Embracing change – by Archdeacon Nikki

At the end of September, I fell and badly broke my shoulder. A momentary lack of concentration whilst running massively changed many aspects of my daily life in a year which had already been so difficult and strange. It has been challenging – though the fact that much of life is still virtual means that not being able to drive is less of a problem than it normally would be.

So much I took for granted about life has changed. I have had to adapt to doing life one-handed, and am very reliant on the help of others for the simplest of tasks – my lovely mum even had to help me get dressed for the first week.

Change is also very much part of our shared landscape at the moment. Following on from our second round of open conversations, we have encouraged everyone across the Diocese to reflect on what needs to change in our churches so they can be healthier and more sustainable – communities where we are growing as Kingdom People. I wonder where you are on this change journey.

I know many are beginning to engage in local discussions, thinking about ways to do things differently, sharing suggestions for new models of ministry. Churches across Worcestershire and Dudley have already demonstrated remarkable adaptability and resilience this year as we have navigated the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on much of what we took for granted in church life. Holy Week and Easter services moved rapidly online in those early days, none of us thinking for a moment that we would still be having to rethink our normal patterns of worship for advent and Christmas. We have been in a constant state of change and flux, and it feels hard to put energy into beginning to reimagine a future with yet more change.

If there is one thing I have learned through the autumn, it’s that with a broken shoulder I need to swallow my pride and seek the support of others for the simplest of tasks. Because I can’t run I have been trying to walk with people each day – but everyone who comes walking with me has to first tie my boot laces!

Change of any kind is easier when others do it with us. Across our diocese, our churches will need to change in the year ahead to flourish and become all God made them to be in these challenging times, but we are in this together. Please do contact us as archdeacons if we can support you in your thinking and planning. And if ideas are bubbling up and we are allowed to do so, I’m very happy to ponder them with any of you during a socially-distanced winter walk around Droitwich, if you do up my laces first!

Advent is a season of new beginnings. Let’s embrace the opportunity to share hope that 2021 will be a year of exciting possibilities, and may we all know God’s comfort and joy as 2020 draws to a close.

Nikki Groarke
Archdeacon of Dudley

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Amnesty International – Write for Rights 2020

It only takes a few minutes to take action, but those minutes can make all the difference to someone whose rights are being abused.

Amnesty International’s Write for Rights is the world’s biggest campaign for individuals at risk.

Whether it’s a few words of encouragement or an appeal to the authorities to stop the abuse they are facing, a message from you can change someone’s life.

Click here for more information, and to help change someone’s life.

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November’s Teme Valley Tote Winners

November’s Draw (The eighth draw in this series)

November’s prize draw of the Tote was decided when Rev’d Julia Curtis rolled the dice on 2nd November to select the set of random numbers and the starting point. As a result, the prize winners are as follows:

The £50 winners are Mr and Mrs D Wintle of Pensax (Draw no 324)
The £30 winner is David Pearson of Stoke Bliss (Draw no 831)
The £20 winner is Paddy Harding of Stoke Bliss (Draw no 805)

If you have any queries please contact Robin Dean on 01886 853 295 or at robin.c.dean@gmail.com.

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An article for November from Archdeacon Robert

You’ll be hearing the words ‘healthy and sustainable churches’ a lot in our diocesan life at the moment. As we navigate the challenges of the pandemic and seek to be a faithful Christian presence, we want as many church communities as possible to be healthy and sustainable – in other words, alive and kicking now and for the foreseeable future!

We know this is not just our work. It is God’s Church, as it is his mission, of which we are a part and in which we share. It’s not all up to us, and isn’t that liberating! So our first call is to keep faith in the God who keeps faith in us.

Being healthy and sustainable are not ends in themselves, just as the Church does not exist for itself alone. William Temple famously said we are the only organisation which exists for those who are not our members. Jesus told his disciples, ‘as the Father has sent me, I send you’. In other words, they had a job to do, which was to live the life of Jesus and reflect the glory of the Father’s Kingdom. And so do we have a job to do, not by preaching at everybody all the time nor by trying to be God, but simply by reflecting his love, compassion, justice and freedom by being who we are.

This is why I pray for a humble church which is healing and sustaining – for itself, its community and the world around. This is the sort of church which attracts me just as much now as it did when I first answered the call to priesthood. It is a church which is world-facing and life-affirming, a church with fuzzy boundaries, confident in knowing that we are not God, but content with letting God be God, and discovering what that might mean for us!

This pandemic has changed so much in our lives, but many of the basics remain. We have a pretty good idea of what it takes for communities and individuals to flourish. We recognise the behaviours which are life-giving, just as we know those which undermine our common humanity. These things haven’t changed, and neither has our Christian calling to fulfil the biblical imperative to love as we are loved. In the words of a former bishop of Worcester, it is still a case of ‘alleluia and on we go.’

So, what does it take for a church to be healing and sustaining? What do you think such a church will look like?

The Venerable Robert Jones
The Archdeacon of Worcester

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Lindridge School with Project Touchline (faith teaching through sport)

Lindridge St Lawrence School invited Chris Andrew from Project Touchline to work with the children using sporting skills and teamwork to embed the values of the school (Hesed, Hamdah, Honesty and Horizons).

The following video is a celebration of their experience.

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A welcome party at Lindridge St Lawrence

Swallows have been nesting in the porch at Lindridge Church. They are now using the well-placed notice board as their resting place before fledging – here’s hoping the notices will still be readable when they leave! It is really good to see them as the first brood were taken by a sparrowhawk, or similar.

Our church buildings might not be full of people just yet, but the wildlife is happy!

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Congratulations Sharon and Mark

Congratulations to Sharon and Mark who celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary this week.

The occasion was marked with a socially distanced blessing from Rev Ted in their garden.

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World Day of Prayer 2020

Held at St. Michael’s Church, Little Witley

Theme: “Rise! Take your mat and walk”
Prepared by Christian women of Zimbabwe

Here in St Michael’s church we participated in a very moving service – one small part of a great wave of prayer which encircled the globe on 6th March 2020. The first service took part as the sun rose over Samoa and ended some 36 hours later back in the Pacific as the sun set over American Samoa.

Each year the service is written by a different country – this year Zimbabwe.

Our own service was largely coordinated by Eleanor Baber and led by Marjorie Workman with the help of and participation by many from 4RIVERS CHURCHES. We were invited to reflect upon the challenges facing Zimbabweans as they seek love, peace and reconciliation and look at how this can affect our attitudes towards each other and our own communities, all highly relevant at this time.

Vickie Melling dealt with the technical side of setting up a screen showing some amazing pictures of the country and art of Zimbabwe. We were fortunate in having Christopher Carter playing the piano for the hymns.

There were lots of objects and pictures on display, all provided by the congregation. These represented the country and its people – flags, musical instruments, crafts, indigenous food and so on.

In the reading, Jesus asks the man, “Do you want to be made well?” We were invited to reflect on this – what does it mean to experience God’s love and healing, to “Stand up, take your mat and walk”? Where in our lives and communities do we hear Jesus’ life-changing question: “Do you want to be made well?” What can we all commit to in order to make the world and our community a better place?

The prayers and hymns were inspirational and the whole service was enjoyed by a large congregation.

The photos show the interior of St Michael’s church with some of the things on display.


Gail Hayward
Churchwarden, St Michael Little Witley

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Christmas Crafts 2019

Lindridge Church held its annual Christmas Crafts at Lindridge School on Saturday 14th December where the children and their families made Christmas cards and other Christmas decorations.

The particular favourite was glue, glitter and baubles, plus making paper chains – who could make the longest chain without breaking it?

Thank you to everyone who came along to help, and a note that we need more glitter for the future!

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Christmas 2019 roundup at Lindridge

A big thank you to all who helped to clean and decorate the church, which looked stunning. Thanks also to the team who decorated the Christmas Tree, which was generously donated by Steve Wheeler.

Once again, the Lindridge Church Choir, led by Andrew and Jason treated us all to a wonderful service of carols, readings and poems on December 21st. The church was filled with stunning music and singing. After the service there was warm mulled wine and nibbles to share while we chatted. A retiring collection for Maggs Day Centre was taken from which was raised £180 – thank you to all who contributed so generously.

On Christmas Eve families joined together at Lindridge Parish Hall for a Nativity celebration with a difference. The story of Jesus’ Birthday and an innkeeper who became more and more irate with the visitors who came knocking on his door looking for baby Jesus – it turned out well in the end! All the children who came along took part and dressed up as angels, shepherd and wise men, plus a little sheep. The Nativity finished in a traditional Christmas Eve way, with a visit from a very special person who was at the start of a very busy evening!

For the second year a group from Lindridge Church went Carol Singing around Eardiston, finishing at The Eardiston with more singing and fun. Our thanks to The Eardiston for making us so welcome, and to all the families who came out to listen and join in with the singing.

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Farewell to Pensax Thrift Shop

A short article on the history and closing of Pensax Thrift Shop has been added to the History pages. You can find it here.

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Lindridge Baby and Toddler Group win The Derek Marks Junior Cup

The Toddler group entries at the Lindridge Autumn Show both won first prize and one was Best in Show in the Junior category. Well done Toddlers and all who helped with the cutting, glueing and fun.

Up-cycled wellington boots were painted and decorated in the fashion of decoupage, but much closer to cutting and sticking. One boot was filled with garden flowers the other was used as a planter for herbs.

Thanks to everyone who helped Toddler serve tea, coffee and cakes at the show. £59 was raised towards the Toddler Group funds. And thanks to Lindridge Parish Hall for hosting a brilliant event.

Vickie Melling



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St Lawrence Clubs at Lindridge CE Primary School

Our weekly clubs run each Thursday during term time, and are open to all ages and classes, from Reception through to Year 6.

We’ve had a busy year, celebrating many different occasions, enjoying stories, games, song, dance praise, creative prayer and craft activities. This term we have been learning British Sign Language through song and prayer, which has been thoroughly enjoyed by all.

We explored many topics including the celebration of the feast of Pentecost when we read in the Bible that Jesus followers were filled with God’s power and they rushed out into the street to tell everyone about him, this power gave them the strength to continue the work that Jesus had started. We thought about the gifts of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, and how we can all use these gifts in our everyday lives.

We looked at our responsibility towards planet earth and towards each other, and thought of many examples of how we can care for God’s world. We talked about endangered species from home and abroad, and it was decided to adopt the magnificent Susa group of mountain gorillas. The children love receiving updates from WWF-UK.

We talked about Fairtrade Certified products, and how the Foundation was formed, especially for the poor countries, and how we can all make a difference in reducing poverty and improve working conditions through our everyday shopping. We were surprised at the huge range of products that are available to purchase marked Fairtrade.

Special thanks go to all of our volunteers for their dedicated help and support at both lunchtime and after school clubs, and we look forward to meeting once again for lunchtime club during the autumn term.

Liz Whitehead
Children’s Worker

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Lindridge Pentecost Flower Festival 2019

Thanks to all who helped decorate the Lindridge St Lawrence Church for the Flower Festival on Pentecost weekend.

The birthday of the church was celebrated in style and the church was overflowing with wonderful displays from across the Lindridge Parish community – everyone contributed. Special thanks go to Dianne and Wendy for bringing together all the displays and for their wonderful creativity.

Whilst it was a wet and blustery day, there was a steady stream of visitors – from as far as Manchester to about 100 metres! The BBQ was going and lunch was served, and then we welcomed everyone for tea, coffee and delicious cake in the church. Folk sat and chatted in the church, enjoyed the games and admired all the displays.

We give thanks to God for the beauty of the world and for all His gifts. Psalm 95 verses 1 to 3 “O Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.”

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Easter Craft Workshop

Easter Craft Workshop at St Lawrence Lindridge C E Primary School

The community came together once again for a very enjoyable morning of Easter crafts, which was held on Saturday 13th April, in the school hall.

Children of all ages had fun making individual Easter gardens, symbolising the importance of the Easter story. Plenty of other seasonal themed crafts were on offer for all to enjoy, including painting eggs with patterns and faces, Holy Week stained glass window hanging decorations, Easter baskets, spring tissue paper flowers, cards, fun Easter masks, and the very popular chocolate egg nest cakes were available to make and eat! Delicious refreshments were served throughout the morning. This event was well supported, and thanks go to all those involved in helping in so many ways during the morning.

Liz Whitehead
Children’s Worker

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Palm Sunday at Knighton

On Palm Sunday morning the Right Reverend Graham Usher, The Bishop of Dudley led the worship at Knighton Parish Room and Knighton Church.

At the Parish Room, children from Lindridge St Lawrence Primary School, and elsewhere, sang songs learnt through recent assemblies with Rev Ted and they sang them beautifully.

The Bishop talked about the story of Holy Week and the children enacted this story and walked through the congregation at the Parish Room shouting “Hosanna”, “Blessed is He”, and ululating in celebration.

The congregation then processed to the Church with balloons and palm crosses, where Lindridge Choir greeted them and where we joined together for Holy Communion. To finish our Palm Sunday celebration the Choir sang “The Ukrainian Orthodox Hallelujahs” and “Thuma Mina” (Send me, Lord), which was extremely moving.

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Pancakes at the Rectory

On “Shrove” Monday (yes Monday!), the Rectory was filled with activity and good appetites. A wonderful way to meet and chat together and enjoy pancakes – there was a great production line going, from mixing batter to cooking, serving and, of course, eating.

Thank you to everyone who helped in any way and also to those who came and enjoyed the end results and all who generously contributed to the informal collection – we were able to donate £80 to the Children’s Society.

Thanks also to Rev Ted and Caroline for opening their home to everyone.

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A thank you from Reader Vikki

THANK YOU!!!!

I wanted to say a huge thank you to all who have supported me through my Reader training – I have been overwhelmed by the kind words of encouragement and people’s prayers and appreciated seeing so many of you at my licensing; representing the different churches across the deanery. It really has been a joy being with you the last five years and getting to know you and I look forward to the years ahead as Stourport Deanery’s Mission Developer and Reader. I also want to say thank you for my lovely gifts (pictures attached): the Parker Pen set was a gift from the deanery, it is ages since I have written with anything other than cheap pens so I’m really looking forward to using them. The 4Rivers (Shrawley, Witleys, Abberley & TVN) gave me a Home Communion Kit which I will also cherish and hopefully put into use sometime soon. I also received a very nice leather Bible from the Diocese.

Yours in Christ,

Vikki
xx

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Vikki Day’s Reader Licensing

On 15th September, in Worcester Cathedral, Vikki Day was licensed as a Reader to Stourport Deanery.

There was a celebration afterwards at Church House in Areley Kings where Rev Ted presented her with a Home Communion Kit in a bright pink box. Rev Mark Turner, Rural Dean, also made a presentation on behalf of the Deanery.

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St Lawrence Clubs, Lindridge CE Primary School

Our weekly lunchtime and after school clubs run each Thursday during term time, and are open to all ages & classes, from Reception through to Year 6.

We’ve had a busy year, celebrating many different occasions, enjoying stories, games, song, dance, praise, creative prayer and craft activities. This term we have been learning British Sign Language through song and prayer, which has been thoroughly enjoyed by all.

We explored many topics, including “All of God’s People in the Community.” Not only those in our church congregations but outside the church walls to people in our local community and beyond. As well as celebrating today’s Saints; those who care for us and shape our lives; i.e. families, teachers, doctors, nurses, and the emergency services, we talked about some unusual occupations such as “Pet Food Tasters” and “Water-slide Testers!” There are some great jobs out there we didn’t know existed! We considered those in our local communities whose work often goes unrecognised, such as those at home caring for loved ones.

The children were introduced to the meaning of the Eucharist and Communion Services in church, when we remember the events of the Passover Supper. The children had fun taking part in a ‘special communion’ with Reverend Sallie, where we acted out the last meal that Jesus had with his disciples, and learnt about the chalice and paten and what they are used for.

Special thanks go to all of our volunteers for their help and support at both lunch time and after school clubs.

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

Liz Whitehead, ALM Children’s Worker & Reverend Sallie Butcher

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