This week (December 13-18th) has been all about schools. On Monday Natalie and I visited Low Ash to present the winners of the Sheep Trail with their sheep. Then it was Christmas Dinner at BlakeHill. Tuesday Low Ash rehearsed their Carols by Candlelight in church. Wednesday and Thursday saw Blakehill come to church to perform their Christingle Service. Two events raised over £200 pounds for the Children’s Society thanks to the generosity of the Blakehill parents. The church was also full again on Thursday evening with the children and parents of Low Ash for their Carols by Candlelight. Finally on Friday it was back to Blakehill for another Sheep Trail presentation. Our relationships with these two schools is exceptional but here’s a thought – there are two more schools in Wrose – Swain House and Poplar’s Farm with whom we interact very little – if we had more people willing to volunteer to go into schools we could do so much more. Perhaps God might be calling you to this exciting ministry – no previous experience necessary – training provided. Wouldn’t it be great if this time next year we could have built a deeper relationship with all our schools.
On Wednesday the annual Coffee & Carol event took place at Costa Coffee in Shipley. This year the place was full to bursting. There was music from David, Yvonne and Mark, not to mention the Sarah Burton All Stars. Alex Jones told us movingly of the work of Christian Aid and in response £200 was raised for that organisation.
On Saturday we transferred our carol singing to the Wrose Bull. Our gallant band sang our hearts out for two hours much to the enjoyment of the customers. We raised even more money for the Children’s Society – although the amount has yet to come to my attention.
Sunday dawned on our Nativity. At the 9.15am Steve taught us about the connection between John the Baptist and Jesus which began whilst they were still in their mother’s wombs. I have attached his message for your consideration. At 10.30am Julie Wilkinson led us through a delightfully raucous version of the Nativity story seen from the point of view of the innkeeper (a cockney by all accounts) It was a wonderful service and greatly enjoyed by everyone.
That evening CIA met for their traditional Christmas party complete with silly games and curly quizzes. And then a new week dawned. There were sheep to be rounded up and the funeral of Sheila Empson to be attended. It was great to see so many come along to support Bernard and the family at this sad time.
In the last week before Christmas (19th-25th December)
On Wednesday we held a special Messy Church for all the families with which we have regular contact. It was an excellent occasion superbly created and led by Natalie and Victoria. There were about 40 people in attendance and some wonderful crafts were created.
So the weekend began with Christingle making on the Friday morning. A noble band of volunteers boldly took oranges, candles, red tape, cocktail sticks, raisins and dolly mixture and turned them into 100 finished Christingles. On Christmas Eve the Christingles came into their own as well over 100 people turned up to build the crib and discover the meaning of the Christingle. This was followed by our late night Communion service at which Stewart gave a wonderful message and we sang our hearts out to the familiar carols. Then finally Christmas morning dawned and our family communion celebration was very well attended and received with carols, a special Christmas talk from Colin & Katy and an explosion of party poppers to finish. After the service we were delighted to have a meal with 3 visitors from the East – how very Biblical.
The New Year began on a Sunday and we celebrated with a service based around the Methodist Covenant Service. I have attached the qwords of the service for your prayerful consideration. We learned some new things about the Magi, Wise Men or Kings – whatever you like to call them, as we traced their history through the Old Testament. I have also attached the message that I gave for your edification.
As we begin our journey through 2017 our prayer for this week helps us to thank God for 2016 and to put ourselves at his disposal for the coming year.