Tidings, December 2013/January 2014, Page
BANSTEAD UNITED REFORMED CHURCH SERVICES Our Family Worship is held every Sunday at 10.30am a crĂ¨che is provided. Junior Church for children aged 3-14 meets at the same time, and we have a music group which meets at 10.10am. For details of future events and important dates for your diary please see the monthly Diary Sheet or on our Website: www.bansteadurc.org.uk
SERVICES IN DECEMBER/JANUARY AT 10.30AM UNLESS STATED OTHERWISE Dec 1 Advent Sunday Communion service - Linda Richards Dec 8 Toy Service - Revd Martyn Sanders and Stan Spencer Dec 15 Nativity Service - Sunday Club Dec 22 Christmas Communion - Revd John Joseph Dec 24 6.30pm Carols by Candlelight Dec 24 9.30am Christmas Day Service Dec 29 Morning Worship - Jo Patel Jan 5 Epiphany Sunday - Linda Richards Jan 12 Holy Communion - Revd Derek Wales Jan 19 Morning Worship - Revd Stephen Thornton Jan 26 Morning Worship - Tom Rhind Tutt Tidings is edited by Linda Richards. Address: 3 Breech Lane, Walton on the Hill, Tadworth, Surrey KT20 7SQ Tel 01737 813617, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org I am happy to receive your contributions, ideas and suggestions for Tidings at any time but copy for the next edition should be with me by Sunday, 26th January 2014 at the latest.
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Our Church Secretary writes … Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Yes, I know its traditional to say that at the end of the ‘Minister’s’ letter at this time of year – or the Queen’s speech to the nation for that matter (not that I’m drawing any parallels of course!) – but as you are the first people I’ve said or written this to this year I thought I’d put it loud and up front! Of course the problem is that writing this on 23rd November with the glorious Autumn leaves still swirling around its quite hard to feel ‘in the Christmas spirit’ yet – even the BBC are having to hold back advertising their Christmas schedules until the 50th anniversary edition of Dr Who has been screened (it’s tonight… we are having a dinner party…unconnected…big scheduling mistake!!!)…. I wonder if the Queen has the same problem? (Having to write her Christmas message early, not a ‘TV sci-fi/heads of state to dinner’ diary clash that is). The shops of course have had no such problem. I think most of you know Sue and I were very fortunate to be able to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary with a trip round the Far East and as we left Hong Kong on 31st October, the shopping malls had been transformed into red and white fairylands. Commercial Christmas is of course a global phenomenon and doesn’t let religion or political dogma stand in its way. The tendency for Christian writers who get to this point is to dive off into a commentary on the woes on commercialisation of Christmas and you will all have had your own strong, but maybe conflicting, feelings about how to ‘get the balance right’. I think the important thing at this time of year is probably to accept that in a free society (or even in restricted ones), Christmas imagery will be inevitably exploited for commercial purposes and for us to focus on the opportunity it brings. Tidings, December 2013/January 2014, Page 3
For instance, its one of the few times of year where you can probably easily talk about going to church – even with your most cynical of friends and colleagues. The services we offer around that time of year are ones that are probably the most accessible to people who don’t normally come to church. That’s why its so important that we all help distribute the leaflets about the B5 Christmas services – and I do mean ALL. Provided you are physically able, there will be a small road somewhere that you can pop a few leaflets into letterboxes! Please don’t leave it to ‘the few’. And if you are reading this in a waiting room or in Craft Cafe to while away the time and you are someone who doesn’t normally come to church, please do join us for one of our Christmas services - I think you’ll find they help you ‘get in the mood’ for a celebration in a less stressful way than an hour in Bluewater! Finally we know that the cycle of life and the dynamics our turbulent environment don’t take a break for Christmas. They can indeed make this time even more difficult, whether it be because you have lost someone you love this last year or because, as in the Philippines, nature has taken everything you had. This is very much a time for those of us who have had a good year to be ready to support those who have not – whether they be next door or the other side of the world. Of course, the thing I know about the folk at Banstead URC is that I didn’t need to say the last sentence. Take care and I hope you have a peaceful Christmas. Kevin
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A CHRISTMAS LETTER FROM THE MODERATOR OF THE SOUTHERN SYNOD Dear Friends, The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in the land of deep darkness - on them light has shined. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. Last night as I was driving home from church (in mid November) I was struck by the number of homes that had Christmas lights strung and brilliantly lit. There were houses with Santas (more than one!) and houses with stars and bells and reindeers and a plethora of angels, all flashing like beacons in the darkness. It gives new meaning to the phrase â€˜your Christmases have come early this yearâ€™. As I drove on I wondered why there are so many lights so early this year? And what kind of people live in the houses behind those lights? Did those lights illuminate the homes of both those who did and did not proclaim Jesus as the Christ-child? I would like to believe that the lights that I saw were expressions of defiance in the face of dark times whether it be poverty at home, or earthquakes in China and flooding in the Philippines not to mention war and rumours of war that still encircle our world. I would like to believe that they are tangible statements that when all is increasingly dark there is always hope. I would like to believe that Tidings, December 2013/January 2014, Page 5
they are an attempt on the part of believers and non-believers alike to affirm that, at this Christmastime, there is goodness and tidings of great joy to be had. We all need to defy the darkness. We all need hope. For me, the lights of Christmas provide this. Even as I get older the anticipation of the birth of the Christ-child grows. I find it so exciting to prepare for Christmas by hanging lights and decorating trees and preparing gifts for those you love. I drive my husband mad! But I find it even more exciting knowing that the reason for my eagerness is that a time is coming when the whole world will have hope. It is because of the birth of the Light of the World at the first Christmas. It is because of his life, death and resurrection and his promise to come again. It is because he is present in the hearts of all those who believe in him through his Spirit that the world can have hope and change and be at peace. The growth of food banks in our local churches working in cooperation with local authorities, the increasing numbers of people involved in Street Pastors, those supporting the homeless through night shelters are all testament to the fact that our world is hopeful. The light of the world has truly come! May His light shine from your homes this Christmastime and in all the seasons of your days. Christmas Blessings,
The Revd Nicola Furley-Smith Moderator of the Southern Synod
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CHURCH FAMILY NEWS In our thoughts and prayers ... As Tidings goes to press we are looking forward to welcoming back our students and young people who will return for the Christmas break. Welcome home! We missed you! Our thoughts are with all those for whom the Christmas festivities are tinged with sadness - those who are ill, lonely or missing a loved one. May God surround them with his love and comfort. Robin Sanders will be moving to Banstead on 11 December. We send him our warmest wishes as he settles into his new home. His new address can be found on the members page of the church website. Olive and Ken have been overwhelmed by the wonderful support they have received following the death of their son Warwick. A deeply sincere thank you to all for the flowers, cards and kindness. Truly this is a â€œcaring church!â€?
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FLOWER ROTA 2014 Thank you very much to everyone who provided flowers in church during the past year. They are really appreciated both by the worshipping congregation and by the recipients after the morning service. It is now time to sign up for next year and the new chart will in place at the beginning of December. So if you want to book a special Sunday to remember a birthday, an anniversary or a loved one please sign up now. Joyce Carlisle
JANUARY COMMUNION SERVICE Please note that our monthly service of Holy Communion for January will take place on Sunday 12th January (not the first Sunday in the month) and will be led by Revd. Derek Wales. Page 8 , Tidings, December 2013/January 2014
STOCKING FILLERS FROM THE URC? 3 publications are now available for order from the URC
The Prayer Handbook 2014 'Opening Doors' price £6.00 plus p&p
Surprised by Grace - An illustrated book of parables and prayers by Revd Susan Durber price £12.20 + p&p
The URC Yearbook 2014 price £20.00 plus p&p
For more details and to order Surprised by Grace or the Yearbook go to www.urc.org.uk/latest-publications Please sign the sheet on the blue notice board or let Kevin Dinnage (email@example.com) know if you would like a copy/copies of the Prayer Handbook and we will place a bulk order.
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CHRISTMAS CHARITIES Through out the year Banstead URC supports many different charities and organisations such as the Asian Students Christian Trust (ASCT) , SteetLife and Christian Aid, but at Christmas we always nominate one or two particular causes to support at home or abroad. This year the offerings at our Christmas Eve Service and Christmas Day service will be sent to Mary’s Meals, a project to provide daily meals to chronically hungry children in a place of learning (see opposite and their website www.marysmeals.org.uk) . In addition we will be sending to money to Crisis to fund places for ten people at one of their Crisis at Christmas centres. Christmas can be an incredibly difficult time of year for a person cut off from family and home and Crisis will provide companionship and support to tackle loneliness and isolation, and help people take their first steps out of homelessness (see opposite or www.crisis.org.uk). Sunday Club’s chosen charity this year is MERU who have developed the ‘Bugzi’ wheelchair for toddlers. Sunday Club will be raising funds for a Bugzi by running a …
“Christmas Greetings Board” as a way to send greetings to other church family members. You will be able to buy your greetings from Sunday 1st December onwards.
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Mary’s Meals is a global movement that sets up school feeding projects in some of the world’s poorest communities, where hunger and poverty prevent children from gaining an education. Mary’s Meals began by feeding 200 children in Malawi in 2002. Today they feed over 822,142.
Crisis at Christmas provides...
welcoming support from people who really care, three nutritious, hot meals including Christmas dinner the chance to shower and change clothes, have a haircut and get a health check expert advice on life-changing issues like housing and employment an introduction to Crisis year-round services for training and support for the future. It’s a gift that always changes lives, and often saves them.
The award-winning MERU Bugzi is a powered indoor wheelchair for children aged one to six and offers a unique opportunity for pre-school children with disabilities to experience independent mobility, often for the first time in their lives. Tidings, December 2013/January 2014, Page 11
CHAPEL AT CHRIST’S HOSPITAL Going to a Christian boarding school is very different from my primary school. As well as the compulsory chapel services, I am also enjoying the optional ones. Every week at Christ’s Hospital there are certain days on which a different chapel activity is held. The first one is on a Wednesday. It’s called Quiet Time. For an hour every week the chapel is open and you can come in. For quiet time there is music playing, candles lit and a calm atmosphere. The prayer book lies in the middle and you can write in it a special prayer for a loved one or a friend. The reason I enjoy it is that I can relax and get away from all the loudness and hectic behaviour and thank God for how grateful I am. The second of the services is Night Prayer! This lasts from 8:30 till 9:00pm and is my favourite. As you enter the chapel the only light is from candles. You take a candle, light it and then go and sit down. As more and more people come the light gets brighter, as soon as the sermon starts the chapel is lit up by 100 or so candles. It is a wonderful sight and afterwards there is hot chocolate and biscuits! The last service is chapel every Sunday. It is pretty much like the weekly service at the URC, except every week a special person comes in to talk - last week the founder of Kids Company came in to talk about her vision and tell us how we could stop children being abused for ever! James Catt
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FRIENDSHIP GROUP I feel it is time that I gave you news of the Friendship Group which continues to meet at 2.30pm on the third Thursday of the month in the Spencer Hall. During the past year we have gained several new members who are very welcome and we now have around ten to twelve ladies (no gentlemen as yet) at each meeting. Our meetings are quite informal, lots of chat, and we select the subject from month to month which includes quizzes, musical afternoons, favourite extracts from books and any other subjects suggested by members. We have a special ‘break up’ tea in June and a Christmas tea in December with crackers, mince pies and cake. We do, we hope, give ‘friendship’ to all who come along to our meetings so if you feel like joining us on one of these Thursdays you will be very welcome. Our Christmas tea is on 19th December. Pat Anniss
The world would be so lonely, in sunny hours or grey, Without the gift of friendship, To help us every day. Hilda Brett Farr
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BANSTEAD FIVE CHURCHES PRESENT ...
SINBAD Oh yes it’s that time of year again, when people all over Banstead are calling out, ‘oh no it isn’t’! Panto season is here again. This year’s extravaganza is based on ‘Sinbad the Sailor’. Many of you will remember the dashing hero sailing off on yet another colourful voyage to win the hand of a beautiful princess, whilst beating evil villains, sorcerers and underwater creatures from the abyss along the way. So why not treat the family and support Banstead Five Churches’ very own pantomime. All the crew and cast are from local schools and have grown up with the excitement of being part of their very own panto (with the occasional adult thrown in for good measure). All Saints Church, The Institute, Banstead. Tickets from £8 each Weds 29th Jan – Sat 1st Feb 2014 7.30pm Sat matinee at 2.30pm Call now to book tickets 01737-351368 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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BANSTEAD FIVE CHURCHES CHRISTMAS ACTIVITIES ADVENT SERVICE Will be held at the Drive Methodist Church on Wednesday 4th December at 8.00pm Everyone is invited to attend.
CAROL SINGING IN THE ORCHARD People of all ages from all five churches are invited to join in Carol Singing in the Orchard, outside the Open Door Coffee Shop in the High street on Saturday 14th December at 11.00am.
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Sunday 15th December Morning worship at 10.30 will be led by members of Sunday Club and will include
the Nativity story. Everyone, of all ages, welcome.
Sunday 22nd December at 10.30am
Led by Revd John Joseph.
Carols by Candlelight 6.30pm Followed by seasonal refreshments
(There will be a special All Age Communion at 9.30am for those who will be carol singing at the Rose Homes)
Christmas Day Family Service 9.30am A short service for all the family, children are invited to bring along a favourite present.
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OBITUARY: THE SAD PASSING OF COMMON SENSE Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as: Knowing when to come in out of the rain; why the early bird gets the worm: Life isn't always fair, and maybe it was my fault. Common sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults are in charge not children) His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of an 8 year old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate, teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch, and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition. Common sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student, but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion. Common sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses, and criminals received better treatment than their victims, Common sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault. Common sense finally gave up the will to live, after a women failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement. Common sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason. He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers: I know my rights; I want my rights; I want it now and Iâ€™m a victim. Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. This is a modified version of a text that's originally attributed to Lori Borgman (www.loriborgman.com) Thanks to John Mason for forwarding it to Tidings. Tidings, December 2013/January 2014, Page 17
Over the last month a group of about 12 members and friends have been attending the ‘Housegroup with a Difference’, watching and discussing the BBC drama ‘The Nativity’. We have had some interesting debates and have been comparing the dramatized version with the accounts of the birth of Jesus in the gospels. We have looked afresh at the nativity story, particularly in Luke, and marvelled at some of the detail. We have also been surprised to discover that some of the details we thought were there are in fact mere tradition. The following article, written by Iris Lee’s son, Tony Smith (our regular gardening correspondent!), encourages us to hear the Christmas Story afresh this year.
THE VIVIDNESS OF LUKE’S GOSPEL As Christmas approaches, we turn to Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus. The Gospels of Mark and John do not start their narrative until Jesus’ baptism, and Matthew, after describing the angel’s appearance to Joseph, simply mentions Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem as an introduction to the Wise Men coming to King Herod. Luke concentrates on Mary; he describes the angel Gabriel’s appearance to her and Mary’s momentous agreement to be the servant of the Lord in his plan of salvation. Only Luke gives any detail of the circumstances of the birth; without Luke, there could hardly be Nativity plays. Luke could never have imagined how his words in the second chapter of his Gospel would become so well-loved, known by all Christian children: ‘And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn’. Perhaps the words of Luke’s Christmas story have become too well-worn over the millennia; they have become smooth, and have lost their impact. It needs a lot of effort to separate them from the saccharin covering that the commercial world likes to bestow upon Christmas. Page 18 , Tidings, December 2013/January 2014
But if we go a little further into Luke’s Gospel, we find passages that retain their vividness and can make us feel as if we were there as eyewitnesses. Let me give an example: we must go forward thirty years (incidentally, only Luke tells us that Jesus was about thirty years old when he began his ministry). The passage in Luke 4:16-30 describes Jesus’ rejection at Nazareth. The background to this event is that Jesus had travelled from Jerusalem, where he had attended the Passover feast. Now he returned to Nazareth, ‘where he had been brought up’, as Luke explains, and went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, ‘as was his custom’. There was nothing remarkable in Jesus standing up and asking to read the scriptures; he had probably done so before in that very synagogue; but this time it was different, because some Galileans had been in Jerusalem (John 4:45) and ‘...had seen all that he had done’. Inevitably, word got around, and now the people of Nazareth waited expectantly to see what Jesus would do in his home town. Picture the scene: the bright Mediterranean sun flooding into the place of worship, not a breath of air, not a sound to be heard, as Jesus unrolled the scroll of the prophet Isaiah and read the words starting, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me...’ After this short reading, from the first two verses of Isaiah chapter 61, Jesus ‘rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down’. The words of Luke that follow are so immediate and vivid: ‘The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him...’ Do you not feel as if you are there, caught up with the messianic expectations that were gripping the people? How could Luke create this verisimilitude? He must have relied on eyewitnesses, perhaps Jesus’ cousins, or even Mary, who would in all likelihood have been watching proceedings with the other women in the gallery. Certainly, the level of detail is most convincing. Jesus broke the silence by relating Isaiah’s words to himself: ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing’. No doubt there were murmurs of amazement and admiration ‘at the gracious Tidings, December 2013/January 2014, Page 19
words that came from his lips’. But the mood of those in the synagogue soon changed, as it dawned on them that they were listening to someone who had grown up in Nazareth: ‘ “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.’ And when Jesus went on to tell them a few home truths, including ‘...no prophet is accepted in his hometown’, they turned on him, drove him out of the town, and tried to throw him down a nearby cliff. Now we see the strength of character of Jesus, because Luke says: ‘But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.’ Our Lord must have had an extraordinary power over people in order to defy the furious crowd. This incident, only recorded by Luke, led directly to Jesus moving to settle in Capernaum. It was also perhaps the first time that he experienced the violent opposition to his ministry, which would culminate in his rejection by the crowds in the presence of Pilate. Having gained this insight into how vivid Luke’s writing can be, let us return to our Saviour’s birth, as is right at this time of the year. Perhaps we can approach Luke’s account of the Christmas story afresh, giving new attention to his simple yet profound account of the angel’s message of hope: ‘For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord’. Tony Smith
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ON THE SPOT â€Ś SAMUEL BURNS I am looking forward to my 18th birthday when I can officially become an adult. Something not many people know about me is Top Gear is my favourite TV programme and I would like a Bugatti Veyron when Iâ€™m older.
The last book I read was Genius Ideas by Tom Gates. Something which surprises me is that I was brave enough to sing a song I wrote myself in front of the school and Year 6 parents last week. Something which annoys me is people who lie. My favourite animal would be a meerkat because they look cute and I have fed them at London Zoo with a zoo keeper and Granny. The best thing which happened to me recently was being allowed to go back on the computer and X box after being banned from using them by my mum for 4 days.
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A place I would like to visit is Wembley Stadium to watch a football match. I would really like to meet Cristiano Ronaldo and would talk about his football career and life. I wish I were better at football so that I could become a professional player when Iâ€™m older. After Church on a Sunday I usually go home and do my homework while my mum cooks our lunch and then I play on my X box. My favourite hymn is Shine Jesus Shine because it has a lovely happy, spiritual feeling to it. If I could be any character in any film I would be Bart Simpson because I think he is cool, energetic and funny.
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Church Secretary: Kevin Dinnage 01737 356380
email@example.com Copy for the next edition should be with the editor by Sunday 26th January 2014 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Tidings December 2013/January 2014 Magazine of Banstead United Reformed Church