A letter from The Archdeacon of Dudley for October

Have you ever had a moment when something from the Bible you know to be true, takes on a much deeper meaning, or impacts you at a deeper level?

This happened to me when I was privileged to attend a service in St Stephen’s, Redditch celebrating the lives of transplant recipients, organ donors and their families. Gifts Beyond Price was the brainchild of Elaine Whitfield, a relatively new member of the church, and she planned the most beautiful and moving event, attended, to her surprise, by people from all over the country. Elaine’s father, Arthur, died in 2016. For the last twenty-five years of his life, his blood was pumped around his body by a donor heart – he had benefitted from a transplant which had saved his life, and given him many more years than anticipated. It was this that Elaine wanted to express her thankfulness for, both to donor families, and to God.

In a profound symbolic act as part of the service, Natasha, recipient sixteen years ago of a donated heart and lungs when in her early twenties and close to death, lit eight candles, representing the lives one donor can save. Wendy, the mother of Jack, who died in a tragic accident last year, and whose organs were donated, then extinguished a large central candle, amidst hugs and tears, after speaking movingly to each other as representatives of each group, giving thanks for the lives involved. The Lead Retrieval Surgeon and Transplant Specialist from the QE hospital articulated some of the challenging dilemmas involved for his team, and both the joys, sorrows and weighty responsibility he experiences in making time-sensitive decisions about life and death amidst tragedy. As a Muslim, he spoke powerfully about our shared humanity. The Reverend Paul Lawlor picked this up in his address too. Never have Jesus’ words in John 15 had such resonance: “There is no greater love than this, that someone should lay down their life for their friends.”

Jesus, in a sense, donated his life, that we might live life in all its fullness forever. Talking with many after the service who had received the gift of new life through the gift of a friend, or the death of a stranger, the love of God for each person he has made impacted me afresh. God so loved the world, that he gave his Son …

I resolved that day to live my life more fully, more gratefully, more aware of what it cost. I also spoke to my family making clear that should they ever be put in that awful place of decision, my bodily organs should, if possible, be used to bring life to others, as my life with God will continue into eternity, because Jesus laid down his life and lives in me.

Nikki Groarke
Archdeacon of Dudley

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Liz Whitehead, Pastoral Worker ALM

On Sunday 10th September, Liz Whitehead was awarded her ALM Certificate as a Pastoral Worker by Bishop John at the Celebration of Authorised Lay Ministry in the Cathedral.

She is pictured here with Bishop Graham.

Liz will be Authorised at a local service soon.

Well done Liz!


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September’s Teme Valley Tote Winners

September’s Draw (The sixth draw in the new series)

September’s prize draw of the Tote was decided when Rev’d Robert Barlow rolled the dice on 31st August to select the set of random numbers and the starting point. As a result the prize winners are as follows:

The £50 winners are the Burgoyne Family of Stanford (Draw no 501)
The £30 winner is Hattie Clarke of Stockton (Draw no 428)
The £20 winner is Jill Slade of Stoke Bliss (Draw no 772)

You are still able to join this series – please contact your local co-ordinator or Robin Dean on 01886 853 295 or by email at robin.c.dean@gmail.com.

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A letter from the Bishop of Worcester for September: Harvest

The season of harvest festivals is upon us. It’s good to know that it’s still an important fixture in the calendar of our parishes, particularly the rural ones.

Harvest is about taking nothing for granted. Farmers certainly don’t, in my experience, but I think that there is a temptation for many people in our society to take their food for granted in a way that never happened in the past.

There is an increasing disconnectedness between most people and the food they eat. Our generation is more removed from the land than any previous one with a much greater proportion of us living in an urban setting rather than rural and many people never seeing anything of farms and farming. Urban myths about children thinking that milk comes from bottles abound.

There is also a continuing globalisation of food production, as with much else. When we eat, we’re involved in a vast, complex, interweaving set of life and death dramas as never before. In these dramas we are only one character among many, but no matter how solitary our eating experience may be, every sniff, chomp and swallow connects us to vast global trade networks and thus to biophysical and social worlds far beyond ourselves.

We owe thanks to God and to very many other people for the food on our plates. We should never take them or it for granted. The contrast with our partner diocese of Morogoro in Tanzania is stark. Crop failure there has led to malnutrition and even starvation. The picture remains bleak – and that is true of vast swathes of Africa. Maybe the plight of millions elsewhere will give us more incentive to give thanks and to share what we have more generously. Harvest Festivals are one way of encouraging that.

+John
Rt Revd Dr John Inge
The Bishop of Worcester

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Macmillan Coffee Morning – 27 September


We invite you to the Macmillan Coffee Morning

we are holding at Pensax Thrift Shop

on Wednesday 27 September

between 9am and 11am.

 
All the money raised helps Macmillan Cancer Support make a huge difference to people facing cancer:

  • helping to fund Macmillan nurses
  • helping Macmillan to provide information about cancer
  • helping Macmillan provide financial support, like grants and advice
  • helping Macmillan answer calls on the Macmillan Support Line
  • helping Macmillan to be there when people need them most

So do come and join us for a coffee and a piece of cake – a nibble and a natter

We’ll look forward to seeing you there!

Pensax Thrift Shop, held in Pensax Village Hall,
is on the B4202 Clows Top to Abberley road

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August’s Teme Valley Tote Winners

August’s Draw (The fifth draw in the new series)

August’s prize draw of the Tote was decided when Rev’d Robert Barlow rolled the dice on 1st August to select the set of random numbers and the starting point. As a result the prize winners are as follows:

The £50 winner is Pen Harrison of Eastham (Draw no 264)
The £30 winner is Edna Knott of Lindridge (Draw no 174)
The £20 winner is Carole Bristow of Lindridge (Draw no 208)

You are still able to join this series – please contact your local co-ordinator or Robin Dean on 01886 853 295 or by email at robin.c.dean@gmail.com.

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A letter from the Archdeacon of Worcester

The world is in a fragile and rather dangerous state in so many places, it seems, at the moment. All the more so when tragedy and terror come near. The Bishop of Worcester reminded the Diocesan Synod in June that despite appearances, it is probably no more chaotic now than it ever has been. Ask people in the Middle East or parts of sub-Saharan Africa, and they would tell us that living with chaos is their norm. Commentators note that people adapt pretty quickly to a new norm. An example of that is life in Northern Ireland at the height of the troubles, where the population simply had to get on with it. It seems that human beings adapt and get on with life.

Getting on with life is really important. Sometimes we can be overcome by events to such an extent that we sit there caught like a rabbit in the headlights. Getting on with life means celebrating the very gift of life. One of the problems of being surrounded by so many real and heart-rending bad news stories is that we begin to feel guilty for enjoying ourselves: how can I enjoy myself when so many people are having such a hard time. Therein lies the way to real anxiety.

Jesus kept telling his disciples not to be afraid and not to worry. That’s not the easiest thing to hear for those of us who are natural worriers. But in saying that, Jesus was not immune to the problems and tragedies of life: he was no hopeless optimist. There were plenty of bad news stories around him in first century Palestine under foreign occupation and riven with religious and political power struggles. Yet he wanted his followers to celebrate life: they feasted as well as fasting with him. Do you remember how the religious people, no doubt with a tinge of envy, rebuked Jesus and his followers for eating and drinking – in other words, for having a good time?

Why am I saying that now? Well, typically August is a holiday month. If you are lucky enough to have some holiday, either at home or away, I want to encourage you to enjoy it to the full. Think where the word comes from: holy day. I remember chocolates on sale at Holland House, our diocesan retreat house, which said on the wrapper ‘Put the treat back into retreat’. Don’t let religion get in the way of life. Don’t let the stories of human woe and distress submerge the truth that life is a gift, and that each day is to be treasured and lived to the full.

I suspect that joy in being alive is not simply an antidote to much of the misery around. It is more powerful than that. Jesus said that he came so that we should have life in all its fullness. Celebrating life inspires us to transform life. Christian communities have kept the flame of hope alight in many dark places because of the value and joy given to each day and each moment, celebrating the wonder of being fully alive. That’s a good enough definition of a holiday to me!

Robert Jones
Archdeacon of Worcester

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St Lawrence Clubs at Lindridge CE Primary School

In addition to the long running popular weekly lunchtime club, in January we were delighted to be able to offer a second club to run as an after school activity, which has been well supported. We’ve had a busy term, with stories, games, song, dance, creative prayer, praise and fun activities for the children to enjoy.

We explored many stores about Bible heroes based on Old Testament heroes. Such as David and Goliath, reflecting on David’s courage, not forgetting David the Psalm writer, looking at many of the Psalms he had written. Ruth, thinking about how we can be part of God’s family too, as Ruth chose to be. And Elijah, a faithful servant of God who was fed by the Ravens during a period of drought.

During the summer term we celebrated Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit. We talked about the gift of the Holy Spirit and the different gifts that have been given to each and every one of us. We had fun trying to speak in different languages as the disciples did at Pentecost. We talked about the Trinity and enjoyed many craft activities, including making a Banner showing the Fruit of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Finally, as time came close to saying farewell to year six, the children prepared prayers, special Prayer Boxes, and made beautiful Cross Mosaics to pass on as keepsakes.

Special thanks go to all volunteers for their help and support at both lunchtime and after school clubs.

We look forward to meeting once again in the autumn term.

Liz Whitehead, Children’s Worker
Sallie Butcher, Assistant Curate

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July’s Teme Valley Tote Winners

July’s Draw (The fourth draw in the new series)

July’s prize draw of the Tote was decided when Rev’d Robert Barlow rolled the dice on 1st July to select the set of random numbers and the starting point. As a result the prize winners are as follows:

The £50 winner is Pam Dodd of Stockton (Draw no 414)
The £30 winner is David Moule of Pensax (Draw no 333)
The £20 winners are Mr and Mrs P Audsley of Knighton (Draw no 648)

You are still able to join this series – please contact your local co-ordinator or Robin Dean on 01886 853 295 or by email at robin.c.dean@gmail.com.

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Emma raises money for Breast Cancer Haven

Emma Pickersgill, from Eardiston, has now raised more than £250 by cutting 12 inches off her long hair for the Worcester branch of the Breast Cancer Haven charity, which is based at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

You can read all about it on the Worcester News website here.

If you’d like to support Emma with a donation, you can do so via her JustGiving page: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/emmascutoff

Click here to find out more about the work of Breast Cancer Haven, Worcester.

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News from St Lawrence Church, Lindridge

Christian Aid

On May 20th Lindridge hosted a Sung Choral Evensong to support Christian Aid. Eleven people joined the choir and the worship and singing was wonderful – thank you to both Martin and Jason for leading the choir. Our thanks also to Sarah Lupton who organised the event and raised £100 for Christian Aid.

Pentecost

June 4th was Pentecost and Lindridge Church held a Pentecost Holy Communion Service to celebrate the Church’s Birthday. Rev Ted introduced us to Mrs Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer who married the Berlin Wall in 1979 (look her up!); this was to highlight the difference between an I-it relationship (impersonal) and an I-you relationship (personal). Rev Ted explained that our relationship with the Holy Spirit is an I-you relationship and is personal – similar to that of a friend. He asked us to think about how our behaviour, and the way that we live, affects our friend the Holy Spirit and also what the Spirit is saying to us.

Plant Sale

Following the Pentecost Service, there was a Plant Sale held at the Priory. There were also jams and preserves on sale and children’s games. The weather was a bit changeable, but everyone who attended had fun.

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Easter Crafts at St Lawrence Lindridge Primary School

The community came together once again for this annual event on Saturday 8th April. We all enjoyed a wide range of craft activities on offer, including Easter Gardens, Palm leaf weaving, Egg painting/mosaics, Easter baskets, Bunny Masks, and stained glass effect window decorations. The children also enjoyed making chocolate Easter Egg nest cakes, and delicious refreshments were served throughout the morning.

This occasion was well supported and special thanks go to all volunteer helpers who make these events possible, and so enjoyable.

Liz Whitehead
Children’s Worker

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Clows Top & District Gardening Club – 2017 Programme

If you’re not a member then come along and join us at one of our monthly meetings. It’s a great opportunity for you to share your thoughts, ideas and advice with other members. We have a great programme of speakers as well as Evening visits to local gardens. Our Garden Club has a very friendly atmosphere, everyone is welcome. Don’t be afraid to come along, we are a garden club not a horticulture society, the membership is only £10 pa. However, non-members are welcome to any monthly meeting.

Clows Top and District Gardening Club meet on the 4th Wednesday in the calendar month at Clows Top Victory Hall; Doors open 7.30pm, for the speaker at 8 o’clock.

Admission Fee: Members £2 or Non-Members £4. Free Refreshments.

For further details telephone Marion Wilson on 01299 270 475, or email: clowstopdistrictgardeningclub@hotmail.co.uk.

2017 PROGRAMME

25 January, An Evening with Cliff Wood

22 February, Dahlias, Robin Pearce

22 March, Spring Show & Spetchley Gardens, Michael Hardwick

26 April, A-Z Vegetable Growing, Bob Oliver

13 May (Sat), Plant Sale & Coffee Morning

24 May, Composting, Nick Poultney

28 June, Rose & Sweet Pea Show

26 July, tba

23 August, tba

26 August (Sat), Clows Top Summer Show

27 September, Autumn Show,

25 October, tba

22 November, AGM & Members Social Evening

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Annual Christmas Crafts and Christingle 2016

On Saturday 10th December many children, parents, carers and volunteer helpers gathered at St Lawrence Lindridge Primary School for this joyous occasion. A great social event with community coming together which set us up for the forthcoming festivities.

As well as preparing our Christingles and talking about the symbolic meaning, many other crafts were on offer to enjoy, including wreath decorating, Nativity lanterns, stencil painting, snowflakes, crackers, Christmas cards, and scratch art. The children enjoyed seasonal face painting, and there were plenty of mince pies and refreshments at the ready for all to enjoy.

After a busy afternoon of crafts we gathered for our Christingle Service led by Reverend Ted Whittaker, with song, dance, prayer, reflection and a poem. Lights were dimmed and candles lit, as we passed the light of Christ on to our families, neighbours and friends.

Thank you for all the kind donations received from this celebration, all monies are handed on to the Children’s Society to further their work with underprivileged children.

Thank you also to all those involved helping in so many ways during the afternoon, making this event so successful.

Liz Whitehead
Children’s Worker

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The Archbishop’s Visit – Preaching at Brickworks Church

Preaching at Brickworks in the Stambermill area near Stourbridge on Sunday 9 October.

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The Archbishop’s Visit – The Power of Hope

The Archbishop in conversation with Malala Yousafzai at Dudley College, Saturday 8 October 2016. Filmed and edited by students of Dudley College.

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The Archbishop’s Visit – in five minutes!

A short video showcasing the three day visit, filmed and edited by James Atkinson, Diocesan Digital Media Adviser.

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The Archbishop of Canterbury in Conversation with Jeremy Vine

Filmed at The University of Worcester Arena on Friday 7 October 2016 as part of the Archbishop’s visit to the diocese.

You can find other memories from the Archbishop’s visit on the Diocesan website here.

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Finding space to flourish – by Nikki Groarke

Nikki-Groarke-squareMy social media feed has been filled over the summer with pictures from Christian conferences and youth camps. People meeting together for worship, pilgrimage, inspirational teaching and community building. Simon Hill, our Youth Officer, spoke on the radio about Spree, where many of our young people had a lot of fun, and I was moved by a picture of Justin Welby at Soul Survivor in the midst of thousands of teenagers praying fervently for him.

I had the privilege of a week in a tent on the Bath and West Showground at New Wine, where I was delivering a seminar, but mainly receiving input from others and mingling with wonderful Christian people with whom I shared coffee and wine, and learned much from as we chatted in queues and over barbeques. I came back refreshed and re-envisioned.

There is something powerful about gathering with many others for celebration, worshipping our God in a way which is different from our weekly rhythm. God’s people have always done it. Festivals of different kinds are woven through the Old Testament, and we see patterns emerging of annual pilgrimage, high days and holy days, significant seasons marked out as special in the Church through the ages.

It is healthy to have annual rhythms in our spiritual life which sustain and feed us. Autumn is always a busy time – a new term, perhaps new Alpha or Pilgrim courses beginning – the visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury this year for us being a particular focus. I have tried to prepare myself for this by spending time in August in retreat and refreshment, ‘abiding’ with Jesus, reading and allowing some space to grow. It’s important to continue a sustainable routine into the busyness of autumn – short, regular periods of prayer and reflection perhaps or meeting with smaller groups of kingdom people week by week, to learn and pray together and encourage one another.

What are your spiritual refreshment patterns – annually, monthly, weekly? How, at the start of this new season, can you ensure they don’t get crowded out?

In Matthew 11:28-30, The Message translation, Jesus says:

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.

I pray we all, as kingdom people, will learn the unforced rhythms of grace in ways which sustain us, and enable us to flourish.

Archdeacon Nikki
Nikki Groarke, Archdeacon of Dudley

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St Lawrence Club, end of summer term

This weekly lunchtime club is held at St Lawrence Lindridge CE Primary School.

During the second half the the summer term we explored a variety of topics. We learnt about the use of the precious mineral salt in Biblical times, and how it is essential to life and good health on planet earth, not forgetting that too much can be harmful! We discovered some amazing facts; salt’s value was considered so great that sometimes people’s wages were paid in it; salt was often used as a sign of an agreement between two people to show that it would last, because of it’s preservative qualities. We made a guess at how many times salt is mentioned in the Bible, and discovered it’s actually over 40.

Celebrating Father’s Day and Friendship Day we made wonderful cards, thinking about what we could do to help at home and in the community.

We were treated to a special talk with photographs by Julia Cooper about her support for Save the Children. She talked about some of the many ways in which children are helped, both in the UK and overseas, concentrating on the serious drought in Ethiopia where thousands of children are suffering from malnutrition.

During National Insect Week in June, which encourages young and old to learn more about the world of insects, the children made a lovely mini­beast collage, as we thought about all God’s creatures, both great and small.

We had fun learning about all sorts of different Crosses and their meanings, and were surprised there are so many!

Thinking about transitions, focussing particularly on the year 6 Leavers, we all contributed to prayers for them to take away in a special Prayer Box, and made each one a lovely sun catcher Cross gift.

With grateful thanks to Carol, Julia, Marjorie and Mike for all their help and support with the club.

We look forward to meeting once again in the autumn term.

Liz Whitehead
Children’s Worker

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