Kevin the Carrot

I read today (mid November) that there have been huge queues, online frenzies and even shopping trolley scuffles over the launch of a new cuddly carrot – called Kevin. Kevin is the festive face of one of our supermarkets – and it seems that he is the ‘must have’ Christmas toy for 2018. As people around our nation have been queuing and scrambling to get their hands on Kevin, I’m sure his creators and the supermarket bosses are enjoying an early glass of something Christmassy to celebrate.

Christmas has always had the power to make normal people do bonkers things – and I bet very few of us are any different. We wear jumpers we would never normally wear, listen to music we would never normally listen to, we eat food we don’t normally eat and spend money we don’t really have on stuff we wouldn’t usually spend it on!

And herein lies a great opportunity for the Church. Along with all the above– this is also a time when people will go to church. For all of the talk of our increasingly secular society and negative attitudes to religion – churches around the UK will be full over the next few weeks – and full of people who do not usually attend.

This presents us all with two opportunities.

Invite people to our Christmas services. This may well be the most open people will be all year to coming to church. Be brave – and invite them along. What’s the worst that could happen?

Ensure that people have a good experience. The question of why people don’t usually come to church can wait. For now let’s make sure that, when they do come, they have a positive experience; a warm welcome, good hospitality, kind smiles and friendly conversations. We’ll do what we can to ensure that people hear the Good News of Jesus, are drawn into worship and get to the true heart of Christmas. There are two missionary roles for each of us in Church this Christmas – invitation and welcome.

Kevin the Carrot isn’t the only one who can draw a crowd. Jesus has been doing it ever since His birth in Bethlehem. We pray this Christmas that people will be once again be drawn to Him, come to know Him and find life in abundance.

Happy Christmas

Focus … Missionary Giving

Sadly our income isn’t sufficient to continue supporting our mission societies to the current level of £11,000 annually. We have been using the generous legacy of Doris Gallichan for the past 6 years to top up our commitment. Doris left a legacy of £11,000 with instructions that it should only be used for mission giving.

This legacy has now been spent and so the mission committee met with Tom and Sian to work out the way forward. It was decided to honour our commitment to our mission partners i.e. Pat, David and Shelley, Kerry and Sonia, as closely as possible. It was also agreed to keep the number of societies we support the same. We sincerely pray that this is only a temporary difficulty and that in the not too distant future we will be able to increase our giving.

The amount that is given will still be 10% of our income but our income has decreased over time therefore the projected 10% is now £1863 per quarter. If anyone would like to know the exact amount that will be given to each society and partners I have the information and will be happy to share it.

We pray that with God’s guidance and help we will be able to honour our commitment and that we will continue to be “a cheerful giver”! 2 Cor 9 v 7

Jill Flux Mission Co-ordinator

A New Archdeacon of Sherborne

Linda and I attended the Collation of the new Archdeacon of Sherborne. The evening service, held at Sherborne Abbey included wonderful singing from the choir.

Penny Sayer had been appointed to the post following the retirement of Paul Taylor earlier in the year. The 5 deaneries she will cover are Dorchester, Lyme Bay, Sherborne, Weymouth and Portland and Blackmore Vale. Within those areas she will have many tasks. She will represent the parishes to Bishop Karen and the Bishop to the parishes; have responsibility for inducting ministers to their pastoral charges in local churches; have responsibility for admitting churchwardens each year at her visitation; present new Deacons and priests at their ordination; and finally have a special responsibility of care for the fabric and property of each church.

Teddy Bears’ Picnic

A while ago in our Home Group, the subject of the TV programme, The Repair Shop came up in discussion. We were thinking about emotions and memories. Folk who had a loved item repaired found memories and emotions were stirred.

This led to us talking about our treasures from the past such as a teddy bear. Someone suggested we have a teddy bears’ picnic.

Last night we held our teddy bears’ picnic. We had a lovely evening of sharing our own stories from the past and introducing our treasure. The photo shows all our little treasures making friends with each other.

We also celebrated a birthday with nibbles and cake so it really was a picnic for us as well as our little treasures.

Av’s Home Group

An Evening with Terry Waite

In St Peter’s Church, 250 people awaited eagerly to hear Terry Waite talk about his experience as a hostage in Beirut. Solitary confinement lasted nearly 5 years.

I think we were awe struck by the quiet and humble way he explained why he was seeking the release of hostages, how he became a hostage himself and how eventually he was released. Different parts of his hour long talk made a lasting impression.

For us, it was his commitment not to seek revenge, remembering Jesus words on the cross. “Father forgive them. They do not know what they are doing.”

When he was at the extremities of suffering, he realised that God would not get him out of this hole in the way that he might have expected. He would provide all the resources he would need to live in hope.

God’s way was to develop skills that were lying dormant in him. He was not a writer and he was not provided with any paper or pens. However God enabled him to become both a writer and a poet by developing his language and his memory. His diaries, his poems and responses to solitude were all outcomes of that enabling. Out of the Silence bears witness to the lasting power of forgiveness, truth and reconciliation in the face of the adverse forces still at work in the world today.

He recalled the only occasion in all his captivity when he was able to look out of a window. He saw a lady walking along the street below carrying a basket which held flowers in full bloom. The contrast with the drab monochrome of his cell was startling in its luminosity. His comment was to say don’t take anything for granted. Look around you wherever you are. There is beauty to be seen and to be uplifting to the soul.

He felt he was fortunate because through life he had been an avid reader and had built up a store of books, poetry and prose in his memory. Also he had been brought up with the Book of Common Prayer which he had unconsciously as a choir boy memorised.

Towards the end of the evening, he was asked if he could suggest a verse of about 25 words that he would recommend to us.

He said, “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

Michael and Linda Miles