Dale Street Methodist Church

Loving God, living by faith, serving others, bringing hope.

Events in 2023

Christingle 17th December 2023

Christingle 2023

Here is Dale Street transformed!

Some eighty people joined in the traditional decoration of the orange in memory of the little girl who could not afford to take a present to her Lutheran pastor.


Graham and Revd Tina performed the double act. We came out to the front to build two nativity scenes and Graham told the Christingle story and reminded us how to make our oranges unlike any oranges you might find on a tree.


The Whitehouse family told Luke’s story of the marvellous birth and Revd Tina played a video of the story of the shepherds, with a small squadron of little boy (!) angels neatly arranged in geometrical shapes.


There were plenty of little sweets for pillaging and afterwards we were treated to sandwiches and cakes.


Interestingly how at Christmas we do all these things like Christingle, singing carols and hymns, and eating Christmas pudding – all traditions that reach far back before any of our times – and we probably never give much thought as to their origin. When we do we become part of a very rich tapestry of time!

ACTION FOR CHILDREN JIGSAW FAIR                10-11 November 2023

AfC Jigsaw FairThis was our fourth Jigsaw Fair and we decided that, in addition to all day Saturday, we would open for two hours the evening before. It worked and quite a lot of people came in and went out clutching many jigsaws. This meant even more hard work for the AFC group all day on the Friday as it meant that everything had to be ready for the public to come in at 6.30 pm. As usual the church was transformed. 

Several long tables the length of the Church, were set up displaying the made-up jigsaws, with the raised area used for a wide selection of children’s puzzles. The two vestries were used as store rooms. The Community Room was used for the disassembling station, payment, raffle, treasure-hunt and, of course, refreshments.

Saturday morning was bright and sunny, which made everything look even more inviting. The cakes on the refreshment tables were varied and delicious, with plenty of options for vegetarians, vegans and the gluten free. At 9.30 am, wearing our red AFC tee shirts, we were ready, the doors were opened and people came in. As it was Armistice Day, at 11 am we observed the SILENCE, with Nigel acting as clock-watcher to announce it. The buzz and chatter was quiet for the two minutes, which was very moving.

The day was successful with over £1750 raised. This includes money from the card sales which went straight to AFC and we don’t know the exact amount yet.

We had visitors from Birmingham, Redditch and West Bromwich who all said that they were enthusiasts and that apparently there were no jigsaw fairs in the Midlands – something we could think about for publicity next year.

The ACTION FOR CHILDREN SUPPORT GROUP would like to thank everyone who helped with this event. During the last few months so many people have taken jigsaws and made them up ready for display. It became a common sight to see people leaving Church after a service with arms full of jigsaws! We couldn’t have done it without you. THANK YOU. We shall need your help again for the FIFTH JIGSAW FAIR, which will be in November 2024.

Harbury Folk Choir and Orchestra 20th October

2023 Harbury Folk Club

It isn’t many villages that can assemble so many players and singers and perform such a varied repertory of music. Harbury can, and we were delighted that at last we were able to find a date for them to give a whole programme while we munched a delicious ploughman’s supper – thank you Anne for organising this – see the cover page!

The problem was how many people would come. It turned out that there were just short of a hundred with more than expected on the door. The food ran out, but nearly £1000 was raised for Action for Children.

The folk choir has a nice way of harmonising that is often emotionally quite moving. It’s Peter McDonald who makes everything come together, and his musicianship was shown at its best in the orchestra’s version of the Henry Wood Sea Songs where the arrangement for a diverse set of instruments sounded remarkably similar to the original we are used to from the Proms.

It was a great evening with loads of atmosphere – it’s good to raise the money but it is equally good to provide an evening out.

And the Harbury group will be back at Dale Street for our carol service – we thank them of course, and we are very happy with the link that we have made with them.


Enthusastic welcome to our new minister

2023 Welcome service 1

In welcoming Revd Tina Brooker to Dale Street, Cubbington and Kineton, the District Chair, Revd Novette Headley was amazed at the sight of the large and lively congregation that filled the church. Making her second visit to Dale Street she referred to the themes of hope and renewal in the Old Testament reading from Isaiah, bringing good news, binding up the broken hearted and proclaiming liberty to the captives. Nonette saw this reflected in Tina’s calling to bring good news to all of us, and to keep telling the story of God’s untiring patience with his people.

Trevor Pethick led a series of welcomes: it was his privilege and a sheer delight to welcome Tina and he said that we had hit the jackpot (!)  He wished Tina a happy and fulfilling time with us.

Trevor is pictured here with Revd Novette Headley who later commissioned Tina and Sheila Brown to administer communion.

Representatives from The three Methodist Churches, Churches Together, and the vicars of other Leamington churches also welcomed Tina.


2023 Welcome service 2

We also welcomed the Mayor of Leamington, Councillor Alan Boad.


In reply, Tina said she was overwhelmed by the welcome and thought it was quite cool to have the Mayor of Leamington sitting in front of her. She thanked everyone who had travelled, sometimes quite a distance to be present, and those watching online. She knew the South Warwickshire circuit well from her happy experience during her placement while training and


had never expected to be stationed with us. She reminded us that Wesley had said ‘In using all means, seek God alone’. Jesus was truly the centre of her life and ministry. She ended by saying ‘With confidence, Dale Street, Cubbington and Kineton – let the adventure begin!’


The service ended with ‘Love Divine’ and a rumbustious rendering of ‘We are marching’.

2023 Welcome service 3

Here is part of the congregation that surprised Novette when she turned and saw how big it was!


Circuit Service at Stratford,
12 March 2023 – The Otherness of God.

Revd Graham ThompsonA coach load of Methodists from Kenilworth, Warwick and Leamington joined the rest of the Circuit at Stratford for a service at which the President of Conference, Revd Graham Thompson, was the preacher. Friends at Stratford gave us a warm welcome on an untypically mild Spring morning: the capacity of the church had been doubled in size with the drawing back of the panels which separate the Wesley Hall from the main body of the worship area, and the whole was comfortably filled. As is usual at Stratford, the service was also transmitted by Zoom.

The service was started by our superintendent, Revd Iain Ballard, and other leading parts were taken by members of the circuit staff and congregations. There were the regulation five hymns, a balance between old favourites accompanied on the organ and more modern hymns with piano accompaniment. The opening theme was one of worship, beginning with ‘O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness’ (StF 34), followed by prayers of praise and confession, the Lord’s Prayer (traditional words) and the hymn ‘Light of the world’ with its chorus ‘’So here I am to worship’ (StF 175); and then a reading of the opening verses of Psalm 95 (‘O come, let us sing to the Lord’). There was no Gospel reading but we next heard from St Paul’s Letter to the Romans, chapter 5, on the results of Justification by Faith. This set the groundwork for the Sermon after the next hymn, ‘May the mind of Christ my Saviour’ (StF 504).

The President began his sermon by stressing the ‘Otherness’ of God: He is close to us and yet also far greater than we can understand, a Being beyond time and space. We can approach him only through an intermediary. The word ‘priest’ means ‘bridge’ and Christ is our great High Priest, the bridge by whom we come to God. If we have faith in Christ we can tread the path outlined by Paul, from suffering to endurance to character to hope which is upheld by the love of God poured out to us through his Spirit. In this way we can be justified by the grace of God transforming us by faith in the saving death of Christ.

This message of salvation was then reinforced by the next hymn, one of the lesser-known offerings from Singing the Faith, ‘Only by grace’ (StF 565). We then prayed for others as well as for ourselves before the climax of the service in our final hymn, ‘And can it be’ sung to Sagina (what else?). The volume was probably sufficiently great for us to be heard across the road in the parish church! This was indeed a heart-warming and affirming experience, and a Sunday morning well-spent.   

Dads and Tots – Now we are 10

At the beginning of March, I was surprised to realise that it was 10 years since our first meeting of Dads and Tots. 

The staff on duty that dayIt was my son Dan who suggested that we start this group, as he went with his toddler son to one in Banbury.  That was run monthly by the Surestart scheme and Dan thought it was great.  We were also encouraged by the late Revd Andy Laird who had been keen to provide some form of regular event for the community on a Saturday morning.

It was actually 2nd March 2013 when, after quite a lot of research into designing the perfect bacon sandwich, we opened the door to what we hoped would be several dads who would be encouraged by a mouth-watering smell coming from the kitchen.  However, the first person who came through the door was a Muslim, who of course did not eat bacon!

As the morning progressed, a total of 6 dads with 8 children between them arrived, and they seemed to enjoy having a good chat, while their children played with the toys we borrowed from the children’s centre. It was a promising start.

Initially the meetings were run on a trial basis and after two months we asked for feedback.  The dads were asked if they would like anything changing, and would they like to meet monthly or fortnightly.  The hosts were rather taken aback with the dads’ enthusiasm for keeping things more or less the same, but continuing to meet EVERY WEEK!!

After a few weeks during which the number of dads tended to be between 5 and 10, Roger was hosting and offered an optional egg with the bacon sandwich.  This proved very popular and thereafter, bacon and egg sandwiches became the standard fare.

A good time for everyone

Initially, being conscious of healthy diets for the children, we provided fresh fruit for them.  However, Andy suggested we also provided toast with various spreads.

Except for Christmas, Easter and a lengthy break caused by the pandemic, we have continued to meet every Saturday, and the numbers have steadily increased.  We now normally have up 25 to 30 dads and up to 40 children, which keeps us busy, but it is very rewarding.  The enthusiasm and appreciation shown by the dads is fantastic, and it’s great being part of the lively atmosphere on a Saturday morning.  It is often said that the only people who enjoy Dads and Tots more than the dads and tots, are the mums who are left at home to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of a dad-less and tot-less home!

Although Dads and Tots is not run as a means of raising money, we invite donations from the dads to cover the costs of the food.  Any surplus has been passed on to Action for Children, and since the energy price rise, the church funds as well.  Since we started, we have donated nearly £4000 to AfC and £600 to the church.

We don’t know what the future will bring, but what is crystal clear is that there continues to be a real demand for an activity like this, so I imagine we will continue as long as we can.  We have a great team comprising Russell, Mike, Roger, Mark, Andrew and Paul and I can’t thank them enough for their support and good company.  However we could always do with more volunteer hosts. Please contact me if you feel you can give some time, even if it’s only once or twice a year.  You won’t regret it!

Thanks for reading this and here’s to the next ten years!

Peter Bones

A Lad in a Manger

 Shepherds admire the baby

We performed this nativity pantomime by Michael Forster three times on the 20th and 21st January. It was a clever script which made the Christmas message very clear. However, the Friday night capacity audience came well prepared and were joining in almost before they were asked. As for the ‘He’s behind you’, poor Widow Swanky (Jill Lloyd) could hardly keep the show rolling.

So nativity or no nativity, there were Swanky and Herod at loggerheadsMary (Liz Bones) and Joe (Pete Bones), Joe with his plank of wood to keep him occupied while Mary had her baby. Widow Swanky, the innkeeper, had a secret sweet factory.Wicked King Herod (Graham Howe) was in an eternal sugar fix and was obsessed by Swanky’s refusal to give him any sweets. The three shepherds were in various stages of mental malfunction, and the three wise people were led by a Groucho Marx lookalike (Peter Selby). Cameo roles were provided by Swanky’s dim daughter (Jackie Brown) and Little-goes-a –long- way Salami (Nicky Whitehouse) who was on her way to see Harry Styles.

There were six excellent children who were junior angels to Lindsey’s angel in chief. They learnt their parts faster than most and seemed to know the words to the songs as well. They were a great addition to the show.

TeslaWe could not have managed without Andrew Emm. Among many other things he provided a fine set with a stable and city walls (see the cover page) – he also provided the star of the show, Tesla , the e-donkey, with flashing blue lights and warning orange lights which activated when frightened or annoyed.

Sweetie Pie

Nick Lloyd’s Sweetie-pie was another star.It also flashed lights and dispensed a huge number of sweets when everyone danced fast enough to Adam Koch and Paul Parkinson’s percussion..


Jo had been determined to lift the Covid gloom with this pantomime, and the cast responded with enthusiasm and commitment. It clearly did them good. 

Tony provided new tunes, as those suggested by the writer were a little out of date, and Camptown Races would have been strange in our new age.

Scene 3 

Three Wise GuysThe audiences totalled just short of 300, and £500 was raised for The Night Shelter and the Food Bank.



... and in earlier years

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