Wednesday, 2 December 2009

 St Mary's, Burnham on Crouch

Yesterday over fifty people from St John’s made their way to Burnham on Crouch for the induction of Fr Mark North SSC as incumbent. It was good to support Fr Mark in this new chapter in his ministry and our prayers are with him.
One of the many strengths of this Parish is the support it gives to its clergy and their commitment to the work of the Gospel. This is seen in many things in everyday life but also by the sacrificial giving of its members. As part of the dedication festival people are encouraged to give a financial gift to the Church. This year was a record as we raised a staggering £10,745. Many thanks to all!
Preparations for Christmas are well under way. An attractive poster outlining the main services has been published and at the moment, a card for our schoolchildren is being produced inviting them for our Christingle service.

At our school there is no sign yet of the inspectors. This Ofsted is a follow up of the one that happened last year. The school is given 20 minutes notice and the inspectors are in.
For the last years, our school was not doing so well. It had a reputation in Sevenoaks in such a way that parents never placed it as first on their choice.
When I arrived in Sevenoaks and had a good look at the school, I have to say I was extremely disappointed with what was on offer. There was an air of “we are not able to achieve more” dominating the whole place from Governors downwards (or is it upwards?). I felt that the kids did not stand a chance; I was worried that a school which belongs to the Church was not offering the best deal for the kids. I was concerned as many in the school did not understand what being a Church school meant. As you see, I write in the past, because that is where the feelings expressed above belong. As from September, the school passed under the joint leadership of an executive head and a head of school. Their enthusiasm, joy and real love for pupils is inspirational and infectious. They are surely a direct answer to many a prayer. The atmosphere in school is a healthy one; teachers and pupils are happy and work hard. Parents have confidence in the way the school is going and many other parents are visiting the school to seek places for their kids. From poor and mediocre, the school is becoming a beacon. All things are possible when there is good will. St John’s is now a school to be proud of; a good Church school that does whatever it takes for its pupils. Please remember the school in your prayers that above all else it will be a place where the kids can see something of the love of the lord Jesus.
As today is my day of rest I am now descending on catching up with some books. Whatever you do continue to enjoy Advent.

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