THE WORK OF THE CHURCH 2015
Has this been a good year in the life of the church here? Yes. I think yes is the right answer. There have been some sadness’s in the deaths of Pat Axton, Harry Booth and of course Pete Bassford. For so many of us Pete’s death was a shock and indeed we are still reeling from the impact it has made upon us.
However, if we look at our congregations, both morning and evening, we are bound to notice increased numbers and these increases are also reflected in the House Groups. Ministry of the Word has continued using the Scripture Union Four Year Plan in the mornings, whilst in the evenings Ecclesiastes, Church Life and Revival have been our main topics.
The Deacons, both in their monthly and away-days have been trying to come to terms with how the Church will function during the oncoming interregnum and the preparations for appointing a new minister. This has been a huge learning curve for all and yet a good one.
Last year saw us holding our first Bereavement Service of
Remembrance which was well attended and appreciated.
We were blessed with four baptisms in 2015 Daniel Cooper, Sally Hutton, Stuart Allen and Kate Ashby each of whom is active and growing in the Lord’s service.
Again I want to express my thanks to IGnight for their wonderful contributions to worship in the church. We are truly blessed in having such a talented and committed group of musicians and singers to lead us in worship and from time to time “entertain us in Worship Evenings”. Thank you band!
I also want to say thank you to our dedicated “techies” who look after the sound and vision used Sunday by Sunday. We expect it all to function but forget that someone has to operate it all - so again thank you.
I continue to marvel at what you all are prepared to do in service to the community - stewards, cleaners, caterers, carpenters, electricians, administrators - whatever your role ‘thank you’ for as you serve us, so you serve Jesus and it is felt and shared by all who visit us and make comments about the love and warmth of the fellowship here.
God is so gracious in giving us one another.
Reports from other departments in the Church
Hilary begins her report from the Ladies Fellowship by saying that as they ‘turn their eyes upon Jesus’ each week they feel a close bond with each other. Numbers have remained strong at around 18 and three new ladies were welcomed during the year - Gillian Austen, Jenny Miller and Dot Wray. Dear friends Madge Massey, Kath Newbold and Belle Wright have been unable to attend due to continued ill health and they are continually prayed for. Dorothy Beech who sadly passed away last May had always loved to share fellowship when she was able and whose faith never wavered as she bravely bore her illness over many years. Each week there is a bible reading, hymns and prayers and a speaker followed by the usual tea and as often as not cake. Outside activities have included lunch at Market Bosworth Hall, afternoon tea at the Manse, a summer outing to a beautiful garden at Hickling Pastures, afternoon tea at May North’s home and a new year party. The fellowship hosted the Federation’s annual Rally in June and attended their Songs of Praise in October and the Christmas party in
December. The fellowship continues to flourish thanks in no small measure to the speakers, who share their knowledge and gifts so generously and as we look to the year ahead in the words of the hymn “We’ll praise Him for all that is past, and trust him for all that’s to come.
The Women Together group has recently completed their
first year as a group. During that year there has been a varied selection of
events including meals out and visits to Notcutts Garden Centre, Ulverscroft
Grange and a bring and share supper, a pudding tasting evening and a visit to
the Christmas Fayre at Bradgate Park, During 2015 several ladies went to see West Side Story at
Loughborough Town Hall, a visit to Chocolate Alchemy, a walking Treasure Hunt in Leceister and a
testimony at Mustard Seed Book Shop in Nottingham. Two events took place at
CRBC - a craft evening led by Maureen
and a flower arranging and testimony evening attended by 29 of our own people plus four friends.
been good meeting up socially and getting to know people who you might
otherwise only see on a Sunday. Judi
says it has been a great first year and look forward to including more people
at future events.
The Men’s Group met during 2015 when the men of the Church and their friends enjoyed a variety of activities including long alley skittles, a tour of the Motor Museum at Donington Park, a quiz night, 10 pin bowling, a boat trip on the river Soar and a visit to the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas. There were several excellent breakfasts, each followed by lively discussion and a Christmas dinner at Copt Oak. Ladies and friends also made up the party of 50 for a church outing to York, which proved a very enjoyable trip.
The One Club started in September 2015 and is a group for those in the church who are single, for whatever reason. At present they meet on an ad hoc basis to enjoy meals together. Since the group’s inception there have been three occasions organised by a different member of the group and they look forward to continued fellowship.
The 2nd Shepshed Girl’s Brigade has had a very busy year, planning, organising and taking part in the 50th anniversary activities. The open evening which was held was successful in raising the profile of the Girls Brigade and attendance by parents, the church family and a wider community exceeded all expectations. The donations that were given at the event went to the girl’s outing fund. As As part of the anniversary events the older girls went on a bowling and burger trip and the younger ones went to Conkers and were blessed with beautiful weather, which enabled the girls to run around and let off steam in the outdoor areas. The girls have been busy with their badge work and have achieved an amazing amount of badges during the year. They were blessed to have had a visit from Pam Frost on behalf of the Gideons to present all the girls with a special Girl’s Brigade edition of the New Testament.
The girls collected canned and packet food and decorated the church windows at the Harvest Festival. They also joined in the regional GB trip to the pantomime to see Snow White. It was an eventful trip with lots of fun and laughter, especially as some had never been to a pantomime before. They also enjoyed the adventure of the mini bus nearly breaking down on the way home. The younger girls have entered the GB Scripture competition entitled ‘Bible story in a pizza box. The results of the competition have not yet been announced but the girls can be proud of the high standard of work that they have produced. There have been a lot of changes over the past year both locally and nationally. Caroline resigned after three years as Lieutenant (and many years as a helper) to concentrate on other commitments.
Nationally there have been changes in the structure of the girls’ group categories with a new uniform for each group category. The G.B has also made changes to staffing structures and officer titles have been replaced with Team Leader, Leader and Helpers. This is to reflect the modern missionary aim of Girls Brigade, as an outreach Christian organisation that encourages participation of girls from all sectors of the community, especially those who otherwise would not learn about Jesus. Rachel says it is a real blessing to work with the girls and to see them grow in their knowledge of Jesus, whilst having a lot of fun in a safe environment, and would like to thank her dedicated team Teresa and Wendy for their time, hard work and love that they bring to the sessions. She would also like to thank those who have supported the Girls Brigade financially to allow 2nd Shepshed to continue it’s mission to teach girls about the love of Jesus.
Sunday Club - Hilary reports that although relatively small in number, we have seen growth in the past year, for which we give thanks. Caroline Harrington has been a valuable addition to the teaching staff to join Ann Renwick with the newly formed 11-14 age group, while Hilary Ketton and Hannah Cooper stay with the 7-10’s. We have 13 young people in the joint group and often combine for a game etc. We are separated for ‘teaching time’ by the wonderful room dividers-cum-display boards - now also with wheels! Our 5 younger children - 3-7’s are taught by Glynda Bassford and Annette Henry, assisted by Helen Newbold and Kate Ashby. Faith Large has also been helping recently. Jean Hesling and Maureen Walbey look after our creche, as required where we usually have two youngsters and sometimes visiting children. So we are truly blessed in our teaching team. We are grateful to Jenny Miller who has continued as our Treasurer and who at Christmas and Easter buys chocolate treats for all the children. The Sunday Club excelled themselves in June by participating in a special 200th Anniversary Service, singing, acting and writing their own prayers and poems. We had a big cake for everyone to share.
Sunday Club continues to use Scripture Union resources but
sometimes their suggestions don’t fit with our children or circumstances, and we have to use our
imagination (or the internet) with the
Lord’s guidance and wisdom, to create teaching that will present the Gospel as
real, relevant and true to their lives.
We ask for your continued prayers as we seek to do that week by week.
Luncheon Club met for 9 lunches last year - circumstances preventing meetings in June 2015 and in February and March 2016. Numbers attending have fluctuated between 21 and 33. Hilary and and Howard, Eileen and Derrick - plus the invaluable assistance of Lee and Ila - have comprised our regular team. In September we ‘broke free’ for a meal out at Market Bosworth Hall and our Christmas Lunch was very generally paid for by Pauline and Denis Hillier in celebration of their Diamond Wedding Anniversary. Over the year we have been visited by a mix of interesting speakers and have donated £75 to their causes. We hold a fund balance of £250 and perhaps should decide how that should be spent. Finally, from the team, our grateful thanks to all for your generous gifts to us at Christmas.
Beverley Sutton reports that during 2015 we were able to send £2,300 to the Baptist Missionary Society. £100 of this was raised through the Birthday scheme and if you want to find out more about this have a word with Beverley. £93.37 came from collecting boxes and the remaining £2,106.63 came from Church funds. Thank you for your gifts which have helped BMS to alleviate the suffering of people caught up in disasters across the world, for example £37,180 was given to Nepal following the earthquake, £15,00 to Nyanmar, providing emergency food for families affected by flooding, £9,30 to India to help to repair their homes in Mizoram after the hailstorms and £21,500 to Ukraine for conflict affected families.
The flower rota continues to run smoothly and a big thank you to those who give their time and money to enable our church to look wonderful Sunday by Sunday, Carole Smith reports that there is an opportunity to give and place flowers in the church because we have a Sunday 8th January, 2017, which needs to be filled. If you would like to join the rota please let her know.
Cynthia continues to take care of Home Mission which helps churches who cannot afford a minister full time. Please continue to let her have your stamps - £5,700 was raised in England and Wales through donation of stamps during 2015 so it is a very worthwhile thing to do. Cynthia would like to thank everyone for their donations of money and used stamps.
Bob Ellett reports that it has been a challenging year for FreeDA as almost everything changed in April 2015. The regulating body became the Financial Conduct Authority with very high professional standards, the software changed and the way of working became more outgoing. He said they now work as much out of the office as in the office. They have strong links with the Shepshed Food Bank as clients very often need both. More clients and more complicated cases, with two clients who have dropped through the cracks in the welfare system having no income at all. This is the time to acknowledge the great debt we owe to the volunteers who man FreeDA week by week. At the turn of the year they had to say goodbye to Chris H who had been working as a debt counsellor. There is therefore a vacancy which Bob would love to see filled. If you would like to help please talk to him.