Newsletter – Oct 12

There is certainly a lot to report since the last newsletter – we have had two exciting social events, two Baptisms and welcomed five new members into the church! And there will be lots more to follow, with our AGM and our World Aids Day service approaching, and then of course it will be Advent. I know for a fact that one member of our community has ordered their Christmas tree already!

Social Night – ABBA Evening (by Clive)

A great time was had by all at this Social Evening, where the theme was very much all things Swedish and Abba in particular.

Our time together began with all arrivals being handed their Raffle Ticket and a chance to purchase more.

I have to give great credit to the really enjoyable Quiz that Rob Hansen put together which was both amusing and fun; I certainly enjoyed leading this and at times it was hard to keep a straight face!! We have started a bit of a tradition with’ The Quiz’ and many of you will remember the fun we all had with Cockney Night and Kate Rowley’s Quiz on a theme of London. Defo something to keep up me thinks!

For sheer hard work and effort, our thanks have to go to Jen, who, as always, can be relied on to come up trumps with the Food. I mean: Swedish Meat Balls in Sauce, with all the trimmings! What can I say?

I had great fun judging the Fancy Dress. There was this bloke in a white 70’s style suit and Afro hair, who seemed vaguely familiar and what may have been his Moll in the best get up I’ve seen in a long time- I mean- silver Baco Foil shoes! Creative or what? The lovely Gloria got my vote though, for sheer persistence and continuity.

If that was not enough, we had an amazingly presented Karaoke on the theme of the incomparable Abba, hosted by our very own Rev Sharon.

Well! You just had to be there! Great fun and enjoyment was had by all and a wonderful time to boot!

Social Events – DVD night: ‘Call Me Troy’ (by Rob Hansen)

On 13th October MCCNL and LGCM came together for a film night to discuss the question ‘Do we need a gay church in the 21st Century??’  “Call me Troy”  – an autobiographical film narrated by Troy Perry – gave a powerful and  very personal account of Troy’s struggle to deal with societal  homophobia in America both in and out of the church.  He recounted how, following his suicide attempt, he had been clearly called by God to start a church for the LGBT community, so that anyone who wanted to have access to God could do so regardless of their orientation.  In doing this he met with significant persecution not least the gutting of his first church building through deliberate arson.

Uplifting and sometimes highly emotive the history of MCC was narrated up to the present day.  This was followed by a discussion on the theme “Do we need a gay church in the 21st Century?”  This was ably argued by Tim Fellowes (For) and Savi Hensman (slightly against).  There was much discussion following the two viewpoints given in which some people shared parts of their personal testimony – in particular ways that MCC had helped them to grow spiritually and how they had received healing following very painful experiences in  homophobic churches.  The whole evening was very positive and was well received by all those who attended.   Anyone who has not seen the film would greatly benefit from doing so. It will be shown again in the new year in Brighton so keep an eye out for more details!

Fellowship Sunday (by Peta)

Fellowship Sunday is always a special service to me, because I love baptisms! That special day when someone chooses to make a public declaration of their faith and their desire to be part of the Body of Christ, this community of diverse people trying to live out God’s love in the world – I am always delighted to be a companion and witness to that moment, and celebrate with them.

It was wonderful to be there as Laura was baptised, and John reaffirmed his baptism, with friends and loved ones there to support.

Also it was great to welcome five people into membership, John and Laura being joined by Kate, Rob and Debbie. Each of them has already contributed so much to our community and it is fabulous that they have chosen to take this further step. Welcome!

Hate Crime Vigil

On the 17th of October there was a Vigil Against Hate Crime organised by the 17-24-30 No to Hate Crime Campaign, taking place in Trafalgar Square, in which some of our members took part. Simon Reed wrote us an account of the event:

I was in Trafalgar square last Saturday night for the 17.24.30 candlelight vigil. 17-24-30 is a charity that supports those who have been affected by acts of Hate crime and to state clearly that hate crime is not acceptable in our communities and that we need to work together to tackle the problem.

As we set up the darkness set so did the rain start, just as we all managed to put up gazebos and the stage bus. Plenty of volunteers helped and the speakers and guests were looked after and still the rain flowed, yet surprising to me the crowd that built stayed right to the end, some bowed their heads some openly cried when the 2 min silence was announced.

We listened and were entertained by the London Gay Symphonic Winds Orchestra and the London Gay Men’s chorus, L Project and Son Ofa Tutu.

Upcoming Events:

AGM- Sunday 18th November

We will be having our Annual General Meeting soon, where all members of MCCNL have their chance to discuss and vote on issues around the running of the church. All members are encouraged to attend and make use of their voting rights as members – if you don’t take part, how will the rest of the church know your views? The church is all of us, and while we may have an elected Board to handle the day to day administration, we are all called to be good stewards of the community and the ministry God has given us here at MCCNL.

(Those who have not made the decision to become members are also welcome to attend the AGM, and we usually vote to give them speaking rights too.)

One of the tasks of the AGM is to elect new Board members. Three Board members have completed their two year terms and are stepping down (or, in one case, standing for re-election) this year, and also Philip Nix our Deaf Ministries coordinator will be standing for election having been co-opted onto the Board in May to fill the space left by an earlier resignation.

Visit from the Elder Darlene Garner

The reverend Elder Darlene Garner will be visiting us on the weekend of Sunday 11th of November  – On the Saturday there will be a meeting with all the London MCC churches, held at our own venue of Trinity URC, at 7pm. Then on the Sunday Rev Darlene will be our guest preacher.

CWS – by Jen

C4WS Camden – Metropolitan Community Church is the only place to be on a Monday night, all night (and a Tuesday morning) from January until the end of March.  ‘Why?’ you may ask. ‘Simples’ is the answer. This is where we have the opportunity to put our hearts into action, put feet on our promise to always be a friend to those in need and give our homeless guests a feeling of belonging to a community, being cared for – no questions asked, being accepted for who they are and most of all feeling safe.

We do the Shelter, year after year, and never tire of the amazing commitment from the Volunteers – some coming straight from work, others going straight to work after staying all night to make sure the guests are safe.  Others finding great delight in blowing up beds (we do have pumps), making sure small things like soap/shower gel/deodorant etc. are readily available.  One thing I learnt last year was I take so much for granted because I have so much, and simple things like:

Having paper, envelopes and a pen, not only to write to friends and family, but also to send in CV’s for job applications;

Nail clippers not only for the obvious reason but also to look presentable when I go for a Job interview;

A rucksack that is functional because I carry my life with me when I go from Shelter to Shelter (and they do wear out with such constant use);

On a personal level – do I buy new underwear or a packet of tobacco and papers;

Plastic take away boxes – we always have food left over from dinner and breakfast – if the guests want to save a few pennies and not have to buy lunch – or just keep up their energy levels – it can be cold and tiring wandering around for a day;

I have all these in my home and I take them for granted.

The way of the world today tells us that C4WS is going to be needed for a while to come.  In the words of a good guy who was around a couple of thousand years ago “Whatsoever you do to the least of my children that you do unto me”.

Jen

 

Cold Weather Shelter 2013

Yes, it’s that time of year again where it starts to get very cold at night, and we turn our attention to preparing for the Cold Weather shelter. Fourteen churches give their time, gifts and energy to making sure that a group of people who would otherwise be without a roof over their heads this winter can be sure of a hot meal, a warm bed, a good breakfast, and support and companionship during the cold months. There are many ways in which the C4WS charity helps and supports our guests, and in the past has been very successful in helping many of them on their way to having work and a safe place to live.

So, we need volunteers! MCC North London’s part is to house the guests on Monday nights, from 14th January to 25th March. There are three shifts:

Evening shift is from 6pm to 10pm. Volunteers set up the sleeping area, with the beds and bedding, towels etc; set up the dining area and reception area with tea and coffee and so on, and greet our guests. Then they serve dinner by 8pm, and volunteers eat and converse with the guests. After dinner, 9pm at the latest, the dining area is cleared, the evening’s film is put on, and in this time the guests can shower if they wish, and everyone settles down to watch the film or go to sleep.

The second shift is from 10pm to 6:30 or 7am. Three volunteers are required to be on duty overnight, but they need not all stay awake all night – there is sleeping space and the volunteers can sort out a sleeping rota between themselves.

The morning shift is from 6:30 to 9am. Volunteers need to deflate the beds, put the bedding in the laundry bags, and set up the main area for breakfast, and then wash up and clean up after breakfast and put everything away.

The evening volunteers get a fabulous meal, and the morning volunteers get a rather fine cooked breakfast. Above all, they get the chance to interact with a wonderful group of people, who have found themselves homeless for many different reasons but for whom the companionship and practical support of C4WS can spell the difference between getting back on their feet or ending up trapped by the vicious cycle that homelessness can become.

Christmas Dinner Saturday 1st December

I know that it is still only October, and I don’t much like planning for Christmas when we haven’t even had Bonfire Night yet, but our Christmas dinner is pretty early this year – the first of December – so it’s time to get it into your diaries now. You don’t want to miss it – the dinner is always excellent, and we usually get a visit from Santa, who will let good boys and girls tell him what they want for Christmas! Form an orderly queue, please!

Small Groups

Our small groups have enjoyed their latest series studying the book of Revelation, and will be finishing off the series by watching a selection of clips from Supernatural looking at some interpretations of the Apocalyptic imagery. Then we will have a short break before returning with our Advent series.

Remember, we still need Small Group hosts and facilitators if we are to offer easily accessible groups for members in various other parts of London. We are a widely-scattered congregation during the week! If you can help, please speak to Rev Sharon or Rev Jak.

Healing Prayer

Healing prayer is on offer every third Sunday in the month from 6.30 – 6.50 and again after service. The next will be the 18th November. If you feel the need for a healing touch for body, mind or spirit, prayer and also anointing with blessed oil are available, in the Nursery room (next door to the tea and coffee area)

On all other Sundays we will be offering intercessory prayer for the church,  the community and our world

 

Music Practice

All singers and musicians who want to be involved in the music ministry at the church are encouraged to come along to these practices, as this is the time when we learn new songs and also rehearse for special services.

The next one is on Saturday 1st December, 10.00 – 2.00pm at Rev Sharon’s house. This will include learning the songs we will be singing for World AIDS Day, Advent and the Carol Service. Please let Rev Sharon know if you are coming, and any dietary requirements you may have, as she always provides a delicious lunch to keep the hungry singers going, and wouldn’t want any of you to go short!

If you have suggestions for songs you would like to see included in the worship, please give them to Ian Peaple, as we need time to learn new songs before we introduce them in service.

 

Reflection by Kate Rowley

 

Modelling Christ

On Sunday, I spoke about the remarkable spirit of Corrie and Betsie ten Boom, who led worship services during their time in Ravensbruck concentration camp. I want to use this space to talk about their father, Casper, and the way in which his attitude shaped theirs.

The ten Booms were a Christian family living in Haarlem, in the Netherlands. Casper ten Boom was a clocksmith and his watch-shop had been in the family for a hundred years. The family home was always full of life; when the four children were young, the house filled up with aunts who had outlived their husbands. When the children had grown up, and their aunts and mother died, Casper began to bring local displaced children into the house and he brought them up, with Corrie and Betsie’s help. The staff in the shop formed part of this extended family, which was a focal-point for the whole community. In Corrie’s autobiography – The Hiding Place – she describes her father as being Haarlem’s grandfather. He was always ready with a kind word and a smile for anyone. It wasn’t that he ignored the differences between people, she says, but that you wouldn’t think he knew they were there.

This Christlike spirit set him apart from the world. Casper ten Boom gave of himself with no thought for the consequences. In the 1930s, when German Jews began to arrive in Haarlem with tales of persecution and destruction, the family began to help. When the second world war came to the Netherlands, the ten Booms acquired illegal ration cards for refugees and Jewish friends, and even built a hidden room in Corrie’s bedroom in case of a raid. This work eventually cost Casper and Betsie their lives, but it saved the lives of countless others. The example of this remarkable family can still change the world.

Reading:
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
In My Father’s House by Corrie ten Boom
Falling Upwards by Richard Rohr