Easter Services

Here is the full programme of services over the Easter period.

Palm Sunday
10.00am with Procession.

Maundy Thursday
9.00pm Foot washing and Communion.

Good Friday
11.00am The Cross.

Easter Day
5.30am Easter Vigil and Communion.
10.00am Family Communion Service.

The Right Time For Leigh

It was the birth of Isabella, Grant and my daughter, which first brought me to St John’s. My mother was raised a Catholic but when she had my sister and me she couldn’t keep up the commitment of going to church every Sunday. So she decided to leave it to us to find our path when the time was right for us. 13 years later my younger sister was born and my mother returned to the Catholic Church. At this point in my life I was too busy having fun and being self centered to find God.

Isabella’s birth caused me to reassess my priorities. One of the first things I did, towards the end of last year, was to go to church. I tried the Catholics for a bit, but when I found St John’s friendly and welcoming, I decided to stay. Coming to a service here leaves me feeling at peace and I leave having heard things I want to put into practice. Grant is very supportive and accompanies me to church and helps out with the homeless shelter, but remains a proud Church of Scotland man.

I have been doing Christianity Explored, in preparation for my and Isabella’s baptism (and my confirmation.) I have always believed in God, but the course has helped me get to know the Bible and to learn more about Jesus. I was a bit freaked out at first when we read about demons, as that reminded me of horror films I used to watch.
I now feel I know not just about the miracles Jesus performed, but something of their importance. The story of the little girl brought back to life has particular echoes for me. The evening about the cross impressed on me how wicked people can be.

I am looking forward to the 28th April – to my knowing in a new way that my sins have been washed away and that I am on the way to becoming a new and improved person. Leigh Clarke

A Truly Hospitable Church

The word hospitality probably conjures up images of entertaining – special occasions, doing everything really nicely and NOT CHEAP! Or it takes you to a ‘hospitality tent’ at a Show or Wimbledon or Lord’s – corporate and exclusive. Neither of those are what Christians mean by the word.

Here is how Christine Pohl puts it (Making Room p 172.) Hospitality is not so much a task as a way of living our lives and of sharing ourselves. People who are attempting to be faithful to God have opened their lives to situations where they could encounter strangers. Gradually, hospitality has become for them both a disposition and habit.

The PCC has identified that the word hospitality best describes us. I could not imagine anything more exciting to lie at the heart of St John’s. Even better, it is the story of the two disciples meeting the risen Christ on the road to Emmaus which we feel captures best what our hospitality would aspire to be (Luke 24.13-35.) It’s practical, it’s spiritual, and it’s something we already know a bit about but we also recognize there’s lots more to be discovered.

As I explained on Sunday, we now want wide participation, by all of St John’s, in this process. To explore how our hospitality vision could develop, we will form into groups who will use Christine Pohl’s excellent book (which has a study guide) to stimulate discussion. At the end of July, we will ask all the groups to tell us what they have come up with – and the PCC will take things on from there.

Will you join a group? Or would you like to offer to host one in your home? Or would you like to gather a group together? Please either reply to this email or sign up on the sheet one table at the back of church.

Tom Gillum

From a jungle prison to Isleworth

One day, about four years ago, our daughter, Hokulani said she wanted to go to church. Her class had been studying Christianity. I (My, a nominal Buddhist) knew that a lady whose hair she cuts was a Christian, so I went along to Hilllsong, in Central London. We were drawn by everyone’s warmth and kindness.

We are from Vietnam. Masahiro describes what happened when he was 10. With my mother and brother, we tried to escape the country. I was put in prison out in the jungle, and every time I ate I vomited. I got very skinny.

One night I had a dream. I saw the statue of Mary outside my school come to life. She said to me, ‘you are going to leave today’. I told my mother whose reaction was, ‘No way’. By 4.00pm when everyone went home, nothing had happened. Then about 10 minutes later, someone called and said, ‘You’re going home.’ So we did. With my uncle and brother, we went to Malaysia, then to Japan for 17 years, before coming to England.

My left Vietnam when she was 12. Her father was one of the ‘boat people’, taking a small fishing boat. With only one packet of rice, they soon ran out of fuel. Fearing the worst, they were waiting to die. Then they saw a big fishing boat and so my father swam for an hour to it. He was taken to Hong Kong and after four years, the rest of the family could join him, and we went to live in Peckham.

We have many other stories, including one when My’s uncle was thrown overboard. He does not remember how, but he found himself on a beach. He may have been carried by a large fish…

We have lived eight years in Isleworth. We want to set up a Vietnamese restaurant. Now that Masahiro doesn’t work on Sunday, we all started to come to St John’s: ‘the family now feels complete’. With Tomoki (2) we will get baptised on 28th April. Hokalani isn’t sure yet.