever.

Well done to everyone who took part.

Next up: Christmas Eve: Christingle at 5pm; Midnight Communion at 11.15pm.

Sunday, 22 December 2019

Friday, 20 December 2019

Fountain restored

Thanks to funding from Southwark Council and the Heritage of London Trust, the drinking fountain in St James's Churchyard has been restored and reconnected to the water mains.

Older readers will remember the days when you could drink from a metal cup attached to the fountain. Then the fountain was disconnected from the mains and for decades has been a purely ornamental feature of the churchyard.

Now, thanks to a desire to cut down on the number of disposable plastic water bottles, drinking fountains are once more being installed in public places, and the Victorian fountains in St James's Churchyard and Southwark Park are the beneficiaries of this movement. 

The St James fountain, which dates from 1886, is a memorial to Nathaniel Montefiore by his widow, Emma, who also paid for the churchyard to be laid out as a public park.

It says of Nathaniel that 'he sought to do the maximum of good with the minimum of notoriety.'

Now the drinking fountain given in his memory is once again in full operation, providing refreshment for thirsty passersby 133 years after it was first installed.

And it is helping the environment in the process.

Thursday, 19 December 2019

Pray for Neil

Today in the House of Commons chamber, our newly elected Member of Parliament, Neil Coyle, swore the oath of allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen.

You can watch Neil taking his oath here

As we pray for Neil and all MPs it is good to recall the prayer that is used everyday in the House of Commons at the commencment of parliamentary business:

"Lord, the God of righteousness and truth, grant to our Queen and her government, to Members of Parliament and all in positions of responsibility, the guidance of your Spirit. May they never lead the nation wrongly through love of power, desire to please, or unworthy ideals but laying aside all private interests and prejudices keep in mind their responsibility to seek to improve the condition of all mankind; so may your kingdom come and your name be hallowed. Amen."

End of term

End of term at St James's School and the whole school came to church this morning for our final Christmas act of worship.

Jacob led the service, Penny gave the talk, the children read the lessons, the children from the Junior Faith Committee led the prayers they had composed for the occasion, and we sang some favourite carols.

It's been a good term and now everyone gets a well-deserved rest. See you all next term and a very Happy Christmas to everyone.

Above: a couple more videos from yesterday's Key Stage 2 carol service. 


Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Joy to the world

St James's Church was packed this afternoon with Key Stage 2 children from St James's School and literally hundreds of parents, grandparenmts, and family friends, for Carols by Candlelight, with contributions from each class and the school choir, the amazing band of forty violinists from year 3, seasonal readings from the Bible telling the Christmas story, and an amazing finale which involved the whole song singing 'O Holy Night' followed by a rumbustuous, joy-filled rendition of Joy to the World which really raised the rafters, and sent us all home rejoicing.

Year 3 violinists - brilliant
Huge congratulations to all the children and all the teachers who made this great celebration of Christmas joy possible on the last but one day of term.

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Christmas greetings

Over 5,000 Christmas cards with full details of the Christmas services have gone out around our two parishes over the past couple of weeks.

Here is the St James card:

And here is St Anne's:

School Nativity

Years 1 and 2 from St James's School performed their Nativity in church this afternoon. The church was filled with angels, shepherds, wise men and stars in profusion, and a good crowds of parents and family came to watch.

It was a really good start to our school Christmas celebrations which continue with the Key Stage 2 service of Carols by Candlelight in church tomorrow afternoon.

Monday, 16 December 2019

St James's tonight

The Christmas tree is up (thanks Pat and Lesley) and looking respendent; nearby the cross, the Bible, the table and the crib proclaim Christ the Saviour of the world.

St Anne's Christingle

There was a record turnout for St Anne's Carols with Christingle last night.

The service included a nativity tableau performed by the children and young people, lots of well known carols, a talk by Jacob and, of course, the Christingles with that message of Christ the light of the world, giving his life to save us.

It was a great start to our Christmas celebrations.

Saturday, 14 December 2019

Festive rejoicing

The last of our open air carol services took place on the steps of St James on Wednesday with our best ever attendance from the congregation, plus many people from the community stopping by to watch the scene, joining in with the carols, capturing the scene on their phones, and loudly applauding our festive singers after each carol.

Our Twitter invitation for the event was viewed over 2,000 times.

After that it was our Wednesday Night Church Christmas, a full slap up three course meal, interspersed with more carols and a brief Christmas word.

It was a great night.

Wednesday Night Church now takes a break for Christmas and starts again on 15th January.

Thanks to Abiola and Nate for photos from Facebook

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Vote, vote, vote

From the Sunday Times by Robert Harris, this: "Late one night in 1917, at the height of the First World War, Winston Churchill beckoned to a fellow Liberal MP to join him for a final look inside the deserted Commons chamber. Everyone else had gone home. “All was darkness,” wrote the MP in his diary. “We could dimly see the table, but walls and roof were invisible. ‘Look at it,’ he said. ‘This little place is what makes the difference between us and Germany. It is in virtue of this that we shall muddle through to success & for lack of this Germany’s brilliant efficiency leads her to final disaster. This little room is the shrine of the world’s liberties.’”

We  choose our own representatives, our Members of Parliament, and then, in that little room in Westminster, they get to decide the way forward for the nation.

Our vote is one of our most precious possessions, so, whatever we do, tomorrow LET'S VOTE

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

O come all ye faithful... to Bermondsey Tube

To Bermondsey Tube station last night for our annual carol sing and the chance to give out leaflets advertising the Christmas services to the hundreds of people exiting the tube station.

Afterwards we went to Keetons sheltered housing units to share some Christmas cheer with the residents, singing carols and enjoying some welcome refreshments. A great evening.

NEXT UP: Carol singing outside St James on Wednesday at 6pm.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Christmas at Salmon

The annual old people's Christmas party put on at the Salmon Youth Centre by past and present members of Salmon took place this afternoon.

A sumptuous tea, followed by entertainment, the Bermondsey Waiters Song, a visit by Father Christmas with presents for everyone, Christmas carols and a Christmas message, this year from Penny, made up a wonderful afternoon of Christmas cheer for the senior members of our community.

On placement

Welcome back to Bermondsey to Fernando Carrillo.

We first met Fernando when he was working for the London City Mission in Bermondsey.

Now he is training for the ordained ministry at St Mellitus College in London, and he is with us here in Bermondsey for a few weeks on placement.

One of his tasks on placement is to assist with Bible Zone, our after school club, at St James's School. Here is Fernando pictured at Alexis Street, getting ready for Bible Zone.

Welcome back, Fernando, we hope you have a great time on placement at St James & St Anne's.

Friday, 6 December 2019

Beginning to feel like Christmas..

We're defintely in Christmas mode here in Bermondsey with St James's Churchyard festooned with Christmas publicity banners, and 5,000 Christmas cards about to go out around the two parishes.

And here are the full details of Christmas services at St James's:

And here are the ones for St Anne's:

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Remembering in Rotherhithe

A great Bermondsey tradition took place last night: the annual Albins Memorial Garden Service, this year in the presence of HRH Princess Anne  - with us for this 20th anniversary service.

Large crowds flocked to the garden for the familiar mixture of prayers, readings, musical items, the release of doves, and community carol singing.

Once more bereaved families brought forward stars for the Christmas tree in commemoration of loved ones and prayers were led by the Bishop of Southwark and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Southwark, concluding with Torbjorn Holt from the Norwegian Church giving the blessing in his native tongue for the last time, prior to his move back to Norway.

Refreshments provided by typical Albins generosity followed after a finale which included a wonderful firework display lighting up the sky over Bermondsey and Rotherhithe.

A very memorable event that brings great comfort to families every year.

Monday, 2 December 2019

St Augustine's on mission

Students (left) from St Augustine's College of Theology came to St James last week for their first year  mission project.

There was mulled wine, mince pies, the chance to meet a Roman soldier, and the opportunity to write out prayer requests and hang them on the Christmas tree.

Undaunted by the wind and rain, the gallant band made lots of contacts with passers-by, children from the school, and people attending Bermondsey Brew.

They put their heart and soul into the project, which they planned from scratched, and executed in a brilliant piece of team work. Thank you St Augustine's for coming to share with us in Bermondsey.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Light in the darkness at Providence House

To Providence House, the youth and community Christian mission serving the Winstanley Estate in Battersea, close to Clapham Junction station, for the last 50 years.

I had been invited to speak at their Sunday First event, all age service held on the first Sunday of the month followed by a community tea.

I first came to Providence House when I was curate when I was invited a couple of times to speak to the women's bible study group about marriage, cohabitation and the family. It was probably one of the most memorable experiences of my curacy. I realised then what a special place Providence House was.

It was good to be back at this very special community centre,with a Christian heart, alongside Robert and Susan who have worked here with such love and commitment for so long, this time speaking as part of their 'Advent Adventure, ' on John 1v5: 'The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.'

Saturday, 30 November 2019

O come all ye the Blue

The first of our three open air carol events took place today at the Blue.

The sun was shining, we had a great crowd of singers, and lots of people stopped to pick up a leaflet or to capture the scene on their phones.

Next up: Carol singing at Bermondsey Tube Station on Monday 11th December and outside St James on Wednesday 12th December. Both events start at 6pm.