Church services from a distance
While lockdown continues, and to maintain social distancing, I have enjoyed welcoming a different class into church each Wednesday morning for a worship assembly. So that the whole school can keep up with what each class has been learning about the Christian faith and its values, my cat, Fred, has also kindly continued to produce his weekly online ‘Paws for Thought’. As you will see by clicking the link, these will now be uploaded onto the St James’ church website.
As a new year begins, rest assured God is with us
When we all waved goodbye to each other and headed off for the Christmas holidays, we all hoped that 2021 would bring fresh hope and new beginnings after what had been a turbulent year. After the joy of celebrating the birth of Jesus, the light of the world bringing God’s love into our hearts and homes, it was natural to assume the darkness of 2020 would be banished by his presence. After all, that’s what Emmanuel means: God with us.
So, as we take our first steps into 2021, it is sad to see that once again most of the children must remain at home to help stop the spread of Covid-19. Staff, children, and parents must find new reserves of time, energy and enthusiasm for online teaching resources and home learning.
When the shepherds and the wisemen joyously spread the news that the Messiah had come as a human baby, did they really take on board that it would be another thirty years before the adult Jesus would begin his ministry to save the world? I think I would find it difficult to keep hope and expectation alive for that length of time! Yet, God was in the world and growing up Jesus would learn everything he needed to know about humanity: our strengths and weaknesses; our capacity to love and to hate. He would need all of that knowledge in order to make an informed choice to give up his own life voluntarily in order to save us. By facing and overcoming death on our behalf, he overcame our imperfections so that we could be part of God’s beloved family again.
The next few weeks are going to be tough as Covid-19 dominates our lives once again. But be assured, God is still with us, working in the background to bring us back into the light. You will find him growing in the lives of teachers who go the extra mile to make sure the children of key workers and the vulnerable are given a welcoming and caring school experience. You will find him in the support staff who keep the school warm, clean, and well-organised. You will find him in the parents and staff working together to give children at home a positive experience of learning from home. Most of all you will find him in the children who model the school’s values of love, joy, hope and peace.
So you can keep hope and expectation alive and be assured that the spirit of God is still with us at St James’ so look out for the little flickers of his light in kind words and deeds; in problems shared and mutual support. One day, all these tiny lights will come together in a wonderful rainbow of joyful reunion when we can all get together and celebrate his presence once again.
We at St James’ church continue to pray for you all, so if there is anything you would particularly like to bring to our attention, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until we can meet in church again, Fred cat will continue to give his furballs of wisdom on the Paws for Thought page.
Mrs Christine Price
Church School Liaison Officer and Vice-Chair of Governors
- Fred’s Paws for Thought Wednesday 9 December 2020
- Fred’s paws for thought Wednesday 11th November 2020
- Fred’s paws for thought Wednesday 4 November 2020
- Fred’s paws for thought Wednesday 21 Oct 2020
- Fred’s paws for thought Wednesday 7th October 2020
- Fred’s paws for thought Wednesday 30th September 2020
- Fred’s paws for thought Wednesday 23 September 2020
- Fred’s paws for thought Wednesday 16 September 2020
- Fred’s paws for thought Wednesday 9th September 2020
- Fred’s paws for thought Wednesday 15 July 2020
- Fred’s paws for thought Wednesday 8th Jul 2020
- Fred’s paws for thought Wednesday 1 Jul 2020
- Fred’s paws for thought Wednesday 24 Jun 2020
- Fred’s paws for thought Wednesday 10 June 2020
- Fred’s paws for thought Wednesday 3rd June 2020
- Fred’s paws for thought Wednesday 27th May 2020
- Fred’s paws for thought Wednesday 20 May 2020
- Fred’s paws for thought Wednesday 13th May 2020
- Fred’s paws for thought Wednesday 6th of May 2020
- Fred’s Paws for Thought Wednesday 25 March 2020
- Fred’s paws for thought Wednesday 1 April 2020
- Fred’s paws for thought Wednesday 8 April 2020
- Fred’s paws for thought Wednesday 15 April 2020
- Fred’s paws for thought Wednesday 29 April 2020
The theme for this new term is Psalm 23, David’s great song of thankfulness to the God he worshipped and relied on all his life.
1The Lord is my shepherd;
I have everything I need.
2 He lets me rest in fields of green grass
and leads me to quiet pools of fresh water.
3 He gives me new strength.
He guides me in the right paths,
as he has promised.
4 Even if I go through the deepest darkness,
I will not be afraid, Lord,
for you are with me.
Your shepherd’s rod and staff protect me.
5 You prepare a banquet for me,
where all my enemies can see me;
you welcome me as an honoured guest
and fill my cup to the brim.
6 I know that your goodness and love will be with me all my life;
and your house will be my home as long as I live.
May David’s words reassure you that God is at the heart of St James’ Hatcham and that His values of Love, Peace, Hope and Joy will not just the carry the staff and children through this period of anxiety and uncertainty but will allow them to flourish as kind and caring individuals.
Despite social distancing, Love, Peace, Hope and Joy still touch every heart at St James
Over the past weeks of lockdown, I have been privileged to witness the care and commitment of all the teachers and support staff at the school. Whether in school or working from home, a huge community effort has kept the children in school safe and at ease so that they can learn; while those at home and their families have been regularly contacted, supported and engaged with online learning resources. Ms McFarlane and her team have worked tirelessly to cope with the ever-changing practical guidelines on social distancing while focussing on the wellbeing of the children and their families.
Unfortunately, we are not yet able to welcome the children back into St James’ Church, but I have now been able to resume leading a worship assembly on Wednesday mornings in Jenny’s Place. It has been lovely to see the children again and to thank them warmly for the way they have responded so positively to the lockdown. Their families can be justly proud of their enthusiasm for their school and the spirit of care and compassion it models.
For those not in school yet, Fred cat has graciously agreed to continue sharing his ‘Paws for Thought’ on the website each week. He will give his feline take on what we have talked about on Wednesday mornings.
As a church, St James’ folk have continued to pray for the school so, if you have any particular concerns, please email me at email@example.com or visit our website at stjamesandstmichaelshatcham.org.
Having attended a couple of governors’ meetings as the new vice chair, I would just like to add their thanks to the staff, the children and their families for doing all they can not just to maintain some level of learning in these extraordinary times, but to actively participate in creating an environment which teaches our future leaders the important life skills of flexibility, resilience and selflessness.
Church School Liaison Officer & Vice-Chair of Governors
Prayer for school
On Wednesday 18 March it was lovely to gather at St James for what would turn out to be our last Wednesday morning assembly in church until government restrictions to tackle the coronavirus are lifted. During Lent we had been thinking about Jesus spending 40 days in the wilderness alone; without food and thinking deeply about what an uncertain future might bring. As many of us enter a time of enforced isolation, worrying about whether there will be enough food or toilet rolls to go round; whether we or someone we love will become infected, we can take comfort that Jesus truly knows what we are going through. He understands the feelings of frustration and helplessness. He knows the temptation to take matters into our own hands; to stockpile, to go out and risk infection and infecting others. His response to the very human desire to put ‘me first’ was to pray to His Father God and to trust that in God’s hands all would be well. This did not bring a miraculous quick fix; Jesus chose a hard life of service to others and, in the end, He gave up His life for all God’s human children.
Whatever your belief, may I encourage you to start your day as the children at St James do with the prayer Jesus taught His disciples. The prayer that tells us God is the Father of us all. He is holy and worthy of our worship. Following His way of love and selflessness will make the world a better place. He will always give us the things we need, not necessarily the things we want. Through Jesus’ selflessness, He is generous in forgiving us for the things we do wrong and He encourages us to be generous to others. God’s spirit lives within us and, if we listen to His still, small voice, we can stand against evil and be instead an example of His love.
Finally, when all around is uncertainty and fear, take heart that God is in control and because of it we can always have faith, hope and love as a light in these dark times.
Our Father, who are in heaven, hallowed by thy name;
thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power and glory, for ever and ever. Amen
The St James’ Church family will be praying for you all over the coming weeks. If you have a particular prayer request, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christine Price, Church School Liaison Officer