New Year, New Beginnings

An update on one or two bits of family news. The Advent and Christmas season was great fun. St John’s and St Mary’s welcomed many visitors who may not normally attend through the year. A huge thank you again to many people who contributed to our many services over this period. Special collections were taken at four services for good causes, with about £200 raised in each for charities including for Crossway Pregnancy Crisis Centre and Revive (working with street girls in Brazil).

A sadness for particularly those at St Mary’s has been the death of Maureen Pike after a severe stroke. Her funeral will be held on Monday 5th February at 1pm. St Mary’s will likely be packed to overflowing as many of Maureen’s friends from different church communities and many walks of life join together to give thanks to God for her life and entrust her into God’s care.

At St John’s we are welcoming new life – with the birth of a baby girl (as yet unnamed) for Mark and Sharleen Tsuchihashi (born on 17th January) and a baby boy (named Calno) for Charles and Adelika Kanyoni (born on 5th January). Mums, Dads, siblings and babies seem to be doing well. Please remember all of these people and occasions in your thoughts and prayers.

Several people have asked about baptisms (infant and adult) and confirmation classes etc. I am beginning to draw these together – if you are looking at these options for yourself or for your children – please could you let me know. Also, several of you have asked about Tom and Jo Gillum’s address. Please drop me an email and I can supply this, assuming this is OK with them! The date of Tom’s installation as vicar of has been confirmed as 18th March at 4pm in Nottingham. It would be great if a contingent of us from here can go up to be with Tom and Jo to support them in this important next step.

Dave Maclure

That word… Safeguarding

It is a risky thing to title an article ”Safeguarding.” If you haven’t already switched off, I am genuinely delighted to announce that we are going to be reviewing our Policies and Procedures around this important area of church life in the new future!

St Johns and St Mary’s enjoy a beautiful, thriving, diverse community. Our hope and prayer is that this will continue and grow. We want to make sure that everyone feels welcome, safe and secure when they come to church or use the buildings. The Emphasis is on everyone: children, adults, the elderly, strangers, visitors, families with all sorts of backgrounds, experiences and capacities… we want to be ready to welcome people from all walks of life. Safeguarding gives us a framework to care for the vulnerable in our midst. Churches are unique settings – where else in life do you get such a diverse group of people meeting together regularly?

The Diocese of London has excellent guidelines on safeguarding. They offer training, support and suggestions on how we can best operate as a community. Currently, Rachel Burnell has taken on the role of Safeguarding Officer as our Youth and Children’s Team Leader and she brings great experience in this area as a former teacher. We will address some of these issues in a “Safeguarding Sunday” All Age service at St John’s on February 4th.

There are things that we can do to improve our current set up. If you agree, we would love to hear from you! If you spot ways we can make small (or big!) improvements we could be making around kids groups, access to church, teas and coffee in the hall (or whatever!), please email me your ideas and suggestions at maclures03@yahoo.co.uk. Some changes we will be able to implement quickly and easily, other changes might take longer. But, let’s go on this journey together.

Rachel Maclure