|BENTHAMS BULLETIN: END OF JULY 2002 (distributed 15th August)
Snapshots of Life in Zimbabwe No. 18
Chipinge had five orange tractors donated by France, but now used by the authorities to plough land taken from the farmers and given to others. At night they are parked outside the Rural District Council Offices. Three weeks ago on Saturday night our house was rattled by an explosion, then another, and another. Three of the tractors had been blown up. On the Sunday the police arrested a local farmer called Buster Marillier and a sawmill owner called Shane Kidd, from Chimanimani, plus others who all apparently had links to the Opposition. Nine ruling party members, including a policeman who got their names wrong, swore that they saw these two and others running away from the scene of the crime. This is interesting: Buster was at a party at home 12 miles away and has plenty of witnesses, and Shane was on bar duty at the Chimanimani social club 45 miles away and also has witnesses. People can be held without charge here for only 48 hours unless they are arrested at the weekend, in which case the 48 hours starts from the Monday morning, or unless they are transferred to another holding place, in which case the 48 hours restarts with every move. So Buster spent the day in Chipinge police cells without food (they dont provide you with food in the police cells). It was announced, before charges were laid, that he would be tried on Monday afternoon, then he was transferred to somewhere else (they wouldnt say where), then he came back to Chipinge. Shane disappeared completely for much of the week, and we feared for his safety. They appeared in court on the Friday, shackled together, regulation haircuts, barefoot. The defending lawyer demolished the expert police witness, but the magistrate needed time to make a decision and they were locked up again for the weekend. On the Monday the magistrate said bravely that the prosecution case was weak and let them out on bail - after only a week inside! Anyway - they are in court again soon for what was probably a bungled attempt by the authorities to stir up official action against the Opposition. Such is life.
Snapshots of life in Zimbabwe No 19
10th August 2002 - D-Day. By today two-thirds of the farmers in the country were supposed to have been off their land and out of their houses, to make way for settlers. Most of the farmers have decided to sit tight, despite the risk of a two year jail sentence land that has been in the same families for four generations is not given up easily. In Chipinge not much happened. One of our Anglican members, Kevin, received a visit by police backed up by armed soldiers and members of the land committee. They wanted to know why the family had not moved off. It is now a waiting game. Most others got the same visit. The President announced on Tuesday that the land reforms would continue, but he is now saying that the recipients of the land will be the members of the armed forces who have served in the Democratic Republic of Congo. No-one knows what will happen, and indeed the situation could change very quickly for better or worse, but we do know that the country now has no farming industry worth speaking of, and half the people are going hungry.
Please give thanks for:
The good humour and restraint of Zimbabweans in the face of blatant and severe human rights abuses.
The faith of the people perhaps half of the nation pray each day over the problems.
The relative quietness of life in Chipinge, and the lack of real violence.
The faithfulness of most of Chipinges pastors in recognising the true nature of the nations problems, and their refusal to be drawn into supporting violence and theft.
Our own safety.
A week away, taken last week across the border in Mozambique, for rest and refreshment and for the chance to meet three other missionary families with whom we shall keep in touch.
Please pray for:
Starvation abroad in the nation, claiming lives, greatly exacerbated by official land policy.
The dilemma of the aid agencies the country is starving and needs aid, but much of it never gets to the ordinary people or goes only to those who can produce a ruling party membership card; it is used as a political tool and it keeps the heat off the situation by helping to legitimise the illegitimate (let the reader understand!).
Local people: Shane and Buster; Yannick who allegedly called the President a thief and could be jailed for 5 years; and Kevin who apparently talked negatively about the government or the situation.
St Barnabas Church. We have a problem at the moment with a group which is trying to stop worshipping at and giving to the ministry of St Barnabas, and threatening instead to start worshipping immediately on the plot for the new church. If they do, it will financially cripple the ministry here and divide the people. Please pray for wisdom and restraint both for the group, and for us as we try to deal with the problem, helped by the archdeacon, Revd Kingston Nyazika. Pray for a more solid financial awareness on the part of the congregation.
The vision of many of the people, who are wondering whether God has abandoned them.
And please do continue to pray for and give to Crosslinks, which takes seriously its responsibility to go into all the world and preach the gospel
Ben and Lisa
PS: News just in Kevin and Tracy Gifford, our most committed white members and our closest friends here, have been given until tonight to leave their farm and are effectively homeless. Please pray for them and for their son Alexander and daughter Sage, and for Kevins parents Vic and Pat, who may be next.
Extra And Important Bulletin - A Life In A Day At Chipinge
Please do pray for the situation here in Chipinge and the rest of Zimbabwe. All of the following happened here in Chipinge today.
In the morning a crowd started to gather in the town centre and soon there were two or three hundred of them. It seems that they were unhappy with the courts for being too lenient in granting bail to some white farmers and others on false charges. As the morning went on their mood got uglier and they beat up three white men and others, also the local magistrate, a black African. A telephone call later on from Harare carried the unverified news that people had been openly tortured on the street in broad daylight. They intended to get to a local black lawyer who so far has successfully defended people on false charges, but I dont think they managed that. The police had been called, of course, but they trotted along behind doing very little.
The lawyers office is next to a shop, run by a young woman called Angela, who had to barricade herself into the shop as they danced and banged on the doors and the windows. The crowd moved off and I went to get Angela, who was too shaken to go home, so she came to stay with us for the day. Meanwhile the crowd adjourned to the car park of the Rural District Council Offices, where people said that they were not in good mood.
I came in from some shopping at 1pm to find Gigi the wife of a local farmer at our house. Their 17-year old daughter Angelique was in the Rural District Council Offices getting an identity card. Its a long process and she couldnt have known about the crowd gathering, but by the time she had finished it was too dangerous for her to leave and too dangerous to collect her. Her mum was nearly frantic. Eventually the crowd began to disperse and I went to get her.
At 5.30pm we got a phone call to say that all the farmers who had received the notices to quit their farms from the government must be out of their houses by midnight tonight (said the police) or face the consequences, so that set in motion an emergency process to evacuate the vast majority of the farms in the area.
A short time after that we received a tearful phone call from one of our congregation, Pat, to say that her husband Vic was being arrested for being on his farm. I arranged to meet Vic and his son Kevin (Kevin received eight hours notice to get himself and his family out of their home two days ago) at the police station, which I did. For the first time in the day something positive happened; the police said that they would not take him into custody provided he would guarantee to be out of his farm (his familys home for, I think, four generations) by Sunday evening. Vic and Kevin agreed and off they went after Vic had been cautioned.
In the meantime, a large group gathered at their farm, also in ugly mood. It might be after dark on a Friday night, but they wanted to be paid their redundancy money. They were preventing people from getting in to help with the emptying of the house. Police had to be called to disperse them.
Please do pray. We dont really know whether these two sets of events are coincidental and separate, or whether they are linked. The police have to do as they are told, even when that is against the law, as forcing people off their farms certainly is at the moment, and they will not willingly go to the help of the farmers. The community has what amounts to a mini-refugee problem with the farmers and their families homeless. Today Chipinge seemed to be degenerating into the kind of lawlessness which puts everyone in danger.
Please do pray for Gods will to be revealed and done in this place. Pray for the violence and hatred to subside, and for the rule of law to be restored. Pray for the authorities themselves to pay some attention to the rule of law. Pray for protection for those who find that they are in danger from the mob. Pray for conversion for the president and his government. Pray for a sense of the righteousness and the justice of God for those who go to church and at the same time spearhead the land snatching and the hatred shown to the farmers. Pray for restraint and wisdom to be shown by the farmers at this time, and for a willingness to forgive the sins and injustices of the past. Pray that God will raise up people who will build bridges between people. Pray for a spirit of repentance and reconciliation to sweep across this land. Pray for the name of Jesus to be lifted high and for glory to be given to him through a state of peace.
Ben and Lisa
End of August 2002
Whew! What a month!
Youll remember I sent a request for prayer in mid-month because of a situation here in Chipinge. Well, that seems to have died down; most of the farmers are back on their farms, at least with a few possessions. Court cases have been fought, and the government has been found to have been acting illegally for the umpteenth time. Not that it has taken that lying down, you understand. There have been numerous announcements, including this month, to the effect that they will only heed the courts decisions if they are in line with government policy. Ho hum! And in the meantime the country continues to starve, farmers are still being prevented from growing food for the nation, and one leading politician announced very publicly that it didnt matter if six million starved to death, because the remaining seven million would all be government supporters a reference to the partisan distribution of food aid that is going on. Do keep praying for all parties here. Dark forces are at work.
Prayer changes things!
What I really wanted to share with you this month is another problem for your time with God. Last Sunday in a very sparsely attended service I received a letter to the effect that about two thirds of the congregation has left, and gone to worship on the proposed site of our new church on the Gaza township. They have done this because I had said that the whole project is in danger because of the members flat refusal to make decisions, take action of any description or raise money, which is all true. So, in line with the lawlessness abroad in the country as a whole, this group has gone it alone and has threatened to defy not just me, but if necessary the diocese including the bishop. Its a rather radical way of trying to save money in order to build they dont really want to pay the assessment! There may also be a political connotation: the ringleader, a member of the Mothers Union incidentally, is also, apparently, on the Land Committee, handing out snatched farm land to anyone who can show he supports the government.
So I have seen the Archdeacon and the Bishop. The message is Let them go ahead and try to build, but as they have taken the law into their own hands they must do it without outside help. And now we have to have a time of redefining, of sorting out who is worshipping where, whether we have one Mothers Union Group or two, one Youth Group or two, on Sunday School or two, and indeed, whether we have one church plus an outstation (which is what they want because it is cheaper) or two, and whether there is any legal right to separate accounting for the project and so on. The reality of the situation is that if this rebel group wants to build a church within five years, they will have to increase the per family giving by at least 1000%, plus an amount for running costs, which isnt going to happen. The biggest issue is going to be whether they will accept the authority of the church, or the clergy, or God, or whether they continue in rebellion. We shall see.
Please give thanks for:
The fact that there has been no repetition of the violence round here.
The court case findings, which give at least a semblance of hope that the law is alive in Zimbabwe.
The fact that there is a real desire to expand the ministry here.
The willingness of many of the members to lead worship and preach.
Please pray for:
More stability, less violence, less hatred, some political hope.
A way through the problem of the Gaza Stand, which sees order restored and progress made. Please pray for wisdom and restraint for me.
Those who will take on new leadership roles on Gaza.
The comparatively small congregations: one black, one mixed, left at St Barnabas.
That the necessary new structures will be achieved without too much fuss or animosity.
Lisa and the boys send their greetings to you. Every blessing.
PO Box 420, Chipinge, Zimbabwe; Tel (00263) 27 2614; E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org (note change)
I sit in my sunny, paved garden in the autumn sunshine
I close my eyes
I am sitting on the terrace before my long white washed home with its tumbling geraniums and fuschias and bougainvillaea trailing over the walls. The softly sloping garden is before me. Amongst the trees I can see a few red pantiled roofs gleaming in the sunshine. On one roof, several small birds are resting together, with wings outstretched allowing the warm breeze to refresh them. The tall slender male cypress trees sway gently towards their short, rotund laughing females, their leaves intermingling. And then, far below me is the blue, blue sea, the sun glistening on the ripples.
I cannot see the shore, but I can hear the constant swell as the waves break gently over the stones. I hear the tinkle of the panniered donkeys as they slowly wend their way homewards with the farmer sitting on the side of the cart, his battered straw hat pushed to the back of his head and his pipe clenched between his teeth. I know that I shall not have long to sit here in this mellow autumn sunshine listening to the birds and hearing the sound of the cicadas. Only too soon winter will be here with roaring fires and a good book to read and memories of summer, but also with the knowledge that spring will once again burst forth with all its joyousness.
I open my eyes. The sun has gone down and my little paved garden is in shadow. Its time to go indoors now and draw the curtains before getting tea ready.
You too can do this. Its much easier and cheaper than flying to Corfu!
Footnote to Dreaming
When visiting the elderly in nursing homes, I used to feel sad to see them just sitting with rugs over knees and closed eyes. I often suggested to the staff that they should have some gentle activity. But now that I am old myself I can see as through a mirror darkly that Gods great gift is memory.
Even though we cannot always remember what weve gone upstairs for, our long-term memories are clear, especially of the happier times: summers were always sunny and winders crisp and cold with toasted muffins by the fire. I believe even people suffering from Alzheimers Disease will have this gift from God and are happy with their youthful memories. It is only us who are sad for them.
HARVEST IN SOUTHERN AFRICA
Your donations have allowed food aid to reach Malawis poorest.
Millions of people across southern Africa are facing the regions worst food crisis for 50 years. Unpredictable weather patterns, including floods and droughts, have caused crops to fail. The situation has been made worse by political and economic factors, leaving people without food and without seeds to plant new crops.
Joseph Chalunda, headman of George village in the Zomba district of Malawi, explained, We are crying out for food. We have no energy to cultivate our land. Instead of working in our fields, we are tending the sick. But I trust in God. One day we will get help.
And help is already on its way. Thanks to your generosity, Christian Aid has been able to help make a real difference to those suffering as a result of the food shortages. By the middle of July, the southern Africa emergency appeal had raised £580,000, and with your help, is predicted to raise over £1 million. Donations have enabled Christian Aid partners to provide food aid where it is most needed, as well as seeds, tools and fertiliser to provide the chance of a future harvest.
Prayers for southern Africa
God of Africa, God of all the world:
Hear the cry that rises to you from the mountains and savannahs for a world that is changed until hunger is at an end;
Hear the cry that rises to you from the rivers and plains for rules that are changed so that trade brings justice to the poor;
Hear the cry that rises to you from the churches and chapels for lives that are changed to bring hope where good news is needed;
Until all the nations come together in your Kingdom rejoicing that hunger is a thing of the past.
To the countries where the food is scarce, mercy Lord, while there is time.
To the countries where the crops have failed, rescue Lord, while there is time.
To the countries where the people are fearful, security Lord, while there is time.
In the countries where we have plenty, set out hearts on sharing at this time.
In the countries where we feel in control, set our minds on justice at this time.
In the countries where we forget those in need, set our prayers on Africa at this time.
Harvest Hope in Afghanistan
When Alexander the Great marched his army into Afghanistan 400 years before Jesus, his soldiers had to hack their way through dense forest. The area around Heart was later nicknamed The Granary of Asia. If Alexander were to ride across those mountain passes today he would not believe he was in the same country. The toll of wards, droughts, poor farming and unpredictable weather has changed the landscape beyond recognition.
Isaq Suleiman is a typical village. It is set at the foot of hills in a bare, dry and dusty landscape. There is plenty of land to farm, but hundreds of landmines have made it treacherous. It saw the worst of the drought for four years; it had to be evacuated during the recent war because (being near a garrison) it was bombed, and then many abandoned houses were looted.
This is where the Agency for Rehabilitation and Energy Conservation in Afghanistan (AREA) works. AREA is a partner supported by Christian Aid which is revitalising the farms upon which so many people in west Afghanistan depend. It also trains children to be aware of mines and gives small loans to enable families to take the first steps to start a business. And its work is beginning to change Isaq Suleiman. The money that you have given through Christian Aid has allowed AREA to drill two deep wells in the village. Before they were dug, the trickle of water from the local stream was allowing hardly any of the crops to grow properly. But this year, irrigated by water from the wells, almost a third of the village has been cultivated and the villagers have gathered a harvest for the first time in four years.
Through AREA the farmers have formed an agricultural cooperative and work together to improve the conditions of the village. The first task was to encourage people to stay in the village during the times of great hardship. At the start of 2001, to stop them leaving as refugees, AREA distributed wheat and fertilisers. Since then, Christian Aid funds have provided them with a tractor, which can do in one hour what used to take two days with an ox-drawn plough. And the villagers have also worked together to buy a generator, so for the first time they have electricity for part of the day.
Mirza Abdul Haq is the treasurer of the cooperative. There are many positive changes in the village, he says. Im very happy with my harvest, but I am still worried about the price of the wheat. My dreams are for peace, and for weapons to be surrendered. We want our country to be green again to grow vegetables and wheat and to have enough water to drink and grow food. And our village needs a clinic. But I am hopeful for peace. I would like to say to Christian Aid supporters, We are grateful for what you have done. It has changed our lives. If you can continue to help us there will be a future for our village and community.
A prayer for Afghanistan
O Tree of Life, send your roots deep into my life.
Search through the mud of my indifference, push past the stones of my selfishness; seek instead the soil of my compassion, find there the water of my generosity.
O Tree of Life, draw from me all that I can offer, to bring buds of hope for the people of Afghanistan, and leaves for the healing of the nations.
If you enjoy watching and hearing about ventures at home and abroad, why not visit the Museum Lecture Theatre as the Lecture section begins its new session? The Chester Society was founded by Charles Kingsley, author of The Water Babies, in 1871.
The October programme starts off in this country and Ed Milius takes us on the 3rd on a walk from Grassington to Wharfedale.
On 10th October Rosie Swale, an author who has sailed the Atlantic single handed, journeyed through South America with a couple of horses and had many other adventures, will show more of her experiences of a trip through Kosovo, Northern Albania and Montenegro.
John Pilkington recalls a journey from Venice through Pakistan and China on the 17th.
And Norma Joseph who travelled the length of the Irawaddy River in Burma will entertain us on the 24th.
All meetings are on a Thursday, starting at 7.30 pm. There may be a few vacancies; please contact Anne Large, 34 Bridge Drive, Christleton on 01244 336108 for information.
JOHN SELLERS EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION
This ancient trust was founded on 23 December 1779 for the education of poor children in Christleton and Littleton. It was to provide instruction in reading, English, writing, arithmetic and for spinning, sewing and knitting.
The sole income is from the rent of a field in Plough Lane. It is the intention of the present trustees (comprising the Rector, a Clerk, a County Council representative, and two Parish Councillors) to try to increase the capital, so that interest can be given out to comply with the original intention. This year money has been given to the Primary School, to the High School and to the Under-Fives Group.
Applications for grants are not available to individuals.
Donations or legacies would be very much appreciated.
If any group wishing to be considered for a grant and fulfilling the conditions should apply to the Clerk, in writing, before 20th November.
M Croston (Clerk) Tel. (01244) 335955
Rookery Nook, 5 Bridge Drive,
Chester CH3 6AW
HARVEST FESTIVAL FAMILY SERVICE
on Sunday 13th October
People are invited to bring small gifts of harvest produce
to be taken out to people in the Parish.
Followed by refreshments in the Parish Hall.
Saturday 19th October
An Evening Out at
The Bickerton Poacher
with Skittles and Supper
Coach Travel Provided
6.30 pm start and 10.30 pm home approximately
Everyone welcome especially our Magazine Readers
and bring a friend.
Cost would be £11 a ticket.
Contact Janet Brown 335785
During the last year or so there seems to have been a serious decline in the number of butterflies in our area. Although a reasonable number of different species has been seen, the actual number of butterflies has been very poor. So it has been a relief in the last day or so to see good numbers of tortoishell, red admiral, comma, painted lady and speckled wood flying in the warm sunshine. The main source of food of many, the buddlia has already finished, so they are taking the opportunity to feed on asters, marigolds and even on plants in hanging baskets. Three sightings of kingfisher on the canal have been reported in the last week, so look out for this fast flying streak of blue, turquoise and salmon pink as it flies low along the water. Swallows and martins are gathering on overhead lies ready to take off on their three week flight overland and sea to Africa, and by the magic of instinct and nature, many will return to the same nest sites next year.
The Christleton Pit cygnets are still with their parents on the canal at Rowton, and have recently been ringed with light green darvic rings, numbered CD08, 09, 10, 11. Two were males and two females, with average weights of 9.2kg, and 7.8 kg respectively for each sex. These are good weights and suggest that they are being well fed. A similar brood at The Shady Oak near Beeston, have had two cygnets with congenital deformities of their wings and the other two cygnets weighed only 6.1kg when weighed. Cygnets grow from birth to full size between May and September, an incredible rate of growth, and are said to eat almost 1kg of grass each a day at their peak. They will soon be mature enough to fly and I suspect that the Christleton pair will bring their cygnets back to the Pit by mid to the end of October.
Mink continue to be predators, and as many as five mink have been seen on the Gowy at Hockenhull. I suspect that we also have a large number of foxes and badgers at large in the village at night, as I have seen a great deal of evidence of their digging recently, and have had a number of sightings myself especially of foxes crossing the A41 at Rowton.
CHRISTLETON LOCAL HISTORY GROUP
A full programme of events has now been arranged for the season, with all the indoor meetings at the Primary School in Quarry Lane starting at 7.30pm. We have a very relaxed style of meeting with a glass of wine and light refreshment before we start. We have a variety of speakers to suit all tastes, covering a wide variety of subjects. Interest in history has never been greater, and we can offer you an enjoyable evening, away from the television, in the company of enthusiastic experts, and friends in pleasant surroundings. Members make a £2 contribution at each meeting, which includes a glass of wine and nibbles. Please join us, you will be most welcome.
Wednesday October 16th.
Speaker; Alan Hulme Talking about Maps.
Wednesday November 20th
Speaker; Eileen Simpson On Quarter Session Records.
Wednesday 22nd January.2003
Chester History & Heritage Centre Road Show.
Wednesday February 26th.
Speaker Richard Nicholson; A lighthearted look at collecting British County Maps.
Wednesday 19th March.
Speaker; Alf Croston The Art of Milling
Wednesday 9th April
Speaker David Cummings; Llangollen to Chester by canoe.
The history & wildlife of the Shropshire Union Canal system
A Special Talk in memory of Cliff Boddy.
The Parish Hall. 7.00pm Saturday November 16th 2002
Personalities of Christleton.
This talk will delve into the lives of some of the prominent members of the village community, using material from our Local History Group archive and photographic collection. Personalities include; Cliff Boddy, Jim & Frank Poston, Mary & Jim Partington. Canon Garnett Rev. A A Guest Williams, and also feature some of the village societies including Christleton W I, Christleton Village Players, and Sports Club. Tickets cost £6 including a buffet supper, and all the proceeds will be towards a permanent memorial for Cliff in the Church which he served for 79years.
The Millennium Window.
Great news! This exciting new window is almost complete, with final pieces and sections now being leaded together, and preparations are being made for its installation in the Lady Chapel. The window, celebrating village life over 1000years is twelve feet high, with the figure of Christ in the centre, will be erected in sections, and take about five days to install, and it is hoped that this will be done in the early part of October. The effect of the light coming through this window will be stunning, and be a wonderful addition to St James Church. The designer Bill Davies has created the window based on ideas of members of the community, and will reflect the working together of whole community, and particularly Churches Together in Christleton.
HISTORY FACT OR FICTION!
Whilst on holiday in Sussex during the summer we visited the ancient church of Bosham on an inlet of the sea near Chichester. Almost two thousand years ago the Romans had sailed up this channel, on route to building a magnificent Palace at Fishbourne. However several things took my interest in the village and church. The first was a carving of a swan on the wall of a house overlooking the harbour. It was identical to the pelican feeding its young just inside the door of St James. Ive often said that the bird looks like a swan, and that local craftsmen in the 1730s wouldnt have seen a pelican, therefore has crafted this bird like a local swan that he would have seen!
Another fascinating item in the church was the grave of King Canutes daughter, said to date from 1035. The grave was excavated in 1865 and contained the bones of a little girl aged eight. Canutes daughter was eight and drowned in the local mill pond, so the story is most probably true. However another nearby grave also excavated at the time, is reputed to be that of King Harold who died on the Battle of Hastings site not far away. Im sure many of you will have heard the story told locally that Harold didnt die, after being shot in the eye by an arrow, on the battlefield, but was spirited away, and brought to Chester to live as a hermit at the Anchorage near the River Dee. This legend is told in The Polycromican a Universal History written by Ranulph Higden, Chesters most celebrated scholar monk and completed in 1320. A fascsimile copy of this book can be seen open at the page about Harold, in the visitors centre at Chester Cathedral. Which story is correct! I dont suppose we shall ever know the truth, but I wonder if new techniques in forensic science used by Archeologists and the Police will give us a much better picture in the future.
CHILDRENS SOCIETY NEWS
Attention all Box Holders!
Just a few weeks left before Box opening 2002. Please check next months parish magazine for details of our annual offertory service.
Birthday Greetings to Mrs Leila McAllester for her 93rd birthday on 2nd October.
Our speaker for September was Alison Abercromby who started her talk with a humorous account of her unbelievable recent journey to North Yorkshire with Margaret Renner which should have taken two hours 45 minutes and was according to the AA approximately 140 miles. It actually took six hours and turned out to be 200 miles. The least said the better!
The main theme of her talk was to tell us of those places in her life which she had visited and where she found comfort and healing through the presence of the Peace of God. These places included various gardens, Martin Mere, Sweetheart Abbey near Dumfries and Chartres Cathedral in France.
We were grateful to Alison for sharing with us the thoughts which we ourselves experience when visiting beautiful and special places.
Canon Chris Birkett from The Cathedral will be our speaker when we meet on Monday 14th October.
CHURCHES TOGETHER IN CHRISTLETON TALK
Wednesday 30th October 2002
The Revd Jonathan Gorsky, a Rabbi, is the Education Advisor of the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ). This organisation was founded in 1943 in London, at the height of Nazi persecutions of the Jews, to fight the evils of prejudice and intolerance. Our Archbishop is one of the CCJs Presidents and the Bishop of Chester, our Bishop Peter, is Chairman of a committee.
The Revd Gorsky is a part-time lecturer at Bristol University. He is a desired speaker, addressing groups of people from all walks of life. He regularly talks to sixth formers and university students, and every year he sees about 1000 Northern Ireland students from Protestant and Catholic schools so that they can study together and learn about their common heritage; they have always been happy to discuss the Jewish roots of the early church and about communal tensions in environments other than Northern Ireland.
The Revd Gorsky is also a prolific writer and despite great demands on his time has promised to speak to us at Christleton on Wednesday evening 30th October 2002 in the Parish Hall. He will speak on Jewish-Christian Relations. His talk will begin at 7.45 pm and will be followed by discussion, refreshments and chat. Please do come for what promises to be an interesting evening.
CHRISTLETON CRICKET CLUB
Christleton 1st team are currently 6th in the Cheshire county league after winning five out of the last six games. Both captain Jim Gilson and Australian Scott Hadnum have scored over 500 runs so far. The second team are also 6th and are unbeaten in the last 6 games. The third team have finished the season with another win and have just missed out on promotion, an excellent season under the captaincy of Mike Wyatt.
Friday 20th September is the annual draw with a prize of dinner for four on Christmas day kindly donated by the Cheshire Cat.
We wish to express our thanks to the sponsors for the September matches; Ernie Bradshaw, Bill Malkin and Towry Law.
GOLDEN JUBILEE DAFFODILS
I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to all those who have generously donated daffodil bulbs and money for this project. At the time of writing (8th September) I have about 400 bulbs and enough funds to purchase a further 2000 from Okells. Hopefully, by the time you read this, they will all be planted but if you were unable to help on 28th September and would like to be involved I am sure there will still be some to do, so please let me know. I will write a full report for the November issue.
Judith Edwards (01244 332387)
A letter from Susan Gumbrell, Mission Partner serving in Nigeria
We have only two seasons, the wet and the dry, and are in the middle of the wet season. The rain pours down in storms that last for an hour or two. I have experienced them from the shelter of my flat but yesterday I was out in it.
Three of the routes I tried to reach the tarmac road were blocked by big vehicles which were parked with no consideration or the drivers were refusing to cooperate when an oncoming vehicle was in the way. Eventually I followed an even rougher road along three sides of a rectangle to get out. By now the rain was more than torrential the gutters were overflowing and only one of my wipers was working. I parked and watched the flood for 20 minutes debating whether to turn round or go on. The river cutting across the expressway was two feet deep, a car had stalled in the middle of it and large vehicles were cutting down the inside uncaringly. I did a U-turn and headed back to school one and a half hours to go nowhere!
This weekend it is the Diocesan womens conference. All the clergy wives and representatives from every parish meet for four days with Bible studies, archdeaconry reports, exuberant worship and talks on Giving and Pregnancy and Infertility. All the women wear the same cloth: Womens Guild one day, Mary Sumner the next and Mothers Union cloth and anniversary cloth on other days the women love uniforms.
All Anglican women join the Womens Guild. Then all, except those who are second wives or have not had a church wedding but only a traditional marriage, join the Mothers Union. They are thriving organisations; a real force to be reckoned with in all parishes. They are involved in evangelism, building projects and social work, as well as practical support of families and each other.
The Diocesan Womens President is the Bishops wife, Mrs Ngozi Okeke, a dynamic and Spirit-filled lady. Her presidential address was inspiring. The theme of the Synod year is Looking unto Jesus and in her address we were enjoined to be close enough to Jesus to see his face, hands and feet and to be like him moving our feet into places where we can serve him, using our hands to comfort, touch and help, and sharing Christs love for all in our expressions and attitudes.
The State governor dropped into the conference and talked of the importance of women training up a child in the way
(Proverbs 22 v6). This did not go down too well as the governor hasnt paid his secondary school teachers for eight months! They, as well as civil servants and judiciary employees, have been on strike since before Christmas.
In 2003 Nigeria will have elections for all levels of government, including President and Governors. Almost all are gearing up for second terms, which means acquiring as much money as possible with which to influence the result. The last civilian-run elections were in 1983 and the accusations of vote rigging and corruption so widespread that the vast majority of Nigerians were very happy when there was a military coup. Please pray for peace and honesty as we move forward. Only a tiny minority of those in government would say they were not religious. If all those who say they are Christians actually lived Looking unto Jesus then the whole nation would be transformed. Please pray for President Obasanjo and the Governor Dr Mbadinuju, both vociferous Christians, and others that they would know what Gods will is and do it.
May God bless you.
Love from Susan