Lockdown News - May 2021
Lockdown News May 2021
In this issue:
- Prayer Corner
- Membership Transfers and New Members
- From Pastor Terry re Elders
- News in brief
- Baptism on 8th May
- The Work of STOP International Continues Despite the Pandemic
- Annual Toy Service Celebrates its Diamond Jubilee
- Children’s Sabbath School in Lockdown
- The Last Word
- Mrs. M. Anthony: Thank you for all the prayers, messages, cards and text messages for Margaret Anthony. Please continue to keep us in your prayers at this challenging time. – Eustace Anthony.
- Joy Bussey whose surgery has been delayed
- Pastor Geert who has problems with his back
- Ruth Read
- Terry Menkens
A warm welcome is extended to new members Cedrick Suarez and Jon Miles who have joined the church following their recent baptism; welcome back home to Pamela Rolach and Alain St Germaine (brother of the late Joy McCrow) following their re-baptism; also to Adriana Mahy who was baptised elsewhere and joined us on profession of faith.
From Pastor Terry Messenger: Eldership clarification
We are happy to announce that Alain Fidelia has agreed to rejoin the board of elders from immediate effect.
For clarification the elders who are serving until the end of this year are:
- Florence Allen
- Audrey Balderstone
- Dave Burgess
- Bernel Bussue
- Ben Davison
- Michael Dragoyevich
- Alain Fidelia
- Bheki Moyo
- Steven Moser
News in Brief
- Carl and Joanna Swain on the birth of daughter, Grace Leah, a sister for Hana, weighing 3.18kgs (just over 7lbs). Carl was only too happy to share this with readers ‘…since we rarely get positive news in the last year; hopefully others will share our joy. We have named her Grace and she was born on 8th May (a day before Joanna’s birthday!)’
- Matt and Charlotte Marshall who ‘are delighted to announce the arrival of their son, Thomas Arthur Marshall, on 16th May 2021 weighing in at 3.7kg. (8lbs 2oz).’
- Also to Peter and Beatrice on the birth of Simeon-Elliott Peter Cooper who was born on Sunday, 23rd May.
- Annabelle Lim who has qualified as a doctor having completed her training at St.George’s Hospital.
- One Vision Commemorates VE Day: One Vision held a ceremony to commemorate VE Day attended by Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, Vice Admiral Alan Richards, The High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, Lionel Wallace and Dean Russell MP (Watford). Pastor Ian Sweeney, Colonel Harry Lomas, Pastor Terry Messenger, Harjit Singh and Pastor Tim Roberts (Churches Together).
View on YouTube
- Don’t Forget the Church’s Budgetary Needs: The Treasurer’s financial statement sent to members shows that the pandemic hasn’t affected church finances as much as was feared at the outset. However, the church continues to need maintenance, cleaning, heating and lighting etc. In the hope that the various programmes will be able to resume in the not too distant future the church continues to need your offerings. If you are giving under the Gift Aid scheme please quote your Gift Aid number in the reference on your transfer and/or in the email that you send to firstname.lastname@example.org with the details of your transfer. If we have your email address then you will be sent an electronic receipt.
Bank Account Details
Account Number: 40650561 Sort Code: 60-00-08
Account Name: Stanborough Pk Church Seventh Account Type: Business
Reference: Name and Gift Aid No
- ADRA-UK’S Response to the St Vincent Volcanic Eruption: The La Soufrière volcano on the Caribbean island of St Vincent erupted on 9 April blanketing the island in a layer of ash and forcing nearly 20,000 people to evacuate their homes. The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) has called on ADRA and the local SDA church to render assistance by providing meals and shelter. ADRA on St Vincent, through the local church, is hosting evacuees at 10 facilities (churches, schools, etc.) that are being used as shelters.
- ADRA’s donations page: https://app.donorfy.com/donate/C4311R6V76/httpadraorgukprojectsemergencies
- Formation of the Recommendations Committee: The time of year is approaching when we need to consider officers to help run the church departments for 2022/3. Some current officers have only managed two and half months in active service before the church closed down. For others, their departments have been running continuously e.g. children’s services, the Audio Visual Department, grounds maintenance, those organising the live/recorded services and the elders - who have undergone a number of changes of personnel in the past year or so. The deacons resumed their duties with the resumption of services and many deaconesses have been occupied throughout the pandemic.
At the moment the church is limited to 70 worshippers and there is no indication of when we will be able to resume services as previously with the government’s cautious approach to the virus variants and the probable need for booster vaccinations in the autumn. However, we need to plan for the eventual return to ‘normal’ so a nominations sheet has been drafted for the election of the Recommendations Committee which will meet to organise a Nominating Committee. If you have received a form by post please fill it in and return using the stamped addressed envelope. Otherwise, you will find the form in the pack sent by email. Please fill it in and return it by 14th June.
- To change or not to change? Every member should have received an information pack either by post or email outlining suggestions for how the church could look when we finally are able to resume full services. At the moment there is no clarity from the government, preoccupied with vaccinations and variants, as to when all restrictions will be lifted. Usually, promises are accompanied by caveats; ‘minor matters’ such as face masks, distancing etc are brushed aside; it is only when these matters are dealt with that we can return to full fellowship and worship.
- The information pack asks how your experience of lockdown and church closure has been. Please read it carefully, fill it in and return it either by post or email.
- The Church Board members have been considering lessons learned during the lockdown and wondering how they can apply them to enhance our future worship in view of the changing needs of both the church and local communities and whether or not now is a good time to consider changes following the enforced break. However, for many, life will not be quite different afterwards and the thought that the church would be there still, offering comfort and stability, was a reassuring factor throughout the pandemic and they will be dismayed to discover that their anchor has drifted, potentially dragging them into further uncharted waters.
- Following deliberations, the Board has sent out a proposal for changing the way the services are organised as far as timings are concerned and is quite revolutionary. The Board is aware that this is a sensitive issue and will polarise opinions – possibly as much as the proposed church development did - but, unlike the building works - this proposal isn’t set in concrete and is open to discussion and debate.
- Please read the documents carefully and prayerfully, fill in and return your questionnaires and plan to attend the Church Business Meeting on 27th June to express your views on the subject.
Baptism Held on 8th May
Seven candidates were baptised during the latest baptismal service on 8th May. Two of the candidates were
re-baptisms of former members who had left the church but decided to return. Sisters Selisha and Jasmine Williams have been studying the Bible with their mother and aunt for some time.
Top row left-right: Cedrick Suarez, Alain St.Germaine, Adriana Mahy, Pamela Rohlach
Bottom row: left-right: Selisha Williams, Jasmine Williams, Jon Miles
Adriana: I've been attending the church for just over 2.5 years and found myself wondering, why on earth haven't I become a member yet? After all, I've been welcomed by many of the members with warmth and kindness, made friends and fellowship with the women and men in the home group I belong to, and without even realising it, Stanborough Park became my home church where I've come to feel like I'm already part of God's larger family in its rich diversity of age, ethnicity, gender and various nationalities.
Alain: I left the church for almost 6 years due to something that happened. But after going from church to church including Saturday “worshipers” looking for what I had left behind I became very unhappy. It was my very best friends of many years Brian & Cecelia, who with the grace of the Holy Spirit, brought me back and now I’m going nowhere.
Cedrick: Being baptised will help me to start anew and will also help me to become part of God’s family as well as helping me draw closer to God.
Pamela: I left the church here at SPC in the 1990’s but I now wish to rededicate my life to the Lord afresh through rebaptism.
Jon (from a Methodist background): I joined Pastor Terry’s Sabbath Bible studies in answer to God’s nudge and like the Eunuch in Acts 8:26-40 I did not wait but asked the Church to accept me which they have done. I thank God that he has held me in His hand these past few years.
The Work of STOP International Continues Despite the Pandemic: submitted by Kish Poddar
Kish Poddar is a former church elder and teacher at Stanborough Secondary School. He has now moved to a rural corner of Wales with his family but, as founder of STOP International, his work supporting orphanages in India has continued. Kish conducted many fund-raising activities at the church to support the orphans over the years. In view of the current situation in India he was invited to give members an update as to how his charity has been continuing to support its nominated orphanages during these trying times.
I returned from India at the end of February 2020 having completed several projects for STOP during the preceding two months. Within a month of my return to the UK a lockdown was imposed due to the pandemic.
We know that the lockdown has disadvantaged many businesses as well as charities in the UK. STOP International has not been spared. STOP was not able to organise or conduct any fundraising events throughout 2020 or 2021. The London to Paris Cycle Ride, the Indian Meal, The INTU Christmas Gift Wrap, and various other events were shelved. However, God blessed the charity with funds from generous donors to enable the work of the charity to proceed.
By God’s grace, our generous sponsors continued to sponsor the children, to maintain the welfare of the children during these difficult times. In addition, several new sponsors have committed their financial support of children during this pandemic. All the orphanages have been Covid-free by divine providence. The children have been well cared for by their carers and God in heaven has protected them from the recent devastating second wave in India.
The construction of the Girl’s dormitory at the BESSO orphanage, which began in December 2019, was finally completed in January 2021. With the pandemic and various festival holidays there have been inevitable delays. In spite of this the new dormitory was inaugurated and dedicated in January this year. The girls have moved into their new home but need beds and other bedroom furniture.
The children in all the five orphanages were presented with Christmas gifts by STOP to their great delight, which was a highlight in a period of gloom. The schools were closed, but all learning still took place in their living accommodation with limited internet devices which created some challenges.
In March we had the sad and shocking news that Paul, the Director of Love Home, suffered a massive stroke and passed away soon after. It was an incredibly sad time for all of us and our condolences and prayers are with his wife Shiny and two sons Samson and Joshua. Shiny has courageously decided to run the orphanage. She will need much support which she has been promised by Paul’s family. STOP will continue to send sponsorship to Love Home. Please remember Shiny in your prayers.
During the April State elections in India, the BESSO orphanage was used as a Polling Station. All the precautions and risk assessments were in place and none of the children were affected by issues of transmission of infection.
In April of this year the STOP Trustees voted to support the Sunshine Orchard Orphanage in Thailand. All STOP Trustee meetings have been on Zoom. This orphanage is situated close to the Thailand Myanmar border and is run by an American couple who have committed their lives to caring and educating orphans from Thailand as well as those children affected by the situation in Myanmar. When the pandemic restrictions are lifted STOP will be organising a trip to The Sunshine Orchard Orphanage and if volunteers are interested, they can contact me. stop-intl.org.uk
In spite of the difficulties caused by the pandemic, the work of caring for orphans continues. James 1:27 NEB reminds us that, “The kind of religion which is without stain or fault in the sight of God our Father is this; to go to the help of orphans and widows in their distress…”. And God in heaven provided STOP with the means to do His command even during this terrible pandemic.
Annual Toy Service Celebrates its Diamond Jubilee
This year sees the 60th Annual Toy Service at Stanborough Park Church. It has become such a big part of the church’s tradition that it seems hard to imagine a time without it. These days Pat Walton is its central figure but she has merely – and ably – continued the tradition began by her father, Alf Kelly MBE, so many years ago.
It was Pat though, then a young secretary working for Brian Davison’s father at ESDA (the Adventist travel agency), who told her father, Alf Kelly (seen wearing glasses near the rear of this photo taken in 1995), about the Toy Services held at the Ealing Church. These were organised by Mr. Davison who was an elder there.
Alf, who was given the title of ‘Watford’s Father Christmas’ by the Watford Observer, was very concerned about the local families who were unable to afford to provide the sort of Christmas they would like for their children and enthusiastically seized the idea and presented it to the church. Members responded with characteristic generosity and so an annual tradition was established.
It has long been thought that the Ealing church, under Mr. Davison’s leadership, was the originator of the idea. But a tip-off from the Stanborough Press’s graphic designer, David Bell, who had been working on the Messenger archive, revealed that the first Toy Services, predating Ealing’s, were actually held at the Wood Green church, commencing in 1956 and, according to the Messenger archive, continued there for some years.
Alas, it seems that neither church has continued the tradition although when the Press workers migrated to Grantham from Watford they took the tradition with them - where it continues to this day. So many local families will have experienced even harder times as a result of the pandemic, let’s make it an extra special event this year.
^ Report of 1958 Toy Service at Wood Green (Messenger)
Sabbath School – adapting to the lockdown: submitted by Yvonne Ishida
No sooner had I started my role as Sabbath School superintendent than the lockdown started; I have hardly experienced the role in any other way. I have been blessed with a team of leaders who have adapted quickly to working in a different way. I have tried to support them by helping to find new team members (sometimes more successfully than others), teaching classes when others are not available and by putting rotas in place when necessary. However, I think that we should thank the Sabbath School class leaders for the amazing work they have done.
I’m sure many of you are already aware of the wonderful ministry that Cradle Roll Sabbath School has turned into since the lockdown. Please join me in thanking Carol and Charlotte for the hard work they have put into making the videos that go out on YouTube and Facebook each week. Let us also thank the many story tellers who record themselves telling stories for these programmes. These programmes have been watched by 1000’s of people.
The other four Sabbath School classes have all been running on Zoom since the lockdown started. While these classes do not reach as many people, they provide the opportunity for the young people of our church to come together, to share their experiences, to pray and open the word of God together.
The leaders of these classes have also worked extremely hard. Doing Sabbath School on Zoom is not the same as in person, but the Sabbath School leaders and team members have done their utmost to make Sabbath School a blessing for every child and family each week.
Ruth has coordinated Kindergarten and has put in place a system of rewards stickers to help keep the young children engaged while they are doing Sabbath School on Zoom. Each child who receives 100 reward stickers receives a beautiful activity Bible. They have also brought their prayer bears to Sabbath School and faithfully given their offerings each week.
Last year, Helen worked hard to provide fun songs, quizzes and engaging activities for the Primary children to do. Now Esther has taken on this role and is continuing the hard work Helen started. Each week the children share their pictures and crafts on the WhatsApp group so that everyone can see what has been made.
Angelika has faithfully run Junior Sabbath School almost every week for a whole year with the help of only a few dedicated helpers. The Juniors are learning to study the Bible and share their understanding of God’s word with each other.
Uche has worked hard to put in place a good team of people to teach the Earliteen Sabbath School. She is encouraging them to study their lesson during the week. While we don’t often see the faces of our teens on Zoom, there is a lovely group of teens who readily participate in the lesson study and discussion each week.
Let us all offer our sincere gratitude to these dedicated leaders who have put in many hours of hard work to keep this ministry alive during these difficult times. I pray that God will add His blessing to the hard work that has been and is being put into this ministry. These Sabbath Schools have provided a way for all the children at Stanborough Park Church who wish to, to connect with each other and more importantly to connect with God every week – just like they would have done at church.
If you would like to help with this ministry, please contact either myself or one of the Sabbath school class leaders to offer support in whatever way you can. Let us also remember that whoever we are we can always pray. Please continue to pray for the young people of our church and those who are working tirelessly to help them stay connected to our Creator, Redeemer and Friend - the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Last Word:
Prayer does not twist God’s arm to give you what you want, but it puts you in a frame of mind to accept His will for you. In Gethsemane, Jesus prayed: ‘My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may Your will be done.’
David Marshall: God’s Little Book of Encouragement