Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rochester Spirituality Network: At foot speed

Here's a link to a post I wrote for another blog I maintain: Rochester Spirituality Network: At foot speed: "'Slow down, you move too fast; you gotta make the morning last...' sang Simon and Garfunkel in the 1960's. Life seems to have got even faste..."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It's your calling

The message below came from Revd Mark Griffin, advertising the Diocese's vocations days. These are times when anyone thinking they might want to explore any sort of ministry - lay or ordained, within the church or beyond it - can come along to find out more. They are well worth attending if you want to get more involved in the church's life. Contact details for applying for a place are at the end of the message.

There are two more It’s Your Calling days coming up over the next few months – Saturday, 30 April at St Justus, Rochester and Saturday, 11 June at St Mary’s, Shortlands. Both days run from 9.30-3.30 and are free of charge.

An It’s Your Calling day is designed for anyone who is interested in looking at their gifts and where might God be calling them to use those gifts. The spectrum of people attending is from those who are exploring a particular ministry to those who simply want to find out more, and the day offers opportunities to meet others who are on a similar journey and to reflect together.

Everyone who comes on an IYC is recommended by their incumbent to be there, so the Vocations Team are encouraging clergy to encourage members of their congregations to come along to one of the days. Feedback from previous days has been very good and many ministries in the Diocese have been nurtured through an It’s Your Calling day.

Growing ministries is vital for the future health of the Church; please think seriously about those you know who are keen to find out more, especially if they are considering training for lay ministry.

Following these two days, the next Its Your Calling will not be until November 2011.

For a booking form please contact the Training Department on 01634 560000 or email training@rochester.anglican.org"

Monday, March 21, 2011

Rochester Cathedral Evensong April 16 3.15pm

Seal Choir will be singing Evensong at Rochester Cathedral on Saturday 16th April at 3.15pm (not 3.30pm as I stated in the pew leaflet this week). It would be lovely if some of the congregation came to support them and share in the worship on this special occasion.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Getting busy for Lent...

Cycling through the village on Saturday I caught sight of some familiar figures hard at work in a front garden in Bentley's Meadow. It was Kevin Bright and his squad of volunteers helping to tidy up the garden of one of the residents . I'm sure it helped that it was a beautiful spring day, but they all looked as if they were enjoying themselves, and I was really pleased to receive an email later that day from the man whose garden they had been working in, wanting me to pass on his thanks. Attached were some photos he'd taken which he said I could share here. "Please would you extend to Kevin and his group my sincerest thanks for all their hard work and let them know how appreciative I am of their efforts. " he added. I am very happy to do so. Thanks for organising this, Kevin - a very worthwhile Lent activity.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Anglican Church in Japan asks for our prayers

Clergy in the diocese were forwarded a message today from the Anglican church in Japan. I have pasted the letter below, which perhaps gives us a little window into the situation there. As you will see at the end, we are asked to pray for all the people of Japan at this terrible time.

A Statement from the Archbishop of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (The Anglican Communion in Japan) The Most Revd Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu

14 March, 2011
On the 11th of March at 2:46pm, the biggest earthquake ever to hit Japan struck just off the coast of the Tohoku region. This caused a tsunami and fires that brought massive devastation to a very wide area. This unimaginably strong earthquake triggered an explosion at the Fukushima No.1 nuclear reactor. The people living in the area around that and the No. 2 reactor have been evacuated. The stories and images constantly broadcast by the media have left people lost for words, unable to describe the sheer scale of the unbelievable devastation caused by the earthquake, tsunami and fires.
We see homes devastated, whole towns that were swallowed by the tsunami, and houses that continue to burn because fire fighters are unable to reach both the properties and the people who were the victims of this catastrophe. With hearts filled with grief and helplessness we see people who are mourning their lost loved ones and others who search tirelessly for missing family members. There are so many who have lost their homes and possessions. Towns and villages were obliterated by the tsunami, everything was gone in a second.

Since the earthquake the Provincial office has worked very hard to find out about the people and the churches in Tohoku diocese. However, we could neither contact them by phone nor email. Only yesterday were we able to start to see a picture of the devastation in the affected areas. I had been most concerned that I could not contact the Bishop of Tohoku diocese [The Rt Revd John Hiromichi Kato], but on Saturday he rang me and I was able to find out more about what had happened to the churches in Sendai City.

Bp Kato explained that he himself had not been able to find out much about the other churches in the diocese of Tohoku. This was largely due to the fact that neither power supplies nor telephone lines had been restored in areas most badly hit by the tsunami. There is particular concern for two churches: Isoyama St Peter’s Church in Fukushima Prefecture and Kamaishi Shinai Church and the kindergarten in Iwate that were close to the sea. Priests have been frantically trying to confirm that their parishioners are safe. We also know that it is not only Tohoku diocese that has been affected, some churches in Kita Kanto diocese have been reported to have been damaged also.

Sendai Christchurch (the Cathedral church) is badly damaged and yesterday, while there were still so many aftershocks, the church carried out their first Sunday after Lent service in the diocesan office.
In many affected areas there are roadblocks but as for Tohoku diocese the church is planning to establish an emergency relief centre within the diocesan building. Bishop Kato will lead the efforts to respond to the crisis.

At a Provincial level I am working to establish a structure for responding to this unprecedented natural disaster as soon as possible. This will include providing relief and sourcing volunteers and funding to help with the restoration of the affected areas. I am also trying to find more accurate information about our church family and the relief efforts, and to communicate that information as quickly as possible.

What we can do right now, however, is pray. Prayer has power. I hope and request that you pray for the people who are affected, for those who have died and for their families. Pray for the people involved with the rescue efforts, and in particular pray for Tohoku and Kita Kanto dioceses and their priests and parishioners during this time of Lent.
I am grateful for all the many prayers and messages of support from throughout the world; from the Archbishop of Canterbury and other Churches.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

How to get more young people into church

I very much enjoyed the post which I have linked to below from the Bishop of Arizona, in which he shares a list of tips for "getting young people into church" written by a young Episcopal Church chaplain. In celebration of our own young people at Seal (of whom there are a healthy number, and who are very keen and faithful) I share it with you.

If you want to know what the secrets are, this is the link...