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Baptisms and Elections Kenyan Style

Graham Says

Greetings, This is my last blog from Nairobi on this trip.

Last week there were Nomination Forms for Church Officers elections at their AGM on 30 April. Everyone received the A4 form; the 5 retiring positions for which fresh nominations were sought whilst 10 more positions had holders seeking re-election and there were a further 27 holders who were not up for re-election this year. That’s 42 office holders!   Interesting that in some cases, anyone can nominate for a position but only the members of that group [such as ‘older persons’, ‘choir’, and ‘youth’] can actually vote in that category. The AGM is at 0800  on a Saturday morning, by the way.

Their website is well organised and you can hear the sermon each week and you can read the synopsis of the message which is printed each week in the pew sheet. Check it out at

http://www.lavingtonunited.org/

Here you can download the weekly sermon or you can read the weekly blog, which is the sermon in précis!   They also have a Facebook blog which you can access at

https://www.facebook.com/lavingtonunited/

[see how long the services are planned for!]

Sunday 17th April was Youth Sunday when the young people took the service. The usual choir was replaced by about 35 primary age children plus two early teens who introduced the entire programme. The band comprised entirely of teenagers with drums, guitar, trumpet and an adept young lady on the electric keyboard. All very professionally done, with all the youngsters in vivid orange T-shirts emblazoned on the back with ‘Lavington United Church, Youth Outreach’. They congregation joined in singing, including a mighty rendering of ‘I have joy, joy, joy,   joy – joy in my heart’ ………………..But the most telling thing was the prayers – about five primary age kids, one after the other, gave very heart-felt and well thought out prayers spoken extemporary – not written down! Half our own congregation could not do that! I guess they come from families where prayer is part of everyday life. Not seen this before.

The Youth Minister said their Vacation Bible School [Kenyan schools have a 4-week break right now] targeted for 90 attendees but 152 had attended – it ran for a week from 8.00 am to 4.00 pm daily with food provided – a mixture of fun and learning, – evidently it is an annual event. Parents were urged to sign up their own children and for the children also to bring their friends too.

There was also infant baptisms of about 7/8 babies with their parents, families and godparents present plus two infant dedications – the Minister hoped these two would be back soon for baptism itself. LUC [being a Methodist-Anglican-Presbyterian Church] has its own Worship Book which we used – it is curiously comprehensive with forms of service for all sorts of occasions. Interesting.

I hope you have enjoyed these jottings – it was a privilege and a pleasure to be in such a congregation.

 

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The Lost Jammy

 

At Jammy Church on Saturday 9th April our theme was the Lost Coin and the Lost Son. This was attended by over 40 people of many different ages.

We all had a good time exploring these themes through worship and crafting. It was an excellent time of fellowship together which ended by eating together. We had Baked Potatoes with Baked Beans, and Tuna and Salad.

Some people came who had not attended before and kindly complimented those involved in organising the Morning.

We ended by sharing a  Birthday Cake as it was one of the catering teams birthday that day.

The next Jammy Church will be on Saturday 14th May when we will be finding out about “Heroes Bible and Modern Day”.

For more details please see

https://www.facebook.com/JammyChurch

 

News from Lavington Nairobi

Greetings again from Nairobi

The warm dry weather has gone and the short rains have arrived – ‘short rains’ because they only last a few weeks and hot dry weather then returns. Last couple of days it has drizzled much dispersed by occasional dry spells and occasional huge and lengthy torrential downpours. Puddles and lakes suddenly appear but take ages to disappear. Pity the homeless and those thousands living in shacks.

Easter Sunday at Lavington was not as grand as Palm Sunday as we ‘only’ had the usual clergy. [they call it ‘Resurrection Sunday’ by the way] LUC were selling their first own Bible Study Book which has a series of twelve studies on Love – it is a strategic move to align their various house groups to link into the monthly themes that they run. Each month the main theme is broken into sub-topics for the 4 or 5 Sundays of the month. Each Sunday the sub-topic is described in the pew sheet [you can catch up at home] and all the preachers at all services on that Sunday use the same texts. The Bible Study guide links further into the monthly theme so that the various House Groups follow through at their own meetings. Now that’s a clever way to keep the good folk in the pews on message!

This week was also interesting. The choir had a PR spot to highlight that they were not just singing on Sundays, but they also have an outreach mission to help others; recently they had sang for and raised funds to provide practical help to two distant disadvantaged communities. In addition, they sang for a Blind School with many blind children who were also orphaned. The choir were holding a jumble sale at church to raise extra funds to provide more facilities at the school [’Jumble please’ – ‘no unsalable rubbish through’ – on a series of comical slides].

Interesting to see LUC take young people seriously – two / three times each year they hold ‘Growing in Grace – Back to Basics’ courses on three consecutive days of meetings. There were separate series run by the Youth Pastor for University Students, for Teens and then for Couples/Young Professionals. Presumably it works or they would not keep running them.

The Super said that young families were a very deliberate target for church membership and attendance as they were essential for the renewal of church life; it also helped younger people to develop their own talents in running church activities and gave the old folk a break. Hence the strong emphasis on giving responsibilities across all areas of church life to the coming generations. [Young Peoples Prayer meetings for example] Interestingly, the other week it was announced that membership classes were about to start and the clergy team had noticed some who attend church regularly but had not signed up for the classes – they knew who they were and would now personally check them out in the coming days – of course they wanted regular attendees to become committed church members. HOWEVER, membership itself was not the aim – it was making them effective and practicing disciples in everyday life that was important.

Underlying themes keep coming through in the church prayers – issues not seen so clearly in the UK – poverty is never far away, often with those in work having to support extended family members who have fallen on hard times by family death, by illness or by lack of work. No doubt, when times are hard the wider family chips in and helps out to reduce hardship and struggling. It is not just family, but also village ties – helping people in the village who have fallen on hard times and cannot afford school fees, for example – you call upon those in the big city fortunate enough to be able to help. Not ‘family’ as such, just neighbours and acquaintances from earlier times. But the culture means that they will try and help them as well! Often we in the UK have no idea what real poverty is and neither do we know what real generosity is. They shame us!

Best wishes from Nairobi, Graham

Trophy at Music Festival

Congratulations to members of 1st Hedge  End Boys and Girls Brigades who won a trophy for the most promising Woodwind ensemble at the National Boys and Girls Brigade Music Festival. which was held in Chandlers Ford on Saturday 19th March. This event has been run by the Brigades since 2007. More details about the event can be found at

http://natbrass.boys-brigade.org.uk/musicfestival/

More details of the Girls Brigade can be found by following the Links below.

https://twitter.com/HedgeEndGB

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

April Jammy Church

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On Saturday  9th  April between 10.30 a.m. and 12.30 p.m. we will be holding our next Jammy Church. During the morning we will be exploring the story of the Lost Coin, and the story of the lost Son. These stories  can be found in Luke Chapter 15.

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.

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

https://www.facebook.com/JammyChurch

The Picture above is one of the cakes that was made to celebrate Jammy Churches 5th Birthday in February.

 

 

Plant sale and Silent Auction

Spring Fayre

This Event will take place on Saturday 30th April from 10.am. to 12.30. There will be a large variety  of plants for sale. Also A Silent auction will be held a with selection of goods available. At a silent Auction you view the goods and write your bid and contact details on the forms with the goods.  At the end of the time period allocated the highest bidder gets to pay the money and is given the goods. There will also be books and toys for sale, and a raffle for a Hamper. Admission for Adults is 50p Children are free.. Refreshments will be available.

The Picture above was taken at the spring  Fayre a couple of years ago.

Palm Sunday at Lavington Nairobi

Graham one of our Church Members has sent his impressions of Palm Sunday in Nairobi which are printed below. You may also like to look at his posts from his previous visit which can be found by following these links.

Grahams First Post

Graham second post

Grahams 3rd post

Grahams Final Post

Palm Sunday was a rather grand affair at Lavington; the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church in Kenya was there for the entire morning [he took three services in a row] together with his predecessor and the resplendent Conference Secretary and an array of Supers and other fully robed clergy – I lost count at about 45 of them! They were a very jolly bunch and the 1130 service started a bit late as the assembled Bishops, clergy and the entire congregation processed behind a donkey around the church perimeter before turning full circle and entering the sanctuary [but not the donkey]. It took a while. The church was liberally decorated with palm fronds and we also each received one small frond.

The Superintendent welcomed his honoured guests and handed over to the new Bishop of Nairobi [his predecessor had finished his two 4-year terms and had retired] who then introduced himself and then introduce the Presiding Bishop who then introduced every one of his clergy assembled! This took some time. Each of the clergy turned to the congregation and there was general waving and joy to those with spouses in the congregation who were asked to stand up so we could see the many clergy-spouses there. It was interesting that several clergy who spoke had begun by saying that they ‘were saved in Christ’ or words to that effect [including Bishops] – an approach not often seen in the UK and rather refreshing. Al the hymns were modern-ish and could be found in our Singing the Faith and – sung by a huge noisy congregation – was very uplifting. You felt you were part of a large and very special event.

As often at Lavington, the choir led much of the service with much impassioned and lengthy extemporary prayers by the Choir Leader and lots of clapping during the service when anything celebratory was mentioned. As you could imagine, this all took time and it was followed by Communion where we filed to six located stations were Bishop and senior clergy were distributing the elements. I formed the impression that LUC is the largest congregation in Nairobi and probably in Kenya and it had a reputation for being an outgoing church and a generous C-church, supporting many issues in the country and beyond. They have a couple of mission in prospect at present, one in the local area and the other to Malawi! I am quite sure that, although not seen on Sundays, there must be a well-oiled business machinery running such large organisation and developing on so many fronts at the same time. The service ended at 1415!

My neighbour in church told me that the church sanctuary fund at about 31 million KSHs [around £225,000] was to enable LUC to build a new sanctuary across the entire plot, complete with an underground car park. The funds were built mainly on congregation pledges – I guess they pledged to give regularly or lump sums within a given period]. The funding barometer outside the church is growing as we speak! Every week the congregation is told how much is now in the Sanctuary Fund, how much in the current account and how much was taken in the last week, analysed by source –it is all put up on the screen and the Minister [or Super if he is there] describes progress, not only in monetary terms but also in people terms – how many were at Junior Church that day [about 250-2300 most weeks] and what the ladies were doing, the men’s groups and the many young people activities. From an early age, they want and expect young people to grow in the Church and take part in activities.

I hope you like the pictures of the ceremonies and the sanctuary. Remember, the overflow is such that always some have to sit outside underneath the sheets, projecting people from the hot sun.

The Madding Crowd Hardy Concert

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We are pleased to welcome members of the Madding Crowd to Hedge End Methodist Church on Saturday 7th May at 7.30 p.m.

They will be Singing, Performing on Instruments of the Era, Narrating and Dancing to show us popular Music that was around at the time of the Author Thomas Hardy.

Hardys  Father was part of the Music Group in Stinsford Church in Dorset. A Fragment of one of his poems describes the Music group thus:

She turned in the high pew until her sight
Swept the West Gallery, and caught its row
Of Music Men with Viol book and Bow.

For those of you not familiar with the works of Thomas Hardy the time we are talking of is approximately between 1800 and 1900.

More details about the Madding Crowd can be found at

http://www.maddingcrowd.org/

The Cost of Admission will be £8 per person. Details of how to purchase tickets will be posted here nearer the time.

 

Easter 2016

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Our First Easter Event will be an Easter Themed  Jammy Church which will take place on Saturday 12th March between 10.30 and 12.30 p.m. For more details about what Jammy Church is please see

https://www.facebook.com/JammyChurch

or look at the Jammy Church Blog posts below.

There will be several events and services over the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend. i.e.  between Maundy Thursday (24th  March ) and Easter Sunday 27th March). These are detailed below.

Service of Light and Darkness also known as Tenebrae
This will take place at 7.30 on Maundy Thursday (24th March).The service includes communion. This service will be conducted by Rev. Geoffrey Scarlett

Good Friday
The Organisation “Churches together in Hedge End ” Hold a Walk of Witness at 11.p.m. starting in the Centre of Hedge End. Near the Co-operative store.

For more details about Churches together see

http://www.c2ghe.hampshire.org.uk/

 

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Easter Sunday

During the Service at 10.30 a.m. on Easter Sunday we will be creating a Floral Easter Cross.  This will be similar to one we made in a previous year which is depicted above. If you would like to contribute to this please feel free to bring a few flowers with you to the service. This Service will be conducted by Rev. Geoffrey Scarlett. We will be thinking about Mary and Peter looking for Jesus.

 

Walk and Talk

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The Church Rambling group will be celebrating 25 years of existence this year. It has decided to rename itself the “Walk and Talk ” group as nowadays they no longer ramble but walk along avoiding steep slopes and Stiles.

The Proposed dates for the walks in 2016 have now been published. Most Walks include a Lunch as well. If it rains hard the Walkers  just enjoy the Lunch.

The Proposed Dates for the Walks are below.

Monday 28th March

Saturday 28th May

Thursday 16th June Evening

Tuesday 5th July all day

Thursday 21st July Evening

Thursday 4th August Evening

Thursday 18th August Evening

Monday 29th August

Saturday 17th September

Saturday 22nd October

Monday 2nd January 2017

You are welcome to join us.Please look in the Paper Church Notices nearer the time for details of meeting places and who to contact.