Sunday Club looks at Alban Roe

Prayer: Alban Roe preached the Gospel to his fellow prisoners with playing cards, and faced his execution with faith, courage, and cheerfulness. Lord, give us the joy that can shine through adversity, the grace to share our faith in good times and bad, and the hope to look death in the face, confident in your victory.

Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Prayer for us Alban Roe, Pray for us, all saints of God.

Info: Alban Roe was a Roman Catholic and a Benedictine monk. One of the things Alban Roe is best known for is working with cards. He often visited pubs and played card games (Maws or 45s) with the people he met there, having fun and making friends before telling them about Jesus.

He lived at a time when it was illegal to be a Roman Catholic and so every day when he taught people about Jesus and the Christian faith, he was risking his life.

One day, he was arrested and sent to prison for the work he did and was even locked in the Gatehouse in St Albans for a time before being sent to a London prison, and even in prison he found a way to teach people about the faith using cards.

Activity

Cards are still used by many to teach people about the Christian Faith. Here is one way (this is not what Alban Roe developed, but the closest thing to it that young children could understand).

Ace: The one true God.

Two: The Old Testament and New Testament in the Bible.

Three: The Holy Trinity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Four: St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. John, evangelists and authors of the four Gospels.

Five: The two groups of five virgins who trimmed their lamps for a wedding. Five were wise (by saving enough oil) and were admitted, while the other five were foolish (did not have enough oil) and were shut out.

Six: God created the Earth in six days.

Seven: God rested on the seventh day, now known as the Sabbath.

Eight: The eight righteous people whom God saved during the Great Flood: Noah, his wife, their three sons, and their wives.

Nine: Of the ten lepers whom Jesus cleansed, nine of them did not even thank him.

Ten: The Ten Commandments God handed down to Moses.

King: God, the Father.

Queen: Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus and Queen of Heaven.

Jack or knave: Satan or the Devil.

Talk through the cards with your group. Then play a memory game to test how many they can remember. Give each one in turn a random card and they have to tell you what it represents.

If they make a mistake, go through the cards again.

How many times do you need to repeat it until they remember them all?

Questions to ask the group

• Can using cards be a useful way of helping us to remember important things about our faith?

• What other aspects of our faith could you assign a card for?

• What important things have been missed out?

• Do you think Alban Roe helped people learn about Christianity through using cards?

Craft

From the list above, make your own card and decorate it with its meaning. For example, you may draw out a Queen, and decorate it with a picture of Mary.

Or

Give each child in your group a suit of cards from a deck. Get them to decorate each one with an image that will remind them of something that number relates to from the bible or using the above pattern. (One deck of cards will go around 4 children, if you buy cards for this activity, please remember to claim the money back via the finance office).

Activity

Explain to the children that Alban Roe often visited pubs because that is where he could find a large group of people, who didn’t know much about God, that he could get to know, and tell tem about Jesus.

He often visited these places so that he could share what he knew with other people.

As a group on lining paper, or individually on pieces of paper, draw or write some of the places you could go, to tell people who don’t know about God why he is so great.

(Leaders prompt them to think about clubs and groups they are part of, family members, places they visit like the park)

Follow up with the question, what are the most important things you would want them to know after talking to them about God?

Children’s Church: I Am he

During the summer holidays in St Albans Cathedral, Children’s Church replaces the Sunday Club, and for this summer the Children’s Church continued some of the work that Sunday Club started by looking at some of the I AM sayings.

Sunday Club had covered, I AM the true vine, I AM the bread of life, I AM the good shepherd and I AM the way.

So… Children’s Church looked at I AM he, I AM the light of the world, I AM the resurrection, I AM the Alpha and Omega and finally they looked at Who is God to me?

So over the next few days I’m going to post what they did. Feel free to use these ideas with your own group if you wish.

26th July I AM he

Game: Have all players stand or sit in a circle. Each player can either do a different motion for each syllable of their name or clap it out (whatever is more suitable for the groups ability). For example Christopher, Chris(stomp feet)-to(click)-fer(wave hands in the air). The next player does the same thing with their name using different motions until everyone has had their turn.

Talk: Names are really important. They are something we own, and no one is able to take your name away from you. Most of the time, its one of the first things our parents do for us. They give us a name to separate us from others and to make us unique. Sometimes names can mean special things.
Does anyone know if their name has a special meaning??
Claire: Clear and bright
Sally: Princess
Jeffrey: God’s peace
Richard: Powerful Leader

(Have a book of names and look up some of the meanings of the kids names)

Activity: Explain that there are lots of different names for God, and lots of these have special meanings too. Get the kids to think of names they know for God and names they call him (Father, Almighty, Lord etc)

Have some lining paper spread out, or a large body shape and get the kids to write and draw on it the names they come up with for God.

For the older children we also got some youth bibles with names and verses slipped into them so they could find names and learn where in the bible they can be found.

(Abba Mark 14.36, Alpha and Omega Revelation 1.8, Bread of life John 6.35, Cornerstone Acts 4.11, Creator Psalms 121.2, Father Matthew 5.16, Good Shepherd John 10: 11, High Priest Hebrews 3.1, Holy Spirit John 14.26, I AM Exodus 3.14, King of kings 1 Timothy 6.15, Lord of Lords I Timothy 6.15, Lamb of God John 1.29, Light of the world John 8.12, Messiah Matthew 1.1, Prince of Peace Isaiah 9.6, Counsellor Isaiah 9.6, Powerful God Isaiah 9.6, Rabbi John 1.38, Redeemer Isaiah 59.20, The Way John 14.6, The word John 1.1, True vine John 15.1)

Sermon Trinity 12

Readings: Joshua 24.1-2a, 14-18 & John 6. 56-69

We’ve heard a lot over this summer about Jesus being the bread of life. With the exception of last week’s welcome break where we celebrated the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we’ve been talking about bread for almost a month. Since the 26th July as we’ve slowly, but surely worked our way through John chapter 6.

So by now, I expect you are all experts on Jesus being the bread of life, the living bread, the bread which came down from heaven, and what Jesus meant when he was teaching his disciples. And if that is the case, I’d be happy to arrange for the Dean to give you a little quiz later.

But if you’re not a bread of life expert, if you’re still unsure, and uncertain what Jesus was actually getting at, then don’t worry because you’re in good company. We hear today that even some of Jesus’ followers are still baffled at what Jesus had been trying to teach them. We hear:

‘This teaching is difficult; who can accept it’

&

Many of His disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, ‘Do you also wish to go away?’

 

Our society puts a huge amount of value on the ability to choose. From a very young age, our lives are filled with a myriad of choices to make. What to wear, what to eat, read, watch, listen to, study, work for, believe, live out in our lives.

We spend our energy trying to make for ourselves the ‘perfect life’, making more and more money, being thinner and fitter, more attractive, more fashionable. And buying more and more things that we feel like we ‘need’. For many these are the new gods they serve in their lives. We have a hunger within us, but little we do seems to satisfy for very long. We are still living less then fully alive.

We have great choices to make, but if you’re anything like me, you tend to put off the big decisions for the eternal tomorrow.

Realising it, or not, we share a lot with the people of Israel whom Joshua is addressing.

He has gathered together all the tribes of Israel and is telling them of the choice that is set before them. But, like we do, they have an amnesia when it comes to what is takes to build a good life. They have forgotten the goodness of God, and all the signs and wonders He has shown them and their ancestors, and the promises, the covenant God has made for their future.

Joshua is urging the people to stick with God, but he realises that this isn’t a desirable choice for all. He says, ‘now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve’.

This is the God who brought our fathers out of slavery in Egypt, and who has done great signs among us. But you choose… who will you serve?

Jesus asks those gathered in the synagogue the same, who will you serve?

It is easy to keep our faith and belief in the good times. But what about when things get difficult? What do we do, when we come across something we don’t understand, or don’t accept, what do we do when we have a hunger to fill?

‘Are you going to leave too?’

What happens when life gets difficult, or questions become too much. What happens when the things we try to do to make our lives full, fail and we stay hungry?

Where do we go when we reach that question, ‘what am I doing with my life?’

Jesus said ‘Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live, because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven.’

Christ is the food we need for the hungers we feel. And we are in need of a regular, steady diet of this holy food.

When we choose to follow Christ, and partake in the life of His church, when we share in the body and blood of Christ he lives in us, and our lives are changed. When we choose Christ, we take a step closer to living His life, a life of peace, and love, of charity and compassion, of forgiveness and change, we will live our lives by seeing the world through the love that God has for us.

So what god are you going to serve?

Joshua’s congregation choose God, because they have tasted the life that God offers and have remembered his promises.

Jesus’ disciples choose to continue following Him, because they have tasted the life that God offers, and believe in the new covenant Jesus offers.

And now we have the choice to make. To choose the gods of this world, and perpetual hunger, or to choose Christ, to eat his flesh and drink his blood in communion and to share fully in his life.

The Alban Pilgrimage Children’s Talk 2015

The children’s talk went something like this……..

The Chinese emperor seeking a new Prime Minister, challenged all of the children to bring in the greatest power in the world.  Some brought weapons.  Others said that the beautiful have t he power to get whatever they want and spent the year making themselves as beautiful as possible.  The brainy children pointed to the power of technology bringing examples of important Chinese inventions.  And, of course one group saw money as the path to greatest power.

After thinking long and hard, one child brought a seed.  When the emperor asked her why, she explained that when it is planted a seed produces a wonderful plant which produces food for now and more seeds for future plants.  It contains life which is the strongest power in the universe.  Of course she became the new Prime Minister. (The Greatest Power, by Demi)

Jesus tells us today about how we should live our lives. He says if we pay too much attention to the things of the world, then we’ll miss out on life.

What type of things might we pay too much time on which then makes us miss out on other things? (Let the kids answer)

TV, computers, music, food, sweets, comics, games.

Jesus says, ‘those who give themselves to the things I tell them about will have a great life, and will have eternal life’.

What things does Jesus teach us about? (Let the kids answer)

Love, peace, justice, giving, selflessness, caring, etc

These are the things that are important in life, these are the things we have to work towards doing each and every day to have a full and happy life.

Alban gave us a great example in how he lived his life. He thought about others first, and protected Amphibalus the priest when the soldiers came looking for him. It was a dangerous thing to do, and Alban knew that, but it didn’t stop him.

The soldiers gave him the chance to save his own life by promising to follow the Roman gods, but he wouldn’t and he told everyone clearly that he believed in the one true God who made all of heaven and earth.

Alban stood for truth and bravery, he was selfless and caring. And that is why we celebrate him today. St Albans Abbey was built in his memory so that others could worship the one true God and be reminded of his example, and so that we continue to try and live better lives, so we can have the life that Jesus promises us. DSC03585DSC03589

We also had bubble prayers 🙂

Walsingham Children’s Pilgrimage 2015

At the beginning of March I took 6 members of our Xcite youth group to the Walsingham Children’s Pilgrimage and it’s fair to say they had a ball! Ever since, we leaders have been getting regular questions of ‘When can we go back?’. Here is a video of their time. The theme was ‘Spring your life’ looking at water, the well of Walsingham, and the role of water in faith and life. There were several events raising money for Wateraid – our efforts will follow shortly.

Sermon Matthew 22: 34-40

For the last two chapters of the gospel according to St Matthew, Jesus is constantly being questioned. He refuses to claim his identity as messiah and leaves people to figure out from their own knowledge and experience who Jesus is.


While I understand the motivation of the repeated testing of Jesus in these chapters, I can’t help but feel sorry for Jesus and the annoyance and frustration he must have felt. Especially when He becomes faced with questions that are posed as tricks to make Him stumble into being discredited.

First, the Pharisees send some lackeys to trip him up over taxes question. He avoids that trap. Next some Sadducees try to trip him up with a tricky question about the resurrection. Again he avoids the trap. Now, in our passage for today the Pharisees come in person with a question about the greatest commandment to test him.

The way the Sadducees and Pharisees act remind me of our many and varied game shows and reality TV programs.

Reality shows, test people all the time. The prize is prestige and money. The penalty is being sent home, one’s dreams destroyed, with lots of people watching.

Let’s see if Jesus can sing well enough to get through the X Factor, or answer questions correctly like the show The Chase. Let’s see if Jesus can dance for us like on “Strictly come Dancing?” Let’s see if he can survive in the wilderness like on “I’m a celebratory Get me out of here.” What chance do you think he’d stand on Bake Off?

I admit, these examples are ridiculous but in so many ways were the questionings, trickery and testing that takes place in this portion of Matthew.

It’s no surprise that Jesus passes with flying colours, even when a lawyer asks Jesus which is the greatest commandment.

On the surface, the question “Which is the greatest commandment?” doesn’t seem like much of a test. But the question about which of the 613 commandments in the Law was the greatest was hotly debated at the time. Some held that they were equally important; others that a graded scale was needed in practical application in daily life.

It’s said that the best teachers are those who show their students where to look for what they need, but won’t tell them what to see.

A good teacher will allow their students to see for themselves and discover what they need to learn.

But we’ve all had those times when what is discovered and learnt needs some tweaking and re-aligning.

I was leading a group of 10 older children through some confirmation preparations, and we had one session on the 10 commandment. We came to ‘honour your father and your mother’ and one of the boys asked ‘is there a commandment telling us how to treat our brothers and sisters’?

Before I had a chance to say anything one of his friends offered an answer, ‘you shall not kill’?

I had a certain amount of sympathy for this idea, if you’ve grown up with siblings you may have felt the same at times.

Jesus, being a good teacher, showed them where to look for their answers, but what they want to see is for them to choose and decide.
The first and greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.

And then it is followed by this: You must love your neighbour as yourself.

Jesus has proved himself, yet again, that he knows the law and has authority with it.

So we are also told where to look. And what do we see?

As for Jesus, He saw that it would be more loving to give those Pharisees  a bit of His heart than to give them a piece of His mind.

(And I’m sure he could have given them a good piece of his mind!!!!!!)

We too would be happier when we give people a bit of our heart rather than a piece of our mind.

But when we look at the people around us, those at home, those at work, those in Church, it would be easier to give them a piece of our mind than a bit of our heart.

And here lies the lesson of life – Nothing and no one ever goes away until they teach us what we need to know.

God doesn’t give us the people we want. He gives us the people we need – people who will hurt us, people who will leave us, but also people who will help us and people who will love us, so as to make us into the persons we were meant to be.

When we can see that, then we would have understood the lesson of life.

And with that, we will be able to love God and love our neighbour as ourselves.