THE GREEN SOCK - The Shropshire & Marches Methodist Circuit

The Living
Ministry takes lots of different
forms. When it comes to ordained ministry some people's
idea of clergy is defined by representations on TV and in films. Every minister will
have their own ideas about what is important in
ministry. An important but often neglected aspect of
ministry is the calling simply to be. It's not just
about what we do but has something to do with
abiding in God. In September 2012 I was diagnosed
with Breast Cancer and faced time off work due to
the operation I needed and the treatment which
was to follow that operation. Being off sick after the
operation was straightforward. But then there was a
period when I worked a little and yet kept being
very unwell. In the end I went off sick for the rest of
my treatment and for some time afterwards. ( Cont.
District Chair raises
£2500 for Rwanda pg. 3
Chirk Chapel Advent
Concert pg. 7
Chirk Chapel Wives &
Friends pg. 9
Belle Vue Chapel
perform Bethlehem
Junction pg. 10
Bishop’s Castle Café
Tea & Worship pg. 11
Craven Arms Ecumenical Covenant Service
pg. 12
Orleton Chapel Host
Christians Together in
Orleton Service pg. 13
Leominster Chapel Tea
& Tots pg. 14
Tea & Tots at Leominster Chapel pg. 14
I felt in some way as though although I was still a Christian and a minister I was
not doing very much. Yet that period of my life was a very fruitful time.
Chemotherapy results in lots of unpleasant side effects. I was not brave, I hated
being unwell, and was very upset when I had to have my hair cut off because it
was falling out. However the side effects led me to a deeper prayer life. With every side effect when I felt like moaning about it to God I got a clear message from
God, “Now you can pray for…” So I began praying for people with any form of
illness that causes fatigue, I prayed for people with painful joints, I prayed for
people with numbness in feet, I prayed for those relying on carers to bring them
a drink or food. And then there was the challenge of how I looked. I gained
weight and I was bald. You don't realise how many adverts there are showing
slim women with long flowing hair until you have no hair! I had to cling to the
idea that I was made in the image of God, even though I did not meet the ideals
of our society.
I went into hospital on three occasions because my immune system had crashed
and I had infections. I sat in my own little room being kept safe from infection,
bald and unwell, a drip in my arm and with very personal questions being asked
to assess how I was doing. But the staff kept coming to me for prayer, to share
their troubles and to be cheered up, to be listened to. And I learnt a valuable lesson. Ministry could be a bald woman with a drip in her arm sitting in a hospital
bed. Image and health are no bar to ministry. Any of us can be used in any situation to minister to others. We need to grasp that and stop limiting ourselves
whether we are ordained or not by our image of who and how we minister.
I am now completely well and the effect of having cancer has been a very positive
one. My strong faith is even stronger and my understanding and empathy for
others has increased.
Our guest writer for this issue is Revd. Pauline Long.
All We Can (formerly MRDF) helps people in some of the
world's poorest communities to become all that they can.
Follow All We Can on Twitter: @allwecan_uk
The views expressed in this publication are those of the individual writers and not necessarily representative of the Methodist Church.
Chairman of the District Revd. John Howard concluded his sponsored Walk for
Rwanda arriving at the newly refurbished Garway Hill Chapel on December 17, having walked a hundred and sixty-four miles and raised around £2500. “It was the end
of a whole series of different, individual experiences. It took me ten days of walking
to do it and gave no end of really lovely encounters” he said. At Orleton, seeing him
walking through the village from her kitchen window, a woman waved then came
out to meet him. “Immediately she told me that her husband came from Uganda
and that they knew the west of Rwanda well. So I was able to talk to her about
some of the work we do over there. She was really enthusiastic about it all and gave
me five pounds towards the sponsor money,” Revd. Howard said, adding that his
North to South trek which started at Barlaston on the edge of Stoke-on-Trent, had
been dotted with spontaneous acts of giving.
Revd. Howard was able to pray in each of the forty-five churches he visited on
route. “Sometimes we only had one or two people there. At other times there were
more, like at Lake Street in Gornal where we had fifty people. Some really nice,
quite moving prayer times were with groups of four or five people. I had an amusing time at Orleton. I hadn’t arrived at the time they expected me to so (Revd.) Neil
Richardson went out down the road to try to find me. Meanwhile I’d cut across a
field. I arrived at the chapel and was having some sandwiches and a cup of tea
when Neil comes back and says, “I can’t find him anywhere…”
Overall Revd. Howard was really pleased with the walk. He is grateful for the immense support he received throughout and the opportunity to publicise the ongoing work in Rwanda as well as the considerable sum of money raised.
“It’s fair to say that the Methodist representation of hospitality was well established. It was one of the few long distance walks where I ended up weighing more
than I did at the beginning of it through the amount of refreshments I was given at
each place that I went to,” he said.
Revd. Pauline Long and the cast of Clun Chapel’s Nativity
A happy morning service was held at the chapel on December 8th when the very
youngest members presented the nativity story, ably led by Revd. Pauline Long.
The children enjoyed playing with a large set of Nativity dominoes which they arranged neatly on the floor (and which were gathered up by ‘Joseph’ who obviously
has a tidy nature!) Each domino had a nativity character on it which the youngsters ably identified as the story was told. We were all reminded of the wonder of
the Christmas season and the promise that God is with us, Immanuel.
Elisabeth Newman
Morda Chapel’s
Carol singers were
in full song on
December 21st.
Following their
Carol Service,
Revd. Heather
Wilson rounded
them up for this
Christmas Celebrations at Pontesbury Methodist Church
On December 8th we held our annual Carols and Quiz evening. Hot Christmas
punch and mince pies were served. There was a light-hearted quiz and many
carols were sung accompanied by Ruth Champley on the piano. A retiring collection was made and £127.25 was raised for Action for Children.
December 19th our Annual Christmas dinner (which started as a 'one-off' six
years ago!) was cooked and served by the men of the Church for fifty guests. We
were treated to a full Christmas Dinner with all the trimmings, Christmas
Pudding, Mince Pies and Cheese and Biscuits. Some of the Church Members then
performed a short sketch of Cinderella, and the most memorable part of the
evening was Trevor Bishop and Edward Mitton dressed as the Ugly Sisters.
At our Carol Service on 21st December, taken by Rev. Andrew Champley, it was
lovely to see a full Church of about seventy people. The service included musical
items by 'The Flat Notes' our Church singing group, and the nativity story narrated
by Janet and Joyce and acted by the children of the Church. A lovely service, enjoyed by all. Coffee and mince pies were served in the Community Room after
the service.
Jan Griffiths
Snailbeach Chapel Hold Memory Tree Service
On December 10, following a Christmas tradition they have maintained for over
a decade, Snailbeach Chapel honoured their departed loved ones with a Memory
Tree Service. Many friends and relatives were remembered as Revd. Andrew
Champley read out their names.
“We’ve been doing this for thirteen or fourteen years,” Church Steward Derek
Rowson told the Green Sock, “Due to the weather conditions we didn’t have as
many come as in some years, but it was enjoyed by all who were present.”
Derek and his wife Jean would like to thank all the local ladies who helped provide refreshments and also Mrs Mary Challoner for playing the organ. A total of
£702 was raised. The proceeds will be split between three charities namely
Severn Hospice, Lingen Davies and Hope House. A huge thank you to all those
who donated and supported the project
From the District Chairman
Rwanda’s Peacebuilding, Healing and Reconciliation Programme (PHARP) continues
to benefit from the generosity of the Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton District.
Just before Christmas, £5000 was donated to continue renovation work that will
improve the facilities at the PHARP headquarters in Kigali. The office is also the centre where much of the organisation’s training work is carried out. Renovations will
include the development of a guest house for visitors to the centre who often travel
from abroad to volunteer with PHARP. It will also provide hospitality for visitors
arriving from the airport enabling the guest house to function as a business.
Plans are underway to welcome PHARP leader Julienne (and one of her colleagues
as visitors to the District within the next few months. It is hoped that the pair will
tour the District and conduct talks at some of the churches. “We’re hoping to have
two members of PHARP with us before or just after Easter. Julienne would like to
bring one of the people that she works with and we’re trying to establish who we
could get a visa for because it’s very difficult to get a visa to come to this country of
course,” Revd. John Howard informed.
District Office Request Another Leader for Rwanda Trip
One of the leaders has had to pull out of the planned trip to Rwanda. There is now
an opportunity for another adult to join the group as an additional leader. A group
of under ten people is now confirmed and dates for the trip, provisionally 16 th July
to 4th August, are being finalised. Some financial assistance for leaders is available if
required. If you are interested in filling this position please contact Leigh Maydew
at the District Office on 01902 332508, as soon as possible as tickets will need to be
booked shortly.
Cor Meibion Dyfryn Ceiriog members prepare for an evening of song
Looking around Chirk Methodist Church it would be hard to ignore embroidery created by the deft fingers of the late Janet Bowley. Janet, an
exemplary seamstress was employed by Ceiriog Home and
Wear yet spent many hours sewing for the church, including
curtains, and fundraising items for charitable causes. She
also lent her voice to various choirs and actively supported
the Glyn Ceiriog Male Choir and Cor Meibion Dyrfryn
Ceiriog, her husband Arthur being a member of both. Sadly,
Janet died last Easter Sunday, aged 82. In December, inspired by her commitment to them, Cor Meibion Dyrfryn
Ceiriog hosted a special Advent concert in her honour, dedicating the event to her memory and to thank Janet for her
service over many years.
The choir, ordinarily twenty-five strong was just twenty-four One of Janet’s creations
on this occasion with Arthur playing the part of an esteemed
audience member. The concert opened with the audience participating in Charles
Wesley’s Come Thou Long Expected Jesus with Terence Williams accompanying on
organ. This was followed by the Robert Williams’ famous Welsh hymn Llanfair.
Next, John Guard’s Calm is the Sea gave the choir an opportunity to show off the
bass voices among them which, by the close of the song had left a calm hush all
over the church. As lovely and comforting both music and words were, it took nothing away from the enjoyment of Cor Meibion harmonies in Meinir Fwyn. Soloist
Huw Lloyd’s How Great Thou Art, with the audience participating in the chorus preceded trio (Fred Howell, Peter Wilkes and Dave Morris) The Bordermen’s first of
two interjections during which they
sang Memories Are Made of This, Nowhere Man and Delilah. The choir returned with Amen, a This Little Light of
Mine medley in staccato, a mournful
rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone
and an alternating Welsh-English Silent
Night. Arwel Hughes’ hymn Tydi a Roddaist brought the segment to a close.
The trio’s second interjection began
with the Beatles’ If I Give My Heart to
You. Crystal Chandeliers by Charlie Pride
and the Drifters’ Save the Last Dance
ended their set.
Vocal Trio The Bordermen
The final four numbers were Welsh hymn
Gwahoddiaad, which ended in an Amen chorus, O Isis and Osiris from Mozart’s Magic
Flute, Amy Lee Grant’s gospel Lullaby Angels
Watching Over Me and the deep, harmonious Deus
Choir members enjoyed mince pies and
mulled wine before performing
Prior to the concert, organist Arthur, who is originally from Leicestershire but moved with Janet to
Arthur Bowley
Chirk in the 1970s, and has attended Chirk
Methodist since, told the Green Sock of
Janet’s hard work as a fundraiser and on
the ladies’ committee. Teary eyed he
praised the choir and said, “It was the
choirs’ idea. She was a hard worker for the
choir. I’ve never know the choir to do this.”
Chirk Methodist Wives & Friends Over Forty years And Still Going Strong
Chirk Methodist Wives & Friends started back in November 1972.
At the time Revd. Peter Green and his wife Jennifer had just had
their second baby. As young mums, most of whom had also had
babies that year, a group of us met up on a Tuesday afternoon in
the manse. We called
Wives'. Our babies
came along with us to
meetings. They either
slept in their prams or
joined us in our
meeting. As time went
on many more wanted
to join us so we decided to transfer our
meetings to the chapel and acquired the
Chirk Chapel’s Wives and Friends gathered
help of two dinner
for their Fortieth Anniversary
ladies from the nearby
school to look after the
little ones. We persuaded local people to come and speak to us.
We were very young then, so we invited Health Visitors and the
like who helped us with our children and they found it gratifying
that they could practise whilst doing their training. After a few
years when our children had all started school we moved our
meetings to the evening and invited the dinner ladies to join us.
We went from strength to strength and eventually changed our
name to ‘Wives and Friends’ as we were no longer young and also some of our members were single ladies. We have now been
meeting for almost 43 years and have celebrated an anniversary
every November in recognition of our start-up. We are still a very
close group of friends.
Anne Davies
Belle Vue Chapel becomes Bethlehem Junction for Christmas
Originally written and performed at New Malden Methodist Chapel in 1987, Paul
Henley’s Bethlehem Junction was revived and performed at Belle Vue Chapel in
December. A somewhat contemporary rendition of the nativity, the musical showcased the vocal, orchestral and performance talents of the cast members, most of
whom attend the church. The show opened with dancers Jacob Goodchild (Adam)
and Rosie Dixon (Eve) depicting Creation, dancing in the Garden of Eden, while
passing back and forth a Christmas present representing the tree of Knowledge of
Good and Evil. This set the stage for bringing to life the Christmas story with its well
-known characters creatively set albeit in unfamiliar places while an ambitious and
varied score accompanied the action.
After a foretelling solo from The Prophet (Rebecca Grace) we’re taken to a scene in
Mary’s house and introduced to the most elegant Angel Gabriel (Kirsty Williamson)
who in sparkling gown, gloves and pearls startles Mary (Louise Duff) who sits reading a book, and imparts to her that she is to Arise! and prepare to give birth to
God’s son. In “He Will Be Great”, Gabriel reassures Mary of God’s wonderful plan
for her and her baby. Once Gabriel departs Mary expresses her joy and fears in “Fly
A Dream” resigning herself to God’s will with the words, “So be it”.
The meeting of Mary with Elisabeth (Rebecca Grace, standing in for another cast
member) is probably one of the scenes most memorable for its visual and musical
humour as, prior to Mary’s arrival we meet a Busy Lizzie (Elizabeth) baking in her
kitchen. Preparing for Mary’s visit she sings as she searches on table top and under
tea towels for her elusive wooden spoon, bringing the song to a climax when, voila!
she finds it.
“Bethlehem Bustle” heralds the arrival of a heavily pregnant Mary and anxious Joseph (Christopher Griksaitis) at Bethlehem Junction train station no less. A ‘No Vacancies’ sign is clearly visible in a hotel window. A place is found in the nick of time
and the modern-day setting for Jesus’ birth turns out not to be a Premier Inn, as
one might expect, but a Pub in Bethlehem.
In an open country location nearby a shepherd girl (Eleanor Southwell) receives
from Gabriel, news of the new born King. Meanwhile back at the pub there is celebration first with Mary, Gabriel and Elisabeth singing praises to God in a reprise of
“Fly A Dream” then with Mary and Joseph’s duet ”Streamers From Heaven” with
party poppers enhancing the festive spirit. An adventurous departure from the original sees the Three Wise Men become Three City Gents (Will de Chazal, Steve
Graney and Freddie Brook). The magi, often portrayed as austere and reverent are
here given almost comical treatment. Their stiffly choreographed dance, with all the
stereotypical characteristics of the city gent, made for an amusingly effective twist.
By the end of the performance the audience have certainly witnessed the nativity
as never before.
The idea to write Bethlehem Junction, Paul Henley informs, came to him while he
was working on the singing circuit in London. A number of his colleagues were
Christians and sounding the idea out with them he received favourable responses,
though he states he had not specifically intended to write the nativity in a contemporary style. Reviewing his opening night at Belle Vue he said, “I think it’s important
to try and maintain the spirit of the original if that makes sense but obviously if it
can be updated then it can have a new significance for people now.” Commending
his cast and musicians, plucked from a diverse range including freelancers, graduates from Birmingham’s Conservatoire and past Mid Wales Opera performers, John
said “I think considering they had just three days rehearsing as a group, it went remarkably well and I am very proud of the people that took part.”
Funds raised from the event will be split between a children’s charity and the Belle Vue
Chapel’s building funds.
Bishop’s Castle Chapel Worship Café Style
with Revd. Sarah Hare
Worshippers at Bishop’s Castle Methodist Chapel were recently introduced to a
new style of church service. Having celebrated Christmas with a Café-style Carol Service,
at the end of January members led by Revd. “I hoped the different activities would give people
a chance to talk together but to also think about
Sarah Hare of the Ridgeway Benefice, gath- how this related to them and their personal faith
ered for another, experimental format. The and to also think about the wider world and being
the body of Christ.” - Revd. Sarah Hare
congregation or diners were seated, grouped
around tables with the order of service, fashioned as brochure menus, laid out
alongside hymn and scripture sheets. Themed A New Creation, the service focussed
on the Creation Story. Using a mix of audio visual material and planned activities
one of which was placing in picture order God’s busiest seven days (from memory),
and another which had required Revd. Hare’s husband to have the outline of his
body drawn around beforehand, table groups looked at various features of the Creation Story from God separating light and dark to the creation of mankind. This led
to a brief exploration of becoming a new creation through a life lived in Christ.
Over a meal, amid reflecting on the wonder of God’s creation, there was discussion provoked by questions such as
“What do you love about the world?” and “What is the
best compliment you have received?” In one video clip a
group of young people had negative words and comments
about themselves written on their
palms. These they washed and replaced with Biblical truths,
demonstrating the transforming power the Word of God
can have when applied to misconceptions people often
have about themselves.
One person on each table read Psalm 139, turning attention
to the “fearful and wonderful” composition of each human
being, knit together in their mother’s womb in the image of God.
Covenant Service Unites Denominations in Renewing Faith Commitments
This year’s Covenant Service at Craven Arms’ Chapel had a special significance for
the local community as over eighty people from three denominations attended.
Central Area minister Revd. Hazel Ratcliffe who led the service explained that while
in previous years the Chapel has issued an open invite, this year they made a special point of inviting congregations from St. Andrews Community Church and the
Parish Church. The result was a packed church with Revd. Brian Doyle, from St.
Andrews conducting Communion.
Revd. Ratcliffe used the opportunity to explain the Primitive Methodist origins of the Covenant Service and the importance John Wesley placed upon Methodists renewing their Covenant with God. “I did make a point of saying that it was
important that it wasn’t just a covenant between one person and God but between
the whole community. Everybody followed the service and they all joined in. I said
the preamble to the Covenant Declaration and then there is the line “I am no longer mine but yours” where the congregation repeat that line and I looked up at the
congregation and everybody was engaged in it and it was quite tangible, it really
was,” Revd. Ratcliffe said.
According to Revd. Ratcliffe, the Covenant Service has adapted over the
years and a more up to date version was used at the service. “The old service had
some things that people were uncomfortable about. The words were ‘put me to
suffering, put me to whatever you will’ and some people found that difficult. I remember one lady who would say it with her fingers crossed hoping she wouldn’t
be asked to go through too much, though it really meant help us when we are
suffering as we accept whatever God brings.” Revd. Ratcliffe was doubly pleased
when following the service, most of the congregation joined Craven Arms Methodists for refreshments. “We were rushing about making sure we’d got enough glasses. It was really uplifting to have so many people there and we really appreciated
The newly-formed Churches Together in Orleton (CTiO) has held two
services to mark the transition from
‘Compass’, under which the churches
have worked together for four years. A
Celebration Service, led by the Bishop of
Ludlow, Revd. Alistair Magowan was Marks of Mission Symbols held by (l-r)
held at St. Georges Church, Orelton. He Archdeacon Paddy Benson, Lynne Evans,
was assisted by Methodist Revd. Dr. Neil Stan Lane, Revd. Bruce Thompson and
Richardson and Communion was served Philip Jepps
by Regional Baptist minister Revd. Alison Mackay. The churches signed a Covenant of Understanding, signifying their
commitment in joining Churches Together in Herefordshire. A Service of Christian
Unity and Mission at Orleton Methodist Church considered CTiO’s five marks of
mission: sharing God's love, growing in faith, caring for people in need, challenging
injustice and caring for the world.
Five CTiO members presented a piece of scripture and a symbol representing an aspect of each mark. Lynne Evans read from Psalm 78 and spoke of how
Open the Book is being used to tell of God’s love in Orleton’s primary schools.
Revd. Bruce Thompson, used a torch to symbolise teaching and the metaphor of
the Bible as God’s torch for a dark path. He also informed of courses being set up
in the Diocese aimed at both Christians and those with no faith. From Psalm 119 v
105 -112 he took, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
Using Galatians 6:10, “…let us do good to all people…” and a cup and saucer as a
symbol Philip Jepps praised Orleton’s coffee morning initiative which, as a place for
the lonely and basis for outreach, has served the community for over four years.
Highlighting Leominster’s Community Larder, Stan Lane presented his symbol as a
can of Baked Beans. He stressed the transformative effect of providing food for the
hungry. He also spoke of the transforming of Christians who in seeing the injustice
in a society that needs food banks, speak out against such injustice. Daphne Jepps
spoke about treasuring God’s creation. With her symbol of a flowering plant, she
praised individuals and children from Orleton Primary School who tend the community garden, maintaining an open and welcoming space for other people, particularly the area’s elderly who use it.
Addressing the congregation, Archdeacon of Hereford Paddy Benson, reminded listeners that as servants of Jesus Christ, it is God that makes the work
succeed and that for very practical reasons, churches ought to be working together. Following the Unity Service, Bruce Thompson who has championed ecumenical
efforts over many years echoed the Archdeacon saying, “I think at a time when
congregations are dwindling and there is a need for a members of communities to
embrace Christianity we can only do this together. So it’s vital.”
Leominster Tea & Tots
Asked why they come, the parents who take their children to Leominster Chapel’s
Tea & Tots sessions repeatedly praise the range of activities the Church provides.
The mix of people and the potential to make new friends also feature high in the list
of attractions. Since its start-up six years ago, it is largely by word of mouth that the
parent and toddler group has grown sevenfold in the number of children (primarily
with mothers) attending each week.
Mother of five Leanne Bliss has been taking her four year-old son Lincoln to
Tea & Tots for two years after hearing about if from a friend. She commented, “It’s
lovely, I’ve made friends here, really good friends.” As the name implies, giving
mothers a place to sit and talk with other mothers
over a cup of tea is as much a priority as a space
for the children’s to socialise in. “Definitely. It’s
very relaxed,” Leanne said, “And for the children
they’ve got lovely activities they do singing,
they’ve got arts and crafts, loads of good toys, it’s
brilliant.” Initially, hearing that Teas & Tots is
Church-run, and not being a religious person,
Leanne was a bit reluctant. Now she appreciates
Lincoln (4) centred
the balance of social and religious aspects and the
compassionate Christian values of the volunteers.
“I think it’s nice for Lincoln to have exposure to faiths in a very informal and really
relaxed way. The fact that they go through to the Church to do singing I think really
helps Lincoln. He isn’t frightened. A lot of churches can be quite scary places for
children as they’re quite formal.” When Lincoln was asked to be Joseph in the
Chapel’s Nativity Leanne was delighted.
Three year-old Max has been a regular
since he was one. His mother Michelle Hallett
spoke about how welcome they are always
made to feel. “It’s nice to have a bit of adult conversation. The children just go off and play, do
their own thing,” Michelle said. She likes that
Max will confidently go into the Church without
her to try and lend his voice to the singing.
Doris Morris, lives just across the road from the
Church. She attends Tea and Tots every week with her daughter Roslyn and great
grand-daughter Polly, three. Polly will soon have a child-minder and is very sad to
be leaving Tea & Tots. But Doris’s absence will be brief. With the imminent birth of
another great grandchild she will have a new baby to introduce to the Tea & Tots
volunteers whom she describes as “lovely, very friendly.”
Volunteers are not something Tea & Tots is
short of, with several on hand to assist parents
and carers in any and every way, particularly
when a parent comes
with two or
more children. Head
Roslyn, Polly and Doris
and Methodist Jill Darroll is a retired grandmother. Having
had three children of her own she is able to empathise. “A mother came for the first time today with a two year-old and a baby of
fifteen weeks. I sometimes feel the older sibling can feel a bit neglected once mum
is trying to keep the new baby and the sibling happy. Coming here, even if it’s only
for half an hour she can sit and have a cup of coffee and somebody will hold the
baby for her so she can have time with her other child.”
Through helping out with the
Chapel’s Friday night Youth Club, Jill became a church member and has volunteered at Tea & Tots for five years now.
“A lot of my tots have come up now and
I’ve got a lot of them now coming to
Youth Club. That was my vision and it’s
“A Brilliant team”: l-r, Diane Wright, Rose Morris,
materialised,” she said.
Eve Pritchard, Vicky Jones, Jill Darroll,
Eve Pritchard has been on board
Barbara Jones, and Beryl Pritchard.
(Absent from the group are Doris Laight,
since Tea & Tots was started. She has
Brenda Mayhew and Stephanie Hooper)
watched it grow and believes that the
group is a lifeline to some of the mothers.
“It’s been such a good thing for the church. Jon (Chesworth) said once it’s the jewel
in the crown” Eve stated. Once each month, any birthdays among the children are
celebrated with a large cake which Eve bakes. Each Summer, Tea & Tots host a party complete with a bouncy castle, face painting and balloon artist. At Christmas they
host another and buy presents for all the children, delivered by Father Christmas
aka Chris Hinsey the Chapel’s repair man.
Arts and Crafts volunteer Diane Wright recently joined the team having
Mum Lisa Mantle
with daughter
moved with her husband to Leominster. A retired teacher of early years, reception and year
one learning, Diane met Jill as they live on the
same road. “I told her I was retired teacher
and was bored. Jill invited me to come along. I
came along and thought this is what I want to Mum Becky with
do. I like to do the arts and crafts because that son, Nathan and his
friend Chloe
was my favourite thing when I taught. The
children are so enthusiastic.”
MWiB Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton
District President Jean Woodland has introduced the
Matthew Rusike Children’s Home in Zimbabwe as her
Presidents Project. Over the course of her presidency the
children’s home, founded in 1950 by
Methodist minister Matthew Jaja RusJohn Richer
ike, will benefit from funds raised specifically to support it. Plans to assist the home were unveiled at a
MWiB meeting in Great Wyrley in December. At the meeting secretary to the Friends of Matthew Rusike Children’s Home
(FoMRCH) Committee John Richer screened a video highlighting
the organisation’s success in pioneering solutions to problems Matthew Rusike
orphaned children in Zimbabwe face. The home’s unique family
centred, community-based approach has seen it transformed from a traditional
dormitory model to a system where children, housed in families of ten are allocated
to stay in mothers, that is, trained care givers who voluntarily raise the orphaned
children alongside their own. Their home lives closely mirror those of children
growing up in regular family settings. This, John Richer explained, is a major development in the home’s fifty-four year history since being formally established in Epworth, around ten miles from Harare, by the Methodist Church of Zimbabwe.
John’s involvement with FoMRCH began when in 1995 he and his wife
Shirley joined his sister and brother–in-law, both childcare specialists, while they
were conducting childcare seminars with teachers in Zimbabwe. “We had a lovely
three week holiday which included three days in the
Matthew Rusike Home” John told the Green Sock. The couple
were so taken with the experience that in 1997 they met
with a group of people from various parts of England including Carol Banham (the current committee chairperson) and
her husband, who had visited the home, to discuss their
shared aim of offering financial assistance. “I think we raised
£1000 in our first year. It just snowballed from there,” John
said. The original focus for FoMRCH was solely in providing
food for the children but their ongoing support has helped
provide education and buildings. “And it’s just getting a big- John and Shirley Richer
ger and bigger commitment” Shirley said, “we just really enjoy it and we’ve made lots and lots of friends. We’ve had
the superintendent over to stay with us several times, its
lovely.” At any given time Matthew Rusike is home to
around a hundred and fifty children ranging in age from
babies to eighteen year-olds. Each mother for their home
carries out the usual tasks such as making breakfasts,
Senior school pupils
packing school lunches and washing the children’s
clothes. “Each of the homes has a little garden attached to it so that the families can
grow things for themselves and also for the wider group. They join together in doing things around the site like tending the gardens, pigs, chickens all those sort of
things,” John said adding “The children are great. They love music. When I was
there, in ‘95 the boys formed a steel band and they have these homemade instruments a bit like a xylophone so the boys have the band and the girls dance and they
would go out into the community and meet other groups.” The home also boasts an
early learning centre catering for pre-school children from within the home as well
as up to fifty children from local estates and a college attended by over three hundred local teens. Jean was inspired by Gill Baker, the first Connexional President
who during her term visited Zimbabwe and raised awareness of the home. “I think
John did a very good job of explaining what actually goes on at the home. I thought
the Dvd was wonderful because it was just live and looking at those children’s faces
I just feel that we’re so lucky in this country for all we were told about austerity.”
In 1974 two obstetric doctors, Reginald and Catherine Hamlin, founded a hospital solely for
treating women with fistulas, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They were so concerned about the
problem that they determined to help. Pregnant women develop a fistula during prolonged,
obstructed labour. Since the end of the 19th century the condition has been almost unknown
in the developed world but persists throughout the developing world. The condition causes
permanent incontinence and other symptoms which brings an utter loss of dignity and the
women are often abandoned by their husbands and rejected by the community. The Hamlin
Hospital gives a free fistula repair treatment to around 2,500 women each year.
The Fistula Hospital received publicity when Helen Salmon chose the Addis Ababa Hospital
for the charity during her two years as District President of Methodist Women in Britain.
Sarah Hamlin, Reginald and Catherine’s grand-daughter, will be speaking at Church
Stretton Network (MWiB) on Wednesday 18 February at 2.30 p.m. Everyone (men and
women) will be very welcome.
Mission Partners Serving In Rwanda
The Methodist Church in Britain has sent
two people to work full time for six years
(initially three years) in Rwanda. Mattia Leoni and Elena Trivellato-Leoni recently
moved from Ireland to Kigali, with their
two sons Michele (7) and Sam (4), to serve
as mission partners. Mattia is a language
teacher and Elena is a physiotherapist. They
have moved into the Methodist HeadquarMattia and Elena with their sons
ters in Kigali. Elena will be working with menMichele and Sam
tally and physically disabled children in the
Amizero (meaning “hope”) school to improve their mobility. Mattia will be teaching
English. More specifically he will be teaching Methodist ministers in Rwanda to
speak English as few of them do so. He will also assist some of the school’s English
teachers in improving their English skills, enabling them to better teach the language to their students. District Chair Revd. John Howard elaborated, “That’s a major development to have people out there full time. We’ve got some people going
out there to do different jobs. In July Phil Hall, superintendent of the Kidderminster
and Stourport Circuit is going to teach out there. I think he will be working with
ministers on aspects of the New Testament. We have a number of schools that are
twinned with schools in Rwanda and a small group of teachers are going out there
in the summer to visit those schools. We’ve got somebody who is a car mechanic in
the Audi garage in Wolverhampton who has been to Rwanda twice already. He’s
going out there this summer in order to work on the vehicles at the Hospital at Kibogora.”
To date, over a hundred people from the Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton District
with particular skills have been to Rwanda and assisted with a variety of projects.
A word from the Mission Partners
“We are settling quite well, mainly dedicating ourselves to the new house, visiting
the city centre for the main shopping but also getting familiar with the neighbourhood for small things. We drive to the city, we walk around here, we know more
and more people working for the church, we’ve enjoyed two Sunday’s already, with
service and Sunday school (which we led on the second occasion) and we are slowly
starting to work, mostly through planning meetings.
The boys are those well ahead with the settling in, as they’ve already done 1.5
weeks in school and they already go by themselves, by school-bus; they’re tired by
the long school days but they’re happy and doing well. Here at home they’re making friends, especially over the weekends, when there’s plenty of kids in the
church’s grounds and they’re getting into the Sunday School group, even joining
some singing and dancing.”
God Bless,
Mattia &Elena
Fund for the support of Presbyters and Deacons
Might I remind churches that contributions to this fund should be sent to: David
Eccleshall, Circuit Treasurer. Cheques should be made payable to F.S.P.D. The Fund
for the Support of Presbyters and Deacons (previously known as the Auxiliary Fund)
provides assistance to supernumerary presbyters/deacons or their widow/
widowers, in a variety of situations of exceptional or unforeseen need. Grants may
be given for help towards such things as unexpected household expenditure, property maintenance and repairs, bills which they struggle to meet, re-carpeting, redecorating and medical needs. The fund also finances removal grants to retiring
presbyters/deacons, and provides annual owner-occupier grants to retired presbyters/deacons not living in Housing Society properties. The fund is also available to
assist in situations where a presbyter/deacon or circuit needs financial help in order to continue in the active work rather than to retire early for medical reasons.
The fund is also available to assist towards top-up fees for residential care.
Your efforts in support of this cause are much appreciated. D. Eccleshall.
“Worship the Lord
Your God
And Serve Him Only.”
Matthew 4: 10
[email protected]
‘Poverty and Justice’ -A Training Day for Preachers and Readers from the URC, Methodist
and Anglican churches
Saturday 25 April 2015 at the Carrs Lane Church Centre
The day will be facilitated by Sally Hayden, Regional Co-ordinator for Christian Aid and a
Methodist local preacher Revd. Dr Susan Durber, Christian Aid’s Theology Advisor
and a minister in the United Reformed Church will help us to develop a theology of justice
within the day. This event is planned to take place just prior to Christian Aid Week, 11 – 16
May 2015. Application forms and information about how to book on this training day will be
available shortly.
Love your neighbour: Think, Pray, Vote
will take place at Coventry Central Hall on Saturday 21st February with opening
worship starting at 10.30. Under 25’s can register for tickets by contacting:
[email protected] or
The Methodist Summer Fellowship happens every two years at The Hayes Conference Centre in Derbyshire, providing a week of friendship, prayer, listening, reflection,
conversation and fun. This holiday aims to provide the environment, support and stimulation for personal and spiritual refreshment and growth.
Next year it will run from 1-7 August, with community theologian Ann Morisy, Director
of Citizens UK and campaigner for the Living Wage Neil Jameson, and journalist and
Head of Media at the Evangelical Alliance Chine Mbubaegbu. Bible Studies will be
led by the Revd Dr Calvin Samuel, Director of the Wesley Study Centre, Durham.
For more details go to
Methodist Evangelicals Together
Praying with Jesus
The Lord’s Prayer
Matthew 6.9-15
Oswestry Methodist Church
Castle Street SY11 1LF
16 MAY 2015
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
£5 [which includes
lunch & refreshments]
The middle of the week of
Global Prayer
With Rev. Paul Wilson
Oswestry Chapel
Christine Myddleton is coming
to do a presentation on
'Open the Book'
February 1st 2015 at 10.45am
All Welcome
Songs of Praise
6.30pm on
1st February 2015
Light refreshments
will be available
Green Chapel Film
Saturday 14 February
at 7.30pm
Discover the key to life… in
The Road to Emmaus
Who on Earth is God?
It’s a good question and the title of a stimulating new book by Methodist Minister Neil
Richardson. You are warmly invited to an
evening with Neil, hosted by Andrew Roberts to explore this vital question. The
evening will feature reflections, conversation, input from Neil and time for questions. Ideal for those exploring faith, and
those wanting to sharpen their thinking - in
particular their response to ‘new atheists’
like Richard Dawkins.
Evenings are being held at:
Wolverhampton University, Arena Theatre, Tuesday 10th March 5:30pm
to 7pm.
Bayston Hill Methodist Church, Shrewsbury, Thursday 16th April 7:30pm
to 9pm.
Selly Oak Methodist Church, Tuesday
28th April 7:30pm to 9pm.
New Room, Bristol, Thursday 21st May
7:30pm to 9pm.
Admission. £5 per person payable in cash or by
cheque at the venue. Places do need to be booked in
Emmaus. advance. To book email Andrew Roberts :
On the Road to
Mourning the death of Jesus,
two first-century travellers [email protected] or write to him c/
were joined by a mysterious o The Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury District
Office, Beckminster Methodist Church, Birches Barn
Contact Rachel Powell on 01588
650434 for details.
Road, Wolverhampton, WV3 7BQ.
Email items for March issue to: [email protected] by 20/02/15
Come and explore our heritage
with Revd. Richard Hall and
Revd. Andrew Champley
Continuing on Saturdays:
(Commenced January 31st)
14 & 28 February
Weaving the Road
with MWiB's
Mrs Margaret Gardner
Tuesday 24th February
Gnosall Methodist Chapel
14 March
10am -12 noon
Clun Chapel Fairtrade Fortnight Event
Tuesday February 24th 10.00-12:00
Coffee and tea tasting at
The Maltings Café, High St Clun
Bayston Hill Methodist Centre
Rural Chaplaincy
Invite you to a
Commissioning service for the
Chaplains and Team
Led by
President of The Methodist Church
The Revd. Ken Howcroft
commissioning conducted by
Bishop of the Hereford Richard Frith
On Sunday 1st March 2015, 3:00pm
At The Priory Church of St. Peter and
St. Paul, Leominster, HR6 8EQ
There will be tea/coffee following the
Please note: Pay parking is available at the
main car park near the Fire Station.
PRAYER 2015 –Bahamas
Service on
Bishop’s Castle Methodist
Coffee from 10:00am
Service 11:00am
Soup Lunch for Christian Aid
Order of service written by
Christian Women of the
Sustainable Futures
A series of films being screened at
Wednesday February 11th
-about a co-operative in Grenada producing
not only beans but making the chocolate.
Thursday February 26th
-about water and how mankind is altering its
Wednesday March 11th
“Thin Ice”
-about global warming and proof of mankind’s
For details call 01588 640 776
West Felton Methodist Chapel are organising a concert
featuring 'The Very Nice Production Company',
at West Felton Village Hall on Saturday, 25th April to raise money for
the Chapel’s next building project.
For further details please call Christine on 01691 610665
Mainstone chapel have identified a few items which may be of interest to
other churches in the circuit:
There are some copies of Hymns & Psalms (hard back and paperback), a
hymn board and quite a nice Communion tray and glasses.
Please contact: Mrs Jones on 01588 638601
Go to the Circuit Website Across the top of
the page there are a number of headings one of which is “Newsletter”. Click on this
and it will take you to latest Green Sock.
The Shropshire and Marches Methodist Circuit has a Twitter account for Shropshire
Methodists @ShropMeth. Twitterers, please follow us and we will follow you and
keep our Circuit communicating, informing, debating, discussing and sharing.
Oswestry 10:45am pg. 21
1 SONGS OF PRAISE Wattlesborough
6:30pm pg. 21
11 ECO FILM Clun 7:30 pg. 23
14 FILM NIGHT Green Chapel 7:30pm pg.21
Bayston Hill 10:00am—12:00 pg. 22
Bayston Hill 10:00am—12:00 pg. 22
(time tbc)
16 WHO IS GOD? TALK 2 Bayston Hill
pg. 21
28 WHO IS GOD? TALK 3 Selly Oak 7:30pm
pg. 21
Birmingham pg. 20
18 FISTULA TALK MWiB Church Stretton
2:30pm pg. 17
throughout lent—Good Friday Bishop’s
Castle 12:00—1:30pm pg.22
10:30am pg. 20
TOGETHER Oswestry 10:00-4:00 pg. 20
21 WHO IS GOD? TALK 4 Bristol 7:30pm
24 MWiB Gnorsall 10:00am—3:00pm pg. 22
26 ECO FILM Clun 7:30pm pg. 23
Leominster 3:00pm pg. 22
For full details of Lent and Easter services across
the Circuit, please contact the Circuit Plan or
individual churches directly.
2-5 Connecting Disciples Conference
Bishop’s Castle 10:00am pg. 23
10 WHO IS GOD? TALK 1 Wolverhampton
University 5:30pm to 7pm pg.21
11 ECO FILM Clun 7:30pm pg. 23
Contact us: [email protected] or 01588 630 769