News from our local churches
Here are some articles that I couldn't fit into the magazine this month.
Hunstanton Methodist Church
Many church members and visitors from far afield enjoyed a wonderful weekend in June, when they met friends from Zimbabwe. The event was organised by Rosemary and Hugh Rayner, who were entertaining two young Zimbabweans, Charlegne and Taku, students at the University of Edinburgh.
The Saturday started with a lunch, made possible by generous contributions of food from many of the partakers. There was a mix of dishes from different countries and some of us experienced interesting tastes that were new to our palates.
We moved into the church to watch a Christian Aid video of the life of Janet Zirugo, showing how she farms and cares for her land in the dry climate. It gave us an insight into the hard life she copes with under such harsh circumstances. The film was followed by an afternoon of music presented by local singers and instrumentalists, interspersed with hymns sung by a Gospel Choir from Norwich, whose voices filled the building with their uninhibited singing and rhythmic vitality.
The following day, our minister Rev Dr Richman Ncube took the service, which included Charlegne speaking about her studies of the effects of climate change, and Zimbabwean hymns sung by the Ncube family.
Donations made to Christian Aid during the two days amounted to over £600!
We aim to continue opening the church up for more events as people feel more confident in returning after the pandemic.
Hunstanton & The Saxon Shore
Who are your cloud of witnesses?
Back in 1929, my Grandmother (who was a very troubled child due to the death of her mother, the grief of which resulted in poor mental health), was invited to be a member of The Manchester Children’s Choir. They sang on the stage of The Free Trade Hall with The Hallé Orchestra and a recording was made of them singing Purcell’s ‘Nymhs and Shepherds’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vkpqHECZtE. It sold over a million copies back then!
Fast forward to 2008, and our middle daughter Katy joined the newly formed Hallé Children’s Choir (HCC). She sang at The First Night of the Proms in The Royal Albert Hall and sang a solo in Carl Davies ‘Last Train to Tomorrow’.
Then in 2011, our youngest daughter Lucy got in to the HHC. A year later, Katy moved up to the Youth Choir whilst Lucy had the privilege of meeting Victoria Wood. Wood had written a play called “That Day We Sang’ for The Manchester International Festival, all about the choir my grandmother was in. This play was then turned into a BBC film called ‘Tubby and Enid’ and the HCC were asked to play the Choir. So Lucy on Boxing Day 2016, Lucy appeared on the television! That play had so many elements of my Grandmother’s difficult life knitted through it. I told Victoria Wood this when I met her coming out of a rehearsal one evening and she wrote me the most lovely letter, thanking me for sharing our family’s story.
I write about this because Lucy missed out on her final tour with The Hallé Youth Choir because of Covid, but was invited back to join them this July as an alumni singer. They came to Norwich Cathedral, Glebe School kindly let us borrow their mini-bus to get to Norwich and a group of us enjoyed the ethereal singing of the choir as their voices soared up into the vaulted ceiling and echoed around the clerestory. Lucy has had an amazing GAP year, but said the week with her Hallé family was her most enjoyable. Singing is clearly in the family genes, Katy has gone on to get a first in Music at The Royal Northern College of Music and has just been invited to be the Assistant Director of The Hallé Children’s Choir as well as securing a place in an opera. www.katyallan.com.
Things have come full circle!
Last Sunday’s bible reading was all about our cloud of witnesses, Hebrews 11v29 – 12v2. Those who have supported us in our life, have risen in glory and now rest in peace in heaven with the angels, the archangels and all the company of heaven. Those who, like the prophets and Jesus, have challenged and ruffled feathers…I know what this feels like! But I truly believe that there are earthly angels that walk this earth too. Those who appear just when we need them, those who are always there for us even on our bad days, those who are always compassionate and kindly, those who challenge us when we’ve made a bad choice and stand by us, showing what I call ‘tough love’, and of course I believe that Jesus is always with us, whether we know him or not.
I believe my Grandmother is one such part of my cloud of witnesses, despite the fact that her illness and grief lead her to do some unpleasant things. It was me who discovered this and called it out for what it was. Whilst it did open up a can of worms, all came good and my Grandfather died knowing he was loved by the family he’d been forcibly estranged from. I believe they are both now at peace and that there is indeed some heavenly singing from angels, archangels and all the company of heaven. There’s also probably rock and jazz and soul and punk and everything in between!
Our little trip out to Norwich was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone who came and I’ve decided we need more of this. There are too many lonely people out there. Glebe School are very generous loaning out their minibuses and in the autumn, I’m going to ask if we can borrow it again for some more trips out where we can be each other’s cloud of witnesses for the day. I might start with a trip to the gin distillery (but won’t partake as the driver), so watch this space!
With many thanks to Glebe School and every blessing!
Salvation Army Snettisham
The change of seasons at this time of year always brings warmth to my heart as the leaves start to fall and crunch under my feet in their glorious technicolour, when the days begin to shorten and the temperature falls. I am now in my fifth decade of life on earth yet September still brings the excitement of a potential new stationary set, as if I was back in school! As the seasons change, however, I am reminded of the impermanence of life as described in Ecclesiastes: ‘For everything there is a season…’
Here I am, finally here living in a new house as I take up a new appointment as the leader of The Salvation Army church in Snettisham, a completely new area to me in a part of the country I know little about. But as it is written in Isaiah 43:19, ‘See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?’, I get great comfort by knowing that although his love for us remains constant, God loves doing things in new ways. I am thrilled to be here, and excited to discover what it is God is doing already, and wants us to do in future to further his kingdom. If you see Bentley and I walking around the village on our dog walk, please do stop and say hello!
If you’d like to join us for any of our weekly activities at the hall, you will be warmly welcomed. We have CAMEO Club – a fun and friendly get-together for over 50s to ‘come and meet each other’ – on Mondays at 10.30am-12pm. On the 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month, come and enjoy a slice of homemade cake, scone or filled roll with a hot drink between 10.00am-12pm. Men’s Fellowship is at 7.30pm on the 3rd Wednesday, and Craft Club is on the 1st Thursday at 2.00-4.00pm. Our Sunday worship begins at 11.00am – all are welcome!
Lt Emily Hague – Snettisham Corps (01485 545933)
How Many Alarms?
By Gordon Tanner, a member of The Way C F Leadership team
A few years ago – possibly 15 or 20 – I had the experience of spending a week in a hotel near Taipei in Taiwan. I can’t say it was a pleasure. They had a very hungry cockroach that used to wander over to our table at breakfast time to see if there were any gleanings it might benefit from. They also had a notice board on every landing and in the bedrooms entitled ‘what to do in the event of an air-raid’. Hotels in this country, the UK, normally tell you what to do if the fire alarm goes off but in Taiwan they didn’t bother with anything as trivial as that.
But it sets you thinking. If the alarm goes off, most people in this country would respond and gather at the pre-determined assembly point. Not many would stay in their rooms and continue with some distraction. And by so doing they will have protected their lives.
In the past five or so years I’ve written a number of pieces in Town and Around about things we can see in nature that coincide with things written in The Bible indicating that we are getting towards the end of time as we know it. I’ve written about the number of tree species that are getting diseased, the number of insects that don’t seem to be around. I pointed out the lack of bugs on the windscreens of cars when we do a long journey. The animals have had diseases – swine flu, bird flu etc.
And now we’ve had really high temperatures. The Bible talks about the sun being given power to scorch men. The sad thing is that if people would read their Bibles they would see the warnings. And once you’ve read the warning then you can take action to mitigate against the consequences.
Although the Bible shows a time of tremendous turmoil, politically, and in the natural world, this will ultimately usher in the return of Christ to the earth and the setting up of His kingdom of peace and love. All those who put their faith in Him will experience eternal life. Death disease and misery will be no more. All this is clearly set out in the Bible. I do strongly recommend that you get a modern translation, and, study it for yourself. Ultimately there is only one action you can take – to believe in the Jesus who is presented to you in the Bible. The only way to salvation is by faith in Jesus.