THE BROADSHEET

Every month the church produces a magazine that is called 'THE BROADSHEET'. It contains information about the activities taking place in the church and village, a message from the Minister or Duty Elder, news, prayers, and items of interest, both local and from around the world. It also has rotas to remind members when they are on duty and a list of the people taking services. Below is a selection of items of general interest.

Items from the March Broadsheet.

Dear Friends,

There is a saying that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. To me March tells us that Spring is just round the corner , for at the end of the month the clocks go forward one hour and brings an end to the dark days of winter. March the 30th is also Mothering Sunday, which gives us an opportunity to give thanks to God for our mums, those still with us and those who have gone before us. Recently we welcomed two mothers into membership in the persons of Kathy and Doreen, both of whom already an active part in our Church life. Kathy in particular has been such an asset with young people we feel that she has been here forever. ‘A teacher told a class of boys to write an essay on ‘Mother’ for their homework. The following day, when correcting the essays, he found two exactly the same written by two brothers in glowing terms about their mothers. The teacher called one of the boys and said, “John how is it that you have written the same essay as your brother wrote?” “Well sir,” came the immediate reply, “We have the same mother.” Thinking about the clocks going forward, my thanks must go to Mr Bill Nelson for fixing the Church clock, the one that faces the minister and now leaves no excuse for not knowing the time. Please remember in your prayers our members who are doing the Training for Learning and Serving (TLS) course and especially as they do the dreaded essays. Also we would value prayers for those of our Church Family that have recently been bereaved and those suffering through illness. It gives me great joy to welcome Mark as the incoming Outreach Development Worker in response to many months in prayer for this very important post. Pray for Mark, Kath and their family in this big step in Ministry. The Church will be a lot brighter as the new glass doors are installed, thanks to the generosity of the late Miss Robson. Don’t forget to bear in mind that the outside world will now be able to see in through to us! Coming from Northern Ireland, the 17th March, St Patrick’s Day is special for us folk. Patrick was born AD390, who at the age of sixteen was taken as a slave to Ireland and put to work on a hillside looking after sheep. It was while on the hillside that the Holy Spirit enabled him to believe that Jesus had paid the penalty for his sins and put is trust in Christ as his Saviour. Patrick left very little written work, in fact there are only two, his ‘Confession’ and ‘Letters to Coroticus’. One thing is known is his use of the ‘Shamrock’ to explain the Trinity, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, and to help us understand Salvation. God out of love sent His Son, Jesus to be our Saviour and the Holy Spirit to be our Comfort and Guide. Such love, undeserved love, it overwhelms me. What is our response to such love?

Every Blessing Ken.

News from the Philippines 

As some of you know, the son of friends of mine is working as a Missionary in the Philippines. In Broadway we were praying recently for the islands after the devastating typhoon, so I thought readers might be interested in part of his latest Prayer Letter. Susan Nuttall Typhoon update

When I last wrote Powells’ Progress, we had no idea what the damage from typhoon Haiyan would be. It turned out worse than we had feared. The latest official figure from the Philippine Government stands at 6,201 people reported dead, with a further 1,785 reported missing. These numbers are probably significantly lower than the true final figures. Apart from that, hundreds of thousands of people lost most (if not all) of their possessions. OMF has been involved in some of the immediate relief operations. We helped to wrap some Christmas presents for 300 children who had lost all of their toys. I also bought a chainsaw for use in rebuilding temporary classrooms for one school. There has been a lot of money donated to OMF’s disaster relief fund, and longer term relief operations are currently in the planning stage, probably involving housing and water supplies to one particular area. Please pray for wisdom in how we should continue to be involved in bringing God’s hope to these devastated areas.

Pilgrim’s Progress     Since the last letter, we finished the editing of the recording of Pilgrim’s Progress in Cebuano. We have produced about 100 CDs of it so far and have given many of them out. I was encouraged yesterday when our pastor told us that a lady in a local shop had said ‘Pastor I’ve just finished reading a really good book. It is called Ang Madaugong Panaw (Pilgrim’s Progress).’ Pray for more people like her to be touched by these translated materials.

(From the Newsletter of Brian & Laureen Powell working with OMF International in the Southern Philippines)

THE LEPROSY MISSION

Message from Peter Walker, National Director of The Leprosy Mission: ‘I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and all our kind and faithful supporters a joyful and blessed 2014. The generosity of you all, combined with the hard work and talents of our staff and volunteers, means that our commitment to overseas projects will rise from £3.6m in 2013 to at least £4.25m in 2014. This is the second consecutive year we have reported a significant increase in our overseas commitment despite a reduction in paid staff. Each one of us working for TLM looks forward to the day when Leprosy is defeated, lives transformed’

1 Keep up to date with the work of TLM by taking home a copy of NEW DAY which is always available in the TLM mail slot box. 2 Our collecting boxes will be received and blessed at our Easter morning service. NEW BOXES ARE AVAILABLE if you feel moved to support in that way. 3. Allister du Plessis (our TLM regional rep) will conduct worship for us on Sunday 6th July – a real opportunity to learn more and hopefully get involved. 
Joanne.

 

Items from the February Broadsheet.

Dear Friends,

        2013 has now been allocated its place in history, but we can look back with pride in the role we as a Church Family have played in the life of our beloved villages.  
        As a Church we had a  great time with the Christmas Tree Festival, the Activities Morning, the hot dog stand along with the Girl Guides drinks helped to keep us all warm and a great contribution to this was to hear the band playing and the choir singing around the Christmas Tree. Thanks go to everyone who played such a vital part in making it all a success and how could we forget to thank the big red bus for bringing the people to us and the great news is that the Pilots have found their lost sheep.
   
     History will play an important part in the year ahead. 2014 marks 100 years since the start of World War 1 and from time to time we will look at that sad event which cost so many lives.
   
     We also have a new beginning in the start of our Development Worker with the  opportunity to reach out into our village and the surrounding area with the hand of love and in Jesus ‘ Name. We must never lose sight of our purpose which is to Know Christ Better and make Him Better Known. Prayer needs to play a bigger part in our Church life. A Church that prays together stays together.
   
     It is great to get opportunity to learn how to use computers and classes that give people this much needed skill opened its door on the 8th January, thanks to Mark and his colleagues.  I would urge if you lack such skills to make good use of this   opportunity. All are welcome at our new group Threads whatever your skill come and have a cuppa, chat, discover the stories behind some hymns and maybe even sing a few.
   
     Molly, one of our pilots designed the village Christmas card for 2013 and got a prize. I was thrilled to see the Church full twice one Monday Morning when the Open Book invited the two schools that they have been visiting throughout the year.
   
     Christmas was not such a joyful time for many of our members as they had a visit from madam flu and her nephew, heavy cold.
   
     Keep in your prayers our Church Elders and Minister during the year as we seek the Lord for the right person to take on the post of Outreach/Development Worker, also those of our Church Family who are ill at this time.
        Please remember in your prayers Pat and Bruce Wallace as they mourn the passing of Pat’s mother Peggy, also the families and friends of Lena Forsyth and Sarah McAleney who passed away over the Christmas period.

TO KNOW JESUS BETTER AND MAKE HIM BETTER KNOWN, the motto of our Church Family. May this be our desire for 2014. In Luke’s Gospel chapter 2 verses 41 – 51, we find two anxious parents looking for a Son that had been missing for three days. You only have to watch the news and read our newspapers to understand something of the stress that Joseph and Mary went through. Joseph and Mary did not stop until they found Jesus in the Temple. O may this be our desire in the year ahead. Like  Joseph and Mary may we seek Him in our crowded lives, may we come to that point were nothing else matters, only that we find Jesus and the longing of our hearts is to be near Him and to hear His voice. Like the Magi, like Mary and Joseph may we find Him. Please don’t leave Christ behind in the manger, or as the Child in the Temple, but may He be found where He belongs in our hearts and at the centre of our lives.

 Every Blessing

Ken

Think about it

In the “long ago ‘’ a good education equated with aiming for a good academic performance. A college lecturer once challenged us with the question “ For how much of each day do you really THINK ? ‘’ Deep thinking was approved, even admired.

In “the here and now ‘’, some seventy years later, it seems that speedy thinking, driven by fast developing communication technology, is more required. It also seems that speedy thinking may be trapping us into shallow thinking without noticing.

In “the here and now ’’, does society benefit most from racing or ruminating ? The easy answer is that we need both but does the pressure of speed inhibit the plumbing of depth? If so, does it matter ?

I suspect we have a problem in the long term.

What do you think?                     Audrey Harrison

                                                                         Threads

The first ever Threads session was enjoyed by the eight people from local churches who met in the Jubilee Room to knit, crochet and embroider and discuss the Christian faith in the events of today.                                                                      The next session will be from 2pm till 4pm in the Jubilee Room at the URC in Broadway on Wednesday 19th February.                                        
There is no fixed charge but donations are welcome. Why not bring along your craftwork and join in the discussion and fellowship?

NEWS FROM DEATH ROW, TEXAS

        Tony sends greetings and thanks to all who sent him cards for Christmas.  He is not allowed to keep them permanently but he has recorded all the names on them and says that those people are in his prayers.
   
     He tells me that one of the most insidious thoughts that attack all Death Row inmates, especially those who have been denied by their friends and relations, as he has, is that they are completely alone and forgotten.  He says "Friends become so important.  You cannot imagine how precious they are to us.  We are kept separate from each other, never meeting at all.  We make friends by shouting from cell to cell and that way get to know each other very well.  There are some good people here.  Whether they are innocent or not, I cannot say, but they are ready to talk and we help each other through the darkest thoughts and times.  Many of our fellows go mad with the loneliness and incarceration, but we try to keep each other sane."
   
     He goes on to say that Texas executed16 people last year (one more than the previous year) - 15 were men and 1 woman.  Of those, he claims 10 were his close friends.
   
     Already designated to die in 2014 are 7 people, the last one scheduled to die on May13th.  Two of those he names as his special friends.
   
     Other figures that might be of interest - and some speculation:  32 states still have the death penalty.
Of the last 9 new inmates of Death Row, 7 are black. 11 of the last 16 executions were of coloured people.
         I make no comment, but PLEASE keep these people in your minds and prayers.  God forgives all things, but Texas, it seems, does not. 
                                                                                     Shirley

 

We're connecting to our families; and fighting Information Poverty
 
        Tackling poverty has always been a priority for Christians. In Britain today we've heard of "fuel poverty" and there's "information    poverty" too.This is where services from  organisations like Government, banks and energy   companies are increasingly only available through the internet. 

        Plus, the internet and computers are a useful way for finding out what's  going on, pursuing hobbies and staying in touch with family and friends. So our church has taken the initiative to organise training sessions to help local people   understand computers and the internet.  People can have a go, safely, and in a friendly  environment.
We've won support from Opportunities Vale of Evesham and have received a grant for £3,335. Now we can get onto the internet in our Hall, Jubilee Room, and the church. We've built a partnership with a training organisation who have provided a teacher, and ten laptop computers.
   
     And now we've run our first session that was attended by ten people some of whom "switched on" for the first time. They were ably supported by a team of helpers including Julie, Peta, Bev, Kath and Mark.
         Sessions will run every two weeks and people can call in when they can, to learn at their own speed, and follow their own interests. Have a chat with Mark Pickering if you want to know more, or know of someone who might find it useful.  
 
Mark Pickering
 

Items from the December/January Broadsheet.

Dear Friends,

    What does  Christmas mean to us this year ? Is it all about the Christmas Tree Festival which is held in our Church to raise funds to help meet the needs of many over this Advent season and  beyond ?
   
Perhaps it is the late night shopping in Broadway. Or is it the thoughts of the pending Christmas dinner and catching up with family and friends at social occasions at this time of the year  giving the opportunity to indulge !!!
   
Maybe it is the thought of opening presents given to us or wrapping up presents to be sent and the last minute Christmas cards.
For some in our Church family , Christmas is a time of going down memory lane, to family days with parents, sadly no longer with us and children who now have their own family and because of distance are unable to be with us as they make Christmas for their little ones.
   
Whatever you are doing this Christmas , let us all take time to travel the road to that first Christmas and rejoice with first time parents at the birth of a son on a cold winter night in  Bethlehem and with the angels  and shepherds rejoice at the  coming into the world of the SON of GOD, Jesus to be our Saviour.

Ken, Doreen and James wish you all a very happy Christmas and GOD’s richest Blessing in the New Year.

Another Moving Story from the Occupied Palestine territory.

Hebron Reflection : Special Treatment

A few days ago , my teammate Alwyn and I were side tracked by a phone call as we left for a food shopping trip. Another group here in Hebron asked us to check out a situation at a     container checkpoint. Soldiers had stopped a staff person from a kindergarten who was  bringing in a box of snacks for the children, which the soldiers running the checkpoint deemed a security risk.

The staff person had been there an hour and would be there for more than another before the soldiers finally let him go. Alwyn and I became involved in another small human drama. A young man with Down’s syndrome came through the checkpoint. The soldiers were searching most bags at that point, so I don’t know if initially they decided to be extra thorough with him, but perhaps because he made them uncomfortable , something compelled them to make him take his belt off, pull up his shirt, take off his shoes, and pull up his pant legs. They also went through the newspaper he was carrying page by page to see if it concealed anything.

He continued up the hill afterwards, belt in hand ,cursing. He would try to put the belt through the loops of his pants, then start re-enacting the scene of humiliation again and again, yelling and shaking his fist. We joined him and tried to calm him down. An older man came by to help him with his belt, and through him we learned the young man’s name, Abed, and that his father had died recently

What seemed to restore his good humour was showing him my shopping list, and telling him in Arabic, what we needed to buy. He sat with us while we waited for people to relieve us. At one point he nudged me with his elbow, smiled ,and said, “ I’m Jewish.” “Really?” I asked . The smile widened , nearly splitting his face in half and he nodded vigorously.

Before I joined Christian Peacemakers Teams , I worked with developmentally disabled adults. I have thought over the years I have worked in Hebron, that while people with mental       disabilities here sometimes suffer worse treatment in the form of mockery on the streets than they do in the US, they often feel that they are more a part of the community than the people I worked with did. Still I guess I do expect that soldiers are going to make special allowances for young men like Abed, and not assume he is a criminal, which seems to be their default  assumption for most young men  in their twenties I know that soldiers  have taken away boys as young as  seven or eight on suspicion of throwing stones. I worry what a strong young man like Abed might face behind that gate where Israeli soldiers take the boys they detain. And I worry that we might never really find out what happens f they do.

Kathleen Kern  - Christian Peacemaking Team

Campden Home Nursing is our chosen charity to collect for this Christmas. We will be collecting at the Sunday services on the 15th and 22nd of December.
   
     Campden Area Home Nursing Trust is a Charitable Trust  established in 1990 to provide nursing care for the terminally ill who wish to be cared for at home. The service is offered to anyone living within a 7 mile    radius of Chipping Campden. The team of Registered Nurses are able to provide support for the family as well as the patient and work as a team with the  District Nurses and other medical services.
   
     There is no charge to any family for the care that is given. Campden Home Nursing rely on donations, gifts, legacies and fundraising. They have minimal administrative expenses, and over 90% of donated funds are spent on nursing.

 A Letter from Christian Aid.

        Many thanks for your kind donation of £124.50 on 29th October towards the work of Christian Aid. Your gift will help support our work in 46 of the world’s poorest  countries. Please do pass on our thanks and best wishes to them.
   
     In Egypt where only 60% of women can read or write, the education programme of our partner the Coptic Orthodox Church Bless is vital. The COC Bless gives rural  communities training and empowerment so that they can undertake their own initiatives to end    poverty. They currently run 45 literacy classes. Your gift is helping to support people like Hanan  Youseff.  Hanan loved to learn but at the age of 10 was forced to leave school  by her father. Four years ago  she heard about the literacy class and has since rekindled her love of learning. She ‘s in her first year of high school and wants to go to college. She now helps at Sunday school and visits people’s home telling them about the importance of education. The work of COC Bless is about giving people the confidence, courage and skills to claim their right to a dignified life; ensuring the poor and marginalised reclaim the power over their own development.

Christian Aid believes that communities around the world must be self reliant, community led and responsibly governed. We choose partners that share our values and put these into action. It is through your love and support that we are able to  provide this assistance.

Presentation to Mark Pickering.

Margaret Marshall, West Midlands Synod Clerk, presented Mark Pickering with his certificate upon his successful completion of the two-year TLS Foundation Course in Contextual Theology. Speaking from personal experience, Margaret described it as a demanding course that certainly helps people better understand the bible. Mark agreed, expressing his gratitude to the congregation for their support particularly in applying the learning to increase the outreach of the church including Pilots for young people, the Games Afternoon and the Reflective Garden, where this photo was taken. (Sorry, no picture.)

Items from the November Broadsheet.

Dear Friends,

The Martin family are enjoying settling into life in the beautiful village of Broadway and the manse you have worked so hard to make into a home for us. As a family we want you all to know that your hard work has not been in vain and it is appreciated so much. It is very flattering to open the curtains to see your house being photographed and when I sit on the bench outside our church , I can understand why they would want to take back a picture to show their friends at home. A big thank you to everyone.

In November the dark days of winter seem to hit us ,with the painful reminder of what it cost for us to enjoy the peace and tranquillity that we take so much for granted in theses days. Our village War Memorial bears witness to the young men who heard the call to serve King and country in what has become known as the “Great War” and twenty-one years later the “Second World war” ; both of which brought so much pain. Many in our Church Family served in the Royal Navy, Merchant    Navy, Army and Air Force , not forgetting those who toiled on the land and our women folk who took on the jobs our men left behind to go to war. All played their part in the final victory, which was won with blood, sweat and tears.

It reminds me of a great and glorious victory won on a hill just outside of Jerusalem, when the SON of GOD died on the cross for my sins and yours. JESUS CHRIST defeated Satan for all time. Oh how did GOD feel as his SON went off to earth to fight in a war against sin , to give His life? Peace did not come until we accepted the surrender. Will we surrender to JESUS and accept HIM as our Saviour ?

Your friend

Ken

Onward Journey

Bags with associated coats in neat and separated piles. Individuals seated in deep reflection. Threesomes in happy and excited discussion. Pairs  hugging and saying fond farewells, occasionally tearful.
The departure lounge at an international airport?
No. The end of my TLS training programme at Ely. The occasion seemed to possess symmetry since my journey to learn more about the Christian faith, and how to share it, had begun here two years ago with my fellow travellers from all over the country.
My first question, on my first afternoon, in my first private discussion with my tutor had been " What do Christians actually mean by Mission?"
So I came to learn of the Great Commission (Matthew, chapter 28, verses 19 and 20), of the Greatest Commandment (Matthew, Chapter 22, verse 37), and much , much more.
I learned with, and from, my co-travellers. En-route I made new friends and discovered new examples of what being Christian means and I found new resources to help along the way.
Very nearly all of those adventurers are now embarking on new programmes to develop the kingdom.
Perhaps that last afternoon was, after all, the launch pad for the next leg of our journeys with Christ?

Mark Pickering

An Unforgettable Visit      Michael Eden

On the 14th September I drove into the concentration camp at Auschwitz, in Poland. It was a strange feeling, as with every one of you, I had heard of the place and seen many pictures of it. The first thing that surprised me was the huge number of people who were visiting, with over 20 coaches, mini buses and cars in the parking area. Somehow it seemed wrong, but as it is now a World Heritage Site, they were only doing what me and members of my family were doing, just visiting. There are in fact 3 camps, the first is the former Polish army barracks that was taken over by the Germans, but this proved to be too small so they had built Auschwitz - Birkenau (number 2). The third was smaller and housed workers for the industrial unit next to the camp. This no longer exists. The entrance to Auschwitz 1 is through the gate that bears the motto, 'Work brings freedom', it didn't, for the majority who entered it brought death. This site contains the main museum where you can see the hair, shoes, suitcases, children's clothes, carpets made of human hair and other personal items and also harrowing photographs of many of the prisoners. The horrible bits I'm not going to mention. I walked into the only gas chamber on that site, a low building that had been adapted from a weapons store, the experience was very moving.

One thing the Europeans do not do is queue in an orderly fashion as we do, so it was a scrum to get onto the coach to take us to Auschwitz 2. (and back again) The thing that staggered everyone was the shear size of the place, about 1 square mile with the remains of the huts further than you could see. One of the pictures that is familiar to us is of the railway line that runs under the archway into the camp. My photograph is taken at the far end of the line, and for vast numbers of people that is what it was. The cattle trucks were unloaded of people, if they were still alive, after days with no food or water. They were selected for work or death and either side of me were gas chambers and crematoria, so it was off the train, leave your luggage on the floor and go and get a shower to freshen up. In many ways they were the lucky ones, the rest were worked to death in totally appalling conditions. The most moving thing on this site are 2 ponds. Holes were dug to put the ashes of those who had been cremated, but they soon became too small. The thing that makes them so special is that the water is still grey from the ashes. We all stood in silence around a pond, the most moving part of the visit.

I drove out of Auschwitz, multiple thousands never left. It was worse than I had expected. Have we learnt anything from the horrors of this place? No.

 

 

PRAYER IS THE BEST WEAPON WE HAVE AGAINST INJUSTICE.

That said, please read this and think about adding these thoughts to your daily prayers

Matthew 25 v43  I was in prison and you did not look after me.

In many parts of the world the death penalty still exists. It exists in America for the crime of murder.  34 states still use it.  Rather than argue my opinions on that, I want to draw your attention to what happens between the passing of sentence and its execution. 

A convicted murderer is sent to Death Row.  I am writing particularly about Texas because I have a pen friend there.  I have checked what he tells me with a friend who has visited Texas to collect information, and on the Internet, where the authorities seem to boast about the way they conduct their procedures. 

Tony has been there for 10 years—ten years of solitary confinement in a room no bigger than your bathroom, with no heating in winter—(heating pipes are installed but not used for Death Row).  In Summer the temperatures rise to three figures. Unconfirmed reports say as high as 111 degrees so far this year and at least 3 men have died of the heat.  The only regular times they are taken out is for one hour’s exercise and a shower each week—always providing there are two guards with the time and inclination to take them and bring them back. 

 They were sentenced to death, not solitary confinement!

Solitary confinement means no contact with other prisoners except by shouting to one another.  It means that all his personal belongings, clothes, stationery, toiletries, Bible, must fit in a box 1 foot by 1 foot, by 1 foot.  He has no newspapers.  He gets a book if someone thinks to bring a book-trolley round—once a fortnight.  I paid for him, legally, to have a radio, but it was confiscated because the guards said he had “adapted” it, which he denied.  It was  a newer design than the picture they used for comparison Alright, of course he did say that, but as he points out, why would he do such a thing when it meant risking the  loss of his treasure? He has no money so he cannot buy toilet paper and the allocation is one roll per month.  He buys writing paper, stamps and pens with what I can send him.  If I don’t send, he can’t write He can see a doctor or dentist free of charge, but apart from pulling a tooth without pain relief, must pay for any treatment

There are pastors and ministers, yes, but not enough to visit all the prisoners.  Their visits are timed and they are discouraged from talking to Death Row prisoners because they are told that “there is no chance of reforming them” so it is better to use their time working with the short term men. Tony gave up his criminal life and joined a church some years before he was arrested but they disowned him when he was arrested and he has had no visit from clergy during his 10 years imprisonment and has never received communion.

I could go on but let’s return to the problem of conditions on Death Row.  Prison inmates in Polunsky Unit number between 400 and 600, both men and women, on Death Row.  Yes, 600 although of course it varies. Between the time they are convicted and the time of their execution they may remain on Death Row for up to 30 years.  That time depends on the government and the lawyers completing their arguments.  The prisoners have no say in what legal proceedings are done on their behalf nor are they allowed to opt for the death sentence to be carried out early.

Texas executes 20 times as many as the rest of the USA states combined.  In Texas the sentence is carried out by lethal injection but the drugs used are becoming hard to obtain as the countries that manufacture them increasingly restrict the supply.  So are they   planning to rethink the Death Penalty?  NO.  They are planning to introduce a gas chamber  instead.

My latest letters from Tony are distraught.  FIVE of his personal “friends” - those that he has been able to contact by shouting  have been executed in the last few months. We get upset when our friends die of natural causes….Can you imagine how he must feel?  Since 1982, Texas has executed over 500 men and women. Still to come this year: Robert Garza, Sept 19th, Artura Diaz, Sept 26, Michale Yowell, October 9th, Larry Hatton, October (I don’t know th exact date), Jamie McCosky, November 12th. Rigoberto Avila Jr, January 19th.  Four new inmates arrived in the last three months and the army psychiatrist who has been in the news recently is on his way there as I write.

When Tony was arrested his family as well as his church disowned him so no one visits.  He says that now he has only his lawyers and me, and  he is one of many who feel lost and  abandoned.. I belong to a charity that finds penfriends for these men.  I shall continue to do  so and to support him as best I can, not because I believe he is innocent—he admits he is not, nor because he claims to have repented and made his peace with God, although I do sincerely believe it.  He is a fervent Christian, and we often discuss our beliefs, but that has no bearing on the matter that concerns me.

Jesus Christ was a prisoner and tortured.  He said “Whatever you did for one or these     brothers of mine, you did for me.”  Matt 25, v39  NIV Bible

Sheer human decency must surely cry out against this type of treatment. Please take time occasionally in your prayers to ask that the conditions of imprisonment on Death Row are changed to be more merciful for all  whose lives are lived there.

Shirley Caddy

 

Items from the September Broadsheet.

Dear Friends, For me, the start of September means a return to school after a lovely long summer holiday. It means a new school year, a new start to the term, new children arriving in school and new classes to teach. I have always thought myself lucky to have two ‘new years’ in a year to play with. As someone who is not very good at keeping New Year’s resolutions I need a second chance to make that good impression. My summer holidays started with a very wet and windy trip ‘up north’ to Preston in Lancashire to attend my best friend’s wedding. I have to say that I spent most of the trip praying that it would brighten up. God listened. The dark clouds and rain disappeared and the sun shone. It was a wonderful day. The bride was radiant and the groom didn’t stop smiling all day. I couldn’t have asked for more for them. What a day to start a new life together. The wedding vows stating in front of their family and friends their new life’s resolutions – to love, honour, care and respect each other for their rest of their lives. Just one random day in the middle of the year. So why has it become so important to wait until specific times of the year to start again? To make that conscious decision to go to the gym, lose weight; stop eating so much chocolate (I’ve never managed that one!). Perhaps we should all remember a little more often that God gives us a fresh start every day. The minute we wake up in the morning, God is there giving us the opportunity to get our day off to a positive start, encouraging us and giving us the strength we need to succeed. There are days I admit when that support seems more obvious to me than others. When I wake up to the sound of birds singing and the river trundling past the door of my tent when I am on holiday in France, when the weather is warm and I have time to relax, it is then I have the chance to see what is going on around me. It is then I seem to have the time and the energy to ‘do the right thing’. Unfortunately however long a teacher’s holiday seems to be, there are many more times when I have to turn to God for the care and support that I need to see a small ray of sunshine in a day. These are the times that I find ‘doing the right thing’ not so easy. It is at these times that I have to remind myself that I can succeed at what God calls me to do, if I listen for His instructions. Proverbs 8 in the Good News Bible is titled ‘In Praise of Wisdom’. I have a version of Verse 17 in the front of my school diary "If you seek Me early and diligently, you will find me". Wisdom, support and hope all rolled into one. Perhaps because this is the end of my summer holidays and I have spent an awful lot of the last six weeks reading, I will finish off this letter using the words of someone fictional. Anne Shirley, from Anne of Green Gables, reminds us “isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it…yet?” God knows that each day we will have new resolutions, he will support, guide and care for us, but we will make mistakes. So, he will pick us up, forgive us and remind us there is always a new day to try again. Megan Thomas.

Your Comments     The IF Campaign What is in a word? A great deal in the case of IF, the lead slogan in the campaign against worldwide food poverty. In 1962 John F. Kennedy said “We have the means, we have the capacity to eliminate hunger from the face of the earth in our lifetime. We need only the will.” Yet , in spite of this alarm call, nearly one billion people go to bed hungry every night and three million children die from malnutrition each year. There will be enough food for everyone IF the united voice of more than a hundred charities and churches can help to pressurise the world’s leaders to act on four big issues. They are Aid, Tax, Transparency and Land. Already there is some success on aid ,so essential to oil the wheels of any progress towards combatting hunger. In the U.K. successive governments have promised 0.7% of national income for overseas aid and this was confirmed in the 2013 budget. Charity must reach out beyond home and it was heartening during the recent Christian aid collection that, even in difficult times ,people were prepared to give more than the previous year. On tax, there is a mixed picture . In July G20 finance ministers made a first landmark step to remove gaps in the international tax structure which allow multi nationals to decide for themselves where they pay tax ,rather than being forced to pay where the economic activity occurs. The biggest losers in the current situation are poor countries where raw materials are extracted or produced but whose exchequers do not benefit. Unfortunately, in spite of recent progress, the need to involve developing nations on an equal footing with larger economies has not yet been recognised. The two remaining IFs, land and transparency are scarcely more than aspirations although both represent vital battles in the war against malnutrition and starvation. Struggling farmers in poor countries have their land grabbed by rich companies who use it to produce bio fuel for cars rather than crops that can feed their people. However for the first time ever, land grabs were on the G8 agenda in Northern Ireland. Transparency is required in land acquisition so that deals which harm people can be prevented.It is also necessary to have greater financial transparency from the governments of developing countries to hold them to account for their spending. Indeed all governments should be encouraged to publish a breakdown of their budgets which is both accessible and understandable. Companies too should be required to be transparent about their actions which affect the food system. At least the G8 leaders agreed that such information from companies should be open to scrutiny by tax authorities in developing countries. There have been victories but there is much yet to be achieved . These matters may sometimes seem more political than religious. However, the injunction to love one’s neighbour should ensure that the Churches continue to put their collective shoulder to this particular wheel.

 

On the 6th October we shall be holding our annual collection for Christian Aid.

This harvest, as we celebrate God’s bountiful creation ,our church is standing alongside communities in Brazil whose most important harvest is under massive threat. Did you know they cannot be cultivated: they do not survive without the complex forest ecosystem and are dependent on particular types of bees, orchids and rodents that live there. Every March, Bebé Albenize and her community work incredibly hard gathering Brazil nuts from the rainforest. These nuts play a central role in the life of the community, who live in poverty. They provide vital nutrients in a place where upto 10 per cent of children are malnourished ,and they are virtually the only source of income for buying essentials like medicine. Without the nuts, life would be almost impossible for the community: and yet the rainforest is under threat from mining and logging companies. That’s why Christian Aid partner the Pro-Indigenous Commission of São Paulo (CPI) is helping the community gain the legal rights to its land. As we celebrate God’s good gifts this harvest, let us remember CPI’s work , Bebé’s community and their struggle to protect this complex and fragile creation. This harvest, we are helping them bear fruit for the future. Thank you so much for all you can give. ‘Pray for us to find a way to make a living from the Brazil nuts and continue living here on our lands.’ – Bebé Albenize Donations to the harvest appeal will support Christian Aid’s work in Brazil and around the world.—Tabitha Ross, taken from the Christian Aid website. Michael Payne

More About Caring Hands    Caring Hands serves lunches twice a week but at all other times, people have to manage with food in tins. Last year, Caring Hands gave out over 100 back packs and over 400 food parcels. Many of the tins are given by churches including ours. Not all of the people are “homeless” ; some are sleeping on a friend’s sofa and some have moved into a new home but have no furniture and no money to buy any. Some have young children but none of the necessities for taking care of them. At times like this, Caring Hands can help.. Some people are short of clothes. Caring Hands can often give them a complete change of clothes. Sometimes people need smarter clothes to go to a job interview ie. a clean shirt or blouse or even a tie. Caring Hands can help. They also give out laundry packs so that some people can wash their own clothes. So much for all the material things that people need. Most of them also need someone to talk to ,advice and/or help with filling in forms or getting information and this is also part of what Caring Hands does. Caring hands has a number of volunteers working at the centre. Some of them needed help themselves in the past and have just stayed on . One lady said that she has been washing up for years but she is obviously proud to be doing it, so Caring Hands gives their volunteers a sense of purpose—which is wonderful. Diane and her helpers often go to schools and other organisations to tell other people about what they do and why. They also go to various Harvest festivals and Christmas celebrations. At Harvests ,they benefit from being given some of the produce. At Christmas, they try to take presents for children who will not get many , particularly those who have a parent or guardian in prison. So what does Caring Hands do? It helps whoever it can , whenever it can and however it can. It teaches people about God and makes them feel that their lives are worth living. The centre is a place where people make friends. And what more do they want to do? They dream of having facilities somewhere where people can have a shower and a shave. They also want to provide a laundry where things could be washed ,dried and ironed. I thought that actually meeting the people at the centre might make me want to weep. It didn’t. INSTEAD I WANTED TO CHEER.     Val Williams.

 

Items from the July/August Broadsheet.

A Thought for the Month: 

“God’s Encompassing Love”   Recent tragic events in the news may have caused us to ask: “Where is a God of Love in all this?”  The following quotation, which was sent to me at a time of sadness in my own life, may help us.  
“If the creation is a work of love its ‘security’ lies not in its conformity to some pre-determined plan but in the unsparing love which will not abandon a single fragment of it, and man’s assurance must be the assurance not that all that happens is determined by God’s plan, but that all that happens is encompassed by his love.”
  (W.H.Vanstone)   
  A verse from hymn 95:  God is love, and is enfolding  all the world in one embrace;…..  and when human hearts are breaking under sorrow’s iron rod,  that same sorrow, that same aching wrings with pain the heart of God.  (Timothy Rees)    

Susan Nuttall 

The Memorial Plates to the Trehernes.      Michael Eden

Over the past few months I have written about the Stained Glass windows and their origins and possible connection with the teaching of the Essenes. It would be interesting to find out if there is any record of them in our church records, now safely stored in the County archives. I asked if anyone knew any Welsh and sure enough I have translations for the mottos on the memorial plates. ‘I DDOW BOR DIOCH’ and IDDUW BOR DIOLCH’, both roughly translate as, ‘Thanks be to God’ and ‘To God give thanks’. The word ‘TRAHAEARN’ means ‘very much like iron’, and the Welsh for iron is ‘HEARN’ which I think also means heaven. I wonder if the pig refers to pig iron. The tree appears to be an Olive Tree and that has already been mentioned. It would seem that Emma was the daughter of Robert and Jane Careless, whose memorial stone is outside the church. It has already been mentioned that Emma attended this church and Captain Owen the parish church. This would have been very much a Romeo and Juliet situation because in those days Chapel and Church did not mix, so their marriage would have caused quite a stir. I am quite sure there is more to this story, did they have children for instance? I did wonder if their was any connection with the Olive Branch across the road, as our forefathers (and mothers) once met there, but it appears not to be the case as the name Olive refers to a previous owner and it was a branch of her tea shop business

 

Dear Friends

So Christian Aid Week (CAW) is completed for another year: all the envelopes have been collected, all the monies counted and banked. The money-gathering is without doubt the main object of the exercise and it is good that, this year, Broadway’s overall takings are just above 2012’s, despite the tough economic climate. Another plus is the manner in which all four churches come together and, with a combined will, work to cover the whole village: this year there were about 35 Anglicans, Catholics, Methodists and URC members walking the streets and collecting. This also means that one week a year almost every Broadway home has a visible Christian at the door. Next year we hope to continue increasing the overall sum raised. We can no longer find uncollected roads to boost our total, so we will have somehow to increase the income from the roads we already have. Firstly, maybe we can find more collectors, so that those who currently do several roads can focus more on fewer houses, maybe by returning for a additional trawls where necessary. Secondly, we can try to increase the Gift-Aided proportion of donations, currently just below 40%. Finally, we can improve local publicity, although national TV adverts were most effective this year and were frequently mentioned on the doorstep. Other points this year: for the first time a householder spoke of texting in their donation to central CAW offices: this is bound to happen more often as young folk in particular start to send donations electronically. The envelope/street collection days are perhaps numbered, which would be a pity as personal contact will be lost, but not for some time yet. As the National CAW team continue to receive and assess this year’s collection, let us pray that God's will is done as the monies are forwarded to those people in different parts of the world who are in severe need – there are still very many.

Having been fortunate enough to live in Asia and Africa, I have seen at first-hand how well-targeted money and expertise can help people in need of the very practical basics of life, be they food, water, shelter, work, medical and social care, schooling, transport, security or any combination of the above.

Sometimes life can be improved very simply – a borehole or several hundred yards of plastic piping placed in the correct position can bring water to a dry settlement where many hours have been spent carrying water pots. This can then release time and energy for people to do other life-enhancing work.

“Yes, we can make a difference” (Christian Aid Week theme for 2013), demonstrating our Christian love for all mankind.

Ann Walters

Christian Aid Week – 2013

The amount collected in Broadway during May’s Christian Aid Week was £2,859. With the addition of tax on Gift-aided donations the total will be £3,137. This is slightly higher than last year and, given the difficult economic situation, is a splendid effort.
The amount collected by the United Reformed Church was £1,034 (2012 - £871) plus £97 (80) tax from gift aid.

Many thanks to all who worked so hard to achieve this excellent result.    Sheila

 

10 years of Caring Hands 
        On June 16th Caring Hands in the Vale held a thanksgiving service for their tenth anniversary. It was wonderful. 60 or more people sat around tables and when I went in everyone was talking to each other. Nobody was on their own. I sat with five ladies who made me welcome and looked after me. At 6.30 we started with a prayer followed by the gospel hymn “Whatever it takes…” sung with great feeling to music from an electric guitar and a set of drums. After a reading from Matthew 25 , Diane Bennett, their social worker, gave a presentation on “What does Caring hands do?” It is overwhelming and very humbling. She started by asking “What would you do if one day you found that you could not go home after school or work?” You would not have a kitchen, a bedroom, a bathroom ,a living room or a toilet. You would have to wear the same clothes including underwear, until you could replace them however ragged or dirty they became. This was the situation which initiated the idea of back packs. At first they did not know what to put in them but now they contain plastic plates and cutlery and a mechanical tin opener, one change of underwear, some toiletries ,some food , a bottle of water, a waterproof bag for important papers, a mechanical torch ( people with no money cannot buy batteries) and the essential toilet roll. There is also a towel and a blanket or one of the metallic wraps such as are used by runners at the end of a marathon. Also there may be a small tent and /or sleeping bag if there are any available. Diane had a lot more to say so I will tell you about that at a later date. The last thing that Diane said to me was “ Please say a big thank-you to everyone at Broadway URC “ so “ Many, many thanks from Caring Hands and from me for all that you do “ GOD BLESS YOU ALL.       Val Williams

Items from the June Broadsheet.

A Thought for the Month: “The Holy Trinity”

Many people find the idea of the Trinity (God “1 in 3 and 3 in 1”) a difficult concept. A Professor of Theology was walking along a Cambridge Street, trying to explain the Trinity to an atheist friend. A taxi passed, with three occupants. The atheist asked: “Is that what you mean – like three people in one taxi?” The Professor paused, then replied: “No, it’s more like one person in three taxis!”

Another way of expressing it: “I cannot speak of God, without using what I know of him through Jesus, through the Holy Spirit. I cannot speak of Jesus, without reference to what he shows us of God, and to his continuing power and presence through the Spirit. I cannot speak of the Holy Spirit, without speaking of God and of Jesus.” (Anon)

Prayer: “Praise Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!”

Susan Nuttall

Response to ‘The Lies we tell ourselves’

The May edition of ‘Reform’ contains an excellent article setting out the misconceptions that seem to be an integral part of any debate about welfare payments. Whilst it is necessary to control all Government expenditure, it seems that those on benefits are a soft touch when the Government want to score a few ‘Brownie Points’ with the general public. The Free Churches report may not make any difference, but at least they are doing something. In the ‘Truth and Lies’ report it states, “The systematic misrepresentation of the poorest in society is a matter of injustice which all Christians have a responsibility to challenge.” You may not need financial support today, just as you may not need a doctor because you are well, but one day you might, you never know what the future holds.

 Are we still 'Non-Conformists?'   

The original founders of this church were called 'Dissenters', 'Independents', and 'Non-Conformist'. It was a battle against the Government, the established church and other people to start this church. As we sit in our comfortable chairs with central heating and a hearing system, have we forgotten our origins in Buckland Wood? Are we now 'Conformists'?   Your comments in about 250 words to the Broadsheet editor or hand written in the green folder. All submissions will be anonymous unless you indicate otherwise.  

 The St. John Window. 
    The other window is called ‘The St. John Window’. It depicts St. John with what we must assume to be a Bible under his right arm and in his left hand is a flask. Coming out of it is a snake or serpent. The Bible is the Word of God that St. John is reputed to have spread in his work. Early pictures of St. John show him with a Bible or writing, but none that I have found show him with a snake. The serpent or snake is a very interesting feature. It has been used as a symbol for healing for a long time. When I did research for a visit by the children from Broadway First School, I came to the conclusion that its origin was in Greek mythology. The snake and staff symbol is traditionally associated with the single snake emblem of Asklepios. It may also go back to when Moses and the Israelites were in the desert. They moaned about the food and serpents came and killed a lot of them. They then created a bronze serpent on a pole that protected them. (Numbers C21 v 5-9). It is the logo for the NHS and also I noticed it on the back of an ambulance in Egypt. (It was on television). The other point of interest is that the NHS logo has the olive branches incorporated into it, the same branches that appear in the Charity window and on the trees in the family crest. As mentioned earlier, the Essenes had hospitals and so the use of the snake as a symbol for healing may possibly have been used by them, especially as it is depicted in the story of Moses, which they would have known about, being avid students of the Old Testament. One reference I found does connect this event to the Essenes. The one main difference is that in early depictions the snake is coiled around a rod or staff, but in the window and the NHS logo it is around a flask. There are two sets of letters that appear to be ‘SI’. After some research I think the ‘I’ is probably an old way of writing ‘J’, so it could mean Saint John.
    Are these windows inspired by the teaching of the Essenes? If there was just one window then it could just be taken as a pretty window, but all stained glass windows tell a story. In days of old they were a means of telling people who could not read, stories from the bible, or other important things. These two windows certainly tell a story and the fact that they can be directly linked to the teaching and practices of the Essenes may be a coincidence, or true. Another factor is that neither the dove or olive branch are mentioned in the New Testament. This may be coincidental or related to the fact that when the Bible as we know it was put together, many elements of early Christianity were left out or altered to suit the needs of the early Christian rulers. Could it be that this symbol of healing was also left out, or indeed not revealed, to the early painters? It would be very interesting to find out if this is the case. It is also of interest to note that some of the healing services we have take place in view of the St. John window, very fitting now we know what it means.

Items from the May Broadsheet.

A Thought for the Month: Forgive and Forget.

A friend of Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, once reminded her of an especially cruel thing that someone had done to her years before. Miss Barton seemed not to remember it. Her friend said: “Surely you remember it?” “No”, came the reply. “I distinctly remember forgetting it.” Have any of us something that we need to forgive and forget? Prayer: Lord, every new day is my opportunity to put the past behind and step out into the future. The past has a habit of making itself felt, and I have a weakness of harbouring resentments. The future is better then the past, because it is where you are taking me: the future in which I will forgive and be forgiven.” (from a prayer by Alan Gaunt in ‘Each Day’s Delight’)

Revd. Susan Nuttall.

Open the Book, Easter Assembly.   Michael Eden.  
 We made history on Wednesday 27th March when Broadway First School and St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School joined together in St. Saviour’s church for their Easter Assembly. Children from both schools helped in telling the Easter story to a packed church. It was the first time pupils from Broadway First had been in the church, as a school, and those at the front asked questions about the statues and other items to be found at the altar end of the church. We have not spoken to the Headmaster of Broadway First, but the Headmistress of St. Mary’s has asked for a repeat of the joint assembly.

Dear Friends,     Spring, a season of renewal and expectation Encouraged again by the joy and hope of Easter, we are now also starting to experience the joys and hopes of a new season of nature’s re-awakening and growth, albeit somewhat restricted by the unusually cold weather which we experienced in March and early April. Here, in our church, we are also seeing the first shoots of new developments, with the considerations being given to recruiting someone to help in our outreach to the community and, of course, in our search for a new minister. As many of you will now be aware, the Elders met the Revd Kenneth Martin in March and have invited him, in that quaint URC phrase, to “preach with a view” on Sunday 19th May. On the day before, Saturday 18th May there will be a tea and time for discussion to enable as many members of the church family to meet Ken and his family and, of course, for him to meet us too. Everyone (not just church members) is encouraged to keep this weekend available to meet with, and listen to, Ken. After Ken has preached he will join us for coffee and there will be a further informal time for folk to talk to him. Once he has departed there will be a special church meeting for members and Elders to discuss what they have heard, before there is a paper vote to decide whether to invite Ken to become our minister. Choosing a new minister is a big step for a church. Each person brings his or her own gifts and abilities, which may well be quite different from their predecessor. The right person can be a source of great joy, encouragement and spiritual development. One who is not in tune with the congregation can have the opposite effect. So we need to consider well and pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in making our decision. In the two and a half years since Kathryn left us, the life of the church has continued to move forward. We have maintained the services, activities and spiritual life, and have started to plan for the future outreach into the community. We pray that, whatever decisions are made over the next few months, they will be according to God’s will for his church here in Broadway and the needs of the people it seeks to serve. 
      Michael Payne

 

Extracts from A Palestinian Litany from Jerusalem By Bishop Munib Younan 

Almighty and eternal God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we glorify and praise you. You are our only refuge in this troubled world. We glorify and praise you, our God.

Merciful God, in the birth of your Son Jesus Christ, in Bethlehem you became one of us, sharing and understanding our humanity, our suffering and problems. We glorify and praise you, our God. 
We thank you that you took refuge to Egypt, identifying yourself with all who are refugees and victims of the political power. We thank you, our God. 
We thank you that you grew up in Nazareth and ministered to the people in Galilee, and spread your kingdom in a new way. We thank you, our God. 
We thank you that you were crucified in Jerusalem, identifying yourself with every person who suffers and lives under occupation and injustice. On the cross you carried the sin and the suffering of all human beings and reconciled us with you and with our fellow human beings. We thank you, our God.
Our Heavenly Father, we come before you with all the troubles and pains we are experiencing here in the Middle East: Lord, have mercy on us. 
We pray for all the victims of the injustices and violence in present situation. We pray also for those who are responsible for injustices and all forms of violence. Lord, have mercy on us. 
We pray for our laborers who cannot enter to their places of work. We pray for our youth who are loosing their hope for the future. Lord, have mercy on us. 
We pray for our mothers who are fed up with bloodshed, killing and the use of arms. We pray for the bereaved families, who lost their dear ones. We pray for the quick recovery of the injured. We especially pray for the those who have to live with permanent disability. Lord, have mercy on us.     
Jesus, our Savior, our eyes look to you, our only help in these troubled times: Lord, hear our prayer 
We pray for the politicians, that they may realize that the security and peace we all long for will not come by the use of arms and force, but by having justice done so that the two peoples can reconcile and together work out an equitable coexistence for the future. Lord, hear our prayer. 
Lord Jesus, you have shown us that forgiveness is not forgetting ones rights but asserting them. We know that forgiving is to see Christ in our enemies, and to love them as our neighbors. Help us Palestinians to see you in the Israelis, and help the Israelis to see you in us. Lead us all to affirm and respect that our humanity is a gift from you, as we are all created in your image, and give us courage to mutually recognize each other’s human, religious, civil and political rights. Lord, hear our prayer. 
Holy Spirit , giver of life and new beginnings, help us to faithfully respond to God’s call to be ministers of reconciliation. Come, Holy Spirit, renew us all. Help us to find ways of encouraging people to open their hearts and confess their part in the past injustices and find ways to build a just and secure future for our children. Give us wisdom and courage in this difficult task. When the pressures of the situation make us despair, come with your Holy Spirit and renew our strength and hope. Come, Holy Spirit, renew us all Merciful God, accept our prayer and yearning. You are the only strength we have. No one can take the power of prayer away from us. In the name of Jesus – our Liberator and Redeemer – we pray. Amen                 Shared by the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer

The Stained Glass Windows.      The Essene Connection – or Coincidence?      Michael Eden. 
Last month I wrote about the origins of the Stained Glass Windows. This article tells about the research I have done into their meaning.

The Charity Window. This window shows a woman giving a gold coin to a man who is with a woman and child, presumably his family. In addition a young woman is holding a tray of buns, each with a cross on. To the left is a building with an open door and inside the building is a table set with food and a flask, it could be just a meal or perhaps the representation of communion. To the right is a lych gate with a building with a cross on it, presumably a church. Two doves are flying overhead. These are representations of the Holy Spirit and also of Peace. They predate Christianity and are connected to the story of Noah when a dove brought back an olive leaf. Behind the main woman are what appear to be olive branches. The Olive Tree represents plenty and the Greeks thought it drove away evil spirits. At the bottom of the picture are wild flowers which may or may not, be of significance. The Essenes were very well known for their hospitality and charitable work. They had both hospitals and homes where people could take refuge and be looked after. Also, women were equal to men so perhaps this is represented by the two women giving the alms. However, Mr. Freeman says it is at the Convent gate, whether it is a Convent or not cannot be determined, except that one building has a cross on it.

More to follow next month……..

The Lies We Tell Ourselves: Ending Comfortable Myths About Poverty 
“Churches have a special interest in speaking truthfully about poverty. The systematic misrepresentation of the poorest in society is a matter of injustice which all Christians have a responsibility to challenge.” 
1. ‘They’ are lazy and don’t want to work Child poverty is most commonly blamed, by churchgoers and the general public alike, on “their parents not wanting to work”. Yet the majority of children in poverty are from working households. In-work poverty is now more common than out-of-work poverty. 
2. ‘They’ are addicted to drink and drugs Churchgoers and the wider public cite addiction as the second most common cause of child poverty. While addiction is devastating for the families and communities touched by it, fewer than 4% of benefit claimants report any form of addiction. 
3. ‘They’ are not really poor – they just don’t manage their money properly Nearly 60% of the UK population believes that the poor could cope if only they handled their money properly. The experience of living on a low income is one of constant struggle to manage limited resources, with small events having serious consequences. Statistics show that the poorest spend their money carefully, limiting themselves to the essentials. 
4. `They’ are on the
fiddle Over 80% of the UK population believe that “large numbers falsely claim benefits”. Benefit fraud has decreased to historically low levels - the kind of levels that the tax system can only dream of. Less than 0.9% of the welfare budget is lost to fraud. 
5. ‘They’ have an easy life Over half the British public believes benefits are too high. Government ministers speak of families opting for benefits as a lifestyle choice. Yet we know that benefits do not meet minimum income standards. They have halved in value relative to average incomes over the last 30 years. We know the ill and the unemployed are the people least satisfied and happy with life. 
6. ‘They’ caused the deficit The proportion of our tax bills spent on welfare has remained stable for the last 20 years. It is ridiculous to argue, as some have, that increasing welfare spending is responsible for the current deficit. Public debt is a problem but why is it being laid at the feet of the poorest? 
Read the new report from the Baptist Union, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church and the Church of Scotland and find more resources at www.jointpublicissues.org.uk/truthandlies 

What is our Christian and moral response to those less fortunate in society? We would you like to hear your thoughts on this topic which was recently submitted to the government. Please send your comments (max. 250 words ) to broadsheet.editor @hotmail.co.uk or leave it handwritten in the green folder and they will be included in our new, and hopefully, regular comments and discussion article each month. You may remain anonymous if you wish. 

Kath Pickering Broadsheet Publisher

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Items from the April Broadsheet. 

A Thought for the Month:  
    Easter Joy for all seasons One of my favourite Easter hymns is “Now the green blade rises from the buried grain …. Love is come again like wheat that springs up green” (R&S 243) It echoes the words of Martin Luther: “Our Lord has written the promise of the Resurrection not in words alone, but in every leaf in springtime.” So much of our Easter imagery speaks of Christ’s Resurrection in terms of springtime. We celebrate with displays of spring flowers – and even the popular secular images of eggs and baby chickens have the same symbolism! Yet, as I remember relatives and friends in New Zealand and Australia – and now my grandson, Peter, in South Africa - who are celebrating Easter in the southern hemisphere’s autumn, I find it a challenging perspective Autumn and winter precede the new life of springtime. The darkness of Holy Week and Good Friday precede the joy of Easter Resurrection. The last verse of the hymn may speak to us when life is difficult and dark for us,  “When our hearts are wintry, grieving or in pain then your touch can call us back to life again ... Love is come again like wheat that springs up green”. May Easter Joy be ours in every season of the year and of our lives.     Revd. Susan Nuttall.

We only get one chance to make a good first impression.
         Our church has decided to increase our involvement with our local community. We want to add to the warm and friendly welcome that greets all visitors to our church with good communications outside it. To find out about best practice in communications Mark Pickering, one of our elders, attended training in “Communications-grabbing opportunities, avoiding pitfalls” at the URC Windermere Centre. He was one of over 25 delegates who were aged from 25-ish to 70-ish. Interestingly, one church had sent six people so they could immediately discuss what they had heard first hand and how to use it for their church. Here’s what Mark thought about the weekend. “As the saying goes “We only get one chance to make a good first impression”. So churches need to scrutinise our communications. With a Christian purpose, three true communications professionals led the course. I picked up loads of hot tips regarding publications, websites and the new ways of communicating, including podcasts and twitter. I also had the chance to discuss and consider their suitability to our church. The main thing I learned was the importance of understanding who our audiences are and how to consider the best way of reaching them”.

Extract from Moving Stories February 2013 -Christian Peacemaking Team 2012
 Al Khalil ( Hebron ) : An Unholy day.
 On Sundays back home , I sleep in, have a leisurely breakfast and take a beautiful , ten minute walk along the lake shore to my local church. A heron perched on a rock often peers at me as I go by. Then I walk through a wonderful field of bluebells, or daffodils depending on the season. As I walk the rocky path up through the fields I hear the bell toll and pass through a kissing gate before I enter the grand church doors where the welcome greets me with a handshake. Then I go and find my place on a pew. After the service the congregation gathers for coffee and biscuits. This ritual helps me keep my day of rest and prayer and reminds me of God’s goodness. Friday is the Muslim Holy day. The main prayer is at around 11.30am at the beautiful Ibrahami Mosque. The call to prayer is as holy as the tolling bells in my home church. The journey these worshippers must go through every Friday though is very different from my journey to church. First of all , worshippers pass through a checkpoint with a turnstile on either side and a metal detector in the middle. Men young and old must take out keys and money from their pockets and remove their belts to go through. Women often have their bags searched. It is not unusual for the Israeli military (IDF) to let only one person through at a time ; the queue then stretches to the market. People can be queuing for over an hour. Even after the checkpoint, the border police can call you over, body search you again and often take your ID. Armed soldiers and border police are everywhere. They often point their weapons directly at people including women and children. After the checkpoint and bag and body searches worshipers must pass through yet another checkpoint and metal detector. Worshipers leaving the Mosque after prayers must retrieve their IDs, which have been taken and checked by the IDF. There is often another queue here as the IDF return the IDs one by one. Why do worshipers have to go through all of this on their holy day? Because in this land ,the victims are often the ones to be punished. In 1994 Baruch Goldstein entered this mosque and killed 29 muslims whilst they were praying. The Mosque was then closed for several months. When it reopened it had been divided in two parts , a synagogue and a mosque. On the synagogue side there are no checkpoints. There is a metal detector; we often see Jewish settlers with guns across their shoulders . The guns remain with them as they enter the synagogue gardens. After the massacre this double standard treatment seems unfair. Can you imagine going through this tiresome ordeal every week to be able to worship?

The Stained Glass Windows.    By Michael Eden. 
        In my service on the 24th February I mentioned the coincidence of the subjects in the windows with that of the teaching of the Essene sect, to which it is considered that Jesus belonged. I wondered how many of you knew the origin of the windows, so I am going to copy the article in the book about the history of this church written by Mr. A. V. (Val) Freeman.  (Written in 1992) 

“For upwards of a hundred years a family, by name Careless, was connected with the Congregational Church here in Broadway and is still represented in the URC in this district by Mrs. Flexman of the Malvern Link Church. One member of this family, Emma Careless, became the wife of Captain Owen Treherne, who settled in Broadway at Greylands, a property at the top end of the village.  Emma Treherne remained faithful to the Church of her family and continued to worship in the Congregational Chapel; her husband was an Anglican and worshipped in the Parish Church. When Emma died her husband desired to erect a memorial window to her in his own place of worship. Some difficulty was experienced in the achievement of this objective, it being pointed out that the lady had not worshiped here, whereupon the gallant Captain remarked, ”Damn you, I’ll put it in the chapel where she belonged”. Hence we have the rather beautiful window “Charity” depicting the giving of alms to the hungry poor at the Convent gate.When, in due season, the Captain died, the family decided to erect a memorial window to him; it, too, was placed in the Chapel, facing that of his wife, so we have the St. John window.  The device at the top of the memorial plates is the crest of the Treherne family and is an amusing cant upon their name.” 

The memorial plates to the couple are on the walls of the church, Emma dying at Bath on 3rd June 1902 and Captain Treherne dying at Cheltenham on 14th March 1907. On both of these plates there is a picture of a pig tethered to a tree, no doubt the crest of the Treherne family, but I cannot work out the ‘cant upon their name’. Any ideas? On Emma’s plate there is the motto, ‘Y DDUW BOR DIOLCH’ and on the Captain’s, ‘I DDOW BOR DIOLCH’. Anyone know Welsh? When you go into St. Michael’s church looking towards the Altar end, on the left hand side is a blank window, which appears to be the same size as our stained glass window, possibly where it was intended to go, I think there is also a blank on the other side, but am not sure. Next month I will write about the possibly links of these windows to the teaching and practices of the Essenes. 

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Items from the March Broadsheet

On Reflection.

Lent represents the time that Jesus spent in the wilderness reflecting on how he would carry out his mission on earth. It is a good time for us to reflect too, both as individuals and as a church. Reflecting on our faith, our strengths and how we can develop our involvement with our local community. Taking stock of the past year for Broadway URC is an essential element in this reflection. Sometimes it takes the insights of others to help us see things clearly. That was the case when the elders met Roy Lowes the West Midlands Moderator and his colleague Ruth Whitehead in February. Our church meeting had emphasised the importance of continuing the spiritual growth of our congregation. We were eager to understand the ministerial circumstances in Hereford and Worcester to ensure that everything that can be done is being done to place a minister in Broadway. It was an open and constructive dialogue and concluded with agreed actions for the Synod team and Broadway URC to work on. It was interesting that Ruth, who is preparing for a moderator role at another Synod , praised the extensive activity of Broadway URC and the progress made. We need to recognise this too. Our Church has remained united in its work and fellowship. Sundays have been blessed by a rich blend of worship leaders and new people have joined the church. PILOTS, our youth and children’s group has grown. TLS lite will enable members of the congregation to develop their spirituality.Our pastoral care arrangements are being further developed and we are playing an active part in the renewed vigour of Churches Together in Broadway. Our involvement with the local community has strengthened with a monthly games afternoon. The Open the Book team are acting out Bible stories in both of the village schools, and holiday activities are arranged for children from the local area. As we carefully consider how we can increase the momentum of our Christian work in our community, we have heard that should we decide to appoint a person to help in this work, we can rely on the support of the moderator and Synod. Jesus returned from the wilderness to live out the message of God’s love for all and the Christian Church grew. Let’s reflect and pray for guidance, and a minister, so that the people of Broadway URC can continue His work whilst ensuring that we each contribute our gifts and skills as much as we can. 

Yours in Christ      Mark Pickering     Elder

HELP STAMP OUT LEPROSY

Many supporters of the Leprosy Mission collect stamps to help people affected by leprosy. In 2012 The Leprosy Mission’s stamps and collectables team raised a six figure sum for the first time. A TOTAL OF £107,587 WAS RAISED. It takes seconds to rescue a stamp from an envelope destined for the recycling bin. We ask you to cut a 5mm border around each rescued stamp to avoid damaging and then pop them into the box provided in Church.

Many thanks to everyone who continues to support this collection.      Joanne.

TLS has it really been a year ? They say that time flies when you’re having fun and my first year studying Contextual Theology on the TLS Foundation programme has flown by. The learning takes the form of weekly home study, fortnightly discussion groups with a minister and five people in Birmingham, termly written assignments and termly weekend workshops at Offa House in Leamington with 12 people from the West Midlands. My knowledge and understanding of the Bible have grown enormously. The guidance and support of the Church , the Eldership and my programme support group of Julie Jefferies , Michael Payne , Bill and Sheila , has helped me with my chosen area of service which is to increase our involvement with the local community. This has included the games afternoons starting up, and our increased engagement with the other churches in Broadway.    Mark

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Mothering Sunday

There is an old Jewish saying:
---------God could not be everywhere,
---------and therefore He made mothers.

Mother Church, Mother Earth, Mother of the Gods - our human mothers - all of them have been part of the celebration of 'Mothering Sunday' - as the fourth Sunday in Lent is affectionately known.

In Roman times, great festivals were held every Spring to honour Cybele, Mother of all the Gods. Other pagan festivals in honour of Mother Earth were also celebrated. With the arrival of Christianity, the festival became one honouring Mother Church.

During the Middle Ages, young people apprenticed to craftsmen or working as 'live-in' servants were allowed only one holiday a year on which to visit their families - which is how 'Mothering Sunday' got its name. This special day became a day of family rejoicing, and the Lenten fast was broken. In some places the day was called Simnel Day, because of the sweet cakes called simnel cakes traditionally eaten on that day.

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PRAYER

There are many facets to prayer -

 PRAISE  THANKSGIVING  CONFESSION   INTERCESSION

In the business of everyday life it is easy to neglect to find time to PRAY as individuals, and as a church.  Some of the most dynamic periods of the Church have been during times  of intense prayer—see Acts; and preceding and during revivals.

WHY PRAY?  How should we PRAY?  Prayer brings us into communication with God

In secret with a closed door—Matt 6 .6

In public worship in the church and designated periods for prayer (e.g. prayer meetings)

 Here are some suggestions for prayer taken from Scripture

Pray for those who have the rule and authority over you—world leaders that they may be given the wisdom to negotiate peace in the many conflicts which exist in the world.

Pray for the church universal and local, church leaders that the CHURCH may have courage to be true to their convictions and beliefs ; that it may recognise the need to reach out to minister to those in need.

Pray for the sick in our church James 5.15 .  Also remember those who have special need of support—e.g. carers, pastoral visitors, our minister and elders.

 

PRAYER 

“Pray without ceasing.”

Thoughts on PRAYER, taken from a hymn by J. Montgomery

Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire uttered or unexpressed.

Prayer is the burden of a sigh, the falling of a tear.

Prayer is the simplest form of speech that infant lips can try.

Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath, the Christian’s native air.

 Prayer is the contrite sinner’s voice returning from his ways.

                               “LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY”

This article on prayer was written by a member of our Church. 

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The item below has been retained as it may be helpful to anyone who is unwell or wishes to pursue a study on health and healing.

INTRODUCTION TO A SERIES OF STUDIES

   As many of you know Broadway Methodists and ourselves have shared in a short series of Bible Studies on a Tuesday evening since the beginning of June and it has been suggested that some of these might be printed in the Broadsheet so that you have the opportunity to consider the matrerial.  The content of these studies has been drawn largely from a URC series of studies called Into Wholeness - an exploration into the ministry of health and healing.  I would suggest that you read through the material given below and look up the Bible references and finally give some thought to the questions asked in the paper.  I hope you find it as profitable as all those who attended the gatherings at the Methodist church.  It is hoped that we may have our own healing service in the near future, if possible on an ecumenical basis, but further discussions are necessary.

Thank you, Arthur Kent  

STUDIES ON HEALTH AND HEALING – STUDY 1

Being healthy depends on who we are and where we are.  Our circumstances very often affect our state of health and our vision of what it means to be healthy people.  e.g. The story of the Hebrew slaves in the book of Exodus is like that of so many oppressed peoples in the world today.  They had the poorest land and inadequate food.  Forced to work long hours they had to do heavy manual work.  As slaves, violence from their Egyptian masters was often a regular experience.  Read Exodus 5 vv.1-21

    In the Gospels we read of a Jewish Woman who had been bleeding for twelve years.  She was anaemic, undernourished and isolated and considered unclean.  Read Mark 5 vv.24b-34

·         Consider what healing might mean to the Hebrew slaves and the woman with the haemorrhage?

·         Now think of yourself and people you know.  What does health mean for you and for them?

    What is a healthy individual, or a healthy family, community or world?  It is one that has a realistic vision of health.  The healing ministries of Jesus and the prophets reveal the necessity of a will for health.  e.g. Naaman nearly missed out on his leprosy cure because he was unwilling to wash himself in the river Jordan(Read 2 Kings 5 vv.9-14)  Jesus asked the man paralysed for 38 years, Do you want to get well? (Read St. John 5 vv.1-9)

    Health is not just about how the body works.  It is more than just conforming to a norm for good health.  It also has to do with developing our inner attitudes to health.  It means being prepared to accept what is, to having a willingness to change what may be changed and seeking to discern which is which. Take John Hull the author of Touching the Rock .  The book includes extracts from his diary written during the early stages of him losing his sight.  He experienced pain, blindness and depression, yet today he is a person who is more healthy than many sighted people.  He is open to life and other people. This comes across in his writing and to those who meet him in person.

·         Can you think of anyone like John Hull who challenges the notion of perfect physical health and still works for the well-being of others?

What is a Healthy Community?  A healthy community is described in the book of Isaiah as one in which:

1. Children do not die;  2. Old people live in dignity;  3. People who build houses live in them;  4.  Those who plant vineyards eat the fruit. 

Read Isaiah 65 vv.20-25

   Throughout the Scriptures, health includes participation in the community, empowerment and inclusiveness.  e.g. The prophet’s vision in the Old Testament can be called the Shalom community.  Shalom embraces peace, justice, harmony and wholeness for the whole creation.  The word contrasts with the world in the times of the prophets, as it does with the world today.

You see, the prophets were concerned with how the people lived as communities.  For them faith in God meant creating communities of justice and peace.  This was how their community would differ from the people who oppressed their ancestors in Egypt.  Sadly, the people of Israel went on behaving as if they were still oppressed; claiming more money, more land, more everything.  In the Bible health was not just an individual issue but a community issue.  It meant moving towards shalom and Jesus followed this tradition.  He healed people of physical infirmity.  He also restored people to participate again in the community and build relationships.  His approach challenged people to acknowledge the faith dimension in life.

·         Reflect on some of the words used in this paragraph: e.g. participation – taking an active part oneself; empowerment – having a choice rather than others choosing for us, being able to take charge of our lives: inclusiveness – no one is left out, marginalised or rejected.

·         How should these values be reflected in the local church today?

  Understanding Health:  In daily life we use phrases like physical health, mental health and even spiritual health, however, Biblical visions of health would not see these as separate.  Rather they are each part of a whole.       

To summarise: Physical Health may mean how long a person lives; it may mean their agility; it may mean their strength; it may mean their resistance to disease or a combination of these.  As we move towards thinking about healing in future studies, we need some meaning to what we mean by health because healing is a movement in the direction of health.  The writers in the New Testament show that it is appropriate to work and pray for physical health (Read James 5 v.14; 3 John v.2; 2 Corinthians 12 v.8).  Yet physical health is only part of the wholeness we seek.

Mental Health is all to do with mental well-being and is not confined to mental illness.  The things which affect our mental well-being include:-

1.      Unresolved inner conflicts from the past.  2. Our hopes and expectations for the future.  3. The inability to forgive.   4. The expectations of society.  5.      External stress from relationships with the world and 6. The stress of other people’s emotional lives.

Spiritual Health can be defined as a wholesome relationship with God.  It is a life lived with purpose, meaning and integrity.  So perhaps spiritual health can only be seen in the lives we lead.

·         What distinctive insights do Christians have to offer about health?  

·         How should the local church attend to the spiritual health of people?

·         What do you understand to be the meaning of wholeness?