RECTOR'S april pew LETTER
Rector’s Easter Newsletter 2018
A very Happy Easter to you! In Lent we travelled the path into Jerusalem with Jesus. That journey ended on Palm Sunday which is the traditional beginning of what has been known throughout Christian history as ‘Holy Week’; a week designed to focus our attention on the “passion,” or suffering, of Christ. The story of Christ (a title meaning “Messiah”) is the story of God Himself coming to earth in the form of a human being, a man named Jesus, living the perfect, sinless life and then willingly going to the cross in order to die for the sins of the world. Our joy turned to sadness as we gathered and celebrated the Last Supper in a very moving Passover (or Seder) meal. We solemnly ‘stripped the altar’ after that meal and retired to start an Easter Vigil – trying to remain awake and praying just as the disciples tried to do in Gethsemane. We then joined as churches together to remember Christ’s death on Good Friday. “Why is Good Friday ‘good’ when Jesus died?” ask my son. “It is good because of what Christ’s death has won for us” was my answer.
On Good Friday, as we looked at the cross and the Son of Man hanging there, we should have seen two things: we should have seen just how dire our situation is. If it wasn’t so dire there would have been no need for such a massive sacrifice, perhaps a cow or a lamb would have done. But because of our persistent rebellion only Jesus’ death would have been a sufficient sacrifice for our sins. The second thing we should have seen is just how much we are loved. If God didn’t love us so much, so endlessly, so overwhelmingly, he would not have sent his son to die for us. Remember these two things whenever you gaze upon that cross and never, ever forget the cross for it is that which lies at the heart of our faith. Cling to it and its promises for all you are worth for without it there can be no salvation. By and through the cross of Jesus, and his empty tomb, we can live our lives as an Easter people: redeemed, loved, set free and with the promise of resurrection to eternal life. Alleluia!
New Here? If you are new or just visiting we are a thriving and growing church that seeks to make a difference in our community and beyond. If you’d like more information on us just visit www.bpchurch.uk or ask to meet one of the team after a service.
Annual Church Meeting. The Annual Church Meeting is on Thursday 26th April at 7.30pm. I’d really encourage you to attend. We will vote in a new PCC (our decision-making body) and hear reports on what has been going on. I’ll also be outlining future plans. We finish with wine and nibbles.
Finances. As we approach the APCM, I think it would be good to reflect on the position of our finances and successful staff appointments of the last year: Jo Ash is our new Pastoral Worker, Emma King now looks after our growing Youth team and Jo and Tom Brice have settled in wonderfully as our new Families’ and Children’s workers (you’ll be encouraged to know that we are in the top 10 of churches in the Diocese in terms of the numbers of young people attending – a huge achievement!). This is in addition to Rosie as Operations Manager and Jacob Ash as our Intern and George as our Outreach worker – quite a change in one year! The new appointments have now settled in well. However, these are no longer being supported by the old legacy money and thus we are needing to support them, plus running the church and all our Mission work, through our regular giving. You will be pleased to hear that our finances are more stable, but it is a time to look to the year ahead and we still have a projected shortfall between our giving and our expenses of c £25,000 for the year and we will be seeking to fill this gap by an increase in giving from our already generous congregation!
If you’ve recently joined us do pick up a giving form from the back of church. If you are already giving please prayerfully consider increasing your giving (at least in line with inflation but hopefully more). More details at bpchurch.uk/giving
The ‘FOCUS’ Church Holiday 27th – 31st July. Once again a group will be going to the Somerley Estate near Ringwood for a week of camping and vibrant Christian teaching & worship. Details are on the website. There are plenty of non-camping options too. If you are interested and would like to find out what it’s like just let me or Danny know.
New to SSPP? If you are new and haven’t yet completed a ‘Connect’ card then please pick one up from the back of church, complete it and pass to one of the team. If you don’t, we’ll be unable to keep you updated on forthcoming events and you’ll miss out on dinner at The Rectory!
The Centre. Bob Johnson the caretaker/manager at The Centre is away on holiday from 14th May to 26th June. We are looking for a temporary replacement to cover this period. It involves opening, closing and being present at the Centre each weekday morning . Also opening and closing for occasional bookings outside these times. The Management Committee members will provide support. For further information and possible remuneration please contact Keith Croxton on 815100 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some Dates for your diary …
Monday 2nd April 8pm – Prayer & Praise in Church
Saturday 14th April 8.30am – Men’s Breakfast
Wednesday 18th April - Alpha starts.
Thursday 26th April 7.30pm – Annual Church Meeting
Saturday 28th 7.30pm – Organ Recital
Sunday 29th at all services – swearing in of new church officers and PCC
And finally …
I do hope that you’ve enjoyed whichever service you came to when you collected this leaflet. If you’re new to church, visiting or perhaps even just exploring the Christian faith I really encourage you to come and do Alpha. It is a great way of meeting new people and connecting with faith. It is all about Jesus and He is the power behind all we do and all we do points to Him. We exist simply to make Him known.
Have a wonderful Easter and may the joy and hope of the resurrected Christ bless you and keep you!
With much love,