An appeal from Phil Commons on behalf of Jhum Para, a mission project with which MBC has had links for more than 50 years

As many of you know, and as Shona reminded us during last Sunday’s Church at Home Service Phil Commons has strong connections with the village of Jhum Para.

Historically Jhum Para was established as a village in the 1970’s by former MBC stalwart Michael Flowers. Michael was a doctor and for many years he, his wife June and their family lived and worked in Bangladesh. There’s a link here to a story which was published on our website back in 2010 which tells you a lot more about how and why the Jhum Para Project started  https://www.moortownbaptistchurch.org.uk/mission/the-bangladesh-fund/jhum-para-project

But basically, at the time the Flowers family were living with them people with leprosy were regarded as outcasts. To counter this the idea came about that by housing them all in one village everyone became equal. Over time the villagers were encouraged and helped towards gaining access to clean water, to growing and eating the right food, to educating their children and even through doing menial jobs to generating a small income.

Despite these interventions the people of Jhum Para remain extremely poor. However, right now with the added strain of the Covid-19 lockdown many are completely destitute.

In total there are fifty-three families living in Jhum Para, and as we say many are currently living hand to mouth. If you can help just £20-25 will feed a family for a week, providing them with rice, potatoes etc.

Fortunately Phil has had a long term friendship with Anup, a Christian nurse who works in the area and has been heroic in linking with the village, bulk buying food and transport etc. And again we are blessed in that any donations we receive and subsequently pass on to Anup are sent through Western Union who unlike many organised charities who can use up to 30% of a gift for admin, fund raising etc. guarantee that 100% of any gift we send to Jhum Para goes straight there.

Currently Phil is staying in Lancashire but if you can help she would love to hear from you. Her contact numbers are either 0744 36 123 82 (mobile) or 01282 694 068. Another option is to ring Rod Russell on 0113 2692590. Rod has all the necessary information you will need regarding donating and/or transferring money.

Thank you.   

If you missed Church at Home on April 26th, or you would like to watch it again here it is

 

Hi everyone, this morning we broadcast our sixth Church at Home Service which you can see again here. Each week new elements are added and hopefully those that have been there from the start become more familiar to you thus easier to use. However, to make everyone’s life even easier can we ask you to do one more thing. Currently we link all our prerecorded items in a certain way, but we have discovered that if we create our own YouTube channel getting access to this material becomes a whole lot easier. To set up this channel we need a minimum of 100 Subscribers (the last time we looked – a few minutes ago we had 58) and all you need to do is google YouTube, then enter the words Moortown Baptist Church and when it comes up hit the Subscribe tab. One word of caution though… on Youtube there already appears to be a number of items that bear the name Moortown Baptist Church, please make sure the one you subscribe to is the one which already has the most subscribers. Many thanks. 

Link to the opening of our Service

Link to all our pre-recorded content




Link to our second live session

 

Below are a selection of still images taken during our Service, but please note these are not links to items which appeared in it.

 

Past – Present – Future. Treasured memories, blooming blossom, a touch of disappointment and an amazing virtual tea party

Following last week’s appeal for pictures and news Alan and Kate Key (left) were first off the blocks and sent us this. “Here is a picture of us signing the register at MBC on our wedding day, 19th October 1985. The minister (Michael Caddick) was away, so Andy Hobbs conducted the ceremony. He was still Deputy Head at Allerton HS at the time, so this was his first wedding. Michael Flowers led the prayers. Arthur Barr was the Registrar (you can just see him in the background in the picture). Great memories of a wonderful day.” PS “In Alan’s defence” says Kate, “moustaches were very fashionable in the 1980s just as beards are today” !!!

Soon after we received Alan and Kate’s wedding pic Kate and Howard Slater shared one of theirs (above right) which was also taken here at MBC but one year later, in 1986 and then to complete the trio we got this lovely picture of Jackie and Steve Morris (left) from their wedding in October 1998.  

Thanks too to Chris Gray for this: Top memories – 2010 it was a snowy day. John Rogers and Glenda gathered all the youth together for a huge snowball fight on the field down the road then hot chocolate, a film and hide and seek back at church. Also love anytime the whole church really goes for a hymn, especially How Great Thou Art. Plus of course Christmas morning and Easter morning services.

For those of you who haven’t managed to walk past MBC lately here are a few pictures of the blossom trees on our roundabout which right now are in all their glory.

One hint of disappointment, however, came from an anonymous contributor who today sent in this picture of two suitcases. Seemingly they and their owners were due to be sitting on a Jet2 plane bound for the Canary Islands this coming Friday. Never mind, whoever you are you’ll get over it. I’m sure they’ll come in handy another year.  

Perhaps, though, the highlight of the week, what we might call our Present part of this post was the virtual tea party that Shelley organised for 3 o’clock on Tuesday (National Tea Day). Here’s a glimpse at just some of the people who took time out join her.

So that was this week, but what could you share with us? The address to email your news, your pictures, your grumbles or your smiles to is mbcnewspics@gmail.com 

And finally don’t forget that this week, despite the strange circumstances we mark MBC’s 65th anniversary. You can read a separate post about that here  https://www.moortownbaptistchurch.org.uk/news/mbc-marks-its-65th-anniversary-unlike-any-other

Making visors for the NHS

Carr Manor Community School is coordinating an initiative to make visor masks for the NHS. They are looking for people who are able to go on a rota to make the masks down at the school, but there is also capacity for some people to work from home on them. As ever, we can’t promise you’ll be used – it’s not in our hands – but we wanted to offer this opportunity to you.

If you’re interested in helping, please send your contact details to luke@interact.uk.net. He will collate the names and send them to the school. It will then be the school that follows this up.

MBC – marks its 65th anniversary unlike any other

On Wednesday April 22nd it will be exactly sixty five years since the formation of Moortown Baptist Church. Sixty five years that have seen six ministers come and go: Winsor Bond, Ralph Drake, Michael Caddick, Stephen Ibbotson, Gordon Hindmarch and Glenda Chadwick (who was our Youth Minister until 2012 when she moved back to her native Devon) and two – Graham and Shona who are with us now.

At that first ever Service, which due to overrunning building work actually took place at South Parade Baptist Church in Headingley, forty nine people became Moortown Baptist Church.

Since 1955 MBC has added extensions on to extensions, it’s had a grand pipe organ, hundreds and hundreds of new chairs, hymn books and bibles, at least two new kitchens, a cricket club, mics, speakers, woofers and spots by the score and no end of leaks.

But most importantly between then and now it has and it continues to forge strong links not only with its immediate neighbours but with no end of local churches, community groups and mission partners, some as far away as Bangladesh, Kenya and Romania. It has, in common with all other Baptist churches been a loyal supporter of both BU Home Mission and BMS World Mission; indeed MBC has often been the home church of medics, teachers, engineers and the like who have served in both the home and the foreign mission field. It has had literally hundreds of deacons. It has been the birthplace of several church plants and of course right from the word go it has played a lead role in many important welfare projects for example the Leeds and Moortown Furniture Store, the Fairtrade Organisation and Citizens.

To ask anyone to chronicle MBC’s entire history here and now would be far too daunting a task; particularly for someone like me, a relative newbie who only came on the scene in 1965. But looking back through Roger Robson’s two excellent publications* I guess it’s up to God and God alone to decide if the words addressed to the founding forty nine at South Parade way back in 1955 have been honoured. They were: “You are Christ’s Church; you belong to Him, you are not just a voluntary association, responsible to yourselves alone… What kind of Church Moortown is in the future generations depends on what you are now; how you worship, work and live.”

Today, MBC, a place once described to me as a local church with world wide vision has a notice board in its car park on which it says this: “Moortown Baptist Church; Loving God, Following Christ and Living Generously.” Although some may disagree I believe that in April 2020 and without being in any way self-congratulatory we’re certainly doing the best we can. 

JS

*Moortown Baptist Church, The First 25 years 1955 – 1980

 Moortown Baptist Church, The First 50 Years 1955 – 2005

Below is a gallery containing a few more pictures taken over the last 65 year. We hope they bring back some happy memories. And remember if you have a story or a picture you would like to share with us on our Past – Present – Future page email it to  mbcnewspics@gmail.com

Where is God in the coronavirus emergency? An article by Haddon Willmer

Where God always is – in Jesus Christ.

And where is Jesus Christ? 

Aslan, according to C.S.Lewis, comes and goes as he thinks fit.  He is wild, you know.  And he comes when really needed, and otherwise he leaves us to do what we can.   Jesus likes people of that sort, (Mark 14.8)  and he says, You too have opportunities to do what you can for people who need help; so do it   (Mark 14. 7).

Jesus is Risen!  He is around today.  But how and where?  What has he risen to?  Not to a heaven of irrelevance, for he was raised in the body and  was seen on earth by people who had followed and failed him in his lifetime.  He says to them, ‘Let’s start again with the mission that crashed in catastrophe:  pick up what we were doing in Galilee, (Luke 4.18,19, Matthew 11.2-6) and take it into all the world: and I am with you always’. 

Jesus is with those who share his mission, and who go wherever God’s love takes God.  The real question is not, ‘Is God with us?’  but,  ‘Are we following Jesus, are we getting anywhere near where he is? 

Jesus went to the cross, the worst of many difficult places he worked his way through in obedient oneness with his Father.  A few disciples managed to follow him from sunny Galilee to dark Golgotha, and ‘stood at a distance, watching these things’  (Luke 23.49) – ‘afar off’  is better  than forsaking him.  The risen present Christ is still the crucified, identifying in bodily, social and spiritual suffering with all who suffer.   This is where he is to be found, today. 

So where is God in Christ in the present situation?   God is not to be found in words, however sound and religious.   Jesus is present in those who are ill and dying, those who are isolated, poor, needy, depressed.   Mostly, when the question, ‘Where is God now?’ is asked, we look beyond the coronavirus victims, for we want something better more hopeful than that.  We don’t want God where his love takes him, into suffering and death.  We don’t see God in them. 

If we can’t see God in human suffering and loss, how do we think we will ever  manage to see God in Jesus?  Many looked at Jesus, and said, ‘We know him, we can pigeon-hole him, he is just the carpenter’.  And then, since  he did not conform to their prescription for the Messiah:  ‘if you are the Son of God, come down from the cross’, they despised and rejected him (Isaiah 53.1-4).   The mindset that despises the crucified Jesus is immunized against seeing him in the needy and the dying.  But that is the place he has made his own indelibly, by being  ‘numbered with transgressors’. 

God in Christ is with and in all the sufferers.   And so he is with those who come across him there  because he comes there, whether they are able to say they  know him.   That is the point of Matthew 25.31-46.  The Son of Man brings the peoples to judgment, dividing sheep and goats.  The criterion of the division is simply stated:  The Son of Man was there, really but incognito,  in the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the sick, the prisoner, the naked, so he could be helped appropriately or could be passed over and devalued.   Being a sheep rather than a goat does not depend on seeing and knowing  Jesus is in any of these needy people.  It depends on what is done in response to the real person who is before us. 

If we do not help people  in their need, we miss God when he comes into our neighbourhood.  He is with them in reality, whether or not it is labeled or explained theologically.    Because we do not stay with God, by being practically helpful to people in need, we will be surprised to discover that the ideas of God we  have been living by so seriously, are simply empty.  It won’t do to think of God detached from his  bodily identification  with the poor, needy and broken.  This identification is rooted in the reality of Jesus before and after the resurrection.   Our living and expectation is easily shaped by misapprehension on this point.  In God’s time we will discover we have been badly mistaken.  And thanks to this parable, and the Gospel of which it is an indispensable part,  God’s time for us is Today.  We have been warned, so we can turn now and follow God on the path his love takes him in Jesus. 

If we wake up to this message, we will not be asking, ‘Where is God now?  What is God doing about the coronavirus?’  We will rather see God in those suffering, who are sometimes taken into the dark place of abandonment and dying, as Jesus was.  And we see those who are responding to their need, sometimes at risk to themselves, for they are on the Jesus way, whether they know it or not.   Some are exposed on the front-line, others are serving in the second or third line, where the refuse collectors and the neighbours shopping for the isolated may be placed.   All are needed, all are doing the Jesus thing, and God is in them, and with them.   We are all called to go with God where his love takes him, into human living, dying and being raised with Jesus, the elder brother of a host of siblings (Romans 8.29; Hebrews 2.10-13). 

Our BMS Mission Partners in the Covid -19 Crisis

As we share new experiences of Christian living and of how God is working in the Coronavirus crisis in the UK, it is good to widen our vision and recognise that this is a global issue. We have recently been in direct contact with our BMS Mission Partners in France and in Chad who have shared some of their experience.

First John and Sue Wilson in Paris where they pastor the Avenue du Maine Baptist Church, have many similar experiences to ours as France continues in strict lockdown. The church building has had to close and their majority older congregation are often less tech connected, so that each Sunday John sends out by email (which most have) an Order of Service with pauses indicating the relevant moments when “someone will speak, read, or share prayers”. This is not ideal but John says that it looks like public gatherings will not be allowed in France until mid-July, so that ,even though some will return to work on 11th May, churches will remain firmly closed for the foreseeable future. A further issue is that the Church’s regular help to the homeless and poor is severely restricted.

Both John and Sue have themselves had bad bouts of the virus and had to isolate for lengthy periods – though happily they are now much recovered. Like us they are in much more regular contact with their adult children and thankful for that.

Please pray for their health; for finding new ways to keep the church together; and for those who depend on the church spiritually and practically.

Second Mark and Andrea Hotchkin in Chad where they are 2 of only 4 doctors in Bardai – a remote outpost in the northern Tibesti region near to the Libyan border. Their experience has been very different.

As the UK and most of Europe was going into lockdown Mark and Andrea sent a graphic account of how they had to “make room for the unexpected” when up to 20 badly injured soldiers were brought in after a 300km drive from a battle on the frontier. They spent a week dealing with bullet wounds and desperate injuries with head torches and no operating lamps. This really is the frontline of surgery.

There have been very few cases of Covid -19 registered in Chad so far, but the Government has called for a serious lockdown. This might work in cities like N’djamena but in the remote north the local people feel it does not yet concern them. Some schools remain open and on a recent Saturday “ a big wedding took place – with people coming in dozens across the officially – closed border “  Mark and Andrea have been producing leaflets to explain the dangers of a pandemic and a brief film to pass round on mobile phones. They work in the hospital with home – made surgical masks and limited hand-washing facilities and with all the regular medical and surgical cases continuing.

The Hotchkins are due to be on Home Leave in the summer and to visit MBC in September. However, they have put this on hold at present – volunteering to stay on as they want to help when the pandemic really strikes in their area. They clearly are missing their adult daughters in the UK but feel God has placed them in Bardai at this time.

Please pray for their safety; for success of the health education about the virus; that coronavirus may not spread further in Chad; and for their daughters Ruth and Rebecca.

Appeal

BMS has mission personnel around the world facing situations like these. The churches they work with are our brothers and sisters in Christ and their self-giving is an amazing testimony to the love of Christ.

Please remember them in your prayers and – whilst some of our usual ways of supporting BMS financially through the church cannot function at present – perhaps you could send help directly to BMS either:

  • By card via the website bmsworldmission.org
  • Or by Bank Transfer to BMS World Mission Sort Code 20-01-25 Acc no 40132322
  • Or by cheque to BMS World Mission

PO Box 49, 129 Broadway

Didcot OX11 8XA

Thank You

 

Church at Home – 10.45am, 26th April – prerecorded content

Here is the link to the prerecorded parts to today’s Church at Home – 19th April 2020. As you will all know by now our first live stream begins at 10.45am and this week we are planning to come back to for the second as near to 11.30am as possible. We look forward to you joining us. 




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