Saturday, February 24, 2018

Contemplating art at the National Gallery

There is still space on the list for our Lent trips to the National Gallery to look contemplatively at some works of art there. Saturday March 3 or Wednesday March 7, meeting at Sevenoaks Station to leave on the 9.59 train on both days. We'll be finished by about 1- 1.30pm, and then you can either go straight back on the train or stay in London for lunch, or paint the town red, if you have the energy!

I've really enjoyed preparing these sessions, and I know, from our previous Lent trips to the British Museum and V&A that it will be  great fun to explore and learn together. Numbers are limited to 15 on each trip, so let me know as soon as possible if you'd like to join us. There's plenty of space left for Saturday, but just a few places left on Wednesday. The trip's open to anyone who wants to come - and you don't need to be an art expert to enjoy it! There's no charge  - you just have to pay for your own rail ticket to get there.
Let me know if you'd like to join us.

Coming to our senses - Week One - Sight

Weekend – In the Church

Spend some time in church over the weekend, either at a service or on your own.

·         Look around you. What can you see that helps you focus on God? 
·         What are the visual elements of the church which make it special and different from any other building you use?
·         If the church is familiar to you, are there parts of it you haven’t really looked at? Explore a bit and see what is there.
·         If you usually sit in the same place, try sitting somewhere else (radical suggestion!). How does it change your experience of worship?
·         Are there things you see in church which distract you from worship or sadden you? 

Here are some links to handouts to help you explore Seal Church. 
Printed versions are available in church

Holy Ground - a prayer walk around Seal Church

Remember Me - a prayer walk around the memorials in Seal Church.

Church Trail

Children's Church Trail


Friday, February 23, 2018

Coming to our senses - Week One - Sight

Friday – In the Bible          Read Luke 19.1-10

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax-collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycomore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.’ So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, ‘He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.’ Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, ‘Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.’


Imagine yourself in this story. Perhaps you are Zaccheus, who longed to “see who Jesus was” but, being small, had to climb a tree to see over the heads of the crowd. Perhaps you are one of the crowd, who have always “seen” Zaccheus as a traitor and a thief, since he is a tax collector who collaborated with the Romans. Perhaps you are one of the disciples watching as Jesus “sees” Zaccheus as precious and beloved, someone who God cares about.

·         Visualise the scene. Try to see it in your imagination as vividly as you can. What can you see to your left and right, straight ahead of you? What is the weather like? Where are you standing?
·         Let the story unfold in your imagination. What does Jesus say and do? How do others respond?


·         What does it feel like to be part of this story?

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Coming to our senses - Week One - Sight

Thursday – In the News

Watch the news, or be aware of the news photos in the paper or on the internet.

  • Which images catch your attention? Why?
  • Which images stick in your mind?
  • If you were one of the people in the images you see, what would the world look like to you? What would be the sights you would see in your daily life? 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Coming to our senses - Week One - Sight

Spend some time today people watching, and look more carefully at the people you meet (without staring, obviously – that would probably creep them out!)

  • Do they look harassed, contented, happy, sad? How do you know?
  • Pray for those you see as you go about your daily life, especially for those who often go unnoticed – the person at the supermarket checkout, the cleaner, the utility worker…
  • Are there people who you find it hard to look at – the beggar on the street or the colleague or neighbour you have fallen out with?
  • Do you, or someone you know, have problems with their eyesight. What impact does it have on daily life? What might help to make life easier?


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Coming to our senses - Week one - Sight

Tuesday – Home

  • How do you feel about the way your home looks?
  • Are there things in it which bring you particular joy to look at?
  • Are there things you see in it which make you feel unhappy or frustrated?


Find some place in your home where you can feel at peace, some corner that is just for you (This may be a challenge if you share your home with others!) Maybe there is a place in your home where you pray, reflect or read, or can just sit quietly with a cup of tea.


Find something to put in this space which will help you to reflect. It could be as simple as a postcard you like, a shell or other natural object or a candle. Create a little focus for reflection which you can come back to as often as you like. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Coming to our senses - Week one - Sight

Week One - Sight

Monday – Nature

Take a walk or sit somewhere outside where you can see some grass, trees, growing plants, birds or animals – a garden, a park, a churchyard, or just somewhere with a view of the countryside. Look around you. Don’t analyse or think. Just look.

  • ·         What can you see?
  •  ·         Imagine describing what you see to someone who couldn’t see it. What would you tell them about it?
  •  ·         What delights you about what you see?
  • ·         Is there anything which saddens you in what you see?
  • ·         What do you want to say to God about what you see?

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Lent 2018



God saw what he had made and behold, it was very good.” Gen 1.

God made us as physical beings, and blessed what he had made.  Bodies matter, and our senses are very important parts of our bodily existence. Our senses are the gateways which bring us information about the world around us. Through them, we “make sense” of what is happening around us and to us, our place in the world and our relationships with others.                                                      

Senses can be fragile and fallible, however. Most people at some point, and some people permanently, have problems with one or more of their senses. Senses often change as we age, and can be affected by illness or disability. Even if they are perfect, we may not always pay attention to them as we should. 

During Lent this year, we'll be focusing on exploring our faith through the five senses. 

There will be two discussion groups - on Monday evenings (8-9.30pm from Mon 19th Feb) and Wednesday mornings (10.30-12noon from 14th Feb) in the vicarage. The Wednesday session is now full - plenty of space on Monday evenings though! 

There will also be a series of daily suggestions for reflection or action, here on the blog. There will be one each weekday and another to consider over the weekend,  which will help us to tune “the five-stringed harp” as Celtic Christians called the senses, so that we can be more awake to God’s presence and his love in our daily lives. We’ll be looking at how our senses can help us find God at work in nature, at home, in others, in the news, in the Bible and in church. The reflections are timed to start on the Monday of the week after Ash Wednesday (Monday 19th Feb) , but you can read them at any pace which suits you. 

You can also join us for one of two trips to the National Gallery in London, on Saturday March 3, or Wednesday March 7, to take a reflective look at some paintings there.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

February news from Rochester Diocese


For a printable version which can be pinned to your noticeboard, please click here

Thursday 1 February, 2018

Welcome to the February edition of Rochester Diocese's monthly e-newsletter. 

News in Brief

Your stories from around the Diocese
Online disability forum gets 'real'
A young parishioner has held the first 'real-world' event for an online disability network               he has founded for Medway. Read more
Trust celebrates saint's day
A successful Church of England Multi Academy Trust gets festive over its patronal feast. Read more
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Building interfaith friendships in Bexley
New interfaith forum launches to grow friendships and greater understanding across the faith traditions. Read more
'Generous' welcome in Chatham
The Vicar and Mission Leader for Chatham, speaks about the exciting vision for the disused St. John's Church in a new series of Diocesan podcastRead more
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Diocesan Update
All you need to know this month from the Diocese and National Church

New Youth Fund now open!
Originally announced at the Called Together launch in November we're delighted to announce the new Youth Fund is now open for applications! Full details about how to apply can be found here.
New online Diocesan course directory 
A huge variety of courses are offered throughout the year in the Diocese for clergy and laity alike. This new online booklet offers a one-stop-shop, allowing you to quickly see what courses are available and who they are suited to. Additions and updates will be added each month, so do keep checking back. A permanent link will also be added to subsequent editions of the e-newsletter. 
Called Together Roadshows
Our three Called Together Roadshows are now ready to hit the road and are coming to an Archdeaconry near you. It's your chance to hear first-hand about the vision and what it means to you. Come with your questions as well as meet local organisations in the 'market-place'.

Click one of the dates below to register your interest in attending:
  • 25 February Tonbridge Archdeaconry  2pm-5pm, Trinity School, Sevenoaks
  • 3 March Bromley & Bexley Archdeaconry 10am-1pm, St Olaves' School Orpington 
  • 10 March Rochester Archdeaconry 10am-1pm, St John's Centre, Meopham 
  • GDPR We've created a new page for information about GDPR. Take a look.
  • Thy Kingdom Come -  It's been a busy time for the Thy Kingdom Come team, with official launches for the main event in May now having taken place.  In this video, the Archbishop of Canterbury talks about the aims of this global movement of prayer and how people can get involved.

Resources

Top resources to support you in your work, life and faith - or just to share with others.
Prison Hope
Prison Hope is a year of focus on prisons for churches in 2018. A collection of 40 testimonies from prisoners, ex-prisoners and prison chaplains has been compiled into a booked called 40 Stories of Hope.  An ideal accompaniment for Lent, readers can explore how all can find hope in Jesus, no matter who they are. With a foreword from the Archbishop of Canterbury visit cwr.org.uk/40stories for details and to order copies.
 
#LiveLent
This national resource has now gone live. With an accompanying book, downloadable resources for individuals and church groups, as well reflections that can be received daily as a text, or via Facebook and Twitter, there are lots of ways to get involved
Give up slavery for Lent
An interesting idea here from The Clewer Initiative - a Lent Challenge to #giveupslavery. Remove the goods, products or services from your life that are touched by slavery.  Resources and daily reflections are available. Don't forget we have a number of Modern Slavery events taking place as part of Hope 2018 too.

Forthcoming Events and Training

  • Leaflet Drop - Zero Tolerance To Loan Sharks: Thursday 8 February, Chatham High Street: Part of the Hope 2018 series of events, all are invited to lend their support for Zero Tolerance To Loan Sharks by joining this leaflet drop to raise awareness and signpost people to help. From 12 noon to 1.30pm, High Street in/outside the Baobab Centre and Bookshop. More details email caroline.clarke@rochester.anglican.org                      

  • Modern Slavery Training with the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, Tuesday 20, St Benedicts Centre, 9.30am to 1pm: Learn what kinds of modern slavery happen in the UK, how to can spot the signs, and who you should report your concerns to.  A pack of learning materials will be given to all who attend. To book please click here

  • All Age Worship, 13 March 9.30am – 3pm, St. Benedicts Centre. Led by Rev Jane Hulme. Is it possible to create a meaningful and engaging All Age Worship Service that will enable all generations to come together to worship God?

  • Space for God, 19 March 9.30am - 1pm, St George’s Weald. This session will help you explore silence and how to use it for prayer. There will be some input and time to explore silence together. Led by Susanne Carlson.  Book here 

Vision and Aims

Grow: Children and young people - Through our new vision, we seek to offer life-enhancing encounters with Christ to children and young people
  • Watch:  A film with Cheryl Trice, Diocesan Children & Youth Work Adviser, offering a snapshot of the benefit youth work is bringing across our parishes.
  • Youth Council -  Did you know we have a Youth Council?  Read what they had to say about their hopes for the future of the Church locally. If you know a young person who might like to become a member contact the Children and Young people team Find out more here
Vacancies and appointments
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Monday, January 29, 2018

Great fun at Messy Church

Some photos from yesterday's Messy Church, on the theme of houses and building. It was Homeless Sunday yesterday, so it seemed a good moment to think about what homes mean to us. We built with all sorts of things. We made some big cardboard box houses and decorated them, and some welcome banners to take home. We also made "gnome homes" out of paper cups, and a mobile with four different habitats and the creatures that live in them. The next Messy Church is on Good Friday, March 30th, in church from 10 -11.30am. 




Building with home made cardboard building shapes. Great fun, but quite wobbly!
That's one way of make the building more stable!





Welcome banners

Habitat making. 




The basic structure is made from four paper plates cut and folded, then stapled together. 

Love your "gnome home" Ali!
Anyone home?