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More than 70 members and friends of Wesley Memorial Methodist Church worked together to put on ‘Time and Again’, an exciting and inclusive musical celebrating God’s calling and love.
It was the church’s version of ‘Songs from the Shows’, but in this case the songs came from the six musicals which had been written and performed by members of the church community over the last three decades. Two large and transfixed audiences were treated to a lively and colourful show which included performers as young as five years old, friends from Phab Club and a team of BSL interpreters.
The selected songs and scenes wove together the experiences of characters as far apart in time and space as Moses and John Wesley (via Ruth and St Francis). These stories illustrated how God made his love known in a whole variety of unexpected ways, through a whole variety of surprising people.
One audience member said, “It was so well put together, such a clear message throughout of God being the answer to our every need and purpose! What a wonderful gospel message to those who are unchurched or not believers who came. Praise God!”
LEARNING AND CARING
Love Hearts in Trinity
Ebeneezer Methodist Church, Trinity, Jersey
Ebenezer Methodist Church in Trinity is uniting the eldest and youngest members of their congregation in a new club called ‘Generations’.
The idea was inspired by the Channel 4 television programme ‘Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds’ which examined the social and health benefits of the elderly making friends with the young. Researchers claim that there are benefits for both groups, particularly those who suffer from dementia.
Community lay worker, Amy Britton, who started the group to connect and share love with the local community said the young are already making positive friendships with some of the older generation:
“There’s a young man called Ethan who’s six and he is incredible. He doesn’t have elderly relatives in his life and his Mum said to me at the start ‘I don’t know if he’ll enjoy it. I don’t know he’ll behave.’ And he holds the most incredible conversations with people who maybe adults would find quite austere or intimidating. And he makes one particular lady smile like you just can’t image.”
The activities provided are with the children in mind, however the older attendees are excited to get involved and are often flooded with feelings of nostalgia or eager to try something new.
“I learnt early on that what five-year-olds enjoy, elderly people enjoy more” said Britton, with the most popular item being Play-doh.
Everyone in the group is encouraged to get creative with building blocks, paints and craft materials. Ellie (5) said: “We do lots of activities and we make things. We have wooden stuff and we draw the things. I drew a happy person and love hearts”.
Ellie has described some of the older members as ‘her friends’ and it’s not just the old and young who are benefiting, but the Mums who are passionate about the importance of the group.
Community lay worker, Amy Britton, said “I’ve seen mums brought to tears when they realise how much their children are giving, and getting back, from this relationship with the elderly people.”
Victoria Methodist Church, Bristol
Image: Christ Stripped by Mark Cazalet
Victoria Methodist Church recently held an exhibition by artist Mark Cazalet depicting Christ’s last walk. ‘Encounters: Walking the Fractured City’, placed Christ’s last walk around London.
On the 15 small canvases, Cazalet represented the incidents said to have taken place on Christ’s final journey, setting each episode in ‘corners’ or ‘untidy places’ that are well known to him. A trail that begins under the Westway, takes in a footbridge over the Grand Union Canal, the Penguin Pool at London Zoo and Kensal Green Cemetery. He seeks to show, in his words, how ‘injustice, betrayal, judgement, suffering, redemption and love become visible in our midst, in our time’.
On describing his work, Cazalet says:
“My work has always been centred in colour; colour as a spatial, emotional and formal understanding. Whatever the representational or abstract motif might be the subject matter has always been a profound joy in mixing and organising colour relationships. I am, it seems, unable to simply begin making without inspiration from a place or event, normally explored through drawing.”
Cazalet is a prolific painter and print-maker, mosaic and stained glass artist who has undertaken many diverse commissions, especially in ecclesiastical settings. He is represented by the Beardsmore Gallery in north London and frequently exhibits in major national and international shows.
Barn Hill Methodist Church, Stamford, Lincolnshire
The café at Second Helpings is an initiative which collects unwanted food from the local community and uses this to create meals for those who need it. Not only does the enterprise prevent food waste, but it’s also environmentally conscious.
The café is part of the Real Junk Food Project which was set up to prevent surplus food going to waste. The café provides a friendly atmosphere for people to eat, meet and contribute to reducing their carbon footprint. The estimated food saved over three years has been the equivalent weight of two London buses and has saved the equivalent of eight hours’ worth of electricity used by an average household in Stamford.
Volunteers run the café and are responsible for concocting the unwanted food into delicious and nutritious meals which are open to all. The food is available on a pay-as-you-feel basis, therefore diners are encouraged to donate what they feel the food was worth which may be in either money or time.
The menu reflects the diversity of Stamford’s population, with vegetarian options available. Every week, there’s a three-course lunch and naturally, the menu is always different, depending on what they get from local suppliers. Options have included: Moroccan chicken; cottage pie and pheasant casserole.
Volunteers are always welcome at Second Helpings, and if you’re not much of a chef, activities include, clearing tables, collecting food, stocking the fridge and washing up.
To help, head to Barn Hill Methodist Church hall any Saturday lunchtime.
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