chaplain's log

  • simon writes... 25th february 2018

    Through our weekly basket collections we are supporting Bishop Robert’s Lent Appeal 2018 aiding the plight of unaccompanied child migrants in the Calais area. These youngsters have been reduced to sleeping rough in the open since the closure of the refugee camps last year. They are extremely vulnerable. Two specific projects will benefit. Maria Skobtsova House - a safe house and outreach ministry to child migrants – run by an Old Catholic monk, Br Johannes Maertens. Also the Diocese in Europe is recruiting a Chaplain to the Pas-de-Calais congregations & as a refugee project officer.

    As you have seen on social media the situation in Calais is getting tense and goes from worse to dramatic. It is estimated that around 600 refugees now live on the streets, parks and grasslands of Calais. The refugees are dependent on the local associations for a warm meal, clothes and sleeping bags. Refugees are often exposed to violence on the streets and their sleeping bags are taken by the police. One Eritrean refugee who speaks good French says he wants to leave France as he doesn’t feel safe anymore. ‘They treat us almost as if we are animals. I don’t feel safe here.’

    The average age of refugees is young, some boys are only 14 years old, and girls 16. These are very vulnerable to being trafficked as they are often unaccompanied minors. The police don’t seem to distinguish between the adults and minors; they DO NOT guide the minors to the social services responsible for minors. We need an urgent Christian response to this inhumane situation.

    We will collect all through Lent – please give generously to this vital work.

  • Nathan Writes... 18th February 2018

    We are in the season of Lent, which depending on your past church traditions could be a new concept to you or something you are very familiar with. Lent is a period of preparation before the celebration of Easter.

    Lent is often seen as solemn time, a time of confession and denial. In some church traditions you are not allowed to say ‘Hallelujah’ during lent or allowed flowers in church, people often give up things for lent because of this negative appearance people are turned off from engaging with the season.

    Although Lent is a solemn time it is not a negative one: we think about our sin, but that only serves to make us more grateful to Jesus. And although the traditional observance is fasting we don’t have to do that – there are many other ways that we can discipline ourselves. In recent years a more positive approach has arisen. People have attempted to take on new challenges, to read the Bible and pray more, to support a charity, to do more acts of kindness.

    The resurrection is the single most important event in history. It is the resurrection that means that we can have a relationship with God, it is the resurrection that means we can look forward to an eternity with God: it is the resurrection that proves that Jesus’ death really did defeat Satan. It is the resurrection that means that we can be saved. So why not spend some time leading up to this glorious celebration remembering just how much we needed saving – just how much Jesus has forgiven us for? Being aware of our sin means that we appreciate our forgiveness –and the real miracle of Easter!

    Lent is a season when we take time to realise on the one hand how bad we are and on the other how good God is! We ask God’s help to make us better and better able to live life in a way that glorifies him.

    We have produced a Prayer Diary to give some prayer pointers through Lent and you can sign up to the Church of England’s #LiveLent e-mail or download the app with daily reflections and prayer to guide and encourage you through this lent.

  • simon writes... 11th february 2018

    Philippians 2:1- 11

    Imitating Christ’s humility

    Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

    5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 who, being in very nature God,

        did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

    7 rather, he made himself nothing

        by taking the very nature of a servant,

        being made in human likeness.

    8 And being found in appearance as a man,

        he humbled himself

        by becoming obedient to death –

            even death on a cross!

    9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place

        and gave him the name that is above every name,

    10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

        in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

    11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,

        to the glory of God the Father.

  • Simon writes... 4th february 2018

    I am really pleased to be back at work after a bout of illness. There is nothing that makes me more thankful for being well than the reminder of what it is like to be sick. I spent many days in bed and doing very little. With a coldy virus I was lacking in energy and enthusiasm and don’t remember ever being so sick!

    As this quote I found on the internet says ‘I don't appreciate the time that I don't have a cold nearly enough as I should.’ I now know what this means and I share that sentiment! Or as another pointed out ‘People never respect health until they don’t have it’!

    Well. from now on, I am going to appreciate each and every day. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24). And, to finish, I am reminded of how much our God wants us to be well and to live in a whole and healthy manner.

    Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you ill? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. (James 5:13-15)

    Too often health is not valued till sickness comes. This time of illness has reminded me of the need to value my health and that it is God’s desire for me to be well.

  • simon writes... 21st january 2018

    I am really looking forward to this weekend as we welcome Dietmar Roller to St Pauls to help us more fully engage with the work of IJM, International Justice Mission. IJM is one of the core mission agencies we support at St Pauls in the fight to end modern day slavery. IJM’s Vision is ‘Rescue thousands. 

    Protect millions. Prove that justice for the poor is possible.’

    In fact, only this week I read an article in the Church Times on IJM’s work entitled ‘Christian DJ turned undercover informant helps curb Cambodia’s sex traffickers’. Mr Sek is now a case worker & prosecutor for IJM, helping to convict men & women whom he knew from his DJ days!

    In the early 2000s, prostitution of teenage women was rife in Phnom Penh with foreign men walking down the street hand-in-hand with young girls, or pimps openly touting for business. Customers, many paedophiles, had completely open access to brothels to select girls for sex. It was open. It was not hidden.

    Research suggested that up to 50 per cent of all sex workers were under age when Mr Sek began his clandestine work for IJM. But, thanks to the dogged determination of charities, and growing public pressure, the tide began to turn. Today, less than one per cent of prostitution in Cambodia involves under-age girls.

    Please come and hear Dietmar speak most extensively about IJM’s work on Saturday morning, 8.30am in the church centre. Breakfast provided! There will be a short talk at the evening curry event & then Dietmar will preach on Sunday at 10.30am. Pray that this will be a very special weekend.