What is the Service of Wholeness and Healing?

Our journey with God and with one another is a journey towards wholeness of mind, body and spirit.  Our service is a way to bring the whole of ourselves, everything and everyone we care about to God, asking for his healing touch in areas that concern us.

It is a said service, every fourth Sunday of the month, lasting about 40 minutes, and using words and prayers from the Christian Community in Iona.  It is inclusive in breadth and in language.  We come together acknowledging that we all need God’s loving touch in different ways.

The prayers used ask the Holy Spirit to flow through us and those we love and pray for.  You will not be asked to share anything personal, and you don’t have to wait until you’re unwell to come.  Many people use the space as a time of quite prayer.

During the service, there are opportunities to light candles, either silently or with a short prayer.  There is also an invitation to receive the laying on of hands with a general prayer for healing and wholeness, either for yourself, or for someone else, or a situation, which you hold silently before our Lord.

Everyone is welcome – there are no barriers.  We believe God meets each of us in his love as we gather together.

Our service is simply a way of inviting God into the heart of all that matters to us and allowing him to reveal his heart of purposeful, healing love in our lives, communities and our world.

Next healing service 22nd March 2020 at 17:00

"Beloved, let us love one another" 1 John 4:7

copyright: Jacob Haywood

Today’s lectionary reading is from 1 John 4: 7-10

7 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love… 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

Here are some prayers from Inclusive Church for Epiphany, which we celebrated on Sunday:

You share your love with every people;

we draw limits of race and creed.

Lord have mercy

You immerse yourself in love of life;

we hold back in fear and shame.

Christ have mercy

You change the water into wine;

we refuse to let our hearts be moved.

Lord have mercy

Christ has broken down the dividing wall that made us strangers to one another;

he has made us one humanity

that God might be all in all;

he is our life, our hope, our peace.

A poem

by Christopher Herbert, entitled Hedgehogs:

The hedgehogs

come snuffling and scuffling

through the garden

like old men walking along a path

Lord, thank you for the strangeness of hedgehogs.

At the beginning of this new year, we thank God for all that comes from the edges of our understanding and experience; and for all that challenges us from the highways and along the hedgerows, pointing us to deeper ways to love and pray. May we walk a wiser path and delight in your presence with us O God. When we feel our own prickliness to difference and put limits on your love, speak to us by your Spirit and immerse us in your love for all you have made and all who seek you. Christ, be our peace. Amen.

Steven Shakespeare, Prayers for an Inclusive Church, Canterbury Press 2008, p.149

Christopher Herbert, Prayers for Children, The National Society and Church House Publishing, 1993, p.48

Prayers for Healing

” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:16

Our Carol Service is this Sunday in the evening, so our next Healing and Wholeness Service will be in January. As we look forward to celebrating the birth of the Christ Child, we pray for all in need of healing – body, mind and spirit – over this Christmas time.

In Church, at the entrance to the Chapel, we have prayer cards and lights for anyone to bring their requests to our Lord, at this time when we can all experience sadness and worry as well as joy. We offer our thanks for the gift of Jesus, and for answered prayer. We also remember loved ones no longer with us on earth, and pray for their eternal rest in God’s Kingdom; and for the tender mercies of our God to touch and heal all those who struggle at this time.

If anyone has prayer requests or would like to talk, please ask our Vicar or a member of the ministry team.

May the Lord Jesus, Wonderful Counsellor and Prince of Peace, bless and us and keep us, and those we love and pray for, over the coming weeks. Amen.

Praying for our Young People

Monday 2nd December, 8pm at West Wickham and Shirley Baptist Church, Wickham Road, Croydon, CR0 8EH. Then the first Monday of every month.

St John’s is pleased to be part of Churches Together in Shirley, sharing opportunities for prayer, and working to bring the Gospel of Peace to our varied communities in Shirley.

West Wickham and Shirley Baptist Church is offering an opportunity to join in prayer for our young adults – specifically our teenagers, those in their twenties, and those who may be older but in need of our prayers still. This initiative is part of an international prayer movement, a response to the Holy Spirit in our family and community lives, called Mothers’ Prayers.

Everyone is welcome to come. Although many will be mothers, others will be carers, foster parents, grandparents, people significant in a young person’s life and anyone with the ‘heart of a mother.’ God is our father and mother, and whatever our gender or role, we all reflect part of that divine desire to nurture and protect those in need of healing, guidance and grace.

Mothers’ Prayers follows a simple set format, aimed at leading those who gather to pray to entrust their young adults to the Lord. If you have a mother-heart for young people making their way in life, please do join in with this prayer group.

It meets on the first Monday of the month, in the Lounge at West Wickham and Shirley Baptist Church, arrive 8pm for a 8.15pm start. The next meeting will be on Monday 2nd December.

For more information, or if anyone is interested in setting up a Mothers’ Prayer Group for younger children, please contact Fay at [email protected]

For All The Saints

Yesterday was All Saints’ Day, and our sister Church, Shirley Methodists, marked the day with the first of the Revd. Dr Leslie Griffiths’ talks on faith, hope and love. This was a fascinating journey through reflections on the recently canonized John Henry Newman’s life, to the whole of the Christian community St Paul greets and commends at the end of Romans 16 for their friendship and service to others.

St John’s and Shirley Methodists have a long-standing friendship and commitment to work together in faith and mission in Shirley, and it was a pleasure and privilege to share in this exploration together. The series of talks runs throughout November (Fridays at 8pm), and everyone is welcome.

The Revd. Griffiths had that morning led the BBC Daily Service on the same theme, and you can listen to his thoughts and prayers here: 

Tomorrow, Sunday 3rd November, St John’s will celebrate All Saints’ Day with a Eucharist at 10am. We will give thanks for the women, children and men in whose lives we have seen the grace of God powerfully at work; and we will pray that we may all grow together in the love and maturity of Christ in both the ordinary and extraordinary ways of our human living.

At 5pm tomorrow, everyone is also welcome at St John’s for our Commemoration of the Faithful Departed for All Souls’ Day. Here we will remember before God those we have known and loved, who have been with us along our spiritual journey, and who have now departed this life to rest in our Father’s eternal arms.

One family, we dwell in him,
one Church, above, beneath;
though now divided by the stream,
the narrow stream of death.
(Charles Wesley)

Healing and Wholeness 27th Oct 5pm

Our next service of healing and wholeness is on Sunday 27th October at 5pm. Come for peace and prayer, for ourselves and those people and situations on our hearts

Consider the Sunflowers

Matthew 6:19-22 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

This is an interesting passage, designated for the fourth Sunday of Creationtide. This liturgical time invites us as a church community to look at our consumption of the earth’s resources; how we engage and co-operate with the bio-diversity of the planet; and where we intrude on others’ rights and exploit what is not ours to take.  All those aspects are in this short reading – symbolised in the all-consuming rust, the result of our neglect; the moths which are attracted, as we are, to bright consumables; and the thieves, who trespass on land and person, ignore others’ wellbeing, and take what they have no right to, for themselves.  It is clear from the imagery that this sense of trespass is social and economic, as well as physical, spiritual and to do with mental and emotional health.

If we look around us, as the next verse of this passage invites to, with a “sound eye,” “The eye is the lamp of the body, so, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light;” then we can see that if our heart is not God’s heart, and his Kingdom, then we are part of the problem; and that affects not just us, but all those with whom we are connected as God’s children in the world. 

And of course, as modern science shows us, we are connected through DNA, through our bodies, with creation itself.  A recent Guardian article quoted a ratio of around a three to one of microbial cells and human cells co-existing in the human body. Some key roles of microbes co-existing in our body include programming the immune system, providing nutrients for our cells and preventing colonisation by harmful bacteria and viruses.

A recent article in The Times (18th Sept) talked about the collaboration we can see in nature, in sunflowers.  The implication being, in the context of this passage, that if we “treasure” these aspects, and work with, instead of against them, we can be part of a glorious liberation in God’s creation that sets his people free.  Headed “rooting for each other,” the article sets out some research by Susan Dudley, a plant evolutionary ecologist from Canada, showing that sunflowers co-operate to share fertile patches of soil:

“The natural world is sometimes portrayed as a vicious gladiatorial arena in which only the fittest, most selfish specimens survive.

Not so for the sunflower: a study has shown that the plants co-operate below the surface, sharing nutrients and demonstrating the kind of collaborative behaviour once believed to be restricted to the animal kingdom.”

This is an extract from a letter from the Archbishop of the Congo and Bishop of Kindu, written for Creationtide and about the common good.  It is up on the Church of England website, where there are other resources and prayers about Creationtide:

‘A true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. Everything is connected. Concern for the environment thus needs to be joined to a sincere love for our fellow human beings and an unwavering commitment to resolving the problems of society…Thanks to our bodies, God has joined us so closely to the world around us that we can feel the desertification of the soil almost as a physical ailment, and the extinction of a species as a painful disfigurement. Let us not leave in our wake a swath of destruction and death which will affect our own lives and those of future generations.’ 

Most Revd Zacharie Masimango Katanda, Archbishop of the Congo and Bishop of Kindu

We can bring our thoughts together in a prayer from Sri Lanka:

God, my Creator,
I open my heart to you.
may it turn to you as the sunflower turns to the sun.
God, my Redeemer,
take away from my heart everything that is not love
so that I may reach out to you in my own unworthiness.
God, my Sanctifier,
journey with me along life’s way
so that all that I am and all that I do
may bring greater glory to you the triune God.

Service this Sunday, 22nd Sept, 5pm

“He will refresh us as surely as the spring showers restore the earth.”

A time to gather and pray together, for our own needs, for others, and for the brokenness of our world. In the lighting of a candle we can give our prayer to the God of faithfulness and sustainer of life.

All are welcome. It is a said service and lasts around half an hour.

Healing and Wholeness next service

Please note that there will be no service in August. The next service will be Sunday 22nd September at 5pm.

Please use the Contact Us form for any prayer requests; or the yellow prayer request cards at Church (place in basket at the back.) Or speak to the Vicar or any of us in the team, we will always pray with you if you wish.