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CHURCH NEWS - DECEMBER 2000/ JANUARY 2001
From the Rectory
We are continuing to look at some basic but very profound Christian doctrines. Questions concerning them were raised on the BBC Today programme in December last year as the Millennium celebrations were beginning. The more that I have looked into the questions, the more I have been impressed by them. The latest question is "Do you believe that God is able to influence or direct events on earth on a daily basis?" The question is intended to deal with the question does prayer work?.
Once again we must return to the doctrine of God as it is revealed in Scripture. God is the creator of all things that he has brought into being. To try to understand this, we must recognize that God is not a distant spectator of the universe, leaving it to run its course without interest or ability to influence the course of events. That was a heresy known as Deism and was popular in the eighteenth century among the "hunting, shooting and fishing" parsons of the Hanoverian Church. It led to a highly immoral situation in this nation during which time the Church was emptied of its congregations.
God is not only the creator but also the one who sustains all things moment by moment, guiding and directing the creation to his ultimate purpose in Christ. That is known as the providence of God. The term providence comes from the Latin word providere meaning to foresee.
An illustration may help here. When we lived in Zimbabwe many years ago, each Easter we would drive south to the Cape for our annual holiday by the sea. It is a distance of some 1500 miles. We had a family motto for the holiday; it was the word "Go" and it meant get organized! To move a family of seven by car 1500 miles needed quite a lot of staff work.
To do that it was necessary to try to foresee those things that would be needed for the family of seven for the journey. Provision had to be made for possible needs. That is at a human level. A dictionary definition at Gods level is his foreseeing care and protection of his creatures and it includes the government of all his creatures and their actions.
There are two truths that we need to learn about God. The first is that he is over and above the creation and totally different from it. At the same time he is also present in and through the creation. We need to understand that God is over and above as well as in and through the creation. The incarnation of Christ illustrates this.
If God were to withdraw his power the universe would disappear into nothing. All creatures live, move and have their being in him. God moves all things forward to the end of time in his own perfect purpose and plan in Jesus Christ. God is able to change situations because of his power in the creation. That is how miracles work. Because miracles do not happen very often - if they did they would not be miracles - does not mean that either they cannot, or do not happen.
If we begin to understand that God can and does intervene in human history we are then faced with the problem of suffering. C S Lewis makes the point that God could over- rule all things so that nothing bad could happen. He writes in The Problem of Pain:
"We can conceive of a world in which God corrected the results of this abuse of free-will by his creatures at every moment; so that a wooden beam became as soft as grass when it was used as a weapon. But such a world would be one in which wrongactions were impossible and in which therefore, free-will (human moral responsibility) would be void."
God requires that mankind believes in him from the natural evidence of the creation and to put their trust in him through the special witness of Jesus Christ. God has revealed that prayer is answered when the name of Jesus Christ is invoked. God does not say yes to every prayer but those that are according to his will.
We can now sum up. First, God is in control of all events in the universe whether good or bad. Second, God is not the author of sin. Third, mankind is morally responsible for its actions. We must hold to these truths. God does influence events here on earth on a daily basis, particularly in answer to prayer. It is perhaps easier to put in the words of the hymn "God moves in a mysterious way" by William Cowper, written in Olney, only a few miles from Odell:
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense
But trust him for his grace.
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan his work in vain
God is own interpreter
And he will make it plain.
A Poem for Christmas by Linda Sloan of Castlerock, Northern Ireland.
Born in a manger that baby so holy
Born there for you no birth place so holy.
Lived upon earth - a life without sin
Lived here for you - He was perfect within.
Nailed to the cross - alone and forsaken
Nailed there for you - all your sins He has taken.
Risen again - and in Heaven Hes seated
Risen for you - death and Satan defeated.
Coming again - His own to receive
Coming for you - if on Him you believe.
With all good wishes for a happy Christmas, Sincerely in Christ, David Streater
The Prayer Chain
The Prayer Chain is there if you need prayer for yourself, for others or for members of your family. Please dont ask for prayer outside your own family without peoples permission. To have a number of people pray just telephone David (720234) or Dennis (822992).
Meeting Point in December
Wednesday 13th Meeting Point and Bring and Share Lunch at Catherine Corkerys, Manor Cottage, Harrold.
Meeting Point will resume regular meetings in the New Year.
Christmas Lunch for Senior Citizens.
Senior Citizens are invited to a Christmas lunch
at The Rectory
on Wednesday 6th December 2000.
12.30 for 1.00pm.
Aid For Romania from North Bedfordshire
Anybody who has visited us in the first two weeks of November could see why it is handy that we have a large house! Have you any idea what more than a tonne of clothing looks like? Well, this is what we have sorted through, before carefully selecting more than 12 items of clothing for each of the 170+ members of the 27 sponsored families we help in Romania. As soon as we returned from our successful trip to Buzau we set about selecting and packing all the clothes and shoes, plus other gifts including 240 cuddly toys, and useful items for the tiny village schoolwe support. Then we drove the 100+ boxes to Worthing where they were loaded onto a lorry, now hopefully en route for Romania.
Many many thanks to all who helped with gifts of all sorts, including money, as well as those who braved the mad-house to help us. Let us pray that the goods will arrive safely and give our families a great deal of pleasure, as they prepare to face what promises to be another hard winter.
Tim and Liz Dodwell
Christian Family Care Hamper Coffee Morning
You are warmly invited to the
Christian Family Care Hamper Coffee Morning at
Hobbs Green Farm on Friday 8th December
10.30 12.00. Admission free.
Please come and enjoy a cup of coffee and if you can, please bring with you a gift that would go towards making up a hamper for the mothers and children at Christian Family Care.
The Church Flower Rota.
Would anyone be willing to take on the task of organising the Flower Rota? It just needs someone to remind the person involved each week. Please have a word with Jill Cheadle if you can help.
We still need another sidesman for the 3rd Sunday of each month to join Mr. J. Harrison. Any volunteers please have a word with Jill Cheadle.
Our Giving in Decemberwill be to the following charities:
The National society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
Christian Family Care
The Bedford Area Schools Christian Support Trust (SU).
In January our giving will be to Mission Aviation Fellowship. This is an airborne mission which takes the Word and much-needed help to many remote and inaccessible places a very worthy cause.
The Emmaus Road Show
The Emmaus Road Show visited Bedford in October. It went round several schools and taught many young people about Jesus and the Christian faith. I found it a most enjoyable trip with many things to see and do. There was a 3D theatre for your journey across the bible lands and a selection of computers for learning about the map of Israel and a model of the city of Jerusalem. The highlight of the event was to sit in the X-Plane and take a virtual flight to the holy lands. We even had in-flight refreshments! Rachel Hudson
Letter From Nepal.
We regularly remember in our prayers Richard and Lorraine Hudson who have undertaken missionary work in Nepal. It is always interesting to hear about the challenges they face in their day to day lives, so we are delighted that they have agreed to let us print some details from letters sent back to friends and relations in England. We hope to have a regular newsletter from them in future that will keep all interested parties up to date with events.
Here are some snippets from their latest letter home:
"Richards short trip to Nepalgunj went well. He spent some time with the team down there, started discussions about the workshops they will be starting in the District hospitals and began to sort out the office for when the rest of the team come down in January. (To remind you, we plan to move down to Nepalgunj early in the New Year, then the de Marnis and the Seegers will join us in mid to late January).
Lorraine is getting more into language study and thinking about practical issues for our move.
The weather is changing here. Not cold like you have in the U.K., but cold enough for us! Quite a few people are going down with colds, Lorraine included.
Richard is going to Bangladesh this week, for about a week, with Prem, a colleague. This is for a conference on waste management. For Richard the main interest is in sanitation. Hopefully we will get a lot out of it and it will be worth the effort and the time away from home! On this subject, Richard is currently working on some "How to use and clean a toilet" educational posters for use in the rural hospitals. (If anyone wants a copy Nepali language only Im afraid)!
Eleanor is becoming a little more mobile and is generally getting on very well, .she is learning all about physics too, especially gravity!"
Yours, Richard , Lorraine and Eleanor Hudson.
The Fete Committee are in desperate need of more committee members to ensure the continuation of the famous and very popular Odell fete. If you think you can spare a little time and enthusiasm to give to this fun and worthwhile village activity, please contact Reverend David Streater as soon as possible at The Rectory (tel. 720234).
Looking to Jesuswith Anne Turner:
Looking to Jesus who is "The reason for the season"
Wise men still do
" And they presented unto Him gold, frankincense and myrrh".
The wise men travelled 2,000 miles to worship him. Some of us won't even drive across town to do that. Notice what they brought:
Gold - Money! Consider these three pictures: (a) a man looks at his dream home; he's told it'll cost £137,480 and take 30 years at £1208 a month. He smiles and says "Where do I sign?" (b) He sees his dream car; he's told it'll cost £20,000 and take 4 years at £416,70 a month. He smiles and says, "Where do I sign?" (c) He's in church and the pastor says, "It's time for the offering, please give sacrificially. "He frowns and says, "All they ever talk abut in this church is money." What's wrong with this picture? The answer is: until you've made your success a part of your worship, you haven't honoured God or given him his rightful place in your life.
Incense - the kind that ascended from the altar in temple worship. But why worship a baby? Because they recognised him. Listen: "His name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isa 9:6). He had to be God in order to save you. He had to be man in order to die for you. That's what Christmas was all about.
Myrhh - used to embalm the dead. But why? Because every other baby was born to live; this one was born to die - that you might live. Paul said "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners..."(1Tim 1:15).
Two thousand years ago God hung his gift on a tree, and he put YOUR name on it. Aren't you glad?
Printed with kind permission of United Christian Broadcaster from the daily readings "Our Daily Bread".
What can I give him, poor as I am,
If I were a shepherd I would bring a lamb
If I were a wise man I would do my part
Yet what can I give him
Give my heart!
We pray: FATHER of all people, we come to you this festive season, praising you for the birth of your son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ our Lord.
We read the story of Christmas -the birth of Jesus - and are reminded of the lowliness of the stable because there was no room at the inn. Please bless all the homeless and rootless. We read about the shepherds in the fields with their sheep - be with all those who have gone astray, the sick the lonely, bereaved, prisoners, and those fighting any addiction. The angels came to the shepherds, reminding us of the angels that shine through doctors, nurses and all those who dedicated their lives to the service of others. The wise men remind us of the responsibility of those who govern to do so with integrity, dedication and trustworthiness. Gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh remind us how rich we are whether it be in health, wealth or happiness compared to so many others, and that we are thankful for all that you supply for our needs.
So, Dear Lord, we pray that this Christmas time you would surround all those we love, and that our all hearts be filled with your love and peace. May we never forget that Jesus was born for us because you loved us so very much.
Jesus is our light that shines in the darkness and through his most precious name we pray. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer. Amen.
We send our love and prayers to Edie, Betty, Sheila and families on the death of Ernie Surridge on 7th December. The service of thanksgiving and interment took place at All Saints on 15th December. Many people attended the service as a sign of respect and thanksgiving for his life.
Especially we think of Edie, as 24th December would have been their 62nd Wedding Anniversary.
Ernest Charles Surridge: 1914 2000 a tribute.
Ernie moved to Church Lane, Odell in 1934.
On Christmas Eve 1938 he and Edie were married at All Saints, but the snow had brought snow drifts to Church Lane causing some difficulty in reaching the church. In 1941 on joining the army Ernie was posted to Burma with "The forgotten army" with Field Marshal Slim. He was a modest man and found it hard to display his medals, including The Burma Star, even at Remembrance Services.
The large garden at Horsefair Lane was a credit to this meticulous gardener whose vegetables were of the best grown locally, as was the home-made wine, which I am sure many of us have been pleased to sample.
Ernie was most interested in and cared very much about the village, and this was proven in the many years he served on the Parish Council and Village Hall Committee. His opinions were always of great value - and even in poor heath he kept these opinions. No-one swayed these!
In the service we sang "The day thou gavest Lord is ended" and "In heavenly love abiding". This was a fitting way to thank the Lord for Ernie's life and our hope is that he is at peace in heaven.
Colds and flu are back at this time of the year, and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to these and may need some extra care. We think of Marion Smith and Margery Owen in Nursing homes. We pray for Hilda Wright as she prepares for her operation at Addenbrookes at the beginning of December and that the operation will be painless and successful.
We were all saddened to learn of the death of Tim Asbery on 17th November. Tim had been suffering from cancer for some time but had kept up a fighting spirit right to the last. We think particularly of Pat and Mark in their loss and assure them of our support.
On behalf of all those involved with All Saints magazine may I wish all our readers a blessed Christmas and a peaceful New Year.
Special birthday greetings and love go to Marion Smith who will be 96 on 12th January. God Bless you today and always Marion.
The Childrens Society
Interactive Childrens Concert
Saturday 2nd December
Priory Methodist Church
Newnham Ave., Bedford.
At 2.30pm in aid of The Childrens Society
Tickets: £8 family (2 adults/2 children), £3 adult, £2 child (over 1 year).
Please bring masks and/or toys of: Lion, Mouse, Tortoise, Hare, Snake, Hedgehog, Elephant and Spider.
Kim Gutteridge, Area Fundraising manager, 01767 260714
2nd 2.30pm Childrens Society Interactive Childrens Concert, Priory Methodist Church.
2nd Disco, Odell Village Hall.
6th 12.30 Senior Citizens Christmas Lunch at the rectory.
8th 10.30am Christian Family care Hamper Coffee Morning, Hobbs Green Farm.
12th 7.30pm W.I. Christmas Social Evening at Doreen Wheelers.
13th Meeting Point and bring and share lunch at Catherine Corkerys, Manor Cottage, Harrold.
16th 10.00am Church decorating, All Saints.
16th 6.00pm Carol Singing round the village meet at The Bell.
17th 2.30pm Games afternoon in the Village Hall.
6.00pm Carols by Candlelight, All Saints.
24th 10.00am Childrens Christmas service, All Saints.
24th 11.30pm Midnight Communion, All Saints.
25th 10.00am Morning Worship and Holy Communion at All Saints.
9th 7.30pm W.I. at Odell Village Hall.
20th 12.30 Pensioners Fish and Chip Lunch, Village Hall.
Please send all entries for the February 2001 magazine to Tricia Hudson (firstname.lastname@example.org), Anne Turner or Catherine Corkery by January 12th at the latest. May we remind you that the editorial team exercises the right to edit, shorten or alter any items that are submitted. Also, the opinions expressed in the articles are those of the contributors and are not the responsibility of the editorial team.
We are always on the lookout for interesting short items or photos of local interest for the magazine. Photos can be borrowed and returned after scanning. (or, better still, send jpegs to the email address below)
Electronic mail address