What have we been doing
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.
Saturday 29 September
Another wonderful evening of Prayer and Praise. Our thanks to the singing group who led us through, both listening to and joining in the songs. Thanks too for those who led the devotional sections. We are so blessed to have such talented folk within our Churches in Alcester. Thanks too, to all those who came along to share in the evening of giving praise to our Lord.
Saturday 15 September
Our Festival of Flowers has been a great start to our Harvest Weekend. The church looked beautiful and thanks go to our talented Floral arrangers who did stunning arrangements in the foyer, on each windowsill and at the front of the church. Thankyou to those who arranged and those who brought flowers or donated money towards flowers. Thanks to Jean for the beautiful hand scripted bible verses which accompanied each arrangement.
Thanks also to all those who brought tins and boxes of food which were used in the arrangements and will be donated together with the flowers to various organisations. Thanks to all those who greeted all the visitors, those who made and served coffee and Ploughmans lunches and to those who washed up.
We had lots of friends old and new coming through the doors, to see the flowers, have a coffee or a Ploughman's lunch and share time together. Thanks to Lynn and Brenda for selling their beautiful handmade cards. A special thanks to Brenda and Ann for planning and organising the whole event.
Sunday 16 September 2012
We had lots of visitors attend this morning's Harvest Festival Service which was led by Lynne. The theme was taken from the BMS Thirsty Appeal and Lynne gave out bottles of water to those who in a time of crisis with little water to spare, would be given water. She was left with a bottle of very dirty water and offered that to the remainder of us. No-one wanted it and of course no-one should have to drink such water because there is simply no other choice. We were then given a real treat - Nia from Gorsley Baptist sang to us and had us join in choruses with her. John gave us a thought provoking word before Nia sang us her beautiful benediction. Thank you to everyone who made it such a lovely service.
After coffee and a chat 24 folks enjoyed a "Bring and Share" lunch together.
Sunday 26 August 2012
What a wonderful sight greeted us as we arrived in church this morning. The walls and ceiling had been painted! Our beautiful cross simply shone out from the newly painted magnolia walls. The ceiling was clean and white, with the centre rose picked out in magnolia. The dark stained woodwork is still a job in progress and it is hoped will be painted by a team of our own folk to help us save on costs. Hopefully it will be finished before our new Pastor and his family join us early in 2013.
Saturday 14 July 2012
Messy church was a huge success with 12 children and 15 adults attending. A new family joined in the fun this month and everyone had a good time. Our next Messy Church is on 8th September.
Sunday July 15 2012
Elaine led our SMS Service and used four videos from Scripture Union which depicted four of our Olympian competitors who are Christians. They showed us that not only were they in the Olympian race but they were also in God's race. They showed us how having God in their lives helped both in the good times and the bad. They told us that having God alongside them made a difference. Elaine showed us that though we might not be in the coming Olympics but we still had God alongside us, making a difference in our lives. Thank you Elaine for an inspiring service.
Sunday July 1st 2012
We arrived very early this morning as it was a very different Sunday from all those that have gone before AND for all those which are to follow!
Today the OLYMPIC TORCH was coming through our town and passing the front of our church. The town was bedecked with bunting and at 8.30am Keith and I put up extra Union Jacks across the front gates and around the notice board. Whilst doing this we saw three people walking slowly towards us - one dressed in the olympic torch bearers uniform. I asked her if she was the person running "our stretch" and she said she was. She was from Atlanta in USA and it was her first visit to the UK. Evidently she and the other lady (who had run her stretch yesterday) were nominated for the volunteer charity work she had done. She was so excited and was fascinated with the Town. We were able to tell her some of the history of both our church and the town and we have an email address which we can send her both pictures of the event and give her more information about Alcester.
Back then to the preparations. At 9.30am we put out some chairs along the frontage, but though folks were coming into the town, it was by no means crowded. At 10.0am we served coffee and biscuits both to our folk and a few others who had taken up positions near to us. The dribble of folks turned into a stream and by10.35 there was a torrent of folk coming by and taking up every available space along the torch route.
We were treated to folks on jump stilts, folks on unicycles, Morris Men, folks selling various Olympic mementoes and sponsors giving away flags.
The atmosphere grew and grew. We were to be on TV so the Camera car came through, followed by sponsor cars and buses, police cars, bikes and outriders and then at last the olympic bus followed by our runner - Sandra - flanked by the torch team. We cheered and clapped as
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