GOD IS WITH US!

kathylarkman,

 

CS LEWIS

Cathy Photo

CATHERINE DONOVAN 

C.S.Lewis’ words to me mean: “Emmanuel” (God is with us); Fatherhood; Redemption, an Eternal inheritance, Hope and purposed to do great things in Christ Jesus.

JOY TO THE WORLD!

kathylarkman,

 

fcveb

ESTHER KING, CONTRIBUTOR FOR TODAY’S BLOG POST

Ah! My favourite Christmas carol… not because my middle name is ‘Joy’ and not just because I love the stirring musical arrangement. Most importantly the lyrics, rooted in Scripture and written by Isaac Watts, are INCREDIBLE.

Here they are – clear those throats and sing them out with gusto! Or venture onto YouTube and find a recording to listen to (Here’s a modern version which includes the 3rd verse https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mnC8zMiwaQ):

Joy to the World, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the World, the Saviour reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Joy to the WorldNor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

Beautiful! Check out John 1.1-18 and Psalm 98 then take a moment to reflect. Are you starting to really feel the joy?

I love the ‘present continuous’ feel of this carol. It celebrates the birth of Jesus – ‘the Lord is come’ – but as well as invoking the nativity story in your mind, it encapsulates the entire significance of what Jesus has done for us.

Why is it we sometimes miss out the third verse when we sing this congregationally? Is it the use of ‘heavy language’ such as ‘sin’, ‘sorrows’, ‘thorns’ and ‘the curse’? Yet look again and here’s the truly amazing news of the Gospel. Because Jesus has defeated sin and death, we’re set free from their power! And there’s no dark, cursed corner where God can’t make his blessings flow!

The Lord reigns and he’s not just our ruler but our saviour! And how does he rule? With ‘truth and grace’ and the way he interacts with us, ‘the nations’, speaks of both his glorious righteousness and wonderful love!

I love the way the carol reminds me that it’s not just us praising the Lord with joyful and thankful hearts but all of creation, everything He has made, the entire universe. Lord open my eyes to see how everything in all creation points to you and your goodness!

Finally, don’t miss key call to action in the carol. To truly experience the joy, the earth first has to receive its king. To truly mean what we sing, we must first prepare room in our hearts, putting Jesus at the centre of our lives and acknowledging him and him alone as our Lord and saviour. Lord, please help us to do this. Amen!

Cranes, forklifts and Presidents, apparently.

Matthew Little,

Another month has gone by, so now I must update my blog. No-body told me doing a blog would be such a chore.*

So what has happened since I left off? Quite a bit, and I shall start from where I left off. Don Stephens, the founder of Mercy Ships, visited the Africa Mercy, and during the same week, Guinean President Alpha Conde also visited the ship. During this visit, I had my first experience of being a security guard….. Thankfully, nothing happened, but it was a good opportunity to practice my stern ‘You are not allowed in here’ face and posture. However, I don’t know whether to hold my hands in a ‘attention’ position around my back or at  my front. But I will have other opportunities to do this ‘special job’ during other VIP visits to the ship, to get more practice of this.
After that (not immediately. It might have been the weekend after, I can’t remember), I went on a day’s excursion to the beautiful and picturesque Kassa island, one the three islands in the ‘Iles de Los’ island group off Conakry. Both the two boat rides across the harbour to the island were just as good and pretty as the island itself, but it was just so good to escape the scenery of both the ship and the city of Conakry, which is dusty, dirty and smelly, and just outside the port gate, on a very busy roundabout, it can get very chaotic with the sudden appearance of cars and motorbikes. Seriously, you could be crossing the road, and out of nowhere- BEEEEEEEEEEEEP! a few feet from you.. Quite the contrast across the water. and it was a relaxing Saturday.
Beach on Kassa
Jungle
View of one of the other islands
Another view of the beach
Boats between the island and the mainland

The ship moored next to us that day. 

An interesting sight that constantly amazes me whilst working on Deck is the constant move of ships in Conakry’s port. One day, I could be working around the Bridge (which I spent the whole day on the 14th doing. A few days before I started this blog. That was a relaxing day), looking at the ship next to us, and the next day, it’s a new ship. And they all follow a similar colour scheme to the one on the picture on the left. Its’s like “What could they be loading/unloading today- Oh, that wasn’t there yesterday”. Meanwhile, there is this stationary white ship.

Bow of the Africa Mercy

Work has also been great. On my first weekend on-call duty (which meant that I was confined to the ship for two days), I got up to some pretty impressive things, that I never thought I would do on a Saturday morning, such as operating the stores crane and driving one of the  ship’s forklifts. What exciting purpose was that for, I hear you ask? Emptying the trash. Probably better to start with a trash bin than a very heavy pallet of cooking oil, tbh. I also learned to drive one of the ship’s rescue boats during a practice for Sinterklaas. Because Mercy Ships has a crew made up of different cultures, the Christmas period allows for the crew to experience a bunch of different Christmas festivals. A few weeks ago, the crew celebrated the Dutch tradition of Sinterklaas, where children leave a shoe out for Sinterklass to fill with yummy goodies the night before! Sinterklaas arrived via one of the ship’s rescue boats, to wave to the masses (The ship kids and Dutch crew, mainly. Maybe, I didn’t actually see the spectacle. I did watch as Sinterklass gave the Ship kids Christmas presents in Midships, above the Starbucks. (Fun fact: the only Starbucks in Africa. Sorry, Okoye.**) Just to be clear, I didn’t drive Sinterklaas on the day, I was just given a lesson the Saturday. Also, my shoe went missing that morning. I say missing, some ‘practical jokers’ moved it further up the corridor. Almost forgot! I have received my training book, which means that I can now begin my training to become a Deck Rating, maybe even Able Seafarer, later down the line. I’ll be a Captain in no time! I still don’t know what I want to do, actually, but I have really enjoyed my first month of being a deck hand. I have been transfered to a different fire team on the first, I was on hose and gear, which meant being a support role and getting the hoses and things for the SCBA guys. in this new one, I am on SCBA. which means that I have to wear all the bunker gear, and am meant to be right in the action during the event of a fire

The community here is wonderful. A few of us have even started a Dungeons and Dragons group (my character is a Dwarf Paladin). Found out that watching Lord of the Rings is all the more entertaining commentating on it in D&D references. I have also joined the group on the ship that plays Super Smash Brothers, This was the first time playing Super Smash Brothers (suprisingly)  and I have getting good at it. As long as I am not against a pro. Did beat the ship’s ‘Smash Master’ once, though. . And a group that plays Dominion. And other board games. I have even started playing Minecraft again.

The amazing Communications department /team here on the Africa Mercy work hard to produce materials to promote the amazing work that the hospital down on Deck Three does, including this piece below. This patient’s story has really inspired me from when I first read it.

Well, that’s all I have to say for this month. I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and pray for good fortunes to come in 2019.

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

*Just kidding, I enjoy writing this blog.
** Avengers: Infinity War reference

P.S. If the patient’s story doesn’t show the first time, please let me know in the comments. My parents’ had an issue with that on their own blog. Please check that out, too! It’s called A Little Odyssey, the link is in the side bar.

Notices 23rd December 2018

Louise,
CBC Notices logo

Evening Services in December

There will be no evening service at Priory Street tonight and 30th December.

Christmas Cards

Our (red) Christmas card board is at the back.  Please use this to pin your card to the CBC fellowship (pins in glass jar on the table). If you have cards for specific people/families, please hand deliver personally or post (please do not put/leave on the tables at the back as we end up with scores of unclaimed cards by the end of the festive season!!). 

Elections

Elections of Safeguarding Deacon, Elder and Fabric Deacon will take place at the January Church Meeting on 21st January.  Nominations for these positions will open today and close on 6th January 2019.  Adrian Pillinger and Martin Sheringham have indicated their willingness to be renominated for positions of Elder and Fabric Deacon respectively. All the relevant paperwork is at the back.

Christmas Services

24th December: Christmas eve service, 6pm/ Carol singing in Rudloe, 6pm

25th December: Christmas day joint service, 10am @ Priory Street/ 10am at Rudloe

… Looking ahead over the next days, weeks and months…

30th December: No evening service

5th January: Craft club, 10am

6th January: Nominations close for leadership roles

9th January: Midweek service, 2pm

14th January: Fight night; prayer for persecuted church and missions

18th-19th January: Leaders’ retreat

21st January: Church Meeting, 8pm

23rd January: Midweek service, 2pm

26th January: The Ark, 10am

27th January: Baptism services, 9:15am and 11:15am

28th January: Women’s bible study, 7:30pm

** 2019 Church Meeting Dates **

21st January

15th April

15th July

21st October

JUST DON’T DO IT!

kathylarkman,

LESLEY NEW PHOTOMy lovely sisters, please don’t let this most wonderful time of year be your most stressed, getting in debt, losing the plot and getting indigestion time of year! Don’t get your tinsel in a tangle. Don’t let your ‘HO, HO, HO!’ turn into ‘OH, PLEASE NO!’…………
Christmas is absolutely not about frantically buying things we don’t need and often can’t afford. It’s not about stressing morning ‘til night over complicated menus, a perfectly decorated tree, exquisitely wrapped gifts or being the world’s best hostess.
This time of year is an opportunity to fill our eyes with wonder, our homes with love and laughter and our souls with gratitude and praise. Amid all the busy-ness let’s remember what this season is all about. There would be no Christmas celebrations at all, had our loving Father not sent his beloved Son into this sin-sick world to be our Saviour.
lesley christmas thoughtsSo this year, let’s refuse to make it complicated. Take the pressure off yourselves, ladies. Over the years I’ve found it’s been the simplest, least expensive things that have made the most precious memories. Don’t give in to feelings of inadequacy and panic. Don’t stress over long lists of things that don’t matter. Instead think of the little ways in which you can easily express love and enjoy being together. If you do, I guarantee your family, your friends and your own well-being will be very, very blessed!

Corsham Town Carol Service

Louise,

A quick reminder that the Corsham Town Carol Service will take place on Tuesday 18th December, meeting outside Haine and Smith at 6:45pm.  Bring your lanterns!!  Mince pies in Church Street at the end of the service!  All welcome!

Notices 16th December 2018

Louise,
CBC Notices logo

Carols by Candlelight Service

This evening is our annual carols by candlelight service, commencing at 6pm.  We look forward to welcoming church members and their friends and family to this special service.

Carols by Candlelight Service Offering

The offering from the carols by candlelight Service tonight will be sent to support the work of the Oasis Centre, our mission partners in Austria working alongside refugees.  In February, we will be sending out a Building Team to renovate a toilet and make it fully accessible for the disabled; the money will be put towards the costs of this work.  If you are able to gift aid your donation,special yellow envelopes for your monetary offering are available on the table at the back of the building.  Please do mark them “CHRISTMAS – OASIS”.  When the offering is taken, only the contents of the yellow envelopes, and loose cash/cheques will be included in the offering total.  Blue envelopes will be treated as regular giving to the general work of the church. 

Christmas Cards

Our(red) Christmas card board is at the back. Please use this to pin your card to the CBC fellowship (pins in glass jar on the table). If you have cards for specific people/families, please hand deliver personally or post (please do not put/leave on the tables at the back as we end up with scores of unclaimed cards by the end of the festive season!!). There is also a card to sign for the Littles as they celebrate their first Christmas on Africa Mercy!

Corsham Town Carol Service

The annual carol service in the Corsham High Street takes place on Tuesday, assembling outside Haine & Smith at 6:45pm. The proceedings finish in the car park area of St. Bart’s followed by mince pies in Church Street.  All welcome to attend!

Midweek Service

Our annual Carol Service of traditional carols and  readings will be held on Wednesday 19th at 2pm and will be followed by refreshments.

Elections

Elections of Safeguarding Deacon, Elder and Fabric Deacon will take place at the January Church Meeting on 21st January. Nominations for these positions will open on 23rd December and close on6th January 2019.  Adrian Pillinger and Martin Sheringham have indicated their willingness to be renominated for positions of Elder and Fabric Deacon respectively.

Evening Services in December

There will be no evening service at Priory Street on 23rd & 30th December.

…This week…

Monday: Mums’ bible study, 9:30am

Wednesday: Midweek service

Thursday: Toddler Group, 10am; Corsham Money Debt Advice Centre, 7:30pm

Friday: No after school clubs

… Looking ahead over the next days, weeks and months…

23rd December: Nominations open for various leadership roles

23rd December: DIY Nativity at Rudloe, 10am

23rd December: No evening service

24th December: Christmas eve service, 6pm/ Carol singing in Rudloe, 6pm

25th December: Christmas day joint service, 10am @ Priory Street/ 10am at Rudloe

30th December: No evening service

5th January: Craft club, 10am

6th January: Nominations close for leadership roles

9th January: Midweek service, 2pm

14th January: Fight night; prayer for persecuted church and missions

18th-19th January: Leaders’ retreat

21st January: Church Meeting, 8pm

23rd January: Midweek service, 2pm

26th January: The Ark, 10am

27th January: Baptism service, 9:15am service

28th January: Women’s bible study, 7:30pm

Christmas Thought

kathylarkman,
grace place bio photo christine

Christine Coltman, contributor for today’s Christmas thought 

We usually all get what we seek at Christmas – presents, family time, indigestion – but if we seek Jesus we get him in abundance for ‘The grace of God has been revealed to all men’ at Christmastime. Thank you God!

large

 

 

Christmas Thought

kathylarkman,
grace place bio photo christine

Christine Coltman, contributor for today’s Christmas thought 

We usually all get what we seek at Christmas – presents, family time, indigestion – but if we seek Jesus we get him in abundance for ‘The grace of God has been revealed to all men’ at Christmastime. Thank you God!

large

 

 

Follow up on July 2018 training

Reaching the 42%,

Mission Training at CBC July/August 2018

“It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation.”

Romans 15v20

As Paul wrote to the church in Rome, ‘preaching the gospel where Christ was not known’ remains at the heart of the vision of many missions. Sending workers to preach that gospel among people groups in West and North Africa, the Middle East and beyond who do not know Christ demands commitment and determination, both from those who go and the organisations and churches that send them out. Good sending involves adequate training, which is where our course fits in.

Who came?

We had 12 adults and one little girl representing 7 nationalities –
Germany, Netherlands, the UK, Belgium, South Korea, Brazil and South
Africa. Someone from another mission also attended part-time.

Where were they going?

The biggest group went to Bourofaye Christian School (BCS) in Senegal, and two others went to North Africa and the Middle East. Allof the destination countries have very few believers, which means that long-term cross-cultural mission is essential to reach the people there with the gospel. Without practical support such as teaching and caring for the missionaries’ children, many long-term workers find it almost impossible to stay. Our group members are an essential element in church planting teams. Ten of the staff are now in place, and the Belgian family are engaged in pre-departure training.

How was CBC involved?

CBC kindly agreed to host the course in 2017, following the sale of the WEC property in 2016. Given how well it went, we repeated it this year.

Paul wrote to the Romans:

“I plan to do so [visit the Christians in Rome] when I go to Spain. I hope to see you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while.”

Romans 15v24

Just as the church members there were encouraged to assist him on his journey to the unreached, so CBC assisted our group members on their journeys with the same purpose.

We had over 50 people directly involved, some giving many hours, in hosting, child care, catering, transport, devotional messages and more. The support and engagement was brilliant and so much appreciated. Without the enthusiastic and committed involvement of so many CBC members the course would not be possible. Thanks too to those who were involved in prayer and encouragement for us and the group.

Our group also contributed to each Sunday morning service and in Junior Church, as well as running a mid-week session where they spoke about their journey into mission and were prayed for.

What was the course about?

The course at CBC has a specialised focus on working with missionaries’ children to help equip teachers, family tutors,administrators, and dorm staff for their roles. It covers safeguarding (including health and safety), looking after boarding children, emotional well-being, teaching skills, the missionary kids’ experience, cross-cultural transition, specific country information and Christian education. There was also input from several visiting speakers.

How are they doing?

The new staff members at BCS have settled in well. Angela sent us this photo, which also includes Philip who attended last year and several others who were unable to come.

Angela talks about her class:

Teaching the youngest year group has many joys. There’s never a dull moment as curiosity is a common trait throughout the day. They love learning new things and my heart is filled every time I see them grasp new concepts. The children don’t usually hold grudges, so each day is afresh start. You can get to know them quickly because all of them are very open and enjoy sharing their opinions. They can be selfless,thinking about other people, and they often choose to pray for others and their pets. Watching them progress and grow as individuals, as well as a collective group, reveals how much God loves the little children and how important it is to see the world with a loving,child-like vision.

The two ladies who went to other places are also doing well. Keep
praying for their adaptation and integration into the culture.

Next Year?

Yes! The course will again be hosted by CBC, and the dates are 21st July –1st August. The 21st-27th July are for all participants, and the extra few days will focus on additional skills needed for teaching assistants and dorm staff.

Steve and Gill Bryant December 2018