The theme of our service with Chris Giles on 12
October was “An Open Invitation”.
It was an opportunity to think about those who
serve us and how we might join them in bringing
God’s message to others.
The Peace and Hope candle was lit for those who
care for others inside the home and out, and this
prepared the way for the annual dedication of our
pastoral team and the renewal of our commitment
to help and support them.
Chris had some questions for the young folk.
They correctly identified the Messenger, and they
knew that it was delivered to them by our pastoral
visitors. They weren’t so sure of the name of their
visitor who perhaps talks more to Mum or Dad.
Chris told them how this vast team keeps the link
between the Church and its family alive. It helps to
show such a large family that we care about them.
The team had earned a huge thank you and on the
count of 3 there was a shout of thanks that would
have been heard at the roundabout!
In This Issue
Our Pastoral Team
Family News
Ken’s First Message
Greetings from Samoa and Sri Lanka
The President’s Diary
Alpha Course begins
Bomb Disposal with Ron Simmons
Messy Church and Harvest
The Church Project with Big Malcolm
Chair Testers
Church Council
Enrgy Cakes and Investments
Printed by The Additional Curates Society
Congratulations to our Gillian Machin who received the 20
year Silver Award from Andris Nelsons, the conductor of
the CBSO, for her singing career with them so far.
Well done Gillian.
Congratulations to Sam Faulkner and Kay Barker
who were married in our church last month.
Lake District Ramblers will be
pleased to know that their friend
John Walley is recovering well
from his recent throat operation
and hopes to resume walking
with them in 2015.
The funerals of both Sue Francis and Sean Bryan
Morris were held last month. We send our prayers
and sincere condolences to their families. Sean
Morris lived in Links Drive and had aggressive liver
cancer. We think at this time especially of Vikki and
Matthew who is only 16.
The congregation
sends its
congratulations and
best wishes to two
stalwarts of the
church who
celebrated their
birthdays recently;
Ken Byles is 90 and
Dorothy Grinyer is 95!
Revd Ken Howcroft
Revd Peter Bates
Greetings to you all! As I fly solo for the first time on my first
Ministers Matters page, I want to say thank you to everyone for
the way that you have welcomed Marion and me, and
supported us with prayer and practical support.
I am particularly touched by the way that you have shown an
interest in where I am going and what I am doing as President
of the Methodist Conference. I am seeing some churches and
projects which seem to be flourishing, and others which seem
to be failing. Yet in both there are magnificent examples of
faithful worship, prayer, evangelism and practical mission. In
both the Spirit is at work. Do not believe the rumours: God has
not given up on the people called Methodist even if we are
sometimes tempted to give up on ourselves, on each other and
on God. God is still seeking to raise us up as the body of Christ,
in other words the embodiment of Jesus’s love, in the world.
That is what I can already see amongst us here at Solihull
Methodist Church. Wherever I go people are deeply impressed
that Sunday by Sunday people back at our church are praying
for me and for the places I am visiting. It is a simple thing to do,
even if it is not an easy thing to do, and many say that they are
inspired by it. So, thank you!
This edition of the Messenger comes out as we start to face the
dark days, in every sense of that term. It is a season of
The evening of 31 October is Halloween. This was originally a
vigil of waiting in prayer for the coming of All Hallows or All
Saints Day on November 1. But Halloween was also a time for
ridiculing the power and fear of death. Sadly, the ideas of
ghosts and witches and devils which were to be ridiculed are
often now more likely to be believed in than the ideas of
resurrection and eternal life with God to which the celebrations
were meant to be pointing.
Pastoral Coordinator
Chris Giles
All Saints Day celebrated the saints. Not just the ‘A’ list saints
like Peter and Paul, but the ‘saints’ in the New Testament use of
the term, where it means ordinary people who are sinners
caught up in the extraordinary process of allowing themselves
to be transformed into the people God would have them be.
We who hope to be among their number whilst alive,
remember and thank God for those of them who have died
physically but are alive in the memory of God.
That leads to All Souls Day on November 2, when we remember
all those who have died, whether known by us to be people of
faith or not (because ultimately the reality of a person’s faith is
known to God alone, as a beautiful prayer puts it).
Increasingly churches – and not just Catholic or high Anglican
churches – are finding it helpful to hold a service on All Saints or
All Souls when all those who have been bereaved are specially
invited to come to the church, and those who have died during
the year are remembered by name. Such services become more
and more popular and enable people to grieve and find
Then on November 5th we have the secular festival of Bonfire
night. There is death at the bottom of that as well. In this
country, Catholics and Protestants have died heroically as
martyrs for their faith. But Protestants and Catholics also
abused, tortured and executed each other in the name of their
faith. You can find an article that I wrote about that in the
The remembering of Guy Fawkes and others takes us
immediately to Remembrance Sunday, the centenary of the
outbreak of World War 1: the war we wanted to end all wars…..
Ken Howcroft
Church Office
Family and Community
Joan Davies
Tina Brooker
Sian Musgreave-Spiby
0121 705 7367
“Stampede”. “Panic buying hits shops” (Daily Mail, 29th August). “They have
forced us to change our light bulbs and banned our power hungry TVs!” (Daily
Express, 21st August).
“They” of course are the EU and the panic buying occurred around the 1st
September when it became illegal to manufacture or import vacuum cleaners
needing more than 1600 Watts to clean carpets. No doubt there will be more
uproar when the limit is reduced to 900 Watts in 2017 even though Dyson is
developing a model using only 200.
You can understand that I despair at the populist spinning of a sensible technical
decision which recognises that efficiency counts as much as brute power, and will
reduce Britons’ electricity bills as well as slowing global warming.
Britain, as one of the EU nation states, has agreed the EU should have
‘competency’ in environmental matters. Part of the EU’s work is improving the
efficiency of energy use. For example the average new car will emit only 95 grams
of CO2/kilometre in 2021, about half the 180 gm/km in 2000. The EU calls in
manufacturers and together they thrash out what is feasible. It gives incentives to
design engineers, and the manufacturers like it because they know competition
will be on a level playing field, at least for sales to the 507 million within the EU
market. Devices have to comply with minimum standards - vacuum cleaners, for
example, are tested for their ability to pick up dust (and dust re-emitted), for
noise and durability - and are then ranked on the standard EU colour coded scale.
So, always look for the label. Choose the A ranked appliances where possible and
do alert any friends who rushed out for a vacuum that efficiency is as important as
Richard Balmer
Greetings from Sri Lanka and Samoa
Rev Paul Hill concluded his address at the Commissioning
Service of the new MWiB District President, Mrs Monica
Sanders with this poem –
“There once was an oyster whose story I'll tell,
Who found a grain of sand had got under her shell; Just one
little grain, but it gave her much pain,
For oysters have feelings although they're so plain. Now, did
she berate the working of Fate
That had led her to such a deplorable state?
No - as she lay on the shelf, she said to herself,
'If I cannot remove it, I'll try to improve it’
So the years rolled by as the years always do,
And she came to her ultimate destiny - stew.
And this small grain of sand which had bothered her so,
Was a beautiful pearl, all richly aglow.
Now this tale has a moral - for isn't it grand
What an oyster can do with a morsel of sand;
What couldn't we do if we'd only begin
With all of the things that get under our skin.
On Sunday 19th October we welcomed Rev Dr Jerome
Sahabandu, Principal of the Theological College of Lanka in
Sri Lanka and Rev Kalama Ioapo from Samoa and the Uniting
Methodist Church of Australia. Both ministers spoke briefly
about their work and reason for visiting us.
Author unknown
Please note the discount which is now available to SMC members on
purchases made from The Bible Society!
If you need any help, do contact me – Ian Sinclair
To visit the shop and start browsing through all the great Bible resources go to http://www.biblesociety.org.uk/
At the Community Gallery, Birmingham Museum & Art
Gallery, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham – 13
September to 13 December
Exhibition on Sound & Silence – Prayer &
Contemplation At Carrs Lane Church Centre,
Birmingham – Friday 28 November 2014 – 10 am
(coffee & Tea) – meeting 10.30 – 11.30 am Advent
Prayer Hour organised by the Women’s Ecumenical
Network of Birmingham Churches Together – led by
Rev Carole Christensen
The new Alpha course started well in October.
Five guests and the helpers settled down to enjoy
delicious lasagne followed by fruit salad before putting
their minds to the question –
' Christianity: boring, untrue and irrelevant?'
Alan Faulkner, our speaker for the evening had been
seriously delayed on a return journey back to Solihull,
arrived just in time to give an inspiring and thought
provoking talk. Much discussion followed and we are
very grateful to Alan for setting the Alpha course off in
such a positive way, particularly after such a long tiring
There is still room for more people to join the Alpha
course so do pray about who you might invite and
encourage your friends to come along.
Action for Children boxes, that collect loose
change that weighs down your pockets and
purses, are now available for collection.
The sum raised this year was an amazing
£493.50. If anyone would like to become a
new collector to help disadvantaged
children, please let Shirley Aldridge know.
Thank you to all our collectors.
First In, Last Out - The Role of Bomb Disposal
Ron Simmons grew up in South Yardley. He worked for his
father who had a coach building business making and
repairing commercial vehicles. As well as helping with
administration, Ron worked in the construction of coaches
becoming an expert in metalwork and welding. These
significant skills became of enormous value in his army career
especially during the second World War
After a spell in the Home Guard, Ron was called up and joined
the Royal Engineers in Halifax. The idea of perhaps having to
kill another human was so abhorrent to Ron that he
volunteered for the Bomb Disposal Section. Not an easy
option at all!
After 6 months training, Ron was posted to Bournemouth
where he was engaged in defusing unexploded German
bombs along the South Coast which were then taken to waste
land and exploded. Whenever he went home on leave Ron
took off his badges from his uniform. He did not want his
parents to learn and worry about his dangerous occupation.
His next posting was in Cairo which entailed a voyage down
the west coast of Africa, up the East Coast and then north
through the Suez Canal. The troop Ship called in at Cape town
and Durban and the locals made a great fuss of them, laying
on entertainment for the soldiers.
The barracks at Cairo
were not salubrious.
The rations were very
poor and the
accommodation rough.
But when he was
attached to
Montgomery’s Eighth
Army in the desert the
conditions were
He makes light of the business
of bomb disposal. The
conditions made it more
difficult. They had to contend
with the heat, lack of water and
food, mosquitoes and malaria.
During this time, Ron was
hospitalised with sand fly fever,
a form of malaria.
The bomb disposal squads had a
motto of “first in, last out”.
Before any engagement such as
El Alamein, the Bomb Disposal
squad would go ahead clearing the area of land mines
using metal detectors (such as they were then) and then
stethoscopes to determine whether the land mines were
ticking and if so defusing them. They marked the clear
area with white tapes to give the following tanks and
troops safe passage. After battle they then had to lay
sufficient mines to prevent an attack and for protection
during retreat.
After Monty’s victory, Ron’s unit cleared mines at Tobruck
and at Benghazi. Amazingly his squad of twenty
engineers did not suffer any major accidents or fatalities
as did his friends in other squads.
After the war was over Ron met Gladys who was a
shorthand typist at Millfield hospital and they were
married in our church in 1950. During the War Gladys was
in the ATS but that’s another story!
Ron is on the right, back row.
We see this lovely couple every Sunday. They have done
so much good and charitable work over the years. They
never seem to stop smiling and caring, and what a
pleasure it is for those who bring them in to worship with
us. What quiet bravery they have shown caring so much
for others
The situations in Gaza, Israel and Iraq dominate the news and papers, capturing our attention and prompting our compassion.
In response, the Revd Ken Howcroft and Gill Dascombe, the President and Vice- President of the Methodist Conference, call
on all Methodists to urgent and informed prayer, commending all the peoples of the region to the care of Almighty God, and
regular prayer for the needs of the Land of the Holy One. Methodists are not alone in this task. Christian Aid have provided a
prayer for the region; an appeal for funds to help in the situation; and a call to sign a letter to the Foreign Secretary asking for
Britain to take some action.
These can be found on Christian Aid's website.
Holy God, holy and strong in love, holy and immortal. have mercy on us and on all in the land
called holy.
Where fear brings despair, let there be hope.
Where the urge to defend others brings violence, let there be love.
Where the causes of conflict and the means of reconciliation are beyond our comprehension,
may the peace of the Lord, which passes all understanding, guide everyone's hearts and minds
in Christ Jesus.
Harvest weekend began with a bang when
Messy Church opened on Saturday
Scone hedgehogs, pots of cress seeds, fruit
kebabs and painted leaves were among the
activities to interest the young folk. This time
there was special activities for over 7s
including pizza making.
It was a pleasure to see children, parents and
grandparents enjoying Messy Church
together. Grateful thanks to all those church
members, young and old who support our
Messy Church.
We gathered in great numbers, church members, friends
and many who had not been to our Church before, to hear
about Big Malcolm’s adventures in the Round the World
Yacht Race. This was a hugely successful first event for this
year’s church project EducAid Africa – and the hall was
packed to capacity with people and puddings.
After brief introductions from Jenni and our evening MC
Chris we were off with Malcolm for an enthralling evening.
We all shared in the infectious excitement and exuberance
of a man still very much a delightfully adventurous boy at
heart. We heard of the privations of such a cramped space,
of how scary huge waves and rough seas can be, how hot
weather can be, and how little food fuelled tremendous
physical challenges. We needed the pudding at half time to
replace our lost energy let alone Malcolm’s.
The first half was about the race itself, the boat and the
training and after the tremendous puddings , we moved on
to the races that Malcolm was in.
We still don’t have final figures yet, but it is clear already
that we raised nearly £700, which is being split between
our project and Malcolm’s own cancer charities. The basket
on the door for Malcolm’s charities raised a further £160
from a generous and loving audience who were as excited
as Big Malcolm himself.
Lawrie Rumens
Quiz night
22 November
The next event for our Church project is a Quiz night with
Fish and Chips.
This is on Saturday 22 November.
The Gilyeads’ are preparing the quiz and running the
evening for us. We are starting at 7.00pm to make it
easier for families to come along.
You will need to get tickets in advance.
Whilst you can come and just quiz on the night the
logistics of providing the food means that you will not be
able to order food on the evening.
Come as an individual and join a team or book a table of 8
for your own Team. The Fitter house group have already
entered a team so come on you other groups - are you
going to let them have a clean sweep?
Tickets on sale now from Jenni Kitson, Lawrie Rumens,
Graham Mackenzie and Jane Garnett
As we all know, our church pews are going to be
replaced with chairs. However, the new chairs must
be comfortable. So, what better way than to have a
selection of chairs for us all to try. Everyone was
asked to complete a form indicating the chairs that
they found UNCOMFORTABLE. These chairs will be
removed from the selection, and the remaining
COMFORTABLE chairs will be assessed according to
such features as their appearance, ease of stacking
and cost.
The assessment was undertaken with great
enthusiasm by everyone, young and old, but as you
can see from the photographs, not all of the chairs
passed the test!
Summary of Church Council meeting
held on 14th October 2014
1 The Council made/confirmed the following appointments: Judy Lingard: to replace Sue Balmer as Comunications
Group rep., Sian Musgrave-Spilby: church office, Reps. to Circuit Assembly: Pam Beattie, Graham Mackenzie,
Christine Burr, Stuart Aldridge, Gillian Penny, Margery Benson, Jenni Kitson, Cecil Knight. Church Treasurer:
Christine Burr, Gift Aid Secretary: David Grey, Secretary to the Council: Caroline Edwards, Car Rota: Brian Fitter.
Pastoral Visitors: Sue Mackenzie, Richard Burr, Communion Stewards: Shirley Aldridge, Irene Davidson, Sandy
Green, Christine Cooke, Doreen and Mike Lee, Diane and Cedric Woodward, Ivan Crowdell. Nigel Collinson: to lead
group on church review and development.
There is a vacancy for Chair of the Property Committee.
2 Members were unanimous in their appreciation of the service given by all who were being succeeded in office by
the above.
Members were pleased to approve transfer into membership of: Sue Bates, Marion Howcroft and Sue Kelly, who
will be formally welcomed on 16th November.
3 Arrangements for Advent / Christmas services: Toy/Parade service 30th November 10.30 a.m., Advent Communion
7th December 10.30 a.m., ‘Lessons and Carols’ 14th December 10.30 a.m., Advent service 21st December 10.30 a.m.,
Candle Light Service (supported by ‘SMASH’) 21st December 6.30 p.m., Crib Service 24th December 3.00 p.m., First
Communion of Christmas 24th December 11.15 p.m., Christmas Day Family Service 25th December 10.30 a.m.,
Covenant Service January 11th 2015 10.30 a.m.
4 The revised Circuit Constitution is available electronically on request to the Stewards.
5 Church membership continues stable at or around 300.
6 Members were encouraged by Tina’s report on progress with all elements of youth and family work, circuit youth
events and reaching out to our local community.
7 The ‘Way Ahead’ project groups are making progress with the processes of developing plans and specifications,
estimating and obtaining quotations re. costs, obtaining planning permission and raising funds. They will address all
the matters agreed by the Council last November as circulated to church members and report to members and the
Church as information becomes available.
8 A revised budget was adopted because of changes in income since the approval of this year’s budget. New
auditors are being sought.
9 It is hoped shortly to install a dishwasher in the church hall kitchen and other minor improvements have been
made to the facilities.
10 Reports were accepted from the Communications Group, the Greener Church Group, and re. Health and Safety
and Safeguarding.
11 Copies of the draft minutes and appendices are available for reading in the church and church hall lobbies. The
council will next meet on Thursday 26th February 2015 and Monday 8th June 2015.
The Messenger Team
Sue Balmer, Mike Crockett, Bryan Fitter,
Jeff Horton, Bill Penny and
Lawrie Rumens.
Material for publication to
[email protected]
Please try to keep articles to 250 words.
We reserve the right to edit articles if
Please send photographs separately as
jpeg files.
NB. Last date for December Messenger
items is
8th November
November Diary
10.30 Morning
(Breakfast church
in the hall)
9.15 Jelly
9.00 Holy
Communion Babies
1.15 Jelly Tots
Peter Bates
9.30 Holy
10.00 Contact
10.00 Morning
10.00 Drop in
6.00 Beavers
10.30 Men’s
Coffee morning
7.30 Alpha
7.30 Guild Father Roy
Murray (Hon.
Priest at St.
2.00 Friends r Us 7.00 EN.R.G
Youth group
6.30 Cubs
8.15 Badminton
12.00 Men's
Coffee lunch –
Bridge Club
6.30 Quiet space
5.50 Brownies
6.00 Rainbows
Service and Holy
Peter Bates
9.15 Jelly
Jelly Tots
6.30 Evening
9.30 Holy
10.00 Contact
10.00 Morning
10.00 Drop in
1.00 Soupa
10.30 Men’s
Coffee morning Talks
Racing boats
5.50 Brownies
round the world
6.00 Rainbows
by Malcolm Evans
7.30 Alpha
8.15 Badminton
7.30 Guild
Rose Dolby –
Variety of Strings
8.15 Badminton
7.30 Guild
Steve Cadney –
The Best of British
2.00 Friends r Us 7.00 EN.R.G
Youth group
6.30 Cubs
6.00 Beavers
7.30 Circuit
Executive at
Acocks Green
10.30 Family
service &
Baptism of Matilda
Sienna Johnson
Ken Howcroft
9.15 Jelly
Jelly Tots
(Breakfast church
in the Hall)
10.30 Morning
Fiona Beadle
6.30 Healing
Service & Holy
Caz Hague
9.30 Holy
10.00 Contact
10.00 Morning
10.00 Drop in
6.00 Beavers
10.30 Men’s
Coffee morning
Quiz and fish and
2.00 Friends r Us 7.00 EN.R.G
Youth group chip supper in aid
6.30 Cubs
of the Church
7.30 Alpha
7.30 Guild
Rev Derek Shaw
8.15 Badminton
5.50 Brownies
6.30 Evening
Michael Ipgrave
6.30 Circuit Praise
Service at Carrs
Lane (drinks and
food from 6pm)
6.00 Rainbows
9.15 Jelly
Jelly Tots
9.30 Holy
10.00 Contact
10.00 Morning
10.00 Drop in
1.00 Soupa Talks
10.30 Men’s
Coffee morning Bath – the story
of a famous city
by Carole Banks
2.00 Friends r Us 7.00 EN.R.G
3.30 – 5.30 Messy
Youth group Church
7.30 Alpha
Well done to EN.R.G who held a Cake
Sale after the service on 12th October
to raise money for some future events.
The table was groaning with cakes that
looked very bad for you, but they were
delicious. They raised an amazing £90,
and if they had charged realistic prices
it would have been even more.
Great stuff kids. We are so proud of
you all.
Look what you can do with
ten pounds!....
Rachel and Daniel invested their £10
each from the Ways and Means
challenge into loom bands, to make
and sell various items at church.
Thanks to the generosity of the
congregation they have increased
their combined £20 to £69.43, with
some orders still outstanding. Many
thanks to all who supported them.
Also, Elizabeth and Joe made a profit of £55.62 on
their £10 challenge for the Way Ahead Church
Development Project.
Well done and thank you to them both, and to all
the people who supported them by purchasing jam
and marmalade.