St John the Baptist Parish Church
Vicar's Column - January 2019
St John the Baptist Parish Church
Will you be making any New Year’s resolutions? Whilst secular society has had it with Christmas festivities by Boxing Day, in the church we are just getting started. We celebrate the full 12 days of Christmas up until Epiphany and then keep things going, with the crib remaining throughout Epiphanytide until Candlemas. We have our Christingle/ Toy service in Epiphanytide, this year on 13thJanuary, preceded the day before by our Christingle/ Epiphany themed Messy Church. I, for one, won’t be doing “dry January” (isn’t that what Lent is for?) but nevertheless it is good to begin the year with some new resolve and fresh vision. One item in our overarching vision for St John’s was to offer prayer following the 10 am service. In 2018, the PCC made this one of our priorities to progress and a group of us (Carol Frost, Julie Richardson, Gillian Gyenes, Julia Norton & Mike Thackray) recently went on a prayer ministry training course at St Sebastian’s Church. We are now finally in a position to offer this ministry in a low key St John’s friendly form.
On 6thJanuary, following our Epiphany service, and on alternate Sundays thereafter, there will be an opportunity for individual prayer. If there is anything you would like prayer for, either for yourself or for someone else, then two people will be available in the Lady Chapel after the service to pray with you. Maybe you have a hospital appointment or a job interview coming up, or whatever, praying specifically for a situation can bring a sense of God’s peace and/or healing. Of course, there is prayer in different forms during our corporate worship and other times in various prayer groups but sometimes it is helpful to have a little individual attention in prayer, outside of these more formal prayer times. You don’t have to go into great detail. It is not a counselling session or the time for a long chat; the focus is very much on prayer, handing the situation over to God and inviting God’s presence into it.
Prayer is such an important part of the Christian life; we do not journey alone. God is with us, at our side to support and guide us. It is a relationship, but sometimes we fail to keep the dialogue open and slip into estranged couple mode. Whether or not, we are struggling with prayer, it can help to have someone else pray for/with us. It can give it greater import – “where two or three are gathered...” Jesus teaches us to be persistent in prayer yet often we even don’t think to ask in the first place!
“Ask and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:7-11)
The magi never gave up on their search for the Christ-child, and neither should we give up on letting the light of Christ shine into the recesses of our lives. Our lives matter to God. So, as a new year dawns let us make prayer, in all its forms, more of a priority.
Revd Dr Lisa Cornwell
- 01344 761521
Find St John the Baptist Parish Church
Waterloo Road, Crowthorne, Berkshire, RG45 7NT
There is ample parking along Waterloo Road, and around the back of the Church on the unmade road Church Street.