“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 delighted to welcome our new vicar, the Rev Eric Lomax who comes to us from Closterworth Lincolnshire. Eric was licensed in a joyful and uplifting uplifting service at All Saints Church Kempston, our sister church on 31st January. Please see below for his letter to us and an account of the licensing service
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
Eric Lomax was licensed as vicar of the benefices of Kempston (All Saints) and Biddenham (St. James) on Tuesday evening, 31st January, at All Saints Church Kempston. by the Bishop of St. Albans, the Right Reverend Dr Alan Smith, and the Archdeacon of Bedford, the Venerable Paul Hughes.
The service started with a procession of a somewhat wet group of clergy and readers who had walked in the rain from the church hall. Many of these clergy had done a wonderful job by taking the services in both churches during the vacancy.
Eric was presented to the Bishop, promised his allegiance to the Queen and to the Diocesan Bishop, and promised to base his teaching on the word of God. After a reading from the Bible, from Luke Chapter 2 v.22-40, the Bishop preached on this passage, stressing the importance of how Christians should care for the very old, the very poor, and the very young.
There were many symbolic elements during the service. Once the Archdeacon had installed Eric as the incumbent of the two churches, the Bishop faced the congregation and said “I present to you your new vicar”, and he was formally welcomed by us all applauding him, He was then individually welcomed by several people from the community and church including the Head Teacher of St. James School and two of the pupils. At this point we were invited to greet each other in the exchange of the Peace.
Because ministry and mission is the privilege of all those who are baptised, this was demonstrated during the service in three ways. Water, representing baptism at the start of our Christian journey was presented to Eric in a flagon, and then after asking him, during his ministry, to bring new people to faith and baptism, poured into the font.
The Bible, in which God’s word is uniquely revealed in Jesus, and which is the word of God, was brought to Eric, and then, after asking him to teach from God’s word, was placed on the lectern.
Bread and wine, recalling Holy Communion in which Jesus, the Bread of Life comes to us, was presented to Eric, he was asked to lead his people in Holy Communion and then these then placed on the altar.
In these three actions it was stressed that it was our responsibility as well as Eric’s, to make new disciples, to commit ourselves to going deeper into God through study of the Bible and to transform our communities by the presence of Christ in us. Prayers followed led by Eric and various lay people from the two communities, and the Bishop gave the blessing. It was a very joyful and uplifting service.
The evening concluded with excellent refreshments which were enjoyed by all in the Church Hall.
As one of Eric’s interests is photography, the thought did cross my mind that I might have asked him to take some photos during the service, but somehow an ecclesiastical selfie might not have been appropriate.
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?