Last Sunday, Hannah Bowring visited our church services and spoke about the work of Tearfund. This is some of what she shared with us…
Tearfund is a Christian relief and development agency based in Teddington. We work in around 50 countries in the poorest communities, following Jesus where the need is greatest, working through the local church to unlock people’s potential and helping them to discover that the answer to poverty lies within themselves.
This year we celebrate 50 years since the founding of our organisation. And as we look back over the last 50 years, we see countless examples of individuals and communities across the globe who have experienced restoration, freedom, equality and justice – just as God intended for his people.
In the last 50 years, the number of people living in extreme poverty across the globe has halved. In the countries we’ve been working in, we’ve seen millions of people lifted from material and spiritual poverty through the work of our local church partners. Because of the continued support of churches and individuals across the UK, we have seen incredible transformation.
But the need is still great. You only need to watch the news or look around you to see that we are still living in a broken world. Families who have been forced to flee their country due to conflict. Farmers who can’t feed their families because the rains haven’t come. Individuals who don’t have access to the skills or training they need to lift themselves out of poverty.
When we’re faced with the statistics, or images on our TV screens, poverty and injustice can feel like giants that are impossible to conquer. At Tearfund, we believe that an end to extreme poverty is possible. Our pledge for our Jubilee year is that we won’t stop until poverty stops. And so we continue to follow Jesus to where the need is greatest.
Please visit tearfund.org to find out more or contribute financially to their work. Coincidentally, Christian Aid week begins this week. Christian Aid partner with Tearfund on many projects and initiatives – so please look out for the envelopes in the pews and give generously in that way if you feel able.
My name is Jonathan Palmer (JP) and you may see me cutting the lawn at St John’s as I have been cutting it for over 15 years now! At this time of year you will also see me organising the Summer Fair church raffle a vital part of fund raising for the church. I run 4 businesses and am blessed with 4 children, Sky 20, Pheonix 17, Eden 13 and Trinity 10.
Life as you can imagine is very busy particularly as I have just launched a new business in Twickenham call Didi Rugby aimed at 18 month to 6 year old children. Didi Rugby has been devised to get young children active and to teach them new skills while have fun in a safe environment.
Classes have been designed by Former England Woman’s International player Vicky Macqueen and are aimed at Kids in three separate age groups from 18 months to Six Years old. Gary Street is one of my business partners and is the most successful England Rugby Coach of all time and is the nicest man you will ever meet! As Head Coach of the Woman’s England Rugby Team Gary led the woman’s team to World Cup Victory in 2014. Gary is in charge of all the sessions being held in Twickenham.
We are launching Didi Rugby Twickenham at the Harlequins Rugby Ground in Twickenham (The Stoop) on Saturday 19th May between 9 a.m and 12 pm. You will be able to meet some of the Woman England players and the children will be try a session out for free. The sessions are great fun for the children and their parents and guardians, we are already running sessions at All Hallows Church Hall. The children that already come really love the sessions, it’s a lot of fun whilst enabling the children to develop vital skills they will need growing up.
We would love to see you at our official launch on the 19th May. I am also donating a terms session as one of the raffle prizes for please also feel free to buy some raffle tickets for the church fair when they go out shortly! For more details please visit: http://www.didirugby.com/about-didi-rugby.php
Last week the Queen welcomed the heads of state of the Commonwealth nations to Buckingham Palace. To commemorate the occasion, the Hounslow Jamnia Masjid hosted a lunch and invited local people from Commonwealth countries and various community leaders including MP Ruth Cadbury.
Some people question the role of the Commonwealth in today’s world as it seems to be a relic of colonial times. However, we learned through the various speeches that were given that the Commonwealth still has a part to play in our world today, especially given how divisive these times seem to be. A third of the world’s population live in Commonwealth countries, sharing a commitment to peace, democracy and a common life for the common good.
The most moving speech for me came from the Headmaster of the Muslim school that meets in the mosque. He explained that for him the words “Peace be upon you,” which Muslims often say as a greeting is not just an empty phrase, but a serious commitment to uphold and defend the peace and life of the person to whom you are speaking and an invitation to that person to reciprocate likewise – “Peace be upon you.”
Living in London and in Hounslow means a daily encounter with ethnic and religious diversity. In Isleworth, the George pub opposite St Bridget’s Catholic Church has been bought by our friends in the Muslim group who meet in Isleworth Public hall. They are planning to convert the pub into the Isleworth Deen Community Centre, and as a venue for their worship.
I won’t pretend all religions are the same. I don’t think they are – and I think pretending they are can be simplistic and dismissive to those on all sides who take their own beliefs very seriously. We each have a unique set of big questions from within our own faiths that we are grappling with. Rather than point the finger at others though, we will have to look to ourselves first and question our own response to those who are different or strange to us.
As Christians, with our understanding of a God who offers an unconditional welcome to all people made in His image, we have as much, if not more, motivation to extend peace to those around us and work for a common life for the common good for all.
Just before Easter, Don and Audrey Adamson celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary and hosted a tea party with friends and family at St Mary’s to celebrate. Diane, a bridesmaid from their big day, wrote a reflection on her memories of what Don and Audrey were like when they met those years ago …
One of my first memories of Audrey is when we spent time hanging upside down in a park close to her home. I can still smell the heavy perfume from the deep pink hawthorn blossoms.
Music was important in Audrey’s young life. There was an upright piano which she skilfully played. There was a gramophone with a wind up handle. We would twirl around the living room to ‘The Lonely Ballerina.’ As a dancer and a singer Audrey joined NADOS, a successful amateur musical group. She performed in many shows to full house audiences. Then, Audrey discovered BOYS. Her house was always full of laughter, music and young people.
I was introduced to Don, a shy gentle and kind young man. They took me to Warrington to see ‘Love is a many splendored thing,’ a memorable film I’m sure they wanted to see by themselves.
They had a tandem. Sometimes Don would take me out on it. He was very patient as I didn’t know when to pedal. Don had a motorbike and would often collect me from school. Not many girls were collected from school by a dashing young man on a motorbike.
I was asked to be a bridesmaid at Don and Audrey’s wedding. I was so proud I could wear a beautiful princess dress. I often visited them in their new bungalow after they were married, and later we would go on holiday together.
Audrey’s Mum was a very good cook. Audrey started married life as ‘a more experimental cook.’ I remember her giving Don sweetcorn and custard. He ate it without complaint – only compliments about her imaginative cooking!
Over the past few weeks, the Bishop of Kensington Graham Tomlin has led the LIveLife Lent Mission into West London’s Church of England Secondary Schools. Rachel Burnell writes about her involvement…
We were joined by a team of youth workers and clergy who were assigned to go into the schools and share the gospel message of John 10:10 on living life to the full through knowing Jesus. This required a huge amount of organisation by the wonderful Mary Kok, the Kensington Area’s Youth and Schools chaplain, who timetabled us to go into lessons, hold assemblies or run the prayer space.
I spent a week at the Green School and thoroughly enjoyed engaging with the girls in a number of ways. On my first day I taught an RE lesson on Happiness and how we can only truly find this through knowing God and through serving others. I also joined in with lessons such as English, Maths and PSHE where the young people were encouraged to consider how they are so precious to God and how He wants us all to find fullness of life because of this.
This last week I also had the opportunity of working with sixth formers at Bishop Wand and discussing how they could find space to reflect and slow down, as well as hearing them put some challenging questions to Bishop Graham and other members of the team during a Q&A panel. My favourite thing I took away from the experience, however, was the chapel prayer space where we had a chance to read the worries young people have (which they shared as written prayers) as well as a deep desire from many of them to find out more about God. Many of the girls at The Green School said that the ‘Be Still’ corner was a welcome escape from usual busy, noisy school life. As a result of this I’ve been inspired to create a similar corner at the back of St. John’s for people to utilise over the Easter weekend and to be able to use their senses to pray in a variety of ways.
Rachel Burnell is our Youth and Children’s Team Leader. Please visit the prayer space corner she has prepared at St John’s if you get a chance. For more details of the Bishop’s Live Life Lent Mission please visit www.livelife.london