July 2016 - Solihull Methodist Church

July / August 2016
Would people come to a Charity Floral Demonstration in aid
of Reynalds Cross School we had wondered. Of course they
would, (although how many men weren’t there!) especially
when it was coupled with Music, Readings and Afternoon Tea
and the floral designs were by our own Margaret Rumens who
most know is an International Floral Designer.
The biggest issue to be dealt with was people trying to obtain
tickets in the run up to this show when it was sold out.
The fun came from more of our home grown stars. Never
underestimate the depth of talent in our Church family and
how privileged we were to have Judith Farndon and Linda
Bates singing for us, Peter Farndon playing the organ for us,
and Peter Bates giving us some favourite monologues. Add to
this Stuart Aldridge playing Palm Court music as we arrived.
If you didn’t make this, you missed a spectacular. The buzz at
the end over tea said how impressed everyone was and what
a fun afternoon in great company it had been. Don’t
underestimate the amount or work behind the scenes to
make this happen – another mammoth from the Fitter house
group. But how many times did I hear someone say “How did
she do all that in that time?”
And then how lucky were those with the numbered tickets
who got to take the designs home. A fantastic afternoon
which raised another £750 for the church project.
Lawrie Rumens
In this issue
Vanessa Cole Steven Edwards
Philip Mackey Bertie Tuckey
Betty Wain
Church council summary
Brick church
Church giving
Solihull Carnival
Lake District Walkers
Jonathan’s Cycle Ride
Green tip
Walking together – Pakistan
Farewell to Joe Minall
E.N.RG Climbing Wall
The church set out for
afternoon tea
Stuart Aldridge playing Palm
Court music at the piano
2 matching flower arrangements
by Margaret Rumens
Judith Farndon, Linda Bates and Peter Bates contributing to the
Munachiso Nwokolo (daughter of Professor Chuka
Nwokolo and Mrs Nwabueze Nwokolo) married Nigel
John Erhardt in a traditional Nigerian ceremony on 21st
May. The marriage included the traditional wine
carrying ceremony.
Munachiso and Nigel are seen in the photo with
Alex Weatherup and Ieuan Edwards, members of the
BB at Hall Green, were both awarded the Queens
medal – the highest award in the BB movement at
the morning service on 12th June. The award was
presented by Roger Green, Captain of the 12th
Birmingham Company of the Boys Brigade.
And what an honour that they had both been invited
to be stewards at a Buckingham Palace garden party
recently. Well done
Monday 18th July 7.00 pm
79 Silhill Hall Road
See Bryan Fitter if you would like to
come along
All welcome
Vanessa Cole
Music was to play an important part of her life.
She played with Solihull Orchestras, Midland
Youth Orchestra, and English Schools Orchestra,
with which she and Stephanie enjoyed a tour to
Australia. She joined the British Police Symphony
Orchestra and played with them in Birmingham
Symphony Hall last December.
Vanessa was always active and adventurous,
notably going to Galle in Sri Lanka with Heather,
Stephanie and Greg to help the aftermath of the
Tsunami - an eye opener for them all. Her
holidays and times travelling were punctuated
with bungee jumps, once fully dunked in the river
below, and in Canada she loved snow sports!!!
As a family we have been so lucky to share
holidays for years and years, often in
Pembrokeshire, and sometimes in Cornwall. We
have felt very blessed that the girls have all still
wanted to be together!
Vanessa was our fourth daughter, with Heather,
Alison and Stephanie her big sisters. All the girls
attended the Playgroup at Solihull Methodist
Church, and during her primary education she
found her enduring love of music on the piano
and violin. She went to King’s High in Warwick,
and moved on to study Criminology at Leeds
University. Vanessa gained a place on a year
abroad scheme at Carlton University in Ottawa.
Vanessa found Matt and they had been together
about 18 months when they planned a paradise
holiday to the Dominican Republic But there the
story ends. Vanessa fell ill and the hospital were
unable to save her. She had lived almost 28 action
packed years.
The church was full for her Thanksgiving Service
including a large representation from the
Nottinghamshire Police. We would like to thank
everyone who came to it, those who helped in
many ways, and all people who have sent cards
and flowers and letters and messages of love and
support. They have and continue to mean so
much to us.
Vanessa joined the CBSO Junior Chorus,
transferring to the Senior Chorus and then the
adult CBSO Chorus. There was one joyous
concert in which Vanessa, Heather, Alison and
Mum sang in a row next to each other in
On leaving Leeds Vanessa did various temporary
jobs, but when she was invited to an Open Day
with Nottingham Police she seized the chance to
fulfil her lifelong dream of being a police officer.
She started her training in January 2014, moving
to live in Nottingham. It was a very proud day for
us at her passing out parade. Her long held dream
was fulfilled and last autumn Vanessa passed her
Police Driving course and became a rapid
response driver.
We will all have to find a way to live without her,
but we will all never forget her endless chatter,
her dimple and smile, her strength and common
sense, sense of adventure, generosity, practicality,
and her love for people.
We asked Medina and Richard Cole to tell us
about their Vanessa.
Steven Edwards
Steve was nearly 66 when he died in May after a long
struggle with cancer lasting two and a half years.
His life had begun with a challenge for his Mom and
Dad as he was a premature baby born weighing just
5lbs in Handsworth Nursing Home in 1950 and needing
special care.
Just after the Coronation 3 years later, the family
moved to the Maypole; not easy for his Mom as she
had to commute each day back to her job at a draper’s
shop in Handsworth.
Steve’s secondary education was at Woodrush School
where he achieved his ambition to be chosen for the
school football team. Football was his greatest love
and he also played for Scouts, School Youth Clubs and
many local leagues. He was a keen Aston Villa
supporter. He loved cricket too, but hay fever
prevented him from playing. He could only watch on
TV with all the windows closed.
Train-spotting was another interest. He loved
travelling by steam train both in this country and
abroad. A bench at Broadway station has been offered
in his memory.
After leaving school at 15 he had joined the Army
Apprentices and served with the Royal Signals
Apprenticeship for 2 years from 1966, based at
Newton Abbott in Devon. One foggy winter day,
together with a small group of young soldiers on
manoeuvres on Dartmoor they got lost and had to
spend a chilly night in a primitive shepherd’s hut.
After following streams flowing downwards next day
they eventually met the rescuers who had been out all
night searching for them. The story made news in the
local paper.
Steve tried many different jobs, but eventually ended
up as a salesman selling steel which involved travelling
all over England and Wales.
He first met Frances at a “singles night”in the Regency
Hotel. They were mutually attracted and spent much
time together. Four years later they were married at
Solihull Methodist Church. It was Frances’s influence
which brought Steve to attend services at our church.
He had been very impressed by the caring love and
support shown to Frances by the church community
during the long period of recovery following her
serious operation
Steve took up golf and became a member of Kings
Norton Golf Club where he made many friends and
organised matches with other companies. He and
Frances enjoyed many golfing holidays. A favourite
location was in Pembrokeshire.
He was a very organised man, planning trips and
journeys precisely, always tidy, doing his own ironing
and packing and sharing cooking with Frances.
For the last years of his working life he had a complete
change of career. He took computer courses at Solihull
College and qualified for a position with Civil Service
Health and Safety. Much of his work was based at
Steve had been diagnosed with cancer of the liver and
lungs two and a half years before he died. He knew it
was terminal, but he continued to live as full a life as
he could. During his last three weeks Frances cared for
him at home with the support of Macmillan nurses
until the move to hospital became essential.
He was a kind, patient and very proud man. He was
witty too and a good mimic. He and Frances had a
close relationship enjoying happiness and laughter as
well as facing suffering which was bravely born. We,
her church community, are remembering Frances and
all the family in our prayers at this sad time
Philip Mackey
What a shock it was to learn that Philip had
died so suddenly on 18th May at the age of 74.
Philip was born on 4th August 1941 during
World War II. Just a few months later his father
was called up and sent to Burma. Philip was 6
years old by the time he returned. Meanwhile
Philip was brought up in Leicester, living with
his mother at his grandmother’s house. Time
passed and a sister for Philip was born. She was
called Patricia, known as Pat and soon became
a vital part of the family.
After passing his 11 plus exam Philip went to
Alderman Newton Boys School in Leicester. He
went on to university where he developed a
passion for rugby which lasted throughout his
life. It was while playing in Leicestershire that
he met Brenda who was watching the match.
They were married in October 1966 and
continued this love of rugby together.
well as his holiday home in the Lake District
housed many items of antique furniture and
other artefacts as well as the large number of
rugs he brought back from travels in India.
Philip’s working career included many
accomplishments - He became a Fellow of both
the Institute of Civil Engineers and the
Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental
Engineering Management, and a member of the
Academy of Experts, and also a qualified
Over the years he worked for Gallifords, Severn
Trent and Ove Arup. He was still working at the
age of 74 because he enjoyed it.
His family brought him great joy and his 3
children and 7 grandchildren have many stories
to tell about their lively and fun-loving father
and grandfather. Sadly, little Sofie died when
she was only 4 months old. Camping holidays in
Britain and abroad were much enjoyed
especially when the small blue tent was
upgraded to a trailer tent.
He was a deeply religious man, demonstrating
his faith through the kindness and generosity he
showed to others. In our church in Solihull the
whole family were active in worship and
activities including Junior Church, Brownies,
Cubs, Guides and Scouts. Philip was a much
valued accredited Local Preacher for many
Philip had many friends, who were considered
as family. This was a theme brought out
through the cards and tributes received after
his death. He will be remembered for his many
attributes, particularly for his kindness and
generosity and his firm Christian faith. We
thank God for a life so well lived and offer our
love and sympathy to Brenda and to all his
family and friends who are feeling his loss.
He was also a man with many interests one of
which was Philately. He enjoyed being Vice
Chairman of the Philatelic Congress. Another
interest was in antiques. His home in Solihull as
Sylvia Bailey
Bertie Tuckey
It is now 27 years since Bertie moved to Stratford with
his wife Dorothy. He had been a member of our church
for24 years and he is still well remembered by many
friends in Solihull.
Bertie was 84 when he died in May. He was born in 1932
and brought up in Hall Green. After passing his school
certificate he attended King Edward’s School in
Edgbaston. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant in
January 1954 and started his National Service in North
Africa in April of that year.
Returning on leave in May 1955 he married Dorothy
Harwood at Hall Green Methodist Church and she
accompanied him to complete his National Service in
They returned to England on 2nd April 1956 to their
newly built house in Bryanston Road Solihull. Dorothy
and Bertie had 4 children - Jonathan, Timothy, Matthew
and Joanne. (Sadly Matthew died a cot death in 1967
aged just 9 weeks)
While the family attended our church in Solihull, Bertie
held a number of roles including Church Steward,
Communion Steward, Circuit Steward, Circuit Treasurer,
as well as various positions within the District and
Connexion including even Chairman of Methodist
Insurance. His financial expertise was invaluable.
Bertie was much involved with the refurbishment of
Stratford Methodist Church before he was diagnosed
with myeloma (blood cancer) five years ago, and it
was there that a Thanksgiving Service for his life was
held on 24th May.
We send our sympathy and very best wishes to Dorothy
and all the family. It is good to have Jonathan still as a
member of our church community in Solihull.
Dorothy Tuckey and Sylvia Bailey
Betty Wain
Betty died in April at the age of 93. It was a long time
since she had been able to be with us at church, but
she had been associated with the church for many
years before age, infirmity and near-blindness kept
her housebound.
60 years until not long before she died. She was very
house proud and both her home and garden were
Betty’s life was not easy. The greatest obstacle was
the brain tumour which took her sight. Eric was a
great support in her suffering. At about this time she
began to attend our church. She was grateful to have
survived the brain tumour and thanked God for her
Betty was born in Sutton-in-Ashfield in 1923, but
moved to Sparkhill when she was 3 and then to
Flechley Road. War broke out when she was 17 and,
although she was under age and, without telling her
father, she signed up, giving her age as 18. Her father
was none too pleased when her call-up was confirmed
in January 1940, but he could do nothing about it. She
joined the ATS and was attached to the Royal Artillery
where girl recruits were needed as spotters, using a
telescope to identify incoming planes. Hours of duty
were long - 24 hours on - then 24 hours off. When
the alarm bell sounded, just 2 minutes were allowed
to reach the command post. Betty was very proud to
have fought for Britain and loved to talk about her
Betty was a feisty woman who knew her own mind.
Her suffering strengthened her faith and her steely
determination. Eric’s death following a declining
illness in 2011 left her alone. She looked after herself
very well for several years until, after a spell in
hospital, she had to move into a care home where she
died peacefully in April.
Two of the hymns at her funeral service had been
chosen by Betty. They were -What a friend we have in
Jesus and - Rock of ages cleft for me.
She will be remembered with affection by the friends
who visited her from our church.
After the War she married Eric and the couple lived in
a caravan in Meriden whiled they saved up to buy the
house in Henley Crescent. Betty lived there for about
Sylvia Bailey
Revd Ken Howcroft
We have just installed a camera in our Church. Don’t panic!
It might look like a CCTV camera, but it isn’t and no records
are kept of its images. It will let you see some things that
you might be missing if you are short and find yourself
sitting behind a large hat or head. But I hope that you will
not fall into the trap of only looking at the screens and
never looking at the flesh-and-blood people the images
Images can be ambivalent, and even dangerous. I was
walking by Westminster Abbey recently when a metal bar
suddenly shot out in front of me at neck level, and I nearly
fell off the pavement trying to avoid it. It was, of course, a
selfie stick. People were taking pictures. They were not
simply pictures of Big Ben. Nor were they simply pictures
of Big Ben with some people standing there in a somewhat
embarrassed way in order to give a sense of scale and
perspective to the photograph. Instead, they were taking
pictures of themselves in embarrassing (and far from
embarrassed!) poses with Big Ben just visible in the
background, presumably to give a sense of their own good
fortune and importance.
That reminded me of an article I read about how to decode
the Christmas cards political leaders send. They seemed to
be mainly pictures of themselves. I began to fantasise
about the Magi receiving similar greetings from the
political leaders of their time. What would they have been
like? Might one have said “From your affectionate tyrant,
Herod. p.s. Do drop in and see me again when you are next
Are selfies selfish? In a Gallery in Rome there is painting by
Caravaggio of Narcissus, who is a character in Greek and
Roman mythology. In Greek versions of the story he rejects
the love of a man. In the Roman poet Ovid’s version, he
spurns the love of a nymph whose conversational skills
stretched only as far as being able to repeat the last thing
other people had said. When Narcissus spurned her, she
pined away until all that was left of her was a ghostly voice
that embodied her name (Echo!).
In all versions of the story, the reason for Narcissus
rejecting people’s love is that he can only think or care for
himself. This becomes his fate (or punishment) when he
catches sight of his reflection in a river. He falls in love with
himself, and becomes obsessed with his image. He remains
there, transfixed, until he dies. The Narcissus flower, that
grows by rivers and lakes, was named after him.
Caravaggio’s painting shows Narcissus looking at his image
in the dark waters of the river. The composition of the
picture means that looking at the reflection is encircled in
a way that makes it the centre of interest. For Narcissus it
has become the only reality. But it is not fully real. These
days, we may be becoming obsessed with our own image.
A wider danger is that we might be starting to behave as if
things are only real if we see them online, or in film or on
TV; and, conversely, anything we see on those media must
be true.
So you sometimes see people at an event who seem more
concerned in taking pictures of it than in paying attention
to it and participating with the others in it. Sometimes we
distance ourselves from what is happening and from other
people we are with, and only allow ourselves to engage
our emotions fully when we are looking at pictures
afterwards. We take control of things by making the
secondary image more important than the primary reality.
There was an ancient version of this tendency in the
earliest centuries of the Christian Church. It was called
Gnosticism. It said that images and representations of
esoteric and intuitive “spiritual” knowledge were a quicker
and better way of getting to God and acquiring salvation
than engaging with life in the everyday, material world.
What we have come to know as mainstream Christianity
rejected this, because it undermined the incarnational
nature of its faith. The fact that Jesus, the Son of God, was
born, lived and died as human flesh-and-blood shows that
God engages with and pours love out upon the world and
people that God has made. It is in the ordinariness of life,
and in materiality with all its messiness, where God is to be
This is not to say that all knowledge and love of ourselves is
wrong. Jesus confirms the commandment that we are to
love the people whose lives intersect in some way with
ours (our ‘neighbours’) as we love ourselves. But we love
ourselves because God loves each of us; and in responding
to God’s love with love for God, we find that we have to
start loving the things God loves, namely ourselves, other
people and the rest of creation. Jesus shows us what it is
like to live and love in that way.
So loving and knowing ourselves is good, if it is in the
context of our relationship with God. The danger comes if
we become obsessed with ourselves and forget our
relationship with God.
If God the Holy Trinity sent you a greetings card, what
picture would be on it? Not, I believe, themselves. More
likely a picture of you and me. Because God loves us. Now
there is a thought!
 Tina Brooker will be withdrawing from some of her
regular activities to release her for Circuit duties. Sarah
Tall will be taking over as leader of EN.GAGE.This year
Tina had enjoyed leading the Ecumenical Children's &
Youth leaders group from all across the
Borough. Another big emphasis for Tina is to focus on
next term is more training and development for the
Young Leaders here at Solihull and across the Circuit.
 Diane Webb will be joining Solihull in September: her
work is already being planned.
 The One Programme: unfortunately no-one has applied
for the position offered in Solihull. The job will be readvertised with a deadline of 1st July.
 The recent Giving Appeal has raised £11,290 plus gift aid
and will significantly reduce the budget deficit.
 A legacy of £5000 has been received from the estate of
Jean Okey. It has been agreed with her family that £500
should pay for some chairs in memory of Jean and Albert,
and £500 to go to the Church Project: Reynalds Cross
School. The remaining £4,000 will help fund refurbishing
the disabled toilet by the Margaret Wharam room.
 Church Project: 2016 -7 The meeting agreed that the
project should support the Methodist charities: JMA,
MHA, Action for Children and All We Can, dividing the
money raised equally.
 Contact Choir celebrates it Golden Anniversary next year
and is arranging an afternoon concert followed by tea in
 Circuit Communications: The Circuit has introduced a
new weekly electronic bulletin in lieu of the previous ad
hoc emails. Anyone can register to receive it or it can be
viewed on the Circuit website. Tom Milton, who has set
up the bulletin, has also offered training in Media,
Communication Strategy, Websites and Social Media.
 Matters coming to the Methodist Conference:
 Report: Larger than Circuit – a consultation has
been undertaken and the findings will be
• Lack of widespread desire for radical structural
change, but important not to continue with
status quo
• Desire for change to come about from within
Districts about how leadership is exercised
across the District
• The changing role of District Chair: Chairs
should be spiritual leaders.
Marriage and relationships – the whole church should
be involved in conversations about marriage, single
people, same sex relationships and families. If the
Connexion makes a decision, local churches may not
have the flexibility to disagree.
Stella Staight
Organiser Karen Perry explained: “I have been
using Lego for the last couple of years with young
people in churches and schools to teach Bible
stories. We now have a series of over 12 models
built by the children which depict the Lent and
Easter story, ranging from Jesus’ temptation in the
wilderness to his resurrection. Children and young
people seem to be able to build anything out of
Lego and it’s a great way for them to express a
Bible story or teaching in their own way. No two
models are ever the same!”
The ‘Easter Brick Event’ also included a number of
Lego-themed craft activities, games, films and a
Lego prayer tree.
Bakewell Methodist Church built bridges with the local
community this Easter... with Lego!
The ‘Easter Brick Event – A Lego celebration of Easter’
included the chance to get creative as well as showcasing
an exhibition of Lego models depicting the Lent and Easter
story, built by young people in the community.
“It was a great opportunity to get alongside and
engage with children and their families from the
community,” added the Revd Adrian Perry,
Superintendent Minister of the Peak Circuit. “We
had lots of positive comments from the visitors and
there was even the suggestion that we hold a
regular ‘Brick’ church!”
I am sure that you will recall the initiative early in the year when
we were all asked to review our level of giving. So, what has
Well, 60 responses have been received with 32 increasing giving.
In total the annual effect of the increases is £11290. To this can
be added Gift Aid, where applicable, which will take the total to
over £13,000. This is a splendid response which will help to make
considerable inroads into the budgeted deficit for 2016/2017.
Many thanks to everyone.
If you have not yet taken the opportunity to review your own
situation then it is certainly not too late to do so. Copies of the
relevant form are still in the notice racks in the Church Hall.
Alternatively, just speak to Christine Burr or any of the stewards
for further information.
Chris Tucker
Sunday 7th August
Come along and welcome the new
ministers to the circuit
at Selly Oak Methodist Church on
6.30 pm
Come and join a relaxed service after a hot
dog and burger on the grass at the front of
the church (if wet we shall retreat to the
Sunday 4th September
4.00 pm
Thursday 6th October
Friday – Saturday
8th and 9th July
10.45 am
Mountains, Rivers and Rainforests
10.30 am – 4.30 pm
our 8 years living and working in Papua New
2 day workshop run by
Dr Peter and Jean Rookes
Erdington Methodist Church
Shoreline Conversations
Four Oaks Methodist Church
Lots of fun for the children
Hard working team
A huge thank you for your cake contributions for our
carnival stall. We were able to give so many away
with a cuppa and a chat.
Lots and lots of people came to visit and got to know
a bit more about our friendly church.
Thank you for your time with baking, buying and
delivery. It made it all possible.
Tina Brooker
Smack a rat
Tina with the
Free drinks and cakes on offer all day
The first week in June saw Reg Bywell and his fellow walkers
make their annual visit to the Lake District. The group met with
friends from Leicestershire and after lunch in warm sunshine
went for the first walk through Dodd Wood past Mire House
along the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake and back to the café
for a well- deserved cuppa.
As usual the group stayed at the Keswick Country House Hotel
which is a great centre for walking on the fells, not forgetting
the excellent food.
On the first morning the party broke into various groups
visiting Skiddaw, Little Mell Fell and walking the shores of
Derwentwater. In the following days there was a trip to
Coniston combining a trip on Gondola, the steam launch, with
a walk by the lakeside and a wet visit to the Dodds on the
Helvellyn range.
On the final day’s walking the group combined to walk through
the beautiful Borrowdale valley to Seatoller via Castle Crag.
Overall the weather was fine and warm with the occasional
sharp shower and the countryside was at its best and catching
up with old friends only added to the enjoyment of the week.
Our thanks as usual go to Reg Bywell and Don Walker for
organising the week and we already have next year’s date in
our diaries.
Bryan Fitter
Five intrepid cyclists set off on 30 April to
ride from John O'Groats to Lands End in
two weeks We cycled a total of 994 miles
in mixed weather conditions usually into
the wind with rain sun and sleet all on the
same day. It took 400 miles to get out of
Scotland. The sun was shining as we
crossed the border welcoming us back into
We had covered 750 miles when we
crossed the Avon Bridge at Bristol. We
reached Lands End at 11am on Friday 13
May with a great feeling of euphoria.
Latest total raised for Reynalds Cross
School £2430 ex gift aid for which a huge
thank you.
Jonathan Tuckey
The church project
has raised over
£12,000 this year
for Reynalds Cross
Wanted: Green Gingham Uniforms!
Come the end of the summer term many schoolchildren will have grown out of their uniforms
and, if not handed down to younger siblings, discarded.
But this year hold on! There will be a collection for any that cannot find a new home!
We will be sending them to our ‘Raising the Roof’ school, the Kebba Jarjou school, in the Gambia.
Many families there are just too poor to afford proper uniforms.
So if you have children or grandchildren or know of any others whose school uniform is green
gingham, please, please, collect them up and bring them to church in August.
LED lights: advice, keep receipts
Creation Time
Having reported on the expanding market for LED lights
last month, I have come across a problem which
occasionally occurs. LEDs work on 12 Volt DC (direct
current) which needs to be ‘rectified’ when an LED is
connected to the mains. The rectifier can be separate
from the bulb (eg at a plug) or incorporated into the
bulb. In the latter case the rectifier can get too hot if
the air around cannot carry the heat away. The advice
is to keep receipts for any LEDs purchased so that the
bulbs can be returned if they fail to last the 25,000 or so
hours claimed.
Creation Time is a season of the church year designated
by the European Christian Environmental Network to
run from 1st September (the first day of the Orthodox
New Year) to the 2nd Sunday in October. It is designed
to highlight the first article of the creed “God, the
Father, Maker of Heaven and Earth” and the
consequent need for Christians to care for God’s
creation and the church to promote sustainable
lifestyles. The idea originated in 1989 in the Orthodox
Church and is supported by the World Council of
Churches and the Churches Together movement in the
Richard Balmer
Steve Pearce, Partnership Coordinator Asia & Pacific, World
Church Relationships Team in the Methodist Church in
Britain offers some personal reflections following the
shooting of the Sikh leader, Sardar Soran Singh, a murder
that is thought to have been politically motivated.
I recently received a special edition of the Peshawar
Diocesan Newsletter, produced solely to report the murder
of a local Sikh leader. Attacks on members of the religious
minorities are not uncommon in the north-west of Pakistan,
but I found myself particularly moved. Yes, I was in
Pakistan last month. Yes, I know some of the people in the
pictures. Yes, it was a man shot dead while walking home
with his young daughter. All reasons to find it personally
disturbing. But on reflection I think I am troubled by the
wider tragedy too.
This man, Sardar Soran Singh, was a man of faith who
believed in talking to other people of faith. He also believed
it was his duty to engage in politics without hiding his own
perspective of faith, so he stood for one of the handful of
seats in parliament reserved for non-Muslims. The close
relationship that Sardar Singh had built with a variety of
faith leaders was plain to see in the days following his
death. The Peshawar Diocesan Newsletter shows Bishop
Humphrey naturally praying with the family at home and
taking part in the service at the Sikh gurdwara a couple of
days later.
Bishop Humphrey co-leads a regional organisation called
‘Faith Friends’ which encourages encounter, joint
celebrations and shared responses to need in the
community. Herein lies my real distress, I think. There are
signs of hope, there are efforts at dialogue and common
action, there are insightful and dedicated people, but it
remains fragmented and unusual
Islam and Christianity are both religions of peace,
nevertheless conflict arising from both is common in
Pakistan. Often it seems that religion is a cause of dissent
rather than harmony even though the Holy Koran teaches
‘Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion’ (109:6).
Similarly in the Bible Micah’s vision of peace reads, ‘… all
people will walk every one in the name of his god…’ Yet
what is far more commonplace is the old idea of a
religion being the (only) truth. If mine is right, yours can’t
When I sat in a meeting in Pakistan one Friday evening and
listened to a Christian leader saying there was no need to
either work or hope for everyone in the world to become
Christian. I was shocked. Not, I realise, because I don’t
agree, but because it is not a normal thing to say. He went
on to say that Muslims are in the same boat, having a
similarly missional religion and religious language. Yet we
must accept each other as people of faith and be inclusive
rather than exclusive. The (very) senior Muslim leaders
around the table nodded their heads and began to tell their
stories. All religions, including Islam, emphasise common
values such as interfaith harmony and cooperation. One
contributor went so far as to say, ‘The Qur’an insists that
the world’s beauty lies in its racial and religious pluralism,
otherwise God would not have created it so (10:99 and
In Pakistan, the vital work of building relationships between
faiths presents us with some fairly fundamental
challenges. We appear to have a choice to favour dialogue
and inclusivity on the one hand or to continue to believe in
superiority and division. To make pluralism blossom, we
might need to tackle the language we use about each
other’s religions and finally give up believing mine is better
than yours.
Church Office
0121 705 7367
Youth, Family and
Tina Brooker
Chris Giles
Monday 20th - Sunday 26th
To encourage churches to get
involved and raise awareness of
the current crisis,
All We Can have released a series
of resources including activities,
worship materials, recipes and
Fellowship and Prayer Day
Southfields Farm, Coleshill.
Saturday 16th July
10:30am - 3:30pm
Celebrating God through sharing in Fellowship with one
Furthermore, All We Can is also
encouraging people to 'lose a
luxury' over the week, donating
what you would have spent.
All welcome. More from Diane Webb
The Messenger Team
Sue Balmer, Sue Bates Bryan Fitter, Jeff Horton,
Revd Ken Howcroft, Bill Penny and Lawrie Rumens.
Material for publication to
[email protected]
We reserve the right to edit articles if necessary.
Please send photographs separately as jpeg files.
NB. Last date for September Messenger items is
7th August
Summer Outings
Wed 13th July Coach trip to Wightwick
Wed 10th August Coach trip to Calke
Contact Bryan Fitter to book.
July Diary
9.00 Holy
10.15 Jelly
Communion Revd Babies
Chris Giles
1.15 Jelly Tots
10.30 Morning
7.30 Scouts
Service Revd
6.30 Quiet space
10.30 Holy
communion and
Baptism Revd Ken
12.30 JMA Walk
and Family fun Day
at Earlswood
Jelly Tots
10.00 Morning
10.30 Men’s
Coffee morning 10 – 12 Drop in
1.30 Keep Fit
1.00 Organ Recital 7.00 EN.R.G
Youth Club
2.00 Friends r Us
6.30 Cubs
9.00 Saturday Dads
3.30 Messy church
– Picnic in the park
8.15 Badminton
5.50 Brownies
6.00 Rainbows
10.15 Jelly
9.30 Holy
9.30 Holy
10.00 Morning
10.15 Contact
10 – 12 Drop in
10.30 Men’s
Coffee morning 9.30 Soupa Talks
1.30 Keep Fit
trip to Wightwick
5.50 Brownies
6.30 Cubs
7.00 EN.R.G
Youth Club
9.00 Fellowship
and Prayer Day at
2.00 Friends r Us
8.15 Badminton
6.00 Rainbows
10.30 Morning
Service Helen
10.15 Jelly
9.30 Holy
10.00 Morning
10.15 Contact
10 – 12 Drop in
1.15 Jelly Tots
7.00 Housegroups 10.30 Men’s
Coffee morning
1.30 Keep Fit
7.30 Scouts
10.30 Morning
Service Revd Peter
9.30 Holy
10.30 Men’s
Coffee morning
6.30 Communion
and Healing Revd
Chris Giles and
Fiona Beadle
1.30 Keep Fit
10.00 Morning
2.00 Friends r Us
8.15 Badminton
2.00 Friends r Us
7.00 EN.R.G
Youth Club
6.30 Cubs
10.30 Morning
Service Revd
Andi Smith
2.30 Circuit Ramble
at Nether
Printed by Additional Curates Society
August Diary
9.30 Holy
1.30 Keep Fit
9.00 Holy
Communion Revd
Peter Bates
9.30 Holy
1.30 Keep Fit
10.30 Morning
Service Revd
Ken Howcroft
10.00 Morning
10.00 Morning
2.00 Friends r Us
2.00 Friends r Us
11.00 Soupa Talks
trip to Calke Abbey
6.30 BBQ service
10.30 Holy
communion Revd
Ken Howcroft
10.30 Morning
Service Revd Peter
10.00 Morning
2.00 Friends r Us
1.30 Keep Fit
10.30 Morning
service Revd
Donald Ker
9.30 Holy
9.30 Holy
10.00 Morning
2.00 Friends r Us
7.00 Guild Coffee
evening at 10
Kirton Grove
1.30 Keep Fit
9.30 Holy
1.30 Keep Fit
10.00 Morning
A small group from the church are committed to going to Spring Harvest next Easter.
April 8th - 13th
in Butlin’s at Minehead.
Spring Harvest is a long established Christian Fellowship 'conference' catering for all ages and engaging churches
in building fellowship & relationships.
There is a wide variety of accommodation from the very affordable to the very comfortable and a variety of
dining/catering options. Of course there is such company and activity. It is literally all ages from toddlers to
Zimmer’s and you have all the features of the holiday camp to enjoy from the happy indoors to the active
outdoors To find out more go to www.springharvest.org or view the promotional two videos clicking here and
here. If you have any questions or would like to chat about it contact Abi Godfree or Sian Musgreave-Spiby.
Printed by Additional Curates Society
We had such fun at Joe's leaving party. We
played lots of games, ate pizza and had a time of
thanking and saying goodbye.
Thank you Joe for all your faithful serving with
our young people and children.
You will be missed, but we pray God's blessings
on your post of Youth Leader at St. Alphege.
Tina Brooker
It was our first ever trip to the Climbing Wall for EN.R.G Youth group.
Everyone was very excited about climbing the 30 foot plus walls.
We had never been there before, so we didn't know what to expect, but all
went up confidently and managed to go really far up the wall, with some of
them able to reach the very top.
Well done all. Great evening out. Definitely a trip back for next year.
Tina Brooker
Car Wash Team
Plant stall helpers
Blossomfield Road
0121 705 7367