July 2011

Prayer for the Week

Author: 
Ian and Fiona Corless

Jesus says, ‘come to me all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads’.

Lord, give rest, Lord give hope and peace
And so, Lord, we bring to you, in our prayers, people who carry a heavy load………

For people who mourn the death of loved ones, young and old – for those coming to terms with brutal killings, for those who do not feel whole as the person who was the centre of their world is no longer alive.
Lord, give rest, Lord give hope and peace

For people who speak out and challenge us to be better stewards of your creation – for environmental charities and protest movements as they strive to raise awareness of what we are doing to the world’s resources and powers.
Lord, give rest, Lord give hope and peace

For people who are despised, ignored or ridiculed, so that their concerns are not really heard – for employees whose basic rights are not catered, for those who seek equal treatment but who face barriers because of their age, their gender, their beliefs, their sexuality or the colour of their skin.
Lord, give rest, Lord give hope and peace

For people who are harassed and dehumanised, and whose protests are not heard or given any consideration – for people in Zimbabwe, in Burma, in Libya and in Tibet who struggle for democracy and personal freedom.
Lord, give rest, Lord give hope and peace

For people who are hungry and thirsty because there is little to eat or drink – where droughts have meant that crops have failed, where no livelihood has meant people are driven to beg or steal to feed themselves and their families.
Lord, give rest, Lord give hope and peace

For people caught up in the midst of war - for displaced people and refugees in Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia who have had to flee their home and communities for fear of their own safety.
Lord, give rest, Lord give hope and peace

For people who are responsible for providing healthcare, education and emergency services – carers, teachers, surgeons, nurses, GPs, lecturers, firefighters, police and many others . In those days when they feel that the job is never done and that their world is getting worse and not better
Lord, give rest, Lord give hope and peace

For people in positions of power and responsibility in governments, corporations and communities – so that they discern the right thing to do for the common good, so that they approach their important tasks with integrity, selflessness, openness and honesty
Lord, give rest, Lord give hope and peace

For people who are ill or wounded in body, mind or spirit – for those suffering from terminal illness and will not return to full health, for those that require constant care and support to face each day, for those who demand too much of themselves and are hampered by frustration.
Lord, give rest, Lord give hope and peace

For people who face economic uncertainty or are trapped in debt – those who fear the loss of work and home, those who face difficult decisions about what to do next.
Lord, give rest, Lord give hope and peace

For people who do not know Your love and search for meaning, purpose and comfort in worldly gods and people who do not have their best interests at heart.
Lord, give rest, Lord give hope and peace

For those brought to us, in name alone, who need your love and strength:
Where hearts and minds are burdened
Where bodies are tired
Where spirit is fragile
Lord, give rest, Lord give hope and peace

And finally, we pray for ourselves, that we will accept the easy yoke that Jesus gives us, and receive from him the strength to love and serve in his name.

Lord of all life and experience, hear our prayers and in your grace touch the lives of those for whom we have prayed.
Amen

Praying HandsPraying Hands

WOW

During a recent sermon, Paul asked what kind of things make us think ’Wow! Here are some of our answers:

* Watching the sun rise over the tidal creek by my back door. Gill B
* Seeing birds play in air currents. Nicky
* The view from the top of a mountain. David Mann
* The grandeur of mountains and watching dolphins play. Audrey Mann

My ‘wow’ moments are often found in nature, music or poetry.
Here is my list;
* The first time I saw mountains-the Alps from an early morning train when I was sixteen and on a school trip.
* Singing in the St Matthew Passion; we singers felt we were part of the story.
* A Prom concert in the Royal Albert Hall and heard the Messiah performed
by the Academy of Ancient Music and a choir of thirty singers.
* In New Zealand the Bay of Islands, in Canada the Rockies;
* The Passion Play in Oberammergau - I was transfixed from the start.
* Beautiful sunrises and sunsets.
* When I heard Cathryn and Kirsty sing and play and realised that they have real talent and are using it. Carol Rogers

*
For me, Wow! moments are mainly visual, and often landscape views. I think, for instance, of the view from Goat Fell on the Isle of Arran, which was the first mountain I climbed. Or the South Downs in the region of Amberley, which we pass every time we go to see my sister in Sussex. I can't explain why, there is just something so uplifting about their sinuous shapes. But perhaps my two most favourite personal Wows! are being present at the birth of our first daughter, and the fresh green leaves in April each year - which reminds me of when I met Margaret in 1966.

In recent years we have been privileged to travel and see many wonderful sights in the world. Watching bears catch salmon as they got ready for the winter last year was something precious - as was flying there beside the pilot of a fifty-year-old de Havilland seaplane - as was unexpectedly seeing the Aurora Borealis over Greenland on the way back: oh there are so many to be thankful for! As I write, Margaret is in Switzerland studying wild flowers, and almost certainly she will have several Wow! moments when she sees orchids. What a wonderful world we live in ! Harold Wonham

Let's Go Fly a Kite

Author: 
Rosie Smith

Let’s Go fly a Kite!!

I don’t know about you, but Jeff and I have quite a small garden and in the way of decoration we have a couple of gnomes, inherited from Jeff’s mum , plus a bird bath. Lord and Lady Mc Alpine, on the other hand have a full sized, working steam train in theirs! They generously shared their garden with us last Saturday 18th June for the Wessex Synod Family Fun Day.

The first bit of ‘Family Fun’ was finding their magnificent house! We had ‘googled’ the address and with eyes fixed firmly on what turned out to be the wrong road , sailed passed the correct one, missing obvious signs which would have lead us to our destination ( a basis for a sermon there Paul?). When we did eventually arrive, the heavens opened and everyone was sheltering in the ‘Big Top’ for opening worship.

We headed to the refreshment tent for a welcome cup of coffee, after which there were a variety of activities to try out, or to watch; African drumming, Scottish dancing, all-age crafts and football. We had all taken a picnic and were rewarded with some sunshine over lunch time.

Many people took advantage of the fabulous ride on the steam train which took us through fields of deer, ostriches and capybara, whilst Red Kites circled overhead. The little museum of railway memorabilia and model railway were well worth a visit and it was interesting to see photographs of some of the famous buildings that the Mc Alpines had been responsible for e.g. .Canary Warf, The Imperial War Museum, the M6 and the Olympic Stadium to name a few.

The highlight of the day for me was helping children make kites. In what proved to be an oasis of calm from the stresses of modern family life and the dependence on technology, there were mums and dads, grannies and grandpas all helping their children in the time honoured tradition of kite making – the weather conditions were perfect and the kites soared to meet their feathered name’s sakes.

The thunder and rain arrived just in time for us to make a run for it and join with our fellow ‘Synoders’ for a final worship session with Rev Clare Downing giving a short address..

If you weren’t able to join us, do come next time – you really missed a treat!
Rosie Smith

That was the day that was!

Recipe for a great day:

Take one Buckinghamshire hillside

Pour on a handful of heavy showers, a good dollop of sunshine and a few windy gusts and mix together.

Now add twenty wobbly gazebos and tie down well.
Decorate with bunting.

Place large, jolly, puppets to one side. Wrap the Christian message into some music and perform.

Now arrange several stalls to form a market place, before gathering some talent and letting loose on stage!

Next make a quiet corner inside a fair ground stall and place to one side.

Gather glue, pens, paints and beads, place in a circle and fill with excited children and adults. Hand out wet wipes!

Collect together several drums, eager hands and a sense of rhythm and allow to play.

Next add in one steam train, a railway museum, fascinated dads and others. (If stuck together too well, you may need to leaver apart with offerings from the ice-cream van!)

Stuff with hot dogs.

In a large open space, place a football ,two nets, lots of younger folk and encourage to compete.

Mix in lots of animals and allow Red Kites to fly overhead.

Lubricate well with coffee and tea, (in cups if possible!)

Lastly sprinkle with lots of smiles, hugs and handshakes.

Stir all ingredients together well and give thanks to God for his goodness.

Hand out commemorative bookmarks and allow to rest until next time.

(Which could be in two years. So watch this space!)

Letter for July

Author: 
Paul Bedford

Dear Friends,

Raindrops keep falling…...

I think it was at the end of the Spring Term of 1972 in Southampton Guildhall that I had the joy of taking part in a performance of Mendelssohn’s “Elijah”.
Now a friend of mine once told me that if you couldn’t get a tune out of your head then your mind was not as full as it might be – to put it politely! - a theory that was obviously around when WS Gilbert wrote “The Mikado” and the singer enquires of the little Tom Tit whether it was weakness of intellect or a rather tough worm in his little inside that caused him so plaintively to sing “Willow–tit-willow–tit–willow”!
Be that as it may(!) as the recent very long dry spell ended I found myself singing the chorus from “Elijah” which comes at the end of the drought, “Thanks be to God, he loveth the thirsty land”!
We forget so soon. It was a blessed relief to have rain once more, even here, not one of the hardest-hit parts of the country. I know the rain has been inconvenient since then, with a Pentecost Picnic being washed out, or rather washed in to St Paul’s, Sarisbury Green, and a Synod Fun Day that kept us on tenterhooks till the last gazebo was stowed and the last trailer was towed off that hill in Henley. But, a British “drought” makes us all the more mindful of the blessing of water, and more conscious of the needs of those in the developing world where fresh water has to be bored for, or walked for, and streams and rivers get used for all purposes till they become quite fetid.
We should be thankful, too, for Jesus offering us the water of life: a faith in Him and the gift of eternal life.
We love to talk about the weather; it oils conversation. In the light of the above, it could also lead to conversations on faith, even if it be as little as to say, genuinely, “Thank God for the rain”.
Yours ever, in Christ,
Paul

PS Some are away during the school holidays and we hope you will have a very happy time, whatever the weather!

PPS I am sure the congregations of Fareham and Sarisbury Green will join me in congratulating Gill Bailey most heartily on obtaining her Bachelor of Divinity degree through Spurgeon’s College in London. This, including Gill’s work on the URC’s TLS (“Training for Learning and Serving”) course, is the culmination of some nine years’ work. Well done, Gill.