REWIND TO CHRISTMAS and the light of Christ shines brightly

Once again our Children’s Worker Cas Stoodley and her twenty strong team of volunteer helpers have been busy sharing the good news of Christmas with over four hundred local Primary School children.

Over two days pupils from almost a dozen local schools visited MBC to experience Rewind to Christmas, a long running project at which, through story telling, drama, and craft we share the nativity story. 

Each of the four ninety minute sessions also gave the children the chance to speak to a couple of “real life” shepherds as well as quizzing our very own “wise men.” 

On Cas’ behalf can I just say a huge thank you to everyone who helped. 

Below there is a gallery of pictures taken at REWIND 2017 . To view a larger version simply click on the image. 

 

Think, pair, share… looking to the future

Last Sunday we had a morning service with a difference. We deliberately shortened it to make time and space for a meeting for everyone to join together and consider how young people are part of our whole church and what should be our priorities for a future youth appointment. Naturally our young people joined us in the meeting so all in all around 120 people participated.

Led by Tom Shaw we involved everyone in a very simple way: all were invited to think about a question for 30 seconds, then to pair up with one other person and talk about their thoughts. Finally people were to share anything  that had come through strongly. As someone shared, and as each point was made everyone was invited anyone to put up their hand if they identified with what was being said.

In what was an hour of thinking and listening many insightful comments came to the fore. This was particularly valuable as they came from such a wide variety of people: different ages, different backgrounds each endorsed to a greater or lesser degree by the number of hands that went up to express a common view.

And what were we talking about?

Our shared experience of faith and life, the relationships that help us grow and the opportunities we have to try out our faith in action.

We then talked about the focus for a future youth pastor; someone who helps young people to follow Christ and in living their lives encourages them to take part in both the mission of the local church and in the wider world. In this respect the term “young people”  included young adults too.  One early observation was that people thought this person would be alongside young people, team and parents.

It was a great time, and overflowed into the shared lunch. It was  exciting to learn from people, hear their honesty and pick up on their passion.

Christmas starts early at MBC’s Lunch Club

This week our Lunch Club regulars had a particularly crafty time.  That’s because Janis Armstrong and Kate Slater led a Christmas Craft session with lots of card, glitter and glue. 

As you can see from the pictures everyone, quite literally, got stuck into making festive decorations; everything from gift tags and cards to angels and Santas. 

 

The writing’s on the wall – Moortots’ regulars say it as it is

Unless you are a member of the Moortots family I suspect that the little corridor that links the kitchen to the Corner Room is one part of the MBC labyrinth you might rarely visit. However, can I suggest that the next time you’re in the building you do just that. 

That’s because if you do you’ll come across the Moortots wall; a space reserved for Diane Towns, Pauline Bridle and the rest of the toddler team to use exactly as they wish.

Currently this is a message board a place where their regulars can post their opinions and views. 

These are terrific, ranging from one that says “Harriet’s favourite part of tots group is the  toast and the red car” to another that speaks volumes… “helping each other get through tough times.”

Moortots meets four times a week and besides providing scores of little children with a programme that’s safe, secure and stimulating each session also offers some much needed R and R to parents, grand-parents and carers. 

Across the top of the wall runs this headline: God is working here… read on. 

Never has there been a truer word!

 

 

 

 

Yarn Day, MBC hosts a morning for hookers and clickers

A couple of months ago Sue Gladman came up with an idea to hold a day at church dedicated to anyone who loves to knit, crochet or indeed wanted to learn a new skill.  To be honest I thought we’d get about 6 or 8 dedicated hookers and clickers; those of us that’ll grab any chance to have a good knit and natter.  So I put the date in the diary and duly advertised the event.

To say I was stunned when last Saturday the music room filled up with around 30 ladies is more than an understatement! We had to keep pinching chairs from church to accommodate the ever growing number of yarn enthusiasts. Sue led a sedate crochet lesson in one corner whilst the rest of us (dubbed the raucous lot) did our best to disturb their concentration by knitting as loudly as we could!

Five ladies learned to crochet and one lady learned how to knit. I have tasked a couple of ladies to join me in knitting squares to make up into blankets to donate to the Leeds Baby Bank, and lots of projects were ooohed and aaaahed over as some of us plain knitters stood (or sat) in awe of the skill and patience of some of the others.

The three hours flew by and everyone unanimously agreed that we should hold another Yarn Day soon but this time make it a full day, drop in event with everyone bringing a picnic lunch. We aim to arrange this for sometime in the new year so watch this space and in the meantime… Keeeeep Knitting!

Kate Slater

To view a larger version of our gallery pictures just click on the image

 

MAF’s free Advent Calendar comes complete with recipes, craft ideas and even a competition

MAF – Mission Aviation Fellowship is offering you a free Advent Calendar.

Take up their offer and each day throughout Advent you will travel to a different country in which MAF serves. Open the door to your calendar to find out where you have landed and see the daily clue, before visiting the website to complete your answer and discover more about the country. 

As well as a daily competition there will be the next installment of the Christmas story and a recipe of craft activity for you to enjoy every day of Advent. 

To order your free calendar simply follow the link below. 

https://www.maf-uk.org/get-your-free-maf-2017-advent-calendar   

With a focus on “determined discipleship” Spring Harvest heads to Harrogate

Spring Harvest is a teaching and worship event for everyone, and next year it’s being held just up the road.

Described in its advertising literature as “A unique break for all ages: holiday, festival, conference and an encounter with God” the 2018 event is happening between the 3rd and the 7th of April at the Harrogate Convention Centre. 

Each day there will be any number of age and interested related features ranging from The Big Start an all age, high-energy start to the day to in depth bible teaching. 

Prices for the event vary, depending on when you book your tickets. However, once booked the one ticket gives you admission to everything in the entire four day programme.  

There are a number of Spring Harvest brochures at the back of church or you can of course find out more online (including viewing the Spring Harvest Harrogate video) by visiting www.springharvest.org/harrogate   

 

BMS World Mission: read Winter is coming, a new post about BMS’ work in Ukraine

As promised here are the latest updates from BMS World Mission. You can also read these, plus all the other material BMS World Mission produces via their on-line home page https://www.bmsworldmission.org/

Winter is coming

Meet the inspiring Mozambican Christians you’re supporting

Feeding of the 400

Stop, look, listen: restoring community through exercise

Broken art

5 ways you’re fighting violence against women

Being Bullied

In Tyneside when I started secondary school I was picked on for being a first year and having a southern accent. Got my head flushed down the toilet on Foggy Friday. Later, I was jumped on for being little and in the wrong place at the wrong time. I was so little it took me until year 9 (3rd year in old money) to get to 5 foot. I was small enough to have the nickname ‘pid’. So, my growth spurt after that was merely something of a late rally. Anyway, in both those cases the perpetrators ‘legged it’ afterwards. For as bullies they weren’t that powerful and needed the make a quick getaway.

I have only been blatantly bullied once. By that I mean aggressively confronted by someone who wasn’t seeking to hide and was unconcerned about being overheard. This was by a local councillor in a town hall corridor. In my work in London and elsewhere, I have friends and colleagues who have experienced similar confrontations.

Now, we have all discussed this with people who say but politicians are basically good people seeking to serve. But that is not a defense, it merely serves as a cover for not dealing with underlying issues. I have many good friends, whom I respect, who are elected politicians, but they should not be above scrutiny.

Now this relates to the #me too movement that is growing and highlighting a real crisis. As a white male, I am not putting my experiences on a par with women and black, minority and ethnic people in our society. They suffer greater, chronic and insidious abuse that needs to be addressed. It is good that people are finding their voice.

My reason for mentioning my experience was to affirm that politics has a problem. The problem is of people in power who believe that they have license, who control the prospects and livelihoods of others, who believe that being elected and having status takes them above normal courtesies and behaviours or even that such aggressive behaviour is the way to get things done. Or it may simply be that they have become accustomed or resigned to this being the way things are around them. I am connecting sexual exploitation with power. It is also the power of patronage and celebrity that has enabled film producers etc. to practice serial exploitation.

Churches are not immune from exploitation at the hands of leaders. So we have a common problem of power.
We have a situation where sexual temptation and exploitation is widespread and needs to be tackled by policies, monitoring and training. We do need mechanisms for protecting people and hearing concerns. But deeper than that we must address power; we must consider who we value, people especially those who serve rather than rule and those who are weaker; we must seek to build different cultures in politics, the arts and in many other spheres of society. This is a matter of values, education and support for all.

I write this after political leaders have met to agree actions and we have learnt of the death of welsh cabinet minister Carl Sargeant. This says to me that immediate headline reactions are being made to calm a crisis and address media attention. But the culture and values are not securely in place.

Whilst high profile leaders can still make ‘shoot from the hip comments’ which betray their values and attitudes we cannot be confident that things have changed. Politics, the arts, faith and other spheres and structures in society matter. So, what do we do? Educate, value the sphere of society more than the people at the top, respect our leaders as servants not patrons. And in the short term, when new practices are drawn up in Westminster, Hollywood and elsewhere check them not by what the authors of policies say but by how those on the receiving end respond. Some once said – the first shall be last and the last first.

Graham Brownlee, November 2017

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