St. John’s House, a former Church of England Nunnery and orphanage, provides a Christian presence and a green oasis of peace and calm in the heart of Alum Rock, an urban multi-faith area of East Birmingham. Or at least it was peaceful until, in May this year, when members of MADD descended upon it and turned it into a phrenetic hive of activity. The six of us, Andrew du Boulay, Roger Tiffin, Neil Pearce, Peter Dane, Ron Porter and myself, had been invited by James and Mel Lynch who work with Interserve at St John’s and have been mission partners with Christ Church since they left All Nations in 2007. Continue reading
It was at a MADD meeting in the Old Bulls Head, early 2017, that Bob Barker asked if the men of MADD could come up with any ideas for a fundraising event for CCW. It was tentatively suggested that they might be able to organise a ROCK CONCERT!
The date would be September 23rd 2017 the first rock concert to be held at Christ Church. One church member had received a vision two years previously that such a concert would happen and so it came to pass … It was to be called WareReaction.
Much preparation went into the event. The MADD Men became busy selling tickets, Catriona designed a logo for the event. The bands were rehearsing, Sam Woodward was working on various lighting sequences. Numerous people at Christ Church came together to make sure that the event would be successful, until finally, the big day arrived!
At 7.30pm on Saturday night, Peter Wall the Event Manager, gave a warm welcome to an audience of approximately two hundred people. The first band was introduced and INSTINCT got the concert off to a great start with Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”. Sam Woodward and his tech team were doing a great job with flashing lights, smoke machine and glitter ball. It all added to the great atmosphere inside Christ Church. Instinct’s set finished with a rendition of “Run to the Hills” an Iron Maiden song.
Our own JESSIE DIPPER singer/songwriter was next on the stage. She commenced with “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone and then continued with some of her own compositions. “Beans on Toast” was my favourite, and she finished to a great round of applause.
GRACE, TALITHA and ROSIE were the next band to perform, one of their songs being “Barcelona” by Ed Sheeran. Just like the previous performers they received a very good welcome and were cheered off.
SAM & ROBIN gave us yet another musical genre with a lovely performance of “Autumn Leaves” with Sam on the violin and Robin on guitar.
REDEEMING FEATURE really got the place rocking with one of their own compositions “Alright OK”. RF made no apologies for being a Christian band and performed songs about God’s love for us through his son Jesus. Half way through their set Chris Peirce played Tocatta & Fugue in D minor, beginning on guitar and changing to the church organ to finish his tribute to JS Bach.
THE CCW CHOIR were accompanying Redeeming Feature on some of their songs, especially on the reggae version of “Swing Low” and the last song “Together We Stand”. All the performers joined RF for the Grand Finale and made what can only be described as an incredibly loud and joyful sound. Praise the Lord!
I have heard rumours of a repeat concert for next year, we’ll just have to wait and see!
Just when the people of Birmingham thought it was safe to relax and enjoy some fine spring weather, they were subject to a second visit from members of the MADD men. Like our first visit in 2015 we were invited by James and Mel who work with Interserve and have been mission partners with Christ Church since they left All Nations in 2007.
James and his family live in a multi-faith area in Birmingham where most of their neighbours are Muslims. They work in collaboration with local churches and other Christian agencies to share God’s love with those of other faiths. This time the four making the trip were Andrew, Roger, Ron and Andrew. We were to help with various jobs around St John’s House, a former convent and orphanage, that is now a centre for prayer, community living and ministry projects in the Alum Rock area of South Birmingham. Compared with our last visit the accommodation was almost luxurious as we took over two flats and slept in proper beds and didn’t have to walk along cold corridors to have a shower. Continue reading
A fundraising concert will be going ahead at CCW during the evening of September 23rd 2017. A choir is needed to perform with rock band Redeeming Feature. Chris Peirce reckons it is too long to wait for Christmas for the next performance of the CCW Choir, so how about members airing their lungs at this really worthwhile event. If you are interested in being involved in this Flashmob type choir please let Chris know or send him an email.
Advertising material and tickets will be available for the concert in the near future. As well as Redeeming Feature and the CCW Choir there will be other musically talented people including a youth band, an organ slot and solo artists. Book the date now in your diary, this should be a great Musical Extravaganza.
This will be a MADD Production!
On an arctic-like morning in February eleven MADD men, clad in anoraks, gloves and scarves, gathered on a bleak river bank for an epic journey that would put the voyages of Franklin, Scott and Shackleton trailing in its wake. Well … maybe not. It was certainly cold, but the River Stort in Harlow was not especially bleak. We had hired a canal boat from CanalAbility, a charity that provides canal and river trips for disabled people. Through Alan Furness, a volunteer skipper with the charity, we hired one of their broad beam boats and set off down the Stort towards Roydon.
Each member of the party was able to take the tiller for a short while, but Alan, aided by Malcolm Furnival-Jones, another volunteer with the charity, was close on hand to take over if needed. Tom Bilbow was 1st Mate. Curious ducks and other fowl looked on suspiciously as we approached, and soon scurried for safety. They looked on bemused as the boat was negotiated into a lock, with barely a foot clearance. Alan and Malcolm ensured all went smoothly, however. Continue reading
So why, on a Ware wet Wednesday, did seven MADD men – Bob Barker, Andrew du Boulay, Peter Dane, John Harrington, Richard Jarvest, Roger Tiffin and Andrew Wang – gather in the church car park, pray and set off for Birmingham? The man to blame for this apparently eccentric behaviour was James, one of Christ Church’s Mission Partners, who had spoken at the July MADD meeting.
He, and his wife, worshipped at Christ Church whilst at All Nations in 2007, and they now work with Interserve in Birmingham. Their mission is to build relationships between the church in south Birmingham and its neighbouring ‘other-faith’ communities. Our mission was to provide practical support in helping to improve the facilities at Ladypool Congregational Church (where we were staying as guests of the Church Elders, Dave Gent and Tim Bateman) and in the wider community as well as to learn about the largely Muslim area – oh, and to have fun and fellowship. Continue reading
For a number of years Lil and myself have been helping to organise Christian Aid lunches in Buntingford, but last year we finally accepted that we did not have the physical capabilities to carry on this extremely worthwhile work. That was before the MADD Men of Christ Church had volunteered to help out!
And so it was that on Friday 3 July at 11.30am they arrived at Christ Church URC, Buntingford ready for action. Kevin with his marigolds, Peter wearing his Cunard apron and Andrew with a big smile on his face.
We had to pepare a meal for 30-40 people in just one hour. The first 30 minutes were spent assembling tables and chairs, and laying tables with tablecloths and cutlery etc. At 12 noon we all paused for a minute’s silence to remember the people who suffered in the Tunisian shooting incident. Then it was all systems go to have food on plates by 12.30pm when more than 30 people were sitting down ready for the first course which consisted of Quiche Lorraine, potatoes and salad.
There was just enough time for us to eat our food and have a quick chat with the locals, before starting the washing up and preparing a dessert of strawberries, cream and meringue. By now the washing up was continuous and Kevin’s marigolds were working overtime. Once the dessert was finished, it was time to collect the plates and serve coffee and tea, which meant more washing up!
Just before our Christian Aid rep. announced how much we had raised for the day, I felt obliged to formally introduce the MADD Men to our diners. Some of the elderly ladies had been asking “who are these nice looking young men?” Kevin, Peter and Andrew received a large round of applause, before heading back to the kitchen to help clear up.
We managed to raise £150.00, which was a record for a Christian Aid lunch in Buntingford. I think it was mainly due to “those nice looking” MADD Men from Ware.
P.S. The following week as I was walking down Market Hill, a lady approached me and asked where those lovely men at the Christian Aid lunch were from. When I told her they were from Ware, she replied “I wish there were more men like that around here”.