St Philip’s had two great occasions in May. The first was our Patronal Festival on 1 May. It’s the one service of the year when we invite members of other churches to join us. I keep hearing stories of how welcomed our guests felt and how much they enjoyed the evening, including the great reception afterwards, the jazz during the service and Sam Wells’ sermon, which you can find here online.
The second occasion was the confirmation of eleven young members of St Philip’s on Thursday 23 May. It’s 52 years since we last had as many candidates. May also saw the launch of this new newsletter and our new website, now moved to its permanent address at www.specr.org.
In June our attention shifts to the wider church, especially our own Diocese of London. Every few years the Diocese takes time to look at its priorities for the coming years and to renew its vision of its mission and ministry. Over the last year the Diocese has held extensive conversations about its future. The result is Capital Vision 2020, the Diocese of London’s vision for the next seven years. It is to be launched at St Paul’s Cathedral on Thursday 6 June, 7 pm. Ministers and church wardens from St Philip’s will be there. You can join them by registering for the event here.
Three main themes have emerged as the focus for ‘Capital Vision 2020′: confidence, compassion and creativity. The vision is that by 2020 the church will be:
- more confident in speaking and living the gospel of Jesus Christ,
- more compassionate in serving communities with the love of God the Father, and
- more creative in reaching new people and places in the power of the Spirit.
In the week leading up to this service, continuous prayer, night and day, is to be offered around the Diocese for the church in London, its ministry and mission. We at St Philip’s will play our part in that by keeping the church open for special prayer at the following times: 9-10 pm on Sunday 2 June (in place of Night Prayer) & from 7- 8 am on Tuesday 4 June. Do please remember the wider church in London in your prayers over the coming weeks. And join us, if you are able, for one of these two special times of prayer.
One of our parents, Tanya Montague, writes: ‘We were amazed to learn that there are over 60 children that have been to Sunday school in the past few months with ages ranging from 1 to 14. The age range is both a challenge and an opportunity for the children to come together and learn from each other.
A number of ideas came up on how to engage our children in their faith at home, in the Sunday school and at the All Age Service whether it be through prayer, song or helping each other out. It seems that we are very lucky to have a group of children who love coming and want to help and share their faith with each other.
We look forward, under the guidance of Erica, to create and nurture a place, an environment and opportunities for our children to live their Church lives.
The Children’s Ministry is very much a work in progress, as St Phillips itself goes through a number of transformations over the summer. Feel free to stop by and talk to Erica if you want to participate in this adventure.’
St Philip’s will soon be saying farewell to a familiar face. Canon Trevor Hubble has been warden of Lee Abbey, a residential club in Lexham Gardens, since May 2007. “I lead the Christian community of around 30 volunteers that staff the house,” he said. “Together we provide a home from home for 150 international students of all faiths and none.”
In addition to looking after the spiritual and material care of all who live and work at Lee Abbey, Trevor has also been a regular member of our church. “It has been a joy and a privilege to be able to minister and to worship at St Philip’s when other duties have allowed. I’m grateful to David and everyone at the church for being made to feel part of your fellowship.”
At the end of June, Trevor and his wife Samia will leave Lee Abbey and move to Portchester near Portsmouth to be nearer their daughter and grandchildren.
He says his abiding memory of St Philip’s will be of how our church has grown. “It has become a very lively international family congregation,” he said. “To experience the children’s participation in the all-age Eucharist is a real joy.”