“Living to love God and serve our local communities.”
Welcome to St James’s Church! We are a warm, inclusive and outgoing Christian family of all ages from all parts of the community, which is delighted to welcome new people. Everybody has a place in the worship of our great God and Father; all are welcome at God’s communion table, at the gatherings on Sunday and midweek and at our social meetings and parties. We love children and the noise they make reminds us of their value! There are children’s groups to join and toys and books are available at the back of the church. We would very much like to welcome you for coffee or tea after the services, to help ensure that you are included in our vibrant church and community life and have the opportunity to learn more about our faith.
We are very pleased to announce that The Rev Eric Lomax has agreed to become our new vicar. We thank God that He has called Eric to come and minister among us and in the parish. He will join us after his licensing on 31st January 2017 and we are very much looking forward to his ministry with us and to working with him in the church and community.
Below is a letter from him to all of us in the parish
On Sunday, I announced to three of my churches in the Colsterworth Group, that I will be leaving them in January, to become Vicar of Kempston and Biddenham, in the Diocese of St Alban. It is an exciting opportunity for Liz and I, and we look forward very much to serving you in your communities.
Liz and I have lived here in Lincolnshire for nearly seven years now, and while there have been challenges, it has been wonderful time for us. I have been responsible for five parishes, which is due to become seven. Much of the work has involved links with two very good Church of England schools. I will miss these schools, and the children, who often breathe life into our church buildings. School work has been the corner stone of my ministry in Colsterworth, and has provided an ocean of opportunity to build up relationships with the local community. In the time we have been here we have seen a real growth in the relationship between communities and the church, and a deeper understanding of God. Sometimes the growth is clear, but also, at times, unperceivable. These are, in part, rural communities, and working alongside the farming communities has taught me faith, that what God is doing beneath the soil, can, often remain hidden from sight.
The nature of ordained ministry is that we spend a great deal of time accompanying people through painful, often tragic times of their life. Because of this, the relationships we build cannot be merely superficial, so leaving our friends in Lincolnshire is not easy, but God calls us to new things, and we must respond to that call.
It helps that I have a varied background. I come from the Wirral peninsula, and I trained full time in their college in Blackheath. This experience brought me into contact with many areas of sector ministry including industrial mission, hospital chaplaincy, forces chaplaincy, and in prisons. I am also a qualified youth worker, a qualified teacher and experienced secondary head of religious studies.
I am in awe of the commitment that my wife, Liz, shows in this. She is a secondary music teacher who extends her work to training other teachers around the country in performing arts. She has offered her resignation in a girl’s school in Grantham, in order to support my ministry in Kempston and Biddenham. She hopes to teach music privately when we move. In ministry, communities often forget the sacrifice made by spouses in supporting their partner’s ministry. We feel strongly that we should always seek God’s will for both of us, and not just myself.
Between us we have five children in their twenties. Two of the girls work in London for media companies (Blue144, and the Daily Telegraph), and the other writes science GCSE exam papers in Guildford. One of the boys is a chef, and the other works in a residential home for ex-offenders. Of these, it is only Rachael, who is likely to be living with us full time. Our children have a close relationship with each other, and are all very excited at the prospect of us living in Bedfordshire.
Often when people see me, they will see me with a camera. I have enjoyed taking images since I was a child, and that is my way of framing and interpreting the world. I see photo-imaging as an art form and a means of expression. Often I will use traditional cameras and processing, if I can get away with using photographic chemicals in the kitchen. I get some of my kicks out of exploring the work of some of the great photographers of the past.
I cannot talk about my family without mentioning Nutmeg. Nutmeg is an eighteen-month old chocolate Labrador who provides Liz and I with a constant excuse for needing to go on walks together. My family is important to me, and time with Liz and the kids is both an obligation and a pleasure.
It is wonderful that you have invited us to join you in Kempston and Biddenham. I believe that God has called us to share with you in your journey of faith, and we both look forward to spending time getting to know you all.
Every Sunday morning except the first Sunday of the month: Holy Communion at 9.00 am followed by coffee in the church barn
The first Sunday of the month is an All Age service where families with their children join us for an appropriate service. There is Holy Communion on this Sunday also but the service is child friendly
On every Sunday but the first Sunday there is Sunday School (Explorers) in the church barn at which all children are very welcome. This runs during school term time
On the first Sunday of the month there is Holy Communion at 6.00 pm
On the 2nd Sunday of the month there is evening prayer at 6.00 pm at our sister church, All Saints Church Kempston
On 3rd Sunday of the month there is evening prayer at St James Church at 6.00 pm
The Lord is my Mentor, He equips me for the task he has called me to do.
He supplies moments for reflection, in which he can restore the vision of my calling.
He keeps me in touch with the ideas of best practice, So that the quality of my work continues to be a good witness to his Lordship.
Even though I feel utterly overwhelmed with the demands of the job, I need not fear any disaster
If I stick with You even when the going is really tough
You rescue me with the sound advice and strengthening reassurance that I need.
You prepare a deep sense of fulfillment in the Christian dimension of my work, Even though colleagues may seem to despise my faith.
There’s an anointing on my care of clients, and I sense their delight as it overflows as calm in their anxiety.
The Lord’s wisdom and kindness will go on enfolding me right through my career,
Until I rest in the joy of hearing his approval of my life’s work well done.
With thanks to Dr John Caroe, chairman of PRIME, the mission society I work for. Edwin
Open Doors is working hard to support people to stay, survive and shine in Syria, to build a new future for themselves and their families through prayer, support and education. We are supporting churches as they distribute aid in the coastal cities of Tartus and Latakia, to Aleppo, Homs, Damascus, Hasakah, Quamishli, Hamaa and Suwayda. Help varies from providing financial assistance to distributing monthly food packages, hygiene kits and fuel for heating. The food packages contain essential items, such as oil and pasta, to keep a family going for a month. The hygiene kits contain soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes and disinfectant.
In Quamishli, a city 400 miles north east of Damascus, many teams of volunteers are distributing emergency relief, but Open Doors cannot meet the huge need there without a massive increase in funds.
Amir, a doctor fled from Hama, north of Damascus, to Wadi al Nassara in the countryside west of Homs. He saw the work being done and volunteered to help. As well as food, 230 Bibles and 2,200 New Testaments were distributed in Wadi al Nassara.
Open Doors has strengthened its partnerships in Aleppo and can now meet increased need there – the churches just need more resources. As one leader, Pastor Edward of the Alliance Church in Damascus, says, “The relief work is going on full power; the need is still growing in the city. Every few months new waves of internally displaced arrive in the capital.”
Every day our media is full of the stories of desperate Syrians making journeys across Europe. We see their relief when they arrive to claim asylum. We hear their desperation when they are trapped and unable to move on.
And we weep when the bodies are washed up on the shore.
But we don’t hear much of the millions inside Syria. We rarely see their faces or read the stories of their daily struggle to survive. They need our help. They need our prayers. They need our voices raised on their behalf. They need us, will we help?