Home Mission pics

Home Mission pics

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

"We've started on a journey with these most beautiful of people"

Grace Tucker, Pastoral Leader at Ruardean Hill Baptist Church in the Forest of Dean, followed our feature about work with people with Learning Disabilities with this lovely Christmas story:
We are a small rural fellowship with just seven members but have a big heart to know and make known the love of Jesus in our community.  During this year we have developed relationship with two local residential disability homes.  One of the church members has been visiting the homes and conversation developed around the possibility of their coming to the chapel for a special Christmas celebration. 
     In September we started a JAM club for 9 – 13 year olds and so we asked  if they would like to help.  They would! Their task was to help simply tell the nativity story, dress up, help with the singing and hand round the mince pies afterwards – this they did admirably! 
Musical instruments were handed around, everyone was relaxed and joined in the fun. 
    Just before we served the mince pies we ran an impromptu nativity story that we had shared earlier in the week with our Toddler Group – guests were given  a sheep, a camel, baby Jesus, the three gifts etc., to bring to the front and place by the crib at the required time.  This time the story was interspersed with Mary had a baby, twinkle twinkle little star and bar bar black sheep.  There was much fun and laughter and everyone wanted their picture taken!!  
Some of the more able residents learnt that we were holding our Christingle service on Sunday and  a ‘make your own Christmas Wreath’ the following Thursday – they’ve asked if they can come back!
   I am sure we’ve started on a journey with these most beautiful of people – we are asking God that he will continue to use us, small as we are,  to touch their lives and the lives of their carers.   

Tuesday, 14 December 2010


Some of you may be aware of the BBC mini series 'Nativity' which will be on TV next week. I'm reproducing here in full this 'review with a mission' by Peter Graystone of the Church Army and 'Fresh Expressions', taken from the Churches Together in England website:

I went to the press preview screening of the BBC/Red Planet series The Nativity at the end of October. The good news is that it is wonderful television. And it opens up an astonishing evangelistic opportunity for us.

My main message is that we can commend it to every church as something they can recommend with total confidence to their congregations and (even more importantly) those with whom they are in touch beyond their churches.

It's in four episodes that will be broadcast on BBC1 in middle of the evening in the week leading up to Christmas Eve. And it is going to do more to promote Christian faith in this country than all the sermons of the year put together. It is that good!

Nativity 3

Churches need to be geared up to the fact that their major opportunity to present the gospel this year may not be at a carol service held on Sunday 19 December (which will be before the series has been broadcast) but on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (when I anticipate that people who have watched the series may want to come to church looking to find out what it all means for them).

Basically the serial tells the stories as they have been handed down to us with straightforward acceptance of them as true. It fills out the back-story with motivations and emotions in order to make it entirely credible. Admittedly, it does incorporate two thousand years of tradition that has gathered around the story (for example, there is a donkey, Mary ends up in blue, all the characters end up squashed in a stable, and so on). But the fact that it declares that this baby is going to save humankind from its sins is so overpowering that all the embellishments become part of the credibility, not distracting.

It is not just moving, it is funny (very), believable (totally), sexy (yes!), tense and profoundly full of the grace of God. And the awe of God too - the writer Tony Jordan has worked a miracle. Half way through each episode the camera pans back way out into the cosmos, and you hear deep groans, as if something tremendously significant is happening in both heaven and earth. And it ends with a declaration that because of this birth, the salvation of humankind is on its way. Then you hear the voice of the adult Jesus reciting the Beatitudes.

I started crying half way through the third episode (when Mary's father, who doesn't even exist in the Bible version, stands by his daughter even though she is in disgrace). And by the end of episode four (when ... actually, I don't want to spoil it) I was drowning. Fact! So was everyone.

At the preview they interviewed Tony Jordan (creator of Life on Mars and writer of Eastenders). He said: ‘I’ve always had a faith. I’m not a God-botherer … But I do believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. I do believe he came here to take away our sins. I absolutely believe that. But there’s loads of little bits around it that bug me. So what I’ve done with the story of the nativity is written a version that I can believe.

‘And I believe that the people who watch it who aren’t already sold, who would ridicule another version with square beards, [will find that] I’ve made it accessible. So they can watch it and see it’s truthful, and say, “You know what! That’s really cool. I never realised it could be like that. I thought it was all beyond me.” … Watch it, believe it, invest in it, and sob like a child.’

I did. You will.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Your Gifts for Mission

WEBA retained its position at the top of the Home Mission Giving charts in November, with gifts totalling £20,731. Our total for the year is now £227,500  that's £33.28 each, a higher rate per church member than any other regional association.
This is great news as the resources we have to spend in this region as a result are directly affected by local giving. Many of the stories in this blog, and many others like them, are made possible by Home Mission funding.
So- thank you, churches, large and small, your faith and generosity overwhelms those of us who collect these gifts month by month.
  • If you are responsible for passing on Home Mission cheques, please make sure your gifts reach us by Friday 17th December so that they can be included with this year's total. 
  • If your church receives, or has received a Home Mission grant, please tell us your story! You can comment below, or send your own blog post, ideally with pictures, to ruth.whiter@webassoc.org.uk