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News News

Oxford Street. Cheltenham. GL52 6DU

February 2009

Congregational Church

July 2012


An invitation ... ... to find out more about our world You can read more about the work that mission partnership, the Council for Wesis and Wayne are doing on page World Mission. 19 in this issue of Highbury News. The Council for World Mission is a If you can, do join us and friends from partnership of 31 denominations the South West Midlands Area of the around the world in mission. Congregational Federation. Pencil in the evening of Tuesday 17th July, when Sharon and the Bolivia team hope to welcome Suzanne from Bolivia to an open Transformers evening with a Bolivia theme, and stay on afterwards for a first report of the On Tuesday 3rd July Wayne Hawkins recent Bolivia team visit. and Wesis Porop will be joining us at As we look forward to the beginning of Highbury for an afternoon from 2-30 to the Olympics with our Malawi partnership at our Parade Service on 4-00 when they will be reflecting on Sunday 8th July, how good it is to be mission in the CWM context. part of the world-wide family of the Very recently its headquarters have moved from London to Singapore. Its assembly, bringing together representatives from all those bodies, has recently been meeting in American Samoa.


Deadline for August Highbury News: Sunday 8th July

Highbury Congregational Church belongs to the Congregational Federation and is in partnership with the Council for World Mission and Churches Together 01242 522050

Highbury News


July 2012

Minister’s Memo Not the church of the future As a child of the Jewish people Jesus

had not only been dedicated at eight days, but he had also received the sign And indeed there’s more than a of being part of the people of God, modicum of truth in that phrase. circumcision. I guess it’s how the disciples of Jesus Jesus was adamant. felt when they angrily turned away the The kingdom of God belongs to the parents of those little children who littlest of children. had come to listen to Jesus. From its very beginnings Highbury has Jesus’ response was telling. taken children seriously. It is one of those rare occasions when Andrew and Susan Morton Brown built we read of the anger of Jesus. on the passionate commitment to nonBut his anger was not directed at the denominational Christian education of parents. Highbury people by opening a day It was directed at the disciples. school in our Grosvenor Street What he said to them is very telling building. For 80 years we had a and gives the lie to that phrase that building dedicated to working with children. trips off the tongue so easily. “Let the little children come to me; do Alice Brown still remembers the not stop them; for it is to such as these Sunday school that met there until 80 years ago this year! that the kingdom of God belongs.” When Eric Burton joined the church in Notice the tense! 1966, fresh from working as a Jesus does not say how precious these children’s and youth officer for the little ones are because one day, when then Congregational Union of England they are old enough, and have come to and Wales he published his book, an understanding of all the ins and as a passionate plea for outs of the Christian faith, and have all-age church. reached the point at which in an adult way the can make a full confession of It comes to something when we faith ... then the kingdom of God will receive a plea from Eric’s predecessor, Lawrence Squires, who at 101 is belong to them. wanting to know what Messy Church is What he says is quite simple. so that he can help launch it in his own “... it is to such as these that the church!!! kingdom of God belongs.” When Becky joined us she had just That was nothing new. come to the end of a project with the It was an age-old part of Jewish Congregational Federation developing thinking. Children belong. They are youth work. It wasn’t long before her part of the people of God. book came out, . It’s very tempting to think that way.

Highbury News


July 2012

And in the time Becky worked with us as Pastoral Assistant we saw many of the ideas she had developed coming to fruition here at Highbury.

The same could be said of some of the adult groups we work with too!

But most of the groups we work with are very much part of the church, the It’s great now that Carolyn is building children who belong, belong to our on the work Becky has done and church. developing new initiatives to They are not ‘the church of the future’ strengthen and build up our work with they are ‘the church of today’. children and young people. Perhaps I should re-phrase that. Carolyn shares some of her insights We, all of us who belong, make up the into children at church on pages 7 and church here in this place. 8 in this issue of Highbury News. We are the body of Christ here in this It’s great to see children and families place. In Paul’s words “we, who are at church on a Sunday morning and to many, are one body in Christ, and we remember in our prayers Bubbles, belong to each other.” Splash, X-Stream and M:Ocean. I guess that’s why, when asked at the It’s great to see so many at Hy-Tec on beginning of the year, people came up Sunday evenings, and to know that with those particular words and Ruth Wyatt and Sweep of Hy-Tec are phrases about children to describe so involved in the Federation’s new what’s special about Highbury initiative with young people, CF-Xtra. It’s great to see Transformers going from strength to strength. It’s great to see the Toddler Group This is the church we are now! growing in numbers. Every blessing, It’s great to see the work done with the Scout Group and through Girlguiding. Richard Cleaves Some of those groups would not see the children who belong to them as belonging to ‘church’, though they are very much part of Highbury’s extended family.

Christian Aid Thank you to everyone who helped to raise a truly amazing total of £1,488:14 in Christian Aid Week .... this is significantly more than we have raised in the last few years. Laura MacLeod

Highbury News


July 2012

Sue’s News How busy the month of June was! Action every Sunday and all went well, of course. The Jubilee lunch was an exceptional event, though, sadly, we did not make it to the Manse Garden. I think a lot of Garden Parties just turned into Parties that weekend! Highbury hall was wonderfully decorated, the meal was a treat and the ambience warm and friendly. No dress code had been suggested but the spontaneous preponderance of red, white and blue showed people’s enthusiasm for the celebrations. Those who worked so hard to contribute to the event are to be thanked and congratulated (see page 10 for further words of thanks!) The same Sunday, I was pleased that the commemorative New Testaments were so well received. Much being made of the Coronation New Testaments lovingly kept by Diana and myself was touching. I am still unsure of the meaning of “Lively oracles of God”. What a strange expression!

A small committee is collecting and collating information for a history of Highbury. Surely everyone has a contribution to make? Even 10-20 years ago is history! Please send June Tremlett or Diana Adams your memories, however small they are! I shall be away visiting relatives for two weeks from Wednesday 4th July, inevitably missing church events. But one always misses something ..... I didn’t plan the date of a cousin’s wedding in Ontario! Then, at the end of July, Richard and Felicity will take their annual summer break. We wish them a relaxing, restorative time, and pray they will return ready for the autumn activities. You may not be interested in the Olympic Games, but do at least show one of the ‘More than Gold’ window stickers in your car, or home. The Echo advertised them as bumper stickers. They clearly had not tried to stick them anywhere.

As we go to press, the Aber Valley Male Voice Choir is revisiting Highbury ... it is hard to believe that their last visit was on Saturday 2nd June 2007. CHURCH FAMILY NEWS, AND VISITING REQUESTS please contact:

( David and Betty Butcher ( Joyce and Philip Arnold

PRAYER CHAIN REQUESTS please contact: Lorraine Gasside

Highbury News


July 2012

Chosen Charity for July: Gloucestershire Kidney Patients’ Association Gloucestershire Kidney Patients’ Association is a registered charity which was formed in 1989 to help kidney patients attending Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. This includes haemodialysis patients attending the Cotswold Dialysis Centre at the hospital and also patients undergoing peritoneal dialysis. This kind of dialysis has two types. The most commonly used type is known as Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD). In this form patients have fluid in their abdomen 24 hours a day. At the end of each period of dialysis, they have to change the dialysis fluid themselves. The other type is known as Automated Peritoneal Dialysis (APD). ‘Automated’ means that a machine changes the dialysis fluid for the person, usually at night. Membership also includes people who are waiting for dialysis or kidney transplants as well as those who have had their transplants. The Association has a membership of over 200, most of whom are in Gloucestershire, but some also attend GRH from Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Wiltshire. The aim is to support patients, give them holidays, help with transport to and

from hospital, and organise fund raising. Most of the committee are either patients or relatives of patients and have an insight into the needs of other kidney patients. They are at hand to lend an ear to problems, point people in the right direction for specific help and generally be a help to them. They also offer advice on help obtainable from the National Kidney Federation, including the help line and obtaining Kidney Life magazine. They also subscribe towards further specific local research projects at the hospital and of course promote the National Organ Donor Register. Gloucestershire KPA has recently been able to buy pressure-relieving pads for the dialysis chairs in the unit as well as equipment that may be outside the NHS budget. Some patients who are on home dialysis may not have space to store the fluids required and the association is able to help in the building of a suitable lean-to. Two holidays a year are planned and in May five patients and their carers had a week’s holiday in Bournemouth where they had outings arranged around their dialysis sessions.

Highbury Community Café Every Thursday 10:00am until 11:30am Coffee, Tea and Homemade Cake Bring your friends and neighbours

Highbury News


July 2012

Children’s Worker Report In our original searching for ‘What’s special about Highbury?’ it was very encouraging that ‘children’ were prominent. For my part, I was equally pleased to see the concept of ‘intergenerational church’ and ‘all age’ qualities were important and cherished by church members. As we celebrate and reflect on the part children play at Highbury this month, I firstly want to thank you for having the vision to support children’s work; financially, prayerfully and in practical service. In the last ten months, I have thoroughly enjoyed all my involvement with the children and their activities; both at regular and special events. A recent highlight has been the Transformers Talent Show (otherwise billed as ‘TGT’ - Transformers Got Talent!). I felt all along that much of being the Children’s Worker was about getting to know the children and supporting and facilitating their ideas so that they are involved in shaping the church. This became a perfect example. Andi made the suggestion, and I listened and encouraged the group at Transformers as they worked out what they wanted to do and how we could make it all happen. Alongside the ‘show biz’, we were able to arrange a series for the God Slot about talents, gifts, creativity and character, so that our Bible teaching and discussions supported their interests. I am very grateful to all the helpers who entered into the spirit of the thing as judges (even demonstrating their own magic talents!) to Darryl for setting up a

Highbury News

stage, mic and lighting, and to Marjory and Ken for producing a feast for us in the interval. (You will enjoy Andi’s account of the event on the next page.) There was a great sense of coming together and shared enjoyment with encouragement from parents, siblings and grandparents too, making up a supportive audience. As with our Christmas and Easter Café events and Fathers’ Day morning service, ‘children’s work’ becomes a whole lot bigger and more fulfilling by involving all ages. I feel very proud that Highbury achieved its Child Friendly Church Award, and I am grateful to be able to continue this work. There has been obvious commitment by the whole church family to make this happen. Rotas are in place and, without all the willing helpers, this work could not happen. In M:Ocean we talked recently about how the members of the group see the church and their place in it. I was thrilled to hear them talk confidently about how they too value the all age aspect of church, and identify themselves as growing from children towards adult membership. They have become part of Hy-Tec, are thoroughly enjoying their involvement in Hy-Spirit, and any job with responsibility such as Sunday Special and Summer Holiday Club Helpers. I believe it is no accident that this has happened. All church members have a role to play in the nurture of children. As a result of your commitment, this area of church has grown.


July 2012

As we look to the future, there is a The principles would be the same; get challenge for Highbury. to know the group, listen and commit to providing for their needs. Yes, we are a child friendly church. Are we friendly enough for teens, 20s, Do come to Highbury’s Weekend at Home where everyone is welcome and 30s? we can join the discussions on ‘What’s Could it be possible to adapt to missing?’ and ‘Where do we go from attract these groups? here?’ What are we missing? Carolyn

Transformers Andrea Moses describes the recent Transformers Talent Show held at the end of term. The whole event was Andi's idea and she did a tremendous job of running the show with Matthew Bloxham from St Luke's ...

TGT At Transformers we had a talent drink and after the break we had the show, TGT (hence the title) and it results. was great! So much talent to offer As soon as Matthew and I said we from us Transformers kids. were going to reveal the results the First of all Carolyn introduced the atmosphere tensed! For the boys show and Matthew and I started off the winner was Murray, and for the with a hello and introduced the first girls it was Sam and me! But act which was Tabi and Grace with everyone got something, as well as magic. They wowed us with their the kids in the audience too. tricks. For Sam and me, winning it was Next was Eilidh and her recorder. probably a big moment, and for She played some great tunes. Murray too, but we were thrilled and couldn’t wait to tell our parents and The night pretty much went on like celebrate too. that with Joel and another magic trick, Luke and his football skills, So as you can tell, TGT was seriously Sam and I sang, and Murray flew his fun and we are a really talented model helicopter! Then we had a bunch. break with delicious snacks and a Andi x

Highbury News


July 2012

News of the Church Family CONGRATULATIONS to - Vicki Paterson and Phil Davies on the birth of Benjamin Michael on Thursday 24th May, a brother for Jamie and Matthew - Brenda and Raymond Clarke who celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary on Saturday 26th May - Margaret and Roy Seago who celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary on Saturday 2nd June - grandmother Sandie Mason, and parents Cathy and Frank, on the birth of a little boy, Buzz Cody - grandparents Phil and Marguerite Brown, and parents Ben and Barbara on the birth of a baby girl, Elizabeth Grace – a niece for Chloe - Matthew Winton (Sweep) who has been elected to the CF-XTRA’s Core Team BEST WISHES to - Brenda Lamb, as she moves to live in the Abbeyfield Home in Prestbury - Lawrence Squires celebrating his 101st birthday on Friday 6th July - Poppy Jennifer Archer on the occasion of her Baptism on Sunday 8th July, daughter of Tom and Nicky Archer, and sister of Eleanor and Harry IT IS A PLEASURE TO REPORT that - Caroline Gregory is home again with Christopher, following her surgery - George Gregory is home, recovering well following a time in hospital OUR SYMPATHY to - John Cook and all the family following the death of Janet, a former Church Member and Highbury Brownie Leader - Rachel Jacques on the death of her Dad, Ron, on Wednesday 6th June in Cheltenham General Hospital PLEASE REMEMBER IN YOUR PRAYERS all those mentioned above - and - Ray and Margaret Morgan, as Ray remains in hospital - Iain MacLeod’s 100 year old grandmother in hospital - Janet Rhodes, who has fractured her wrist in a nasty fall - Maurice Wilce with continuing health problems

- Joan Lee

- Ann and Stan Jones

- Ivy Sadler

- Gwen Taylor

- Ian and Hilare Pulford

- Vera and David Williams

- Mary Michael’s sister Magda, who was taken ill while visiting Mary - others with a variety of problems - personal, family, health, work, education - also remembering those who care for all these folk

Highbury News


July 2012

THANK YOU - for your concern and prayers when my Dad, Peter Shrubsole, was so poorly. He has responded well to the specialised chemotherapy drug (which targets hairy cell leukaemia) and is making remarkable progress. raise God for those who design these amazing drugs too.. Karen Haden

Diamond Jubilee Celebrations “Thank you for the excellent community lunch, and especially all the volunteers and helpers who cooked and washed up, as I am sure a lot of work went on behind the scenes to make it a success. We learnt much about people we have seen as familiar faces for years but never actually spoken to. It was lovely to be served.” Stephen and Helen - neighbours “Thank you for the splendid food and atmosphere at the Big Lunch - for me, very much on my own, it was a joyous occasion.” Richard 11 “Thank you for the invitation to the well organised and very enjoyable Diamond Jubilee lunch. We had a great time.” Sue and Derek - neighbours “Thank you so much for a lovely lunch.” Polly, Steve and Wilf - neighbours “I really enjoyed the lunch and the service, and was gutted I didn’t have the voice to sing.” Amanda “Thank you for a lovely meal, and we liked the rousing hymns and the music.” Vera and Gerry - neighbours “Thank you for a very memorable day! The morning service, with the wonderful hymns and especially Richard Sharpe’s ‘organ fanfare’ prior to the National Anthem, was truly inspirational. What a lovely idea to give the children a New Testament as a souvenir of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, just as Sue and Diana had received in 1953 for the Queen’s Coronation (and it was good to see their copies were not in pristine condition – maybe proving they had been well used?) There was a happy, friendly, celebratory atmosphere at the Big Lunch, the meal was delicious (Coronation Chicken, how appropriate!) and a number of people obviously worked extremely hard in preparation, cooking, serving, clearing away and washing up afterwards – thank you all! Finally, the ‘Hymn for the Nation’ sung by the choir during the evening service. All in all, an excellent day. Thank you.”

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July 2012

Highbury@Home Friday 28th to Sunday 30th September Having discovered everything that is good about Highbury Church ...

... we now look to what we can do to make it even better! What is included? Evening meal on Friday. Lunch and Evening Meal on Saturday. Breakfast for those are on the sleepovers or for the early birds. Opportunities for fellowship, discussion, to have your say on Highbury’s future. Meeting people you only know by sight. Worshipping together. Engaging with the Bible. Having fun together. What is expected of you? That you commit to the full programme from Friday evening through to Sunday. Friday night sleepover option for year 1 to year 6. Saturday night sleepover option (with film) for year 6 upwards. What to do next! Be sure to fill in a booking form and leave it in the box at church ... and come along to what promises to be a wonderful weekend together, culminating in our Harvest Celebration on Back to Church Sunday!

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July 2012

Hy-Way Would you be able to help out from time to time at the lovely Hy-Way group for older people? The group meets every Wednesday afternoon from 2.00pm to 3.45pm and enjoys a short time of worship, some form of ‘entertainment’ – a talk, DVD, quiz or anything else that takes our fancy! We need help to provide transport, preparing the room, hosting the afternoon, leading prayers, providing some kind of entertainment, making mugs of tea, washing up and clearing away. Any amount of help welcome. It’s a great group and fun to be with. Please get in touch to find out more. Have a chat with Janet Rhodes or Joyce Jones. Or contact me: Jenny Bartlett

Our meetings continue on Wednesday afternoons in July in the Morton Brown Room and all are welcome to join us!

Chosen Charities Communion offerings and money donated at coffee time after morning worship will go to our chosen charity for July, which is Gloucestershire Kidney Patients’ Association - see page 6. The total raised by our communion offerings and by those who stayed for coffee after morning services in May, for The Woodlands House of Prayer Trust (Brunel Manor) amounted to £151.57

Welcoming Team for July Sunday MORNING Shirley Fiddimore David Butcher Gwyneth Rattle

Sunday EVENING June Tremlett Rose Hayward Edwin Hayward

Vestry Duty Sunday MORNING Sharon Wallington

Sunday EVENING Mary Buchanan

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July 2012

Open the Book On Being the Church Thursday 12th July 7-30 to 9-00pm In June and July we are going to continue our look at what it means to be the church. We began with Jesus, moved on to look at Paul, Peter and James and now turn to John the Divine. Do join us if you can... Thursday 12th July

On being the Church ... the seven letters of Revelation Richard Cleaves

Prayers for Cheltenham Monday to Friday 12-30 to 12-45 St Mary’s Church in the Town Centre People from all the churches of Cheltenham are invited to join together in prayer for our town each weekday lunchtime from 12-30 to 12-45 in St Mary’s, the parish church of Cheltenham. Richard Cleaves

Advanced Notice – date for your diary Saturday 27th October at 7pm UKEBOX JURY Please join us for a fun evening of music with this Ukelele Band - more details will follow nearer the time Lorraine Gasside

When the weather is wet we must not fret, When the weather is dry we must not cry, When the weather is cold we must not scold, When the weather is warm we must not storm, But be thankful together we can weather the weather.

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July 2012




Sunday 10-30am

Morning Service

Richard Cleaves

Sunday 6-30pm

Evening Service

Richard Cleaves

Sunday 7-15pm


Adrian Blazey

Monday 6-45pm


Andy Sargent

Tuesday 9-45am


Felicity Cleaves

Tuesday 5-45pm


Carolyn Tennant

Wednesday 2-00pm


Sue Cole

Wednesday 6-15pm


Ian Miller

Wednesday 6-00pm


Christine Lodge

3rd Wednesday 8pm

House Group

Sharon Wallington

Thursday 10 - 11.30

Community Café

Felicity Cleaves

Thursday 7-30pm

Church Meeting

Sue Cole

Tel. Number

Deacons’ Meeting Open the Book

Richard Cleaves

Friday 7-00pm


Tania Ashdown

Friday 7-30pm


Mary Clifford

Saturday 10-00am


Amanda Sargent

1st Saturday 2-30pm

Friendship Group

Olga Slack

2nd Saturday 6.30pm


Peter Tennant

Sunday 9-30 am


Mary Buchanan

Highbury Lunch This month the lunch will be held on Wednesday 11th July at 12.30pm All are welcome to come along, bring your friends and neighbours just let us know you are coming! The Cooking Team

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July 2012

Calendar for July 2012 SUNDAY 1st

Tuesday 3rd


Morning Worship


Evening Prayers with Holy Communion


A Worldwide Partnership in Mission (see page 19)

Thursday 5th


Church Meeting - all are welcome

Saturday 7th


Friendship Group for those who live alone


Breakfast and Sunday Special



Tuesday 10th

Morning Worship and Baptism of Poppy


Evening Prayers


HOPE Group

Wednesday 11th 12.30pm

Highbury Lunch (see page 14)

Thursday 12th


Open the Book (see page 13)

Saturday 14th


Hy-Speed for younger members


Hy-Speed for older members (


Tuesday 17th


Morning Worship with Holy Communion


Evening Prayers


Transformers’ Bolivian Messy Church

SUNDAY 22nd 10.30am

Morning Worship led by Paul Bennett


Evening Prayers led by Rev Jill Stevens

SUNDAY 29th 10.30am

Morning Worship led by Judi Holloway


Highbury News

Evening Prayers led by Alan Barratt

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July 2012

Prayer Focus - District 7 Richard and Diana Adams Mark (Assistant Scout Leader) and Lizzie Addington, and Louis Désirée Beer David and Joyce Bullows, Grace, Isabel and Heather Mary Clifford John Lewis Steve and Alison Merrett Roger Merrett Deacon: Iain MacLeod Visitor: John Lewis

Prayer Rota for Sundays in July Morning Sunday



Sharon Wallington




Mary Michael




Richard Cleaves




Janet Partington

Sunday 29th July Evening

Iain MacLeod

Sunday 15th July

Mary Buchanan

S.W. Midlands Area of the Congregational Federation invites us to pray for … Sunday 1st July Sunday




July July

Sunday 22nd July Sunday



Frampton on Severn Witney Kingswood Bristol All Holiday Clubs Hawkesbury Upton

Please also remember in your prayers the lay-preachers and all who minister to the churches in the Area, especially thinking of Adrian Wyatt and his wife Sheren - Adrian is minister of the church at Kingswood, Wotton under Edge

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July 2012

Entry into Christian Ministry – in the beginning Part 1: Once upon a time, Sunday 29th September 1944, I woke up to quite unusual weather conditions after fire watching at the Perse School. Towards the end of World War II fire watching was a necessary public duty, to be ready if wanted during an overnight air raid. You had to be prepared to extinguish incendiary bombs which may have dropped on the roofs of buildings, before they became gutted by fire. After a raid on that September morning, with heavy rain and a sudden drop in temperature, the roads were left glazed with hard packed frozen ice. Cycling home was not at all easy! When I arrived home my father, a newly appointed Methodist candidate being considered ‘on trial’ as a local preacher in the Cottenham Circuit, had a problem. How was he to get a message to his first appointment that morning at Waterbeach Methodist Chapel to say that he was unable to get there? Very few homes had telephones. With all the impulsiveness of a headstrong youth I accepted the challenge to attempt the seven mile cycle trip to Waterbeach to inform them my father was unable to be there. At Waterbeach Chapel in those days there was a much-loved ageing Methodist local preacher affectionately known as ‘Daddy Buckenham’. After a never to be forgotten hazardous cycle ride I arrived at the little vestry at the Chapel and was greeted by Mr. Buckenham with a warm welcome and hand-shake. After delivering my message as to why my Dad could not come, we sat down to give the situation quiet thought and prayer. Then, dear old Mr. Buckenham his face shining as did that of Moses when he came down from Mount Sinai (Exodus 24 v.29) looked straight at me and said: “You can lead the service for us! I’ll be there with you should you need me . . .” Thus, ‘dropped in at the deep end’ after further prayer together I went in to face my first congregation of eight faithful members of that chapel, and gave them my first sermon. So my ministry began! (to be continued …) Eric Burton

Lessons in Proof Reading These sentences all appeared in church bulletins ... The evening sermon topic today will be “What is Hell?” Come early and listen to our choir practice. Don’t let worry kill you off – let the Church help. The Fasting and Prayer Conference will include meals. Coffee and mice pies will be served after the evening service. The sermon topic this morning; “Jesus walks on the water.” The sermon topic this evening: “Searching for Jesus.” Next Thursday there will be auditions for the choir. They need all the help they can get.

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July 2012

CWM Service of Thanksgiving “for the time being...” CWM staff past and present, current and former mission partners, ecumenical friends and colleagues, representatives and members of CWM member churches and Regions, friends and supporters of CWM in a whole variety of ways, all gathered together at the City Temple in London, in May, for a Service of Thanksgiving.

It was an opportunity to give thanks to God for the life and witness of CWM at this special moment, as CWM’s General Secretariat relocates from London to Singapore; to thank God for the shared past, discern God’s presence in this moment, and to commit a shared future to God’s blessing.

CWM Assembly in Pago Pago, American Samoa The theme: “Hope - the language of life” The Assembly in June brought together 125 representatives from CWM’s member bodies to read the signs of the times, to listen to God, to set strategic priorities, and to select trustees for the CWM Council. “Hope is stepping out with assurance “If there is no hope then energy is that it will be alright whatever ‘it’ is.” sapped away and there is no urge to J. McConnell, Jamaica carry on.” C. Clay, Wales “Hope is an expectation of what is to come which demands patience and “A community with hope can make a confidence in waiting.” big difference. The community is A. Imchen, Samoa vibrant, focused and knows what it is “In the spirit of ‘tlawmngaihna’ we looking for.” J. Samuel, India always hope, even if there is no hope.” “Hope rests in the God whose Z. Pachuau, Botswana purposes for the world are gracious “When all is lost, we turn to God for and just, and in the Christ who is comfort; He is the hope of every Lord of a Kingdom which stands before us as a promise we trust.” situation.” P. Mulambya, Zambia

R. Rominger, URC, UK

“Let hope be a hope that never “We plant hope in every seed we put into the earth, trusting God’s hands fades away from you and me.” to be in the soil.” A. Imchen, Samoa

S. Cutting, Asian Rural Institute

“Hope inspires me to dream the best “Hope is the life-line of our faith.” dreams for myself.” A. McCalman, Guyana

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J. Samuel, India

July 2012

CWM - A World-wide Partnership in Mission Among all the partner churches of the Council for World Mission Papua New Guinea has a particularly warm place in Highbury’s heart. Alison Stelley’s father, Cyril, was a missionary with the then London Missionary Society, now CWM, in Papua New Guinea back in the early part of the twentieth century. Maureen Williams went as a nurse to Papua New Guinea shortly after the Council for World Mission came into being, and was the first person from the Congregational Federation to serve as a missionary. On Tuesday 3rd July we will be welcoming Bishop Wesis Porop to Highbury to meet with ministers and church leaders from the Congregational Federation in the morning and to share in an open meeting from 2-30 to 4-00 in the afternoon. Bishop Wesis will be joined by Wayne Hawkins, who is the European Regional Secretary for Mission in CWM. Wayne will recently have returned from the CWM Assembly in American Samoa, and will be reporting on the vision for mission that CWM has for the future. Wayne tells us a little more about Wesis:

Do join us from 2-30 to 4-00 on Tuesday 3rd July for what promises to be an interesting afternoon.

“Hope energises a community to “Hope is what reminds me to honour keep going, to not accept defeat and my life with faith and to rely on God to not let destruction have the last to divinely guide and sustain me in word.” every circumstance.” A. McCalman, Guyana

R. Nokise, Fiji

“Hope is defined by the goodness “Hope, I believe, is vital to life and to and light it brings to people’s lives.” W. Hawkins, Europe faith because hope presses towards the future and hope looks forward.” “Hope remains because Jesus was R. Nokise, Fiji resurrected.” J. Samuel, India

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July 2012

Ancient Olympic Games According to historical records, the first ancient Olympic Games can be traced back to 776 B.C. They were dedicated to the Olympian gods, and were staged on the ancient plains of Olympia. They continued for nearly 12 centuries, until Emperor Theodosius decreed in 393 A.D. that all such “pagan cults” be banned. Olympia, the site of the ancient Olympic Games, is in the western part of the Peloponnese which, according to Greek mythology, is the island of "Pelops", the founder of the Olympic Games. Imposing temples, votive buildings, elaborate shrines and ancient sporting facilities were combined in a site of unique natural and mystical beauty. Olympia functioned as a meeting place for worship and other religious and political practices as early as the 10th century B.C. The central part of Olympia was dominated by the majestic temple of Zeus, with the temple of Hera parallel to it. The Games and Religion The Olympic Games were closely linked to the religious festivals of the cult of Zeus, but were not an integral

part of a rite. Indeed, they had a secular character and aimed to show the physical qualities and evolution of the performances accomplished by young people, as well as encouraging good relations between the cities of Greece. According to specialists, the Olympic Games owed their purity and importance to religion. Victory Ceremonies The Olympic victor received his first awards immediately after the competition. Following the announcement of the winner's name by the herald, a Hellanodikis (Greek judge) would place a palm branch in his hands, while the spectators cheered and threw flowers to him. Red ribbons were tied on his head and hands as a mark of victory. The official award ceremony would take place on the last day of the Games, at the elevated vestibule of the temple of Zeus. In a loud voice, the herald would announce the name of the Olympic winner, his father's name, and his homeland. Then, the Hellanodikis placed the sacred olive tree wreath, or kotinos, on the winner's head.

Robert Dover’s Olimpick Games Nearly four centuries ago, a visionary named Robert Dover revived the spirit of Ancient Greece, on the Hill above Chipping Campden. These ‘Cotwold Olimpicks’ may not be the largest Olympic Games, but they claim to be the most accessible, and certainly the most friendly and enjoyable; and they are the oldest ‘modern’ sporting

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meeting in the world, having run (with interruptions) since 1612, and are generally recognised as one of the forerunners of the modern Olympic Games. The 400th anniversary of the Cotswold Olimpicks was held in June 2012, with an evening of sport and entertainment

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- both ancient and modern – showing support for the true Olympic ideals, ethics and values of sporting excellence, friendship and fraternity, and beginning the build-up to the London Olympics. The organisers of the event (which has been taking place in the same location, on the wonderful natural amphiteatre of Dovers Hill since 1612), laid on an ambitious programme of activities and entertainment. As well as the perennial favourites, such as shin-kicking, the 5 mile Olimpick Run, Championship of The Hill and the Tug o’ War, this year’s Games featured a raft of special events to celebrate the 400th Anniversary of the Games. And in case you think it serendipitous that the ‘Olimpicks’ celebrated its 400th in the same year as the London 2012 Olympics, such is the importance of the Cotswold Olimpicks to the birth of the modern Olympic Games, that the London 2012 bid committee used the 400th Anniversary as part of its justification for winning the Games in 2012! In their winning bid they said, “It will be exactly 400 years from the moment that the first stirrings of Britain’s Olympic beginnings can be identified. Whatever the eccentric nature of the event, this was the predawn of the Olympic movement and the Cotswold Games began the historical thread in Britain that was ultimately to lead to the creation of the modern Olympics.” This year’s Games expanded into an all-day event, finishing with the traditional torchlit descent into

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Chipping Campden at 10.00pm (the largest torchlit descent in Europe!) A real flavour of the 1612 Games was provided by a complete Jacobean Village on Dovers Hill, with activities and games for children, Jacobean music, backswords displays and more. The organisers entered into the spirit of 1612, dressing up in Jacobean costume for the Games. Perhaps one of the most exciting features of this year’s Olimpicks was a brand new ‘Olimpick Stage’, featuring a selection of musical acts, including a choir of 150 members, for the World Premiere of ‘The Welcome Songs’. These songs come under the aegis of the London 2012 Festival, part of the Cultural Olympiad, and involve four communities across the country performing celebratory ‘Welcome Songs’. They take inspiration from four geographical areas with links to the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games – Chipping Campden, Much Wenlock, Weymouth and Stoke Mandeville; and the songs form a narrative suite inspired by the values of both the modern Olympic and Paralympic movements. Bedded in English traditional music, the suite was arranged for choral voices by I Fagiolini. Organisers welcomed record crowds of over 5,000 for the Games which were covered by TV crews and media from around the World. The Games’ climax was a traditional firework display, although a specially commissioned beacon replaced this year’s traditional bonfire - one of the many Jubilee Beacons across the country.

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Pray blessing on the London 2012 Olympic Games B – Body: for physical fitness and safety for all involved. L – Labour: for those who have been and will be employed in this huge event, that they will find work afterwards.

E – Emotions: that the atmosphere of the Olympic village (where athletes will live) will be healthy, joyful and wholesome.

S – Social: that every place where the Games take place will benefit as a result of the investment received.

S – Spiritual: that the Games will be marked and defined by integrity, righteousness, truth and light, and that their legacy will be more of God’s glory revealed in this land.

Pray for all those participating in the Games. Keep your eyes and ears open to notice when the Games are mentioned in the media, and develop the practice of praying ‘Your Kingdom come’ each time you hear or see reference to the Games.

The Lord’s Prayer In Chichewa from Malawi Atate athy a kumwamba Dzina lanu liyeretsedewe Ufumy wanu udze, Kufuna kwanu kuchitidwe manga a kumwamba chomwecho pansi pano Mutipatse ife lero chakudya chathu cha lero Mutikhululuhire zochimwa zathu Mango ifenso tiwa khululukira a mangawa athu Muzati tengere kokatiye sa Kome mutipulumutse kwa dipayo Chifukwa wanu uli ufumu dni mphamvu ndi ulemerero was nthawi zones, Amen

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July 2012

Congregational Federation South East Area is looking forward to welcoming you to The Annual May Assembly at The River Centre, Tonbridge, Kent on Saturday 11th May 2013 so put the date in your diary now! The River Centre is a prestigious, state-of-the-art venue located in the centre of Tonbridge. It is less than 10 minutes from Tonbridge station, with regular services to London taking only 45 minutes. There are 94 parking spaces on-site. The M25 (junction 5) is 15 minutes away, Maidstone 25 minutes, Gatwick 45 minutes, and Heathrow 1 hour. Exciting ‘fringe event’ on Friday evening Dedicated facilities for children and young people Good access for people with disabilities Church book shop available Exhibition Lunch available Tea and coffee provided

Update on Moffat in death row in Zambia In the most recent letter from Moffat, written in March, he thanked us for our support, prayers and encouragement; and he was getting excited on our behalf about the Olympics! In a previous letter I told him about Eric Liddell, and as he showed interest I have sent him a copy of 'Chariots of Fire'. I think that the reason we haven’t heard from him for a while is that he has still not received the quarterly payments that we send, and stamps in Zambia are expensive, like here now. Please pray for Moffat as he may be feeling anxious and isolated. The money could go towards paying for his medical bills, nourishing food, stamps and toiletries. Also, his pastor who in the past has helped him with postage costs is retiring, and I don't think another has been appointed yet. Please remember Moffat’s daughter, Cecilia, in your prayers. Her head-teacher is pleased with her progress over the last twelve months, and has said that she will send me a photograph of Cecilia with her classmates. Also, Moses Chansa still needs prayer. This ex-prisoner, now an evangelist, has problems with his health, finance and accommodation. Judi Marsh

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July 2012

2012 THEME “more than we ever dreamed” (John 10:10)

18+ Activity Weekend from 20th to 22nd July for ages 18 to 29

vocation, vocation, vocation

Where is it? We are at Marrick Priory in North Yorkshire. This is a Christian-run activity centre in beautiful countryside near Richmond in North Yorkshire:

What will we do? As well as some outdoor stuff organised by Marrick, we are thinking about how God might want to be involved with our daily work: what we do, and how we do it. We are also looking to support one another, build friendships and enjoy worshipping and relaxing together. We will be an international group with some visitors from Africa taking part. The event begins on Friday from 5.00pm and ends on Sunday at 2.00pm. (Some people will then stay on because they are leading Summer Camp.) For those travelling by train, there will be someone to meet you at Northallerton station if arranged beforehand with the Youth and Children’s Office. Ask about subsidised travel if you are making a long journey. The fee is £30, which covers all costs including activities. Accommodation is in bunk rooms with showers. All bookings by Wednesday 11th July, please. Please use the standard CF-XTRA booking form held by your church contact. Any questions, just contact Stephen Haward on 0115 9111 452 or at:

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July 2012

Out of the Depths At this event in April my fellow members of Cheltenham Poetry Society and I read some of our own poems tracing the journey from despair to hope, doubt to faith. Here is one of mine which was also featured by Richard in his sermon one Sunday evening. I wrote it in the 1990s and over the years have read it at various writing groups. Different people have interpreted it in different ways some seeing something spiritual in it, others not picking up on that at all. I would rather leave the readers to draw their own conclusions, but if you want an idea of what was in my mind - well the clue is in the title. Soul Seeker Down miles of unlit corridors and through all the sunless rooms the air - stuffy and dust-speckled swells in the silent emptiness. I am at home in this emptiness; this quiet place of quiet shadows is my hiding-place. My friends do not come here; their voices have yet to echo through this darkness. But Your voice is different, although small and still I hear it clearly. When you call out my real name it doesn't bounce off the bare walls.

It is warm and Your words are arms that reach out to save, love, protect. Somehow, beyond dare and dream You take delight in me. You sing of Your love for me and even these silent dusty rooms reverberate with sung love. And now that I know what my treasure is and where my heart is, sunlight and song sweep through, strong as an avalanche, to bury deep the once irredeemable dark. Judi Marsh

Hope “We do not claim that the Christian life is easy, but we are sure of is that our hope and ultimate goal is God who is ever faithful.” P. Mulambya, Zambia

“I think that as hope is expressed it takes on hands and feet, which also means change and transformation.” W. Hawkins, Europe

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July 2012

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Help and Advice on Pre-Arranged Funeral Plans

July 2012

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July 2012

Highbury Congregational Church A place to share Christian friendship, explore Christian faith and enter into Christian mission Sundays at 10.30am A time for all the Church family to share in worship groups for children and young people

Sundays at 6.30pm quiet, reflective evening prayers with a focus on Biblical teaching

Toddler Group / Transformers for school years 3-6 / Hy-tec for 11s & over Choir/ Music, House and Prayer Groups / Alpha: exploring faith / Hy-Way / Friendship Group / Scouting / Guiding / etc. For a chat, or to find out more, ring Richard Cleaves on 01242 522050

Countdown to the Olympics and Paralympics in Prayer The flower beds on London Road now have an Olympic theme thanks to our Scout Group and the Guides. Flanking a large Union Jack will be two Malawi flags celebrating the arrival of the Malawi Olympic Team here in Gloucestershire. We will be celebrating our partnerships in the world church at a Sunday Special Parade Service on Sunday 8th July. A team from our Congregational Federation recently visited our CWM partners in Malawi, the Churches of Christ of Malawi. On their return they reflected on the importance of prayer. “Prayer became an integral part of our time in Malawi. When sickness and heat left us anxious and afraid - we prayed. When our luggage was left behind - we prayed. When the mini-bus seemed ready to give up - we prayed When there was no fuel - we prayed. And we learnt that - When our our hosts were sick and had no money for medicine - they prayed. When they had no school fees - they prayed. When they were preparing to build a new church - they prayed. When they were celebrating God's goodness - they prayed.” Turn to page 22 where you will find the Lord’s Prayer in Chichewa.

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News from Highbury Congregational Church Cheltenham