Methodist Church News 2005
Winter 2005 News
Services and regular meetings:
On Sunday at 11a.m. we hold our weekly worship, and all are welcome. In the New Year, the service time will be changed to 10.30 a.m.
Sunday School precedes our service. For details contact Mrs. Beryl House. Tel. 813516
On Wednesday afternoon at 2.30 there is the Ladies Meeting. All ladies welcome.
Also on the second Wednesday of the month at 10.30 there is Oasis, an informal time for reflection and discussion. A creche is provided if needed.
We have facilities for the disabled, and a loop system for those with hearing aids.
Since the last issue of Rollestonian, it has been all activity. The Harvest Festival was the usual happy occasion, with a splendid display of produce which was distributed to elderly people in the village next day. We have filled and despatched two Aquaboxes to be sent to disaster areas, just before the earthquake in Pakistan. We have heard about the work of the Y.M.C.A. in Burton, and are planning to make a contribution of food for at least one of the young people in their care, in time for Christmas. We enjoyed a Ploughman's Lunch together, and held a successful Autumn Coffee Morning which raised much needed funds for the work of the church.
Christmas comes on apace -
The Carol Service for the uniformed organisations will take place at 11 a.m. on 11th December, and our minister Rev. Mick Dilley will conduct the service.
Rolleston Choral Society will present a concert of carols and readings on Wednesday 21st. December at 7.30 p.m. As usual, this will be followed by seasonal refreshments, so come along to start the festivities in the usual way with friends from the village.
There will not be a service at Rolleston Methodist Church on Christmas Day, but it isn't far to go to Stretton for one at 11a.m.
There will have been a Midnight Communion at Stretton at 11.30 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
There will be a Bring-and-Share Social and Watchnight at the manse in Elwyn Close on New Year's Eve.
Musings from the manse
A few weeks ago now a group of us from the Church accepted the invitation to visit the local Mosque in Princess Street. It was a well organised event, I was warmly greeted although the ladies in our party may not share that sentiment!
The tour led us all round the building, explanations were given about the reason behind the rituals we saw being performed. Prayers had to be said facing in a certain direction, prayers in the Mosque we were told had much more power than prayers at home. Men and women prayed separately and women were encouraged to pray at home.
Copies of the Koran were given to any who wanted one, but it was given with strict instructions on how it should be handled, and were it could be placed in a room. All three of the Imams we met could recite the whole of their scriptures, which impressed me and put us biblical illiterate Christians to shame. We had a very good question and answer session which went well despite obvious language difficulties.
I was interested on how, in the Islamic faith, one obtained paradise and was told it all depends on our deeds good or bad on the day of our death. I asked who can go to prayers and one has to be a believer before one is welcome. I left a lot wiser on the Islamic religion and am all in favour of getting to know people of other faiths better, trying to bring greater understanding and harmony in our communities.
Increasingly, in our day, we are being told that all religions are the same. This is in one sense true. All the world’s great religions are humanities search for God. If you do certain things in a certain way you will find favour with your God which leads to a life of striving and uncertainty.
I also left again grateful that Christianity is not about our search for God but Gods search for us. True Christianity is not a religion but about relationship with God. We remember that especially at this Christmas season when we recall how the one who spoke the world into being came down as a baby, in absolute frailty, born in abject poverty and grew to experience all that we all go through. I’m oh so glad that I do not have to earn my way to heaven because I know my life proves the Bible to be true when it says none of us reach Gods standard.
Do not let the familiarity of the Christmas story stop you from realising what an awesome thing it was for God to come to earth. His motive, His love for me and you.
O’come let us adore Him, O’come let us adore Him, O’come let us adore Him
Christ the Lord.
Every Blessing to you and yours as we approach the Christmas season
Autumn 2005 News
Services and Regular Meetings
On Sunday at 11am we hold our weekly worship, and all are welcome. This is preceded by Sunday School. For details contact Mrs Beryl House, Tel 813516. She is always pleased to see new young people. On Wednesday afternoons at 2.30 there is the Ladies Meeting, perhaps with a speaker, or a quiz, or a tea party. All ladies welcome. On the second Wednesday morning of the month at 10.30 there is Oasis. This began as a Pram Service and creche facilities will always be provided. Recently the numbers of young children attending have declined, so the character of the meeting has changed. It is still informal, with time away from today's rushed life-style for discussion, quiet reflection and friendly conversation. Lately we have been looking at different kinds of spirituality. Those who come would welcome new friends of all ages, men or women, of all beliefs or none. The meeting always ends with coffee and chat. Why not try this? Specially if Sunday worship times are not convenient for you. The church building has a ramp and handrails to assist access, toilet facilities for the disabled,and a microphone loop system for the benefit of those who use hearing aids.
Special dates for your diary:
Harvest Festival on September 18th at 11 am. The uniformed organisations will parade at this service. Harvest produce will be distributed to some of the sick, elderly or lonely in the village on Monday 19th. Come and enjoy the harvest hymns and display of produce.
On Wednesday October 19th at 11 am there will be a talk in the schoolroom by Mr Graham Meers, about the work of the Y.M.C.A. He has a close association with the organisation and it promises to be an interesting talk. It will be followed by a Ploughman's Lunch. Tickets will be available from church members.
On Saturday October 22nd there will be an autumn Coffee Morning in the schoolroom between 10 and 12. There will be a Bring and Buy and other attractions. Proceeds are for chapel funds to assist repairs to the building and the surrounding pathways, which are extensively used by the public and the repair of which are costly. Your support would be much appreciated.
In the autumn we plan to buy and fill another Aquabox. You may remember that this is a locally run charity operating from Wirksworth, where the filled boxes are held in storage until they are needed in some part of the world where there has been a natural disaster such as flood or earthquake. When needed the boxes are dispatched by reputable charities such as the Red Cross, Rotary or other organisations, and can be helping destitute families by very rapidly providing the means of filtering water for drinking, some basic household utensils and a change of clothing. If you have spare clothing of any kind, particularly men's or babies' clothes, or shoes or unwanted household goods, please contact a church member who will be glad to receive them. Donations of money also help us to pay for the box and its transport abroad.
The schoolroom is regularly used by the Parish Council, Rolleston Choral Society and another choir, by Slimmers World, by Mother and Toddler groups and by the Playgroup. If you wish to find out more about any of these organisations church members could put you in touch. The room is also widely used for children's parties and other groups on a one-off basis, and bookings are handled by Mrs Jane Millward. Tel. 813015.
I am sure that like me in years to come you will remember exactly where you were when you heard the news of the London Bombings. It has really shook us all, being followed as it was by the shooting of the young man on the tube. If he had been a terrorist it would have been shocking enough but to later discover he was not, really leaves us sick to the stomach. It is so un-British.
Whilst at college we had numerous sessions on Racial Awareness. In some of those sessions I had to face up to the fact that lots of my thinking however unintentional was racist. A very hard truth to face up to.
On a weekend given over to the subject we role played through various situations. In one we were asked to imagine that we were immigrants in a fictitious land, we could not speak the language and among other things our children were being bullied at school. It made me feel something of the powerlessness of many immigrants over the years. Indeed one black woman in our group said that was her personal experience. Her parents told her to keep quiet do not make a fuss, but as she grew her anger caused her to join a Black Power Group. The inner turmoil I felt that day has only been matched when again we role-played a child abuse situation.
Whilst one can never ever excuse the acts of terror which have taken place, there never can be, or will be, any justification. Perhaps we need to understand something of that which motivates such people, why do ordinary folk like us decide to do what they did? What provides the fertile ground for extreme ideologies to grow? What can we do to help the situation?
As a Christian I believe in the power of prayer. Only last week a senior police officer told a group of us that it is now part of one force’s strategy to get committed people to pray about the drugs problem in their area. It has achieved measurable results in drugs recovered & dealers arrested. I believe we should pray for our police and security forces, pray that any devices planted would not explode. Pray for the victims and the perpetrators of such acts and that justice may be done.
Also I believe we should look to ourselves. What in me adds to the situations which could aggravate racial disharmony? It is so easy to scapegoat certain sections of our society. Hitler did it with the Jewish people and in recent years we have seen appalling consequences of such actions in Bosnia and in Rwanda. Take time to get to know people, then they will no longer go under a label but be a person.
I was watching a T V news program one lunch time some years ago. On it they were interviewing a lady from a run-down estate which had experienced regeneration, she had been one of the prime movers behind its improvement. When asked the reasons why, she said they did it one back yard at a time, they got people to be responsible for their own little bit.
As we make sure all of our relationships are in order, little by little we shall change the world we live in.
Summer 2005 News
A man was on holiday with his wife in Brazil, most of the holiday went well until she just happened to mention she had told her parents they would spend Christmas with them. This was usually OK but unfortunately the husband had made the same promise to his folks. To say there was tension in the air was an understatement.
The holiday got worse from that point on. They arrived at a great waterfall one that the husband wanted to capture with his video camera, only to find that the battery had run down, so there was no power to capture the sight of this awesome display of nature’s power. On the journey back to the hotel the hire car broke down. Feelings of anger and self pity enveloped the pair. On calling a garage they were told twenty minutes. An hour and a half later the man arrived. Tempers were frayed, language was a problem but eventually Max knew he had to go and try and start the car. Start it did. But the man still needed paying for his time. Money paid out for nothing does not help one’s temperament. The couple drove back into the city in stony silence.
The traffic was bad, just as they were making progress a light turned red. As it did one of the street urchins of about eight years old appeared at the car window asking for any spare change. The traffic was going nowhere “How much have you got today?” Max asked, the boy showed him, enough for a soft drink and it was late in the day. “Where do you live?” “Nowhere” came the reply we sleep under the fly over. “Your parents?” “ Both dead.” “ Who looks after you?” “ We look after our selves.”
Max gave the boy the equivalent of £5 a massive sum to him and watched his sad face break into a wide smile of gratitude. He ran off and as he did, Max tells that all his feelings of anger and self pity went with him. This boy has no problems with cars, video cameras or families I’m sure he would gladly have some of those problems.
As for Max as for us wouldn’t life be better if we counted our blessings more. Analyse your conversations, how much is spent in positive comments and how much in negative. Whilst not wanting to look at life through rose coloured glasses, Life for the majority of us is good most of the time. We moan about the colds we have but never give thanks for our health.
Life will never be perfect here on earth. But there is more than enough for us to be thankful for. Practise being grateful to those around and God the provider of all good things.
It is a pity that, in the story I related, all anger left Max, as I wish he and all of us would get angry and remain angry whilst any of God’s children live on the streets and have to beg for scraps. I hope that, like me, you are angry and as you count your blessings you will do all you can to support The Make Poverty History Campaign.
God Bless, Mick Dilley
Spring 2005 News
There will be a Lent course at the Elwyn Close Manse on Thursday mornings. For details contact Mick Dilley.
The Sponsored Hymn-singing in January raised over £500 pounds for the Tsunami Disaster Relief Fund. The congregations of the Parish Church and the Methodist Church were joined by some people who are not members of either church, and united to sing hymns requested by both congregations. This proved popular, and similar get-togethers are planned for the future.
I am writing this article 33 days after Christmas, it seems much longer, Christmas seems a very distant memory. Pushed back by the Tsunami disaster and now the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
It was and is my prayer that the world will never be the same after this natural disaster, that the compassion released in the wake of this event will continue and we will no longer be content to sleep easy in our beds whilst the equivalent number of people lost in the Tsunami die every fortnight through lack of food medicines or clean water in the third world.
If our record as human beings is anything to go by we will fail. Despite the horror of the holocaust there has been many, many more examples of the same “ethnic cleansing” Whilst we were visiting Jerusalem in 1996, which included a tour of the holocaust memorial, I remember our seemingly “hard nut” of a tour guide in tears asking “What have we learnt?” as news of atrocities in the former Yugoslavia continued to make the news.
Today I received a mailing from an organisation that supports persecuted Christians. It seems that the Dalit caste of Indians are receiving little or no aid as they are the bottom of the caste system (the untouchables) and are not deemed worthy of support. In Sri Lanka the Christians there are having a tough time, legislation is afoot to make life very hard for Christians who already suffer physical assaults. Now it seems that, if they offer help, they are deemed to be offering inducements to convert - which is already outlawed, and if they do not they are seen as anti-nationalistic. It seems a no win situation.
This was going to be a nice cheery piece about Christmas mail. But world events have dictated that it is on more serious matters The fact is I believe all of us, religious or not, have asked hard questions about life, about the nature of the world we live in and about the existence and the nature of God. I could go on now to give you all sorts of theological reasons why bad things happen in our world, but I doubt it would satisfy. I would have to turn to scientific books to give you those sort of answers. I read a few but I did not find satisfaction there either, perhaps you would.
I started this article by referring to Christmas. As I did my own soul searching about the Tsunami neither the theological answers nor the scientific ones satisfied my heart, although they did my head. It was only as I thought again about God coming to us as a human being, sharing our whole life good and the evil did I find any peace. As we move toward Easter we see the depth of God’s love for us revealed in the fact that He was willing to suffer and die for us, It is here I again affirm that God is a loving God who cares for the whole of His Creation. God weeps with the bereaved. God comes alongside the homeless the injured. God longs for each of us to come into relationship with Him and to live that relationship out in love for our neighbours across the street and across the world.
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© Richard Bush
Last updated: 18 December 2005