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CHURCH NEWS - February 2004
We don't have a minister at the moment - we would like to have a continuing part-time minister dedicated just to Odell on a 'house for duty' basis. While this isn't the final decision and there is no certainty this will be approved by the CofE, we stand a good chance of making it work if we find the right person who is enthusiastic to work in this way. If you are or know of an energetic minister with an interest in spreading the gospel and being a spiritual leader in our small village, please contact <email@example.com>
From the Bishop’s Address, November 11th
When Richard Inwood, the new Bishop of Bedford, visited our church last year, he preached on the Gospel Reading that day, from Mark Chapter 13, and it’s worth reminding ourselves of what he had to say. The passage starts with Jesus talking to the disciples about Jerusalem and the temple, as He was preparing to spend his last week there. ‘Look at these stones,’ the disciples say to Jesus, as we perhaps would say as we stood with the Bishop admiring St Albans Abbey. We would certainly think it strange if the Bishop then said to us that soon this lovely building would be flattened. But this is exactly what Jesus said to His disciples.
The reading contains some important messages for us in these days, difficult both for our church and the world. Jesus used the sense of contrast between the beauty of the building and the temporal nature of it to point out what really matters for the Christian and the Christian life. In the end what matters is not the buildings but the security that comes from a faith and trust in Christ himself.
This passage is ultimately a call to stand firm in Christ whatever may happen. In particular there were four things the Bishop wanted to draw from the passage:
1) Stand loose to externals. This comes from the quotation about the beautiful building. It was a prophesy about the fall of Jerusalem 40 years later. Jesus warns them not to put their trust in external things but in spiritual things. We feel comfortable with external things because we enjoy the familiarity of buildings, services and people we know, especially including our minister. This all contributes to our general sense of well-being and is where we are most comforted. What is more durable than these things is where we put our trust. Our trust does not depend on our building, our services, or even our theological position, but on Jesus Christ. What really matters is the security of our faith and our trust in Him. In September 2000, the Bishop spent two weeks in Uganda, teaching in a Bible College and while they were there he and his wife did not see another white face. Many familiar things were missing, but the faith of those Africans was the same as ours - a faith and trust in our Lord Jesus Christ. Incidentally we need to be aware that the average Anglican today is a black female living in Africa, so we need to remember that Heaven will be full of foreigners. That is the nature of the Christian Church - it is worldwide, has different forms, but at its heart is its faith and trust in Christ. So make sure you are standing on the solid rock of a faith and trust in Christ alone.
2) Stand firm against the cranks. Jesus says ‘Watch out that no-one deceives you.’ It has long been the case that there have been cranks claiming He has returned. Jesus said it would be unmistakable when He returns, so why have so many been led astray? The test is the teaching of Jesus Himself, as recorded in scripture.
3) Stand at peace in this world. One thing that makes people think the end of the world is coming is the state of turmoil in which we live. We do live in the ‘end times’, but they extend from when Jesus first came until his coming again. We should remember that to God a minute is as a thousand years. Jesus said ‘Do not be alarmed when you hear of wars and rumours of wars. The end is still to come.’ This warning means that scripture has been relevant at all times. Whenever man reads it he is always surrounded by wars and turmoil. ‘These things must be’ said Jesus. He tells us not to be afraid because ‘I am with you.’ ‘I am your peace.’ ‘I am your security.’ So, though the world is in turmoil and we do feel uncertain and unsure, we must stand at peace because Jesus controls our lives.
4) Stand courageous under persecution. Jesus mentions two sorts of persecution, one from the state and the other from family and friends. We are fortunate, but in other parts of the world, many suffer from serious persecution. In Pakistan or Iraq people are afraid if they are Christians, partly because they are tarred with the American or Western brush which singles them out and puts them at risk in their community. We need to pray for Christians in these situations. By contrast the jibes we may receive at work and home seem to be very little, but in both cases we need to stand courageous and not be ashamed of acknowledging Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.
The only way we can do all these four things is by standing in God’s strength and putting Him at the heart of our lives.
May God give us his strength to be faithful in difficult days.
The Prayer Chain
The Prayer Chain is there if you need prayer for yourself, for others or for members of your family. Please don’t ask for prayer outside your own family without people’s permission. To have a number of people pray just telephone Dennis (822992).
Many of you will know that because of the problems of vandalism and theft from Churches generally, the Parish Church is kept locked. Unless there is a specific reason for opening it earlier, it will be opened for Sunday and occasional services half an hour before the Service is due to start.
News from St. Albans Diocese
Radio programme moves to lunchtime
'Melting Pot,' BBC Three Counties Radio's weekly religious news and views programme, is now being broadcast at Sunday lunchtimes. The programme, presented by Ian Pearce, has moved to the 12 noon - 2pm slot, from its previous later time on Sunday afternoon. The move will give 'Melting Pot' a larger potential audience. News for 'Melting Pot' should be sent to BBC Three Counties Radio, 1 Hastings Street, Luton, LU1 5XL or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Three Counties can be heard on 103.8FM (Herts) and 95.5FM (Beds).
Internet package on offer
A special Internet package for churches and Christian groups is proving popular with parishes across the diocese. It is on offer from the Beds & Herts Churches Media Trust. For just £45 a year, 'Commskit' offers an internet email and web service consisting of 1,000 email addresses and 100Mb of web space, complete with a registered domain name, plus a personal web-based control panel for configuring and managing the account. For further information, see www.commskit.org.uk or email: email@example.com
February See Round
There's a chance to win a new guide to better prayer in the latest edition of the diocesan magazine. February's SeeRound also features many parish events and activities, a letter from the Bishop of St Albans, a profile of author Imogen de la Bere, news of success for a stained glass artist, and of a pioneering book on Attention Defecit Hyperactivity Disorder – a widely misunderstood condition. There's also good news for hard-pressed Sunday school teachers, a selection of courses and conferences and more details about the e-Round items.
Communications Officer Diocese of St. Albans.
Tuesday 3rd 10.30am at Jane Eshelby’s, Newton House, Avenue Rd., Newton Bromswold.
Wednesday 18th 10.30am at Liz Dodwell’s, Watermead, Odell
. Rd., Harrold.
Tuesday 2nd 10.30am at Eileen Shakespeare’s, Corner House, Wymington Park, Rushden.
St Albans Diocesan Group for the Ministry of Healing
Celebration of Christian Healing
in the context of the Eucharist
in St Albans Abbey on Saturday 21st February 2004
Speaker: The Rt Revd Dominic Walker; OGS
Bishop of Monmouth
Chairman of the Steering Group on the Ministry of Healing
Celebrant: The Right Revd Christopher Foster
Bishop of Hertford
Music by Face 2 Face
Personal ministry for physical, emotional or spiritual problems will be offered.
Secretary: The Revd Dr Anne Shaw, 37 Sandy Lodge Rd, Moor Park, Rickmansworth. Herts WD3 1LP
Tel & fax: 019234 827663. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Giving in Februaryis to the Leprosy Mission.
Contrary to popular belief leprosy is not a disease of the past but is a serious health threat right now in many developing countries. However, leprosy can be cured through multi-drug therapy. We can do our bit to help by giving generously in the special plate at the back of the church.
All Saints Appeal Fund
Aid for Romania
Visit of Alexandru Buga and his father in February.
We are hoping that Alexandru and his father will be in England sometime between February 11th and 16th with a visit planned for the 12th to the specialist, Mr Daya, in East Grinstead. If Mr Daya says he is prepared to try the operations to repair Alexandru's damaged eyes we need to start thinking about dates, accommodation for them (either short or longer term) and other practical arrangements, especially if the period of treatment co-incides with when we are away sailing, or moving house. That's always assuming we've raised enough money to commit ourselves to helping!
We shall hope to have open house on the Sunday afternoon of their visit (February 15th) when we shall be pleased to welcome anyone with useful ideas, or those just interested in coming to meet Alexandru and his father.
Please check before coming in case it turns out not to be practical.
Liz and Tim Dodwell, Watermead, Odell Rd, Harrold (720640)
Aid for Romania from North Bedfordshire (registered charity no. 10485547)
New Venue – The Barn at Hobbs Green Farm
(with thanks to Marion and Andrew Ingrey-Senn)
Saturday March 6th at 7.30pm
Tickets minimum price £15
Hurry and book now! (720640)
All donations and offers of help with preparations, drinks, starters and puddings would be appreciated, so that expenses can be kept to a minimum.
This should be a very enjoyable evening, especially in this new setting. All profits will go to help the special fund for Alexandru and Mihaela (see below) so please try to come, or support us in some way.
Response to our Special Appeal
Many people have been very generous after reading about the special needs of Mihaela and Alexandru. We are delighted to tell you that we have raised nearly £4,000 so far! A team of experts are funding their own travel expenses to Romania in April, when they plan to adapt a special-price electric wheelchair for Mihaela as well as build the new ramp she needs at her home. We have received a specific donation, which will pay for the air tickets so that Alexandru and his father can come here and be taken to East Grinstead to be seen by Mr Daya, an eye specialist (who is charging no fee). If he recommends that the complicated surgery and treatment is likely to be successful, we shall then need to find a lot more money so that Alexandru and his father can stay here for over six months during that treatment. So you can see why we are trying to raise more money, quite apart from the fact that all our usual extra work with our sponsored families still needs funding.
Thank you for your support – please keep it up!
Tim and Liz Dodwell
Visit to Canterbury to look at the restoration of our Mediaeval Stained Glass
Tim and Liz Dodwell with Doreen Wheeler had a fascinating visit to the specialist studios in Canterbury where our stained glass is being restored. There it was, all displayed on lit panels so that we could see the progress that has been made. The first news was disappointing when Dr Strobl explained to us that they find they are unable to clean and restore the four roundels that came from the chancel windows. The paint is just too unstable. However every cloud has a silver lining and the good news is that Leonie, Dr Strobl’s able assistant, has prepared detailed drawings from what remains, and it has been agreed that they will make replicas, looking just as wonderful as they would have done when new in the 15th century. They are also filling in, with exact copies, those portions of the missing windows where we can see how they originally looked. The best news is that this will cost no more than the original estimate, partly because they are so delighted to be involved with such an exciting and unique piece of restoration.
Of course they are carefully recording what they do and we shall need some literature to explain which is really old and which is replica glass. Some areas of the glass will remain clear and in some sections the interesting mixed and jumbled effect made up several hundred years ago, will remain. All will be protected by special secondary glazing on the outside. We also plan to display in a cabinet in the church any worthwhile fragments of glass not replaced in the windows.
Some of you will have seen the Studio’s beautiful Christmas card, a picture of one of our seraphs. It gave us all a taste of the beauty which we hope will soon be returned to our church (and an idea for a fund-raising Christmas card next year!)
"Can you find sixteen books of the Bible?"
I once made a remark about hidden books of the Bible (merely by fluke). It kept some people looking so hard for the facts, and to others it was a revelation. Some were in a jam, especially since the name of the books was not capitalised. But now the truth finally struck home to the numbers of readers. To others it was a real job. We want it to be a most fascinating few moments for you. Yes, there will be some really difficult ones to spot. Others may require judges to help them. I will quickly admit it usually takes a minister to find one of them. There will be lamentations when it is found. A little lady says she brews a cup of tea so she can concentrate better. See how well you can compete. Relax now, for there really are sixteen books of the Bible hidden in this paragraph. One minister found fifteen books in twenty minutes, but then took three weeks to find the sixteenth one.
(Answers next month!)
Looking to Jesus
Ready to Pardon"Thou art a God ready to pardon…" Nehemiah 9:17
God is ready when you are! All you have to do is come to Him and ask for mercy. It doesn’t matter how badly you’ve failed. He’s just waiting to forgive you and wipe the slate clean.
He won’t put you on probation to see how well you perform. He won’t ask you to do penance to prove yourself worthy of His love. No! There’s nothing you can do to impress Him or to earn His acceptance. Nothing! Just come as you are.
There’s only one "unpardonable" sin. That means whatever you may have done is pardonable. Listen again, "..Thou art a God ready to pardon..". (Neh. 9:17).
Some years ago, a big American insurance company used the logo, "Covered from the moment you call!". It meant whether you experienced sickness, accident or death all you had to do was pick up the phone and call, they had you covered. And it’s the same with God! The Bible says, "whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved". (Acts 2:21). It’s just that simple.
Jesus told of two men who went to church to pray. The first tried to impress God with his good works. The second simply bowed his head and said, "God be merciful unto me, a sinner". (Luke 18:13). Just seven words, but they changed his life forever. Pray them today and they’ll change yours too. Don’t carry your guilt a step further. Come to God today – He’s waiting to pardon and cleanse you.
Taken from ‘Word for Today’ with kind permission of United Christian Broadcasters, P.O. Box 255, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 8YY.
Father God, we thank You for the start of this New Year and for the celebrations of Christmas and the time we spent with our families. As we look to the year ahead we ask You to be with us in all that we do. In the good times, the bad times, the happy and the sad times. It’s so much easier when we know that You are by our side.
We put into Your hands all the troubled places, terrorists and those willing to try to cause a living hell in other people’s lives. Please bring all the trouble spots to the attention of the police so that they can deal with them faster and more efficiently. Show Christians where they can bring their Christianity to the help of others and point wayward people to You.
We continue to pray for our church, still awaiting a leader and for all those endeavouring to keep "All Saints’" running in the meantime.
In our community we pray for Hilda Wright, Edie Surridge, Florrie and Ken Shellard and John Hancock. In our church and further afield we pray for those undergoing chemotherapy and other treatments: Anne Payne, Jill (Doris and Dennis’s daughter), Anne Turner and 11 year old Alastair Schanche. We also pray for those known to us in nursing homes: Phyllis Ames, Barbara Lady Luke, Marjorie Owen and Marion Smith.
Lord, You know all those who need Your loving hand upon them and we lift them up to You and those named above in the wonderful name of Jesus. We know You will cover them with the pinions of Your wings. As we look around and see Your greatness we thank You for everything. Amen Anne Turner
A special thank you to all the prayer chain members who recently prayed for me as I underwent surgery at Kettering Hospital. The peace that I received and the operation itself made me totally aware that I was surrounded by prayer. It made such a difference to the situation. Thank you all so very much. God bless you. Sheila Helsdown
Thank you for the prayers offered for me. Please continue to uphold me as I have my operation and further chemotherapy. Your prayers are valuable. I know and feel the answer. God bless you all. Anne
Don’t forget 14th February is St. Valentine’s Day – a day in which to give your special loved one a gift of flowers and a special hug to say just how much you really care.
Moggerhanger Park – Snowdrop weekend.
Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th February, 11am-4pm
Enjoy a walk through the woods and view the snowdrops in the grounds. At the same time see the restoration work being carried out on Moggerhanger House, and take the chance to have your antiques valued by Cheffins of Cambridge (£2/item – Sat. only).
Tea, coffee and light refreshments available.
Happy birthday to:
Jack Holden Postles who will be 3 on the 10th
Anthony Merret who will be 12 on the 14th
Victoria Beardow who will be 8 on the 22nd
…and very special birthday wishes are sent to Anne Turner whose birthday is on 24th February. Happy birthday Anne – we all hope you will feel better very soon, and we send best wishes for the year ahead!
WOMEN'S WORLD DAY OF PRAYER
In Faith, Women Shape the Future
Harrold Chapel, 10am, Friday March 5th
Speaker: Wendy Hughes
Men also welcome Refreshments
This is a very special annual service, which members of our church like to support. It is friendly and informal, whilst following the format used around the world. This year the Christian women of Panama have prepared the service. Many of us know the speaker, Wendy, who lives in Carlton and has recently become a Lay Reader. In the past some of our ladies have been involved as readers, actors etc, so, if you would like to take part this year, please contact Liz Dodwell (720640).
3rd 10.30am Meeting Point, Jane Eshelby’s, Newton House, Avenue Rd., Newton Bromswold.
7th 10.30am Coffee Morning in Village Hall in aid of Odell
7th & 8th 11.00am Snowdrop weekend at Moggerhanger Park.
10th 7.30pm W.I. Odell Village Hall.
13th Ouse Valley Swing Band, Village Hall.
18th 10.30am Meeting Point, Liz Dodwell’s, Watermead, Odell Rd., Harrold.
21st 10.30am St. Albans Abbey Celebration of Christian
25th 7.45pm Ash Wednesday Service, All Saints’.
2nd 10.30am Meeting Point, Eileen Shakespeare’s, Corner
House, Wymington Park, Rushden.
Please send all entries for the March 2004 magazine to Tricia Hudson (email@example.com), Anne Turner or Catherine Corkery by February 12th 2004 at the latest. May we remind you that the editorial team exercises the right to edit, shorten or alter any items that are submitted. Also, the opinions expressed in the articles are those of the contributors and are not the responsibility of the editorial team.
Please send all entries for the February 2004 magazine to Tricia Hudson (firstname.lastname@example.org), Anne Turner or Catherine Corkery by January 12th 2004 at the latest. May we remind you that the editorial team exercises the right to edit, shorten or alter any items that are submitted. Also, the opinions expressed in the articles are those of the contributors and are not the responsibility of the editorial team.
electronic mail address is <email@example.com>