Hearing the Service
St John’s has an Induction Loop System so if you have a hearing aid, please switch it to the ’T’ setting.
Sunday, 17th December
This morning we play host to our annual nativity play which takes the place of the sermon in the service. Children should go into the hall on arrival and put on their costumes before the service. At the end of the performance, we all join the children on the second chorus in singing “Away in a Manger”. Parents are then invited to take their children through to the parish hall for refreshments before returning for Communion. Afterwards, sherry and spiced biscuits will be served at the back of church.
Charity Christmas Stall
During coffee our children will be selling sugar scrubs in aid of Children Change Colombia. Sugar Scrubs will moisturize your hands and leave them feeling lovely – an ideal Christmas present!
Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
Our traditional carol service takes place this evening at 6pm. Our choir will be accompanied by a multitude of musicians which will be sponsored by Kay and Co, the estate agents. This year’s service will feature ‘What Sweeter Music’, a Christmas cantata written by John Leavitt, with traditional readings and your favourite Christmas carols. The service will be followed by a fizz and panettone reception. This is perhaps one of the biggest musical treats of the year for all the family. Invite your friends and neighbours to join us for this festive community celebration.
Advent Course 2017
The Reformation’s Battleground:
Paul’s Letter to the Romans Re-Visited… and Re-Fought?
Monday, 7:30pm at Archery Close
31st October 2017 marks the 500th Anniversary of Martin Luther nailing the 95 Theses to the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg and the symbolical beginning of the Reformation. Two weeks ago, some Anglican groups declared the need to "Re-Reform" the Communion or breakaway from it, arguing that true Biblical teachings on women’s leadership and human sexuality have been abandoned.
Interestingly, Paul’s letter to the Roman’s, which was the main biblical battleground between Protestants and Catholics during the Reformation, addresses head-on both women’s leadership and human sexuality, including homosexuality. But, what does it really say? We will try to find out together through constructive and honest discussion. Monday evening at 7:30 pm and finish with said Compline.
Monday 18th December
On Human Behaviour: Romans 12-16
Is there such thing as “Pauline Ethics”? If we are saved by faith, is there a place for a moral code of conduct?
Carolling around the Parish
Come join our choristers and help raise money for Children Change Colombia by singing carols in pubs around the parish on Tuesday, 19th December. Meet in church at 6.30pm.
4.00pm - Crib Service
Mary and Joseph return to St John’s after their travels around the parish and all of the children attending will build the crib, placing lamb alongside the Baby Jesus.
11.30pm – Midnight Mass
Enjoy the first mass of Christmas in a candlelit church, singing Christmas carols accompanied by strings and winds. The setting will be Haydn’s Missa Sancti Nicolai HOB XXII:6.
10am – Family Festival Eucharist
Children are invited to come along dressed up in their fairy costumes and sparkly shoes or Christmas pyjamas and to bring their toys with them if they wish.
Remember a loved one by making a donation to this year’s Christmas flowers. Complete the slip inside your order of service and leave it with Bryan Sollenberger. A list of those in whose memory donations are given will be displayed in the porch.
The arrival of the Magi, after their long journey following a star seeking Jesus, is one of the oldest festivals of the Christian Church. In the Eastern and Russian Orthodox Churches, this is the equivalent of Christmas. St John’s will celebrate Epiphany with a festival Eucharist on Sunday, 7th January 2018. There will be a procession of the Magi and Presentation of Gifts before the crib as part of the service. Afterwards, there will be a reception of fizz and finger food. Members of the congregation are asked to bring a plate of finger food with them and, in order to help with numbers, please sign up on the form in the porch, indicating that they will be able to attend and what food they will be bringing with them.
14th January 2018, 6pm
After our fantastic Advent and Christmas carol services, what next? Epiphany carols! Robert, Nicky and the choir have prepared another special treat to conclude our seasonal celebrations marking the events of the Epiphany season. The service will be followed by fizz and seasonal delicacies. A great way to beat the post-Christmas blues!
Children’s Community Choir
The Children’s Community Choir is open for children 6 years old and above, sessions will be 30 minutes long and children will sing different genres of music. If you are interested in bringing your children along please let Robert or Antonio know.
NB There are no sessions during the school holidays.
St John’s Book Club
SJBC met earlier this month and selected Hillbilly Elegy by J D Vance as their next book and will discuss it on 5th February 2018. After that, they will peruse The Bell by Iris Murdoch for a meeting in April. See Michael King for more information.
CULTURE VULTURE VENTURES
Culture Vultures Ventures to the Panto!!
A festive treat for all the family, Saturday 6th January 2pm. ‘Oh yes he did!’ ‘Oh no he didn’t!’ The young and the young at heart are sure to enjoy Jack and the Beanstalk at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith www.lyric.co.uk (that’s the Lyric, main entrance on Lyric Square, not the Apollo by the big church). Tickets are in the Upper Circle: Front Row £20 and just 4 rows behind £15 each. If family commitments allow, meet for delicious lunch at 12.30pm at Byron’s, www.byronhamburgers.com, opposite the Lyric and to the right as you exit Hammersmith & City line tube station. Kid’s Menu £6.50, with both healthy and less healthy options, £6.50. Payment, for tickets only, to Margaret, please. Cheques preferred.
Culture Vultures Venture: The Postal Museum
A New Year treat on Tuesday January 16th when we visit the very popular, recently opened Postal Museum at Phoenix Place, Mount Pleasant, WC1X ODA. Our self-guided visit includes tickets to ride on one of London’s hidden gems: the underground mail train route and surprising stories from what is in fact the first social network! Before our visit we enjoy a 2 course set lunch at the nearby Sicilian restaurant Luce E Limone, 91-93 Grays Inn Road WC1X 8TX. Our exhibition visit is not timed, but our train departs at 2.35pm, so we will meet at the restaurant at 12.15pm to give us plenty of time to enjoy lunch. Nearest tubes Chancery Lane and Farringdon. Total cost £36 (tea/coffee extra) but places are limited. Payment to Margaret Legg (cheques preferred) to secure your place.
Culture Vultures go to the Opera
10th March 2018
Former Choral Scholar (2015-16) soprano Soraya Mafi has landed the role of Tytania in English National Opera’s production by Robert Carson of Benjamin Britten’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, based on Shakespeare’s popular comedy. Britten’s opera follows the consequences of a falling-out between the fairy-king Oberon and his queen, Tytania. Mistaken identities, confused lovers and alarming transformations are the result! We have tickets in the front of the Upper Circle at the London Coliseum, St Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4ES for the 7.30pm performance on Saturday 10th March 2018 and will enjoy a 3 course supper beforehand and during the interval (drinks, tea/coffee extra). Meet in the Coliseum’s American Bar Restaurant at 5.30pm. Tickets all in £70. Payment to Margaret will secure your place. Cheques preferred.
LORD MAYOR’S CORNER
Christmas-related events continued to provide the focus of the Mayoral calendar this past week. I was delighted to attend the annual Nine Lessons and Carols service at St Mary’s on Paddington Green last Tuesday, and the following evening was a guest at The Story of Christmas at St George’s, Hanover Square. I also, along with Steve, went along to St Anne’s, Soho for a carol concert organised by Opening Doors for older members of the LGBT community. On Friday I read a lesson at St Margaret’s Westminster at The Passage’s annual carol concert. This evening, 17 December, I’m looking forward to taking part in the service of nine lessons and carols here at St John’s.
I have also enjoyed a number of arts-related events this past week, including an exibition by Whitechapel-based artist and journalist Phillipa Stockley; a visit to St James’s, Piccadilly to see an installation there called ‘Suspended’ by the artist Arabella Dorman; a performance of Dylan Thomas’s ‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales’ at the Fitzrovia Gallery; a viewing of ‘Jagged Art’ on Devonshire Street; plus a performance by the All Sing Harrow Road Community Choir at St John’s, Kensal Green. Twitter @LM_Westminster
St James & St John School Gate Gossip
Though almost impossible, our children continued to increase the Christmas spirit even further this week. On Thursday we staged the world premiere of this year's nativity play "The Midwife Crisis", which was a great success, and Friday was not only our Christmas jumper day, but parents also joined us for our Christmas dinner as part of our fundraising efforts for Save the Children (besides a donation, it was an absolute must for any parent attending to wear a Christmas jumper). Dates for your diary: Tuesday 19th December, whole school nativity service led by year 4/5/6 at St. John's Hyde Park at 1:45; Wednesday 20th December, last day of term; Thursday 4th January, first day of term."
Under Five’s Playgroups
An international playgroup aimed at Russian speakers meets in St John’s on Wednesdays at 10am. Other playgroups meet on Wednesdays at 3.45pm which is also for early school years and Thursdays at 10am. Suggested donation for all groups: £2. Information about the playgroups can be found at www.HPPplaygroup.weebly.com.
Keeping It down to a Dull Roar!
We are delighted to have so many families with young children as members of our congregation, but you will have noticed that the noise levels of children during the service and afterwards have increased due to the wide open spaces and acoustic of the building. Please help us to overcome this challenge.
St John’s is a whole family church. Children play such a significant role in our community life and we ask parents to remember that it is important to teach children that church time is a special time when we say our prayers. We want you to enjoy being part of our service as a whole family. If you have a small child who becomes restless or upset during the service, please do not feel embarrassed to take them either into the hall or outside to calm down. A member of staff or churchwarden is always at hand to help if you are unsure what to do.
Being in church, especially during communion, is a sacred time for many people. We ask parents to remember this and to keep an eye on their children at all times. Children should not run up and down the aisles and scooters are to be left in the porch in order that the people of all ages might enjoy the ambience of our beautiful building. Please encourage children to be quiet during the service and to see St John’s as a special place. Children should not enter the sanctuary area during coffee.