Magazine Winter 2017
Letter From The Manse
Over the past few months I’ve been reflecting on what it means for us to be a community, all prompted by our united service with Hillsborough Trinity and Brightholmlee where I challenged us to think about unity and working together.
I don’t think I ever properly understood community until my ministerial training when I lived in 2 very different communities across 5 years, the first being the community at Wesley House in Cambridge and then at The Queen’s Foundation in Birmingham. At the heart of those communities, where people were trying to explore and be formed for ministry, we supported each other through the pathways we were each travelling. I can’t deny living in a community at times was difficult (especially when sharing bathrooms!), but I liked that in those communities there was a feeling of communal living and working, that I was a part of something bigger that had a rhythm and a pattern. A pattern that included worship, prayer, studying, reflection, exploration, fellowship and quite a lot of tea. The main thing I enjoyed about living in a community were the times spent chatting with people in kitchens and common rooms! Over the summer, I re-read the book ‘Holy Habits’ (the book we as a circuit are beginning to explore). The thing that strikes me most about the book, is that the heart of the habits is the reminder that we are a part of something bigger. The journey of faith we are on does not ask us to go it alone, but to travel and be in partnership with God’s people on the journey.
Andrew Roberts, in his book, explains how Jesus called his first followers into community: “… to be with him and to be sent out by him. To eat with him, pray with him, learn with him; to be challenged, transformed and guided; and when life and faith failed to be forgiven, restored and sent out again. Together they fed the hungry, proclaimed Good News and opened people’s eyes to the much longed for Kingdom of God.” (1)
In my own faith, the times that have helped me the most are the moments I have been working with other people, that’s not denying that there were moments I needed to be alone with God. But always, along my journey, I have been aware that Jesus does not call us to work or be in isolation, but calls us to be together and to be in community. I firmly believe the life, mission and ministry of the church is about being and working as a team, a community. We express this in many ways, as being part of the Connexion, the District, the Circuit in terms of Methodism, but also locally as being part of the life of Wisewood Methodist Church and part of the community in which we are placed.
Part of that community happens on a Sunday morning, but the community of faith is more than that, it also happens in the other times we intentionally meet during the week. From bible study, to Wesley Guild, from house groups to knit and chat. These are all intentional times of being in community where we seek to spend time with one another. I’m not asking that in every time we gather, we should be supporting and challenging one another in our journey of faith; although please don’t let that stop you! But it’s a reminder that as we start exploring the ‘Holy Habits’, we’ve already got good foundations to build upon. Andrew Roberts, in the books, talks of our discipleship and the Holy Habits being a shared adventure, with the groups and people we are already in community and relationship with:
“…a shared journey made personally and collectively in response to the call of Jesus. A journey made in the company of the divine community of Father, Son and Holy Spirit; and of our fellow disciples gathered by Jesus to be his body on earth today and sent by him to continue his Kingdom mission.” (2)
In the ‘Holy Habits’ book, there are suggestions for further reflection and action with each chapter. As we prepare to begin our time with the Holy Habits, these are the points from the chapter on community (3) I have been reflecting upon. Perhaps you might like to reflect on these points yourself or within the groups you meet. Any answers you may have please let me know!
• With whom do you share a companion relationship as a disciple of Jesus? If the answer is ‘no-one’, pray to be shown who you could develop a companion relationship with.
• How fully and effectively is your local church or fellowship group as a visible sign and symbol of the radical grace of God?
• How effective are your small groups? Do they need to be renewed? Do new groups need to be formed?
So, as we continue exploring the Holy Habits and continue on our path of discipleship as individuals and the community of Wisewood,
'May the Lord watch over you, this and every day, guide your footsteps, grant you strength, joy and fulfilment. May the Lord be a blessing to you, leading you in the way of peace, wisdom, love and humility, so that in turn you may be a blessing to others. May the Lord fill you with light and enfold you in love, now and for evermore. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.' (Nick Fawcett)
(1) Andrew Roberts, Holy Habits (Malcom Down Publishing, 2016) p.93
(2) Andrew Roberts, Holy Habits p.102
(3) Andrew Roberts, Holy Habits p.103 – more questions included with the book. I picked a selection for this article.
Summer has gone and here we are in autumn. ‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ as John Keats’ poem tells us. We haven’t seen many mists up to now – it’s too windy, but the fruit is here in abundance – blackberries, apples, pears etc. and the autumn colours of orange, brown, yellow and dark red are marvellous. Then when all the trees have shed their leaves, we have the pleasure of seeing the bare structure of the trees - and how magnificent they look. As the days get shorter and cooler air takes charge, we don’t have to feel gloomy but look forward to what we can celebrate in the coming months. I have always been happy to realise that, living in the northern hemisphere, we have Christmas in winter with reindeer and snow(?) etc. Christmas turkey on a hot beach doesn’t seem natural! Enjoy autumn while it’s here, it won’t go away until winter arrives.
Musically speaking, autumn is a busy time. Most choirs and bands have extra concerts to perform, including Remembrance Services and events. Then preparing for the Christmas season is exciting, very rewarding and hopefully enjoyable for both performers and listeners. What does autumn sound like? I’ve no idea. Lots of composers have written music entitled ‘Autumn’, such as Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Glasunov’s Seasons and many more with similar titles which are there for our entertainment and enjoyment, but I still don’t know what autumn sounds like. It doesn’t matter. Music is a universal language, whatever the season and whether we are in Britain, Europe, Russia, Australia or anywhere else in the world is irrelevant to our appreciation. Just thank God for music – it is one of His gifts to us.
Many of us would have been given nicknames when we were younger. Generally, these were not intentionally hurtful but could be embarrassing and not always welcomed by the recipients. At junior school I was sometimes called “bats in the belfry,” which wasn’t exactly complimentary, but neither was it hurtful. However, it soon disappeared, probably because it was too long for most of my class mates at Wisewood Junior School to use. It could be that one of my former class mates, a member of Wisewood Church, may remember using the name, but probably not. It is usually the owner of the nickname that recalls these nicknames for the rest of their lives. I am sure that if you were given a nickname in your childhood you will remember it well - and possibly would like to be able to forget it.
It is not only people who are given nicknames. They also occur in many other aspects of our lives. Doncaster, for example, is often called “Donny” by local people; Barnsley simply as “Town” (pronounced “Tarn” by Barnsley natives), Aberdeen as the “Granite City” and Brighton, “London by the Sea”. Birmingham is well known as Brum. Almost all football clubs have nicknames, but I wish someone would tell me, who are the “Blades”? Should you ask people who live in this part of Sheffield where Oughtibridge Lane is, many wouldn’t know as everyone refers to it as Jawbone Hill. In the past it did, however, have the nickname of Whalebone Hill. Why? Because two large whale bones were planted on the top of Jawbone - sorry Oughtibridge Lane. If you are asked to guide a stranger from Oughtibridge to Grenoside you may throw them into confusion.
Some local village inhabitants acquired nicknames from neighbouring villagers in this locality. Wadsley folk, for example were called flatbacks by those living nearby. Why? Wadsley people were well known, up to the early 20th century, for making poor quality knives and the handles of the knives often fell off the blades whilst they were being carried on horseback to be sold in Sheffield. Worrallers were called Muletowners by Wadsley folk. Why? Those in Wadsley thought Worrall people were more stupid than most. I can’t really argue with that! Oughtibridge people were Swilltubbers. Why? No one seems to know. These nicknames for villagers may go back to pre Norman times, so some experts believe. The village of Wadsley was founded by the Anglo-Saxons much earlier than Worrall, which was initially a Viking settlement. Presumably the Vikings, the newcomers, were not welcomed by those in Wadsley. Nothing new there then!
Autumn is a tidying up time in the garden. Debris can harbour pests and diseases; so clearing up not only makes things look better but keeps plants healthy too.
Dig up annuals - plants that last only a season - and put them on the compost heap. Flowering perennials - plants that spring up year after year from their roots - should be cut back. Remove yellowing or dead leaves or flowers before rot develops and remove any weeds hidden under the plant foliage. Now is also a really good time to turn your compost heap. It will heat up nicely and then gently rot over winter.
If your garden looks a bit drab in autumn, consider adding colour at this time of year. Visit the garden centre and see which plants are at their best in autumn. Deciduous trees, such as acers and ornamental crab apples will provide lovely autumn colours from foliage, bark and berries. Autumn flowers such as cyclamens come in white and a range of pink shades with glossy green leaves, and add a welcome dash of colour.
Now is a good time to plant spring bulbs, such as daffodils and tulips, and new perennials. There is still time for plants to establish themselves before the real cold sets in. It is also a good time to plant or move shrubs and trees to allow them to anchor down before the growing season. For a lovely lawn next spring, start to mow less frequently and raise the height of the blades. Rake out dead grass and moss that has built up over the summer and follow this with an autumn lawn feed.
Give nature a hand and encourage birds into the garden by providing extra food. Place the feeder near a tall shrub, fence or mature tree to provide protection from predators. To provide more food for the birds, put in shrubs which produce berries such as cotoneaster, pyracantha, rowan and holly.
Our annual Shoebox Service will be held on Sunday 26th November at 10:30am. The service will be conducted by our own minister Rev. Katie Leonowicz.
There are leaflets on the reception desk listing items suitable for packing into a shoebox. All boxes are checked at the depot before dispatch.
There will be sets of hats, scarves and mittens on sale after the morning service each week. The proceeds from these sales will be forwarded to the shoebox depot to be used towards the cost of transport.
Should you require a decorated shoebox I have a supply. A donation of 40p per box is requested (to cover the cost of the box).
I hope that you feel that you can participate in this project. Boxes can be left in the outer office from Monday 20th November.
If you have any questions or concerns about the project do not hesitate to contact me.
I hope you will be able to fill a shoebox and if not maybe you could donate some fillers.
In anticipation of your gifts, many thanks!
Cards for Good Causes
The Charity Christmas Card shop is now open Monday to Saturday 10:15am-4:15pm at 20 Chapel Walk, third shop down from Fargate.
There is a selection of cards from more than 40 different charities, many national and a number of local charities. There is also a wide selection of Christmas goods and Advent cards and calendars. I am in the shop all day on Tuesdays and you may see several familiar faces. There is a Day Manager and volunteers there each day and they will be only too pleased to help you. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or would like any further information, do not hesitate to contact me. Enid.
Listen With Your Eyes??
It’s not uncommon to find our minds wandering sometimes, when we are meant to be listening (with our ears!) to some lengthy monologue. If you are familiar with the song ‘I can sing a rainbow’ the words encourage us to listen with our eyes! At a recent evening service here at Wisewood, the preacher, Rev. David Markay introduced us to the Chinese character for listening, which comprises several sections with each colour representing a different requirement. The Chinese advocate that to listen properly, yes, we use our ears, but we also need to focus and give our undivided attention to the speaker using our mind to think and understand, an open heart to feel the effect of what is being said and our eyes to see. In other words, listening involves our whole being if we are to be fully in tune with, and responsive to, the speaker. It seems to me the Chinese got this right. If we are to do as God wishes and love our neighbour, then we need to listen “properly” to be able to empathise and show God’s love to others in the most appropriate way. Margaret P.
Our Trip to Switzerland
I’m a leader and a ranger with the 39th Sheffield Wisewood girl guiding unit and this summer on the 11th August, I and some of the girls from the 186th, 39th and 89th Sheffield Guides and TSS, based in Burngreave, Wisewood and St Hilda’s, set off for an adventure to Switzerland for 9 days. Our commissioner, Gillian, who has been running international trips since 2007 has been planning these trips for the past 10 years. The trip takes two years to plan and all the units involved do lots of fundraising events including bag packing, sponsored walks, running tombola stalls and a lot of support from the community.
This year there were a staggering 45 of us going to Adelboden, the home of girl guiding. Everyone had the opportunity to do all the activities. The activities included swimming in an open air pool under the snow covered alps, white water rafting, tobogganing and we climbed on a high ropes course on the top of mountains. We paddled in a glacier lake in the middle of the mountains at Oeschinsee. The senior section/ranges also went tandem paragliding and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We visited the towns of Thun and Inkerlaken with their beautiful chocolate and woodcarving shops and we walked to the top of Trummelbach Falls, a breath-taking waterfall inside a mountain. The girls loved Switzerland so much that they’ve asked to go again, along with others who were unable to go. Due to this we are already planning our next trip in 2019. Thank you,
(39th Sheffield girl guide leader and member of TSS)