What have we been doing
COVENANT SERVICE AND START OF ANNIVERSARY YEAR
WOW! What a day!!
Preparations had been going on for a while and yesterday folks gathered to deck the Hall with 375 Bunting, balloons and streamers - thanks to everyone who helped in any way. Then this morning we gathered for our special Covenant Service which was led by our Pastor Martin. The church was full and it was so good that some of our folk who have not been very well lately were able to come along and be a part of this special day. During the service we stood and after responding to statements made by Martin we all said the Covenant together.
For his sermon Martin took the theme of our motto this year - "Jesus Christ, the same today, and tomorrow and for ever".
Yes when celebrating this year, we are celebrating the 375 years of knowing Jesus and making him known and celebrating all of God's goodness over the past years, but we are also seeing ourselves in the present - knowing Jesus is the same today and being able to celebrate God's goodness to us now. Then the icing on the cake - we are looking forward to the future, knowing that Jesus is the same for ever and that we have God's goodness to look forward to for ever! If that isn't something to celebrate I do not know what is! Thank you Martin for an inspiring and encouraging start to our special year.
After the Service folks were hurried through to share coffee/tea and a chat in the hall, whilst a team of folk moved tables and chairs and set up the church in readiness for our special Bring and Share lunch. - It looked absolutely splendid and ready for our party. Folks helped themselves to all the delicious food and brought it through into the church to sit amongst friends to share the meal and to share conversations and friendship together. After seconds had been consumed, the dessert table was visited and what treats there were in store for us all.
Having had our fill it was time for Martin to move us in to the special time of sharing the Lord's Supper together - just as Jesus did around the meal table with his friends.
At the close of this special time Martin pointed out that two of those present had been using our Anniversary communion cups and these two were asked to come forward to cut our Anniversary Birthday Cake which had been made by Jacqui. Gwyneth and June came and did the honours and the cake was distributed to everyone. Thank you Jacqui for such a splendid cake and for all the time of love you put into it.
And it did not end there!!!
No! we all moved back into the hall for a time of fun and dancing for our BARN DANCE. We were very ably led by our caller David and our thanks go to him for his patience as we all got in a tangle from time to time. It was huge fun and those who did not feel able to join in the dancing had great fun laughing at the antics of those of us who did! At the end of two hours we were all exhausted from either dancing or laughing or in most cases both!
Time to clear up and go home - happy, relaxed and ON A HIGH! Just like we were when we were kids at the end of a good party! We have certainly made a fantastic start to our Anniversary year and we have a lot more to look forward to as well - we are certainly very blessed.
Thank you to everyone who played any part whatsoever in making the day so successful and THANK YOU GOD for giving us so many blessings.
What a lovely hour spent in the church this afternoon. All seats were filled and there were lots of children as well as those of us who are a little older. But we all enjoyed the carols, the making of a prayer chain, being given a present to remind us of the love Jesus brings us and of course the making of our own special Christingle. A pity I cannot put in pictures of the children but here are some of the adults (who are children at heart), enjoying this very special service.
Thank you Lynne and all the Bowld family and others who helped make this such a wonderful part of our Christmas.
CAROLS BY CANDLELIGHT
A soft candlelit Church awaited us this afternoon as we gathered for this service. The soft embracing ambiance continued throughout the whole service - carols, readings, prayers and address. But a reminder of the light which the candle gives in the darkness and just how special is the light brought into our world by knowing Jesus as our Saviour and recognising what he did for us.
Lots of lovely Carols and Readings, a clear and uplifting message about making the age-old story of Christmas one we will always remember and cherish, one which makes us feel we are keeping in touch with 'home'. A message challenging us to embrace the 'light of the world' the birth of which we celebrate each Christmas, and to let that light shine in us and from us so that it reaches all those with whom we come into contact.
CAFE STYLE SERVICE LED BY THE YOUNG PEOPLE OF THE CHUCH
What an absolutely delightful service we were treated to this morning. Well done, everyone who took part. We are blessed to have such talented young people amongst our fellowship. (The adults who were involved were pretty good too!). Such a clear message, given in such a different way. Can't wait for the next service led by this lovely team. Thank you one and all.
ANNUAL TOY SERVICE
Our Annual Toy Service was a delightful occasion and the church was filled. We were treated to a joyous service and the volume of gifts brought was better than ever. These toys were then taken to a refuge for abused wives and children and also to the Birmingham City Toy Link. Thank you to all those who took part in the service, brought gifts, helped with the organisation and those who distributed the toys.
ST NICHOLAS NIGHT
Once again we had our stall in the high street for this lovely event held in our town. This year our stall was "Chocolate Heaven" and our chocolate fountain into which we dipped marshmallows for our customers was a huge (if somewhat messy) success. We sold chocolate cake pops, chocolate posies, chocolate cookies, chocolate filled beautifully crocheted stockings to hang on your tree and cups of creamy hot chocolate!!!!! The monies raised were divided between the St Nicholas Fund and our own Christmas Children's charities. It was cold but dry and we all had a wonderful time and hopefully our customers did too!
What a beautiful day we have had today. The church looks absolutely beautiful - we are so blessed with folk who can do such beautiful floral decorations. We took the BMS Theme of "Share the Light" and the interpretations are simply wonderful. Thank you to all who took part in anyway. A steady stream of visitors were treated to a visual delight and then could partake of a cup of tea or coffee or even have a Ploughman's lunch. Thank you to all who helped with the provision of this and all the washing up. Truly a case of many hands....... Thanks too to all those who came and made it such a lovely day. Last but not least a huge thankyou to Brenda for organising the whole event and for working tirelessly to ensure it was such a success.
Today (6th July 2014) we had shared a wonderful service celebrating 'Disability Sunday' where we re-enforced that whatever our differences we are all alike to God, all valued as much, all cherished as much. We are charged both with not thinking ourselves inferior, if we do not measure up to those who are shown as being the 'best', and also with us not seeing others with emotional, physical, sensory or any other difficulty, as inferior, but as different. Thank goodness we were made to be different and we should celebrate those differences just as God does. We had three wonderful testimonies from Lynn, Gillian and Ann which gave us all a great deal to think about. After we shared Holy Communion together, we had great pleasure of welcoming two new members into our fellowship -
Welcome to membership of ABC to you both - we are delighted that you have joined us in our walk with, and work for, God here in Alcester.
What a fantastic weekend we have had. Saturday dawned clear and bright and 10 o'clock saw us opening our doors to visitors wanting to see the beautifully decorated windowsills, baptistry and porch. The theme this year was "favourite hymns and psalms." Congratulations to all the talented people who designed and created all the beautiful arrangements. The Porch was "Make me a channel of your peace" and was a beautiful arrangement in green and white, with Peace Lilies and a white dove. Messy church's "Our God is a great big God" had submarines and skyscrapers amongst the flowers. "All over the world the spirit is moving" had ribbons linking the globe with flags of nations showing the joy of knowing Jesus all over the world. "Lord of all hopefulness" centred its arrangement on knowing that God is with us through the dawn, noon, eve and end of EVERY day, The quiet garden was delightfully depicted with a garden table set for afternoon tea. "He leads me beside still waters" was a beautiful arrangement of flowers around the Baptistry. "If I were a butterfly" saw flower heads fashioned into a stunning butterfly alongside a floral arrangement. "One more step along the world I go was a poignant progression of arrangements depicting the journey of those working through cancer treatment. "All things bright and beautiful" was bursting with vibrant colours and had a fantastic tapestry of the words. "Away in a manger" had all the nativity models nestling amongst the flowers celebrating our Lord's birth. What a joy all of these arrangements were to see. Morning Coffee, Ploughman's lunches and afternoon tea and biscuits were served and Lynn had her beautiful hand made cards for sale too.
Sunday saw Martin leading our Anniversary Family Service which was enjoyed by all. Sunday afternoon saw the Floral display open for visitors again and though not as many folk came as had done on Saturday, those who did come said how wonderful it was. Thanks to everyone who did anything to make the weekend such a success. A wonderful total of £350.00 was raised. Thank you Brenda for organising it all.
11th May 2014
Today we were urged to put our HOPE in God. Our service was led by members of The Gideons International, and what a great service it was. Hymns, readings, and Sermon all reminding us what a faithful, true and constant God we have. Being a Christian does not mean an easy life and we know that there will be ups and downs throughout our days, weeks, and years but in all these events we must always look to God and have our hope in him in all that we do.
Thank you Ken and David for leading our worship this morning. The blessings of our fellowship go with you in your work in spreading the Gospel both in this area and through the work done by The Gideons International, throughout the whole world.
4th May 2014
Today the sun was shining and the birds singing as we walked to church. A good congregation and a welcome back for Martin and family after their holiday in Wales. We were treated to a sermon on "prayer and praying" which was informative and encouraging to us all. The service concluded with The Lord's Supper after which we had the joy of welcoming Terry and Ann Mann into membership. Terry and Ann have been worshiping with us for over a year and we are thrilled that they wanted to join the fellowship as members. We trust that together we can move forward in our work for the Lord, within the church and the community.
Monday to Thursday of Easter week saw Martin leading lunchtime prayers in our church. Each day was presented in a different style of worship - Benedictine, Taize, Iona etc and everyone attending said how much they enjoyed the sessions.
Walk of Witness
The sun shone but there was a chilly wind as we gathered outside our church to start the walk around the churches and through the High Street for our Annual Walk of Witness. We had a hymn, reading and prayer outside each of the churches and the cross was carried ahead of us as we went around the town. One stop outside Waitrose and two stops in the High Street saw us on the church green outside the Parish Church for our final stop. The morning concluded by sharing hot coffee or tea and cold hot cross buns which were very welcome and thanks to our friends from St Nicholas church for providing them.
The Saturday of Easter
This saw a few folks gathered up on the hillside on the outskirts of the town where our daffodil cross has been a fantastic sight over the last few weeks. Unfortunately most of the flowers are now over but we still held our short service on the hillside as usual.
Easter Day saw the church packed which was lovely. We arrived to see a stark empty cross at the front of the church. We sang uplifting celebratory hymns with gusto and were treated to an encouraging sermon. During the service we were invited to bring a flower to adorn the empty cross with the result of us finishing our service looking at a very different cross from that which we had seen on our arrival. Let us bring the Easter message to all those around us, not just in the coming week but always.
A busy time for everyone. Lynne and Cath led our Café style service which was enjoyed by all, and we were treated to a beautiful rendition of 'Do you hear what I hear' by four of our young folk. Both the Carol Service and Carols by Candlelight on 22nd December were well attended and a delight to share. On December 24th we held our Christingle Service when we made Christingles and Baby Jesus in the Manger biscuits as well as putting 'Thank you' prayers on our Christmas Tree. Christmas morning we were asked to bring a present to share at our short service and our last service on 29th December looked towards the coming year. A busy but very rewarding time.
What a busy weekend!
Friday - St Nicholas Evening
The High Street was closed to traffic and from 4.00pm people were beavering away at setting up the many stalls along the pavements. We put up the Gazebo and Brian attached the new signage which he had designed and then we filled the serving tables with cakepops and chocolate tree decorations and chocolate table favours. Selling began at 5.30pm and the street became very busy with families happily moving from stall to stall. The weather was very kind to us and we decided that it was in fact one of the best St Nicholas evenings we had had weatherwise. We had a good rota of folks serving and giving away sweets and we sold almost all of our products raising funds for both the St Nicholas Evening organisation and our Christmas Children's charities. Tired but happy we took down the stall and made our way home. Thanks to all those, who donated towards chocolates, those who made the boxes and cake pops, those who helped put up and take down the stall. those who served on the stall and those who provided hot soup and coffee to keep us going during the evening.
Sunday - Annual Toy ServiceA wonderful service led by Martin in which readings were given by both The High Bailiff and the Mayor. We also welcomed Lady Hertford and the Dowager Marchioness to share the service and were sorry that Lord Hertford was unable to join us as he had planned and send him our best wishes for a speedy recovery from his fall. The church was packed with members of the Town Council and the Court Leet in addition to our own folk and we had to bring the balcony seating into use which was excellent. Martin illustrated his children's talk with a DVD and CD and had prepared a colourful powerpoint presentation to illustrate his message. The gifts were brought up to the front of the church and what an incredible sight they made - thank you to everyone who brought a gift. After the service these gifts were wedged into cars ready to be taken off to be distributed to children who would not otherwise receive a gift this Christmas. Coffee and delicious mince pies were served after the service and there was a lovely time to chat together.
Festive Coffee Morning
Funds for Messy Church needed a little boosting so Brenda organised a Festive Coffee Morning last Saturday. There were cakes, bric-a-brac, Festive stocking fillers and beautiful handmade cards for us to buy as well as sitting and chatting over a cup of coffee or tea. Though not visited by huge numbers, a steady trickle of folks came and the wonderful total of £202 was raised. Thank you Brenda for all your hard work and to all those who gave items to sell or manned the stalls and of course to all those who came along.
Today we were shown various ways that we could be lights in the world around us, within our families, within our community and within the whole world. Ann re-told us about the Samaritan's Purse Shoebox scheme and we watched a video of how receiving a shoebox turned the wayward life of a young boy - Louis - around. Ann had ready covered shoeboxes and some knitted items available for those who needed them and she encouraged us all to take part in the scheme in some way. Lynne told us about how BMS takes the light of Jesus into all corners of the world and then introduced us to Beth. Beth is at present at The International Mission Centre in Sellyoak, training to go out to a placement in Tunisia in the near future. Beth told us of her background in Helensborough and her training in nursing. Her year out in India working at a Leprosy centre and her desire to put her skills to use for God's work. She said how she found it hard to "wait" for God's perfect timing as to when and where she should work as she is a "Let's get on with it NOW" sort of person, but that she has realised that the wealth of understanding and skills she has learnt at the IMC is part of God's holding her back until she is more fully equipped to do the job he has for her. What a delight she was to listen to, what a delight she will be when she finally goes to Tunisia, and what a delight she must be to the Lord to have her living and working for him. Thank you to Ann, Lynne and Elaine for arranging and taking the service and the music group for accompanying the singing. An inspirational service to us all.
Y Course - week one - Is there more to life than this?
Thursday 26 September saw a hive of activity preparing for week one of the Y Course. Church seating re-organisers, table putter-uppers, table decorators, food preparers, washer-uppers all worked hard to make sure that all was as it should be for this event. Twenty-eight folks attended and were treated to a warm welcome from Martin and seated at one of the five beautifully laid tables. Informal chat took place, and just after 6.30pm Ron and Keith arrived with trays of hot lasagne which was served with garlic bread and salad. After enjoying this, Martin outlined the format of the evening and also explained a little about the course. Next a short video was watched and then dessert was served, over which discussions took place table by table on points raised by the video. A second video was then shown and discussions took place as we were served tea/coffee. It was good to share our experiences, and to look at questions which stimulated lively discussions. Martin rounded off the evening at 8.30pm and all participants left having enjoyed a splendid evening of food for the body and lots of food for thought too. Thank you to everyone who came and to all those who helped in any way either before or on the evening.
The Big Welcome
What a fine welcome greeted us on arrival at church. The seating was set out in café style and tables laid with plates of croissants and doughnuts! We were asked whether we would like a drink and if so we could choose tea or coffee and this was then served to us. The service was lively with the accent on 'listening. Call my bluff was enjoyed and we certainly listened to some very strange definitions before learning the correct one. We were treated to a lovely rendering of 'True Colours' which started with a beautiful solo verse by Jennifer. We watched a video staring three of our members, Chris, Brian and Harvey which was filmed and directed by our own Pastor with voice overs by Maggie. We were introduced to the sign language Makaton by Gillian and we played Chinese whispers. The children brought in 'feely' boxes and Martin had to guess what the identity of objects hidden by paper straw. We were invited to take part in 'Supper chill and chat' commencing this coming Thursday and running for eight weeks. Coffee and tea was again served at the close of the service. Thank you to all those who helped make this a VERY welcoming service and a huge thank you to Martin who shouldered the bulk of the preparation work.
Harvest Flower Festival
This morning at 10.30 saw the start of our Harvest weekend, but the hard work started before that with the planning and preparation and then the staging of all the displays. How blessed we are, as a church, to have so many talented people able and willing to use their skills to transform the church. Our theme was the BMS HUNGRY FOR........ scheme and the windowsills and baptistery, porch and front of the church depicted many different types of hunger and funds raised over the weekend will go to the BMS Hungry for..... fund to spread throughout all these different ministries throughout the world. The Porch was Hungry for Prayer and included a box for prayer requests which will be used in our service. Inside the church was Hungry for Love, Hungry for Food, Hungry for The Gospel, Hungry for Peace, Hungry for Justice, Hungry for Mercy and Hungry for Water. What stunning displays they all are and how ingenious the creators have been in depicting each theme. A powerpoint display was running on the big screen, again depicting the 'Hungry for' theme and beautiful panpipe music accompanied this. Coffee and biscuits was served during the morning and then at 12 noon the now well known and loved Ploughman's lunches were served with over 50 partakers. Afternoon tea and biscuits was served later and visitors though somewhat thin on the ground because of the wet and cold weather, were still coming in at closing time. Thank you everyone who helped in any way - setting up, floral displays, meeting and greeting, serving and washing up and preparing the lunches. A wonderful job done by you all to glorify our bounteous and merciful God.
Today we rounded off our Harvest weekend with a wonderful service led by our Pastor Martin where we looked at the many different sorts of hunger there was in the world and how we had a responsibility, not only to thank God for all that he gives to us, but for us to share his gifts wherever and whenever possible. We kept the church open until 3.0pm to take part in Heritage Day where events were taking place in the town. Unfortunately though we have a rich heritage, being started in 1640, and our own church historian - Jacqui was on board to answer questions, no-one came along! However we used the time to talk through some of the exciting plans we have for the church during the next few months.
Visit of Link Missionaries
Ladies Fellowship Annual Afternoon Tea
On Tuesday 2nd July, ten ladies went for tea to Hilliers. The tea was good, the weather was beautiful and the conversation flowed. Laughter abounded across the table and a lovely time of fellowship, friendship and fun. was had by all. Thank you Lynne for organising it and for all those who took cars and aided those with walking difficulties.
Believers Baptism - Sunday 30th June
What a wonderful occasion - the church was packed with the balcony taking the overflow - the sun was shining, excitement abounded and the Lords presence was tangible. When I arrived to the quiet of an empty church the serenity of the open baptistry and the beautiful floral arrangements was very moving. Gradually the church started to fill as our regulars, visitors and friends and family of Jennifer arrived.
What a buzz filled the once quiet church. For the Mills family this was to be a very very special service and for Martin, to be baptising his own eldest daughter was very intimate and moving.
We started the service with the rousing hymn "Crown him with many crowns" which the assembled congregation sang with great gusto. This was followed by prayer and the reading from Acts 11: 19-30 by Sarah. (It was good to have Sarah back with us after her operation.) Martin then explained about Believers Baptism and what was to take place later. He asked Jennifer to join him and he asked her questions about her faith and she gave us her testimony. This she concluded by singing a song chosen by her - Cannons by Phil Wickham. Her Mum, accompanied her on her guitar and the whole church was enraptured. Goosebumps abounded and a few tears too. What a magnificent voice Jennifer has and what power of feeling and her love of the Lord she expressed in that song.
Next it was the actual act of baptism and Martin asked senior deacon Chris to join him with Jennifer in the baptistry. Martin read the declaration questions and Jennifer answered them with a clarity of both voice and conviction, following this baptism took place.
Because we have the facility to film, and show on screen, what is taking place, everyone in the church was able to see all that was happening, though the youngsters were invited to sit around the baptistery to get a better view!
As Jennifer, Martin and Chris left to get changed, Bobby led us in the singing of one of Jennifer's favourite songs - Consuming Fire. After the offering and prayers of intercession led by Jacqui, Jennifer, Chris and Martin rejoined us in time for us to sing another favourite song - Mighty to Save.
Martin led us on our journey through Acts, continuing to teach us so much of what happened after the resurrection and how we are to apply it in our own lives and in our own situations, at home, at work and in our community as well as throughout the whole world.
The service concluded with another well loved hymn - "And can it be". The volume of singing, and the obvious belief in what was being sung, was a fitting end to a truly wonderful service.
Alcester Quiet Garden - Strawberry Tea
A very successful Strawberry Tea was held this afternoon in Alcester Quiet Garden and for once the weather did us proud too.
Many folk came along to enjoy the garden and the fellowship together and of course to enjoy a bowlful of strawberries.
Proceeds were for Water Aid and a total of £162.68 was made.
Thanks to Brenda and Jacqui for all their hard work in providing the tea, to Alison for making sure the garden was in tip-top condition and of course to all those who came along to make it such a success.
Alcester Annual Street Market
A busy but happy day was had by all. The town was jam packed with folk enjoying all the stalls, games and rides. As usual we provided tea and cakes and a nice sit down for those wishing to have a little rest from all the fun.
A willing band of workers manned the serving tables, cleared dirty crocks, washed up and kept the endless supply of hot tea going.
We were delighted that Lynne and Brenda set up a stall selling their beautiful hand made cards just by the front gate.
Thank you one and all - many hands did help to make it a good day for us all. Our takings topped £300 including a 50% donation from Lynn and Brenda's takings. This sum will be divided equally between the High Bailiff's charities and charities of our choice.
The Male Voice Choir who practice on our premises each week, gave a wonderful half hours concert and there was standing room only in the church to hear them. How blessed we are to have such an accomplished choir in our town. Thank you Judith and members of the choir.
It was a tired group of folk who locked up at the end of the day, but for yet another year ABC had supported the High Bailiff in the biggest event of his year, as well as being given the opportunity of welcoming so many friends old and new onto our premises.
Alcester Garden Walkabout - Sunday June 2nd 2013
After our Morning Worship which included celebrating the Lord's Supper we had our usual refreshments and then members of our Quiet Garden Team stayed on the premises to welcome folks taking part in the annual Garden Walkabout organised by the Alcester Branch of Cancer Research. Over 500 people came into our quiet garden and spent both a time of reflection and a time of getting to know what the quiet garden represents and why it was formed. Thanks to Alison for all her hard work in the garden and to Brenda and Lynn for giving the whole afternoon to represent us at this very worthwhile event.
Anniversary Weekend 18th/19th May 2013
Pentecost breakfast and Anniversary Service
An early start this morning saw 33 of us sharing Pentecost breakfast together at 9.0am. Before commencing breakfast, Martin led us in our Service of Communion where we served each other with the bread and wine and prayed together. On next to orange juice, a choice of cereals followed by toast and marmalade/jam/marmite. Thank you to all those who arranged and set the tables, prepared and served the food and washed up afterwards.
Martin led our Anniversary/Pentecost service where he took us through Acts 2:1-12 where the people heard the disciples taking in tongues. He reminded us that we had experienced a period of waiting and now we were to 'Get Ready'. We were to be greatly encouraged that Jesus came on earth as an ordinary person like us. We were to be greatly encouraged that the disciples he chose were ordinary people like us. They did not have special gifts of mission, or gifts of oration - they were ordinary people who believed and through their faith went out to bring others to God. Jesus met them 'Where they were at' - and he meets us there too. We sang and prayed that the spirit of Pentecost would fill us anew and give us strength to go forward with God, in our homes, our work, our community and the world. He concluded by giving us all our new Mission Statement. A Mission Statement founded on our original statement and built upon. Our purpose is "Knowing Jesus and making him known". Our values are to live as Authentic Biblical Christians by Glorifying God in word, action and being. By using our gifts in service, within the Church. By encouraging and enabling others in their ministry and expressing the love of God to the Community and the world.
'Celebrations' Flower Festival
Wow! I walked into church this morning at 8.45am and what a fantastic sight met me. The entrance porch was a glorious golden wedding feast for the eyes.
The photographs simply do not do the arrangements justice for which I am truly sorry.
On into the church where each windowsill had been decorated to depict a different kind of celebration.
80th Birthday, Jesus's Birthday, New baby,
General birthday, Lost and Found, ABC's link with other churches.
All very different and all absolutely beautiful.
The Cross and Baptistry were stunningly decorated in white and green and the area by the organ depicted the celebration of Pentecost and was a sheer wonder.
What incredibly talented people we have around us who can achieve such stunning
THANK YOU one and all for all your hard work and for being willing to use your talents so that the rest of us could enjoy such beautiful arrangments.
A HUGE thank you, especially to Brenda, for not only organising the whole event but for her incredibly beautiful Pentecost and Golden Wedding arrangements.
As well as our usual supporters we had a number of extra visitors because there was a Food Festival in the town.
Morning coffees were served and at 12 noon we started to serve our now well known £3 Ploughman's lunches made by Barbara and Cath. 66 lunches were purchased and all seemed to enjoy them.
The afternoon continued to see folks coming in to view the flowers and have a cup of tea and the doors finally closed at 4.15pm.
Thanks to John who was main door steward all day and did a sterling job of welcoming and chatting to absolutely everyone who came through the door!
Thanks to all those who served teas/coffees/lunches and to all those who washed up.
All those who visited had many complimentary things to say, many had questions to ask both about the flowers and the church and all went away saying they had thoroughly enjoyed their visit.
Sing and Rejoice
Saturday evening saw us sharing another fantastic evening singing, rejoicing and praising our Lord. Thanks to Ian, John and all the group for giving us such a treat. Their songs ranged from well-known ones to those written by the group themselves and the words were beautiful, comforting, challenging and first and formost praising God and giving thanks. All who came along, left having experienced an evening celebrating him and of being in his presence.
The Ladies Fellowship went on an trip to Hilliers this week. Afternoon tea was the order of the day and all seemed to be having a really good time. Thanks to those who organised it.
During the week running up to Good Friday our Pastor lead a series of prayer sessions "in the style of..." at lunch time Monday to Thursday. Each session was well attended and the last one, which I managed to get to, was a Taize style and absolutely beautiful and very moving.
Good Friday saw us on the walk of Witness around the town and then on Easter Sunday we had a wonderfully uplifting Easter Day Service led by Martin. During this service the bare rough cross was adorned by all those present with flowers and the result was spectacular as you can see.
We also had the pleasure of a blessing for two of our members - Bryan and Brenda who celebrated their Golden Wedding.
Dedication of baby Jessica - February 10th
We had a packed church when the ABC Fellowship was joined by family and friends of Laura and Alex to be a part of the dedication of their baby girl - Jessica. What a beautiful service it was. Martin led us through a wondeful service entitled "Welcome the child". During the dedication of baby Jessica, promises were made by Laura and Alex, her wider family and her church family. Cath read the poem, "Cherish the time" by Joanna Fuchs and Barbara said a special prayer for Jessica. Martin then brought Jessica down into the congregation to introduce her to us all. A lovely occasion and we are looking forward to watching Jessica grow up within the love of her birth family, her church family and the love of God.
The Journey begins.....
Today is the day when the next chapter in the long history of Alcester Baptist Church begins. The new Pastor and his family together with all the fellowship of ABC start their journey together. Together is important - Martin asked "What happens if I get it wrong?" "What happens if the fellowship, or members of it, get it wrong"? He (and we) are human and we will make mistakes along the way but by the grace of God we will forgive each other.
He told us that he did not know what was in store for us all, but he did know for certain that whatever happened along the way, he would always be pointing us to Jesus, encouraging us to truly be "Jesus people".
Daily we were to look upward to God and give thanks for his everlasting love for us, and then we were to make every effort to bring that warmth and love down through ourselves and outward to all those around us, be they family, friends, members of the community, or folks further afield.
It was fitting that it was Covenant Sunday and
Martin gave us a clear explanation of what covenanting was and why we should do it. He looked at when and why throughout our lives we have made promises and even had some of us remembering the promise we made as brownies, guides and scouts many many years ago! He led us through various promises and responses culminating in us saying the ABC Covenant together.
We have taken as our prayer motto for 2013 the words "Send us out in the power of your Spirit to live and work to your praise and glory." and Martin concluded that together we would strive to do just that.
Induction of our Pastor - Martin Mills
We have been bubbling with excitement for a number of months now, since we invited Martin to become our Pastor and he accepted. At last the day, when the formalities could be completed arrived. Invitations had been sent and replies received, Leaders, Readers, Preachers, Musicians, cleaners, bakers, tea preparers and washer-uppers were all manoeuvred into place. The church was cleaned and prepared, and folks were asked to perform a myriad of different duties. Thanks to all those who were involved in anyway both before today and today.
By 2.0pm folks were arriving. Friends and relations of Martin and Bobbie came from near and far and it was a pleasure to welome them on their first visit to Alcester. Over the next half hour the church buzzed as Past Ministers of Alcester Baptist Church, Ministers from Baptist Associations, the local churches and neighbouring churches came to support Martin. The Mayor and the High Bailiff and their wives and members of local organisations all arrived to be greeted by both a warm welcome and a warm church (it was freezing outside! but thankfully no snow).
Revd Mark Jennings, who had been our Moderator during the interregnum, welcomed everyone and introduced Revd Canon Keith Judson, Regional Minister and Team Leader of the Heart of England Baptist Association who was to conduct that Induction formalities.
Firstly he asked John Thompson - ABC Church Secretary to explain the story of how we had reached the calling of Martin and this was followed by Martin telling us his side of the "journey".
Next Keith took, Martin, Bobbie, The Deacons and Leadership Team, The church members, and finally the whole congregation through their confessions of Faith and their promises of faithfulness.
The Laying on of hands was carried out by Mark Jennings (Moderator) Chris Gough (Senior Deacon) Alison Roberts (Member of ABC) and Simon Hodges (Alcester Churches Together)
The time we had all waited for came as Keith confirmed that Martin was now Pastor of our church and this was followed by the whole congregation saying the blessing together.
Mark then read a greeting from the immediate past Pastor/Teacher of the church - Alastair Aird and his wife Ruth and then he introduced Simon Hodges who brought greetings on behalf of Churches Together in Alcester. The Mayor brought greetings on behalf of the town of Alcester and Bill Finnemore brought greetings from local Baptist Churches in the area.
After singing some lovely songs accompanied by the music group two scriptures were read. Ephesians 4 v 1-16 was read by Revd Stephen Ansell and Psalm 133 was read by Jacqui Snowdon.
The message was preached by the Revd Canon Nigel Coles, Regional Minister, Team Leader, West of England Baptist Association. He charged both Martin and the fellowship at ABC with Ministering together in unity both within the fellowship and the wider community. He charged us not to be average in our strivings but to be radical. He asked us to be committed to drawing others closer to God being careful not to lose our own personal connection with him, but to actively strengthen it as we mature together in the coming years.
Two lovely hymns - Be Thou my vision and In Christ Alone, together with prayers of Intercession brought the service towards its close.
It was a delight that Martin - our very own Pastor gave the blessing to close the proceedings.
We then enjoyed on lovely time of fellowship over a cup to tea or coffee and a piece of delicious cake
The church was packed and the balcony was pretty full too. We were truly blessed to have been a part of such a wonderful occasion where warmth and Joy abounded. We look forward to working together in Unity, Ministering to each other, and to those around us and Maturing together in our faith.
Christmas Eve - Christingle Service
Wow! 73 folks came along to share in our 4.00pm Christingle Service, We sat around tables laden with all sorts of things to make.
We sang familiar carols, made beautiful Christingles and doves of peace tree decorations and finally made pipe cleaner christmas trees during the making of which Alison led us in prayer.
We had the delight of meeting 10 day old Jessica for the first time - which was wonderful and lots of us had a cuddles.
We also had the Mills family share this occasion with us - a foretaste of things to come.
Thank you to all those who had a hand in organising this very special service.
Sunday 23rd December
Our Service of lessons and carols was very well attended with a number of very welcome visitors sharing the occasion with us. We all enjoyed singing the familiar carols and listening once again to the Christmas story unfold.
Thank you John for organising the service and giving us the message. Thank you too to all the readers.
Sunday 16 December
Today we held our Cafe Style Family Service and what a joyous occasion it was. We Built up our Nativity Scene. We learnt that the best message ever given can be found in a simple 8 note scale. We made lovely Christmas cards and watched a shepherd being interviewed about what he had seen and heard. Mary told us how she felt when the shepherds arrived and wanted to see her baby. We sang carols old and new and spent time thinking about the true meaning of Christmas. We all learnt the Messy Church Benediction and then shared cofee and mince pies and time to chat. Thank you to all involved.
Sunday 9th December
Today was our Annual Toy Service when we welcomed Lord and Lady Hertford, their son William and Lord Hertford's mother the Dowager Marchioness. We also welcomed Lennox Cumberbatch, the town Mayor and his wife and members of the Town Council and John Mills the High Bailiff and his wife and members of the Court Leet and their wives. John Thompson led the service and the second advent candle was lit by William. The High Bailiff read the lesson and various other people took part in the service.
A record number of toys were brought forward and these will be distributed to The Gilgal Refuge for battered wives and children, and the Birmingham Mission Toy Scheme. After the service we all enjoyed coffee and mince pies and a time to chat.
Thursday 6th December
Once again we had a stall at the Annual St Nicholas Market held in the High street in the town. We served hot chocolate and cake pops. Although very cold, the rain held off until 8.0pm and we were able to sell all 200 cake pops and lots of warming cups of hot chocolate. Our profit on the evening was £104 10p and half of this sum was delivered to the St Nicholas Market Committee to distribute to Alcester Charities. The other half will be added to the sum raised on our Christmas card post box and our Christmas day offering which will be divided between three Children's charities.
Our Advent travellers have started their overnight stops at various homes from 1st December to Christmas Eve when we will welcome them back at our Christingle Service. They arrive with a prayer from the previous night's host and a welcome prayer from the current night's host. Each host family is encouraged to pray with the Nativity travellers, to play with them and to make them welcome.
They visited Cath and Keith and Cath's Mum Flo on 6th December and at nearly 103 Flo was delighted to be included in this new Advent activity. She recounted how she prayed as a child at her mother's knee "Gentle Jesus meek and mild, look upon this little child.
Saturday 24th November
What a delightful evening we had at the concert given by NIA. On arrival in the pouring rain we were welcomed with a hot cup of coffee and delightful cakes set on tables set cafe-style around the church. We had time to chat with Nia as she moved around the tables and also with each other as we enjoyed our drink and cake. Then it was time for Nia to start her "Memory Lane" concert. What a treat! We had songs, stories, bible readings all seamlessly delivered by Nia. She treated us to pictures of herself as a child which evoked memories for her and for us as we could associate with ourselves in similar settings. She treated us to pictures of herself with her husband and her two little boys - what a delight. All this accompanyied by the beautiful songs she sang. A friend from Gorsley - Sid - accompanied her in some of her songs and she asked us to join in some too! The range was from hymns and carols to poignant songs and the hillarious "Mums" song.
Thankyou Lynne for organising the evening and to all those who helped with the catering. Thankyou Nia for a wonderful evening - we certainly hope you will come back to Alcester soon!
Sunday 21st October
Today we held our Cafe Style Shoebox Service and the church was packed. We were seated around tables and Ann led a wonderful service, which included beautiful hymns, prayers, stories and a DVD. We were encouraged to share what we have with those who have little and all aspects of the service showed us not only that we SHOULD do this, but HOW we could do it too. Not only did it show us how to fill our shoeboxes, but it showed us that just like the small offerings of five loaves and two fishes, the shoeboxes sent from our church would become part of the thousands of shoeboxes received by children all over the world. We can help to make a difference. We were treated to Coffee/Tea and biscuits served to us at the close of the service. Thankyou Ann, Elaine, Brenda, Chris and all those who helped in any way to make this such a wonderful and meaningful service.
Sunday 14th OctoberTwo of our members Ron and Barbara Smith celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary this weekend and invited us all to share a celebration luncheon with them after the morning service. Over 50 of us sat down to a splendid lunch, all provided by Ron and Barbara and a wonderful time was had by all. Many thanks Ron and Barbara for asking us to share your special anniversary and we wish you many more happy years together.
Saturday 13th October
Messy Church was a wonderful morning with 27 children, parents and helpers having a great time. The theme was "Jesus is the light of the World" and we made marshmallow lighthouse towers, spinners and lanterns, Stained glass windows with tissure paper. We made cards to give to folks who need a cheery light in their lives and candle holders so that we take Jesus' light with us into the darkest places. We played "pin the bulb on the lighthouse" and tried building a lighthouse big enough to sit in. Everyone took home a candle to light at home to remind us of Jesus' light. As usual we all sat down together for a lovely lunch. Thankyou to all who attended and all who helped in anyway to make it such a successful morning.
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