Previous Edition - Summer 2010

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					                                                                          Harvest 2010




                           The Magazine of St John’s Methodist Church
                               PUBLISHED QUARTERLY * EASTER * SUMMER * HARVEST * CHRISTMAS




St. John’s Vision Statement – to be a mixed age, joyful and prayerful church, in which we take
  seriously our Christian commitment to the Church, to our local community and to the world.
                                             Focus – Harvest 2010

Letter from Carla                                                But how can this relate to our journeys of life and
                                                             faith? Well, I guess that some of the similarities are
   Dear Friends,                                             easy to spot. For example the terrain that we
                                                             metaphorically journey along is often varied.
   I, like my Mum, Dad and sister, love to visit new         Sometimes it feels fertile and rich, but at other times
places, but it’s never too long after arriving               it seems dry and fruitless. In all journeys I believe
anywhere before we usually ask, ‘Where are we                that God is with us, but do we take time to seek
going next?’ Not because we are greedy, nor de-              Him?
valuing the present experience, but built within us is
that desire to explore even more new places. Anyone              The rich variety of culture, people and scenery
with a taste for travel will know exactly what I             we experienced on our travels reminds me simply
mean!                                                        yet beautifully of the fact that God has created a
                                                             diverse and wonderful world – and from different
   The concept of journeying has for a while been a          people and cultures we can learn so very much, and
significant metaphor for me with regard to my walk           in turn I give thanks to God.
of faith and life (and more about that in a moment),
but this summer a physical journey has also had a                The journey of faith can feel tiring and long, and
huge, life-time impact on me.                                at times there are challenges to overcome, but there
                                                             are also wonderful surprises to enjoy. At different
    As some of you will be aware, my family and I            times in our lives we travel with different
embarked on quite an epic journey. We decided to             companions, yet in our journey of faith we hold to
follow the old Route 66 in the United States of              the promise that we never journey alone, we never
America. This now decommissioned route covers                need to despair (even when we are fearful) because
some 2400 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica                 we have the promise that God is with us every step
(near to Los Angeles). As you can imagine, a                 of the way.
journey as long as this not only meant time lines
were crossed but it also gave us the privilege of               I could continue to explore the concept of
seeing a whole variety of landscapes; from vast lakes        journeying and relating it to life, but, I wonder, what
and rivers (especially memorable for me was seeing           are the images that have been conjured up in your
the Mississippi) through to long stretches of deserts        mind? What are the similes and metaphors of
and ranch land.                                              journeying that you are reflecting on?

                                                                I hope that you have each had time to recharge
                                                             your batteries over the summer. I pray that we
                                                             decide to journey with God as we begin another new
                                                             Methodist year – may I wish to you all a very
                                                             ‘Happy New Year’!

                                                                                             Every blessing, Carla




   Our vacation also enabled us to visit the Grand
Canyon (an awe-inspiring trip for which mere words
are simply inadequate). We nipped in to see the
bright lights of Las Vegas, and eventually finishing
our trip with a couple of nights in New York. As
always, some of my most memorable times are from
the occasions when I was able to soak up local
culture and spend time with people. I have had the
wonderful opportunity to travel in my life, for which
I am very grateful, but this trip ranks amongst some
of my most precious holiday memories.
                                                         2
                                             Focus – Harvest 2010


            Not to be Missed




                                                             to a church service before. It would be lovely to see
                          th                                 the church full so, although we know it is not easy to
         Saturday 18 September                               decide whom to invite, please try to think of
Going Further (God in the Every Day)                         someone. You never know, they may (with God’s
                                                             help) decide to come into our church family.
            10am -1pm
   Workshops and Worship helping us to explore
our faith through the every-day things of our lives.
                                                                 Saturday 6th November 10-12am
   The workshops will be led by experienced                      Christmas Charities
practitioners and will be on God and Knitting, God                     Market
and Music, God and Art, God and Film and God and
                                                               Our yearly chance to support
Prayer.
                                                                charities, and stock up on
  The event has been organised by St Andrew’s, St              Christmas cards and presents.
Mary’s and St John’s so it would be nice to see as
many people as possible attending from St John’s.

    Please fill in one of the booking forms available                            Friday 10th December-
if you wish to attend as we need to know numbers                                 Sunday 12th December
intending to come and what sessions they would like                              Christmas Tree Festival
to do.




                                                                 Sunday 12th at 3pm
                                                                 Community Carol
          Sunday 26th September                                      Service.
          Harvest Festival Service
                                                                             All details to follow.
       followed by a Harvest Lunch
   The theme of this year’s service is Water Aid and                                  Alpha... it's coming!
all the windows decorated by our various
organisations will be based on water.                                                    Starting on Tuesdays from
                                                                                      the 5th October until the 7th
   The Harvest lunch is always popular and tickets                                    December from 7.30pm-
will be on sale in September at £5 for adults and£2                                   9.00pm we will be running
for children. .                                                                       the Alpha Course. This will
                                                             mainly be for those of us who are already 'in church'
             Sunday 3rd October                              to familiarise ourselves with the course and, maybe,
          Back to Church Sunday                              to learn something new ourselves.
                                                                 Our hope is to run it properly next year for the
    This initiative has been very successful in other        community. So this is a trial run and as such we
parts of the country. Invitations will be available in       would love you to join the course. It will prove to be
September. Please take one and invite someone to             fun, enjoyable, challenging and help us all to
come to our special morning service. It could be a           understand a little bit more the faith that we possess..
relative, a friend, someone who used to attend                   So why not come along and give it a go. For
church and stopped or someone who has never been             more information contact Carla or Rob Wylie

                                                         3
                                             Focus – Harvest 2010
                                                             seems very timely to continue the Victorian tradition
         Thoughts at Harvest time                            of thanking God for the blessings of harvest, and not
                          “Farmer, farmer, sow the           taking our daily bread too much for granted
                                   seed,                                                              Ann Naylor
                            Up the field and down,
                              God will send the
                               golden corn,
                              Gold where all is
                                 brown.”
                                                              New Methodist hymn collection to be
    Other people may member singing these words in
the Sunday School years ago, and also perhaps a                 published in 2011
song beginning “Bringing in the sheaves”. This, I
feel, was not very appropriate for suburban children,           The Methodist Conference
although we were near enough to the countryside for          has announced plans to publish
walks to see the sheaves and the stooks in the fields.       ‘Singing the Faith’, a major new
                                                             authorised hymn collection for
   Like John Betjeman’s Church Mouse, I like the             the Church.
Harvest Festival, and, if the Circuit Plan works in
my favour, I sometimes manage two Harvest                       The collection contains 772 hymns and songs,
Festivals, by truanting here and going along to              plus 59 canticles and psalms. It has been six years in
Monkseaton to share their service.                           the making, and will be the first authorised
                                                             Methodist collection in thirty years. Leading modern
    The richly-laden displays of today with exotic           hymn writers, including many Methodists, are
produce from around the world, and when even the             represented alongside the best of Methodist heritage,
tins contain luxury fruit and vegetables, bear little        such as hymns by Charles Wesley.
resemblance to the Harvest Festivals of my
childhood, where the most exotic vegetable was a                 Revd Barbara Bircumshaw, Chair of the Music
marrow (we never had marrows at home!) and most              Resource Group, said, “This collection represents
of the produce was locally grown, often coming               the best of old and new. Worshipping through music
from the congregation’s gardens, allotments and              and lyrics is at the very heart of what it means to be
greenhouses. Produce was carefully selected and              Methodist and drafting this major resource has been
polished (apples) and scrubbed (carrots, potatoes)           a real labour of love. Our expert compilers have
and even cabbage could look quite splendid. Even             sifted through literally thousands of hymns to
oranges and bananas which seem quite “ordinary”              produce a collection of unsurpassed quality and
these days were absent in what seem now to be very           breadth. The collection draws on both the well-
far-off days. However, a glass of water, a piece of          known and the modern, with songs for all ages, from
coal and some salt, together with a loaf of bread            Christian traditions around the world.”
often in a fancy shape, were always in a prominent
place on the table.                                              For founder of Methodism, John Wesley, singing
                                                             was essential to a person’s spiritual life. So much so
   It comes as no surprise that this “traditional”           that he wrote a list of seven ‘directions for singing’
Harvest Festival, where we thank God for the                 for his fellow Christians. These included the entreaty
blessings of the harvest, was invented by the                to “Sing lustily and with good courage.”
Victorians, who would probably have been shocked
by the more robust harvest celebrations of medieval             The collection will be launched with a ‘big sing’
times, especially the horse-play over the last sheaf         event at the 2011 Methodist Conference in
reaped. The Harvest or mell supper goes a long way           Southport.
back, however, originally given by the farmer to his
harvest workers. Now our harvest lunch is an                    “Singing the Faith” will be published by Hymns
enjoyable social event shared with friends.                  Ancient and Modern. The full music edition will
                                                             cost £30, the words edition £9 and the large print
   Despite all the changes in agricultural practices         words edition £15. At a future date, these will be
and traditions, - one constant remains – the weather!        supported by electronic resources, including a
This year, for example, we are told that a dry Spring        website offering a free range of extra resources and
has led to grain harvests world-wide being reduced           products relating to the core hymn collection.
by a third, and, with populations still growing, it
                                                                             From the Methodist Church Website

                                                         4
                                             Focus – Harvest 2010
                                                                The rota until Christmas is as follows

                                                             September 5th            Muriel Neil
   Circuit                              News                 September 12th           Jenny Little
                                                             September 19th           Jenny Sheldon
                                                             September 26th           Derek Pearson
   Sunday@thepub has been going now for                                         HARVEST FESTIVAL
almost a year and, in that time, we have had an                                Other donations welcome
                                interesting       time
                                trying to work out           October 3rd               Sheila Dawson
                                what it is we are            October 10th              Eleanor Rigby
                                doing and what we            October 17th              Miriam Nicholson
                                are about. We have a         October 24th              Mary Skipsey
                                good      relationship       October 31st              Gilbert Smout
                                with the manager at
                                The Queen’s Head             November 7th          Doreen Pike, Olive Coulson
                                where we meet and                                  and Irene Walker
he and the rest of his staff have been really helpful.                        REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY
We have looked at many different topics over this            November 14th         Joan and Barbara Grundy
last year based around the Nooma DVD’s and other             November 21st         Hilda Bates
resources. We have also worked with Andrew, the              November 28th         Donations welcome
landlord, to put a pub quiz together which has
proved to be popular with local folk and church folk         December 5th              Donations welcome
alike.                                                       December 12th             Colin Raistrick
                                                             December 19th             Christmas Flowers
   As we start again after the summer break we are           December 26th             Donations welcome
changing our focus to allow for a more laidback and            Thank you.
flexible approach to the way we work, and will see                                                        Jean Shaw
us doing the quiz twice a month on the first and third
Sundays of each month, This will start at 8.30 and
costs 50p for each person to enter. Each team is
made up of a maximum of 6 people. The pub
provide food for us as well.

    On the weeks we are not doing the quiz, we will
still be there. On some occasions we will do                            Church Project 2010/11
something more structured like doing a Nooma                    It is with great pleasure and privilege that I am
DVD or by looking to host special nights where we            able to write and thank you for choosing Help for
invite a comedian, singer or group to play. But for          Heroes to be the Church Project for 2010/11. The
the most part we want to be in the pub to get to             charity itself is only 3 years old, with so much
know people and build relationships.                         achieved in such a short time. However, there is still
                                                             so much to do to help our wounded troops.
   Please pray for us as we continue on this
adventure and as we try to build community and                   After the completion of the Hedley Court
grow faith. And if you know someone who might                Rehabilitation Centre in Surrey, it is now hoped to
appreciate a listening ear in a friendly environment,        start building individual rehab centres throughout the
then please do point them in our direction.                  country. This will allow our troops to continue their
                           The Sunday@thepub team            rehabilitation, whilst continuing their work with
                                                             their regiments in their own garrisons. This is all part
                                                             of their new initiative of the ‘Individual Recovery
                        Church Flowers                       Program.’ Help for Heroes has already pledged
                   We are grateful for all                   £20,000,000 to build the first 3 centres to help each
                contributions towards Church flowers         individual rebuild their life for the future. Once built,
                over the last few months. Thanks are         the centres will be managed by The Soldiers Charity.
                also expressed to our small dedicated        They will assess each individual’s needs, and spend
team of arrangers and to those who help with                 the money to its greatest effect. Money has also been
delivery of flowers.

                                                         5
                                             Focus – Harvest 2010
allocated to The Navy and Air force to help fund                          Every Tuesday
their recovery plans.
                                                                   a Coffee Morning at St John's
   At St. John’s we are hoping to plan a series of                   Everyone welcome
fundraising social events to help raise funds for the            from 10:30 to noon in the Minor Hall
charity to continue their work and for you to learn
more about how the charity is doing.

    These, we hope, will include: A Traditional
Scottish Evening, An Evening with a Big Band, The
West End Coming to St. John’s, A Military Band
plus many other events which we hope will suit all
tastes.                                                        (Incorporating Bethany Corner cards and
                                                                               books)
   Our Next Event will be a quiz evening on
Saturday 23rd October. Please get further information           In summer, 2007, a group of church members
about this and future events from the Church                 collected together to discuss what to do instead of
Notices, Notice Boards, Website and E-Mail                   opening the church every morning which a team of
Bulletins.                                                   them had been doing for several years. Revd. Paul
                                                             Cleever-Thorpe was with us to guide us through our
   A selection of official Merchandise will also be          ideas.
available throughout the year. I am also very pleased
to announce that a compilation of Jack Sheldon’s                 The year before, Bethany Christian Book Shop
favourite tunes are available on a new CD ‘Jack              closed. It had been opposite the church on
Sheldon Plays For The Heroes’ All money raised               Ilfracombe Gardens. Not only was it a book shop but
from these items will be given directly to The               it sold cards and Sunday school items. It had a
Heroes.                                                      couple of tables at the back for people wanting a
                                                             chat and/or to have a cup of coffee and upstairs was
   May I also take this opportunity to say that I have       a quiet room for those needing peace and solitude.
decided to jump 125mph out of an aeroplane at                We thought we could set up a similar place, as near
12,000 ft on Saturday 13th November in aid of our            as possible in our church vestibule, though not a
Project! If anyone would like to sponsor me                  book shop. The difference in the staffing was that
sponsorship forms will be available in the church.           Bethany Shop had been voluntarily staffed by an
Alternatively you are able to donate online at               interdenominational team whereas ours was, and still
www.bmycharity.com/skydiveh4h.                               is, staffed by St John's members.
   All money raised will go to supporting our
troops.                                                          We have enjoyed the three years since then.
                                                             People have visited us, including some from other
   If you would like to find out more about the work         churches, who have been most welcome. Sometimes
of Help for Heroes, and how the money is being               folk have come to unload their loneliness and
spent please visit www.helpforheroes.org.uk. If you          problems. Sometimes we have developed into a kind
have any questions or suggestions, please don’t              of discussion group on various topics. The teams on
hesitate       to         contact       me        at         duty have gelled, each in their own way and new
keith_todhunter@yahoo.co.uk or telephone 0191                friendships have been formed.
2520748.
                                                             The Bethany Teams:
                                                                Pauline Hurse, Eleanor Rigby, Pat Turnbull,
                                                             Anna Palmer.
                                                                Joan Agnew, Margaret Stephenson, Noel
                                                             Huntley, Miriam Nicholson.
                                                                Gilbert Smout, Pamela Pearson, Ann Gilmore,
                                                             Olive Hordon.
   Many thanks for your continued support.                      Pat and David Slater, Gill Hedley and Judith
                                   Keith Todhunter           Lynn.
   PS the Concert for heroes at Twickenham
Stadium is being broadcast on BBC 1 between 5 and            Reserves: Anne Jenkins, Heather Hindmarsh and
   10 pm on Sunday 12 September                              Sheila Dawson.

                                                         6
                                               Focus – Harvest 2010
                                                                                Focus Archive
   We have now moved into the Minor Hall, not far
from the church if anyone wishes to spend time
there. Bethany Corner supplies are still available and
the second-hand book stall is there. We are open all
year except for two or three weeks at Christmas time
and then again at Easter.

         Please come and support us.
                                    Miriam Nicholson
                                                                   Peter Firth has produced an Archive of Focus and
                                                               its predecessor, the newsletter of Saint John’s and
                                                               Seaton Sluice. It was in 1983 that the name Focus
                                                               emerged when Catherine Wilson took over the
                                                               editorship from Dennis Brown. In the future we will
                                                               be dipping into this fund of Church history to bring
                                                               you items which we hope will bring back memories.
                                                               Peter also has CDs of the archive he has produced
                                                               and is willing to provide copies to those who would
                                                               find them interesting. Following is a Harvest
                                                               message from September 1982
                                                                                                    The Focus Team


                                                                                   From
                                                                      Saint John’s and Seaton Sluice
From Barbara –                                                        Methodist Churches Newsletter

    “I just wanted to take this opportunity to say a big
heartfelt ‘thank you’ to the many friends at St John’s             T. S. Elliot has a poem which (I regret to say) I
who sent me cards, best wishes and congratulations             can neither quote accurately, nor discover in print.
at the end of July when I celebrated my 60th birthday          Allow me, therefore (with all apologies to the poet)
and retirement. Sorry folks – I know that I don’t              to paraphrase its essence:
look old enough but I really was born in 1950!”
                                                                  God made a world in which there is sound,
And from Joan –                                                and this sound can be supremely beautiful, He
                                                               also made men with skilful hands and minds.
   “As Mum, I also wish to say thank you. I
                                                                  One such was Antonio Stradivarius, who
thoroughly enjoyed the occasion too. Thank you too
for your prayers, concern, love, and best wishes               used his God-given talents to make violins able
expressed in so many ways, during the ups and                  to produce the most wonderful music in the
downs of the past year or so. The great news is that           world..
I now have a date to go into Rake Lane for a total                All was God-given, but even God himself
shoulder replacement during October.         Please            could not have produced that sublime sound
continue to pray – thank you”                                  without the hands of Antonio.

              With our love, Joan & Barbara Grundy                 So with harvest, We celebrate God’s gift of the
                                                               world, with all its resources; His gift of life itself ;
   We would like to thank the many friends at St               His gift of hands and minds that enable us to grow,
John’s who have helped us in the weeks following               harvest, store, distribute and process our food. But
Terry’s accident                                               we also celebrate the human side of harvest: the
                                                               work of farmers, chemists, engineers, sailors, lorry
    The many cards, phone calls, practical help with           drivers, shop-keepers and many others. It is only
lifts and food have all been very welcome as have              when both God and man give their gifts and use their
your visits.                                                   talents that “All is safely gathered in”.
                             Doreen and Terry Pike                                          Rev. Geoffrey, H. Rushton

                                                           7
                                            Focus – Harvest 2010
                                                            “Trial by Jury”, followed by “Pirates of Penzance”,
                                                            “Ruddigore” and finally “The Gondoliers”. In all of
   The most                                                 these, Margaret took leading roles with typical
   Northerly                                                enthusiasm and skill, drawing upon her own not
                                                            inconsiderable experience of numerous previous
   Church in                                                Gilbert & Sullivan performances.
    Britain
                                                               Margaret was also a member of Jack Sheldon’s
                                                            “Music Workshop” and, as you might expect, she
   We went to                                               encouraged those about her – some of whom were of
Shetland on our                                             very tender years – who comprised the recorder
holidays and we                                             section of Jack’s “orchestra”.
visited Haroldswick
Methodist Church                                               If ever the call went out for anyone to volunteer
on the island of                                            for a singing engagement – such as in an old
Unst.                                                       peoples’ home, or a church hall (St John’s or any
                                                            other) – you could be sure that Margaret would be
    It was rebuilt in 1990 because the old church was       there, always contributing to the full, helping others
a ruin.                                                     to do solos, duets or singing in larger groups and
    It is like a Norwegian wooden Stave Kirk. It was        maybe for the first time. She would probably have a
very good but we didn't go to a service.                    hand in organising the event as well, as often as not.
    Here is a photo of me and my mum in the church.
                                    Jamie Thompson             When Margaret Jefferies left the church early in
                                                            2004, it fell to Margaret Wheeler and myself to run
                                                            the Choir jointly. We took the job on with some
     Margaret Wheeler --1933-2010                           trepidation and – encouragingly – no one left the
                                                            Choir because of the change in management! In
         Recollections of Margaret                          September last year, with some local support, our
   By the time our family came to live in Whitley           Church Choir put on a performance of Brian Hoare’s
Bay and worship at St John’s in                                             “New Creation”. With incredible
1984, Margaret had already been a                                           dedication and patience, Margaret
member of the Church Choir for a                                            rehearsed this work which was
considerable number of years and                                            conducted in performance at St John’s
one of my first memories of her was                                         by the composer himself. In
watching her in action directing the                                        hindsight, it seems highly likely that
Sunday School rehearsals of “A Man                                          at that time she was already suffering
from Galilee” the following year.                                           from the illness which finally claimed
She was in full flight, encouraging                                         her. It must have taken a huge effort
what seemed like a very large                                               on her part to see this event through to
number of young people to give of                                           its successful conclusion. This, surely,
their best and, sure enough, the final                                      is a measure of her sense of
performance in Church was very                                              dedication. What an example for us
impressive.                                                                 all.

    Not many years later, when another musical –               Over the years I was lucky enough to have sung a
“Only a Baby” – was staged again by the Sunday              number of duets with Margaret, ranging from some
School, Margaret gave of her talents once more. She         old musical-hall favourites, through Gilbert &
directed the rehearsals and performance and this            Sullivan – including “our” Despard and Mad
time I played the piano accompaniment. This was             Margaret duet from “Ruddigore” which became our
the first time I had worked with her, and she knew          party piece – to various sacred compositions. She
exactly what she wanted both from the performers            sang with great sensitivity and I have good reason to
and from the accompanist. No surprises there, then!         be very grateful for this aspect of her musical life.
It was great fun and we all had a lot of laughs.            She was always a significant presence in any
                                                            musical endeavour and always gave huge support to
   Under the Musical Directorship of Margaret               those around her.
Jefferies, the Church Choir put on some of the                 I shall miss her.
Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. The first of these was                                              Charles Hedley

                                                        8
                                             Focus – Harvest 2010
     Memories of Margaret Wheeler                            Through music especially we enjoyed many times
   Margaret was such a part of St. John’s and so             together, including our mutual time in the Priory
involved in many different things it is difficult to         Singers.
know where to begin.
                                                                Poetry was another love we shared and of course
   Her involvement ranged from being a church                teaching in school, each in our own capacity.
steward, a great promoter of Network, a member of
the drama group, helping with banner making, and,                At St John’s we took part in several events
not least, singing in and latterly leading the choir         together and frequently shared thoughts and ideas.
alongside Charles, and becoming a worship leader.            Over the Centenary Year we worked together on
                                                             several projects. She gradually found it more tiring
   My personal contact with Margaret was mainly              as the year progressed. She could not climb the stairs
through the drama group and the choir.                       easily or stand for long periods of time. However,
                                                             she never gave up trying to do all she could. She
   We had many happy hours rehearsing; my                    kept a positive attitude as long as possible and she
favourite plays with her being “Spring and Port              told her stories just as excitedly as before.
Wine” and “A Pack of Lies” the story of Helen &
Peter Kroger. She always gave of her best and                   Her happy smile and encouraging comments
produced some very fine performances. Similarly              cannot be forgotten. Compliments were always her
with the choir, be it sacred works, Gilbert & Sullivan       way and her love of everything God has made and
productions or secular concerts she had an immense           given us never left her. When she found a parking
stage presence and those of us who worked with her           spot in a busy car park she always thanked God for
will remember her encouragement and faith in our             helping her to find it.
abilities even if we were not so confident ourselves.
Did I really let her persuade me many years ago to             Her cat was her close companion: her brother,
mime to the Supreme’s song “Baby Love” dressed in            Charlie, a very close friend.
a rather tight little black dress? I’ve never been so
nervous in all my life!!                                         Despite her daughter, Claire, and her family,
                                                             living so far away, they were a major part of her life.
    One of the more recent things that Margaret took         The distance between them seemed to drift away
on was being one of our worship leaders. As with             when she talked about their latest ventures and
everything else, she brought her own special talents         achievements. She also kept in touch with her
to this role bringing her wealth of knowledge in both        beloved Jennifer and Gerald (the organist) and their
the music and the words she chose for the services           families who also lived across the Atlantic.
she helped lead.
                                                                She was a very loyal friend. When I broke my
    She loved socializing, quizzing, just being with         ankle in 2003 she visited me often, always with a pot
people. Even in the months before her death many             of jam or some other gift in her hand. Her e-mails
folk enjoyed a coffee and a savoury scone (her               came frequently. I still miss her messages on my
favourite) with her at 129, she always wanted to             computer.
know what was happening at St. John’s or with your
family, she never dwelt on her own problems. The                Margaret achieved much in her life. She used her
way she dealt with her illness was an example to us          many talents in every way she could. She liked
all and a great demonstration of her faith.                  singing and speaking and took part in concerts,
                                                             shows, singing in choruses and as a soloist, in
   I will miss her for many reasons, mainly for the          dramas in costume, in church as a conductor, a
encouragement, support and friendship she has                worship leader, as the representative on many a
shown me over the years. St. John’s has lost a very          committee, as a flower lady etc. I will always
special person.                                              remember her strength and endeavour, the way she
                                                             enthused others. She always had a tale to tell and so
  Our thoughts and prayers are still with Claire,            much depth in her stories. She’ll always be my good,
Charlie and all the family.                                  caring, happy friend. I’ll never forget the twinkle in
                            Margaret Stephenson              her eyes, her streak of mischief and lovely singing
                                                             voice.
     Margaret Wheeler, My Friend
  From the time I came to St John’s (1984) with                 God be with you, Margaret.
my family, Margaret and I began to be friendly.                                                  Miriam Nicholson

                                                         9
                                              Focus – Harvest 2010
                             Communications                    used       and      well       designed        website
                                                               (www.stjohnsmethodist.co.uk) which, together with
                                 –what                         the Methodist Church and District websites,
                             communications?                   provides much useful information. We could place
                                                               information about forthcoming events and church
                                Tony            Farrar         concerns more prominently on the site for anybody
preached a sermon on 20th June which really made               to read – who knows how many hits by interested
us think – he urged us to be forward-looking in our            readers this publicity could achieve! Why not go
thoughts about worship, to be willing to welcome               further and provide a
new expressions and new approaches to our services.            dedicated     slot   where
Particularly we older folk, we like to stick with that         church     members      and
which is familiar and often hanker after past ways in          friends      can      make
doing things. However, already at St.John’s things             comments, suggestions and
are changing – the use of a projector to show the              criticisms. The Annual
hymns and readings on the screen allows greater                Church Meeting at present
involvement of the worshippers, for instance. This             is the only occasion where
message struck a chord in my mind also about the               this is possible. After all,
ways in which we communicate in the church. If we              Facebook and Twitter are
are to be forward-looking in our worship, we should            public interaction websites used by millions,
be equally forward looking in the ways in which we             particularly younger people. We don’t need to use
communicate our church affairs.                                these websites if people are unhappy about such
                                                               public exposure – we can readily develop our church
    Church business is conducted in the same way as            website to receive comments, suggestions &
it has been for many years. The church council                 criticisms. May I suggest that the Church Council
includes representatives from the various church               considers these possibilities when next they meet?
groups and activities, as well as elected members,                                                       Eric Skipsey
and it discusses any matters that impinge on the life
and work of the church. However, there is a real gap                            October 1951
here between the deliberations of the church council
and the ordinary church members in the pews as                                                 No, the date is not
there is no satisfactory way for these folk to learn of                                      wrong.
the council’s discussions and decisions. Surely if the
members are to be really involved in what the church              I came upon this report when we were archiving
is doing, they need to be informed of the discussions          old papers during the summer and thought it is still
of the council. Yes, there are the weekly notices that         very relevant today. Although the actual amounts of
tell of forthcoming events and there is Focus                  money are (of course) much different, the needs of
published quarterly. Also our church treasurer                 the Church are very similar.
publishes a hard-hitting report to tell us of the
finances. I would like to suggest that each edition of            This was a Statement and Appeal to all members
Focus carries a slot where important business of the           and friends by
council and perhaps committees are summarised by                  John Moseley (Secretary, Envelope Scheme)
the secretary or the editors. This would ensure that              Sidney H. Fawcett (Trust Treasurer)
we all know what’s happening and planned, and                     Robert Flenley (Supt. Minister)
avoid the rumours that can easily circulate and cause
concerns.                                                         In common with all other organisations, our
                                                               Church is faced with heavier costs from all
    I would like to go further and suggest that the            directions, and the Trust Treasurer and the Finance
church increasingly uses the internet as a means of            committee feel that the financial position of St.
communication and publicity about church affairs. I            John's should be made clear.
guess that many in the congregation are now internet
users. We use it for contacting distant family and                 Essential repairs and increased costs generally
friends, arranging holidays, purchases and many                have exhausted the funds we had in hand. For some
others things – for many people nowadays, e-mails              months the Trust Account has been overdrawn. As
have taken the place of letter writing. Already Sally          will be seen from the annexed Summary the
puts the coming Sunday’s notices on the internet               estimated expenditure is about £32 per week, the
each Thursday, making them available for any                   equivalent on present Membership to 2/- per member
unable to get to the service. We already have a well-          per week. The weekly income has averaged £25

                                                          10
                                                      Focus – Harvest 2010
which means that an additional £7 per week is
needed.

   There are 328 members on the Membership Roll.
Of these, 103 Members contribute regularly through
the Envelope Scheme £560 per annum. From the
remaining 225 members and all visitors we receive
in Collections and Class Money £470 per annum.
This marked disparity makes obvious the benefits of
systematic giving.

   In the light of these facts may we suggest that
you give thought to the extent and manner of your
giving; Whether you are able to increase your
weekly gift and, if you are not already in the                               SIGNS and MIRACLES’-A
Envelope Scheme are you willing to adopt it and                             DREAMCOAT PRODUCTION
thereby ensure your regular weekly contribution
towards the Church expenses.                                                Three weeks before curtain up to ‘Signs and
                                                                        Miracles’ there was (yet another) crisis. Two cast
    A generous response from all members and                            members had gone AWOL, one being a replacement
friends will put our income on a sound and                              for another cast member who had pulled out through
satisfactory basis and the Finance Committee                            illness. The other required a young boy to play a lead
believe, now the needs of the Church have been                          role. And importantly they needed some knowledge
made known, that the support accorded to this appeal                    of signing. So, not too difficult then! St Cuthbert
will be worthy of its object. To help to make it so,                    however (played by Paul Miller) had an inspired
will you please complete the enclosed form.                             idea that a girl could play the young deaf boy, Luke,
                                                                        and that these scenes could be mimed. This not only
         Summary of estimated Receipts and Payments                     worked but Cuthbert and Luke’s scenes were among
Cash from 103 Members         £560 Circuit Stewards                     the most memorable in the show. Also crucial to the
contributing through               towards Ministerial                  show was the commitment of our wonderful
Envelope Scheme                    Appointments and         £647        director, Helen Ferguson, who not only got the
                                   upkeep of Manses                     actors to raise the bar in their performance but also
Recovery of Income Tax              Church premises;                    learned the lines and took on the role of Lucy.
on covenanted Gifts                 Heating, Lighting,
                              180   Cleaning, repairs etc   768             I felt very nervous as the open rehearsal began at
                                                                        St John’s on 17th June. As the show progressed
Cash from 225 members,
Adherents and all visitors,                                             though, I began to watch with new eyes. Yes it had a
including Class Money         470   Organ and choir         85
                                                                        few rough edges, but ultimately it was getting up on
                                    Expenses                            its hind legs and working. As ‘Signs and Miracles’
                                                                        moved to St Mary’s there were a few technical
Donations from Church               Society Stewards'
Departments and other               and Trust Treasurer's
                                                                        glitches in rehearsal but, by opening night, the cast
organisations for use of            expenses, including 65              were confident and the audience appreciative. We
                              90
Premises                            Advertising                         had set out to produce a show that the Deaf
                                                                        community could relate to, a narrative that not only
                                   Grants to
                                   Connexional and                      was relevant to them but also contained universal
( Equivalent of £25 per       1300 other Funds        87
                                                                        themes for a hearing audience. Having deaf actors
week)                              (Overseas and Home                   included in the cast was not just a token gesture.
                                   Missions, L.P.M.A.                   They really needed to work hard as actors under
                                   etc)
                                                                        Helen’s direction. And the Deaf Community
DEFICIT Equivalent of £6                                                supported the show by attending. At every show
15 4 per week                                                           there were at least two members of the Deaf
                              352                                       community, and on one night there were fourteen!
                              1652 (Equivalent of £31       1652
                                   15 4 per week)                          There were a few odd coincidences at St Mary’s.
                                                                        We had decided that having plainsong played during
                                                                        one of the scenes would improve it. Two cast
                                                 Carole Firth
                                                                        members brought along identical CDs—amazing

                                                                   11
                                            Focus – Harvest 2010
considering that the CD was in Latin and recorded
by Spanish monks! On the night of the dress                     Owen Lumsdon will add Consent Officer to his
rehearsal I came out of St Mary’s and was stopped in         portfolio as part of changes in systems within
my tracks by an amazingly beautiful sunset. Then on          Methodism for gaining approval for works on the
the final night of the show, as we were loading cars         building.
with props, there was a rainbow stretched across the
sky. Signs and Miracles indeed!                                  Further administrative hours for Sally Clark in
                                                             the Church Office will support initiatives which are
    So, where do Dreamcoat go from here? We are              to take place in the coming months.
currently ‘resting’ but are hoping to produce another
show in the future, a sort of Gothic fairy tale which           Barbara Grundy is now our ecumenical officer
is currently being written by Paul Miller. As many of        and Tony Farrar is to become the co-ordinator of
you know, Paul’s first language is BSL so this is a          Home Communion ministry.
real challenge for him. As a lead-in to this we are
also hoping to hold some mime workshops, and see                The need for a Circuit Steward was highlighted.
where these lead us. We have established a link with
North Tyneside Disability Forum (they did the                    PROPERTY
filmed sequences for ‘Signs and Miracles’) so may                The Society is very grateful to have received
work with them in the future. We have a new                  gifts, in memory of past members of the Church, for
treasurer, Helen Howie, who has taken over from              the purchase of a Home Communion Set and an
John Sherry. John has been excellent at balancing            Electronic Drum Kit.
our books, and we wish him well.
                                                                Approval was given for a safety balustrade (now
   So, watch this space!                                     in place) on the shallow step in the South Transept
          Noreen Rees, Writer, ‘Signs and Miracles’          and (also now completed) an upgrade of the sound
                                                             system, particularly the relay to the choir area.
   Quiz answers                                                 The office photocopier has been replaced with
   1    Lake Victoria      2.The Amazon                      one capable of colour printing. Focus has benefitted
   3    Orlando Bloom      4. Regal Tang                     from this, but the colour facility comes at a cost and
   5    Rio Ferdinand      6. 110 years                      a careful eye will need to be kept on this. Occasional
   7    1912                                                 private copying can be undertaken by a small team
   8    Sir John Harrington (NOT Thomas                      of operatives (10p mono , 40p colour), preferably
        Crapper!)                                            outside office hours.

                                                                 The tree at the entrance to the car park has been
 FROM THE                                                    attended to by Tree Surgeons.
COMMITTEE
                                                                Debate continues regarding possible upgrade of
  ROOMS                                                      the kitchen and presently dwells on the emergence of
   A busy round of
                                                             a clearer vision for the future of the Church, in
committees in the
                                                             particular with regard to community involvement. In
Spring culminated in
                                                             the meantime the cookers are to be replaced.
the Church Council
meeting on 17th June.
                                                                After several years’ break (!), a window cleaner
This is a digest of
                                                             will again be contracted for the external windows.
some of the topics
considered. Formal minutes can be obtained from
                                                                 The Centenary year has particularly highlighted a
committee secretaries.
                                                             need to sort and adequately archive material
                                                             generated by the Church's activity over the years,
   PEOPLE & RESPONSIBILITIES                                 important as record but not immediately required.
   Margaret Lumsdon was welcomed as the new
                                                             Council approved a working party, which has since
Church Council secretary with thanks to Heather
                                                             made a good start, to carry this out. Incidental to
Hindmarsh for 6 years' service. Thanks were also
                                                             this, all Focus Magazines since 1982 have been
offered to Hilda Bates, retired as a pastoral visitor
                                                             scanned (pdf) and saved to disc. Anyone interested
and to Ann Naylor, now stepped down as a
                                                             in having a copy of this fascinating archive should
representative to the Circuit Meeting.
                                                             contact Peter Firth.

                                                        12
                                               Focus – Harvest 2010

    Members of the Church Council are managing                     EVENTS
trustees, with certain legal responsibilities. A                   St Andrew's, St Mary's and St John's Churches
training session to bring Council up to date is                 will jointly organise a Spirituality Day on Saturday
planned for the Autumn.                                         18th September 2010. Following last year's
                                                                successful event, the Festival of Trees weekend will
   As part of the safeguarding programme, Church                be held on l0th - 12th December to include the
keyholders will be asked to confirm the conditions              Christmas Community service and, hopefully,
on which they hold a key.                                       peformances by local schools.

   INITIATIVES                                                     The Church Anniversary has been arranged for
   Planning is proceeding with several initiatives,             6th February 2011 with a Gift Day on Saturday 5th.
such as discussions with Revd. Elaine Lindridge, in
connection with the 20 - 40 age group, "Back to                     A 'Coast Praise' event will take place on Friday
Church Sunday" on 3rd October, the commencement                 11th March, 2011 at the Playhouse and St John's,
of a midweek Alpha course in the same month and                 along with other Churches, has agreed to give a
the re-establishment of the Fair Trade Stall.                   limited guarantee of funds and to provide a number
                                                                of free tickets for young people.
  Barbara Grundy is to set up a weekly prayer
meeting starting in September.                                     At Circuit level, Cafe Re at Oxford Street and
                                                                Sunday @ the pub in Cullercoats continue. The
    The Street Pastors Project continues to roll                former is a monthly meeting: a mixed group of
forward with a feasibility study having been                    people from Circuit, other churches and community
completed. Positive conversations have taken place              people. The latter usually attracts 8-15 people, with
with the police and the local authority. lt was                 35-40 people attending the monthly quiz nights.
confirmed that St. John's would continue to support                                                       Peter Firth
this work.

    REVIEW
    It was agreed that the time had come to take stock                             Tales from the Tall Ships
of the vision for our Church, to involve District staff:                            – an experience of a life
    Evangelism Enabler - Revd Elaine Lindridge,                                              time
Training Officer - Mr Mark Bagnall, Development                                      It all started in February 2009
Enabler - Revd Neil Cockling, the latter to be invited          when I saw a poster on the wall at the Quarry
to attend an open Church Council Meeting on a                   Centre. Tall Ships Race 2010. Race across the North
Sunday, followed by lunch and conversation.                     Sea. Are you up for the challenge? This made me
                                                                ask myself if I was up for the challenge and I
    A review of midweek worship and of the Palm                 thought to myself, yes, yes I am.
Sunday Community Service has suggested that they
aren't fully effective in their present form and should            The cost of the adventure was £1800 per person.
be discontinued. The latter will be replaced in 2011            This was broken down into 3 parts. One part had to
with a Harvest Community Service and that an                    be paid by my parents, another had to be fundraised
invitation be produced to encourage the involvement             by myself and the third came out of the fund raised
of family and friends.                                          by the whole contingent. Being the only participant
                                                                from Whitley Bay, I was fortunate to have my
   At the time of the Council meeting the church                amount set to be fundraised donated to me by
was in the midst of the Lost for Words teaching,                various local business’ trusts, groups and individuals
which had initiated some good discussions with,                 and by my own efforts eg paper round.
overall, a positive response. Some people have found
the practical nature of the material helpful. Some                 There was a lot of training that was undertaken
have struggled with the 'teaching' method as a new              before the event. Most of this was team building that
experience within the context of worship. Some find             we did at our monthly meetings in Ponteland, but we
Cafe style worship difficult, as expected, but others           also gained the RYA Level 1 Dinghy Sailing, a day
have found being in the hall has actually benefited             and night on a tall ship and the Small Craft Sea
conversations. Vestry stewards and minister are                 Survival award. The sea survival course included
always open to direct feedback comment as being                 learning how to climb into a life raft in pitch black in
preferable to grapevine messages.                               a force 8 storm which was great fun in a heated

                                                           13
                                              Focus – Harvest 2010
swimming pool, but would probably not be so                    little eye, something beginning with S. Sea!”
enjoyable in the middle of the freezing North Sea.             Following behind a Dutch square rigger in the
Also whilst at sea we all gained our RYA Competent             parade of sail and the thousands of small private
Crew award.                                                    craft getting in our way, a highlight this. Watching
                                                               an Oil rig being towed by a “Tug” a tug a bit bigger
   Northumberland County Scouts chartered 4 boats              then the ones you see in the Tyne. Watching
in total: Challenger 2 was chartered from the Tall             Provident pass us on the Port Bow (Front Left) and
Ships Youth trust. It was built in 2000, is 22 metres          then being told on the radio that they were retiring
long and held 12 of the contingent. Faramir was                from the race as they could only motor (use the
charted from the Cirdan Sailing Trust. It is again 22          engine) at 4 knots and would not be back in
meters long and was built in 1982 and held 15 of the           Hartlepool by Saturday lunchtime. We had no
contingent. Provident was charted from Trinity                 problem as we were able to motor 6.5 – 7 knots. We
                            Sailing Foundation. It             also passed an oil rig about 500 meters from it at
                            was built in 1924 and is           about 3 am. However I last saw it at 12 am when we
                            27.1 meters long and               were 6 nautical miles away from it and it appeared to
                            held     12      of    the         be the height of Blackpool Tower from that distance.
                            contingent. Finally the
                            boat that I was on,                   How did we sail the boat 24 hours a day for 6
                            Moosk, chartered from              days I hear you ask? We had a watch system in
                            Cremyll Sailing, built in          place. Everyone had 4 hours on duty and 4 hours in
                            1906 as a gentleman’s              bed. However, we operated a rolling watch, so every
                            yacht, it is 17.3 meters           hour a new person would come on duty and do their
                            long and held 8 of the             4 hours and replace the person that had just finished
                            contingent. It was by far          their 4 hour shift. A very effective system as there
the smallest boat, but was by far the best boat and            was always someone wide awake looking out for
we had the highest rank overall in the race out of the         other boats that could hit us. Extremely hard to do
4 scout boats.                                                 especially at 2 am.

   When we were out at sea we experienced all                      It was an amazing
types of weather and sea conditions. For 3 hours               experience         and
there was no wind but our Sat Sea (Radar, GPS, and             wouldn’t have been
Simulator Computer Program) said that we were                  the same without the
doing 0.5 knots. We then found out that for these 3            amazing crew I got to
hours we had actually been sailing backwards and               work with.: Tom the
not in a straight line at that. On another watch the           Skipper; Emma the
waves were crashing over the sides and crew on                 mate (yes the mate
deck.                                                          was a female); Mike Robinson, the brilliant leader
                                                               allocated to our boat; Chris Lakey; Tim Owens; Ben
   Life on board the boat was different and not what           Rusby; Matthew Weatherly; Matthew Court;
I had been expecting at that. One toilet (well I should        Matthew Mundy and myself Matthew Todhunter.
really use proper nautical terms, so “Head”) between           Yes there was 4 Matthews on our boat of 10.
10 people that you had to pump sea water down it to
flush it into the sea. Cooking on a stove with 3 gas               I would just like to thank everyone who has
rings and a small oven. A stove that gimbals (tilts)           helped me and supported me to enable me to
with the motion and angle of the boat making sure              participate in such an exciting and worthwhile
that nothing you are cooking, which was mainly                 venture. The only thing I would like to know is, why
boiling the kettle for cups of tea every hour 24/7             did no one else out of our explorer unit of over 100,
spills or falls off. The food that we ate at sea was           not want to take this amazing opportunity? Why was
mainly fruit and cereal for breakfast, sandwiches              I the only one? If the cost is a prohibitive factor I
and, one day, soup and fresh bread for lunch, and              would help to support their fundraising in what way
mainly pasta/ noodle dishes for tea. Yes, we ate               I could. I hope this is not the case next time and I
proper food in the middle of the sea and with the              will actively encourage others to take up the
vessel being 104 years old; we had no fridge to store          challenge and have the adventure of a lifetime.
the fresh food in.
                                                                                                Matthew Todhunter
   Some of my favourite sights that we saw out at                                      Whitley Bay Explorer Scout
sea, and no I am not going to say “I spy with my                     PS. Yes I was sea sick! 4 times in total!

                                                          14
                                           Focus – Harvest 2010




                  This year in our Harvest Service we are thinking about water, and particularly the
                  charity, WATERAID, which aims to overcome poverty by enabling the world’s poorest
people to gain access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene education.
No living thing can survive without water. It is the most basic need for survival, and
yet today over one billion people (one sixth of the world’s population) do not have
access to clean water.
Visit the Wateraid website -www.wateraid.org/splash_out -read about The
Adventures of Super Toilet!
In this country we take water for granted. We can just turn on a tap and rarely think about how much
water we are using.




The human body is three quarters water.                   Flushing the toilet can use more than 10 litres of
                                                          water. To save water just drop a little sand or
The people in ancient Egypt treated their water           some pebbles into a plastic bottle, fill it with
by siphoning it out of the tops of jars in which          water, and put it in the tank, making sure not to
they collected the water from the Nile                    disturb the toilet's working parts.
River.They would allow the mud from the Nile to           About five large bottles of water can go down
settle in the bottom of the jars and then take the        the sink if you leave the tap running while you
water from the top.                                       clean your teeth for two minutes! Why not fill a
A person can live without food for about a                glass and use this to rinse your teeth?
month but a person can only live without water            Filling the kettle can use 2.5 litres of water, so
for about a week.                                         we should always try to use the minimum
97.5% of the world’s water is salt water - only           amount of water required.
2.5% is fresh water.                                      Shower instead of having a bath!
Water is the only substance that is found                 Grab a big bowl to wash your fruits and veggies
naturally on earth in three forms: liquid, gas,           in rather than rinsing them under a running tap -
solid.                                                    Then try and count and identify any bugs and
                                                          creepy crawlies you find in the water!
                                                          I’m sure you can think of many more.

                                                              4. What species of fish is Dory, who suffers
                                                                 from short-term memory loss, in Finding
                                                                 Nemo?
   1. What lake is Africa’s largest?                          5. Which England footballer shares a first
   2. What is the world’s largest river?                         name with a famous river?
   3. Which actor plays Will Turner in Pirates                6. How long do blue whales live?
      of the Caribbean?                                       7. In which year did the Titanic sink?
                                                              8. Who invented the flush toilet?
                                                                 (Answers on page 12)
Here is a well known verse from the bible:
Jesus said… ‘Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will
become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life’ (John 4:14)

                                                     15

				
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