‘Time makes ancient good uncouth.’ So runs a line in a hymn (MHB 898) we no longer sing. The writer, J.R.Lowell, a Harvard professor, was concerned that a war in the eighteenth century would spread slavery. Many at the time believed slavery was necessary to maintain the economy and that it was divinely appointed. Some good is surely changeless. No one would argue that the action of the Samaritan in Luke’s Gospel was ever anything other than good. But very often what we perceive to be good is not.
Slavery is a great evil, we now realise. More than that, it is less effective in achieving economic goals. Other things too are seen differently with the passing of time. Until the present generation, capital punishment was not only justified but thought necessary for security. It would be a brave politician who sought to reinstate it! Again, corporal punishment was regarded as the only way in the last resort to maintain discipline. Not so now. Significantly, change took place first with adults and only later with children in this second instance. If corporal punishment is seen to be harmful, it is strange that change was made to apply to adults without at the same time, children.
But what of the present? Surely that truth works the other way as well. Time can make the present uncouth too. The Prime Minister has argued in favour of a nuclear deterrent as if creating fear in others brings security. Jesus illustrated the need for calculated preparation when he spoke of a king going to war and considering whether he is able to successfully challenge another
on their strength. But this is of a different order from what the Prime Minister proposes. Nuclear power, if used , will result in the blanket destruction of masses of people, as Hiroshima reminds us. Under no circumstances can we argue this would this have divine support. Politically it is highly contentious. Morally, it is indefensible.
Easter Messy Church
The Spirit and Theme of Easter was present in all activities for the children. An edible Easter Garden of biscuit, icing, and colourful decor proved very popular. An active event involving running to the tomb round different obstacles to discover it empty took place. Easter crowns and bonnets decorated with feathers and flowers on a cardboard plate and secured with ribbons created the joy of Easter. Greetings cards and stone decorating for the artistic minded and a large wall picture made with glueing cutouts placed on the picture created the story of the Cross, the Tomb, and the Resurrection. And of course there was egg decorating and rolling. The measurement was taken after the egg was rolled down an indoor slide and continued to roll on the floor. In a card game the Easter story became revealed – see picture above.
After an hour of activities the children then moved into the Church for the short Service. All were keen to answer questions on what they had done in the activity time. A short DVD story of Easter held their attention and then with the accompaniment of the guitar and words on the screen, one or two short songs plus a prayer, completed the service.
A prompt return to the hall and a meal of sandwiches and Easter decorated cakes made the perfect finishing meal. Prizes of mini packets of chocolate buttons were presented to the various winners of the competitive activities. The date, 20th May, of next Messy Church, was given and the children departed with their achievements and memories of their time at Messy Church.
Could you donate flowers one Sunday? Perhaps on a special anniversary or to mark your birthday. There are a number of places to fill. Please look at the rota at the back of the church. The cost is £10-£15 and we can display them and then distribute them.
Thankyou Daphne Harri
Eco tip: Unplug your toothbrush!
Electric toothbrushes have revolutionised oral hygiene, but how many of us leave them permanently “on charge”? If you listen out in your bathroom during the quiet of the night, you might hear a little buzzing noise—it’s the sound of your toothbrush charger, which doesn’t know that the battery is already full! Unplugging your toothbrush before you go to bed ensures that you’re not wasting energy unnecessarily.
Statement from the The President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference
The President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference, the Revd Loraine N Mellor and Jill Baker, have released the following statement following the recent violence on the Gaza-Israel border.
We are horrified by the violence that has taken place on the eastern border of Gaza in the past days, and deeply troubled by what appears to be a steady escalation in the situation. We appeal to all sides to step back urgently from actions that can only lead to more suffering, and to seek peaceful solutions.
The deaths of a reported 18 Palestinians as a result of shooting by the Israeli Defence Forces have shocked the world. While Israel has invoked its right to protect its border, reports suggest that live rounds were used against many unarmed protesters and hundreds of Palestinian demonstrators were hit and injured.
The killing of unarmed protesters is unacceptable in any circumstance and a crime against humanity. The Government of Israel is bound by the same standards of international law as any other nation. Live rounds must never be used except in the most critical circumstances to protect life.
The situation in Gaza was already desperate. The cut in funds to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) means families just do not have enough food to live on. Clinics and hospitals were already reporting a huge rise in child malnutrition and have said that 80 commonly-used medicines are simply not available.
Electricity is on for four hours a day and water in many areas of Gaza is undrinkable. Reports of Hamas fighters being armed for further conflict have been greeted with dismay by the civilian population itself.
We pray for a resolution of the conflict in the region, for the end to occupation and a just resolution for Palestinian refugees.
We call on the Government of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and all regional and international powers to do everything possible to prevent a further slide into conflict and bloodshed, to provide humanitarian aid, and to revive the stalled reconstruction of Gaza.
Puddings and Poetry
On Saturday June 2nd, we will be holding a Puddings and Poetry evening starting at 6.30 pm. Everyone is welcome. Ice cream, custard and cream will be provided and people are invited to bring along a pudding of their choice. You are also asked to bring a poems of your own choice, either one you have written or others written by well known poets e.g. Roald Dahl, Pam Ayres and Joyce Grenfell.
Other people’s troubles might be yours one day,
So don’t shrug your shoulders and turn the other way.
Show a kindly spirit, lend a helping hand,
Speak a word of friendship, try to understand.
Other people’s problems, what are they to you?
Maybe you could solve them if you wanted to.
You could ease the burden if you really tried.
Don’t pass by unheeding on the other side.
Do you feel too weary with your own affairs
To attempt to lighten someone else’s cares?
Show these other people they are not alone.
Thinking of their worries, you’ll forget your own.
Given to John by Sheila Elms
Action for Children
We have just sent the excellent sum of £569.90 to Action for Children. This was made up of £263.76 from the collection at the December Service and £333.14 from the annual emptying of Home Collection boxes (which contained 3500 coins !!!!). This is very much appreciated by Action for Children. If anyone else would like a Home Collection Box, please contact either Eileen or David.
There will be a coffee morning to raise funds for Christian Aid on Saturday, May 12th in the hall from 10.00 – 12.00. Please come and join us. Board games will be available in the Footprints Café in the Wesley Room for those who would like to join in.
“They will give up only when they die”
The UN has described the situation in Eastern Ghouta, Syria, as ‘hell on earth’. We asked someone who works for one of our partners there about how its staff keep going.
Most of the time, it's the people working in Eastern Ghouta who give us hope when we feel helpless and hopeless. A few months ago, they wanted to start a peacebuilding project and l asked: is it feasible with the shelling? They laughed, saying “this has become our reality — we are used to the shelling and we need to keep going".
‘It was heart-lifting to see how resilient and adaptable they are and how they keep learning new skills and working for the future.
‘My colleagues have lost some of their hope in recent weeks, because the bombing has got so much worse and they feel abandoned by the world. But they will give up only when they die. ‘l have been encouraged by people working in Ma'aret Al- Nou’man that was under extensive shelling and it seemed it was the end. The donor funding their work wanted them to evacuate to a safer place — and they refused. Suddenly the shelling stopped and moved to Ghouta. When they heard what was happening, they starting collecting donations to send food to people there.
‘When you see this kind of solidarity from people who were being shelled and could have been evacuated, you get humbled and push yourself further, even if you are despairing. This way of living and defying all odds, is something that is really inspiring.
‘For people who are trapped inside Syria, being supported by any Western organisation is very important because it means they are not totally forgotten. Knowing that this organisation is Christian and helping them knowing that they are mostly Muslims, is even more important. It challenges the narrative that Christians are only looking after Christians. It reinforces the notion that humanity is what is gathering us, not only religion.’
Taken from Christian Aid Magazine
This Christian Aid Week, 13-19 May, we're sharing stories like Vilia's that show how much stronger we are when we all come together. With the incredible support you provide through our local partners, Vilia is stronger than anything nature throws at her.
V ilia lived in Port-au-Prince when the earthquake hit Haiti in January 2010. She heard people running and shouting, saw wires fall and houses crumble. In the confusion and terror, she couldn't even recognise her home or neighbourhood. As she searched for her home and for her mother, she had to step over bodies lying on the ground. Vilia never found her mother. She still doesn’t know how she died.
Bereaved and homeless, Vilia went back to her home town, 200km from Port-au-Prince, with her husband and seven children. But life was a struggle, and she had nowhere safe to stay.
Christian Aid’s partner KORAL saw how dire Vilia's situation was, and reached out to help her. They built her a new home, safe and strong enough to stand up to natural disasters. Vilia will never forget her mother, but our help has allowed her to move on from the other things she lost. The new house made Vilia incredibly happy, but it's done more than that. It's been a safe haven for dozens of people when they needed it most.
On the terrifying night in October 2016 when Hurricane Matthew hit, Vilia’s neighbours quickly realised that her house was the only one in the area sturdy enough to cope with the hurricane. One by one, they fled to her house and she welcomed them in.
In all, 54 people sheltered safely from the hurricane in Vilia's house. Despite the ferocity of the hurricane, which left more than 800 people dead and thousands more displaced, her house lost only one roof panel. Many other homes in the area were totally destroyed.
Vilia is incredibly grateful for the help she’s received, and she's used it to help others. But she knows that there are still many others in her neighbourhood who are struggling. She wishes we could help them too. Could you join us this Christian Aid Week to help more people like Vilia? Each year, Christian Aid Week brings tens of thousands of Christians together to achieve incredible things. We need you to join us so we can do more, and make sure that none of Vilia’s neighbours have to fear the next hurricane. £210 is enough to train a local builder in Haiti to build homes as sturdy as Villa's. That would give more of her neighbours a safe place to weather the next disaster, and a fighting chance to build a better life.
Taken from Christian Aid Magazine
A Greener Future
Finally, the Government has launched its much delayed 25-year plan, A Greener Future. A Rocha UK has called frequently for much greater Government vision to protect and restore the UK’s environment. Backed by the Prime Minister’s desire that we should be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we found it, the 25-year plan provides an exciting vision. A Rocha UK welcomes that.
The vision includes, among a long list of positive aims, an end to all avoidable plastic waste by 2042, creation of 500,000 hectares of new wildlife habitat, designation of new marine conservation zones by July 2019, and intentions to change farming practice and subsidies to reward good stewardship of nature.
But the plan is hollow when it comes to concrete policies. The only firm commitment is to impose a plastic bag charge on small shops in England – something Scotland and Wales already do! Its response to a slew of critical issues where bold action is needed now, is simply that the Government will consult.
This includes consulting on establishing an independent environmental watchdog to hold the Government to account once the UK leaves the EU and its accountability mechanisms which have been so vital in providing some protection for UK nature. This smacks of a critical lack of urgency – given that Britain continues to lose its nature at an unprecedented rate.
The big question, then, is how serious is the Government about delivering this vision? Proof of seriousness would be bold policies soon, a route map with milestones to 2042, an independent watchdog, and real money behind the plan.
We Christians passionate about protecting nature should pray and raise our voices to urge the Government to build on the vision fast, with solid action. Ultimately, in a democracy with many competing interests, the realisation of the vison will depend on how strongly and consistently we, the people, demand it!
Taken from A Rocha website
Don’t forget the outdoor service at Foxearth Meadow on May 6th at 3:00pm
Regular readers of the East Anglian Daily Times will know that, for some time, the above newspaper has been printing vouchers which give a 3p or 4p discount on petrol/diesel purchased from various BP and Esso filling stations in this region.
The participating station in Sudbury is the Esso garage on Northern Road. To get a discount of 3p per litre a purchase must be of 25 litres or more, and for a discount of 4p per litre the purchase needs to be of 45 litres or more. As my fuel purchase these days is very little l get considerably more vouchers than I can use, so if anyone wants my surplus vouchers then I am more than happy to pass them on. So, please have a word with me.
For the gardeners among us
All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful
The Lord God made them all.
But what we never mention,
Though gardeners know it’s true,
Is when he made the goodies,
He made the baddies too.
All things spray and swattable
Disasters great and small,
All things paraquatable,
The Lord God made them all.
The greenfly on the roses,
The maggots on the peas,
Manure that fills our noses,
He also gave us these.
The fungus on the goose gogs,
The club root on the greens,
The slugs that eat the lettuce,
And chew the aubergines.
The drought that kills the fuschias,
The frost that nips the buds,
The rain that drowns the seedlings,
The blight that hits the spuds.
The midges and mosquitoes,
The nettles and the weeds,
The pigeons on the green stuff,
The sparrow on the seeds.
The ﬂy that gets the carrots,
The wasp that eats the plums,
How black the gardener’s outlook
Though green may be his thumbs.
But still we gardeners labour
Midst vegetables and ﬂowers,
And pray what hits our neighbours
Will somehow by pass ours!
Passed to me by David Price