On Saturday the 26th of September, Fr Matthew Robinson was made Deacon at Rochester Cathedral. Fr Matthew has spent the last three months working in the parish as a lay pastoral assistant. He is now able to take up his formal role as Assistant-Curate in the parish.
Fr Matthew trained at St Stephen’s House, Oxford, under its present principal, Fr Robin Ward, sometime Vicar of St John’s. He will spend at least three years in the parish, God willing, being ordained to the Priesthood next Michaelmas.
On the Sunday morning after his ordination we celebrated with Prosecco and a cake, kindly provided by Fr Matthew & his family.
Fr Matthew is a great asset to our parish and we wish him all the best as our new Curate.
On Thursday 17th September we held our first Messy Church session for the year. In it we explored God’s love for us through Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son. In series of activities we thought about the story. Coin rubbing allowed us to reflect on the Father allowing the son to have half of his fortune. A mock cocktail bar helped us think about the ‘wild’ time the Prodigal Son had. Pigswill jelly made us reflect on how desperate he must have been to ponder eating the food the pigs he cared for ate and pigs masks helped us remember the pigs he was reduced to caring for. A final collage of a farm covered in balloons, streamers, and party poppers, reminded of us of the Sons return home, and God’s unconditional love for us. We then went into Church to hear the parable more formally told, and to pray together. Afterwards supper consisted of sausages, chips and beans. Over thirty children and toddlers came along. Why not join us for the next session in December?
Every year our next door neighbours at the Allotments put on a Autumn show, a great opportunity to see what has been going on in this great community asset. As always the tables are groaning with produce and prize categories from best carrots, to oddest looking vegetable. Flowers, preserves, breads, and cakes also get judged. It’s worth just to go down and see all the effort that has been put into the allotments this year!
On the walls there is also a photography exhibition with wonderful shots. This one seemed very appropriate, although this version of it would not be judged as highly! It is a view of St John’s we don’t often see.
Learn more about the Allotment Association here.
Today St John’s decided to celebrate the bank holiday weekend and the feast, at least locally, of its patron with a Church ‘family’ day out to Hastings. About twenty five people travelled by car and train down to the south coast, braving dire predictions of rain. The day included time in the sea, playing on the shingle beach, fish and chips, dogems, and rides on probably the worst ghost train in Kent! The weather stayed fine and people enjoyed time in one anothers company.
On Sunday we celebrated the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady into Heaven. As always in mid August there were people away, although we were also joined by some who were taking their holidays. In recent years we have celebrated together as a parish with a BBQ after Mass. This year the solemnity was transferred to the Sunday, so after a little pondering, we held the BBQ after the main 10am Solemn Mass and a success it was. As always it was good for our Church community to sit, eat, and socialise one with another.
On Friday July 24th the Church was packed as we said goodbye to the Year six pupils. This is always a popular event and the Church was filled to standing. The whole school community was present and parents both from Year six and throughout the school joined in. The children sang ‘The Lord’s my Shepherd’ and heard from Psalm 139. Fr Robin reminded the children that they were each of huge value, very simply God’s work with huge talents that they can choose to use to the best of their ability, and in so doing, give glory to God. Mrs Quirk spoke of the exceptional Year six they had been and each child was presented with a Bible as a leaving gift.
Over the last few years we at St John’s have been keen to ensure that are buildings are kept in as good order as possible. Five years ago we had a glass door installed in the porch to ensure that the church could be seen by passers by at all times. This has been a great benefit and helped open the Church up. Recently we noticed that the porch was in need of a little loving care. The porch doors have been restored having resisted at least 150 years of all that the weather can throw at them and today a working party gathered to repaint and reinvigorate the porch. It should now be a much better environment for all enter our and pass by.
On Sunday June the 7th the Bishop of St Helena, The Rt. Rev. Richard Fenwick, joined us at St John’s.
The link between the Diocese and St Helena goes back many years and St John’s is proud to support this Diocese. The Bishop preached to us telling us of his work and mission in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. In addition St John’s school has recently begun a link with a school on the Island of St Helena, drawing these two communities together.
St John the Baptist, Sevenoaks
The Clergy House
62 Quakers Hall Lane
01732 451 710