Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Trinity Sunday – one God in three persons

Last Sunday was Trinity Sunday. The wonder of the Trinity, one God in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit is a concept that is wonderful, because it means that God is concerned and active in his creation and in each of our lives. It is, nevertheless, a difficult concept.

Leading the service, Hugh was faced with explaining this concept  for the children. He drew the comparison between the 3 persons of the Godhead with the three phases of H2O – the gaseous phase, steam, the liquid phase, water and the solid phase, ice.

So, we had a kettle steaming at the front of Church, close to the children (but not too close!), a jug of water and a thermos of ice cubes, which the children were asked to identify and name.

The parallels may not be exact, but it least they show how three very different things can nevertheless be one.

Monday, 27 May 2013

We Haven’t Got a Pointy Roof – but We Do Need Jesus

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, was recently a guest speaker at a 5½ thousand member conference organised by the London Church, Holy Trinity Brompton – famous for being the birthplace of the Alpha Course which is used by many churches, including our own, to introduce the Christian Faith to those who want to know more about it. 

During his interview with Holy Trinity’s vicar, Nicky Gumbel, Archbishop Justin recalled the words of one of his Churchwardens: “If Jesus isn’t at the centre of the church, we are simply Rotary with a pointy roof.”

Being a 1980s church building, St Pauls doesn’t have a "pointy roof" – more resembling a school hall. But the churchwarden’s words are equally valid here. In everything we do and say, we must be pointing to Jesus, or we just risk becoming another social organisation. It is Jesus who came to earth, sent by God the Father, to die on our behalf and open the way back to God. It is Jesus who is the Good News we proclaim.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013


On Sunday the church celebrated Pentecost, the day we remember the coming of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost is often thought of as the birthday of the church as it was the Holy Spirit that gave the first disciples boldness and courage to start sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and thus begin the life of the church.
At St Paul's I encouraged everyone to wear something red, the colour most commonly associated with Pentecost. Here is a photo of some of our congregation at the start of the service in their red outfits.
Mindful that the work of the Holy Spirit is not limited to one Sunday a year in the church calendar we began an 8 week sermon series on the Gifts of the Spirit. Our hope is to discover the gifts God has given each one of us for the building up of His body, the church.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Christian Aid Week – What’s Fair?

This is Christian Aid Week, when churches of different denominations join together to raise funds for “Christian Aid,” a Christian Relief and Development Agency (see website). It’s also an opportunity to raise awareness in England of the appalling inequalities in food and opportunities across the world.

At St Paul’s, our vicar, Steve Bailey, used the All Age Service to demonstrate how gross those inequalities are. Within the church, there are three blocks of seats. By chance, the numbers of seats in those blocks corresponded with the rough proportions of economic blocks within the world. Steve used chocolate raisins to signify food consumption. He gave those in the 15% block enough sweets for 15 each. The 30% got two each, while the 55% group got just one between three.

Everyone agreed that this was not fair! After talking about the need to redistribute the resources, the sweets were put in one bowl and everyone was invited to take three at the end of church. It was a good way of demonstrating the problem.

In the evening, a joint service was held at the Baptist Church. There will be different activities throughout the week, culminating with a sponsored walk next Sunday afternoon.

Could You "Live below the Line?"

In the West, we live lives of unbelievable luxury, that most of the globe can only dream about, where every conceivable food is available in the local supermarket at prices most of us can afford. That is not the situation in many parts of the Third World, where many people live on less than the equivalent of £5 per week. The Global Poverty Project (see website) has been challenging people in England to live for less than £1 a day.
Last week,  Colin Chettle, one of our Readers (Lay Ministers) took up that challenge. He also raised sponsorship for his challenge, with people contributing to TEAR fund (see website), a Christian relief and development organisation, and so directly helped those less fortunate than ourselves.

Well done to Colin for undertaking the challenge. At the end of the week, he was able to return to feeding normally. For much of the world, that is not an option.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Start ofthe New District Church Council (DCC)

Today saw all the splendour of the State Opening of Parliament. And as the government puts forward its intended legislation for the next year, our prayers are that the National Debt may genuinely decrease, that economic activity may rise, that unemployment may fall and that the needy may be provided for.

But last night, at St Paul’s, there was another new start, which was important, even though it lacked the splendour of monarchs, state coaches and ermine robes. It was the first meeting of St Pauls District Church Council (DCC), the decision-making body of our church. We elected our officers: Aileen Tincello as lay chairman, Diane Wright as treasurer, and, new to the role, Emma Angel as secretary. Our thanks go to them for their willingness to undertake these roles.

We discussed the donations that we will make, this year. As a sign of gratitude to God for his provision, we give away 10% of all that St Paul's receives, to charities and Christian work locally and across the world.

There were also more minor decisions, such as whether we could improve the facilities we have for projection of films and images.

Over the next year, there will be many decisions to be made. Some will be more crucial than others, but it will be important to get them all right. Let’s remember the work of the Church Council and its members in our prayers.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Vote Today!

St Pauls Barnabas Centre was the site of the local Polling Station for the 2 May 2013 local elections. Although voting is rather out of fashion at present, for the sake of democracy it is important that all should vote. That right to vote has been won over the years, sometimes a great cost – and there are many nations across the globe who would love to share our right.

In the Bible (1 Timothy 2:2) we are urged to pray for all those who are in authority, so that under their rule we may be able to live peaceful and undisturbed lives, free to worship God. Further, St Paul reminds us (Romans 13:1-7) that all power is ultimately derived from God, whether those who hold it recognise it, or not.

There may be occasions when the authorities do things contrary to Christian teachings. It is then the duty of Christians to stand up against that wrong. But at such times, it is even more important that we as Christians pray for those in authority.

Whether we support the authorities, or are obliged to oppose them, the one position that we cannot take is to isolate ourselves from the political process.

So make your vote count!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Many Thanks Paskal, And May God Bless You

For five years the Revd Paskal Clement has served in the Parish of Oadby as an Associate Minister. Although principally based at St Peter’s, he has been a frequent welcome visitor at St Paul’s, with his evident love of God, his prayerfulness and his humility.

Last night, he was licensed as Priest-in-Charge of the Parish of the Resurrection, located in the north-central area of Leicester City. A packed, joyful, licensing service, led by Bishop Tim, was held in the church of St Alban. Friends of Paskal and his wife, Akhtar came from all round the country, as well as from St Peters and St Paul’s.

Bishop Tim recalled Paskal’s road in ministry, which started as a Franciscan in the Roman Catholic Church in Pakistan and then moved to becoming an Anglican Self-Supporting Minister in London, before moving to Oadby.

In his sermon, which recalled how Peter jumped out of the boat in order to go to Jesus, Bishop Tim spoke of how it was sometimes important to let go our traditional securities in order to be free to work for God.

Our very best wishes from St Paul’s go to Paskal as he sets out to make Jesus’ love known in this often deprived and ethnically diverse area of Leicester. We look forward to visits from Paskal and Akhtar, to hear how things progress.