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 – To be scheduled

“From Principle to Practice”

A Churches Together in South London (CTSL) debate on how to encourage a more diverse and inclusive leadership in our churches

This online discussion on 4th November sought to tackle some key issues central not only to CTSL, but to our own Church of England. Namely: how can we all be proactive in putting diversity and inclusion at the forefront of our planning and leadership of church projects, not least those where we combine resources and co-operate with other Christian churches in our area?

As might be expected for such an ambitious topic, the event was successful in raising awareness and spurring us on – but left it to us to navigate ways forward within our own communities.  There is a pressing need for us to seek God’s mind at a local level and to make issues of social inclusion and justice relatable in our lives together, so this in itself marked a significant way forward.  As lockdowns force on us new ways of living as a Eucharistic community, we are looking for signs of our times, for those moments of ‘Kairos,’ that invite us into God-being-ness, which, with prayer and collaboration, start to be the living stones of the Kingdom.

First to speak from her lived-experience was Chine McDonald, Head of Community Fundraising and Public Engagement at Christian Aid, author, and Trustee of Greenbelt, Christians Against Poverty and Christians in Media.  The quote, “from principle to practice” comes from her – itself a quote from Dr Elizabeth Henry, an anti-racism activist who has advised the Archbishop of Canterbury.  Her full quote speaks of the need to move beyond willingness to tackle racial inequalities to consolidating that goodwill in action and outcomes. 

We have to start where we are. We cannot be in that moment of God-given change if we are stuck in the past, or busy projecting forward our own expectations.  St John’s is part of Inclusive Church, and we are called to follow Jesus’ example of servanthood if our ministry is to bring life and healing to those around us and beyond our church community.  We are called to empty ourselves of what has gone before, and to listen to the “idle tales” of the marginalised that speak of resurrection life.

The second speaker was Richard Reddie, Director of Justice and Inclusion for Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, author, commentator and researcher.  His word was one of unity, urging considered thought and positive action to promote inclusion, and building on Chine’s assertion that “diversity is a fact; inclusion is a choice.”

These are the two questions the speakers left with us to consider together: What are the barriers to creating diverse leadership in our churches? Is racial diversity in leadership an afterthought or a forethought?

Claire Barracliffe 11/11/20

Healing Service, tonight at 5pm – online

Please join us for our Service of Healing and Wholeness this evening at 5pm. It’s a gentle and reflective time of prayer, using an Iona Community liturgy, and lasts for around half an hour. A chance to join to pray for God’s healing and blessing for the world, people we know, and ourselves at this present time.

To find the link go to the red Menu bar at the top of this page and press ‘Worship.’ Then press ‘Live Streams.’ The Healing Service will show at the top of the list as the next Service to be streamed.

"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)

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