Our post church cup of tea and coffee inspired some of our younger members to lend a hand. They did a fabulous job with the youngest demanding more cups to the demands of the washer up!
Our chapel was full as we met together to be part of the World Day of Prayer service 2019 which was this year prepared by the women of Slovenia. We were joined by our Romanian friends and their families who use our chapel for their worship every Friday, and it was lovely that they could be involved in this celebratory service with us. Indeed our Romanian friends introduced our service by laying a table of food and drink items typical of Slovenia.
Will Southall led us in our reflections, encouraging us to remember that God provides everything for us - ‘Come, everything is ready’ - and the readings from the women of Slovenia, and from Luke’s Gospel, continued the theme that God’s invitation is for all, whatever their religion, race, gender, sexuality, age or handicap. God turns no-one away.
Will and her team had decorated the church beautifully with food, flowers and pictures of Slovenian wildlife; the Whitacre choir made a joyful noise and led our singing with gusto. Red carnations, signifying celebration in Slovenia, were given out as the offering was taken.
After the service, hot drinks and home made Slovenian honey biscuits, were on offer to all.
The World Day of Prayer takes place in over 120 countries. Starting in Samoa, it travels the world through Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas....thank you to all those who were involved in our celebration and helped us here in Whitacre to play our part.
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.
We enjoyed two services on Sept 30th to celebrate Harvest. Gifts were brought in the morning ,when our minister Rev. Farai, officiated. In the evening Rev. Peter Bates encouraged us to think about being grateful for all our food, not just to God, but also farmers, packers, lorry drivers and shop assistants. He urged us to share with others in the UK and abroad. Indeed the choir sang a hymn about sharing food.
Our gifts have gone to Tamworth food bank, where we know they will be appreciated by those who are struggling at present. It is awful to realise how many people in our country need the support of food banks to survive.
The Harvest supper on Monday evening made a profit of £112. More importantly it was a fun event, producing lots of laughter and conversation. As usual Vincent Coggins directed proceedings and the rest of the family prepared and served the meals with great aplomb. We are grateful to them all.
The Thornton family joined us today in chapel, to dedicate three vases to the memory of their Aunt Miss Ruth Thornton as well as remembering their other Aunt Mrs Eva Williams. Both ladies used to worship as part of our congregation up to the mid 1970's. The family joined the Pentecost service of Holy Communion lead by Farai and afterwards joined us for our tea and biscuits. Miss Ruth Thornton moved away from the village after her sister Mrs Williams died in 1973 but at the time a bench was set up to her memory which still resides outside the chapel. Mrs Williams daughter came back to open the Methodist Fete in 1974 and was presented a rose by Quentin Howell. The family wanted to make sure that Miss Ruth Thornton was also remembered in the church she used to worship and so have inscribed one of the vases with a dedication.
Rev Derek Shaw lead our annual candlelit carol service to a very full chapel. The usual mix of carols and readings was added to with the children acting out a Nativity scene and the choir singing from John Rutter and the Twelve Days of Christmas. The later was even explained how it relates to some of the Christian elements it refers to. Four calling birds relating to the four Gospels for instance. Baby Lyla stole the show in her part as the Angel Gabriel in the nativity scene and then all joined singing Away in a Manger. After the service there was a superb spread of cakes and mince pies - we were looked after well by the ladies and their team.
Diane lead us in an alternate style service which centered in the story of the three wise men. We discussed what we knew about the story and the myths - no one ever mentioned there were only ever three kings or even that they are kings only that they were a number of wise men who bought three gifts. The layout of the church was altered with tables and chairs to help with our creations of candle lights and stars.
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.
Diane led our service with the usual mix of pictures and hymns. All of us were given stones to consider during the service. Asked to reflect on their imperfections relating to our human faults yet all are solid. Peter the disciple who was called the rock also featured in the service. The children were asked to build model churches based on the church being built on Peter the rock.
Whitacre Congregation is a vibrant mix of young and old who enjoy meeting for Sunday worship. Do come and join us.