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.
‘It’s great to be launching our website around the time of our Patronal Festival. Two years ago, Bishop Paul visited the church on 1 May. It was not only our Patronal, it was also the occasion when he commissioned me as Area Dean of Kensington. He preached on Philip’s words to Nathanael in John’s Gospel: ‘Come and see’.
For some time we’d been wanting to find a few words to sum up St Philip’s mission and help draw people in. After Bishop Paul’s sermon, Lesley Perry suddenly said: ‘That’s what the tagline should be! ‘Come and see’.
‘Come and see’ of course has two meanings. It means ‘come and see’ St Philip’s. Come and see your local church. Come and see one of the few places locally where you can find community happening week after week, people from local streets gathering together in one place (pubs are the obvious other places). Come and see a church which has grown steadily over the last few years, our membership up 34% in six years. Come and see a church which has a distinctive blend of informality and welcome whilst relying on a structure of worship – a liturgy – which has its roots in centuries of Christian services.
But like Philip, we are also saying ‘Come and see Jesus’. That, in the end, is what church is about. To be a Christian is to be someone who responds, as Philip did, to Jesus’s words ‘Follow me’.
Our hope is that as people ‘come and see’ St Philip’s, they will in the end find themselves seeing Jesus and choosing to follow him.
But all are welcome.