Saturday, 28 December 2013

Principal Services – January-March

Happy New Year! Welcome to the start of 2014

This term we are going to work our way through the letter Ephesians and see what we can learn from Paul’s letter to the church he planted in this place.

Just before we enter Lent I look forward to welcoming Kevin Wren from the organisation South Asian Concern. SAC’s vision is for South Asians to become disciples of Jesus and their aim is to equip the church to share the good news of Jesus with South Asians. Hopefully Kevin will have much to say to help and inspire us to reach out into our local context as we seek to be a church that welcomes all.

Through Lent we shall look in details at the words of the creed. We often recite the creed at a Communion Service. Here we have an opportunity to try and understand more fully the words we say.

Yours in Christ,
Revd Steve Bailey 

Full Details

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

A Very Happy Christmas from St Paul’s

We joined together in church, this Christmas morning, to celebrate this anniversary of Christ’s coming to Earth for us, at Bethlehem.

There was much joyful festivity as people recounted the gifts they had received – and the time they had got out of bed this morning to find them ! But, using the illustration of a wrapped Toblerone, Steve explained how, even if it wasn’t exciting unwrapping a Toblerone, because the content is obvious, the content was still valuable. The Jews had not been looking for a Messiah in a humble stable, but God's gift of Jesus to us is unmeasurable – the gift not just of the baby in the stable, but the one who died for us at Calvary.

As our season of Christmas services comes to an end, may we wish everyone a very happy Christmas and the joy and peace that the Christ child brings.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christingle and Crib Service

The popular Christingle and Crib Service was held at 4.0 p.m. this afternoon. The church was packed with about 150 expectant children and parents.

Excited children helped to answer Steve’s questions about the events of Christmas – what happened – what did it mean? Then our young people acted out the story of that first Christmas, with some modern explanations (Mary: “I’m about to pop!”)

Then came the retelling of the meaning of Christmas, using Christingles (see previous blog), illustrated by children holding giant replicas of the parts. All the Christingles were then distributed and were lit while we sang “Silent night.”

For prayers, we were all invited to write our prayer on a strip of paper (a piece of “hay”) and leave them in the crib.

There were mince pies and biscuits for everyone, afterwards.

Next, at 11.30 p.m. comes the Midnight Christmas Communion.

Getting Ready for Christingle

Yesterday afternoon a group of helpers, assisted by some very helpful children, turned 300 oranges into Christingles, ready for our Christmas Eve Christingle service.

Oranges, representing the world, were cored out at the top to receive the candles (surrounded in tinfoil for protection) representing Jesus as the Light of the World. Four cocktail sticks representing both the four corners of the world and the four seasons were added, together with fruit and sweets to represent God’s gift of the harvest. A red ribbon around the equator represented the blood that Christ shed as he died on the cross to bring people back to God.

Now the trays of Christingles are waiting for the service. Do join us for this service at 4.0 p.m. on Christmas Eve afternoon.

Monday, 23 December 2013

With the Children to Bethlehem

The second half of our service yesterday morning was a musical nativity play. It was wonderful to see the enthusiasm of the children as they recounted with acting and singing the greatest story ever told.

The children were at their best as not a word was lost – even for those sitting at the back of church. And the children and congregation both thoroughly enjoyed it.

A lot of people put in a lot of hard work, so thank you to them, but particularly to Megan Lloyd who was the driving inspiration. Well done!

The Christmas story, as told by the children, was the outworking of Isaiah’s prophecy of “Emanuel,” God with us, which had been the theme of the first half of the service, where the sermon had been given, appropriately, by our member, Emanuel Oladipo.

Our next Christmastide services are our Christingle service at 4.0 p.m. on Christmas Eve, followed by the Christmas Eve Communion Service at 10.30 p.m. and the Christmas Day Family Communion Service at 10.0 a.m. We would love to see you at one of these.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Follow us to Bethlehem

Yesterday, 15 December, was our annual Carol Service. Over 100 people gathered to remember again the Christmas story through readings and carols. There were a number of innovations this year. The service itself was a week earlier than usual, hoping that some people might be freer to come, away from the main Christmas festivities.

Other innovations were a greater proportion of congregational carols, including two modern ones. There was also an enthusiastic instrumental rendition of “Silent Night” performed by some of the children.

Whatever the innovations, the truth of the story of God become man in poverty at Bethlehem remains everlasting.

After the service, we remained in the church for mulled wine and mince pies. The Christmas season is really here!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Ding Dong Merrily at Sainsbury’s!

Sainsbury’s at Oadby invited churches to sing carols in their foyer this Saturday morning. St Pauls was pleased to respond and some 30 members of the congregation, including people who will be singing at our own carol service, tomorrow, arrived for an 11.0 AM start. The staff at Sainsbury’s made us very welcome and we enjoyed taking part. We sang the well-known Christmas carols and this seemed to be appreciated by shoppers.
We had tins with chocolates to give out (provided by Sainsbury’s), to wish people a “Happy Christmas.” But enormous numbers of people seemed to think that we were collecting. (Does having a tin in Sainsbury’s automatically mean that you’re a charity collector?!) As people dropped coins in the chocolate tins, a quick decision was made to send the money to "Embrace the Middle East," a Christian charity that works with children and needy people in the Middle East. Over £200 was donated.

To everyone who heard us, we‘d like to wish a “Very Happy Christmas.” Would you like to join us, tomorrow, 15 December at St Paul’s Church, Hamble Road, Oadby, at 7.0 PM, when we will be having our Carol Service.

Christmas at Barney’s

Every second Sunday of the month, to coincide with “All Together Church,” our all age service, hard-working volunteers lay on breakfast in the Barnabas Centre. For obvious reasons, this is called "Breakfast at Barney’s." There is always a choice of a full English cooked breakfast or a continental one.

To celebrate the Christmas season, "Breakfast at Barney’s" last Sunday was especially festive with Christmas crackers and the waitresses in seasonal costumes, including antlers with lights! The crackers duly revealed the party hats, though only the brave (including the vicar) were seen to wear them.

Over the Christmas season there will be events of a much more important nature. But this was an enjoyable start.

Preparing Together

For all Christian churches, Christmas is one of the highlights of the year, when you remember how Jesus, the Son of God, became one of us, as a baby at Bethlehem.

We are fortunate in Oadby that we have a tradition of the Christian churches working together, under the umbrella organisation called “Churches Together in Oadby.” So, together we prepare a Christmas Card, with details of all the services of all the churches. Then, all the streets are divided up and shared between the different churches.

So, if you’ve seen us wandering the streets of Oadby with piles of white envelopes and popping them through people’s doors, that was what we were doing.

If you’ve received a CTO Christmas Card, do look into it and see if there are services at which you’d like to join with one of the churches over this Christmas season.

Happy Christmas!


Friday, 13 December 2013

Christmas Assemblies

This week Lou (our Youth Worker) and I have been into Manor, the local High School to do Christmas Assemblies.
Lou used the following clip, which is excellent, to share the real meaning of Christmas with the kids and they were captivated watching it.
Here is the link

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Gift Day

Laying Gifts on the Table
Christmas is coming, when we remember Jesus, God’s greatest gift to the human race. Christmas is also a time when, traditionally, we too give and receive presents.

But first, at St Paul’s, we delight to give gifts to others in our society who are in great need. We held the gift service this morning. As already mentioned (Blog 19 November) the withdrawal of local authority grants has meant that only one of the homes for mothers in need, to whom we previously gave presents , is still open. So, during this morning's service, members of the congregation took up presents to be given to be children at this remaining home and also presents for asylum seekers with whom the Welcome Project is in contact. Additionally, monetary gifts were received to help the one continuing home keep functioning.

Our prayer, now, is that the gifts may be appropriate and give joy to those who receive them.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Love your enemies

The whole world is mourning the death of Nelson Mandela – someone who managed to rise above the treatment he had received at the hands of the white South African authorities and unite that great nation. It was Jesus who said: "But I tell you: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, (Luke 6:27)”

As far as I know, Nelson Mandela had no Christian faith, but by his life he showed the power of those teachings of Jesus. Mandela went much further than simple nonviolence. He went out of his way to include those who had once been his enemies.

With, for once, a united world, we mourn the death of this great statesman and give thanks for his life.

Hark the Glad Sounds!

As we await, with joy, the coming of Christmas, a frequent event is a Carol Service. On Thursday 5 December, it was the turn of the Thursday Morning "Coffee Pot."

As they gathered in the Church, our Vicar, Steve Bailey, led a Service of Christmas carols and readings and reminded us of a God who does not change. Also at the service was the Parkinson's choir, who sang five Christmas pieces and were warmly applauded.

The morning concluded as we gathered round the tables and enjoyed mince pies, sherry and coffee together. It was a good foretaste of other things to come, such as St Paul’s main Carol service at 7.0 p.m. on Sunday 15 December. Do join us there.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

The Bible has Arrived

Well, the well-publicised series of two hour broadcasts on the Bible eventually started last Saturday with "Beginnings." Apparently, 1.2 million viewers watched it,  - which is 5.62% of the viewing public.
The series is obviously of great interest to the Jews who trace their lineage back through Abraham to Noah and Adam. But it is also of foundational importance to Christians for whom Abraham is their ancestor not by blood but by faith.
The series already demonstrates how humans have an inbuilt tendency to turn away from God – whether that be Noah's neighbours or the Israelites recently freed from Egypt. But it also tells how God rescued people and how he fulfilled his promises: Noah rescued from the flood, Abraham and Sarah given a son, the Israelites freed from Egypt. 
The next instalment, "Homeland" is on Channel 5 next Saturday, 7 December.

Gartree Mission Week

We have had a fantastic week in Gartree with Christian band, Twelve24. The band led assemblies and RE lessons for every class in the school, which is 750 students in total. They brought an inspiring message about how we encourage and build each other up in the words we say but also the amazing truths that God has to say about us and the awesome love that he has for each one of us. The students loved the music and we saw some impressive dance moves during the week and they really engaged with the lessons and discussions.
We ended the week with an amazing gig, 150 young people came, approximately 120 came out at the response time who I had the privilege of praying for and 43 took away a response pack which included a bible and various contacts and information about becoming a christian and what it's all about.
So all in all an amazing, inspiring and God filled week. I was bowled over by the work God did and we pray that as youth workers leading the CU in that school, we can continue to share God's love and truth with those young people and help and encourage them on their journey with God.

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurabley  more than we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever."
Ephesians 3:20-21