Interesting items to inform and pray for

Blog for the churches in the North Wingfield Team Ministry

To inform about what's happening in Christian circles.

Also included are some cartoons and items to make you smile if you are having a bad day.

St. Lawrence's

North Wingfield

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Clay Cross

St. Mary's

Pilsley

St. Barnabas'

Danesmoor

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Tupton

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North Wingfield Team Blog:

The end of the year this blog will be stopped as it has been going for a number of months now and I don't know if anybody is actually reading it. If you are reading this would you mind just sending me a short email saying that you have read it and any comments including which church website you were directed from.    Many thanks, Colin.  colin_rosemary@outlook.com

15 December 2018

Christingle50 campaign

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Children’s Society bringing Christingle to this country with a service held in Lincoln Cathedral in 1968.

To celebrate this landmark anniversary, the Children’s Society is running its #Christingle50 campaign, which aims to support vulnerable young people through raising funds at Christingle events and a collaboration with The Royal Academy of Music.

Some 200,000 10 to 17-year-olds in the UK are experiencing emotional neglect on a regular basis, and many are also struggling with other difficulties at home. The charity found that:

11% of 10 to 17-year-olds experiencing emotional neglect also do not have their own bed; 21% 10 to 17-year-olds experiencing emotional neglect had also been homeless in the last five years; and 20% of 10 to 17-year-olds experiencing emotional neglect also lived in a household that had used a food bank in the last five years.

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society explains: 'Too many young people will wake up on Christmas morning like any other - feeling alone and unable to cope.'

The Children’s Society has created an original song for schoolchildren, congregations or community choirs to include in their Christingle services. The song, ‘Light a Candle’, is available to download and listen to or learn for free from The Children’s Society website.

You can support young people by donating to the #Christingle50 campaign, or by attending a local Christingle Service. For more information, visit www.christingle.org

10 December 2018

Christingle:  a generous present from the Moravians

It is the Moravians whom we have to thank for bringing us the Christingle.  Especially one Moravian clergyman: John de Watteville.

On 20th December, 1747, John de Watteville was taking a children’s service in his Moravian church in Marienborn, Germany.   He led the children in some hymns, and read out verses which the children themselves had written to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Then he explained to the children that true happiness only comes through knowing Jesus.  Jesus, said John de Watteville, “has kindled in each little heart a flame which keeps burning to their joy and our happiness”.

John de Watteville then went on to illustrate that ‘flame’.   He gave each child a little lighted wax candle, tied around with a red ribbon.   He ended his service with a little prayer:   “Lord Jesus, kindle a flame in these children’s hearts, that theirs like Thine become”.

The visual aid was a great success with the children; for the Marienborn Diary for that day concludes: “hereupon the children went full of joy with their lighted candles to their rooms and so went glad and happy to bed”.

The candle and red ribbon were remembered the following year, and the following after that.... The years came and went, and as the Moravians began to travel beyond Germany, so they took the custom with them:  to Labrador, to Pennsylvania, to Tibet and Suriname, to the Caribbean and South Africa.   In each country the Christians adapted it for their own use.

No one knows for certain when the word ‘Christingle’ was first used with regard to the custom.   No one even knows where the word ‘Christingle’ comes from.   Some people say it is from the old Saxon word ‘ingle’ (fire), meaning ‘Christ-fire or light’. Another theory is that it derives from the German ‘engel’ (angel), meaning ‘Christ-angel’. 

In any event, the symbolism of Christingle gradually developed, until today the Moravians in the British Province use an orange, representing the world, with a lighted candle to represent Christ, the Light of the World. Nuts, raisins and sweets on cocktail sticks around the candle represent God’s bounty and goodness in providing the fruits of the earth. Red paper, forming a frill around the base of the candle, reminds us of the blood of Christ shed for all people on the cross at Calvary.

In Moravian churches, the Christingle Service is usually held on the Sunday before Christmas or on Christmas Eve. The website for the Moravian Church says:  “We are glad that the Moravian Church has been able to make this contribution to the wider Christian world.”

8 December 2018

With Christmas coming up - something to make you smile!

What do you call a cat in the desert?  Sandy Claws.

What goes oh oh oh? Santa walking backwards.

What did the dog get for Christmas?  A mobile bone.

Who delivers presents to sharks at Christmas?  Santa Jaws.

What did Adam say in the Garden of Eden on December 24? It's Christmas, Eve.

Why do turkeys never go hungry at Christmas? They're always stuffed.

Which Christmas carol is most popular with new parents?  Silent Night!

Where do mistletoe go to become famous?  Holly-wood

Why is turkey so popular at Christmas?  Because the weather is a lot warmer over there.

Why do Mummies like Christmas so much?  Because of all the wrapping!

What is the best Christmas present in the world? A broken drum - you just can't beat it!

What’s impossible to overtake at Christmas? - The three wide men!

How do snowmen get around?  On their icicles.

What does Santa call reindeer that don't work? Dinner.

I sent my girlfriend a huge pile of snow.  I rang her up and asked, 'Did you get my drift?'

2 December 2018

As seen on Facebook (no christian content but may be of interest to those of us who are  in our later years!)

1. It’s time to use the money you saved up. Use it and enjoy it. Don’t just keep it for those who may have no notion of the sacrifices you made to get it. Remember there is nothing more dangerous than a son or daughter-in-law with big ideas for your hard-earned capital. Warning: This is also a bad time for investments, even if it seems wonderful or fool-proof. They only bring problems and worries. This is a time for you to enjoy some peace and quiet.

2. Stop worrying about the financial situation of your children and grandchildren, and don’t feel bad spending your money on yourself. You’ve taken care of them for many years, and you’ve taught them what you could. You gave them an education, food, shelter and support. The responsibility is now theirs to earn their own money.

3. Keep a healthy life, without great physical effort. Do moderate exercise (like walking every day), eat well and get your sleep. It’s easy to become sick, and it gets harder to remain healthy. That is why you need to keep yourself in good shape and be aware of your medical and physical needs. Keep in touch with your doctor, do tests even when you’re feeling well. Stay informed.

4. Always buy the best, most beautiful items for your significant other. The key goal is to enjoy your money with your partner. One day one of you will miss the other, and the money will not provide any comfort then, enjoy it together

5. Don’t stress over the little things. Like paying a little extra on price quotes. You’ve already overcome so much in your life.You have good memories and bad ones, but the important thing is the present. Don’t let the past drag you down and don’t let the future frighten you. Feel good in the now. Small issues will soon be forgotten.

6. Regardless of age, always keep love alive. Love your partner, love life, love your family, love your neighbor and remember: “A man is not old as long as he has intelligence and affection.”

7. Be proud, both inside and out. Don’t stop going to your hair salon or barber, do your nails, go to the dermatologist and the dentist, keep your perfumes and creams well stocked. When you are well-maintained on the outside, it seeps in, making you feel proud and strong.

8. Don’t lose sight of fashion trends for your age, but keep your own sense of style. There’s nothing worse than an older person trying to wear the current fashion among youngsters. You’ve developed your own sense of what looks good on you – keep it and be proud of it. It’s part of who you are.

9. ALWAYS stay up-to-date. Read newspapers, watch the news. Go online and read what people are saying. Make sure you have an active email account and try to use some of those social networks. You’ll be surprised what old friends you’ll meet. Keeping in touch with what is going on and with the people you know is important at any age.

10. Respect the younger generation and their opinions. They may not have the same ideals as you, but they are the future, and will take the world in their direction. Give advice, not criticism, and try to remind them that yesterday’s wisdom still applies today.

11. Never use the phrase: “In my time.” Your time is now. As long as you’re alive, you are part of this time. You may have been younger, but you are still you now, having fun and enjoying life.

12. Some people embrace their golden years, while others become bitter and surly. Life is too short to waste your days on the latter. Spend your time with positive, cheerful people, it’ll rub off on you and your days will seem that much better. Spending your time with bitter people will make you older and harder to be around.

13. Do not surrender to the temptation of living with your children or grandchildren (if you have a financial choice, that is). Sure, being surrounded by family sounds great, but we all need our privacy. They need theirs and you need yours. If you’ve lost your partner (our deepest condolences), then find a person to move in with you and help out. Even then, do so only if you feel you really need the help or do not want to live alone.

14. Don’t abandon your hobbies. If you don’t have any, make new ones. You can travel, hike, cook, read, dance. You can adopt a cat or a dog, grow a garden, play cards, checkers, chess, dominoes, golf. You can paint, volunteer or just collect certain items. Find something you like and spend some real time having fun with it.

15. Even if you don’t feel like it, try to accept invitations. Baptisms, graduations, birthdays, weddings, conferences. Try to go. Get out of the house, meet people you haven’t seen in a while, experience something new (or something old). But don’t get upset when you’re not invited. Some events are limited by resources, and not everyone can be hosted. The important thing is to leave the house from time to time. Go to museums, go walk through a field. Get out there.

16. Be a conversationalist. Talk less and listen more. Some people go on and on about the past, not caring if their listeners are really interested. That’s a great way of reducing their desire to speak with you. Listen first and answer questions, but don’t go off into long stories unless asked to. Speak in courteous tones and try not to complain or criticize too much unless you really need to. Try to accept situations as they are. Everyone is going through the same things, and people have a low tolerance for hearing complaints. Always find some good things to say as well.

17. Pain and discomfort go hand in hand with getting older. Try not to dwell on them but accept them as a part of the cycle of life we’re all going through. Try to minimize them in your mind. They are not who you are, they are something that life added to you. If they become your entire focus, you lose sight of the person you used to be.

18. If you’ve been offended by someone – forgive them. If you’ve offended someone - apologize. Don’t drag around resentment with you. It only serves to make you sad and bitter. It doesn’t matter who was right. Someone once said: “Holding a grudge is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Don’t take that poison. Forgive, forget and move on with your life.

19. If you have a strong belief, savor it. But don’t waste your time trying to convince others. They will make their own choices no matter what you tell them, and it will only bring you frustration. Live your faith and set an example. Live true to your beliefs and let that memory sway them.

20. Laugh. Laugh A LOT. Laugh at everything. Remember, you are one of the lucky ones. You managed to have a life, a long one. Many never get to this age, never get to experience a full life. But you did. So what’s not to laugh about? Find the humor in your situation.

21. Take no notice of what others say about you and even less notice of what they might be thinking. They’ll do it anyway, and you should have pride in yourself and what you’ve achieved. Let them talk and don’t worry. They have no idea about your history, your memories and the life you’ve lived so far. There’s still much to be written, so get busy writing and don’t waste time thinking about what others might think. Now is the time to be at rest, at peace and as happy as you can be!

21 November 2018

Help someone break the chains of debt

How big are your debts? How long will it take you to repay them?  Christians Against Poverty has hundreds of low-income clients who are facing an average repayment term of more than 600 years. Despite sticking to their budgets with our support and advice, they will never, ever be able to pay off their debts. 

The good news is that CAP is ready to take these people through an official process called a Debt Relief Order to become debt free. The fee is just £90, but their income is so low, they can’t afford even to do that.

And so CAP is calling on people like you to consider donating the needed money to help people get out of hopeless debt.  For more information go to their website: capuk.org

Netflix and Narnia

Netflix is off to Narnia.  The streaming service is to produce new Chronicles of Narnia projects for film and television. 

The streaming service has signed a multi-year deal with The C.S. Lewis Company to develop the classic stories.  This makes it the first time that rights to all seven books including The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, have been held by the same company.

The Narnia books have sold more than 100 million copies and been translated in more than 47 languages.

Evangelists ‘believing for the nation to be changed’ in 2020

A major new nationwide evangelism initiative for 2020 was recently launched at Lambeth Palace. 

The campaign, Advance 2020, is a unique initiative on the part of more than 100 evangelists and ministry leaders.  They have agreed to lead a major evangelistic thrust in 2020, and beforehand, to multiply the gift of younger evangelists, through mentoring and accountability groups.

‘Arise, shine, for your light has come…’ the words of Isaiah 60 had inspired evangelist Andy Hawthorne with the vision to start Advance 2020.

He explained: ‘God was saying “step out in faith and do some big reaping events again”. But I also felt the Lord say: “And you aren’t going to be the main evangelist”.

'For 25 years I’ve been the front guy for The Message, but I strongly felt the Lord say “You need to release younger evangelists”. I’ve gathered 12 younger guys around me and invested in them, believed in them, and we have wrestled together on what Gospel we preach to produce disciples, with a high level of accountability to each other.’ 

The group meets regularly and uses a WhatsApp group to share stories, pray for each other and keep in touch. As he has road-tested the mentoring vision with his Advance group, Andy says the 12 have seen thousands respond to Christ at events across Europe on a regular basis. ‘It feels like the most significant thing I’ve ever done in my lifetime … I’ve seen thousands more people come to Christ.’

There are now 45 groups – men and women’s groups – with 300-400 evangelists. The Advance 2020 vision is to multiply the groups, mentoring younger evangelists, sharpening each other’s message, whether they preach from a stage or share Christ in one-to-one conversations.

Challenging the evangelists in the room to ‘think big’ in 2020, he said, ‘What would it look like for us to step up for a year; if we were to multiply the gift of evangelist to proclaim Christ to 500,000 young people in that year; if we do this together, praying for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit through word and deed mission; if we are spurring one another on; recommissioning the gift of the evangelist; believing for the nation to be changed in a year?’

He invited the evangelists to work together, starting their own Advance groups and bringing them to the Advance 2020 Summit in October 2019, where 2,000 evangelists are to be recommissioned for a ‘reaping year’ in 2020. In the run-up to the event, 100 11-18 year olds will also be mentored, starting on The Youth Evangelism Weekender, 30 November to 2 December 2018.

Andy Hawthorne was joined by Roy Crowne from HOPE, Gavin Calver from the Evangelical Alliance, Dr Rachel Jordan-Wolf from the Church of England; Rev Canon Yemi Adedeji, from HOPE and the One People Commission, plus Dave Plowman and Wendy Palau, from the Luis Palau Association, who each committed their ministries to the Advance 2020 vision, inviting the 100 in the room to do the same. 

Those involved in the project include Hope, the Evangelical Alliance (EA) and the Church of England.

8 November 2018

The Way I See It - the future in safe hands?

The Advent calendars, complete with chocolate, are already in the shops. The season actually begins at the end of this month, four weeks when Christians are meant to think seriously about the future. It’s always been a human dilemma.

We know a lot about the past – ours and the history of our race. We know quite a lot about the present. But the fact is we know nothing about what might or will happen to us even five minutes ahead. In a few seconds our life can be turned upside down. We are introduced to a stranger who eventually becomes our life partner. The doctor tells us we are pregnant – or seriously ill. We get the sack or are offered a wonderful new job.  Anything from a road traffic accident to a financial windfall to a leak in the kitchen ceiling can change everything in an instant.

So, it’s not surprising that we are puzzled by the future. The past can be cherished – memories are precious. The present is to be lived to the best of our ability. But what can we do about the future? Our best laid plans are provisional, at best. No wonder soothsayers, fortune tellers and the rest have always done well.

For people who believe in God there is, however, a bit of help in his Name. In Hebrew it is ‘Yahweh’ (often wrongly transcribed as ‘Jehovah). It means, more or less, I AM. God simply exists, a kind of permanent present tense. So, while we see past, present and future, He is just the Existing One. Yes, I know that sounds baffling, but it makes sense that the Creator of everything can’t be part of the time, space and matter that He created.

When I was a teenager we sang a gospel song that had a line I’ve never forgotten: ‘We don’t know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future’. It’s a simple idea, but quite a profound thought for Advent!    David Winter

Remembering the end of World War One

This year Remembrance Sunday (11th November) marks the centenary of the end of World War One. Of the 65 million men who were mobilized, 8.5 million were killed and a further 21 million wounded. Wilfred Owen wrote of those ‘who die as cattle.’

How should we celebrate this anniversary? In remembering the Armistice, our response should be to desire Micah’s vision of universal peace in our world: ‘They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.’ (Micah 4:3).

However, why keep asking God for peace, when we continue to see such violence and unrest in our world? The Bible makes it clear that peace is not just the absence of war or being untroubled. It means being in a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ, with other people and with wider society.

Of course, Micah’s words are looking to end of time when God will make all things new in His universal kingdom. However, these promises also can speak to us now. The ministry of Jesus demonstrated the kingdom or reign of God breaking into the everyday, as He healed the sick and brought reconciliation and hope. When we pray for peace, we’re rejecting the ‘old order of things’, of violence and war and asking God to make His kingdom real today. We’re citizens of the new kingdom, reshaping the old.

The end of the centenary of World War 1 is a time to consider peace. Although the war did not bring a lasting peace to the world, for the Christian there’s a deeper lesson: peace begins with the healing of hearts, the restoring of relationships and with a deep, costly commitment to justice.

                                                  

29 October 2018

Psalm 139 - God knows you better than you know yourself

Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space in 1961, reportedly said ‘I looked and looked but I didn't see God.’ Psalm 139 sees things from a very different perspective, in which God can be found everywhere in the universe.

God is all Knowing:You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.’ (v1). God knows my thoughts, habits, moods, words and choices, including the things done in secret. He knows me better than I know myself, and yet still loves me, despite my faults and failings! ‘Such knowledge is too wonderful for me.’ (6).

God is all present: Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?’ (v7). In whatever circumstances we face, God is present with us, especially in the dark and difficult times. If we know the path to God, we can find it in the dark!

God is all powerful: For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.’ (v13,14). Both the vastness of the universe and the wonder of the growing embryo in the womb speak of the power of the creator God. We can trust Him because He knows our beginning and end and everything in-between: all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.’ (16).

How do we respond to what this psalm says? Are we prepared to constantly expose our inner life to God and consistently yield our whole life to Him? ‘Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.’ (v23/4).

Where is your life journey taking you?

Can you imagine boarding a plane for your dream holiday and the pilot’s voice says: ‘Welcome on board.  After take-off, we’ll be serving you a meal and we’ll do all we can to make your flight enjoyable.  However, I need to tell you – we have no final destination.  So we are just going to keep flying until we run out of fuel and drop into the ocean.'  

No matter how wonderful the journey is, what’s the point, if there’s no destination?  And yet many people live their lives like this.  They concentrate only on having the best ‘journey’ that they can, on travelling first class all the way.  But they never stop to consider where the journey is taking them – what their inevitable end will be.

Death is the end of our journey here on earth, but it need not be the end of YOUR journey.  God does not want you to end your life in death.  He wants it to be the threshold of an eternity of peace and love in his presence.  Jesus is the way to this truth and life, and he holds out that ‘ticket’ to you.  A journey with a destination in mind is better than a journey that will simply…end… one day.

St Paul knew where he was going. In fact, he couldn’t wait to 'depart and be with Christ, which is better by far….' (Philippians 1:23)

As for those signs found outside churches: 

  • Church carpark sign...FOR MEMBERS ONLY.  Trespassers will be baptised!!

  • No God - No Peace. Know God - Know Peace.

  •  Free Trip to heaven. Details Inside!

20 October 2018

What does God do all day?

Ever wonder what God does up there in heaven?  Some of us imagine God the Father resting on a great gold throne, surrounded by angels dressed in white, eternally playing on harps.  And beyond them are millions of people, standing about.  After all, as one hymn (Jerusalem, my happy home) puts it:  where ‘congregations ne’er break up and Sabbaths never end’. To be honest, a fairly awful prospect.

But the Bible says differently. Jesus talks of His Father as being engaged with the world, working with us, giving us our daily bread, guiding us, caring for us, protecting us from evil, answering prayer, judging wrong and welcoming those who turn to Him.  Where Christians are working, there the Lord is too: ‘And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them’. (Mark 16.20) So God does not merely sit there and watch us work, He actually works with us.

In our diocese, over 70 people of all ages have learnt to ring this year ready for Remembrance Sunday, 11 November 2018, for the 100th anniversary of the Armistice. They are some of the 2000 people who have joined the national #RingingRemembers campaign to honour the bell ringers who died in WW1. 

The new bell ringers have joined teams of current ringers in churches throughout the Diocese of Derby, giving their local churches and communities that iconic soundscape for Sundays, Christmas, weddings and special occasions. New bell ringers soon become 'hooked' on their new activity, enjoying exhilarating new experiences, effective workouts, challenges and rewards and a fun social life.

New ringers are still being recruited. If you are interested, please sign up before 11 November 2018.

On the morning of 11 November 2018, muffles will be used to make bells sound alternately loud then soft when they are rung in remembrance of those who gave their lives serving our country.
In the afternoon and evening the muffles will be removed and bells will ring out in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Armistice: at 12:30pm for 'Ringing Remembers' and at 7:05pm for 'Battle's Over - Ringing Out for Peace'.

For more information email LearnToRing@derbyda.org.uk.
Facebook: Bell Ringing Derbyshire

Halloween is on the way

It is that time of year again – when the pumpkins with scary faces appear in our shops, surrounded by skeleton costumes, zombie masks, witch’s hats and sweets with gruesome names. 

How do Christian parents deal with this annual celebration of evil and death?  For of course 31st October has pagan Celtic roots – it was the evening when the souls of the dead were meant to revisit their old homes on earth. 

Most kids just want the fun of dressing up and scaring their friends half to death.  They are oblivious to the darker forces behind it all, or at least do not take them seriously.

Many Christian families and churches have resolved the problem not by ignoring Halloween, but by taking it as only the starting point in a festival, not the end in itself.  Hence, they allow their children to dress up, but then take them to a Lights Party, where the whole story is told, not just the pagan bit.  Instead of discouraging any thoughts of evil and death, they encourage the children to consider the darkness – but through a Christian lens.  Christians do not deny death and dying and evil, but they know that death has no real terrors for us at all, because it has been defeated through the cross and resurrection of Jesus.  Halloween is only half the story:  Christianity is the completion, because God in his love sent Jesus to save us from darkness. 

So - Halloween is a time to remind our children that Jesus is with us in both the good and bad times of life. 

Quotes

"The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that you can never know if they
are genuine." -  Winston Churchill.

13 October 2018

Christian fair trade business Traidcraft may stop selling goods

Traidcraft plc is in trouble.  With very poor recent trading figures and despite enormous efforts by the staff and management and Fair Traders, it warns that the present model for the company may be no longer viable.

Traidcraft's charity branch, Traidcraft Exchange, will continue to support farmers and lobby government through its charitable arm, and the decision about closing the trading arm is still in a consultation period and not final. 

Traidcraft plc first started in 1979, selling fair-trade coffee, sugar and chocolate as well as rugs and handmade baskets from Bangladesh. They went on to sell fair-trade clothes and wine.

Most of us remember them from church stalls and markets. Their aim was to keep a close link between producer and purchaser.

A spokesperson for Traidcraft said:  'Traidcraft plc's mission to put the principles of fair trade into commercial practice is not, in any sense, fulfilled but we appreciate that it is time to consider new approaches.'

The worse you feel, the more likely you are to believe in God.

At least that is a finding from the latest British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey, which has found that patients admitted to hospital are more likely to have religious faith than people in the general public.

It seems that more than half of us are happy to say that we have 'no religion', according to the latest BSA survey, which found that 52 per cent of us deny any religious affiliation.   But this figure drops to only 15 per cent once you become a NHS patient.

Data from the Manchester University NHS Trust also shows that while 40 per cent of the population identify as Christian, this figure soars to 66 per cent once people are admitted to hospital. 

Love, loss, and remembering

Autumn has traditionally been a time when Christians explore the big questions about life and death. Watching the leaves fall and the nights draw in is an opportunity for all ages to think about love and loss and remember in special ways.

Children ask questions about death for all kinds of reasons. It may come from seeing a local war memorial, or closer to home with the death of a pet. Or maybe your child has lost a great-grandparent, grandparent, a family friend, a teacher, a neighbour, an aunt or uncle.

For some children, the impact of loss has huge consequences, especially if it’s the death of a parent or a sibling. However and whenever those questions come, there are good ways to remember those we see no longer with family at home:

• Light a candle on important days and say a prayer. “Loving God, thank you for _ and help us to remember them well.” This is a simple prayer to say together.

• Gather some items that remind you of that person – letters they wrote, photos of them, items of clothing – and keep them in a nice box. Children can add things to the box.

• Taking part in charities connected to the person who died; Race for Life is a family-friendly event that can honour people who died from cancer, for example.

• Children can help taking care of a gravesite – pulling weeds, choosing flowers or other items to bring at special times, washing a memorial stone, etc.

The church also has ways of remembering those we love who have died. This happens at the start of November, at All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. A week later, at Remembrance Sunday, we remember those who died in wars, and pray for peace.

At All Saints’ Day (November 1st), we remember those Christians who have died, who we don’t know personally. A “saint” is someone whose life shows us how to follow Jesus. There are all kinds of saints – teachers, artists, scientists, social reformers, troublemakers, writers, and many more.

Say that again?

A woman telephoned her bank and spoke to the accountant who looked after her holdings. 'I want to make some changes,' she said. 

The accountant asked for more details. 'Are you interested in Conversion or Redemption?' he asked. 

'Good heavens,' came the reply. 'I must have got the wrong number.  I wanted the Bank of England, not the Church of England.'

Temptations are everywhere, and so is the grace of God.  - Anon

6 October 2018

Welcome to Autumn

Prayer for changing seasons

 Faithful Father,     As the leaves change colour and fall we are reminded of life’s changing seasons. We become aware that time passes more quickly than we expect or plan for. Help us to make the most of each day You give us  - and to be thankful. Thank you that through all the changing seasons You are unchanging. Your love goes on reaching out. Thank you for sending Jesus who died to make it possible for us to know You and come to You when our days on earth are completed. Help us to trust Him, to receive Him and to live in the power of His Spirit, now and forever.     In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Follow The Star is the Church of England’s 2018 Christmas campaign. Thousands of Christmas services and events will be taking place in churches all over the country in the run up to Christmas.

The campaign will serve a number of purposes:

1. To remind everyone that Christmas doesn't end on Christmas day - in fact, that is just the start!                            2. To encourage people to remember that their church is there all year round, not just at Christmas.                         3. To guide people to the A Church Near You website so they can discover more about our churches to experience and explore.

More details on their website.

The Revd Barbara Dale who retired in 2013, died on Sunday, 2 September 2018. Revd Barbara was Deaconess from 1981, Parish Deacon 1987-1990 of North Wingfield, Pilsley and Tupton (Diocese of Derby), Parish Deacon 1990-1994 then Team Vicar 1994-2000 of North Wingfield, Clay Cross and Pilsley; Assistant Curate of Eckington and Ridgeway 2000-2004, and Team Vicar in the East Scarsdale Team Ministry 2004-2013. Her funeral was held on 18 September 2018.

30 September 2018

Growing numbers of young people train as priests

Growing numbers of young people are seeking ordination to the priesthood, as the Church of England makes progress towards achieving a key target of recruiting more candidates for ordained ministry.

The number of people aged under 32 years old recommended for training for ordination this year rose by nearly a third, or 32%, to 169, compared to 128 in 2016, a report on vocations from the Church of England shows. This means nearly one in three, or 29%, of those entering training for the priesthood this year are expected to be under 32 years old.

The overall number of people recommended for ordination training is up 7% on last year, from 541 to 580. This follows a 14% increase the year before, putting the Church on course to achieving a key target of recruiting 50% more candidates for ordination by 2020.

The figures have been published alongside Ministry Statistics for 2017 showing just over 20,000 active clergy in the Church of England, with women making up nearly a third, or 30% of the total.  But the number of clergy in paid positions in 2017 fell by 50 from 7,790 to 7,740 compared to 2016.

Nearly a quarter, or 23% of paid clergy in senior posts, such as Bishops, Cathedral Deans or Archdeacons were women in 2017, compared to 12% in 2012.  

Meanwhile, the vocations report shows that women are set to be the majority entering ordination training for the second year running, with 54% of this year’s recommended candidates being female.

Director of the Church of England's Ministry Division, Julian Hubbard, said: “I am delighted that the Church of England has seen a rise in the number of vocations to the priesthood for the second year running. We are particularly pleased to see the increase in the number of young women and men entering training.

Catherine Nancekievill, Head of Discipleship and Vocation for the Church of England, said: “The Church of England is investing in worshipping communities across the country from coastal towns to rural areas and urban housing estates. This rise in vocations to ordained ministry is a welcome answer to our prayers and hard work across the country to ensure that we continue to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to every community.”

The Church of England is aiming to achieve an increase in the diversity of those entering ministry and a 50% increase in the total number of candidates for ordained ministry by 2020. This is part of its Renewal and Reform programme . 

 

Safe houses for persecuted Bangladeshi Christians

Barnabas Fund has been building new houses for Christians among the Santal people of Gaibandah District in Bangladesh, who have been victims of violent persecution. One such is Dijen Tado, who was shot in the chest when he and his family fled a riot back in 2016.

Helped by local Muslims, the police had set fire to the wooden shacks of all the Christians in the village, killing at least three, and making about 5,500 of them homeless. 

When local church leaders told Dijen that he would get one of the new homes, he could scarcely believe it.  “Every day when work was progressing I came to see. I prayed and waited … I saw a small light that is from Jesus Christ that I will get a place to live,” said Dijen.

After living in a wooden shack and then a makeshift tent for endless months, the sturdy brick house was a dream come true for Dijen. “Now I have a real place to live. Not only that, now we have a good toilet, school for the children and church nearby so we can worship.”  Brick buildings, on church-owned land, make the Christians far less vulnerable to attack in future.

Fifty homeless Santal families have recently moved into their brand-new houses. But thousands more still need to be re-housed.  If you would like to help build new homes, or donate towards some wells that will provide water, please go to:  https://barnabasfund.org/us/appeals/victims-of-violence-providing-a-home-will-you-help

 

Whose fault is it, anyway?

In a small town a businessman put in planning permission to build a nightclub complete with dancing girls.  The local church started a vigorous campaign to block it from opening.  The church launched a petition and held prayers in public.  Work progressed, however, right up until the week before opening.  Then one night a bolt of lightning strike hit the nightclub and it burned to the ground.

The church members were rather smug after that, until the nightclub owner sued them all -on the grounds that they were responsible for the fire. Loudly protesting their total non-involvement and innocence, the church members were all taken to court. 

As the case began, the judge looked over the paperwork and observed: ‘I don't know how I'm going to decide this.  It appears that we have a nightclub owner who believes in the power of prayer, and an entire church congregation that doesn't!’

 

Something definite

Are you in the right place? Are you doing the right thing?

God has created me to do him some definite service.  He has committed some work to me that he has not committed to another.  I have my mission.  John Henry Newman.

22 Setember 2018

Closer ties with the Metodist Church

The Methodist Conference has welcomed the Mission and Ministry in Covenant joint report by the Methodist Church and the Church of England. The report outlines proposals for bringing the Methodist Church and the Church of England into communion with each other.  

If accepted, the proposals would enable interchangeability between presbyteral ministries and see increased missional opportunities as the two churches work closer together to support the communities they serve.

The joint report has already been welcomed by the Church of England at its General Synod. The Methodist Conference asked for a further report to be brought to the 2019 Conference.

The story behind the HYMN:  Stand by me

We’ve recently mourned the death of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. So it is a good time to remember another African American song-writer, Charles Tindley. He not only used his gift to give voice to thousands of people struggling with pain and rejection, he also gave them good reason for hope – in God. 

Charles Albert Tindley knew all about hardship and suffering. He was born to a slave father in Maryland in 1851, ten years before the Civil War began.  Although his mother was free, she died when he was very young, and so he was raised by his aunt and father. They lived in poverty, and from early childhood he was hired out – ‘wherever my father could place me’. 

Yet Charles wanted more out of life.  As a teenager he taught himself to read, and managed to get to night-school. He had become a devout Christian and felt called to the ministry.  And so, after completing a seminary course by correspondence, he was ordained a Methodist pastor, and went to Philadelphia.  He did not go alone; when just 17 he had married a local girl, Daisy. They would share 56 years of marriage and produce eight children.

In Philadelphia, Charles and Daisy began a small church in a poor section of town.  He was quickly noticed – at 6 foot four inches, it was hard not to see him!  He was a born leader, and his little church soon began to grow…. from nothing to finally 10,000 people.  When he spoke, people could hear an authentic voice of painful experience, and yet always Christian hope as well.  Charles knew about poverty and believed Christians should help: his church offered food banks and clothing drives to the local community, as well as a soup kitchen from the church basement.  Charles often went out into the streets of his rough neighbourhood, visiting the bars to talk to desperate people about Jesus Christ.  

Like Aretha Franklin, Charles knew that most African-Americans felt trapped in hopeless situations, and that they were regarded as second class citizens.  So his music urged them to have hope in the love of God, and in His protection for them.  This hymn reflects that shining faith. 

Stand by me

1. When the storms of life are raging, stand by me;
when the storms of life are raging, stand by me.
When the world is tossing me, like a ship upon the sea,
Lord, who rules the wind and water, stand by me.

2. In the midst of tribulation, stand by me;
in the midst of tribulation, stand by me.
When the host of hell assail, and my strength begins to fail,
Lord, who never lost a battle, stand by me.

3. In the midst of faults and failures, stand by me;
in the midst of faults and failures, stand by me.
When I’ve done the best I can, and my friends misunderstand,
Lord, who knows all about me, stand by me.

4. In the midst of persecution, stand by me;
in the midst of persecution, stand by me.
When my foes in war array undertake to stop my way,
Lord, who saved Paul and Silas, stand by me.

5. When I’m growing old and feeble, stand by me;
when I’m growing old and feeble, stand by me.
When my life becomes a burden and I’m nearing chilly Jordan,
Lord, the Lily of the Valley, stand by me.

 

Say again? Three elderly church ministers, all hard of hearing, were playing golf one sunny spring morning.  The Methodist minister observed, ‘Windy, isn’t it?’  ‘No,’ the Baptist pastor said, ‘it’s Thursday.’  The Anglican vicar agreed: ‘So am I!  Let’s go and get a pint.’

20 September 2018

Give some ‘mustard seeds’ this Harvest

Did you know that half the population of this country is financially vulnerable? In fact, England has one of the lowest levels of financial capability in the developed world, according to the Just Finance Foundation. A good reason why the Mustard Seed Appeal has returned for another year.                           

The Mustard Seed Appeal was born out of the Archbishop’s vision for a fairer, more just and equitable financial system that works for all sectors of society. The Appeal, now in its third year was founded by the Archbishop, who made the very first gift to the appeal, which raises vital funds for the work of the Just Finance Foundation.                                                                                                                                       

The Archbishop shares how the Parable of the Mustard Seed relates to the vision of the Just Finance Foundation being a place of refuge and support for all who need it.                                                          

With five out of six people who are over-indebted not seeking the help they need, there is still much work to be done. So this autumn the Archbishop is inviting Christians across the country to send a gift to the appeal, and by doing so, help to build financial resilience back into our communities.

Visit: https://www.cuf.org.uk/mustard-seed-appeal

Deliver us... I had been teaching my three-year-old daughter the Lord's Prayer. Then one evening at bedtime she attempted it solo. I listened with pride as she carefully enunciated each word, right up to the end of the prayer. ‘Lead us not into temptation,’ she prayed, ‘but deliver us from e-mail. Amen.’

 

 

 

 

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