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Magazine of Erdington Methodist Church Station Road - April 2009 1


Contents Minister’s Letter Family News Wanted - your vouchers Summer House Group ‘tasters’ School Memories Calling all ladies - all ages Soulspace : The Rainbow Hope Calling all ladies - all ages - and drivers! Switzerland 2009 Why do I Ramble? Back to back houses Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture The Tyger Say no to 0870 - keep your telephone bills down A good read for 2009 Children’s Pages Dates for your diary The Evergreen Prayer Palm Sunday What did you do when you were 13 ??? Exploring Worship - Celebration & Concern Christian One-Liners (1) The Parable of the PC Did you know? Listen Christian One-Liners (2) Mr Noisy Midlands Hospital Choir - television fame! World Malaria Day - 25th April Christian One-Liners (3) Liberty Diabetes April 2009 Regular Meetings Weekly Church Activities 2

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Minister’s Letter Dear Friends Fortunately we already know the end of the story, or it would be depressing beyond words. God comes amongst us healing, helping, teaching, loving and challenging all that degrades life. It is exciting, wonderful, dramatic, new liberating. But it comes to an awful conclusion, horrible and tragic. The man is strung up on a cross, jeered at, tormented, branded as a cheap criminal, and dies in excruciating agony. Very depressing, a sign of the hopelessness of trying to do deep good in this cruel world? But fortunately we know more. The man is raised from the dead, his tomb is empty, he meets with his friends in all sorts of places, he goes ahead of them when they straggle back home again, and a whole new HOPE is born. The world can never be the same again. All that that man stood and died for is vindicated. He was not talking a lot of nonsense. He was not deluded. He was talking the truth, acting out the truth, being the truth of God. Those who scorn Christian faith in our day grasp at all sorts of ‘explanations’ for this central event of Easter. The friends invented the story to make out that they were not stupid to have believed in him. Somebody stole the corpse. The friends had hallucinations. Actually somebody else got crucified in Jesus’ place. There are strange stories like this elsewhere, so the friends borrowed this one about the resurrection. Well, well, well. These explanations are so far-fetched that they require amazing credulity to accept them as reasonable. Christians can know better, and rejoice. Yes, Jesus is risen, He is risen indeed! And the world is flooded with hope. Evil does not have the last word - ever - thank God. Yours in Christ, Nichola

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Family News I would like to thank everyone at Erdington for all the lovely cards, flowers and supportive phone calls that I received during my recent knee operation and also during Jim’s illness. Thank you Jenny

Wanted - your vouchers The 117th Scout Group are now collecting Tesco vouchers. So, if you fill up with food or petrol, please save the vouchers and give them to a leader. Last year we were able to get lots of free sports equipment. Hopefully, this year we will be able to repeat that. Thank you in anticipation for your help. The leaders of 177th Scout Group

Summer House Group 'tasters' This spring the Stewards are organising House Group ‘tasters.’ These are small discussion/fellowship groups. They are meant to be a forum for us to share our thoughts or just somewhere to be with friends and listen. All members will be invited to partake - so why not give it a try - you never know, you might like it! The topics being discussed are:Why bother reading the bible? What's the point of prayer? Why bother going to church? Why bother caring for others? If you haven't received an invitation already then you will be shortly. Please come and give it a try! 4


School Memories We asked a few people to share memories of their school days with us - and their thoughts follow. If you have memories of your school days then we would love to hear from you too for future CONTACTs. - ed Ann Tomes writes . . . One of my outstanding memories of school was really exciting and scary to me as a young child. I went to school at Kingsbury, which in those far off days was very rural. One hot summer afternoon, during our break, a swarm of bees decided to come over the garden fence from next door.   Imagine hundreds of them;  a great cloud buzzing around the playground, following the queen before she landed somewhere for them to join her.  We were all shouting and screaming before the teachers came out to calm us.  They made us wait in a corner to see what would happen.  The queen landed on the boundary wall and the mass of bees followed her.  When they had all settled, one of the teachers fetched the neighbour and he came with a skep (a basket hive) to collect them.  It was all very frightening, very fascinating and wonderful to watch. Gerald Peel writes . . . Imagine the jubilation of passing the 11+ and being lucky enough to be chosen to attend a local boarding school as a ‘day-boy’ especially when that school was primarily for the sons of Methodist Ministers and ‘controlled’ by the Methodist Connexion. Early days were were just fine - we went to school six days a week with Wednesday and Saturday afternoons being devoted to games and other outdoor activities. As I got older school became a hindrance to my social life! Not only did they expect us to be there six days but now they wanted us to work evenings as well supervising the younger boarders doing homework when I would rather have been taking part in my scouting activities and, of course, going to the church youth club. In fact had I been told when I left school that they 5


were the ‘happiest days of my life’ I think I would have gone into a permanent state of depression! Nick Riley writes . . . One of the occasions, which I still can’t bring to mind without a broad grin spreading across my face, was in my senior years at school. As well as all my musical activities I also became involved in helping out back stage at our school’s theatrical productions. One of the plays which the school presented was Ibsen’s play, Peer Gynt (with Grieg’s music as background of course). In the Hall of the Mountain King involved about five of us assembling two large 8ft flats with a joining arm (to look like the entrance to a cave). The occasion which still makes me laugh took place at the dress rehearsal. The Head Master (I always seem to remember him as a rather stern man) was in attendance and so best behaviour was the order of the day. The five or so of us were gathered back stage while he was speaking at the front listening carefully to what he had to say when, out of the blue, the piece of string holding back the arm of the flat snapped and it began to swing onto stage pulling the rest of the flat and some of us with it. One of the lads, in a heroic leap, managed to grab it just before it became visible to the Head Master and the whole thing was steadied. This in itself wasn’t that funny - but one by one each person in the group began to giggle (ever so quietly) until eventually all you could see was a small group of lads, holding a large quivering flat, and each one had a hanky stuffed in his mouth - because the Head Master would not have been amused!! There I go - I’ve got a big grin on my face - and I’m only typing it this time!

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Calling all ladies - all ages Men-folk will be welcomed if they would care to come On each 2nd Monday of the month at 2.00 pm, we meet in the Green room. We sing hymns, say our prayers and listen to a guest speaker. We end the afternoon at about 3.00 pm with tea, coffee and biscuits (traditional Methodism). Please note that the April meeting will be on the 6th because the 2nd Monday will be Easter Bank Holiday. Upcoming meetings April 6th

Nichola Jones

May 11th

Jenny Pender - her work with disabled children

June 8th

Coach trip to Evesham - 11.30 am departure

July 13th

Barbara Rawson - favourite hymns

August 10th

Garden Party - at Valerie Long’s house

September 14th

Annual General Meeting

Please come along to share worship with us, no obligation, but we will be disappointed if you do not come again. Evelyn Londsdale

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Soulspace: The Rainbow Hope Friday 1st May 2 - 5 pm Saturday 2nd May 10 am - 6 pm Sunday 3rd May 2 - 6 pm Stockland Green Methodist Church Slade Road next to Josiah Mason College

Do you fancy a quiet few moments to sit in beautiful surroundings with no one bothering you? Or to open your eyes and just feast them on a special display of lovely items reflecting the colours of the rainbow? Or to bring the kids and have them taken care of, fully occupied for a good half an hour giving you peace and quiet and them something interesting to do? If so, then “Soulspace� is for you. Bring your friends, your family, yourself Food and refreshments available all day, a warm welcome assured and a little space for peace and reflection.

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Calling all ladies - all ages - and drivers! Nichola sent me this article - and the article above with a similar name came from Evelyn but as they have slightly different emphases I thought I’d put both in - ed There is an intrepid band of women who meet every month on a Monday afternoon to hear a good speaker, share stories and fun, have a cuppa and go home refreshed. The meeting lasts only an hour but you’d be amazed at who goes! Why not come along and join us? This is a special invitation for you to share with the Monday afternoon fellowship – who would also be thrilled if anyone who reads this could offer some of their members a lift?? The bus is too risky and not all the members are terrifically nimble so at the moment we come in a taxi which costs rather a lot for 2 taxis (£19 each Monday) We’d pay petrol costs and give you a great journey if you could help us get to church! Please volunteer to the minister if could help on 373 0595 and she’ll tell you all about us. Plus, on Monday 6th April the minister is coming to the fellowship to share holy communion with us at the start of Holy Week and tell us of her 1,000 mile trip to the Rafah border with Gaza in January when she delivered medical aid, burns dressings, baby milk and blankets . . . quite an adventure. We’d love to see you if you can come – we meet just inside the back door on your right in the green room.

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Switzerland 2009

In February some Scouts, Explorers and leaders enjoyed snow sports in Switzerland - this is what it was like . . . Day 1 (Saturday): It was a long journey but we finally made it to Switzerland and there was lots of snow. Day 2 (Sunday): Our first day skiing. First we were put into groups on our ability to ski. Some people started off on the nursery slopes and others went on the scary blue slope. After lunch, the people who started on the nursery slopes were now going to the scary blue slope. Most people started steadily going down the blue slope except Laura Joyce who went flying down like a bullet unable to stop, slow down or turn and ended up in a pile of snow face first having to be dug out by Rachel and Phoebe. All the locals were watching. In the evening we had a snow camp fire where we were taught the Beaver Song. Day 3 (Monday): Going to the ski slopes on a Gondola, one of the locals recognised Laura as the “bullet”. Everyone managed to go down the blue slope successfully and the more advanced people went on the “village run”. Later on in the night we did a torch lit hike which included a very bumpy bum slide in the snow and a trip inside a handmade igloo. Day 4 (Tuesday): Last day skiing. The advanced people went to another resort with longer, harder slopes. The rest of us went on the blue and red slopes, the lake and the “village run”. In the night we had a quiz with everyone there. It didn’t stop snowing all day. Day 5 (Wednesday): Today was the “Gemmi Hike” which we couldn’t do due to the depth of the snow so we had our own fun playing in the snow. In the evening we watched a DVD, Golden Treasure.

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Day 6 (Thursday): The day we actually got to go to Berne and do a bit of shopping. There was one sweet shop where you had to go down a slide into it. During the evening we were going ice skating outside. It was really good fun and we all did trains going round the ice skating rink. Day 7 (Friday): Today we went on a “Snow Adventure Day�. It was really good. We did lots of different things such as snow shoeing, tobogganing and sledging. In the evening we had a disco and a horrible fondue. The disco was really good. Day 8 (Saturday): Cleaned up and travelled back home. Laura Joyce, Phoebe Ratcliffe, Alice Walker-Shakespeare and Tom Hill wrote . . . My experience of the Switzerland trip was fantastic. It was my first time abroad, so that made it even more exciting. We did three days of skiing when Laura crashed into the snow bank and was the talk of the village! - an exhausting gemmi-hike, a snow adventure day (sledging/snow-shoeing), a cheese fondue which was horrible, a disco, a night walk and a campfire. The campfire was one of my favourite activities because some of our group (not mentioning any names) sang the banana song and the people in charge of the centre did a really funny sketch. I had never done skiing before and it was great fun, even though I fell over loads of times! On the gemmi-hike the snow was about three feet deep and I shall never forget Alan being buried in it or Phoebe getting a leg and a wing into it! Our day trip to Berne was great, especially the sweet shop. Even though there were a few injuries along the way, everyone had an amazing time and I would love to go back in the summer.

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Why do I Ramble ? You may, or may not, know that the Church has a very active Rambling Group. The CONTACT team wondered just why they did it - here is one reply. - ed   That's a very good question, which my golfing friends have been asking for years when I use it as an excuse for missing our regular Saturday fourball, although I often think they are referring to the workings of my brain rather than country walking !   Is it the pain in the old knee joints which seems to be apparent earlier in the ramble each time we go? Probably not. Is it the trickle of water which runs down the back of one’s neck when it pours with rain? No, I don't think so. Could it be that heavy feeling one gets when, having trudged across 45 fields, one’s boots weigh 5 tons and are the size of a car tyre? Again No. How does all that mud stick together in such a massive globule? And when summer comes, I gleefully shed my long trousers for shorts to show off my shapely legs, only  to have them ripped to shreds by brambles and hawthorn hedges. Let joy be unconfined! Then there are all those stiles which are built for agile six footers, not those of us who are shorter or can't bend our knees as we used to. The top bar always seems to be half a centimetre higher than is comfortable! Oh the delights of steep slippery climbs which leave one gasping at the top! Oh the agonies of steep slippery descents which leaves one’s calf muscles in agony as if gripped by a vice! 12


And then there are the spectacular tumbles as hidden roots and brambles appear to grab one’s feet; I am sure they weren't there a minute ago when I looked at my feet. There's one question which we often ask and to which we have never found an answer and that is why does a walk labelled as 'x' miles always turn out to be 'x + 1' miles? Answer that and you can come with us next time!   Why do I go rambling I wonder?  They say it’s ‘good to share’ and all of the above can seem hilarious at times, especially when it’s somebody else! Or maybe it’s just the company I keep!   Long live the Erdington Methodist Church Ramblers! First Saturday in the month, usually 9.30 am on the car park - I'll be there (knees permitting)!   John Price

Back to back houses The Tuesday Club meets on the 4th Tuesday of the month at 2.00 pm in the foyer. The meeting on the 28th of April is a talk and slide show by Derek Clarke entitled ‘The restoration of back-to-back houses in Birmingham.��� I suspect that this will be the tale of the little courtyard of buildings that the National Trust purchased a number of years ago in Hurst Street/Inge Street. They are Birmingham’s last surviving court of back to back houses. I cannot be the only person within our church family who had relatives who lived in houses like this. It will almost certainly be an interesting hour. All are welcome @ £1.00 Peter Farley

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Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture You can change someone’s life by befriending them. It’s true! Most of us know the value of true friends who listen to us and care for us and some people find that love and care within their own family too. But Jenny needs a special kind of friend. When she was 9 years old, living in Rwanda with her mother, father, 4 brothers and a sister, she was doing well at school and not taking much notice of world events or local politics. But suddenly there were soldiers in her village, attacking men, women and children with clubs, machetes and guns. There was blood everywhere, even in the streets where she was playing. As the family fled from their house, Jenny’s elder sister grabbed her hand and ran but they got separated from the rest of the family and no one knows what happened to them – Jenny thinks they were all killed. After fleeing to a refugee camp in the Congo where it was violent, dirty and people were always falling ill, that country was plunged into a crisis by the assassination of their president and the girls were attacked in their little home. As her sister stood at the door trying to stop the soldiers from getting in, Jenny jumped through the bedroom window and ran. For a while she hid in a local church and they helped her get back home to Rwanda. There was no-one left in the village apart from an aunt who took her in. Some weeks later, soldiers came to the house, seized Jenny and took her away to prison where she slept on a concrete floor in a cell with no light and was repeatedly beaten by them. Every day she was told she would be killed, so one day when a soldier led her outside, she thought she was going to be shot. Instead, he took her to her aunt who had bribed him to rescue Jenny. Her aunt put Jenny on a plane hoping she would finally be safe and she arrived in the UK – terrified of other people, completely alone and traumatised. Jenny was referred to the Medical Foundation (the same one which helped John Mcarthy after he’d been held hostage in the Lebanon) where Jenny told them “I have nightmares when I think about what’s happened. I should be at school at 11 years old, learning happy things but I have no appetite, wake 14


up with panic attacks, think always about my parents and sister and can’t bear to be around people who are happy.” Today, Jenny is being helped through the Befriending Project which helps young people by finding someone to whom they can turn for support, help, advice and the love they so desperately need. Linda was Jenny’s befriender and it took a long time for trust and a good relationship to be built. Below is the poem which Jenny wrote to her friend Linda which speaks volumes. The Medical Foundation have 25 trained befrienders who care for children under age 18 – it is a costly and slow process – but they need many more -see www.torturecare.org.uk or phone 0207 697 7788 Jenny’s Poem When I was nine They took my mother away from me I held my sister’s hand and ran To a refugee camp in another land. I fled to a country of strangers Afraid and alone, when there was no light, I prayed for a friend and you came. The panic is still there but I bear it I bear it because you are there When I thought that every person meant pain I prayed for a friend and you came

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‘The Tyger’

‘The Tyger’ from William Blake’s Songs of Experience is the companion to ‘The Lamb’. It is rated as one of Blake’s finest poems. Although it might look a little like a children’s poem, there is more to it than meets the eye. It takes on the darker side of creation. Blake asks ‘Who created the fierce tiger?’ Was it the same God who made the innocent lamb? He is puzzled that God, who created the gentle lamb, could also create the ferocious, terrifying tiger. "Did he who made the lamb make thee?" And the answer is, "Yes, God made the Tiger too." Blake questions why there is evil in the universe when it was created by a loving God. He does not give an answer. Could it be that he wants us to form our own judgements? Barbara Rawson

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Tyger! Tyger! burning bright In the forest of the night What immortal hand or eye Could frame thy fearful symmetry? In what distant deeps or skies (distant deeps: Hell; skies: Heaven) Burnt the fire of thine eyes? On what wings dare he aspire? What the hand dare seize the fire? And What shoulder, and what art, Could twist the sinews of thy heart? And when thy heart began to beat, What dread hand? and what dread feet? What the hammer? what the chain? In what furnace was thy brain? What the anvil? what dread grasp Dare its deadly terrors clasp? When the stars threw down their spears, And watered heaven with their tears, Did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the lamb make thee? Tyger! Tyger! burning bright In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

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Say no to 0870 - keep your telephone bills down! Many phone providers offer cheaper calls to standard numbers (ie those beginning with 01 or 02), which don’t include 0870,0800,0844,0845 or 0871 numbers. As many companies and services are using these 08 numbers, call costs can mount up. Did you know that there is a website that you can use to find the equivalent geographical number (ie STD code and phone number) for many 0800,0800,0845 numbers - well the website is called www.saynoto0870.com Ann Tomes

A good read for 2009 For those of you who enjoyed the stories of Brother Cadfael with relish, I have discovered a new treat. A series of historical whodunits, set in about 660AD, written by Peter Tremayne. The first story is entitled ‘Suffer Little Children’ and the heroine sleuth is one Sister Fidelma an advocate to the Courts of Southern Ireland when Celtic law and tradition applied rather than the law of Rome. It was a time when the law was interested in recompense rather than revenge; a time when women and those with handicaps were protected by law; a time when priest could marry, monasteries were mixed and their children were raised for the glory of God. The books often make comparisons between the two systems of religious and secular law, leaving the reader to make judgements. Having now read the first four books in the series I sometimes wonder what a different place our world would now be if we had remained true to our Celtic traditions and we hadn’t had to wait 1400 years for equal opportunities. Oh, and yes the plots are good, the characters real and the action full warmth and common sense – just like Cadfael. Peter Farley

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EASTER – the season of new life Easter Sunday is the day when Jesus rose from the dead. Christians believe that Jesus' ‘resurrection’ (that means when he rose from the dead) shows that death is not the end of everything. Why do we eat Easter eggs at Easter?

For Christians, Easter eggs symbolise new life.

COLOUR THE EASTER EGG

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EASTER WORD SCRAMBLE Unscramble the words below: 1. betsak________________ 2. unnyb________________ 3. geg________________ 4. fofdidal________________ 5. enontb________________ 6. ylli________________ 7. lcheactoo________________ 8. cickh________________

MAKE A CATERPILLAR USING EGG CARTONS This is an easy way to make a caterpillar using egg cartons, crayons or markers, scissors, and pipe cleaners. Googly eyes are a nice touch. CATERPILLAR 1. Separate 4, 5, or 6 cups from an egg carton. 2. Using the point of a scissors, an adult should make 2 small holes at one end for the antennae. 3. Insert pipe cleaners for the antennae. 4. Add eyes, a mouth, and decorate.

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Look for new life around you ‌

Frogs - In the Spring frogs go back to the pond where they were born. The female frog lays thousands of eggs in the water. These eggs are called FROGSPAWN and look like jelly. After 10 days, TADPOLES hatch out and to begin with they eat tiny green plants. The tadpoles grow slowly into little frogs and they climb out of the pond in June. If you want to look for frogspawn or tadpoles keep safe! Water can be dangerous. Always go with an adult and never go in the water unless the adult tells you it safe.

Life cycle of a frog

Answers: 1.betsak is basket. 2.unnyb is bunny. 3.geg is egg. 4.fofdidal is daffodil. 5enontb is bonnet. 6.ylli is lily. 7.lcheactoo is chocolate. 8.cickh is chick. 22


Dates for you diary Sunday

5th April

Sunday morning worship at 10.30 am with Warren Bardsley who has been a Peace Accompanier in Bethlehem

Thursday 9th April

Maundy Thursday communion at Stockland Green Church - 7.30 pm

Friday 10th April

Good Friday - Walk of Witness outside Erdington Coop starting at 10.30 am Distribution of Easter Eggs to those using Cross City Line - 4.30 pm

Sunday 12th April

Easter Sunday - 8.15 am early communion followed by breakfast and then Easter Morning Worship with Rev Keith Webster

Sunday 26th April

Morning Worship at 10.30 am with Annual Church Meeting

Friday 1st May to Sunday 3rd May

Soul Space “Rainbow Hope� at Stockland Green Church

Sunday 10th May

Morning Worship at 10.30 am with baptism and start of Christian Aid Week

Sunday 17th May

Circuit Service for Christian Aid Week at Stockland Green Church

Wednesday 20th May

Salvation Army Citadel Band Concert at Erdington - 7.30 pm

Sunday 31st May

Pentecost - Morning Worship at 10.30 am 23


Saturday 6th June

Circuit Sleepover (for young people) at Stockland Green Church

Monday 8th June

Coach trip to Evesham - 11.30 am

Wednesday 10th June

Circuit meeting at Boldmere - 7.30 pm

2nd - 9th July

Methodist Conference at Wolverhampton

The Evergreen Prayer Thank you God for a voice to sing For legs that walk and arms that swing That push a pram or lift a load, And twist and turn, though we grow old. But spare a thought for those who can’t, Who cannot hear and cannot chant, Who lie on beds distraught with pain . . . For those who’ll never walk again. We rarely think that what we have Would make another very glad. So thank you God for gifts you’ve sent, And please forgive our discontent C E Nicholson

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Palm Sunday Palm Sunday is the day when we remember Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. It also marks the beginning of Holy week with its culmination on Easter Sunday. But when I was looking for something new and different to say about Palm Sunday I came across a reference to it being called Fig Sunday. There were two suggestions as to how this name originated, firstly because Jesus wanted to eat figs, after his entry into Jerusalem and secondly because Zaccheus climbed into a fig tree to see Jesus. But as I was always taught that he climbed a sycamore tree I found that difficult to believe. You really do have to double check things that you find on the Internet. But to go back to Fig Sunday, having found this unusual reference I decided to look for others which had a culinary connection. I discovered a reference to ‘Pax Buns’ or biscuits that are given out by the priest on Palm Sunday with the bidding ‘God and good neighbourhood’, or ‘Peace and goodwill’. I also came across several references, which talked about the incorporation of pagan customs into the Easter season. Lamb is the traditional meat of Easter. It is associated with Christ as the Paschal Lamb, making a sacrificial atonement for mankind. But the first spring lambs would no doubt have been ready for eating by Easter and what a change they would have made after a cold, dark winter of salt meat. Also the first green shoots of mint would no doubt have been poking through at the same time. Then I found mention of Easter Ledge Pudding and Dock Pudding. These included the first green shoots of the year and have probably been eaten since prehistoric times because they would be the first time that most people had had access to Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C) since the last of the winter apples had been eaten. Their incorporation into Christianity centred around their bitter taste and the need for purification at Easter time. But I doubt that with adequate supplies of citrus fruit all year round many are likely to succumb to the esoteric taste of such delicacies.

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So maybe when we are planning Easter breakfast celebrations for 2010 it might make a helpful change from the rich empty calories of easter eggs if we were to widen our culinary appeal with Pax biscuits, Fig rolls and maybe even Dock Pudding, which is served as a Yorkshire treat fried with bacon! Peter Farley

What did you do when you were 13 ??? Can you remember the things which you were wild about? The mischief you got into? The worries about friends or school or music or spots??? Rachel is 13 and lives in Uganda. She looks after all the other children in the family. Her mum and dad have died from AIDS so now she is the full time parent – at 13 years old. Rachel gets up, cares for sick siblings, cleans, worries about the house and if it will be safe, digs the little patch of earth that is the garden, misses school, stays in, cooks, tucks up the little ones, goes to bed. She’s not playing at being mum and dad – she’s been the full time carer since she was 8 years old. And whilst she’s not typical of a 13 year old in the UK, she is in Uganda where there are 1 million children left orphans by AIDS, adding to the one million already orphaned by malaria, violent conflict and mothers dying in childbirth. Rachel turns to the only place she can for help- the church. “Our pastor cares for us” she says.” He gets food when we don’t have any and sometimes he buys us medicines. We haven’t been able to go to school, any of us, because the pastor wasn’t able to raise the money to send us.” Her Pastor is called Noah and is 26 years old. In his parish there are 50 households living in extreme poverty or affected by AIDS. Noah himself lives in a tiny hut with his wife and 2 children and has commissioned a group 26


of volunteers from his congregation to visit Rachel’s young family four times a week, teaching them how to cook, clean and cultivate the cassava crops on the land. Even with this help, they sometimes can’t pay the 50p needed for school exam fees. There are 15.2 million children orphaned by AIDS and it is predicted to rise to 20 million in 2010 which would be a global catastrophe. The church underpins all village life and is treated like the emergency services or police but the orphan crisis is too great for the small village churches to carry on their own. So here in the UK funds are raised to help train local churches in Uganda through charities like Tearfund (see website or phone 0845 355 8355 for more info) If you think it’s a miracle to sleep on a bed with blankets or for your children to go to school – then we’re asking for you to make that miracle possible for children in Uganda. Yes, for us these are not luxuries – but for Rachel, shouldering burdens beyond her years, they would bring miraculous relief.

Exploring Worship - Celebration and Concern A day for Musicians, Preachers and Worship Leaders Saturday 6 June 2009, 10.00 am - 4.30 pm East Didsbury Methodist Church, Parrs Wood Road, Manchester, M20 5QQ This is one of Methodism’s regular regional days, now organised by ArtServe on behalf of Methodist Church Music Society. These events provide opportunities: • To meet for support and encouragement • To experience worship together • To develop the use of music and creative arts in worship • To share ideas and resources for music and creative arts in worship The Revd David Wood (superintendent of the Preston circuit) will lead a session entitled Protest and Praise: Biblical Lament in Worship and 27


workshops will be led by Michael Davies (Connexional Music Advisor), Alison Adam (Iona Community), Jacqui Hicks, and Rob Newton. There will be a wide choice of workshops (with attendees able to choose two): Relationships in Church Music (and strategies for when things go wrong) Just Song - celebrating God's passion for justice "From Everlasting to Everlasting" - a multi-sensory workshop on the Psalms (including an opportunity to write your own) Amplified sound in worship - the principles of PA and amplified instrument use Praying our concern - using words, song, symbol, movement and action (though perhaps not all at once) Music for worship - explore how the organist/keyboard player can lead and accompany worship, and develop improvisational ideas Multimedia in worship - find out what worship software is capable of. The cost is just ÂŁ15 (with discounts for groups, early bookings, students/ OAPs, and for MCMS and ArtServe members) which includes a buffet lunch. To book your place, or for further information, contact Christine Lawley 01403 257406. Brochures giving full details of the workshops and leaders are available in both paper and electronic form.

Christian One-Liners We don't change the message, the message changes us!

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The Parable of the PC by Al Boyce In those days there were three computers, endowed equally by their makers with processing power, memory and addressable storage. But Satan corrupted each operating system with the sly installation of spyware, browser hijackers and security holes until there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. The Maker, in His mercy, sent down His Holy Spirit to the despairing computers. The Holy Spirit appeared to each in the form of System Update to close the security holes and shore up the despairing software. It asked the question of each PC: Do you want to run System Update? and offering a checkbox saying "Always trust" the Maker. The first PC, fearing yet another infection, quickly closed the update window. Within hours, the spyware already on it called out to legions of viruses and malware until the system shut down completely. The second PC accepted the update, but was too frightened to check the "always trust" box. It sighed with relief as the Holy Spirit cleaned its systems and saved it from the worst of the demons. And it walked away with a false sense of security that it would be protected from future onslaughts. Within the month, spyware and malware crept back into the second PC and, before it could cry out to the Maker, it, too, crashed. The third PC gratefully accepted the update and, in a leap of faith, checked the "always trust" box. Like the second PC, it received the merciful update from its Maker and began to feel much better. And then, as days and weeks went by, the Maker sent the Holy Spirit unbidden to shore up the PC's systems -- even when the PC was unaware it was being attacked. Before long, the third PC was becoming famous among all its brethren for having the fewest problems, for working the fastest and for never seeming to worry when others crashed around it. 29


To those who asked, the third PC had only this advice: "Always trust the Maker."

Did you know . . . ? Did you know that some of the major factors responsible for the development of today's intensive care units came from the knowledge acquired as a result of treating respiratory polio?  Iron lungs were first developed in Boston USA in 1929 to treat those whose breathing muscles were paralysed due to polio. It was discovered that they and cuirass, another apparatus, worked by sucking up the chest wall, so causing the lungs to expand, drawing air down the windpipe into the lungs. However in 1952, Denmark had a severe epidemic of polio, in Copenhagen 2,899 cases in a population of 1.2 million. It was noticeable that among them were an unusually high number of cases where breathing muscles and those that protected the larynx, enabling swallowing, were affected. Such cases were very difficult to treat in an iron lung, as the way it worked meant that any secretions in the throat were sucked into the lungs.  To make matters worse, Copenhagen hospital only had one iron lung and six cuirass ventilators with thirty-one patients being treated with them and within 72 hours of admission, 27 had died.  The physician in charge of the hospital realized he needed help and turned to an anaesthetist, Bjorn Ibsen, who, in the USA had recently seen research done on the levels of CO2 during chest surgery.  Dr Ibsen suspected the deaths were caused, not by being inadequately ventilated, but by high levels of CO2.  He suggested a tube being placed in the trachea(windpipe) and oxygen was then squeezed intermittently through it into the lungs, having the advantage of protecting the lungs from inhaling any secretions in the mouth. The first experiment was on a 12 year-old girl who improved, so it was decided this was the best course of treatment. However, using this method meant the air had to be squeezed into the lungs by hand 24 hours a day for two to three months, until the patient recovered sufficiently to breathe alone.  30


They called on medical students, students studying anaesthetics and dental students, a total of 1,500 putting in a total of 165,000 hours treating 800 patients. The death rate fell from 80 to 25 per-cent! Eventually, machines were invented to replace the work of the students, machines capable of measuring CO2 and oxygen levels, allowing more accurate treatment.  It was soon realised that there were other conditions that would benefit from this new way of ventilating patients and the rest, as they say, is history.   Ann Tomes

Copyright Gospel Communications International, Inc - www.reverendfun.com

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Listen Listen to the pounding of the sea, Listen to the robin in the tree, Listen as God speaks to you and me, Just Listen. Listen to the aeroplane on high, Listen the the wind go whistling by, Listen to the little baby cry, Just Listen Listen to the splashing of the rain, Listen when a friend cries out in pain, Listen for the voice of God again, Just Listen Listen to the silence in the night, Listen to the anger in a fight, Listen for God wants to make things right, Just Listen Listen when you’re walking on your own, Listen when you’re feeling all alone, Listen when God’s talking on His phone, Just listen - just listen - just listen. Peggy Feltham from Four Oaks Baptist Church (sometimes comes to Erdington’s Coffee Mornings)

Christian One-Liners Outside of traffic, there is nothing that holds this country back as much as committees.

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Mr Noisy Years ago I read, what I thought was, quite a good science fiction yarn, ‘The Children of Men’. It is a tale of the rescue of a pregnant woman in a world where no babies have been born far about 30 years. Little did I know at the time that this book was the author’s almost only deviation from whodunits with her usual hero Adam Dalgliesh. I now wait expectantly for the next instalment of this man’s life. I tell you this because the other day I was watching a video of ‘The Children of Men’ and the hero is almost killed by a bomb that gives him ringing in the ears. Later he is taunted with the suggestion that the ringing represents the death throws of his hearing for that particular frequency. When the ringing stops he will hear that frequency no more. Noise is one of those things about which we are equivocal because often we become inured to it. Sometimes we complain because life is too noisy but many use it to drive away silence. It has become part of the ‘shopping experience’ everywhere. Some would object to the local campanologists practising, others to a cockcrow and maybe a few more to a boom box in a passing car. I wonder how many object to noisy phone conversations on trains and buses, soon to invade planes as well. But does anyone object to the sound of flowing water, except maybe when we are too far from a public convenience or when flood water is trickling in through your back door? We used to live on a main road under the flight path for Birmingham airport. But we became inured to the noise and only ever noticed it when we sat out in the garden in the summer with friends who were not used to the sounds of low flying aircraft. I mention all of this because April 29th is International Noise Awareness Day, a day set aside to consider what causes hearing loss and what are its consequences. The Royal National Institute for the Deaf suggest that 840 babies are born each year with significant deafness and that 1 in 1,000 children are deaf at three years old. The total number of people in the UK with some form of hearing impairment is almost 9 million. But more worryingly, the number of people with noise induced hearing impairment is also rising. A noisy environment is known to lead to hearing loss but it tends to be one of those dangers that we ignore thinking that ‘it will never happen 33


to me’. This is probably most true of those walking round with a music player wired to each ear. The volume needed to drown out the noise of a bus, train or city street is loud enough, on an ongoing basis, to lead to hearing loss. A rule of thumb: If you have to shout in order to be heard three feet away, then the noise is probably too loud and could be damaging to your hearing. In these instances, use hearing protection. For more information go to www.lhh.org www.rnid.org.uk/ and www.hiype.org.uk Peter Farley

Midlands Hospitals Choir - television fame! Last October our choir (Midlands Hospitals Choir), plus several other choral societies, was privileged to be  invited by the BBC to participate in  four Songs of Praise programmes to be recorded at Birmingham Town Hall. The rehearsals and recordings took place during the second week of January. One rehearsal was held at Adrian Boult Hall at the Conservatoire with the other rehearsal at the Town Hall with the recording at the week end, Saturday 10th  and Sunday 11th.  The Programmes: Songs of Praise celebrates  Handel's Messiah - Part 1 is on Easter Day and Part 2 is on Sunday 19th April Songs of Praise from Birmingham Part 1 is on Sunday May 31st while Part 2 of this programme is due to be shown in early 2010 Also please note that Sutton Choral Society will be performing Haydn's Creation at Sutton Town Hall on May 17th. This is their 40th anniversary concert. All are welcome. Sue Turner 34


World Malaria Day 25th April Malaria is one of those diseases, which I expect that many of us have only thought about recently either because of Red Nose Day or because of possible holiday plans in far away places. Generally we file it under ‘of not much concern to me’. This may well be the case but that doesn’t stop malaria being an enormous killer. In 2000 the United Nations published Millennium Indicators, which suggested that in African children, under the age of five, 852 in every 100,000 (i.e. almost 1%) died every year from malaria. The Red Nose Day web site suggests that this bland figure represents one child dying every 30 seconds; but the risk of catching malaria can be reduced by a half and the risk of dying from it by 20% with the simple expedient of sleeping under an insecticide impregnated mosquito net. These nets cost between £3.50 and £7.00 and require retreating every 12 months at a cost of about 40p. But sleeping under a mosquito net is, in some places, associated with colonials and therefore not perceived to be appropriate for local people. Amazing that we should still be having this effect one and maybe two generations later. But coming back to the effect on you and me. Every year returning workers and holiday makers import about 2,000 cases of Malaria into the UK of which on average nine are fatal. The health prevention message is clear. If you are travelling ‘long haul’, do sort out you malaria prophylaxis before you go. Check with your pharmacist or practice nurse, not your travel agent when travelling to far away places. Peter Farley

Christian One-Liners Prayer: Don't give God instructions - just report for duty!

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Liberty Liberty the Human Rights organisation celebrated its 75th birthday on the 24th of February. Its founder members who included Clement Atlee, H G Wells, Vera Brittain and Dr Edith Summerskill came together at the height of the Hunger Marches to campaign for a the rights of the protestors. Between then and now Liberty has continued to champion causes relating to personal freedoms: mental health reform, women’s rights and a reduction in police bias also and against race discrimination and prolonged detention without trial. But the campaigning goes on because of the current government’s apparent belief that individuals freedoms are worth curtailing and sacrificing in the ongoing struggle against international crime and terrorism. In this respect I was heartened by the comments that Barak Obama made in his inauguration speech As for our common defence, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers faced with perils that we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. But to return to Liberty, which is now led by the feisty Shami Chakrabart. After the Twin Towers and the London bombings many were seduced or deceived into believing that much personal freedom could be sacrificed in the quest to find and punish the perpetrators of these inhumane acts. But who would have believed at that time that the legislation enacted then would have had such far-reaching and perhaps inappropriate consequences. The government’s constant mantra has been ‘if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear’. But we have seen a peace protestor arrested for standing at the Cenotaph, the nation’s war memorial, and reading the names of those killed in Iraq. We have seen an elderly heckler ejected from the annual Labour Party Conference and then denied re-entry. We have seen the tented protester in Parliament Square moved on after six years. All three of these people were involved in actions, which you and I would probably regard as acceptable methods of peaceful protests. But the powers used in each case were in some way related to the anti-terror legislation, enacted 36


largely in hast and expediency, about which, of course, you and I have nothing to fear. In similar vein a retired senior law lord commented recently that the British have become the most spied upon people in the world. Currently there is one CCTV camera for every 14 people in the UK and in London you are likely to be recorded 300 times every day. Maintaining these cameras consumes 78% of the nation’s crime prevention expenditure. Recently the European Court of Justice has recently ruled that it is wrong that the English police DNA database should contain samples from people who were questioned at the scene of a crime but who were later not prosecuted. To date we appear to have had no response from the Government concerning what they will do to comply with this ruling. Currently there are 850,000 innocent records on the database and yet individuals who have had no previous encounter with the police commit 40% of all recorded crimes. When we talk about ‘human rights’ or Magna Carter or ‘civil liberties’ their strength comes from their application day in day out with a long memory and an even hand. It’s a bit like the Christian, (Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu and Confucian) mantra ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’. Peter Farley

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Diabetes. Many of you will have seen the advertising campaign that the Government has been running entitled ‘Diabetes. Beware the silent assassin’. Why the concern? Apparently in 2005 more that 4% of the population were classed as diabetic nearly double the total for 1995. During the same period over 40,000 people were newly diagnosed, mostly with type 2 diabetes; which is largely caused by lifestyle choices. Apparently 80% of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are overweight. Worryingly, overall, the rate of increase is growing and the age at first diagnosis is falling. There are now over 2 million diabetics in the UK and the NHS spends £1m an hour diagnosing and treating diabetics and its long-term consequences. Diabetes UK tell us that more people die from diabetes complications then breast and prostate cancer combined. But why this sudden concern about ‘the silent assassin’? Apparently the condition often goes undetected for 10 years and at the time of diagnosis 50% of patients already have symptoms and/or complications, particularly affecting eyes and feet. There is much useful advice about diabetes and how to reduce the chances of being affected or reducing the consequences if you are affected in the new health promotion campaign ‘Change4life’. You already know the messages; eat a healthy diet and do 30 minutes of exercise every day. It’s just difficult to fit in to everyday life. If it weren’t there wouldn’t be a problem. Peter Farley More information is available at: http://www.nhs.uk/change4life/Pages/Default.asp

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April 2009 Regular Meetings Coffee Mornings Every Saturday 10.00 am to 12.00 noon

Women’s Hour Meetings Meetings on Mondays at 2.00 pm each month

Tuesday Club Every 4th Tuesday in the month at 2.00 pm

Sunday Worship All worship starts at 10.30 am unless stated otherwise below 5th

PALM SUNDAY - Rev Nichola Jones and Warren Bardsley

12th

EASTER MORNING HOLY COMMUNION - 8.15 am Rev Nichola Jones EASTER MORNING WORSHIP - 10.30 am Rev Keith Webster

19th

David Hewitt CIRCUIT SERVICES at Falcon Lodge & Kingstanding - 6.30 pm (refer to last month’s CONTACT for more info)

26th

Rev Nichola Jones

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Weekly Church Activities Sunday

10.30 am

MORNING WORSHIP and Young Church (with crèche : Margaret Hillman)

7.30 pm

House Group : Hilary Price (3rd Sunday)

Monday

2.00 pm

Women’s Hour :

Tuesday

9.30 - 11.30 am 9.30 - 12.00 noon 2.30 pm

Stay and Play Pre-School : Karen Homer Tuesday Afternoon Meeting : Valerie Long (4th)

Wednesday

9.30 - 11.30 am 9.30 - 12.00 noon 12.30 pm

Stay and Play Pre-School : Karen Homer Luncheon Club - (1st and 3rd)

Thursday

9.30 - 12.00 noon

Pre-School : Karen Homer

Friday

5.00 - 6.15 pm 6.15 - 7.45 pm 7.45 - 9.15 pm 7.45 - 9.15 pm 5.30 - 6.30 pm 5.00 - 6.30 pm 7.30 - 9.00 pm

Beavers : Lynn Turner Cubs : Elizabeth Baizon Scouts : Lisa Porter Explorers : Caroline Joyce Rainbows : Louise Rawson Brownies : Lesley Carter Guides : Helen Rainsford

Saturday

10.00 - 12.00 noon Coffee Morning : Lesley Morgan 10.30 - 11.30 am Church open for prayer : Margaret Curzon

Please hand any items for the May CONTACT to any of the Editorial Team (Elizabeth Baizon, Peter Farley, Nichola Jones, Christine Rankin & Nick Riley) by 15th April 2009 at the latest please or alternatively email me on nickriley@blueyonder.co.uk 40


Contact - April 2009