All posts by rebecca

Harvest Festival 2015


On Sunday 20th September at 10.30 a.m. the Harvest Festival Service will be conducted by our Minister Rev. Arthur Cowburn.  Harvest Festival marks the end of the main Harvest season.  We give thanks to God for the crops that have been grown and celebrate the hard work involved in reaping them.

During the Service people will be given an opportunity to donate food to the Basics Bank and St Dismas, a Charity that helps the Homeless.

More information about the basics bank can be found at

if you wish to donate some  Food please bring some with you.  In the past the Charity has been given lots of Baked Beans so if you can another product would be appreciated.  Donating is not compulsory you are very welcome to join us for the service whether or not you donate.

Harvest Festival is a lovely community event, which can be enjoyed by families, friends and occasional visitors. There will be an invitation to Tea, coffee and biscuits after the service.


August Jammy


On Saturday  8th  August we will be holding our next Jammy Church. This event will take place between 10.30 and 12.30 p.m.

Jammy Church is our once monthly   activity session for children, their families and the young at heart.    There will be various activities and crafts to take part in and some food to eat.  You do not need to attend all the session; you could just pop in to see what we are up to.  Weather Permitting we intend to spend most of the morning outside. We hope to be joined by the Solent Kite Flyers More information about the Solent Kite Flyers can be found at

We also hope to be joined by members of the Church Football teams.

The  Morning will conclude with a Barbeque.

More information can be found on the Jammy Church Facebook page.

Fair Oak Fun

On Thursday 23rd July eighteen  of us met up in the early evening for a Ramble around Stoke Park woods in Fair Oak.  We saw a Hare in one of the fields near the path. We also enjoyed a view of Winchester, (approximately 5 miles away). If we had been inclined we could have followed a different path through the Woods until we had reached Bishopstoke. We all enjoyed catching up with each others news whilst strolling round.

One of our regular walking couples had bought some relatives with them, and it was the gentlemens Birthday, so we got to enjoy his birthday cake when we met up to continue our discussions in the Clock Inn. Our Thanks to those kind people who had organised the Ramble for us.

Our new Methodist President visit next door!

Last Sunday evening our new Methodist President, the Reverend Steve Wild was in the Meon Valley Circuit and preached at Shirrell Heath Methodist Church, the very first Sunday following his induction. Our new President is quite a character! He has a lively wit and a very unusual personality – not a staid, quiet cerebral sort, but a very outgoing personality and a strong character. He reminisced somewhat amusingly about his life in Methodism and found time to give thanks to those in the congregation he knew from the past, including Phillip Seaton, with whom he had been to Bible College at the same time.

He reminded us that his Mission in his Presidential Year was for each Methodist Community to get at least one convert during the year [not a Church Transfer mind you!] and that a small Church in Cornwall district with just 8 members has grown in a short period to 45 Members and is still growing . He gave examples of people he had met in recent days and how he spoke with them about his faith. He reminded us that prayer was important in Church life and we should – each and every one of us-  look for daily opportunities to share our faith with others. Not everybody is as skilful as our President but with time and prayer, I am sure we can all improve.

He also publicly anointed those from the local Church who were participating in the up-coming Wickham Festival and he also anointed with oil, any who were personally concerned about church outreach in their own local communities.

Incidentally, Shirrell Heath was an elderly building but a few years back but it is now a new modern purpose built place which can easily and quickly be reorganised for various purposes. Looks very nice.

It was worth attending. Opportunities like this do not come often and the experience was thought provoking. It was also a good time to meet others from the wider Southampton District who were there as well.


New Methodist President

The newly elected President of the Methodist Conference has urged the Church to ‘take God seriously’ and put evangelism back on the agenda.In his inaugural address at the Conference in Southport, the Revd. Steve Wild challenged each Methodist church in Britain to aim to bring just one person to faith in the coming year, saying: “Let’s take God seriously. I want to help us in the task of evangelism, to put mission on the agenda and give our churches an aim to win a person for Christ.”

“We cannot sit back in complacency”, he added. “We have a massive Kingdom of God task.  I’m wanting this year to challenge each church to bring one person to faith – to make one new member this next year, let’s make bringing people to faith the main point, we don’t do it alone. The unconditional love of Jesus is our motivation.”

He told those gathered at the Conference that John Wesley only had ten guineas to his name when he died. Wesley’s will directed that four of these guineas should pay four unemployed men to carry his coffin and the remainder be distributed among his poorest preachers.

“What else did he leave behind?” Steve asked. “Changed lives hundreds of them, Christian communities dotted all over this country and in other parts of the world, fellowships seeking to take God seriously. Oh that we may all draw to the foot of the cross and experience this powerful love and make this our legacy one of transformed lives and communities!”

Awards and Display Evening

On Wednesday 24th June the Brigades Display and Awards Evening was held. The Event was attended by the Boys Brigade Battalion President and the Girls Brigade Commissioner Margaret Whale. The Boys Brigade Chaplain Rev. Arthur Cowburn also attended as did the Girls Brigade Chaplain Rev. Les. Judd. This was an opportunity for the Parents and Friends of the Brigaders to see what they had been doing in the last year. The Entertainment included the Girls Brigades Choir entertaining us with the songs they had won at the Music Festival with during the Year. The Girls Brigade also played us a winning Tune on their Ocarina’s. The Boys showed us a Mime based on the history of Communications and showed us their own version of “Name that Tune”, some of the tunes were successfully named by the “Contestants” and some by the Audience. The Entertainment was followed by the Girls and Boys Brigade members being Presented with many different Badges, that they had recently earned.

Some Pictures from this event and more details of the Girls Brigade can be found at

details of the Boys Brigade can be found at

Our thanks go to everyone who works hard to make the Brigades such a success.

Grahams Final Post from Kenya

Just a short note this time – On my Last visit to Lavington Church I was able to take a colleague whose wife is an Anglican Curate in Southampton – he liked the service very much as an ‘African’ event but I gather he is a middle-of-the road Anglican, neither ‘high’ nor ’low’ and likes traditional hymns and definitely not ‘modern happy-clappy’. There you go!

Anyhow, we had the usual joyful service in which this week The Super gave the sermon, the Church Minister ably lead some of the singing and the Youth Pastor made announcements about summer activities. He had a lot to announce – an additional [sixth!] Sunday Morning service and the second for young people beginning next week plus a young people’s day hike one Saturday in July plus a 4- day-away Camp for young people called ‘Jesus is my Super-Hero’. At the same time, they dedicated a new drum set and electronic keyboard which were fund-raised – it will be used I think by the various youth and young people services and midweek activities. Incidentally, the Pastor said that there were 300 in the Junior Church [this excludes those in the Crèche and all the teenagers and other ‘young people’] and there were only 60 places at the Summer Camp and 24 spaces were reserved for children requiring sponsorship.

Two items of interest were that a guest youth singing group from an Ethiopian Christian refugee’s church situated elsewhere in Nairobi performed for us today. Their pastor is also a member at LUC and introduced them. They were dressed Ethiopian style and were brilliant – VERY lively and had us all standing up to get in the beat and they literally jumped high with joy during the presentation. Great spectacle and very worthy – the Super said that LUC were an outward looking missionary church and would like to support better links with such groups.

He also announced that the Dispute Resolution Advisor to HE the President [also a LUC member and also a Minister] was in the congregation and was asked to stand – he would make a presentation at a special day conference at the Church next month concerning Terrorism and the Church. They are clearly all very concerned about terrorism in Kenya and it is mentioned weekly in the Prayers.

The sermon was about poverty and he mentioned that poverty was relative and that even otherwise affluent people could be in spiritual poverty if they were lonely or otherwise troubled or unhappy. He said that we should remember that in our own congregations there are such people, even if they have sufficient money for everyday life.        Interesting thought.

Hope you have enjoyed these notes.

Best wishes



Today was my penultimate Sunday in Nairobi; Lavington United Church never fails to amaze me – the Preacher this morning was Rev Canon Rosemary Mbogo [an Anglican, obviously] who was a short middle aged giant of a personality whose booming voice would keep everyone awake and cause mayhem to the timid and the elderly! But she was a good speaker whose message was that if we ignored opportunities with our friends and neighbours, come the day, we would be accountable. No nonsense! She also mentioned that growing churches focused on their young people as they were future leaders of the Church and as a priority over the elderly. Not that the elderly should not be considered at all, but that efforts should be prioritised for the young and the very young.

Rev John Maromba [Circuit Super] took the intercessory prayers [with very feint organ mood music in the background, a la Billy Graham] but not before many announcements [and clapping for good efforts] but also some homilies. Last week the collection was Kenya Shillings KES 860,000 [£6770.oo] of which KES 446,000 [£3430.oo] was from tithing, KES 130,000 {£1000.oo] from the Sunday services offerings plus balance from many other activities. Remember there are five services every Sunday morning with about 400 people at each. He also said that at date they had now collected KES 23. Million towards building a new sanctuary. Super said that every single week since the campaign began he had new funds for the new sanctuary campaign. Tellingly [please note carefully] he said that congregational giving at church was ALWAYS directly linked to spirituality of the church membership and those who did not dip into their pockets should take an immediate look at their own spirituality. The Pastoral Team were responsible for encouraging spirituality. He publicly thanked God and the thanked the congregation for being such a generous and a giving Church. He announced that the Pastoral Team had noticed many children were attending the second and third Sunday morning services and they are, starting next week, having a sixth morning service to scoop these children out of these two services [and making more room at those services] and to have a third service on Sunday morning specifically for young people. The congregation were told to bring all their children and grandchildren and all their friends to the brand new service.

Every week we are all asked to exchange names and why we are attending – my neighbour today was named Ezra and was an Immigration Officer at Nairobi Airport – he was an enthusiastic hand clapper and lively participant in the singing [and signing] of choruses, some of which were in Swahili. I asked Ezra if Lavington was a typical Methodist church in Nairobi and he said it was the biggest Church and was also the liveliest! [For ‘lively’ I think it would be sort of ‘Pentecostal’ in the UK!]. However, it caters for everyday folk as well as some high-income members and definitely attracts many young people.

The congregation is ubiquitously called ‘Church’ by the Leaders and there is enthusiastic clapping when choirs sing [today it was the Swahili Choir [mixed] who were all dressed in bright green outfits [trinity theme] – they sway as they sing and occasionally get into a bit of a dance – ………..not like Hedge End!] There are five Bible study house groups meeting on the Sunday afternoon, so it is quite a day.

That’s all folks!


For Grahams First Post See 26th May blog click here.
For His Second Post see June 6th blog click here.
To see all the blogs click the travelogue category.

Another Letter from Nairobi

Some More thoughts from Graham

I think you should know about the two big growth industries in Nairobi.  Potholes and the security sector.  There are big pot holes in the road because it has been the rainy season [goodness – it happens every year and is called the ‘long rains’]. It does not rain – it pours torrentially for about an hour or so and it would quite impossible to walk for two minutes without being thoroughly drenched.  As a result, traffic is slow, chaotic, disorderly and endless – not helped by the traffic police at all main junctions and roundabouts – complete log-jams break out all over the city every day and the police seem unable to unravel them!

The other big deal is security – everywhere has high walls and metal fences always capped with barbed wire plus 24-hour uniformed guards on all the compounds and office blocks. Seems half of Nairobi is in guards’ uniform of one sort or another…………….even at the Churches.  Curiously, it makes it a safe city, as, unwittingly, there are guards on every corner.

Yesterday Lavington United Church was as idiosyncratic as ever……………a very old Kenyan [ a ‘Mzee’]named Phillip sits outside with me when I am waiting to go in – he is what I call ‘smart-grubby’; he is very tall and almost toothless and speaks reasonable English and is interested in where I come from and he mutters ‘Amen!’ quite frequently – I think he is a saint in disguise and I look forward to our conversations. I think there may be a lot of Phillips in Glory! He is a delight.

I forgot to tell you last week of a couple of the more regular/spontaneous happenings you will not be familiar with. New attendees are asked to stand up and introduce themselves, together with anyone who has been missing for more than a month, after which we all sing that old refrain ‘ there’s a welcome here, there’s a welcome here, there’s a Christian welcome here’ [two times!]. The other oddity is that when the sermon ends, everybody says ‘Amen’ and then there is a round of applause for the preacher In the end, there were ‘over 100’ women who turned up to the all-day Women’s Conference last Saturday…………..and they get a lunch as well[ but LUC do have a school next door which I suspect has a kitchen].

For the month of May the four Sundays have had the theme of ‘The Servant Leader’; the Super preached yesterday and made an interesting statement – ‘it is not that you hope they know, it is that you know they have hope’. Think about it.

A bit about my almost new special subject, ‘Church Finances’;  last week LUC took KES 550,000 shillings [about £4050.oo] which was made up of the Collections, the new Pledges that week [towards the new Sanctuary Fund – this is not money now, but public solemn pledges to deliver when asked later on] and proceeds of  bookstall sales and other sales. The estimated Sanctuary costs are KES 22 million and they have raised KES 14 million so far. EVERY WEEK the current progress in the weekly takings and the current status on the Sanctuary fund is announced and shown on all the CCTV screens………………………and if your car is blocking people in the car park, during the service a small ticker runs along the screen telling the owner of Car Regn XXX XXX to go and move it. The ticker stays there until someone gets up sheepishly and goes outside!  Small children are reasonably behaved, but the odd wanderer is there and is occupied by whoever is nearest and is eventually sent back through the congregation to the parents later on – very casual – all the ladies coo!

Civic Service for Mayor of Eastleigh

On Sunday 31st of May we hosted the Civic Service for The Worshipful the Mayor of the Borough of Eastleigh Councillor Mrs Jane Welsh.  Mrs Jane Welsh is a well known face around Hedge End as she has lived here for the last 57 years.  She has served on Hedge End Town Council for 32 years and has been a member of Eastleigh Borough Council since 1991.  She is also  involved with the Village Hall Committee and the Carnival Committee.

Our Minister Rev. Arthur Cowburn has been appointed the Mayors Chaplain for her year of Office.

We were pleased to welcome many members of Eastleigh Borough Council and their families and friends to the Church for this occasion.  The guests included  Nick Tustion, the chief executive of Eastleigh Borough Council.  There was a rumour that some people had come from the Orkneys to celebrate with us.

The Service content was about Trinity Sunday as well as the civic occasion.  One of the bible readings was  “Isaiah 6: 1-8″, where Isaiah was called by the Lord; this led to us thinking about people being called to their tasks, whether as Church Members or Mayors.  One of the Hymns we sang was ” The Lord’s my Shepherd” which reflected the Mayor’s scottish heritage.

Our Thanks to everyone who had put in the work behind the scenes to make this occasion possible.