From the Manse. Dear Friends,
A couple of weeks ago, I was asked if I had bought my Christmas cards yet! Rather sheepishly, I admitted my lack of forward planning and marvelled at the festive preparations already made by the enthusiastic enquirer.
Perhaps you too are well-prepared and anticipating the excitement and energy of the next two months.
For here we are, at the start of November, receiving the final magazine of 2018, with Advent and Christmas and 2019 almost upon us. How quickly the year has flown by! ‘Christmas is coming!’ – Ready or not!
However, I am glad that before the presents and sparkle of Christmas, there are the gifts of time for reflection and remembrance during November.
This year, of course, Remembrance Day is a particularly poignant one, marking the 100 years since the Armistice in November 1918.
Within our hearts and minds, through displays and programmes, there will be opportunities to recall the threads of sacrifice and honour, courage and comradeship, peace and the struggle for a fairer world that seem starkly woven into the intricate pattern of this memorial.
We remember in different ways. A friend purchased one of the ceramic poppies that flowed around the Tower of London in the display ‘Blood swept lands and seas of red’ of 2014.
My friend bought the poppy in memory of her son who, at 18 years old, was tragically killed in an accident abroad.
For her, that poppy has become a symbol of beauty, youth and passion – a life lost too soon. It has also helped her to identify and empathise with those who have lost children, siblings, spouses and friends in times of conflict.
You will note in the magazine that December begins with a special celebration of music and words. What a fitting way to lead us into our Advent journey this year.
Then Advent Sunday heralds the beginning of another year in the Christian calendar, offering a wonderful opportunity to make a fresh start.
The weeks leading up to Christmas give us a chance to reflect on and pray about God’s will for us and to recognise again the amazing initiative that God took in coming to earth in the Christ child.
The good news of Advent is that God is also searching for us. God isn’t sitting back hoping that this year we’ll finally work out what Christmas is all about.
The good news of Advent is that God comes to us and that God has already found us and knows us and loves us.
In all our searching and seeking we often fail to see that the gift has already been given – the gift of Emmanuel, “God with us!” The word Advent means “coming”, speaking to us of the coming of Christ in the past as a baby in a manger, his coming into our lives in the here and now and his coming again as King in the future.
Advent reminds us that there is never a time when Christ is not with us yesterday, today or tomorrow.
Sometimes the best part of an experience is the anticipation – whether it is looking forward to the pudding after the main course or to some other event in our lives.
We live in expectation and anticipation because we sense that something wonderful is on the way. When the time comes, I hope you have a joyful Christmas and a peaceful New Year.
Yours in Christ, Rev Debbie
We continue to pray for and remember those who have recently lost loved ones.
We continue to pray for those living in residential homes and we pray for those who are unable to come to worship due to ill health or mobility problems.
We also pray for Our Minister, Debbie, and the other Circuit Staff. The needs of the Circuit, the Circuit Stewards and individual churches in the Circuit.
WHILE SHEPHERDS WATCHED
Please put the date and time of 7.00pm Saturday 1st December in your diaries. On that evening our singers and instrumentalists will perform ‘While Shepherds Watched’, a Christmas musical by Roger Jones.
It will be dedicated to the memory of Barrie Renwick and also to the memory of Reverend John Girling, who both worked very closely with Roger Jones and Team over many years.
The performance will be held in the Church and afterwards there will be light refreshments in the Primary Room. Please bring friends and family along.
FESTIVAL OF ANGELS
This year, instead of a Christmas Tree Festival, we are planning a Festival of Angels. Displays will illustrate Christmas carols that feature angels.
The Festival is being planned to coincide with The Sutton Village Street Festival and so it will take place across the weekend of Saturday 8th December and Sunday 9th December.
The Church will be open from 11.00 am to 3.00 pm on Saturday 8th December and from 12 noon to 4.00 pm on Sunday 9th December.
Knitters are already busy making angels for the displays. Those who don’t knit may like to make a money donation to the knitters to help with the purchase of wool.
IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE. OTHER EVENTS AND DATES FOR
THE CHRISTMAS SEASON:
Christmas Fair, Saturday 24th November 2018
This year the Christmas Fair will be held on Saturday 24th November from 10am to 1pm. We will be having craft, jewellery, books, jigsaws, toys, a tombola, and a cake stall so items for this would be greatly appreciated, as well as a tombola and other games like guess the weight of the cake.
We will require help on the Friday evening to set up from 6pm and also people to work on the stalls on the Saturday. If anyone has any items for this fund raising event could they either leave them on the stage or contact Helen. Many thanks.
ANNUAL GIFT OR TOY SERVICE
Sunday 2nd December 2018 — The Morning Worship will be a Parade Service.
VISIT TO CAVENDISH SCHOOL
Tuesday 4th December — Following on from visits to the school in Advent last year and the year before, a group from Sutton will be taking part in a school assembly. Final plans are still being worked on but the visit will include a short drama and the making of Christingles.
MARTIN HOUSE CAROL SERVICE
Thursday 6th December at 7.00pm — at Holderness Road Methodist Church.
SUTTON STREET FAIR
The Sutton Street Fair will be held on Sunday 9th December and we will be opening the Hail with the items left over from the Christmas Fair as well as providing refreshments. The Sutton Fair usually opens around 11am and continues till around 4pm so we would appreciate any support after the church service.
|MESSYCHURCH CHRISTMAS CRAFT AFTERNOON||Sunday 16th December|
|CAROL SERVICE||Sunday 16th December at 6.30 pm|
|GILLSHILL PRIMARY SCHOOL YEAR 6 CAROL SERVICE||in our Church. Tuesday 18th December|
|CHRISTMAS EYE SERVICES||at 5.00 pm and 11.30 pm|
|CHRISTMAS DAY SERVICE||at 10.30 am|
SNOW WHITE THE PATOMINE
Yes, it is almost panto season again and this time we will be performing Snow White which was written by Andrew Siddle.
We have an amazing cast with a few new faces so it is definitely worth coming to see who you can recognise! We will be performing on Saturday 12th January at 2pm and 7pm. The tickets will be available on the door and are priced at £6 for adults and £3 for children.
We look forward to seeing you there.
MESSY CHURCH 10th Birthday Celebrations
On Thursday 13th September Messy Church celebrated its 10th Birthday!
The activities for the session were based on the birthday theme and the meal included a delicious birthday cake made by Julie.
On the following Sunday, September 16th, Angie spoke about how Messy Church had come into being.
An attendee of Messy Church, spoke about what Messy Church means to her. This is what she said:
What does Messy Church mean to me? Meeting new and old friends. Releasing my creative side. Showing mine and others work to one another. Enjoying all the meals, buns, biscuits and jelly.
Keith’s stories and singing. The biggest challenge of all is not just doing the activities, it’s getting the parents to move.
I’d like to thank Angie, Julie, Ann, Wendy, Mabel, Brenda, Phil and co for making my Thursday nights special.
We hope to update the Remembrance Book early next year. If you have any names that you would like to add please give them to Rev Debbie Lucas.
Dementia – why does our Church need to know about it?
Being aware and having a little knowledge of what dementia is can make a real difference to the life of a person living with the disease.
Having that little bit of understanding of the illness means that we, as individuals and as a church, can offer a warm welcome to people living with dementia and help them to feel safe and included in the life of Sutton Methodist Church.
Rev. Debbie Lucas and the Church Stewards are keen for our Church to become a ‘Dementia Friendly Organisation’.
The first step to an organisation becoming ‘Dementia Friendly’ is to ensure that as many people as possible are aware of what dementia means and how it affects individuals.
In her voluntary role as a Dementia Champion, Elaine is willing to deliver Dementia Friends Awareness Sessions to groups and congregation members. This is to help us all to understand the disease a little more than we maybe do at the moment.
The information sessions, lasting about an hour, are an informal, friendly way to find out the basics about dementia.
If as a group/organisation within the Church, or as an individual, you would like to learn more or book a session please speak with one our church stewards for more information on contacting Elaine or collect a newsletter from Sutton Methodist church before or after our service.
FORTY YEARS AGO
From Reverend Arnold Johnson’s letter in the December Newsletter 1978:
Are you like me, I wonder, and always celebrate Christmas with mixed feelings?
I enjoy it and it means a lot to me in many ways, but I always feel uneasy about it for at least two reasons.
The first is because Christmas has become so materialistic, commercialised and the Christian content, when recognised at all, is so often grossly sentimental and artificial.
The second reason is because our Christmas festivities emphasise the gap between the affluent, extravagant (not to say wasteful) section of mankind and those who are desperately poor and underprivileged. You may have other reasons for unease about
… If we make Christmas a time to be more aware of the needs of others, and do something specific about them, then Christmas will be more as it should be.
The heart of Christmas concerns not so much a rather fairy-like story of a lovely little baby, born in a “quaint” little stable, surrounded by angels and mysterious theatrical kings, etc.
However, it is how God entered the world in a new and unique way to fight the darkness of injustice, suffering and sin which bedevils mankind and set up His reign of loving concern in the hearts, minds and lives of people like yourselves.’