Church Magazine "IN TOUCH"
The Methodist Church Witney
Hard copies of the magazine will be available soon
I recently finished reading a new(ish) book by Wm. Paul Young, the author of The Shack. This new book is called Cross Roads and without giving too much away, is the story of a man trapped in a coma. This person happens to be a multi-millionaire who finds himself in conversation with Jesus, the Holy Spirit and perhaps even God as he tries to deal with the mess that he has made of his life.
I don’t think I’ve said anything that you couldn’t read on the dust jacket so you’ll still be able to purchase (St Andrew’s have copies), read, enjoy, be surprised and moved by the book.
One of the things that struck me most was references to the ‘afterlife’ being an incorrect statement and that we should call it the ‘life after’.
Life after? After what? Well of course, the life that we live here and now. The interesting question that the book raises is how much what we do in this life affects what we find in the life after.
David Winter in the study that he led for us last year indicated that scripture is very clear that how we live our lives does indeed impact on our experience of life after.
We believe in a God who is total and unconditional love. That was so clearly shown for us on the Cross of Calvary, in the empty tomb on Easter Day and the events of Pentecost. Try as we might to separate ourselves from the love of God it is always there for us. As Paul states so memorably in his letter to the Romans…
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
That is such good news but not an excuse to live a life here and now that does not strive to reflect God’s love in all that we do and are.
If you enjoyed The Shack then I am sure you’ll enjoy Cross Roads. If enough of you decide to read it then we’ll do what we did for The Shack and have an evening looking at the book and the message it gives.
With love, Richard
The start of the end of hunger?
Hunger is preventable and 2013 is a key year in the fight to bring it to an end. This year the UK holds the G8 presidency and will host the G8 summit on 17-18 June. Christian Aid, Tearfund and other Christian charities urge us all to pray about decisions to be made there and give financial contributions to ease poverty in many of the world’s countries.
Personal News and Prayer Concerns
One or two more are coming in on Thursday evenings. We have general prayer for the elderly and those poorly. Myrtle has been called Home. We pray for Cheryl in the loss of a mother and best friend.
We had a very interesting evening, when Harry Eaglestone talked about his work as Witney Town Mayor. Elgin Crewe was our speaker on Maundy Thursday and he conducted a very moving and meaningful Communion Service, which everyone greatly appreciated. Rachael, Hannah and Naomi entertained us.
The Chapel is a very old listed building. Dave and several members are working on it from Easter onwards and our services moved to High Street temporarily. Work is progressing well and it is hoped that we can soon move back into a refurbished room. This is mainly to correct the damp ingress, as suggested by the Quinquennial. We will be pleased to return to the chapel, where we feel at home. Joyce Latimer
Ruth Wicking has now returned home and has been able to come to church. Joan Beale is now in Cedar Court as sadly the dementia progresses. Nina Huckin was improving but a couple of weeks ago had quite a severe setback and is not at all well at present. It is good to see that Phyllis Smith and Eileen Walker are able to come to church again although they are both still struggling to regain their strength. Tom Reeves is home, he finds it a struggle to cope at times. He enjoys evening service when he feels well enough. Yvonne Godfrey and Christine Carvey have recovered well from their operations. Graham Carvey is unwell and has been for the past three weeks or so. Gill Clack had a hip replacement operation on 11 March and is making steady but slow progress. We pray that they will all soon be enjoying better health and that they feel God’s love and peace with them day by day.
We continue to remember all those who have concerns for their families and those who have ongoing health problems: Yvonne Goldstein, Gill Clack, Frances and Mary Witt, Barbara and Ted Barrett, Rosemary Clark, Gordon Souch, Linda and Kevin Souch, Jill and Alan Bailey and their daughter Sarah, Peter Walker, Ray Brooks, Robert Ayers, Audrey Hamilton, Elma Heynes, Phyllis Smith's sister Joyce, Judith Thompson, John Williams, Sandra and Jim Paige and Helen Adams.
We remember Marie-France Bishop in her own home and Ruth Ealey in Freeland Nursing Home.
We thank you Lord that you know each one and we pray that they will all know your peace and presence with them each day. Dorothy Brooks
Our Easter services were well attended and we had the pleasure of sharing a great Maundy Thursday Supper and Communion with our friends from
Stonesfield. Rev Paul Weir led us in meditation and worship, supported by the Davenport Road worship team and all felt the warmth of the fellowship.
19 folk attended this year’s Spring Harvest in Minehead and have returned with new ideas and a desire to build the kingdom of God here in Witney. Our worship band who lead our first part of worship each Sunday are full of enthusiasm and commitment, practicing each Thursday and have recently started using a new programme, Power Music 4, giving them access to all songs and hymns. It is lovely to see such blessings here, especially amongst the younger folk.
We look forward to our Spring Fair on Saturday 11 May 2 – 4 pm followed on 12 May with our Church Anniversary services which will be led by Dr Dave Adams from Ducklington. Do, also, remember our 24/7 Prayer weekend at the end of August. More details will follow next time. Do, please, join us in all our activities. Judith Bucknall
We appreciated some uplifting, memorable services in Holy Week, Good Friday and Easter Day when some of us arose early and joined others from various churches in Witney in a sunrise service at the Paddock by the river at Cogges. This year a gloriously sunny dawn was a special spiritual experience to savour. The orchestra enhanced our 10.30am service which was a joyful celebration for Easter morning.
During March a team of us, led by Brenda Woods, presented the Easter Experience at stations around the church following the events from Palm Sunday to Easter Day. Three classes from Queen’s Dyke School and two classes from Blake School, Cogges came. On the Sunday afternoon there was an Easter Experience event for younger children and parents including a tea party and crafts session. The feedback has been very positive and appreciated by pupils, teachers and parents. This is a wonderful way of reaching children and adults who have little contact with churches and to spread the Gospel message.
Congratulations to Rebecca Walker and Richard Monk who have become engaged and are planning their wedding at High Street on 22 February next year. Congratulations to Duncan James and his wife, Helen, on their wedding at High Street on Saturday 27 April. We pray that they will have a long and happy marriage.
Hannah Williamson gets married at High Street to David Havers on Saturday 1 June and we pray that they too will not only have a happy day but a long, happy and companionable marriage.
Congratulations to Tom and Margaret Jones who celebrate their Golden Wedding on 1 June and to Mim and Sam Donoghue who reach the grand old age of 21 on 12 May.
Well done to Keith Crawford on receiving a certificate for 40 years as a Local Preacher and to Andrew Maisey for 25 years as a Local Preacher.
We are sorry that the Rev Peter Ball has had to delay moving his Churches Together in Oxfordshire desk into our premises due to a back operation. We pray that he recovers quickly.
From 1 April the Children’s Centre using our premises is being run by Action for Children (formerly NCH) instead of PACT but with the same staff. We pray that its work will continue to flourish.
We pray for Shirley Cook who is suffering with the effects of ovarian cancer and paying visits to the Churchill Hospital for pain control treatment; Sylvia Baker making good progress in the Oxford Centre for Enablement at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre; Pam Hamer continuing with her long course of chemotherapy; Anthony Richards now very frail in Cedar Court Care Home; Christine Lapworth who broke her elbow on Easter Day; Barbara Partlett recovering from an operation on her hand and Phyl Bennett undergoing various tests. We also pray for Cicley Cockwell, Christine Bourke, Nancy Crewe, and Glynn Bryon who all cope with their various ongoing health problems. We hope and pray that they will experience improvements in their health and wellbeing and are aware of our care and concern.
We think of Edna Pearson, Eileen Dilly, Sylvia Holly and Lesley Whyman in their recent bereavements and pray for them in their sadness.
We continue to remember in our prayers our housebound friends and those no longer able to join us for worship: Amy Mills in Madley Park House; Mollie Morrow in Rose Bank, Bampton; Christine Bourke, Pino Wickson and Peggy Carter in Mill House Nursing Home; Sharon Cockwell and Dennis Samuels in Merryfield House; Muriel Graham in Cedar Court and Elsie Cobb, Gill Coombes, Gwyneth Delahaye, Anne Payne, Audrey Harris, Edna Pearson, Joyce Latimer, Pam Samuels and Mollie Wright in their own homes. We pray that they will be aware of our love, thoughts, concern and the comfort and peace of God with them every day. Anne Crawford
Summer time means exams. We remember those children and young people in our fellowships who are taking exams this year. May they be able to concentrate on their revision and perform to the best of their ability in the exam room.
High Street Women’s Fellowship
2nd and 4th Mondays at 2.30pm in the Wesley Room,
followed by tea biscuits/cake and time for a chat.
Monday 13 May: ‘One of the Queen’s horses’ Eric Batty will
tell us about preparations for the 1953 coronation
Monday 10 June: Barry Ingleton will tell us about Abel Market who rent the
Monday 24 June: Tea and scones at the Royal Oak, High Street
Monday 8 July: Annual Meeting and Richard will be our speaker
Come and join us! You will be very welcome!
Newland Methodist Chapel
Speakers for May and June 2013
Weekly Thursdays - 6.30pm for Meal, 7.30pm for Meeting
Monthly Saturdays 10am -12noon
Monthly Sundays – 3pm
2, 9 and 16 May: Closed for Refurbishment
23 May Reverend Richard Donoghue
Opening Dedication and Celebration
25 May Open Coffee Morning
Coffee, Tea and Cakes
26 May Sunday Worship with Peter Haskins
30 May Alistair Young
Youth Pastor, Welcome Church
6 June Jude Levermore
Trip to Myanmar
13 June Reverend John Curnow
15 June Coffee Morning
Coffee, Tea and Cakes
20 June Reverend Richard Donoghue
23 June Sunday Worship
27 June Reverend Simon Kirby
St Mary’s, Cogges
Nothing says ‘spring’ quite like the arrival of daffodils. And as I write this, daffodils have finally appeared in the garden in all their golden glory! The daffodil was first described by Theophrastus in his ‘Enquiry into Plants’ about 300 BC and the genus Narcissus derives its name from a beautiful young man in Greek myth. Narcissus spurned the advances of a nymph called Echo who pined away until only her voice remained. As punishment Nemesis, the god of retribution, led Narcissus to a pool where he fell in love with his own reflection. Unable to take his eyes off his own beauty he starved to death and the gods replaced his remains with a daffodil, which became a symbol of his vanity.
It is possible that the daffodil became a symbol of Wales as a result of a linguistic mix up. Since Tudor times the leek has been a Welsh national symbol and in Welsh the daffodil is known as Peter’s Leek – hence the possible confusion and the adoption of both the leek and the daffodil as Welsh symbols.
Day of Prayer for Witney
Saturday 18 May – Pentecost Saturday
10am Welcome Church
Pray for church unity, the work of the churches and Christian organisations in Witney
Pray for young people and organisations working for them and with them
11.40am – Prayer Walk
Along Witan Way, through Langdale Gate, down the High Street to the Methodist Church
12 noon High Street Methodist Church
Pray for the Queen as Head of State, David Cameron as Prime Minister and MP for Witney and the various levels of local government
12.45pm – Lunch
Bring your own picnic. Tea and coffee available
Pray for businesses and employment opportunities in Witney
1.55pm – Prayer Walk
Up the south side of Welch Way to Our Lady and St Hugh’s Catholic Church
2.15pm – Our Lady and St Hugh’s
Pray for the Police, Fire Service, Ambulance Service and the Armed Forces
Pray for the hospital, the doctors, the nurses and all those involved in caring
4pm – Prayer Walk
Up the north side of Welch Way to the Congregational Church
4.30pm – Congregational Church
Time of Celebration
Come And Fill Up Your Oil Lamps As The ‘Bridegroom Is Coming’
Shall I abandon, O King of Mysteries, the soft comforts of my home?
Shall I turn my back on my native land and look towards the sea?
Shall I put myself wholly at the mercy of God, without silver, without horse, without fame and honour?
Shall I throw myself wholly on the King of Kings, without sword and shield,
without food and drink, without a bed to lie on?
Shall I pour out my heart to him, confessing my manifold sins and begging forgiveness?
Shall I leave the prints of my knees on the sandy beach, a record of my final prayer in my native land?
Shall I then suffer every kind of wound the sea can inflict?
Shall I take my tiny coracle across the wide sparkling ocean?
O King of Glorious Heaven, shall I go of my own choice upon the sea?
O Christ, will you help me on the wild ways?
Attributed to the Celtic saint Brendan the Navigator, before he set sail across the sea.
Brendan is chiefly renowned for his legendary journey to the Isle of the Blessed as described in the ninth century Voyage of St Brendan the Navigator. Many versions exist that tell of how he set out onto the Atlantic Ocean with sixty pilgrims (other versions have fourteen, plus three unbelievers who join at the last minute) searching for the Garden of Eden. If it happened, this would have been sometime during 512-530, before his travel to the mainland of Great Britain. On his trip, Brendan is supposed to have seen Saint Brendan’s Island, a blessed island covered with vegetation. He also encountered a sea monster, an adventure he shared with his contemporary Saint Columba. While the story is often assumed to be a religious allegory, there has been considerable discussion as to whether the legends are based on actual events, including speculation that the Isle of the Blessed was actually North America. It has been demonstrated that it is possible that a leather-clad boat such as the one described in the Navigator could have reached North America.
Brendan's feast day is celebrated on 16 May
Soon – Men at Work!
We shall be welcoming Peter Eckert and his sons who will be starting work on the Radford Block at High Street on 28 May, hoping to complete by 16 September.
Greetings from Wesley House, Cambridge!
A lot of you will already have read the following from Maria, but I thought it worth reproducing for those who haven’t. Some of you will also have seen Maria at High Street a few weeks ago, nevertheless it still makes for interesting reading. RL
‘I cannot believe I have been here six months already and am now a third of the way through the academic terms…I have many essays, assignments, presentations and a creative project to complete by 17 May which also includes lots of reading!! Oh and of course the Diaconal Convocation event to attend for three days…
My two assignments due in for December were successful and I am pleased to say that I passed those two courses. That was a huge relief to me and a great encouragement.
My placement at Addenbrookes Hospital with the Chaplaincy team has been very stretching but enormously rewarding. I began with a full week, including an overnight shift, just before Christmas. This then continued in the New Year with weekly visits for lectures and work placements with the chaplaincy department. What incredible people they are. An amazing team of spiritual and gifted people who are ministering in such difficult and emotional situations, often helping people to process life changing news, say goodbye to a loved one or being that listening ear to someone who is reflecting on their life story. Sometimes you may only have a few minutes with someone, you may never see them again, what would God want you to do in that situation? A challenge for us all, and one that I have been impacted by hugely…I am grateful for the opportunity to have met some amazing patients and families who allowed me the privilege of being with them.
There are many lectures to attend with wonderful professors and doctors. Cambridge is privileged to have such eminent and spiritual folk ministering and teaching in the Theological Federation. We (Wesley House) are one of several theological colleges and we have the privilege of being the only university in Europe that teaches theology in this way with different denominations learning alongside one another. It helps you to understand other denominations but also to appreciate your own tradition. I have met some interesting people and made some good friends from the other colleges.
Throughout the week our timetables often differ so, apart from morning chapel, it is easy to lose touch with other students here at Wesley House. Thursday is affectionately called ‘Methodist Day’. We have community meals together at lunch and supper and lectures/seminars with our year group in the afternoon and as both year groups in the evening. Various speakers from Connexion have been to visit and inform us of their work for the Methodist Church. We also had a visit from the Vice President of Methodist Conference, Mr Mike King who spent a day with us. He is based in Banbury and he has visited High Street church. He was most impressed with its location in the town and particularly remembers St Andrew’s Bookshop. Thursday is a great day for
gathering together with one another and the families and staff also resident here. We end the day with compline in the chapel at 9pm.
My other commitments have seen me taking devotions in a pub, leading chapel worship and small group worship sessions, helping to organise an end of term Christmas meal for the college and benefactors, planning and taking part in an end of term service, chairing a Wesley House lecture and hosting the speaker, arranging a social event themed around a vicarage tea for those hearing news of their stationing, helping at a Vocations Day to give a testimony to those wanting to know if God is calling them, attending church regularly in a very needy area just outside Cambridge, starting up a coffee group on a Friday morning for students … and just generally trying to be helpful and prayerful in my own personal life with those around me. Life is never dull!!
There is much to learn and reflect upon, long days and many essays, lectures and seminars, books and more books to read, but it is an incredible gift to be here. The worship opportunities are amazing. The many lecturers who are so passionate about their subject and reflect a beauty of God are true gifts. I am challenged daily and am grateful daily. It has not been easy but then our own Lord travelled a much harder road than me so that you and I could have life. I am so very grateful to family and friends who have loved and supported me through these past six months. I could not be here without that incredible support. Thank you.
…Be blessed dear folk. Thank you for not forgetting me. I certainly do not forget you…
God bless you and keep you dear and precious friends. Maria xxx’
Please pray for Maria, and Andrew Mumford, as they continue their training for ministry at Wesley House in Cambridge.
That’s recycling used stamps to you and me!
Those of you who regularly visit the coffee bar at High Street may have noticed the large plastic jar in which people are invited to put their used stamps. I collect these stamps and send them to the Oxfordshire Association for the Blind (OAB). The OAB earns approximately £600 a year from used stamps. Once they have sufficient stamps a volunteer sorts through them and decides upon their destination. The majority of valuable stamps go to auction and some will be sold directly to contacts of the volunteer. Any and all stamps are welcome; they can all be made use of whether they are common British definitives, commemoratives, foreign stamps or rare penny blacks. Philatelic recycling is a valuable fund raiser and assists the OAB in their provision of services and advice to people with visual impairment in Oxfordshire. RL
Pentecost: 19 May See Acts 2:1-13
Spirit of God,
first manifest in wind and flame,
unlooked for and unexpected,
breathe into our lives.
We bring ourselves to you:
you know us inside out:
what we have done; what we are;
our failures and our feelings;
our blind spots and our talents.
Forgive us because there will be visions and dreams;
but we are stuck in our ways, for we have stopped dreaming.
There were sounds of wind and sight of fire;
but we expect nothing to change, nothing new to happen.
The disciples spoke with a new freedom;
but we are so tongue-tied, too dumb to speak for you.
Everyone heard the message;
but we try to reach only the nearest few.
The Father sent another Helper;
but we are so self-sufficient, relying on our own resources.
The Helper is able to teach us everything;
but we have stopped wanting to learn or grow.
Come Holy Spirit, breathe forgiveness on us,
correct us, strengthen us,
use us in your love.
We thank you Holy Spirit
for life transformed and made new –
for old thoughts giving way to new dreams;
old ways giving way to the new life in Christ;
old sins giving way to new graces;
old caution giving way to new courage;
old fears giving way to new confidence.
Holy Spirit, ever making life new,
the living power of Christ within us,
through you comes our confidence for the future on earth and in heaven.
Holy Spirit, you have given us a message for the whole earth;
a message of hope, of comfort,
of love and forgiveness,
of joy, salvation and peace.
Forgive us our wrongdoing,
comfort us when we are sad,
strengthen us when we are weak and guide us when we are strong.
Make us the people you would have us be.
Spirit of God, breathe into our lives. Adapted by RL
As you may know already the Fairtrade Fashion Show at the Abingdon and Witney College in March was a great success. The students designed, made and modelled a range of Fairtrade cotton clothes, made a cat-walk and paraded before a full audience of people to many cheers of appreciation in the presence of the mayor. The work of Fairtrade got presented to young and old, many for the first time.
That is what we need to do, to share how we can help the world be a better place by Fair Trading. You get that guaranteed by using Fairtrade products, so please keep in buying Fairtrade and telling others you use Fairtrade and why. Every Fairtrade cup of tea, every Fairtrade banana, every spoonful of Fairtrade sugar, every piece of Fairtrade chocolate counts. (If you will be naughty it helps to think somebody will benefit!)
Think Fairtrade! Happy Shopping! Elgin Crewe
Knit and Natter
High Street Church Coffee Bar
Every Tuesday from 11am-1pm
If you can’t knit Erica will show you how…
…and if you don’t want to knit just come for a natter!
The Talking Centipede
A single guy decided life would be more fun if he had a pet. So he went to the pet store and told the owner that he wanted to buy an unusual pet. After some discussion, he finally bought a talking centipede which came in a little white box to use for his house. He took the box back home, found a good spot for the box, and decided he would start off by taking his new pet to church with him. So he asked the centipede in the box, ‘Would you like to go to church with me today? We will have a good time.’ But there was no answer from his new pet. This bothered him a bit, but he waited a few minutes and then asked again, ‘How about going to church with me and receive blessings?’ But again, there was no answer from his new friend and pet. So he waited a few minutes more, thinking about the situation. The guy decided to invite the centipede one last time. This time he put his face up against the centipede’s house and shouted, ‘Hey, in there! Would you like to go to church with me?’
This time, a little voice came out of the box, ‘I heard you the first time! I'm putting my shoes on!’ Thanks to Derrick King
District News: Northampton District
The meeting considered its usual full agenda covering many aspects of church life within the district and beyond.
All of the vacancies in the district in the stationing process have been filled.
Regrouping for mission
The executive reconsidered the paper prepared by the district which has since been reviewed by the superintendents. It details the approach in this district:
Nominations for vacancies
The district is attempting to find volunteers to fill the following roles:
If anyone has any interest in any of the roles then please contact either Rev Martin Wellings: email@example.com or Roy Slocombe: firstname.lastname@example.org, who have more details. Roy Slocombe
Aldersgate Sunday: 19 May
Aldersgate Day is celebrated by Methodists on 24 May to commemorate the day in 1738 when John Wesley ‘experienced confirmation of his salvation by the grace of God’ in a meeting room in Aldersgate Street in London. If 24 May is not a Sunday the occasion is referred to as Aldersgate Sunday, as it is celebrated on the Sunday before, as is the case this year.
According to his journal, Wesley found that his enthusiastic gospel message had been rejected by his Anglican brothers. Heavy-hearted, he went to an evening society meeting on Aldersgate Street ‘very unwillingly’. It was there, while someone was reading from Martin Luther’s Preface to the Epistle to the Romans, that he felt that his heart was ‘strangely warmed’.
He describes it as: ‘I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.’
Ralph Waller writes in his book John Wesley: A Personal Portrait, ‘What are we to make of this conversion experience? In one sense it was typical of the instant certainty that is found in Puritan spiritual autobiography. In another, it bore the marks of Wesley’s individual conviction…It certainly did not end his need to wrestle with the Christian faith…initially it did not bring the joy and happiness that Peter Bohler had told him were the great characteristics of the Christian life, alongside holiness…In the coming years he was to face outward dangers, difficulties and confrontations, but from this moment he was far less introspective and…the anchor he had dropped on 24 May seems to have taken hold…What his conversion did at the time was to bestow upon him a great feeling that he had been forgiven…Conversion for Wesley seems to have brought the Christian faith into clear focus. It may not have been the strong turning point in his life that some claim, but it was of vital importance to him, and to subsequent generations of Methodists. It was a key milestone in his journey, placed at a crossroads where a variety of thoughts and feelings came together and pointed him forward along the road he was to travel.’
This Aldersgate Sunday we come together with 80 million Methodists around the world to worship God and to remember the work of the World Methodist Council as it unites, encourages, resources and takes forward God’s mission through Methodist churches spread across 152 countries worldwide.
In doing so we reflect the words of John Wesley: ‘I look on all the world as my parish; thus far I mean, that, in whatever part of it I am, I judge it meet, right, and my bounden duty, to declare unto all that are willing to hear, the glad tidings of salvation’. Various sources. RL
P.S. Have you noted Peter Bohler’s great markers of a Christian life: happiness and holiness?!
How simple and straightforward and completely liberating!
The Easter Experience
90 pupils from Queens Dyke School (three classes of children aged 8 & 9 years) had the opportunity of walking to High Street Methodist Church during March to take part in the Easter Experience organised by Rev Brenda Woods. Each class returned to school very excited about the experience and the staff were very keen to book in for any more experiences organised at the church as the children had got so much from coming. They expressed their thanks to all who were involved, whether talking to the children, making drinks, or helping to set the areas up so thoughtfully. The children have written letters to Brenda thanking her for her hard work. Jane Heath
World Church Sunday at High Street: 2 June
At High Street we’ll be marking World Church and Overseas Mission Sunday this year on the morning of 2 June. The Aylesbury-based Karibuni Trust has visited us twice before (in 2005 and 2009) to tell us about its work with destitute street children in Kenya, work it has been doing since its foundation in 1993. On both previous occasions the service was taken by Methodist minister Rev Bill Murphy, the Trust’s chairman for many years, and father of its founder, Corinne Joy Murphy, who last year was awarded a British Empire Medal for her work. Sadly, Bill died last year, but we are delighted that his successor, John Cotton, is able to come and speak to us.
The invitation from the church’s mission committee to the Karibuni Trust to visit us a third time follows its letter to us of a few months ago in which it pointed out that from now on it has committed itself to raising an extra 16% (£31K) each year for at least eight years in order to extend the ability range of its sponsored children for whom it will fund secondary education. This will bring it into line with the ability range for which the Kenyan Government considers secondary education to be appropriate. It is asking all its supporters to do whatever they can to help raise the extra money, and we thought High Street members would like to be updated at first hand about the Trust’s work and particularly this latest extension of it.
Rev Elgin Crewe will lead the worship at which John Cotton will speak, and the now monthly church family lunch will follow, with an African slant to the menu on this occasion, essentially chicken casserole and fruit salad. While we are waiting for lunch John will give us more details of the Trust’s work and, as with previous Karibuni visits, there will be an opportunity to purchase Kenyan craft items in aid of the Trust’s work.
As with every monthly lunch, a list will appear in the church coffee bar nearer the time for you to sign if you would like to come. I do hope you will!
Margaret Jones - world church and mission secretary
Science v religion? ‘Dark matter is an invisible substance…whose existence can be inferred only by its gravitational pull.’ Is this any more or less credible than the suggestion that God is an invisible spirit whose existence can easily be inferred by God’s pull on human souls? Seen in a newspaper
The Karibuni Trust
The Karibuni Trust is a UK Registered Charity. It aims to raise awareness about the plight of children living off the streets and in the slums in areas of urban and rural poverty in Kenya; and to raise money to support projects to meet their needs.
The Trust started in 1993 with Corinne Murphy opening a bank account with £2.56. She had been inspired to do something about the children she had seen in the slums and on the streets of Kenya. From these small beginnings the charity has grown and currently supports over 1200 children in 14 projects. In the process the lives of many children have been transformed.
Karibuni is run by volunteers in the UK so apart from a small amount spent on office expenses; all the money raised and donated is used to support the work in the projects. Being a small charity gives advantages. It can make quick decisions when the need arises, lines of communication are short and it is close to the projects they partner. Karibuni volunteers also work alongside Kenyan partners, building, renovating and decorating classrooms, and helping in the classrooms.
Karibuni aims to help the poorest of the poor to fulfill their potential and to enable the children in their projects to become independent, productive citizens who will make a positive contribution to their country. The Trust supports projects which are run in Kenya by Kenyans, and provides food, medical care, clothing, education and, when necessary, a home, all in a loving environment.
Tharaka Welfare Programme
This project was started in this very arid area east of Meru District to address the challenges faced particularly by women and children living in rural poverty. There is subsistence farming only, with no cash crops because of persistent drought conditions. The Karibuni Trust is supporting about 70 children and young people at all stages of their education by providing fees, uniforms and food. Karibuni has bought two Toggenbach goats for cross-breeding with local nanny goats to improve the milk yield and help the women towards self-sufficiency. Money was made available to buy a nanny goat for each woman. The Trust buys baskets they have made at three times the price that they can get locally and sell them at a profit at home for Karibuni Trust.
MCK Meru / Kaaga Street Children’s Project
About 150 miles north of Nairobi, the Trust is supporting both a residential home in Kaaga for 50-60 children and young people who used to live on the streets and an outreach/feeding/teaching programme for children living in poverty with carers in Meru Town. In the latter the Trust supports about 80 children in both day and boarding schools. There is also a Saturday programme of feeding and education. It also tries to support the carers, most of whom are HIV+ve. They also support work among these women who are developing a market garden – food for the pot and to sell.
From the Karibuni Trust website
Saturday 8 June
What on earth are you doing for God’s sake?!
Open Doors in Witney
Workshops, children’s programme, crèche
Lunch, coffee and tea provided
Facilitator: the Rev David Gamble,
former President of the Methodist Conference
There are exciting times ahead and the Circuit Leadership Team want to ensure that everyone from every church has an opportunity to be involved in the process of shaping the circuit to serve the present age. So, you are invited to a day of sharing, planning, praying and playing.
Look out for sign up details!
Help shape the future of the circuit!
we confess to you the narrowness of our vision and our mission.
Often we are so preoccupied with local concerns that we forget that we are part of a great worldwide fellowship of Christians.
Forgive us for our self-concern and grant us, through your Holy Spirit, a wider vision of your church and of your salvation.
God and Father of humankind,
We thank you for the variety of races and of nations.
All people everywhere are made in your image.
We are all your daughters and sons, whether or not we recognise you as father.
We are all brothers and sisters in the worldwide human family.
We pray that we may be made more aware of our unity with fellow Christians in every land and every race.
We pray that you will make us receptive to what we can learn about you from churches in other lands and from other cultures.
We thank you for those people from this country who serve the Church overseas and for overseas ministers and lay people who are serving in this country.
We pray that those missionaries overseas may be aware that they are upheld in our prayers.
May we welcome those from overseas serving in our country with openness and hospitality
We pray that all those in the mission field may serve with humility and understanding,
with imagination and love.
We pray for those finding their work hard or frustrating,
those who are lonely or afraid
and those overwhelmed by their situation.
We ask that they may know that you are with them and will show them the way ahead.
In gratitude for your everlasting love
we offer you our lives to be used in the service of your church and its people, militant and committed on earth,
triumphant in heaven. Adapted by RL
The Methodist Conference 2013
Conference will be held at Methodist Central Hall, Westminster in the heart of London 4-11 July. Conference is the body that agrees policy for the Methodist Church. It meets annually as a group of 306 representatives along with a number of associate and ecumenical members.
During Conference presbyters and deacons are ordained. This year Lynda Coulthard, who is known to many of us, will be ordained on Sunday 7 July.
Midsummer or Summer Solstice?
Every year I find it irksome that people confuse midsummer’s day with the longest day. I know I’m a pedant and if you are too, the following is for you! RL
Depending on the shift of the calendar, the summer solstice occurs sometime between June 20 and June 22 in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the day of the year with the longest period of daylight. This year the solstice occurs 21 June. The solstice has remained a special moment of the annual cycle of the year since Neolithic times. Worldwide, interpretation of the solstice has varied, but most have recognised it as a festival of fertility and rebirth involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals and other celebrations.
Midsummer’s Day in Britain is 24 June. Midsummer is especially important in the cultures of Scandinavia, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania and Latvia where it, along with Midsummer’s Eve, is the most celebrated holiday of the year apart from Christmas.
Midsummer holidays, traditions, and celebrations are pre-Christian in origin. Some people believed that golden-flowered mid-summer plants, especially Calendula, and St John’s Wort, had miraculous healing powers and they therefore picked them on this night. Bonfires were lit to protect against evil spirits which were believed to roam freely when the sun was turning southwards again. In later years, witches were also thought to be on their way to meetings with other powerful beings.
Although Midsummer is originally a pagan holiday, it is associated with the nativity of John the Baptist, which is also observed on 24 June. As Christianity gained influence, pagan midsummer traditions were incorporated into the celebration of the saint’s day. The 13th-century monk of Winchcomb, Gloucestershire, who compiled a book of sermons for the feast days, recorded how St John’s Eve was celebrated: ‘Let us speak of the revels which are accustomed to be made on St John’s Eve, of which there are three kinds…the boys collect bones and certain other rubbish, and burn them, and therefrom a smoke is produced on the air. They also make brands and go about the fields...Thirdly, the wheel which they roll.’ The fires were to drive away dragons, which were abroad on St John’s Eve, poisoning springs and wells. The wheel represented the movement of the sun during the solstice
John Mirk of Lilleshall Abbey in Shropshire wrote in the 15th century: ‘At first, men and women came to church with candles and other lights and prayed all night long. In the process of time, however, men left such devotion and used songs and dances and fell into lechery and gluttony turning the good, holy devotion into sin…in worship of St John the Baptist, men stay up at night and make three kinds of fires: one is of clean bones and no wood and is called a ‘bonnefyre’; another is of clean wood and no bones, and is called a wakefyre, because men stay awake by it all night; and the third is made of both bones and wood and is called, ‘St John’s fire’ These traditions largely ended after the Reformation, but persisted in rural area until the nineteenth century.
Various sources. RL
The Prayer that shocked the World
When Pastor Minister Joe Wright was asked to open the new session of the Kansas Senate, everyone was expecting the usual generalities, but this is what they got:
Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask for your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know your Word says,
‘Woe to those who call evil good’, but this is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn and called it choice.
We have shot anti-abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem.
We have terrorised the world and called the victims terrorists.
We have abused power and called it politics.
We have coveted our neighbours’ possessions and called it ambition.
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.
We have ridiculed the time-honoured values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.
Search us, O God, and now our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Amen
Submitted by Rod Thomas
A number of legislators walked out during the prayer in protest.
Within six weeks the Central Christian Church where Rev Wright is pastor, received more than 5,000 calls, almost all expressing support.
What’s your response?
Whole-hearted agreement? Uneasiness at the black and white nature of some of the statements? Agree with some, but not others? Outright rejection? Would you have walked out or called in your support? Christians hold a wide range of views on today’s issues from very conservative to extremely liberal – but hopefully everything is refracted through the prism of God’s love and human kindness. Something for discussion… RL
As children bring their broken toys with tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God because he was my friend.
But then instead of leaving Him in peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help with ways that were my own.
At last, I snatched them back and cried, ‘How can you be so slow?’
‘My child’, he said, ‘What could I do? You never did let go.’
Anon. From a church magazine
Methodist Homes for the Aged
On 17 April, Nancy and I had the privilege of joining a large congregation in Coventry Cathedral to celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the founding of Methodist Homes. In 1947 the first property called Ryelands was bought in Wallington costing £2,700. It was to be a Home for 12 women.
Today MHA delivers high quality service to 16,000 men and women in care homes, purpose built apartments and live at home services in the community. The aims of MHA have considerably widened since its inception which sought to bring comfortable community living to lonely elderly people.
We are enjoying longer and healthier old age but are finding that for some, age means living with distressing dementia. MHA is developing understanding and ways of helping such sufferers through simulating the memory, using music, playing games and various other activities.
MHA is also seeking to support people so that they can live as long as possible in their own homes through various live-in services. This is planned to happen from our local Homestead Home at Carterton. Volunteer help is always welcome there, call 01993 84754 for more information.
High Street has been generous in its giving to MHA in recent times with a large Christmas Service Collection and the MHA Sunday envelope collection. Please support this year’s MHA Sunday collection on 9 June and give as generously as you can. Thanks for your support. Elgin Crewe
Prayer at High Street
Every Thursday 9.30-10.15am
Come to this quiet oasis of calm to reflect on the needs of others,
our church fellowship and concerns worldwide.
Third Thursday Holy Communion
Join in this short act of worship with Holy Communion.
Take time out mid-week to join in hymns, prayers and
a short ‘Thought for the day’ by Richard.
A minister was completing a temperance sermon. With great emphasis he said, ‘If I had all the beer in the world, I’d take it and pour it into the river.’ With even greater emphasis he said, ‘And if I had all the wine in the world, I’d take it and pour it into the river.’ And then finally, shaking his fist in the air, he said, ‘And if I had all the whisky in the world, I’d take it and pour it into the river.’
Sermon complete, he sat down. The song leader stood very cautiously and announced, ‘For our closing song, let us sing hymn 365, ‘Shall We Gather at the River.’’ Thanks to Derrick King
The following have all appeared in church magazines. Although they have been in In-Touch before people keep giving them to me so I can only assume that they are new to some of you! RL
Sunday evening sermon: ‘Searching for Jesus’.
Dates for your Diary
Saturday 4 10am at High Street. Worship Workshop
Saturday 11 2-4 at Davenport Road. Spring Fair. All welcome!
Sunday 12 10.30am and 6pm at Davenport Road. Church Anniversary
with Dr David Adams, Chair of Churches Together in Witney
Saturday 18 Day of Prayer for Witney. See inside for details
Saturday 25 10-12 noon at Newland. Open House with tea, coffee & cake
Thursday 23 7.30pm at Newland. Opening Dedication and Celebration with
Reverend Richard Donoghue
Friday 24 7.30pm at High Street. Ragtime to Broadway
with Ivory and Gold. Tickets available now
Sunday 26 3pm at Newland. Worship with Peter Haskins
Sunday 2 10.30am at High Street. World Church Sunday with the
Karibuni Trust. Lunch to follow. Look out for details!
Saturday 8 10-4 Circuit Away Day at Open Doors. See inside for details
Saturday 15 10-12 noon at Newland. Open House with tea, coffee & cake
We’day 19 7.30pm at Long Hanborough. Circuit meeting
Sunday 23 3pm at Newland. Worship for Sunday
Friday 28 7pm at High Street. Beetle drive with light supper in aid of the
Old School Building
Sunday 30 6pm Circuit Service
Churches Together in Witney
Holiday Club 29 July – 2 August
Traveller’s Tales…every journey tells a story
Forms are available now in the Coffee Bar at High Street.
Copy date for July/August issue Sunday 23 June
Mail copy to email@example.com
A true story! Some years ago there was a scout camp where the service was going to be taken by a bishop. It was a very hot, humid summer’s day and the moderator of the Free Church Federal Council had turned up in his full robes. Standing around sweating buckets and getting hotter and hotter under the dog collar he turned to the minister and bellowed, ‘When is that flipping bishop going to turn up?’
A man standing close by in a scout’s shirt, tie and short trousers said, ‘I’m already here’. A lot to say here about dress, perceived status etc.
Please note: Opinions expressed or implied in items are those of the contributor. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the editor.