Monday, September 26, 2016

Seasonal fun at Messy Church for Harvest







We made pictures of the four seasons to display in church for our Harvest Festival next week. This is spring .
"Summer" involved handprints...



"Autumn" gives lots of opportunity for really messy gluing. 





"Winter" is coming along nicely.

Sometimes just gluing is fun...

The shakers were a great success, and added to our music.We worshipped in the vicarage garden.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

The departure of the Queen of Sheba

The Old Testament reading set for morning prayer this morning was the story of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. (1 Kings 10)
I couldn't resist posting a poem I wrote a while back about this story, focusing not the arrival of the Queen, which Handel's famous music celebrates, but her departure. She came to find out what the fuss about Solomon's wisdom was all about (fame due to the Lord, says the Bible very clearly!) and was duly impressed by it. But at the end she went home - and maybe put some of that wisdom in to practice. We're often tempted to hang around people who we think have all the answers, rather than taking away the lessons and applying them in our own lives. It takes someone with a real sense that she has her own calling and her own life to lead (and her own nation to govern) to have the strength to go home! Anyway, that's what struck me when I wrote this....

The Departure of the Queen of Sheba

Odd – perhaps not? – that Handel should hymn your arrival,
all hustle and flurry,
spreading of treasures and doors flung wide,
when all the time the true surprise
is not that you arrived, but that you left.

You left this man
for whom unnumbered women gave their eye teeth,
and much more besides.
You left this man
- astonishing in his glory,
like no other king on earth –
though legends say that you and he were more than friends.

You left him.
Packed your bags,
rolled your silks,
furled your banners,
closed the palace doors behind you.

This is truly music-worthy.
You went home.
Only one who rules her own land
would have had the nerve.


Anne Le Bas. 1999

Friday, September 02, 2016

September news from Seal Parish Church

Seal Church's September Parish mag is here....

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/59103132/magazine.pdf

As you will see, there is plenty going on this month - a Musical Matinee on Sept 17, our Scarecrow competition in the run up to Harvest, the annual Ride and Stride on Sept 10, Messy Church AND Choral Evensong on Sept 25.

Many of our regular activities also resume this month after the summer break.

Sunday School takes place this Sunday morning (4 Sept)  at 10 am in the vicarage.

Our first choir practice is this Wednesday (Sept 7) at 7.30pm - new voices are always welcome. Some ability to read music helps, but please don't be put off if you can't - you will soon pick it up! If you enjoy a good sing, why not come along and give it a try?

Wednesday Church at Seal School begins again on 14 Sept at 3.45 pm. We meet in the mobile classroom to the left of the main building for a very informal and child friendly service with Bible story, chat and prayer. Everyone is welcome, whether or not you have a child at Seal School.

Singing Starters continues to meet on the third Sunday of each month at 11.15am after our All Age Worship - simple songs and musical activities for small children and their carers.

Good Book Club is on Wed Sept 7 at 11 am in the vicarage - a very informal chance to chat about the Bible - and there are two home groups, including a new day time group. You can find details of these in the newsletter.

The bellringers have also told me that they are looking to recruit more ringers, so if this is something you have always fancied having a go at, get in touch and find out more.

As always, all our activities are open to everyone, and you will be made very welcome.


September news from Churches Together in Kent

In the first of a short series, Rev. Stuart Davison, Regional Minister and Team Leader for the South East Baptist Association offers this month's theological reflection.

Up a tree…


Maybe the wrong tree!

A Council has been accused of wasting £100,000 when it imported trees from Italy to create a boulevard – which promptly withered and died.

The trees had to be replaced with European Acers, a type of Sycamore.

Next month I shall again be in Israel/Palestine. Once more I shall look at the Sycamore-fig tree in Jericho and wonder how old it is. At the time of Jesus the tree would have been outside the town and Zacchaeus would have run ahead of the crowd in order to climb up it and get a look at Jesus.

He was an outsider who would have risked life and limb if he had mixed in with the crowd; a despised person who worked for the occupying forces; an oppressor of the people. So he did two things a Jewish man normally wouldn’t do – he hitched up his robes and ran and he climbed a tree – and that’s where Jesus found him. And the people of the town would have expected Jesus to mock him. But Jesus didn’t. He reached out to this outsider.

Earlier, on the way into the town, Jesus had another encounter. This time it was with another outsider but this time he was one oppressed – a blind man named Bartimaeus. Again the crowd’s expectations of Jesus weren’t realised: he reached and healed the man.

In the aftermath of Brexit we need to remember we follow One who met with and offered hope and life to the oppressed and the oppressor, the outsiders whether inflicted by others or self-inflicted, turning both their lives around.

Rev. Stuart Davison


#Just1Thing Exhibition in Dover

If you had to leave your home, what one thing would you take? That is one of the questions being asked by an exhibition of photos, artwork and video animations created by asylum seekers and refugees on display at St. Mary’s Church in Dover.

Running until the 10 September, it's been compiled by two local charities: Kent Refugee Action Network (KRAN); and Samphire, a Dover-based charity working to support former immigration detainees and promote good relations between migrants and local communities.

There is a chance to learn more about the experience of refugees at a facilitated session with volunteers from the two charities on Wednesday 7 September 11am to 1pm. Do drop in if you can. Find out more here.



Positions vacant

A number of job vacancies with closing dates in September have come to our attention. Please share with those you think would be interested.
  • Family Trust in Maidstone are looking for a Children’s/Schools Worker, full or part-time. Salary £16 – 18,000 P/A Pro Rata, to be based in Maidstone.  For more information contact Alex Clark on alex@familytrust.org.uk.  Closing date 16th September.
  • Guildford Baptist Church are looking for a Part Time Youth Worker, 22 hours a week. Applications close on the 19th August.  For more information contact Chris Toms on 01483 575008 or office@guildfordbaptist.org 
  • The Charterhouse is an almshouse based near the Barbican, providing residential care to a community of elderly gentlemen since 1611. They are seeking an exceptional individual to lead their ancient and highly-regarded charitable foundation through to 2020 and beyond. The closing date for applications is Friday 30th September. For a full job description visit their website or contact  Giles Jones at giles@hruk.com
     



Speak Up! Christian Aid Week of Action

Join Christian Aid and the Climate Coalition for the Speak Up week of action from 8-16 October. Last year over 10,000 people from around the UK came together to Westminster to meet with their MPs and speak up for what they loved This year, Christian Aid are inviting communities to engage their MPs in a local event to bring climate-change back to the top of the political agenda. For resources on how to involve you church and how to arrange an event in your constituency visit the Speak Up website.
 

Christians uniting for Creationtide

Christians around the world, and from every denomination, are being encouraged to engage with the World Day of Prayer for Creation and the Season of Creation that follows it. Running from 1 September until 4 October every year, Creationtide is originally an Eastern Orthodox initiative, but has now spread widely among Anglican, Roman Catholic and Protestant congregations, bringing Christians together to pray and work for the protection of the environment that sustains everyone.

The Church of England has commended a set of liturgical resources for the occasion, and a prayer has been published by a trio of pan-European church bodies for Christians to join in praying together during the season.  



Independent Living Advice Service

The Royal British Legion have relaunched their Independent Living Advice Service. They have several specialists who focus on particular issues that can trouble veterans and their families in the communities. Sally Shopland is the Independent Living Advisor for the South East and would be willing to speak to any churches about the service which may help elderly veterans in their congregations. For more details please contact Sally Shopland on sshopland@britishlegion.org.uk or 0808 802 8080



URC Retreats Fellowship - Final Quiet Day of 2016

The Retreats Fellowship of the United Reformed Church, Southern Synod will be holding a Quiet Day on Saturday 1 October 10am to 4pm. Taking place at Swanley URC, High Street, Swanley BR8 8AT, it is open to all who want to deepen their relationship with God through prayer, reflection and silence and who would value the encouragement of others. The cost is £8 (bring packed lunch, drinks provided)

For further details contact:
John Gordon 01323 845380 revjohngordon@btinternet.com
Kathy Shaw 01322 557 656 kathy.shaw316@btinternet.com
Ken Lynch 01243 862801 kenneth@lynches.org.uk


Get 'on yer bike' and raise funds for your church!
The annual Ride and Stride fundraising event takes place on Saturday 10 September. You can raise money for your local church building just by riding, or walking around Kent and enjoying the late summer sunshine. Friends of Kent Churches have created this lovely film which gives you all the information you need about why this is such a useful cause. There is still time to get involved Sign up here, either as a church or as an individual!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sermons from St Peter & St Paul, Seal, Kent: Trinity 13: Sabbath holiness

Sermons from St Peter & St Paul, Seal, Kent: Trinity 13: Sabbath holiness: Isaiah 58.9-14, Luke 13.10-17 I wonder what your feelings are about Sundays, the Christian Sabbath? It might depend on your age. In t...

Didn't we have a lovely day....?

We had a great parish outing to Hythe and Dymchurch last Thursday. About 40 of us went. The sun shone and everyone had a great day. Some went on the Hythe and Dymchurch railway, others explored Hythe or spent time on the beach. Many thanks to Marion Gilchrist, who masterminded the trip, and to all who came. 
Hythe Beach - still a working fishing beach.


Cheers!

Somewhere out to sea, some of our children are enjoying the water! I just stuck to paddling....

What would a seaside trip be without an icecream?
St Leonard's Hythe was a fascinating church to visit. It has an ossuary in the crypt, a place where bones were stored. It used to be a normal practice before the Reformation to disinter bodies when the flesh had disappeared and store the bones seperately.  A very knowledgeable volunteer guide talked about the bones on display, and what they told scientists about the lives, and deaths, of those whose bones they were.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

August News from Churches Together in Kent



Kent Workplace Mission is run ecumenically by a dedicated group of Christians who are committed to living out Christian discipleship in the workplace. The charity provides chaplains in the workplace to help people who don't normally go to church to explore the spiritual side of life. Hear some of the stories from those who receive ministry from chaplains across Kent. For more information about KWM, or to request a speaker, visit the website.

Here is a joint statement from the Presidents of Churches Together in England, following the murder of Fr Jacques Hamel in Rouen. Here is also a statement and advice regarding security of churches from the deputy commissioner of police.  

Various church leaders have offered responses and theological reflections following on from the European Union referendum. Read some of them here .


Porchlight is a Kent-based charity supporting around 5000 homeless and vulnerable people a year. we work closely with several of the church based winter shelters supported by churches. We would love to visit your church and give a talk at one of your services to let you know more about our work and the people we support in your local area. To arrange this, please email Kate Boulding, Community Fundraising Officer, at kateboulding@porchlight.org.uk

Ride and Stride is almost upon us. Friends of Kent Churches gives grants for the upkeep of churches buildings of historic interest. You can raise money for your local church fabric too. Just by riding your bike around Kent and enjoying a late summer's day.  Ride and Stride will be on Saturday 10th September. Sign up here, either as a church or as a cyclist!

Starting University? Youth from your church looking to connect? There are two Christian organizations working in UK universities, who offer opportunities to connect.
Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship and the Student Christian Movement.

Domenica Pecararo is the new Kent Refugee Project Officer for the Canterbury Diocese. She is to be a key person in the churches' response to refugee issues in the county: from unaccompanied minors, through issues with folk coming in through the port of Dover, to our interaction with the Jungle around Calais. Read the Church Times interview here. Domenica doesn't start until September, but any messages for her can be sent to the Diocesan Communities anad Partnership team.
Change the Story.   Today, one in every 113 people in the world is a refugee.  We want to tell a story that upholds those escaping injustice and war, and that celebrates those who offer a welcome.  We believe we are all created equal with the image of God within us. We stand for a UK that refuses to turn a blind eye to the suffering of people seeking sanctuary.
Join us in changing the story around refugees: write to your local newspaper and tell them that refugees deserve to be treated with dignity and compassion.

Germinate! is a conference of the Rural Group of Churches Together in England. Much of Kent is quite rural, outside the main towns. If you are involved in rural ministry, this one day conference might well be of interest to you. Happening on 15th October. There is a more intensive programme for those involved in leading rural churches. Please pass the email on to others who may be interested.
 

The Joint Public Issues Team, representing the Baptist Union, Methodist, URC, Quakers and Church of Scotland are asking people to write to their MPs to voice their opposition to Trident, saying it is unwarranted and unethical. More info here.

Next year is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Will you mark this in your community? Churches Together in Kent will be holding a commemoration of the events of the Reformation, together with a celebration of our common life, some time in 2017. Watch this space...
 

Chris Ruddle, the County Ecumenical Officer for Kent who usually puts together this email, will be on sabbatical leave from 7th August to 7th November. In his absence if you have any enquiries for Churches Together in Kent, please direct them to Canon  Caroline Pinchbeck. If your enquiry is about the Newspoint email, please send to Jennifer Ross.
With grateful thanks to the Canterbury Diocese for plugging the gap during the sabbatical. I would value your prayers for this time of rest and reflection.
See you in November!
Chris.