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CONTACT

Magazine of Erdington Methodist Church Station Road - September 2012 1


Contents Minister’s Letter Important - late breaking news Changes in Ministry Family news Ladies in Retirement Time to Rise Up Dolly Natural Britain Vision Project - Update Other dates for your diary New forms of church attracting thousands each month It will never get better . . . . Your help is needed Autumn promotion on Singing the Faith editions Hobby Pastors take to the beaches to support coastal night life Keeping in Contact Children’s Pages Olympic Experiences London Olympics - 8th August - Day 12 One to ponder? Olympic legacy Small Miracles at Harvestime Macmillan Coffee Morning 2012 OU outakes Seven things that you probably didn’t know about global Christianity Educating Eric Judas Asparagus What’s your water footprint? September 2012 Regular Meetings Weekly Church Activities

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Minister’s Letter My three month sabbatical flew by and it is now September and the start of another church year. And so I ask myself, what have I gained that might be of benefit to others or could be shared with others? Apart from visiting family, catching up on my reading, spending 3 weeks playing with the Appledore Band and dodging the rain, I attended a couple of courses and a retreat. Overall it has been a time of renewal, something that we all need and which God offers to all of us. One of the books I have been reading as a kind of summary since I returned is called “Rhythms of Grace”, by Tony Horsfall. He reminds us that the two great gospel words are “Come” and “Go” – a word of invitation and a word of command. Both are important in the Christian life but our coming to Jesus must always come before our going out in his name. Sounds simple doesn’t it but ask yourself if it is true in your life? For many of us there is far too much “going” and not enough “coming”, resulting in lives that are spiritually impoverished and lacking in both depth and passion. Jesus’ gracious invitation to us to “come to him” is the foundation of everything else in the Christian life. Before we rush into the Autumn round of meetings see if you can find time to reflect on the above. Is coming to church on a Sunday and doing our duty in groups and meetings etc all there is, or is there something further that we are seeking? Jane

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Important - late breaking news A communication from the Circuit - please read carefully Dear Friends, As many of you will be aware the Revd Nichola Jones will be leaving the circuit in August 2013 to take up a new appointment and as a circuit we will be seeking a new Presbyter to replace her. Over the last three years Nichola has served as superintendent of the circuit and we were pleased that at the last circuit meeting Revd Alan Smithson agreed to take on this role from 1st September 2013. The Circuit has put together a request to the Connexion for a new minister to follow the Revd Nichola Jones, when she moves on, and to do that we submit a profile of the churches who will need a new minister. However, we feel that to facilitate these changes there will need to be a change in pastoral oversight within the circuit. After much prayerful thought and discussion it has been agreed that the Revd Jane Ashplant will hand over pastoral oversight of Erdington Methodist Church to the incoming presbyter and will take over pastoral oversight of Boldmere Methodist Church from the Revd Alan Smithson. This means that from September 2013 Revd Jane will have Kings Road, Nechells and Boldmere. Erdington will return to being linked with Stockland Green as it has been previously and we will seek a new Presbyter for Erdington, Stockland Green and Witton Methodist Churches. These changes will take effect from 1st September 2013. Whilst changes of this nature are not ideal we believe they are necessary to allow the good work that is being done to continue and allow the churches and the circuit to continue to grow and flourish. We ask you to hold in your prayers all those involved in the changes and especially to pray for those who will be sending us a potential new minister. Hopefully we shall know who will be joining the circuit by December.

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Changes in Ministry You will all have noticed over the last two years that I am not normally at a loss for words but I find it difficult to know what to write about the change mentioned above. In the Methodist Church ministers are appointed to the circuit rather than to specific churches and are, on occasions, moved within the circuit. This is not my choice and I am very sad indeed at the prospect of leaving Erdington next summer. However, we have twelve months left to work together and if we listen for God’s voice and obey his call then much can be achieved. Jane

Family News a message via the church website - ed Dear All Thank you so much for the lovely messages, cards and donations given in our dear Dad's memory on 7th June 2012. We managed to raise over ÂŁ400 which has been sent to St Giles Nursing Home. As yet we have not heard from them but we are sure the money will be used to help them in their marvellous work. Dad would have loved every minute of the day and no doubt will tell us when we meet again. He had so many fond memories of Erdington Methodist Church and although he was unable to get to church during the last year of his life he always spoke about you all. Many thanks to Margaret Hillman, Margaret Curzon and Val Long who kept everyone in the loop and for visiting him in his final days. We know that he and mum are now together and will be happy forever. With all good wishes Pam and Richard

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LINK PLAYERS – AUTUMN PRODUCTION STOCKLAND GREEN METHODIST CHURCH SLADE ROAD ERDINGTON B23 7JH On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 11th, 12th and 13th October 2012 Link Players present:

Ladies in Retirement A Play in Three Acts by Edward Percy and Reginald Denham Curtain up at 7:30 pm The tickets, which are inclusive of refreshments, are very reasonably priced at £4.50 and £4.00 for senior citizens and children; Family tickets are also available at £16.00. Bookings can be made by phoning Pauline or Andrew Thompson (0121 382 1849) or June Walker (0121 373 4632). We do hope that you will be able to come along and support us; incidentally, Link Players are looking forward to celebrating their 40th (Ruby) Anniversary in the Spring of 2013.

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– with conviction and confidence! A gathering for women Led by the Revd Dr Kate Coleman Chester Road Baptist Church (at the lights with Boldmere Road and Gravelly Lane)

Saturday, September 22nd, 9.15 a.m. – 1.00 p.m.

Tickets: £5, available from: ‘Time to Rise Up’ Chester Road Baptist Church Chester Road, Sutton Coldfield, B72 5HU 0121 350 2779 or office@chesterroadbc.org.uk (Please make cheques payable to ‘Chester Road Baptist Church’)

organised by Chester Road Baptist Church, Sutton Coldfield

Six Ways Baptist Church, Erdington

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Dolly On the 1st August Don and I drove to Finedon in Northamptonshire to collect my new car – a 1988 Citroen 2CV Dolly (‘Deux Chevaux’) now rated as a classic car.

My first challenge was to drive Dolly from Finedon to our house, a sixty mile journey. Don led the way in his ‘real’ car and I chuntered along behind him in my 2CV. Our maximum speed was 40mph and even that was demanding. Within the space of just a few minutes I fully understood why the car mats had ‘Powered by Fairydust’ imprinted on them! Once safely home I had time to reflect on the day’s events. Driving a little French farmer’s car along miles of motorway surrounded by all manner of monstrous trucks, was an experience that I’m not anxious to repeat. It was a warm day and I needed a blast of air conditioning, i.e. open windows! I attempted to open the one on the driver’s side. The window is in two sections and opening it necessitates folding the bottom half upwards and attaching it to a catch on the edge of the roof. Problem! As I swung it upwards it collided with the wing mirror which is mounted on the side of the door. I shoved the mirror out of the way, managed to secure the window and tried but failed to reset the mirror. 8


At one point the wind started blowing and it became obvious that my car didn’t really like this. The rattling of the door on the driver’s side was particularly ‘rattly’! I snatched quick glances at it, for when the wind suddenly gusted, the door flexed and I could see daylight through a couple of gaps which opened up intermittently. Hmm! An incident which was quite disarming happened when I was signalling left. Just as I was in the throes of negotiating the left turn I heard something drop. This was not the time to try to discover what had fallen; the physical act of simply driving the car demanded my constant, unwavering concentration. But I chanced a swift glimpse at my feet and was horrified to see the indicator stalk lying on the floor. I made a mental note … stick it on with Blu-Tack when I get home! Today is 2nd August and my quirky 2CV Dolly is safe in the garage resting quietly, looking forward to its next adventure. In short, I love it! Don’s comment: “It’s a very cute little car, but please don’t ask me to drive it.” Barbara Rawson

Natural Britain As we come to the end of another, mixed weather, holiday season I came across an interesting fact that I will not yet share with you. It is the answer to how much, as a percentage, of the UK do you think is no longer natural and therefore built upon in some way. We will all have our opinions about that, but remember how green it is when you look out of a plane window. Anyway the answer needs you to take into account gardens, parks and allotments in the natural section. So what do you think? I will tell you in the next edition of Contact Peter Farley

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Vision Project - update Questions We welcome all interest shown in the project and want everyone to be involved as much as possible. We have been asked several questions lately and I will put the main ones down on this page, which may answer other unspoken questions. Q1. How much do we have to raise? Ans: This is not quite finalised, but close to £190000.00. Q2. Will there be a choice of ‌? Ans: No decision about large purchases will be made without discussion at church council. The church family will be able to have an input into style, colour etc depending on the item. Q3. When will we be able to purchase‌? Ans: When we have raised sufficient money, there is a long way to go yet. Fund-Raising It is important to say that we cannot expect any help from our church funds, especially as a new boiler has to bought which we cannot include in our applications. Some of the project plans do edge on to items considered to be part of the general church maintenance, such as replacing windows, so maybe there can be some negotiation about that eventually! At the moment there are two main aspects to raising money. One is by our own efforts through donations and events. We have a varied list of future events and some are listed below. The other is by applying to charitable grant funders, (this includes Methodist funding and Sutton Park Circuit) and it is through these agencies that we hope to raise the largest part of money needed. This entails a lot of research for a detailed proposal. Some agencies want an initial letter, and others have lengthy forms to fill in. We are preparing the proposal with the help of 10


Amanda Hume, who advised Stockland Green on their project, and we hope that this will be completed by the time you read Contact. One of the important details to include is what we are doing to help ourselves with our own fund-raising. We will get no help from others if we are not seen to be helping ourselves! Thank you for all your efforts so far. Please encourage your family and friends and colleagues to come to some of our planned events. If you are able to make a donation, as a group or individually, this will be much appreciated. FORTHCOMING EVENTS Ladies’ Fashion Show and sale - Sat. Oct 6th. from 7.00 pm Coffee Morning - November 10th. run by Tuesday Club Beetle Drive and food - November 10th - time to be announced Coffee Morning - December 8th run by Housegroup Coffee morning - December 15th run by project group Quiz night - January 26th. 2013, run by scouts Concert by Accord Choir - February 23rd. Check noticeboard for further dates. Hilary Price, for the Vision group

Other dates for your diary 15th September - Harvest Supper & Revue - 6.30 pm 20th October - Community Fun Day

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New forms of church attracting thousands each month The Methodist Church says that it has been encouraged by the growth of new forms of church, especially those under the banners of Venture FX and Fresh Expressions. Recent statistics show that over 40,000 people now attend some form of fresh expression church at least monthly. Fresh Expressions, a joint venture with the Church of England, also works alongside a large number of Christian organisations, denominations and streams - both in the UK and overseas. The Venture FX project of the Methodist Church has helped create 13 projects around the country since its launch in 2009, with six more launching in the last year. Ian Bell, Venture FX Coordinator, says, “From Bermondsey to Colwyn Bay, from Plymouth to Edinburgh, pioneers both lay and ordained are grasping the opportunity to share the gospel where people are.” The Fresh Expressions statistics show steady growth in all forms of fresh expressions, including cafe church and messy church. Recent figures from the Church of England show about 30,000 people attending fresh expressions of church who are not otherwise counted in church attendance figures. For most Methodist forms of fresh expressions, a clear majority of those taking part do not otherwise attend church. from the Parish Pump Website

It will never get better . . . . If I understand what the economists are saying, the situation is hopeless – but improving! Herbert V Prochnow

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Your help is needed I have taken over the task of helping Jean Harris run the Macmillan coffee morning and would like your help in making it a big success. I will need help setting up and in the Kitchen, making tea, coffee, and toast and I will also need donations of yummy cakes to be sold on the day. If you can help in any way please con tact me on 384 8373 Thank you Sue Turner ============================================ Macmillan coffee morning Saturday 29th September Between 10am and noon ============================================ How many hours of Macmillan time can we make? £25 pays for one hour for a Macmillan nurse to support a • 1 Hour? family affected by cancer. £138 pays for three hours of free, confidential support and • 3 Hours? information for anyone with cancer worries or questions. £61 pays for four hours for a Macmillan benefits adviser to • 4 Hours? help someone struggling with the costs of cancer. If you or anyone you know has questions about living with cancer, call the Macmillan Support Line free on 0808 808 00 00 or visit macmillan.org.uk

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Autumn promotion on Singing the Faith editions from Methodist Publishing If you missed out on the pre-publication prices of our new hymn book ‘Singing the Faith’ then you might be interested in the news item below - ed Methodist Publishing is delighted to announce new discounts on some editions of Singing the Faith. The new offer is a response to the huge success of last year’s pre-publication prices offer (just under 55,000 copies of the words edition were sold during that period) as well as requests from churches that have not yet ordered copies of the collection. The new discounts are: Music £27 (full price £30) Words £8 (full price, from 1 September 2012, £10) Large print words £13 (full price £15) Electronic words £27 (full price £30) Please note: These discounts apply to orders placed between 1st September and 14th December 2012. They are only available when ordering direct from Methodist Publishing. There is not a minimum order requirement.

Hobby It seems that those who have hobbies rarely go crazy. But what about those who have to live with them?

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Pastors take to the beaches to support coastal night life Volunteer ‘Street Pastors’ are taking to Whitstable’s beaches on Friday nights throughout the summer in what is believed to be the nation’s first ever scheme of its kind to operate on the beach.   The Street Pastors are not there to evangelise or convert people to Christianity, but to offer support to night time beach-goers. They will wander the beaches, offering assistance to anyone who needs it. That may involve giving away water or flip flops, helping people to get a taxi home, or simply providing a listening ear.   All of Whitstable’s 14 churches have joined forces to put the pastors on the beaches after identifying a problem with young people drinking on the beaches at night and making themselves vulnerable.   “This is about discipleship in action and demonstrating who we are as Christian people, so offering God’s love in terms of active assistance,” said the Revd Helen Letley, minister of St John’s Methodist Church.   Street Pastor schemes, set up and supported by the Ascension Trust, are widespread, with over 10,000 trained volunteers in around 250 teams throughout the UK. But this is believed to be the first project to put pastors on Britain’s beaches. from the Methodist Church News Service

Keeping in Contact Money isn’t everything, but it does keep you in touch with your children from Yardley Parish Magazine

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Olympic Experiences Like many people who are not normally very interested in sport, the London 2012 Olympics seemed to be an event not to be missed. Surprisingly John wasn’t all that enthusiastic when I made a comment to that effect and I put that idea aside. Nicola and James were with us at the time and they were very keen to get tickets if they could. On the second round they bought two sets of volleyball tickets for the Earls Court matches. Very kindly they had decided that they would try to get tickets for something on August 3rd - my birthday - and for the following day which was James’ mother’s birthday. What lovely birthday presents! At the same time they bought tickets for men’s football at Old Trafford, thinking it would be a treat for John, being a Manchester United supporter. For a venue very close to where they live, walking distance for the fit, we actually travelled there in three stages ; car ➜ tram ➜ feet! We watched two matches, no Team GB, but it was very exciting anyway. The atmosphere was terrific, the continual Mexican waves like an avalanche descending, and feet stamping like drumbeats. During the first match, there was quite a lot of rain, which didn’t worry us as we were all mostly under cover. So imagine our surprise when, between matches, hidden sprinklers shot up from the turf, dampening the already very damp pitch! I believe that the best goal of both matches was the one scored by Brazil in the last seconds of extra time. Some of the 66 thousand people were starting to move by then, including some on the row below us. This meant that the people, immediately in front of us, rose up at the very moment of scoring - I missed it! There was the same atmosphere at Earl’s Court for the volleyball. There was a lot of razzmatazz with it and the second match there included the GB Team, so the excitement was heightened. Sadly they didn’t even win one set, 18


but we shouted and cheered anyway! My lasting impression was of the girls sweeping the court at frequent intervals. Six of them would come on, three either side of the net with long-headed brooms, such as we have at church. Then they went into a formation dance routine up and down the court. It was wonderful. I am wondering if the church could afford to increase Lesley’s wages and hire five more girls and brooms. The large rooms would be done in seconds. Maybe we could recoup the money by selling tickets to watch! Hilary Price

London Olympics - 8th August – Day 12 A day which will forever stand out in my memory is 8th August 2012, for this was the day when we were up at the crack of dawn to enjoy a full morning of athletics at the Olympic Stadium. Our friends, Gill and Pete who live in Essex, managed to get tickets for the four of us. We made our way through the Olympic Village which was buzzing with activity and excitement. Thousands upon thousands of us surged towards the stadium. The organisation to keep everyone moving and in good spirits was second to none and the atmosphere was positively electric. Here was LIFE in abundance! Finally, we entered the stadium. For a moment or two we were speechless. The sheer size and magnificence of the building is amazing. It can only be described as truly remarkable. No stone has been left unturned. Wenlock, the Olympic mascot, kept us entertained while the athletes were preparing to go for gold. How can men jump so high over a pole? How can women throw such heavy hammers so far? How can sprinters run 5000 metres and cross the finishing line scarcely out of breath? Can you imagine the roar of the crowd when Mo Farar ran in his heat? ‘Deafening’ is barely adequate to describe it.

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We were all amused at the variety of cameras in the stadium. There was one which slid to and fro on a high wire covering the length of the stadium. Others were situated beside the track darting along on narrow gauge railway tracks. There was even one which emerged from a pair of doors, snaking out into the arena like a ginormous serpent. At one point a huge air balloon glided smoothly and silently above us, presumably to capture aerial views of the events. While the ladies were gearing up to throw the hammers we noticed two radio controlled mini “Mini” cars close by. As soon as a hammer had been thrown, one of these cars whizzed up to the place where it had landed. An official then loaded it onto the little vehicle whereupon it did a 180 degrees turn and sped off back to the start. No ball boys here - 21st century reigns! All good fun to watch! The four of us agreed that we felt privileged to be part of this year’s Olympic Games. For Gill and me it was particularly significant. Fifty two years ago we were a couple of 18 year olds having a whale of a time at the Olympics in Rome. As it was such a special occasion we made a pact - all things being equal we would go to the Olympics again when we reached 70. Well, here we are, fifty two years older and I can’t help wondering if The Almighty has been looking down on us … we have both reached 70 and the 2012 games just so happened to be in our own country. Good fortune has smiled on us. At 1.30pm we watched the last of the events, the men’s shot put, then we gathered up our belongings. What an unforgettable day! As we were leaving the Olympic Village, Gill turned to me and softly said, “We’ve made it Barb!” Barbara Rawson

One to ponder? Why do croutons come in airtight packages? Aren’t they just stale bread to begin with?

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Olympic legacy Over the run up to the Olympics and the two weeks of the games themselves we heard a lot about the creating an Olympic legacy; a shift in public attitude aimed at creating a more positive attitude to participation in sport. Whilst we have all sat glued to our tellies watched the medal tally rise the country has been swept into a fervour and everyone from politicians downward are hoping that this mountain top experience will carry the legacy forward. However we know that mountain top experiences are transient. That Jesus’ transfiguration with Peter, James and John ended with them coming down and facing the humdrum of healing the sick and dealing with tax collectors. If we cannot be enthused with sport maybe we can use our mountain top experience of the Olympics to inspire us to work for the improvement of our premises. To carry the memory of those glorious, emotionally charged moments with us as we grapple with the humdrum of serving teas and selling tickets. Because in our heart of hearts we know that in the end our efforts will be worthwhile and what we create will be another mountain to experience both for us and for those who use our premises. Peter Farley

Small Miracles at Harvestime The food crisis in the Sahel region in West Africa has been in the news a lot recently, But small miracles are still happening. Tonko Diallo, 60, lives in Mali. Without access to decent tools or knowledge of improved farming techniques, he struggled to grow enough crops on his land. MRDF's partner approached Tonko and offered training to improve the quality and quantity of his crops. "The training has really changed things," he said. "Before, it was very difficult, but using manure from animals has made a big increase in our production." from the Methodist Church News Service 21


Macmillan Coffee Morning Sat 29th September 2012 10am to noon Erdington Methodist Church Cnr Station Rd & Wesley Rd Erdington B23 6TX

we trEaT ou!s"lveS

call Sue Turner on 384 8373 Text 07949235295 email suelizzyturner@yahoo. co.uk

Macmillan Cancer Support, registered charity in England and Wales (261017), Scotland (SC039907) and the Isle of Man (604)

2012 I noticed on the BBC web site a selection of short essays, I can’t think of a better word to describe them, about the idiosyncrasies of UK life. The things that we believe make us different to the rest of the world. The unifying feature was that they were all 212 words long. I would like to suggest that we have a 212 word challenge as part of our ‘Vision’ project. What would you like to see us achieve or what could help to make it happen in 2012 in 212 words. Answers, almost, on a post card please, to the editor. Peter Farley

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OU outakes Last month Hilary and I appeared in Contact as newly awarded graduates with the OU.  Apart from the hard academic struggle, sweat and tears the path to success was far from easy or straightforward. Although retrospectively the following incidents have their humour they were far from funny at the time. Some of you will know that I suffered with cataracts recently and at the time of my examination in 2010 I had them in both eyes.  My study had become gradually more difficult as my sight deteriorated.  All my reading and writing was carried out with the additional aid of a powerful magnifying glass.  Anyone who has used such an aid will know that it is clearer to read with one eye shut.  I alerted the OU Examination Office of my predicament and the fact that I must not sit near a window as bright sunlight obliterated any vision I still had. It was with trepidation I approached that examination but I need not have worried.  The OU had been amazing - seated away from the windows I had been given a large print exam. paper.  All the desks were just large enough to accommodate A4 sized paper and here I was with an A3 sheet hanging over the desk reading with the aid of  a large magnifying glass and with one eye shut.  I must have looked really eccentric! The second incident was last year. No problem with my eyes after two operations.  What a relief!  I arrived at the Centre early in order to avoid traffic jams on the M6, and, to compose myself beforehand.  After parking the car I collected my pens etc and closed the car door.  It made a funny clunking noise and I assumed the seatbelt was hanging out.  No - it was inside the car.  Inspection of the door revealed that the lock in the door had closed.  I tried to release it by opening the handle on the outside but it would not move.  After numerous, unsuccessful attempts I was beginning to panic.  It seemed inevitable that I would have to call the RAC but I couldn't stay with the car until they came nor could I expect the Centre staff to wait with the car or hold on to my keys until they arrived.  What was I going to do?  I 23


looked in the boot (like you do) for some inspiration.  For some unknown reason I found a new washing line in the tool bag, (like you do), so I tied up the door with it and left the car.  After washing the oil off my hands I ran into the examination room just in time to be told to turn over my paper. Of course the problem did not end there.  Throughout the exam I kept thinking about what I could do about this problem but I had to put it to the back of mind as something to be dealt with later.  When the exam had finished I decided to try to get home somehow.  I didn't want to wait for the RAC  at that time in the afternoon it could be hours before they arrived so, using that wonderful washing line, I tied the door as tightly as I could and secured it to the headrests. It worked ..... well, almost.  No matter how tightly I fastened the door it kept opening slightly when turning corners.  I hoped that once on the M6 I could stay in a reasonably straight line without it moving.   WRONG! I steered the car and changed gear with my left hand whilst holding the door with my right.  (Please, please do not sneeze or get an itch)!! As a massive critic of today's selfish drivers I had to admit how public spirited everyone was.   Everyone who overtook me (I was keeping in the slow lane at a low speed because of the traffic build up) motioned to me that my door was open!  Was it?  All I could do was nod my head, look down in the direction of the door and mouth 'thank you'.  I did not have a free hand to wave back. Many of you may know that had I pulled the handle of the INSIDE of the door the lock would have been released.  It took the RAC just three seconds to do just that.  I do not like the fast and frightening fairground rides and I never go on them but that day I had little option but to embark on the white knuckle ride of my life.   Lesley Morgan 24


Seven things that you probably didn’t know about global Christianity One of the key pioneers in collecting information about Christianity and other religions across the world died late last year, in his 80s. Dr David Barrett had amassed a huge database of basic numbers which now forms the core of the World Religion Database held in Gordon-Conwell University in the United States. Seven of his many areas of statistics may, however, be of special interest: 1) In 2012, there are 43,000 different denominations worldwide (340 are in the UK!). 2) In 1900, 70% of the world’s Christians lived in Europe, but only 26% in 2012. In 1900, just 2% of the world’s Christians lived in Africa, but 22% in 2012. 3) In 2012, there are an estimated 4.7 million congregations worldwide, just under half of these in Asia. 4) The number of mission workers globally is estimated at 420,000 people. 5) The world’s population will reach 7.1 billion in 2012, and 2.3 billion (33%) of these will be nominally Christian. A further fifth (22%) are Muslim. 6) Half (51%) of the world’s population live in urban areas, including 505 “megacities” with a population of over a million people. Of these, perhaps 41% are nominally Christian. 7) Half (51%) of the world’s Christians are Roman Catholics, a fifth (22%) are Anglicans, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians and other Protestants, one in seven (15%) are Pentecostals and other Independent churches, and the remaining 12% are Orthodox. David Barrett’s final challenge was this: over a quarter of the world’s population, 29%, have never heard the good news of Jesus Christ, and remain unevangelised. What are we doing about it? 25


Educating  Eric By the time this time article appears in Contact, Eric, the guide dog puppy, will be about to leave Erdington to start his training in  Leamington Spa.  He will be 14 months old on July 1st and now mature enough to begin the necessary work to qualify as a Guide Dog. Those of you who remember Polo, and who also know Eric, will have realised how different the two  dogs are.  Eric has been a quieter, calmer dog  who has not been destructive in the house at all.  From a very early age  he has shown the qualities which are expected in a guide dog and it has been a pleasure to have  him around.   Not blessed with Polo's obvious capabilities as a writer he has been unwilling to produce regular articles for Contact.  However, he has been a wonderful ambassador for Guide Dogs for Blind in his capacity of fundraiser  in Sutton at supermarkets and shopping centres,  and in his  public appearances where he has demonstrated obedience  in some training scenarios. He has visited the Scouts, Cubs and Beavers at our Church as well the Brownies at St Margaret’s.  With approximately 30 children in each of these groups Eric remained unphased by his audience who were extremely excited to have him as a visitor.  At each of the sessions I tried to explain the sort of things Eric will meet in his life as a guide.  The children were given tasks to carry out and Eric moved around the groups without fear or alarm.  The tasks included distractions like balls and skipping ropes;  umbrellas being opened suddenly;  walking sticks being waved about; sudden noises like whistles blowing and pan lids being beaten or , in the case of the scouts, the enactment of a football crowd chanting and shouting through which Eric and I had to pass. He has attended the weekly training sessions for guide dog puppies at Banners Gate Community Centre where he is affectionately referred to as 'little Eric'.  He has two speeds, slow and stop!  All commands are treated with indifference and he will respond when he is ready.  This is the retriever way.  Not so when let loose in the park.  Eric can move at the speed of light and for many months I was chasing him around as he would not come back when I called him.  He would run after every dog he saw - the bigger the 26


better - showing no fear.  It was exasperating.  At the time of writing I can report that he is much more responsive with just an occasional mishap such as  running into a group picnic in Sutton Park. The main focus of my role has been to socialise him and expose him to as many situations as possible.  Eric has had his fair share of train and bus rides; a trip to a London theatre; demonstrating obedience in one of the show rings at Crufts; weekly visits to a cafe; attending meetings and quilting class; shopping on the High Street ; representing Guide Dogs for the Blind on their stall at Gardeners'  World Live and, of course, Sunday Worship where he has been much more respectful than Polo was! As the day approaches for his departure I feel very, very sad.  I want him to qualify and be the wonderful companion to someone that I know he will be but, selfishly, I would like him to stay with us forever.  I feel very privileged to have been given the task of puppy walking such a wonderful dog. Lesley Morgan

Judas Asparagus If you need a laugh today, then this should do it! This is another of these ‘so called’ compilations of ‘what children wrote’. Whether children actually did write these things is debatable and in the end doesn’t really matter because it made me giggle anyway - ed The Children's Bible in a Nutshell In the beginning, which occurred near the start, there was nothing but God, darkness, and some gas. The Bible says, 'The Lord thy God is one, but I think He must be a lot older than that. Anyway, God said, 'Give me a light!' and someone did. Then God made the world. 27


He split the Adam and made Eve. Adam and Eve were naked, but they weren't embarrassed because mirrors hadn't been invented yet. Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating one bad apple, so they were driven from the Garden of Eden . . . Not sure what they were driven in though, because they didn't have cars. Adam and Eve had a son, Cain, who hated his brother as long as he was Abel. Pretty soon all of the early people died off, except for Methuselah, who lived to be like a million or something. One of the next important people was Noah, who was a good guy, but one of his kids was kind of a Ham. Noah built a large boat and put his family and some animals on it. He asked some other people to join him, but they said they would have to take a rain check. After Noah came Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob was more famous than his brother, Esau, because Esau sold Jacob his birthmark in exchange for some pot roast. Jacob had a son named Joseph who wore a really loud sports coat. Another important Bible guy is Moses, whose real name was Charlton Heston. Moses led the Israel Lights out of Egypt and away from the evil Pharaoh after God sent ten plagues on Pharaoh's people. These plagues included frogs, mice, lice, bowels, and no cable. God fed the Israel Lights every day with manicotti. Then he gave them His Top Ten Commandments. These include: don't lie, cheat, smoke, dance, or covet your neighbour's stuff. Oh, yeah, I just thought of one more: Humour thy father and thy mother. One of Moses' best helpers was Joshua who was the first Bible guy to use spies. Joshua fought the battle of Geritol and the fence fell over on the town. 28


After Joshua came David. He got to be king by killing a giant with a slingshot. He had a son named Solomon who had about 300 wives and 500 porcupines. My teacher says he was wise, but that doesn't sound very wise to me. After Solomon there were a bunch of major league prophets. One of these was Jonah, who was swallowed by a big whale and then barfed up on the shore. There were also some minor league prophets, but I guess we don't have to worry about them. After the Old Testament came the New Testament. Jesus is the star of The New. He was born in Bethlehem in a barn. (I wish I had been born in a barn too, because my mom is always saying to me, 'Close the door! Were you born in a barn?' It would be nice to say, 'As a matter of fact, I was.') During His life, Jesus had many arguments with sinners like the Pharisees and the Democrats. Jesus also had twelve opossums. The worst one was Judas Asparagus. Judas was so evil that they named a terrible vegetable after him. Jesus was a great man. He healed many leopards and even preached to some Germans on the Mount. But the Democrats and all those guys put Jesus on trial before Pontius the Pilot. Pilot didn't stick up for Jesus. He just washed his hands instead. Anyways, Jesus died for our sins, then came back to life again. He went up to Heaven but will be back at the end of the Aluminium. His return is foretold in the book of Revolution.

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What’s your water footprint? We are all used to thinking of carbon footprints, as in the amount of carbon dioxide each human creates and uses in the form of transport etc. But what about water? Virtual water, or embedded water, is a term used to describe the water that went into creating the clothes we wear, the computer chips we use, the drinks we have. It’s hidden water use, that isn’t covered by our water meters or rates. Here are some statistics: The production of one kilogram of beef requires 15 thousand litres of water. There is a huge variation around this global average. The precise footprint of a piece of beef depends on factors such as the type of production system and the composition and origin of the feed of the cow. The water footprint of a 150-gram soy burger produced in the Netherlands is about 160 litres. A beef burger from the same country costs about 1000 litres. The water footprint of Chinese consumption is about 1070 cubic meter per year per capita. About 10% of the Chinese water footprint falls outside China. It’s alarming to think that a litre of milk cost 1000 litres of water to produce, or that it uses far more water to grow peaches in China than it does in Italy. Recently it seems as if the UK is suffering from too much water after having too little, but the fact remains that we all use too much water. Check out the website www.waterfootprint.org for more exciting/alarming statistics and a tool to calculate your own water footprint!

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September 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 2nd

Jean Youdell Circuit Service at Four Oaks Church at 6.00 pm

9th

RACIAL JUSTICE SUNDAY HOLY COMMUNION - Rev Jane Ashplant

16th

HARVEST FESTIVAL ALL AGE WORSHIP - Godfrey Higgins

23rd

Rev Jane Ashplant

30th

Nicki Murcott

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Weekly Church Activities Sunday

10.30 am

MORNING WORSHIP and Young Church

Tuesday

9.30 - 11.30 am 9.30 - 12.30 pm 2.00 pm

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

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Contact Sept 2012