St Barnabas Church, Joydens Wood

Vicar’s Letter April 2018

Over the weekend of 10 and 11 March, St Barnabas Church celebrated the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of Joydens Wood being a parish in its own right!

The church building and Harold Porter Hall were prepared with exhibits of church memorabilia, as well as photos and displays of what goes on at St Barnabas today. We began the weekend with a ‘special edition’ of our regular Men’s Breakfast, as forty-eight gentlemen gathered for a ‘Full English’ breakfast, including the famous St Barnabas sausage made by local butcher, Steve Clark. We were honoured to be joined by the MP for Dartford, Gareth Johnson. He described the joys and demands of working as our elected representative in Parliament and spoke of the potential of local churches to act as a focus for community life.

From 11am, we were open for visitors to see the displays and to share memories over coffee and cake. Some had travelled quite a distance for the event! Reverend George Day who had been Vicar here from 2005 to 2010, came from Devon with his wife Elaine. Other friends had come from Bury St Edmunds to be with us. We were also joined by Angela and Rhona who run the Facebook group called ‘Joydens Wood Remembered’.

On Sunday morning it was good to welcome the Bishop of Rochester, James Langstaff. In his sermon, the Bishop pointed to a link between our anniversary celebrations and the fact that it was Mothering Sunday, as he looked at those qualities of welcome, unconditional love and nurture evident both in good mothers and good churches! After the service people had another chance to look at the exhibits, and we enjoyed food and a glass or two of ‘fizz’ before cutting our anniversary cake.

Over the weekend, I heard many conversations that began “Do you remember....?” and there was much laughter and a few tears of course, as friends from the past were recalled with affection. But there was also talk of what is happening at St Barnabas now... FunMondays Holiday Club, Sunday @ 4 teatime service, the Men’s Breakfast, the regular Pastoral Events for the frail elderly, the ongoing work of our Mothers’ Union branch. And looking to the future now, with the idea of St Barnabas, Joydens Wood as well as St James, North Cray both becoming part of the existing Bexley Team Ministry of St John the Evangelist, Bexley, and St Mary Bexley. (I wrote about it in my February letter.)

So now, as we celebrate the past Twenty-five years as an independent parish we also look forward to the future, eager to see what God will do in this community in the years to come.

God bless
Reverend Ren Harding
contact me at The Vicarage, 6 Tile Kiln Lane

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