Sunday, 27 December 2015

Four Kinds of Christmas



So what sort of Christmas are you? Why not take the fun quiz? You can get to it on the Four Kinds website.

There's a book that goes with this which you can buy from the website or you can read it for free online here.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Parish Nursing Ministries Termly Newsletter 4

Parish Nursing Ministries UK has produced a termly newsletter for Christmas and it is reproduced below.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Carols Around the Tree 2015



This year Carols under the tree was completely different. Apart from pictures appearing on our front wall, we had a brass quartet called Completely Different. They are a group based in Felixstowe that are involved in a larger over 50's Ipswich based brass ensemble.

It was nice to see quite a few people come out to sing on a mild winter evening, and there were mince pies and hot drinks afterwards.

Mark reminded us that Christmas was a good news time as we remember the birth of God's Son, Jesus. To some people, any sort of religion is bad news, but sadly for half the population, Jesus at Christmas is no news at all even if they know a little of the nativity story. Christmas in 2015 is another opportunity for people to know that Christ-mas is really good news for everyone because in Jesus, God offers each person the gift of forgiveness, life and hope as we come to know Him.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Secret Church

We had our first ever Secret Church at MRBC on 22nd November 2015.   Even though it wasn't well advertised, about 40 people came and experienced the limitations that churches in some part of the world experience - without the sense of fear and danger.  Improvisation was the order of the day, even down to the pitta bread and olive oil that substituted for communion!

We also watched this great film from Brother Andrew about Syria which is very challenging.  




For more information about Open Doors and Secret Church services, try their website.  Please pray for persecuted Christians around the world and support organisations that help the persecuted church like Open Doors.

But also remember that even in our own divided society, we can be ministers of reconciliation, and as Brother Andrew puts in, to love our enemies and make them our friends, which is far more powerful than the hate and violence that come from so many people and groups in the world today.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

EA/MAF Advent Prayer Guide

This is the Evangelical Alliance and MAF Advent prayer guide designed to be used from 29th November (Advent Sunday - Day 1)  to 25th December(Christmas Day - Day 27).   It can be printed off here.  It's going to be daily on MRBC's Twitter account from Sunday 29th November.  If you want to receive it on your computer, tablet or smartphone, go on to Twitter and follow @MRBCFelixstowe.  It will also be on the MRBC Facebook page daily from 29th November as well.






Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Everlasting Light

Andy Rayner introduces Everlasting Light: a schools charity music project for Christmas 2016.  This video introduces it.


Monday, 9 November 2015

Win Walden: My Story

Win Walden died on the 13th October, just two months short of her hundredth birthday.  As part of her Thanksgiving Service, her sister Doreen read out a testimony that Win wrote in 2007.

Life for me began in a small cottage at Daventry in Northamptonshire during the dark days of the First World War.  Soon afterwards my father was conscripted into the Army and was away for six years.   My parents were both from Christian homes and so it was natural for me to be brought up in the Christian faith.  Daventry was a small country town, serving many small villages.    We had an Anglican Church, Methodist, Catholic and a Congregational or Independent to which we belonged.  Every Sunday morning, afternoon and evening were spent there.   I graduated from scholar to Sunday School pianist and teacher and made a church member at 17.

Our day school had been founded by the Nonconformists before my father went to school and the Governors were chapel people. The teachers  too were expected to be Christians and every morning the day began with  a religious assembly.  I can still remember passages of Scripture that we learned in those assemblies..

The Sunday School Union yearly exams also helped ground us in the faith.   If you didn't pass the 11 Plus, you left school at the age of 14.  The only place to unless you were fortunate enough to work in a shop, was Stead & Simpson's shoe factory, and I began in the Closing Room in 1930.   I didn't like it , but you had to put up with it.

We enjoyed  our leisure time at the Youth Club.   For a while I went to evening classes; and I also enjoyed playing tennis.   Public transport was scarce so we walked in the countryside a lot.

Eventually my husband and I paired off and we were married in April 1939.  Happiness did not last long as war was declared in September, with the daily dread of conscription papers arriving.   Early in 1940 they came, and except for the odd leave here and there, we were apart for six years.

The war years were not all doom and gloom however.   I was invited to work in a grocery shop, a job I loved, and was there until the men came back from the war, after which I was promoted to the office.

I made friends with a Land Army girl from Manchester and strangers from London who belonged to the Brethren.   It was from these friends that I found a deeper faith in my Christian life.  
 
It was difficult to settle down after the war, but gradually life resumed a normal pattern.In 1960 I felt a strong desire to be baptised - but where?   The nearest Baptist Church was 5 miles away - with no public transport.  Eventually I went to Rugby which was 11 miles away, and the Lord went before me and opened up the way for me to experience the wonder of baptism.

About this time my husband was beginning to feel he would like to change his job.  A friend came forward with news of a Congregational Church in Solihull that needed a Caretaker.   We applied and were accepted, staying there for 5 years.   An advert in the Baptist Times for a Caretaker at Teddington Baptist Church made us restless.   We went for an interview and the removal van was soon at the door again.

Our new home was a cottage next door to the church.  We spent 5 happy years there, enjoying the lovely historic area, joining in all the church activities, serving the Lord in every way we could.

Then the blow fell; my husband was told by the doctor that he was very ill - what now!   The cottage was tied to the church.   We contacted the Baptist Men's Housing Association to see if they had anything.   All they could offer was a flat in Bristol!  Here again the Lord went before us, and we were duly installed in June 1976.   We were quite happy with the church and the flat, but were on the outskirts of Bristol, and after the busyness of life in London, with its wonderful bus service, we felt a bit flat.

Eleven months passed and out of the blue came an offer of a flat in Twickenham, next door to Teddington.  My husband was gradually getting worse, so good Christian friends fetched him in their car and arranged for us to stay with them while I got the flat straight (I rode in the furniture van).   Sad to say we had only been with our friends a few days when my husband died; he never did go into the flat.

My friends belonged to Twickenham Green Baptist Church and as it was nearer to me than Teddington, I joined too.

I became a Teacher and a Deacon, helped with the Women's Fellowship and with anything else I could do.  I was there form 1972 to 1999 and they were wonderful 22 years of Christian fellowship - with marvellous Christians who gave of themselves in the service of the Lord.  The church has lost members by retirement and death, but they still go forward in faith.

In March 1999 I moved nearer to my sister in Suffolk.  A place was found for me at Reeeve Lodge, and in November of the same year, through God;s grace I was able to move to Trimley St Martin.  I find it difficult to believe I have been here 8 years.  Where to next?  Only God knows that.   He holds the key and I am glad.

Win Walden (1915-2015)

Win was an active member at MRBC until her mid nineties, her last service being the pianist at the Women's Fellowship.   She remained at Reeve Lodge until 2013 when failing health necessitated a move, first to St Mary's Residential Home and finally to Merryfields.  It was always a joy to visit her.   No-one could have been more prepared for the Lord's presence than Win and we praise God for her life and witness.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Churches Together in Felixstowe AGM Reports

Here are the AGM reports for the Churches Together meeting on Wednesday 4th November.  They make encouraging reading about what God is doing through many of our local Christian organisations.  The Town Pastors report is in their Newsletter which is also on this blog.


Walton Parish Nursing
Walton Parish Nursing has continued to grow and develop and now has over 60 regular clients and 16 trained volunteers.
We have continued to run the chair based exercise class once a week and visit many clients in their homes. Furthermore, WPN gave a talk during the churches unity week and were blessed by more volunteers and a donation to buy equipment, and other talks have been given to the Catholic women’s league and at the University Campus Suffolk to group of training district nurses.
After finishing running the baby weighing session at The Oaks children’s centre, WPN commenced a health drop in at the Laydens community cafĂ© in Langley Avenue. This is a huge success; we are able to offer health advice, weight management and blood pressure checks to all ages.
Moreover, our second healthy hearts course in March was well attended and also in March we were able to meet the Methodist president of the conference, Rev Howcroft, during his visit to Felixstowe.
In April, the East of England Co-op adopted us as one of three charities for their ‘green token scheme’ and we have since received a cheque for £500 - half the possible amount.
In addition, we have received training in dementia, mental health, diabetes, bereavement and loss.
In August, WPN was delighted to welcome Wendy Hubbard, who is an occupational therapist to the team. This appointment means that Wendy and Lorna now cover Monday to Thursday each week in serving the community of Walton.
Also in August, Lorna was interviewed by Jon Wright on Suffolk Radio during his health slot.
What is more, links have been built with St Elizabeth Hospice, the social work team based at Queens Road and the dementia Felixstowe action alliance.
WPN is continuing to build links with the community, as we reach out to all ages to support people with their health - physical, emotional, social and spiritual. 
 Lorna Bellamy, Parish Nurse

BOOST


Thank you to all those who have championed our work over recent months.

We have successfully completed our first year of Academy Chaplaincy at Felixstowe Academy, showing what can be achieved by creatively linking schools and churches.

Ofsted, after taking a good look at every aspect of our provision towards the end of the summer term, rated our chaplaincy provision as providing ‘excellent support’ (June 2015) for which we are extremely pleased. In education it is one of the biggest endorsements we could have hoped for.


With a new principal, and a year of experience under our belt, we are looking forward to another year of opportunities and challenges at Felixstowe Academy and beyond. The number of other schools enquiring about wanting this type of provision is overwhelming!

Josh has started a part-time PhD exploring the role of chaplains in state-funded academies in the UK. This is a 5 year project which Felixstowe Academy are supporting and this shows our commitment to Academy Chaplaincy, this local partnership, and our future work too.
We do need greater financial support to keep this work running day-to-day and to develop it further. We have narrowed our costs down to one salary (no building, no rent, no equipment), and our trustees are very proud that this is one of the best value ministries in the UK
 

We would ask individuals to consider supporting this project by giving £10 per month to help support the 1,300 students, and the staff too, at our local academy.
 

For further updates do take a look at our new website, www.boostfelixstowe.org.uk, where you can sign up to our regular newsletters.


The Hope Trust

It’s been a busy few months since we lasted reported to CTiF in May.
Our new cookery classes are underway and it is wonderful to hear people share how they have tried out the new recipes they have learnt here, in their own kitchens – a welcome change to ready meals, or so we’re told! Referrals from the local Physio team, Community team and Adult Social Workers have also allowed us to reach out to people who suddenly find themselves needing what hope trust can offer – a chance to make new social connections, to get out of the house for a few hours and meet new people, possibly even making new friends along the way. It is so encouraging to hear a group of older people sharing the story of their life both in the past and in the present; as they share stories of how they spend their time, we watch happily as they extend an invitation to people they have known for a long time, or just met that morning, to join them – it’s great to see new connections being made so naturally.

The work in the residential homes also continues with the busy run-up to Christmas being planned. In addition to all the services being taken into the homes, each residential home will be asked if they still have the hope trust Christmas DVD that they can make use of at any point during the holiday season.

The charity has successfully become a new Charitable Incorporated Organisation, and whilst none of our clients would have noticed any changes, for the charity itself there has been a lot of work taking place behind the scenes including updating headed paper and all advertising to show our new charity number.

The support of so many local churches, and individuals, means that hope trust can continue to offer most of what it does free of charge; our sincere thanks to all who make this possible.

Please keep on under-pinning our work with prayer – we know it makes such a difference!

Paul and Sheila Taylor 01394 272592 info@hopetrust.org.uk www.hopetrust.org.uk

FELIXSTOWE LISTENING SERVICE (FLS)
As we approach the end of our fourth year, we are all too aware and very grateful for the many ways in which God has blessed our work. In the four years we have been able to provide a safe and caring place for people who are experiencing life difficulties to share their story in confidence and explore their way ahead. However, we are also aware that there are a great many more people out there in the community who would benefit from meeting, one-to-one, with one of our trained listeners or counsellors and we continue to invite the local churches to work in partnership with us by telling people the support which we can offer.

We are delighted that we now have ten local churches represented on our volunteer team. Our Christian faith is what motivates us and sustains us in what can sometimes be stressful, although always very fulfilling work. We are always very pleased to talk to church groups and congregations about FLS. As part of Inspire Counselling & Training, we can also help to arrange training in pastoral care, listening skills and a range of subjects related to mental health wellbeing.

Our main challenges for our fifth year are to ensure a more secure financial foundation for our work, which currently is very reliant on fundraising, and to work towards having our own premises. We would be very interested to hear from any other Christian group which could be interesting in sharing premises.


Margaret Bale
FLS Team Leader
Tel. 07896 326459




Friday, 30 October 2015

Walton Parish Nursing Celebration Service



Sunday 18th October saw SRMC packed to bursting, with not a spare chair, as the three Walton churches gathered together for their annual service to celebrate this ecumenical ministry. The congregation of 120 included Mayor, Doreen Savage, District Chair, Circuit Superintendent, councillors, reps from organisations, clients, Methodist, Baptist & Anglican Ministers & members from the three Walton churches.
Ros Moore, the new CEO of PNMUK had travelled from Yorkshire (with a nerve-racking train journey that meant she nearly missed the service!), who gave an inspiring talk. Being a Methodist & using a visual aid of a rope with 4 knots, she linked Our Calling of Service, Learning & Caring, Worship & Evangelism to what we do in Parish Nursing. This was a way for churches to show God’s love by being a good neighbour to people in need, supporting community development & in turn growing as Christians.
Wendy Hubbard introduced herself as the new OT & said what a privilege it was to combine her training as an OT with her Christian faith.Music was provided by the JAM group at St Mary’s.
Each group was called to the front & showed what a big team we had become, bringing different skills & expertise to the ministry – the Trustees (including Ministers), Management Team, Volunteers (16), Lorna PN, Wendy OT plus Ros & Helen Wordsworth from PNMUK.
There followed refreshments organised by MRBC with a splendid array of cakes where conversations were had & connections made.
This was an uplifting service for all those involved in WPN which affirmed the work we do, reminding us that it’s not what we do for ourselves IN church that matters but what we do OUTSIDE our church walls for others. It’s what Jesus would do.

Sue Hockenhull
This article was written for SRMC's magazine, Brightstar.

You can view video highlights of the service here.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

The Backstabbers



This is the video shown in the service on 1st November 2015 at MRBC to introduce the stormy relationship between these two characters.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Evening Services in October and November

We've got a few "specials" on on October and early November, so here is the programme.  Please note that with the end of British Summer Time, our regular Evening Services revert to 5-30pm until the end of March.


18/10/2015 Parish Nursing Celebration @ Seaton Road 3pm Nothing @ MRBC
25/10/2015 Taize Service @ St Marys from 6pm Nothing @ MRBC
01/11/2015 Bible Society Service @ SA 5-30pm Nothing @ MRBC
08/11/2015 Bible Study Mark Reid Service reverts to 5-30pm
15/11/2015 Communion Mark Reid
22/11/2015 Something's on But what? Find someone who may know.....

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Vanishing Grace Bible Studies

During the autumn, some of out Small Groups will be looking at Vanishing Grace by Philip Yancey. 
The Vanishing Grace Bible Study series was published in America only and the study guides seem to be out of print and hard to get, so they are reproduced below. They can also be viewed on computers, phones or tablets but you will need to use the rotate facility as they have been formatted for printing.

The DVD is in US format rather than European and Mark has produced a copy that works on British DVD players as well as putting it on YouTube.

The sessions are available online below.

Session
1. We've got problems Video 1
2. What can we do about it? Video 2
3. Who are the grace dispensers? Video 3
4. Is it really good news? Video 4
5. Holy subversives Video 5

Note for Leaders:   All the session files are in pdf format and you should be able to download and print them. The studies are long, so please feel free to adapt them as appropriate to your group - or just guide free discussion of the material after watching the video.   Please see Mark for a copy of the DVD.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Churches Together in Suffolk

Our Regional Minister, Simon Goddard is the Moderator for CTiS and he has let us know about this forthcoming meeting.


Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Baptists Together Magazine

The BU, now re-badged to Baptists Together have just issued their latest version of their magazine,Together.  Click on the picture below to view it (pdf reader needed)

http://www.baptist.org.uk/Publisher/File.aspx?ID=158084&view=browser

Previous copies of the magazine and the ability to download copies can be found on the BU Website.  For those who like to feel real paper copies - there are a few at church.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Felixstowe Town Pastor Recruitment

Felixstowe Town Pastors are looking to recruit more Town Pastors, Base Pray-ers and Home Pray-ers.  If you are interested, please follow up the contact information below.




Sunday, 23 August 2015

Paving a new path



This video charts the story of the changes that were made to the church frontage in 2014 including the two videos made for the EBA Assemblies in 2014 and 2015. Many thanks to all those who helped with the project and contributed generously to it. Praise the Lord for His goodness! The original Church of the Year page can be found here.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Parish Nursing Ministries Summer Update

Parish Nursing Ministries UK has produced another one of its newsletters and it is reproduced below.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Vanishing Grace



We discussed the latter part of this video on 9th August. It's worth watching all the way through though. Length 1 hour.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Pushing Jesus away?

Mark 6:1-6  
Jesus left there and went to his home town, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.
“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offence at him.
Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honour except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith. (NIV)

As I'm on sabbatical, I thought I would take the opportunity to visit other churches over the next few weeks.  My first outing was to Proclaimers Church at the Novotel in Ipswich.

I got a great welcome, so thanks to them.   The sermon was based on the passage from Mark above.  I've read it lots of times before but never preached on it.   And my attention was drawn to something I'd not noticed previously.  It's in verse 5.  Such was the lack of faith of people in His home town, that Jesus was only able to do a few miracles.  His blessings to them were limited by this lack of faith. We don't know if this was the same incident as in Luke 4 but either way, Jesus was driven away by their lack of faith and He went elsewhere and others received the blessings.

Jesus wants us to receive His blessings, but our lack of faith often means we miss out as we are not ready to receive.  We may even witness one or two miracles or answered prayers, but our lack of faith means that we can in effect push Him away from us. Because we have experienced a few things Jesus has done, we think we are OK and don't examine the areas in our life where we aren't faithful, full of doubts or unbelieving.

Yet Jesus wants to bless us so much more.  He wants to see us have victory in overcoming the difficulties in our lives,  to find strength to face the future, and most of all, to see the blessings He wants us to have as we believe.   As we pray in the Spirit we will see His work in the lives of those we pray for and in ourselves.

From Mark's Sabbatical Blog  May 2015




The Cross

One of the twentieth century's most significant global Christian figures was Billy Graham.   His huge evangelistic crusades resulted in many thousands - millions maybe - of commitments or re-commitments to Christ.

That style of ministry seems passĂ© these days, although the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association points out that what they now call "Arena Events" still command huge crowds in many parts of the world.    The church in Britain may use this kind of events much less now, but they still result in many changed lives in other parts of the world.   Of course, Billy is now 96 and hasn't done a large scale event for some time.

I was invited to a BGEA leaders' evening recently and they used the opportunity to introduce what the ministry currently does and the way it has tried to move with the social changes that have occurred both in the USA and in Europe that have changed the way in which we communicate with one another.   They are heavily into course, internet and video evangelism as well as their traditional preaching activities, now headed by Franklin Graham.  In fact a year ago Billy felt that God had given him one last message for America.  How was he to get it out, being largely housebound these days?  He made a video which is below which has resulted in many coming to Christ.

Unsurprisingly, his last message is exactly the same as the many thousands of messages in  over 60 years of ministry and its called The Cross.   So here's an opportunity to see Billy in a different format from that you're used to; presenting an old and familiar message to a new generation.   Who says you're ever too old to tell people about Jesus?  It has now been made available in a UK version too (this is the US one) and I hope to show the DVD later in the year plus a few other bonus videos from the BGEA.





Another item from Mark's Sabbatical Blog May 2015

Two Tribes

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It was the biggest Ipswich-Norwich derby for many years in front of a full house at Portman Road. The video gives you some inkling of the atmosphere and the game was exciting. It was the 98th time the two teams had met in the league and  important for both teams, as they fight for a play-off place. At the final whistle it was a 1-1 draw, which was disappointing for us Ipswich fans.    However, sport apart, this derby has a darker side.

Violence in the past meant that twice the usual number of Police were on duty, many more stewards were hired and the City of London Police's mounted division was there. As far as I know there were few incidents to mar the day, but after the match I watched "fans" trade insults and one or two even spat at one another. Now that's a bit pathetic. To use the old adage; it is only a game.    But of course to some it's not. Norfolk - Suffolk rivalry can be identified as far back as the North Folk and the South Folk of the Kingdom of the East Angles.

We all have, and like to have an identity. I'm Welsh and I'm proud of it. I'm British too. But should that be used as a means to separate myself from others,  discriminate against them, insult them or even use violence? In our liberal democracy, most of us would say "of course not".   However we live in a competitive world where success for one can mean loss for others and animosity.  Whether it be football, nationality, race, sex, age, class, or occupation, people find all sorts of excuses to separate and discriminate.  It's all tribal and can lead to awful consequences.

What's God's view of this?  He shows no favouritism between people (Romans 2:11) and that's particularly true in their relationship with Him, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).   We're all the same to Him.

You'll notice I didn't mention religion in my list of things that make people resort to tribalism.   When people think they are right and that their views are endorsed by God (or gods) it can make them the most dangerous people on Earth.    Religion, even in the name of Christ has resulted in terrible atrocities as we know only too well by just looking at the news.   But is this what Jesus taught?  Of course it isn't.  Jesus came to bring peace between people and God and people and people.     He had all the reverse values to tribalism and these lie at the heart of biblical Christian tradition, and at the heart of a liberal democracy as well.

But doesn't religion divide?   After all Jesus claims to be the only way to God.  Surely that divides Christians from the rest?   Not really, because being a Christian isn't, or shouldn't be a mark of separation between them and the rest of society.     Quite the reverse, Christianity is inclusive - Jesus invites all people without exception to follow Him.   Let's repeat the Romans 3 verses by adding verse 24:  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Separated from God?  By birth yes, but each of us have the choice of believing, trusting and following Jesus, because God offers it to everybody as a free gift through following and trusting Jesus.

From Mark Reid's Sabbatical Blog May 9th 2015

You can't do that!



We've all seen them around.   They are prohibition signs that say "you can't do that".    These days we replace words with symbols, just in case someone can't read English.   Sometimes there is a red line striking through, sometimes there isn't one, usually on standard road signs, which makes things more confusing, but they mean the same - what's prohibited is on the sign.



These signs appear everywhere and most people understand their message - you can't do what's on the sign.   So I was intrigued to find this sign on the sea front when I was walking the dogs.



Here it is as large as life.  It's a dog on a lead in a prohibition sign.   What it says according to the rules above, is that you are not permitted to walk your dog on a lead.    That means you have to walk your dog off a lead doesn't it, because the sign shows a person with a dog on a lead?    As there is not a dog ban sign, they must be allowed, just not on a lead.  

Actually I'm being facetious here as I know very well what was meant because the sign is written in English underneath - which is just as well as there may be lots of confused people otherwise!


I found it no surprise that the authors of confusion were SCDC - it's typical municipal nonsense, but I'm surprised no-one has noticed.  Perhaps they have and they don't want the expense of putting up a different sign unless someone else notices and makes a fuss!  

We have all lived in a generation of can't do's.  The signs may have changed over the years, but we live in a society that has limits.  Our behaviour is regulated by those in authority, or by those wanting to protect their privacy by putting up Keep Out signs.  Usually it's in the form of telling us what we can't do.    A common view of God is that He is someone who is a killjoy.  He has produced a book, the Bible which tells us what we can't do.   In the past couple of generations people have stressed freedom rather than prohibition.   Their rejection of the Christian faith is often on the basis of their freedom to do as they please.   

What strikes me about these signs is that we have not become a freer society, just that the nature of freedoms has shifted from one part of our culture to another.   So people may be freer in their sexual relationships, or freer in terms of race, gender or class, but in a modern surveillance society, many of our other rights have started to disappear, particularly in relation to personal privacy.

I sometimes watch Jeremy Kyle on telly - you can't avoid him really.   Are some of these people he has on his show for real?    How can human beings treat each other like that?  Not all do, but we all see elements of that sort of behaviour in our own community. 

Then we realise why the Bible is full of moral statements. Without God's framework, relationships can be very dysfunctional.  However much people may criticise the Christian faith for its Biblical moral stance, what replaces it is often moral anarchy which leads to broken relationships, anger, unforgiveness, revenge, hurt and hatred.  

Actually, the Bible is a book that helps us define freedoms.  It's a book that creates a framework in which we can live life knowing that we love others and honour God.   It tells us of things we shouldn't do and why, but it also tells us how in Jesus, God has set us free to live life to the full, by recognising all the space there is between the limits.   If you are a Christian, then God wants you to live life to the full.   

2 Cor 3:17.. the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.   True liberty is not found in ignoring Jesus but following Him.   The following verses always encourage me:    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23).   The Christian faith is one where we have freedom to do all those things which build ourselves and others up.  They are all positive, and they are all powerful.   And the Spirit brings them into fruition in our lives.   Christians, in the power of the Spirit are a counter-culture people.    If we walk in the Spirit and pray in the Spirit, we display His fruit.  We will honour God and build up others.   The world, or society and those we know who don't know Jesus yet, needs that right now.

(Originally in Mark Reid's Sabbatical Blog - May 2015)

Monday, 6 July 2015

A seed sown in Suffolk- Walton Parish Nursing


In Mark Chapter 4 Jesus compares growth in the Kingdom of God to the growth of the mustard seed. From tiny beginnings it grows out of all proportion and provides shelter for birds and, presumably, people too. Such astounding growth is, He says, an example of how the Kingdom will grow.

Those of us involved in Walton Parish Nursing (Felixstowe) are beginning to marvel at the truth of that parable. Ten years ago the local Baptist Church had a vision to serve their local community. They did a survey of needs and found that people were concerned about their physical, mental and spiritual health. So they set about meeting that need by employing a Parish Nurse for a few hours each week, to use her nursing skills to minister to those needing them in the church community and beyond. A qualified and active nurse in her day job, and linked to the wider network of Parish Nursing worldwide, she was able not only to follow up on those with physical problems but also to pray with her clients as well.

Amazingly, in the ten years since its inception, Walton Parish Nursing has grown like the mustard seed in the parable. Through the generosity of the Baptists in sharing their scheme with two other churches we now have a truly ecumenical project run by Baptists, Methodists and Anglicans in equal parts.

We employ not just a Parish Nurse but a Parish Occupational Therapist too! They use their skills to head up a team of 19 part time volunteers working in our needy community. We run chair-based exercises, drop in clinics, baby weighing at a local authority children’s centre, Sole Mates (foot and leg care) and health education courses for anyone in Walton who wants to take advantage of them. Visiting, transport and advocacy are all part of the package too.

So our seed has grown into a tree with many branches that shelter and protect the vulnerable in this part of Suffolk. But the roots have grown too…those of us involved are amazed at the way that our faith has grown and deepened as we have seen God’s hand at work in the provision of key people, of finance which is all based on donations and grants, and in binding our churches together in a wonderful way. We really do feel part of the Kingdom of God!

Thank you to The East Anglia District and the Ipswich Circuit amongst others for on-going help in funding this project and if anyone has a desire to plant a Parish Nursing seed in their neighbourhood or wants to know more please do get in touch at www.waltonpn.org.uk.


Heather Bentley ( Member of WPN management team and Seaton Road Methodist Church)

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Sunday Evenings in July and August

It's summer time and things are done differently at this time of the year on Sunday Evenings.   Here's what we  are up to in July and August.   


05/07/2015 Picnic and Praise in Ipswich @ Christchurch Park 4pm onwards
12/07/2015 Praise on the Prom @ Spa Gardens  3-30pm onwards
19/07/2015 Communion Mark Reid
26/07/2015 News & Prayer Mark Reid
02/08/2015 Prayer Margaret & Sandra
09/08/2015 Bible Study Mark Reid
16/08/2015 Communion Mark Reid
23/08/2015 News & Prayer Mark Reid
30/08/2015 Bible Study TBA
 

Friday, 12 June 2015

Parish Nursing Prayer Morning

Walton Parish Nursing had a Prayer & Coffee Morning on 4th July. It was encouraging to hear what God has been doing in recent months, and we prayed for its continuing work. Missed it? You can still pray and below is the prayer sheet we used on the day to help you give thanks to God and pray for it.



For a pdf of this which is printable, please click here. 
 
For more information about Walton Parish Nursing click here.

For more information about Parish Nursing nationally click here.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Ministers of Spiritual Care

Yesterday I visited a Baptist Church at Calahonda, near to where we are staying.  It's an international church, with people drawn from as far away as South Africa and America.    It's nice to worship somewhere in Spain where the language is English and a Baptist Church to boot.

The preacher was one of the Elders, Ken Oke, a Canadian.  The sermon was from Ephesians 4 verses 11-13 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

He noted that people often function most effectively when they have a defined role - even an office, or title, so he suggested that each person in the church might have a title of Minister of Spiritual Care.   Whereas Christ gives us people in very specific roles - apostles, prophets etc, they are not the ones that do everything, merely to equip everyone else to do works of service so that the body of Christ is built up.    We often think of these leaders as responsible for building up the body, but it's actually each of us that have responsibility as Ministers of Spiritual Care.

We are responsible for each of those alongside us and around us, both in the church and those who don't know Jesus yet.  We have the title but it's up to each of us to fill in the blanks as to how we minister to others and we will need to pray for, pray with, help and reach the lost.   And its our being responsible to one another that will build the church up.   We do not do the work of God alone - we have been given one another.   

Whereas there are those in leadership who get trained, ordained, appointed or whatever; each of God's people is a minister and God's power is with each of us and at work within each of us and He will use us to touch other people's lives.

God has made each of us important - we are all ministers and are here to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up  until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Churches Together in Felixstowe AGM Reports


 Here are the reports presented to the Churches Together in Felixstowe AGM and Forum on 12th May.  They make encouraging reading.

 

 

 

Academy Chaplaincy Update from Boost 

 

In September 2014 we launched a new chaplaincy partnership with Felixstowe Academy. Thank you for your support. This project has opened up many opportunities and is gaining recognition at a regional and national level, and remains the first partnership of its kind in Britain. 
 

Josh has been involved in a number of new events at the academy as well as offering pastoral support and contributing to assemblies and lessons on a regular basis. Feedback from staff and students has been overwhelmingly positive, as seen at Josh’s commissioning service at the academy with Bishop David before Easter. 
 

Finance remains a challenge for us. The academy are unable to contribute to the funding of this role and although we have seen support grow recently we still need more regular giving to make sure this project is sustainable long term. 
 

With the potential of interacting with 1,300 students on a daily basis, Academy Chaplaincy is not only good value, but also is leading the way in creative partnerships between churches and schools, and rediscovering what modern youth work and ministry looks like. 
 

Thank you for your continued interest and please do support us if you are able.

Walton Parish Nursing

  
We had a particularly successful information morning during Unity Week. 

Marilyn Flower stepped down as our Parish Nurse OT at the end of April as she prepares to relocate to Bournemouth. So we are recruiting for another Parish Nurse, preferably with community  psychiatric nursing experience, to join Lorna & the team (deadline for applications is May 22nd).
Our wonderful team of volunteers has grown to 19 which includes some from churches outside Walton.
There is a new drop-in health clinic at The Laydens Project, Langley Avenue, which is proving popular.  
Two volunteers are to train as leaders for chair-based exercise classes with a vision to start a second class in the near future.


We have a dedicated Management Team & a set of Trustees that includes the three Ministers of the Walton churches in this ecumenical partnership. 
 

Look at our new website www.waltonpn.org.uk.   We have valued the support from other churches & 
wish to acknowledge kind donations received over the year.

Felixstowe Listening Service (FLS)

 

Now well into our fourth year, we continue to provide short-term listening as well as professional counselling for adults who are experiencing life difficulties. With a team of 10 trained volunteer listeners and counsellors, we are now running up to 16 individual sessions a week on Wednesdays and Thursdays, both at the Library and at Hope Trust and aim to see prospective clients for an initial interview within two to three weeks. We are committed to offering listening as a free service (although we do actively encourage donations) and low-cost counselling related to people’s ability to pay. 

With the majority of the people who use the service being on low incomes and our need to develop the service further, we are experiencing financial pressures and are constantly looking at ways of increasing our income without in any way compromising our Christian ethos. 

Our longer-term aim is to have our own premises, possibly shared with another Christian group. We greatly value our relationship with the local churches and welcome opportunities to speak to church congregations and groups to explain how our service works in partnership with local church ministry. For more information on FLS, please contact Margaret Bale on 07896 326459 or e-mail felixstowelisten@gmail.com.



Felixstowe Town Pastors



Thanks for your prayers, love and support for the work of Felixstowe Town Pastors. On the 10th of April 2010 Felixstowe Town Pastors stepped onto the streets for the first time to serve in the night time economy, defusing and de-escalating difficult situations, listening, caring and serving – so yes, that means we are now 5 years old!


Our statistics for 2014 regarding the 1864 incidents handled give one picture of what we’ve handled, but our experience and one to one engagement have many hidden stories about loving, caring, bringing peace, building bridges, serving, mopping up mess, sweeping up broken glass, dried tears, laughing, hugs, high fives and answered prayer.

Last year we said goodbye to Philippa Kichenside as Coordinator (but still a Town Pastor), and this year we’ve welcomed Jan Bedford who joined us to look after the day to day running of TP’s in Felixstowe. Our greatest ongoing need – more volunteers! Especially base pray-ers, and also female town pastors. If interested in finding out more, please see Jan Bedford or Liz at the CTF AGM, or email coordinator@felixstowetownpastors.org.uk

Every Blessing!

Peter Livey – Director, FTP