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.
Today our service was all about the power of prayer. We thought of the people on our prayer list as well as the persecuted Christians of the world and prayed for all in need. £50 was collected to be sent to Barnabas Fund.
A very different service today reported on by some of our younger attendees.
"Today was harvest at church. Anne and Mike took the service. The people took fruit and vegatables. The food is going to Tamworth food bank."
Several boxes with a large quantity of donated tins and packet food is now being stored prior to being delivered. Many thanks to all those who have donated.
Twenty four people gathered to celebrate in the first service since lockdown restrictions started. Fiona led the service of prayers and reflection deliberately avoiding using music so we did not get tempted to sing! Despite the new normal situation it was good to be back in the chapel to praise God.
Our gathering this Sunday was in Arthur and Gina’s garden. They had prepared a lovely service for us, the sun was shining and we were treated to a walk around Arthur’s amazing dahlias in bloom afterwards - absolutely beautiful.
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
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.
Whitacre Congregation is a vibrant mix of young and old who enjoy meeting for Sunday worship. Do come and join us.