NOVEMBER 2014 OUR PASTORAL TEAM 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! 2 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 remembering. 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 comfort. 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 Waldensian Review at http://waldensian.org.uk/reviews/WR_124.pdf. 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 Worker Joan Davies Tina Brooker Sian Musgreave-Spiby 0121 705 7367 3 “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 power. 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 4 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 journey. 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. 5 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 appalling. 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. Amen. 6 Harvest weekend began with a bang when Messy Church opened on Saturday afternoon. 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. 7 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 8 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! CHAIR TESTERS 9 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 necessary. Please send photographs separately as jpeg files. NB. Last date for December Messenger items is 8th November 10 November Diary Sunday Monday 2 3 10.30 Morning Service Helen Cameron (Breakfast church in the hall) 7.30 9.15 Jelly 9.00 Holy Communion Babies 1.15 Jelly Tots Peter Bates Scouts Wednesday Tuesday 4 9.30 Holy Communion 10.00 Contact Choir 5 10.00 Morning prayers 10.00 Drop in coffee 6.00 Beavers 10.30 Men’s Coffee morning 6 7 7.30 Alpha 7.30 Guild Father Roy Murray (Hon. Priest at St. Alphege) 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 Friday Thursday 1 Saturday 8 5.50 Brownies 6.00 Rainbows 9 10.30 Remembrance Service and Holy Communion Peter Bates 10 9.15 Jelly Babies 1.15 Jelly Tots 7.30 Scouts 6.30 Evening service Colin McIlwaine 11 9.30 Holy Communion 10.00 Contact Choir 12 10.00 Morning prayers 10.00 Drop in coffee 1.00 Soupa 10.30 Men’s Coffee morning Talks Racing boats 5.50 Brownies round the world 6.00 Rainbows by Malcolm Evans 13 14 7.30 Alpha 8.15 Badminton 7.30 Guild Rose Dolby – Variety of Strings 20 21 22 27 28 29 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 15 6.00 Beavers 7.30 Circuit Executive at Acocks Green 16 10.30 Family service & Baptism of Matilda Sienna Johnson Ken Howcroft 17 9.15 Jelly Babies 1.15 Jelly Tots 7.30 Scouts (Breakfast church in the Hall) 10.30 Morning service Fiona Beadle 6.30 Healing Service & Holy Communion Caz Hague 9.30 Holy Communion 10.00 Contact Choir 19 10.00 Morning prayers 10.00 Drop in coffee 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 project Rev Derek Shaw 8.15 Badminton - 5.50 Brownies 6.30 Evening Service Michael Ipgrave 6.30 Circuit Praise Service at Carrs Lane (drinks and food from 6pm) 23 18 6.00 Rainbows 24 9.15 Jelly Babies 1.15 Jelly Tots 7.30 Scouts 25 9.30 Holy Communion 10.00 Contact Choir 26 10.00 Morning prayers 10.00 Drop in coffee 1.00 Soupa Talks 10.30 Men’s Coffee morning Bath – the story of a famous city by Carole Banks 11 2.00 Friends r Us 7.00 EN.R.G 3.30 – 5.30 Messy Youth group Church 7.30 Alpha YOUTH PAGE 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.
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