chaplain's log

  • SIMON WRITES: ....ROOTED In OUR FAITH

    Last Sunday afternoon I attended a concert in Vossem.  It was a lovely, lively occasion of brass music played by the Koninklijke Harmonie Vossem's Voerezonen; a band started in 1872!

     

    At the end of the concert, Tervuren’s mayor Jan Spooren made a presentation to a trombone player who has played in every winter concert for the past 80 years!  He is 92 and has not missed one!  His first concert was in January 1939!  Imagine that!  Before the start of WW2!  I found it truly amazing that someone could be so rooted (in the village & in the band) for a life time.

     

    It is not my experience – nor that of many in our church!  But St Paul reminds us how we are to be rooted…..in our faith in Jesus Christ….So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.   Colossians 2:6-7

     

    During last Sunday’s sermon I posed these questions…. Do you believe in angels – God’s messengers?  How do you respond to dreams?  And (how) does God speak to you?  There is no easy answer – I am still mulling them over!

     

    And finally, as we prepare for our Guest Service on Sunday 3rd February, can I encourage you to think about who to invite?  Pray for them and then please give them an invitation card!

  • simon writes... LICENCED BY the BISHOP

    This Sunday Patrick Lambert will be leading our 10:30am service, for the first time since he was officially licensed by Bishop Robert on 16th December 2018. During our 30th anniversary celebration service he formally became a Licensed Lay Minister (or Lay Reader) in the Church of England.


    Many members of St Pauls do not come from Anglican (Church of England) backgrounds and so this may seem slightly odd. After all, isn’t it God who calls people to minister and we should follow? Yes, that is true. But the CofE also wants to (try to) ensure that those who hold positions of responsibility are suitable & godly people who are willing to sit under authority.


    By being licensed by the Bishop, Patrick was reminded that he exercises his ministry under the authority of Holy Scripture and in the context of the faith & discipline of the church. He solemnly promised that he declared his ‘belief in the faith which is revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds and to which the historic formularies of the Church of England bear witness’.


    In other words that he would be faithful in his preaching, teaching and leading; that he would take a full part within the theological stance that we hold at St Pauls. Patrick also declared that he would give ‘due obedience’ both to the Bishop and the clergy with whom he works. Clergy work closely with the Church Council and, in truth, Patrick will gradually develop his ministry in a manner that fits with what sort of church we are!

  • SIMON WRITES...30 YEARS IS MORE OF A BEGINNING THAN A COMPLETION

    Welcome to 2019!  May the Lord God bless you this year as you share your joys & sorrows with Him & his people.  May we journey together in faith encouraging one another & being strengthened by our trust in Jesus Christ (whatever the turmoil & upheaval in the world around us!)

     

    It was wonderful to be able to celebrate our 30th anniversary as a church in December.  Two occasions particularly stuck out for me.  Sunday 16th Service of Celebration with Bishop Robert & the Confirmations & Lunch.  And also on Christmas Day itself & our lovely service of joy & thanksgiving in the Palace.

     

    We (St Paul’s church) are now 30 years old.  I was reflecting on the fact that we are moving into a new phase of life & ministry.  No longer are we that (newish) church plant from Holy Trinity church.  We have reached a maturity that means we are fully grown up.

     

    If we are tempted to wonder what else there is to do…let’s be challenged by these examples in Scripture ….. Joseph was 30 years old when he entered Pharaoh’s service  (Genesis 41:46) ….. David became King when he was 30 years old  (2 Samuel 5:4) ….. Ezekiel was called by God to be a Prophet in his 30th year  (Ezekiel 1:1) ….. John the Baptist started his ministry at about 30 (Luke 1:26), he was 6 months older than Jesus ….. AND ‘Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry.’ (Luke 3:23)

     

    It seems to me that 30 is more of a beginning than a completion!  As we start this new phase of our lives, what is God calling us to in 2019?  

  • SIMON WRITES... WELCOME To OUR CELEBRATIONS!

    Welcome to St Paul’s 30th Anniversary Celebrations!  It is amazing to reflect on the fact that on Christmas Day 1988 we held our first service.  The church met in Sint Paulus Vossem.  It was a wonderfully successful experiment and led to the setting up of an independent chaplaincy (within the Diocese in Europe).

     

    I wonder how many of those who started us off would be amazed that in 2018 we were still going strong?  In a very real sense, God’s people are called simply to be faithful; to follow the Spirit’s prompting and to step out in faith. We are not promised that we will always be successful.  We are asked to be faithful to our God.

     

    I love the Kapucijnendreef in the Zoniën Woud.  It is a wonder of nature that is beautiful in each and every season.  Of course, it is there because many years ago people had the vision to plant something spectacular.  They would not see the fruit of their work.  They trusted that others would benefit in years to come.  They stepped out in faith!

     

    As the writer to the Hebrews puts it Faith is being sure of what we hope for. It is being sure of what we do not see. 11:1

     

    We welcome Bishop Robert to St Pauls & it is very appropriate that Patrick Lambert is being licensed as a Reader and that we are committing ourselves to God’s hands for our future!


  • SIMON WRITES....    THE REASON FOR THE SEASON

    Have you got a Nativity Set?


     We are looking to borrow some Nativity Sets for Saturday 15th December.  St Paul’s church will have a stall at the Tervuren Sociale Kerstmarkt and we want to point out that – JESUS is the REASON for the SEASON. We want to remind people that Christmas is about the true event of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem 2000 years ago.


    So, on our stall we would like to display a variety of Nativity & Crib scenes.  Ann & I will bring our Palestinian olive wood set.  Please could we borrow yours for the day?  We will look after it very carefully!  (If you can help please talk to me or Kees about it.)


     15th & 16th December 


    Dates for your diary to celebrate 30 years of St Paul’s church.  Could you come and help us with the Sociale Kerstmarkt stand on Saturday afternoon?  Have you signed up for lunch on the Sunday after church yet?  It is such a milestone for us & those who planted our church in faith!


    Carol Service, 9th December


    Our Christmas season of services commences with the Carol Service at St Jan’s kerk in Tervuren at 7.30pm this Sunday, 9th December.  Do please come and join us and bring your friends. It is a lovely way to get drawn into the spirit of Christmas!