Rector’s May Newsletter 2018

I usually start a May newsletter with something about glorious weather however 5 degrees and sheeting rain have put a stop to that.  It looks like Spring has sprung but it doesn’t feel like it!
Easter was a series of wonderful celebrations across four congregations and the weather held for the service of witness on Good Friday.  thank you everyone who worked so hard to make it all happen.
Spring Harvest.   Some of us headed down to Butlins Minehead for Spring Harvest and whilst the weather was dire the teaching and worship were anything but.  We all came back having felt God speak to us in different ways and the Thorntons have volunteered for a tour of duty aboard a Mercy Ship as a result.  The main teaching was on the book of James and I know that we were all challenged on Christian living – especially on how we regard those in need.  The other memorable talk was from a lady who had escaped North Korea and had endured years of deprivation and torture in a prison camp there because of her faith. Her testimony (spoken through an interpreter) was very powerful and I shall be inviting a representative from Open Doors (a charity that supports persecuted Christians) in to talk one Sunday.  What a reminder of how blessed we are to be able to worship God without fearing persecution.
Annual Church Meeting.  Some 80 of you attended the APCM and we heard some excellent reports on what is going on.  I believe we need to re-think when we hold the APCM as very few people from the 9.30 congregation were present – I imagine because babysitters need finding.  The PCC will be looking at options to run it on a Sunday during the day as I know a lot of other churches do.
If you are interested to watch, listen to or read any of the reports they should be up on the website and accessible from the ‘Whats On>APCM2018’ page.
A summary of my ‘look forward’.  I said that this coming year would be:
a season of consolidation where we focus on doing what we are already doing even better,
a season of getting deeper into God (discipleship),
a season to progress some fabric issues with as much communication and transparency as possible and I hope not too much fuss,
a season to get our stewardship strategy regenerated (vital if we are to continue growing),
and a season where we look out into the community to seek out the lost sheep with zeal and vigour, always ready to share the good news of the gospel. 
May we be a church that if it suddenly disappeared would be missed hugely!
To do all these things we need to pull together as the body of Christ; we need to stay humble and be ever-reliant on His guidance and seek the power of the Holy Spirit in all we do.  Paul writes about this power in Ephesians 3: 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
New Church Officers.   We welcomed several new PCC members and also Mike Evans as a new Warden (taken over from Sarah North).  Following a suggestion at the meeting we’ll be putting up photos of your PCC so you know who they all are.
Family Fun Day.   This is taking place on Saturday 26th May Noon – 3pm and we hope to welcome hundreds of families from our community up to Church to have fun on bouncy castles and the like.  Our Families Team Leader (Jo Brice) needs a team to support her so if you can help – even if for just an hour – do let her know
Finances.   If you’ve recently joined us do pick up a giving form from the back of church.  If you are already giving please prayerfully consider increasing your giving (at least in line with inflation but hopefully more).  More details at
The ‘FOCUS’ Church Holiday 27th – 31st July.  Once again a group will be going to the Somerley Estate near Ringwood for a week of camping and vibrant Christian teaching & worship.  Details are on the website.  There are plenty of non-camping options too.  If you are interested and would like to find out what it’s like just let me or Danny know.
New to SSPP?  If you are new and haven’t yet completed a ‘Connect’ card then please pick one up from the back of church, complete it and pass to one of the team.  If you don’t, we’ll be unable to keep you updated on forthcoming events and you’ll miss out on dinner at The Rectory!  If you’d like more information on us just visit or ask to meet one of the team after a service.
My Sabbatical.   My sabbatical starts on Monday 21st May and will, I hope, be a time of deep spiritual refreshment.  My email will be turned off and Danny will be running the show.  Gussie is around too for anything serious.  There is an incredibly competent team (PCC and staff) so it will be business as usual.  Please do help Danny as much as possible as he’ll have a huge amount on his plate so try not to add to it.
We’ll be in Buckingham for the first ¾ of the sabbatical and then in the USA for all of August.  We’ll be hiring a campervan and driving up the Pacific Coast Highway and then down through some national parks and Death Valley.  I shall buy cowboy boots for the Barn Dance in October!
Some forthcoming events …
Monday 7th May 8pm – Prayer & Praise in BPC
Friday 11th May – 7pm Ladies Film Night in BPC
Saturday 12th May 7.30pm – Youth Fundraiser in BPC
Monday 21sy May 8pm – Unhindered Worship in BPC
Saturday 26th May Noon-3pm – Family Fun Day
Thursday 26th June – ‘Life of Christ’ at Wintershall
Saturday 13th October – Barn Dance (one for the diary!)
With much love, and have a wonderful summer