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What is GIFT??

Posted by GIFT admin on Nov 24, 2012 in GIFT

Hello once again! I apologise for not being able to do this for quite a while but I have been extremely busy with A-level work and University visits.

As many of you may know, on Sunday 18th November, GIFT had a major part in the monthly benifice service, held in Ettington this month. Very well done to all of our members who turned up and helped on a Sunday morning. As well as our active role in the service itself, we were selling cakes and running a “Match the Pictures” competition, which was raising money for our chosen charity, the English Federation for Disability Sport.

This Tuesday, were back in the Church after a very busy few weeks doing our walking and fireworks. We were each trying to design a GIFT logo, with the best (hopefully) being used as our actual logo. After the usual drinks and chocolate, the leaders tried, with varying degrees of success, to get the twenty-odd children there, to have a group photoa and video! This was managed after quite a few takes and will be available for viewing at some point in the near future.

In the run up to Christmas, we will probably go bowling, with a trip to Cadbury world planned for the New Year. I will definitly keep you updated with news of this as I get it.

As usual, I am open to any questions, so please don’t hesitate to leave comments below!

Jonathan Rogers

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Christingle & Toy Service Newbold

Posted by Gilly on Nov 23, 2012 in Newbold

It is that time of year when we start to look forward to Christmas and what it all means to us.  The excitement begins with the lighting of the Christingles.

However we do need to remember that some children may not have much to look forward to, so it is at this service that many of us like to bring a toy which is then passed to the Birmingham City Mission who distribute to children in their area. It is important that the toy is unwrapped so that an appropriate gift is chosen for each child.  They do have to be new toys to ensure they comply with health and safety regulations.

 
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Calling All Woodworkers

Posted by John on Nov 14, 2012 in Stourdene News

Holding Crosses: When visiting the sick and dying it is very good to be able to leave them with a small wooden cross to keep by them. These crosses bring enormous comfort to many people. With the right tools they are pretty easy to make using off-cuts of wood. If there is anyone who would be willing to make some for us to use in the Stourdene Benefice when visiting those who are unwell it would be a great help to us and, more importantly, a tremendous comfort to those who are unwell. If you feel you could help us please contact John on 01789 459241.

 
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A TIME TO REFLECT

Posted by John on Nov 14, 2012 in John Horton, Stourdene News

On a dark, grey, wet morning with the leaves tumbling rapidly off the trees one is acutely aware that the year is hastening to its conclusion. Shortly the Christmas Bazaars will be over and Christingle and Carol Services will be looming. Already plans are afoot for these and preparations are in hand.
If one was in any doubt about the approach of Christmas a quick glance around the shops will confirm that the season is indeed nigh! The food halls are stuffed with all kinds of goodies, butchers are poised to receive turkey orders and our garden centres have transformed themselves into Santa’s Grotto designed to delight a totally different age range and clientele to those who will be purchasing plants, tools and other horticultural essentials once the spring begins to emerge in the New Year.
But amidst all the busyness and commercialism that engulfs us at this time of year it is essential to ensure we are not deflected from what the season is really about – the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in a dirty outhouse behind an inn in Bethlehem.

It is an event that has been turned into a highly sanitised and rather glamorous story although the reality must have been quite different. Birth anywhere is a painful and far from easy process. Birth in a filthy shed with assorted animals in attendance must have been a miracle of survival and a health and safety nightmare! We would not wish that on anyone.

Not so very long after the birth, this young family found themselves fleeing across the border into Egypt to escape the murderous intentions of Herod and for some time (we don’t know quite how long) they found themselves living as refugees before they could return again to Nazareth and resume their family life supported by the carpenter’s business.

So much of this is a long way from the sanitised images on our Christmas cards but it is the reality of history. It is also the reality of life for a great many of the poorest people around the world today.

Yes, Advent will be a busy and pressured time for all of us. There is a lot to be done, but amidst all the busyness, please try and take time to reflect on what Christmas is really about and just how fortunate we are compared with so many people, both in our own country and further afield. A focus on the true meaning of Christmas should help to ensure that we really do enjoy ourselves for the best of reasons and find fulfilment in the year ahead too. The verse of the carol below may help you reflect but do please have a wonderfully joyful and meaningful Christmas without getting too stressed during this season of Advent!

Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love’s sake becamest poor;
Thrones for a manger didst surrender,
Sapphire-paved courts for stable floor. (Frank Houghton)
John

 
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GIFT in October and November

Posted by GIFT admin on Nov 12, 2012 in GIFT

I’m afraid you’ve got me this time as Jonathan has been very busy lately with his A level work and looking round universities but he will be back next time.

We managed to get out in Ettington on 23rd October and two teams, one boys and one girls, supervised by leaders, donned wellies, warm clothing and high-viz gear and went out armed with torches to hunt down the answers to clues. Thanks to Mark for setting the challenge and congrats to the boys team for winning.

On 6th November we were invited by Cath Vickers to hold a bonfire night party at Ettington vicarage. Cath kindly supplied pizzas and other food and after some messy apple bobbing, toasting marshmallows on the fire and sparklers, we watched some fireworks in the front garden with a few parents on hand for extra health and safety.

Our next session is on 20th November and is back in Ettington church.

Finally, Revd John Horton has invited GIFT to showcase its activities at the Benefice united service on Sunday 18th Nov (service begins 10.30). All are welcome and as well as taking an active part in the service itself, GIFT youngsters will be running a cake sale and photo competition at the end to benefit their current chosen charity.

Jane Evans

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