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LAVINGTON UPDATE

Greetings (from Graham)
I have been a bit more active this trip, as a colleague invited me to a Sunday evening walk along the perimeter running track around a cricket pitch; we arrived about 5.45 at the Jaffery Sports Ground. It was busy with dozens of people of all ages and all races busy walking or trotting or even running full speed around the perimeter track. It is hard surfaced and quite wide and I have been a few times and now fast-walk at least ten times round – I am told it is 400 metres so I guess I walk about 4 kms in about the hour

Last weekend, the same colleague suggested a walk through Nairobi Arboretum which is next door to State House, the official residence of the President. That was interesting in a different way. It is obviously under-maintained [lack of funds] but over-used. It was a Saturday afternoon and full of people, individuals, couples, groups and entire church or school outings. It is a vast area on a hillside and there is both organised paths, parkland and wooded areas all intermingled.   We got a bit lost on one path and heard wild shouting and came across an area where individuals and small groups of adults were praying aloud – very aloud! – both in English and in Kiswahili – they were all walking backwards and forward in a small area whilst entreating God. A bit bizarre but indicative of a very different attitude some Kenyans have to their faith.

LUC continues to intrigue me; recently they had organised the fitting of removable long cushions in all the pews so it was more comfortable and the Minister took time to bless the new cushions and there was general approval of the innovation, even though the church is well on the way to reaching its New Sanctuary Fund target. They are going to build an underground carpark beneath the new building –it will be on the site of the current building and they will temporarily use another building on the site whilst the works are in progress. Guess it will be a couple of years away yet.

Last week in their Mission series, the preacher used Proverbs 3.28 to speak about Mission to our Neighbours, asking us – do you really know them? Do you reach out to them? Do you pray for them and do you ever invite them into your homes and to Church events?   It is inevitable we have neighbours but are we ourselves patient, consistent and considerate towards them? ……………….or do we sort of ignore them? It is easy to acknowledge them in a neutral sort of manner but being pro-active and being genuinely neighbourly is sometimes more troublesome for us. In fact, do we even know the first names of our near neighbours?

Being a large congregation they have a wide array of activities going on all week, all of which seem to have a positive Christian input. No meetings pass without an active acknowledging why they are there. I notice from the weekly pew sheet that most Sunday afternoons there are Bible Study classes – last week there were five mentioned for that week. Whilst Sunday morning services are a big deal, there are no regular Sunday evening services at LUC so that the congregation have the rest of the day with their families and friends. It seems to be a general thing in Nairobi because most churches seem not to have Sunday evening services.

LUC has a school attached and recently one colleague organised the delivery of an entire set of key-stage books and teaching aides to the school, as his partner works in a school in the Midlands and she found that the books were to be scrapped and they decided to donate them.

This week at Lavington the theme was ‘Mission to the Poor’ – the Minister ran a children’s home within ‘Compassion International’ – they took children from 3 years old through to leaving secondary school or leaving University and a couple were there to give testimony to how well they had been cared for. They also had a 25-strong choir – a lively noisy cheerful bunch who sang heartily and loudly – the lead singer was a natural and will surely go far with a very powerful voice and uninhibited style.

The Reverend said that the poor were amongst us by divine design not by default, they are not someone else responsibility and we should minister to them. He said we should take pity on them, and not be cold and calloused; we should be practical not just giving lip service, and not be crafty but give unconditionally and not to begrudge them   I think poor people in poor countries tend to be relatively more generous than us in very rich countries. He said we should be generous and not resentful. Not sure we all live up to these high standards!

It is mid-winter here and it is wet and cool [well, about 18° at night and 22° in the day] and the rains cause potholes and traffic is slow and the streets are muddy. Guess it is better in the UK.

enjoy your week,

Graham

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Football Team

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Congratulations to the Church Football Team who are top of the Solent Churches League. They also are the Winners of the League cup for the second year in a row beating a team from City Life Church  in a Match on Saturday 14th May. We got to see their Trophy and Cup when they bought them along to the service on Sunday 12th June, when we got the opportunity to congratulate them on their success.

 

Brigades Awards Evening

We have all been invited by the Boys and Girls Brigades to their Display and Awards Evening. This will take place in the Hall on Tuesday 21st June starting at 6.30p.m. There will be a display which normally consists of various sketches, Music and Singing. This is followed by the presentation of Badges and Awards. The awarding is normally done by the respective district commisioners  of the Brigades.

More details can be found at

http://hedgeendgb.org.uk/Home.html

 

Caribbean Evening

We all really enjoyed the Caribbean Evening at Northam yesterday.  As usual we had a massive amount of food.  This year we had five musicians, who were really cool (was that hot).  The atmosphere was fantastic.  Thankyou Gordon.  Thankyou ladies in the kitchen.

Farewell to Hudsons

On  Sunday 26th June at 3 p.m. we will be hosting the Southampton Circuit Farewell Service for Rev. Terry Hudson and his wife Rev. Dawn Hudson.  Rev. Hudson is retiring from his role as the Circuit Superintendent  Minister. He joined the Southampton Methodist Circuit as Superintendent Minister in 2009.

The Service will be followed by a Faith Tea. Everyone who knows Terry and Dawn is very welcome to attend.

 

“Songs of Praise” at “Big Church Day out”

On Sunday 12th June the BBC “Songs of Praise” will  be showing a programme which was recorded at the “Big Church Day out”. The “Big Church Day out” is a Christian Festival which took place in West Sussex over the May Bank Holiday Weekend ( 27th to 29th May) The Festival was attended by approximately 25,000 Christians.. The Programme will be broadcast on BBC1 Between 12.40 and 1.15 p.m. If you look carefully you may be able to  spot several people from Hedge End Methodist Church who attended the Festival.

Everyone who went from our Church had a good time and came back full of Enthusiasm and with ideas for Worship, outreach and Charity Projects  They are looking forward to going back next year and hopefully taking more people with them.

If you miss the programme we presume that the programme will be available after broadcast on the BBC Catch up system, but this is usually only available for 30 days.

 

Nairobi Notes

Greetings everybody,

Last week there were demonstrations about Electoral Commission findings and the opposition party rallied their members and marched through town – it was a bit rough although the scuffles were well away from our offices. There were demonstrations in provincial cities as well – they were shown on TV. Kenya is definitely a democracy and the papers regularly expose bizarre events in government and evidently there is lively debate in the chamber, some of which you see on the evening bulletins. There is the usual malarkey that opposition local administrations complain they are discriminated against the ruling party administrations for funding. Nothing new there then.

Today at LUC it was lively singing – the chorus-signing warm up was as enthusiastic as ever and during the announcements, the Choirmaster, spoke about the Mission the choir are having to Malawi in mid-summer. [One member of the congregation had personally donated KShs 200,000 [about £1425.]] He said that Malawi [where the Mission is going to] has no Anglican or Methodist Churches in the country, so it was a genuine ‘Mission Field’. The choir are organising this in faith and it is for them to raise the money, not LUC itself. They have raised about KShs 1.4 million of the 2.5 million costs. The main choir has about a dozen members but there are also other choirs within the church community.

The sermon today was about the principle of reward in a series of sermons on Stewardship. Look on the LUC website under Pastors Corner to read a synopsis on today’s topic. It takes about a week to be loaded up on

http://www.lavingtonunited.org/index.php/about-luc/pastor-s-corner.

If you are interested in hearing the recorded sermons, for May; go to [recordings go back a couple of years!]

http://www.lavingtonunited.org/index.php/about-luc/sermon/messages/year/2016/05

The Super said that in his home village there had been a faithful Christian man who built up several businesses and properties in the area and he became quite prosperous. Some time back he gave some of his land for a Church and then land for a school as well. He had died awhile back and sadly, all his children had totally squandered all the proceeds of the businesses and properties and were all now quite destitute. However, in effect, the father kept his reward as the Church is still flourishing and the school is still flourishing, even though his children are now impoverished.

He also said prudent businesses everywhere put back some of their profits into their business in order to continue to prosper; if they do not, they will fall away. Nothing wrong with Christians becoming prosperous, only that they must demonstrate their faith by sharing their prosperity in a Christian manner. If congregations do not put back sufficient into their churches [in my own view, effort and goodwill as well as money], they too and their churches will fall away. [Lesson here?].

The Church Minister led the main prayers and it was interesting that when prayers were about Kenyan life, the government and public life events, then there was a general swell of murmuring among the congregation as people obviously felt deeply about the issues in the prayers and the way the prayers were presented. There seemed to be a common consensus that these were major problems in Kenyan life. We do not often hear congregations in the UK muttering their agreement with any prayers being said.     Interesting point is, whilst we in the UK recite the Lord’s Prayer every Sunday, it is only said at monthly Communion Services at LUC. Personally, I like having the Lord’s Prayer each week as it is a very good opportunity to publicly yet personally ‘wipe the slate clean’ and start the following week afresh.

Best regards,

Graham

Fishing Jammy

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On Saturday 11th June the theme of Jammy Church is “Disciples, the calling of the Fisherman”. This Activity will take place between 10.30 a.m. and 12.30 p.m.  People of all ages are welcome to come along and join in with Craft Activities  and worship related to the theme above. Please ensure that an Adult stays with all children. We finish the mornings activities with Lunch. There is no charge for attending, but if you wish a box is available to make a donation.

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

https://www.facebook.com/JammyChurch

 

BA and Lavington!

News from Graham

I arrived back in Nairobi 9 days ago. The flight was good and bad. The good news was that I had a surprise upgrade to Business Class – very nice.  Next to me was an elderly African who, I discovered, was not a Kenyan and he spoke no English. However, I did discover he spoke Arabic so I was able to practice my rusty Arabic – the vocabulary comes back quite quickly – even interpreted between him and the Stewardess about his IFE system – he wanted sport and football and she was offering ancient films! At Nairobi BA had moved terminal and when I got out, it was pouring buckets, there was no shelter and the driver had gone to the former terminal. Took about 25 minutes for him to arrive by which time I was like an unhappy and thoroughly drenched rat! Never mind.

It was good to be back at Lavington. The guest preacher was Canon Rosemary Obongo who I had heard before. Heard is the word – she speaks VERY loudly and enthusiastically and it would play absolute havoc with our loop system! She is the Diocesan Secretary and the Anglicans had elected a new Archbishop the previous day so the Super took the opportunity to publicly congratulate them and to request that he preached at LUC on the last Sunday in November which is the Church Anniversary. He went on to explain that as an ecumenical partnership, the church was responsible for the spiritual welfare of those from each of the denominations and that the leaders of the Anglicans, Methodists and Presbyterians also had a return responsibility for the care of their flock worshipping at Lavington. Everyone, regardless of denomination or position, had a shared responsibility for mission. The Presiding Bishop of the Methodists had recent been at Lavington and the Moderator of the Presbyterians was booked in so it was fitting that the new Archbishop should also be invited. Canon Rosemary has a very senior and powerful position as the Diocesan Secretary; she is, in effect, the ‘gatekeeper’ to the Archbishop!

The June theme is ‘Stewardship’; she said that most churchgoers would immediately think that they are about to be asked for more money! Well – stewardship of money is mentioned sometimes, and rightly so…….…………., but she went on to explain many other types of stewardship for which we are each responsible and personally accountable – it included stewardship of time – do we use some of our time each day for God?   The stewardship of our belongings – do we willingly offer our homes or our transport to help others or to show hospitality or friendship? The stewardship of talents – do we help out at church when there is a need, we could easily fill…………….or do we leave it all to others? The stewardship of personality – do we give of ourselves and be helpful to all………………. or are we too touchy and sensitive?

We also sang ‘Holy Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty’ but to a quite modern tune – not a ‘belter’ tune but light and melodic and a nice and easy change from the traditional tune. Perhaps we should try it one day at HE-MC?

During the service parents with small children were invited to go off with their toddlers and babies to a clinic set up for the day to administer vaccination against Measles and Rubella. On the spot, there and then. LUC had arranged this with the Kenyan Health Ministry.

The rains seem to be abating but it is cooler here than in the UK, here being winter time and Nairobi being a high altitude capital city. 300 miles away in Mombasa on the Indian Ocean coast it would be seriously hotter and more humid.

With best wishes,

Graham