Methodist Church News 2002
Winter 2002 News
In this season of Advent, I wish to share a tradition from across the Pond. Las Posadas, or Shelter of the Holy Family, is an old celebration in the Hispanic tradition of Latin American countries, especially Mexico. It was first created by the Augustinian Father Diego de Soria around 1587 in order to introduce Christianity to the People of the Sun of the Turtle Continent (called the "New World" by Europeans). Recently, the United Methodist Carlos Avendano, Raquel M. Maritnez, and Roberto Escamilla have revised the celebration for Methodist Hispanic communities.
Las Posadas is the preparation for, and anticipation of, the birth of Jesus; it commemorates the nine months when Mary carried Jesus in her womb while emphasizing his coming again and the need of all persons for the mercy and love of God. For the eight nights prior to Christmas Eve, the congregation gathers on a street corner near one of the member's house. With candles and singing, the congregation walks towards the house. Outside of the house, the congregation knocks, asking for entrance. However, those inside the house pretend that they are strangers and wanderers; they are turned away. Left outside, the congregation reminds the household of the responsibilities of being children of God: "You shall love the Lord your God with all you heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. You shall love your neighbour as yourself" (Matthew 22.37, 39) and "If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,' and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead" (James 2.14-17) With these simple reminders, the doors are thrown open, the strangers are welcomed, and a glorious party begins in order to celebrate the coming birth of Jesus, the sacredness of the community, and the gift of hospitality. During the party, a child breaks a piñata*. Since the piñata represents the devil, who cannot be recognized, the child is blindfolded. Armed with a stick, symbolizing the rod of virtue, the child fights against evil by attempting to break the piñata. When the child perseveres to the end, the glory of God comes down on everyone, as shown by the candy hidden within the piñata. In the gathering of the sacred community - sharing laughter, love, and simple presence - the community is woven together and is woven to the grace and glory that is the divine.
Perhaps piñatas are not broken, but the blessings of God permeating Rolleston are evident even to the eyes of one who has not been here long. In this season of Advent, may we all all feel the warmth of hospitality and may we offer shelter to all the wandering Holy Families.
Reverend Grant Schmit
(*”English” translation – a piñata is a papiermaché animal, often a bull, filled with sweets. )
In the autumn edition we told you about the Aquabox scheme which provides a safe water supply and humanitarian aid to people who are the victims of a natural disaster such as earthquake or floods, and how we are able to help by filling the basic large plastic box with useful items for a family. We sent off two boxes to Wirksworth, where the scheme has its headquarters, earlier in the year, and held a Coffee Morning in September to raise funds for more. This was very well supported by the village community, and we are able to pay for two more boxes. One of these was filled and dispatched in October, and Mrs Susan Salt at present has goods which have been donated towards a fourth, which will probably be filled in the New Year. If you would like to know more about the scheme, or are willing to give money or suitable items, please contact Joyce Lockley, tel 812546.
Autumn 2002 News
We welcome our new minister from America, and hope he will soon feel at ease with us. The appointment will bring fresh ideas and ways of worship for all to explore.
We shall celebrate our Harvest Festival on September 15th. This will be a Parade Service, conducted by Deacon Anne Howard and you will be most welcome if you are able to come along and give thanks for the world’s harvest.
When there is an earthquake, a volcanic eruption or some other disaster that leaves people homeless and vulnerable, we wish we could help them to survive their present hardships, and give them some comfort. There is some practical help that goes directly to the area in need via reputable charities. It is organised locally, as Wirksworth Rotary Club operate the scheme. The idea is to supply a means of filtering polluted water in a large plastic container, thus producing safe drinking water. Sponsors send £45, and receive the box, the filters and four survival bags. They then fill the box with basic items like candles, scissors, string, toilet articles and clothing, which need not be new, just clean and serviceable, for adults and children. The box is collected at no extra charge, and kept at Wirksworth until an emergency arises, when it is sent to such places as Eritrea, Goma, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan or Bosnia. The scheme has captured the imagination of our members, and with great enthusiasm they have collected enough to fill two Aquaboxes in a couple of months. There is enough left to partially fill another in the autumn, but we need some more money to help pay for it. We are holding a Coffee Morning on Wednesday September 25th between 10am and noon. There will be a Bring & Buy Stall and Raffle, and we ask you to support us if possible as we are sure that many people would be interested in the scheme. For more information please ring 812546.
Summer 2002 News
On 7th July there will be a Strawberry Tea to which everyone is invited. This is to be part of the Jubilee celebrations in the village. A charge of £2 will be made for tea and scones. On 15th September we shall hold our Harvest Festival, at which the uniformed organisations will parade. Please join us.
Rev. LYN HOUGHTON
Rev Lyn Houghton will be leaving this Methodist Circuit in August, moving on to work in the Dove Valley Circuit as Superintendent Minister, living in Uttoxeter. Her last service at Rolleston will be on 21st July, her farewell in Burton will be on 4th August at 6pm at the Trinity Church.
She will be missed by members of the church here, where she has worked with the Ladies Meeting, the Pram Service and the Sunday School (remember Annie?). She has also taken part in services at St Mary’s and has forged strong links with John of Rolleston School. Her pastoral work, visiting the sick, the bereaved and those who bring their children for baptism, has earned her much affection, and she has always been happy to share in community events, such as the Playgroup celebrations and the Choral Society concerts.
We are sorry to see her go, and we send all good wishes to her and to her husband, Mike, in the next stage of their life. We know that she will be very busy, but perhaps we shall be able to welcome her back among us to events in the future.
At present, the plans are for a young American minister to spend a year with us from September. More details of that next time.
All our lives we celebrate anniversaries in their various forms. We celebrate days and dates of special significance in the Christian calendar, like Easter and Christmas as well as days which mean something to us personally like birthdays and wedding anniversaries. During much of 2002, but this month especially, we have been celebrating the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and I hope that like me, you are enjoying the many events held in Rolleston. We give thanks and celebrate because we are fortunate to have so much to choose from.
The concept of the year of Jubilee comes from the Bible; the book of Leviticus (chapter 25 verses 8-17 to be exact). Leviticus was written as handbook or guidelines for Holy living for the Hebrew nation and its priests. The Jubilee was to be celebrated every 50 years and included the cancelling of all debts, freeing of all slaves and the returning to its original owners all land that had been sold. A new start! Christian Aid and others are continuing to work with this principle for the poorest countries of our world, who are in debt to the Western nations, to give them a chance to be able to move on.
I have been a Methodist minister here for 7 years now, which means that it’s time for me to “move on”. In August I leave Burton on Trent to take up a new post in the Dove Valley circuit and shall be based in Uttoxeter – not very far away! These 7 years have flown by, and I have enjoyed feeling part of the community. Not that easy when you have to be part of 4 communities at the same time! I shall miss my involvement with the people here and with the school, John of Rolleston, but just like the concept of Jubilee, it’s time to make a new start. The Methodist church begins a new chapter as we look forward to an American minister for one year (subject to Conference). I’m sure the Rev. Grant Schmit will bring energy and freshness and enjoy his experiences here in Rolleston, as part of his ministry in Burton on Trent. I shall say farewell at the end of July, but until then I pray you will enjoy the blessing of a good summer with much to celebrate.
Yours in Jesus,
Rev Lyn Houghton.
Spring 2002 News
Spring and Easter are just around the corner, bringing light and new life in every sense. At Easter we once again remember the death, and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. What those first century people experienced as they met the risen Jesus in the garden, by the sea-shore and in an upper room, changed for good all their ideas about life and death. Because of Jesus we have a confident hope that this life is not the end and that we too shall find new life in resurrection hope, when God calls us to himself. We must make sure that we don’t restrict our future resurrection to some future Last Day – there are glimpses of God’s glory in our present day life too.
What happened on Easter Day is a unique event, but the God-given principle of new life out of death, of a Resurrection Sunday that follows a Good Friday, is available to us all here and now. On 31st March we shall rejoice and celebrate that first Easter event and anticipate with joy our ultimate victory over the grave, but just remember what the angels asked the searching disciples at the tomb “Why search among the dead for one who is alive?” Jesus gives new life and hope now, day by day.
Every blessing at Easter,
Lyn (Rev. Lyn Houghton)
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Last updated: 2 March 2004