If you were able to be in church on 15 March you would have seen the video of A Rocha (pronounced “aro shar”) International and the videos produced by the children showing why they decided to support this charity. A Rocha is a Christian environmental charity which has many projects worldwide supporting animal conservation, re-forestation and many other environmental issues. Please go to A Rocha website https://www.arocha.org/en/ to see the breadth of work they do worldwide. During the service a video was played illustrating the beliefs and work of the charity, the link to the video shown in church is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ff2MOVruo3I . Thank you to Val who produced the gorgeous cakes, the donations for tea, coffee and cake after the service began this year’s fundraising.
This year’s World Day of Prayer service was held in our church on Friday, 6th March. It was a lovely and very moving service written by the Christian Women of Zimbabwe with their text “Rise! Take Your Mat and Walk”.
It is amazing to think this same service was held all over the world, at different times, but all on the 6th March. There were a good number of people at the service. We thank Hannah and Gill for organising the service and Joan for organising the refreshments after it.
Thanks also to all who came to the service and to those who did readings, played the music, and the video for us all to see. Next year’s World Day of Prayer service will be at Braishfield URC on Friday, 5th March 2021 so see this as an early note for your diaries!
We reported on our presentation of the church 2019 charity project cheque to Hampshire Search and Rescue in last month’s magazine, but I just wanted to say how nice it was to be able to include a photo of Joan Glister presenting the cheque to Alison Chestnut and Trevor Vidler from the charity in that report. We hope to be able to share more photos from various church events now the magazine has gone to colour!
I would also like to repeat my thanks to everyone who supported the church in its fundraising efforts for Hampshire Search and Rescue. It was so wonderful to be able to give the charity a cheque for £1,408.80, which we understand will be used towards new hand-held microphones, which are much needed in their work. Any money left over from that will be going towards fitting out their new Control Van. What a wonderful job this charity does and we are pleased we have been able to help them a little.
The charity we are supporting in 2020 will be Mercy Ships. We heard more about their work and what they are involved in during our service on 16th February, when we launched the charity as our project for the year. We trust some events towards this will soon be organised. If anyone would like to put on an event for us, please let me know so we can get the date in our diaries.
WESSEX SYNOD YOUTH EXECUTIVE MEETING
This Valentine’s day I made my way to Fleet URC to begin our first Wessex synod youth exec meeting of 2020. I had a super time and alongside the discussions and work it was really nice to catch up with my friends on the exec. We covered all of the agenda by Saturday evening which doesn't happen often and meant that we could elaborate on any previous subjects again if we wanted to.
We planned the layout for the next meeting which takes place in May and is also an open meeting which means young people not on the WSYE can come along and still input their views regarding the topics. Along with planning we wrote out our report of what we have been up to in order for it to be read out at general assembly. I had a really good time and we all look forward to keeping up with what is planned so far for the rest of the year!
On Saturday, 8 February our members and friends gathered to celebrate Burns night in style with good food, a ceilidh and a wee dram. Robert Burns was born on 25 January 1759 and, since soon after his death in 1796, Burns enthusiasts have been celebrating his life and his genius annually with Burns Suppers. The Chair, Derek Hiscocks, called the guests to order and all stood to receive the haggis, piped in by Marcus White. The “beastie” was carried by Richard, the chef, and escorted by Carole Cox with the dram. At the front they met Ian Caldwell, who then addressed the haggis with zest and gusto!
Alfresco Catering prepared and served the delicious meal of salmon mousse, followed by traditional haggis served with a whisky sauce, neeps & tatties. This was followed by 'tipsy laird', a gorgeous raspberry sherry trifle and the meal rounded off with fresh coffee and mints, accompanied by excellent home-made shortbread. During the meal the guests were entertained with recitations of Burns’ work; “Banks o' Doon” by Margaret Caldwell and “Epistle to a Young Friend” by Willie McKenna.
After the meal, John McGhee toasted the Immortal Memory of Robert Burns, the Loyal Toast was proposed by Ian Caldwell and the Chair, Derek Hiscock, proposed toasts to “Oor Guests” and to absent friends. Then Dicey Reilly & Guests had everyone on their feet taking part in the ceilidh; partners were found and dances learnt, thanks to the caller’s patience and enthusiasm. The music was excellent and had those not dancing, tapping their feet and clapping along. During the break, allowing guests and band to catch their breath, the raffle was drawn; the kindness of local businesses was hugely appreciated.
The ceilidh resumed with more fun and laughter; the band and guests could have continued until the early hours, however at 11pm the time had come to wish friends goodnight and Derek gave the closing vote of thanks, congratulating all those who had a helped organise the event. Derek said “heartfelt thanks to the caterers, the food was delicious. The hall looked amazing and the enthusiasm of the band made for a very special event. Special thanks to Photoflair, Romsey for taking the photos and providing lasting mementos of the evening.” The night was rounded off by a rousing rendition of Robert Burns’ most widely known work, 'Auld Lang Syne' before the guests wended their weary, but happy, way home.
Thank you all for your support, we have raised £495.74 for church funds.
It was great to refresh our link with Fryers House by nominating them as our charity for our Community Awareness Weekend. We opened the church on Saturday 8 February for refreshments. Thirteen people visited between 10am–2pm and looked at the display about Fryers House and its work. Interesting chats were held with the visitors, 6 of whom were visiting Romsey from Dorset for the day!
On Sunday we welcomed Trish Moody, the Volunteer Co-ordinator for Fryers House. Trish told us how the Leonard Cheshire Homes were founded and the work they now undertake with their severely disabled residents. Trish co-ordinates the volunteers at Fryers House and organises much of their activities within the community. For her, this is a two-way street with the community helping them, whilst they also offer their skills and gifts back into the community.
One such offering has been the purchase and maintenance of a defibrillator for use by the local community. Fryers House will also be opening their very own Sensory Garden later this year and hope to make this available to other community groups.
We often make the mistake of looking at ourselves as the “abled” whilst people like the residents of Fryers House are labelled “disabled”. Mike, in his sermon for the Community Awareness service, spoke of the Japanese tradition of Kintsugi. This is the tradition whereby broken pottery is repaired with a seam of lacquer and gold. Instead of a broken pot the new vessel therefore becomes more beautiful and valuable than its original.
Each one of us is created in the image of God; perhaps we need to look more closely at our 'labels', to see that we are all disabled in some way and that the gold holding us together is God’s image showing through, everyone different in the pattern the gold creates within us.
We look forward to forging stronger links with Fryers House. Start by booking Saturday 25 July in your diary to support the Fryers House Summer Fete in Abbey Hall. Hopefully, Trish will be returning back later in the year to update us on how Fryers House residents have been working within our community.
It was wonderful to see local businesses networking and collaborating at the Abbey United Reformed Church Wedding Fair on Saturday, 12 May. The Church looked amazing, thanks to the beautiful wedding clothing provided by INZ.PIRED, Millie Couture Bridal and Cavendish, the wonderful flower arrangements provided by Ladybird Florists and the impressive cakes supplied by Daisy Cakes. Fotogems/Photoflair had an impressive display of their wedding photography and the support of Khaos, Cromwell Arms and Silks was much appreciated.
The church was full of the sound of wedding music, provided by Kirsty Newbury on organ and piano, Gerda Wilcox on flute, accompanied by Kirsty, as well as the beautiful harmonies of the Southampton Choral Society Celebration Choir. Revd Mike Perrott, Minister of Abbey URC, said “It was a wonderful event, bringing local business and members of our church together, inviting members of the public to visit our church.”
The fun continued in the Abbey Hall with a full programme of children’s craft, cake decorating demonstration, an opportunity to learn how to hand tie a bouquet by The Ladybird Florists as well as a free jive class by Richer Moves, who runs a Wednesday evening class at the British Legion. There was a chance to meet the Abbey URC’s BALM (bereavement) group and the Prayer Shawl group, have a go at table tennis and badminton, to meet the young persons’ author – Janet Davis and the opportunity to support the Fairtrade and PARC stall. The afternoon was rounded off by a visit from Ian of ROMDAG who had advice and ideas for people coping with dementia and their carers.
Thank you to everyone who contributed; it was wonderful to see everyone working together on this project.
This year we are holding a grand auction of promises during a meal on the Friday of Christian Aid Week, Friday 18th May 2018 at 7.00pm in Romsey Baptist Church, Bell Street.
We aim to auction promises of all kinds during and after our meal – what could you offer for auction? Let imaginations run riot – some examples from our last auction: lots as widely varied as a holiday in UK or France, a few hours of DIY, gardening, babysitting or ironing. A celebration cake, scones or fudge. Maybe you can offer your expertise in a particular area such as how to get the best out of your computer software. On the other hand how about cooking someone a Sunday lunch or afternoon tea and cakes? We offered a shopping trip for an older person, or something for a present such as the blender, table runner, tennis racket, bulbs or painting. There are so many possibilities of course. Maybe you have an unwanted present just waiting for a good home….
Nearer the date we shall circulate a list of the lots on offer. And we shall also be issuing meal tokens for catering purposes, so that we know how many bidders can attend. If you are interested in any of the offers and can’t make the date, simply phone in your bid – details of how to do this will be available in good time. Perhaps there is a lot that you could bid for as a present for someone else?
Please give some thought to what you could offer to help us raise a bumper donation for Christian Aid this year and complete the offers form and return it as soon as you can so that we can build up a great list of lots for auction.
If you can offer a promise please contact Dave or Hazel Sharman as soon as you can and at the latest by Saturday, 12 May.
"All God`s Creation is Very Good". The postponed service took place on Friday, 16 March at St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church. The subject focused on praise and gratitude for the wonderful world we live in and seeking God`s inspiration and support in doing all we can to care for His Creation. The large congregation enjoyed singing hymns written and composed by the women of Suriname who also produced the service. It was lovely to see the representatives from our Church.