From the Clergy
The 15th Station
Revd Alison Iliffe explores a rarely depicted Station of the Cross.
In the church of St Hugh on Northampton Road there are a series of plaques depicting the Stations of the Cross. Each of the 14 stations represents a stage recalling Jesus’ journey from his sentencing before Pilate, through his death and burial.
Since medieval times pilgrims have traditionally used art in this way to walk in Jesus’ final footsteps. In the Market Harborough Team we use these stations within St Hugh to do just that during Holy Week, as we reflect together on the events of Jesus’ final journey. You are of course very welcome to join us in this.
However, for Christians the burial of Jesus isn’t the end of the story. Also in St Hugh, on the rood screen above the nave are written the words “Via Crucis Via Lucis” – the way of the cross is the way of light. As I looked at the Stations, I pondered why that way of light – the Resurrection, wasn’t depicted in a 15th station.
Having gone home and done some research, I discovered that some stations of the cross now do include a 15th station showing the resurrection. But I wonder whether depicting a 15th station is perhaps difficult to do because it is actually the risen Christ in the world through us, and for each of us that would look differently?
Our own 15th station wouldn’t be set in which church we identify with, but in where we live out our faith in our everyday lives. Each time we are sent out from our churches we are sent to the places and people God is calling us to live amongst. “Go, in peace to love and serve the Lord.” Go, with confidence in who we are before God into the whole of our lives, journeying with God, knowing the privilege of sharing the story of God, through our interaction with others and how we live our lives.
At a recent Resourcing Church Community of Practice, we were encouraged to draw rather than write. Some of us were less successful at that than others! but it did help to bring in a different perspective. Perhaps as Holy Week approaches, we could each try drawing our own 15th station, or think about what we might draw.
Our 15th station is all around us and is part of us. As we go through our ordinary everyday lives the risen Christ is living within us. So, this Easter, let’s envisage what our own 15th station might be and also look for the picture of the risen Jesus in each other, knowing as we do so the difference this makes to the kingdom of God here on earth.
Revd Alison Iliffe
These items are extracted from the church's monthly magazine 'The Quintet'. You will find many more itmes of interest in the magazine itself. It is available from the back of each church at a cost of 70p per issue. You can also subscribe to the Quintet for £7.00 per year, which is a saving of the cost of two copies per year. Just give your name and contact details to a member of the clergy and we can set you up. You can also contact the editor, Richard Pomeroy, 01858 462273, who can help you.
Giving a warm welcome on those lonely Sunday afternoons
Pioneer Minister David Palmer gives an update on Tea@Three
A recent newcomer to Tea@Three told me that she and her two friends have felt a ‘real warm welcome and acceptance.’ She added that many others she knows would benefit by coming along. Another said, ‘It fills an otherwise lonely, empty day.’ Another of our lovely guests appreciated the fact that Tea@Three offers a ‘broad diversity of speakers and topics from which she learns new insights.’ She also loves ‘walking into the hall and seeing beautifully set tables replete with cakes, flowers and china.’
Numbers aren’t everything but 40 people gathered at last month’s Tea@Three at the Community Hall in Coventry Road. We see new faces almost every time.
Now in our fourth year, we have had to hire a second bus to transport the growing number of people wanting to come along. We are grateful to the Harborough Community Bus and drivers for providing a brilliant, reliable service.
The theme of the Tea@Three 2019 programme is around discovering more about different people and places. Believing that everyone has a story to share, we have introduced six or seven questions to ask our guests or speakers, about aspects of their lives and faith journeys.
In February Rob Leveritt gave us some interesting insights into his life. We greatly enjoyed hearing about his recent trip to Japan with Monty Don and the Gardening World team.
Rob showed us photos of some immaculate gardens they visited and also entertained us with reflections on Japanese culture. For instance, the Japanese protocol in exchanging greetings is not to shake hands, hug or kiss but to bow.
Apparently, there are four types of bowing practised, depending upon status, age and relationship of those greeting each other. Another interesting fact about the Japanese is their strict adherence to time keeping. Punctuality is everything!
A quiz about Japan and its history and community singing led by the irrepressible Brian Davies completed the afternoon. Sushi, we decided, might not be to everyone’s taste, but instead a great selection of cakes was provided, baked by our loyal group of ladies.
Please pray for the guests and the team of volunteer helpers, most especially that we will all discover more of the love and grace of Christ and deepen our friendships as a group.
Goodbye Old Friend
New Year, new car? Not quite as straightforward as it sounds but Myra and Bill (on yer bike) Anhoury strike a piece of luck. Myra tells the story
On Monday 17th December our 18 year-old Ford Focus estate went in for its MOT.
It almost passed and Bill was asked to bring it in Thursday for a few jobs to be done. We were delighted it was going to be alright for another 12 months as Bill loved that car.
Thursday 20th December the car went in bright and early. About 4pm the garage rang to tell Bill they had done 2 hours work and had now come to the welding underneath. This was much worse than they thought it would be and would cost £1,000.
Put the money towards another car they said and write it off.
This left us with nothing, Friday 21st December was an extremely busy day in church, we only had about 2 hours at lunch time to find another car - virtually impossible!
Bill biked around all the garages in Harborough and could see nothing. We then risked taking the old car to the Ford garage, Leicester Road.
Bill arranged to go back to test drive one after a funeral service we had in the afternoon. Naturally the cars we liked were a lot more than we wanted to pay.
One of Stamp’s men heard us talking and suggested we go to Western Avenue garage. Bill said he'd already been and they had nothing. “ OK, ask what is due in and mention Stamp’s name,” he said.
After the service Bill biked back to the Western Avenue garage, was looking on the forecourt and everything was the same, the garage man came out, asked Bill what he was looking for.
Bill told him, “What I really would like you do not seem to have. I’m looking for a Ford Fiesta, 5 door hatchback, red, low mileage, not more than £5,500. It's a tall order and I can see you do not have one”.
The Lord knew differently. The salesman took Bill through the showroom to a room beyond where sat a Ford Fiesta, 5 door hatchback, red, low mileage, in excellent condition, £5,200.
“Is this what you’re looking for?” he asked.
“Yes, exactly”, replied an astonished Bill.
“It's yours if you want it. Do you want to test drive it?”
“No thanks”, said Bill. “I'll take it”.
We could not collect until Friday 28th December but oh the joy when Bill drove it home.
It just shows how the Lord looks after you!
Team Vision Day: ‘It’s not about us – it’s about our Community!’
How can the five Anglican churches most effectively reach out to the 93 per cent – the huge majority of the 23,000 population in the parishes who don’t yet have a living faith in Jesus Christ? Lin Ball focuses on this question as she reports on Team Vision day last month
That was the big question facing all those who gathered for the Team Vision Day in June.
Team Rector Barry Hill reminded everyone of the Archbishop William Temple quotation: ‘The Church is the only society that exists for the benefit of those who are not its members.’
He said he wanted us to challenge the statistics that said that across Europe someone is 33 times more likely to join a new church than an existing one, and 33 times more likely to become a Christian in a new church than an existing one. Developing both ‘what is’ alongside ‘what could be’ will be key, he stressed.
Like the mustard seed
The Church, said Barry, is like the mustard seed – it’s small, but it grows deep roots so can grow bigger; it makes a big difference; and it re-seeds itself.
During a number of group discussion times during the day, members from the different congregations had opportunities to say how they felt about progress since the last Vision Day 18 months previously, and what excited them about ideas for the future.
Generally, it was felt that the passions people outlined in January 2017 remained, and that progress had been made. These passions were broadly defined as:
· Being more inclusive and welcoming
· Offering more people the opportunity to become disciples of Jesus
· Discipleship – deepening our faith
· Serving the community and being a witness
· Tackling social injustice
· Working more closely with other churches and Christian organisations in the town
Most people felt positively about recent changes, such as the influx of newcomers to the new 9.15 service at St Di’s, and ‘changes in gear’ to activities already happening across all five churches. Plans or discussions are in hand for:
· Starting ‘café church’ at Great Bowden
· Potentially a new youth-led worshipping community across the Team (possibly based at St Hugh’s)
· Further development in serving those who are older and more isolated
· Giving more opportunities to grow as disciples
· And (longer term) several other new worshipping communities.
Desire for unity
Concerns were expressed throughout the day about how to develop more unity within and across the congregations and churches, as well as becoming much more prayerful. Also, fresh challenges to outreach could be identified, particularly with the new housing planned – 600 new homes in the Transfiguration parish and 1500 in Lubenham.
And many people were concerned that more should be done to connect with teenagers, at a time when there was real worry about the mental health of young people.
Barry explained that it was hoped to extend Dawn O’Connell’s role as Children and Families Development Worker. Her current 3-year contract will finish in August but, after consultations over the last year with each PCC, the children and young peoples’ steering group and Team Council, a proposal has been agreed for her role to become permanent.
Dawn will take on strategic oversight for 0-18 year olds across the Team alongside the appointment of two Apprentice Youth Workers (each working 22 hours a week).
Half the money for this is being bid for, from the Diocese and a local charity, along with the five churches needing to sacrificially and generously increase giving (the cost locally being £100,000 over the next four years). Barry described this as a ‘significant step of faith’ to help meet the needs and opportunities across the town and villages.
In an exercise to discover what were felt to be the attitudes and behaviours that would help or hinder forward momentum in fulfilling the churches’ vision, people voted that the most helpful attributes were being welcoming, accessible and open, with devoting more time to prayer coming a close second.
In terms of attitudes and behaviours that hindered, the vote went to being critical, inflexible and grumbling as being the most unhelpful.
All responsible for growth
Bryony Wood, Team Vicar at Great Bowden, took up the theme of how the responsibility for growth rests with all of us.
‘Within the Body of Christ in Market Harborough, you are all called and chosen,’ she told everyone. ‘You are appointed and anointed; and when God calls, he equips.
‘Our purpose and passion are not about wanting a job or a title, but about being children of God, loved unconditionally, and called to be a blessing to our community. If we don’t, who else will?’
Countering the impact of loneliness
It’s a sad truth that many people spend their days with only their TV or
their cat for company. Loneliness, said Mother Teresa, is a terrible poverty. In western society, with its increasing emphasis on the individual, the consequent loss of community feeling has a great impact – and that is felt particularly keenly by the elderly among us.
Tea@Three aims to alleviate loneliness and isolation in Market Harborough by providing a warm and welcoming gathering on Sunday afternoons – regarded by many as the time when being alone feels hardest.
‘I like to get out of small flat on a Sunday for what can be a very empty day,’ says one regular guest. ‘I particularly enjoy singing some of the old tunes.’
Another says, ‘It’s great to be in company and mingling with people who are in similar situations. And it’s good to be getting some mental stimulation!’
The programme for Tea@Three on the last Sunday of each month is a varied mix of music, games, fun activities and interesting speakers – always accompanied by plenty of cups of tea and delicious homemade cakes. In the summer there is an outing to a local place of interest. The meetings provide an enjoyable opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones.
The venue for Tea@Three is St Dionysius Community Hall, on Coventry road next to the Harborough Medical Centre. As a number of those who attend have mobility issues, many are collected on the community minibus, with a qualified driver and his able assistant.
Although linked to the church, not all who attend Tea@Three are churchgoers. Some perhaps attended many years ago. No distinction is made, but all are warmly welcomed. No charge is made, though a number are happy to make a donation to running costs.
Please contact David Palmer on 07505 968767 or email email@example.com for further details.