Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Editted Highlights

Its 'Retreat Day' today in college's Reading & Reflection Week so I should perhaps be being contemplative as I sit here in the college cloister rather than updating my blog?

So, this week just some editted highlights of the past week...

Friday: Decorated the church for Advent - the sense of anticipation begins.
Also guided ladies (reps from local churches) through next year's WWDofP Service - all responsibilities assigned and a good meeting.

Saturday: Table-top sale attracted a good crowd - treasurer very happy with financial result.

Sunday: Toy Service went well. John, LCM missionary was great and left with his car boot crammed with toys.
United Service with local Anglicans was a great success. Advent has begun! They've agreed to host next year.

Monday: Dentist visit a nightmare! One of two teeth pulled but not easily so number two has to wait for next week.
Meeting with local Baptist leaders to plan Baptists Together programme for 2012.

Tuesday (today) : Up early to get the High Speed train in order to get to college in time for all that today has offered.

More detail next week, time, weather, assignment deadline permitting!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The Countdown begins....

So, another Christian year ends. We rewind back to the beginning next Sunday and start once again lighting Advent candles week by week as we journey towards the retelling of the story of the Incarnation.

We rounded off the old year still with our thoughts upon the needs of others as we gathered together a wide variety of items collected by British Humanitarian Aid for shipment to the Ukraine. Bedding, knitting, tools, sewing machines etc were all loaded into the van, gratefully received by the local charity.

Toys are starting to come in for our Advent Sunday Toy Service. We look forward to welcoming London City Missionary, John Hamilton, from Dagenham, to share with us something of his work.

The Jardine family are working hard at sorting the gifts for our Christmas Parcels to the lonely, housebound and care home residents.

This week we meet too in Church Meeting to makeecisions about finance and fabric after everyone was encouraged to participate in a Day or Prayer last Thursday.

Most of our neighbours in the locality will have received an invitation to our Advent and Christmas services. Sales of tickets for our Christmas dinner are brisk and we've sold every available table to stallholders for our Table-top sale on Saturday.

Pastorally, a number of folk are recovering from, treatment, awaiting test results or surgery and for them it is an anxious time. For others, with less than 30 shopping days to Christmas adds its own pressures.

The countdown begins and all too soon we will be underway within a new Church Year!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Choir, Silence and Reflection

The past week has been dominated by the vicit by the Ukrainian Choir beginning their UK tour with us last Friday. They spent 3 nights with hosts here and we offered them the usual high standard of Walmer hospitality. After a 'warm-up' performance at The Downs School they performed their 'WOW factor' concert to a packed church and raised in excess of £800 for Hope Now International which works to support the underprivelaged and needy in the Ukraine an who organise the choir's tour.

Amidst all that activity it has been Remembrancetide and, in the unseasonably mild weather, twenty of us gathered to pay our respects to Pte William Bennett, aged 17, who died in the Great War. On a sunny morning too we gathered in church to reflect and remember in silence the cost of conflicts past and present and rededicate ourselves to uphold the cause of peace and freedom.

Amongst friends old and new it was good to both enjoy a Thai meal and to relive my own Thailand experiences at Bloomsbury as I spoke on my recent travels with the college team sent overseas by BMS.

I should not forget to record here too, the privelage of partnering with our local Vicar in presenting 60 new bibles to the year three children at the school funded by donations from our respective churches.

Its been a busy week and the coming weeks look likely to be as busy which has the potential to crowd in on the necessary study time to get assignments done.

Without the choir, there remains the need for silence and reflection!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

'We' say thank YOU!

The pressure of the third year's college schedule continues and shows no sign of letting up as assignment deadlines loom and word counts seem to be targets beyond achievement. But the focus today in this blog update is not on studies but upon church life.

Even through the semester break (half-term) life has been busy!

'We' - the royal we - have boxed up just over 50 shoebox gifts for 'Love in a Box' Christmas Appeal. 'We' have been industrious outside the church laying concrete to improve our paths. We have fed 70 guests at our (now) Annual Spuds 'n' Sparklers evening. To all who have made this possible - 'thank YOU'.

Our thoughts begin to turn to Advent & Christmas. Cards for distribution to our friends and neighbours with details of our services and activities have been order, printed and received and will be bundled for distribution soon. In advance of those who will sign-up to pound the pavements of our community - 'thank YOU'.

This week 'we' (again) prepare to host young Ukrainian visitors who begin a national concert tour here in Walmer. To those who will accommodate them and look after them - thank YOU.

It is Remembrancetide and we will gather at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month in the cemetery beside the graveside of Pte William Bennett and on Sunday stand in silence in church and in these solemn acts will say - thank YOU.

Over the next couple of weeks we will be preparing Christmas gifts for local shut-in folk and also collecting new toys for distribution by the London City Mission. Whilst we may not know the recipients of these gifts in our community or in London we are confident that each will bring a smile of happiness and love to the recipient, and for that - thank YOU.

Personally, I have the opportunity to speak at Bloomsbury next week about my travels in Thailand with BMS and it is encouraging already to hear of a goof number of friends who have committed to attend and share the Thai meal and hear my ramblings - thank YOU.

Finally, for your patience with my erratic attempts to blog and your continued interest in reading what I write, in an attempt to inform you of both my college and church experiences - thank YOU.