On Remembrance Sunday we will repeat these immortal words:
When you go home tell them of us and say,
for your tomorrow we gave our today.
We remember those who died in war, acutely aware of the on-going war in the Ukraine and now in the Middle East. We pray for the families of many innocent people who have lost their lives on both sides. This should not be!
Closer to home the Foodbank in Accrington is struggling to provide enough food for those unable to feed their families this winter. This should not be!
As we prepare for Christmas, we are reminded again that God came down as a baby into our world to show us the way to live. He came to bring peace, he calls us to be peace makers, to offer the peace that passes all understanding.
Some of us do this through our money, through our jobs and others by giving up precious time to volunteer for the Food bank, for Street Angels, for Toast Time and Busy Bees, for Kintsugi Hope. And as we do so, we bring light and hope in the darkest of places. I often say, you may be the only Jesus many people will ever meet!
What’s happening leading up to Christmas?
There is so much that is happening as we lead up to Christmas: I have just returned from the Autumn Fair at St Paul’s where we met new and old friends and bought early Christmas presents. We have Remembrance services in both churches on the 12th November, the Lancashire Prayer Conference at St John’s, Baxenden on 18th and another Confirmation service this time with Bishop Jill at St John’s, Accrington on 23rd. (Dates and times at the bottom of this letter).
What about Christmas at JohnPaul Church?
After much discussion we are going to have a full-blown Carol Service with brass band and seasonal refreshments at St Paul’s this year on Sunday 10th December at 4pm. I am delighted an old friend Rev James Lawrence (Canon Missioner at Blackburn Cathedral) to agreed to come and speak. We used to run Children’s camps together in Norfolk and he is a great speaker. We also are trying out more interactive Nativities in both churches on Christmas Eve where children are encouraged to either come dressed as a Nativity characters or dress up when they arrive.
And finally, I want to talk about our youth!
Last year more than ten of our youngsters got confirmed at St Paul’s in December. Although we have organised various activities throughout the year for them, we have not had enough people to support ongoing work. As children start secondary school they often drift away from faith and the best way to keep them is to offer them a fun, safe place to meet with other young people. We need people who are passionate to see young people grow in faith. Could you help make this happen?
There are so many exciting things happening at JohnPaul; Connect groups, Knit and Natter, Domino Drives, Kintsugi Hope starting again straight after Christmas, Toddler groups in both churches, Families @ 5 at St Paul’s and Children’s Church at St John’s – we want to welcome you into the JohnPaul family, there is a you-shaped hole ready and waiting! Join us this Christmas!
Amanda and the team at JohnPaul
Dates for your Diary
Remembrance Sunday Services 9am (St P’s) and 10.30am (St J’s) on the 12th
Lancashire Prayer Conference at St John’s, 10-12 noon – Saturday 18th
Confirmation at St John’s, Accrington, with Bishop Jill at 7.30pm on 23rd
….and don’t forget to put the Carol Service in your diary for December 7th at 4pm at St Paul’s, Plantation Street. There will be a brass band and a guest speaker.