It is with great regret that following the advice from the central Church of England, all meetings and services at St. Helen's have been suspended until further notice.
We know this will cause disappointment for many people however it does not stop us from being people of love, compassion and faith.
Jesus called us to serve others as an act of worship. Where you are able, help those in need. As you are able spend time in prayer. Above all love one another.
Over the next few days we will be working on different ways to support you pastorally and spiritually. Watch this space.
If you would like prayer or help get in touch and we will see what we can do.
Rev Andy Hobbs
Part of the historic role of the Rector/Priest-in-Charge of Cliffe Church has been to be a permanent member of the St. Helen’s Primary School governing body. This can, at times, be quite an undertaking and commitment and I’m amazed at how many news things I have had to learn over the past three years! It is also a real privilege to be part of a fantastic and caring community which is faithfully and lovingly served by the different staff and volunteer governors.
Part of our role recently has been to begin a conversation about an overarching Christian vision for the school. For a few years the school has had a set of Christian values (friendship, love, perseverance and trust) but now the diocese has asked for a vision into which we can pin these values. This vision will then become the basis by which we judge ourselves as a school.
Now you might think that a school vision should centre on academic success or sporting prowess but as a Christian school, we wanted to go beyond that. Not every child is going to be an `academic success` and neither will all of them be great at sport – does that mean they are somehow failures? No! Our Christian vision instead looks for something everyone can aim for:
“Loving God and neighbour” (Matthew 22:34-40)
One of the most crucial things in life is to know that you are loved. When you know you are loved unconditionally and valued for who you are it enables you to grow and flourish in all sorts of ways.
The Bible teaches that God loves each of us unconditionally – there is nothing we can do that will make God love us any more or any less. To “Love the Lord your God” isn’t about sticking to a set of rules. Instead it is about looking to make a positive difference in the world we live in. For example, God has given us a wonderful world to live in. Loving God means caring for his creation and seeking to pass it onto the next generation in a better state than which we found it.
Loving God also involves loving your neighbour. Our neighbours aren’t just the people around us who look like us and think like us, they are also the people who are different from us. As we all know, this can be a challenge! At St. Helen’s school we want children to feel valued and loved by each other whatever their background, gifts, skills and abilities. We recognise that God has created each of us uniquely and every one of us can bring something positive to our community.
As we move into a time of reflection during Lent, these are words that all of us can think upon and embody. What has God done to show his love for us? How can I reflect that love through the way I live in the world? Who can I be a loving neighbour to?
Maybe this vision can go beyond just the school and instead be embodied in our whole parish…