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. 6

February 2014

Sankey valley


Welcome to the latest edi on of the Sankey Valley Circuit Newsleer. In this issue you will ďŹ nd details of ac vi es planned for the next few months. In addi on there is news on what we seek to do as we reach our communi es in the name of God and make a dierence. We show how we care and we show the love of God in tangible ways through foodbanks and credit unions—amongst many other things. We thank God for all we can do together. If you have any informaon for subsequent newsleers please contact the Circuit Communicaon Team - The Rev’ds Jackie BellďŹ eld, Mark Coles, Stephen Frogga or Mr John Humbles.

Dates for Your Diary Circuit Ash Wednesday Service On Wednesday 5th March At Farnworth Methodist Church Time: 7.30pm District Tes!mony Service For The Rev’d Stephen Frogga and Deacon Angela Shereni On Sunday 6th April At Penketh Methodist Church Time: 6.30pm Circuit Celebra!on Day On Saturday 14th June At Farnworth Methodist Church Time: 10am - 3pm with worship at 2.30pm Farewell Tea and Leaving Service For The Rev’d Jim Booth (District Chair) On Sunday 6th July At Linacre Mission, Litherland, L21 8NS Time - 4pm tea followed by 6pm service ( mes TBC) Welcome Tea and Service For The Rev’d Sheryl Anderson (District Chair) On Saturday 30th August At Venue TBC Time 4pm tea followed by service ( mes TBC) Sankey Valley Circuit Website: hp://ww.sankeyvalleymethodists.org.uk Sankey Valley Circuit Facebook Group: Search for Sankey Valley Methodist Circuit (All photos of people uploaded must have their permission please)


The 25th Annual Carolcade

Stadium Songs of Praise, Warrington

(Sheila Benton @ Bold Street Methodist)

(The Revd Stephen Kingsnorth 01925 263612)

On 12th December 2013 many of us had a wonderful evening celebra ng the 25th annual Ac on for Children Carolcade at Bold Street Methodist Church. Back in the late 1980s, a group from Warrington aended a Carolcade in Chester Cathedral organised by the charity; they enjoyed the evening but came back frozen and said, “Never again!” However the local support group thought the idea of a Carolcade was good and that a similar event could be organised in Warrington in a warm church. The following year a leer was sent to the churches in the Warrington Circuit and the local Independent Methodist churches invi ng them to Bold Street to share some of the music they were preparing for Christmas and sing carols. A representa ve from NCH was invited to speak before a collec on was taken for the charity. The evening was a great success and it was decided to hold another the following year, thus beginning an annual ‘tradi on’. Tony Benton was the main organiser of the Carolcades with a lot of help on the night from the Warrington Support Group. The format for the evenings remained basically unchanged; items from the various churches interspersed with congrega onal carols. In the early years a group met at Market Gate to sing carols before processing, s ll singing, to Bold Street. Another innova on was the introduc on of the poetry compe

on on subjects including Christmas and Peace and one year short stories. These were popular – especially as there were prizes – and, with the authors’ permission, we made them into booklets which we sold at the Carolcade for £1 each to cover the cost of prin ng. Later we recorded the evenings and sold the tapes – later CDs – to those who had taken part. I prided myself that all tapes and CDs were delivered before Christmas.

An es mated 1,400 people aended the Warrington Halliwell Jones Rugby Stadium for the Circuit Songs of Praise (which the Mayor declared a Civic Service), organised by Mayor's Chaplain, the Revd Stephen Kingsnorth, and supported with music by the New Song Band, led by the Revd Jackie Bellfield. The free event, supported by the Warrington Wolves Rugby League Club and Warrington Borough Council, was the first of the official programme to welcome the Samoan team, par cipants in the Rugby League World Cup tournament, and being hosted by Warrington. The Wolves adver sed the service in match programmes and handed out invita ons at fixtures. BBC Radio Merseyside had supported with publicity and the broadcast of their Daybreak service recorded by Jackie and Stephen. Locally, Radio General broadcast the event live. Opened by local children performing the Haka (with a Haka response from the Samoan team), amongst guests were Lord Hoyle and David Mowat MP (President and Vice-President of the Parliamentary All Party Rugby League group), the Council Leader, and the Chief Execu ve of the Council (who is also Chair of the Club). Wolfie, the Club mascot par cipated as a range of songs and hymns, modern and tradi onal, were shared, including "When peace like a river", chosen by the Samoans, and an item sung by the Warrington Male Voice Choir. A variety of reflec ons were read, along with a prayer in Samoan voiced by a player. Other Samoans released a balloon rainbow from the centre of the pitch, whilst congrega on members surrounding the turf released balloons, symbolic of prayer for the tournament, good sportsmanship and integrity amongst the players. On the following day , in the Town Hall chamber, the Council Leader paid tribute to the success of the event during the scheduled Council mee ng. At the formal civic welcome to the Samoans the team spokesman opened his address by singing the chorus of "It is well with my soul".

Most of the Carolcades were held at Bold Street but we went to Padgate twice and Penketh once. Tony was determined that, for the 25th year, the event would return to Bold Street. It would have been his last one in charge as he intended to ‘re re’ but, unfortunately he was not to live to see it. He would have been delighted to know that the collec on raised £414, the largest amount ever. One or two people have expressed a willingness to organise next year’s event, so thanks to all those who have taken part over the years, and ‘watch this space’ for the date and venue for the 26th Carolcade.

The Samoan RL Players carrying balloons for the prayers at the Songs of Praise in October


Widnes Street Pastors

(The Rev’d Jenny MacGregor)

Street Pastors make a difference locally. There has been measurable reduc on in crime and disorder in areas where Street Pastors operate. They make a huge difference to the safety and well-being of individuals. A Street Pastor is a volunteer and someone from the Chris an community who is willing to care, listen and help. Engaging with people of all ages, helping the vulnerable to enjoy their evenings in a safe way. A Street Pastor has to be over 18yrs, belong to a Chris an fellowship, completed a DBS check and completed a Street Pastors Training course. They work from 10pm to 4am on a Saturday once a month offering help where it is needed. It costs approx. £300 to equip and train a Street Pastor. Local churches help with fundraising. Prayers are shared before the Street Pastors go out onto the streets. They offer flip flops to anyone whose shoes are either ‘lost’ or uncomfortable, they offer ‘spikeys’ so that their drink boles are protected from any unwanted items and they pick up many boles and cans from the streets protec ng everyone from falling onto them. They help people to find a taxi and they befriend and develop a dialogue with people who are homeless and living on the streets, gaining knowledge of local concerns. All this informa on is passed on to the local services that collate knowledge and endeavor to make the locality a safer place. The Ascension Trust began this worthwhile work in 1993 and has links with many churches across the UK. Widnes has trained up 19 Street Pastors during its first year of helping and they go out once a month in pairs. The age range is from 20yrs to 80yrs and some wonderful stories have been shared concerning local people apprecia ng the caring side of the Street Pastor. There have been no incidents of confronta on with the public and the Street Pastors. This is my commandment – That you love one another as I have loved you If you would like more informa on about becoming a Street Pastor in your area then please contact: www.streetpastors.org.uk

New Song Network

(The Rev’d Jackie Bellfield—email info@newsongwarrington.com)

New Song celebrated its 5th birthday in January and it con nues to grow and develop as more people aend the varied monthly ac vi es. Aending the 5th birthday celebra ons was the Na onal Fresh Expression Media Team who videoed the event and interviewed some of its aendees. Our website www.newsongwarrington.com provides informa on on the network of events which take place and offers users and visitors answers to the many frequently asked ques ons received from throughout the Methodist Connexion and other church partners on the work of New Song Network. It also provides informa on on our five year strategy. In February 100 new songsters aended our first weekend away together at Abbot Hall—Grange over Sands. Filling the venue, our weekend theme of “Be thankful” challenged us all to live lives of gra tude and was led by the Rev’d Lucille Rogers and the Rev’d Jackie Bellfield with the New Song Band. This challenge of thankfulness con nues for our Lenten theme and journey of having an #aUtudeofgra tude. Our children’s work being wonderfully led at the weekend by Jane Rhodes and Celia Thomason. There were very moving tes monies from individuals who spoke of their faith and thankfulness even when mes were hard. In the midst of hearVelt worship, teaching and preaching was much joy as the ten lepers were bound and released and laughter at the games of family fortunes and blankety blank. Now to find a venue for our next weekend away. The picture opposite shows part of our communion table from the Sunday a)ernoon. 3

Messy Church

(The Rev’d Mar)n Wood)

Nutgrove Methodist Church in St Helens is fortunate to have links to the local community through the voluntary aided Methodist Primary School. Ministers and members of the church have been able to visit the school for assemblies and the end of term ac vi es have been held in the church building for a number of years. Indeed, so close are the links between school and church, that the admission policy of the school gives a degree of priority to children who, together with their parents aend public worship at Nutgrove Methodist Church, whilst members of the church have been invited to give science presenta ons to parents and children. Over the last year, these links with the local community have been strengthened further by the comple on and subsequent occupancy of the new circuit Community Centre by Thao Heath Playdays private nursery. Examples and photographs of these links can be seen on the circuit web-site at hp://www.sankeyvalleymethodists.org.uk/latest-news The presence of the nursery children, together with the desire of some parents to send their children to Nutgrove school, prompted the Nutgrove church members to consider beginning a mid-week Messy Church worship opportunity. And so in September 2013, Messy Church began as an opportunity for parents and young children to meet for worship, an opportunity that has been repeated on a monthly basis and looks set to con nue. Our “Messy Churchâ€? follows the format outlined in Lucy Moore’s 2006 book with singing, a story, craW making, something to eat and a prayer me. There are 15 pre-school children, together with at least one parent per child, 3 school age children, and 3 or 4 babies. Maureen, Janet and Joe, of Nutgrove Church are the regular leaders, cooks, craW makers, washer-uppers and storytellers, plus the minister and other occasional helpers. Monthly topics have included Abraham; Joseph and his coat of many colours; the na vity , and a memorable representa on of Joshua bringing down the walls of Jericho. Sadly, rams horns were in short supply, but with Christmas approaching, party-tooters were plen ful, and although the room walls remained intact, the children certainly raised the roof blowing these. Unfortunately, Nutgrove Church does not have a suitable room for Messy Church, so we meet in the Wesley room of Nutgrove School. This gives us a happy problem: with around 40 bodies in the room, as well as tables for craWs and space to eat, the group is growing too large for the room and we are having to think about ďŹ nding a bigger space , and are seeking help from circuit resources. Our next meeng is on Thursday 13th March 2014 in the Wesley room of Nutgrove School from 15:30 unl 17:00. Children under the age of 7, accompanied by at least one parent are welcome.

Other Messy/S!cky Church ac vi es take place across the circuit at:

Did you know we have around 64 Worship leaders in our circuit? And there is a new course underway training four more.

Rixton - Messy Church St. Mar!n’s - S cky Church Stockton Heath - S cky Church

If you are interested in training as a worship leader please speak to your minister.

Coming soon is Messy Church at Latchford Lile Angels takes place at Penketh & Hood Manor


“When I was hungry, you gave me something to eatâ€? The Gospel in ac!on through local Foodbanks (Hope Sills @ Prescot & Whiston) Many churches in our Circuit are now acvely involved in running or contribung to foodbanks. Here Hope Sills, a member of Prescot and Whiston Church and one of the co-ordinators of the foodbank there, reects on their work. When we pray in the Lord’s Prayer “Give us this day our daily breadâ€?, we are told that this should not be taken literally, but means all our needs. Perhaps for some that prayer means exactly what it says. Through the foodbanks we are acknowledging that, while giving thanks for all we have, we can contribute in a prac cal way to those who do not have much reason to give thanks. I read recently, ‘The world produces one and a half mes enough food to feed every man, woman, and child currently living. The reality is that people are going hungry today not because there is not enough food, but because they are poor and cannot aord to eat.’ (Mike Small Scotland’s Local Food Revoluon) We read about this in the press and see it on television: malnutri on in parts of Africa, street children scavenging in South America, hungry families in refugee camps on the borders of Syria. Now that is not ok, but it is far away and in some ways diďŹƒcult to relate to. Now we are reading about the UK; it is geUng closer. ’More than half a million aended foodbanks in the last year.’ (The Independent May 2013) Locally in Knowsley one in ďŹ ve families experience poverty; in Prescot two people I have met in the foodbank live in the same road as I do. From the same book quoted above: ‘I kept wondering why somebody didn’t do something. Then I realised I was somebody.’ The Prescot and Whiston Distribu on Centre of the Knowsley Foodbank opened on 19th June 2013. We operate on Wednesdays between 11.30 and 2pm at the Prescot Salva on Army Centre. We have more than 30 volunteers for the Centre and also seven drivers and we start each of our sessions with a me of prayer together. Our customers are referred by someone who knows their circumstances — Social Services, CAB, Clergy and many more. We provide ‘Emergency food for local people in crisis:’ enough for three meals a day for three days, a maximum of three mes a year. Their situa on is none of our business, though they may want to talk about it, and many do. Our remit is to give them food. While their food is prepared we oer a cup of tea and a chat, and a bowl of soup. Hopefully we send some of them away feeling slightly beer than when they came. Handing out food from the cupboard is easy, keeping the shelves full is less easy. All the food is donated and stored in the Knowsley Foodbank warehouse. Each week we deliver our dona ons and collect our supplies. Knowsley Foodbank is now in its third year. In year one 1,860 people were fed, in year two 4,426, and now in year three we are on target for 8,000. We give thanks that, since the Knowsley Foodbank began, the dona ons of food have remained suďŹƒcient to meet the growing need and we pray that this will con nue to be the case. It’s a privilege to be involved in the foodbank. Over the weeks we meet many dierent people, dierent age groups, people we relate to, people we have more diďŹƒculty in rela ng to. It is not easy for people to admit defeat and come asking for help. We do not forget them when they walk out through the door. There are many examples I could end with, but the picture I would like to leave with you is the woman who leW with her bags of food, then put them down on the pavement outside, came back in through the door, and very tenta vely said, “Would it be alright if I gave you a hug?â€? She is one of those I s ll think about.


Anything Can Happen and Probably will!

(Hazel Bradley, Stockton Heath)

Six years ago, on a busy New York avenue I had a ‘light bulb’ moment. I had just glanced at the board outside a church and it stopped me in my tracks. Not only did it have informa on about the mes and types of worship but each service had a tle, and for the next Sunday, was this: “George Bush isn’t the only one who could be wrong!” My immediate thought was.... fancy a church being brave enough to use poli cs to aract people... but then it occurred to me that this was exactly the kind of innova on that Stockton Heath Methodist needed. It was no good having divine worship that related to modern life if no-one knew about it. We needed to TELL people about it, to let them know in advance what was on offer. Our best aended service was the monthly All Age, so our Worship Consulta on put me into looking a year ahead at what we could organise for those twelve services. How could the material relate to na onal or world events as well as seasonal fes vals? What local organisa ons could we invite to give specialist knowledge or skills? How could our space be organised and decorated to give the best ambience for the theme? What objects related to the theme could we ask people to bring to enhance involvement? And most important of all—How could we make sure worshippers knew about it well in advance? As a result we marked the Queen’s Jubilee by crea ng a street party inside the church, asking everyone to bring a decorated cupcake and celebra ng the overarching reign of God. On another occasion we invited the Dancing School, who rent our premises, to help us trace the religious history of dance and celebrate the joy of movement. ‘Over the last few years many other themes have been explored in mul -media ways. Coming up we have ‘Feel the Spirit’, a celebra on of how tex les are used to enhance our worship and will be led in part by the Church’s KniUng Group, and on Remembrance Sunday an excerpt of the play ‘Accrington Pals’ is planned as part of the interna onal commemora on of WW1. To let people know in good me, we give out flyers at the end of one service to tell them the tle of the next month’s service. These innova ons have seen our congrega on at the AAW swell in number with more young families coming regularly. We’ve also branched out into themed months where the adult worshippers have looked at difficult issues like ‘Life and Death’ and ‘Crime and Punishment’ in an atmosphere of reflec on and prayer. As the tle says, ‘Anything can happen and probably will’, but if we are willing to take that risk, we can find worship of our God so much more appealing, inclusive, enjoyable and relevant. Many churches are already well down this road but for those who are just star ng out - keep your eyes on the world and your hands outstretched to Heaven.....because the Almighty is worth it!

St Helens Credit Union

(The Rev’d Mar)n Wood)

St Helens Credit Union has opened at Nutgrove Methodist Church for the benefit of the local community. The collec on point will be staffed by Church members , and is located in the office of the Community Centre. Opening hours are 11am to 1pm each Wed. It only costs £2 to join the Credit Union, and as for any other financial organisa on you need to provide two forms of iden fica on showing your name and address. At this me of the year many people think about joining savings clubs for next Christmas. The Credit Union is a much improved version of the same idea, with the excep on that instead of providing vouchers or coupons before Christmas, Credit Union shareholders can take out the money they have paid in, plus interest, depending upon how long they have been shareholders. Also aWer 12 weeks, and subject to approval, savers can take out a low interest loan of up to twice the amount they have saved. This means that in an emergency, instead of having to approach a bank or high interest moneylender for assistance, a shareholder can take a low interest loan with the Credit Union¸ thus saving themselves a great deal of money. If you are interested in becoming a member of the St Helens Credit Union and saving for the future, then call into the Nutgrove Community Centre any Wednesday, between 11am and 1pm. 6

Profile for SankeyValleyMethodistCircuit

Newletter 4  

The Newsletter of the Sankey Valley Methodist Circuit, published three times annually. Newsletter 4 is dated February 2014.

Newletter 4  

The Newsletter of the Sankey Valley Methodist Circuit, published three times annually. Newsletter 4 is dated February 2014.