On Holy Saturday, a team of four gave out over 150 hot cross buns and 75 Gift of Easter booklets to passers by Liversage Square. We had some good conversations with neighbours and those walking between the train station and city centre. It was also a good chance to meet those working in a couple of the nearby shops who came to find out what we were up to.
This is just one of the ways we are seeking to bless our local community and we are already thinking about how we can bless people at other times of year. We hope to make the most of Christian festivals including Pentecost, Harvest and Christmas, as well as other times of year such as Remembrance Day and Mother’s and Father’s Days.
Our ‘Hope is Born’ weekend is from 1st to 3rd December, which is an outreach event for the Community emphasising the true meaning of Christmas. There will be an exhibition in Church on Friday 1st December between 5.30pm and 7.30pm to coincide with the ‘switch on’ of the Christmas lights in Borrowash. On the Saturday there will be an exhibition of Nativities within Church and also refreshments/lunches will be served in the hall. At 3.30pm on the Sunday 3rd December, Margaret Barker will give an illustrated talk on ‘The Magi’.
On the 16th December as usual, the community ‘Festival of Light’ Walk from Ockbrook to Borrowash, organised by the ‘Ockash Trust’, will end in Church with a musical Christmas Celebration.
We have started holding a Coffee Morning in the Church foyer on the second Saturday of the month. These are to encourage engagement with the community. Each one will be organised by a different group from within the Church.
Our four regular Bible Study Groups continue to be well attended.
We’ve had an amazing summer, welcoming 60+ children into the Church for ‘Extraordinary Explorers’ holiday club with crafts, songs, (very) messy games and lots of fun, as the children learnt about Peter; becoming a disciple, trusting and doing amazing things with God’s help, letting his best friend down but then going on to create churches.
Also over the summer, we held Picnics on the Park for people in our local community to join together for crafts and games on Wednesday afternoons and every Saturday night, we had a Film Club with sweets and hot dogs!
In September we warmly welcomed our new Minister, Rev’d Neil Draper and his family into the Church and with Neil’s help have continued to seek God’s guidance into what we should be doing in Oakwood, what to do next and beginning to pray and plan a Church vision.
Our Messy Church continues to grow, as we welcome new families into this fresh expression way of being Church. We meet 3rd Saturday of each month 11am-1pm. (All welcome!)
During October half term, we welcomed families into the Church building for games, competitions, crafts and refreshments 10am-12 noon, Monday-Friday, on the theme of ‘Light in the Darkness’. It was busy but very relaxed, a perfect opportunity to build relationships with families. A simple, but strong message was advertised through the activities each day, that the children and young people were encouraged to take home. It was very well attended each day and as a team, we thoroughly enjoyed being part of something very special.
As a Church, we are beginning to get ready for Christmas as we head towards our Advent Reflection evening; visits from 2 local nurseries for their Christingle services; Experience Christmas for the local school, to name a few, along with other activities and events planned, to invite others to come and know why we celebrate Christmas and what Christmas is really all about.
I am pleased to report that Aquabox has resumed normal operations recently. However, because of the occurrence of hurricanes, floods and earthquakes lately, they have often had requests for boxes of water filters only, reflecting the shortage of clean water in these disaster situations. Unfortunately, they have been unable to send any humanitarian goods in these cases, which include the knitted articles we supply.
Thank you to everyone for continuing to knit while Aquabox was closed down, and I hope you have managed to send any knitted goods to other charities, if this proved necessary. We shall be glad to receive any knitted articles which have been saved, but if these are in large amounts, please send them in smaller instalments.
Mrs. Mary Neville of Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic Church took a large quantity of our small jumpers, and sent them to orphanages in Romania. The people there were impressed by the quality of the garments, and were pleased to receive them.
I was also able to take about a dozen oversized blankets, which Aquabox was unable to pack, to the Bluebell Park Residential Home in Chellaston for use of the people living there, which were also gratefully accepted. These blankets can also be
used by the Romanian orphanages (see photo).
I have been given a donation of £20 from a knitting group in Ashby de la Zouch towards transport costs of the Aquaboxes, which I have forwarded to Aquabox – many thanks to Bronwen and her group. I know that some groups have held fund-raising events for Aquabox in the past, and if anyone would like to have such an event, with a speaker from Aquabox, the person to contact is Mr. David Rawson, Aquabox, P.O. Box 5398, Matlock, DE4 4ZP, or Telephone 01629 825178. He gives a most interesting and informative talk, and he and his wife Tina regularly visit The Gambia with Aquaboxes.
May the knitting flourish, now the dark nights are here, and all best wishes for a blessed Christmas
Many thanks for your help and support
Dorothy Robinson (Co-ordinator)
Harvest Appeal for Zimbabwe.
This year the Appeal was in aid of providing chickens for poorer people in Zimbabwe to set up small chicken farms to improve their incomes. Chickens were therefore a feature at the All We Can Stall at Synod under the slogan ‘Chirp for Joy’. This brought a response from Heather Simm of the South Derbyshire Circuit , who has been knitting chickens (see photo) to fundraise for the Harvest Appeal. At present , she has raised £55, and is to be congratulated for her imaginative and skilful efforts. Many thanks to all our members who also contributed to the Harvest Appeal. Zimbabwe is also one of the African countries exposed to the threat of Climate Change. Two thirds of the population live in rural areas, living off the land, and are vulnerable to droughts, floods, rising temperatures, and changing patterns of rainfall, affecting agricultural production, and livelihoods. The son of a Methodist minister, Clever Tabiza leads and supports local actions to help those who are vulnerable to the effects of impending Climate Change.
Rohingya Refugee Crisis Appeal.
All We Can and the Methodist Church in Britain are calling for support for this urgent appeal to help refugees displaced by recent violence in Myanmar. The majority fleeing to camps in Bangladesh are women and children. There is desperate need for water, food, shelter, and access to medical care. Recent heavy rains have exacerbated the situation, where available shelter is sub-standard or make-shift. Many people are traumatised, having witnessed, or suffered, atrocities, and may need psychological support. Donations may be sent to me, or to All We Can at 25 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5JR, or call 020 7224 4814.
A catalogue entitled Extraordinary Gifts is available from All We Can either on-line, or by post, and I have a few copies available. The catalogue lists gifts of practical presents which help people in some of the world’s poorest communities. The gifts may be bought by individuals, churches, or groups. All We Can has also produced a resource called ‘Extraordinary Christmas’, which gives reflections and prayers suitable for use during the lighting of Advent candles, and also during Christmas worship. Fundraising ideas are also included. This resource is available at allwecan.org.uk/christmas , or call 020 7224 4814. There is also an order form in the gift catalogue.
Derby Circuit Rep. ‘All We Can’
I consider it a great privilege to be called to work among you in the Derby Circuit.
My roots originate in Derbyshire. I grew up in a small village and attended a little chapel where I made a commitment to follow Jesus for the rest of my life.
I have been married to Tracy for almost 32 years and we have 3 children: Joshua, Hannah & Zara. Tracy works full-time in the pharmacy at Chesterfield Royal Hospital, Joshua also works at the same hospital, as a Charge Nurse. Hannah has just returned from a mission trip in Hong King and is off on her next venture soon. Zara has been studying in Nottingham and has commenced her BA Theology course at Cliff College, which is where I have studied.
As a minister, my heart is for encouraging churches and individuals to aim for their potential as disciples of Christ. I believe each person has a ministry or gift from God, whether ordained or lay.
My passion is experimenting with different styles of worship and music and expanding understanding of the bible through teaching.
The church has everything to offer a world deprived of love & peace. I believe God has chosen us all to be part of that great commission, to go into all the world and preach the gospel.
I am looking forward to getting to know the Derby Circuit and to working with the churches in elevating Jesus Christ and making him known to the world.
Work is now well underway to transform the unattractive, tired church buildings at St Martin’s into a state of the art community hub and the church into a building fit for 21st century worship.
How has all this been possible?
For the last decade the small church congregation has been faithfully praying about how they could use their building to serve their community.
In 2012 Allenton was highlighted nationally and given ‘Big Local’ Funding and a community organisation ‘Allenton Big Local’ (ABL) was set up. One of the founding members of the ABL Partnership was also a member at St Martin’s and it soon became evident that there were several groups in Allenton who shared the same social objectives and vision.
Working together with the community groups and with a grant of £70,000 from ABL, ambitious plans were drawn up to extend and refurbish the existing church buildings and develop a community hub. However it soon became obvious that this funding would not be enough to fulfil the dream.
Thinking ‘out of the box’ the partnership viewed the challenge as one not simply about monetary funding. Guided by the church vision and shared group aspiration, the team has built on local network and agency contacts which has resulted in the wider Derby community coming on board in support. The result is a DIY SOS style project, with much of the work being provided free of charge or at cost by local tradesmen.
All the monies provided by the community (now at £85,000) can only be spent on the development of the community hub, but with help from both the Circuit and District the congregation has been able build into the project a refurbishment of the church itself. This will include a new heating system, the fixing of the leaking roof, insulation and rendering of the church building.
Where we are now
At the time of writing (beginning Nov 2017) we have 48 fabulous new windows, the extension walls for the community café have been built, done by apprentices from the National Construction Academy and steels for the roof are about to go up. The hall and meeting rooms are midway through being re plastered and painted, all being done by apprentices from Derby College. The project has provided a fantastic training ground for Derby teenagers.
The total value of the work being done is in excess of £500,000 yet the total bill will be less than £120,000. We continue to praise God for what he is doing at St Martin’s and eagerly look forward to completion of the project in early 2018 when the real work starts. The community hub will provide an exciting platform for fellowship, service and mission and plans are already being made to make the most of the unique opportunity to extend His Kingdom.