|Building Strong Parish Communities: Giving for the Future of the Church
At the beginning of his article last month on The Future of the Church - Building Strong Parish Communities, Jonathan Gibbs wrote about the great challenges that the Church in our diocese is facing in the next few years. When the Church is being increasingly financially challenged it would be all too easy to forget that Christian giving is not primarily about balancing the books but about our response to Gods goodness and every Christians responsibility for resourcing the Churchs God-given mission.
Our giving is a reflection of our love of God and an expression of our gratitude for His most precious gift which we have already received, the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. (John 3:16). Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15)
Giving is an essential ingredient of Christian Discipleship
Everything comes from God and therefore comes under His sovereign rule. The Earth is the Lords, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. (Psalm 24:1) We are therefore called to use the resources that God has entrusted to us for His purposes.
What are we giving for?
We, Gods people in the Church of England, give our money to resource the Churchs mission and ministry.
Jesus calls us to:
go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:19-20). As Disciples of Christ, our mission is to make Disciples and serve Gods world, looking outwards not inwards. To respond to our Lords call to mission we have to properly equip ourselves for proclamation, witness, teaching and care and concern for all.
How to Give The Principles of Christian Giving
No one can tell any one how much to give, each one of us must decide for ourselves. Paul gave the Corinthian Christians the following guidance: On the first day of every week each of one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income (1 Corinthians 16:2). From this we gather the following principles:
Gods work is to be resourced by every member of the Church (each one of you).
Giving should be regular (every week).
Giving should be budgeted (set aside, not from our leftovers)
Giving should be a realistic proportion of what we have at our disposal, not just a token offering.
In July 2000 the General Synod of the Church of England recommended 5% of take home pay as an initial target to aim for giving to the Church.
Some Christians give a tithe (10%) of their income.
In 2 Corinthians, Paul writes about the generosity of the early Macedonian churches: (2 Corinthians 8:1-4). If we follow their example our giving will be willing and not reluctant, generous and sacrificial.
Our Personal response to the Challenges
As Christians we need to regularly review our giving and seek Gods guidance on this important aspect of our discipleship. Let us, through prayer, ask God to guide and inspire our own response to the financial challenges facing the Church in our diocese, so that we are properly resourced to respond to our Lords call to mission.
If you are not already doing so, please consider giving through the parishs Planned Giving Scheme and, if you pay Income tax or Capital Gains tax, Gift Aiding your giving, thereby increasing its value the Church. Further details about the Planned Giving Scheme and Gift Aid are available in the leaflet accompanyong this magazine.
Martin Smith , Chester Diocesan Adviser in Christian Giving
Make a note in your diary
Christleton Village Show 2004
on Saturday 10th July
In Christleton Parish Hall
Its here again, the one occasion in the village when the skills and interests of our village talent can be displayed. As in previous years weve listened to comments made after last years show and there are some new categories as well as the old favourites. Hanging baskets is once again on the list, anyone in Christleton can join in, and you dont need to be an expert. The theme this year is ROMANCE as it is a leap year and the Theme Trophy will go to the exhibit(s) which best portray this.
Schedules will be available from Paul Jackson at the Post Office in April so get a schedule, choose some categories and start planting, sewing, painting etc. etc. whatever is your thing. It doesnt cost much, is great fun and you could win a trophy there are lots of them.
This year we are planning a Creative Workshop morning on Saturday 17 April at Christleton Methodist Church. There will be a number of craft stalls displaying and demonstrating some skills relevant to the show in July. You may even be able to have a go. Were hoping there will be lace making, wood carving, painting, clock making etc so watch out for adverts in this magazine.
If you have any queries or if you would like to help on the day (PLEASE) ring any of the committee below.
David or Beryl Cummings 332410, Janet Brown 335785
Charles Smeatham 335209, Margaret Croston 335955
Sue Haywood 01829.741814, Chris Marsland 335424
June Pearson 335101, Jane Pickering
Judith Butt 335296, Pat Lynch 336050
Lesley Morgan received the following letter:
Shining Light into Darkness
Thank you for your generous Christingle gift of £515.43. We really appreciate all the effort that you and others have made in raising such a sum.
Founded on a Christian vision and driven by Christian values, The Childrens Society works with and for children, putting their needs at the heart of everything we do. We believe that no child is beyond hope, understanding or love. We aim to create a safer world where children are loved unconditionally and have the freedom to be children and learn from their mistakes.
We could not do any of this without your prayers, help and support. Thank you for celebrating Christingle, you have already helped change a childs life.
Stephen Blunden Fundraising Director
Christleton Village Fete 2004
Out of Africa
This years village fete will be held on
Saturday 26th June
We have a beastly theme, so get making your wild animal costumes (Tarzans & cannibals also welcome).
Finally another desperate plea. Organising the fete takes a lot of work, before and on the day. We now have so few volunteers and committee members that this may well be the last Christleton Fete.
Please help this long-standing village tradition to continue and make this the best fete ever.
We meet in the Village Institute at 8pm on the first Monday of every month. If you would like to help, please phone Martin Thompson on 01244 332651.
Stewards are need at Chester Cathedral. Could you spare 5 20 hours per week? You would be paid up to £4.79 per hour. Every year 750,000 people visit the Cathedral from all over the world. Did you know that the author of the Water Babies, Charles Kingsley was a Canon at the Cathedral (and founded the *Chester Natural Science, Art and Literature Society in 1871). Would you like to learn about preparing for and assisting with services of Worship? Do you enjoy meeting the public? If you do, telephone 01244-500964 for an application form.
Song School Progress. Everyone is getting excited about beginning to use the new Song School. The space created, where the monks dormitories were until they fell down the dormitories that is will be used by many groups making music in the Cathedral, as well as daily by its own musicians preparing for services. Any help obtaining further donations to pay off the building loan will be much appreciated Gift Aided please!
The Cathedral Office is 12 Abbey Square, CH1 2HU. Tel 01244-324756.
The Cathedral Shop direct line 01244-311586
The Refectory caters for tourists and Cestrians offering a large selection of home-cooked meals, cakes, sandwiches, beverages and is open 9.30 am 5.0 pm. Direct line is 01244-313156.
Easter for Greek Orthodox Christians is the most solemn of all the Christian Festivals. About ten days before Easter preparations begin. They fast during Holy Week but after midnight on Holy Saturday, when fireworks go off and all the ships in the harbour sound their sirens and cars their horns, the feast is broken.
On some of the islands, notably Siphnos, a special Easter sweet is made, which is a cheesecake mixture of honey, eggs and mizithra, a soft cheese. On the mainland Halva, made from semolina, is more usual.
GREEK EASTER CAKE HALVA
4 oz butter or margarine 6 oz semolina
4 oz caster sugar 3 oz ground almonds
1 teaspoon grated orange rind 2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs 3 tablespoon orange juice
4 oz sugar shredded candied orange peel
3 tablespoons water shredded almonds
2 tablespoons orange juice
Cream butter and sugar, add orange rind and then the eggs. Sieve the semolina, ground almonds and baking powder together and add this with the orange juice to the creamed mixture. Put into a well-greased tin and bake for 10 minutes, 325 F electric, 170 C, gas 3 then reduce heat to
300 F, 150 C, gas 2 and bake for a further 20 minutes.
Note there is no flour!!!
After baking pour the syrup over the case and decorate with the peel and almonds.
Sunday March 14th, 2004
This is a walk which can be a bit boggy underfoot. It includes some of the towpath of the Langollen canal, a gradual incline up the Bishop Bennett Way, through Wirswall village and down after beautiful views to the village and mere at Marbury, which is always host to a large flock of Canada geese.
Distance will be maximum 6 miles, (although I am trying to shorten it!) and it will take approx three to three and a half hours. Also a chance to view the beautiful church at Marbury, do some bird spotting, badger set finding and with any luck some spring flowers too.
Binoculars may be worthwhile and stout boots, preferably waterproof, a good idea!
Meet in church car park at 1.30 for a quick getaway as it is half an hours drive away.
Any questions, contact Liz McClure 01244-409414
The highlight of the month in Christleton is again the kingfisher, which has been seen daily, feeding on the canal. Our resident species such as the robin, wren, greenfinch, dunnock, great and blue tits, are now proclaiming spring with their territorial calls from the tops of trees and hedgerows. They have been very active following the frosts and heavy rain, and some are even showing signs of nest building. Nest boxes are being inspected, so its a good time to clean them out if you havent done so. Weve had a box full to the brim with moss and lichen made by last years pair of wrens, before the blue tits built on top of that, leaving little space for any new material this year. Late January saw yet another battle of mute swans on the Pit, because a new pair (the third) has tried to claim it as their territory. However our original pair (C852 & C175) seem to have fought them off, but have also returned to the canal to be with their three remaining cygnets. I regularly get reports that an injured swan is on the road near the Pit. This is almost certainly our own cob C852, who has a permanent limp, and a fierce temper especially if another male swans appears on his patch. Hes now at least eleven years old, and has been partly responsible for over fifty eggs being laid.
The oldest surviving Christleton cygnet is 2YX which is a resident at Telford Town Park and born in 1990. The first swan ringed in Christleton was a cob 2SS which was ringed as a five year old in 1989, and was seen in Cranham in Gloucestershire, and sites along the River Severn, before holding territory with its mate for many years on a site at the mouth of the River Teifi near Cardigan Island. This pair also had an interesting habit of flying back home to Cheshire during the coldest part of the winters, appearing at Chester, Nantwich and Winterley Pool near Crewe around Christmastime for several years.
The Millennium - Window Cards.
Sets of these cards are now available as packs of 5 letter cards with envelopes, (as the Christmas card but with no greeting) at the back of church for £1.50. All the proceeds go towards Church Funds. Packs of these cards, together with The Swans on Christleton Pit, Hospice Cards are also available from Paul Jackson at Christleton Post Office.
Gertrude Wright received the following from Susan Gumbrell CMS LINK in Nigeria
Gunshots ring-in 2004
There was plenty of gunfire last night, but as it was New YearÕs Eve there wasnt much to fear. All the night security guards in the area, including our own here at the school, and the local vigilante group members, welcomed in 2004 by testing their guns. A lot of noise, but little danger. Since the local landlordsÕ association organised the defence group in September we have been safe, and even when the occasional gunshot is heard there has been no hostile reply. We thank God for his protection.
Giving thanks to God
The dry season is here; many of the rich men are in their hometowns and business has stopped. This makes it an ideal time for events to be organised. Many rural churches have their harvest services during the Christmas period. I have been to the thanksgiving service for an 85th birthday and 53rd wedding anniversary. The bishop and his wife organised a big service of thanksgiving for their 30th wedding anniversary nine bishops were there. I went to a traditional marriage of a friend. This weekend I have a church wedding and an ordination thanksgiving service to attend.
Giving thanks to God in a special service, or as part of a normal service, is very common. A bishop has preached services giving thanks for many things, including 85 years of life, good health, happy marriage, recovery for illness, guarding from accident, success in business, help in passing exams, protection in child birth, etc. If we have asked God for these things, then the proper place to thank him is publicly in church. We donÕt do this enough in England. We should be more outspoken in giving glory to God for his love, care, protection, healing, guidance and provision.
This term has been busy. The new intake arrived and settled in, but many parents of other young people still come begging for their admission. It is very difficult to keep saying No.
The results of the external exams were received and were, in the main, very good. Mathematics is our big problem. We are trying to push for more effort and interest from the present Class 6, by giving them extra lessons and practice.
Two records have been broken recently: the advent ordination service took 5æ hours (although it didnÕt seem that long) and we have had electricity almost constantly for the last six days wonderful! Let us hope it is the start of something good in 2004.
IÕm sure at the beginning of a new year we all wonder what it will bring whether good or bad, success or failure, pleasure or pain, excitement or boredom, change or a deeper rut: probably we will get all of it, and more. The resolutions that Christians should make are to seek the face of God more and more in all we think, say and do, to reassess how we use our time, talents and treasure to extend his kingdom, and to continually thank him for everything he lavishes upon us.
May God bless you with love, joy and peace throughout 2004.
Love from Susan.
Please thank God and pray for our continued protection.
Please pray for the staff of the
Tuesday 27 January dawned bright and chilly: just right for another walk with David Cummings and the group of St James ramblers and a dog!
One of the joys of walking with David Cummings is that one is treated to a journey of enlightenment and discovery! We parked in the city and began our walk by crossing the Old Dee Bridge how many times have I drive across? I believe this was the first time Ive walked all the way over and we then found paths and ways that, in spite of 25 years in Chester, I did not know existed! The retired headmaster is not fully retired: we were chaperoned across roads, informed about geology, history, spotted a wealth of bird life and in no time found ourselves at the Pump House in Eccleston. After a pause for refreshment we joined the river footpath, a squelchy, mud bath in parts, and continued back to the city enjoying each others company and appreciating Davids abundant knowledge and enthusiasm for sharing it.
Februarys walk, on the 24th, is set to be a tougher one, along part of Offas Dyke path. Ill let you know how we get on next time.
school for unity, co-operations and conscientiousness.
Mothers Union Meeting February 2004
David Cummings came to our meeting in February to give a talk about the holiday which he and Beryl had on the island of Samos. The talk was dedicated to Dorothy and Margaret who we sadly lost last year. It was a brilliant talk and we all thoroughly enjoyed looking at the beautiful photographs of flowers, trees and butterflies. The people on the island have no machinery so everything has to be tended by hand. David also mentioned that two cherry blossom trees in the churchyard have also been dedicated to Dorothy and Margaret.
Two of our members, Margaret Roberts and Hilda Garner are to become indoor members.
Our March meeting will be 15 March (the third Monday in the month) at 2.00 pm in the Parish Hall so that we can include our Wave of Prayer.
On 20 March we will be holding our annual Coffee Morning with a cake stall, bric-a-brac and raffle. All contributions welcome. Please come and support us, as this is our only fund raising event for Mothers Union.
We also have a different date from usual for our April Meeting. This will be on 5 April and will be our Lenten Quiet Hour.
Employment in the Village in the 1850s
I have been carrying out research recently into the trades and occupations of people living in the village in the 1860s, by using information from the entry log book of the John Sellers Charity School. This has proved to be very interesting, and I detail some of my findings below. One of the first things to note is that these records only apply to children attending the Boys School, and would be of the working or middle class only, and not include the children of the gentry who had their own private school in the village in what is now Birch Heath Lodge, or sent their children to school in Chester. John Sellers, originally from Littleton, also had a commercial school in Queens Street in Chester.
It is also certain that the occupations would be very close at hand, because it was before regular transport existed. Entries in the log book, provide the name and age of the pupils when they commenced schooling, some as young as two years nine months, the fathers employment, and also information about the pupils when they left school. In this first article I am dealing with the occupations and trades of the parents, incidentally almost all of which are men.
As you would expect in a rural village the majority of people were employed on the land. Fourteen men were farmers, a further fourteen gardeners, two gamekeepers, but only three farm servants. There were two tanners and seven shoemakers, with three grocers, two butchers, 1 milkman and two millers. Five were recorded as being Publicans or Innkeepers, with seven persons employed as charwomen or as a laundry maid. There was a dressmaker, two seem-stresses, a tailor, and three woollen drapers. There were four blacksmiths, one metal founder, eight masons or bricklayers, six joiners and sixteen labourers. Suprisingly there was only one butler and one porter, but eight coachmen or cab proprietors. Six men were named as being pedlars or hucksters, and the coming of the railways, is shown by there being three engine drivers, and five men employed as signalman, points men or gangers. There were two lock and toll keepers, working on Christleton Lock and the toll gate in Whitchurch Road, a boatman, four police or watchmen, a postman and one exciseman. Three children had no parents and probably came from the work/poor house in Boughton. The estate manager also lived in the village and sent his children to the school.
If you wish to be listed in the 2004 edition of the St James,
Christleton Electoral Roll, and are not already included, please complete a form available from the back of Church and hand it in to the Rector or post to
Pat Nilssen, 11 Littleton Lane before the end of March.
Churches Together in Christleton
A very big thank you to all who flew to South Africa on 17 January and to others who also supported the event. A total of £808 has now been raised for the Granny Groups project helping South African children with AIDS. Rev. Ian France, Minister of Pinetown Methodist Church near Durban where the project is based, is most grateful to those concerned for such generous donations and wishes to thank everyone for their support
David and Sheila Roberts.
CHRISTLETON CRICKET CLUB
Preparations for the cricket season have already started. Junior coaching takes place at the Sports Centre on Sundays with Jim Gillson developing the skills 20 juniors. Senior practise has commenced on Sunday evenings at Queens Park High school and any new members are welcome
The progress of the Cricket Club over the last few years has seen dramatic success, both on and off the field. Under the guidance of Chairman Gareth Davies the playing strength is constantly improving and the ground is now recognised as one of the best in Cheshire. This year we have been awarded a two day match between Cheshire 2nd team against Yorkshire Academy on 15th & 16th June.
A Hot Pot supper for 90 people takes place on 5th March with guest speaker Jack Simmons. The Annual Club Dinner takes place on 16th April.
Look out - details next month for the Christleton Midsummer Ball to be held at Little Heath.
The cost of each match increases every year - £20 per umpire and £18 per ball. Anyone who would like to support the Cricket Club can do so by sponsoring a match at the cost of £25. Sponsors have their names clearly displayed at the ground, in the club handbook and in the Parish magazine. Several villagers have already kindly offered sponsorship.