Do you know someone looking for a gap year working with a church?
We could offer a disciple-making training course (Formation School) and experience in a variety of ministries (to suit the applicant).
We’re a church which is active in our local community (which is a mix of middle-class and housing estate).
Our staff team of 7 have been joined by a gap-year colleague for the last few years, and we’d love another one!
We would offer accommodation with a host and some pocket money.
Do get in contact with Theresa for more information.
Helen Bathard, PCC member, writes ...
A rather belated update due to me sunning myself in Majorca…
In our meeting on 12 July, we heard a further three testimonies from PCC members. It’s great hearing the stories of how people came to faith, and what’s really encouraging is the breadth and range of peoples experiences and upbringings, and the openness in which people have shared. We’d really encourage you to do this within your cell groups if you haven’t already done so, it really helps to deepen your relationships.
The majority of the meeting was taken up with everyone’s favourite subject…..finances. What stood out for me, is that giving is not just about money, and it’s not just about the financial needs of the church, it’s as much about the generosity of people’s time. And it’s also very important to know that financial giving really enables all the wonderful things that happen at the church. If you were at the annual church celebration, you will have seen the video clip of all the great things that the church has done in the last year, both in and out of church. None of that would have been possible without people’s generosity of time and money. So thank you all! If you’ve been inspired and there’s anything you’d like to get involved with, chat to Dan or any member of the PCC.
We had a visit from Gordon Randall from Winchester Diocese, and he talked us through ‘Giving for Life’, and the top 8 things that churches should focus on regarding finances. We did an interesting survey on this, and there will be some things we as a PCC will take into consideration and share with you at a later date.
We spent a bit of time looking further into the purpose statement, and we drilled it down to four, although Nigel then threw in a later entry(“serve society, build community, share Jesus”). If any of you have any great ideas for a purposes statement, please do feel free to send them in!
Final update on the buildings work….the Bat survey has now started, and there is no news as yet on the archaeological dig.
Bye for now!
Think what happens over a simple meal table - in your kitchen or in a cafe: the meal table is where you share stories, laugh at jokes, have debates, poke fun at each other, develop arguments, tell uncomfortable truths, ask forgiveness, discuss important decisions, shed tears, celebrate birthdays. Meals aren’t just about food. They’re about relationships.
Jesus ate loads of meals. So many that his opponents labelled him a glutton and a drunkard! But he ate so many meals with people because he wanted to get to know people, and he wanted people to get to know him.
Meals with Jesus almost always included a surprise - like who was on the guest list ("tax collectors and sinners"), how to feed 5000+ people with one packed lunch, what the bread and wine represented. Over the summer, we're looking at various 'meals with Jesus' from Luke's gospel.
But I don't just want us to sit and learn about Jesus. I want us to put it into practise.
Would you eat like Jesus?
I don’t mean eating reclining on your side as they often did in those days.
I mean - would you eat meals with other people? One person wryly observed that Jesus’ mission strategy was to eat and drink with others.
As I look around our church at the groups which work well - the common feature is often that they share food together. The walking groups inevitably stop for a pint, or for tea and cake. The 18-30s group often share meals together. Allsorts and Beacon host regular meals. Superstars starts with breakfast. The men’s cell goes for a curry together. Meals bond us, they deepen friendships - they leave us with more rounded stomachs - and more rounded characters for having spent time with others.
Over the summer, lots of our regular church activities and groups take a break. But none of us are going to stop eating over the summer. So let’s eat with each other, and invite others along, too.
It doesn’t need to be a posh meal - it can be beans on toast.
Your home doesn’t need to be spotless.
Your kids don’t need to be perfect – ours aren’t!
You just need to spend time with people, like Jesus did! One writer says this, “If every Christian household regularly invited a stranger or a poor person into their home for a meal once a week, we would literally change the world by eating!”
So ... eat like Jesus. Invite others around; accept invitations. Invite people you wouldn’t normally think of inviting. Change the world – by eating.
A group from St James’ by the Park ran a ‘prayer for the world’ stall at FOSJP’s international family day a few days ago. Esther Clift writes …
I wonder how you define your mission community? Mine is complex and messy – a bit like my life, really. I have lots of communities - work, home, running, and church to name but a few, and they each hold more than a hundred people!!
I’m not part of a formal Missional Community at St James’ by the Park, but I try to share the good news about Jesus’ love and salvation with anyone I come into contact with.
St James by the Park was invited to have a presence at the Bringing Communities Together event at the International Family Day, in the Park.
We had a space to pray for the world, with a large map, and stickies to note where and what to pray for. What a great opportunity to meet with folk on neutral space, and talk about what matters to them, and what matters to us too!
I was struck by the amazing privilege it is to pray and listen to people. One old friend started telling me about their recent marriage break up, and I was able to pray with another of their concerns for the drug problem among youngsters in Shirley. Others prayed of their profound shock at seeing the Grenfell Towers and all the devastation it has brought to that community.
We had people from other churches with specific hearts for ministries around the world, from the Community Church, from The Shirley Warren Action Church and some Jehovah’s Witnesses concerned for the loss of religious freedom in Russia. It was lovely to have students from St James’ by the Park, back for the summer, stopping and praying with others.
We prayed for Morocco, for Pakistan, for children in Kenya, as well as Uganda and Myanmar. We prayed for Syria, again and again, and people wanted us to pray for peace in the whole world.
So what were we really doing?
And what is God doing?
We say we’re wanting to turn our church community inside out; to be where people are at – not simply expecting people to come to us. This was one small way of doing that – meeting people from all over Shirley, some of whom would never set foot in a church building. We gave them space to connect with their spiritual side.
The Park has been a huge part of our mission over the last 10 years. The last event like this was pretty much run by the team from St James’ by the Park who secured the lottery grant, designed and oversaw the developments and the building.
But this is our community! These are people I have stood at the school gates with, worked along side, dug the park flowerbeds with, and now started running with. These are people we share life with, the highs and the lows. This is were the nitty gritty of living out ‘community’ really takes place
I’m reminded of the Hillsong chorus ‘touching heaven changing earth’, because that’s exactly what we do when we pray - asking God’s Kingdom to come here on earth, and bring healing and wholeness.
And what a privilege to be touching heaven with people we love, and in our own neighbourhood.
James Lawrence writes ...
The summer season is upon us. For some that will mean a holiday. Or will it? Will it actually mean carrying with us all the burdens of our leadership to wherever we go for a break? Will it mean checking the phone for emails/texts/WhatsApp messages? Will it mean a struggle to switch off?
I recently read a post on Why Driven People Suck at Vacations, and it got me thinking. I am someone that loves holidays and has also struggled to find a way that makes them work for me and my family. I know some of you will not understand my struggle. You find holidays easy. But for those who struggle like me…
I used to believe holidays were for rest. Isn’t that what everyone says? ‘Have a good rest.’ I now realise that for me, whilst rest is part of a holiday, it is not the whole story. Holidays are for relational renewal, re-creation and rest.
This post was originally part of the CPAS Lead On July 2017 email