I hope I find you all well in these unusual times. It’s the point in the year when we focus on Operation Christmas Child and the Marys Meals Backpack project. Operation Christmas Child sends gift filled shoe boxes to children in need in the world at Christmas time and the Mary’s Meals backpack project provides school equipment and clothing for children living in Malawi who need these things to get an education. St Lukes will be continuing to support these initiatives. However due to the current restrictions it will not be possible to have a packing Sunday where the church gets together to pack boxes and backpacks ready for sending to children in need in different parts of the world and so Fiona Pulle and I will be working together to coordinate events.
This year we will only be able to collect completed boxes and backpacks, therefore our launch date for these projects will be on 27th September which is earlier than normal. We have decided on an earlier start date so that everyone has extra time collecting things they need to complete their box or backpack. Leaflets for both projects will be available from church or myself and we can also drop off empty shoe boxes or leaflets if required. You can also get the information on packing a shoebox from: https://www.samaritans-purse.org.uk/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/how-to-pack-a-s hoebox/ or alternatively you can pack an online shoe box if you prefer, details can be found on the same link.
To pack a Mary’s Meals backpack all the information you need can be found on this link. https://www.marysmeals.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/the-backpack-project Remember that this initiative encourages recycling so equipment and clothing does not need to be new.
I know that we have some busy knitters and those that sew at St Lukes and we would be happy to accept your beautiful work for sending in additional boxes Fiona and I can make so that children will receive your lovely gifts. Also if you would like to make a monetary contribution towards buying items for additional boxes and backpacks Fiona and I make or towards postage then please provide this in a sealed envelope by 25th October.
Our shoebox and backpack finale will be on 1st November 2020 and the church hall will be open from 8.30 – 9.30 to receive your boxes and backpacks.
Thank you in advance for your continued support of these projects, children in need will find excitement and joy in receiving a shoe box or backpack filled with love.
Liz and Stu have been busy this month by tackling one of our community problems – road safety. We have regularly used our Trucam speed enforcement gun at locations in the villages targeting 30mph roads. The recordings from these sessions are sent to our Central Ticket Office where the driver’s history is reviewed and a decision made on whether they are given a speed awareness course, a fine or points on their license. We have also used our ANPR camera systems to stop check vehicles showing no insurance or tax with a car being seized on the A50 Cranage last week.
There has been an appeal for information in the area due a series of incidents involving windows that have been smashed with a ball bearing, presumably from a catapult. All of these incidents have occurred between the hours of 23:00-06:00. The areas include Holmes Chapel, Brereton, Sandbach and Wheelock. These incidents are not only costly but, more importantly, very distressing to those who have been victim to it, many of whom are elderly. We are appealing for anyone with information or CCTV which they believe would be of interest, to call 101 quoting ref: IML720227 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
As we cannot hold our usual weekly community meetings, we are also holding an online surgery on the Dane Valley Police Twitter and Facebook social media pages. These are held once a week and the dates are below:-
Thursday 2nd July 14:00-15:00
Thursday 9th July 09:00-10:00
Saturday 18th July 13:00-14:00
Thursday 23rd July 14:00-15:00
Thursday 30th July 09:00-10:00
If you are also interested in more of our activities and advice during this time then please follow us on social media where we are able to speak directly to you as members of our community about incidents and crimes we are finding in the area. Your local officers social media pages are ‘Dane Valley Police’ for Facebook and ‘@DaneValleyPol’ for our Twitter account. You can also contact us by e-mail at Crewe.LPU@Cheshire.pnn.police.uk
Once again, to each and every one of you that is helping us and your community to stay safe, thank you.
Liz Chesters – Police Community Support Officer Cheshire Constabulary Crewe Local Policing Unit, Civic Centre, Crewe, CW1 2DQ
Terry Warburton speculates on what the future holds for our churches.
Strange times we are living through. The future consequences of coronavirus are going to be challenging, to say the least. How will our churches fare when our buildings are allowed to re-open?
One could say that the reasons for churchgoing can be put into three slots, ‘Culture’, ‘Faith’ and ‘Community’. Many churchgoers would probably recognise in themselves elements of more than one.
Culture is for those who feel comfortable in church. They like the history, the language, the buildings, the liturgy and the music, which have probably been a part of their lives since they were children. All hold comforting memories.
Faith is a link with the meaning of life and its eternal promise, somewhere to seek guidance through worship and sacrament, and on which to lean in times of trouble. A belief in the words of Jesus that they are not on their own, even if sometimes it feels like it in this world.
Community is for those who like coming to church or being associated with it as a flying buttress (a phrase of Winston Churchill, who described himself as someone who supports the church from the outside). They don’t have to have a commitment to the faith of the Church but are sympathetic and don’t mind being with those who do.
It is likely that the ‘old normality’ will not be the ‘new normality’ and this provokes a few thoughts:
* How many people, now out of the habit of regular community worship, will wish to return to it?
* How many people on the periphery of church life, will come back to it, at least in the short term?
* How many of those who have had a regular commitment to the church, for example by serving at the altar or in its refectories, singing in choirs, doing flowers, ringing bells and polishing brasses will feel that this is a good time to make a break and do something different?
As church people, we must consider where we go from here. The Church, everywhere in the infected world, will need to know our answer to its call. To thrive, it needs us back.
It’s ok that you didn’t clean the house today, It’s ok that you didn’t run six miles, It’s ok that you don’t know how to make soufflé, Or that you’re not always full of smiles, Don’t worry that you haven’t learnt to crochet, Don’t worry if you feel a little blue, It’s ok to relax sometimes, Just do the things that make you, you. Take this time to re-evaluate, The things you really need, Enjoy the sun that’s right outside, Read that book you want to read, Chat to a neighbour that you’ve never met, Re-read your favourite bible verse, Make sure that you’re eating well, And just remember, it could be worse. Remember you are loved, Remember to be safe, Phone a friend, say a prayer, Remember to have faith.
I’ve recently had a major clearing out session at home. It’s amazing what I found lurking at the back of drawers and cupboards! No treasures for the Antiques Roadshow, but one odd find was a container full of teapot lids. Spring cleaning is a very healthy exercise in many ways, and not just because of the physical exertion involved. We need to get rid of things we no longer find useful, and sort out those which are still of benefit and value to us. Clearing space also allows us to acquire new things which make our homes more welcoming to ourselves and to others.
I realised I also needed to do a spiritual ‘spring cleaning’ and sort through some of the clutter in my life. Am I clinging on to attitudes, ideas, relationships which I really need to let go? Do I need more space in my life for other people, and for God? Do I need to explore new ideas and relationships in order to grow and move forwards? A spiritual ‘spring clean’ could help me see my priorities more clearly – what do I really value in life, which relationships are the most important and how is my relationship with God?
I was struck recently by Jesus’ words to Mary Magdalene in the garden, ‘Do not cling on to me.’ At the resurrection that temptation to hold on to Jesus must have been so strong for her and for all the disciples – but they had to let him go. Jesus’ promise to be with them always could only be fulfilled by his returning to his Father and sending the Holy Spirit as his living inner presence to his followers. So we need to learn when it is right to ‘let go’ of possessions and people, of attitudes and ideas, so that God’s good purpose in our lives might be fulfilled.
The Ven John Barton writes in praise of our health service.
“Save the NHS” was the slogan chosen by the British government when the coronavirus began to spread. Meant to evoke public compassion, and compliance with emergency regulations, it sounded as though the NHS was an endangered species. In fact it was the public themselves whose lives were in jeopardy; the National Health Service existed solely for their benefit. The slogan did manage to stir gratitude for a service which had been taken for granted, as well as appreciation of its 1.5+ million staff, many of whom were now putting their own lives at greater risk.
The idea for a countrywide medical service came from the Beveridge Report, instigated by the coalition government during World War II. “Medical treatment covering all requirements will be provided for all citizens by a national health service”, is how it was defined, though it had to wait until 1948 for its implementation to begin.
It was part of a programme for reconstruction, aiming to eliminate Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness. Sir William Beveridge, who gave his name to the report, was close friends with two other social reformers: R H Tawney, and William Temple, who was to become Archbishop of Canterbury. Today’s Archbishop, Justin Welby, wrote this about the trio: “Drawing on Christian understandings of justice, generosity and human dignity, they described the kind of country that they felt reflected God’s values better.”
St Paul couldn’t have thought he was providing a slogan for a welfare state when he wrote, “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfil the law of Christ”, but that is a neat summary of the way the National Health Service works. We all pay in when we can and we all benefit when we need.
One estimate of the cost of the NHS today is £158.4 billion, which in real terms is 10 times as much as in 1950. In the meantime, it’s no longer completely free for all. Prescription charges and dental fees have been introduced. The development of ever-more sophisticated life-saving drugs and medical procedures will inevitably mean higher costs – and a heightened moral dilemma. Must there be further limits to the provision of “medical treatment covering all requirements”?
The colossal task of rebuilding a shattered economy in the years to come may compel the British people to choose between what is essential and what is optional. The Christian principle now sounds particularly demanding: “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfil the law of Christ”.