Christmas 2015

I'm sure most of us have already started preparing for Christmas in terms of beginning to write the Christmas Cards and buy the presents and make arrangements for what we are actually doing over the festive season. But of course there is also the spiritual preparation called Advent, not just the calendars with all the chocolates in. The clergy in our archdeaconry recently went on a day conference about Advent, at which I was horrified to realize that at St James's, we only devote one Sunday morning to thinking about Advent, because the others are all taken over by Christingles, Nativity plays, Christmas carol services or baptisms. Advent is indeed a sobering subject with its focus on Death and Judgment, Heaven and Hell and the Second Coming of Christ, all things we'd rather not talk about. We are all mortal and life does not just go on for ever. The current emphasis on the celebration of the lives of individuals at most funerals is good as far as it goes, but all of us fall short of [Read more...]

The Bishop’s Harvest Appeal

This year, the Bishop's Harvest Appeal, working in conjunction with Mission Direct, is aiming to support children with disabilities in Uganda to access school and so give them greater opportunities and a new hope for their future. Most children with disabilities in Uganda not only face exclusion from school and isolation because of their difficulties with mobility but they also have to endure the stigma that goes with that. The Chilli Children Project seeks out disabled children in South West Uganda and tries to help them by giving them access to education, surgery, rehabilitation and medical clinics. Through chilli growing, families are enabled to provide a sustainable income for all their children. Mission Direct, supported by the Chilli Children Project, have started to build special classrooms with dormitories, attached to a mainstream school. The dormitories provide security for vulnerable children and the classrooms are specially adapted so that children can access them in their [Read more...]

Cluster Quiet Day

We will be holding a Quiet Day for all the churches of the cluster, including St James and All Saints, on Saturday 26th October from 10.00am until 4.00pm at the Forest Centre in Marston Moreteyne led by the Revd Roger Wood. The theme will be our Spiritual Journey. The cost is £12. Tea and Coffee will be provided but you should bring a packed lunch. All are welcome. Please sign the list in church if you would like to come. Stephen

Pilgrim Course on the Lord’s Prayer

This autumn, we will be holding a Pilgrim Course on the Lord's Prayer. This will be very accessible for those interested in exploring the Christian Faith as well as for those who want to deepen their faith. Do think about bringing a friend who might be interested. There will be six sessions based on the various phrases of the Lord's Prayer on Mondays at 7.30pm at All Saints Church Hall in Church End, Kempston. The dates are 21 & 28 September and 5, 12, 19 & 26 October. All are welcome. Please sign up on the list in church. Stephen

Confirmation 2015

This year, the Confirmation for our Cluster will be held at the Church of the Transfiguration, Kempston on Wednesday 23rd September at 7.30pm. The preliminary meeting for all those interested in being confirmed will be held at the Vicarage on Friday 17th April at 8.00pm Stephen

Lent

Lent is that season in the Church's Year when Christians prepare themselves for the celebration of Easter by identifying themselves more closely with Christ's sacrifice and Passion, and in earlier centuries it was the season of preparation for Baptism. Over the years, Lent has become mainly associated with fasting or giving up things. Originally, fasting was concerned with not eating until after Vespers in the evening and with abstaining from certain foods like meat, eggs or milk products. Gradually this fast was relaxed, but Lent is still primarily linked in the popular mind with giving up things. This can be in danger of seeming either trivial, negative or outdated, and yet it still carries a powerful message for us in today's obsessively consumerist and materialistic society. We live in a world that has exalted work and meetings as well as wealth and material possessions to an almost divine status, so that many people are working all the hours God sends to maintain a decent standard [Read more...]

Holy Week and Easter Services

We are delighted to welcome Fr. Dennis Berk of the Community of the Resurrection at Mirfield who will be spending Holy Week and Easter with us this year. He will be staying at the Vicarage but I hope that people will feel able to offer him hospitality in the form of inviting him to share a meal with them. He will be giving the addresses from Palm Sunday evening until Good Friday afternoon and on Easter evening. Palm Sunday (29 March) 10.30am Blessing of Palms and Parish Eucharist 6.00pm Joint Choral Evensong at All Saints Monday in Holy Week (30 March) 8.00pm Compline and Address at St James Tuesday in Holy Week (31 March) 8.00pm Compline and Address at All Saints Wednesday in Holy Week (1 April) 8.00pm Compline and Address at St James Maundy Thursday (2 April) 8.00pm Sung Eucharist and Vigil of Prayer at All Saints Good Friday (3 April) 10.00am United Service at the Transfiguration and Act of Witness 10.30am Children's [Read more...]

The Benefices of Kempston, All Saints and Biddenham

From 1 March, the benefices of Kempston, All Saints and Biddenham will be held in plurality by a single incumbent, the Revd Stephen Huckle, who will become the Vicar rather than the Priest-in-Charge. This will give greater stability to the ministry arrangements in the two parishes and will restore the freehold to the incumbent. It will put an end to the suspension of both benefices, pending pastoral re-organisation and make them a single legal entity for some purposes and, hopefully, this will be more attractive when advertising for a new Vicar. The Vicar will reside at the parsonage house in Kempston. The right of presentation will be exercised by the Bishop of St Albans as the patron of both benefices. Stephen

Lent Course for 2015

This year's Lent Course will be based on extracts from the film The King's Speech and will be held on Mondays 16 & 23 February, 2,16 & 23 March at St James's Barn at 7.30pm. The Stuff of Nightmares and the Power of Friendship Chasing the dream or Fulfilling the Calling Pressing Forward and Breaking Through Poisonous Words and Profane Responses Faith in our Voice Each session will include extracts from the film, group discussion of some of the issues raised, study of related Bible passages and prayer. All are welcome to join us for any or all of these meetings. Stephen