Vicar's December Letter

 

Revd. Angela Walker

Dear Reader,

May I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Christmas. I pray that you may know the joy of salvation and the very real presence of Jesus Christ with you as you celebrate his birth this Christmas. You will find details of all of our Christmas services in this magazine and we will also be posting a Christmas card through your door with details of the Christmas services and our new service pattern for next year.  I attended Rochester Cathedral in November to hear Bishop James speak on “Called Together” the vision for our diocese emerging from the survey we took part in earlier in the year. Bishop James spoke of three main themes, Discipleship, enriching our communities and resourcing our mission and ministry.

This is good news because these are the three main areas that we are endeavouring to focus on in the life of the parish of Cobham and Luddesdowne. You will have noticed that major building work is ongoing in Cobham Church and plans are also underway for the refurbishment of the St Mary Church Room in Sole Street. In Cobham Church the work there had to be done to rectify a problem in the chancel area, however, once this is completed it is hoped that we might then be able to enhance the worship area and provide better kitchen and toilet facilities to enable us to offer more ministry opportunities. Buildings unfortunately take up a lot of time and resources but they do need to be fit for purpose.

We have been building up the ministry in Sole Street for some time now and our new service pattern will enable us to give these new initiatives such as Messy Church and the ‘New Covenant’ service a greater priority as they will no longer be an ‘add on’ but part of our main worship structure. Hopefully by the time that you read this we will have our three quotes and have started the process of applying for grant aid to do the refurbishment to the building.

When I left the cathedral after listening to the bishop I walked up and down Rochester high street just observing people and thinking about what I had heard. I saw several homeless people sitting by the shop doorways. As I approached one guy sitting there, I smiled at him and he spoke to me. “Excuse me love” he said, “but would you like a cake”? He held out a white cake box with half a dozen or so exquisite little cakes in it. These were not your average cakes, not a doughnut in sight. No, these were a selection of restaurant quality individual little delicacies.  We struck up a conversation and I found out a lot about Richard. How he came to be homeless, that he was all alone in the world, where he slept outside at night, what he was doing about his situation and his hopes for the future. I had such a lovely conversation with him and I thanked him for his real kindness to me. I felt really blessed by his gesture of kindness, I prayed for him and continued to pray for him as I eventually said goodbye and walked on. It was like I met Jesus sitting on the street of Rochester. And he offered me cake, not just your average doughnut but the best of cake.  Someone had obviously blessed Richard and he in turn wanted to share that blessing with me.

Isn’t that what we should be about, looking at what we have in our hands and using what we have to bless others? That is the reason behind all this building work, that we might better use what we have to bless others. We do apologise for any inconvenience the work to our buildings may have caused and for the slow progress on the St Mary’s Church Room but we press on in the hope that we can offer greater ministry opportunities in the future that will be a blessing to all.  

With the Season’s greetings Revd Angela Walker

 

Here we are again, the months flying past, November is already upon us. This November looks to be a very busy month. There are the usual services such as ‘All Saints’ and then following that ‘Remembrance Sunday’. I am looking forward to my sister visiting for a week as she celebrates her 60th birthday with us and then the following week the Bishop of Rochester, Bishop James will be spending a week in the deanery attending various events.

There is a whole programme of activities that we may attend to meet and speak with the Bishop during his time in the deanery. I hope that you can make at least one of them. I am particularly looking forward to the confirmation service at Cobham on the 26th November at 6pm when we will be celebrating with Sue Huntingford and John Bagshawe as they are confirmed.

Bishop James will be visiting at the following events

Sat 25th Nov

10.30am Cobham Christmas Bazaar, St Mary Magdalene Church Cobham, (please save him a bacon butty or two)

4.00 – 6.00pm  Messy Church at the Fawkham and Hartley Church Centre

7.30pm  ‘Jam for James’  Free ‘Open Mic’ concert at New Ash Green Sports Pavilion

Sun 26th Nov

Rural North West Kent Group Sunday services.  9.00am at St Peter’s Church, Ridley and 10.30am at St Peter and St Paul, Ash

6.00pm Confirmation service at St Mary Magdalene Church, Cobham

Mon 27th Nov

11.00am  Prayer meeting led by the Deanery Group at the Jubilee Hall, St Mary Magdalene Church, Longfield.  Followed by lunch

Tues 28th Nov

7.30pm  Open meeting at St Barnabas’ Church, Istead Rise to discuss recent Mission/Outreach and Vision objective.

Weds 29th Nov

7.30 – 8.30am  Coffee and engagement with commuters on Longfield train station.

10.00am  Holy Communion at St John’s Church, Meopham, followed by Advent Reflections led by Bishop James.  12.00pm  Lunch at the St John’s Centre.

Sat 2nd Dec

10.30am – 1.00pm  Deanery Advent Prayer walk from Istead Rise to Longfield via Southfleet, including refreshments, Advent reflections and lunch.

1.30 – 3.00pm  Continuation of walk between the St Mary’s Church Room Sole street and Istead Rise with refreshments.

8.00pm  Come and meet Bishop James for an informal ‘Q and A’ at ‘The Leather Bottle’ Pub, Cobham.  DA12 3BZ

Sunday 3rd Dec

10.30am  Joint Deanery Service at St Nicholas’ Church, Southfleet

 

These visits are part of Bishop James’s regular pastoral ministry as he seeks to get to know the parishes and the people in them. Do pray for him and do please come along to meet him and have a chat where possible. These visits are not just opportunities for the Bishop to see what goes on in the parishes but they also give opportunity for the Bishop to feed back into the parishes some of the reflections from the recent ‘our conversation, our future’ exercise that many of us took part in.

 

Blessings Revd Angela Walker