Our service was led by Linda Comfort who had put a lot of time and effort into interpreting the work written this year by the woman from Vanuatu; A collection of around eighty islands found in the Pacific ocean to the East of Australia. We had a map and items which helped us picture life in the islands and the recounts of the problems of cyclones which regularly hit the island. We learnt that the illustration depicted on the booklet this year was by a local artist Juliette Pita. All attendees were given lovely paper flowers which were formed from designs of the islands fauna and brightened up the morning. The children were asked to complete a flag using tissue paper and this was explained as being red for blood, green for the earth and fauna and black for the people of the island which became independent in 1980. The little symbol is a boars tusk (often worn by islanders) with leaves representing peace in the middle of these.
We seem to have a boiler which is demanding attention. With it being a bank holiday weekend it will be Monday before it will be looked at so we have had to cancel this coming Sunday service with Fiona Beadle. Hopefully we shall be back next week.
*** Update *** Now fixed and we are warm again.
Our Nativity scene was window 24 on the village trail and more socially distanced carol singing raised over £125 for Alzheimers charity. A good number of visitors came to listen and join in with the groups of choir singing from the church grounds on what proved to be a chilled but dry evening unlike the rain yesterday!
We gathered to sing some socially distanced carols on the grass in front of the church, beside the nativity scene. Two different groups of singers were distanced from each other for this and the singing was accompanied by Jill, our choir conductor. Quite a number of different people came to join in with the choir from the pavement. £47 was raised for Alzheimer’s society; mental health being at the forefront of people’s minds this year.
Many children under ten who have been involved in our Messy Church events have recently received a copy of a small Christmas booklet which contains stories and colouring. The booklet has been adapted from "The Rhyming Bible" and issued through the bible society. The chapel hopes that the children enjoy following the journey of the nativity in glorious rhyme leading to God's Christmas present being born in Bethlehem.
Today we were allowed to meet again inside the chapel and it felt good to be back amongst friends again. And what a joy to see the wonderful nativity tableau erected high on the outside wall for all to behold as we entered. Such creativity amongst our congregation!
We thought about resilience; thinking of the many examples of the same in the Bible and reflecting on our own resilience during these difficult months.
“Be strong and courageous.
Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” Joshua 1:9
We thought about our ‘ring pull’ charity, the Purple Community Fund, who have been supporting some of the poorest people in the Philippines, and how amazingly resilient these people have been, not only locked down in slum conditions, but coping with a fire, a volcano eruption and three typhoons. And still strong and resilient! We looked at some of the beautiful crafts they create from ring pulls. £25 was sent to the Purple Community Fund for their Christmas appeal.
We remembered lovely friends who have passed away since we were last in chapel together. Mary Payne, Dick Dale and of course the Reverend Derek Shaw who will all be sadly missed and who have all left us with happy memories which will never be lost.
A number of us have worked hard today to create the stand and then arrange the scene itself. Still got to be illuminated so it can be seen at night but its up and ready for viewing.
Mary Payne died on 23rd Nov. at her home in Cottage Lane. She had had her 95th birthday in August. Together with her husband Reg, they moved from Cambridge to the Midlands in the early 60s. They moved into a rented house in Cottage Lane and later bought one of the new bungalows built opposite them. Richard, their eldest son was about 2 when they moved to Cottage Lane and one year later Graham was born. Both boys attended Nether Whitacre school and the Methodist Sunday School.
Reg was a heating engineer and he died in 2007. Mary kept busy by cleaning at the Swan Pub and later became caretaker for the Mission Room. This of course was in a voluntary position but the one perk was a free haircut every week if she wanted it!
To raise money for the Mission Room, Mary organised regular jumble sales and kept the building in good repair. She and Reg were also members of the Ex Servicemen’s club. Mary attended the Methodist Church and supported the monthly coffee mornings. She will be sorely missed by us.
Our minister, the Rev Farai Mapamula will take her funeral at the Woodlands on Dec.16th at 1pm.
Donations instead of flowers will go to Marie Curie.
Whitacre Congregation is a vibrant mix of young and old who enjoy meeting for Sunday worship. Do come and join us.