Friday, 29 February 2008

Christian Aid open evening - 14 March 2008

Chris Burberry and the Christian Aid committee of Churches Together in Oadby have arranged an evening Masud Karim who is involved with disaster relief , legal aid and human rights in Bangladesh. There will be an Bangladeshi meal at 6.30pm for anyone interested but Chris will need to know names and numbers for this meal (contact her directly if you have her details, otherwise email Simon). The talk will start at 7.30pm, to which anyone can just turn up on the night. The meeting is in the Barnabas Centre.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Play for Young People Premieres at Local Colleges

Dana Bagshaw has been working with a drama group at the Barnabas Centre in recent months and have just sent through the publicity for their forthcoming show:

American-born playwright Dana Bagshaw originally set Karate for Kim in California during the 1970s while a student at San Jose State. In collaboration with the Guiding Lights Youth Theatre, Oadby, she has updated the play to contemporary times and set it in England.

“Working with the young people has been a delight,” Bagshaw states. “They helped by contributing the right jargon and the right tone for British audiences. In the process I believe they improved the overall effectiveness of the play.”

The play sees thirteen-year old Kim clamouring for attention and respect from her family, friends, and an admired school teacher, Ms. Moreland. Shunning the opposite sex and preferring to spend her time with newts, Kim also manages to persuade her parents to let her take Karate. Then she meets Mark.

Directed by Eva Ziebecki, the play includes two adult actors. Leanne Mitchell, who played a leading role in Bagshaw’s award-winning play Cell Talk, plays Kim’s understanding mum, while Russell Smith plays her not-quite-so-understanding father.

Karate for Kim opens in the Studio Theatre, Beauchamp Community College, Oadby on Friday 7 March 7:30 pm and Saturday 8 March 2:30 pm. Tickets (£6 for adults and £4 for young people) are available from Dana Bagshaw at 0116 271 4837. The play contains some adult language and is recommended for ages 13 +.

The first act of the play will be performed during the Leicestershire Drama Festival at Countesthorpe Community College at 7:15 April 11. Tickets £5.50 (concesstions £4.50 available from John Foreman at 0116 279 6700.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Amazing Voices

The Oadby Bible Society have a gospel choir concert on Saturday 29 March at 7pm at Trinity Methodist Church called Amazing Voices. Tickets are £5, children free.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Next Sunday at Ten - 24 February 2008

Third Sunday in Lent, Service of the Word “Thirsting for life”

Leading worship and preaching: Hugh James

Leading music: Bryan Philpott

Exodus 17.1-7 read by Vivien James

John 4.5-42 read by Teri Webster

Prayers led by Hilda Lewis

Welcoming: Beryl Starie

Sidespeople: Jennie Frith and David Smith

We're unable to survive more than a few dozen hours without water. So it's unsurprising that thirsting for water is a common metaphor to describe the deepest and most important longings that we have. In a world where a drink is scarcely more than a few moments away from us an any time, we might be out of touch with what it feels like to be really thirsty. Spend a few moments before today's service, contemplating the thirsts you feel, including the thirst for fullness of life.

Damaris launches Deovox online bible resource

Deovox is an audio devotional bible reading service. It's British and the samples on the website looks quite good. The idea is that as fewer people are making time for daily devotional bible reading finding new ways of bringing the relevance of the scriptures to people becomes more urgent. The Deovox audio files can be listened to on an iPod or computer. The introductory video is here:

Friday, 15 February 2008

Next Sunday at Ten - 17 February 2008

Second Sunday in Lent
10.00am Holy Communion “Being born from above”
Presiding: Simon Harvey
Preaching: Colin Chettle
Leading music: John Griffin
Genesis 12.1-4a John Griffin
John 3.1-17 Anona Griffin
Prayers led by Graham Woodard
Welcoming: Ruth Smith
Sidespeople: Sue Boyden and Judi Jones
Assisting at Communion: Graham Woodard and Paul Webster

Today’s gospel reading includes what is probably the most famous verse in the whole Bible. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life”. (John 3.16). We hope that you sense the loving, renewing presence of God’s Holy Spirit with us today.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Real fresh coffee after church

coffee To mark Fair Trade Fortnight (25 February to 9 March) fresh ground coffee will be served after the service on 9 March. All the tea and coffee we serve in church is fairly traded but usually we settle for a good quality instant brew. I wonder if we'll ever be able to go back. Our baristas Gill and Penny may be able to cope with your order for a tall skinny latte but I can't promise.

Thankfully, fairly traded goods are now available in most shops at reasonable prices. We can shop in ways that promote trade justice all year, not just on these two weeks.

Wyvern Singers at St Peter's Church 8 March

The Wyvern Singers will be performing at St Peter’s on Saturday 8 March at 7.30pm.

Rossini - Petite Messe Solennelle

Director, Charles Paterson; Piano, Nêst Harris; Organ, Simon Ainge. Four vocal soloists, including the Cathedral Precentor, Stephen Foster, and a really entertaining work that is easy to absorb without having heard it before. Interval with refreshments. Proceeds in aid of St Peter's. Please come along for a wonderful evening's entertainment. Buy your tickets £7 (£6) from, St Peter’s Parish Office or on the door.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Transfusion host Superhero UK Tour 30 March 2008 at Y Theatre, Leicester

The Transfusion team writes,

We have a superb line-up for our next event on
Sunday 30th March at the Y-Theatre in Leicester.

Transfusion is hosting the Superhero UK Tour 2008.

Tickets are now on sale and we hope to sell out once again.

Transfusion aims to bring the message of Jesus to young people across the East Midlands in a challenging and relevant way, using the music ministry of local and national Christian bands.

We aim for each event to be better than the previous one as Transfusion's reputation grows across the East Midlands from event to event.

If you haven't attended a Transfusion Big God Night before then don't miss out this time - book your place today.

Tickets are just £6 in advance, £5 for groups of 10+, or £7.50 on the door.

Call the ticket hotline on 0116 233 7915 or email:

We look forward to welcoming you on March 30th.

The Transfusion Team

Monday, 11 February 2008

Poverty and Homelessness Sunday

Many thanks to Neil for yesterday's service. Never have cartoons and origami been used to such powerful effect in worship at St Paul's. The video of Dillon's story (below) was heartbreakingly sad-but-hopeful - a reminder of the reality of poverty for millions of kids in our country.
This video comes from the animator's YouTube site, which gives permission for embedding on web pages. The full set of videos in the "Wrong Trainers" series are on the Newsround page at CBBC. Neil left us with a challenge: could we as a church commit ourselves to one significant action in 2008 which would impact on poverty?

Friday, 8 February 2008

The archbishop speaks not-so-plainly

I was driving to take a funeral yesterday when I heard Radio Five report an interview that the Archbishop recorded for Radio 4's The World at One (audio of the WatO inteview here). I couldn't make sense of the row. He was described as saying that the adoption of Muslim sharia law in this country was unavoidable. At that time, I hadn't heard the Archbishop's interview, but piecing together the discussion it seemed that he was suggesting that we should countenance at least two parallel legal systems, one for Muslims and another for the rest of us. I was just as horrified as everyone else, from Gordon Brown, David Cameron, and Nick Clegg to the thousands of people sending in their text messages and emails.

It's in the nature of the job of the Archbishop of Canterbury that the media seizes on any opportunity to portray the incumbent as silly, unrealistic and pitifully liberal. The howls of protest in response to Rowan Williams discussion of the place of sharia in the English law have been loud and strident. But could it really be true that the Primate of the Church of England is advocating sharia for this country?

This afternoon, I've taken the time to read his lecture, delivered to a gathering of legal experts last night (full text here). It's a very thoughtful piece and it's absolutely clear that Rowan Williams doesn't want to see anything like the smallest concession to the brutal interpretations of sharia held by 'Islamic primitivists'. Instead he raises philosophical issues which are very relevant to our multi-cultural society and highlights the confusions about identity, affiliation and cohesion. He suggests that it's problematic to simply assert that there is one law for everyone and therefore there's no scope for any other form of jurisprudence. He doesn't deny that there is, or should be, a universal law for every citizen but he acknowledges that religious affiliations inevitably lead believers to look for additional forums in which to resolve legal questions.

He's right to point out that there are already places where such provision is made. Orthodox Jews may avail themselves of the Beth Din, a religious court to whose judgement parties may voluntarily commit themselves. It is also already possible for litigants to agree to be bound by the arbitration provided by any group (including religious groups) . And in the Anglican Church, ecclesiastical courts meet to resolve issues such as the contested removal of pews from churches. It would be natural for us at St Paul's, to attempt to resolve any matter of serious dispute within our own faith context. If the dispute were serious enough, it could be referred to ecclesiastical structures for judgement, including the Courts of the Church if the issue touched on canon law.

At the philosophical level, I understand the Archbishop to be inviting a critical and reasoned evaluation of the role of the generalised secular law of the land in framing citizenship. He proposes that this post-enlightenment view must be open to question and that in seeking to find agreed bases for cohesive societies we should recognise that people's affiliations extend into other overlapping identities, including the religious. He calls for an unprejudiced assessment of sharia as something very different from the obscene and violent interpretations seen in some parts of the world and he appears to propose that a kinder, softer, more authentic sharia can be uncovered. For raising these possibilities, Rowan Williams doesn't deserve the condemnation he's received.

My problem is that while it may be theoretically legitimate to separate the religious from the cultural it is practically unrealistic in this context. The overlapping affiliations that define identity must include cultures, as well as faiths. Rowan Williams wants the state to take seriously the particular religious commitments of its citizens. Quite so, but if this is because persons derive their identity from these voluntary commitments then the state must also recognise quasi-religious and cultural affiliations as well. This is fraught with difficulty; cultures and sub-cultures would be able to claim a legitimacy simply because they had adherents. This would bring the grim possibility of cultic, misogynist, homophobic or racist sub-cultures claiming the right to make their own legal rulings. Where would the boundaries be drawn?

Gang-cultures are an example of highly-ethicised, identity-giving sub-cultures which, through the consent of their members, wield powerful sanctions and modes of redress when their codes are broken. They gain power through both an instinctive tribalism and through the dissociation of the individual from wider civic society. Though extreme examples, clans and gangs model for us the worst aspects of the localised legal regime - bullying, intimidation, and oppression. The state-wide system of universal law, for all its faults, came into being at least in part to offer every citizen protection against the mob.

We should share the Archbishop's concern for cultural cohesion. In a place like Oadby, it's essential that we find ways of relating, including transacting legal processes, which are inclusive. But I doubt that enhanced recognition for religious legal frameworks would do this. I fear that such developments would intensify cultural identities and reduce the common bonds of commitment to wider society. And I'm not convinced that the most marginalised and oppressed people within the minority groups would be sufficiently empowered to decline to participate in their processes.

As a Christian, I am inclined to always seek the mind of God in any contended situation. I trust that this may be discerned and received through the faith community to which I belong and through its structures. But I am also aware of the potential for misreading God, misunderstanding the prejudices of my friends and me as the mind of God, and excluding the weakest and the most marginal. I am content, though not always happy, to entrust and submit myself to the universal law of the land. Where this law clashes with my faith, my redress is to protest, to elect new lawmakers, or in conscience to disobey the law and to face the consequences. What I cannot do, is to claim special privilege on the basis of my faith and absent myself from the demands of the law of the state.

The New Testament makes it clear that Christians should live by codes which demand a higher morality than that required by the law of the land. But it's also clear that for every Christian, obedience to temporal authority is necessary. "be subject to rulers and authorities... be obedient." Titus 3.1.

The archbishop was absolutely right to ask whether we can find better ways in law of increasing cohesion and mutual commitment. However, striving to achieve consensus on what it means to be British, including what it means to participate in civic society and to be subject to the law of the land, is a good place to start.

Update: The Archbishop's web site has issued a clarification of his comments here:

Happy birthday, Edith

Edith Brown celebrated her 95th birthday with friends today, telling us all, "I've had such a good life!"


Happy birthday, Edith!

Next Sunday at Ten - 10 February 2008

First Sunday in Lent

10.00am Family/Parade service for Poverty and Homelessness Sunday

Leading and preaching: Neil Griffiths

Leading music: Doug Tincello

Luke 4:14-21 Robin Hales

James 2:14-17 Neil Griffiths

Prayers written by Supertroopers and Pathfinders

Welcoming: Jennie Frith and Gill Aires

Sidespeople: Steve and Janice Paine


A careful reading of the bible makes it clear that God has a special priority for the poor. But who are the poor? And what could our response be to issues such as homelessness? Neil Griffiths, who works in the field of social housing, leads us in our worship today.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Oadby's Manor High School "outstanding" say OfSTED

Congratulations to Manor High School on their recent OfSTED inspection, in which they were judged to be "outstanding". I was in school during the week of the surprise inspection last December, taking a series of assemblies on the theme of Advent Hope.

The report (available here) begins, "Manor High is an outstanding school. Its pupils consistently reach exceptionally high standards by the time they leave in Year 9, and these standards have continued to rise since the last inspection. Pupils' outstanding achievement is brought about by excellent teaching."

Dilan Lodhia, 12, told Leicester Mercury: "I think Manor is a good school because nearly all the teachers are friendly and I think that the rules are fair. Mrs Major is a wicked head teacher. I have lots of great friends and they are very nice."

Congratulations to headteacher Sheila Major and the whole school. We're pleased to be in partnership with them, and that they use our Barnabas Centre for meetings of the senior management team. A number of families in church have children with present, or past, connections with Manor and some play a key role in the school governing body.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Keeping the community attentive to God

Jesus warns against the perils of being 'proudly prayerful' and instead encourages a down-to-earth spirituality. Likewise the apostle Paul denounces those who are puffed-up with their experience of God in a way that pulls others down.

I thought I might share some reflections as we move through Lent but want to avoid the pitfalls of appearing to be making great strides forward in my personal spiritual journey. It's sometimes a struggle and as we discussed at Alpha last night, we're all beginners in prayer. So I may well share the times and thoughts where I feel most challenged, rather than the things about which I feel most pleased.

I'm reading Eugene Peterson's book, Working the Angles this Lent and it's an uncomfortable read. Here's a paragraph from page 2:
The biblical fact is that there are no successful churches. There are, instead, communities of sinners, gathered before God week after week in towns and villages all over the world. The Holy Spirit gathers them and does his work in them. In these communities of sinners, one of the sinners is called the pastor and given a designated responsibility in the community. The pastor's responsibility is to keep the community attentive to God. It is this responsibility that is being abandoned in spades.
Tough stuff. And spot on. There are many responsibilities that vicars and other ministers pick up along the way but none so crucial as encouraging an attentiveness to God. This goes to the core of our calling but is so easily buried beneath other demands and apparently urgent issues.

Oadby and Wigston's Citizen of the Year 2008

From Oadby and Wigston Borough Council:

Do you know somebody who deserves to be the Borough of Oadby and Wigston’s 16th Citizen of the Year?

A person who gives more than they take, who is always willing to help or who goes out of their way to make a positive contribution to the life of the local community or to its environment. They may face up to problems in a positive or inspirational way or just get on with things without complaining and without recognition.

This is a community award - to celebrate an individual’s unstinting and generally unrewarded work done for other people. The award was introduced in 1993 to recognise “selfless service” to residents of Oadby, Wigston or South Wigston.

Past winners have earned the Citizen of the Year title for a variety of reasons ranging from their lifetime devotion to a local organisation to their exceptional caring qualities.

We want to hear about the people in our local community who deserve to be rewarded for their goodness, determination, loyalty or qualities which you admire and perhaps don’t fit into a particular category.

As well as getting a Silver salver to keep forever, the Citizen of the Year and their guest will attend a Buckingham Palace garden party in July with the Mayor of Oadby and Wigston. A special prize for a special person!

The closing date for nominations for the 2008 Citizen of the Year is Friday 15th February 2008.

A panel of judges, including the Mayor of Oadby and Wigston (Councillor Jeffrey Kaufman), Mayor’s Chaplain, representatives of Menphys, Age Concern and the Leicester Mercury and Mike Hibbitt, Head of Corporate Services, OWBC will select a winner.

Take the opportunity! Here is your chance to do something to reward that person whose work you admire.

All you have to do is complete a simple nomination form which will tell us why you feel your nominee deserves the award. You can obtain this form quickly by telephoning Mike Hibbitt, Debbie Watson or Gurpreet Santini on 0116 257 2714/643/712 or by writing to Mike Hibbitt, Head of Corporate Services at:

Oadby and Wigston Borough Council


Council Offices

Station Road


Leicestershire LE18 1AZ

Quiet Spaces

Helen and John are opening their home for Quiet Spaces. The group is aimed at busy women but is suitable for everyone. Quiet Spaces will meet at 7.30pm on Wednesdays in Lent, beginning on 13 February.

I'm always moved when someone comes up with an initiative, seeing a need and responding with a positive, practical and spiritually-oriented action. I have a hunch that Quiet Spaces will be very special. I've not published contact details to ensure Helen and John's privacy but if you're interested, please send me an email and I'll get a message through to them.

Women's World Day of Prayer

The annual services are this year being held on 7 March, at 10.30am at Oadby Baptist Church and 7.30pm at Trinity Methodist Church.

From the Women's World Day of Prayer web site:

Women's World Day of Prayer is a global, ecumenical movement of informed prayer and prayerful action, organised and led by Christian women who call the faithful together on the first Friday in March each year to observe a common day of prayer and who, in many countries, have a continuing relationship in prayer and service.


The service is written by a different country each year and that country then becomes the focus of the world's prayers on the day itself, which begins as dawn breaks over the islands of Tonga in the Pacific and continues across each continent until the last services of this special day are held back in the Pacific,on the islands of Samoa, circling the world in prayer for 36 hours.

The return of the church bible

Bible I've had such a lot of comment about the way that we used the church bibles last Sunday. Many people have told me that they appreciated the way that we gave out the bibles before the service and encouraged people to refer to them during the sermon.

While many people find it helpful to have the bible readings displayed by the AV projector while they are being read, there is something uniquely helpful in sitting with the bible as you hear the sermon.

What do you think? Do you bring your own bible? Do you welcome being invited to refer to passages during the sermon? Or would you prefer to simply listen? Hit the "comments" link below and let us know.

Lent Lunches 2008

This year's CTO Lent Lunches start off at St Paul's on Saturday 9 February. The lunch will be served from 12 noon until 1.30pm in Church. A suggested minimum donation of £2.50 is invited. Further Lent Lunches will be held on the coming Saturdays:

16 February at Trinity Methodist Church

23 February at Oadby Baptist Church

1 March at the United Reformed Church

8 March at St Peter's Church

15 March at Trinity Methodist Church (lunch prepared by the RC Church).

Friday, 1 February 2008

What happens in church?

It's a great question. A few weeks ago I was talking with a couple who had never been to a regular service in church. They wanted to ask about being married in church and I was glad to help with their questions. We'd been talking for a while and I assured them that they'd be welcome at any of our services.

"Really?" they asked. "Do we need to let you know in advance that we're coming?" I was able to tell them that there's no need to book and that church is for everyone.

If you've never been to church before, or never been to our church at St Paul's, you'll have lots of questions about what actually happens. I remember going to church for the first time as an adult of 23 years old and, to be frank, I wasn't looking forward to it. If someone had told me a little about what lay in store, I'd have felt a lot more relaxed.

Does is cost anything to come to church?

No - it's always free. There's never an admission charge for worship. Every service (including every wedding and funeral) is a public event. You'll be welcome if you have a deep Christian faith, or if you believe in another faith or if you have no faith at all.

We usually take a collection during the service. A collection bag is passed along the rows and people put their donation for the running of the church and the organisations we support into the bag. No one can see who gives and who doesn't. Many people make their donation by standing order, so they just pass the bag on. You don't have to give anything but if you do, we're very grateful.

What should I wear?

People come to St Paul's in all sorts of clothes. Some in tee shirts and jeans, some in shirt and tie. Where what you want! If you really want me to tell you what to wear, choose what you'd wear for a simple meal at a pub or cafe with friends.

What time does it start?

The main Sunday service is at 10:00am. Some people begin to arrive from 9:30 - that's great if you want to get the best seats but you may sit there for a while and wonder where everyone is. (Some of the 'regulars' often slip in at the last minute).

If it's your first time, come at about 9.50am. By then we'll be almost ready, there'll be someone friendly at the door to say hello. Sit wherever you like - no one at our church gets fussy about who sits where.

Use the time before the service to relax and settle down. Just like the cinema, getting yourself in the right frame of mind and ready for the service itself will help enormously. Many people take a moment to pray quietly. Others like to greet their friends.

Where can I park?

There's a car park at the back of church but it starts to fill early. Park on the street if you can do so courteously and safely. Remember our neighbours have to get their cars out. The Blues pub just around the corner has a huge car park and they're happy for us to use it on Sunday mornings.

Will everyone know that I'm a visitor?

No. We're a busy church and lots of visitors come along. You might feel like you're the only stranger but you won't be. Having said that, don't be surprised if people look as though they're glad to see you - we enjoy having visitors and newcomers. Why not take the initiative and say hello to someone who looks friendly. I guarantee they will be.

I've got small children. Help!

Church is for babies, toddlers, children, teenagers, and adults. We have a range of groups for children of every age and a creche if you want to use it.

We understand that small children find it hard to sit still and to be quiet. If they get really noisy, take them into the sidechapel (there's a loudspeaker in there, so you'll still be able to hear the service). We've also got child-friendly toilets and baby-changing facilities.

How will I know when to stand or sit?

Two ways. First, the minister taking the service will always invite the congregation to stand or sit. Second, just do what everyone else does.

There are parts of the service where standing just feels right. It helps us sing better and it shows particular respect at especially significant times of the service. If you find it hard to stand, then it's quite alright to stay sitting.

I don't like singing/I'm worried that I won't know the hymns and songs

I bet there's no one in our church who knows every song we sing. We love traditional hymns at St Paul's but we also sing praises to God in the newest songs. If you don't know the song, don't worry. Don't sing if you don't want to.

What are all the different parts of the service for?

Every service follows a kind of pattern. We're fairly flexible, so the pattern changes.

Think of a meal in a restaurant. You might begin with a drink at the bar, then move to your table and enjoy some poppadums (I eat a lot of curries!). The first course is followed by the main dish, then there's dessert and coffee.

In the same way, the service includes a sequence which helps us worship God. We usually start with a hymn of praise, then prayers that help us realise that we all need God's forgiveness and strength. Then we listen to readings from the Bible and hear a sermon which explains how these are relevant for our lives today. We pray for the world around us and then, at a communion service, we prepare to share the bread and wine in remembrance of Jesus. Finally we hear God's blessing for the week that lies before us.

This is complicated. What if I don't understand everything?

It will probably feel complicated to begin with. But you don't need to understand everything. Come with an open mind and I guarantee that you'll find something helpful. Come expecting to meet with God in a special way and I promise you will.

Is it alright to laugh?

Yes, we laugh at some point in most services. We don't take ourselves too seriously and there's a lot to be happy about. But we're not a bunch of 'happy-clappy' idiots. Life is tough for many people and sometimes worship is so moving that people have to wipe away a tear. We're not afraid of that either.

Am I allowed to take the bread and wine? What should I do?

Christians believe that when we share holy communion we experience God in a special way. The Bible insists that we do this with the right attitude and after careful thought, so it's never a casual or trivial thing to do.

We have communion services twice a month and nearly everyone in church goes to the front to receive the bread and wine. If you don't wish to, you'd be welcome to come forward with everyone else and simply keep your hands down. That's the way that the minister will know that you don't want to receive. Instead, he or she will pray a short (one-sentence) prayer of blessing for you. If you prefer to stay in your seat, that's alright too.

If you want to receive the bread and wine, then your welcome, as long as you are baptised (or 'christened') and are sincere in wanting to follow Jesus as your Lord. Communion is normally for adults, or for children who have been confirmed. If you have children who have not been confirmed, bring them to the communion and we'll pray a prayer of blessing. You could share your bread with them if you wish.

Is it hygienic to receive communion?

It's very safe. We use alcoholic wine, which helps to kill germs, and the cup is wiped before each person takes a small sip. If you have any concerns, you need not receive the wine to fully share in communion, or you can dip your piece of bread into the cup.

What happens after the service?

The service usually finishes between 11.00 (at a family service) and 11.30 (at a communion service). Almost everyone stays behind in church for a cup of tea, coffee or squash and to chat to friends. Church isn't just a social club, but it's great to get to know people and enjoy company.

What are the most important things for a newcomer to remember?

  1. Be yourself. God loves you as you are and wants to help you be the person he made you to be.
  2. Before the service, pray. You can do this at home before you set off. Find a quiet spot, relax and pray something like this, "God, help me to worship you today. Open my heart to you, calm me down and show me one thing that you want me to remember. Amen."
  3. Ask questions if there's something you want explained or something you want to know about. Ask anyone - if they don't know, they'll find someone who does.

Ideas for Lent

Lent begins on Wednesday. It's the period before Easter in which Christians take time to reflect on their lives and try to draw close to God.

"What are you giving up for Lent?" has become something of a cliche. Lent doesn't have to be about giving things up - what counts is finding new habits or ways of living that make God's presence in your life more real and more relevant.

If there are things that you use as an escape or things that distract you from time with God, then try setting them aside for this period in your life.

There are lots of ideas about using Lent. Here are a selection of resources:

Ask others at church how they'll be using Lent, join a homegroup or buy a book. There's plenty of ideas to choose from!

Christingle supports The Children's Society

We had a great Christingle service on Christmas Eve. Now that the coins have all been counted we are pleased to announce that £445 was raised for the Children’s Society. Please send in any remaining collection boxes.

Breakfast at Barney's - 10 February

On 10 February, breakfasts will be served in the Barnabas Centre from 8.30am to 9.30am. Proceeds will go to support the work of Bible Society. To book a place, contact Anita Chettle.

Mission in a multi-faith neighbourhood

The St Philip’s Centre for Study and Engagement in a Multi-faith Society is running two workshops in the near future.

“Jesus and the Christian Gospel for all?” on 8 March considers how to offer the challenge of the Christian faith to our Hindu, Sikh or Muslim neighbours. It is led by Canon Dr Andrew Wingate, and The Revd John McGinley.

From the publicity material:

John Sentamu said, "Christians, go and find friends who are Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs... not for the purpose of converting them to your beliefs, but for friendship, understanding, listening, hearing. Christians, our priority for making disciples is amongst the 72% who in the last census said they were Christians".

Do we agree?

This unique study day seeks to explore how to present the uniqueness of the Christian faith to people of other faith traditions.

“Interreligious conversion” on 10 March asks whether such conversions should be sought. It’s led by Canon Dr Andrew Wingate, Dr Shanthikumar Hettiarachchi and Batool al-Toma.

From the publicity material:

Should such conversions be sought, and if so, why? What about the convert?

Questions to be addressed include theological and scriptural issues, mission questions, pastoral, family and community issues, mixed faith marriage and conversion, psychological factors.

Bishop of Leicester's Lent Pilgrimage

Bishop Tim is setting off next week for a walking pilgrimage around the diocese of Leicester. From Thursday to Sunday each week, he'll be on the road and visiting parishes.

Bishop Tim writes, "Walking slows us down, gives us time to reflect and have conversations. I hope this walk will connect me with many of the communities and churches of the diocese."

If you'd like to join the bishop for part of his walk, or meet him in one of the parishes en route, see the Crossing the Diocese page on the diocesan website.

Bishop Tim's route brings him through Oadby on Sunday 17 February.

Ballet for Adult Beginners

For a short trial period, this new group will taking place in church on Tuesday mornings from 10 to 11am. Contact Carla Lane 0116 257 2672.

Next Sunday at Ten - 3 February 2008

Sunday next before Lent Holy Communion

Presiding: Helen Bence
Preaching: Simon Harvey
Leading music: John Griffin
Exodus 24.12-end, read by Ruth Smith
Matthew 17.1-9, read by Jennifer Harvey
Leading prayers: Steve and Izzy Tedder
Welcoming: Dinah Cheney
Sidespeople: Gilda and Sheridan Roberts
Assisting at Communion: Diane Wright and Beryl Starie

How close to God do you feel? How do you know? Is our emotional state the best guide to our spiritual health? Just before Lent begins we’ll explore how we might approach this opportunity for spiritual growth.

Prayer for today:
Holy God,
you know the disorder of our sinful lives:
put right our crooked hearts,
and bend our wills to love your goodness and your glory
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Annual Parochial Church Meeting - 24 April 2008

The APCM is open to all church members and includes elections to key leadership positions within the Parish, including Churchwardens and Assistant Wardens, Deanery Synod Representatives, PCC and DCC members. It's also a moment to take stock of our churches' participation in the mission of God in Oadby. A full agenda and a set of reports will be issued in due course, but you might like to note that the date of the meeting is 24 April 2008. It will be held at St Paul's  and will begin at 7.45pm.

The meeting is open to all, but to vote or to stand for one of the elected offices, your name must appear on the church electoral roll.

How do I join the electoral roll?

The church electoral roll is the list of people who are entitled to vote or stand for election at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting.

It's the time of year when we encourage people who regularly worship with us to consider joining the roll. See here for more information.