19th January 2020 "What makes you happy or unhappy is not the world and the people around you, but the thinking in your head.” (Anthony de Mello) Previous quotes of the week can be found lower down this page. __________________________
NOTICES FOR THIS WEEK: (19th January 2020)
ALL AGE SERVICE: Our first All Age Service for this year is on Sunday 2nd February at 10.30 am and every first month thereafter. The Open the Book team will perform a dramatised story during the service.
CRAFT CLUB: Reminder - the first meeting for this year is on Saturday 1st February, 2 pm to 4 pm. The Craft Club meets in the church hall on the first Saturday each month (see dates for this year at the bottom of the notices). Bring along whatever you’re working on and enjoy a couple of hours of ‘craft and chat’ with a drink and cake - all for only 50p. You will be very welcome. Craft fayre dates have not yet been decided.
THANK YOU: Thank you from Linda Stockall to those of you who helped count the money from the Children’s Society boxes. The total raised for the Children’s Society so far is £479 but there are a few boxes outstanding. So, if you still have a box, can you return it to Linda as soon as possible, please?
CHURCH CLEANING: A reminder that the ‘cleaning crew’ are needed to help clean the church on Saturday 1st February.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED PLEASE: Could any of you volunteer to go on the coffee rota for Sunday mornings, please? The more people who offer to do this the fewer times you will be needed to make drinks after the service. Please let Father Mark know or respond to this message and I will let Sue know. Thank you.
Craft Club dates for this year:
PREVIOUS NEWS can be found below (or on the Events page): On Christmas morning our Nativity scene welcomed baby Jesus. We now await the arrival of the wise men. We wish you all a very happy and joyous Christmas. Our next services will be at the usual times on Sunday 29th December.
Glenys Foley (Treasurer here at St Bart’s) received a lovely message and a few photos from David Solomonraj and family who live in Coimbatore, India. The family visited our church last year just before Christmas and they hope to visit us again next time they are in England. Thank you for these photos (below). The last photo was taken when the family visited St Paul's Cathedral in London. We hope David and his family had a very happy Christmas.
At the start of Advent, we placed a tree in church on which people could place stars to remember loved ones they no longer see:
Read the poem on the left. Then re-read it but start on the bottom line and read up to the first line.
Jesus is the only reason for Christmas:
CRIB 'n' CHRISTINGLE SERVICE Thank you to all of you who came to our service this afternoon. It was lovely to see some familiar faces and to welcome new visitors to our church. It was a lovely child-friendly service. Father Mark started the service by getting the children to search around the church for some figurines that had escaped earlier from the Nativity scene. Well done to those who found them and helped Father Mark to place them in the stable ready for the birth of Jesus in the morning. After singing ‘Away in a Manger’ Linda read from Luke’s gospel and this was followed by the carol ‘See Him lying on a bed of straw’. Wendy did a short talk about the Christingle and got the children to help explain the meaning of each part. Then, assisted by her trusty helpers, Linda and Faith, they did a demonstration of how to hold the Christingle as we are, of course, mindful of ‘health and safety’ - cocktail sticks and lit candles plus children is always asking for danger to follow. 😀🤣 Christingles were lit before the carol ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ and then blown out afterwards. The service was followed by refreshments. THANK YOU: to Linda and Amy for preparing the Christingles; to Father Mark, Mario and Alice for leading us in worship; to Joyce, Linda, Linda, Lynn, Wendy, Alison and Karen for helping with refreshments, etc. We wish you all a merry Christmas. “May Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, shine upon you and all those you love this Christmastime and always. And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be among you and remain with you evermore. Amen”
CAROL SERVICE 15th DECEMBER 2019:
The Carol Service of 9 carols and readings was on the third Advent Sunday and it was lovely. Thank you to everybody who attended; we hope you enjoyed it. The church floodlights were lit prior to the service to welcome everybody. The hymns sung by the congregation were: Once in Royal David's City; O Little Town of Bethlehem; While Shepherds Watched; See him Lying; We Three Kings of Orient Are; Silent Night; O Come, All Ye Faithful, The First Nowell and Hark the Herald Angels Sing. The readings during the service were: The prophecy of the Messiah's birth; The Annunciation to Mary; The birth of Jesus; The shepherds go to the manger; Wise men are led by the star to Jesus; The Incarnation of the Word of God; A Christmas Carol; Jesus Visits and ended with a poem called 'The boy who laughed at Santa' by Ogden Nash. After the third hymn and reading Mario Castillo sang beautifully the lovely hymn 'O Holy Night' accompanied by Paul Jones on the organ. On Friday 20th December St John's C of E Primary Academy had their Christmas service in church. The children sang beautifully and some of the children read short passages from the Bible to tell the Christmas story. Towards the end of the service the children stuck prayer stars on 2 card trees they had painted. It was a wonderful service. (The lantern hanging on the pulpit was made by Mario Castillo. It looked beautiful.)
The aim of the services during Advent and on Christmas Day is to enable all ages to engage with some of the surprising things that happened when God entered the world at Bethlehem. It is, of course, Christ’s nativity that has provided the occasion for this festival of the incarnation, since the end of the third century. The Christmas crib can be said to descend from the tableau of Christ’s birth that Francis of Assisi arranged when he celebrated Christmas at Greccio in 1223. Christmas carols are a medieval tradition, which has been notably developed from the end of the nineteenth century. “Almighty God, you have given us your only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him and as at this time to be born of a pure virgin: grant that we, who have been born again and made your children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen” “God our Father, whose Word has come among us in the Holy Child of Bethlehem: may the light of faith enlighten our hearts and shine in our words and deeds; through him who is Christ the Lord. Amen” The tradition of a midnight vigil on the eve of Christmas began in the East and was observed in the late fourth century in Jerusalem by a Christian woman named Egeria on the night of 5th January. The tradition reached the Western world in the year 430 under Pope Sixtus III in the Basilica of St Mary Major. By the twelfth century, the practice of midnight Mass had become more widespread as all priests had been granted the faculty of celebrating three Masses on Christmas Day (previously reserved to the Pope) and this provided the three different propers (the part of a church service that varies with the season or feast) that were celebrated at their appropriate times of midnight, dawn and day “Eternal God, who made this most holy night to shine with the brightness of your one true light: bring us, who have known the revelation of that light on earth, to see the radiance of your heavenly glory; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen” “God our Father, in this night you have made known to us again the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: confirm our faith and fix our eyes on him until the day dawns and Christ the Morning Star rises in our hearts. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen”
During our service on 14th July we sang that wonderful hymn ‘Amazing Grace’ written by John Newton. The words were written in 1772 by the English poet and Anglican clergyman John Newton and it was published in 1779. Newton wrote the words from his personal experience; from a slave trader to a clergyman. John Newton lived from 1725 to 1807. His father was a Merchant Sea Captain and his mother died when he was just 7. After only 2 years of schooling he was sent to sea at the age of eleven; his early life by his own accounts was rebellious and immoral. It was Newton’s choice of words to describe himself as ‘a wretch’, a word implying a ‘conscienceless person’, that gives us some indication of his past. During his youth he was flogged for desertion from the Royal Navy and at the age of just 22 he was given command of his own ship; a ship involved in the slave trade. It was 3 years later during a violent storm that his life undertook a new direction. It was during this storm that Newton was terrified manning the pumps for 9 hours in an effort to keep his ship afloat. It was then he found himself crying out to God for protection. Once the storm had abated and from safety and distance he was convinced that the beginning of his conversion had happened on that deck amidst the storm and John Newton wrote these words: “On that day the Lord sent from on high and delivered me from deep waters.” - a line from the second verse of Amazing Grace and he recalls being “The hour I first believed.” Newton then went on to forsake the slave trade and his seafaring life. After training for 9 years he entered the Anglican Ministry in 1764. The opening words of ‘Amazing Grace’ express Newton’s belief that his prayers were indeed answered when he cried out that day amid the tempest. The lines “I once was lost, but now am found” are probably best thought of as a beautiful way in which Newton expresses both his saving and his coming to faith. This line may, for some, conjure up imagery similar to that discussed in the earlier work on Psalm 23, of a lost sheep being returned to the protection of the flock by the caring, loving shepherd. Just like Newton we are all, in a way, journeying and although our journey is upon the seas of life, we may not owe our own conversion to such tempestuous seas. We may rest assured, however, that should we ever find ourselves in need of help then, like Newton himself found, we shall be brought out of distress and the “waves of the seas shall be hushed”. 1. Amazing grace how sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me I once was lost, but now I'm found Was blind, but now I see. 2. 'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear And grace my fears relieved How precious did that grace appear The hour I first believed. 3. The Lord has promised good to me His word my hope secures He will my shield and portion be As long as life endures. 4. The earth shall soon dissolve like snow The sun forbear to shine But God who called me here below Will be forever mine, will be forever mine You are forever mine.
It is with great pleasure we can share news that Leanne Carr became The Revd Leanne Carr on Saturday 29th June at Birmingham Cathedral. We offer Leanne our congratulations on being ordained Deacon and will, hopefully, will be ordained Priest in 2020. Her church is Holy Trinity in Sutton Coldfield. You can see the official photograph on the Cathedral’s website and Twitter. Meanwhile, attached are family photos: the first one shows Leanne with (from left to right) stepmom Liz, dad Derek and mum Jill and the second photo is of Leanne with her sisters (from left to right) Sarah and Melissa. Leanne and her sisters used to sing in our choir and her dad was the choirmaster and organist until he moved to Teignmouth. Mum Jill still attends St Bartholomew’s.
The Hiding Place On the evening of Sunday 30th June, Joyce Turner, Lynn and Mario Castillo and Wendy Bird attended Pelsall Evangelical Church to see a theatre production entitled ‘The Hiding Place’ by the Oddments Theatre Company. This was a true story about a Dutch lady called Cornelia “Corrie” ten Boom and her family’s struggle to save the Jews from the Nazis and how their faith became light in the darkest places. Corrie was a Dutch watchmaker and later a writer who worked with her father, Casper ten Boom, her sister Betsie ten Boom, and other family members to help many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II by hiding them in her home. The invasion of Holland by Nazi Germany on 10th May 1940 began a devastating chain of events that wove them intrinsically into the history of the Second World War. On 15th May 1940, one day after the bombing of Rotterdam, the Dutch surrendered and the royal family escaped to London. The Resistance in the Netherlands took the form of small, decentralised and independent activities famous for its non-violence, hiding and sheltering of those persecuted by the Nazi regime. Over 300,000 men, women and children were protected by landlords and carers. Corrie and her sister Betsie were remanded in the notorious Ravensbrück concentration camp, near Berlin. Of some 130,000 female prisoners only 15,000 survived until liberation. (Betsie died there from illness on 16th December 1944.). After the war, Corrie returned to Holland and set up a rehabilitation centre in Bloemendaal housing both concentration camp survivors and Dutchmen who had worked with the Germans during the war and who were left unemployed and destitute. It was an excellent production. ---------- PREVIOUS QUOTES OF THE WEEK: 12th January 2020 "Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties." (Helen Keller) 5th January 2020 "The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year, but rather that we should have a new soul." (G K Chesterton) 29th December 2019 Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection. (Winston Churchill) 29th December 2019 Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection. (Winston Churchill) 22nd December 2019 Politicians compete for the highest offices. Business tycoons scramble for a bigger and bigger piece of the pie. Armies march, scientists study, philosophers philosophise, preachers preach and labourers sweat. But in that silent baby, lying in that humble manger, there pulses more potential power, wisdom, grace and aliveness than all the rest of us can imagine. (Brian D McLaren) 15th December 2019 The quote for this week is lovely. During this time of year we are all a lot busier than normal what with present buying, card writing, parties, etc, but often we are too wrapped up in the commercial side of Christmas. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if more people could behave in this way? “At this Christmas when Christ comes, will He find a warm heart? Mark the season of Advent by loving and serving others with God's own love and concern.” (Mother Teresa) 8th December 2019 “When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.” (C S Lewis) 1st December 2019 “Words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness.” (Mother Teresa) 24th November 2019 “We are not at peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves, and we are not at peace with ourselves because we are not at peace with God.” (Thomas Merton) 17th November 2019 “What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What will I do for Christ?” (Saint Ignatius of Loyola) 10th November 2019 "If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” (Saint Teresa of Calcutta) 3rd November 2019 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans for you to prosper, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) 27th October 2019 "Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." (Saint Francis of Assisi) 20th October 2019 In the twilight of life, God will not judge us on our earthly possessions and human success, but rather on how much we have loved." (Saint John of the Cross) 13th October 2019 The measure of a life, after all, is not its duration but its donation. (Corrie Ten Boom) 6th October 2019 The highest and most sublime achievement in this life is to remain still and let God act and speak in you. (Meister Eckhart) 29th September 2019 “We should seek not so much to pray … but to become prayer.” (St Francis of Assisi) 22nd September 2019 “Remember that nothing is small in the eyes of God. Do all that you do with love." (Saint Therese of Lisieux) 15th September 2019 Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows; it empties today of its strength. (Corrie Ten Boom) 8th September 2019 All should each try to be the first to show respect to the other, supporting with the greatest patience one another’s weaknesses or behaviour. No-one is to pursue what they judge best for themselves, but instead, what they judge best for everyone else. ... Let us prefer nothing whatever to Christ. (Rule of Saint Benedict: Chapter 72) 1st September 2019 If it is peace you want, seek to change yourself, not other people. It is easier to protect your feet with slippers than to carpet the whole of the earth. (Anthony de Mello) 25th August 2019 Be calm, infinitely calm, both in soul and in body. Do not attempt too much, but what you do, do well and gently. Quality first, but good quality. (A Carthusian) 18th August 2019 To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing. (Martin Luther) 11th August 2019 To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. (C S Lewis) 4th August 2019 God will either give us what we ask or what He knows to be better for us. (Saint Bernard of Clairvaux) 28th July 2019 First keep peace with yourself, then you can also bring peace to others. (Thomas a Kempis) 21st July 2019 Our challenge as Christians is not to try to convert people around us to our way of belief but to love them, to be ourselves living incarnations of what we believe, to live what we believe and to love what we believe. (John Main OSB) 14th July 2019 “Let nothing disturb you, nothing frighten you, all things are passing, God is unchanging. Patience gains all; nothing is lacking to those who have God, God alone is sufficient.” (St. Teresa of Avila) 7th July 2019 The three most important virtues are humility, humility and humility. (Saint Bernard of Clairvaux) 30th June 2019 Whenever you begin any good work you should first of all make a most pressing appeal to Christ our Lord to bring it to perfection. (Saint Benedict) 23rd June 2019 A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows. (Saint Francis of Assisi) 16th June 2019 All sorts of people are fond of repeating the Christian statement that “God is love”. But they seem not to notice that the words ‘God is love’ have no real meaning unless God contains at least two persons. Love is something that one person has for another person. If God was a single person, then before the world was made, God was not love. (C S Lewis) 9th June 2019 God has no need for our worship. It is we who need to show our gratitude for what we have received. (Saint Thomas Aquinas) 2nd June 2019 Remember that you are never alone; Christ is with you on your journey every day of your lives! He has called you and chosen you to live in the freedom of the children of God. Turn to him in prayer and in love. Ask him to grant you the courage and strength to live in this freedom always. Walk with him who is ‘the Way, the Truth and the Life!’ (Pope John Paul II) 26th May 2019 There are those who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge; that is curiosity. There are those who seek knowledge to be known by others; that is vanity. There are those who seek knowledge in order to serve; that is Love. (Saint Bernard of Clairvaux) 19th May 2019 All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well. (Julian of Norwich) 12th May 2019 Pray as if God will take care of all; act as if all is up to you. (Saint Ignatius of Loyola) 5th May 2019 Peace-making is a full-time vocation that includes each member of God’s people. (Henri Nouwen) 28th April 2019 Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. (Helen Keller) 14th April 2019 Have patience with all things - but first with yourself. Never confuse your mistakes with your value as a human being. You are a perfectly valuable, creative, worthwhile person simply because you exist. And no amount of triumphs or tribulations can ever change that. (Saint Francis de Sales)