Our first café church – 16th June 2019 – All age worship on Fathers’ Day
It was a service with a difference. We were welcomed to Dale Street Café Church with coffee and cake and an opportunity to chat as we sat round tables instead of in rows.
There were activities on the tables from making welcome signs to taking part in a quiz using different versions of the Bible.
Michael welcomed us and reminded us of the importance of feeling welcomed and included. We sang, ’Let us build a house where love can dwell’ with its chorus, ’All are welcome in this place.’
There were cards to write our prayer needs, pink for private, and blue for prayers to be shared in our intercessions. These were attached to the prayer tree.
Rev. Barbara talked of a welcoming father, reminding us of the prodigal son who didn’t expect a welcome, and Jesus welcoming the children who, in the culture of the time, were not seen as useful or productive. But, all are precious.
We rose to sing, 'In Christ alone'.
Four Easter services from Good Friday to ‘Low Sunday’: a journey of faith.
Above: the symbols of the passion
This was a huge variety of thoughtful contemplation and worship, starting with Jeongsook’s service of remembrance of the Passion, each section of the reading of the story punctuated by the laying of symbols at the table and the extinction of candles, one by one. For the Easter day all age worship, Jeongsook was joined by Michael who led the joyous acclamation. Songs were accompanied by the waving of flags and the beating of instruments. Michael also made the intercessions and dwelt particularly on the terrible massacre in the churches and hotels of Sri Lanka.
Traditionally known as ‘Low Sunday’, the Sunday afterwards was anything but, marked by two outstanding services. They both celebrated the continuance of the Easter festival and were based on St John’s account of Christ’s appearance to the disciples, meditating on the phrase, ‘Peace be with you’. Sam McBratney preached in the morning. The Konect4 service in the evening was held in the basement and was Peter Power’s account of his visit to Taize. We sang a number of Taize chants and lit candles for the many parts of the world that were in need of prayer.
Below: the flags set off on their journey round the church on Easter morning
Bumper Jigsaw Fair 23rd March 2019
This was a magnificent feat of organisation. Before the event hundreds of jigsaws from 35 to 3000 pieces appeared in the church and people took them away, made them up and returned them on cardboard mats covered with clingfilm. On the day, the completed puzzles were laid out on trestles throughout the church and we were visited by well over 250 people from as far away as Evesham and Oban. Some went away weighed down with jigsaws and one visitor, aged 90, came twice, not because he liked jigsaws but because he was intrigued by the psychology of the event.
The team, wearing red Action for Children shirts, identified jigsaws, deconstructing them and replacing them with new ones as they were sold.
The food was good too – bacon butties throughout the day and baked potatoes for lunch. The cakes were worth a jigsaw in themselves. Many of our visitors stayed to eat and we were pleased to welcome many families.
No doubt there will be other jigsaw fairs in the locality, but we were one of the first, and several visitors wanted to know when we were going to do it again!
This was the latest in a series of successful events raising money for Action for Children, and we made well over £2000 for our charity.
Celebrating the life of Norma Dawson (1923 – 2018): 9th March 2019
Many people from all walks of Norma’s busy life came to remember her in a tribute organised by her son, Kingsley and daughter, Julia. Whatever the activity or the work of the church, Norma was there. She had many talents (including on one occasion when she climbed onto the church roof to assist Eric inspecting the property) but the main ones were artistic, dramatic, and of course, gardening, which she loved and was super-knowledgeable.
She was firm in her opinions and always friendly and smiling. She was a stalwart of the drama group in its busiest time, acting, producing and also providing costumes (for this was her expertise). Some of the costumes for the pantomimes were really challenging, such as undersea locations or sci-fi. For Trevor Beardsall, she edited Under Milk Wood for an evening reading, an undertaking requiring immense literary skill. Perhaps her greatest acting performance was as Miss Marple.
Mention was made of her runner beans and her stall at The Homewood fete. She went on gardening until the end of her life.
Her life and that of her mother are remembered in the church building itself. There is proof that Mrs Cemm was responsible for the very necessary handrail on the wall of the Community Room. In the same room, you will find the chair that Norma upholstered to commemorate John Wesley. It is unique, and shines as brightly as ever.
9th February 2019: Valentines meal and fun day
children braved the cold winds of storm Erik to enjoy the activities and a fine
meal of melon, pasta Bolognese or vegetarian with garlic bread, and – to follow
– yummy cup cakes with plenty of topping. Tables were set out with board games,
flowers, hearts and little Disney-style unicorns, and the diners made little
pictures with the flowers, completed a word search, and made flowers with
multi-coloured squares of paper.
This is what the church looked like as we awaited our first visitors:
Just before the meal appeared, there was the inevitable pass-the-parcel accompanied by Michael’s new and exciting form of singing which you might have thought was slightly ethnic – except that it wasn’t.
June and her team were especially thanked for such a good meal, and Ian and Michael for having arranged this event and presented it with appropriate energy.
here is one of the flowers for you to work out how it was made – just one of
the many surprises at this Valentines fun day.
Stargazers, the musical: 18th – 19th January 2019
We started looking for a musical way back last May and finally decided on Stargazers, by Roger Jones. However, it only lasted some half hour, so we asked him if he would mind our adding our own script. When we showed it to him he immediately said he would come to a performance, and so became one of our distinguished – and very satisfied – visitors.
The story is how the three wise people travelled to the manger – you know the story, but ours made them real people. They started their journey for various other reasons but were brought together and diverted in their purposes by a series of text messages that flashed on to the screens. Caspar was an awfully bad poet and spent the entire musical trying to write the chorus to We three kings. He achieved his epiphany when he created the line Heaven sings alleluia and danced weirdly to it. The wise people had no presents and had to make do with what they were carrying. Our Mary was a feisty lady and Joseph was clearly having problems adapting to the role of a modern father.
The message: Herod tried to impress on us that he was the King, and Caspar mistakenly wrote We three kings, but what they discovered was that there was only one King, and he came without servants and palaces – and his name was Jesus.
The music: Roger Jones originally wrote Stargazers for a school production, and the songs were catchy and easy to sing once you had mastered the words. We stuck mostly to unison singing and accompanied with piano, bass and percussion. A flute helped to create the atmosphere of the stable and the manger.
There were three performances and we attracted audiences totalling nearly 300.
The wise people and their servant, Blisters, reach Herod’s palace, while Herod and a scribe look on.
Click below to hear "Let's take a trip to Bethlehem":
Click below to hear "As with gladness":