Saturday, 14 November 2009

A week at St John's

The week that is just over held a good spectrum of activities that define the every day of work of this Anglo-Catholic Parish.
Sunday had the usual round of liturgies, this time keeping Remembrance. Our guest preacher was Fr Dimitry from Vienna. Seminarian James Bradley was also present and joined us for lunch after he had the opportunity of meeting the splendid congregation which I have the joy to serve.
That day ended with some time at Sevenoaks Hospital.
Monday opened with Divine Office and Mass after which we had our usual two hours of silent adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament exposed.
At 11am a lovely young couple came for their marriage preparation and arrangements. The bride has been baptised and conformed here at St John’s. She explained with joy how this church is part of her life and how much she is looking forward for her wedding here. The happy couple are very much in my prayers as they prepare for their big day.
Immediately after I visited Fr Dawson in his new surroundings and gave him Holy Communion. It was good to see him settling in his new home.
At 2pm the Year 6 classes from Sevenoaks County Primary came to church for their RE lesson in which we explored the symbols and meaning of our church building. It is amazing how such a large group of kids are attentive for the time we share and how they absorb so much data. They always have very intelligent questions to ask. As ever it is a joy to be with them and with their two splendid teachers Mrs Barker and Miss Wheawall.
After praying the Office and Rosary, I had some time to answer some correspondence and meet a family to arrange a funeral. The rest of the evening was passed delightfully with my family and Fr Dimitry.
Tuesday was taken over by several meetings and also a pastoral visit. The evening saw a farewell meal to Fr Dimitry hosted by mutual friends.
Wednesday Fr Dimitry left very early to catch his 7am flight. As this is my day of rest, I had time to catch up with an ever-increasing pile of books, keep a pastoral visit and visit the hospital. The afternoon was very calm indeed.
The Breviary and Mass opened the day on Thursday. After Mass, our school walked down to church were during Collective Worship all our pupils were give a Bible to keep. These bibles have been generously donated by a charity called Bibles4kids. Our head teacher prepared the appropriate labels in each bible and all pupils came out to receive their copy after a brief reflection of what the bible really means. The top class remained in church where we had our RE lesson exploring the sacred building and looking at the meaning of its liturgy. Again the crowd was delightfully well behaved, thanks to their teacher Miss Hemming and Mrs Ramage who accompanied them. After the lesson I went back to school were I had my meeting (as Chair of Governors) with our head teacher Mrs Quirke. The school is indeed in springtime and the energy that Mrs Quirke and Mrs Cooke have brought to the school together with their vision are already leaving their mark on the happy pupils, happy staff and happy school, - well done to them and thanks be to God!
Some time for a quick lunch, a brief meeting with the hard working churchwardens, Vespers and Rosary, a quick meeting with Graham and Richard who were working in the choir vestry and off to London. I am very glad that I was asked to preach during the Solemn Requiem of the Guild of All Souls at St. Stephen’s Gloucester Road. It was a very dignified concelebrated Mass presided by the Bishop of Richborough and very well supported. This was followed by a great dinner were amongst many other friends I met Canon Simon Godfrey SSC who is the Anglican Parish Priest of Malta!
Friday morning, after Mass and a quick chat with our talented flower ladies, was taken with home communions and hospital visit together with some administration work. In the afternoon, I enjoyed the peace of the two-hour exposition period in church together with the adorers who support this weekly. This is time that I guard very jealously and I have a great debt towards that strong and faithful band of people that keep watch with our Lord every week.
After a short meeting, I could enjoy the rest of the evening with the family.
Saturday after Mass, I stayed in church until noon as we had our Gift Day. Many people came in with their generous donations; many more will make their donation in the coming week. It is very moving to know that there are people who consider giving and giving so generously to further the work of the Kingdom in this part of Sevenoaks. While this was happening, I enjoyed speaking to the people who came and Frances was busy preparing the church for the Dedication Festival tomorrow. She also took some photos for the St John’s Christmas cards that will be available to order from tomorrow. Douglas our treasurer and Peter got all the giving envelopes ready for the giving in 2010.
Tomorrow starts another round and I have to say that I look forward to it.
This is what this Anglo-Catholic parish church is all about; it is about Jesus and serving him in each other. It is the joy of washing his feet all over again. The uncertainty ahead does and will not deter us from serving him alone, whatever that may cost.

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