If you need help with bereavement, mental health, advice on services for the blind, the Coronavirus support group, caring for carers (Sandwell Crossroads), etc, please go to the additional notices below these Weekly Notices – they are immediately after the prayer.
Due to the increased numbers of positive Covid cases in the country, when visiting church could you please: 1) Bring a mask with you and wear it throughout the service. 2) On entering church, please use the hand gel before sitting down. 3) Finally, could you please respect social distance, leaving a row clear where possible. Let's all do what we can to keep everyone safe so that everyone can enjoy Christmas and the New Year. Thank you. If you, or anyone you have been in contact with, have displayed any symptoms then PLEASE DO NOT ATTEND CHURCH.
Weekly Notices (23rd-29th January)
Please pass on any relevant information from the notices this week to people you know who will find it of some use. There are hyperlinks to the relevant website pages and Facebook pages to help you find them.
If you need to contact Fr Mark to ask for prayers for loved ones who are ill or have died, please use the form on the Contact Us page of the website. The page has a telephone number too. The form will be submitted to Fr Mark's email inbox. Alternatively, use the Message link on Facebook so that I can add names to the prayer list on the website and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/StBartsWednesbury/).
Each week Fr Mark prepares a Spiritual Communion Service sheet for those who are not able attend services which you can find on the Services page.
SERVICES DURING THE WEEK
The services each Sunday are at 9 am and 10 am. If you cannot attend, please download the Spiritual Communion Service sheet on the Services page, using this link. THE WEEK AHEAD: If you cannot read the text in this image, please download the pdf file below it.
A community choir will be started in church from 7th February. Please see Suzie’s poster below for more details and contact information.
Did you know that you can post your unwanted goods to Shelter’s charity shops for free? They are asking us to have a clear out for a good cause. They accept any second-hand goods in excellent condition, but are especially in need of branded or designer clothes, shoes and accessories as well as jewellery. Their shops are a vital source of income in the fight against homelessness. By donating clothes, you can help protect the planet and raise funds to fight housing injustice.
You can use their ‘Sort and Send’ service in 3 steps:
Pack up your goods
Request a freepost label
Send off your parcel, then they will re-home your goods
We have been invited by our friends from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (Baitul Muqeet Mosque in Walsall) to a Coffee Morning to celebrate World Hijab Day. Please note this is a ladies only event. See the invitation below for more information. If you are interested in joining us, please contact Marg Wood or Wendy Bird so that we can arrange travel, where necessary.
The next craft and chat meeting is on Saturday 5th February, 2 pm to 4 pm, in the church hall next to the British Legion at the bottom of Church Hill. New members are very welcome. Just bring your own craft work and enjoy 2 hours of crafting and chatting. Just 50p to cover the cost of refreshments.
OPEN TABLE LUNCH: God willing, the next lunch will be on Saturday 12th February. We will keep you posted nearer the time. If you haven't confirmed your place, please contact Joyce Turner.
OPEN THE BOOK:
The team hope to visit Old Park Primary School on Friday 4th February and St John's CofE Primary Academy on Tuesday 8th February.
Please pray for our team - Margaret Wood, Linda Russell, Lynn and Mario Castillo, Claire Yardley and Wendy Bird and occasional guest appearances from Rob Yardley.
If you don’t know anything about Open the Book or you would like to become a volunteer Storyteller in the future, have a look at this link. There are a few videos on the page. (You might recognise some of the people in two of the films.) https://www.biblesociety.org.uk/get-involved/open-the-book/
What are you doing for Lent? For most of us, TV, caffeine and chocolate can be almost impossible to give up. If you’d rather not even try, a positive alternative is to join The Lent Encounter and take something up instead. For more information, use this link.
The Pitch film competition attracted around 150 entries from filmmakers drawing on Bible texts. Use this link to discover the winning entries - The Innkeeper (in the comedy category) and Stump (in the drama category) - which will receive funding to be produced.
The Big Church Read If you want to get a grip on the big story of the Bible and find out how it makes sense of our human story, join Andrew Ollerton as he presents The Bible: A Story That Makes Sense of Life weekly from Monday 24 January. Use this link to hear Andrew explain what it's about.
Why not consider hosting The Bible Course with family, friends or a small group, whether on Zoom or in the room, online or in person? The course provides a bird's-eye view of the whole of the Bible and shows how it all fits together to form one cohesive story. Over eight interactive sessions, it highlights key books, famous characters and amazing events. The course guide gives you everything you need to run the course including notes, quotes and questions. You can choose to buy the films as a DVD, digital download or via their new streaming platform – which is designed specifically for running the course on platforms like Zoom and Skype. The course is ideal for seasoned Bible readers or those who are brand new to the Bible. To read more about this and to watch a video by Dr Andrew Ollerton, author of ‘The Bible Course’, use this link.
Long Xinrong, a preacher in the mountainous regions of China’s Yunnan Province, used to walk 9 hours to preach the gospel but now travels by motorbike and reaches more people. To read his story, use this link.
Used stamps wanted: Did you know the Bible Society can raise money from used stamps? Please send your used stamps to Bible Society, Stamp Appeal, Post Room, Stonehill Green, Westlea, Swindon SN5 7DG.
The Bible Society is backing the Eternal Wall (you can read more using this link).
Read about people’s reasons to believe in the power of the Bible. Use this link.
Previous news items from the Bible Society that might still be of interest, can be found at the end of these notices (just prior to the prayer).
WHAT'S ON IN THE CHURCH HALL?
We have a number of activities going on now in the Church Hall, as you can see from the image above. For further details, please use the pdf file below.
To book a wedding or baptism, please use the form on the Contact Us page using this link. The message will go directly to Fr Mark's email inbox. There is a telephone number on that page too. You can find extra information about church weddings using this link and for baptisms use this link.
To book the church hall, please go to the Bookings page where you will find a form to complete to contact Linda Russell. You can use this link to go to that page.
Please contact Fr Mark if you wish to book for floodlighting the steeple. Use this link and complete the Contact Us form.
Any other queries, please go to the Facebook page and send a Message using the Message button. Wendy will advise you further.
The January newsletter is available to download from the Newsletter page, using this link. Thank you to Alison for compiling this. If you have missed previous news you will find some of the items on the newsletter as well as other items and a quiz. Please pass this information on to anybody you know who might find it useful.
RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS:
I have been asked by Sarah Huburn to share these links. Random Acts of Kindness is a page for the people of Wednesbury. They carry out random acts of kindness in the community and support local businesses (posting job opportunities). In addition, if you have an item (in good condition) that you would like to donate, you can do so through their page. They share information on local charities that need support as well as sharing information about missing pets or people. In fact, they do anything to benefit the community. Page link https://www.facebook.com/RAOKW/ Group link https://www.facebook.com/groups/989374091593957/?ref=share
The Food Bank is always in need of heavy duty carrier bags. Can you help, please? If you wish to donate any tinned/packet foods to help those who really need them, you can bring them to church or take them to the Food Bank in Wednesbury. Their opening times are Wednesday 10 am to 3 pm and Friday 1 pm to 7 pm. Joyce Turner is our contact if you require more information.
MARY JONES - A BIBLE FOR ALL:
When I saw this news, it took me back about 35 years when Joyce Turner, Linda Stockall, Lynn Yardley, Chris Simpson and I put on a dramatised musical about Mary Jones’ Bible, with the Sunday School children. It was superb and we were invited by Lichfield Cathedral to sing one of the songs at a Festival in the cathedral that year. It was a wonderful experience for the children (and adults!). What a pity that we did not have today’s technology; it would have been great to have video footage of the musical we did. The children were brilliant. Mary Jones (1898-1994) was so poor that she had to save for two years to buy a Bible of her own but now she is at the heart of a free exhibition at the Hengwrt Gallery at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth until 2nd April 2022. To read more about it, use this link. Mary Jones received her Bible from Thomas Charles of Bala. Her story is linked with the establishment of the Bible Society in 1804 and this exhibition offers a unique opportunity to see a number of items closely associated with Mary Jones, brought together for the first time ever.
SANDWELL'S NEIGHBOURHOOD PARTNERSHIPS:
ONLINE BULLYING AND ABUSE:
One of the negative impacts of the lock-downs and students spending so much time on their devices over the last 20 months or so, is that online and social media abuse has increased. If you are concerned about this, the NSPCC has some brilliant advice and resources, including how to report instances of online bullying and what to do to support your children. Please visit this site to find out more. https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-is-child-abuse/types-of-abuse/online-abuse/
FOR HAPPINESS CALENDAR – ‘Happier January’ Things have certainly not been easy over the last year, and we are still in difficult and uncertain times. The best way to try to handle our difficult emotions and experiences is by focusing on what we can control. This month, Action for Happiness are encouraging everyone to focus on small steps to try to boost happiness - for ourselves and others around us - to spread kindness and hopefully inspire others to do the same. If you can't see the text clearly on this image, please use this link to go to the calendar online.
Many of our congregation now give their regular offering using a standing order or bank transfer. (Please see the notice further down the page about this.) Alternatively, we now have a machine in church which you can use to pay your offering rather than handle cash. You can do this by using your normal bank debit card. However, if you don't use a card, it's still possible to put money on the plate when you enter or leave church if you prefer. With many banks having closed some of their branches (and this has happened in Wednesbury) more and more people are now using other methods of payment. It helps us, especially our Treasurer, to avoid contact with a lot of cash.
REGULAR GIVING - sorry, we hate to ask for money but ... All businesses have suffered financially since the start of the pandemic and we, as a church, are no exception. If you make your contribution electronically, thank you. It is very much appreciated. If you haven’t already done this, then please consider it as it helps us to ensure both our sustainability as a church and, importantly, to ensure its future also.
We might not be able to have large gatherings for worship and currently we have limited services but we still need to pay bills to maintain our beautiful church. Some of those bills are huge.
Therefore, please consider making your weekly or monthly contributions electronically. May we suggest 4 ways you can contribute to our finances: Set up a weekly or monthly standing order.* Do a weekly or monthly bank transfer.* Use the card machine in church. Set aside whatever sum you wish to give each week and bring to church services.
* If you choose to use Options (1) or (2) please send a private message through the Message facility on Facebook (www.facebook.com/StBartsWednesbury) and I will let you have the Bank details to enable you to set up a standing order or bank transfer. To enable our Treasurer to recognise regular giving, can you use the reference ‘Collection’ so that she can ensure money is accounted for correctly. If you would like to make a donation, then please use the reference 'Donation' as it will need to be accounted for differently. Thank you.
Previously reported news from the Bible Society that might be of interest to you:
Did you know that Rupert the Bear helps provide Scriptures to people around the world? Rupert’s helping hand, or paw, came about when writer and illustrator Alfred Bestall remembered the Bible Society in his will. Alfred produced the popular Rupert the Bear columns in the Daily Express for 30 years and if one of his illustrations appears at auction, a small portion of what is paid (Alfred’s royalties) goes to Bible work. You can find out more by clicking on this link.
Read about how the Bible has helped people. You can use this link. The Bible Society has a lot of stories from a wide range of people which are interesting and uplifting.
Here is a link to helpful background information when reading the Bible including tips, discussion questions etc. It is great for personal study as well as exploring the Bible as a group when you are able to. It will help you to bring the Bible to life, one book at a time.
We pray that you stay safe. The Lord bless us and watch over us; The Lord make his face to shine upon us and be gracious to us; The Lord look kindly upon us and give us peace. Amen
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION THAT MIGHT BE USEFUL TO YOU.
DO YOU NEED HELP OR SUPPORT? PLEASE CHECK OUT WHAT IS AVAILABLE IN THE ITEMS BELOW:
ARE YOU STRUGGLING WITH BEREAVEMENT?:A useful resource is available on the 'At a Loss' website. Use this link to find out more. It is a useful resource to direct grieving people who need support.
Don’t forget to look after yourself and reach out to friends and family who might need your support. Check out this blog using the link, which has 5 tips to support mental health. The "Parents' Toolkit" on BBC Bitesize has advice for parents. Use this link to have a look. Also, "BBC Own It" can help children manage their wellbeing online. Please use this link to check it out.
SERVICES FOR THOSE WHO ARE BLIND, PEOPLE WHO DO NOT USE THE INTERNET AND THOSE WHO ARE ANXIOUS:
Church of England’s Dial-in Worship Line: The Church of England launched a dial-in worship service at the end of April where you can access hymns, reflections and prayers. This is useful for anybody who doesn’t use a computer, is blind or for those who feel lonely and isolated. The telephone number is 0800 8048044 (don’t worry, this is a free number so it won’t cost you anything, no matter how long you are on the call). Please pass on this information to anybody you feel will find this useful. You can read about it on the website links, as follows:
BBC Radio 4 If you’re not already aware, Radio 4 is broadcasting each day a ‘Thought for the day’. So if you know somebody who does not have a computer or who is blind, please pass on this information. It’s a great way of connecting to faith. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00szxv6
CORONAVIRUS SUPPORT GROUP: There is a support group in Wednesbury to help those still self isolating or at high risk. They are local residents offering help such as walking dogs, running errands, phone calls, etc. You can contact them in 3 ways. Details are:
'Wednesbury Coronovirus Support Group' on Facebook - you can use this link to access it.
Call 07597 142161 or 07925 150323 between 9 am and 5 pm
THANK YOU - to Mario and Lynn Castillo for making this HOPE display for church. It's beautiful and is such a wonderful message to see as you enter church. The wording across the letters says: faith grace prayer truth forgiveness thankfulness generosity caring listening sharing harmony friendship kindness love peace.
MUSIC: Music can lift our spirits, especially when we are feeling low. If you have come across any uplifting or calming music please use the Messenger service to Contact the Administrator (m.me/StBartsWednesbury) in order that she can add it to this list for all to listen to. You can also send a message to her from our Facebook page using this link. In the meantime, the following music, which has been on this list since early 2020, is still very enjoyable to listen to.
Over 300 churches from Ireland recorded The Irish Blessing; singing a blessing over Ireland and beyond. Link
This link is from the Churches of Hawaii called The Hawaii Blessing. It was recorded during the first week of May this year by worship leaders from 25 churches across all 6 major islands of Hawaii. Link
The Tenors - How Great Thou Art (Official Video) Link
If you haven’t watched this YouTube video and heard people from 50 Covid affected countries singing ‘Amazing Grace’ (Abderval Vocal Group Avg), I recommend you click on this link and listen. Be prepared - it’s emotional but, also, uplifting. Link
Osinachi Joseph, known professionally as Sinach, is a Nigerian singer, songwriter and senior worship leader at Loveworld. In this video she is performing ‘I Worship You’. Link(Acknowledgement: Sinach, Way Maker.)
CHURCH BLOOPERS A friend emailed these to me and Fr Mark has given his blessing for me to post them on our website and Facebook page. These sentences appeared in church bulletins in some churches or were announced at church services – not ours! (Thankfully, Wendy and Alison don’t make these types of errors in the church posts and Newsletters). Enjoy.
The Fasting and Prayer Conference includes meals. -------------------------- Scouts are saving aluminium cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children. -------------------------- The sermon this morning:'Jesus Walks on the Water'.The sermon tonight: 'Searching for Jesus'. -------------------------- Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands. -------------------------- Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help. (This is Fr Mark’s favourite one!) -------------------------- Miss Charlene Mason sang “I will not pass this way again,” giving obvious pleasure to the congregation. -------------------------- For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs. -------------------------- Next Thursday there will be try outs for the choir. They need all the help they can get. -------------------------- Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days. -------------------------- A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow. -------------------------- At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be 'What Is Hell?' Come early and listen to our choir practising. -------------------------- Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones. -------------------------- Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered. -------------------------- The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility. -------------------------- Pot-luck supper Sunday at 5:00 pm - prayer and medication to follow. -------------------------- The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon. -------------------------- This evening at 7 pm, there will be hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin. -------------------------- The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday. -------------------------- Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet on Thursday at 7 pm. Please use the back door. -------------------------- The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement on Friday at 7 pm. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy. -------------------------- Weight Watchers will meet at 7 pm at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use the large double door at the side entrance. -------------------------- And this one just about sums them all up:
The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new campaign slogan last Sunday: 'I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours.'