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‘‘The word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood, we saw the glory with our own eyes, the one of a kind glory. Like father, like son, generous inside and out, true from start to finish.’’ John 1:14 The Message.


I don’t know if you’ve ever read from Eugene Peterson’s version of the Bible, “The Message”. The way he translates the original languages of the Bible is often very down to earth and full of insight. On the front cover of this edition of “Dovetail” he translates this well known verse from John’s Gospel in a most powerful way. The dramatic thought that God could possibly move into ‘the neighborhood’ grabs us more than simply saying that he dwelt among us. Moreover, it is something we fundamentally believe as the Methodist people in this part of South Yorkshire. We believe that God not only came as Immanuel, God with us, then, 2000 years ago. We also believe that He is still with us today, and that some of the most powerful and demonstrative places where we see His coming to us is when we share in His work in acts and words of loving service. To put it another way: We celebrate advent, not just because God came into our world by His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, in the past; nor do we simply anticipate that He is coming again at some indefinable moment in the future; No! It is our conviction that He comes now, and one of the main places where His coming now is perceived is in the ways in which we, as Christian disciples, serve Him by serving others.

it is something we fundamentally believe as the Methodist people in this part of South Yorkshire. The star that led the Magi to Jesus then has been replaced by Christ-centred, Spirit- inspired and enabled service today. Our ways of serving, our wide variety of ministries, still point the way to Jesus, and are often the bridge over which Jesus crosses with transforming grace into people’s lives and communities today. I hope you can see that! I hope you will see that in the articles shared this time in Dovetail. I hope you will see it as we share about Seren House, the latest project that we’ve become involved in, at Wath, where through our service real difference is being made in the lives of broken people, giving hope to them and their children. I hope you’ll see it as we share about this year’s Circuit Project and the difference again that is being made in the lives of people who are breaking free from things that have tied them up for so long, and making a positive contribution to people even more needy than they are, made possible by your gifts, and by the grace of God which is at work in and through them. I hope you’ll see it in respect of the recent developments in the life and ministry at Clifton United Methodist Church. I hope you’ll see it in the history and developments in the Methodist Church’s national ministry, Action For Children. I hope you’ll see it in the season piece of poetry from Angela Yardy. Finally, I hope you’ll anticipate it in the ministry of Godly Play and be encouraged to come along to the event advertised on page 8. When you’ve seen what others are doing, perhaps you’ll put up on the baubles on your Christmas tree on page 4, the ways in which you serve God inside and outside of the Church. Baubles reflect the light of God’s presence and glory. Believe that you and your service of God does too! “Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him?” (Matthew 2:2) Please note that the glossy magazine does not contain any of the normal Local Church notices. These have been distributed, as with the other months in the year, through the Dovetail-Mini. Sean Adair.


Serving Christ – Shining for Christ in South Yorkshire Tradition has it that it was Martin Luther who first brought the Fir Tree into his house in early 16 th Century Germany and somehow attached candles to it, to symbolize the presence of Christ in his home. I’m sure, if you haven’t done so already, in the days to come you’ll most likely be dressing a Christmas tree in your home, church or place of work. As you put on those fairy lights and baubles, keep in mind the ways in which you’ve been involved in the work of being salt and light in your church and world this year. We invite you to write into the blank baubles on the tree below, ways in which you’ve served Christ this year. Don’t be afraid to say as a mother, or as a husband. We serve Christ by the way we love our families. Don’t be afraid to put down the smallest of tasks in Church life – it all counts. Don’t be afraid to put down the variety of inputs you engage in outside of Church life. Write in the empty baubles and around the page. “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)

Offering Prayer at Shiloh

Cleaning rooms in Seren house

Looking after my ageing mother Helping at the youth club


2011 has been a wonderful year at the Lighthouse. It has been a year in which we have seen many men that had become homeless find healing and restoration, hope and a future to look forward to. Your help and support has been vital in making this happen. The Lighthouse is more than just a bed to keep warm. It is place that is a family home to many, a Christian community, a place of learning and new experiences that help a person become all that God created them to be.

Each year on the Circuit we have a Circuit Mission’s Project. This year we had some fantastic projects to choose from at the September Circuit Meeting. Ultimately we chose the one presented by Darren Jones from the Lighthouse, inviting us to invest into a unique piece of mission work which involves taking a number of people who have been transformed by the power of the Gospel and are now going to serve Christ in the name of that same Gospel in Romania in a short term mission project. We encourage you to plan a fund raising event in your Church and get behind this year’s project.

This year we have created social enterprises that offer residents opportunities to learn new skills in construction, horticulture and media studies. We have seen residents move on into their own accommodation and successful independent living and many have embraced the Christian message and placed Christ at the heart of their recovery. Many of our residents now volunteer and help other projects that serve the poor and needy and this led to a real desire to take a team oversees to Romania. This vision soon became a reality and through our connections with Nicki Goodwin and the generous support from the Methodist church we will be sending a 14 strong team to Romania next March. We will be serving and supporting the work of a wonderful Christian family the Chalmers Family Alex, Heather, Chris, Alistair and Andrew. Alex, Heather, Alistair and Andrew In 1996 Heather visited Romania for the first time and fell in love with the country and knew that one day she would visit the country with the whole family. In September 2005 they came to Constanta to work with the street children in the city and are now involved in a church plant in a village called Poiana, which is a small agricultural village about 15kms outside of Constanta. They Pastor the church in Poiana and have close links with the mother church Biserica Farul (The Lighthouse Church) in Constanta. They are involved with running Children's clubs, Youth Clubs, prayer meetings, ladies meetings and mens meetings as well as the normal church events. The Lighthouse will be going to Romania to serve and use the skills that we have gained in construction to help the new church build and other projects. We will be helping the church in their outreaches to the street children, the elderly and those living in abject poverty within the local community. We will be involved in the spiritual life of the church such as prayer meetings and services with our residents giving testimonies about their own lives. This will help encourage those that are struggling with the ever increasing problem of alcoholism in Romania. This will be a life transforming trip for all involved and we believe that this trip will be the first step in many towards a long term relationship between The Lighthouse and our brothers and sisters in Romania. I thank you for making this possible. Darren Jones. “The Shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” (Luke 2:20)


In the last edition of Dovetail, I related how, on July 9, 1869, Rev. Thomas Bowman Stephenson opened The Children’s Home for 9 boys in a disused stable in Lambeth. To this day, the Sunday nearest to that date is designated in the Methodist Church as ‘Action for Children’ Sunday. The work developed to include girls. ‘Sisters’ were trained and appointed and more Homes opened, run on innovative lines, paving the way for the development of Child Care in the UK. Soon The Children’s Home was ‘boarding out’ or fostering younger children with ‘approved families’ and by 1892 records show that 25 children were adopted. Eventually, by campaigning for

The Unending Christmas Story….

We’ve often heard the story of Jesus and His birth. We use the phrase quite freely: “The Saviour of the earth!” But do you know the meaning? And do you know it’s true? And do you know the birth of Jesus happened just for you? And do you know He loves you, and that is why he came? If there were only you on earth, He still would do the same! For yes, He thinks you’re worth it! And yes, His love is real. And yes, today, He knows exactly what it is you feel. So don’t just hear a story: He wants you to be part Of this year’s special chapter when you let Him in your heart. Just open up and listen to what God has to say. Then be a part of the unending story, from today.

the official recognition of adoption, it became an Adoption Agency in 1926, later influencing the 1948 Education Act. Even in the 1880’s siblings were placed together and children were carefully matched with adoptive families and encouraged to think well of their birth parents. In 1939, Jewish children from Germany and Austria found By Angela Yardy of www.angelaspoems.co.uk sanctuary with The Children’s Home. In the mid 60’s NCH turned to a group of children considered impossible to place because of disability or history of abuse-a pioneering step. From early days, there was special care for children with disability or sickness, such as TB where continuous treatment was linked with residential training. As NCH continued to respond to social changes, the focus of rescuing children from problem families began to shift towards preventative action- supporting vulnerable parents through day nurseries and latterly Family Centres, which now dominate the charity’s work. This community based work has now proliferated with homeless young people, Care leavers (our local Bridges Project has recently celebrated its 20th birthday and now operates from Stewart House, Moorgate Crofts), Support for Young Carers, Crisis prevention work, Young Offenders and abused children. This was reflected in the name change in 1994, and today ACTION FOR CHILDREN is one of the biggest leading Child Care Charities in the UK, but unfortunately not the best known. So will YOU promote it at every opportunity - by having a Lantern Collecting box in your home, remembering A4C in your will, by events at your church, local school, place of work or leisure organisation, even by volunteering in practical ways at the Bridges Project, leader Maryann Barton, tel. 01709 834900. Please feel free to contact me for more information. Tel. 01709 730439. As the Child Care Charity of the Methodist Church, it is part of our mission to support Action for Children ‘As long as it takes’! (Article by Mrs. Tessa M. Guy)


Good News to share from Clifton United Methodist Church Twenty eight years ago three young mums who were members at Clifton Methodist Church acquired funding and equipment and opened a playgroup in the Church to serve the community. The setting was registered with the Local Education Authority and the Pre-School Learning Alliance and operated on a pay-as-you-come basis. It quickly grew to three sessions per week and a year or two later to six sessions with one leader and a rota of mums as helpers. As the Playgroup developed, the church made considerable alterations to the room making it a more suitable space for a playgroup. By the time the government introduced the Nursery Education Grant there was a staff of five supervisors and the setting was open ten sessions each week. The staff decided that together they could do all the necessary training to enable them to be registered under the government scheme. There are now four contracted supervisors with committee members and others registered for emergency cover. In the summer term this year the staff were notified that they had been nominated by Kathy Higgson, head of Rotherham Children and Young People’s Services for an award and were made Child Care Champions 2011. Early in this autumn term they underwent an OFSTED inspection and were rated ‘Good’ in every area of the inspection. The inspector recorded that the children are happy, confident and eager to learn in a very welcoming setting. The children in the sessions during the inspection laughed with friends and were engaged in exciting activities promoting all areas of learning. It was also judged that the staff are motivated, work well as a team and strive to offer an inclusive and welcoming service where all children are valued as individuals. Effective partnerships with parents, carers and other early years professionals have been established ensuring children’s needs are fully supported. Staff’s accurate self-evaluation contributes significantly to the setting’s realistic views of its practice and the development of sound plans for future improvement. It was also noted that the staff promote and support equality and diversity well to help children understand the society they live in. The inspector observed that the children make good progress towards the early learning goals as they access a wide range of first-hand learning experiences and benefit from trips to the church, the local Post Office and the park. They demonstrate that they are acquiring skills that will help them in the future and prepare them for their transition from this setting into school. These are only a few of the very positive points from the report. The church members at Clifton appreciate the work the playgroup staff do within our community and celebrate with them the benefits for the children and the recognition that the staff rightly deserve. Sheila Houghton (Member of Clifton Playgroup Management Group)


Rotherham and Dearne Valley Circuit present

Godly Play for Godly GrownUps Saturday 28th January 2012

The Quiet Day for 2012 will be a little less quiet this year! Come and enjoy the fresh and

inspiring style of Bible teaching, learning and wondering that has taken the R.E. team into twelve schools and to thousands of children in Rotherham and Sheffield.

Venue: St. John’s Methodist Church Church Street Swinton S64 8QA

There will be a time for learning and reflection which many adults find as helpful and inspiring as the children. This is a day for anyone wanting to have a fresh look at God and to be excited about new possibilities for the Church and its mission. There is no charge and we ask you to bring your own faith lunch. Tea and coffee will be provided throughout the day by our friends at St. John’s. The day will begin at 10,00 a.m. close at 3.15 p.m. and include a Godly play session, an assembly and the philosophy and thinking behind Godly play. Please ensure your place by booking with Mrs. Anne Holmes. Numbers are limited so book early to avoid disappointment. phone number: 01709 839575 Email: rdvcircuitoffice@btinternet.com


Dovetail December