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:



Sunday, 1 November 2020

Bermondsey in bloom

 Nearly 100 years ago Ada Salter began her Bermondsey Beautification campaign and thousands of bulbs and trees were planted all over the area. 
This weekend, in celebration of the centenary, 10,000 tulip bulbs have been planted across Bermondsey - including after church today in St James's Churchyard (above) by members of the congregation - all part of the Greener Bermondsey #Ada100 project.
Shown below are some scenes of the churchyard in full bloom, thanks to Ada.

 The Observer wrote in 1931 “Outside the Royal Parks it would be difficult to find anywhere such masses of colour… when the tulips and daffodils are over they will be followed by armies of dahlias, geraniums and antirrhinums.” 

The Evening Standard wrote that Bermondsey was “the most optimistic place in London. Because of the flowers…”. It became a place where window boxes and front gardens were filled with daisies and chrysanthemums, and factory girls wore flowers pinned to their coats. ‘Flowers in Bermondsey are not a decoration but a symbol.”


Roll on the Spring when Bermondsey will once again be in bloom.

 Ada Salter

Today's service