SOUTH ASTON UNITED REFORMED CHURCH
Church Magazine - SUMMER 2017
SOUTH ASTON CHURCH APPOINTMENTS
Minister Reverend Peter Little
Development Worker with Older People Mr David Kendrick
Church Secretary Mrs Cathy Hopes
Treasurer Mrs Ann Tempest
Gift Aid Secretary Mrs Lynn Purchase
Pulpit Supply Secretary Mrs Sheila Bennett
Authorised Person (Marriages) Mr Roger Hopes
Day Centre Manager Mr David Kendrick
Organist Mr John Purchase
Flower Steward Mrs Pat Hastie
Christian Aid Organiser Mrs Pat Hastie
Website Editor Mr Nick Maltby
Church Centre Co-ordinator Mrs Lynn Purchase
THE ELDERS BOARD AND VARIOUS COMMITTEES OPERATE COVERING PASTORAL CARE, FINANCE, BUILDINGS, GOOD PRACTICE FOR CHILDREN’S AND YOUTH WORK, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND WORK WITH THE ELDERLY.
The following people participate on committees in addition to those listed above:
Brenda Davies, St. Clair Holligan, Ashmead Mascoll, Graham Hopes, Rose Simpson, & Josie Thomas
WILTON ROAD CHURCH APPOINTMENTS
Church Secretary Ray Coombes, Phone: 07850 667386
Treasurer Gordon Mountford, Phone: 0121 356 8075
Minister’s Letter Summer 2017
In these last few months, we have all been too aware of terrorist attacks, in Manchester and in London and only recently, in North London, a driver of a van killed one person in a suspected terrorist attack. Running alongside this threat, is the tragedy of the fire at Grenfell Tower, making people feel unsettled and insecure in their own homes. People do not feel safe and thoughts go to what will happen next and who can protect us from threats of attacks, and the dangers of just going about our ordinary business?
The government can put into place various policies to help protect the country, but short of all of us staying in our homes and never ever going out, there is not a huge amount they can do to offer complete security and protection to its citizens. Of course, we can take sensible precautions, but we do not want to be prisoners in our own homes. So what then are we expected to do? And where and who can we call on for help?
The answer to these questions, for the Christian, is to turn to our Lord, and for me one of the ways we can do this is to read God’s word, for comfort, reassurance, and protection. And of course, we can pray for a safer and better world and we can do this by examining the Psalms.
I have always enjoyed the Psalms, and, as part of my daily devotions I am currently reading and reflecting on them. There are 150 Psalms. I have a little way to go yet!
I want, in this letter, to look at two Psalms, Psalm 46 and Psalm 3, which I think may help us in our current uncertain climate. Let's look at Psalm 46 first. Psalm 46 opens with the words:
"God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult”.
and this Psalm continues with its theme of protection when it says:
"He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire,
Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the Earth.
The Lord of hosts is with us,
the God of Jacob is our refuge”.
So to Psalm 3, again, a Psalm that offers peace, security and protection in troubled times. There are eight verses in this psalm and I am going to quote verse 3 which says:
"But you, O Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, and the one who lifts up my head.
I cry aloud to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy hill."
This Psalm, like Psalm 46, speaks of our Lord's protection for those who put their trust in him. Both Psalms are similar and echo the same sentiments, and the y have a word in common, and that word is shield. Psalm 46 says "he burns the shield with fire" and Psalm 3 says "but you O Lord are a shield around me”. Rather than allowing fear and worry to triumph, both writers find courage and confidence in the knowledge that God is present and draw strength from our Lord's power and protection.
Both Psalms talk about a shield. The shield is often mentioned as a weapon in the Psalms, enabling us to focus on God as our protector and our defender.
The Psalms are inviting us to lift our heads beyond our "self-imposed fortresses" and to live our lives as God intended, and to lift our heads up in faith, despite an uncertain future.
We may rattle our "swords" in anger and frustration at the world’s wrongs, but the shield of the Almighty protects us. And despite the chaos around us, we know that God is our Saviour, protector and confidant in these troubled times. In Luke, Chapter 13 Verse 34, our Lord says: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings and you were not willing”.
If we want our Lord to protect, guide and comfort us, we must be willing to love and serve him, and not kill the prophets, and ignore the word the Lord.
At times like this, we all need to hear good news, and the good news for Christians is that our Lord never changes. He is unchangeable, and in all our trials and troubles, he is with us personally, and he is with us as a nation. He loves us and wants to protect us and, if we put our faith, our hope and trust in our Lord, He will be our:
"refuge and strength, and very present help in trouble".
God of promise and deliverance,
Lift up our heads, our hearts, our hopes
so that we may look confidently towards tomorrow.
Your actions of yesterday,
give us assurance for the future,
God of protection and blessing,
Sustain us, and shield us, guide and protect
as we strive to further your kingdom here on earth.
--- ooo —-
Two Parables in one
Written by Nick Maltby, following a visit to John!
Some weeks ago I mentioned to Lynn that I would take John to the Park when the weather was good. I told her that the park I had in mind was ‘Red House Park’ at the back of the Aldi store on Newton Road. She warned that the paths down to the pool are very steep and might be a little difficult with a wheelchair. I dismissed this advice on the basis that I felt confident I could meet any such physical challenge.
So the day of the adventure arrived on Thursday 11th May, a lovely sunny and warm day.
As I say, this was my first visit to this park, I was impressed by the clarity of the sign posts guiding me to the entrance in Hill Lane. There was also a sign to a car park but I didn’t seem to find that. There was lots of fair ground equipment in evidence. I eventually parked the car on the grass near to one of the paths that led down to the pool.
I got the wheelchair out of the boot, got John seated in it and we were off. It was straight and level to start with but after not too many yards, or meters if you are that way inclined, the path started to wind and descend quite steeply; to the point that I had to apply the brakes on the wheelchair in order to keep control of it. The scenery was beautiful with bluebells in abundance. I did say to myself “Lynn was right about the steep paths, I think that I am going to struggle getting back.”
But that was put from my mind for the moment, John and I just enjoyed the flora and fauna (mallards, moor hens and squirrels) and just the sheer joy of being alive on such a lovely day.
We completed a circuit of the pool and now it was time to start heading back up the steep paths. Wow! what a shock, in no time at all I found myself almost horizontal in trying to exert sufficient power on the push chair in order to make tortuously slow progress up the first of a number of hills.
I was just beginning to think “I don’t think that I am going to make this” when a man pulled alongside and asked “do you want a hand?”. Was he an Angel? He might as well have been. The two off us then pushed John in his wheel chair to the top of that particular hill.
Where are you headed to?” asked the man who was in his late forties and in his shorts was quite fit looking (I assure you that I don’t use those words in the same manner as a woman might use them!). I described where I had left the car. He suggested that the shortest and least steep route would be directly in front of us, across the grass.
I knew this would be almost impossible for me and I was hoping that he would continue to lend a helping hand although I did not want to impose. Fortunately he did volunteer to accompany us, harnessing his strength with mine to push John and the wheel chair up the grassy bank.
At the end, a little to my embarrassment, our saviour was breathing more heavily than me. I thanked him profusely, a true Samaritan who also went the extra mile (or grassy bank).
Experiences of the Outabout!
A trip to Bourton on the Water. Great. Our first official participation in the Outabout!! What could go wrong!!!
The minibus was due to leave church at 10.30, so I left for home to pick up John at 10.00 to return in plenty of time. Wrong!! District Nurse arrived at our home just as I did!! This meant a delay in getting back to the Church. When we turned up, everyone was waiting, and then after further toilet visits, we eventually got away 30 minutes late!
The journey to Bourton on the Water took in the sights of the M6 and M42 and some country lanes en-route. Arrival at Bourton on the Water was 12.30 ish so Peter Chick dropped us off in the centre, by the river and the bus stop. Problem number 2: the ramp wouldn’t work after John got off. So there was the minibus, parked in the centre of town, on the busy road, with the ramp down and extended, and refusing to budge!!
After several phone calls, and a little muscle from Peter Chick and David, the ramp was persuaded to retract into its rightful position and the minibus moved to its parking space.
We had a pleasant few hours wandering around Bourton (last visited when I was about 5 years old) watching the ducks and choosing a hostelry in which to have lunch. The chosen location was the Wellington which offered two meals for £10.00, which although quite tasty, was certainly meant for those on a diet!
We left Bourton at about 3.30 pm, after man-handling John back onto the minibus, now that the tail-lift was out of action. Our next stop was Wyatt’s Plant and Garden Centre. We enjoyed a quick meander around the plant section and ended up in the tea room where the various aids to mobility (wheelchairs, walkers, sticks etc) jostled for position. We enjoyed tea/coffee and cake, much needed by some of us, (namely Dave and myself after our meagre portions at lunch time).
Once again, we hoisted John into the minibus for our next destination, the ancient Rollright Stones (you can’t say a trip on the Outabout isn’t varied or boring!!). We all bailed out to view the ancient mixture of neolithic and bronze age stone monuments dating from approx. 3800 – 1800 BC. Legend has it that a failed king was turned into a solitary stone, and his guards into a huge circle of standing stones. Apparently every time you count the stones in the circle, you will always come up with a different number ….. scary!
One final clamber back into the minibus and back home, via the pretty route through Stow on the Wold, Moreton in the Marsh, etc.
A very enjoyable day. Thanks to Peter Chick and David for driving and Pat for supplying the sweets!
Lynn and John
Nativity Display – Christmas 2017
Yes, I know what you are all thinking, “Christmas - we’ve not had our holidays yet !!” and your reaction is quite understandable but this is just some early information so that you can think about it later.
We’ve been hearing about a formal scheme whereby churches display Nativity Scenes in Church in December which local schools and our neighbours can come in and see. After talking about it we have decided to do this for ourselves in a small way this year and if it is successful we can expand it next year.
So, later on, we will be asking you to search through your loft, Christmas decorations boxes etc and if you have any Nativity Scenes or any of the Nativity characters that you would like to display please consider lending them to us for a couple of weeks.
In the meantime, if any of you are holidaying in exotic places and you see any Nativity Scenes made locally please do consider bringing one back for the display.
IF I WERE GOD
If I were God,
I wouldn’t ask the masses to sing hymns,
Or worship me and grovel,
With their sycophantic grins,
Or embarrass me with synagogues
or churches full of grandeur,
Or mosques filled up with bowing heads
or temples filled with splendour.
If I were God I wouldn’t want all wars
fought in my name,
(Be it God, Allah or Jehovah--
for are we not the same?)
I wouldn’t want the people
grabbing much more than they need,
And hurting those less fortunate
with malevolence and greed.
I wouldn’t want so many futures
looking dark and grim,
I’d ask the Devil round for tea
and talk some sense to him.
I’d ask for every man and woman,
cousin, aunt or brother,
To look out for their neighbour
and be good to one another.
I’d ask for folk to look beyond
the urge to just want more,
To see this world with wonder
and to cherish it with awe.
That’s all I’d want,
to see the people living with a smile,
And to let Aston Villa win the cup,
once in a while!
Letter to a Newspaper
Dates for Diaries
Please join us in support of these two events to be held at the Church!!
Macmillan Coffee Morning
In memory of Anne Baker
Friday 22nd September
Time to be confirmed
Wednesday 29th November
Time to be confirmed
Please be aware that our Minister,
Reverend Peter Little, will be available at South Aston Church every Tuesday
afternoon from 2.00—4.00 pm. He will be available to discuss blessing requests, weddings, etc. to offer support, and generally be on hand to talk with anyone who wishes to talk to him.
--- ooo —-
This is just to thank everybody who attended Anne’s funeral on 8 June 2017.
I would like to thank everybody for their love support and prayers, which was greatly appreciated, and still is.
As funerals go, it was definitely a celebration of Anne’s life and various people who attended said it was very definitely Anne!
I would like to thank everybody who took part, especially the South Aston/Wilton Road Singing Group, and Anne’s tapestry and circle dancing group for coming.
As you are aware Anne’s wish was for donations in lieu of flowers and that any donations go to Pancreatic Cancer Foundation and Birmingham Winter Night Shelters. I am pleased to say that £812 has been sent to each of these organsations, and I believe the total will increase.
Thank you all for attending. Anne leaves a cat with a personality disorder which I am coping with, and yes Anne, I am watering the sweet peas!!
A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE!!
Isn’t there one thing that's been left out. Didn’t we used to have a long wooden pole (clothes pole) that was used to push the clotheslines up so that longer items (sheets/pants/etc.) didn't brush the ground and get dirty.
Can you hear your mother saying that ???
THE BASIC RULES FOR CLOTHESLINES:
(If you don't even know what clotheslines are, better skip this.)
1. You had to hang the socks by the toes... NOT the top.
2. You hung pants by the BOTTOM/cuffs... NOT the waistbands.
3. You had to WASH the clothesline(s) before hanging any clothes - Walk the entire length of each line with a damp cloth around the lines.
4. You had to hang the clothes in a certain order, and always hang "whites" with "whites," and hang them first.
5. You NEVER hung a shirt by the shoulders - always by the tail! What would the neighbours think?
6. Wash day on a Monday! NEVER hang clothes on the weekend, Or on Sunday, for Heaven's sake!
7. Hang the sheets and towels on the OUTSIDE lines so you could hide your "unmentionables" in the middle!!
8. It didn't matter if it was sub-zero weather... Clothes would "freeze-dry."
9. ALWAYS gather the clothes pegs when taking down dry clothes! Pegs left on the lines were "tacky"!
10. If you were efficient, you would line the clothes up so that each item did not need two clothes pegs, but shared one of the clothes pegs with the next washed item.
11. Clothes taken off the line before dinner time, neatly folded in the clothes basket, and ready to be ironed.
12. IRONED? Well, that's a whole OTHER subject!
Provided by a Church Member
NEEDED - YOUR MILK BOTTLE TOPS
An appeal has been made for us to collect plastic milk bottle tops to help two children suffering from BATTEN DISEASE (CLN3).
The money raised will be used in research for this degenerative disease. Currently there is no treatment of cure.
Batten Disease is a rare, fatal, inherited disorder of the nervous system, the first symptom being progressive vision loss. Progressive loss of motor functions (movement and speech) start with clumsiness, stumbling and Parkinson-like symptoms; with those affected eventually becoming wheelchair bound, bedridden and die prematurely.
Please pass your milk bottle tops to Sheila.
FORTHCOMING PREACHERS AT SOUTH ASTON
2 July Revd. Peter Little
9 July Revd. Stuart Scott St John’s, Stourbridge
16 July Revd. Peter Little
23 July Adella Pritchard Bishop Latimer
30 July Revd. Peter Little
6 August Revd. Peter Little Church Meeting
13 August Bob Trotman Birchfield Gospel Hall
20 August Revd. Peter Little Communion
27 August Andy Vail Pavillion Church, B’ville
3 September Revd. Peter Little
10 September Pat Rowley Perry Hall Methodist
17 September Revd. Peter Little Communion
24 September Johnny O’Hanlon Brinklow, Coventry
1 October Revd. Peter Little
8 October Colin Hale Christian Fellowship
15 October Revd. Peter Little
22 October Barbara McDowell Sutton Coldfield URC
29 October Revd. Peter Little
5 November Revd. Peter Little
12 November Ian Carnell Olton URC
19 November Revd. Petr Little
26 November Revd. Jonathon Calvert St Peter’s Hall Green