Saturday, December 27, 2008

Noodles for Christmas Dinner

This Christmas we were invited to Christmas dinner by some friends of ours Yumi and Yenfu. Yumi cooked an amazing meal for us of noodles, rice, cucumber, sandwiches, chips, chicken, gammon... it just kept coming. When we had just about finished a pile of sausages appeared.

Nettes got me a camera for Christmas so of course I took it along to try it out. Here’s Callie just about to tuck into the feast. You can see a few more of my experiments on flickr.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Down and Out in Birmingham

On Thursday afternoon, I went round the city centre with Paul Atkin giving out some presents to some homeless guys. Between us we must have given away about a dozen packages, each containing a hat, a scarf, a pair of gloves, and a pair of socks, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and deodorant. Many of the guys shook our hands and one even gave us a big hug. He said that he had wanted some gloves for some time and that it was lovely to wear a new woollen hat. Many of us had donated the contents and Paul had already given out lots of these presents and has since packed some more. Paul knows these guys as he has been working with them for about ten years now.

Paul came to our church when he married Jackie this year. Our little daughter Callie was one of their bridesmaids. Since then our church has launched a ministry to the homeless headed up by Paul and Jackie. They spend their time talking to people and helping people in practical ways such as showing them the right forms to fill in to get a flat or distributing clothes, blankets and sleeping bags that have been donated.

On Fridays, we use our little church building as a Drop In Centre. People will come for a coffee & sandwiches, play pool or dominoes and to do some art. I have been dropping in myself for half an hour or so most weeks and mixing with the people. This Friday, Steve our church elder, made us all a glorious curry as a Christmas treat. There was about thirty of us there and we knew that several would be sleeping on the streets that night. We have seen a number of people from the Drop In join us in our Sunday church gatherings at the community centre. And not surprisingly last week there were many there for our church’s Christmas dinner. It is just great to be around these people.

There is a very good account of what we are doing ministering to the homeless in Birmingham, from the website for our network of churches – Lifelink International. It is worth watching the videos. They are not just people talking. There are some good shots of the Drop In and the work on the streets. It gives you the flavour of what we are doing.

Sunday, December 07, 2008


'I got a bit confused about Advent yesterday. I thought it was about Christmas, a good friend tells me it's about when Jesus will return and then Wikipedia cleared the whole thing up by letting me know it's about both!' blogged Carla from 24-7 Prayer. I can identify with this as someone who has only discovered the Christian calendar in the past few years while I have been using the lectionary as a basis for my Bible readings. Anyway here I am again in Advent.

As I write this Nettes and our little daughter Callie are busy with our now traditional Jesse Tree. This year Nettes constructed a papier-mâché tree based on a South American Tree of Life. We just love searching for new ideas. Here are some that we recently found. If you want an alternative idea for a decoration – I think this one might be appropriate in our economic climate. Or if you want to see an art project in the community what about this for an advent calendar? There are loads more on this post by Jonny Baker. I’m sure there are many more ideas around?