Rectors Letter, February

Dear Friends

2014 is going to be a year of change. It will certainly be so for Simon and Ruth, for Tim and Beth (though please try not to mention this to their children yet), and for Bob Banfield, and there will be changes in our CAP centre team. I shall be away on Extended Ministerial Development Leave (Sabbatical) before long. We hope to receive some new bells at St. John’s, and encase the tower in scaffolding to begin the stonework repairs. Our JY-14 mission will take place in November.

Scooby-Doo would say: ‘Yikes!’ because it sounds like too much is going to be happening all at once. Scooby-Doo should read the psalms and learn that potentially overwhelming situations should drive us back to rely on God all over again. Here’s a good thing to cry out to him: ‘But I pray to you, O Lord, … do not let me sink’ (Psalm 69:13-14). That sounds like Peter reaching out for Jesus in the waves of doubt, and Matthew 14:31 says: ‘Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him’.

Change can be unsettling, and we should pray for those leaving and those staying, that we will all know God’s peace in a year of change, and know that he is with us and will continue to use us. His promises hold true.

I am specially thankful for the period of Sabbatical that is approaching for me. Sabbath (for the Old Testament Jews) was about rest and about God. I hope that my time away will reflect those priorities too, and give me fresh ideas and energy in his service and yours. Some have kindly said: ‘Well, James, you’ve earned it.’ But the truth is that it is a gift of grace, and none of us earns any good thing from God: but when he delights to give good things, our response is to receive them with gratitude.

Please keep praying for the work of the gospel to move forwards in these coming months. Our mission is now only about nine months away, and we need to keep praying for our non-Christian friends, inviting them to church or other events, and speaking to them about the saving love of the Lord Jesus. Evangelism is a scary word, but it is a Christian duty, which, like prayer, frequently becomes a joy when we actually do it.

Thank you all for your partnership in the gospel (Philippians 1:5), and I look forward to catching up with you all again at the start of June.

This comes with all my best wishes. Have a good Lent, a happy Mothering Sunday, a ridiculous April Fools’ Day, a holy Good Friday, a very joyful Easter, an uplifting Ascension Day, and I’ll see you for Pentecost! – James.

Rector’s Letter, December

Dear Friends

Part of the excitement and anticipation of Christmas is the rush of preparations. Send the cards, buy the presents, decorate the house (and garden?), set the digi-box, lay the table, and check the timer on the oven. There’s lots to remember and a lot that could go wrong, but that’s all part of the fun. Or maybe you are someone who groans at the thought of it all.

Either way, the example of Jesus’ mother is a good one. We are told that she ‘treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart’ (Luke 2:19). We must be meant to notice this, because Luke tells us the same thing again in verse 51. She treasured up the events of her son’s birth, meaning that she kept hold of them closely, not forgetting them but holding them dear and delighting in them. She pondered them in her heart, meaning that she continued to wonder at them, reflect on them, and allow them to inspire love and worship within her.

Jesus is the Messiah or Christ, born to fulfil all the ancient and wonderful promises of God. Jesus is King, born to extend God’s loving rule over his world. Jesus is Saviour, born to die for our sins and rescue us from a godless eternity. Jesus is shepherd, friend, brother, and judge, the beginning and the end; he is my Lord and my God (see John 20:28).

The birth of this Jesus is to be treasured up inside you and held most precious. We set aside a time in our calendar to remember this – let’s not be distracted by happy or not-so-happy rushing around. And the birth of this Jesus is to be pondered in our hearts. The big questions of life flit around the manger like moths at a lightbulb; they need our attention, and we must not fail to ponder, to reflect and think about it, while there is yet light.

How will you do that during this Christmas season? May I suggest three very obvious answers? They are obvious to say, but not always really done. First, read about it. Read the bible accounts of Jesus’ birth, and marvel afresh at those events of our history. Second, pray. You can truly pray to Jesus himself, the baby of the manger, now Lord of all. He came for you: will you at least speak to him? And third, come to church. He came to form a new humanity, saved by his death and alive by his Spirit, so seek out the company of others who, like Mary, are serious in knowing and worshipping him.

With all best wishes – James.

Save the World Puppet Sketch

The puppets performed in St John’s as part of our activity evening during the Yeovil “Turning on the Christmas Lights” and first evening of late night shopping. There was a great turnout!

Rectors letter, November

Dear Friends

I recently enjoyed a day off at Clarks shopping village in Street; real men like shopping! I have even bought one or two Christmas presents already. Shops present us with choices, and so do the television, the internet, even the coffee-machine.

read on

Rector’s Letter, July

Dear Friends

Do you like travelling by tube? This year marks 150 years of the London Underground. Christian faith takes us on a journey ….
read on

Rectors Letter, June

Dear Friends

At the end of this month we have a great opportunity to learn more about our mission links, local and overseas, through the tea party organised by our Beyond Yeovil Group. It’s on Saturday 29th June at 3:00 p.m. read on

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