Thursday, 31 December 2020

The Angels

'the angel said to them, “Don't be afraid! I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all the people.  

This very day in David's town your Saviour was born—Christ the Lord' 


Bermondsey Daily Message: The Angels' Christmas


A favourite painting. Attributed to Leonardo. There is so much here: the tender gaze of the mother; the stunning depiction of the incarnation, the Son born of woman, fed and nurtured by a woman; the Goldfinch clutched by the baby, a symbol of the Passion, but what I like best is the way he looks out with curiosity at the world he has come to save, and how his gaze captures ours.

Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Mary, the mother of Jesus

“I am the Lord's servant,” said Mary; “may it happen to me as you have said."

 Bermondsey Daily Message: Mary's Christmas

Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Joseph and the baby Jesus


'an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 

“Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.   

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

 Bermondsey Daily Message: Joseph's Christmas

Saturday, 26 December 2020

The spirit of Christmas


'Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. 

Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. 

His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.

..... it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! 

And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!'

 Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol


Friday, 25 December 2020

The Queen's inner light

 'The teachings of Christ have served as my inner light' says the Queen in this year's Christmas broadcast to the commonwealth, which ends with the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS choir singing 'Joy to the World.'

Thursday, 24 December 2020

'Do not be afraid'

A sermon for Christmas Eve

Never have we needed to hear the message of the angels more.

When the angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone over them, the shepherds were terribly afraid, but the angel said to them: Don't be afraid! I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all the people.

They were afraid at the sheer power and awe-inspiring majesty of the sight before their eyes. It was unexpected, out of the blue, and very, very frightening.

For quite different reasons all of us have experienced fear this year as the Coronavirus has stalked the land. Suddenly, unexpectedly, our lives and the whole world has been turned upside down

There has been fear and anxiety - for all of us. About our health. About our loved ones. About our jobs. About our plans. About our future. About where this is going and when it is going to end.

Could the message of the angels have anything to say to us as we come to the end of 2020?

Let’s hear it it again: Don't be afraid! I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all the people. 

‘Do not be afraid.’ It has been calculated that the phrase ‘do not be afraid’ occurs 366 times in the Bible. That’s enough for every day of the year, including leap years.

This constant message of reassurance is repeated over and over again because God is in control, God is in charge, and he is a God of love. As the old hymn says ‘his love is as great as his power.’ 

The angel’s message to the shepherds that they should not be afraid was for a particular reason and it is for the same reason that we should not be afraid. What is it?

The angel said:  This very day in David's town your Saviour was born—Christ the Lord!

A Saviour has been born to us. A rescuer. God has come to us in person. He has come to us to rescue us.

To save us from our sins. To bring us back to himself. To adopt us into his family. To fill us with his Holy Spirit. To guide us through this life by his loving hand until we reach our heavenly home with him to reign for him forever.

 Of course the fears that Covid has brought to the world remain, but in the midst of these fears comes the great reassurance of God’s love and power.

He has acted, He had done something. He has come in person. We have a saviour who has been born to us and he is Christ the Lord.

Let’s rejoice in that fact. Let us welcome him into our lives and left us take deep into our hearts the message of the angel saying to us this Christmastime ‘Do not be afraid.’

May God bless us, everyone.


Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Christmas online

 Join us on Facebook or our YouTube channel

Bermondsey Children's Christingle

A Christingle is a great way to think about the true meaning of Christmas. It proclaims Jesus as the saviour of the world and the light of the world. Join Gary, Paul, Jacob and some of the church children for our online Christingle service. 'The light shines in the darkness.'

Monday, 21 December 2020

Carol celebration


A covid-safe, very different, but still wonderful celebration of carols and readings at St James yesterday. Special thanks to all our singers and musicians.


Bermondsey Daily Message 197

Friday, 18 December 2020

Christmas at St James's School

Today, by the wonders of Microsoft Teams, we had an end of term school Christmas with all the children joining in from their classrooms. It was not quite the same as our normal end of term services in church but it was good to be together to hear the Christmas story and sing some favourite carols.

Meanwhile the children have been busy with the their Christmas productions. Here are the three from key stage 2: 




Bermondsey Daily Message 196

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Outdoor carolling

 The rain stopped just in time for our  outdoor carol service tonight in St James's Churchyard.

Under Covid rules outrdoor carol singing is allowed,  so for some of us,  this was the first time we had sung in a public  act of worship since March. It was good to be able to do so as we sang favourite carols and listened to Luke's narrative of the nativity.

'O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord.'

Bermondsey Daily Message 195

Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Joyslide in Southwark News

 Southwark News have published this article about the Joyslide currently under construction in St James's Churchyard: 

How to make a Christingle

 Our Online Christingle Service will go live on 22nd December.

Here's our video telling you how you can make your own Christingle in preparation for the online event.

Monday, 14 December 2020

Mary's Christmas

Today we begin a new series of messages for Christmas. Each messages ends with a ‘Carol of the Day.’ Today’s message is from Penny: Mary’s Christmas 

Sunday, 13 December 2020

Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Outdoor carols

 Singing indoors by congregations is not allowed indors under the Covid regs but the good news is that we can sing outdoors, providing we socially distance, so come to the Churchyard on Wednesday 16th December to sing some favourite carols.

Church assembly for St James's School

Monday, 7 December 2020

Getting ready for Christmas

 Our online Bermondsey Community Carol Services goes live on Saturday. Last night we were filming our own singers and musicians singing a wonderful contermporary Christmas song for inclusion in the service. 

Special words from Sir Simon

 Wonderful words of hope from Sir Simon Hughes at the conclusion of the Albin's memorial service

Bermondsey Daily Message 190

Sunday, 6 December 2020

Saturday, 5 December 2020

Bringing back the joy - to the Churchyard

 Work has started on the new Joyslide for St James's Churchyard (above). The new slide will open in 2021, exactly one hundred years after the first slide was officially opened at a ceremony which included Arthur Carr and Ada Salter:

The original slide was the brainchild of Arthur Carr of Peak Freans who saw children sliding on the granite slope by the side of the church steps on his way to work:

The new slide is the brainchild of architect, Fergus Carr, Arthur's great great grandson

Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to bring this project to fruition.

Bermondsey Daily Message 189

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Albins Memorial Service

Every year Albins memorial service is a memorable event, bringing comfort to many bereaved families. Usually in the open air, this year becuse of Covid it has moved online:

Bermondsey Daily Message 187

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Monday, 30 November 2020

Light shining in the darkness

A dark building on a dark night can be a gloomy sight, so this year which has included so many trials and troubles for so many, we have decided to let the lights shine - literally.

We're using low energy bulbs but we are leaving the church lights on overnight throughout Advent as a witness to the Light that shines in the darkness: Jesus Christ, the light of the world.



Bermondsey Daily Message 186

Friday, 27 November 2020

London's first rail terminus

Forget Kings Cross, St Pancras, or Waterloo, Bermondsey was there before all of them. Spa Station, just across the road from St James Church, was the first London terminus, opening in 1836, just seven years after the church was consecrated, and just eleven years after George Stephenson's Locomotion 1 became the first steam locomotive to carry passengers on a public line.

St James itself features on the commemorative plaques (above) that have been installed along the route of the railway.

Here is the booking office of Spa Station:

 And here is a contemporary view of the railway with the church in the background (the inspiration, I believe, for the commemorative plaques):

Bermondsey Daily Message 185

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

The forgotten people

It is extraordinary how often working class people are ignored, overlooked or written out of the story altogether. 

A prime example was at the Church of England General Synod today.

A new vision document for the national church of a more diverse church made no mention of working class people at all - a huge group in the nation, heavilly underrepresented in the church.
We were promised diversity of 'age, colour and ethnicity' but there was no mention of class. Unless we also strive for diversity of class the CofE will never remotely be anything like a church of the whole nation.
The neglect of working class people who literally never got a mention today is a scandal and it is also a gospel issue because is about the spiritual welfare of millions of souls.
By coincidence, tonight I  finished this brilliant book by Dagenham born firefighter and trade unionist, Paul Embery. Paul's message is addressed in the first instance to the political Left but so much of what he says is a message, too, for the church.  

No one at Synod today said they despised the working class, they just didn't mention them at all, which is almost worse.

But, if we believe the Gospel is God's news for all people, then everyone needs the chance to hear it and no one must be forgotten.

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Getting ready for carols


We've been out this week filming for our online Community Carol Service. Pictured above is Bermondsey MP, Neil Coyle, reading our first reading from Isaiah, and below is Karen Willis, Headteacher of St James's School reading from Luke's Gospel.

Also featured on the video are Simon Dyer of FA Albins, Councillor Eliza Mann, and Russell Dryden of the Blue. The video can be seen on our YouTube channel from 12th December.

Bermondsey Daily Message 182

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Bermondsey Daily Message for Armistice Day


Our Bermondsey Daily Message for Armistice Day comes from the Young Men's Bible Class memorial inside St James's Church:

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

School Assembly for Armistice Day

 Normally speaking the children of St James's School would come to the church for Armistice Day. We can't do that this year, but each class will be able to join in tomorrow with our video church assembly for Armistice:

Sunday, 8 November 2020

Lest we forget

 Different from usual, but still the opportunity to remember and give thanks: