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Archive for November, 2011

We have distributed Christmas Cards to every house in our village and included a coloured cardboard disc on which anyone can write a message, a prayer or a thought. Any cards which are returned will be laminated and hung on our outdoor tree.  If anyone would like a message putting on the tree please feel free to use the online facility on our Church website.    If you wish to go to the website page click here

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Alcoholism

I went to a funeral the other day of an ex work colleague.  Alcohol was the cause of her death and she is the third one of my friends who has died of this cause.  Anyone who tries to tell me that drinking in moderation is ok is deceiving themselves because the quantity drunk is not the problem. It is the realisation that one cannot get through a day without it that is the problem. In my experience it doesn’t need to involve huge amounts, just getting into the habit of having alcohol with every meal is enough. There is a very fine line between the habit and the addiction. It is an illness and much more needs to be done to support those who suffer from it.  The Methodist Church claims to promote teetotalism but there isn’t any evidence of this policy at local level.  Perhaps we should  start drawing more attention to the harm which it can cause and educate our young people about the ease in which it can become addictive and where this can lead.  I just wonder what the parents of those who die of alcohol poisoning think when they hear teetotalism being mocked within the Church.

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Over the next few days we will have some visitors in the village from communist China.  I have volunteered to take them out on a couple of afternoons so decided that one trip will be Anglezarke, Rivington and back over Belmont. That should give them a taste of our wonderful countryside.  I hope to tell them a little of the story of Lever park and the gardens, built by Lord Leverhulme, of Unilever fame.  Unilever trades in China so they should understand what I am talking about, I hope.

The second outing will be to Liverpool.  Perhaps a look at the two Cathedrals and the Waterfront should interest them.

It might be interesting to ask them what it is that they like about communism and what it has done for them.

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Christmas Tree

Our Church decided to put up a Christmas Tree outside this year.  The idea came when the local Council suggested that it might not be able to fund a tree for the village as in previous years due to the recession.  Fair enough I suppose when there are other more important calls on scarce resources.  It was agreed that our village deserved a tree and if the council wasn’t going to provide one then the Methodists would.  Not that we have loads of cash but we have vision and faith and so we approached the local nursery to see what help they could give.  They offered to supply a fifteen foot tree at cost price, which was a start.  Then I began to consider how many lights we might need to do justice to a fifteen foot tree.  I did some mental calculations and decided that we w0uld need at least several thousand lamps !!!!   Having looked on ebay and seen that coloured bulbs are at least £1.00 each it was going to be an uphill job to bring our dream to fruition but undeterred we ordered the tree and the solution to the lights seemed to be “see what you can find”.  We contacted the businesses in the village and several very kindly offered to contribute towards the cost of the tree.  Then along came a donation of lights.  They were second hand but came in vast quantities.  There was a string of at least 250 mains led lamps and so we were sorted, as the modern expression would say.

The tree was going to be delivered but it turned out to be more convenient for me to borrow a LandRover and trailer and collect it myself.  The tree was rather large – fifteen feet large to be precise but with about three feet sticking out of the back of the trailer away we went.  Fortunately,  as we put up three huge crosses on the Church front every Easter we have three holes concreted into the ground under the flags.  It was just a matter of lifting the centre flag and dropping the tree into the hole, except that for some strange reason the hole was not under the centre flag – at least not under the one I lifted.  One could imagine a comedy sketch with someone lifting 3 x 2 flags only to find the hole under the last one but anyway I soon found the hole and into it went the tree.  Some wooden wedges and a bit of pushing and shoving soon had it looking magnificent.  Then to put on the lights !

Starting at the top seemed a good place and so out came the ladder and some tiewraps.  I soon had one lamp adorning the top and it seemed as if it would be easy just attaching the rest.  Well I suppose it was easy, except that I was still attaching them when it went dark, but got them all in place eventually.  Halfway through the job I had a cappuccino brought to me from Stickyweeds, the local cafe next door.  Kathryn, the owner had seen me and had taken pity.  What a kind gesture and very welcome too. All that remains is to connect up to the mains and away we go.  Later this week I hope to have it working so perhaps I might treat my loyal fanclub to a pretty picture when we have the grand switch-on.  Watch this space.

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One of my most read posts was one with this title from some time ago.  It appears that many people were looking for a piece of music with Eagles wings in the lyrics and not many seemed to come up with the true source.  If it helps anyone in the future here is the answer –  The title of the song is “Don’t you know” by K. Allan & S. Rinaldi and was written as an entry in a national Sing Good News song contest organised by the Bible Society.  It was published in a book called Sing Good News  ISBN 0 564 00830 3.

The song was later incorporated in a brilliant musical called Sing Good News The Musical.  (Quite an original title)   ISBN 0 564 09931 7

Both books are out of print but I have checked today and both are available on Amazon.

The words are taken from Isaiah 40  verses 28 and 31

I hope this blog is helpful and I will answer any further queries about the subject to the best of my ability.

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Do you believe in luck?

Personally I don’t believe in luck.  Or at least, not in the sense that things are lucky or unlucky.  For example, if I walk under a ladder and a tin of paint falls on my head then I would consider that perhaps I should have noticed that someone was up the ladder and therefore my action was unwise but the action of walking under a ladder cannot influence future events.  Similarly, carrying a lucky charm cannot, in my view have any influence on the future.  Having said that, I might have mentioned in a previous blog about a Christian businessman in America who produces small crosses from scrap aluminium and gives them away to people with the message that it will remind them that someone cares about them or that they are being remembered in whatever situation they find themselves.  Thousands of these crosses have found their way to the UK and there are stories of people who have decided not to commit suicide because they discovered one of the crosses in their pocket and remembered that someone cared about them.  In fact, when one of the crosses was being given to a local person, she asked -“What do I do with it. Do I rub it”.  It was explained that it has no magical power and is not a lucky charm. It is just a piece of aluminium to remind the owner that someone was thinking about them and cared enough to give it to them.  It would be so easy for the crosses to be seen as having special powers but how could that ever be so.  Perhaps there are those who could tell similar stories about a crucifix or rosary beads and if they are simply a reminder of some comforting Christian belief then I have to accept that there is no difference between that and the aluminium crosses but there is a danger, with both I suppose, that the owner begins to treat the object as if it had some special powers.

Of course it is easy to attribute events to some charm, luck, astrology or an answered prayer, depending on your particular beliefs.  I don’t think that it will ever be possible to prove beyond doubt whether any of these have any influence but it seems to me that a great deal of harm can come from dabbling in some of them.  I choose to put my faith in God’s power and that has served me well up to now.

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Bonfire fireworks

Discovered a wonderful supplier of fireworks in Lancaster the other day called “Astounded”.  They couldn’t have been more helpful and were able to give me a history of the various manufacturers.  They explained what each firework would do and made very helpful suggestions about what would work best.  They even numbered the fireworks so that we would set them off in the best order.  We had a wonderful evening last night on a local farm, with burgers, parkin, cups of tea, coffee and loads of fun.

I think that spending a bit extra on some quality fireworks is well worth it if there are going to be a reasonable number of people to enjoy them.  There was no charge to join in the fun and a brilliant time was had by all, including quite a lot of young children.  It is so good that we can provide a safe environment where people can have a pleasant evening knowing that it is going to be safe and well organised.  The bonfire was huge by anyones standards and was so hot that we had to move back until some of the heat had gone out of it.  We also had a brilliant view of bonfires in various directions, some probably 3 or 4 miles away.

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