Bright Colours and Smiles

Luca was 2 weeks premature. A perfectly happy child, the doctor said. He was good – almost too good: sleeping through the night, never cried. But for the next 2 months he would fall asleep after 2 minutes feeding.

Then good news: he gained weight. I stopped at a church to thank God for helping Luca. I sat with him in my arms and felt overwhelmed by this love for my child. I felt so peaceful knowing God is right next to me and Luca.

2 months later, another visit to the hospital. The pediatrician took longer than usual, concluding that Luca has Trisomy 21 (Downs). It was like falling deep into a dark nowhere, an emptiness. I could not cry. I sat on my chair and felt like a stone, unable to move or comprehend what this man just said to me. I have died: no, my child has just died. What is he saying?

And then everyone around me… sad. I felt abandoned by God who gave me my boy back just to take him away from me. WHY? Why me? And Luca: exploring the world crawling around the house behind the cat; laughing and happy.

When we were visiting Giovanni’s parents in Italy, Don Antonio, the village vicar called in ‘per un aperitivo’. With a smile he said, ‘God chooses the families well in which he places his special children’. With one sentence he broke the wall of sadness around me, and finally I was able to let go of the anger, sadness, and fear of the future. Above all I re-found my faith.

I have cherished every day with Luca and I am terribly proud of him. He does let not interfere with his life his so called “disability”. Some aspects need a little more input, more patience, and a great sense of humour. At times he just drives us crazy! He is very special and very much
loved. Who taught me more than I will ever be able to teach him. I often feel very lucky to accompany Luca through his life which is full of bright colours and smiles.

Jessica is a wonderful sister, and her lovely friends from the Blue School have always been so caring and kind to Luca including him in all the games…even dressing him up in girls clothes as boys were not allowed in the game!!

GABRIELLA KLEIN

The Suspension is Lifted!

Bishop Paul surprised everyone by announcing on Thursday, much to everyone’s great delight, that St John’s is no longer a ‘suspended living’. For the past 32 years, we have had an uncertain future, as the Diocese has kept all its options open. BUT now, it is committing its full support to us – as a viable and flourishing congregation in a renovated building. Alleluia.

An Evening To Celebrate

What an evening? Full of celebration, fun and wit! It was Thursday, when we celebrated the Church’s re-furbishment, and gave thanks to God for who we are but especially for all who worked hard and gave the church building a new and wonderful look – pleasant and with a good feel to it.

Yes, it was the evening when St John’s invited family and friends and came together to celebrate through singing and music, poems, story-telling and other talents and skills including film-making and much more! Those who shared and performed were ranged from the youngest to the oldest. What a great community, where everyone has a place to take part in sharing their skill and talent in honouring God; where everyone is appreciated and loved!

The Church was full with people from our congregation and others, everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and appreciated the wonderful talent. The congregation showed they appreciated through laughter and by huge applauses at the end of each performance. It was thrilling and also inspiring for the young and old alike!

It was the evening when Bishop Paul joined us, and also invited us to pledge ourselves to sharing Christ in friendship, but this was not before he shared a great story, in which a woman bought a house but did not know where WC was located.

The celebration ended with the wonderful hospitality St John’s Church is well known for – food and drinks for all is a great way of meeting and making friends – after all, Christian faith is all about friendship!

By Mwila Kafwanka
(with help from her Dad)

Then I wasn’t there…

I was sitting talking to Jasmine and then I wasn’t there….. We had spent the most marvellous long weekend with 3 other families in a 12th Century Manor House. We had remarked how it seemed like the 1940s as all the families picnicked together in the dunes. We had swollen the ranks of the church opposite to 8 souls, including the vicar.

I was sitting talking to Jasmine and then I wasn’t there….. We had been home in Isleworth for about 40 minutes, I had taken the bags upstairs and had just sat down on the sofa to chat with Jasmine. She was talking. Lily and Arun were upstairs.

And then I wasn’t there anymore… My eyes had rolled back I wasn’t breathing and I had no pulse. I was to all intents and purposes dead. Apparently Jasmine screamed, Arun rushed down and did mouth to mouth on me, Lily phoned the ambulance. I came round to find myself on the floor in the recovery position surrounded by paramedics.

During the next 4 days in hospital, I went from being utterly terrified to being very, very relieved. I had terrible thoughts and I prayed an awful lot for God to keep me alive for my children’s sake. Since then it’s been a struggle. One thing has kept me strong and it’s the fact that if God had wanted me to die then I would have died; but he didn’t, and I am here and I
am utterly grateful for every day that I have.

My medication makes me lethargic and downright depressed. My condition has been discovered. I am alive, taking joy in every day, surrounded by good people. Everyone at church has been so incredibly supportive and I thank you all. I especially thank Tom for such unconditional and loving support.

I was sitting talking to Jasmine and then I wasn’t there… But I am here.

STEVE DRAY