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.
What was happening in Abbey United Reformed Church, Romsey on Friday, 9 March? The 3rd Romsey Scouts were inspired by churches opening their doors to homeless people over the Christmas period. They asked if they could sleep at the United Reformed Church and raise money for It's Your Choice, Totton; this was a chosen charity at Christmas by the church.
‘It's Your Choice’ offers a safe, free, and confidential support service for all young people, typically aged 12-25. They provide information, advice, guidance, counselling and casework support, delivered through drop-in sessions, outreach work, workshops, and projects or, where necessary, by signposting to other services. They aim to provide young people with the knowledge, skills and information they need to make safe, positive choices on issues which affect their lives. At the heart of all their work with young people is a commitment to be non-judgmental, to show young people respect and to empower them.
The Scouts explored what it means to be homeless and the problems they would face - apart from the obvious ones of staying safe, the health issues, obtaining food, staying warm and dry - they also discussed the reduced life chances homeless people have, the judgemental attitude towards homelessness, problems of applying for jobs with no address, cleaning clothes for interviews and overcoming the stigma of homelessness. They decided a positive way to help homeless people would be to give them a sandwich, soup or even a bottle of water. The Scouts decided a night in the cold church was more welcoming than a night facing the elements. They raised over £90 for It’s Your Choice to help towards their work with young people.
A big thank you to all who helped make our Harvest weekend such a resounding success. It was good to share Harvest celebrations again with our friends from St Joseph’s who helped at the events throughout the weekend and joined in our Sunday services. Thanks to Wendy Stewart for organising the Friday evening Varity Show and all who assisted her to make such a successful evening.
The week-end concluded with a joint morning Harvest service led by our Minister. Sunday afternoon saw voices and musical talents stimulated by the Madding Crowd “Gallery Music” workshop, before singing traditional Harvest hymns during our evening service. Thanks to Geoff Prestage and Mike Perrott for organising this, to Jill Stagg and her team for the afternoon tea and, of course, to Madding Crowd for their patience and help in taking our evening service back to those “pre-organ” days of church worship.
Hello everyone I'm back! It seems like ages since I wrote a piece saying goodbye when I was leaving for Tanzania, look how much I've done since then. It was lovely to see that Mum kept you all up to date on what I was getting up to but I thought I would tell you a bit about the things she missed out...
It all started once Mum and Dad had dropped me off at Heathrow Airport and I was with the rest of Team Tembo. We were through passport control, security and we were on the plane before I knew it. After stop at Dubai, we arrived in Dar es Salaam – the traffic was mad! It took us 3 hours to do a journey that should have taken 40 minutes. Our last night of luxury with beds, flushing toilets and electricity before heading for Madabadaba.
The next day we went as far as Hondo Hondo where we spent the night, then an early start for the final leg to Madabadaba, it was an epic journey in total of 365km (226 miles) over very bumpy roads. We arrived, put up our tents and organised our camp before we fell into our sleeping bags for some sleep.
When we arrived at the school there was a bare shell with no roof, paint or colour. It wasn't long before we changed that! Over our two weeks at the school we had finished all the classrooms and all three offices. Every wall, door and window had been sanded, painted, repainted in the range of three colours (black, white and red). We had also done some murals in the classrooms such as an alphabet, numbers 1-10, a world map, times tables and we even did a tree with all of our hand prints and names as a lasting reminder of our team’s visit to the village. Satisfying work but days from 7.30am-5pm in the heat of Tanzania meant that we were all ready to wash and cool off in the river each evening!
For the opening ceremony, all of the village turned up including all 250 children! Madabadaba isn’t a big village or well-known, however BUS LOADS of people turned up from miles around just to see what these Scouts had done to help the school. You could say it was a good turn out! The children were all so excited to see the equipment we had brought them using the active kids vouchers and we played football with them using their new ball, it was really lovely.
Sadly, the day after the opening ceremony we left Madabadaba. We said good bye to the villagers and children, all the Tanzanian Scouts who had camped with us, our night watchman (who had kept us safe whilst we slept – and had even encouraged a leopard to leave our camp site) and the builders. We had one last wash in our beloved river we set off for the rest of our trip.
We then got to travel around a small part of Tanzania. We enjoyed a safari where we saw so many elephants, zebra, hippo and quite a few lions. One day we had a lovely climb up Sanje Waterfalls, we hiked into pristine natural forest to the top of the 180m waterfall where we had lunch with our legs over the edge and we swam in the pool at the bottom. Then, last but not least we arrived at the beach resort. By now we haven’t seen metal cutlery or china plates for a month so our first meal here was very emotional, especially when they brought us banana split!
I could talk about Tanzania, the experience, my team and the friends I made for ages but I feel I would run out of space! I hope this has given you a bit more of an insight into what we got up to on our month away but please feel free to talk to me about it, as I said, I can talk for ages on the subject!
Thank you all for supporting me so much on my journey.