Author Archives: Administrator

Fair Trade Rice Challenge

I would like to highlight the information below and that the rice will be available at the Farmers Market on The Square, MH on Thursday, September 3rd. Also that I can deliver if people are unable to get out and about (tel. 01858 440988 or 07910 073436).

There is work going on to see if we can have a limited Fairtrade/ Eco stall in church at MH but this is not available just yet.

Anita Beer

Fair Trade Rice Challenge

Leprosy Mission News

A few weeks ago I cringed when I first heard the words ‘Leicester leper’ used in a news report. However, I was very pleased to see that the National Director of The Leprosy Mission, was swift to respond and has written to UK national newspaper editors and the BBC in a bid to stop them from using derogatory language to people affected by a 21st Century disease.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 we have witnessed a proliferation of the word ‘leper’ used in the media in connection with the virus. Following the government imposing a lockdown on Leicester, the press was littered with the phrase ‘Leicester leper’, the unfortunate alliteration tragically bolstering a catchy headline and soundbite.

National Director, Peter Waddup, described the word 'leper' as outdated, derogatory and stigmatising to the millions of people today affected by leprosy globally.

He said: “It is associated with fear and being an outcast. It reduces a person to merely a disease and increases the stigma around leprosy, something we work tirelessly to counter.

“I do obviously realise the media’s intention isn't to stigmatise people affected by leprosy. It is to describe the alienation a person feels because of coronavirus. However references to 'Leicester lepers' only serve to perpetuate the age-old prejudice millions endure today because of leprosy.

“There might be only a handful of people diagnosed and treated with leprosy in the UK each year that would know the hurt this causes. But we are part of a global society where leprosy, although treatable, remains a huge problem.

“I have met too many people who have unnecessarily suffered terrible physical disabilities and the huge emotional hurt of being rejected by their friends, family and community. This is all because of leprosy and the prejudice surrounding the disease which the word ‘leper’ only goes to perpetuate.”

The UN’s principles and guidelines for the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy, published in 2010, states the use of the word ‘leper’ should be removed from government publications and for the media to portray people affected by leprosy with dignity. The same year the BBC’s journalist style guide was amended to include that the word ‘leper’ should not be used in reporting. Yet the pejorative term ceases to be omitted from all BBC content.

Peter said: “Only by fighting against the use of this pejorative term globally can we begin to rid the world of leprosy. Stigma undoubtedly remains the greatest barrier preventing people from coming forward for treatment.


Do have a look at the web site www.leprosymission.org.uk/latest-news where you’ll find among other news items, an article about Victoria Hislop, author of The Island and ambassador for the work of The Leprosy Mission; an inspiring account of the interfaith network in Sri Lanka, established by The Leprosy Mission in the aftermath of the 2019 Easter Sunday suicide bombings; and positive news that lessons learnt from COVID-19 in India have shone a light on the spread of disease in city slums that could lead to leprosy rates being slashed ‘as bad as COVID-19 is, if it means action is taken to improve the living conditions and health of millions of people in Mumbai, at least it will not have been in vain’.


I received the following email from Imogen just after I had returned from an optician’s appointment in Market Harborough, where my eyesight had been thoroughly examined using a variety of state-of-the-art equipment.

‘Thank you for your prayers and support for Chandkhuri Hospital. Dr Elkana and all of the hospital staff are so grateful for your help, but there is still an urgent need for equipment. Our staff are worried about how they will meet demand when the coronavirus pandemic is over. Without the tools they need, our team won’t be able to give patients vital eye operations at the hospital. 

The nerves around the eye are often damaged by leprosy, which can prevent the eyelids from blinking and lead to blindness. But with essential equipment like an ophthalmoscope, our team can examine the eye and save the sight of a person affected by leprosy before it’s too late.

Your support today could make this possible. If you and 12 others like you give just £25, you could fund an ophthalmoscope, providing sight-saving treatment for thousands of people. You can give these people hope for a future not limited by leprosy.

Please visit our web site today to give people affected by leprosy the eyecare they deserve. 

With every blessing,

Imogen Moore

Legacy Manager
Goldhay Way
Orton Goldhay
Peterborough
PE2 5GZ
01733 646279

We all receive many calls to support so many good causes that are dear to us, but if anyone would like to support the purchase of an ophthalmoscope, with any contribution, please let me know in case we can raise sufficient to fund one together from the Circuit. Thank you. Kathy Morrison ()

Prayer news for the Methodist Church in Sierra Leone

Warm greetings and a very big thank you for your support for the Methodist church.

For your information we have been given permission by our government to open our churches since three weeks ago.

Services have started though some of our members are yet to see others going to church for fear of covid 19. However the cases are now going down and since the coming of covid only 67 deaths. The attendance in church is by strictly observing all the covid guidelines.

With regards violence there has not been any serious incident yet. There is a relative calm for now. Our schools have been opened only for those who were to sit exams. The primary schools have their NPSE Which is the NATIONAL PRIMARY SCHOOL EXAMINATION on Monday 3rd August 2020.

The form three in secondary school and SSS3 are awaiting to take their own exams very soon after which the schools will be opened for all school going children. We are thankful to God since the opening of schools we have never had any case from any school yet. We hope and pray that nothing will happen to our children.

We have rescheduled our Conference in October to take place in Kenema with a limited number of members and is going to be only for two days. Only some major issues that will be discussed such as stationing and probationers etc.

We have also done some restructuring in the office. We have retired our Director of administration and the Accountant also will be leaving at the end of this month.

We have now employed one personnel who will now take over the two positions, the Director and the Account department. Always remember me in your prayers.

Once more I thank you very much for your help.

Stay safe and be blessed.

Bishop Mark
Methodist Church in Sierra Leone

Fairtrade Towns News

With 2020 set to be the hottest year on record, it’s more important than ever that the global Fairtrade community stands together to face the challenges of our rapidly changing climate.

Without fairer prices, farmers and workers who are already fighting the impacts of climate breakdown are unable to adapt and invest in making their farms sustainable. At Fairtrade, we know that when many voices call in unison, they can be a powerful force for change.

That is why we are part of the Climate Coalition (a UK-wide group of charities, businesses and campaign groups pushing for action on climate change). This summer, the Climate Coalition are calling on local community groups to sign a declaration announcing their support for action on climate change. We thought Fairtrade communities like yours would be keen to get involved! This is the perfect time to share your own commitment to supporting farmers and workers on the front line of the climate crisis by raising awareness on the links between trade justice and climate justice in your community.

Sign the community declaration now

To support you, we have created a new climate film to help you talk to others about how choosing Fairtrade means farmers and workers can fight against climate change in their communities.

We know that you will be missing holding your usual events, stalls, coffee mornings and all the other amazing things you do to raise awareness of Fairtrade locally, so this is one way that you can share the message safely right now. You could even hold an online meeting or talk to share the film alongside a Q&A explaining how Fairtrade works against climate breakdown.

Our Fairtrade and Climate Justice webpage explains how Fairtrade tackles climate change so you can refresh your memory on the main points! There is even a helpful presentation you can download and use.

Over the coming months, we will be sharing more resources to support you on talking about Fairtrade and the climate crisis, as well as joining the coalition to call for international commitments to a green and fair recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, ahead of the UK’s hosting of the COP26 UN climate summit next year.

Stay tuned for more updates but in the meantime, join others across the UK in becoming part of the change we need by signing the declaration.

Thank you for all your support.

Sarah and Chrysi
Communities Campaigns Team
Fairtrade Foundation

Godsend

A reflection on Matthew 10: 40-42

for Sunday 28th June

Bill was our class leader when Joyce and I were preparing to get married forty years ago. Wealdstone Methodist Church still had classes in those days, and Bill and his wife Gwen ran the housegroup and offered us loving and very methodical pastoral care. After our wedding and, as I was going through initial training as a local preacher and as a candidate for presbyteral ministry, Bill was always on hand with practical support and discreet advice. After we moved to Banbury (70 miles from Wealdstone) he drove my widowed Dad up on Fridays so that we could see him regularly on my day off. Bill was an absolute Godsend.

Last Sunday’s services brought all this to mind and the readings for the coming Sunday (June 28th) continued the theme in a particular direction. The short passage from Matthew’s Gospel concludes a chapter about discipleship, its character and its costs. Then Jesus is recorded as speaking about welcome: “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” (Matthew 10: 40).

Jesus is himself the sender (Matthew 10: 5), because he comes from God, sent by God. The four New Testament Gospels are agreed on this. In the Gospel of John, at the end of the chapter which features the night-time conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus is described as the one ‘God has sent’; as the beloved Son, ‘all things’ come into his hands by the Father’s decision (John 3: 34-35). The central point of this is the offer of eternal life to all who believe in him (compare John 3: 36 with John 3: 16).

Those who live faithfully as sent disciples are drawing on the great chain of commissioning that has its origin in the relationship between Jesus and the one he trusted as loving Father. So we give thanks to God for all we have received from loving and committed disciples and pray that the welcome such service evokes will sustain them and us on the costly road ahead.

Trevor Thomas (24th June 2020)

Fair Trade News – Nestlé to stop using Fairtrade cocoa and sugar for KitKat bars

This is not good news, so we'll get straight to it. Nestlé have told us that from October they will stop using Fairtrade cocoa and sugar for KitKat bars.

For those cocoa and sugar farmers, the timing is terrible. With the global health and economic crisis threatening their future, co-operatives representing 27,000 farmers now face losing almost £2m of Fairtrade Premium each year, along with the security and power Fairtrade has offered over the past ten years.

The affected farmers we've spoken to have told us they want to remain Fairtrade. And the Ivorian Fair Trade Network has today released a powerful letter, which we've shared on our website, explaining why this is such a damaging decision.

Read their full letter and the Fairtrade Foundation's official statment on our website

The Ivorian Fair Trade Network chose to speak out because Fairtrade offers these farmers a secure, fairer income and the power to decide how to spend that income.

We're deeply disappointed Nestlé have failed to promise farmers that this income and their decision-making powers will be protected in future.

Just last year, we saw a 23 per cent increase in Fairtrade cocoa sold in the UK, including new commitments from Lidl and Waitrose and Partners, and over 50,000 of you told our government all cocoa farmers deserve a Living Income.

And 10 years of Fairtrade KitKat has made a big difference on the ground too.

For example, Ivorian cocoa farmers have used their KitKat Fairtrade Premiums to build more classrooms and dispensaries, as well as investing in support for women to grow their businesses.

We need to make sure that the voices of farmers losing these benefits are heard loud and clear.

That's why we're sharing the Ivorian Fair Trade Network's letter today, and why we've been listening to farmers who'll be affected by this decision to understand how we can offer our support.

We’ve spoken to farmers as a priority so we can represent their concerns, but we also want to hear from you.

How do you feel about this decision? And what do you think needs to happen now? Tell us by filling in this quick form, or by replying to this email. And watch this space for more ways to support the affected farmers very soon.

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK

Make no mistake, if Nestlé don't reverse this decision farmers will lose out. So now more than ever, we need each and every one of you to keep choosing Fairtrade and speaking up for farmers.

Thanks for your support - we'll be back in touch soon.

Stefan
Fairtrade Foundation, Supporters' Team

Patience

Many of us live in well-loved homes which remind us of what we have done in our life. But perhaps we are now finding that we have had enough of our four walls. Our patience is wearing thin. So, what of this picture entitled Patience?

PJ Crook, Patience, 1983, The Wilson, Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum © the artist, reproduced with permission

This small painting demands our careful attention. Let’s pause and look closely. A woman sits alone at a card table playing patience. She is fully absorbed. The room is simply furnished and tells of an ordered life: the piano with open music and candled sconces tells of another solitary pursuit, a small bookcase likewise. Flowers and fruit are neatly arranged, even the ginger cat seems settled. Were she to look up she would see the wall clock, to measure time passing, or she might catch a glimpse of herself reflected in the wall mirror over the piano.

We shouldn’t be surprised that the paintings hanging on the walls are charged with significance – for there is nothing accidental here – I don’t think it is an ‘overread’ to see in the portraits that face us the woman’s younger self: with a sister perhaps and, in profile, with her husband. She is, after all, living with her memories. However, for me it is the third painting, which hangs behind her and is reflected in the mirror, which disturbs for it is a painting of the landscape glimpsed through the open door with topiary trees and well-tended privet. It is as though the outside has been brought indoors to be made part of this closed space.

So, is this simply a painting of peaceful contentment? Of the well-ordered life where even memories are fixed in place? Or is there something more? In Patience we discover a tension between contentment and containment, what is outside and what is within. A solitary card game, within an enclosed room, within a formal enclosed garden, bounded by sentry-straight trees that entirely screen the natural landscape beyond.

Within the quiet stillness and thoroughly domestic subject matter we discover an underlying tension: a life enclosed. And yet the door is open, it is a bright summer’s day. Perhaps it is time to find the courage to step outside.

A prayer

Lord, sometimes our orderly routines are not enough
and we feel ourselves drifting into boredom and frustration.
We feel hemmed in by circumstances
and are not sure what the outcome will be.
Show us the door in our life that is still open
and prepare us to take the risk
of walking into a fresh experience of the familiar.
Lord, we have to live with the cards we are dealt,
help us to make the most of what we have received
and trust you that everything will fall into place
in your good time.

And an afterthought

The keen eyed may have noticed something unsettling about this painting. And it’s all to do with the framing.

It is difficult to see in reproduced form – but it is just possible to discern that this panel is ‘framed’ three times over. Look at the moulded shaping that distorts the rug and the ceiling, the verticals that edge the clock and kink the wall by the door, the horizontals that parallel the curtain valance and distort the cat’s tail.

The artist, PJ Crook, has throughout her career sought to break free of the confines of the traditional frame, allowing her work to spill out; in this case multiplying the traditional moulded surround to articulate and underpin the narrative. So, our painting which explores this tension between contentment and containment is quite literally shaped and moulded; the boundaries are barely visible but will need to be traversed.

Michael Mays & Rev. John Rackley

22nd June – A Prayer for Today

Image copyright BBC

This morning BBC Radio introduced ‘Rethink’ – their open discussion about how society and our lives might change for the better after the COVID-19 crisis. At the root of this is one of the biggest questions the UK and the world face: what has the Coronavirus crisis taught us and what should we, individually and collectively, change to improve our lives after it?

‘Rather than analysing what might happen when the world moves beyond the pandemic, this project asks a wide range of thinkers - as well as BBC radio audiences - to consider what they want to happen. It will explore everything from the way we travel to how we assess individual health risks, how we look after the elderly and look out for the young, the future of globalisation, what it means to live a good life, and who we most value and reward in our society.’

Lord,
help us to rethink –
what we see and how we see it,
who we see and how we see them,
what we use and how we use it,
what we consume and who really pays,
what we spend and how we spend it
and what we want and what we need.
As we stand at the edge of change
may Christ light our way;
may your Kingdom come.
Amen.

Michael Mays

On the Way…

A story of transforming love.

Based on Luke 24.13-35

The past few months have been a trying time for as all as we’ve struggled with the Covid 19 pandemic. Many have watched as loved ones have suffered and even died as the health and caring services have struggled to cope with the thousands upon thousands who have been and still are being struck down by it.

And whilst reflecting on our own family and friends it struck me very forcibly that Alison and I have been extremely fortunate. Both daughters and a daughter-in-law have suffered and thankfully recovered. But hundreds of thousands of others have died! And millions of relatives and friends have been left distraught.

It was then that I recalled that amazing post-resurrection story of the two disciples walking home from Jerusalem on the Emmaus Road. Those two disciples were also very distraught. Perhaps even scared witless by what might happen to them as well. They were so totally unaware who the ‘stranger’ was that joined them on that road. They still didn’t even recognise him as he walked with them and they recounted to him the happenings and the crucifixion and the women saying that he was alive!

Grief does that to you. It can totally block associative recognition, and leave you in a state of shock that renders you almost totally unaware of the reality around you. And that seems to exactly fit their responses to Jesus as he then responded to them on their journey! They knew others had said Jesus was alive and yet the impossibility of overcoming death was still at play in their minds! To them, Jesus was now dead – all hope was lost in their pain and sorrow!

I want you to fast-forward now to what happened at the table at the home the two disciples invited Jesus to enter. They had prepared a meal for their guest, and it was only when that ‘stranger’ picked up a piece of bread, gave thanks to God, and then shared it with them that the proverbial ‘penny dropped’ – their eyes and minds were opened - and as Jesus disappeared from their sight they then said to one another: “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?”

I guess by now it was truly dark outside. But regardless of the lack of street lights and the danger of being out after dark they immediately went back to share the Good News with the other disciples!

What a transformation that was! I wonder what time they got back to Jerusalem? Because in those days they would get up at dawn and go to bed when it got dark – so it must have been very late!

That simple disclosure at the table where Jesus took the bread, gave thanks and then gave it to the disciples has always been, for me, a moment of healing. It dealt with past fears and restored them to a right, and real, relationship with the living Christ once more. I guess that is one reason why John Wesley viewed the Eucharist as a liturgy for healing.

I would suggest that as we’re not currently allowed to offer a Eucharistic service to one another at this time I see no reason why this story can’t be used as a basis for a simple ’Love Feast’ instead. Where it’s possible to be with your nearest and dearest or even ‘bubble’ with a neighbour/friend - Love can be shared. It is in sharing love that love can transform and heal – but when isolated we can miss out on that opportunity to serve one another. So if you are able to share, then please do so and serve one another. Methodists do believe in the priesthood of all believers! (Our church requires the ordained to officiate at the Eucharist)

I would invite you to set your table with a plate containing a piece of bread front of you. Then knowing that you are held in the ever-loving arms of our God who is with us on our journey no matter where we are, or how we are feeling – imagine Jesus confirming his real presence with you as you lay yourself and all your anxieties and troubles at his feet. Then simply take the bread, give thanks to God for it, and in eating trust Jesus to take away any anxieties and restore his affirming love for you.

Jesus said:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid”.

He is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia!

Luke 24.13-35 (NRSV):

13Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17And he said to them, ‘What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?’ They stood still, looking sad. 18Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, ‘Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?’ 19He asked them, ‘What things?’ They replied, ‘The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. 22Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. 24Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.’ 25Then he said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?’ 27Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

28As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29But they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.’ So he went in to stay with them. 30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’ 33That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34They were saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!’ 35Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Nb.
I use this translation as it is acknowledged to be as accurate a translation as is possible.
You may like to see a comment that is in Andy’s letter referring to how some translations can be very misleading.

Dave Tomlin20/06/2020