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Magazine of Erdington Methodist Church Station Road - May 2012 1


Contents Minister’s Letter Family News VISION Election Day: 3rd May 2012 From My Sketchbook Gift Aid Youth president wins British Youth Council award Hot air Food Festivals 2012 Finger Foodbank How a foodbank works Scapegoat Sounds and Signs All in the month of May Children’s Pages Charity of the Month - Christian Aid Christian Aid Week: 13–19 May 2012 The power of standing together Mea Culpa Narnia Personal space A Big Welcome / Back to Church Sunday Finding Women Your old milk bottles are wanted! May 2012 Regular Meetings Weekly Church Activities __________________________

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3 4 5 7 8 9 10 10 11 11 12 12 13 14 15 16 18 20 22 24 25 27 28 28 29 30 31 32


Minister’s Letter Dear Friends How easily are we taken in? Are we the gullible sort or is it very difficult to find a way of fooling us? I guess it depends to a certain extent on how badly we want to believe something. There was a company that developed an “anti-fat patch” which would help the wearer lose weight through “an extract from seaweed and the latest skin technology!” If only it were that simple. Apparently the company were found guilty of breaching the Trade Descriptions Act for making false claims about their product. Oh well, back to the lettuce and fresh air diet! People were no different 2000 years ago. No one is going to believe that someone has come back from the dead are they? Yet, that is exactly what Christians have claimed about Jesus Christ for the last 2000 years. Those who were around at the time tried to explain the resurrection away by saying that the body had been stolen or that Jesus had never actually died. But there were witnesses to his death and the placing of his body in the tomb. And there were witnesses to the appearances he made to his followers after he had been raised to life on the third day. Appearances that we continue to reflect upon in these weeks after Easter. Did it actually happen? There are still many people who are convinced of the truth of the resurrection because they have a living experience of Jesus today. Common sense and logic seem to suggest it couldn’t possibly have happened yet faith says otherwise. Perhaps the best way of judging the truth of the claim today is to ask “Does it make any difference? Is there any evidence that those who claim that Jesus is alive, live their lives in any different manner to anyone else? Are we looking for that evidence elsewhere or are we looking to show it in our own lives? The answer to that question will determine our next step. Jane 3


PS By the time you read this I will be on my sabbatical, enjoying the privilege of time and space to reflect. Happy anniversary celebrations!

Family News MS Cake Bake Coffee Morning You are invited to an MS cake bake coffee morning at Station Road Church on Saturday 12th May between 10.00 am and 12.00 noon. There will be lots of cakes, a raffle and the usual tea, coffee etc. Jan Payne Wedding Announcement You are all cordially invited to attend the church Wedding ceremony of our daughter Ruth Davina who will be marrying Chris Wall at Erdington Methodist Church on Sunday 3rd June at 1.30 pm Mike and Sue Turner Thank You I would like to express my sincere thanks to you all for your continuing prayers and support during my recent surgery and recovery. I am now well on the way to a full recovery. Sue Turner Christian Aid Coffee Morning on Saturday 19th May between 10.00 am and 12.00 noon Tea, Coffee, Toast, Bacon rolls. There will be cakes and plants for sale, books, bric-a-brac stalls and a raffle. Everyone is invited to support this worthy cause. 4


VISION Notes from the Project report to the General Church Meeting Note the new name, which received a majority vote at the meeting! Briefly the aim of the project is to enhance the look of the church inside and out, to make it more visible to the community as a Christian church, and to create a welcoming atmosphere. This isn’t so much about the building, as about the community within it, and encouragement to others to become part of that community. Thank you to all of you who first put forward your ideas and then completed the priority forms. We felt that we had a very encouraging response both from regular worshippers, and from others using the church through outside lets. All suggestions will be considered. Hopefully many will be implemented, at some stage of the process, but inevitably some will have to be rejected as too costly or impractical. Some suggestions were made which the property committee is already considering. e.g. Wesley Road improvements were mentioned on some forms. That is under the property committee’s umbrella, and discussions with professionals are taking place. Information We intended from the outset that the church family should be informed about every stage of the process and involved in it as much as possible. Of course there won’t be agreement on all that happens, and at this stage all original ideas are on file - nothing will be rejected until fully discussed at the right time. Some items won’t be able to be implemented in priority order, as, in some circumstances, one thing depends on the outcome of another. You will be continually updated through the weekly notices, noticeboard in the corridor and Contact. No important decisions will be made without the agreement of the Church Council.

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Details from priority forms The top priorities are listed on the noticeboard. 1. To create an enclosed walkway from the present front door to Station Road with a new front door at that point. This is the most ambitious and costly part of it and will need preliminary discussions about grant applications and planning. 2. Replacement of all windows with double glazing, and have coloured glass in the panels at the front of the church. We shall get quotes for this and aim to start this work as soon as possible. 3. There are other areas which can be addressed soon, and are relatively low cost, such as decorating and carpeting, and possibly repainting/varnishing the cross at the end of the cloister. Fund-raising So far we have raised £750 from March coffee morning and recent donations- see noticeboard for updates. June 23rd

Bric-a-brac coffee morning

August 18th

Barbara’s poetry afternoon with refreshments (2.30 pm)

October 6th

Ladies Fashion Show evening

Would you run an event either at church or at home? The Plastic Money Boxes ! I have mentioned that if 40 people saved 50p per week we would raise £1040 in a year! We have a number of these boxes, with the project name on each and explanatory details inside, for you to put regular small savings. It doesn’t have to be 50p per week of course - please take one and put in whatever you can afford. As everyone who comes into the building will benefit from whatever we are able to do, and have already been included in the priority forms, I hope that many from outside lettings will be involved 6


with this. Thank you to those who now have a box. I shall have them with me on Sunday mornings, and Lesley will be able to distribute them in the week. We very much hope that there will be a positive attitude to all that happens. If you have a concern please don’t grumble among yourselves, but speak to one of the Vision planning group, who are : Rev Jane Ashplant, Gerald Peel, Lesley Morgan, Jacky Scott, Jan Payne and Hilary Price.

Election Day: 3rd May 2012 Elections take place on Thursday 3 May 2012 in many council and local authorities across England, Scotland and Wales, for the London Assembly, and for the mayor of London, of Salford and of Liverpool. In addition, referendums will be held in various other cities on on whether or not the city should introduce a directly elected mayor. Local elections are easy to sideline. They happen every year and to many the work of mayors and councils is routine and uninteresting, and so turnout is often low. Often people neither know nor care who their councillor is. But localism is the order of the day. The new Localism Act has delivered more power to the hands of local councils, and communities, giving councillors and local groups more powers. This November, various districts will be holding referendums on the introduction of elected police and crime commissioners - which will mean more elections! The Joint Public Issues Team is keen that as many people as possible take an interest in the elections and are providing a local election briefing to help churches deal with the elections. If you are interested check out the link on the Methodist Church Website. from the Methodist Church News Service

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From My Sketchbook

Mill Beck Farm snuggles itself into the hillside, backed by the majestic hills of the Langdale Pikes, Cumbria. The Langdale Valley is varied and spectacular in its views, sometimes open and expansive, sometimes intimate and comfortable, its twisting roads with breathtaking scenes at every bend and turn, and its clusters of farms and cottages along the way. The terrain is wild and rugged with copses and woodlands following the meandering path of the river over which ancient stone bridges were thrown centuries ago. They have stood the test of time and weather, and they have certainly had plenty of the latter. As I drew this picture, a farmer in the field in front of me was tending his sheep and lambs. I watched, fascinated, as the farmer was trying to coax one of his ewes, who had lost her lamb, to accept the lamb of another ewe who had had triplets. He had removed the skin from the carcass of the dead 8


lamb and was busy threading it over the live lamb. He then rubbed the carcass of the dead one over the ‘overcoat’ so that it took on the smell of her own offspring, he carried the lamb to the ‘bereaved’ ewe who sniffed around it, a bit suspiciously for a while, before allowing it to suckle her, which was just what the farmer was hoping for. All very interesting and fascinating to watch, but so distracting when my job was to try to draw the farm! The farm was constructed of stone and slate, the most plentiful material available at the time it was built, which could easily have been two to three centuries ago, with extensions added as the family and animals expanded. I liked the flow of the place, the way it ribboned its way over the hill, along with the stone walls and the streams coursing their way down the hillsides. It became my favourite Lakeland ride in all its majestic grandeur, captured here to remind me of times past and enjoyed. Ann Tomes

Gift Aid raising an average of £2,500 for every church 5th April was the end of the tax year and the Methodist Church’s Finance Office is preparing to send out the claim forms to over 4,000 Gift Aid secretaries throughout the Connexion. This year some 75% will be sent by email, which will improve the processing time and reduce the number of errors. Last year £9.2 million was reclaimed across the Connexion, equivalent to £2,500 for every church. There are about 1,000 churches that do not currently utilise the scheme, which may be able to benefit. If you pay tax and don’t gift aid your gifts to the church then the church is losing out on free money from the government - speak to one of the Stewards or our Treasurer, John Price if you are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity. 9


Youth president wins British Youth Council award Sam Taylor has won the British Youth Council Make a Difference Award for making a real difference through his role as the Methodist Church’s youth president. The award is designed to recognise the sustained effort, creativity, leadership and teamwork of young people under the age of 25 in the running of an organisation or project. This may be through a charity board, youth forum, executive or committee. Sam, aged 19, lives in Wellingborough in Northamptonshire. He said, “I'm amazed to have won this award. It's been a massive privilege to serve in this role. It's made even better by the children and young people that I've worked with, they have such passion and enthusiasm; that's what makes the difference.” You can find out more about Sam and his work as Methodist Youth President on his blog. http://www.methodistyouthpres.blogspot.co.uk/ from the Methodist Church News Service

Hot air My clergy friend put hot air hand dryers in the toilets at his church, and two weeks later removed them in a hurry. I asked him why, and he confessed that they worked fine, but when he went in there one day he’d seen a sign that read: ‘For a sample of next week's sermon, push the button.’

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Food Festivals 2012 Three quick reminders for foodies who read these pages. The asparagus season runs from St Georges day, 23rd April to Midsummer’s day 24th June. You can join in the British Asparagus Festival celebrations of this wonderfully strange vegetable on Saturday May 5th at Workman Gardens, Evesham. An afternoon and evening of asparamadness in the heart of asparagus country. Asparagus cookery demonstrations, the King of Asparagus competition, asparagus foods and products including sausages, soap and scones (I can’t imagine what asparagus flavored scones would taste like), entertainment, riverboat trips and refreshments. 4.00 pm – 10.00 pm Later in the year there is the Ludlow Food Festival 7th - 9th September. The market square is full of stalls selling local produce both ordinary and esoteric. However not to be missed, on the assumption that it is repeated is the sweets and puddings on offer in the local Methodist Church. When we were there in 2010 the queue snaked around the balcony, down the stairs, out of the church and into the street. Catch it if you can; is it too far for the ramblers? Lastly if you are interested in cheese, the International Cheese Awards will be judged in Nantwich on 24th July followed by the Show day on the 25th. Should be better than cheese on toast or Welsh Rarebit. Peter Farley

Finger The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, moves on. And so I stare and wonder - where does the ink come from?!

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Foodbank In our March 2012 CONTACT we told you about a meeting of interested parties with the intention of setting up a Foodbank in the Erdington area. I’m sure you will be pleased to know that a small group of people are actively looking into the feasibility of doing just that. As a quick precis of how the Foodbank works have a read of the following - ed

How a foodbank works

1. Food is donated Schools, churches, businesses and individuals donate non-perishable, in-date food to a foodbank. Large collections often take place as part of Harvest Festival celebrations. Food is also collected at ‘Supermarket Collections.’ These are events held at supermarkets where volunteers give shoppers a ‘foodbank shopping list’ and ask them to buy an extra item or two for local people in crisis. 2. Food is sorted and stored Volunteers sort food to check that it’s in date and pack it into boxes ready to be given to people in need. 3. Frontline care professionals identify people in need Care professionals such as doctors, health visitors, social workers, CAB and police identify people in crisis and issue them with a foodbank voucher.

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4. Clients receive food Foodbank clients bring their voucher to a foodbank centre where it can be redeemed for three days emergency food. Volunteers meet clients over a cup of tea or free hot meal and are able to signpost people to agencies able to solve the longer-term problem. Some foodbanks also run a rural delivery service, which takes emergency food boxes to clients living in rural areas who cannot afford to get to a foodbank.

Scapegoat I always thought a ‘scapegoat’ was the one who bears the blame that should rightly be apportioned more widely. One that is being abused so that others can be spared abuse. Until I read this article . . . . Norma Senior The original scapegoat - the word, of course, comes from the Bible Leviticus chapter 16. On the annual Day of Atonement, when the people of Israel mourned for their sins, two goats were brought before the high priest. He laid his hands on them, confessing all the sins of the people. One of them was then taken away and offered as a sacrifice. The other one was taken out into the desert where it was set free. That was the ‘scapegoat.’ It was the first goat that bore the sins of the people. The second one was a picture of forgiveness. As the Psalmist says, ‘As far as the east is from the west, so far has God set our sins from us.’ The scapegoat ran free. Like the Lamb of God, Jesus, it ‘carried away the sin of the world.’ Between them the two goats represent the process of forgiveness - a price paid, and a life set free.

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Sounds and Signs (Acts 2:1-4)

Sounds and signs from heaven, How to describe them? A roaring mighty windstorm Tongues of fire Words are too weak, Too one-dimensional. We need the Lord’s own linguist To describe them Through transformed lives Only when he fills us Can we understand, Only when he fills us Can we pour out the joy, The love and the laughter, The power and the praise. Only when he fills us Can we speak and show. Come Holy Spirit Transform us into Sounds and signs from heaven. By Daphne Kitching

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All in the month of MAY It was.... 200 years ago:- on 7th May 1812 that Robert Browning, the British poet, was born. 150 years ago:- on 24th May 1862 that Westminster Bridge in London was opened. 100 years ago:- on 13th May 1912 that The Royal Flying Corps (now the Royal Air Force) was founded in Britain. 80 years ago:- on 21st May 1932 that American aviator Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. 75 years ago:- on 12th May 1937 that the Coronation of King George VI took place in London. 60 years ago:- on 2nd May 1952 that BOAC (now British Airways) launched the world’s first jet passenger service (from London to Johannesburg). 60 years ago:- on 7th May 1952 that British electronics engineer Geoffrey Dummer described the concept of an integrated circuit (microchip) for the first time. 40 years ago:- on 4th May 1972 that the Canadian-founded ‘Don’t Make A Wave Committee’ changed its name to ‘Greenpeace’ – the global environment organisation. 10 years ago:- on 30th May 2002 that a solemn ceremony was held to mark the end of the clean-up operation at Ground Zero in New York City, after the 9/11 terrorist attack. from the Parish Pump website 15


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Charity of the Month - Christian Aid As stated last month we are hoping to highlight the work of a particular charity each month. As May traditionally contains Christian Aid Week it seemed appropriate to highlight the history and work of Christian Aid in this month’s magazine. Christian Aid – has a very high profile in the life of our Church and its work is highlighted during the week in May each year which is dedicated to promoting the focus on Christian Aid and raising funds to support their work worldwide. But what do we know about the origins, how was it established and by whom? Well here is a very brief history: 1940s For the last 70 years Christian Aid has fought poverty, strengthened the poor and turned hope into action. In the aftermath of World War II, British and Irish church leaders met, determined to do everything possible to help European refugees who had lost everything. The name they gave themselves was Christian Reconstruction in Europe. Their purpose was not to evangelise but to alleviate suffering for ordinary people no matter what their faith. Christian Reconstruction in Europe became a department of the British Council of Churches and was eventually renamed the Department of Interchurch Aid and Refugee Service. In a decade it raised £29,000. 1950s The appointment of Janet Lacey as president in 1952 stamped a mark of courage, honesty and determination of the organisation that has remained ever since. Some clerics thought her views too radical but this did not deter her aim to combat poverty world wide. Emergencies in Africa and Asia were provided with support from Christian Aid and the creation of the Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) was established in this decade. Heightened public awareness was essential and the first red envelopes dropped through letterboxes during the first Christian Aid Week in 1957.

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1960s During this decade Christian Aid began to look more deeply at the causes of poverty rather than just looking at the symptoms prompted by the increase in world food shortages. Christian Aid moved into the Political field and began challenging the British Government on its aid and trade policies. 1970s With the increase in severe famines in Pakistan, Sudan and Ethiopia the 70s prompted Christian Aid to realise the problems were not just acts of nature but the result of political and economic decisions and so work began alongside traditional relief and development on how to work for peoples’ rights. By the end of the 70s Christian Aid was working in many of the world hotspots – Vietnam and Laos, destroyed by war; in Uganda after the overthrow of Idi Amin; in Nicaragua after the toppling of the dictator Somoza; and in Kampuchea (Cambodia) after the fall of Pol Pot. In total around 40 different countries funding and supporting more that 100 long term projects. 1980s A huge change in the way aid agencies operated occurred in the 80s with large scale fundraising events like Live Aid raising the profile of the troubles of the world to the public attention and more people were giving and for the first time government funding was made available to Christian Aid. The annual income had risen from £5.5 million to £28 million in a decade as the global economic recession was gathering pace. The Director of the time, Rev Michael Taylor articulated the purpose of Christian Aid in line with the political themes of the times focusing on ‘liberation’ and ‘strengthening the poor’. 1990s This decade saw the challenge to politicians to cancel world debt and by the new millennium world leaders had promised to deliver $100 billion in debt relief after the intense campaigning of Christian Aid. They also helped change government trade policy and establish the Fairtrade Foundation and campaign in supermarkets to demand they use decent labour standards. 19


2000s The 21st century has brought new challenges to Christian Aid and increasing demands on their resources and campaigning success. The so-called war on terror, climate change and the increasing number of natural disasters keep Christian Aid focused. They are now working with more than 650 overseas partners in around 50 countries aiming to turn hope into action. The world isn’t getting any fairer but Christian Aid will carry on tackling the causes of poverty, they will continue to support local organisations to deliver real, practical change and will work so that everyone can fulfil their right to a decent life. Christine Rankin (mostly gleaned from the internet)

Christian Aid Week: 13–19 May 2012 Let’s give the tools to help people in poverty out of poverty

‘We organise a one-off event each year, which involves the whole community; seeing everyone of all faiths and no faiths working together for one cause is very uplifting and raises a large amount of money at the end.’ Christian Aid Week volunteer

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Thousands of churches will stand together this Christian Aid Week to speak out for change. Some 100,000 committed volunteers will go out and put their faith into action, raising funds to help some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. This includes Britain’s largest house-to-house collection – an extraordinary act of witness, demonstrating to our communities that we care about poverty and justice. This year, Christian Aid Week tells the story of remarkable change taking place in a community in rural Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone is one of the hungriest countries in the world. But helped by Christian Aid partner the Methodist Church of Sierra Leone (MCSL), some people there have found the tools to move beyond hunger and speak out for the changes they want to see. Christian Aid currently works with 507 partner organisations in 47 countries around the world. From Sierra Leone to Tajikistan, from Kenya to Bolivia, we are helping communities to make their voices heard and look towards a brighter future. We believe that poverty is a scandal and that it can be ended. Look out for local events and discover how you can get involved by contacting your Christian Aid Week representative, or by visiting caweek.org

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The power of standing together

Christian Aid Week tells the story of a community in Sierra Leone that has seen remarkable change. Tenneh Keimbay’s life turned around when the Methodist Church of Sierra Leone (MCSL) started to work in her town, distributing tools and teaching farmers simple food production techniques. She talks enthusiastically about the difference this has made: ‘Now the children eat two meals all year round, whereas before it was one. They are growing well; they don’t cry around me because of hunger. They are happy to go to school because something is in their stomach.’ The benefits of regular food speak for themselves. But the effects of the food production group have been more wide-ranging than this. Tenneh speaks of the huge difference working in a group has made to her. Acting together, the farmers can share their skills and work more efficiently. As she tells us, the bottom line is that ‘the group work provides more food’. Tenneh speaks of the support and the encouragement that the farmers give to each other, and how much can be achieved when the community comes together. ‘What inspires me in life is unity,’ she says. ‘To me, unity means coming together to decide on one thing and take that forward.’ 22


Now that they are no longer limited by hunger, the people of Gbap (pronounced Bap) have come together and successfully lobbied for a new school and an agricultural work centre for the community. The people of Gbap have taken their future into their own hands. During Christian Aid Week, 15,000 churches across Britain and Ireland will organise house-to-house collections and events to raise funds to enable organisations like MCSL to carry out their work transforming communities such as Gbap. Christian Aid currently works with 507 partners in 47 countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean, helping people to make change happen. Our donations will be multiplied many times over as many small actions come together to make a huge change. But the giving that takes place during Christian Aid Week is not oneway. Unity is something that our churches are not always good at, and the value of community that has inspired Tenneh is something that we can learn from and be changed by. Christian Aid Week is about raising funds. But it is also a call to unity – an invitation for churches to come together and celebrate the possibility of hope and life in parts of the world where mere survival can be a struggle. This is a challenge, because division and inequality and injustice will always be easier than unity. But Tenneh’s insistence that remarkable things can happen when we come together is not new. We see it in the actions and ministry of Jesus, who pushed against all that leads to violence and separation and called his disciples to model a new way of community. Can we use this Christian Aid Week to allow ourselves to be changed? If we can work together, with each other, with our churches and with our neighbours both at home and as far away as Gbap, then we may start to see huge change happen. Tenneh says that ‘when you are a group and work with focus and total commitment, you work at a faster rate; the stronger ones can help with work that weaker ones cannot do by themselves’. As we engage in Christian Aid 23


Week, we can rejoice as we stand together in solidarity. Although we might ask who is the strong and who is the weak – and who is actually giving to whom. Be a part of Christian Aid Week this year: if, together, we take small actions we can give people like Tenneh the tools to make big change happen. £6.50/€7.50 could buy a set of four hand tools for a farmer living in the town of Gbap. £50/€57.50 could pay for advocacy training for two young people in a Kenyan slum, equipping them with the tools they need to pressure their government to provide essential services. £123/€141.50 could buy a reclaimed aluminium greenhouse for women working on market gardening projects in Tajikistan, providing a vital tool for growing vegetables in a harsh climate experiencing extremes of hot and cold.

Mea Culpa A group of lads took a trip to France and decided to attend Mass in a small town, even though none of them understood French. They managed to stand, kneel and sit when the rest of the congregation did, so it wouldn't be obvious they were tourists. At one point, the priest spoke and the man sitting next to them stood up, so they got up, too. The entire congregation broke into hearty laughter. After the service they approached the priest, who spoke English, and asked him what had been so funny. The priest said he had announced a birth in the parish and had asked the father to stand up. 24


Narnia C.S.Lewis born 1898 in Belfast C.S. Lewis became a Christian in his early thirties. It surprised many people that he decided to write novels for children since they played no part in his everyday life. This changed, however, in World War 2 during the Blitz of London when thousands of city children were sent to live in the country where they would be safe. Lewis opened his home to some of them and this is where the initial glimmer of the Narnia series took shape. The first in the series was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe which Lewis wrote within the space of two months. The children who were living with Lewis discovered a huge wardrobe while playing hide and seek. One of them, (obviously a child with a natural curiosity), asked Lewis if there was anything on the other side of the wardrobe. This triggered an explosion of thoughts in his mind ‌ What would happen if you could walk right through the wardrobe and enter an entirely different world? Ideas jostled around in his head and began to take shape. His strong Christian faith guided his thoughts. Finally, he decided that the central character would be a magnificent lion ‌ Aslan! This noble beast, the Narnia equivalent of Jesus Christ, would suffer humiliation at the hands of his enemies followed by a cruel death only to rise again, abolishing corruption and offering hope of a new and better life to all living in this frozen world of Narnia governed by the wicked White Witch. Lewis dedicated The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, to his GodDaughter Lucy. Here is the dedication: My Dear Lucy, I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand a word you say, but I shall still be your affectionate Godfather, C.S. Lewis 25


Six further Chronicles of Narnia followed in quick succession to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Quite simply, it appears that Lewis loved Narnia. Certainly Lewis wrote the Narnia Chronicles for children, but it is apparent that he was also displaying his deeper feelings of Christ’s influence in his own life. A personal comment: The vast majority of children will view this story purely as a fairy tale. If they come back to it when they are older, there is a possibility that one way or another, deeper understanding of its religious significance may become apparent. In any event, I can’t help asking myself, ‘Does it really matter?’ Also, it’s interesting that while William Blake chose a lamb to represent Christ in his poem beginning Little lamb, who made thee? Lewis saw Christ as a powerful lion. What a stark contrast! But, in a manner of speaking, both men were standing on two entirely different platforms when making their individual, well-reasoned choice. Inevitably, there are those who criticise The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I can only say that I have read this story to many children and as far as I can remember, all of them have loved it. Same goes for me! Barbara Rawson “A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.” C.S.Lewis

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Personal space My ski holiday this year involved two overnight journeys in a Eurostar seat from St Pancras to Moutiers a distance of about 700 miles each way. As you would imagine a Eurostar seat is not the best place for a relaxing night’s sleep at the beginning and end of a holiday. Some may ask why go through the discomfort of such a venture? My answer is simple, it enables me to have eight days skiing whilst only paying for six nights accommodation. That has to be a bargain in anyone’s eyes. Having to sit four round a table reminded me of a time when as a teenager I went skiing from school to Austria on an overnight train. Then we were eight in a compartment where the seats on either side slipped down in to the centre to form a compartment-sized bed. We put the two smallest boys on the luggage racks, which left six of us on the bed! I can remember from that time fighting the temptation to rest my head on the boy next to me even though all I wanted was a more comfortable position so that I could go to sleep. Personal space is a very ‘personal’ thing and not easily definable to anyone else. Its size varies with each person and all each one of us is really aware of is when we believe someone is in our space. Travelling is one of those times when we are most aware of it and when it is most likely to be invaded. You only have to travel in a rush hour bus, train or tube to know exactly how intrusive such closeness can be. Personal space manifests itself in all manner of ways. How many people on entering a room will sit in-between two other people on a settee when there is another chair available? Likewise on any skiing holiday, most ski lifts go up the mountain half empty, regardless of the queue at the base station, because people will not voluntarily travel with strangers. Even though everyone knows that they would get more skiing if the lift chairs or cabins were all filled to capacity. Our surrounding space is divided into touchable (intimate/personal), arms length (social) and then beyond (public). Knowledge of this facet of our lives goes back at least as far as writing, if not further, and it was mentioned in Talmud, which goes back to about 500BC. It is to some extent determined by culture and research has revealed that Indians have a smaller 27


personal space than a Mongolian from the Steppes - no surprise there then. However there must be an evolutional advantage in having an automatic warning that tells you, you are now a bit too close to that stranger, so close in fact that they could easily gouge out your eye or drag you off to their harem by the hair. Such warnings are variably disabled to some extent for friends, family and partners. They must however be extant in all of us and find expression in our constant reading of our environment and local body languages. Just remember the next time that you are struggling with a crowded environment that at least you really can blame your cave person origins for the desire to stamp on their toe and tell them to go move away. Peter Farley

A Big Welcome / Back to Church Sunday This year, the Methodist Church will be joining Elim churches and Baptists across Britain in the Big Welcome on Sunday 23 September. The initiative encourages Christians to ‘invite someone they know to something they love’. The Methodist Church also continues to support Back to Church Sunday (30th September) and resources for both Sundays are available on the Methodist Church website. from the Methodist Church News Service

Finding The shin bone is a device for finding furniture in the dark.

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Women In many parts of the world, women have a raw deal in life, not only in bearing and rearing the children, but obtaining, preparing and feeding the whole family. It’s a tough life and there are many hardships. And the result of their labouring life is often pain and sadness. This is because of disease and sickness, much of it caused by the lack of fresh water and sanitation. Women walk very many kilometres twice or three times a day in the dry season in some parts of the world, just to get water, taking up to three hours each visit; and it’s often contaminated water. What time is there for much else? And imagine the stress on the body, aching backs and necks as most of the water is carried in containers on their heads. Poor sanitation and dirty water causes diseases that kill around 4,000 children every day! That’s a shocking statistic by any standards. WaterAid aims to raise £150,000 in the ‘Coast Along for WaterAid’ where they aim to get teams of walkers striding out on 240 sections of Britain’s coastal paths on Saturday 15th September 2012. With sections ranging from four to 15 miles in length – and with each path graded by difficulty – there is something for everyone.

Fancy having a go? You may be near a planned coastal path whilst holidaying. Register your interest at www.coastalong for wateraid.org Email coastalong@wateraid.org or call 020 7793 2232. WaterAid would be interested to hear if you, or a group of you, are planning to attempt one of the walks. Ann Tomes 29


Your old milk bottles are wanted! Do you have any old milk bottles? If so, don't throw them out! In fact, the older they are, the better. Unlikely as this may sound, there is a burgeoning little milk bottle museum in Malvern Worcester, and the owner, Steve Wheeler, is eagerly looking for more old milk bottles. Steve has been collecting for 30 years, and currently has more than 17,000 of them. He has all sizes, from quarts right down to old creams, half pints and the one-third pints originally used to supply local schoolchildren. Steve explains: "People often have old milk bottles and don't even realise it: they are in their sheds, old barns and dairy buildings. Please, if you find any, don't throw them away! Contact me instead." Steve's aim is to establish a National Milk Bottle Museum, and he is in talks with the National Trust and other bodies. In the meantime, Steve gives talks to WIs, young farmers' clubs and church groups, etc. while scouring the country for any bottles and dairy memorabilia he can find. He also receives donations from various institutions, such as the Dairymen's Benevolent Society. So - if you have any old milk bottles, why not tell Steve on 01684 569656 or email him at milkbottlepast@hotmail.com.

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May 2012 Regular Meetings Coffee Mornings Each Saturday 10.00 am to 12.00 noon

Tuesday Club Every 4th Tuesday in the month at 2.30 pm

Sunday Worship All worship starts at 10.30 am unless stated otherwise below 6th

UNITED SERVICE - Nechells Methodist Church Alison Gee

13th

WORSHIP GROUP - David Hewitt

20th

ALL AGE WORSHIP - Gill Irish

27th

UNITED SERVICE - Erdington Methodist Church Bob Dauncey

Where am I?! A man was driving to work when a lorry hit his car broadside, and knocked him cold. Passersby pulled him from the wreck and revived him. He began a terrific struggle and had to be tranquilized by the paramedics. Later, when he was calm, they asked him why he had struggled so. He said, "I remember the impact, then nothing. I woke up on a concrete slab in front of a huge flashing 'Shell' sign...and somebody was standing in front of the ‘S’! 31


Weekly Church Activities Sunday

10.30 am

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

Tuesday

9.30 - 11.30 am 9.30 - 12.30 pm 2.00 pm

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

Wednesday

9.30 - 11.30 am 9.30 - 12.30 pm 12.30 pm

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

Thursday

9.30 - 12.30 pm

Pre-School : Karen Homer

Friday

9.30 - 12.30 pm 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

Pre-School : Karen Homer 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 June CONTACT to any of the Editorial Team (Elizabeth Baizon, Peter Farley, Christine Rankin, Ann Tomes & Nick Riley) by 15th May 2012 at the latest please or alternatively email me: nickriley@blueyonder.co.uk

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Contact - May 2012