Sadly the Rev. Derek Shaw died on Wednesday night October 21st, in the Marie Curie hospice at Solihull.
Those who knew him will not forget easily his gentle concern for others. His funeral on the 13th November had a number of the chapel who were able to attend and celebrate his wonderful contribution to our chapel lives.
Derek was born and brought up in Zimbabwe together with his three brothers. He came to London to train for the ministry and met his future wife Mollie there. They married and had a son Geoffrey but later moved to Kenya. Here their daughter Jessica was born.
When they returned to the UK Derek held several posts around the Reading area before he retired and they moved to Birmingham to be nearer Jessica. In 2009 Derek volunteered to be the minister of Nether Whitacre for one year and ended up staying for three! We have never had a minister solely responsible for our church and will probably never again experience such luxury. Throughout his time with us Derek was not paid nor claimed any expenses. He asked for gift aid envelopes and regularly put his collection in our plate each Sunday. When he retired again in 2012 he continued to lead some of our monthly Bible Studies, attend our quizzes and all fund raising events. He has taken the Christmas candlelit services for the last 10 years and will be sorely missed. Truly he practised what he preached and his quiet but strong leadership inspired us all. We sent £200 to the Marie Curie hospice in Derek’s memory.
Rev Farai Mapamula says "Happy Easter everyone! Good wishes to you all and your families. I hope this finds you well. I am very well and loving the weather.
Easter was a really beautiful time for reflection for me. I appreciated the quiet, the almost forced sense of 'slowness'. But I also appreciate that some of us may have found this really difficult. I mentioned to my family that this was a very strange Easter for me. The response from my daughter was not one I had expected. She asked me what was strange about almost relieving the Gospel experience of being huddled behind closed doors and fearing for our lives? What was strange about not being at the synagogue but breaking bread and sharing in our own homes?
I don't know what you think but this gave me pause for thought, because this is not what I'm used to - usually I am worshipping together in communion and loads of hot cross buns.
But the essence of the cross and death and resurrection remain the same - light over darkness, righteousness over evil - life over death - hope over despair - death conquered and resurrection into new life! We remain Easter people who hope, and love, and pray.
Because we see Easter hope around us in many ways, only if we dare to stop, listen, observe and reflect."
You can download her further reflections on Easter week here
Easter Sunday would have seen a Bicentenary service being led by Rev Warren Bardsley who was our minister here in Whitacre Chapel from 1977 to 1982. He has sent us his blessing and a service outline sheet for the day.
Please download and read the service and enjoy.
I hope this finds you well, and in relative good spirits despite the circumstances we find ourselves in.
Earlier this week we were advised by both the Methodist Church and Government not to gather as congregations and any other groups until further notice.
We are aware that this may cause anxiety and isolation for some of us but please let’s try by all means to keep in touch one way or the other. Let’s try to do whatever we can to keep an eye and care for each other.
As most of you know I live away from my family and in times of crisis, it is difficult for us to pray together. So we devised a plan whereby we each light a candle and all of us pray together at the same time wherever we are. It might be something we may want to try…..or not. But it keeps us together and united in spirit.
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”
Romans 8: 38 – 39 NRSV
When the darkness seems unbroken,
I shall hold on to these words,
For they hold the eternal truth.
There is nothing that can break us away from your love,
Nothing that will stop you loving us,
And nothing that will turn you away from us.
That changes life,
And makes everything worthwhile.
Even as we are separated yet united in You
Help us to live for each other, and to love
One another, in both deed and word.
How I thank you for Christ.
He changes my life and
Makes everything worthwhile.
All praise to you, Compassionate,
Loving , gracious God.
Therefore, sisters and brothers, as a result of knowing that we are loved by God, even under these circumstances, let us begin to live differently, to love differently, marked as a community of people of joy, love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self control.
Peace be with you,
Revd Farai Mapamula
A good number of ladies and gentlemen joined together for the World Day of Prayer service this year at the Methodist Church. The choir led the singing and Rita Poulson was the leader, ably assisted by Lucy Harvey and Gill Noble.The service was written by the ladies of Zimbabwe and the theme was Rise, Take your Mat and Walk. Our own minister comes from Zimbabwe and told us a little of the problems she has encountered and the effect that sanctions have upon her country. She brought some musical instruments and a sisal mat for us to look at.
£167.20 was collected for the work of peace,love and reconciliation which was symbolised by white,red and yellow candles respectively.
Our minister Farai was ordained at the Chapel in Repton School. The five ordinands were accepted by the Methodist conference earlier in the day and at this service their calling was confirmed with prayers and the laying on of hands.
Farai promised to:
Preach the Gospel by word and deed.
To declare God's forgiveness to the penitent
To baptize and confirm
To celebrate Communion
To lead worship and prayer
To minister Christ's love and compassion
To serve others
Farai has worked hard to fulfil this calling and was rather nervous. We were proud to be representing Nether Whitacre and supporting her at this special event.
Rev Faria lead our worship today which included a celebration of our JMA collectors, many of whom were able to be in church to collect their ribbons. The service reflected the young people contribution to the life of the church as well as more world wide issues especially concerning the recent developments in Farai's home country of Zimbabwe. We finished with the usual tea coffee and cakes in the school room where some products purchased from The Purple Community fund were showcased.
After the service today lead by Farai we had our annual bring and share lunch. The table was once again groaning with food and we even had puddings. We can independently confirm the rumour that Mavis was seen to eat at least three meringues.
Whitacre Congregation is a vibrant mix of young and old who enjoy meeting for Sunday worship. Do come and join us.