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Friends Bulletin Number 6 July 2010

Bishop Michael writes........
As we come to the Summer Break, we feel the need to stop and 'look both ways' - 'both ways,' with thanksgiving for the past and with great anticipation for what God still has in store for us.

I think it's fair to say that all those involved in the Friday lunchtime gathering for Centering Prayer, and Contemplation will have felt richly blessed together with being helped to move forward on the spiritual journey. Although we should resist counting numbers, nevertheless we cannot help but be encouraged, that an increasing number of people are discovering this opportunity for more reflective and contemplative prayer which clearly speaks to their need for support as they move on in their life of prayer and discipleship. We need to note two things about this. If we are serious about the need, and indeed our desire to develop our life of prayer, then we will need the support of a group of others with whom we regularly meet. Such a group may not exist at the church where we regularly worship on Sundays, but what is offered through the ministry of SPA at the Church of the Annunciation is not intended to draw people away from the Church to which they belong. Far from it! The SPA ministry is a supplementary ministry on offer to all or anyone who seeks us out.

Secondly, our personal life of prayer, in whatever form and at whatever stage we are on the spiritual journey must be seen in the wider context of sacramental worship in the Liturgy, regular Bible Reading, together with the out-workings of prayer which should take some form of service and outreach to others - Action: SPA, hence Scripture, Prayer leading to Action.

SPA, unlike what is usually understood by the word, is not there for the 'feel good factor!' It is widely open to misunderstanding when we speak of the Holy Spirit as the 'Comforter' - a word in Middle English which meant the very opposite from cozy or cuddly! In the Bayeux Tapestry, King Harold is figured together with his troops in the Battle of Hastings. Underneath are the words - 'King Harold Comforting his Troops.' Clearly it does not mean, 'wrapping them up in cotton wool!' Not a bit of it. No - it means in modern English the equivalent of 'encouraging' to the point of 'goading' on to greater effort.

So when we invoke the Holy Spirit at the beginning of our times of prayer, whether together or alone, we open ourselves up, surrendering and abandoning ourselves like the clay in the hands of the potter (as in Jeremiah) for God to make us and mould us according to his design, duly fitted for the work and action which are part of God's mission rather than just another piece of well-doing that happens to suit us or flatter our ego. So we pray: 'Spirit of the Living God; fall afresh on us. Melt us; Mould us; Fill us; Use us. Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on us.' That's a daring prayer, but it's one we need to use regularly, lest we get stuck and 'put our feet up' instead of pressing on to take hold of Him who first took hold of us. For clearly God has so very much more to share with us and to accomplish through us. We must not confuse any sign post for the finishing post, for always - just round the next bend in the road - the best is yet to come!

The Ordination of Soon to the Diaconate. None of us, who were privileged to be at St. Paul's Cathedral on Saturday 3rd July, will ever forget that glorious day, when the Bishop of London ordained Soon Han Choi to the Diaconate. Soon has been conspicuous for many years in his ministry of loving service to others with a passion to bring others to know Christ and to love God. At his ordination, that ministry was formally recognized by the whole church and further empowered by the Holy Spirit in the grace of Holy Orders in the Church of God. We should know that Soon had undergone many years of training leading up to this moment. Back in Korea he was formally trained for the Baptist Ministry and after arriving in this country he obtained a Masters Degree in Biblical Theology. Since January, he has been studying at St. Mellitus College and will continue his studies there, throughout his year in the Diaconate and in preparation for ordination to the priesthood.

Laus Deo

St Paul's Cathedral 3rd July 2010

Plans for the Summer Break Friday, 16th July, marks the last Friday of the Summer Term of SPA lunchtime meetings. We will resume our Friday lunchtime SPA meetings at the usual time of 1.00pm until 1.30pm as from Friday, 10th September.
During the summer break, we will be experimenting with:
Four Monday evening Home Groups, once every other Monday, beginning on:
Monday 26th July and on the following alternate Mondays - 9th August, 23rd August and the last one, Monday, 6th September.

We will split up into two groups -
Group A will meet at Bishop Michael's House
Group B will meet at Soon's flat

Bishop Michael and Soon will alternate between the two meeting places and lead the group. The Evening programme will be as follows: 7.00pm : Simple Supper of Bread, Cheese and Fruit followed by a time of Bible Reflection and Centering Prayer, finishing sharply at 8.30pm

Bishop Michael Marshall

If you want to read previous bulletins click the appropriate link.
Bulletin No. 1, December 2008
Bulletin No. 2, January 2009
Bulletin No. 3, March 2009
Bulletin No. 4, December 2009
Bulletin No. 5, December 2009
The Church of the Annunciation
Bryanston Street
Marble Arch

May I
Know Thee more clearly,
Love Thee more dearly,
Follow Thee more nearly,
Day by day.

Saint Richard of Chichester
The Church of the Annunciation

All Saints Margaret Street

The Oxford Street Oasis of Churches

The work of SPA is with the encouragement of the parish priest, the church wardens and PCC of the Annunciation.