Friday, October 31, 2014

A Temporary Madness

We have recently started a new service at 6:30pm on the first Sunday of the month at Wadworth church - it is called “Something Different” and it does exactly what it says on the tin! At the last service Jane read from Captain Corelli's Mandolin. I had heard the same reading the day before, at a wedding. In fact I have heard the reading several times before at many weddings. It is a popular selection. There is a line that struck me at the wedding and then again as Jane read it: 

“Love is a temporary madness”

The more I have thought about this phrase the more I  have have come to realise  there is sometimes nothing temporary about the madness of love. We do mad things because of love, but the madness persists - does it not? 

God so loved the world that he sent his only son to die on the cross  - madness surely - but no temporary madness -  in fact it is eternal madness that demonstrates the eternal love of God for  His creation. 

Likewise, in a place that seems long ago, twenty odd years past, Jane and I adopted three children with special needs - madness by the worlds values, foolishness by societies rules but wisdom if you look down from the cross. We have since progressed from a family with three children with special needs to a family with three young adults with special needs - both parallel universes to the ones most other people live and exist in! 

Last night we had our Harvest sing a longa at the the Village Hall in Wadworth - in many ways it was an evening that was twenty years in the making - it was the first one we had taken all three along too- Rob is a regular but Owen and Amy? 6 months ago they would have caused chaos!! Emily an older “normal” child has also become a regular.  So I watched holding back the tears of joy as Owen led off proceedings with Doe Rae Me, Amy sang from Mama Mia and they did a duet for “Any Dream Will Do”.  

In our darkest times with these three children, when we had little money, I was training to be a Vicar, working in the NHS was stressful, the battles with social services, the battles  with education authorities,  the view from the cross kept Jane and I going. Think of it like this. A bowling ball and a basket ball are both round balls. If you drop a bowling ball it can be noisy,  even painful. It is not designed to bounce. However a basket ball does bounce but you could not throw it down a bowling alley. Life can be a bowling ball, hard and painful when you drop it; or life can be like a basket ball, when you drop it, the ball bounces back. 

When people ask how have we coped - it is simple - the presence of Jesus in our lives makes us basket balls  - so we bounce back - however hard we hit the floor.

Still temporarily Mad


Alun

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Fair Trade and Fair Water

Last year, our harvest appeal together with others in the UK transformed  Lahyte in Ethiopia with safe, clean water. So they are asking us to do the same this year to help their neighbours in Mecheke.

Mecheke is in the Konso region of Ethiopia, where drought is common and causes immense misery, hunger and death. The nearest water source is the Morgare stream, which is little more than a polluted trickle.”

However, in Lahyte, Children no longer die from drinking dirty water. Women spend less time collecting water and more time helping their husbands to grow food, while their children have the chance to go to school.

Using dirty water causes 2000 children to die of illnesses caused by dirty water and poor sanitation every day.

Once communities have safe water, life changes for everyone. There is less illness, children do not miss school and adults can work instead of spending their time collecting water.

Abele and his wife, Sokate, live in Mecheke, with their two children, Abri and Aster, and Abele’s mother, Oyasa. They farm the land for a living; however, the failure of crops is a big problem for the family. Abele has a lack of water for his crops. To collect water from the river it takes an hour there and back, down a very steep track. It is so bad that many women and girls fall and break their wrists and legs. He says, “If we had water available, we could grow a lot of crops.” To make matters even worse, the Morgare stream disappears during the dry months. Then people must travel all day to collect dirty water.
Your donations will help lay 16km of pipes in Mecheke to provide the community with clean, safe water. You will also help the community have a supply of water even in the dry months, by helping to build two reservoirs. This constant supply of safe water will ensure families have a fruitful harvest for many years to come. So please give generously 

We have now agreed to become a Fairtrade Church, this means we
  • use Fairtrade tea and coffee after services and in all meetings for which we have responsibility
  • move forward on using other Fairtrade products such as sugar, , cleaning materials, biscuits and fruit
  • promote Fairtrade during Fairtrade Fortnight and during the year through events, worship and other activities whenever possible
As church we feel it is vital that we do not take advantage of food producers so that we satisfy our needs at the expense of their hunger and poverty. Remember also farmers in this country and always try to support our own farmers when we buy food. Reading food labels can make you think.

It is hard to avoid the horrifying news that comes out of Iraq and Syria where horrible acts of barbarism are committed. We pray for the families and friends of the hostages who have been executed on film and for those hostages who await their fate. Ancient Christian communities are being destroyed and persecutions are on an increase. Every Wednesday we gather at 10:30am in St Katherines in Loversall to pray for persecuted christians and especially the situation in Syria and Iraq. Please come and join us.

Many of you will now be aware of the facilities improvements planned for St John the Baptist. We passed another major hurdle last month by receiving official permission to do the work from the Church of England. This is great news. Also very good news is the support we have received from the village in raising over £2500 from this summers appeal. Thank you very much. If you would still like to give but did not receive an envelope or have lost your envelop then please pick one up from church or contact the vicar. 

Harvest celebrations continue with two joint events with Balby parish. Our annual sing-a-long a Harvest with a bring and share supper is on Friday the 10th October at 7pm. Kazoos at the ready. Then on the Sunday 12th October we are having a bring and share lunch at Balby Church. We are aiming to start at around 12:15 just after the service at Balby finishes. Please come and join us! There is always plenty to eat on these bring and share occasions. Great events to bring a friend.

Happy Harvest

Alun