Thursday, 17 December 2015

Christ-Light At St John's

"God so loved the world that he gave his only son ...", which is why many churches celebrate the run-up to Christmas by holding services where we give Christingles, Christ-lights, to children (and adults, often), and take up a special collection to give to the Children's Society for their work helping children facing poverty, abuse and neglect - taking the light of Jesus into dark places.

I was thoroughly chuffed on Sunday when we got a congregation of 94 at the St John's Christingle service, pretty much all of whom seemed to be joining in with readings, music and prayers as we worshipped Jesus, the light of the world, together. It was really good to have a contingent there from the uniformed groups, not just joining us but helping out in all sorts of ways too. They really added to the occasion.

Obviously I was chuffed about that worship, but I was also pleased because St John's has been through a rough time over the last year or so, and the good turnout - the second highest Christingle congregation of the past ten years - is a sign that we may be coming out of it.

Last night's carol service, a very different style of service, also had a good turnout (although I don't have last year's figures for comparison, I suspect we were up here as well) and benefited from a choir which included a number of guests from groups we have worked with over the past year or two, including St Peter's of course.

Similarly, Sunday morning congregations over the Autumn have held steady in the mid-forties - not enough for the long term survival of St John's as a living church, it's true, but still a sign of recovery and consolidation. It is also well above the congregations back in the 2008/9 interregnum. Although I should add that the current vacancy  - where we have lost our priest in charge, Jeremy, but are still part of the CTM parish led by Mike as Rector - is a very different proposition from the interregnum after Philip left.

As the PMC process continues, and as we look for a new priest to join the parish team with particular responsibility for enabling transformation at St John's, it is, I believe, vital that St John's continues to build and prepare, ready to join in whatever God is up to here in this community of Lower Caversham.

Meanwhile, as the Christmas season continues, may you experience the light of Jesus in your own life, and may you continually find ways to reflect it into the lives of those around you.

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