|. Asylum seeking in the United Kingdom is a hot
potato that keeps coming up in the news and political debates. A Mori
opinion poll earlier this year suggested that the British public were four
times more likely to be sympathetic towards asylum-seekers than they were to be
negative or hostile. However the opinion poll also highlighted
misunderstanding, with many of the 2200 interviewed believing that Britain
takes in nearly a quarter of the worlds asylum-seekers, when the true
figure is less than 2%. An earlier French Red Cross study stated that Britain
was a magnet for asylum-seekers on the Continent because of the civilised
reception they receive.
Following the birth of Jesus, his parents Mary and Joseph became refugees and sought asylum in Egypt, until it was safe for them to return home. As a baby and toddler Jesus would have known the upheaval of travel and the difficulty of establishing roots in a community that was culturally different from that of his parents. Many of the early christians had to flee their homes and countries of birth to seek asylum in other countries and towns. As they fled they took the Good News of Jesus with them. Attempts to stamp out the new faith lead to its growth and expansion. This gives Christians a unique perspective on this issue. As people arrive in the UK we have the opportunity to reach out to them in love, through practical support and listening. Sharing our faith through action can then lead to the chance to share the gospel. Also as Hebrews 13 reminds us Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some people have entertained angels without knowing it.
During this season of Goodwill why not pray that those who seek asylum will find Christ in their time of upheaval and distress. That at a time when far right political groups such as the National Front are gaining members in the UK this will not lead to increased racial discrimination, intolerance and violence to those from other ethnic backgrounds living in the UK. Pray that our politicians will find a balance between regulation, compassion and community safety. Finally ask God to give local churches a vision of how they can provide care and support to the outsiders in their communities. Gods people need to speak up for those who are powerless and oppressed and should be the last to stir up fear of the unknown and act out of prejudice.
Have a good Christmas.
|For just one month we move on some 15 years to December 1944 and
to a most unusual event in the life of our corps. Most unfortunately, as with
some other very special events, it did not find its way into our official
annals but is for ever precious to those who were there. At that time I was
merely a cipher (14702132 to be exact), serving my King and country in Belgium
but I was privileged to share in the happening through a letter from Muriel
who, bless her, wrote to me every single day that I was away from home. Our
songsters, used to visiting the elderly in homes and sheltered accommodation
around Christmas time, were on this occasion invited to sing to Italian
prisoners of war in wait for it - Raynes Park! They were interned in Nissen
huts, each with a stove at one end, in the large green area which is now Prince
George's playing field between Martin Way and Grand Drive. Ushered into one of
these buildings the songsters (mostly female of courses because of the number
of men who were serving in HM forces) sang carols of which the most popular was
the evergreen Austrian 'Silent Night'. Muriel found this a very moving
experience and looks back on it now as a wonderful witness in taking the gospel
news of the coming of Christ into a world which, as in 1944, was under the
oppression of cruel tyrants.
A highlight, she recalls, was the provision of refreshments, including splendid pastry concoctions enfolding real peaches, which made the eyes of the songsters light up, for this (as with all exotic fruit) was a luxury long denied to us in wartime Britain! Hardly Colditz you may thinks but the Italians were by then not regarded as high risk because their government had surrendered to the Allies some 15 months earlier, ironically three days before the German army seized their capital, Rome.
I guess the event was later recorded by some of those men in letters to their loved ones and would have brought some of the true joy of Christmas to them at a time of great loneliness and despondency.
And- who knows - perhaps many years later as they watched tennis on television from Wimbledon their eyes would mist over as they recalled those charming ladies from that famous town who had sung to them at Christmas so long ago!
|(Get the tissues now... you'll need
In 1994, two Americans answered an invitation from the Russian Department of Education to teach morals and ethics (based on biblical principles) in the public schools.
They were invited to teach at a large orphanage. About 100 boys and girls who had been abandoned, abused, and left in the care of a government-run program were in the orphanage.
They related the following story in their own words.
It was nearing the holiday season, 1994, time for our orphans to hear for the first time, the traditional story of Christmas. We told them about Mary and Joseph arriving at Bethlehem Finding no room at the inn, the couple went to the stable, where the baby Jesus was born and placed in a manger. Throughout the story, the children and orphanage staff sat in amazement as they listened. Some sat on the edges of their stools, trying to grasp every word. Completing the story, we gave the children three small pieces cardboard to make a crude manger. Each child was given a small paper square, cut from yellow napkins I had brought with me. No colored paper was available in the city.
Following instructions, the children tore the paper and carefully laid strips in the manger for straw. Small squares of flannel, cut from a worn-out nightgown an American lady was throwing away as she left Russia, were used for the babys blanket. A doll-like baby was cut from the tan felt we had brought from the United States. The orphans were busy assembling their manager as I walked among them to see if they needed any help.
All went well until I got to one table where little Misha sat. He looked to be about 6 years old and had finished his project. As I looked at the little boys manger, I was startled to see not one, but two babies in the manger. Quickly, I called for the translator to ask the lad why there were two babies in the manger. Crossing his arms in front of him and looking at this completed manger scene, the child began to repeat the story very seriously.
For such a young boy, who had only heard the Christmas story once, he related the happenings accurately until he came to the part where Mary put the baby Jesus in the manger. Then Misha started to ad-lib. He made up his own story as he said, And when Maria laid the baby in the manger, Jesus looked up at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told Him I have no mamma and I have no papa, so I dont have any place to stay. Then Jesus told me I could stay with him. But I told him couldnt because I have no gift to give him like everyone else did. But I wanted to stay with Jesus so much, so I thought about what I had that maybe I could use for a gift. I thought maybe if I could keep him warm, that would be a good gift. So I asked Jesus, If I keep you warm, will that be a good enough gift? And Jesus told me, If you keep me warm, that will be the best gift anybody ever gave me. So I got into the manger, and then Jesus looked at me and he told me I could stay with him . for always. As little Misha finished his story, his eyes brimmed full of tears that they splashed down his little cheeks. Putting his hand over his face, his head dropped to the table and his shoulders shook as he sobbed and sobbed. The little orphan had found someone who would never abandon him nor abuse him, someone who would stay with him . FOR ALWAYS. Ive learned that its not what you have in your life, but who you have in your life that counts.
Author of this true story: unknown
reproduced from http://www.devotions.co.uk/manger.shtml
|Prayer is the corner stone of our faith, and should
be the power house that under pins all we do in the Corps. It is humbling to
know that we can directly approach the Throne of God through prayer and know
that God listens and answers. Christmas is a time when we can reach out to
others in our community. Do pray for the Carolling ministry as the Corps visits
various homes, we trust to God those that hear and participate. As the Corps
witnesses at the Sava Centre ask God to plant seeds that will lead to new
members in the future. Pray also for the friends who have visited the Corps in
recent weeks, that through our friendship they will be able to find a spiritual
home and place to worship.
A number of our Corps folk, their families or friends are in need of our prayers. Do remember Mary, home from hospital, and Ernest as he cares for her. Please remember Majors friend Mary, who has recently undergone surgery, Heather, Geralds friend Patricia. Think also of those who are suffering and recovering from flu and colds as the cold weather continues. Additionally a number of our Corps families, or their families and friends, are going through difficult times. Please up hold them all in prayer - Ann Johnson and the family following the Promotion to Glory of Cis Williams; Bernie, Joy and the family. Sue, Philip, Olive, Eddie, John and Gill who are unable to attend regularly. Tusa, Maita and Ella who have not attended the Corps for some time.
The news brings regular updates on the Firemans strike. Do take time to pray for the fireman, their employers, the government and the Army at this difficult time as they seek to find a way to reconcile all the issues. Pray also for the safety of loved ones and your local community.
Preaching programme for December
|Morning Holiness meeting||Evening Salvation Meeting|
|1st||10.30 am Morning Meeting lead by Major Rosemary Randall .||Monthly Corps Prayer Meeting at
6pm Salvation meeting lead byMajor Rosemary Randall .
|Sunday Club||Open Club based on Samuel 16:1-13 run by Joy|
|Junior Soldiers Class||No class Junior Soldiers take part in Toy Service|
|8th||10-30 am Morning Meeting lead by Major Rosemary Randall .||6pm Lead by Major Rosemary Randall.|
|Sunday Club||Kids Zone - Jesus is coming Isaiah 7:14, 9:1-7,
Y Zone - Told you so. Malachi 3:1, Matthew 3:1-3
|Junior Soldiers Class||Lets wear uniform - Matthew 5:14-16|
|15th||10-30 am Morning Meeting lead by Major Rosemary Randall.||3 pm Praise Meeting lead by Major
Rosemary Randall .
No evening meeting.
|Sunday Club||Kids Zone - God at work. Luke 1:26-38, Matthew
Y Zone - Expecting the unexpected. Luke 1:26-38, 18:27
|Junior Soldiers Class||Be on your guard - Ephesians 6:10-18|
|22nd||Corps Carol Service lead by Major Rosemary Randall.||No evening Meeting|
|Sunday Club||Y Zone - Get ready for the unexpected. Luke 2:1-20|
|Junior Soldiers Class||No class Junior Soldiers take part in Carol Service|
|29th||10-30 am Morning Meeting lead by Major Rosemary Randall.||No evening Meeting|
|Sunday Club||No Meeting on Holiday|
|Junior Soldiers Class||No Meeting on Holiday|
|Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. 1 Timothy 1:15|
|For many people Christmas
and New Year are not only times of celebration, but also of remembrance. The
goodwill and cheer, is tinged with regret, grief and loss. As Christians we
know that death is our transition from life on earth to eternity with God, but
still we can weep for and miss those that have gone ahead of us. Much as Jesus
wept outside the tomb of Lazarus. We trust these words by Henry Scott Holland
will easy the emotions of remembrance.
Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other that we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference in your tone; wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effort, without the ghost of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was; there is absolutely unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner.
All is well.
|This will take place on 1 December 2002, at 10-30 am. Please bring your gifts of toys for both girls and boys, with you to the service. This year the gifts will be given to children who help care for their ill or disabled parents, and includes teenagers up to the age of 16 yr. As in previous years the Parent and Toddlers group will join us for this celebration, and there will be an extended Coffee Fellowship after the meeting to allow time to chat, make friends and so the children can play. Joy Rogers will be leading an open Sunday Club in the main-hall and children attending the toy Service are welcome to join in.|
|This event crept up on all of us, and everything seemed to came together at the last moment. Many thanks go to everyone who donated goods, prepared food, decorated stalls, helped set up and work the stalls on the day. A grand total of £463-58 was raised. The Snow Man was named Smily Festus and was won by Joyce Veacock. The Christmas Cake weighted 3lb and 6 oz. and was won by Mrs Hill, a member of the public who supported the day. There were 411 buttons in the jar and the nearest guess was by Major Rosemary who won the box of Heros. If you have any ideas to make next years Christmas Fair bigger and better do let Major Randall or members of the Corps Council know. And those unwanted Christmas gifts you receive this year - you could start saving them for next years Fair !!! ..|
|One of the Junior Shoulder Crest
Reaching Out Projects states Write 200 words about the needs in your
community and how your corps can try to meet them. Here is Letitia Rogers
231 word response;
|We all enjoy a cuppa and chat after the morning meeting, and our thanks go to Bernie and his small group of volunteers who so willing prepare this cuppa each week and wash up afterwards. If you are able to help serve coffee and wash up once in a while Bernie would appreciate knowing which dates you could do. Thanks.|
|Cis Williams was laid to rest on 25 November 2002. She was a friend of the Corps for many years and in later life joined the Home League and worshipped with us until failing health meant that she was no longer able to attend. The last period of her life was spent receiving care and support in a nursing home. Our thoughts and prayers at this time are with Ann Johnson and the family, and we pray that they will find peace and assurance at this time of loss and sadness.|
|The new list of dates for 2003 is now available through Major. Do please support this ministry which graces our Alter Table each week, and allows each one of use to appreciate the beauty of Gods creation within our Hall.|
|Give thanks to the commuters at Stoneleigh Railway Station who kindly donated £85-72 this month to YP funds. This is the last of the YP Station Collections for this year.|
Corps Diary December 2002
|Sunday 1st||Toy Service at 10-30am. See details in this newsletter.|
|Tuesday 3rd||7-30pm Carolling at Rathbone House, The Downs. See Joy for details|
|Tuesday 10th||7-30pm Carolling at Alexander House, Clifton Road. See Joy for details|
|Thursday 12th||7-45 pm Bible Fellowship. 3 John Opening our hearts and homes.|
|Saturday 14th||Christmas Collecting - Sava Centre 10-30am to 3pm. See Section Leaders for further details|
|Tuesday 17th||2/4 pm. Carolling at Drake House. See Joy for details.|
|Sunday 22nd||Morning Holiness Meeting only.|
|Sunday 29th||Morning Holiness Meeting only. No Sunday Club.|
|During the weeks commencing 23 and 30 December there will be no Over Sixties, Home League, Songster, Singing Company, Band, Kids Club, Drama or Timbrel Group meetings. These groups will all restart during the week commencing 6 January 2003.|
|The Corps has recently opened a Partnership Account with Wesley Owen, the Christian Book and Music shops. Major Randall and Ailsa Flinders are the account holders. This account allows the Corps to receive discounts of up to 15% off on item purchased through the account. Book catalogues will be available at regular intervals throughout the year on the table at the rear of the main hall. If you require books not in the catalogue still give details and these can be ordered. Do give your orders to Major or Ailsa.|
|Leading others in worship is both a humbling, but also a fulfilling ministry. Thanks are given to Major Rosemary for delegating spiritual authority to others in the Corps so they can grow in this area. Thanks go to Rebecca Flinders & Tiffany Rogers for their service on Corps Cadet Sunday about self worth. The Sunday Club for their Harry Potter Service (did you enjoy the puppets ?) reflecting on friendship, sacrificial love, good and evil. Finally, thanks go to Joy Rogers & Ailsa Flinders for the meetings whilst Major was on Furlough.|
|The first letter of each answer is the first letter of the next. When completed the grey boxes reveal an anagram of a Christmas visitor.|
|The first letter of each answer is the first letter of the next. When completed the grey boxes reveal an anagram of a Christmas visitor.|
|Each group of two words can be linked by
another to make a common phrase. For example, fat-cat and cat-nap. Once
completed the first letters of the answers read down to spell a Christmas party
FAT _ _ _ NAP
WORLD _ _ _ _ _ _ PLAYER
NOAHS _ _ _ ROYAL
DECK _ _ _ _ _ MAN
MASTER _ _ _ BOARD
BOILED _ _ _ PLANT
WEDDING _ _ _ _ ROAD