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CHURCH NEWS - May 2005
New minister -We are still looking for a minister on a house for duty basis. See www.kbnet.co.uk/odell/vacancy.htm
The Muntjak Deer: A Message for Pentecost
How well I recall the Muntjak deer during our years at Odell (1973-78). Normally they were only seen up in the Great Wood, perhaps spotted just by the keeper or the beaters. But during the very hot dry summer of 1975/6 they were seen by us at the Rectory, making their way, shyly, down to drink at the River Ouse at half-light. Presumably their water holes in the Great Wood had dried up. For in those days they were rather timid and retiring creatures. At all events we spotted them at half-light tiptoeing
nervously down Church Lane to the River Ouse having crossed the main road through Odell. They would return some minutes later, their muzzles moist and glistening from the water, their thirst assuaged then to return to the shades of the Great Wood. Their fierce thirst slaked!
What a Parable of our Spiritual Pilgrimage!
As Christians we seem content to live lives rather shut away in the Great Wood of our own concerns grazing until thirst compels us to sally forth. This was the case for my dear Anne and myself some thirty-three years ago. We both longed for a more vital Christian faith experience. We went through a long summer (and more) of
discontentment and of yearning. Then, in a quite remarkable way, we were both led to a wonderful fresh experience of the Holy Spirit. It all came about, humanly speaking, through the visit of a young CMS
Missionary from Kenya (but that is another story). Our dear Lord graciously, and so gently blessed us with a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit, which began to change our lives, our marriage, and our
ministry. Life was never the same again!
We experienced this renewal in the autumn of 1971, and felt we were both being called into a full time Healing Ministry. To our amazement we were called away to 'little' Odell and Pavenham. Friends said to me " Whatever are you doing burying yourself away in the depths of the country?" Our Dear Lord gave us first the word "Preparation". Those five years at Odell were indeed vital years of preparation. We had so much to learn, and it gave us the opportunity to care for our two small children and grow together as a family. The five years ticked away at Odell and were indeed a vital time of preparing for the ministry which awaited us at 'The Crowhurst Home for Christian Healing'.
We, like the Muntjak deer, had learned to thirst, come and drink, words which Jesus spoke in John 7 (37-39). On the last and most important day of the festival Jesus stood up and said in a loud voice, "whoever is thirsty should come to me and drink". As the scripture says "whoever believes in me, streams of life-giving water will pour out from his heart". Jesus said this about the Spirit, which those who believed in Him were going to receive. At that time the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not been raised to glory. (Living Bible).
At certain phases in our lives The Lord allows us to go through deep
dissatisfaction with our Christian lives. We begin to thirst, to long for more of God's reality in our lives. Jesus gave us the lovely promise out of our "seasons of discontent and yearning". God leads us into something deeper and more satisfying, " the springs of living water" which speak of the Holy Spirit. So, longing, thirsting and yearning for more of God will lead us to the "water of refreshment". This may involve a 'pilgrimage', a risking abandonment of the security of our 'Great Wood', driven to drink at the 'River of the water of life', the Holy Spirit.
But what a worthwhile and rewarding 'pilgrimage' it is! The churches which seem to be growing in the world today are those where there is a genuine readiness to be open to the Holy Spirit. Now I am not a raving, 'frothing at the mouth' charismatic!! But I do believe we need to discover and re-discover continually the blessings of the Holy Spirit. Bishop
Leslie Newbigon (of the church of South India) wrote prophetically, some 45 years ago " I believe we shall see in the next decade a great
revival and emphasis upon the Holy Spirit". Prophetic words indeed!
The churches which are alive and growing today are normally churches which are truly "open to the Holy Spirit". One of the greatest prayers I have ever heard was that of a very earnest young Yorkshire lad, Colin, in an Army prayer meeting in Egypt in 1951. "Oh Lord we just pray thee for a Double Dose of the' Oly' Ghost!" Isn't that which we need today?
As we approach another Pentecost this is surely a time to re-echo that prayer? I used to love the broad sweep of the River Ouse at Odell. Even during the long hot summer of 1975/6 it remained full, and the willows on its banks verdant green. The Muntjak deer had the courage to venture forth from the Great Wood to drink of the cooling river. Should we not too? Happy Pentecost! David Payne.
Why are we waiting?
Whenever a play or a meeting in a village hall fails to start on time,
people are always liable to begin chanting ‘Why are we waiting?’ And the longer we go on waiting for the play to start or the speaker to turn up or the slides or sound system to work, the louder the chant gets: ‘Why are we waiting?’ becomes ‘Why are we waiting?’ and then ‘Why are we waiting?’
But is waiting always a bad thing? It certainly is if we are in pain and the waiting time to see a consultant or to go into hospital for an operation is extended or our appointment is postponed. And waiting for people sometimes leads to great impatience or anxiety if we are all
going to be late for something.
But in an age where we are often rushed off our feet, when our lives are dominated by clocks and deadlines, it is sometimes a good thing to be forced to wait.
If there is a difficult decision to be made, we don’t want to be rushed into it; it’s better to wait a bit, to think things through, to work out the consequences for others and for ourselves.
If life seems to be going too fast, there’s great wisdom to be found in stopping, sitting, reflecting, and waiting; so that the things that really matter most may emerge from the depths, instead of us being carried along by whatever is most immediate or pressing.
If there are hard tasks to be undertaken, there is everything to be said for proper preparation, for waiting until we are really ready to take
responsibility for whatever it may be. The worst thing is to make a mess of things, or ruin a good opportunity, because we were still unprepared.
The month of May contains two major festivals of the Christian Year: Ascension Day and Pentecost (or Whit Sunday).
In St Luke’s Gospel Jesus tells his apostles at the time of his Ascension: ‘I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.’ And in the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, St Luke writes: ‘Jesus ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the
Father. ‘For’, he said, ‘you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’ And in the second chapter of Acts St Luke
describes the coming of the Holy Spirit upon them, to inflame, inspire, encourage and embolden them to be witnesses to the good news of the Gospel.
Without that time of waiting, the apostles would not have been made ready for their mission. It could have been a disaster, instead of the
inauguration of the new life of the Spirit-filled community which we know as the Church.
Perhaps the story of Ascension and Pentecost can encourage us to stop and pause, and wait, before rushing into whatever comes next for us, both as individuals and as a church.
There’s a verse in Psalm 62 which we can use as a way into a time of waiting:
‘On God alone my soul in stillness waits’.
Or we can vary it, by addressing God:
Lord, on you alone my soul in stillness waits.
As we use this, and let it become true for us inwardly, we can ‘rest in the Lord’, we can let ourselves wait ‘in stillness’, in the presence of God, we can learn to trust in him and to wait for him to speak to us, to empower us, to guide us, to encourage us.
And from what emerges later, we shall discover that our waiting was
The Prayer Chain
The Prayer Chain is there if you need prayer for yourself, for others or for members of your family. Please don’t ask for prayer outside your own family without people’s permission. To have a number of people pray just telephone Dennis (822992).
e-Round News from the Diocese of St. Albans
The Issues. There is a custom in the social responsibility world to issue briefings on matters of Christian concern at the time of a General Election. This year the Board staff recommend the document compiled by the Methodist Church: 'Faith in Politics'. Links to this and other
resources are available from our website: www.stalbans.anglican.org and from the Methodist Church website: www.methodist.org.uk/downloads/ne_election2005_0305.pdf
Mission/Church & Society Team. Members of the Team were meeting on the day the Election was called. A quick focus group exercise yielded three main concerns from our own work:
·The Politics of Fear - even before the campaign had begun our sense was that the parties and sections of the media were aiming to raise alarm. Fear of terrorism, fear of crime, fears about rising levels of immigration have all been given a clear run. It is worth noting that the campaign itself has given the opportunity for some resistance to simplistic sloganising to surface.
·Asylum Seekers and Refugees - with the detainee population at Yarls Wood, near Bedford, rising from 60-70 at the beginning of the year to around 250 in April this issue has been at the forefront of the Social Responsibility agenda. Support for Yarls Wood Befrienders, and for the Watford & Three Rivers Refugee Project continues and the Board's officers are in touch with the new Chaplain at Yarls Wood Immigration Centre, Revd Larry Wright. Larry is responsible for ensuring that people of all faiths are able to keep their religious obligations. Religion is the one human right that is carefully protected within the system. Kemi Akinruli has written an article which is available from our web site.
·Mental Health Services - we are prepared to wager that no
candidate will raise this matter in their election address to
voters. Mental Health is the Cinderella of the Health Service, and the dilemmas of both sufferers and carers are hard to publicise in the church as much as in the community. General Synod has
issued a new report on Mental Health issues, and this will be presented and debated at DiocesanSynod in October.
Anna McCrum Communications Officer Diocese of St. Albans,
Tuesday 3rd 10.30am at Jill’s, Rectory Farm, Odell.
Wednesday 18th A visit to Valerie and David’s – see Jill for details.
Our Giving in May is to The Church Army.
The Church Army is an International Evangelical Movement, based on Biblical teaching, with a mission to meet human needs, without discrimination, in the name of Christ. Their far-reaching work includes preaching the Gospel, working in hospitals, prisons, eventide homes, hostels and counselling, to name but a few examples. Wherever there is poverty or need, the Church Army is there. Please give generously to this movement which is very generous with its time and love.
Looking To Jesus at Pentecost
Stay connected to your source!
"...Anyone who wants...Come and drink the water of life...'
Revelation 22:17 NLT
"How long can you hold out?" That’s what the Babylonians were asking as they encircled Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar had cut off Jerusalem's food and other essential supplies. So how long could they survive? A month passed, then two, then an entire year; still they held out.
The secret of the city's survival lay in a hidden water supply which came from a spring outside the city walls. King Hezekiah had cut a 1,777-foot tunnel through solid rock. From there, water passed under the city to a reservoir inside called the Pool of Siloam. Without it God's people would have gone down in defeat.
There's a lesson here for you. To live victoriously you must: a) be able to identify your life's true source, b) draw daily from it, c) protect it. If your security, your strength, your self-worth or your strategy for living come from any source other than God, you're vulnerable! Everything you need comes from God, so protect that relationship, nurture it for it will always be the focal point of Satan’s attack. A day without God's Word isn't a slip; it's a set-up for failure! Prayerlessness isn't carelessness; it's craziness or arrogance! "Well, I'm doing okay and I don't pray much". Maybe you haven't reached your hour of testing yet. When it comes, and it will, what will you draw on? Answer this: if you can do it without God, is it even of God? If it's not, it'll go up in smoke (see 1 Corinthians 3:13). So stay connected to your source!
Taken from "Word for Today" with kind permission of United Christian Broadcasters. (Tel:01782:642000)
Father God, we pray that you would bless everyone we know,
especially our families and friends. Each day we ask for a fresh
infilling of the Holy Spirit; that you would cover us all with the
precious blood shed at Calvary for us, and give us grace, which we know we do not deserve. Please come between us all and any
accidents and sudden death and please give to us wisdom and
discernment daily. You know what is best for us, whether it be the places we should be or those we should mix with. You see and hear
You keep us safe in this pretty part of your world, and we continue to give you thanks and praise for the children in our village, that they may be kept in the shadow of your wings as they are our future. The country park is a truly beautiful place and so peaceful by the waters. Its a pleasure to watch the rabbits, the swans and geese in their natural habitat. Everything is yours! We truly are so blessed, and as usual we ask you to bless those so less fortunate than ourselves, especially those abroad
affected by the earthquake.
We look to you Our Shield and Our Defender. How awesome You are. Your greatest gift to us is Your Son Jesus Christ. We humbly say "Thank you". Through His most precious name we pray. Amen.
Jesus came, He saw and He conquered! He left His Spirit with us! The following are beautiful words from a hymn written by John Wimber which so many Christians love. May these words touch your hearts too!
"O let the Son of God enfold you with His Spirit and His love, let Him fill your heart and satisfy your soul.
O let Him have the things that hold you, and His Spirit like a dove will descend upon your life and make you whole.
O come and sing this song with gladness, as your hearts are filled with joy, lift your hands in sweet surrender to His name.
O give Him all your tears and sadness, give Him all your years of pain, and you'll enter in to life in Jesus' name".
Pope John Paul II
Like millions of others I have just watched the funeral of Pope John Paul II. What a fitting tribute to a man who so loved his God and lived and showed that love to all who saw him. The funeral was filled with
reverence, praise and thanksgiving, and humility; exactly the way that God loves us to be, trusting, humble and giving Him praise and thanks. Pope John died as he lived showing that love and faith to the very end of his life.
We give thanks and praise that he gave so much to so many, Roman Catholics and many other faiths. He shone and he did it so humbly and graciously. May we be like him, as we thank God for his life. Whatever our faith there is only one God. Anne
We are sorry to hear of the death of Phyllis Ames who died on 10th April at Cliftonville Residential Home, Rushden. Phyllis the youngest of seven children was born to parents Fred and Letitia Davis on 21st September 1914 and lived opposite The Bell in the row of cottages there. Later in the 1930s they moved to Horsefair Lane actually living in adjoining houses. Phyllis married Douglas Knight who as it was wartime was assigned to Burma, working on the Burma Railway, sadly losing his life whilst out there. Phyllis was known to so many in the lane as "Aunt Phyll" and will always be remembered for the beautiful peacocks she kept in the garden that she so loved.
We send our love and prayers to Trevor and family.
I shall miss her as she was a very special Aunty!
The funeral service and burial were held at All Saints’ led by The Rev. Dennis Bannard-Smith. The organist was Mrs Doris Bannard-Smith.
Odell Village Fete 11th June 2005
The date for this year’s village fete is Saturday 11th June at 2pm. It will be held in the field in
Horsefair Lane as in previous years. Help is desperately needed both on the committee and on the day. Please ring Jill Cheadle (720261) if you are interested.
The Fete will be opened by Peter Coleman, representing one of the oldest families in Odell.
Fete Working Party on 2nd May, from 10.00am, at Doreen Wheeler’s.
2nd 10.00am Fete working party at Doreen Wheelers, Linden House, High St., Odell.
3rd 10.30am Meeting Point at Jill’s, Rectory Farm.
10th 7.30pm W.I. Village Hall.
14th 7 – 9.30pm Bat detecting, Harrold-Odell Country Park.
18th 10.30am Meeting Point visit to Valerie and David’s.
21st 8.30pm Moth trapping, Harrold-Odell Country Park.
22nd 10am – 2pm Six mile walk starting and finishing at Harrold-Odell Country Park.
23rd 10.00am Volunteers day of maintenance of Harrold-Odell Country Park.
Please send all entries for the June 2005 magazine to Tricia Hudson (firstname.lastname@example.org), Anne Turner or Catherine Corkery by May 12th 2005 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.
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