Picture of the Kingdom
At our celebratory 50th Anniversary Service last year, our distinguished guest preacher, Rowan Williams, eloquently expounded the theological basis for the work of Christian Aid in a profound and thought-provoking address. He spoke of what a visionary glimpse of what the Kingdom of God on earth might look like.
This year, at the united service to launch Christian Aid Week held in the Methodist Church, Jenny Ayres, Head of Christian Aid in South East England, gave us a living picture of what that kingdom looked like in a particular part of Sierra Leone, where ten women die daily in giving birth and how the joint work of Christian Aid and its partner there has given new life and hope to that community by setting up health centres and training midwives. We learned, by way of encouragement, that the money raised by our house-to-house collectors in Kings Langley over the past five years would notionally have funded three such health centres, staffed by trained midwives.
Although Jenny has never visited Sierra Leone, with the help of Christian Aid videos she spoke with such passion and warmth that she vividly created a real sense of involvement n this human drama.
We are not unique in Kings Langley in suspending our usual morning services in each participating church and coming together in a united act of worship and witness embracing Anglican, Baptist, Methodist, Catholic and Quaker partners in responding to the needs of God’s children worldwide. But we think it is gloriously unusual when the denominational barriers come down in a shared mission.
In the commissioning prayer at the conclusion of the service, the metaphor which resonates in the memory was the prayer that we might all become “midwives of hope”. Amen to that.
Report from Myanmar
After this inspirational act of worship, many of us adjourned for an informal coffee-and-chat and a good number stayed with us to hear from Jenny about her recent visit to Myanmar. She made us aware of the complexities of the situation there and of the sufferings of the persecuted Rohingya minority and of the efforts by Christian Aid to heal and reconcile in that tragically divided country.
One of the limited opportunities open to these oppressed and isolated people is the making and sale of painted dolls, weighted so that, whenever they are knocked over, they bounce back upright- a visual metaphor for their resilience. Jenny gave us the chance to put this to the test.
After a morning packed with memorable and moving moments, we were ready to enjoy a delicious buffet lunch. The offerings made in the course of the service, together with lunch donations, raised nearly £500 for the work of Christian Aid.
So, in accordance with the hymn which we sang earlier, we went out with joy in our hearts and lots of clapping. Jenny (pictured with the 'Everstanding Doll) had served us wonderfully well throughout her visit. The mountains (?) and the hills would be tackled by the collectors later in the week.
Christian Aid Prayers:
Operation Noah and climate change
Karen Mellor and myself (Paul Tucker) had a very helpful and positive meeting this week with Nicky Bull, Chair of Operation Noah a Christian Organisation helping churches and individuals become more environmentally friendly in their use of resources and take action to tackle climate change. Nicky is a member of Tring Baptist Church and was accompanied by two colleagues as they told the story as to how they have engaged with their Christian community and taken significant steps to make it a key part of their life together and mission. Please pray for the church as a new minister starts there shortly (husband and wife team) and also for us in the Village that we make a right response to this and know how to take it further as we worship and serve God as creator and redeemer.
Cinnamon Lounge Tickets: Monday 11 November, 7.30. Tickets now on sale!
Tickets for the ever popular Cinnamon Lounge charity meal for Christian Aid are now on sale at the cost of £13 each. Christian Aid gets £8 profit from these and our thanks go to the restaurant for generously supporting this and providing such good food! Tickets can be obtained from Jeanette, Hanna, Paul, the Bookshop and the Butchers. Look forward to seeing you there!
The Kings Langley Christian Aid Annual Report for 2018 is available for download.
Read the latest Campaign Update - Autumn 2019