Congratulations Rainbows and Rangers - the veg are growing well in the church outdoor space.
Congratulations Rainbows and Rangers - the veg are growing well in the church outdoor space.
Dear friends in the Harborough churches,
With lockdown easing, we’re all thinking, ‘Do I want my post-lockdown life to be as it was before – or is this the opportunity to make changes?’ And the same goes for our church life. Do we just return to ‘business as usual’ or is it time to do things differently?
A bigger challenge even than the Covid pandemic is the climate emergency. Time is running out! Will churches seize the opportunity of taking a lead in their communities by demonstrating their care for creation?
Many of you will have heard about Eco Church, the initiative run by the Christian conservation charity A Rocha (ecochurch.arocha.org.uk/) with the aim of making churches (their buildings, their land, their congregation’s lifestyles, their engagement with their communities) more eco-friendly. It’s the best tool we know to help churches get to grips with the issues in a practical way.
If you have already signed up for Eco Church, hopefully the easing of Covid restrictions will mean you are able to make progress in the coming months. If you have yet to sign up, maybe now is the time to consider beginning. Ideally you need a team of at least 3 people endorsed by your church leadership who are interested in taking a lead on behalf of the church. Perhaps you weren’t aware that there are a number of churches in Market Harborough already working on the Eco Church challenges and they meet together to share their experience and help one another along the way. So if you need help getting a group started, then it’s available.
We’d like to encourage you to step up for the world gifted to us by the God we love!
Today (March 8th) is International Women's Day, a global day to celebrate women’s achievements and together renew our commitment to gender equality.
Thank you for supporting women in Africa and Asia. In the countries where The Leprosy Mission works, women affected by leprosy still face a 'triple threat' of discrimination due to gender, disability and stigma. This means they are often diagnosed and treated later than men, increasing chances of becoming disabled.
It's always wonderful to hear the stories of those whose lives you've helped transform and today I want you to meet an amazing woman from the village of Namatua in Mozambique. Her determination and perseverance against all odds is inspiring.
Maria is the president of ALEMO, the association of people affected by leprosy in her region. She's a confident public speaker who's determined to make a difference - but like many affected by the disease, she's been through some challenging times. When Maria was diagnosed with leprosy, health workers reassured her that she would be cured, but the stigma of the disease meant her husband rejected her. One day, he left for work and never returned.
Left on her own with their nine-year-old son, Maria was heartbroken and didn’t know where to turn for help. She shared her fears about leprosy with a community volunteer, who put her mind at rest. He was able to dispel myths about the disease, and work with Maria’s neighbours to teach them about leprosy and end the stigma around it.
Maria was accepted back in to her village. Now, every Wednesday, Maria shares the same love that she was shown by the community volunteer to as many people as possible. She leads a group, travelling from village to village to tell others about leprosy and how they can be cured.
As a Leprosy Changemaker, Maria has also been trained to teach villagers how to save money. The knowledge and skills that Maria shares mean that both individual families and the entire community can look forward to a more secure future. Why not watch this short video to hear Maria talk about her work and passion for change?
It's your continuing support that has helped transform the lives of women like Maria - and until 24 April the UK government is doubling gifts to the Unconditional Appeal, meaning that your gifts will make twice the difference. Now Maria and other women like her are at the heart of transformation in their communities, leading the way to a future free from leprosy, stigma and poverty.
Happy International Women’s Day!
If possible, please make donations through our church treasurers: Richard Huntingdon, Market Harborough, or Fiona Clarkson, Kibworth.
This Lent Margaret Cox proposes to take a stately stroll from Balmoral to Bath via Chatsworth, Blenheim and Longleat, (all without leaving Market Harborough) to support the All We Can 2020/21 campaign “Change begins with a bicycle”
She will visit every street in Market Harborough town and Little Bowden between Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. If you would like to support her please use the link below.
Please insert the amount you would like to give and click donate now.
On the form click on the box that says “this gift is from” and select “sponsorship” and insert Margaret Cox, Market Harborough Methodist Church. Please gift aid if possible
Nawalat dreams of becoming a nurse – but as a young girl living in Butagaya, Uganda, every day is a challenge. Her journey to school is long and difficult, and as the eldest child, she must help her widowed mother and younger siblings at home. But young girls like Nawalat have the potential they need to break the cycle of poverty.
The regular support of people like you helped provide Nawalat with her bicycle – and now, she can take her future into her own hands. Nawalat’s two-hour walk to school, and the risks she faced along the way, meant she arrived late, and was turned away. Now she cycles, she’s there on time, every day – and she can help with chores as well. Her dream of becoming a nurse has been made possible, thanks to her bicycle.
The likelihood of climate breakdown threatens all that we love. The charity Green Christian believes we need to do everything we can do to avert disaster - especially prayer. They are asking congregations and individuals to Show The Love on1 February 14 th by saying one of the charity's new prayers.
Green Christian is asking congregations and individuals to Show The Love on February 14th by saying one of the charity's new prayers.
Show The Love is an annual Valentines Day campaign run by The Climate Coalition, a network of organisations which include Green Christian. With 14th February falling on a Sunday this year, Green Christian decided to call on members and supporters to write a prayer in response to the campaign.
Barbara Echlin, Vice Chair of Green Christian, has led the prayer initiative. She said: “We were delighted by the quality of the prayers submitted. The one chosen for wide circulation focused beautifully on love of God and our love for all that dwells on the Earth.”
The winning prayer and blessing were written by Revd Toni Bennett and the Ash Vale Chapel Poetry Group, reproduced below. They are also featured on Green Christian's website, alongside the other entries received. In all over 20 prayers were written.
Co-Chaplain of Green Christian Andrew Norman said: “Each of the prayers submitted touched us in some way, so it was hard choosing just one. But we’re sure that your use of it will enable the heart-felt thoughts of many people to find expression in its beautiful and simple words. The other prayers will remain as a rich resource for us all to use.”
Trustee of Green Christian Isobel Murdoch said: “As the UK prepares to host the COP26 climate summit later this year, we hope that Christians will support the campaign and show their love for God's Earth by saying these prayers alone or together, online or in person.”
O God who is love
Let love empower our compassion
Let love embrace each and everyone
Let love unite humans and non-human
In restorative co-existence.
O Jesus, love come down to earth
May we honour the earth
May we honour all that dwells in the earth
May we be reconciled with the earth
Become what we are, of the earth.
O Spirit of love
Grant us a spirit of humility
Grant us a spirit of carefulness
Grant us a spirit of friendship
For the earth and all that dwells with us here.
May our loving God,
who created the world and all that is in it,
Inspire us to delight in our beautiful home,
And to live in wonder, peace and joy.
May our living God keep our hearts turned to loving our neighbour and to respecting the creation we share.
May our merciful God help us to live this week in goodness and hope,
And fill us with God’s peace.
Want to find out more? ‘A Plastic Ocean’ – a multi award winning documentary, available on Netflix or to rent on Amazon, reveals the effects of plastic on the planet’s marine ecosystems and on human health. Praised by David Attenborough as ‘one of the most important films of our time”.
Happy new year to you from MWiB.
Following the huge disappointment of having to cancel the weekend at Swanwick in 2020, we have been determined to offer something in 2021, but sadly, we have made the decision not to meet face to face at Swanwick because of the ongoing uncertainties of life with Covid 19, and the need to keep everyone as safe as possible.
However, we are delighted to be able to invite you to ‘Together, with Hope on the Way’, an online conference taking place on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th April 2021. It will be different to our previous conferences, but nevertheless is an exciting new venture, which will be accessible to a wider audience.
Our keynote speaker Sister Imelda Poole will be joining us ‘virtually’ from Albania, to talk about her work educating and training young people to help prevent them becoming trafficked. There will also be worship, prayer and Bible study, plus news and information on the work of the World Federation, and a chance for us to celebrate 'together' the tenth anniversary of MWiB.
You can find more information and register your interest now on the MWiB website: https://mwib.org.uk/index.php/2021/01/15/swanwick-2021-together-with-hope-on-the-way/
I hope you'll consider joining us - and please pray for the conference as we continue to prepare and as we meet online.
We're currently seeking two volunteers to work with us as we lead this exciting and growing movement into it's second decade: Communications Coordinator, and Website and Social Media Coordinator.
Could this be you? Or someone you know? Perhaps a younger person, or someone not directly connected with MWiB?
You can find an advert for noticeboards, newsletters, websites etc, along with further information and application packs for both roles on our website. Please share and forward this information as widely as possible within your own church, circuit and district: https://mwib.org.uk/index.php/2021/01/11/looking-for-a-new-challenge-2/
If you’re like me you may still have many things to get sorted before you can relax. ‘Some hope’, might be your response as you’re preparing for a possible family re-union if we’re not still in ‘Lock-down’! This “on” and then “off” change in Covid-19 guidelines is well and truly a pain in the nether regions! But whatever happens Christmas will take place! And, its significance is still as relevant today for people who are anxious, lonely, and unsure of their future.
It will certainly be different this year. Some stores may not have everything you want. So it may be even more stressful! It may not be the usual chaos because of the ‘safe spacing’, but we’re still likely to see ‘masked’ shoppers manoeuvring around us in their desire to get that last tin or packet! Hopefully stock-piling won’t leave some short of necessities, and I pray that our Food Bank is well supported so that the less fortunate may enjoy their Christmas too!
There may be fewer Christmas cards due to Face-time and texting. I expect some will still decorate the home and garden, competing with Blackpool’s illuminations! But, over the years my favourite in our street has been a wonderful display of a stable with the manger and Christ-child. It is simple, to the point, and reminds us that Jesus was born as a stranger in Bethlehem and didn’t have the choice of staying in a local hotel! Possibly a New Testament ‘rough sleeper’ who got some posh visitors bearing gifts?
Those neighbours remind us that Christmas is not ‘Xmas’ or a Winter Festival where the world goes absolutely barmy! It is the annual invitation to acknowledge God’s gift to us of Jesus - and of his ministry of love and reconciliation. Angels proclaimed: “To you a Saviour is born, a King, come and worship him”. And they ended with “Peace on Earth, and Goodwill to all people”! Even for rough sleepers, and then refugees – something that the Holy Family were as they travelled to Egypt!
I’m unaware of ever seeing an angel as described in the nativity stories, but I am absolutely convinced of the vast number of ‘angelic’ people that exist around us. How many people have benefitted from the Street Pastors, The Bower House Counselling Service, The Cube’s youth work, the Food Bank and the countless other volunteer led agencies that pick up what governments have ceased to fund via statutory authorities? Some only see funding cuts and this pandemic causing chaos all around us – but others also try to fill the gaps and help folk in need!
Recent “Angels” were heralded and honoured. Folk like centenarian Captain Tom and a young footballer, Marcus Rashford, who challenged HMG and got food for children. HMG refused to follow-up at Christmas until a further back-lash made them find more funding! Locally we celebrated when Cllr Roger Dunton was named in the Queen’s Honours List for his work for our community. Angels are those who inspire and encourage us to also carry out the task of offering good-will to others and working for Peace in our troubled and strife torn world.
Christmas is meant to be a time of peace and good-will. Not just for others, but for us too. It is a time to reflect on not simply the ‘Ah, how sweet’ moment of the birth of a child, but on what the Christ-child has meant throughout the centuries. More importantly, it is still meaningful today, so I challenge others to join with other human “Angels” and stand up for Love, Compassion, Mercy, Justice and Peace – and bring about a fair and just society where all may live in peace and harmony. A place where all may share in a life in all its fullness. Remember, even Scrooge had a change of heart at Christmas, so I wonder what we can do to make a difference?
Hark, the herald “Angels” sing: so give thanks for God’s gifts to you, and let your voices and actions give glory to God in the highest! Alleluia and Amen!
Allister du Plessis, Regional Manager for The Leprosy Mission, has written:
'Our wonderful supporters continue to humble us with their sacrificial generosity for people affected by leprosy. 2020 has been an amazing financial year, allowing TLMEW to fulfil funding commitments for work overseas. You have helped to ensure no one affected by leprosy is forgotten during this crisis.
As the world went into lockdown back in April, we prayed together that God would build a mighty hedge of protection around every leprosy community, that Covid-19 would not enter in. Praise God that to date, Covid-19 has not entered any leprosy community! Sadly, we have seen field staff struck down by the virus, with six valued members of the worldwide team losing their life. Please do pray particularly for Anandaban Hospital in Nepal, where there are cases on the leprosy wards and amongst staff.
Christmas is coming and so are the carols……….
I am thrilled to pass on the exciting news of our Virtual Carol service, Thursday 10th December at 7.30. This year our annual Carol Services at Lichfield Cathedral and St. Giles in the Fields in London are unable to go ahead. But this doesn’t mean you will miss out! Our online Leprosy Mission Carol Service will be going out live on YouTube at 7.30pm on Thursday 10th December. Pam Rhodes is leading the service which includes an address from +Donald, Bishop of Peterborough, a film of Pam Rhodes meeting Lovely (a lady affected by leprosy in Bangladesh) and beautiful carols. Former Regional Manager Jarrett will also be singing in the choir.
If the date and time doesn’t work for you, don’t worry because you can download the link to watch at another time. We hope you enjoy it!'
Allister also gives advance notice that the campaign for World Leprosy Sunday 2021 will be towards ending leprosy in Mozambique – and the exciting news that the UK Government will match fund any donations that are made between January 24 and April 24!
I'll be in touch with supporters about this early in the New Year.
Click here to view / download: MWiB Newsletter 2020-4 Winter
It contains plenty of news and information on the latest planned events including: