Tuesday, 30 December 2014

All the Excitement of Christmas

An excited congregation assembled in Saint Paul’s at 10.0 a.m. on Christmas morning for our Family Communion Service. Presents were displayed as we considered the greatest gift at Christmas – Jesus Christ himself. In a competition to see who had awoken the earliest, it turned out that our children had actually been very self-restrained this Christmas and few parents had suffered greatly.

One might have expected the church to empty quickly as people rushed off to their Christmas meal. Perhaps it was the sherry that was served, or people’s friendly nature, but in any case, the church actually took a very long time to empty – even though there were only three days until the congregation  would meet again on Sunday, when the Christmas season continues.

Christmas Is Here

As the midnight hour approached on Christmas Eve, we met for the first Communion of Christmas. During the first half of the service, we considered what was important that we were waiting for at Christmas and what would be left after Christmas was over – it would be the work of Christ, who came to save us, and continues to want to live in our lives. In the second half of the service, we shared in Communion, and as we shared in the bread and the wine, tokens of you that death, we remembered that that salvation was obtained by Christ’s cross some 30 years after that first Christmas.

It was a service of quiet, peace and joy – reflected in our hearts as we returned to our beds.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Come to Bethlehem

The excitement is rising! The church was full of small children and families for the Christingle service this afternoon. On their way into church, children were offered outfits for an impromptu crib scene – Angels, shepherds, Kings, a donkey, and of course, Mary and Joseph. With an accompaniment of carols, the Christmas story was re-enacted. (Photo)

After a talk by Lou, our youth worker, on Christmas gifts that matter – especially that of Christ himself, the true meaning of Christmas was explained, using a Christingle – the light of Christ (a candle) being given to the world (an orange), Jesus death on the cross (a red ribbon for his blood).

The candles of the Christingles were then snuffed out with the encouragement that they should be relit on Christmas Day

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Bethlehem – The Musical

Last Sunday morning the service basically followed our usual “Service of the Word” that we alternate with our Communion Services. But there was a treat coming at the end. “Supertroopers” our Sunday School for those of primary school age, rejoined us, and introduced us to a lively and musical version of the Nativity. Following a narrator, they portrayed the journey to Bethlehem, the birth of Jesus and the arrival of the shepherds and the Magi. Each child played their part and together they sang beautifully.
Christmas really is coming!

Carols by Candlelight

On Sunday we held our Carols by Candlelight service and welcomed 130 people to St Paul's.
Handheld candles flickered in darkness. Together, we sang many of the old favourites, while the choir sang some of those less well-known. There was even one in French, but the translation was projected so that we all knew what was going on.

Interspersed between the carols were scripture readings but told again the story of how Jesus, foretold long ago in history, been born in Bethlehem 2000 years ago. There were also some readings from Scripture to draw our attention to the purpose of Christ’s coming – coming as a light to draw humans from the darkness of sin to his marvellous light. In his remarks, Steve highlighted the possibility of studying this further with the Alpha course, which is starting on 7 January.

So, we draw close to the climax of Christmas with the Christmas Eve Communion Service at 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday and the Christmas Day Family Communion Service at 10 a.m.

Thank you to all who worked so hard. We hope the service brought alive the Christmas story for all who came along.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Bishop's Christmas message

Click here to watch the Bishop's Christmas message.

Monday, 15 December 2014

The Nativity Story

On Sunday evening, 14 December, we showed “The Nativity Story.” The film underlined the poverty and war torn state of Palestine at the time of Jesus’ birth. It also showed how difficult and potentially disgraceful it was for the young girl, Mary, to be chosen to be the virgin mother. In addition, ito showed how difficult it was for Joseph.

By contrast, one had the visit of the outcast shepherds and the mysterious Magi from the East. It gave a mass of thought-provoking background as we run up to the main Christmas activities

It cost Jesus much to come to earth for us, but we should not forget the cost for Mary either.

It Is Better to Give Than to Receive

Yesterday was our gift service, in the context of our All Age Service, when our uniformed organisations were present. A skit by our “Tribe” youth group showed the futility and stupidity of always seeking the latest electronic gizmo (see photo insert).

After Steve (our vicar) had talked about the value of real gifts, especially of Christ’s gift of himself to us, we then gave gifts to be given by those much less fortunate than ourselves. As people came forward, the piles of gifts grew to extraordinary numbers. Some went to a women’s refuge, some to “Gifts on the Table” for needy children, and some to refugees being cared for by the “Welcome Project.”

Our prayer is that these gifts may respond to particular needs, of which we are unaware; may they demonstrate the love of Christ, who as a baby was so poor.

Ding Dong Merrily!

Christmas is a wonderfully musical time, when the birth of Jesus is celebrated with carols. At 7 p.m. next Sunday evening we shall be having our main service of “Carols by Candlelight.” Meanwhile, many individual groups, some within the church, some who use our buildings and local schools come for their own Cal services.

One of the first, shown here, was of the Thursday morning Coffee Pot. The congregation sat around tables and after a service with carols, commemorating the great events of Christmas, everyone enjoyed coffee and mince pies.

This event is now past, but do come and join with us at the beautiful “Carols by Candlelight” on Sunday 21 December.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Christmas Advert

All the shops have now released their Christmas adverts promoting some of the values of Christmas but missing out the key ingredient, Christ.
The Christmas Starts with Christ campaign have released this brief advert that cleverly reminds us of the main focus of this Christmastime. You can watch it here.

Coffeepot Christmas Lunch

Members of Coffeepot gathered at the Fox in Halation to celebrate Christmas over lunch. Jenny, Gill and Anne were very enthusiastic about this new venue and their enthusiasm was reinforced by the meal we got! Situated in one of Leicestershire's very attractive villages the restaurant is nooky and intimate. We enjoyed good conversation and Massimo's excellent food. If you missed out this time, make sure to book in for next year.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Christmas meal with a difference.....

There is a local Asian retired lunch time group that meet in our buildings weekly. Each month they share a meal together and today they were having a Christmas lunch. I was invited to join them and to give them a Christmas message which was translated into Guajarati.
I shared with them my favourite Christmas word - Emmanuel - which means God with us and spoke of the reality of Jesus as God in human form, coming to earth to live among His people.
The food was great too, no roast turkey but a good selection of traditional spicy Indian dishes!

Christmas Assemblies

Well done to the church in Norwich who have made this parody of the John Lewis advert that reminds us that Christ is at the heart of Christmas.
We have been using this clip at the end of our Christmas assemblies in Manor High School this week along with this clip that reminds us of the true spirit of Christmas which can so easily get lost in the midst of all the trimmings of this season.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014


We launched IGNITE Sunday 30th November – IGNITE is a worship space for young people to connect with God in relaxed and relevant way, using modern worship songs, speaking on relevant topics and eating lots of pudding!
We had a brilliant time praising God, learning more about him and being encouraged in the value He places on our lives.

Watch this Space for the next one in the new year…we’d love to see you there.

All young people are welcome across Leicestershire and beyond and it’s free :)

So come and join us!

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Carol Singing at Sainsburys

We were invited to sing carols at Sainsburys again this year. Steve asked for singers to fill the place with joyous Christmas music. A group of thirty singers, plus some extra volunteers from the shoppers, sang it's way through the carol sheet twice! Many of us ran out of voice, particularly me! (to the relief of many!) We tried to give everyone who passed a chocolate from a Christmas selection box, but the shoppers kept dropping coins into the chocolate boxes! We had experienced this phenomenon last year and were not surprised. Steve will arrange for the proceeds to go to a local charity.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Christmas Is Coming – But What Does It Mean?

Christmas will soon be upon us – and we all love to celebrate Christmas. But what is its real significance? Who was Jesus? Early in the New Year we will be starting a new Alpha Course which gives the opportunity to discuss these and other aspects of the Christian faith. If you are interested – or even just curious, why not come for a taster to the Alpha Launch Event on Wednesday 7 January at 7.0 pm, entitled “Christianity: Boring, Untrue and Irrelevant?”

If you find the taster session interesting, the course will continue as follows:
Wed 14 Jan    Week 1 Who is Jesus?
Wed 21 Jan    Week 2 Why did Jesus Die?
Wed 28 Jan    Week 3 How can we have Faith?
Wed 4 Feb      Week 4 Why and how do I Pray?
Wed 11 Feb     Week 5 Why and how should I read the Bible
Wed 18 Feb  No meeting, Half term week and Ash Wednesday
Wed 25 Feb    Week 6 How does God Guide us?
Sat 28 Feb      Holy Spirit Day 10am – 3pm
Wed 4 Mar     Week 7 How can I Resist Evil?
Wed 11 Mar    Week 8 Why and how should I tell Others?
Wed 18 Mar   Week 9 Does God Heal Today?
Wed 25 Mar   Week 10 What about the Church?

All sessions of the course start at 7.0 p.m. and include a meal.

The Alpha course has been organised nationally, but we have found it of great value locally, here at St Paul’s, and over the years a number of people have found a personal experience of Jesus, through it.

Is it what you are looking for?

View the National Alpha website

A Film for Christmas

As the Christmas season gets into full swing at St Paul’s, on Sunday 14 December, at 7:00 p.m. we will be showing the film “The Nativity Story.” As the film has a PG certificate, this is the opportunity for all the family to remember the wonderful events of Christmas.

The film is 1hr 41 min long. It is directed by Catherine Hardwicke and stars Keisha Castle-Hughes. It should be a wonderful way to start Christmas. Tickets are £2 at the door and children go free. Everyone is very welcome. 

Monday, 24 November 2014

St Pauls and the Digital Age!

It is some five years since our last vicar, Simon Harvey, started this blog. Lou McGoldrick our Youth Worker and Priyanka Ferreira, our Church Intern, have now been working hard to increase St Paul’s presence on the Internet and in Social Media. See what their hard work has resulted in:

St Paul's Own Website

Thank you, so much, to Lou and Priyanka for all their hard work.

Off to Peru

Yesterday, St Paul's welcomed Layla and Katie, two students from Beauchamp College. In summer 2015, they are hoping to go to Peru with International Camps, working with the villagers there. In order to fund the project, they are having to raise the necessary money.

To this end, they had been busy baking, and at the end of the service they were selling their produce. This varied from delicious cakes to spicy onion bhajis. We wish them well, both in their fundraising activities and in the work that they eventually hope to do.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

St Paul's Christmas Fair

 Here are some photo's from our Christmas fair on Saturday 15th November

 Homemade cakes and homemade sweets!!
 Santa in his grotto!
Thanks to everyone for their hard work and to all who came. We raised just over £1,000 for Alzheimer's and Wishes for Kids.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

We Will Remember – and Give Thanks

Each year on Remembrance Sunday – the Sunday nearest to Remembrance Day (11 November), like most churches we hold a special service when we remember those who have died in war, give thanks and commit ourselves to work for peace.

This Remembrance Sunday, tomorrow, will be different inasmuch as it occurs in the year of the 100th anniversary of the start of that most bitter of wars, the First World War. We have invited people to come and complete a small form with details of all of their relatives who have fought in any war, whether they came home or not. These will be collected at the front of church, as we then give thanks for those individuals’ lives, their commitment to our society and, in some cases, their supreme sacrifice.

As we remember the suffering they experienced, we commit ourselves to work for peace, both by prayer and action. As people leave St Paul's, they will be given a small card, pictured above, to remind them of Jesus Christ who himself was the supreme sacrifice for us.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

The Bible Society

The Good Cause, to which St Paul’s donates, and which we are publicising this month, is the Bible Society – a society which was founded 210 years ago with the purpose of making the Bible available throughout the world.

As their website puts it: “The Bible is more than a book. It's full of human stories – of love, greed, joy, loss and passion. It's vital to our culture. It's part of the answer to the world's needs. It's cherished by billions of people around the world. It's more than a book. We'd love you to explore the Bible for yourself and see what we mean.”

That is equally the desire of St Paul’s – that people may explore the Bible and, through it, discover Jesus, who is ready to forgive our failings and bring us back to God the Father.

So, we are delighted to support the Bible Society as it helps to make Bibles available worldwide.

Welcome to Kim Ford at Great Glen

On Thursday, 30 October, the Revd Kim Ford was licensed as the new Priest in Charge of the Great Glen group of parishes. She was also licensed as “Team Vicar Designate of the Oadby Team” as it is intended to join Great Glen and Oadby in one team.

A number of people from St Pauls therefore joined the service at St Cuthbert’s, which was led by the Bishop of Leicester, Rt Revd Tim Stevens. Apart from people from the local parishes of Great Glen, Burton Overy, Carlton Curlieu and Stretton Magna, people came from Market Harborough, where she had served her Curacy, and there were members of her wider family.

The congregation made us very welcome, with a superb buffet afterwards.

We wish Kim God’s every blessing and pray that he may bless her ministry abundantly as the Kingdom of God grows in great Glen.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

FNY Neon Lights Party

We had an AWESOME time celebrating light and colour tonight at our Neon Light Party. We had loads of competitive games, eating challenges, indoor sledges, party food, flashy lights, party music and Goodie bags. We also had a video that reminded us that nothing can beat the light of Jesus and that is what we were celebrating, that even in the darkest times - Jesus shines brighter!  J
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
John 1:5

Friday, 31 October 2014

A real fun alternative

Halloween, The holy evening before All Saint’s day, has recently grown into a social event that mostly entertains and grossly misses the point. We as Christians have few expectations of the presence of evil spirits in any form coming to a party to haunt us! However the unknown can be a wonderful attraction especially when fright and horror are involved.

This evening a special party called Night Lights took place at St Pauls for primary kids and their Mums and Dads. Big cable drums rolled and candles were lit, some lanterns were made and many hot dogs devoured. It was an evening full of spectacular lights and shining fun. If you are under 10 and around next year come along! But let us know you are coming so that we can get Vivien cooking the bangers again!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

One Minute Sermon

Here is a great clip with a simple gospel message in a minute and a half.
Watch it here.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Aigburth – a Churches Together in Oadby Service

Over 60 people from different churches in Oadby met this evening for a combined service, held at the Roman Catholic Church. It was a service to celebrate the work of Aigburth – a local care home run by the Methodist Homes Association. The Revd Lindsay Pelloquin, chaplain of Aigburth led the service and introduced us to the home. The current home is a purpose-built design caring for elderly people both with and without dementia.

The service was based on the type of service regularly used at Aigburth. The hymns were led by a music group from the home. During the service a resident of the home spoke of what the home meant to him and how it provided for his spiritual, mental and social needs. Three of the staff also spoke of their different roles.

During the service we sang the hymn “let us build a house where love can dwell” as it was felt that its chorus was particularly relevant to Aigburth’s ethos: “All are welcome in this place.” The service concluded with a favourite song of the residents: “He’s got the whole world in his hands.”

Anyone who is able to help Aigburth in any way was encouraged to get in contact with the staff. The Mayor of Oadby and Wigston, Councillor Sarah Dickinson, whose charities for her year in office include dementia care, was present at the service.

It was good to know more of, and to be able to pray intelligently for, this local Christian resource.

Free to Read the Bible!

Today was Bible Sunday. At a time when numerous Christians, in many parts of the world, are being imprisoned for possessing Christian literature – particularly Bibles, it is right that we celebrate our freedom to read the written word of God.

We had a display of Christian literature provided by CLC, the Christian bookshop. Their manager told us that they hold nearly 200 different versions and presentations of the Bible – enough choice to satisfy most people! After the service, the congregation was free to examine and purchase from the selection that he had brought with him.

In his sermon, Steve spoke of how easy it is to discourage ourselves that we do not spend sufficient time in the undoubtedly important activity of reading our Bibles. Instead, Steve challenged us to set goals as to how frequently, and for how long, we want to read our Bibles, and he encouraged us to share our decisions with others.

May everyone who has undertaken this challenge be enabled to meet it!

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Bollywood comes to St Paul's

On Saturday evening our church was visited by a group of Bollywood Dancers. They demonstrated several dances and even the youngest member of the group, she was only 3 years old, was able to dance her way into the hearts of those watching. Everything was calm and relaxed  until... their leader invited everyone to learn some of the dances.
The energy and verve that was shown by everyone who got up to try was electric and occasionally amusing; everyone had a good time. Refreshments in the form of bhargees and samosas were served and followed by sweet cakes and desserts. An excellent opportunity to discover the joys of a different culture and try to follow dance moves that some of us were real beginners at!!!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Celebrating 50 years of Service

Today we took the opportunity to mark Dr. Keith Waddell's 50 years of service in Uganda and beyond. Keith is a gifted Opthalmologist who spends most of the year working in Africa with a brief visit back to the UK each summer. Yesterday a service of celebration was held in Mbarara Cathedral in recognition of Keith's work and today we were privileged to be able to contribute to his 'Fund for Disavantaged Youngsters'. This fund is aimed at educating orphans, children with disabilities and those from poorer families and some of Keith's current nursing team have come up through this scheme.                                                                                                                                                     
Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of

In this morning's Service we also focused on the work of Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), a Christian organisation that provides aviation, communications and learning technology in regions such as Africa, Asia, Eurasia and Latin America. Since Keith and his team frequently rely on MAF to fly them into inaccessible areas, it was good to be able to celebrate these two ministries which have brought such great benefits to so many people.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Coffeepot Harvest Lunch

Today's meeting of Coffeepot was special because we held our harvest Lunch. Some 60 slightly mature! people sat down to a lovely meal provided by Jenny, Gill and the team. The meal of soup, sandwiches and sweets was very well received and everyone left realising the goodness of what our God provides

. Over the year the group has raised over £500 and Chris Young of the RLNI was invited along to collect a cheque for that amount. She explained that the money would form the basis of a much larger collection to pay for a new boat. This will replace the Leicester Pride which is nearly 15 years old.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

St. Paul's Youth weekend away

This weekend we took 9 young people away from Tribe and FNY to the Harby Christian Centre for a time of fellowship, God time, fun and food!
We had 4 sessions looking at what God says about us, what he has done for us and the difference he can make in our lives. We also had football, basketball, volleyball, team games, challenges, a great British bake off competition, worship, prayer, music jam time, star gazing, time with friends, lots of food and a chance to get away from the pressures and challenges of life.
We all had an awesome time with the young people feeling that they had learned more about God and how loved and valued and amazing they are - and we couldn't ask for more than that! :) a huge thank you to the young people and leaders who made it possible. Bring on the next one! :) Lou.


Today at St Paul's we celebrated our Harvest Thanksgiving service.
As a sign of our gratitude for all the good things we have been given people brought gifts to give to those who are less fortunate than us. All the tinned and dried goods we collected today are to be given to Oadby Foodbank. The Foodbank has been up and running for about 4 months now and sees about 35 people on a fortnightly basis.
We give thanks for our daily bread and pray for those who don't have enough to eat.

Friday, 3 October 2014

New Programme of Main Services – October-December

The new programme of services for the final quarter of 2014 is now available. Details
As we journey through the last three months of the year, we complete our journey through the disciplines described by Richard Foster, in his book book "Celebration of Discipline."
Our vicar, Steve Bailey writes: "I hope and pray that through our focus on these disciplines you have been drawn deeper into your relationship with Christ."
This programme includes the special services of Harvest – on 17 October and Remembrance Sunday – on 9 November
And then, as Christmas approaches we come again to the familiar story of Christ's birth and remember that He is Emmanuel – God with us. There is Carols by Candlelight at 7.0 p.m. on Sunday 21 December and then Christmas services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 
We would love to meet you at any of these services – do come along!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

National Prayer School

There is a National Prayer School coming to Leicester in November.
Follow this link to find out more!

Monday, 29 September 2014

Welcome to the Mayor

Yesterday morning, Sunday 28 September, St Paul's was pleased to welcome Councillor Sarah Dickinson, the Mayor of Oadby and Wigston for the Annual Civic Service. As all the Guests, invited by Her Worship the Mayor, arrived, including the Borough Councillors, there was a display of gold chains such as St Paul’s had never seen before!

Apart from a late start (a move to 11 a.m.) the service followed our normal pattern with a mixture of hymns and modern worship songs.

Sarah Dickinson had chosen the theme of creation for the service and the theme of the wonder of God’s creation was echoed in the first reading, a Psalm. Our vicar, Steve Bailey, in his sermon explained how, sadly, we have often misused and abused the gift of creation and gone our own way – right from the earliest times.

But the Christian message is one of a God who forgives all those who turn to him.

It was Her Worship who read the second lesson, the parable of the three servants given some of their master’s wealth to use. Two received different amounts but used it well and were commended. The third was condemned for failing to use what they had. We were encouraged to use our gifts in the service of God and of the community.

The collection was for the mayor’s chosen charities, the Alzheimer’s Society and Wishes 4 Kids.

Everyone was invited to a meal that was held was held afterwards in the Barnabas Centre.

It was good that St Paul’s had been able to identify with our local community in this way. We wish the Mayor, Sarah Dickinson, every success in her year ahead.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Action Team Blog

One of our congregation, Becka Tincello, is just beginning a gap year with the Baptist Mission Society (BMS) as part of one of their Action Teams. Along with 3 others they will spend six months in Mozambique. Currently they are undertaking training in readiness for the trip.
You can read all about them and what they are up to on their blog.
We will keep Becka and the team in our prayers and look forward to hearing of their experiences on their return when they will visit St Paul's.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Manor Harvest Assemblies

This week Lou, our Youth Worker, and I are going into the local High School do take Harvest Assemblies. We have focused on the story of Cain & Abel, the sons of Adam & Eve, (see Genesis chapter 3).
At Harvest we offer our first and our best to God as a thank you for all he has provided for us. In the story Abel's offered some of his best but Cain gave less thought to what he brought to God. The spirit of comparison gets between them and leads to tragedy.
We have been encouraging the young people that they are all unique, special, made in the image of God and not to compare themselves to other. We have quoted Albert Einstein who said, 'Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.'
Ephesians 2.10 'For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advanced for us to do.'

Friday, 19 September 2014

Scotland decides

After the No vote result we continue to pray for Scotland, that the country would unite behind its decision and that there would be healing and reconciliation between the different groups.

See this statement from the Scottish Evangelical Alliance here.

Great British Bake Off

Martha Collison, at 17 is the youngest ever contestant on the Great British Bake Off. She is also a committed Christian who very open about her faith describing it as one of the main things that defines her as a person.

What a great example of someone who is open and willing to be known for who they are. Martha recognises that her faith is such Good News and that it is good news worth sharing.

'I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation.' Romans 1.16

See an interview with Martha here.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Scottish Referendum

In light of the forthcoming Scottish Referendum on the 18th September we held a Prayer Meeting on the evening of 14th September to pray for the Nation.

We prayed for Christians in politics and for the people of Scotland that they would make an informed decision as they vote. The Queen encouraged the Scottish people to 'think hard' as they vote and so we prayed for wisdom for all who will be voting on the 18th.

Thank you to Beryl for leading the evening and calling us all to pray for this important event.

Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship

On Saturday 13th September the Leicester Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship re-launched at its first meeting for a number of years.

The Evangelical Fellowship was welcomed by the Bishop, who spoke briefly on Colossians 3.12-17.

The morning was then led by Rodney Green, author of the book 90,000 hours, former Chief Executive of Leicester City Council and Trustee of Arocha International.

For more information about the DEF and to sign up to their mailing list click here.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Welcome Pryanka!

A new face around St Paul’s is that of Pryanka Ferreira. Pryanka has come as an “intern” to be involved in all aspects of our church’s life as she explores God’s purpose for her life in the future.

Priyanka was born in Daman in western India and left Goa to come to Highfields in Leicester with her family, when she was seven. She had drifted from her Christian roots until she came to faith in Christ while a Geography Student at the University of Stafford.

At present, Pryanka is going through the process of finding out “who is what” and “who does what” in our church as she tries to find out where she can be of most help.

Pryanka, we look forward to working with you, in Christ’s cause, in the future.

The invisible guest!

Several clergy from Leicester Diocese’s link diocese of Trichy–Tanjore in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, were invited to Leicester to take part in a Church Growth Conference. One of them, the Revd. Augusty Gnana Gandhi has been saying in this parish for the last week. He is the pastor of the Church of South India parish of Immanuel, Vellakoil. Vellakoil is a town of 40,000 people.

We had hoped to be able to show Augusty some of the sights of England this weekend and also to introduce him to the congregation of St Paul’s on Sunday, so that we might know more of the work of the Christian Church in South India and the challenges that he faces.

Sadly, he was laid low with a high temperature by an English virus and was confined to bed. We are sorry for what he and we missed. But we wish him a speedy recovery, a worthwhile remaining time in England, and a safe journey home.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Farewell Bonnie!

The Revd Bonnie Evans-Hills has been with us for four years as Curate of the Parish of Oadby. Although mainly based at St Peter’s, she has been a welcome friend when she has visited us for services at St Paul’s, most frequently for the Thursday Morning Communion. Now she’s moving on to become Interfaith Adviser to the Diocese of St Alban’s.

Today, she has been leading services at St Peter’s and at lunchtime we met together for a “Bring and Share Lunch” in St Peter’s Churchyard to say farewell. There was more food than anyone could eat.

Bonnie, your warm smile and friendship will be much missed. We wish you God’s every blessing in this next step of your calling.

Pauline Invasion of Hallaton!

The beautiful, picturesque, quiet, sleepy, South-east Leicestershire village of Hallaton was invaded by 30 members of St Paul’s yesterday, seeking answers to the dubious clues of their treasure hunt (“how many Almshouses are there in Hallaton?” There was much enjoyment and laughter as people made their way around the village.

Most people found some sort of answer to the majority of questions. (The winners were announced in church this morning.)

However well one did with the questions, there was no doubting the quality of both the food and fellowship in the meal that followed at the Fox Inn.

Many thanks are due to Paul Webster for all the time that he and Teri put into organising the event – even if, at timesp one was tempted to throttle Paul for the opaqueness of some of the questions!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Goodbye (for now) Rebecca!

Having completed her university studies, one of our young people, Rebecca Tincello, is departing for a six-month spell in Africa. Rebecca and three others will form a team that will work with the Mozambique Baptist Convention in their youth work, including Bible studies and running workshops on leadership, discipleship and teamwork etc. They may also be involved in sports activities, youth evangelism and social action.
They’ll be working with the local pre-school programme which provides a low-cost basic Christian-based education for pre-school children from poor communities. The team will also be involved in the daily life of the Kedesh Santuario orphanage, which is where they will be living. This will include supporting the education of the boys living there, farming and gardening and running sports and craft activities.
The climate will not be easy as it will be the warm wet season when temperatures will be 25°C to 40°C and, as the humidity will be high, it will be very sticky.
We wish Rebecca God's every blessing and look forward to getting news of work with a very different Christian community.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Tearfund - our Charity of the Month

Each month, St Pauls highlights one of the charities it supports (See the blog for 22nd July). This coming month it will be Tearfund (website). Tearfund is a Christian relief and development fund. Teafund responds to disasters and is a part of the Disasters Emergency Committee and it currently has appeals for Iraq and Gaza. However, it has a much wider vision. They say of themselves:

“We're Christians passionate about ending poverty”

We're following Jesus where need is greatest, working through local churches to unlock people's potential and helping them to discover that the answer to poverty is within themselves. When disasters strike, we respond quickly. We won't stop until poverty stops.

When a community lifts itself out of poverty, everything changes. Poverty does more than exhaust, starve, trap and kill people. It destroys their sense of worth, limits their horizons, robs people of the chance to reach their full potential. Tearfund’s call is to follow Jesus where the need is greatest. We long for new life and a new sense of worth for people. We do whatever it takes to end poverty and rebuild poor communities. 

We work through local churches, because they're Jesus’ body on earth, ready to care for the whole person - and the whole community - inside and out."

Our gifts will be put to good use. We pray that they will make a difference.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Water – No Water!

As we came to church last Sunday, we ran the gauntlet of the downpours that accompanied the tail end of hurricane Bertha. As a result, many of the congregation arrived at St Paul’s singularly soggy!

At the same time, more than 40,000 Yazidi refugees in northern Iraq were huddled at the top of Mount Sinjar, on a waterless plateau, in burning temperatures of over 40° C with no water to drink. Happily, some have now managed to avoid the militant “Islamic State” extremists and find refuge in Kurdistan. But there are many who are still trapped, dying for lack of water.

Water is the essence of life. Not for nothing did Jesus call himself, and the message he proclaimed, Living Water. We cannot live without physical water. But equally, life without Jesus is meaningless.

The rainstorm on the way to church, that we battled through last Sunday, may have been an inconvenience, but how much better than finding ourselves on an arid mountain top. May the Aid Agencies’ efforts and the water drops on Mount Sinjar by western aircraft, soon bring relief.

Hello and Goodbye!

We love seeing new faces at our service each Sunday. They come for different reasons. Some are enquiring to see if there is something in this Christian faith. Others are visiting families. Others are Christians who have moved to the area. Yet others are Christians whose work activities bring them briefly to Oadby.

One such is Tobi Muyiwa (extreme right in the photo) – tall dark and handsome (he knelt down for this photo), highly intelligent (a PhD in plasma physics) and a highly skilled drummer. Tobi hails from Manchester and is waiting for a visa as he is hoping to work in a university in the United States.

While he has been collaborating with colleagues in Leicester, he has been worshipping with us at St Paul's. We will be sorry to see him go, but wish him well in the next stage of his career. Our music group will miss his drumming and we will all miss his personality.

May God go with you, Tobi.

Sunday, 3 August 2014


Today, we began our new sermon series which will be lasting up to Advent. It is based on the chapter headings of Richard Foster’s classic devotional Christian book “A Celebration of Discipline” which we were encouraged to buy (it is also available on Kindle).

In the sermon today, Steve considered the subject of “meditation.” This is the first of four “inward” disciplines. Using the examples of Moses on Mount Sinai and Peter at Caesarea he showed the value of taking time to meditate on God and his will. He showed the difference between this and the Eastern religious meditations, such as yoga, where the desire is to escape from oneself, rather than to encounter God. We were encouraged to take time out to concentrate on God and sense his will.

The next discipline, to be considered in a fortnight’s time, is prayer. Most Christians would acknowledge its importance and yet find it difficult. If that is you, too, do come and join us on 14 August.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Season of Invitation

Season of Invitation have just released some training videos by Michael Harvey using some of the material from his training sessions. They are well worth a look and fit in well with our recent sermons on the theme of invitation as we get ready to invite people along through the autumn term. You can view them here. The 'What stops us from inviting' video is a good reminder and we are planning to use the 'Acorn' idea early in September.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Home Groups Benefit from Fine Weather!

St Pauls has eight Home Groups and two thirds of the congregation are members of one of them. These meet midweek for Bible study and prayer and pastoral support for the members. Many of them take a short break over the summer.

The one pictured here celebrated the break with a Barbecue before it broke up. It was a happy time for all present and the wonderful weather we are having at present contributed to its success.

We will be meeting up again in September.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Helping Hands

The charity which St Paul’s supports and which we feature this month is "Helping Hands."  The charity offers a free, individual, face to face, and confidential service to help people deal with financial problems, debts, employment, or housing. 

In particular, they assist and advise about Welfare Benefit applications, with form filling and letter writing. They provide help with utility bills, consumer issues and family law.

In their publicity to potential clients they say: ” We have recently developed an outreach service so we can represent you at Welfare Benefit appeals and Tribunals. We can also go to the homes of housebound people to help them to fill out Welfare Benefit applications and deal with debts etc. We offer a ‘one stop shop’ service, so we can, for instance, provide a full package of care and assistance to the victims of domestic abuse including housing, financial and legal help.

We are encouraging anyone with debt problems to seek our help at an early stage.  Please, don’t let your debts mount up, and find that your interest payments are getting out of control. Just seek our help.”

We pray for their work and for the team which offers consultation at the Trinity Methodist Church in Oadby.