Oxford Street. Cheltenham. GL52 6DU
February 2009 March 2012
An invitation ... ... to our Annual Meeting on Thursday words and phrases that sum up what makes Highbury special. 1st March at 7-30pm. At the February Deacons’ meeting the What a wonderful day to hold an Deacons had a look at the words annual meeting! everyone had come up with and found This year our annual meeting is going that they clustered into six groups. to take a very different format from the That gives you a wonderful snapshot past. of Highbury at the moment. We will receive the reports from all Deacons will focus on each of those six areas of the church’s life, and share in areas of the church’s life, and there will our election of Deacons. be an opportunity to take a look at Then everyone will have the chance to what’s going on and what we are take a look at what’s going on in looking to do in all that lies ahead. different areas of the church’s life, and Do join us for what promises to be a what makes Highbury special. special evening ... and there will even At the first Church Meeting of the year be tea, coffee and cake! we invited people to come up with
Deadline for April Highbury News: Sunday 11th March
Highbury Congregational Church belongs to the Congregational Federation and is in partnership with the Council for World Mission and Churches Together
Contact Richard.firstname.lastname@example.org 01242 522050 www.highburychurch.co.uk Highbury News costs £16 per annum or £19 by post
Annual Reports From the Minister
of what it means to be belong to Highbury.
It’s very special to be part of Highbury. Pastoral Care is right at the heart of That’s something lots of people feel. what we do with our pastoral visiting It’s what we shared at the very first team and the way we seek to look out church meeting of 2012. for each other and for any who need When we asked people to come up our loving care. with words and phrases that summed Last, but not least, children have an up what makes Highbury special we important part to play in the life of the built up a snapshot of Highbury as a church. Church as 2011 came to an end and Those are the six focal points we will 2012 began. have at our Annual Church meeting. Highbury is very much a place where Each month we will focus on one of worship and prayer is special. those themes. And then over the last That’s at the heart of what we do, and weekend in September we are going to it has been good to share in times of have a Church Weekend Away at worship when God’s presence has Home, when we will ask what’s been very real, and the word of God missing? What do we need to focus on has spoken to people’s hearts. It has to build up the life of the church that is been good to know when difficult times so special to us all. Look out for more have come that we are not alone, but details later in Highbury News. part of a network of prayer. One final thought. So many people remark on it, it is easy to take it for granted. But Highbury is It has been a very special year. It was a ‘welcoming’ church. That is great that we could extend Becky’s something not just to be proud of but time with us by an extra year and then something to build on and develop. by an extra term … but the three and a bit years she was with us as Pastoral What a difference it makes. Assistant came to an end all too quickly! In a very real sense, that welcome has a breadth to it that is one of the things In the time she was with us Becky that makes Highbury special. Hartwell transformed our work with Inclusion and Diversity are words children and families and contributed that are important to people at immensely to the whole life of the Highbury, as we seek to be a church church. family of all shapes and sizes! It was great to have a good contingent At the heart of what we do is the from Highbury at the Congregational challenge of ‘mission’. Whether that Federation’s Annual Assembly at be coming alongside people in showing Edgbaston in Birmingham to be among a very real care in our community, or the first churches in the Federation to sharing the heart of our faith, it is part receive the Child Friendly Award.
It is very much a tribute not only to the services are personally stretching. My things Becky did with us, but the regular meetings with Richard and thinking she shared with us as well. Felicity have gathered momentum, and It would have been very easy to have these are valuable times for mutual seen that work dissipated at Becky’s support and challenge as we review and set goals for ourselves and the departure. church as a whole. How good it was, therefore, that we were able to shape a post that would It is a credit to the church that so many build on Becky’s work and then appoint of you are willing to commit to Carolyn Tennant to take that work supporting children’s work, taking an interest in their lives and wanting to be forward. involved in their care and developing Carolyn has brought her own gifts and faith. Never underestimate the impact experience to the teamwork that is at you will have. the heart of Highbury, and has built on the work that Becky has done to great Toddlers and Transformers are regular events and, while designed for effect. children, both lend themselves to It has been good working with Carolyn relationship building with the adults and sharing very much in that spirit of too, as parents and helpers get to team leadership. And good to see our know and support one another. The children's work going from strength to Toddlers’ Christmas Party was much strength. appreciated by the parents in all the A big thank you to everyone for all the aspects of biscuit making, Nativity, support and encouragement Felicity songs, food and Santa! It has been and I have received over the last year. wonderful to have different adults How valuable everyone’s prayers are! joining in with the ‘God Slot’ in church at Transformers, and sharing their faith with the children. After exploring the Lord’s Prayer, we are this term Children’s Worker I frequently think how wonderful it is asking, ‘What is God like?’ to have a job that matches so well my values I described at interview. The role has clearly drawn on my teaching experience and I thoroughly enjoy preparing activities, creating displays and working with children in groups and 1:1 to observe, engage and encourage them. The realms of working alongside and managing new colleagues, rotas, understanding how teams work at Highbury, and leading events and
A highlight for me was the Christmas Café and Hy-Speed morning where the vision of the whole church working together became a reality. To receive feedback from many different people, in line with our initial aims, was evidence that it had been a success. The themes of the stations in church followed our service topics, and made for a meaningful build up towards Christmas, with all ages sharing the same Christmas journey. I also take
with me the picture of the radiant ring ministerial lead and for the reliability of worshippers with their lighted and enthusiasm of the Diaconate. I Christingles encircling our church. also thank the Administration duo of Sunday Special has been exciting and Sue Sillence and Heather Tarling who fulfilling. M:Ocean, now our Sunday give time for weekly secretarial Special helpers (SSH!) have amazed support. This year, Ruth Adams had to me with their maturity and skills. It has give up preparation of the Sunday been a pleasure to have them prepare Service papers but Richard Newton has and lead games, teach and care for the continued to produce the printed younger children. Again, the reward copies. Diana Adams is now sole editor for me is to see many different people of the monthly Highbury News and working together in a way that does so much in sorting, sifting and promotes growth and unity in the editing each edition. Many times, she has questioned and corrected my church. mistakes. Many other individuals have Sharing in church meetings in my contributed to Highbury life. I cannot capacity as Children’s Worker is a mention all, but refer you to the privilege. I feel fiercely enthusiastic Highbury Directory for the names of about this aspect of my role, and some, and ideas for where you might enjoyed sharing with you Rob Parson’s help if you do not already. ideas about ‘Getting your kids through Tuesday morning meetings of church church!’ officers with the Pastoral Team have Thank you all for your welcome, continued, and been advantageous for practical support and encouragement. monitoring many everyday issues of Please continue to ask me, tell me, concern with members and mission. connect me, challenge me and help me. 2011 activities have been many and varied with, surely, something for everybody. As well as the groups that Secretary’s Report meet regularly, we have eaten Does Highbury ever have a together on many occasions such as disappointing year? In the few years bring-and-share lunches (the first that I have been asked to report, being the annual New Year’s Day event comments have been consistently at the home of the Gregorys), cheerful. So it is with the 2011 report. restaurant visits, monthly Wednesday However, we should strive to move lunches and the weekly Thursday forward in what has become a period Community Café, as well as tea served of international depression and gloom. prior to evening worship. All have Our Church will not thrive without the brought people together for fun and continued work and support of its fellowship. The innovative Sunday leaders and members. We have much bring-and-share Word Café should to be thankful for and many to thank. keep us thinking and discussing service We thank God for our dedicated topics.
It was sad when Becky Hartwell finished her term as our Pastoral Assistant in July but we are happy that Carolyn Tennant has taken over as Children’s Worker. Becky’s talents were so appreciated and we wish her every success in her new post. Carolyn has brought her own ideas to her role and we hope she finds joy and satisfaction in it. For the young, Bubbles, Splash, the new M:Ocean, Sunday Special and the Holiday Clubs have continued to be enjoyed. The uniformed organisations have also continued to bring youngsters to the church. Messy Church and Hy-Speed have been interesting initiatives aimed at both children and adults.
The biggest change has been the departure of Becky, a full time Pastoral Assistant, and the arrival of Carolyn, a part time Children’s Worker. They both have many gifts, but both have a refreshingly different style. Their funding has been possible by drawing on our Mission reserves.
2011 has been another satisfactory financial year. Our income has held up well and our expenses have been kept in check. There is a small surplus on the General, day to day fund, after making transfers to the Mission and Fabric Funds.
Our General expenditure has again been held in check. However our Highbury News printing costs have increased and we have made a further contribution to the Congregational Federation to support our area activities.
Our General income continues to expand from our room letting and this more than compensates for our loss of Day Centre income. Our regular giving from standing orders and envelopes and loose change is slightly higher than 2010, although our Gift Aid is down by virtue of the reduced tax rate.
Our Harvest offering was higher and we were able to again pass on 50% of The June weekend away at Brunel this to Send a Cow. Manor was enjoyed by all for the We have been blessed with legacies venue, the countryside and the fair from Joan Scott, Reg Hochkins and weather. With the TV theme led by the Elsie Williams’ brother, Leonard. They entertaining David Waters, it was lighthave been credited to the Gift Fund hearted, sociable and thoughtready for the church to consider provoking. suitable Mission and other projects. During 2012, Highbury will continue to We have again been able to source support international, national and grants to cover the maintenance of our local charities. We will continue to Manse. They have been used to carry promote Cheltenham Churches out roof repairs and external Together, County Community Projects decorations. In addition we have and Street Pastors. carried out church repairs to the roof, renewed the ceiling in the Morton Brown Room and continued upgrading Room 1. Finance Report - Overview
Our utility costs have all suffered from Baptismal Roll considerable rate increases but the new boilers have been so much more There have been three baptisms at efficient that our total utility bills are Highbury in the last twelve months. Daniela and Alan De Nofrio Jones actually less this year! It is thanks to everyone’s giving that brought their two year old daughter, we are able to report another Silvia. Emma and Carl travelled from satisfactory financial year. This has Milton Keynes with their baby son, only been made possible by the Dylan Hayes. Ruth and Matt Noonan continuing support of all those who returned with baby Jessica, our own have given towards the work and little granddaughter. mission of the church. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to regularise your giving to the church by following our TRIO planned giving scheme. Ideally to commit to a gift aided bank standing order, appropriate to your giving budget. I would be delighted to give you details of our TRIO scheme and of gift aiding, if you pay tax. In addition I can give you a standing order form for a new order or an amendment to the existing one.
After these names were added to our Baptismal Roll, another board was full, but Carolyn Tennant has very kindly made us a new one so we are ready for the next baptism! Do take a look at the boards at the front of the church in the corner by the grand piano.
At the 2011 Annual Meeting the retiring Deacons, Mary Michael, Iain MacLeod and David Roberts were thanked for the years of service they Church membership had given. Peter Harrison and Darryl During 2011, one member has Mills were re-elected as Deacons, and relinquished membership and Sue John Pickles was elected for the first Bamford has moved away. Sadly, three time. members have died: Christine Wallis, Following Becky’s departure, Carolyn Tennant has joined the team as Reg Hochkins and Vic Lewis. We have welcomed nine new Children’s Worker. The Diaconate has been reduced in number from the full complement of twelve, but the Deacons have worked reliably and with a good spirit. The The revised membership list shows duty of the Deacons is to support 135 members, of whom we consider Richard and so serve the members. Deacons are always willing to answer 117 to be active members. questions and address issues raised by members of the congregation. They members: Pat Kimber, Lyn Horne, Joan Peirce, Karen Haden, Sheila Grimes, James Martin, Ron and Joan Wakeman and Jane Dixon.
have also appreciated offers of help from non-Deacons to ensure the smooth running of the church activities both seen and unseen. All are to be thanked for their care and dedication to Highbury life and family.
The Honorary Deacon
them yet, they are delightful social occasions with excellent food and coffee. Our congratulations and thanks to all the caterers, and a sincere invitation to all. I was moved and inspired to hear Sharon Wallington explain, at morning service, her reasons for taking up a Degree Course at the University. This cannot have been an easy decision, and she spoke so passionately of her dedication and commitment. I found it heart-warming. I am sure we all wish her well.
All of the highlights of the year are fully described in the various reports within this edition of Highbury News. So, I intend simply to mention a few of the things which have moved and inspired Another memorable occasion was me during 2011. We shall remember the year especially when Dave Cleaves and Alistair for the culmination of Beck’s work with Gregory (Matt Gasside was unable to our children, over three and a half be with them) explained to the years. We said farewell to Becky with congregation the work of County sadness and some anxiety for the Community Projects. What they told us was a revelation to most of us, and future of this work. they spoke so fluently and sincerely. However, just as we had been blessed, as a church, by Becky’s arrival and the Finally, something that has moved and success of her time with us, we were inspired me week after week, I never equally blessed when Carolyn Tennant cease to be amazed by Richard’s took over as our new Children’s preaching. His sermons reveal such Worker. Our earlier anxieties were depth of thought, originality, Biblical completely unfounded, as Carolyn background obviously, but all made so settled in admirably to her new post. It much more fascinating by his breadth has been a delight to see how the of interest and knowledge. I have foundations, so strongly established already mentioned that Highbury has and developed by Becky, have been been doubly blessed in our two built upon and further developed. Our Children’s Workers. In our minister we children’s work now bears the have a preacher and a pastor for whom hallmarks of two very gifted and we should never stop thanking God. talented leaders. Highbury has been truly doubly blessed. Two very important features of the year have been Thursday morning coffee and cakes at the Community Café, and the monthly Wednesday Lunches. For those who have not tried
Church Weekend Away In June 2011 our largest group yet (60 adults and 18 children) spent a weekend together at Brunel Manor near Torquay.
This was our fifth visit, and this year our Leader and Speaker for the weekend was David Waters (for those who don’t know, David grew up at Highbury and also worked with us for a year in a ‘Time for God’ placement.) David now works for the BBC as a Researcher in Songs of Praise and Junior Church preaches on the Methodist Circuit in Thank you to all our teachers and Cheshire. helpers who make Junior Church run During our study times we focussed on so smoothly. It’s great to see the Colossians 1: 3-14. children going happily to their groups. The children has their own activities As well as being made welcome and with Becky Hartwell and Felicity part of our service, there is certainly a Cleaves, but we also spent lots of time wonderful sense of belonging in these together, eating, chatting and enjoying age related gatherings. The Bubbles each others company, which was the group has told me that they are thrilled original reason for us doing such a to see good numbers of children beginning Junior Church with them. weekend. David made it a very special time, as These little ones love joining in with I’m confident all those who attended the activities and enjoy role play that would agree, not least with an amazing involves making paper puppets on game with Maltesers - I’m sure any of straws to take home. Using play-dough the children would love to elaborate, at the end of the structured activities should anyone want the details! His gives them a chance to show their personality and the humility in which individual creativity. Splash and he shares his faith is something that X:Stream are also busy groups and the leaders are very inventive in using we will all remember for a long time. games, crafts and giving due attention David is marrying Lisa on Saturday 14th to various learning styles to attract and April 2012 and I know you would all involve all the children. Between us, join me in asking God to richly bless we make a huge circle in the hall for their wedding day and their marriage. our opening song with lively actions; to We have decided to take a break from be part of this is very encouraging. Brunel in 2012 and to have a Weekend Away at Home.
However I would like to know your Sunday Special feeling on 2013, please - as you will Sunday Special starts with a BIG have seen in Highbury News in both breakfast! It is provided by Lorraine, January and February 2012. Jean, Mary and Janet. I have 4 bowls of cereal - 2 bowls of Frosties and 2 bowls of Weetos. Then I have 2 or 3
pieces of toast with chocolate spread Jamie, Evan or Gus. That is what we do on. in M:Ocean! Once we have finished our Sunday breakfast we have a group themed activity such as: The Olympics, where Matthew and I led games with prizes, and I videoed and commentated for the BBC! The story for that month was about Eric Liddell.
Like a truly unlimited Broadband connection, prayer provides a 24/7 communications path between us and God, as well as linking us to each other Then, after the service we have an art in a (worldwide) web of support and session which is again themed. giving access to amazing resources. M:Ocean members are now called It is a vital service which can be ‘Sunday Special Helpers’ or ‘SSH!’ We practised in many and various ways by help the activities to run smoothly by anyone and is integral to church life helping the younger children. I usually here at Highbury. help Evan with ideas. This report acknowledges both the Our themes have included ‘What unseen contributions by individuals, as colour is love?’, ‘the story of Job’, ‘the well as the seen ones made by: the unexpected journey of life’ and regular prayer groups; the prayer ‘belonging to church’. chain; the prayer parlour; the rota of pray-ers for Sunday services; prayer prompts in Highbury News and the M:Ocean prayer diary. M:Ocean is an extremely fun group with a lot of good opportunities. There are only 4 people in M:Ocean - Ollie, Tabi, Adam and me.
This year we have been pleased to welcome new ‘pray-ers’ to the Sunday morning rota, and thank others who have had to withdraw.
At the minute we have a scrap book and we are sticking things about Highbury inside, as well as things we do in M:Ocean. One of the things I put in is the Operation Christmas Child leaflet.
We also held a session to consider the special aspects of leading prayers in public worship to encourage regulars and newcomers alike (some notes are available if anyone would like them).
Carolyn runs M:Ocean, but Becky started it off. One of the advantages of being in M:Ocean is that sometimes we get sweets for being good. We always have one helper with us; sometimes it is David, Mary or Mary. Another advantage of being in M:Ocean is that you get to help the little ones like
Particular thanks are due to Lorraine Gasside and Judi Marsh for coordinating the prayer chain so sensitively (if you would like to be part of the chain or submit prayer requests please contact Lorraine Gasside email@example.com) Please contact Lorraine, Richard or myself if you would like more
- 10 -
information or have ideas for For me it is an uplifting and rewarding expanding the prayer life of the church. experience. I would encourage anyone interested to join us and experience this very special mid week meeting.
Prayer Group For many years it had been my intention to attend the Wednesday morning prayer group. When finally I was able to join in, I was warmly welcomed and felt privileged to be part of this spiritual power house.
The 2011 Prayer Handbook “Still Praying” was edited by Rev Susan Durber, who hopes that the prayers have helped us find a closer We start with discussing individual and relationship with God. Church prayer needs which are listed The Handbook was published by the on the service sheet as a reminder, and United Reformed Church, in cothis is passed round to each person operation with the Congregational present to choose two or three prayer Federation, the Presbyterian Church of topics. The host/hostess then reads a Wales, and the Union of Welsh passage from the Bible followed by a Independents. brief exposition. Each person begins by My grateful thanks to all who thanking God for the blessings we subscribed to this very helpful receive belonging to Highbury, for resource, which enhances prayer life, Richard and Felicity, Carolyn, and all when used in public worship or at Church Leaders. Also, for the answer home. to some of our prayers. Praise is also The latest Handbook “Common given for the beauty of His creativity in Prayers” is also edited by Susan nature. Durber, and she hopes the prayers will As I partake in prayer I always give many people words with which to remember Adrian who left us this very celebrate the faith we share. special prayer legacy. New subscribers are always welcome. After prayers we have a percolated cup of coffee and delicious biscuits! Then a chat with much laughter. At this time it Bible Reading Notes is usually decided at which home we ‘The Word for Today’ booklets and are to meet the following week. The group varies in numbers week by younger people’s version, ‘Word 4U week. We don't take a register but the 2Day’ are Daily Readings available most we have had is ten. Everyone is free of charge three times a year and so friendly and I have been able to get can be picked up from church. to know and talk to people I do not In past years we have also bought have the opportunity to meet at Bible notes from the local Christian bookshop in Cheltenham but this shop Church. unfortunately closed in 2011.
- 11 -
Bible notes and other Christian resources can be bought on line at: www.christianeducation.org.uk or by ’phone 01214 724242.
That removeth the cover of the well, that we may come by the water.”
Throughout the year we have been lifting the lid on the Old Testament ‘Christian Education’ is the charity with the help of Jesus and the Gospels. behind the International Bible Reading Association (IBRA). They do not charge for postage and packing.
The Year of the Bible To mark the 400th Anniversary of the Authorised Version ‘Open the Book’ started the year by taking a look at some of the great passages of the Bible that are so powerful in the Authorised Version.
Homegroup has not met since the summer, but we do intend to start up again once we can work out a slot between other commitments; all group members are very busy at the moment and those with children are finding themselves committed to taxi driving most evenings!
In the summer we used Kenneth Bailey’s book, ‘Jesus through Middle Church Music Eastern Eyes’ to read the Bible with the help of commentators and insights Highbury’s musicians have continued from the Christian Arab world of the over the past year to lead the congregation in worship. Dick Adams Middle East. In the Autumn we took a look at some has kept the weekly rota functioning of the books of the Apocrypha and saw so that at least one of us turns up at how they help to set the scene for the right time. The team of musicians consists of: organists (Frank Guppy, much of the New Testament. Richard Sharpe, Alan Berry, Ernest On Sunday evenings we took as our Bratt, Ian James, plus newcomer to inspiration words from the Preface to the team, Alan Frost - welcome!); the Authorised Version and began to pianist (Mary Clifford); Hy-Spirit read through the Old Testament using (Elaine and Martin Schönbeck, Adrian Jesus and the Gospels in order to help Blazey, Bob Seymour, Mary Buchanan us see in those ancient words the and occasionally Iain Wallington). Word of God for us today. The choir, as well as regularly leading “Translation it is that openeth the the evening singing, led the Palm window, to let in the light, Sunday evening service, and That breaketh the shell, that we may contributed to BBC Songs of Praise for eat the kernel; Advent and (still to be broadcast) That putteth aside the curtain, that we Palm Sunday 2012. Particular thanks to Joan Lee and Gwen Clark who have may look into the most Holy place; now had to relinquish their choir
- 12 -
duties after many years of faithful service. At the other end of the spectrum, some of the young people have started playing instruments, and Hy-Spirit will be working to find ways of including them too.
flower arranging please have a word with Karen or any of the team. We have enjoyed the flowers Sunday by Sunday and particularly the special services. The Harvest service, where the emphasis was on ‘Send a Cow’ our Charity for Harvest, brought forth many original ideas that were enjoyed by young and old alike. The Christmas decorations also enhanced the many services over that period.
We were delighted to welcome the Thames Head Singers, who led our worship on the second Sunday evening in Advent, with their beautiful interpretation of the Christmas story through the words and music of the We would like to take this opportunity carols they sang. to thank Karen and the team for the Newcomers to any or all of our music flowers that they arrange so beautifully groups are always welcome, on a and look forward to the new year’s regular or ‘special occasions’ basis. displays. Please have a word with Dick The money for the flowers is given by (organists/pianists), Mary C (choir) or members of the congregation who Mary B (Hy-Spirit). would like to remember an occasion, a
Church Flowers The flowers in the church are arranged by members of Highbury under the leadership of Karen Wilkes. Karen took over from Marion Taylor who had organised the flowers for many years. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Marion for the great pleasure that we received in seeing the flowers that she and the team provided every Sunday, the wonderful displays at Easter, Harvest, and Christmas and also at Weddings.
loved one or to give thanks. The flowers are then bought by the flower arranger. On Monday morning these flowers are put into bunches and distributed to people in the church who we would wish to remember, to let them know we are thinking of them. If you would like to contribute to this please contact me.
A few subtle changes have occurred in the team, and everyone remains committed to arranging the weekly flowers and for special occasions. We hope the arrangements are appreciated, and appropriate when The flower arranging team consists of Jean Gregory, Sue Needs, Karen requests are made. Wilkes, Marion Taylor and Heather Do approach the team if you have Tarling but there is always room for specific requests or if you have a new some more volunteers. If you love idea. We are a small team so if there is flowers and would like to take part in anyone who feels creative, with a love of colour and flowers, please join us, it
- 13 -
really is enjoyable and fun. Many A special visit is made to our more thanks for everyone’s ongoing senior folk for their birthdays, when a commitment and skill. greetings card prepared by Elisabeth Forbes and a little present are delivered by her and Shirley Fiddimore. The Deacons also make a seasonal The Lord’s Table visit prior to Christmas. It is very easy to overlook the In each half-yearly Visitors’ Meeting we dedicated few who lovingly and arrange a talk on a subject relevant to meticulously prepare the linen, the our duties, and this year we have been bread and the wine for the Holy privileged to hear Hilary James on Communion table twice a month. “We ‘Disability Issues’ and one of our own come, not because we must, but members on ‘Substance Misuse and because we may”. Always ready is the Addiction’. token meal for us to share. Thank you In the past year several of our Visitors to those who serve in that way and have retired; we thank them sincerely quietly clear the table and wash up for the kind service they have given. In afterwards. particular, we cannot let this report go without marking the contribution of Olga Slack as a Visitor over many years; and mark with sorrow the death of Vic Lewis, who served long-term as a Visitor.
We have been pleased and encouraged to welcome new members to the team, and although 2012 is Highbury Visiting Scheme presenting difficult challenges, we are Each month, about twenty Visitors seek hopeful that the vital features of the to contact members and friends of the service can be preserved. . church within assigned Districts, to see how they are doing and to distribute May we make a request of church folk, that if you know of anyone who is ill or copies of Highbury News. in difficulty, to let us know, preferably Through these contacts our Minister by ’phone, and we will do our best to and the District Deacon can be made help. As a more general point, please aware of joys, sorrows, illnesses, and understand that the Visitors’ work is other situations, so that as a church we very time-consuming, and may often can respond. mean simply a chat in church. Additionally, over 30 copies of Highbury ‘Thank you’ to all who have given of News are posted each month by Diana their time in providing this much Adams to folk who live away, some in appreciated service. other countries. For the information of all Visitors, our meetings in 2012 are scheduled for
- 14 -
Thursday 8th March and Thursday 18th negotiating the rather steep ramp to October. the front door of the church, and it is hoped that this can be rectified.
I would like to add to the above report, thanks for all the work Joyce, Philip, Betty and David have done to ensure the smooth running of the Pastoral Care Scheme. They organise the distribution of Highbury News, and visit members and friends themselves, but they also have individual responsibilities: Phil chairs the Pastoral Care Committee; Joyce and Betty distribute the church flowers on Monday mornings; David keeps the paperwork up-to-date and liaises with Richard, the Visitors and the Deacons to ensure the appropriate people are equipped with the necessary information, and he provides an update each month for Highbury News; and they all do a variety of other tasks too. ‘Thank you’ all four.
Trainings have been on-going at the Pastoral Care meetings for Deacons and Church Visitors, with a particularly informative session by Hilary James on how she copes with her disabilities, at home and in and around the town. There are two disabled parking bays marked out in the car park. Please be aware that these special bays are for the use of disabled people using our premises seven days a week, not just on Sundays; and respect the fact that some people need these wider spaces in order to be able to fully open their car door, especially those who need to transfer into a wheelchair.
One of our objectives with regard to Disability Issues is to be prepared for all eventualities, before the need actually arises; and for each of us to be ready to welcome people with a variety of disabilities, and not just ‘visible’ To help them in this important work of problems such as mobility difficulties. caring for the members and friends of Cards with guidelines for all who Highbury, please remember to keep welcome people to Highbury are one or all of them up-dated on news of available – they include some general the Church Family, so that the Pastoral principles, as well as ways to help Care Scheme can continue to run people with specific disabilities. efficiently and effectively. Don’t assume you know best! Always ask!
Disability Issues At Highbury we continue to do our best to ensure that the buildings and our activities are, as far as reasonably practicable, accessible to all. During the year we have been made aware of the difficulties some people encounter
Safe From Harm 2011 was the year for our inspection by the Federation to ensure that our practices with children and vulnerable people are in line with Federation guidelines.
- 15 -
This involved checking our policy, Transformers premises, that a fire inspection had been carried out and our First Aid Transformers is a club for year 3 to procedures. We are checked every three years and year 6 children. We have tea and then there is always something I have not go into the hall to play. We can play expected – fortunately electrical board games and table tennis. appliances are dated when they are There is a tuck shop and we can buy a packet of crisps or a chocolate bar or checked! I was very pleased that we have been some sweets or raisins. found suitable and that the new It is 50p for the evening and £1 for tea. posters to that effect carry pictures of After we have played games we go into Highbury children. church and learn about God. We learned The Lord’s Prayer.
Sometimes Hy-Speed comes and we join in the races. We learned about a Swedish Christmas and we decorated gingerbread houses.
We play games and go into church where we think about things on a This year has seen a change as we said particular theme like ‘The Lord’s ‘good bye’ to Becky, and said ‘hello’ to Prayer’. Carolyn with a smooth hand over. We have seen our children’s work go from My favourite bit is the games and my strength to strength, and drawing in favourite tea is pizza. I would new children to all our groups. This is recommend it to a friend. a great credit to the leaders and helpers of all the groups that meet at There are lots of fun activities and they Highbury. give us tea. We have seen and planned trips to the football and rugby (to name a couple); We go into church and sometimes we have continued to run our Holiday learn new things. Club, ‘Starlight Party’ and They give us tuck (sweets!) Transformers with St Luke’s; and to build on our relationships with the families through Messy Church, Hy- I’d love a talent show or a play where Speed and our coffee morning in I could have a big role! I would like visits from other places, and possibly a December. road trip, and theme days like ‘Olympic Sports’.
- 16 -
it raining yet again. We completed the term with our camping trip to the (Youth Group for 11-18s) Archer’s farm, as we then said farewell Highbury Youth The Eternity Club to Becky the following morning. Becky Hytec began 2011 another year older had become an integral part of the but none the wiser. Our spring theme team and we are very grateful for all was “the eXodus Factor” where we her input. took a fresh look at the Ten The Autumn saw us taking the theme Commandments. We had our “event” of the Seven Dwarves and some in February where we invited some creative thinking of parallels to our new people along and gained a few relationship with God and each other. more youngsters who have slotted in Our numbers have slowly risen and we brilliantly. We survived a sleepover in have been over double figures recently church (and didn’t have a visit from the (not including the leaders) which is police this year) and the usual fun and fantastic. With some more of our games, before some went off to the church youngsters soon old enough to last ever CFY Easter Conference. join us, it is looking very promising.
As ever I have had amazing support from a great team of leaders. Ruth and Geoff Wyatt and Hayley Young are brilliant, as ever, and the newly graduated young leaders Jay, Sweep and Leah are fantastic. Please continue to pray for us as a group as we strive to learn and live the Good News.
In the summer we tackled some nice lightweight material as we thought about the Trinity (with some help from heavyweight guest speakers Mary and Richard). The Annual Hy-Tec Duck Race was a success once more, despite
Hy-Speed, the digital Scalextric slot-car racing club at Highbury has had a very successful first year with the growing attendance surpassing our initial expectations. The first race meeting was held in January 2011 and in addition to the Hy-Speed teams and their families, two extra families were represented. This has steadily grown over the past year and there were ten extra families represented at the November 2011 meeting. The December meeting was held during the morning of Saturday 10th (10.00am to 1.00pm) to which the whole family was
- 17 -
invited with no charge being made. At the same time coffee and cakes were available from the Community Café, there was a walk through the Christmas Story in the church and there were various craft stalls. The whole session was a tremendous success with a large turnout and is something we hope to replicate next Christmas and maybe at Easter.
Community Project Award and are applying for more funding from the Co-operative Community Fund. If successful, we intend to buy six remote controlled cars and a floor track measuring 12 feet by 9 which will contain the cars feet. This will be another resource to occupy the waiting children and should only need one adult for supervision. We also intend to We are thinking of using Hy-Speed to develop the Scalextric track further draw men and their families into a with a working pit lane allowing ‘virtual’ special Father’s Day church service refuelling! where prizes for the best driver(s) over More information and photos can be the past year will be made. The Hy- found at our new website www.hySpeed equipment has been used for speed.co.uk various other meetings such as Please thank God for the progress Cubs/Scouts, Transformers and Hy- made so far and pray that the Tec. Sometimes families bring guests attending families see God’s love in us for a birthday celebration which serves all and want to know more about our to advertise the group further. faith. We review our progress with planning meetings as needed, and whilst the first or ‘family’ sessions from 6.30pm to 8pm have been very successful, it was decided to revamp the second session which is now for any person from age 13 (or 11+ if accompanied by an adult) and runs from 8.30pm to 10pm. To build on our developing relationships with the men and fulfil our vision, we have also added in four sessions a year, normally on the fourth Saturday of the month, 8pm to 10pm, which is for men who are aged 18 and over.
Hy-Way “Highbury on Wednesday” This Highbury group, mainly for over 50s, met on Wednesday afternoons from 2.00pm to 3.30pm throughout the year. Each meeting began with a time of worship followed by a variety of entertaining topics including talks, music, quizzes, card-making, travelogues and even a little magic! We have enjoyed welcoming guest speakers and would love to welcome more people to come and speak to us one Wednesday – please get in touch.
As numbers have grown, time for racing has to be shared among the attending children. This is very likely to accelerate in the future as numbers attending continue to increase. To Our numbers have swelled on the address this issue we have applied for second Wednesday of each month a Congregational Federation
- 18 -
when we are delighted to have some For the three years Becky was with us of the Wednesday Lunch guests join us. she worked with Youth for Christ in The Sailors’ Society has again received their schools work especially at many woolly hats, mittens and gloves Pittville. Richard Gilpin, the Head, knitted by some ‘Hy-Wayers’. These joined us as we said farewell to Becky and was very appreciative of her have been greatly appreciated. contribution to Pittville.
We had the opportunity to reflect on what gifts we have and how we take opportunities to share them.
I continue to be a Governor at Pittville. At the start of the year I resigned as Vice Chair, a position that was taken up by Amanda Ford. It was good this year at Christmas to welcome Pittville Year 7s to a Christmas Carol Service at Highbury. We very much hope this will become an annual event. It was great to share with the school in a very special Christmas service.
The nature of these services gives a valuable insight into other countries making us aware of their cultures and the problems they face, a wonderful opportunity to strengthen our desire to truly be a worldwide Christian family.
I continue to do assemblies regularly at Charlton Kings Infants School and at St John’s School: it is good to have an opportunity to share the Christian message through all sorts of story telling in both those schools.
Children from Oakwood School participated in the service at St Michael’s, and from St John’s School at Highbury. Children from St John’s had great fun making bread and didn’t notice if liberties were taken with the suggested recipe. An evening service was also held at St Luke’s.
I also lead Harvest and Easter assemblies at Belmont, and once again it was great to welcome the children, staff and parents of Belmont School to a Carol Service at Christmas. With the ‘Open the Book’ going into Oakwood School it’s great to see our involvement in local schools.
Women’s World Day of Prayer On the 4th March 2011 we were asked the question, “How many loaves have you?” by the women of Chile.
You are warmly invited to attend one of the services on 2nd March 2012 (whatever your gender!) when the ‘Open the Book’ theme will be “Let justice prevail”. In the Team that goes to Oakwood School there are seven of us; each week the number varies according to the story being told, mostly there are Schools’ Work four or five. We are drawn from a As Becky finished her time with us, so variety of churches in the locality to our involvement in the Pittville after present a Bible story. school Christian club came to an end.
- 19 -
Many of you reading this will have some idea of how it is done as we have presented stories in the morning service on a couple of occasions, and the format was also used in the Holiday Club. The Team present the weekly stories using a variety of storytelling methods. begins with a brief introduction to ensure that each story is placed in context.
Mission Partners Teaching the message of Good News is what prompts us to do the work we do today in our own locality and further afield. As a church we at Highbury are very aware of the need to take time to focus on mission and the work of our different mission partners.
Early in 2011, Sue Cole once again visited ‘Chiks’ in India and the work at The children are very eager to play a children’s homes in Kerala state, role in the story and, as soon as they taking money raised at Highbury. see us, are begging for a starring role. They love dressing up, and at the end Our partners in mission in the world each one is given a sticker badge church, the Kürle family, continue informing everyone they have helped serving God in the Theological Seminary in Londrinia, Brazil. and done a good job. Following the story there is an We also continue to support the opportunity for guided reflection. This Council for World Mission and gives the children time to reflect on Churches Together. some aspect of the story, or on It was good to hear that Jonathan something which relates directly to Rowe had been appointed Director of Studies in the West of England Ministry them and their friends. This is followed by a short closing Course based in Exeter. That meant prayer which the children are invited to he and the family moved from El make it their own by joining in with the Escorial, Madrid, and our links through Jonathan came to an end. They are ‘Amen’ at the end. very much in our prayers still. It is not only the children we reach with the stories, but also the staff who As Mission Deacon I am very encouraged to see the genuine sit with their class. enthusiasm that there is to share in the Often one of the teachers who is a love of God amongst our own Christian will sum up at the end by community. The establishment and using incidents that have happened, or development of Hy-Speed has been are working towards a target in the brilliant, demonstrating that a good school. idea can be made into a real success Please remember all of the Teams that through hard work, creative thinking are involved each week, and continue and the formation a good team. to pray that we will be given inspiration Good team work has been very evident to bring the stories to life. in many aspects at Highbury during 2011 not least in Christian mission,
- 20 -
and I believe that the on-going and planned future work during 2012 dedicated to mission is very exciting, and I would encourage everyone to give full support.
small increase of 74p on 2010. ‘Thank you’ again.
Sadly, we lost three contributors this year, and gained no new ones, so it would be lovely to add your name to the list. Some parents contribute on behalf of their children - this is a great way of teaching the young people that Boxes for World Mission Our thanks to all those who have there are children in other parts of the contributed to mission through the world who will benefit from the gift to Mission Fund Boxes. The total raised the Scheme on their birthday. I would be delighted to have the during the year was £533.46 If you would like a box to save your names of more people, and to send spare change etc at home, and help more birthday cards! Just give me your contribute to the work of worldwide name and birthday date (you need not mission, please see Lynda Ingram or tell me the year if it’s a big secret!) or your children’s birthdays, and on that me. ‘special day’ each year I will send a birthday card (usually hand-made) with greetings and a reminder that, in CWM Publications return, you have promised to give a Copies of the magazine of donation (of no set amount) for the the ‘Council for World Mission’ together work of W . If you would with CWM’s Annual Report, have been like more information, please contact available in the front porch and outside me. the Morton Brown Room during the There are many ways in which we can year. Please take them and read them, support this work, not least in our they are there for anyone who is prayers. However, on your birthday, as interested. If you would like to receive well as receiving all those lovely your own copy of these publications on presents for yourself, isn’t it also good a regular basis, please speak to me. to be able to give a financial gift to help this work? Your donation will automatically be ‘Gift Aided’ if you have already signed a Gift Aid Form for Highbury.
World Mission Birthday Scheme ‘Thank you’ to all who contributed to the Birthday Scheme during 2011. Donations received amounted to £545.00 of which £445.00 was Gift Aided and will, therefore, bring an additional £111.25. The grand total of £656.25 is a generous sum, and a
South West Midlands Area Our March Gathering was at Moretonin-Marsh Congregational Church and was entitled ‘Family Friendly Faith‘. These meetings are always a pleasant
- 21 -
opportunity to meet friends from other churches in our Area, as well as to deal with the necessary business. More support is always welcome at these events - please have a word with me if you would like to be more involved. Our Area is not in a good financial position so a wide range of experience from those who attend would be valued. The Easter Youth Conference was held at Highbury for the last time with CFY in its present format. At the May Assembly in Edgbaston Birmingham the young people told us more of their plans for the future. CF-EXTRA is now the name of our youth provision and six young people from different areas have agreed to serve until the first full election takes place in May 2012. A highlight for us at Highbury was Becky Hartwell collecting our Child Friendly Award assisted by Eilidh and Ceitidh MacLeod and Lake Cleaves.
It won’t be long until the next door to door collection, so please let me know if you are willing to help in any way with collections or counting!
www.highburychurch.co.uk The web-site continues to grow, and is ripe for a ‘make-over’. Watch this space! Sunday’s sermons go on to the web-site each Sunday. There’s a dedicated part of the site for the Sunday evening sermons that are exploring the Old Testament through the eyes of Jesus and the Gospels. Hy-Speed have a great web site they have put together this year as well. You can read Highbury News online in a magazine format that feels as if it is just like the real thing! And if you have a Kindle you can upload Highbury News to that and enjoy it there too!
It would be good to see more people, especially families, active at CF Events Churches Together - please have a word with Richard or As the year came to an end it was me if you would like to be involved, or great to give our support to Sue Cole learn more about the Federation. and Paul Harris as they came forward to join Street Pastors. I have continued to be part of the Church Leaders in Cheltenham lunchHighbury raised a fantastic £2,549 for time meetings bringing together Christian Aid during 2011 – that is church leaders in the town. £1,000 increase on the previous year! It’s good to see a greater degree of This includes the door to door ‘working together’ in all sorts of ways. collection in May, the September We have shared in lunch time prayers appeal along with communion at St Michael’s, and participated in the collection for the floods in Africa, and Festival of the Bible at the time of the the wonderful Christmas Carol Singing. Literature Festival. Thank you to everyone for support in all different ways.
Christian Aid at Highbury
- 22 -
Publicity This year we have distributed Easter cards, Back to Church invitations and Christmas cards in the neighbourhood, and from those invitation cards we have been delighted to welcome friends from our local Church area. We are very grateful to Ruth Wyatt for designing our Easter and Christmas cards.
best publicity about the Church’s activities. Thank you to all those involved in any way in assisting the smooth running of the above, and for your commitment. All your help is greatly appreciated.
We were deeply saddened by the news of the serious illness and subsequent passing of Christine Wallis in March. Christine was the Editor of Highbury News for a number of years, some of the time working with Stefan Kürle, then with Désirée Beer, and more Highbury News is edited each month recently with me, and she has been by Diana Adams. Once printed by our greatly missed. long-standing printing firm, the We have 275 copies of Highbury News Newsletter is collated into bundles by printed every month, and each is filled David and Betty Butcher and Phil and with contributions provided by Joyce Arnold, in readiness for the members and friends of Highbury, in visitors to deliver to members and addition to the regular information friends of the Church. A number of about events planned to take place copies are sent to former members and that month. The March edition also friends far and wide. Thank you to all contains the Church Annual Report for who undertake this mammoth job each the previous year. month. Thank you to all the regular We continue to use our main notice board at the front of the Church building for publicising events, and we are grateful to John Pickles and Ted Horsfield for putting up the posters on a regular basis.
We also continue to submit articles each week for the ‘In Good Faith’ column of the Gloucestershire Echo. These articles are prepared by Lorraine Gasside. Thank you Lorraine for carrying out this weekly task.
contributors (those who unfailingly meet the deadline set, and those who are often late!) and special thanks to everyone who has sent reports on the life of the church at Highbury during 2011 for this ‘bumper edition’ – and it The Highbury Church website is great to see that some younger www.highburychurch.co.uk is members have contributed their maintained thanks to Richard, and has memories of experiences and activities during the year too. many interesting links. In addition to all of the above, ‘word of Please note that anyone is welcome to mouth’ is responsible for much of the contribute an article of interest for publication any month, and the
- 23 -
deadline is always the second Sunday about eighteen months. The number of of the preceding month. people attending is between 20 and 35 I would also like to thank our printer, each time, and is valued by all who European Engineering Services in come. We (the cooks) are very grateful Suffolk Parade, for their co-operation for the help of the drivers and table The cost has and efficiency, and Natalie for the and chair movers. remained at £3 because we easily friendly approach to her work. cover our costs at this level, and with enough spare to add to or replace kitchen equipment. There is a welcome for everyone, of any age, just book your place by signing on the list by the car park door.
Highbury Serving the Local Community
Community Café Chosen Charities Each month Highbury supports a different charity by making a special collection at communion services, and money donated at coffee – or any other opportunity. We aim to choose a local charity or the local branch of a national charity as a way of remembering our forebears who risked imprisonment for being Dissenters and would then rely on food being sent in or paid for by family or sympathisers. The charities we support are agreed by Church Meeting and the year’s list is drafted by Richard and myself. Please don’t be shy of putting forward any suggestions. The list for 2012 is already drawn up, but we can be flexible to accommodate needs that arise.
We meet on a Thursday morning. A diverse group of people who enjoy companionship and the exchange of ideas and interests. There is often laughter among us. As well as this we have real coffee and homemade cake – delightful!
Tuesday Toddler Group It is nice to write a much more positive report on the Toddler Group to that of last year’s. Numbers have picked up considerably, and the session consists of a large number of regulars, as well as a few more who have joined at various points in the year. There seems to be a nice balance of pre-school children and babies at the moment.
The children have taken part in several activities during the year, including the "Chatterbox Challenge", a sponsored Wednesday Lunch sing for the "I can" charity. The charity The Wednesday lunch, which is held is a worthy cause. It is the children’s on the second Wednesday of the communication charity and their month, has now been running for mission is to ensure that no child who
- 24 -
struggles to communicate is left out or left behind. The children also planted their own potted daffodil bulbs for Marie Curie. Abigail keeps checking on hers with keen interest! The Body Shop and Phoenix cards have also visited, providing an added interest for parents. Carolyn and Felicity now set this session up which, after some discussion last year, gives us a little more control and variation to the session, including some messy play. The children certainly seem to enjoy what we have done so far. Thank you to Marion Taylor and Jean Gregory for helping with crafts this year, and also to Peter Harrison for donning the red suit at Christmas! Opportunities to help out with a craft activity, or even give ideas if you can’t help, would be welcome.
all she has done, and are glad that Lyn Horne has agreed to take over this task. If you live alone, why not join us – we’d be very pleased to welcome you, even if you are unable to attend every month.
11th Cheltenham (Highbury) Guides
We started the year by working on the Pantomime that Hannah, our Assistant Guider (a student at Gloucestershire University) had written especially for the Guides. The Pantomime was called “Lost in the Woods - A Fairy Tale Adventure” and told the tale of three Guides meeting lots of fairytale characters as they found their way back to their campsite. Our rehearsals took most of the Spring term, and we performed the play to family and friends on 1st April. As well as having Friendship Group a great time the Guides raised £70 for We have continued with our regular Zöe’s Place, a Hospice for babies and Saturday afternoon monthly meetings. young children. Our thanks go to all Attendance has been varied, but who supported us. whatever the numbers those present During the Spring Term the Guides have enjoyed meeting with others. also took part in the Round Table We have one sadness to record, the Swimarathon; and, with the other death of Vic Lewis. Not only was Vic a Guide Groups in the District, went ice founder member, but in recent years skating, where we all had an enjoyable has been the only male in the Group. evening, with no injuries. In February We have also been very grateful to Vic, we celebrated Thinking Day with an as for many years he helped by putting Indian themed evening, and all the up the tables prior to our meetings, Guides made and cooked samosas. and also helped Joan prepare the tea During the summer term the Guides and biscuits. did various patrol activities, and we At the last meeting of the year Rene made good use of the facilities at Deer Nixon announced that she wished to Park Cowley, trying new activities such resign as Treasurer. We thank Rene for as orienteering and go-karting as well
- 25 -
as old favourites such as patrol cooking and the low ropes course. The weather wasn’t very kind to us and varied from slightly damp to very, very wet (!) but the Guides enjoyed themselves despite being soaked. Some Guides joined others from the District for a weekend camp at Deer Park in May; and 11 Guides went to the Malvern Challenge in June where, for the first time, one of the patrols scored the most points at one of the checkpoint challenges, winning a trophy. The summer term ended with a District trip to Mary Arden’s Farm near Stratford-on-Avon, which was enjoyed by all the Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Leaders who went. This was the last year of Hannah’s degree course, and at the end of the summer term we said goodbye to her – presenting her with a pillow, signed by all the Guides, as well as other presents. We were delighted to hear that Hannah has just completed her Adult Leaders’ Qualification, and is back helping with her old Group in Northampton The Autumn term began with a patrol international cooking competition; over four weeks each patrol cooked a meal from a country of their choice. They chose Italy, Greece, Sweden and Japan, and we had some very interesting menus. When not cooking the patrols did other craft, and law and promise based activities. Twelve Guides joined with a similar number from Prestbury to go to the BIG GIG concert at Wembley on one of the hottest days of the (late) summer. We spent an enjoyable afternoon at
the Science Museum and an incredibly noisy evening at Wembley, where “The Wanted” caused great excitement amongst all the Guides. Later in October the Guides held a fundraising evening with cakes, stalls and games to raise money to help buy equipment for primary schools near Kericho in Western Kenya, which were being visited by a group from Trinity Church. Later in the term, Penny Lewis, one of the teachers in the group, came to show us photos from the trip, including pictures of the children playing with the balls and other PE equipment that the £60 raised by the Guides had purchased. We ended the term by Carol Singing at Oakhaven Residential Home. This year a few Guides have moved on – some to Rangers - and we have welcomed a number of new Guides. Battledown District are planning to re-open the Ranger Group (for girls of 14 and above) in September 2012, when anyone interested is welcome. We are looking forward to the activities and challenges of the new year, and are hoping to take part in some of the Girlguiding UK Olympic and Diamond Jubilee Challenges, and thank everyone for their continuing support.
7th Cheltenham Brownies 2011 has been another eventful year. Unfortunately we said goodbye to Andrea (one of the Leaders) who was unable to attend many meetings during the year due to work and she
- 26 -
has now moved to Leicestershire. Our student helper, Ella, also left in July having finished at College, but her friend Harriett has now joined us and has started her training as a Leader. Several Brownies passed the Artist, Safety in the Home and Entertainers badges, and we undertook challenges to do with the Royal Wedding (including napkin folding and table laying) and to do the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) World Conference held in Edinburgh in July. We had a chocolate theme evening, went litter collecting around Fairview, cleaned brass and prepared four shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. Ella, who was brought up in Saudi Arabia, organised a special evening of camel racing and food tasting. We went out and about by following a trail around Pittville Park, and spent a weekend at Deer Park Cowley when the girls tried Archery. Several girls also joined the other Rainbows, Brownies and Guides in the District on a day trip to Mary Arden’s Farm. It started very wet, and we had a display of birds of prey inside which was interesting and a little scary. But as the day went on it dried up and we had a great time learning about Tudor life. On a September Saturday afternoon we joined girls from Cheltenham for a fun afternoon of activities, such as ‘milking the cow’, ‘bouncy horse racing’, ‘team obstacle race’. Unfortunately we had very heavy showers but that did not stop them enjoying themselves.
The Brownies really enjoyed making their own Christingles, before welcoming the Peace Light from Bethlehem to Highbury, in December. The girls are now looking forward to 2012 and have put forward lots of ideas of what they would like to do.
1st Cheltenham (Highbury) Beavers January - April Some of the term’s activities included thinking about recycling and we made space ships out of bits of packaging that we’d collected. We also made bird boxes from kits that we had ordered from the Tesco vouchers. We had a visit from a martial arts instructor and had a go at ju-jitzu. We went for a walk on Cleeve Hill and Richard Cleaves helped us to find some fossils. Although we had some rain, we managed a hill side picnic too. May – July 2011 We had our Beaver meeting in Montpellier Gardens in May to coincide with the District Fête and Funday. We tried to identify some trees by looking at the leaves against a chart that we had. We entered the It’s a Knockout Competition, and it was definitely a case of the taking part rather than the winning! Water Safety was the focus of another session, and we also held a sleepover at Cranham with fifteen Beavers attending. September – December 2011 We met in Sandford Park and had a session with the Park Ranger, who put up the bird boxes we’d made earlier in
- 27 -
the year. We tried a new sport in the form of tag rugby, and had a New Zealand themed session in honour of the Rugby World Cup. We also completed our IT stage 1 badge by making posters on the computers to advertise Church Parade. We had a visit from a pilot who had built his own aircraft and had fun making paper airplanes, as well as looking at flight charts and types of aircraft. Nine Beavers went to Cadbury World with other Beavers from the District.
Other special events were the Scouts’ Own which the Pack put together for remembrance and peace, and the carol singing just before Christmas. Several of the Cubs also attended the Christingle and Peacelight Service. We have appreciated having Rob Spice helping as a Young Leader, and to welcome Helen Bloxham to the leadership team. The Cubs were very sorry not to have seen Mowgli (Ian Miller) since the summer, but pressure of work finally won over his commitment to the Pack.
1st Cheltenham (Highbury) Cubs
The parents’ rota, put together by Ian White, has been invaluable and we The Pack has had another active year thank all those who are willing and ranging from Fitness activities to available to do this. Emergency Aid via Chess, Science and Shelterbox. The Shelterbox was partly 1st Cheltenham (Highbury) a fund-raising exercise, and partly Scouts developing global awareness using The first major event of the year was materials produced by Shelterbox for our winter camp at Penn Wood, Scouts. This also involved meeting a attended by seven Scouts. Saturday Shelterbox volunteer. was dry and bright, but that night it Emergency Aid and Book Reader blew a hoolie, and Sunday was cold badges were completed during the and wet. A number of tents were year. The latter involved a visit to blown over, or inside out. Everybody Waterstone’s, and staff from there survived in good spirits, however, even later visited the Pack to present if those spirits were cold and sodden. badges. Work was also done towards Valuable lessons were learnt by all. As Cyclist and Map Reader badges. BP is reputed to have said, “Any fool We held an indoor Nights Away at can be a Scout on a sunny day”. Leonard Stanley, but with lots of In the spring we had a visit from the outside activity including a Hike up to Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. We Selsey Common and Stanley Wood. subsequently visited a local nature There was a Swedish theme to tie in with the World Scout Jamboree, with all the meals having a Swedish flavour and some intricate craft work making Viking Longboats.
reserve, gaining the Naturalists badge for a number of Scouts. Several Scouts and a leader came along to the Messy Church in May.
- 28 -
Due to work and other commitments, As well as the ‘hands on’ leaders we no leaders were available to run a need to thank those who help out by summer camp. serving on our Executive Committee. The second half of the year has seen the Scout Troop shrink somewhat. Some notable old hands have moved Room Bookings up to Explorers, some have left citing 2011 proved to be another successful pressures of senior school. year with only one regular loss (the Art The leader team has diminished also. Class) but the loss of their revenue was Sara and Steve have started their more than covered by one-off teacher training courses, and are bookings for children’s parties etc. unable to attend for the time being. There is no doubt that the facilities we Our young leader, Matthew, has also offer are in no small way responsible had to drop out. for our popularity with groups and Greater emphasis is being placed on individuals. The improvements to the Scouts designing their own Room 1 should also prove popular with program and highlighting what our clients (thanks to Darryl for this activities they’d like to do. This is work.) proving to be a useful source of ideas We should also thank Bridgette (and to populate the programme. Sweep) for the remarkable standard of cleanliness of our premises, which is always commented on by our Users. Final thoughts from the They do a tremendous job which Group Scout Leader makes the task of letting the rooms You can see from the above reports much easier. that despite struggling with leadership in some sections this year we have maintained an interesting programme. If you can suggest anyone I might approach about helping out please let me know.
The Admin Team
A weekly commitment is not essential, Thursday afternoons sees Heather nor is any previous experience of Tarling and Sue Sillence joining Sue Cole to do administrative work in the Scouting. The different types of Parade Service Walter Ansell Room. have been appreciated by leaders and A big ‘thank you’ to Rob Lacey for updating the computer system so that parents. The leaders also recognise and we are now fully equipped in the appreciate the support of the church Walter Ansell Room. for the Group in a whole variety of Thanks, also, to Richard Newton for taking charge of the photo-copying. ways.
- 29 -
A big ‘thank you’ to Ruth Adams who after many years has finished preparing the Sunday Order of Service Sheets,and finding our Bible Readers. Jonquil Harrison is taking on that task.
disintegrate and considerable work was necessary to replace this and redecorate. The provision of a new kitchen area in Room 1 has now been completed. The main hall walls were redecorated during the Maintenance Day in February 2012.
Maintenance Deacons’ Day in March was largely dedicated to maintenance work in the Morton Brown Room and kitchen, fitting of new blinds in the balcony and electrical safety testing.
We would welcome help from anyone who may be able to assist with general repairs and maintenance around the church.
In April, the plaster ceiling of the Morton Brown Room started to Please remember to bring your copy of March Highbury News with the Annual Reports to the Annual Meeting on Thursday 1st March
M:Ocean words to describe Highbury Three members of M:Ocean, Tabi, Adam and Matthew, were each asked to think of 5 words to describe Highbury Amazing x 2
Friendly x 3
Welcoming x 2
Exciting x 3
Good for everyone
Friendly: everyone gets along, Richard always makes sure everyone joins in, activities together Amazing: all different kinds of stuff to do, always biscuits and football Joyful: Hy-Spirit (‘Oh our Lord and King!’ ‘Over all the earth you reign on high’) Welcoming: everyone’s so nice, you never get excluded Interactive: Help do jobs, Sunday Special Helpers Good for everyone: 95 year olds and 2 year olds, babies and elderly, Congregational Fun: going out to groups Kind: adults give up their time to organise groups
- 30 -
Charity for March: Cheltenham Youth for Christ At CYFC we are greatly encouraged by the prayer and support we receive from people such as yourself. On a daily basis we see the fruit of the prayer that is offered up and the change that takes place in the lives of the young people. We work with over 150 young people every week with a majority of these being unchurched young people we meet in schools largely in All Saints Academy and Pittville, with additional work in Bournside and Pate’s. One of the young people we’ve worked with for the last four years is Lucie, and recently she wrote the following: “ and meeting Cheltenham Youth for Christ are one of the best things that has happened to me. The team are amazing, they are friendly, welcoming, supportive, the list goes on. People’s initial thoughts, when you say a club based around the teachings of God and Jesus, are ‘boring’ and ‘rubbish’. is the complete opposite: they create ways to teach through fun and games. Whether it’s an egg and spoon race or doing quizzes, there’s always that element of fun. Without CYFC I wouldn’t be where I am today, has taught me to be myself and do what I believe is right for me, even if people don’t agree with me or think that I’m stupid. has helped increase my confidence. Leading a session was
an experience that helped me with my confidence.” We have never had so much demand for our work which continues to expand. Through CYFC young people experience change in their lives as they encounter Jesus through what is often the only Christian presence in their lives. Besides our schools work we are also developing , a prayer network of young people praying for their friends to meet and be changed by Jesus. We have about 20 young people involved in this but are looking to have 500 young people praying within the next five years. If we get this many young people involved it will, according to sociologists, be enough people to change the culture amongst young people in our town. Since starting last year the young people involved have told us about the changes they have seen in the lives of their friends, with many having conversations about faith, and some young people have even gone to church. Please pray for these points: Finance - we face many challenges and need to see a large rise in income in order to maintain our staffing levels. We have a number of trust applications in at the moment, please pray for success. For continued success and favour in our work.
Highbury Community Café Every Thursday 10:00am until 11:30am Coffee, Tea and Homemade Cake
- 31 -
3rd Wednesday 8pm
Thursday 10 - 11.30
Deacons’ Meeting Open the Book
1st Saturday 2-30pm
2nd Saturday 6.30pm
Sunday 9-30 am
What’s special about Highbury? We had a productive morning on Maintenance Day, and needed a lunch break. Jean Gregory had been busy preparing food, and as soon as it was ready I was there! A young lady, from another activity on the premises, came to find something in the kitchen. She kept looking at Jean and said, “I recognise you from somewhere, were you the school nurse?” She was right, Jean had been the school nurse. More conversation followed and the young lady said, “I always remember you being so kind and helpful.” It was the high point of the day for me to observe this reunion, and hear their conversation through the serving hatch. To my mind it sums up what is special about the people at Highbury.
- 32 -
Calendar for March 2012 Thursday 1st Friday
Women’s World Day of Prayer - page 37
Church Annual Meeting - all are welcome
Friendship Group for those who live alone
Word Café – bring and share lunch
Evening Prayers with Holy Communion
Pastoral Care Meeting for District Visitors and Deacons
Hy-Speed for young members
Hy-Speed for older members
Open the Book - see page 39
SUNDAY 18th 10.30am Wednesday
Morning Worship when we will welcome the Congregational Federation’s ‘flame’
Morning Worship with Holy Communion
Wednesday Lunch - N.B. change of date!
SW Midlands Area Spring Assembly at Stapleton Road Church, Bristol - page 36
MISSION FOCUS – MALAWI 10.30am
Morning Worship with Parade of the Uniformed Organisations
The Mission Boxes will be received and dedicated at both services Thursday 29th Saturday 31st
10.00am - 12 noon Easter Café and Hy-Speed Event with time to explore the Easter Story in Church
- 33 -
News of the Church Family CONGRATULATIONS to - Joan Lee, Olga Slack and Frank Guppy who received Congregational Federation certificates, on Sunday 29th January, in recognition of their services to Highbury - Ted and Jenny Horsfield, celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary on Saturday 31st March OUR SYMPATHY to - Sue Cole on the death of her Auntie Joan in Canada on Wednesday 1st February, and her brother-in-law Richard on Thursday 2nd February – remembering her sister, Maggie, and all in the family too - Joan Barnes, Chris and Sharon, and Deborah, on the death of John on Monday 6th February, only ten days after Joan and John celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary - Pam Dell’s daughter Kate and sister Paula, and all at Oakhaven, following Pam’s death on Thursday 9th February PLEASE REMEMBER IN YOUR PRAYERS all those mentioned above and - Raymond and Brenda Clarke - Ivy Sadler, who has had another fall - Jonquil and Peter Harrison
- Helen and David Robert
- Vera and David Williams
- Ron and Rachel Jacques
- Ian and Hilare Pulford
- Eric Burton and his family
- Hilda Read, in hospital
- Robert Pestell
- Maurice Wilce
- James Martin with a broken arm, following a fall on the ice - Gwen Taylor - Karen Haden’s father, Peter
- Sharon Wallington’s mother, June
- Lorraine and Neil Gasside’s extended family, Auntie Mary and cousin Graham - Russell and Frances May, former members of the Livingstone Fellowship - those awaiting hospital appointments or the results of medical tests - those with seasonal illnesses, who are feeling low at the present time - other friends know to us personally, experiencing difficulties in their daily lives, those with employment worries, or relationship problems, and especially those in need of our prayers and support long-term. APPRECIATION A one liner to say thank you (all) for the certificate of long service and gift token presented to me on Sunday evening, 29th January. Nobody was more surprised than me at that point in the evening service! Thank you again. Frank Guppy [Frank has been a Highbury Church Member since 2nd October 1958. He taught himself to play the organ, and has played regularly for worship since 1965.]
- 34 -
APPRECIATION So many to thank, so where do I start? I think perhaps in the order the incidents have taken place. Firstly, to David Roberts and Darryl Mills for moving some of my furniture to my new home - and being willing to move more when I’m ready! to Ian White for sorting out my video recorder. all for various cards, flowers and visits. Next, what a big surprise on Sunday 29th January to be presented with a Congregational Federation certificate in recognition of my years of work as a Church Member and Pastoral Visitor. And not only the certificate, but also a cheque and cactus (sorry Richard if you found my room too warm!) All this willing help is what makes Highbury ‘special’. Now that I have no car I am at home a little more often, so do feel free to drop in for a tea or coffee, especially if you are going to the nearby College Road Wing of the hospital! A ’phone call before your visit will make sure that I’m at home! Many thanks once again.
GREETINGS FROM GOSIA KIEDRZYN Hi Everyone! I am fine! Just packing for mountain trip and some skiing! Half a year ago I started a new job, working for an Engineering Company, and part of our responsibility is to co-ordinate different constructions. With my team I co-ordinate building a power station in Bielsko-Biala, in southern Poland, Beskidy mountain. I'm office assistant responsible for all the documentation. I wouldn't have this job if it weren't for my experience during a gap year in Cheltenham. I learnt so much from an amazing people involved in Highbury. I'm very grateful, as I improved my social skills and my English, and I really need that now. The only problem is that Bielsko-Biala is about 50 miles from the place I live. So week days I spend in Bielsko, and weekends in my flat in Bedzin. There is one disadvantage, I start work at 6.00am every day, and you may remember I love sleeping! A huge step in being grown up for me. In February I'm going to Warsaw for a Ball organised by my company ILF. I'm terrified! There will be about 300 people that I don't really know. In the same time I'm thinking that if I manage to survive a year in a foreign country this Ball is a piece of cake. I'm still in touch with some members of Highbury. I'm very pleased. I also receive Highbury News each month. Thank You. I'm also happy to say, that I started meeting someone. I hope it's quite serious. Gosia
- 35 -
Easter Café and Hy-Speed Event Saturday 31st March from 10.00 am to 12 noon Following the success of our Christmas Café and Hy-Speed morning, we are arranging a similar event this Spring. There has been a very positive response to the idea and I do hope you will all join us for a morning of digital Scalextric car racing, fresh coffee and home made cakes, Easter cards to make and buy and hopefully the popular Fairtrade stall. In church, you are invited to spend some time exploring the Easter Story with things to read, watch, think about and make, for all ages. At Christmas, the overwhelming response came across that there really was ‘something for everyone’; whether you like things fast/slow, loud/quiet, crowded/spacious, (and everybody likes cakes!) we hope to offer you, your family and friends an enjoyable and meaningful morning where we can celebrate Easter together. Carolyn Tennant
Update on Moffat on Death Row in Zambia I haven’t heard from Moffat since he wrote on 28th December and that letter took over three weeks to arrive. He was due to see his cardiologist on 9th January about his enlarged heart. So far Moffat has been responding very well to his medication. Please pray that he will soon be given a date to return to court to hear the result of his appeal, and that he will be freed. Also remember his daughter, Cecilia, who mainly knows her father through his letters - pray that Moffat will be released and able to spend time with her. Things are not easy for prisoners who have been released. I ask you to pray for an ex-prisoner called Moses Chansa. He is now an evangelist and visits prisons with God's message of love. He has recently told me that he feels stigmatised by society because of his prison record. He has very little money and there are difficulties in paying his rent. It's also a problem buying food during the rainy season - he tells me that the traders are not setting up their stalls. Judi Marsh
SW Midlands Area of the Congregational Federation Spring Assembly - “Torch Bearers” bringing together the journeys through our Area of both the Olympic Torch and the CF Flame Saturday 24th March from 10.30am to 4.00pm Stapleton Road Congregational Church Newton Street. Easton. Bristol BS5 0QZ
- 36 -
Churches Together in England Presidents’ statement re Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012 is a year of celebrations in England. The Olympic Torch Relay, the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen, the XXX Olympiad and the Paralympics will provide opportunities over the fourmonth period of May to September for people to gather and celebrate together in ways which will both enhance and deepen community life. As the Presidents of Churches Together in England, on behalf of all its members, we rejoice that so many of England’s churches are committed to being at the heart of these celebrations and are already preparing practical ways to build and support communities in their localities. In the build up to the Olympics and Paralympics, the work we are doing through our own denominational staff, and through the work of is unprecedented. More Christian communities from different traditions than ever before are coming together to plan practical ways of serving the project of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, which can bring many and diverse benefits. The end of the week of prayer for unity amongst Christians in January also marks six months until the 2012 Games officially begin. At this significant moment we reaffirm our commitment made ten years ago in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen to work towards the visible unity of all Christians in the one faith, expressed in common discipleship, worship, witness and service. The Presidents of Churches Together in England: The Rev Michael Heaney, Moderator, the Free Churches Group The Most Rev and Rt Hon Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury The Rt Rev Jana Jeruma-Grindberga, Bishop, Lutheran Church in Great Britain
The Most Rev Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster
Women’s World Day of Prayer 2nd
On Friday March we will be marking the Women’s World Day of Prayer with services at Highbury, St Michael’s and St Luke’s. For full details of the services, in churches in all areas of the town, throughout the day, please look out for Posters around the Church and on the Church web-site and Church Facebook page. This year the theme is “Let Justice Prevail” and has been put together by the Christian women of Malaysia. Felicity Cleaves and Mary Michael
- 37 -
Prayer Focus District 3 Ellen Baylis
Sylvia Curtis, and Neil
Louise Middleton and Natasha
Trevor and Sue Needs
Nick and Ruth Powell, Oliver and Ben
David and Margaret Sheen
W.S. Trenhaile (Advertiser) Deacon: Darryl Mills Visitors: Katherine Stanley and Joyce Jones
Prayer Rota for Sundays in March Morning 4th
Sunday March Sunday 11th March Sunday 18th March
Sharon Wallington Janet Partington Richard Cleaves
Sunday 25th March
Karen Haden Evening
S.W. Midlands Area of the Congregational Federation invites us to pray for â€Ś Sunday 4th March
South West Midlands Area Assembly
The Bible Society
- 38 -
Open the Book On Being the Church Thursday 15th March 7-30 to 9-00pm Please note the changed date! On the third Thursday of March it’s good to get together and ‘open the book’ as we take a look at the Bible. We are exploring what it means not just to belong to church but to be the church. We began with Jesus, moved on to look at Peter and this month turn to Paul. Do join us if you can! Thursday 15th March
Paul ... On being the Church ... 1 Corinthians 12 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
The next Street Pastors Commissioning Service is on
March at 7.30pm
Christian City Church Cheltenham
Wednesday Lunch – a change of date! This month the lunch will be held on Wednesday 21st March (not 14th as scheduled) Nothing else has changed though – 12.30pm you are all welcome to come along, just let us know you are coming! The Cooking Team
- 39 -
Hy-Way in March Our meetings continue every Wednesday afternoon for a time to worship, a time to listen, and for our social time with refreshments and chatter, from 2.00 to 3.30pm in the Morton Brown Room. All are invited to join us, do come along, and you will be assured of a very warm welcome
Chosen Charities Communion offerings and money donated at coffee time after morning worship will go to our chosen charity for March, which is Cheltenham Youth for Christ (see page 31). The total raised by our communion offerings and by those who stayed for coffee after morning services in January, for St Dunstans, amounted to ÂŁ193.39
Welcoming Team for March 2012 Sunday MORNING John Pickles Iain MacLeod Gwyneth Rattle
Sunday EVENING Mary Buchanan Alan Marshall Sue Sillence
Vestry Duty Sunday MORNING Darryl Mills
Sunday EVENING June Tremlett
CHURCH FAMILY NEWS, AND VISITING REQUESTS contact:
( 01242 285705 David and Betty Butcher ( 01242 300581 Joyce and Philip Arnold
PRAYER CHAIN REQUESTS contact: Lorraine Gasside
( 01242 239838 - LMGasside@blueyonder.co.uk
- 40 -
Continuing Reflections from Yatta, Sout h Hebron Hills … Sometimes Sometimes we may be tempted to despair that the conflict and turmoil of the Holy Land will never be resolved. Sometimes we feel there is nothing we can do to make a difference. Sometimes it is easier to just shut off and live our own lives or find a cause where we can feel more useful, more effective. Sitting here on the roof of my Palestinian home as the sun begins to set over this bright limestone town of Yatta, after another day with the EAPPI programme, there are three sources of inspiration I would like to share with you. However right now it is only a question of time before one of the neighbours calls us to come to his home, to drink hot chai in little glasses. Or will Abed come after our meal with another of his cousins or friends to discuss religion or relate stories of his childhood? In this suburb, my home for three months, it is impossible to square the stereotype of Palestinians as terrorists, with the unbounded hospitality and gentleness shown to us by neighbours and strangers, and through hearing their stories. But what has inspired and encouraged me? Firstly it was reading a scientific gem - what bacteria can teach us about the wisdom of working together! In a prize-winning essay, , Tess Shellard starts ‘Imagine for a moment that we all have one firework and our sole purpose is to light it. With just one trick to last a lifetime, how would you use it?’ She goes on to describe how this little
uni-celled organism, with no eyes, no ears, no sense of touch or central nervous system uses teamwork to be effective. ‘They don’t just act; they wait until there are enough of them for the action to be effective and coordinate their moves’. They save the host creatures they attach themselves to from destruction by all lighting up at the same time. Isn’t that just amazing! For me this powerfully connects with what is happening here with international efforts joining with Israeli peace groups and Palestinians, to address the wrongs of the illegal occupation and identify what we can engage with at home. The EU for instance, has made a brave decision because of the impasse and humanitarian crisis, to help Area C, where I work, by-passing the Israeli efforts to block such help. In Hebron, this morning, ten members of international peace keeping teams acting as a protective presence as the Palestinian school children of Cordoba School made their way through this exclusive ghost town area of Hebron. Why do ten internationals need to be keeping watch over these children? In this segregated town Jewish settlers buying property and building settlements in the centre, for ‘security reasons’ have forced out the Palestinian residents, have required the boarding up of once thriving Palestinian shops and stalls, the erection of a concrete barrier on one side of which Palestinians are not allowed to walk in the street, and the
- 41 -
400+ settlers are provided with over 1,500 Israeli Defence Force IDF soldiers for protection. The Star of David, with such a significant and terrible history in Europe is now daubed by Jews on walls along with and other grafitti. There are sinister echoes of another persecution here that really shake me.
A thoughtful economic approach may be the most effective action we can take. After explaining that peace talks and resolutions have not resulted in any action or improvements, the writers of Kairos, heads of Palestinian Churches working in unity, show how economic pressure can be brought to bear to address the continued Israeli disregard for The second source of inspiration and Government’s International Humanitarian Law and hope is the Kairos Document described as ‘A word of faith, hope, and love countless UN resolutions. from the heart of Palestinian suffering.’ As individuals there are two areas you It is a call for reconciliation and may want to personally reflect upon: forgiveness, underpinned by a boycotting illegal Israeli settlement commitment to non-violent resistance goods e.g. avocados, dates, herbs etc. as the action of choice. It has been – looking carefully at the labelling. given full support by Muslims and has Secondly, if you know anyone planning opened an on-going positive dialogue a holiday to Israel/Palestine try to between Jewish scholars and the make sure they support a Holy Land writers of Kairos. In a global tour that includes meeting some community tired of body bags coming Palestinians, or includes a talk that home, tired of scenes of violence from addresses the problems faced by numerous quarters and the honing of Palestinians. Wanting to save Israel words in our media to dehumanise ‘the from itself is a genuine concern for the enemy’, there is another way. writers of Kairos as well as others who Shaken by the shameful dealings love Israel. perpetrated towards the entire Jewish population in the twentieth century, the international community has tried to establish checks and balances. The UN is producing monthly evidence and warnings that, here in the Holy Land, it is the Palestinian people now who need the protection. Remembering the boycott of South African goods and the gradual global awakening to a political, economic and moral system totally against all basic human dignity and values, we now need to support a people, the majority of whom reject violence and want to live in peace as do their Israeli neighbours.
Shalom - Salaam- Peace be with you
You have endured rather harrowing accounts of my time here because these have been so real and immediate. Here I hope is a more positive glimpse of what some Israelis are trying to accomplish by speaking out with another voice.
Conflicting glimpses of Israel as witnessed in the West It’s happened – the first house demolition on our ‘watch’ at Um Al Kher, a Bedouin village, affecting a widow Miyaser and her seven children. The demolition order on her home, by
- 42 -
the fence of the ever expanding Karmel settlement, only had six months to run. According to the Villages Group that monitors these activities, the authorities had to demolish it now to avoid having to apply for a new order. This move is part of the Israeli plan to clear Area C of the Bedouin population - a group protected by human rights legislation. No warning for her, no new demolition order but a road block first. Then came the bulldozer, and soon a pile of rubble and household treasures was all that was left Meanwhile three huge earth-movers were already excavating land ready for more new houses to be built adjacent to the village, an Israeli settlement development that is causing herders to take a long way round the hills with their sheep so as not to be too near the new settlers - it offends them to see the Bedouins passing with their sheep.
programme concerned with Palestine and Israel. From the early colouring books and reading books, school visits by the military and 1,000 Israelis choosing, as part of their military service, to be Teachers’ Aids, Israeli children are brought up to view weapons and the military presence as normal. In a society living by the sword, violence is the solution of choice. The Israeli sociologist Baruch Kimmerling has called this ‘civilian militarism’. He argues that conflict and war have become a ‘self-evident and routine part of everyday life.’ Do we really want toddlers to dream of the day when they will hold a gun or drive a tank?
We are probably all familiar with the warning, attributed to various leaders from Socrates downwards, that power corrupts, but that absolute power corrupts absolutely. The power of the But what of the kinder face of Israel we military has its own price to pay for also have encountered, the voices of those serving, it seems, as well as concern and actions of Jews of those subjugated. conscience and humanity? When my For some of those who have ‘been Swiss colleague arrived at Um Al Kher there done that’, military service was with a Swiss delegation, only five days not so good after all. Freedom from the after the demolition, a coach load of fear of public ostracism and Israelis had been the day before, harassment at various levels has not organised by an Israeli action group, been sufficient to prevent soldiers and had started rebuilding this widow’s (over 750 of them) giving evidence of house, stone by stone; action they are how this power in the Israeli Defence committed to continuing until the Force corrupted them and caused house is completed. Meanwhile the them to behave shamefully. The family has a temporary corrugated iron inhumane behaviour sometimes home within the newly built wall. through sheer boredom, toying with This is the humanitarian face of Israel, the property and lives of these the one our programme has made efforts poorest of the poor in my area of the to embrace, and our title refers to - a West Bank is hard to read. “Why,
- 43 -
especially given what the Jews have suffered in the past, does the Israeli public allow this?” is a question frequently asked. A speaker, from an Israeli soldier’s group, explained that Israel’s narrative is that ‘everything we do revolves around our security’.
On the minibus from Jerusalem yesterday, unusually a Jewish girl from a Hebron settlement sat next to me. We talked. Suddenly, she looked straight into my eyes and said, “Do you love Muslims?” “Yes” I said without hesitation “but I also love Jews.”
A woman I met in Scotland, who had lived in South Africa during the turbulent close of the Apartheid regime, explained that they were all kept in fear, ”fear that enabled the government to do anything it liked in order to protect us”. Is the same happening in Israel? Some believe so.
If a citizen of Sderot region, the area where rockets from Gaza frequently fall, can say there must be creative ways of hearing a new voice, a voice committed to non-violence, this ‘Other Voice’ surely deserves to be heard?
My greetings to you from a sunny Jerusalem as I conclude a visit with the “Israel is presenting the world a false Jerusalem EAPI team. choice” explained a diplomat to me Rosamond recently, “that to be pro-Palestine you (Rev Lawrence Squires’ daughter) are anti-Israel.”
‘Rock the Cathedral’ on Friday 16th March from 7pm to 11pm (doors open 6.30pm) With a top class line-up and a programme to encourage young people to think about engaging with issues they encounter every day, this will be an event that can have a significant impact. There will be a short, punchy Gospel message for youth of any (or no) faith background to be challenged, stimulated and entertained. £5 on the door £20 for 5 tickets if booked in advance To take advantage of the reduced price offer in advance, contact Steve Jarvis (Diocese of Gloucester CYPD) firstname.lastname@example.org or 01452 835538 For any other queries, contact Chris Saunders (Fairford Deanery Youth Worker) email@example.com or 01452 301042 / 07918732040 Chaos Curb
Chip K & Galactus Jack
Brought into being
Sounds of Salvation
Charity Market Place ... and more!
... see www.rockthecathedral.org
- 44 -
Weekend Away at Home Friday 28th to Sunday 30th September A great opportunity to have all the fellowship, the fun and the challenge of a weekend away ... but at home. We plan to go over to the 3C Church in the former Dowty Sports Club for a great weekend together. As it’s Harvest weekend we will start with the fun and games of a party on the Friday evening, then have a sleepover for the youngsters. On Saturday we are going to take up all the thinking we have been sharing on ‘what’s special about Highbury’ and ‘what it means to be church at Highbury’, and see if we can come up with those words that describe what we hope and pray Highbury can become. We will then meet on Sunday for our Harvest Celebrations. Look out for more news later in the year.
Easter Quiz at St Mary’s Congregational Church Gloucester on Friday 23rd March at 7.30pm Teams of four (or less) £2 per person, includes refreshments in the interval. Hy-Brains have won it a few times – let’s send a Hy-Brains2 Team too!
‘Helping Hands Catering’ for all your catering needs Specialists in funeral catering Buffet tailored to suit all occasions and dietary requirements o
We can provide a full waitress service for your event, including hire of crockery, cutlery, table linen and flowers for tables, either at your own home or chosen location. Delivery only also available. Contact:
mobile: 07909 917805 firstname.lastname@example.org or Julia Howse
mobile: 07971 246431
- 45 -
Evening Service Readers It has been suggested that a rota would be useful for those who read at the evening services. The readers in March will be: 4th March Diana Adams 11th March Martin Evans 18th March Phil Arnold 25th March Marion Taylor I am using the names I already have, but if there are others who would like to be included on the rota please let me know.
DJL MAINTENANCE Danny James-Locke All aspects of property maintenance
Telephone 01242 233921
Mobile 07901 852536 Living God, we give thanks for your faithfulness to us, not least in our moments of weakness. We ask you to help us explore the depths of the Good News, that we may not take its scope for granted, but will set it free.
W.S. Trenhaile Funeral Directors Private Chapels of Repose
Mason & Stokes Funeral Directors David Mason Richard Mason Joy Mason A Family Business Providing a Caring Day and Night Service Tudor Lodge 54 Hewlett Road
175 London Road
Tel: 01242 224877
Help and Advice on
Tel: 01242 224897
Pre-Arranged Funeral Plans
- 46 -
We are a local, Gloucester, family run company, based in Brockworth WE OFFER RELIABLE AND CONSISTENT CARE IN YOUR HOME Care can be full time live-in, or short periods from ½hour, to suit you We can assist you with: Personal Care – Bathing / Showering Preparation of, and help with, Meals Light Household Tasks – Dusting, Cleaning, Washing, Ironing, Shopping. For further details / enquiries please ring Jenny or Lisa on 01452 526150
A Sympathetic and Understanding Service We’ll take care of all the arrangements with care and sensitivity Call us 24 hours a day
Selim Smith & Co Funeral Directors 01242 525383 74 Prestbury Road Cheltenham. GL52 2DJ Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw it here
- 47 -
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 with Malawi The Olympic Torch comes to Cheltenham on Wednesday 23rd May. Sunday 11th March we will be welcoming the Congregational Federation’s ‘flame’. It’s part of a sculpture comprising twelve ‘flames’ that was part of last year’s Assembly, with its emphasis on the moving of the Spirit in our hearts, in our churches and in our world. The sculpture was dismantled and each of the flames has gone to one of the Areas of the Federation to be passed from one church to another. On Sunday 11th March we will welcome the flame to Highbury, and think of what it means to receive the Spirit’s presence and pass the Spirit’s presence on to others. It is nothing less than the light of Christ for a dark world. And then on Sunday 25th March we are going to welcome Candi WilliamsTarling and others from the group that went from the Congregational Federation to Malawi at the end of last year. She will be telling us all about Malawi, as we welcome everyone from the Scout Group and from the Brownie and Guide Groups to our service. It will be the first of two parade services focusing on Malawi as we prepare to welcome to Gloucestershire, the Malawi team for the Olympics. To belong to Highbury is something very special, not least because it means belonging to the world-wide church of Christ.
- 48 -
A snapshot of Highbury Congregational Church Cheltenham with reports of all that's going on at church this year. Together with latest churc...