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.
From the Clergy - June 2018
Spring Alpha Course
Revd Pep Hill describes this year’s Alpha Course
Last month saw the final session of the Alpha Course* which started just after Christmas. We finished with a party to celebrate what might just be the longest course ever held! What with the snow, half term, more snow, Maundy Thursday, Easter and an extra session, the course continued rather longer than the 10 weeks anticipated!
But it was great – after the first few weeks of people trying it out, and some deciding it wasn’t for them, the three groups were remarkably consistent, and everyone finished the course. There were various beliefs and philosophies within the groups, from committed Christians to committed Atheists! Some of our guests were church-goers at least occasionally, but were often from different backgrounds and held very different world views, which livened up our conversations considerably.
All our evenings, even in the dead of winter, were warm and friendly, in the great environs of the Cube, and with fantastic meals provided by Liz Howe (until her back operation – we don’t think she scheduled it in order to get out of cooking …) ably assisted by Derek Williams’ wonderful house group, with Sue Macdonald and Anne Hathaway taking on the organisation in Liz’s absence.
A host of others also provided meals, with special mention to Adrian Trotter for going above and beyond and providing 3! The final 3 meals were held at the ‘Village Hall’ at Dee and Rennie Quinn’s house and were even better than usual because we had wine with them! The quality of the post-meal conversation was definitely enhanced!
It was particularly nice to be able to run a Team-wide course with helpers and participants from all the churches within the Harborough Anglican Team. I am especially grateful to all the people from across the Team who prayed for the course so faithfully.
It proved to be a really good course. It is always great to meet new people and make new friends and very exciting to see God working in people’s lives. I think it’s fair to say that the guests enjoyed it immensely and the discussions were thought-provoking and entertaining. Many of the guests felt that their faith had increased dramatically over the course and the helpers and leaders also had their faith challenged and stretched.
The Away Day was a wonderful time, in the beautiful surroundings of Launde Abbey. The weather was stunning and we were able to enjoy the grounds, as well as learn all about the Holy Spirit and experience the love of God in a very personal and special way.
I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know so many people much better and loved the easy-going and fun atmosphere. It was also amazing seeing people’s faith becoming stronger and more alive with each passing week! Thank you so much to Catherine Pickersgill, Lydia Tebbutt, Paul Betts, Dee and Rennie Quinn, Sarah Hay, Bruce Leat and Derek Williams for leading the groups.
One of the joys of running Alpha is the way those helping on the course get to exercise their own gifts, whether by cooking, praying, welcoming, leading the discussions, helping to finance it, running the bookstall etc.
As it takes all of us to be the church of Jesus Christ, we need to look for opportunities to serve. If you’re aware that you’re not using the gifts God has given you, please do speak to one of the staff team or wardens. You may be just what the church needs!
We are now planning our next Alpha course which will run on Tuesday evenings throughout the Autumn, finishing up by Christmas. Although the original plan was to run a day-time course next, there are a number of people who have requested another evening one, so we will postpone the day-time course until early next year.
If you are interested in finding out more, or would like to book onto the next course, please e-mail Revd Pep Hill on firstname.lastname@example.org
*The Alpha course is (usually!) a 10 week course to explore the bigger questions of life, faith and meaning. Each session usually involves a meal together, a short film, time to discuss the issues raised and any other questions guests may have. No question is off limits and the sessions are relaxed and informal. It is primarily intended to give guests space to explore the issues that concern them.
Tanzania and Zambia
Julie Fagan ‘girds her loins’ for a profound and adventurous experience
On the back of the Tearfund quarterly magazine there was a photo of two little girls. The older one was trying to console the younger one who was crying inconsolably because she was so hungry – a deep hunger I have never known. My two granddaughters are of a similar age and they often hug lovingly and console one another. The photo made me weep.
Another painful picture is of a parent holding a dying child, dying for want of clean water or through malnutrition or the disaster of climate change with floods or drought and famine. And then there are people living in war zones too and their terrible suffering or trying to migrate to escape. I can’t begin to imagine their anguish and sense of powerlessness.
How can people hold on to their faith in these circumstances? How does God help them? (I know he weeps with them.)
Tearfund invites people to go to one of the projects they work with, to learn and help as much as possible. It is something I have wanted to do for some time. My caring role prevented it until recently but now I can manage it.
The only project I could visit in August (to fit in with term time responsibilities) was in Zambia for two weeks at the Jubilee Centre (See www.jubileecentre.org ) an HIV/Aids support project. (The alternative was a craft project in Peru! With my total lack of craft skills maybe not!)
My application was accepted and to help me prepare I’ve attended a weekend of training in a youth activity centre in Wokingham, where most of the people were under 40. It was great to be with them. There are five of us going to Zambia and the weekend gave us a chance to get to know one another.
Team building, thinking about poverty, culture, hearing about the project, practicalities, safety – don’t swim near hippos – and the like; it was interactive with a lot of humour, inspirational too.
Tanzania - When I first said I was looking into going abroad, son Jonathan suggested I visit Tanzania to see the educational project that he has been supporting financially from some of the 10% he donates from his company’s profits. Son Jeremy’s friend Grace runs it with her husband Festo Kanungha. Jeremy got to know Grace through the Penzance Venture children’s mission when he went as a helper.
Looking at the map of Africa, I noticed that Tanzania was geographically next door to Zambia so Jeremy made contact with Grace and Festo, Church Mission Partners, who said I was very welcome to visit. See www.churchmissionsociety.org (CMS) and look for Festo and Grace Kanungha there to read about them and their project. It looks inspirational. (CMS requests that they organise their own financial support. They have reached 60% of what is needed.
If you can help them by regular giving, however small the amount, they would be very glad of your support. It can be set up through CMS. St Dionysius Church supports Freda Carey a Church Mission Partner in Pakistan and she is also very grateful for financial support. Many thanks if you can help them. Freda is back in the UK at present.)
The preparations continue and I am well outside my comfort zone! Vaccinations, visas, travel including how to journey across Tanzania to Ndola in Zambia, (I have a new appreciation of our public transport systems) and all the rest is slowly being sorted plus being personally ready, setting off on 7th August and returning on 1st September. And yes, I will be glad of your prayers!
There is a worship song called Oceans. It is about stepping out on the water, based on Peter asking Jesus to join him when Jesus walked on the water to reach his disciples, just before dawn. (Matt 14 22 – 33). You can watch it on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dy9nwe9_xzw The song feels very relevant.
Welcome to Andy Giles – new Resourcing Church Curate.
Barry has announced the appointment of Andy Giles to the team from July. Here Andy introduces himself and his family.
I am delighted to introduce myself to you all as your soon to be Curate. Having experienced at close quarters the life of a vicar due to my father being one I was determined never to become one myself. Instead, I spent 20 very happy years in the Outdoor Education industry, which is how I met my wonderful wife Jo.
I grew up in Surrey and Jo in Northampton, but we both had a deep love for sea and hills, so we felt incredibly blessed to live in the places our work took us - North Wales, North Devon, Scotland and for the last 15 years, Cumbria.
Jo was very clear when I asked her to marry me that her ‘yes’ was on the condition I would NEVER become a vicar.
So how did I come to be an ordinand in the Church of England? Well, it’s a long story which you can ask me over coffee, but the short version is that God took a long run up and gave me a massive kick which my wife had pre-empted by only 2 days before telling me that although she had made me promise never to do it, she actually thought I’d make a good vicar and I ought to consider it.
I had quickly dismissed Jo, however God wasn’t quite so easy to dismiss, my calling was too direct to be ignored. It took the Church of England slightly longer to agree to have me, but here we are.
Although, Jo says she’d not have given God the idea if she’d known he’d send her back to the furthest point from the sea and hills, but the tea and cake shops of Market Harborough are slowly winning her over.
We have 4 wonderful children Lucy - 16, Ellie - 15, Lydia - 12, and Caleb - 11. We also have a very energetic Cocker Spaniel called ‘Rubbly’. They all agree that their Father used to have a cool job, now they are decidedly vague when anyone asks what their dad does!
The move to Market Harborough will obviously be an emotional rollercoaster, Cumbria is all our children have ever known as home, but we know it is where God is calling us so we trust him for the rest. We are excited to come and be part of what God is doing in and through you.
Revd Andy Giles
The Great Bowden MusicFest will run from Thursday 5th to Sunday 8th July.
The Music Fest will open on Thursday night with Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, Schubert’s Trout Piano Quintet and Souvenir de Florence by Tchaikovsky. As has become traditional, Friday night’s concert concentrates on music from the musicals – eight solo singers will deliver songs from the 1920s to the present day in a night that has undoubtedly become Great Bowden’s most enjoyed and anticipated contemporary music event.
On Saturday and Sunday mornings there will be two free ‘coffee and chamber’ concerts. Saturday evening is ‘Jazz Night’ and this year’s guest performers are the Rutland Big Band.
The climax of the Festival will be the Sunday concert featuring the Great Bowden Camerata and the Harborough Singers and including Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto and Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No 6.
The Festival will feature an array of international talent including the Alegria Piano Trio, pianist Melanie Reinhard and Musical Director Christopher White.
Tickets are available from April 16th from Weltons, Great Bowden and Moins Chemists, Coventry Road, Market Harborough, plus online from We Got Tickets www.wegottickets.com
For more information contact: Peter Crowe, email@example.com/ 07967 50403.
Lubenham Open Gardens
Events at All Saints. Peter Wilkinson reports
One of Lubenham's big annual events is Open Gardens. This year it is held on Sunday 10th June with gardens open throughout the village, ample free parking on the Green, and a tractor with cart rides. The latter journeys all the way to Thorpe Lubenham Hall.
And that is propitious, because that is where the All Saints church teas are provided between 1pm and 5pm. It is delightful walk or ride up to the Hall where the gardens, ambience and teas will be of their usual high quality.
Come and enjoy the church and the churchyard but also have a cream tea. This is one of our main fund raising events of the year and it really does help All Saints if the weather is good and you attend of course!
Behind every good man?
Margaret Burgon gives us an insight into the life of a vicar’s wife. Jeannie Brightwell reports
At the May meeting Margaret Burgon gave us an insight into the life of a vicar’s wife. She has been married to Revd Canon George Burgon for many years.
Margaret spoke of their early village life while George was a curate and their first village home – a big old draughty vicarage. There was no hot water or heating and the people of the village had been extremely kind in providing some furniture and curtaining with which to furnish it.
Margaret formed a Guide group which had been a passion throughout her life; George once commented that he thought he had married her, not 40 girl guides!
They then moved to St Mary’s Church, Far Cotton in Northampton where they were for 20 years, not only serving their parishioners but giving strength and support to the local community where once again Margaret involved herself in her beloved guiding.
The life of a vicar’s wife is extremely varied and unexpected bringing forth people’s sadness, needs and struggles as well as their happiness and joy.
We heard a story of a man who, after a few drinks called on them for assistance to get home as his mother had just passed away. He did this more than once, his mother apparently dying at regular intervals!
‘Gentlemen of the road’ often came to their door for refreshment and were always given something to eat and drink. A listening ear was given to all who knocked on the vicarage door and Margaret was often called out to visit people in their homes for many different reasons.
Occasionally there were less pleasant incidents. Three youths at one time were quite threatening in their porchway and the police had to be called to deal with them. She was asked if she could help
when a murdered baby was found. The body is still not identified to this day, 30 years on. Margaret continues to visit the baby’s grave to offer up a prayer.
Margaret finished on a happy note when she told us of the rewards they had fostering a number of children as well as bringing up their own three daughters. We wish all of them peace and joy in their retirement, that is, if clergy couples ever retire!
We then had the added bonus of of welcoming a new member as Tony de Costa was enrolled into the Mothers’ Union. Revd John Morley presented Tony with his badge and cards and he was most warmly welcomed. Revd John closed the meeting with a blessing which was duly followed by afternoon tea.
There will not be a meeting in June we have an outing to Leicester Cathedral for the Diocesan Festival Service. The Community Bus has been organised by Bridget Orme to transport some members to the event. The bus is now full but there is a waiting list. Sandy Ward has further details.
Our branch is Committee led and most members are willing to lead a Monthly Meeting. MU Members are being encouraged to take part in the service and to take the lead if they feel they are able. If anyone is happy to do this please see me and we will select a date together.
If anyone would like to know more about Mothers' Union talk to Sandy Ward or any other Member.
An Amos Trust Alternative Pilgrimage
Two and a half years ago I went on a pilgrimage to The Holy Land and visited many religious sites. I also went to a Palestinian refugee camp and a farm as well as hearing speakers from Palestinian and Israeli organisations sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.
This time the emphasis was on the plight of the Palestinians living in Israel/Palestine. The pilgrimage was ‘alternative’ because, for the majority of the time, we visited Palestinian projects in Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Nazareth, Hebron, the Jordan Valley and Haifa. We did have a couple of days to visit the sites in Jerusalem and Galilee as well.
We learned what life is like for people who have to live in the shadow of the separation wall, are forbidden to drive on main roads, and endure the uncertainly of house demolitions.
The wall at the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem.
The painted slogan says ‘We can’t live so we are waiting for death’.
The skips are for rubbish, which is infrequently collected and so has to be periodically burned.
Hebron, where Israeli settlers have moved into the Palestinian city. We could show our passports and walk past the IDF soldiers into the settlement. Palestinians cannot do that, or return to their confiscated homes in the area.
A demolished house on the left.
Palestinians have to apply for a permit to build, but these are rarely granted, and so they are forced to build in the knowledge that the IDF can come along and bulldoze their houses at any time and with little warning.
The house on the right was rebuilt with the aid of Amos Trust volunteers shortly after Easter. The family of nine had been living in one room in a nearly refugee camp. Although they hadn’t fully moved in all 35 of us were invited inside, seated and served mint tea! This house is less likely to be served with a demolition order because of the involvement of the international community in its rebuilding
What hope for the future?
Peacemakers like these men, a Palestinian ex-fighter and a Jewish rabbi, who became united in the cause of peace once they started talking to one another – something that just doesn’t happen under normal circumstances - and started the Roots Project.
For more information please visit websites such as:
The Amos Trust - www.amostrust.org,
The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions - icahduk.org/
The Roots project - http://www.friendsofroots.net/
Ma’an Development Centre