"God gave me a sense of humour" was all that was needed to describe Jean on her cake as she celebrates her 90th birthday this week. All attending the service this morning lead by Gina and Arthur enjoyed the tea and cake after we had all sung "Happy Birthday" of course.
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.
The chapel met to have an open air service today for the first time since the start of the Covid crisis. Twenty three people each in their socially distanced groups met for a short service of prayer and reflection as well as listening to the two set readings for this Sunday. The weather was kind and shone upon us too
As part of an ecumenical project to read the bible stories to young people in schools a group of readers have been trained many from our own congregation to deliver this programme in our local primary school. Shustoke is a C of E aided school and was one of the few in the area which was bereft of this programme. The first read happened today and was a great success judging from a few of the young people who were able to recount an outline of the event. Find out more about Open the Book here
Lovely evening being treated to a traditional Romanian Christmas meal by the group who use our church on a Friday evening to celebrate in their own language Romanian style.
Our main course of food was sarmale (a cabbage wrapped meal ball) with a mămăliga (polenta) and goat cheese side. This was topped with cişcă (a hot pepper) which many found rather hot indeed!
Second course was cotonac (a fruity nut and turkish delight bread) and turtă dulce (ginger bread biscuits) all washed down with fruit and tea to finish.
We all experienced a lovely sociable evening talking and finding out about each others traditions and life experiences. We thank our hosts for a really memorable evening.
Our family service lead by Peter Tonks featured the parable of the men who built their houses on sand and rock. A number of young people were involved in a short play and some experiments and we were delighted once again by the music played by Peter as well as joining in with the hymns with our own instruments.
A busy service where we were joined by our Romanian friends. They sang some Christmas carols both in English and Romanian which was a pleasure to hear. These families from several surrounding areas, use our church as a meeting point to maintain their Romanian traditions of worship so their children experience them. They came and joined some of us for a meal on Friday evening making the whole weekend something of a meeting between the two cultures.
At the end of the service Xavier entertained us festively.
A bright sunny day with £115 raised for Bone Cancer Research Trust. It was also a time to celebrate the Golden Wedding of Vincent and Christine who got married at the church in 1968. A lovely cake was shared by all.
Whitacre Congregation is a vibrant mix of young and old who enjoy meeting for Sunday worship. Do come and join us.