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CHURCH NEWS - December 2006
Walking through the centre of Bedford recently, I came across this notice in a shop window:-
"Love life, love Christmas!"
It set me thinking. What is this actually saying? The implication is that all the things we commonly associate with Christmas can somehow enhance and deepen our enjoyment of life. Quite a claim!
Obviously the shop was trying to encourage us to spend our hard-earned cash on more presents, more decorations, more clothes, more food, more … more … more … Is this what loving life is all about? Can it be measured by the number of lights on the Christmas tree, or the yards of tinsel festooning the house, the number of cards and gifts we send and receive? If we have ‘more’ Christmas, will we truly have a better life? Somehow I don’t think so.
Some would say that a better life, life with any depth and meaning, is only possible if we turn our back completely on all the commercially indulgent celebrations and try somehow to get back to the ‘true’ spirit of Christmas – to separate the spiritual from the secular.
Yet when we think about "the Word made flesh", about Almighty God becoming one of us, isn’t the whole point that he, the pure and holy one, plunged himself into our messy world in order to redeem us, or, as Jesus put it, "that you might have life"?
Christmas is about God entering our world, to meet us where we are, to embrace us amidst the mess, to transform us by his life-giving love – theologians call it the incarnation.
Love life? – love the God who came down to us at Christmas! Love the One who gave freely without counting the cost, who held nothing back from us, but gave up his Son, his only Son, so that we might receive the free and unmerited gift of eternal life.
How should we celebrate such generous love? Surely it is right to do so with joy and feasting – but with generosity also, extending hospitality not only to friends and family, but to strangers and to those who are lonely, or who find Christmas a difficult time. And in our giving to one another, let’s remember also to give towards the needs of others who are less fortunate than ourselves.
May each of us experience the love of the Christ-child touching our hearts and transforming our lives this Christmas.
With love and prayers, Christine
The Prayer Group
What is the Prayer Group? It is made up of members of All Saints Church who undertake to pray regularly, on an individual basis, for people who ask us for prayer support.
Who do we pray for? Anyone whom we are asked to remember; these might be people from our church, from our local community or others known to us.
What will you pray about? Anything which you would like brought before God; maybe anxiety due to illness, stress or loneliness. You can also tell us of a special day you wish to be remembered – perhaps for an interview or an exam. Any information will be treated in strictest confidence.
How can I let you know if I would like you to pray for me? You can either telephone Christine (720234), or drop a note through the Rectory door, or complete a card (anonymously if you wish) and place it in a box kept near the church door. Prayer requests will be collected from the box each Sunday morning after the 10.00am service.
All Saints’ Amblers
Get some healthy exercise in after the Christmas excesses, and enjoy the company of others at the same time. Join us on New Year’s Day for a walk in the country followed by a pub lunch. Meet outside the Bell at 10.00am. Transport available to the starting point if required … dogs on leads and children welcome.
Christine and Davidwould like to thank you for your friendship and support during our first year in Odell, and to wish you all a very happy Christmas and God’s blessing throughout the coming year.
Visit to Odell, Harrold and Carltonby the Rt. Rev’d Richard Inwood, Bishop of Bedford.
Watch out for further details of this special weekend, including an open evening with supper on Saturday 27th January and a Joint Churches service at 11.00am in All Saints Church, Odell on Sunday 28th.
Monday 22nd January in the Bell at 8.00pm. Everybody welcome – we
need new blood!
Sunday December 3rd Service of Prayer &
On Sunday 3rd December an informal evening service of prayer and reflection will be held at 6.30pm in the Rectory. This is partly in response to those who would like more time for quiet reflection, and partly in response to another request for opportunity to pray together for the ongoing ministry of All Saints’ and the needs of others.
Our Giving in Decemberwill be to the following Charities:
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to ChildrenChristian Family Care
The Bedford Area Schools Christian Support Trust (SU)
In January our giving will be to Mission Aviation Fellowship. This is an airborne mission, which takes the Word and much-needed help to many remote and inaccessible places – a very worthy cause.
6th 11.30am Christmas Lunch at Doris’s, Goodly Heritage,
The Bury, Pavenham.
10th 10.30am at Jane’s, Newton House, Avenue Rd., Newton
24th 10.30am at Eileen’s, Corner House, Wymington Park, Rushden.
One lazy summer afternoon I was sitting outside reading when I heard a gentle and intermittent shushing sound coming from above. When I looked up I saw in the sky some hot air balloons! The only sound they made was that of the gas burners that periodically recharged them with hot air.
It must be a remarkable sensation to float peacefully and gracefully like that, carried on the breeze with a sense of weightlessness and calm, leaving the "ordinary world" below. Do you ever wish you could do that – let go of all the burdens and troubles that weigh you down, rise far above them and be carried along peacefully?
Life can certainly have its problems and pressures. Some come into our lives through no fault of our own; others perhaps we’ve had a hand in through bad choices or actions.
Whatever the reason for our heaviness God never meant for anyone to have to carry such a load by himself. Whether it is sadness or shame, worry or grief, guilt or perplexity or any other cause for a heavy heart, Jesus came into the world so that you could experience peace, comfort, forgiveness and joy through a personal friendship with him.
You too can enter into that relationship with Christ. You can personally experience your load being lifted – and how wonderfully. He will free you from the downward drag and cause your spirit to soar! Don’t think: ‘that’s not for the likes of me’, or, ‘I’d never be good enough for that’. It doesn’t depend on your qualifications or ability, but on Jesus Christ. He is totally able to help even you.
AID FOR ROMANIA
We have just returned from our annual trip to Buzau and were delighted with what we found. We felt the general situation was much improved - in particular most of the 22 sponsored families we visited seem more
optimistic and are generally showing initiative about helping themselves. Young people are finding jobs to finance the costs of studying and
families had arranged loans to cover special problems in their homes, or with health etc. However, this doesn’t mean our work is over – far from it. Our help can make it possible for young people to just about afford to go on to study at college. We also assist families in keeping down the debts from high upkeep bills or health problems.
This autumn we also visited some of the people who were helped by our therapy team back in May. That visit was a great success - somehow they managed to see 35 clients (including 20 new ones and 6 in their homes) supplying most of them with wheelchairs or buggies as well as checking out equipment issued previously. Many of our clients have been waiting literally for years for a suitable wheelchair, and this seriously curtails their mobility and life style. So, we really are in the business of changing people’s lives. Unfortunately the cost of the wheelchairs and other
equipment, together with a subsequent increase in charges for transport, resulted in an overspend of some £1,500 on the estimated budget. So,
before we start thinking about another visit from the therapy team next year, we need around £3,000 to replenish our reserves and build up funds to enable our work to go on.
Can you help?
Some particular items of news.
We’ve made a loan to Mrs N, a widow, who has had to borrow £400 to pay for her treatment for cancer. Somehow she is still managing to work. She has four very clever children – one who studies whilst working with computers after having open-heart surgery, two girls who are at university and the youngest, who is doing exceptionally well in his last year at school, hopes to go to university next year.
Mrs A, also bringing up children on her own with a pension of just £40, has Parkinson’s Disease. Her eldest son is working very hard, virtually running an internet café, but receiving only the minimum legal wage of £72, some of it being used to support his sister who is starting her architecture studies in Bucharest. Her basic accommodation costs start at £50 and we are looking for help with this. At the moment the family gets £40 from us, including the £10 supplement for a student, but they really need more.
Families with Special Needs:
We were delighted to supply Luminita, who has MS, with a wheelchair and commode, giving her much more independence at home and a chance to get out when her husband can manage to carry her down the four flights from their little flat – sadly there’s no lift. She’s quite depressed because their 13 year old daughter is a junior champion gymnast who has won the chance to train a long way from home where they can only visit her occasionally, and Mum can’t get there at all as it’s too costly.
Couldn’t we help?
We visited seven other families to sort out wheelchair and other equipment problems; to talk about training possibilities and generally to see what we can do to make things easier for them. We are hoping we’ve found a local company, run by a Taiwanese businessman, to sponsor the provision of a ramp for Petrus (on left), a young man injured in a car accident. Our friend Bogdan, whom we’ve helped already with a ramp and special bathroom fittings, is now earning some money working with computers and web sites, but he really needs a better screen to reduce eye strain, and we’re hopeful we’ve found someone who can help with that.
We also visited several Centres and Associations. At Centre 8 it was great to see Juliana and Vlad, both suffering from encephalitis, looking so much happier sitting up in the special support chairs we have provided. It’s a pity there isn’t another one for Vasile, who has to share with them. Here they need extra hoists in the therapy room and bathroom as well as a new exercise bike and treadmill. It was rewarding to see the twelve children in the Day Centre having a great game with music and a parachute.
Cristina and Roxana, two of the girls who’ve been given our equipment, greatly benefit from regular visits to the Respite Centre at Centre 2 where we’ve helped with ramps in the doorways.
With the support of some new friends - two lady volunteers from the Association for the Handicapped - we hope that Mihaela, (whom we have supplied with an electric wheelchair) and her Mum will go to a Centre in Bucharest run by Motivation, where she’ll be trained in life skills and IT, as well as general therapy. Petrus has greatly benefited from time spent there.
Another new contact was made with Toni at the General Hospital’s Orthopaedic Department where they were delighted to receive the leg braces we had been given – just great as we’ve been offered more.
So, dear friends, you can see we’ve been busy. As ever, we were enormously encouraged to see what our modest project achieves. But we do need you too, both praying for our work and the families we help in Romania, as well as supporting us financially. Please do whatever you can to ensure that this rewarding work carries on in the future.
If you want to know more please contact us.
Tim and Liz Dowell, Birches, Balmer Lawn Road, Brockenhurst, Hants SO42 7TT,
Tel and Fax 01590 623434, e-mail: email@example.com
The family and close friends of Geoffrey Ardley would like to give most sincere thanks to all those who gave such enormous help and support following their very sad loss and at the funeral. It was very much appreciated.
Christmas Hamper Coffee Morning
In support of Christian Family Care
Friday 8th December
Hobbs Green Farm
Church Lane, Odell
From 10.30am to noon.
All Saints’ Flowers for December
3rd Catherine Corkery
10th Caroline Scott
16th Church decorating for Christmas
24th Christmas Eve
Odell Senior Citizens Luncheon Club
Invites you to join us
on Wednesday 13 December 2006
at 12.30 for 1.00pm
For Christmas lunch
In the Village Hall
Please let Jill know (on 01234 720261) by
Monday 4th December if you are able to join us.
Sat 2nd 7.30pm Quiz, Village Hall.
Wed 6th 11.30am Meeting Point Bring and Share lunch at Doris’s.
Fri 8th 10.30am Christian Family Care Coffee & Hamper Morning.
Tues 12th 7.30pm WI Christmas supper at Doreen Wheeler’s.
Wed 13th 12.30pm Senior Citizens Christmas Lunch, Village Hall.
Sat 16th 10.00am Church Decorating
19th-2nd Jan Christmas Quiz, HOCP
24th 10.00am Spoken Holy Communion, All Saints’.
24th 6.00pm Carols By Candlelight, All Saints’.
25th 10.00am All Age Service of Worship.
1st 10.00am All Saints Amblers Walk—meet at The Bell.
9th 7.30pm WI Odell Village Hall.
10th 10.30am Meeting Point at Jane’s.
15th 8.00pm Odell Parish Council Meeting, Village Hall.
20th 7.30pm Burns Night, Village Hall.
22nd 10.00am Winter Birds Identification, HOCP.
22nd 8.00pm Fete Meeting, The Bell.
24th 10.30am Meeting Point at Eileen’s.
27th TBA Open Evening with Bishop of Bedford.
28th 11.00am Joint Churches Service with Harrold and Carlton.
29th 10.00am HOCP Conservation Tasks.
Electronic mail address
email is firstname.lastname@example.org
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