Sunday, October 30, 2011

Memmories and Remembrance


November is the month of remembering. All Saints’ Day celebrates men and women in whose lives we have seen the grace of God powerfully at work.  It is an opportunity to give thanks for that grace, and for the wonderful ends to which it shapes a human life; it is a time to be encouraged by the example of the saints; and it is a chance to recall that sanctity may grow in the ordinary circumstances, as well as the extraordinary crises, of human living. We celebrate with Communion at St Katherines at 7pm on 1st November.
There are many countries in the world today where Christians are martyred for their faith. Believers in Afghanistan are facing death threats; Christians in Uzbekistan, Nigeria and many other countries all around the world face violence, imprisonment and even death.  There are other places in the world such as North Korea where acts of persecution take place, but we don’t see or hear of it.
On the first Sunday, 6th November, it is the International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians and we will mark the day with a special service in the morning at Wadworth and the All Age Sunday School at St Katherine’s at 3pm will look sensitively at the lives of Christian Children throughout the world. This is a time set apart for us to remember thousands of our Christian brothers and sisters around the world who suffer persecution, simply because they confess Jesus Christ as Lord.

The following Sunday is of course Remembrance Sunday and we shall be altering the service times for this day. There will a Holy Communion Service at 9am at Wadworth followed by an Act of Remembrance starting at 10:55 at Wadworth memorial. In the afternoon at St Katherines we have our annual memorial service for those loved one who have died. We will also remember those who have died in the service of their country at this service.

Sunday 20th marks the start of Prison Week when we have several services focused on Prisons and the Justice system. We have 4 Prisons in Doncaster and a large population of ex-offenders. One of the most serious aspects of being in prison can be the sense of isolation and even abandonment; and one of the most effective witnesses that can be given to prisoners is the assurance that they are not forgotten. ‘When I was in prison, you visited me’, says Jesus and this tells us two things – that Jesus is already with those in prison, as he is with all who live in loneliness (including the loneliness of self-reproach or self-hatred); and that he is waiting for us there.

St Katherine spent considerable time in prison before being executed. St Katherine’s day also falls during Prison week on 25th November. So we are having all evening Prison Week service at St Katherine’s. On Friday the Church will be open from 10-12 in the morning for those who wish to come and look around. Refreshments will be served. In the evening at 7pm there will a service of Holy Communion with liturgy rich in reference to St Katherine. There will be drinks and refreshments afterwards.

November 27th is the first Sunday of Advent was we start our preparations for Christmas. All Age Sunday School Christingle will take place at 3pm at St Katherine’s.

Come and remember with us!

Alun

Sunday, October 2, 2011

“Giving Poverty the Boot”


Some of you have asked for more information about “Giving Poverty the Boot” campaign by FARM-Africa which we are making central to Harvest Celebrations this year.

Well during the last 20 years there has been a chronic lack of investment in agriculture.  Yet over 80% of people living in remote or rural areas of Africa rely on the food they grow and the animals they keep to survive. Faced with harsh conditions and poor access to essential resources, subsistence agriculture can be a constant struggle.

FARM-Africa provides the training and support that poor rural communities need, to identify and implement appropriate solutions to many of the key problems they face.  Families are directly supported to help work themselves out of poverty through improved ways to manage their crops, livestock, forests and access to water.
"FARM-Africa can play an important role by being able to work at the local level, but with an eye on impacts at national or regional level. We need more of this kind of innovation and learning - finding out what works well and where. FARM-Africa is more strategic in their thinking that most small development organisations, in terms of how to get the maximum impact from a limited budget" Derek Byerlee, co-director of the World Development Report 2008.
FARM-Africa work with a wide range of small-scale farmers and herders through our country programmes in eastern Africa.

In Ethiopia, FARM-Africa is working to reduce poverty and raise the living standards of the country’s small-scale farmers and herders through improved management of their natural resources.

FARM-Africa helps rural Kenyans develop innovative ways to manage their natural resources and ensure they have a role in shaping the policies that affect their lives.

FARM-Africa is helping communities living in Southern Sudan to develop sustainable ways to earn a living based on livestock and agriculture.
Working with pastoralist and forest communities in northern Tanzania, FARM-Africa is helping to change policy and increase productivity.
FARM-Africa’s goal is to reduce poverty by helping rural Ugandans develop innovative ways of managing their natural resources.

FARM-Africa’s  work specialises in support for three groups of people:

1          More than 80% of rural Africans are smallholder farmers and most rely on less than an acre of land to support their families.
However, with access to the right tools, training and services such as animal healthcare, farmers can dramatically improve their economic position.
2          Many pastoralists live in harsh environments, reliant on rearing livestock to sell for food and other essentials. Frequent droughts and disease outbreaks make this way of life ever harder to sustain.
FARM-Africa helps pastoralist communities to form their own plans to improve their livelihoods, and access the finances to realise them.
3          Eastern Africa's natural forests are fast disappearing.  FARM-Africa is working with forest communities helping them to reduce their reliance on timber products to earn money and develop sustainable forest management plans.
So please come along and support our Harvest celebrations this year.

Alun