Thursday, 27 September 2012

Those in the Background – Thank You!

If you attend any church, including St Paul's, it's natural to notice those up front – the Vicar or other ministers and perhaps those doing the readings and leading the prayers, and perhaps the music group.

But in order for our services to take place there are a mass of other people working in the background. But it's easy to forget their contribution. This picture of Dave Smith who faithfully tends the grounds each week reminds us of the many others who clean, make coffee, care for children, do repairs or run the audiovisual system – and I must have left some out.

It's an important teaching of the Bible that we all have different gifts. And we should use them all in serving God. As St Paul wrote: "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:17

Thank you, so much, to all who help our church run smoothly.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

The Police in Our Prayers.

This last fortnight, the police have been much in our thoughts. The report of the Hillsborough disaster reminded us of the consequences of them making the wrong split second decision and the temptation to misuse the position of authority. But this week, the cold-blooded murders of Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes, police officers from Manchester, reminded us of all that is good in the police service and of the risks that police officers carry out everyday on our behalf.

Like many other churches across the country, we held a one-minute silence during the morning service and we used the following prayer, written by the Bishop of Manchester.

Almighty God, we pray for all who, at this time, mourn Fiona and Nicola. We ask for your comfort and strength to be especially with their loved ones and colleagues.

And as we pray too for those who continue to be in danger from this violence, we give thanks for the constant courage, and devotion to duty, of the police, and all who take risks to protect our communities. May they be strengthened for the tasks they face and supported in the commitment they give, that they may further the well-being of all and enable our society to be loving, just and at peace.

We ask this in the name of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

To those who serve in the police force, we say "thank you" and you are in our prayers as you go about your daily job.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Where Next?

One of the biblical proverbs is "Where there is no vision, the people perish (Proverbs 29:18)." So we invited Mike Harrison, the Leicester Diocesan Director of Mission and Ministry to direct our thoughts as we tried to consider which priorities we believe that God is leading us into.

After our regular morning communion service (at which we welcomed Mr Liam Powell: see previous post) we held a communal lunch. Would people provide enough to be able to share? Answer: everyone was well fed with plenty over.

We then stayed, grouped at our tables, as Mike encouraged us to do some "blue sky thinking." Where would we like St Paul's to be in 2020? Each table was asked to write a newspaper front page detailing what had been done, were it to actually have been achieved (including a catchy headline).

When these were read out, each table was asked to select two priorities. Similar ones were grouped and the results recorded on the whiteboard at the front. Each member was then given three "votes" (sticky dots) which they stuck on the board over the three priorities that appealed to them. Having established some priorities, much work will have to be done in fleshing out the details.

It sounds like some busy Church Council Meetings for the future! But if the procedure has helped us establish God's will and has given each of us a vision for the future, it will be well worthwhile.

Our Prayers and Best Wishes for Manor High School's New Head

St Paul’s values our many links with the local community. However, Manor High School, the local middle school, has a special place in our affection as it was there that the first services were held which eventually developed into St Paul's Church. Since then, our Vicars have regularly been invited to take assemblies there.

When Mrs Sheila Major was first appointed as Head Teacher at Manor, some eight years ago, we were thrilled when she came to St Paul's and told us of her hopes for the school and we prayed for her and her work.

Now, as she has retired, she returned to this Sunday morning’s service and told us how the school has developed, including its new status as an Academy. We were thrilled that her successor, Mr Liam Powell came with her and told of his hopes for the future.

Steve then prayed for Mrs Major in her retirement and Mr Powell as he faces the new challenges. He also prayed for the work of all the staff and students of Manor High School. We look forward to continued links there.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Will we see you?

For a number of years, many churches in England have celebrated "Back to Church Sunday." This year, this is on Sunday 30 September and St Paul's will again be taking part.

Sometimes, people have drifted away from church, not because of a rejection of their faith, but because they met a time in their professional or family life which was particularly busy, or because a move to a new area severed the link with their old church.

Back to Church Sunday is the opportunity for people to come back easily to what they once held precious. Here, at St Paul's, our service is at 10 am and will be led by our Vicar, Steve Bailey, and the preacher will be the Rector of the parish, Michael Rusk.

Why not come and join us? You will be very welcome.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Welcome Lou!

At an our morning service, today, Steve welcomed our new Youth Worker, Louise McGoldrick. Lou then told us a little about herself, a Leicester lass, being born and brought up in Leicestershire, going to shools in Oadby and then taking a Social Work degree at De Montfort University.

She shared how, during her time at university, God had convinced her that she should be undertaking some full-time Christian Service. She had subsequently spent two years at St Luke's Thurnby training in Christian Ministry and Youth Work. She also spoke of her concern for young people and how she wished to make Christ known.

We look forward to her time among us and promise her our prayers for the work she will be doing as she builds on the work that Ellie Williams established last year.