Words and thoughts from our Church Community

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15/05/2020 - from Dorothy Duckworth - How uplifting I have found our weekly video services presented by Bishop Rob with the help of Janine. You made Holy Week and Easter very special. Your Easter day service in your garden was very moving and I want to say a big thank you to you both.

The services have certainly given me focus and fed my spiritual needs at this time of lockdown. The introduction of members of St John’s, seen and unseen taking part has, I feel, enhanced the services and brought a feeling of togetherness each Sunday.

Being in lockdown isolation when alone is particularly challenging and these services each Sunday have, for me, brought our church community together and leave me feeling renewed and refreshed.

Hopefully we can look forward to the future when we are able to meet once again and have a special thanksgiving celebration to thank God for seeing us all through this difficult time. God bless.

03/05/2020 - from Lloyd & Stella Fowler by email - A big thank you to Bishop Rob and Rev Pat for their pastoral care in presenting these podcasts to the St John the Baptist Church family .

To Bishop Rob, Stella and I are eternally grateful for the podcast of the weekly Sunday Eucharist. The homily delivered  today the 4th Sunday of Easter was very inspiring and your reflections on the reassuring and consoling aspects of the 23rd Psalm. Lastly a special thanks to Lawrence who has made this communication possible.

01/05/2020 - from Betty Lennie by email - a message from Sheran Harper, Worldwide President of the Mothers' Union

Dear sisters and brothers,

I write to you with the love and courage of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, because He is our strength, our hope and our solid rock.  So much has been happening recently as COVID-19 is declared Pandemic and governments are advising that we take the necessary precautions to avoid the spread of the virus. There is so much that we have had to come to terms with in such a short time.

In times like these, I encourage you to take heart and do not fear because the Lord your God is by your side – an ever present help in times of trouble. In Joshua 1:9 we read, “I hereby command you to be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. AMEN”

As members (of the Mothers' Union), you are bold and brave, full of courage and compassion, and very loving and just like Esther you stand daily on the frontline calling for an end to injustices and advocating for all that supports stable families and communities.

You have been busy in these acts of love but now many of you are being called to be quiet and to self-isolate in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus. You will discover there is still so much we can do as members because as a movement we are ideally placed to support and act in this time, but only within the health advice given by your respective governments.

I conclude now with a prayer for us all in these frightening times

Lord Jesus Christ, 

You said to your disciples,

I am with you always, even to the end of time.

Be with me today Lord, as I offer myself to you.

Hear my prayers for others and for myself,

And keep me in your tender loving care always. AMEN 

Best wishes and stay safe,

Sheran Harper (Worldwide President of the Mothers' Union)

26/04/2020 - from Freda Hilliar by email - How lovely to hear and see some familiar voices and faces on this morning's service! Many thanks to all concerned.

26/04/2020 - from Stephanie Bratley by email - Thanks again Rob and co for this morning's service. The gospel reading - the Road to Emmaus - is one of my absolute favourite readings.
If you go to my Easter Monday facebook post or google - Graham Kendrick - Comforting Stranger - you will be able hear an early song of his called 'Comforting Stranger' which is based on the gospel reading. It reminds us in this strange time of lock-down that our 'Comforting Stranger' is still with us, walking alongside us on our journey.

14/04/2020 - From Pat & Irene Blackman by email - Our Church is alive and kicking thanks to the great efforts made by Bishop Rob and Reverend Pat for giving us a Holy Week of services via videos and podcasts. This was achieved with the help of our resident technophile, Lawrence Calkin. Our Best Wishes to all our friends and stay safe. Pat and Irene. God Bless

12/04/2020 - From Betty Lennie by email - On V E Day 8th May, Dame Vera Lynn, the original “Forces Sweetheart,” will stand at her open window at 9.00p.m. and sing "We’ll Meet Again" to honour our veterans.  I will be on my door step at the same time singing my heart out.  I wonder how many people will join me at the same time. Don’t know what my neighbours will think, (I cannot sing!) this is such a special occasion.  Take care and keep safe everyone.

10/04/2020 - From Margaret Smith by email - This was recently sent to me from the Middle East

We fell asleep in one world and woke up in another by Haroon Rashid

(Site Editor's Note  04th May 2021 - this was initially accredited by Margaret to "Francesca Melandri, an Italian writer" and we apologise to Haroon Rashid who advised us of our incorrect accreditation by email on 3rd May 2021) 

Suddenly - Disney is out of magic; Paris is no longer romantic; New York doesn’t stand up any more; The Chinese Wall is no longer a fortress; and Mecca is empty.

Hugs and kisses suddenly become weapons and visiting parents and friends becomes an act of love.


Suddenly you realize that power, beauty, and money are worthless and can’t get you the oxygen you're fighting for.

The world continues its life and is beautiful. It only puts humans in cages. I think it's sending us a message.


"You are not necessary. The air, the earth, the water and the sky, without you are fine.

When you come back remember that you are my guest, not my masters."


09/04/2020 - From Jenny & Roy Coley by email - Thank you all for the efforts that you have made to let us all see our Church services with  Bishop Rob. God bless and have a peaceful Easter and thank you for making us so welcome in the beginning, and always since, in our beautiful Church, bless you all.

02/04/2020 - From Freda Hilliar by email - Huge thanks are due to Bishop Rob and Janine for recording services and “Pause for Thought”, and equally huge thanks to Lawrence for using his tech expertise to enable us to see and hear both of these and maintain connection with each other.  Bless you all, and thank you.

30/03/2020 - From Stephanie Bratley by email - A thought to ponder at the start of lockdown week 2 - "We cannot take a step towards the heavens. God crosses the universe and comes to us."  God bless.

29/03/2020 - From Yvonne by email  - Good morning, just to say I have  been listening to Bishop Rob delivery of Passion Sunday service. It really was uplifting and a blessing we can still receive such care and love. 

29/03/2020 - From Dorothy via Facebook - Watched Bishop Rob’s service this morning and pictured everyone sitting in their usual places. Will be good when we are all together again. Stay safe everyone and we then can reunite in our church again. God bless.

23/03/2020 - From Pat Newby via Facebook - Hello to all of those old friends at St John's who know James and me. It's almost 4 yrs since we moved away from the parish to live near family in Bristol but St John's was our church for 40 yrs so is in our DNA. The one good thing to come out of this dreadful disease is that people are making contact with old friends. The church we now attend, St Mary Magdalene in Stoke Bishop, broadcasts on YouTube, and invites discussion and chats. Someone asked 'Why did God send us coronavirus? ' Mmm. Well, John 16:33 is helpful but it's a difficult one to get our heads round. So courage and know that God is good folks. Keep safe all. Love James and Pat x

24/03/2020 - From David & Tricia Lunn by email - Hi All, Tricia and I are missing the new friends we have made over the past few months at St John’s and look forward to meeting up again in the not too distant future. We pray that our world has not been ruined for the future generations. We pray that from this crisis the countries affected will realise we are one world and we should work closer together in protecting God’s gift.

22/03/2020 - From Chris Paul by email - Thank you for maintaining the weekly news sheet; I appreciate that we can share the prayers and readings and by doing so during this difficult time I will feel closer to our loving God and the Church Family here at St. John’s.

22/03/2020 - From Stuart by email - We will come through this if we are sensible, careful and respectful of others and a piece I read the other day - "As Christians we must walk in faith and inspire the fearful"