Psalm 34 v.1-3
I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and be glad; Glorify the Lord with me and let us exalt his name together.
The Psalmist could so easily have been speaking about our fellowship and church, for although there have been many afflicted with illness, nagging pain, death and loss, we have and are under the Lord’s richest of blessings.
As I reflect back on the year we were able to celebrate several marriages – always joyful occasions for the whole church family – but we also lost Olive Carrington, Maurice North, Tom Perkins, Nita Bray and Bill Elderkin; each of whom are in the hands of the Lord. We have also taken into membership Dorothy Beach, Ann Smith, Sonia Whitty, Malcolm Mickleburgh and Robert Block – the Lord is swelling our numbers.
This year we said Farewell to Beverly Sutton as Girls Brigade Captain after more than 28 years of loyal, faithful service. We also welcomed and commissioned our new Captain Rachael Lukavec and Lieutenant Caroline Harrington to another growing work in our Church.
The ministry of the word as dictated by Scripture Union has led us through the parable teachings of Jesus, as well as some of His amazing miracles – but we’ve experienced Old Testament teaching about Israel’s wilderness experiences alongside the stories of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
In the evenings we shared two long series, one on encouragement and the other on the Book of Hebrews. In all of our series, members of the church and congregation have continually been speaking of how God has spoken to them, to encourage, to uphold and to challenge.
This seems to me, to be the very heart of what God is doing amongst us – challenging – encouraging and all the whilst upholding, comforting and, yes, growing us in faith, trust, belief and worship.
What a good year we have shared together – but even greater is, what a good God we have.
During the past year, we had many opportunities for Mission – sharing the Gospel with others. ‘Churches together in Shepshed’ joined for a ‘Week of Christian Unity’ ending with a united service at St Botolph’s Church. In May, the Churches of the Soar Valley united at Charnwood Road when we were joined by Dianne and Derek Tidball. Derek gave the message which truly blessed and inspired us all and our music was led by ‘IGnight’ who, as always, lifted our worship as we sang our praise and worshipped our God together.
We were able to share fellowship and indeed, our baptistry, with friends from Castle Donnington on Pentecost Sunday as their pastor, Gary Wood baptised a new member into his church. This was followed by a ‘bring and share’ lunch.
An open air service was held on Glenmore Park on the 8th September, but attendance was disappointing.
Then at the end of September we had a lovely day beginning with our Harvest/’Back to Church’ Sunday in the morning followed by cafe church with ‘IGnight’ in the evening. Attendance for ‘IGnight’ celebrations is growing and we are very blessed to have such talented musicians amongst us.
The children of Shepshed joined us once more in August for our Holiday Club. What a joy it is to see so many youngsters in our church, having fun, singing praise songs so enthusiastically and learning the wonderful message of the Gospel. We pray that those seeds sown in young hearts will one day grow and lives will be won for the Lord.
‘Songs of Praise’ this year took place at St Winefrides Church when the choirs from each church sang their chosen pieces. It is good to join together and share in worship.
As always, over the Christmas period we heard afresh the wondrous message of the love that came down to earth in the form of a baby. Our carol service with a selection of music by the choir and ‘IGnight’ band, was a wonderful evening and who will forget the light show by our Pastor as he brought home to us afresh the message that Jesus is the Light of the World.
But we had one more celebration to enjoy at Christmas this year – Alan and Margaret Richardson’s Golden Wedding Anniversary. What an achievement and what a joy to be part of the renewal of their wedding vows.
Our fellowship has seen sadness over the year at the passing of several of our friends but God has been gracious to us and brought new members into our family. We welcome each one of them amongst us.
We had two more celebrations this year. It was our pastor’s 65th birthday and we presented him with a gift and card signed by all. Then in April, we shared in the wedding of Jane Dixon to Alan Moore. We ask God’s blessing on them both.
Our church buildings have seen many improvements this year both internally and externally. We never cease to be amazed at how gracious our God is in providing the money necessary to keep our building safe and up to standard. We give our thanks to all those who so willingly give of their time to do the many jobs around our church that enhance our buildings and keep it clean and tidy.
May I once again say a special thank you to Maureen Walbey who, so ably, takes minutes of all our meetings and to Judi Weller for her desktop publishing skills and the running of our Church Website which plays such an important part in our outreach into the community.
In the past year we have worked our way through studies of John's letters, “Who are you when no one is looking”, “Meeting the Spirit”, “Christianity explored”, and now we are looking at “Angels”. Although they are designed to make us stop and think the underlying emphasis is on strengthening our relationship with Jesus. We appreciate Howard's search for good materials and the many hours of patient study that have gone in to each and every study by the study book writers. It has been a joy to follow the text closely. We have been light hearted and happy, earnest and serious, but always moving in the direction of spiritual growth. It has been good to encourage each other on our personal spiritual journey continuing to fix our eyes on Jesus.
Highlights of the year have been in the depth of understanding of Jesus, the Spirit and the Father. We have reached new levels of openness and spiritual understanding.
Bible studies are lots of reality, serious fun, with lots of laughter. We have all been changed by this journey. None of us are quite the same, and we are learning to appreciate and trust each other.
The church now has three house groups meeting on Tuesdays.
We began the year with six of us sharing together around God’s word – but now we are ten and what blessings we have shared together as the Holy Spirit has made clear to us passages of Scripture.
During the year we have studied John’s Letters, ‘Who are you when no one’s looking?’, ‘Meeting the Spirit’ and of course, ‘Christianity Explored’ with the other two groups.
Each week as we meet, there is a buzz of excitement as we anticipate what God is about to teach us. If you don’t belong to a fellowship group, let me encourage you to join one – and get the buzz!
Our Wednesday afternoon meeting continues to be a treasured time of fellowship, sharing, encouragement, teaching and blessing to those who come together each week. As always we are so grateful to our wonderful speakers who serve us in sharing God’s Word. We have shared with each other in the ‘ups and downs of life’ and find inspiration and encouragement in the Lord through these experiences. We have been delighted this year that both Joyce Roberts and Dorothy Beach have joined us most weeks.
Trips out featured in our year included a visit to Felley Priory and its wonderful display of daffodils, afternoon tea at the manse in May, a wonderful afternoon tea treat at the beautiful home and garden of Mandy (May North’s daughter) in August, then a river Trip and lunch on a Peter le Marchant Trust barge in September. In December, Malcolm Mickleburgh whisked us off in the Volunteer Centre bus to Woodlands Garden Centre for Christmas shopping. We have joined in various Loughborough Federation events including the Christmas Carol & Party which we hosted at CRBC.
It is being said that a miracle is occurring within the Ladies Fellowship in that we seem to have a Birthday girl in our midst every week although there are only 17 of us! Various menfolk are now gathering at the close of our meetings to witness this phenomenon and to share in the cake!
So all in all a packed year – as always, a warm invitation goes out to YOU to join us on Wednesday afternoons from 2.45pm Hilary Ketton
The Luncheon Club continues to enjoy its monthly meetings for (we hope) good food, fellowship and fun. Our speakers have included John Halford, Shirley Graham (Surecare), Glynda Bassford, Steve Cooper, Gary Wood and Brian Walbey.
We were very grateful for the help of Guy Byham in setting up and washing up duties until he and Mary sadly left and latterly Lee Scott has been our pot-washing heroine.
We hope finally to buy some matching dinner plates and pudding dishes to replace our hotch-potch of crockery. We want to ‘Buy British’ and have found prices to be prohibitive but we have now received a donation to enable this to be realised.
Congratulation to Maureen Walbey who has just passed her ‘Food Safety & Hygiene’ Certificate to enable her to be our new Qualified Person in the kitchen. Many thanks to those who have helped in the kitchen during my year of incapacity.
Thank you to all the Clubbers for your generous gift to us at Christmas, Which was much appreciated. Hilary & Howard Ketton Derrick & Eileen Tickner
Sunday Club is doing well again this year, it is lovely to see so many children enjoying their time spent together to get to know Jesus. Downstairs in 'Bubbles' group there are 6 children with Glynda Bassford and Annette Henry with Daniela Durkan and Helen Newbold helping. We have 3 younger children who attend regularly and are hoping to beginning running a crèche again soon.
Upstairs in the ‘Xstream' group with Hilary Ketton and Anne Renwick with Teresa Hampson helping, there are 7 young people regularly attending.
Sunday Club follows the Church each week with the Scripture Union material - this enables good learning links between what they hear in the first part of the service with Howard, and afterwards in Sunday Club. We have just finished 'Following Jesus' and are about to start 'Joshua'.
We prayed that we would have more people to help with the children and we have been blessed with our additional helpers. The older children do Bible studies and learn memory verses; all the Sunday Club children learn about the Bible in a fun and interactive way, and especially enjoy the games and cooking activities. The knowledge that they gain enables them to support each other and talk confidently about their faith.
The Girl’s Brigade have had a very busy year. Three new girls have joined us in the past year, bringing the total number to 14.
The girls have taken part in a wide range of activities and events. They have been very busy with their badge work and most of the girls have gained between 4 and 5 badges this year, which will be presented to them on Brigade Sunday on the 30th of March.
The girls have had a Christmas party, a bring a friend party and also an end of term sleep over on the 28th June, (although there was not much sleeping and Maximus mouse was a starring guest!).
We also took part in the Shepshed show in June, which was a real success. Caroline Harrington worked extremely hard on the game stall, which we are hoping to replicate again this year. The show gave the girls the opportunity to promote the brigade in a really positive way.
The girls have also taken part in charity work and at harvest they collected over 100 cans and packets to send to the Carpenters Arms. The Girls also have a sponsored Guide Dog for the Blind called Tilly and they look forward to their regular pup dates on how Tilly is progressing with her training.
We have been very blessed by gaining another member of staff, Teresa Hampson, who is in the process of completing her training to become an officer. We have also received fantastic support with all the lovely helpers who support us every week in out activities.
The girls are from Christian and non-Christian backgrounds and it has been wonderful seeing them all grow in their knowledge of the bible and their understanding of Jesus. We have recently been completing badge work for the juniors on co-operation, where Noah co-operated with God and followed his instructions by building the ark. One of my younger girls asked if God would give her instructions to build an ark, as it had not stopped raining recently. Her young friend responded “Don’t be scared God promised that he won’t flood us again, we don’t have to worry, as he gave us a rainbow and Jesus”. They really are an amazing group of girls to work with.
It would be fantastic if we could recruit some more girls to the Brigade over the coming year, especially younger girls, so please spread the word that we would like more girls to join.
Much of our first full year has been spent in getting our working practices up to speed. We owe a debt of thanks to Barry and Irene Newton who were a tremendous help in setting up all that we have. We were joined by Guy and Mary Byham who brought with them their commercial experience and were responsible for the production of much of our own literature. In our first year we had 16 clients who we have helped in one way or another. Those with major debt problems are now on an individually tailored FreeDA Debt management plan.
Most of the year we have existed on funding from CRBC and a one off grant from Tear Fund (Cinnamon). Further funding has been obtained from the Local Area Forums but again on a one off basis. In the present financial climate grants will be much harder to find in the coming year.
We very soon realised that many of our clients had employment problems. Some of the team have taken training so that we can now run a job club to get clients back into employment.
In November two team members went into Hind Leys School to teach the final year students how to budget on a student loan. Over 60 students were offered the 4 hour course (designed by FreeDA).
We want to thank you for your support and forbearance during the past year. When the FreeDA drop-in is running, sometimes things can be a little hectic and we do appreciate your understanding during those times.
FreeDA Team - Bob Ellett, Allan Scott, Ruth Ellett, Sonja Whitty, Christine Obahiagbon, Jane Moore and Oliver Dixon
I do not think we all realise just how important Home Mission is.
It helps churches who cannot afford a full time minister; we at Charnwood Road were one of those some years ago. Some of these churches are doing a great work bringing people to the Lord and helping out in difficult areas.
Our church continues to give; the amount can be found in the accounts statement.
The total raised for used stamps in England and Wales was £5,110 for 2013.
During 2013 £2,100 was sent to the Baptist Missionary Society World Mission.
£83-48p of this was from collecting boxes, £100 from the Birthday Scheme and the rest from Church Funds. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this.
Over recent years we have lost quite a few members of the Birthday Scheme, so if you would like to join, I would be happy to send you a card on your birthday so that, in return, you can give a donation to BMS. This will be used primarily for health work and also other work in areas of significant need. Helping to bring the love of God to a world in desperate need.
I have reviewed our Health & Safety Policy and found it to be compliant with current Health & Safety Regulations. A copy of the policy is available for inspection on request. Very soon I shall be undertaking a risk assessment of our premises with Dave Renwick, who is our Fire Safety officer. This will meet the requirements of our Public Liability Insurance. Together we shall then produce an Action Plan to present to the Deacons.
I have recently undertook the role of Safeguarding Lead at CRBC, working alongside Glynda Bassford and Kenny Henry. I have reviewed the existing policy and found that it is only a child protection document, rather than a policy which encompasses the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults within our church.
I am currently working towards producing a safeguarding policy, which covers both children and vulnerable adults and will aim to have completed the document by March 30th 2014. I will ensure that the policy produced is a working document that is easily understood and robust enough to ensure the protection of those vulnerable within out church. A copy will then be available for inspection on request.