If you need help with bereavement, mental health, advice on services for the blind, the Coronavirus support group, caring for carers (Sandwell Crossroads) and Action for Children, etc, please go to the additional notices below these Weekly Notices – they are immediately after the prayer.
Weekly Notices (25th-31st July)
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.
Fr Mark will continue to pray for all those people on the Weekly Prayer list - those who are ill or have died. See the Prayer page for all of the names currently on the list. There is, also, a Church of England Prayer Book on the Services page of the website too (you can use this link).
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. Alternatively, use the Message link on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/StBartsWednesbury/) - the messages come directly to me and I will pass on the information to Fr Mark.
Each week Fr Mark prepares a Spiritual Communion Service sheet which you can find on the Services page.
It's possible that service times may change and extra services may be offered now that the government has lifted restrictions. I will post details of those as soon as Fr Mark passes that information on to me. Until then, from Sunday 1st August there will continue to be short services at 9 am or 10 am each Sunday.If you have not recently attended, please contact Fr Mark to advise him if you wish to attend as numbers are still limited at the moment.Go to the Contact Us page using this link and either telephone him or complete the form which goes to his email box. For the time being, we will continue to follow Covid rules to ensure the safety of everybody - hands, face, space. See Fr Mark's message below.
MESSAGE FROM FR MARK:
Despite recent announcements and the lifting of nearly all Covid-19 restrictions, I still feel it prudent, however, for a while longer to maintain our Covid-safe practices. In a recent communication from Bishop Michael, the Bishop of Lichfield, he wrote: "Although most legal restrictions have now been lifted, churches can still recommend, request and encourage safety measures where appropriate, to keep themselves and others safe, and to help people feel more secure."
In regard to celebration of Holy Communion, the Church of England guidance makes clear that it is still possible for ministers not to offer the common cup at this stage of the pandemic’s existence. Where the cup continues to be withheld from general circulation, it is possible to administer the sacrament to people under the form of bread alone.
Therefore, I hope that you join me in agreement that our precautionary practices should continue for a while until we are all absolutely comfortable and our safety, along with the safety of our loved ones, is assured. This will continue to have an impact upon certain elements of our worship, of course, but the important thing is that we are able to gather and give thanks to God, to pray collectively for each other and for the life of the church and to receive our Lord in the sacrament.
On Wednesday morning, 28th July, some ladies from our church are pleased to be able to welcome Khansa and a few other ladies from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women's Association (with whom we have formed a good relationship) to the church hall for a chat. This will be the first meeting since before the lockdown in March 2020. Light refreshments will be served. Please note, this is a ladies only meeting.
PLEASE KEEP THE PEOPLE OF SOUTH AFRICA IN YOUR PRAYERS:
Security forces in South Africa are struggling to contain spreading unrest and many people have died. There is division in race, economics, gender and equality. Looting is rife and fires have been started. South Africa’s high joblessness and post-apartheid economic divisions provide a tinderbox for violence, made worse by the pandemic - pushing many even further below the poverty line. An already slow pace of vaccinations has ground to a halt as medical centres have been forced to shut their doors. People are struggling for basics, food, medication, etc. Prayer for South Africa: Lord we offer our prayer of peace and restoration. We put our trust in you; you have the power to heal the land and its people. Teach us all the way to peace. When we see people treated poorly because of skin colour, language or religious belief, teach us to be an example of love and acceptance. When we see war and conflict, teach us how to make a difference and seek peace. When we see pain, teach us to bring healing. When we feel confused and afraid, remind us to talk to people and to you. In our lives, our neighbourhoods and the world, teach us to pray in the way of peace. We pray today for the people of South Africa during the troubles they are currently experiencing and, in particular, for the family of Paul Hardman*. Please watch over them and keep them safe. Amen. (* Paul is a friend of Linda Russell's family. He lives in this country but his family are in South Africa in the middle of the troubles there.)
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, also, in avoiding contact with a lot of cash.
RECENT NEWS FROM THE BIBLE SOCIETY:
The Bible Society asks if you have been touched by the life-restoring message of Psalm 23. Sarah Eberle, designer of the Bible Society-sponsored Psalm 23 garden, is excited for the first-ever autumn Chelsea. To read more about this and to see the lovely image of the garden, please use this link. You can bring Psalm 23 to your community in exactly the same way as Sarah. Knowing what a difference you could make, the Bible Society wants to support you in creating a garden or hosting a banquet, whether it’s a church or school project or something for friends and neighbours. You can read more about creating a Psalm 23 garden using this link. Alternatively, you can 'Host a Psalm 23 banquet' - for more information use this link. There is an amazing variety of free resources to help you plan and promote your banquet - just complete the form using the link and you will be sent resources. You can read about how people's lives have been changed by Psalm 23 and by gardening. Use this link to read their stories. The Bible Society would like to know how your garden grows.
If you are you looking for something to bring the family together around the Scriptures, the new 'Good News Bible – Family Edition' is a brilliant way to keep every member of the family engaged. You’ll find over 400 different interactions suitable for all ages. Supporting features include links to videos, an online fellowship of Family Bible users and much more. To pre-order your copy, use the link.
Bikes for Bibles If you’ve got a bike and you’re passionate about Bible mission, why not go that extra mile by joining the Bike for Bibles sponsored ride? You can do 50, 100 or 300 miles during September wherever you like and in a timeframe that suits you. You’ll be providing Bibles to people around the world alongside other mission-minded cyclists – some of whom haven’t been able to wait until September. Read what Paul and Zac told the Bible Society (by following this link) when they completed a 16-hour ride over the Pennines in wet and windy conditions. "God guided us and provided what we needed when we needed it," said Paul. "I think we have agreed to hang up our bikes for a little while after that!" The aim is for each adult cyclist to raise £250, which could fund a Bible translator for eight days or provide 15 refugee families with a Bible aid pack. You don’t have to tire yourself out like Paul and Zac. If you don’t fancy a 300-mile ride by yourself go with a group of friends or even include your children and spread out the mileage over the month. Follow this link to join Bikes for Bibles.
Prayers in the Pandemic People from Cornwall to Texas to Senegal have shared prayers on the Pandemic Prayer Tree on The Bible Society website. Church leaders, including the Archbishop of Canterbury and His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos (President of Bible Society), have prayed alongside supporters of Bible mission. You can join them. The Pandemic Prayer Tree is a place to come together and share the burdens we’ve all been carrying.Take this opportunity to pray for someone you know who has had a particularly tough time (you don’t need to name them). Later in the year they will gather the prayers into a book, which they hope we will share with people in our church or families. Use this link to add a prayer.
Bible Trek The latest trek is to The Dead Sea region, which is the lowest point on earth. Visit the En Gedi caves where David hid from Saul and the Qumran caves where the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered.Use this link to take you to the page to view the videos so far.
The Seriously Surprising Story You can watch an animation of the story, using this link. It’s a brilliant way to communicate the story of Jesus with children this summer. Along with a great story booklet, you’ll find an animation and further activities free to download. You can buy a copy of the book for your own child or grandchild.
Previous news items from the Bible Society can be found at the end of these notices (just prior to the prayer).
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 an email link to contact Linda Russell. You can use this link to go to that page.
We are not currently taking bookings for floodlighting the steeple. We are sorry but, unfortunately, work needs to be done first. As soon as it is possible to light the steeple again, we will let you know - check on the Bookings page from time to time.
Any other queries, please go to the Facebook page and send a Message using the Message button. Wendy will advise you further.
MESSAGE FROM LYNN CASTILLO (Deanery Synod Representative) Please pray for churches in the Wednesbury Deanery over the next few months, especially as they embark on 'Shaping for Mission'. Refer to the images for details of which church to pray for each day and in which week. (You may need to click on the images to see full details.)
Fancy a picnic? On Monday 9th August at 11 am, Random Acts of Kindness are planning some fun and a picnic (weather permitting) and following Covid rules. Take your own blankets or seatings as well as food and drinks and join in the fun. Follow this link for more information on their Facebook page.
For all parents of newborns up to 3+, we're pleased to tell you that Baby College will be starting in September in our church hall. If you can't see the contact details clearly on the image below, a pdf version of the poster is downloadable using the file below the image.
1) The team are looking forward to the new school year in September. It's been a long time coming but our Open the Book team is optimistic we might be able to go into a couple of primary schools from September onwards. Marg has outlined a plan for the year at St John's CofE and the team will meet in August to start planning. We have to hope that the virus will not scupper those plans. Thank you to Marg for keeping in contact with our primary schools during the pandemic. Please pray for our team(Margaret Wood, Linda Russell, Lynn and Mario Castillo, Claire Yardley, Amanda Horton and Wendy Bird and occasional guest appearances from Rob Yardley). 2) Open the Book and Pray for Schools are coming together to hold a prayer event on Zoom for Open the Book schools on Tuesday 20th July, 1.45 pm–2.30 pm. The event will be led by Jane Newey (Pray for Schools) and Julie Jefferies (Open the Book Partnership Ambassador). This will be an opportunity for quiet reflection and guided prayer. At the end of the prayer time together there will be the option to join breakout prayer rooms, if you want to do that and have the time to stay on. If you would like to join them (it’s a free event) you can book using this link. You can add prayer requests to the Open the Book Prayer Tree using this link and they will use your prayer requests. Use this link to add your prayer.
3) Other news regarding Open the Book:
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/
If you are interested in joining the team please see the Facebook link below.
The July edition of the newsletter is available to download - use this link to go to the Newsletters and Bulletins page where you can find previous issues of the newsletters also. Thank you to Alison for compiling the newsletters for us each month. If you have missed previous notices on here or on Facebook, some of those are included in the newsletters, as well as other news and a quiz. So, if you're looking for something and it is not on these Weekly Notices, you may find it on the current and past newsletters.
ACTION FOR HAPPINESS CALENDAR – 'JUMP BACK UP JULY': July's theme is all about resilience and understanding how we can build skills that will help us to bounce back. We can't always predict or control what life throws at us but we can build a range of skills and nurture our resources to help us respond flexibly, effectively deal with challenges, recover more quickly and even learn and grow as a result. If you can't see the image below clearly, then go to their website page (using this link) to view it. There is information about downloading the App, also. If you want to see past versions of the calendars please use this link.
If you have missed previous posts from the Craft Club, please look on their page. This is the link.
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 3 ways you can contribute to our finances: Set up a weekly or monthly standing order.* Do a weekly or monthly bank transfer.* 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. Or, complete the form on the Contact Us page using this link, which will go to Fr Mark's email box. 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.
BIBLE SOCIETY NEWS - 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.
Would you like top tips for exploring the Bible together as a family? Would you value being part of a supportive community where you can share the joys and challenges of family life together? Do you want to have a voice in shaping our future resources? If so, use this link to find out more and register your interest.
A recent survey carried out by Christian Research suggests that reading the Bible has been making a big difference to how Christians feel during the pandemic. The increased sense of hope in God and for the future during the crisis that many respondents described perhaps may not come as a surprise to you.
The Bible Society's Open the Book team wanted to support homeschoolers throughout lockdown by creating fun and interactive RE resources for families to use at home. They are suitable for children aged 5–11 and free to download. You can use this link to have a look. Focusing on the parables of Jesus and how he used them to teach people about God and about themselves, there are activities, conversation starters, games, puzzles and ideas for going deeper into each of the parables.
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.
There are Daily Reflections on their website that follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters. Check it out using this link.
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.
Andrew Ollerton's new book ‘The Bible: A Story That Makes Sense of Life’ priced £14.99 can easily be read as a daily devotional. The six parts are broken down into seven bite-sized chapters, each with a Bible reading and reflection question. In 6 weeks, you will have a greater understanding of the Bible and how your story fits into God's big story. Here is the link to more information.
The Bible Society would appreciate your prayers for Open the Book, their incredible project to share Bible stories in primary schools across England and Wales.
During the pandemic we’ve seen a huge rise in the number of online/livestream services taking place on Sundays. It’s been truly inspiring to see the innovative ways church communities have continued their ministries in difficult circumstances. The Bible Society has put put together a collection of free and shareable video resources for churches based around key biblical themes, including powerful spoken word pieces and original songs to help you reflect. Use this link to access them.
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.
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
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 BECAUSE OF ISOLATION:
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 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
REMINDER (MESSAGE FROM KATIE SHINTON, COMMUNITY NAVIGATOR FOR SANDWELL CROSSROADS): Sandwell Crossroads help and support residents in Sandwell aged 18 and over. They help with a range of issues such as welfare; financial; trouble accessing food; COVID test & trace payments; fuel costs, etc. They can help someone who feels lonely because of isolation due to COVID and can put them in touch with different networks. Below are pdf documents - a summary about their work, a leaflet to promote their services and a referral form if you know of somebody who might need their help. (You can apply for yourself or on behalf of somebody.)
For more information please see their website. Or you can telephone 07801568729 https://www.sandwellcrossroads.org Please share the above information to reach more people in need of these services.
ACTION FOR CHILDREN:
The recent edition of Sandwell's Action for Children May Newsletter is below for you to download. If you know or live by families with children, please pass this on to them either by directing them to the Weekly Notices page of our website or by emailing the file to them. There is a lot of information about groups, classes, support and guidance, etc.
This photo was taken several weeks ago. A beautiful rainbow, appearing to have landed on the church (it hasn't, of course). How wonderful. (Thank you to Dave Calloway for allowing me to use this photo. It's fabulous.)
During the pandemic the rainbow has been and still is a symbol of hope and it seems appropriate that it appears to be ending at the church. Hope is - faith grace prayer truth forgiveness thankfulness generosity caring listening sharing harmony friendship kindness love peace.
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.
THANK YOU: Thank you to Random Acts of Kindness Wednesbury for placing a message with several knitted/crocheted flowers. It was lovely to see. It is now on the porch gate so that people will notice it as they enter church.
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.'
OTHER PREVIOUS NEWS can be found below (or on the Events page):
INTERFAITH EVENT - "Women as nation builders":
Marg, Lynn and I attended, via Zoom, the above event on Saturday 20th March. It was hosted by the Walsall branch of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women's Association (with whom we have formed a good relationship). The meeting started with a recitation of the Holy Quran and that was then spoken in English. This was followed by a welcome and introduction to the event before the interesting talks from speakers of different faiths (Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Hindu and Islam). The meeting ended with a Q & A session which was interesting. It was evident that there is much commonality across the faiths, particularly in relation to the topic of 'Women as Nation Builders'. It was inspiring hearing about what other groups do in their communities and I sent a message to Khansa, via the Chat facility on Zoom, to tell her that Fr Mark had asked us early on in the first lockdown to try and make contact with at least one person so that people did not feel alone. I mentioned that some of us keep in contact by telephone, WhatsApp and Messenger groups, email, weekly notices on this website and the monthly newsletter. This was read out at the end. We all enjoyed the event but we did miss the mehndi and delicious food that we have become accustomed to receiving at previous meetings at the Baitul Muqeet Mosque in Walsall. Wendy
CHRISTINGLE This is the first time for a very long time when we have not been able to have a Christingle Service at St Bartholomew’s Church. The first online Christingle Service was held on Sunday 13th December in partnership with the Church of England. If, like me, you were not able to attend ‘live’ on that day you can still follow it on this YouTube link. It is a lovely service (47.18 minutes in length) and a number of clergy were involved (details below). HRH The Duchess of Gloucester (Royal President of The Children’s Society) addressed us and Mark Russell (Chief Executive for The Children’s Society) gave a talk on the work of the Society. It was lovely to see some school children read passages from the Bible, say prayers and sing. The people involved were:
Rt Rev Libby Lane, Bishop of Derby (Vice Chair of the Trustees of The Children’s Society)
The Most Rev Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury (President of The Children’s Society)
Rev Phil Greig, Priest-in-Charge, All Saints Church, Canterbury
The Rt Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Bishop of Dover
The Rt Rev Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester (Vice President of The Children’s Society)
Pupils from St John’s C of E Primary School, Canterbury
Pupils from Bluecoat C of E Primary School, Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire
During the service there was a solo performance of ‘Light of the World’ (sung by Joanna Forest and accompanied by Joel Goodman)
A HUGE THANK YOU TO THE AHMADIYYA MUSLIM ASSOCIATION The Ahmadiyya Muslim Association in Walsall is currently offering nationwide help to the elderly and needy within the community and outside. Khansa Razzaq asked her members to make food/toiletries donations for the vunerable. She contacted Wendy and Marg from our church and said they were donating food to local food banks and were also offering help in neighbourhoods. She wanted to know if we needed any sort of help and support from them and they would try their best to help. I suggested our local food bank would be very grateful for any provisions they could offer especially as stocks of some items were very low. Only a few hours later Khansa and some other ladies went to the food bank with 2 car loads of items. Joyce, one of the food bank volunteers and a member of our congregation, was ecstatic with the donations and said that there must be about 75-80 kg! That's so wonderful, isn't it? And this has come about through the friendship between the ladies of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association and our ladies at church. It is even more wonderful how people of faith are working together and how love transcends so many obstacles that we often put in place. It truly is, 'love thy neighbour’, isn't it? Thank you SO much ladies.
International Women’s Day 2020
On Thursday 12th March Sue, Marg and Wendy attended the International Women’s Day event at the Bethel Lighthouse Centre in Walsall after being invited by Khansa Razzaq (from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women’s Association, Baitul Muqeet Mosque). The event was hosted by Black Country Near Neighbours, WSBC and Baitul Muqeet. We heard talks from some inspirational women who shared their stories of empowerment; women such as Khansa Razzaq; Shaz; Ritu Sharma; Maureen Lewis (CEO) and Sharron Thompson from Walsall Black Sisters Collective; and Rina Kundu. Khansa shared with us the Islamic perspective of the status of women in Islam and, as usual, her talk was very interesting. She finished with a moving quote - “They tried to bury me; they didn’t know I was a seed.” Shaz, the Black Country Near Neighbours Coordinator at Transforming Communities Together (NCT) said that every one of us is contributing in our own way and planting seeds for future generations. During her talk she shared a quote from the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, in 473 (thanks to her colleague Gurj Singh Shergill), as follows: “From woman, man is born; within woman, man is conceived; to a woman he is engaged and married. Woman becomes his friend; through woman, the future generations come. When his woman passes away, he seeks another woman. To a women a man is bound. So, why call her bad? From her, kings are born. From a woman, woman is born; without woman there would be no-one at all.” (https://www.facebook.com/blackcountrynearneighbours/…) Ritu started Kaushalya UK which is a ‘not for profit’ community organisation that aims to provide a platform for women’s empowerment and personal development. It is a non-political and non-religious organisation. The aim of Kaushalya UK is upliftment of all. It organises events, workshops and seminars. Ritu spoke about her own struggles and wants her life experiences to be a message for anyone who has struggled or is struggling, to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Her message was of light, of love, of resilience and of self-belief. You can see more about this organisation on (https://www.facebook.com/pg/calltowomanpower/posts/?ref=page_internal) Ritu also has a YouTube channel and you can watch a video she has made by following this link: (https://www.youtube.com/watch…) Rina is the co-founder (with her son Shantanu) of the Be Free Campaign (www.befreecampain.org). The charity works to demolish the stigma behind mental health and promotes the free expression of individual values. They work with schools, universities, hospitals and communities around the country to raise awareness about mental health without fear of judgement or discrimination. Rina showed us some techniques to help with physical pain and mental well-being. At the end we all received a certificate to acknowledge our attendance and then enjoyed a delicious lunch. Thank you. World Hijab Day On Tuesday 25th February Marg, Sue, Linda, Mandy, Jacqui, Claire, Lynn and Wendy visited the Baitul Muqeet Mosque in Walsall after an invitation from Khansa Razzaq* to celebrate World Hijab Day which is an annual event founded by Nazma Khan in 2013. The event takes place on 1st February each year in 140 countries worldwide. The hijab is a veil worn by some Muslim women in the presence of any male outside of their immediate family, which usually covers the head and chest. The term can refer to any covering for head, face, or body worn by Muslim women and conforms to Islamic standards of modesty. I was told that there is no compulsion to wear it. * Khansa is from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women’s Association, Baitul Muqeet Mosque. The ladies’ community stands for education, integration and interfaith peace. They are also committed to helping others, engaging local communities and working for the common good. The principle to which they adhere is that they have kindness at heart for the whole of mankind. Islam teaches them to always be mindful towards God, who is their Creator and to always keep His memory fresh in their hearts and to deal with His creation with love, affection, harmony and tolerance; something in which we believe, also. Khansa has a unique approach to interfaith - putting on gatherings such as today’s event, conferences, etc. There are more than 100 branches in the UK. We were joined by Shaz, Black Country Near Neighbours Coordinator at Transforming Communities Together (NCT). NCT works together with churches and organisations across the Black Country, Staffordshire and the Potteries, to help local communities flourish so they can enjoy life in all its fullness. They were formed in 2014, a Joint Venture between the Diocese of Lichfield and the Church Urban Fund Together Network. They are a partnership between the Church Urban Fund and Lichfield Diocese. NCT engages with people in communities so that they can respond effectively to issues of poverty and social justice. The NCT key values are listening, partnering, celebrating and empowering. Their work concentrates on 4 main areas: Social and Financial Inclusion; Health and Wellbeing; Community Cohesion and Developing Work. Police Officer Rani Gundhu joined the event. Rani is the longest serving female officer for West Midlands Police having served for 33 years. She said the force has changed a lot in that time. When she first joined the force it was primarily male dominated. She has worked in many departments over the years and more recently works with the vulnerable under the diversity and inclusion umbrella. There were delicious refreshments and drinks available throughout the morning. Some of us had Mehndi art done; we tried on hijabs. There was a book display and information about the different religions that wear hijabs. It was a fabulous morning spent wi
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 a few years ago 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.
Read the poem on the left. Then re-read it but start on the bottom line and read up to the first line.