hear tmagazine Stories from Fulwood Free Methodist Church
HOPE IN HEALING Diane’s Story
Diane is a participant and a co-leader in the women’s group of Celebrate Recovery, that meets at Fulwood Free Methodist Church
am a married woman with children and grandchildren. I also struggle with hoarding and co-dependency. This is my story.
Recovery, I spent much time helping people in emotional pain, but, without realising it, I enabled them to remain stuck in their destructive attitudes to life. I defended them; and I even tried to My childhood was spent trying to keep the peace between my warring make amends for the things they did parents. Sometimes they ranted and wrong. I didn’t allow them to suffer raved at each other; but other times the consequences of their wrong there was a chilling silence. My par- choices. Sometimes I was manipulated and abused by those I ents once refused to speak to each tried to help. Yet I felt needed by other for six whole months and
“My Father God is NOT distant and uninterested in me. He is intimate and involved. It is a lie that God is never satisfied with what I do. He delights in me. God is not a nit-picking, demanding perfectionist. He is proud of me for who I am”
“The family secret...was safe with me.” the tension was gut-wrenching.
them. I often put great stress on myself and my family, allowing the Both my parents had unhappy needs of these seemingly childhoods and were two angry, desperate people to take priority hurting people locked in a loveless over my own role as a wife and marriage. We are all a product of our mother. It was OTT compulsive genes and our upbringing. For me, caring. It was co-dependency. I was I have always been hindered by a trying to fix people. deep sense of insecurity, which was rooted in my mother’s grief. I was As I have started to understand my conceived as a replacement for my past, I have had to face my own baby brother who died of pneumonia faults and weaknesses and wrong at only nine months old. My mother choices. I now know that it is not my was loving and affectionate later job to change anyone, because only on in my life, but she had grieved God can do that and only if people throughout my babyhood and was want it. I can’t fix myself either. unable to bond with me because of Only God can do that! As a toddler her depression. She always I had insisted, “I can do it myself!” reminded me that I was born to be As a child my parents urged me to her consolation. try harder and so I’ve been “trying harder” for sixty-five years. Although So I felt it was my responsibility to trying harder has helped me to learn make my parents happy and try to many new skills, it cannot ever free fix their failing marriage. Both my me from my hurts, hang-ups and parents were angry and habits. I need Jesus to heal my domineering. I was always compliant hurts and to change the way I think. and afraid of confrontation. I learned never to be angry or negative. The What stops us from putting our family secret of marital strife was hope in God? safe with me. As an adult my sense For me, it was a distorted image of self-worth came from trying to of God. I confused the Heavenly solve other people’s problems. Father (God) with my natural father. The following words from a card Before I came to Celebrate really helped me sort this out:
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I no longer have to live like a puppet on a string. Now I realise that the co-dependency was caused by my troubled childhood and it was one of my survival strategies. My need to be accepted, significant and secure is totally met by God because I know that I matter and that God loves me unconditionally! For years I placed my self-worth in my career, until in 2001 I was made redundant. It was a huge loss and I felt worthless, robbed of my sense of identity and financial security. In reality, God was rescuing me from that performance trap, in which I had become a “human doing” rather than a “human being.” I was burnt out and very depressed. Outwardly I looked fine, smiling and getting on with life. Inwardly, I didn’t trust anyone and was utterly desperate. I set about recreating a role for myself. I became a self-employed special needs tutor, developing a therapeutic style of teaching to make learning a fun experience. As a child I had been intimidated and pressurised by my father who had coached me for entrance exams to try to win a free scholarship to a prestigious grammar school.
My job loss was the crisis; my long suffering husband was the person who confronted me and the mini stroke I had last March was the near catastrophe that alerted me to the danger of overloading not just our home, but my whole time schedule with more and more stuff. It was an addiction to busy-ness, the adrenalin rush of activity to try to soothe my inner agitation. After the stroke, I lay on that hospital bed at 4.30am and I knew God’s presence was with me. I wasn’t afraid. I was just so thankful to have survived. I willingly vowed to lay down my agenda, to give up my teaching, to sell my precious resources and start transforming our home into a place where family and friends can come to stay.
But I failed to be the trophy child that he could be proud of. I was just a very hard worker and not the genius he’d have liked. I never did manage to gain his approval. Whatever I did was never good enough. Over the years I acquired an amazing quantity of books and resources filling three bedrooms and our garage! All this because of the insecurity of never feeling good enough, not ever knowing enough and still trying to impress my father who died 30 years ago. Who can free me from this addiction? Only God can. God is not a disappointed parent, trying to relive his life through his child. He is a loving Father, who treasures me for my uniqueness, who gave me my personality, my identity, gifts and abilities so that I can be sure that I am good enough, just as I am. When we don’t listen to our own pain, we need either a crisis, or a catastrophe to transform our view of life. We also seriously need someone trustworthy to confront us with reality.
The process has begun.
“Who can free me from this addiction?”
God is freeing me from my hurts, hang-ups and habits. Through counselling, prayer ministry and Celebrate Recovery I am learning how to move from victim to survivor mode and to make good healing choices. They are:First choice: I admit my needs. Second choice: To ask for God’s help and accept the truth that God exists. I matter to Him and He has the power to help me recover.
there is HOPE for you Do you need a fresh start? Would you like to be supported as you go on a journey to overcome different “hurts, hang ups and habits?” Then consider Celebrate Recovery! 8 – 9.30pm Monday evenings at the church Come earlier for a brew from 7.30pm! 8pm: Everyone meets together and we begin by reading the “12 steps to recovery.” These steps include admitting that we can’t manage our lives and we ask God to help us sort things out. We sing some worship songs and have a lesson, then men and women separate into different groups. Small groups are a safe place to share experiences and strength with others. We usually start with the serenity prayer, which includes the words: “Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time.” The small groups are led by understanding leaders. You will have the opportunity to work with a sponsor, who is someone who will support you when you need them, by listening to you and encouraging you. For more information contact Graham Chastney via the church office.
Tel: 01772 861597 Email: email@example.com
Ruth writes: Rich and I were married in April 2010. This is our story- so far! I met Rich in 2006 when we were we working as volunteers at a Christian holiday camp in Somerset. We became great mates instantly and had a brilliant week. Shortly after this, Rich moved to Preston to help with the youth work at Fulwood Free Methodist Church and I moved to Scotland. Our friendship soon developed into a relationship and then, on December 31st 2008, I was whisked away to Paris where Rich asked me to marry him. The obvious answer was yes! We started by setting the date of the Big Day, booking the church and the reception. Pastor Andrew gave us a standard check list of things to think about that wouldn’t even cross your mind! He invited us to come and see him for a marriage preparation course. (see page opposite) Initially I felt a bit unsure about this and worried about what kind of things he might ask us. Might he say that we weren’t going to be suitable for each other? But from the first session I knew there was nothing to stress about. Andrew’s attitude was serious as well as fun and relaxing and we could be open and honest. We gained an insight into marriage that we wouldn’t have considered before. We were able to discuss areas of life that would mean compromise and changes. We knew we were building our future on a good foundation. The course confirmed that we really were right for each other. The layout of the marriage prep was great for us. There’s a discussion section we did together based on some Bible teaching. Also, there’s a section to do at home individually and then together, highlighting possible life situations and figuring out how we might deal with them. With the whole whirlwind of organising the wedding day, it was great to spend time together thinking through issues such as how we would best share finances or how to listen well - and investing time to come up with a plan!
Our parents were brilliant and offered to pay for our big day which we still did on a budget. It really doesn’t have to cost the earth! Our friends and family got involved in many ways, from music to cake-making. Also, Rich enjoyed organising things because my mum lived far away... and she was also busy planning my brother’s wedding!
“Marriage prep? I felt a bit unsure initially.”
When Rich and I were engaged I felt totally happy and couldn’t imagine how being married would make it better - other than the obvious! But now I wouldn’t want to go back to that time, because it’s wonderful to be able to “do life” with my best friend and not have to say goodbye at night. You find out that they have some bad habits (I’m sure he’s found out I do to!) but you also realise they have some more great characteristics you didn’t know before. Life has its up and downs, but it’s a lot easier when there are two of you to deal with a situation! Pastor Andrew told us that the core of our relationship is communication. Without communication misunderstandings easily occur and cracks start to appear in your relationship. When there’s a row, find ways to say sorry: sort it out quickly. Don’t let it stay there, like a piece of paper with a rip in it, weakened. If you leave the rip, next time the damage will be worse. Ask for advice if things start being stressful. That’s what friends are there for!
HOPE FOR MARRIAGE Ruth is married to Rich heart asked Ruth to describe how the marriage prep course at church helped prepare them for their wedding day and married life.
Commitment for life. Prepare properly.
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Thinking of getting married? What’s stopping you? “We like the idea of marriage, but we’ve never been to your church. What should we do?” Ring Tracey (secretary) and book an appointment with Pastor Andrew. He will spend time listening to your ideas and will help you decide if getting married at this church is best for you.
“My fiancé is divorced. Does that mean you won’t marry us?”
Everyone’s situation is different, so it is best if you chat about individual circumstances to Pastor Andrew. Divorcees can remarry at Fulwood Free Methodist Church, but care is taken because sometimes people rush into a new situation without considering why a previous marriage failed. A marriage preparation course helps with this.
“Marriage preparation sounds a bit heavy. Why do we need it?” Marriage prep is very practical. Both of you will chat with Pastor Andrew about various issues from work to finance, sexual matters and sharing ideas on bringing up children. There will be discussions on ways to resolve arguments as well as recognising the strengths in each other. The teaching is clear. It is not difficult and is done with humour.
“How much does it cost? And have you any advice to keep the price of weddings down?” The marriage prep course is free! It usually consists of six sessions lasting about one hour each, but this is flexible. We don’t charge for the wedding service. However couples should consider giving a gift to the church to cover heating, lighting, and to pay our housekeepers, or if you want light refreshments. Church volunteers have to be involved to make your day run well. There may be a fee from the registrar. There are many imaginative ways to keep down the cost of the occasion, (starting with booking an affordable venue) and these can be discussed during marriage prep sessions if you like.
“How much advice do you give on arranging the actual service?” Pastor Andrew will help you to design a service around you! As long as it is dignified and the legal bit is properly done, you can choose the music, songs or hymns, readings and vows. You can discuss who takes part. You can ask for advice on photographers, video, and even the best man’s speech. There is always a practice run for the service on the evening before your wedding, so the day goes as smoothly as possible. It is fun and well worth it!
“If we want to know more, what should we do?” Look at the contact details on the back of this magazine and give Tracey a ring!
“Hey! Look at the size of that guy!” Ian Clarkson on his new work at Fulwood Overheard in school corridor a year 7 boy shouts: “Hey, look at the size of that guy!” As they walk, they stare at me and slam straight into the double doors! At 6’7” I have a good view of the world! But being tall is not the sum of who I am!
For ten years I have headed up “Preston Youth for Christ” which is part of a national organisation that specialises in working with young people in various youth groups, in high schools leading assemblies and teaching PSHRE (Personal Social Health and Religious Education). We’ve run courses (such as ALPHA) that help young people understand Christianity.
Ian Intorduction Here
As the newest member of the church leadership team I will start work by preaching at the evening service on the 2nd January 2011 at 6.30pm. Why this big life change? Well, at almost 40 years old, I believe it is time to move on, to learn new skills and be challenged. I will train as a pastor with Andrew Gardner.
My wife is Joanna, and our children are Sam 8, Joel 6 and Grace 4. We don’t need to move house or schools because we live in Penwortham. Working in Fulwood is like coming home because we
married at Fulwood Free Methodist Church in 1992, and before that we’d been part of the church youth group there and our first date was for pizza and ten-pin bowling (we were both rubbish at it). As a young teen I was confirmed at St Lawrence C of E church in Barton, but when my school friend Duncan died, I had more questions than answers about God. However, eventually I came to the realisation that God was totally real and true. (But that is another story for another time!) Our family are looking forward to meeting you!
HOPE AFTER REDUNDANCY
was a manager in the industrial gas business when I was made redundant last year. It was like lightening striking twice as I’d had the same experience eight years ago. Redundancy feels crushing and my identity and self-worth as well as finances took a huge knock. I found it hard to keep motivated. The future looked bleak and I thought, “Who will employ a 52-year-old?” and “Can I secure a similar role and status that I’ve been used to?” So I began the long haul of looking for a work. I updated my CV, wrote letters and applied for posts that had too many applicants, often not even receiving an acknowledgement from the company. It felt soul-destroying, demoralising and tough to reassure my family that “something” would turn up. It hurt to be unable to provide for them.
However, we had learnt from experience and we knew how to cut out all unessential financial commitments and to reallocate our household budget. It is surprising how little you can exist on each month when you really try. We only bought essential food, but no new clothes, no holidays and took care to be aware when lighting and heating our home. Eventually, I went to a Christian Life Coach who helped me rethink the way forwards. He encouraged me to dare to think outside of my comfort zone, out of the box! Even out of the North-West! I focussed on questions like, “What do I really want from my life?” “What are my hopes and ambitions, plans and dreams?” “Where does my Christian faith fit in?”
With a clean sheet of paper I sat down to re-evaluate. Life can be a challenge and it can be easy to be self- pitying, asking “Why me again?” Each morning I woke up and said, “God, my future is in your hands.” It was hard to pray and keep positive, as I tend to be a “cup half empty” type of person, with a negative and cautious view of life. However, I was positive this time, through almost a year of unemployment Then in spring 2010, I heard that a Christian Bookshop business covering Lancaster and Preston was up for sale. I investigated the possibility of buying it,
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but was uncertain that I knew enough about retail; how to sell books, DVDs, CDs, gifts and cards. Why would I take on such a financial commitment at my age? I considered the risk of being self-employed, knowing that many high street shops are closing. But on the 1st July I did it! What a great sense of peace I have now! A few months on and it doesn’t really feel like work! Why? Well, I’m not commuting hundreds of miles to meetings, no nights away from home, no unrealistic targets and none of the crushing pressures to perform, that big businesses put you under. To top that, I have inherited a dedicated staff team, who are well able to guide and support me with great patience! I am sure they are exasperated by my many questions.
“Stress could have pushed us apart.” My wife Kath has been so supportive through the struggles of both redundancies. The stress could have pushed us apart, but maybe because of our Christian faith, we were able to pull together and become a stronger couple in the tough times. Kath still works at a local publisher’s, but she has now become the “back room” person in our new bookshop, doing admin and being cheerful! She is very excited about the unexpected adventure of becoming a partner in a business (at her age!) Of course, to exist, this business must make a profit, but I strongly feel that profit is not the only reason for this work. It is a Christian light in the two city centres, to serve the churches and the local people, such as you. We provide books and music that help people cope with the various problems of daily life. The future for everyone is uncertain, but today, for me and my team, this work is very rewarding. There is life after redundancy. This answer to prayer was unexpected, but I am so glad that this was it!
Sign Nine is a free nine week taster
course for beginners. All welcome.
SUNDAY Chris Steele will be the main tutor. Chris was born deaf and his first language is British Sign Language (BSL). He has a certificate of Durham University British Sign Language Tutors and has taught and examined BSL students. Don’t panic! Chris promises to keep Sign Nine simple and fun. He says, “All ages and disabilities are welcome! There will be hearing people with us who will help you understand. Bring a friend along!” Chris and his wife June, (who featured in Summer 2010 Heart) attend Fulwood Free Methodist Church every Sunday morning, with other friends who are deaf. Chris is aware that hearing people sometimes avoid deaf people because they are embarrassed that they can’t communicate. There will be no embarrassment here... come along and see! To register interest please ring Tracey 01772 861597 or email Chris Steele via firstname.lastname@example.org
10 - 11.15am
Family service with Junior Church for primary age. and Youth Worship for ages 11 - 16
Sam and Chris at church, signing the BSL for Sign Nine
Where? Fulwood Free Methodist Church When? Feb 2nd to April 6th (except Half term) Time? 8pm to 9pm
How to walk into a church I have often looked at the church building and wished I could go in but I feel too worried!
Everyone feels nervous when they go into a new place. Remember how you felt when you started secondary school? Or the first day of a new job? Even Christians who are used to going to church can feel shy when they visit another church. Ask a friend to go with you for the first time. Why not call in for lunch on Wednesdays in term time, from 12 – 2pm. Read the contact details on the back of this magazine and ring any one you choose. You can ask to visit the building when it is empty. Staff work here most days and will show you round and answer your questions.
Fulwood Free Methodist Church looks so full and lively, but I am quite shy and struggle with crowds. How can I get involved without being overwhelmed? Yes, you’re right; we can get a bit crowded sometimes. Here are some tips... The evening service is less full, because fewer children attend. Try arriving at 6.15pm while it is quieter. Or if you like the idea of praying in a small group then come to pray on Tuesday nights at 7.30pm. Or ask if you can attend one of the many house groups which meet in homes around the area where you can make friends with a few people at a time.
If I come to a Sunday service what should I wear?
Whatever you feel comfortable in. Some people wear suits and others wear jeans. It doesn’t matter.
What if I don’t know what to do in a service? I don’t want to feel embarrassed!
Please don’t worry. We don’t give books out because the words of hymns or songs are on a screen at the front of the church. You can watch or join in as much as you like. The sermons are often backed up with power point pictures to help make things clear. Afterwards, if you like, you can stay for a hot or cold drink and a chat.
6.30 - 8pm
MONDAY Celebrate Recovery
7.30 - 9.30pm
TUESDAY Parents and Toddlers
10 - 12am
Prayer 7 - 8am 12noon - 1pm 7:30 -9pm
WEDNESDAY Lunchbreak 12 -2pm Café for all!
FRIDAY Youth Fridays! for years 7 - 8 6.30 - 8pm
I am a wheelchair user. Does the building meet my needs?
Yes. The entrance doors have push button access for wheelchair users and there are no steps. The corridors are wide. There is a lift in case you need to go upstairs. There are three separate specialised toilet facilities.
Friday Night Live 8 - 10pm for years 9+
MEET THE TEAM Andrew Gardner
Tracey Andrew Sue Ian Sonya with a brief outline of some of their weekly work
[Left to right]
Pastoral Church Worker Pastoral Care:
Giving you time at home, at church or in hospital
To answer questions on Christianity
Visits to your home or to hospital
Prayer and visits
Prayer and visits
Praying with people and for people
Community: Sue runs
How the Bible speaks to us today
Studying for ordination Helping with youth work and lots more to be planned!
our lunchbreak cafĂŠ
Contact Ian Tel: 01772 860874 E-mail: from Jan2011 email@example.com
Contact Sue Tel: 01772 867273 E-mail: suec@ fulwoodfmc.net
Ladies: small group
Sonya Buckle One year intern
Secretary and receptionist: Weekdays 9 - 3pm
Trainee home visitor
Answers your calls Makes appointments Books rooms
Come in through the front door and Tracey will do her best to help you or show you round.
Bible courses for adults and youth
and retreat leader
Running short courses
E-mail: andrewg@ fulwoodfmc.net
contact address Fulwood FMC Lightfoot Lane Fulwood Preston PR2 3LT
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for info on our church for podcasts - listen to our sunday messages online for blogs - thoughts and ideas for you to read
Contact Tracey Tel: 01772 861597 E-mail: traceyj@ fulwoodfmc.net
Meet Andrew at church or ring Tracey for an appointment with him.
Contact Sonya Tel: 01772 861597 E-mail sonyab@ fulwoodfmc.net
Stories fromFulwood Free Methodist Church,