During our Easter Day Sunday Morning Service we transformed this bare wooden cross into a cross of flowers, as God transformed Jesus, and is transforming us. Happy Easter. Thanks be to God!
I never expected the amazing experiences I would enjoy when I allowed my name to go forward for the position of Area President for the Britain and Ireland Area of the WFM&UCW. Travelling opportunities yes: to South Africa for the 12th World Assembly, to Basel for a World Executive meeting, to Rome for the Joint European Areas Seminar, and to Melbourne for the next World Executive in July when I guess we shall be planning the 13th World Assembly in Houston, Texas.
But it’s not just the travel, exciting though that is. It is the personal contact with women in so many parts of the world, God’s world, (John Wesley’s Parish!) that is an inspiration to me. It’s having opportunities to hear stories of bravery and determination, as we did in Johannesburg, from real women I could see and touch and eat meals with and ask questions of and pray with and take photos of. It’s meeting women like Marianne and Dessie from Bulgaria who came to the Southampton District last October and shared their faith stories with us.
Having the privilege of planning the Joint Area Seminar in Italy with sisters from Ireland, Bulgaria, Sweden and Italy is awesome. To pray for sisters in Ukraine, knowing that two of them are hoping to come to Rome for the Seminar this Pentecost, and wondering whether they will get the necessary visas. Knowing that women around Britain are raising £10,000 so that women from smaller Units have a chance to come to Pomezia for this event (and that women in USA are helping pay travel expenses). Unit Presidents will attend the Weaving Together Programme (prior to the Seminar), which will encourage and equip them to continue the development of women’s lay ministry in their own countries.
The knowledge that through the World Federation, we have a voice at UN level at the Economic Social Council ECOSOC, through our representative Brenda Smith in New York; knowing that through the work of Methodist and Uniting Church Women towards achieving the MDGs* we are step by step making a positive difference in the world. Reading about this work in the pages of the quarterly Tree of Life newsletter and on the website http://www.mwib.org.uk .
This year we are celebrating 75 years since Helen Kim, a young Korean woman, founded the movement first known as the Word Federation of Methodist Women. There have been 75 years of stories of women making a difference. Bringing healing and new hope to their communities. That’s worth bothering about!
*The United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
Tenebrae (Latin for ‘shadows’ or ‘darkness’) is a Christian religious service celebrated within Western Christianity on the evening before or early morning of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, which are the last three days of Holy Week. The distinctive ceremony of Tenebrae is the gradual extinguishing of candles while a series of readings and psalms is chanted or recited.
We form a circle of chairs. Beforehand about a dozen of us have been allocated a short passage from the bible relating to the events at Easter up until the Good Friday. In due course and after silence each of us reads our allocated passage. There are a number of candles in the centre of the circle. We each extinguish one of the candles, so that at the end of the service the room has become darker. This is a sombre event which attempts to capture some of the gravity of events in the days up to and including the killing of Jesus on the cross.
The event is open to everyone, both Christians and Non-christians, though it is not quite everybodies thing.
Over the next few months we aim to bring attention to a number of the churches social groups. The choir meet most Monday evenings to practice. They sing during Sunday Morning Worship, and at other occasional services. This is a photograph of the choir members just after Palm Sunday Worship having just sung beautifully and joyfully during the service. They sing to a very good standard but not toffy nosedly.
The choir are always interested in new budding choiristers to join their ranks. They sing a combination of traditional and modern pieces, both single hymns and extended suites, predominately of a religious nature, and they sound superb. They are generally accompanied by organ, piano, french horn and sometimes by other Hedge End Methodist instrumental groups.
Sing to the Lord a joyful song,
Lift up your hearts, your voices raise;
To us his gracious gifts belong,
To him our songs of love and praise;
Easter this year takes place between Maundy Thursday (17th April) and Easter Sunday (20th April). There will be a number of services and activities during this time.
Service of Light and Darkness
This will take place at 7.30 on Maundy Thursday (17th April).The service includes communion.
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. There will be a Service in Hedge End Methodist Church at 3.p.m. on Good Friday conducted by the Rev. Christine Coram.
On Sunday , Easter Day, we are holding an Agape service at 8.00am., when the New Testament Church met, they shared fellowship, worship and food. They enjoyed a common meal together, which eventually became the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion.
We are going back to those earliest times, to share in another part of the common meal, called an Agape or Love Feast. At this meal we share food and fellowship together. You can actively take part, if you wish, by bringing along a prayer, a reading, a poem, a testimony or something similar. Or, of course, you can simply listen.
You don’t need to bring any food of your own, as we’ll be providing some light refreshment. It will be a special act of worship and all are invited. We’d love you to come!
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 (right). If you would like to contribute to this please feel free to bring a few flowers with you to the service.
At our prayer group tonight, and in prayer, Graham has proposed to start a new house group for the church. More details soon.
On Saturday April 5th we ventured on the first Ramble of the Year. 15 of us met in Hamble during the Morning. We walked down to the Quay and then through the Woods to the Beach. We then Walked along the Beach and back to the Village. It was slightly damp and drizzly but none of us got too wet, and we managed to avoid the most muddy paths. Some people who had walked along the beach on a previous Walk were surprised at the extent of the erosion of the Beach paths; this is presumably a result of the recent storms. We were pleased to see that the Spring Flowers were starting to appear. After the Walk we went into to the “Victory” Pub where we had Lunch together. Our Thanks to those people who had arranged this Ramble for us.
We started on Friday Night by Hosting this years Womans World Day of Prayer. This years event material was prepared by the Women of Egypt; next year it will be arranged by Women from The Bahamas. This event is arranged so that during the 24 hours an almost identical service is held in many places and countries in the World. We were pleased to be able to host this service, the hosting of which is shared between the churches in the Hedge End Area, so it tends to be our turn every eight years or so. We welcomed our friends from the other Churches to our Church on this occasion. Our thanks to everyone who organised or helped in anyway to make this interesting service possible.
On Saturday we held our childrens event, “Jammy Church” which we hold every second Saturday of the Month. This is an opportunity to think about the Stories in the Bible whilst enjoying yourself doing Craft activities and Eating. This is mainly aimed at families, although the young at heart are very welcome. Saturdays Theme was the story of the Disabled Man who was lowered through the Roof on his mattress so that he got to see Jesus.
When we entered the Church on Sunday we could see that some people had been very busy on Saturday. This was because the front few rows of Pews had been removed and replaced with Chairs. This should make it a lot easier for people with difficulties to sit down comfortably. We would like to thank the Church that wanted to get rid of their chairs and wanted some more Pews. It was good to be able to do a straight swop with them. We are grateful to the Church Council and everyone else involved in arranging this.
The Sunday Service was taken by Deacon Brian Purchase on the Theme of Salt and Light. Some Volunteers got to light some Candles and everyone was given some Crisps to Eat. We were encouraged to think about the theme of bringing light to other people during our normal lives following the service. We were pleased to welcome the Girls and Boys Brigade to this service, and the District officer of the Girls Brigade who presented Gemma with her badge to become an Officer of the Girls Brigade.
The Hedge End Service as part of this International initiative will be be held in Hedge End Methodist Church on Friday 7th March at 7.30 p.m. This years Service has been arranged by the Women of Egypt and the theme is “Streams in the Desert”. The speaker is Alison Judd, Area President of Methodist Woman in Britain. Light Refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the Service. All are very welcome to attend this service including men.
On Sunday 9th February we were pleased to welcome the Mayor of Eastleigh Councillor Malcolm Cross and his wife Sue. During the Sunday Morning Service The Mayor presented 4 Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Awards and 3 Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards to members of the Boys Brigade, and a Queens Badge to Gemma from the Girls Brigade. We were all pleased to have the opportunity to congratulate them all on their hardwork in achieving these Awards. Ben, Jonathan and Jonathan are due to attend St James Palace to be presented with their Gold Award certificates either by the Duke of Edinburgh or Prince Edward. The Sunday Service on the theme of the Prodigal son was conducted by our Minister the Rev. Christine Coram and 157 people attended.