The Magazine of The Trinity Methodist Church, Shifnal Vol.119: Christmas 2019
Merry Christmas Everyone
Dear Friends, Giving gifts during Christmas goes back to the gift giving of Magi, where the three wise men gave gifts to Jesus when He was born. The Holy Spirit led them to follow the eastern star to Bethlehem to become witnesses to Jesus’ birth. When they saw Him, they worshipped Him and gave Him gifts. Matthew 2: 10-11 says, “On coming to the house, they saw the child with His mother Mary, and they bowed down to worship Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold, incense and myrrh.” Even though we have this scripture to support our gift giving at Christmas, the gift giving Christmas tradition has got way out of hand. I believe that you will all agree that buying gifts for our loved ones and friends can cause a lot of financial stress. We are to give gifts that will glorify God. Christmas is a time of giving, not only to our loved ones but to those in need. We believe that since God gave His only Son Jesus Christ on that first Christmas, and so as His followers we need to do likewise in learning to give to the needy. That is the reason during Christmas season charities receive more donations than any other time of the year. The Bible teaches us that in giving we activate God’s Blessings. Acts 20:35 says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” In giving, God wants to cultivate in us a sense of gratitude, sharing and honour. In today’s world, our Churches are doing the exact opposite of the Biblical teaching. Instead of giving, the name of the game is, ‘acquiring and accumulating’. According to John Wesley, ‘Earn all you can, save all you can and give all you can’. Earn all you can and save all you can is not a problem but however, to give all you can is a real struggle. At special meetings, there is always a long queue for ‘Prayers of Blessing’. Taking a closer examination often reveals, that people are seeking Blessings without wanting to pay the price – namely, trying to obtain forgiveness without repentance, peace without righteousness, victory without effort, winning without having to compete, scoring an ‘A’ without studying hard, gaining a profit without striving for it or achieving position and fame without working for it. Such attitude is similar to buying a lottery ticket and hoping to win a fortune! This goes against the very tenets of the Biblical teaching of Jesus Christ. I am not against giving gifts to our loved ones for it is Biblical but also we need to remember and support those who are in dire need. God loves a cheerful giver. Give and it shall be given. Let Christmas be a time of giving. Wishing all of you a Happy Christmas and a Blessed New Year.
Rev Hendry Ponniah
I believe in Jesus Christ and in the beauty of the gospel begun in Bethlehem. I believe in the one whose spirit glorified a little town; and whose spirit still brings music to persons all over the world, in towns both large and small. I believe in the one for whom the crowded inn could find no room, and I confess that my heart still sometimes wants to exclude Christ from my life today. I believe in the one whom the rulers of the earth ignored and the proud could never understand; whose life was among common people, whose welcome came from persons of hungry hearts. I believe in the one who proclaimed the love of God to be invincible. I believe in the one whose cradle was a motherâ€™s arms, whose modest home in Nazareth had love as its only wealth, who looked at persons and made them see what Godâ€™s love saw in them, who by love brought sinners back to purity, and lifted human weakness up to meet the strength of God. I confess my everlasting need of God: the need for forgiveness for our selfishness and greed; the need for new life for empty hearts; and the need for love for hearts grown cold. I believe in God who gives us the best of himself. I believe in Jesus, the son of the living God, born in Bethlehem for me and for the world.
Work seems to be almost complete on the flats on the former Baptist Chapel site in Shifnal.
Christmas 2019 3
I was at Vaclav Havel International airport Prague, back in July, awaiting 96 passengers who were to spend 3 days in the city prior to a River Danube cruise. Over the 3 days I'd be their tour manager dealing with all aspects of their arrival in Prague, at the hotel, and their transfer to Nuremberg on the Danube Canal in Germany, to commence their cruise. I had been informed there would also be a celebrity speaker arriving with the group and staying with us at the hotel. This was none other than Terry Waite, Archbishop Robert Runcie's special envoy to the Middle East, whose story will be well known to anyone aged 40+ as he spent 1987-1991 as a hostage of Al Qaeda in Lebanon. If you remember, he went out to try and negotiate the release of journalist John McCarthy which he did, but was taken hostage himself. Terry turned up at the airport, a very tall man now 80, but still with the big build and height he was known for, both as a Church Army officer, and as a hostage negotiator. I had the absolute pleasure of spending 3 days with him during the group's stay in Prague and then in the transfer to the ship and cruise. The next day was Sunday, many of the group would take an optional city tour with local guides, and I would remain at the hotel to deal with routine and exceptional matters. Terry said he wasnâ€™t up to so much walking these days and decided not to attend the excursion. I met him in breakfast, and offered to take him to the Orthodox Cathedral of Sts Cyril and Methodius which was a short metro and tram ride from the hotel.
Chris Ashley and Terry Waite speak to Terry seated near the back. The Orthodox priest spoke English and recounted his visits to UK in consultations between Church of England and Orthodox churches under chairmanship of Archbishop Rowan Williams.
He was thrilled with the idea, and en route I explained all about the Czech Freedom fighters, the airmen who returned to Prague from UK during the war to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazi Governor of Bohemia in an attempt to free their country and encourage more resistance to the evils of the Third Reich.
On the third day after several hours in 3 coaches traversing Czech Republic to Germany, we arrived on time at the ship and every one embarked. I was checking coaches for any items left behind, and Terry appeared jovially, thanked me for everything, and especially for Sunday morning's unexpected visit, and said he would be We arrived, cathedral service in full swing, but we went into the almost deserted Memorial Museum beneath, in the in touch. crypt, where the Czech heroes held out against the Nazis, True to his word a couple of weeks later he contacted me, being eventually either shot and killed, drowned, or they and the outcome of that conversation was that he has shot themselves, rather than be captured. We were the agreed to come and spend a weekend in Shropshire next only visitors in the crypt at this time. year - Trinity Saturday and Sunday 6th-7th June. Further details will follow of the arrangements in hand for him to We stood in the crypt amid the sculpted busts to the speak and share at two or three events to be planned. airmen, with singing above us, and contemplated the scene quietly both moved by what we saw, flowers laid Chris Ashley and lit candles, around the crypt to these heroes of resistance. I said nothing as I felt that Terry had many memories of his years of imprisonment and oppression in Lebanon. We then went into the last 20 minutes of the church service, I spoke to the priest and brought him over to 4
Lin and Ron were married on 8th November 1969 at Cinderhill Methodist Church. They lived in New Invention, Willenhall for 44 years before moving to Shifnal six years ago where they now live with daughter Helen, son-in-law Tom and their grandchildren Harry and Luke in an annex. To celebrate their golden wedding anniversary Helen and family surprised them with a present of a stay at Gretna Green where they had a Handfast Ceremony in the Blacksmithâ€™s Shop. Everyone at Trinity sends their warmest congratulations to Lin and Ron and wish them many more years of happiness together. 5
Trinity was full on the morning of Sunday 1st December 2019 to welcome Christopher and Hayley Gregory and their family and friends as they brought their daughter Evie May for baptism. During the service the young (and some not so young) were invited to create their own individual Christingles. Christingles are made from an orange decorated with red tape, sweets and a candle. They have been part of our history for the last 50 years. Those celebrating Christingle are asked to pray for and so support children and young people in the darkest situations imaginable.
The orange represents the world The red ribbon (or tape) symbolises the love and blood of Christ The sweets and dried fruit represent all of God’s creations The lit candle represents Jesus’s light in the world, bringing hope to people living in darkness.
Everyone at Trinity sends their good wishes to baby Evie May, parents Hayley and Christopher and the wider family.
Each element of a Christingle has a special meaning and helps to tell the Christian story:
EIGHT QUID to see Father Christmas!! Waited in the queue for ages for a ONE minute meeting and a proper rubbish toy. What a rip off! Fuming!!
Bet you’re glad you never took the kids then!
Preaching for life? Attending a local preachers meeting a few months ago I was very surprised to be told that I had done 25 years as a local preacher! Funny though, I knew that we had been in the Methodist church for 25years but had for some inexplicable reason not connected the two. This has caused me to reflect and wonder where all that time has gone. In fact my call to preach is much older than that as I experienced God’s call to ministry in The Salvation Army at the age of 12 and that of course meant preaching. I still have the poster which hung on the lectern on that Vocation Sunday. It was one of those where the person looks at you. It said, “Your world needs you” and I wondered what that meant for me. The sermon was based on the verse in John’s gospel “Ye have not chosen me , but I have chosen you and ordained you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last”.( John 15.16) I actually did my first sermon quite soon afterwards at a mid week Holiness meeting at my home Corps. Funny, I think the man who asked me had no concept of what that would involve. The service was on the Wednesday and on Tuesday evening he gave me the subject. Handing me the Salvation Army’s handbook of doctrine he said, “I’ve marked the chapter. The subject is ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION see what you can do!”
I still have that talk somewhere, it was a good summary of the 45 pages and full of Bible texts…it must have given people both verbal and spiritual overload! Around this time I sang my first solo, the verse from “Take my life and let it be”. The words stayed with me and have guided my ministry ever since. The verse is the one that says: “Take my voice and let me sing, Always , only for my king. Take my lips and let them be Filled with messages from Thee”
really! Phew! That makes me feel old. Life has thrown many curved balls at me as it does, over those years but the call of Christ has never altered. When we first transferred into our last Circuit it was quite a challenge. I moved from conducting 2 or 3 meetings every Sunday to the same congregation to 3 or 4 a quarter, in a Circuit of 8 Churches with 3 ministers and 12 local preachers. Maybe God knew I needed a break! God has given my great joy over these years and with God’s sense of humour and mine we keep moving along. Every college session in the Salvation Army has a name, I carry it with me always. Mine was the “Joyful Evangelists”. I pray that God will continue to accept me and use me to bring others to know His joy and peace for many years to come.
Over the next 7 years I conducted services and preached especially after I began candidating at the age of 17 ready to attend the Army’s training college at the age of 20.That’s where I was really able to learn what preaching was really Thanks and God bless, about! Denice. So , on my reckoning, from the age of 12, through my Officership and then in Methodism its around 50 years
According to “the Plan”, and if everything goes to plan, Denice is to lead our morning service at Trinity on 16th February 2020. 7
The young Magnus had the reputation for piety and gentleness, characteristics regarded as cowardliness by the Norwegian Vikings. As they continued their raids down the Irish Sea, Magnus refused to take part in a raid on Anglesey and stayed on the boat during the Battle of Menai Straits, singing Psalms. Erling, his brother, may have died at this battle.
Having been re-united with one of the young people from the “Maranatha” days of our youth work, in this case some 40 years ago I guess, and learning that the church he is now rector of in Lerwick is dedicated to St Magnus I began to wonders what was his story that he came to be one who was beatified and had churches named and built in his honour.
Somehow Magnus sort refuge in Scotland returning to Orkney in 1105 to contest the Earldom of Orkney with Haaken. After failing to obtain an agreement he went for help from King Eystein I of Norway who granted the earldom to him as well as to Haaken and they ruled amicably until 1114. Then their followers fell out! It was agreed that battle should be engaged on the island of Eglisay, each with 2 ships. However Haaken turned up with 8. Magnus took refuge in the little church on the island. Anyway let’s have a look back some 1000 years, or nearly Their respective followers, fed up with the division decided that. His story is told in the Norse Sagas written by an that one of them must die. Magnus offered to go onto exile. unknown Icelandic author around 1200. The shorter Haaken ordered his standard bearer to execute Magnus. version is considered to be the most authoritive rather than He refused. Haaken was angry at this and determined that the longer version which may have been written to satisfy his cook should kill him by striking him on the head with those wanting a good story. There is also a Latin account. and axe, which he duly undertook. It is recorded that Magnus prayed for his executioner before being struck. One begins with Erland and Paul Thorfinnsson who jointly ruled Orkney as earls of Orkney. Erland and Thora Then the miracles began. His rocky burial place became a Ospaksson had two sons Magnus (born in 1080) and Erling green field. His mother asked for his body to be buried on plus two daughters, Gunnhild and Cecelia. Magnus is Birsay which was followed by reports of miracles and recorded as being of a quiet disposition. However Erling healings. The Bishop declared this to be heresy but was and his cousin Haaken (on Paul’s side of the family) fell out struck blind. After praying at the grave of Magnus his sight resulting in the division of the earldom into two territories. was restored. So the murder of Magnus was sanctified. A church was built on the site of his murder or an older one However while Haarken was visiting a relative: King was reconstructed. His nephew built a minster in Kirkwall. Magnus, in Norway, his father gave control of all of Orkney A box of bones was discovered there in 1919 during to Erland and his sons. Guess who was upset! Haarken restoration work. persuaded King Magnus to take back authority of Orkney. But it did not turn out as he hoped. King Magnus took both Beatification of nobility was a common practice but this one Erland and Paul prisoner to Norway, Erling, Haarken and may have had political significance as well. Another Magnus were taken as hostages. cathedral was built in the Faroes. Little remains of it but it is expected to become a world heritage site. Altogether there It seems that King Magnus (who was a Viking – indeed are 15 other churches dedicated to Magnus in the rest of they all were I suppose) took the 3 male offspring with him Europe. on a raiding expedition along the west coast of Scotland. St Magnus has at least 6 churches in Britain in his honour, The Scottish Episcopal church in Lerwick, the Norse church at Egilsay, Orkney, a cathedral in Kirkwall, Orkney (the most northerly cathedral in the British isles), churches on Bursay and Yell both in the Orkneys and the Parish and Pilgrimage church at London Bridge in London. There may be others in Britain.
He’s living dangerously. Doing Sudoku with a pen
The Sudoku puzzle can be found on page 18.
'Amanda Ellis will be running the London Marathon once again in 2020. She is raising money for the whizz-kids.org.uk charity. They provide wheelchairs for disabled youngsters. Many of you were kind enough to sponsor her when she did it last time. She has to raise £2000 for the charity. In return for your donations, she is giving homemade soaps. She cannot sell them but can provide them to order for presents in presentation boxes. Di Ellis has some samples of the soap choices which will be available for you to see. If for example, you wish to sponsor her for £10 she will provide 4 soaps in a box or 1 soap for a sponsorship of £3. The soaps are made from natural products and smell heavenly. Donations can be by cash, cheque payable to "Whizz-Kids" or online at Virgin Money. To read more about “Whizz Kidz” see http://www.whizz-kidz.org.uk/ (Ctrl Click if reading on line). To donate online visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage? userUrl=amandaelliswhizzkidz&pageUrl=3 (Ctrl Click if reading on line) Many thanks Di Ellis'
Here are some examples of the soaps on offer.
In Isiah 6 we read of his response to God’s call: ‘Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying “whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” and I said “Here am I, send me” But God didn’t send Isiah on an international mission, he called him to serve in the place he already lived, Isiah was called to engage with his community and today God is calling us to do the same. And he called me to do the same, and that’s how I ended up as a CAP Debt Coach. CAP enables the local church to do what it is called to do, get alongside people and show them the love and welcome of Jesus – this ministry literally opens doors into the homes where people are genuinely struggling in our communities. At CAP we believe this is God’s blueprint for community transformation, taking what we have, trusting that God is able, and stepping out to bring hope into those homes. Churches and individuals across the country commit to funding this work so the service is free and available to all. Experienced staff at head office create budgets, negotiate with creditors, handle thousands of calls and mountains of paperwork to enable people to find a way out our debt, helping 22,000 a year. CAP also helps thousands find work, build essential life skills or break free from life controlling habits. Across the UK right now there are parents missing meals so their children can eat, elderly people living alone who have not turned the heating on for days, people battling mental and physical health problems – all whilst being hounded by debt collectors phoning and banging on the door. Around 1.5m people -To put it into imaginable figures, that’s the total population of Telford, Shrewsbury, Wolverhampton and Birmingham.
Marcelle Kite Physical and mental health issues and the poor support available.
Paying excess rent because there are too few smaller I am one of the many on the frontline who go into homes to properties to move to. bring support and the good news that there is a better life ahead for them. It involves collecting a lot of paperwork, People unable to understand some of the complex rules making many phone calls to creditors and bailiffs and and documentation of our benefits system. offering care and support to people who are often isolated by their situation. I always offer to pray with people and Nobody that I see has chosen to be in debt. though they are free to decline, few do. I genuinely see burdens lifting during my visits. Let us realise that there are people in our communities suffering in silence. For most of them nobody outside their 4 walls knows the truth – sometimes not even their families know – they put So CAP really does enable us to serve our community as on a brave face, make excuses, afraid of judgment, feeling Jesus taught us – shame and guilt. They have no hope for the future. Are there struggling people in our community who we are not Frees prisoners from debt seeing? Frees those blind to a different future Take a moment to imagine if your income suddenly ceased Lifts the shame from those downtrodden by lack of hope Feeds the hungry, not only in practical terms, but with the and you had no savings– how long could you last? How good news of Jesus who offers hope and freedom for long before you faced eviction, ended up at the food bank, them resorted to doorstep lenders? And I have seen it transform lives – are you called to be a volunteer with our Debt Centre? There are lots of opportu People who have lost jobs or are on zero hours contracts nities to be involved in supporting myself and my colleagues as we support our clients. where income is not consistent. Some examples of what I find -
Abandoned spouses (male and female) left with nothing but the joint debt incurred during the marriage.
A challenging, informative and encouraging course on the church and mental health by the Mind and Soul Foundation. Those of us from Trinity that joined with St Andrews found this course very informative and helpful in our dealings with sufferers from mental illnesses varying from depression and anxiety to addiction and suicide, including bi-polar and other psychotic states. But only up to a point and that point is where we come into contact with sufferers and need further guidance and support ourselves, it was a valuable foundation. What did we learn? Firstly much about ourselves: that many of the symptoms were common to every one of us in a transitory fashion from time to time, leaving us as we continued with our day’s activities. But, potentially, each of us could fall into the state of “mental illness” where the symptoms became long lasting and even permanent. Members of the group, were invited to give just one word that struck them from the course. Top of that list was listening, making ourselves available to a sufferer without giving advice but empathising (walking alongside someone – sharing their feelings). Never saying “I understand” when only a sufferer genuinely can – it’s not helpful! Many of us were surprised to realise that indeed each of us has an addiction, whether it’s watching Coronation Street, or having a health fetish. We learned that we need to make sufferers included and accepted in our circle without being patronising. Ready to make genuine relationships. Critical negativity only worsened a sufferers state. Since the course was “Lifting the Lid” Chris Thorpe invited us to consider a different scenario in which the church was the can. Based upon what we had learned, asking what should be the “ingredients” and what should the contents be “free from” for a healthy supportive church. The chief conclusions are below in order of “popularity”: Ingredients Genuinely welcoming Listening Compassionate Accepting Empathetic Caring
Free from Prejudice Judgement Criticism Gossip Rigidity Superiority
If we are to be a church which ministers to those in need, which includes those that are homeless, abused, in poverty, as well as suffering from mental health issues which may well be present in the first three, even being their root cause, then these characteristics need to be at the heart of our fellowship. This seems to be the challenge that God lays before all of us. Please pray about your involvement in God’s purpose for the Shifnal community. If we are to follow any of the proactive considerations of the needs in our community included in our Action Plan, then these “ingredients” and “free froms” will be fundamental in our sharing of God’s love. We hope that as the Holy Spirit leads us as members of the churches in Shifnal that regular opportunities to meet together to pray and share this burden of ministry will be created. This will be necessary because as we meet and empathise with those in need, so their burden will be shared by us and each one will need the opportunity to receive support from others who also share in this work and access to professionals in this field. All workers together, serving God’s purpose amongst those in need in our community.
So that’s how you spell it.
Crossword can be found on page 22 11
her views on careful stewardship of the earth and by undertaking part of her presentation at the hustings through music and song. On receiving the news of her success, Phoebe commented; “I would like to thank all the young people who voted for me and all those people in my home church and district who encouraged me to stand. I have always been passionate about the environment and I believe that as Christians, we are called to take care of God’s creation. The environment is a very real concern for young people as it will shape the world we inherit in so many ways.” The Methodist Youth President is a salaried position working full-time for one year to serve the children and young people of the Methodist Church in Britain. The role involves travelling across the UK and overseas meeting and representing the young Methodist people to ensure that their voices are heard and to help them be involved in every aspect of Church life. The Revd Rachel Parkinson, Chair of District at the Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury District, was one of those who suggested that Phoebe stand for the election as Youth President. She commented: “I got to know Phoebe when she was part of the steering group for the “Courageous Day Out” which young people planned and led for the district last spring. Phoebe was great fun to work with, she was enthusiastic, creative, committed to her local church and to Methodism in general.”
Following the elections at 3Generate, the Methodist Children and Youth Assembly, it has been announced that the next Youth President will be Phoebe Parkin, aged 17, from the Telford circuit in the Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury District. Phoebe will become the new Youth President at a service to be held in September 2020.
The current youth President, Thelma Commey, commented; “I send my prayers and my congratulations to Phoebe on her election success. Being Youth President is a wonderful opportunity. Participating in the life of the Church you really feel you are making a difference by ensuring that young voices are heard and listened to.
Phoebe campaigned on the theme of ‘God’s World Our Home’ and promises to highlight environmental issues during her year in office. Phoebe impressed the voters at 3Genereate, who were aged 8 to 23, with
On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me a partridge in a pear tree
I’ve got you bedsocks
Consultation (Methodist News Service) Youth President, Thelma Commey
Around 250 representatives from across the Connexion came together at Methodist Central Hall, Westminster on Saturday 19th October to be part of a consultation to refine the new Evangelism and Growth strategy entitled ‘God For All’.
Centred in God, Everyone an Evangelist, Transformational Leadership, New Places for New People, Every Church a Growing Church, Church at the Margins, Digital Presence: Digital Age Mission, Young Evangelists, Pioneers and Leaders. Those attending where invited to consider what they liked and disliked regarding each commitment and to raise questions. The results were shared, with common themes expressed around resourcing the commitments and ensuring that building God’s Kingdom remained central to the strategy and to the direction of the Church’s future.
The consultation opened with worship and song accompanied by Jazz Church from Birmingham and continued with testimonies from a variety of people from around the Connexion. The current Youth President, Thelma Commey said her early experiences of singing and Also present were representatives from other dancing in Sunday School led her to want to live out what she was singing. She said in order to do this she needed to denominations; the United Reformed Church, the Salvation Army, the Baptist Union and the Methodist Church in trust in God “no matter how scary it was.” Ireland. All were invited to contribute to the conversation and presented their own thoughts on the Evangelism and Mark North is a minister who works in the former mining Growth Strategy from an ecumenical perspective. Simon community of Bolsover in the Sheffield district and said Goddard, representing the Baptist Union and a pioneer for much of his community work is with people who are Fresh Expressions commented: “Methodism needs to take experiencing addiction, poverty and deprivation. He said it was his privilege to be part of that: “In evangelism we learn a risk and let the next generation take the lead.” as much from the communities we live in as we give to them” and concluded by saying that he was “meeting God in the beauty of brokenness.”
Speaking after the event, the Director of Evangelism and Growth, Trey Hall, said: "Thank you to all the participants, who spent time preparing for the day and travelled so far to join together, to listen and talk. It has been a day of spiritual joy!" "There was a palpable sense of the Holy Spirit among us. And a strong conviction that this great change, this culture shift towards being an increasingly evangelistic, growing, justice-seeking, and inclusive Church, is where God is leading us. There was a great sense of passion and affirmation for the draft strategy as well as some deep and prophetic questions. As one presenter said, these questions show how engaged we are with this strategy and how much we want this transformation. Now our work as a Connexion is to embed these commitments in every District, Circuit, and local church."
The Revd. Dr. Jonathan Hustler, Secretary of the Trey Hall, Director of Evangelism and Growth, talked about Conference, thanked the contributors and challenged the how evangelism is a crucial and non-negotiable part of Our consultation to open their hearts to the Holy Spirit, "who is able to do more than we ask or expect or imagine." Calling to respond to the gospel of God’s love in Jesus Christ. He explained that the strategy had come from Feedback from Saturday’s consultation, and other conversations that have been taking place around the consultations that have taken place around the Connexion, Connexion over the past year, but ultimately the stories are being collated by the Evangelism and Growth Team come from God. and will be used to further refine the ‘God For All’ strategy. This will be presented to the Methodist Conference 2020. The delegates attended workshops and small groups throughout the day to discuss the eight commitments that form the core of the Evangelism and Growth strategy; 13
This October marks 10 years since Andy's life changed forever. On the 13th October 2009, whilst on patrol with 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, Andy stood on an Improvised Explosive Device. As a result of the explosion, he is now a triple Amputee. After being flown back to the UK, Andy astounded people with his recovery by spending only 2 weeks in hospital being treated for his injuries before he was ready to make his first trip home. The Soldiers' Charity made an immediate grant to pay for a wheelchair ramp, alterations to the front entrance of his home and a bed downstairs. Since then we have continued to support Andy with grants towards home adaptations enabling him to enjoy family life with his wife, son and daughter. In turn, Andy has become a passionate Ambassador for the Charity, helping us to raise funds and awareness. Alongside skydiving, abseiling and running Andy has also designed and completed the 2017 Warrior Challenge where he cycled 400 miles and kayaked another 128 miles. This year, Andy completed the Garrison challenge, which saw him ride a trike one handed over 800 miles to raise money for our charity. 'After my discharge I chose to become even more involved with The Soldiers' Charity because they support the full spectrum of the Army family. I have met amazing and inspirational people who test their physical and mental limit to raise much needed funds for others. I keep pushing myself forward to show other guys injured in service what can be done, that it's not the end of the world and you can carry on as normal a life as possible.' Andy Reid MBE
The 3rd October this year, just before dawn saw me standing looking up at the tower of the Church at St-MereEglise, generally famed as one of the first towns to be liberated on D-Day. American paratroopers dropped into the town overnight on 5th June 1944 with one of them famously caught on the steeple of the Church. He hung there for several hours before being cut down and taken prisoner by the Nazis. Today, if you look up to the edge of the steeple you will see a tribute to that paratrooper, John Steele – a model of a him suspended from his parachute.
This was the start of 3 long days walking 100 km in Normandy to remember those who served during WW2 and to raise funds for ABF the Soldiers’ Charity as it reached its 75th birthday this year. Created in 1944, and originally called the Army Benevolent Fund, it is there ‘For Soldiers – For Life’ and supports veterans and serving soldiers exactly as it says – For Life. Walking along the beaches of the Normandy Landings – codenamed , Gold, Juno and Sword, Utah, Omaha - gave a unique perspective on the sheer scale of the battles which took place here and it was a humbling experience; particularly knowing that the events of that time are still within living memory of many. There are many battlefield tours on the market these days but this was not a sightseeing trip for me – I was there to challenge myself to walk the 100 km to raise fund for this amazing charity which supports so many, including one of the beneficiaries who travelled with us and walked many of those miles – Andy Reid MBE – see his story opposite. This was my 4th 100 km walk to raise funds for this amazing charity and to date, with the support of many, including people from Trinity, I have raised around £5,500. Huge thanks to all those of you who supported this charity through sponsoring me – you really will make a difference to those who are willing to put their lives on the line in the service of all of us.
Naval Bombardments on D-Day
Ken Edwards and wife Bess show the prestigious Gilwell Oak Wood Badge presented to Ken on his retirement . Ken Edwards was born in 1939 and lived for a short while in Morda, near Oswestry before the family moved to Naird Lane when he was age 4. In 1950 Ken joined 1st Shifnal, St Andrews Scout Group which at the time met in the St Andrew’s Church Room under the leadership of Group scout Leader Rev, John Finney. Rev Finney was succeeded by Curate Thomas Chadwick Bray but Ken, age 11 when he moved
church to Ryton and Beckbury the group was left without a leader. Pat Harris, only 17, stepped into the breach as Assistant Group Master eventually becoming Group Master and Ken, an even younger 16 years, became Troop Leader and later Assistant Scout Master.
Ken’s work with Scouts over the years. Ken recalls the early years of scouting with affection remembering the annual camps in fields on the Apley Estate when the brook would be dammed to enable the scouts to swim; Bob –a-Job
So the story began. Later following The Scout review (1960) titles would change and Ken became Assistant Scout Leader. In 1960 Ken married Bess in St James Church Stirchley and Bess has been a tremendous supporter of 16
Scout meeting at Church Hall
year. They have successfully raised funds over the past 9 years for a new roof for the HQ and the new Bushcraft shelter, which enables members to learn traditional outdoor Scouting skills around an enclosed camp-fire area, all of which helps the young people to be more independent and confident when they have trips away, camping expeditions and adventure weekends. They are always looking to participate in new activities to increase skills but best of all what they hope to do is to make positive memories for everyone. Ken Edwards has dedicated over 65 years to scouting giving opportunities to young and to old, creating those memories and adventures . Ken has played a huge part and hopefully will continue to be part of so many scouters lives in Shifnal and beyond.
Fund raising outside Station Master’s House, Shifnal
weeks; building floats for the Shifnal Scouting existed alongside a full time Carnivals and the Gang Shows playing occupation which started at Electric to a packed Idsall School Hall. Construction Company in Bushbury where Ken completed his Ken would progress through Scout Wishing you a happy scouting Leader to Senior Scout Leader as the apprenticeship before later becoming a retirement Ken. Manufacturing Systems Manager for numbers attending Scouts and Guides Aga Raeburn and Sperry Vickers. grew until the Church Hall could no In later years having not long retired longer accommodate them. Bare walls and concrete floor of newly Ken underwent quadruple bi-pass built Shifnal Scout Headquarters A meeting of parents supported the surgery. idea of a purpose built building in Shifnal and land was sought. Eventually the present site of The Shifnal Scout and Guide Headquarters became available when plans to build a new Fire Station there were scrapped with the building of Telford Fire Station at Stafford Park. The County Council agreed to lease the land with an opportunity to buy later. Telford Development Corporation supported the venture through Telford Youth Task Force providing labour by offering work experience and with these costs covered, the Scout and Guides were left to raise the funds for materials.
Scouting fell out of favour in Shifnal for a number of years although Guides continued to meet and in 2010 Ken called a meeting of parents. Michelle Gough and a small number of volunteers came forward to re-form Ist Shifnal Scout Group after 13 years of not being present in Shifnal. The group has gone from strength to strength, as a voluntary organisation running an exciting programme of activities to encourage young people to develop skills and enjoy learning whilst having a great time with their friends.
Each week the team of Leaders and parents run two Beavers’ sessions for 6-8 year olds, two Cubs’ sessions for 8 -10 year olds, and two Scouts’ sessions for 10-14 year olds. There are 144 young people benefiting from their involvement in Scouting in Many will remember cycling up and Shifnal, and the leaders are rightly down the M54 between junctions 3 proud to be actively involved in the and 4 before the official opening to local community, from litter-pick’s with raise funds. Then there were the Gang the Friend of Wesley Brook, to charity Shows that packed Idsall Scholl Hall. car-washes not forgetting their annual The building opened in 1986 and float in the carnival which they have Scouts and Guides owed not a penny. won on five occasions. While all this was happening Ken took They are actively involved with St on more responsibilities in the Scout Andrews Church including the movement becoming Vice President Remembrance Day parade and Shropshire County Scouts and then Christmas tree festival along with St Chairman of Shropshire Severn and Georges Day and the Christmas card Teme District. delivery service that they run every Fundraising started in 1979 and few living in Shifnal at the time were not involved in the monthly newspaper collection which was a big contributor to fund raising.
Ken at Retirement Celebration
Things started to feel a little Christmassy for Shifnal Townswomen’s Guild at its November meeting when Kathy Insall visited to demonstrate her skills at icing cakes. Kathy very kindly brought along her own Christmas cake to show us how to get a perfectly smooth finish when putting on marzipan and icing. She then showed how to make a poinsettia for the centre and made it all look extremely but deceptively!! – easy. In response to members’ questions, Kathy dispensed much useful advice and she also passed round a folder with pictures of cakes she had made over the years. We all enjoyed seeing the photos as well as listening to and watching Kathy’s presentation - done with a smile and a lovely, quiet sense of humour. Since then, all has been Christmasorientated! Five members, plus a husband, went to the stunning setting of Liverpool Anglican Cathedral for one of TG’s National Carol Services. More of us have enjoyed the recent Federation Lunch at The Valley Hotel, Ironbridge, and the Federation Carol Service at Newport, where we were treated to tea and cakes afterwards. At the end of November, Shifnal Guild ran its usual tombola stall - with a prize for every ticket! - at the Shifnal Christmas Lights Switch-On. At the time of writing, we are looking forward to the wonderful St Andrew’s Church Christmas Tree Festival (for which we have all decorated baubles for our tree) and to our Christmas Party which will be held on December 10th. All that is left for 2019 is to wish all Trinity Trumpet readers a Merry Christmas and a very happy and healthy 2020! If you’d like to come and visit us next year, please contact email@example.com or 01952 460782.
7 6 4 4
9 3 1
2 1 9 3 8 3 7 4 8 2 3 8 7 1 6 9 18
The Sudoku solution can be found on page 23.
By the time you read this message the General Election will have come and gone but no doubt the discussions, debates, arguments - call them what you will - will continue. The Revd Dr Jonathan Hustler, Secretary of the Methodist Conference has an Advent message. In many churches and concert halls at this time of year there are performances of George Frederick Handel’s masterpiece, Messiah. A short orchestral overture (the ‘Symphony’) gives way to the tenor voice’s thrilling opening words, ‘Comfort ye, comfort ye my people’. There are those who argue that Messiah should be performed at Easter (and there is no reason why it shouldn’t be) but that clarion call from Isaiah chapter 40 is the message of Advent. God calls on God’s messenger to comfort God’s people.
veracity cannot be established and accusations of untrustworthiness abound.
Members of minority groups voice their fears about the future and some no longer feel The Revd Dr Jonathan Hustler Secretary of the Methodist Conference welcome in the ‘Comfort’ is a powerful word. It can, like all words, be misunderstood. Isaiah’s call to preach places they have lived for many years. We live under the a word of comfort is not simply about making people feel better, either by ignoring or shutting shadows of knife crime and terrorist violence out the reality of their situation. The comfort that which serve to perpetuate the divisiveness of our society. The need for urgent action in the world is offered is a combination of sympathy and to tackle climate change is all too apparent while strength; it is established on God’s continued in this country the number of children living in identification with God’s people; it recognises poverty continues to grow. that rough places need to be made smooth; it speaks from love to give confidence and hope. In that context, the Church proclaims the message of comfort that was given to Isaiah. ‘Comfort ye my people’ is a proclamation to an God loves and cares for God’s people; God oppressed and depressed people that God is enters into God’s world not with bluster and false with them and that God will act for and through promises but in vulnerability; God experiences them. oppression and suffers with the despairing – and I don’t think that there has been an Advent in my God allows neither oppression nor despair to lifetime when that message of comfort has been have the final word. The curious juxtaposition of so desperately needed. The political uncertainty polling stations in schools producing nativity plays will be an inconvenience for many a Head of the UK’s impending exit from the European Teacher on 12th December, but it is a powerful Union has been compounded by a General proclamation that beyond and within the current Election campaign conducted in the darkest days of the year. For many, the political climate situation God is with us and we can experience true comfort. is one not of hope but of despair; the old certainties are gone and it is not yet clear what The Revd Dr Jonathan Hustler realignment will replace them. New forms of Secretary of the Methodist Conference media bombard us with information whose
I’m back! Did you miss me? No. I thought I’d gone deaf!
100 YEARS AGO A new decade was dawning. Old countries disappearing, new ones being created, national borders were moving: Europe was changing. There was still an underlying instability, if not outright conflict. The suspended conflict in the Home Countries seemed to be coming to a conclusion when on 22nd December the 4th Home Rule Bill began its 12 month passage through Parliament. At last a solution! ?:
Omsk some 2¼ thousand km further east the Russian White Army under Alexander Kolchak were retreating in what became known as the Great Siberian Ice March. This trek was over 2000 km eastwards through the winter months to Chita just over 1000km from the Pacific Ocean – a 5 month journey to the other side of Mongolia! At least there were no more deaths of Shifnal men as a result of the war. There is still one to come but we wait at least another year.
The Anglo-Irish War between the Irish Republican Army and the British Army (plus the RIC - Royal Irish Constabulary - and its paramilitary forces) had begun in January1919 and despite the Bill becoming an Act of Parliament the conflict was to continue into 1921 which may be a significant sign that Bill or no Bill the fundamental issues had not been solved. The British government had brought in the Black and Tans, the brain child of Winston Churchill, the then minister for war, they were officially recruited as part of the RIC. They were composed of mixed Khaki uniforms of the British Army and the Black uniforms of the Constabulary. In the 1918 elections Sinn Fein had won 73 of the 105 parliamentary seats and established their own parliament, declaring the country’s independence only to have it declared illegal by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. The plan in the Home Rule act was to establish two subdivisions of Ireland, 6 north-eastern counties to form Northern Ireland and the much larger remainder to form Southern Ireland with their own parliaments. Both were to remain as part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain with provision for re-unification. The outcome was not to be as envisaged. Also going through parliament to receive Royal Assent on 23rd December, was the Sex Discrimination (Removal) Act to remove legal obstacles in the way of women entering secular professions. Section 1 began A person shall not be disqualified by sex or marriage from the exercise of any public function …..Nancy Astor had already won the by-election for the seat of Plymouth Sutton as a Unionist candidate to replace her husband as its MP. But passing a law does not change culture as 100 years later the equalisation process is still in progress. As the new year dawned events in Europe were still having significant effects world wide. In the US more raids were made on Bolshevik sympathisers. Over 4,000 suspects were arrested and held without trial. Meanwhile historical boundaries between Poland and Russia came into dispute with 20 Russian divisions along the Polish border. Whilst in
On January 10th the Treaty of Versailles finally came into force and the next day Azerbaijan was recognised by the European powers attending the conference. On the 16th the League of Nations held its first meeting in Paris whilst the Allies of WW1 demand the extradition of Kaiser Wilhelm II from the Netherlands, a request which was refused a week later. The 21st marks the final session of the Paris Peace Talks although treaties with both Hungary and Turkey remained incomplete. The US was not to complete its own treaty with Germany for another year. As we move into February the second air force to be created after the RAF was established in South Africa. A peace treaty is signed between Russia and Estonia to end the Estonian War of Independence: boundaries to be those occupied by the opposing forces at that moment in perpetuity – which means until the next time! It sometimes feels as though conflict will never cease. What is it about humanity that fuels disharmony. But a seed of hope has been sown in the League of Nations, in its own way a miracle in opposition to what seems to be human nature. DH
What are you going to give your mother in law for Christmas?
Her son back!
Paul Gerhardt is considered Germany's greatest hymn writer. He was born into a middle-class family at a small town on the railway between Halle and Wittenberg called Grafenhainichen. At the age of fifteen, he went to the Fürstenschule in Grimma. This school was known for its pious atmosphere and stern discipline. It almost closed in 1626 when the plague came to Grimma, but Paul remained there until 1627. In the following January he enrolled in the University of Wittenberg. It was there that two Lutheran teachers had a significant influence on him. Gerhardt graduated from the University of Wittenberg in about 1649, but because of the Thirty Years War he did not find a position as pastor. He moved to Berlin where he worked as a family tutor. While in Berlin his hymns and poems brought him to the attention of Johann Crüger, the cantor and organist at the Nicolaikirche in Berlin.
In September of 1651, He was given his first ecclesiastical appointment as the new Probst at Mittenwalde. It was while he was there that he composed most of his hymns. Whilst there he was married to Anna Maria Barthold. Their first child was born there in 1656, but died in infancy; a memorial tablet in the church records their grief. However he seems to have missed Berlin so in 1657 he returned as Deacon (Associate Pastor) to the Nikolaikirche of Berlin.
All my heart this night rejoices, As I hear, far and near, sweetest angel voices; Christ is born, their choirs are singing, Till the air, everywhere, now their joy is ringing. For it dawns, the promised morrow Of His birth, who the earth rescues from her sorrow. God to wear our form descendeth; Of His grace to our race here His Son He sendeth.
When Gerhardt came to Berlin he walked straight into into the strife between the Lutheran and Reformed clergy. The Elector removed the Lutheran professors from the University of Frankfurt and forbade students from his lands to study at the University of Wittenberg. Gerhardt who was a leading voice among the Lutheran clergy drew up many of the statements in defence of the Lutheran faith. Meanwhile the wife of the Elector, Louisa Henrietta, became a great admirer of him and his hymns.
Yea, so truly for us careth, That His Son, all we’ve done, as our offering beareth; As our Lamb who, dying for us, Bears our load, and to God, doeth in peace restore us. Hark! a voice from yonder manger, Soft and sweet, doth entreat, Flee from woe and danger; Brethren, come; from all that grieves you You are freed; all you need I will surely give you.
Gerhardt himself was removed from his position in 1666 but the citizens of Berlin petitioned to have him restored, and because of their repeated requests an exception was made for Gerhardt. Never-the-less his conscience did not allow him to retain his post which left him for over a year without fixed employment. During this time his wife died, leaving him with only one surviving child. Soon after that the differences were reconciled ,but by this time his patroness, Electress Louisa Henrietta had died as well and so he was still without a position.
Come, then, let us hasten yonder; Here let all, great and small, kneel in awe and wonder, Love Him who with love is yearning; Hail the star that from far bright with hope is burning.
Then in October 1668 he was called to be archdeacon of Lübben in Saxe-Merseburg, where, after a ministry of eight years, he died on 27 May 1676. He wrote over 30 hymns many have received multiple English translations as well as into other languages. Many were not short! Our current hymn had 15 verses of which just 5 are recorded here, the translation is by Catherin Winkworth.
Here’s a crossword from back in the day when the magazine had our very own Noreen Foster as its cruciverbalist (that’s someone very skilled in compiling or solving crosswords to you and I.) Try to solve this puzzle when you are relaxing after Christmas dinner. Solution to be found on page 11 but don’t rush.
9 10 11
20 21 22 23 25 Clues Across 1) Self conceit (7 6) John left this port to go to Spain (5) 9) Lavatory or game of cards (3) 10) Domestic pig (5) 11) Father of John The Baptist (9) 13) Weep loudly (3) 15) Biblical garden (4) 16) Poisonous snake (3) 17) Without delay (4) 20) Belonging to him (3) 21) Town near Bethany (9) 22) Theatrical piece (5) 23) Single unit (3) 25 King of the Jews , 37 – 4 BC (5) 26) Patent medicine (7)
26 Clues Down 1) Mother of John The Baptist (9) 2) Move away or out (2) 3) _ _ 7 James Bond (2) 4) Jacob’s name after he wrestled with an angel (6) 5) Public demonstration (13) 6) Moses successor is leader of the Israelites (6) 7) Plant –Very popular at Christmas (13) 8) Hail ( In Latin) (3) 12) Material used for John The Baptist’s clothes (6,4) 14) Jesus’s birthplace (9) 18) Herald’s garment (6) 19) Jesus healed many of these (6) 22) Female Deer (3) 23) Either _ _ (2) 24) A letter in the Greek alphabet ( 2) 22
instead of what God desires. Others see that as a reflection of God and we do Him a dis-service. As an ambassador of God He could probably have chosen better – I speak for myself! How much of this was expressed in the General Election, and still is in Brexit! Instead of seeking our own “benefits” often at the expense of others, why can’t we all sit down and examine the genuine arguments and come to an honest, fair and just solution. How can we truly demonstrate the presence of God and His love amongst us, if we persist in putting forward our own selfish position. What did St Paul say: “consider others as being more important than yourselves”.
In recent months I have become more and more aware of some of God’s eternal principles. The first one of these is one of those words which crops up at Christmas and then is forgotten for the rest of the year: “Immanuel” which means quite simply “God is with us”. It reflects God’s desire to care for us and be involved in our lives.
As Methodists we find ourselves in yet another situation as we are asked to consider the Report of the Marriage and Relationships Task Group. Many will feel uncomfortable in discussing the issues but Government legislation may even overtake us. But again it is real people we are considering; people who are loved by God and to push through decisions without considering the lives of people who my be different from me will cause damage and that is true of which ever side of the argument you find yourself – just as with Brexit. In the past there have been many other issues from the “poll tax” to nuclear disarmament, the environment to globalisation. We live in a divided world where God loves everyone and wants to share in each and every life. How do we present this loving Emmanuel of a God?
At Trinity we have spent some time struggling with how to act in practical ways to demonstrate the power of God’s love in our local Shifnal community. Maybe God has made The fear of God has for centuries been promoted by the a breakthrough. We have heard how C.A.P. (Christians church, probably as a reflection of how Old Testament Against Poverty) works with people at the rough end of our believers understood their God but also possibly as a th financial dealings for all sorts of reasons, personal and result of the 4 century Nicea conference as way of national. We have been shown a way in which churches controlling believers. However when we read the whole can make a difference in people’s lives in this respect. If context of the Old Testament, we may see the overriding we are serious about God’s love maybe this is a way we love of God as at every twist and turn of people’s lives He can help to bring its practicalities into people’s lives. But it offers his love, forgiveness and a desire to support individuals as well as whole nations if only…… they would is going to need us to make a personal commitments to such a project. As we explore what we can do, C.A.P. are turn to Him and put their trust in Him. willing to provide support: training, advice, co-operation. Instead what we see is God and His love misrepresented, For me I see it as an opportunity to bring Emmanuel to people in need. God with us in a very practical sense. We sidelined, paid lip-service to, or even ignored by not just still have the other issues and God is as much concerned those with power but the little people as well. When it happens with leaders of nations a heavy price can be paid about them as He is about poverty. by all, while among the rest of us, often family tragedy and What will we do? It’s a case of Emmanuel for each of us. disharmony. DH
God is not a cruel tyrant but one who wants the best best for each of us. Unfortunately those of us who claim this are fallible and too often we present our own desires
You can view this magazine online at:
www.trinitytrumpet.co.uk Keep up with all things Trinity at our website http://www.trinitytrumpet.co.uk/ or on facebook https://www.facebook.com/ 23
Contact Zena Brown for tickets and details of coach arrangements 24
The magazine of Trinity Methodist Church, Shifnal