January 2018

From the Vicarage…

Dear Friends in Christ

It seems that a former university professor has coined the term
“Blue Monday” for the gloomiest day of the year, ie the 3rd Monday in January. But following Christmas where we celebrated God’s gift to the world in the Birth of Jesus why do we need to be reminded of gloom?

Each day that we live in God’s presence is to remind us to lean on God when we are down at heart. This will not take life’s pressures and sadness away from us but may give us the strength to survive and begin to thrive again when troubles pass.

Judith has started a new chaplaincy ministry in Mere Green with the consent and licence of Bishop David.

Bishop Anne was kind to come to St James to confer this licence recently.

What this means is that Judith can be on hand to give support when it is needed to our business community and the wider community in Mere Green.

Part of the vision at St James, Hill is to be an inclusive church, inclusive of community and with inclusive compassion.

Daniel’s Sermon on Christmas Eve and on the 7thJanuary reflected these things.

Inclusive Church:

We aim to be and remain a church which does not discriminate on any grounds such economic power, social isolation, gender, mental health, physical ability race or sexuality. All of this is to be scripturally faithful and to serve all people in the name of Jesus Christ.

Activities for your diary: –

The annual Ash Wednesday Service will be taking place on Wednesday 14th February 10.30 am and 7.30pm at St. James Church. Come and join us to mark the beginning of the Lent season.

And other monthly Messy Church on the 24th February will continue to focus on the Lord’s Prayer and we are having puppeteers joining us to tell the stories. Please pray for the team as they make plans for the activities and remember to tell your friends and family to come along.

There will also be a Lent course this year, to which all are welcome, to take place during Lent, commencing 19thFebruary on Monday afternoon or Wednesday evening or Saturday morning. It is the same content at every session, but the times are varied to suit peoples working hours etc. Please sign up early to avoid disappointments. Contact Lizzie Sale, our parish administrator based in our Church Centre office.

 

Inclusive Community:

When we talk about inclusive community, this includes our church centre outreach to the community, organised by our Church Centre manager, Mr. Andy Cooper which roughly welcomes around 1200 people each week. We are also supporting new community based groups like a Sutton Coldfield ‘Here To Help Together (HTHT) Forum and Sutton Coldfield Disability Action Group. The work of Community Chaplaincy also sits alongside our Church centre outreach, led by
Revd. Judith Ramble

Activities for your diary: –

There will be the Big Pancake Party on 13th February 4.30pm in St. James Church centre. During this event we raise funds for the Together Network as they continue to support millions of families who struggle to put food on the table across this country and parents are skipping meals so that their kids can eat an evening meal. So, we plan to stand up to food poverty – and have some fun in the process! For more details contact Emili Lowery, our Children’s and Family Missioner.

There will be the “Hearty Soups for Lent” every Thursday commencing on 15th February, 12noon till 2pm. All the soups will be prepared in our newly refurbished kitchen by our luncheon club Chef – Steve Cannonier.  During these Lent lunches we will be raising funds for a local charity and enjoying fellowship. Come and join us.

 

Inclusive Compassion:

Inclusive Compassion is focusing on the fact that we are a catalyst for Social Enterprise Initiatives. Supported by the local authorities, local councillors and local charities we are launching the ‘Hope For Sutton Project’ (HFSP).

We currently host a Memory Café for those living with dementia and their carers.

This week we launched our own Hope Community Café. On Thursdays we offer a competitively priced menu between 12-2pm. It is to further support participants in the Memory Café, but equally it is open to the community to come along for a meal. It would help if you were to call the day before so that we have an idea of numbers. All are truly welcome to drop in and have lunch and a chat.

The locally based Wilson Stuart school is working alongside our chef with the aim of the students learning new skills and teamwork. Also, we have some very kind volunteers working with us and supporting Home Instead who run the Memory Café.

We love volunteers and would really welcome a chat with you if you would like to help in any of the activities across the St James Church family.

Please pray for all the work of help, support, listening, encouraging, taking place at St James and all the volunteers and staff in their various roles.

We would like to conclude, with a poem by Howard Thurman, which was quoted by Revd. Daniel in his Christmas Eve sermon: –

 

“After the prophets have spoken,

When the song of the angel is stilled,

When the star in the sky has gone

When the Kings and Princes are home,

When the shepherds are back with their flock

The work of Christmas begins;

To find the lost

To heal the broken

To feed the hungry

To release the prisoner

To rebuild the nations

To bring peace among people

To make music in the heart”

 

If you would like to be part of these realities, if you want to help or if you need help please feel free to contact us.

 

With blessings and prayers

 

Rev Daniel, Rev Judith and all of the team.