Sunday, 17 March 2019

Restoration blessings

Councillor Catherine Rose, the Mayor of Southwark, was with us today at St James, along with Archdeacon of Southwark,  Jane Steen and our very own Bishop-in-Bermondsey, Graham Kings for our Service of Thanksgiving for the Restoration of St James's Church building.

It was the culmination of a £600,000 project which has involved the church roof being renewed, the stonework on the belltower, the clock, the dragon weathervane, and the scriptural panels being restored.

Archdeacon Jane Steen preaching
The Church is the people, not the building. The Church building is the house of the people of God. It is where they meet to pray, to worship and to hear the word of God. We are fortunate in Bermondsey to have this beautiful house for the people of God, and we are thankful that we have been able to restore it and secure it future generations.

Having heard Jane's sermon on the Parable of the Sower with its focus on the 'seed of the word' and its reference to the texts of the Scriptural Panels, we all moved out of the church after the last hymn ('To God be the glory, great things he hath done') into the churchyard, first for the whole congregation to proclaim the message of the panels as they called out in unison: 'Jesus said I am the way, the truth, and the life' and 'Jesus said come to me and I will give you rest.' Then the Archdeacon prayed this  prayer of dedication:

Almighty God, whose word is a  lamp to our feet and  a light to our paths, grant by the power of your Holy Spirit, that these scriptural panels may forever proclaim to the people of Bermondsey that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and that he offers rest to all who come to him by faith, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Dedicating the Scriptural panels
In her sermon she had made the point that the two Scriptural Panels spoke directly to our world. To those who were looking for direction and guidance in their lives, the first panel proclaimed: 'Jesus said 'I am the way, the truth and the life.' To those who were harrassed and overburdened, the second panel proclaimed 'Jesus said 'Come to me and I will give you rest.'

She also suggested members of the congregation might commit the two texts to memory and keep them as memory texts, each morning at the beginning of the day saying 'Jesus said 'I am the way the truth and the life' and at the end of the day saying 'Jesus said 'Come to me and I will give you rest.'

Graham gets ready to give the blessing
At the end of the service with the sun now shining and with the congregation gathered in the churchyard, Bishop Graham pronounced the blessing, the bells start to ring, and so concluded a truly memorable service.

A big thank you to all who have worked so hard to bring this restoration project to completion, a big thank you to our funders, and to God be the glory! 

May the message of God's love be proclaimed loud and clear from this building for many years to come.

Finally, here is to day's Powerpoint presentation of the Restoration Project:

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