August 2018

From the Vicarage 

Happiness & Belonging: Giving Space to yourself 

The former Abbot of Worth Abbey, Christopher   Jamison talks in his book Finding Happiness, about the kind of outward looking  community Jesus created, that was able to lay its own needs  aside  and  look instead to the needs of others, both during Jesus’ time and amongst the early Church.

He writes, and I quote;

“The community that Jesus and his disciples fostered was not simply a close-knit group of friends. It was a group that reached out beyond the normal social barriers to include large numbers of strangers. Strangers here means not only the socially excluded, the lepers and the tax-collectors, but also simply large numbers of people, so large that they are not all personally known to each other. This is what struck people about the early Christians, that they could be so generous  to  so  many  people. This  is  true community; a group that reaches beyond friendship….”1 

This response comes from the gut. These words encourage us in our nurturing  of  all (because  we  are all involved in it) and the kinds of relationships that are demanding and require both humility and generosity to overcome the pride that  keeps  us  safely inside our own busy little worlds.  It is this kind of community that engages with life and encourages growth. It is the kind of nurturing community we are called to be.

Jesus’ invitation is for all of us is to Belong to him. But our belonging compels us to let go, with that inner gut response that demands everything, and invites us to respond to the gravitational pull of God’s love in our love for others.

It  is  in Jesus’ belonging to God, and reaching out to the world, through his body on the cross that people 1 Abbot Christopher Jamison “Finding Happiness” Weidenfield & Nicholson 2008, p. 185  

are brought in, strangers are met, are reconciled, hostility is faced, peace is made, community comes to life and a dwelling place for God’s love is created. It is a place for all of us. We are all invited to belong. And it is the place from which we all share God Love and Hope.

In the Last week of July, during the Café  Church, we  continue  to discuss what this belonging looks like with our church  redevelopment scheme. The Church Wardens along with the strategy group have been working very hard to develop plans for our church building. The first phase includes, having a ramp leading up to the main access doors of the church, including  a kitchen on the left and disability toilet facilities on the right and inner glass door, along with external rendering of the building. The second phase will include an extension to the Taylor gallery, with lift and AV Systems. All this work may take place in late 2019 or early 2020 (subject to fundraising and grant application). However, all this requires lots of prayer and thoughts. At  this  stage may I encourage you all to continue praying for each and every one of us as we make the St. James Church Building accessible to all, open to all sharing our heritage and beauty of Arts and craft building within the Mere Green Community.

To encourage this belonging our Annual Craft and Gift’s fair on 18th August, 10.00-14.00, this year will support the outstanding work of Mother’s Union in our parish and across the Birmingham Diocese.

Also, we are delighted to welcome Lisa Holloway, as our new staff member who takes on the  role  of  Cook/Kitchen manager at Hope Café. She started on 30th July and will be running Hope Café on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday every week  in  August. Please  come  and  support  this initiative. The Launch of ‘Hope for Sutton Project’ will be taking place on Thursday 4th October 2018.

In the past four years or so, we have seen many new people coming in and finding a belonging with St. James’ Church  family. This has also

brought ahead the need for finding space of nurturing and community of learning. Our Lent Course ‘Building on the Rock’ focused on this importance of nurturing and community of learning along with more than 25 people.

The vision group, church wardens and ministry team are ready to take the next step in faith and hosting our first Alpha course from Wednesday 19th September till 21st November (excluding Half Term), every Wednesday, 19.00 in the St. James’ Church Centre.

This course is for both people belonging to the St. James’ family and also to invite new friends who are exploring life faith and meaning.  For more details please contact Daniel or Judith through email on  vicarstjameshill@gmail.com.

Our next Messy Church is taking place on Saturday 22nd September, 15.00 – 17.00 focusing on the theme of Harvest, thanksgiving  and gratitude. From October onwards, Messy Church at St. James will be taking place on the 3rd Saturday of the month, to avoid midterm breaks and bank holidays.

Finally As we enter into the season of Summer holidays and break, finding space to reflect on God’s love and hope is a helpful thing to do.

To all who get to read this letter you are warmly invited to join us in our sacred space, and events which take place in our church rooms. we would love to be in touch with all of you.

To our church members if you take this newsletter why not start a reading chain passing it on to your friends and neighbours?

I pray that all of you are able to find breathing space this summer and a space filled with God’s presence. That is God’s gift to you bestowed in the very act of creation that you enjoy “a Sabbath rest”.

“The Earth is the Lord’s and all that is in itthe ends of the Earth and they that do well then therein” 

With love, Daniel and Judith