May 2024 Magazine


Thank you to all who responded to our plea for articles to include in the magazine.   There must be others who can send us something!!!

We would like to think there is a lot of interest in the articles we have chosen and that it is ideal for you to dip in and out of and not read them all at once !!!   Due to problems obtaining photos and cliparts there will be less of them.


Pauline & Bob - co-editors..   

Updated  1st May 2024


Dear Friends,


Jonah is not your usual Old Testament prophet. He is bothered. He is not feeling at one with God. Indeed, he wants to run away from Him. Now Jonah, being a prophet, should be glad to hear the word of God. But on this occasion, he is not keen on proclaiming the message that God has entrusted to him.  At the beginning of the Book of Jonah, God had called Jonah to go to Nineveh in order to proclaim a message of repentance.  Nineveh was then the capital city of Assyria, an empire which had overpowered and destroyed Samaria - i.e. the area in central Israel between Galilee and Judea. The Israelites, such as Jonah, had grounds to consider Assyria their enemy.  How could God call an Israelite prophet to proclaim the message of the Israelite God to the Assyrians?  So, Jonah decides to run away from his God. 


He boards a ship to Tarshish, i.e. he wishes to travel away from Nineveh.  God has other ideas. He hurls a great wind on the sea in order to stop Jonah, whilst the errant prophet was fast asleep in the hold of the ship.  When he is woken up by the captain of the ship, he calmly tells the sailors to throw him over board in to save the ship and themselves.  God then sends a big fish to swallow Jonah, who stays in its belly for three days before it has enough of him and vomits him out onto dry land. Jonah took the hint.


He eventually arrives at Nineveh, and has walked around the great city only one day and to utter one sentence - ‘‘Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!’ – on hearing his simple message, all the people of Nineveh from the king to ordinary folk repented. Instead of rejoicing that Nineveh turns back to God, Jonah is displeased and prays to God to let him die. He sits outside Nineveh sulking, grieving and feeling angry. He says to God, ‘O Lord! Is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? That is why I fled to Tarshish at the beginning; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing. And now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.’


If one reads this narrative as a story it may seem a little comic.  Yet there is a serious message here for all Christians, that is to say, if we take it as an indication of how individuals respond to God.  Jonah knows God is gracious, merciful, and slow to anger, yet in his mind this merciful God is the God of Israel. God’s grace and mercy is for Israel only.  Jonah cannot bear to see divine grace used for the benefit of people whom he considers as the enemy of his people, and would rather die than witness that the God of Israel is as gracious to them as to the Jews. He does not want God to do what God wishes him to do, nor does he want God to do what God wants to do.


Two thousand, seven hundred years later, our response to God is not very different from Jonah’s. Though we may not have a message from God that is quite so clear as his, we too may question God and the Scriptures. If we find something that we dislike, or disagree with, we argue, we sulk, we run away, or give up. And we insist that we are in the right.


The Book of Jonah finishes with an open ending: Jonah makes himself a booth outside Nineveh, waiting in comfort to see what would become of the city.  God grows a bush over where he was sitting in order to provide a shade for his head. Jonah enjoys the shade. The next morning, however, the bush has withered, and because a strong wind and a strong sun beat down on his head, Jonah is soon fainting.  So Jonah prays again, ‘It is better for me to die than to live.’ God replied, ‘You are concerned about the bush, for which you did not labour and which you did not grow; it came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?’


Because Jonah did not agree with what God wanted him to do, he fled from the presence of God, then returned reluctantly and finally did what God asked of him in the most perfunctory way.  God did not reprimand him for his reluctance in carrying out his mission or for his lack of interest in the good work he had done. Rather He demonstrated to Jonah the true value of human life: a bush which provides shade for Jonah - and one hundred, twenty thousand people and animals in the city of Nineveh, even though Jonah considered they are his enemies, these people were obviously more important than Jonah's bush. We do not know what happened to Jonah later or how he responded to God’s reproof. Jonah's is a narrative without a conclusion.  But the Book has not ended, for each of us has to write our own book with our own life.


 Do we seek God and respond to His divine will and guidance, or insist our own ways?  God’s ways are different from ours. His grace and mercy cannot be comprehended by human minds.  Yet in Jesus Christ, we are able to understand better than Jonah the love of God, and be guided and accompanied by the Holy Spirit so that we shall be able to follow where Christ leads us. 



 What is Festival Teesside?


A festival weekend full of fun and sharing the hope of Jesus - with something for everyone!


There will be live music, a pop up skatepark with BMX bikes and other displays, children’s zone with bouncy castle and face painting, youth zone with computer games, nail bar and graffiti painting - and loads more! All with accessible messages and testimonies being shared in between. Then in the evening there will be a concert on the main stage with a mix of headliners, teaching and an invitation for people to respond and follow Jesus.


In the week running up to the festival there are other mission activities taking place, including a men’s night and ladies’ night in the festival marquee.


Over 70 Teesside churches are supporting it, and this is similar to Festival Manchester which was run by the same company in 2022 where over 3000 made commitments of faith.


When is it?   8-9th June 2024


Where?    Stewart Park


How much?   Free!


Food and drinks can be bought onsite, or you can bring a picnic.


Some events in mission week are £5 a ticket and we’re encouraged to consider buying tickets for the friends and family we bring so that they can come to those events for free.


What next?


Look on the Festival Teesside website which has loads more information on the different mission areas coming up.  External link opens in new tab or


You can sign up for Friendship Evangelism training in May and consider being a ‘Festival Friend’ to support during the festival.


Pray! Let’s cover our region in prayer, be prayerful about who we could bring to one of the events, and that people will come to know Jesus in a powerful way through this mission.


 Paul Hardingham considers the Ascension, which this year we commemorate on Thursday 9thMay

 The Truth of the Ascension


‘While He was blessing them, Jesus left them and was taken up into heaven.’ (Luke 24:51).


The Ascension is a hugely neglected festival, which deserves to have a bigger place in our church life. How do we understand it?


The Ascension tells us that Jesus is in control: ‘Jesus has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand’ (1 Peter 3:22). Jesus occupies the top spot in the universe; the control of our world is in the safe, scarred hands of Jesus. We can offer Him our worship and allegiance, knowing that His plans are better than those of any Prime Minister or President.


The Ascension tells us that God is committed to His world: ‘And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus’ (Ephesians 2:6). Jesus did not leave His humanity behind when He ascended, for we are raised with Christ to heaven. Therefore, God is bound to His world and we can trust Him to fulfil His purposes for our lives and world.


The Ascension gives us a job to do: ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations’ (Matthew 28:18,19). God’s way of working in the world is through us. He commissions us for this task at the Ascension and equips us at Pentecost. We are called to make disciples, starting in our workplace, family and community.


‘Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which He looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which He blesses all the world.’ (Teresa of Avila).


25th May – Aldhelm, unconventional Bishop of Sherborne


Aldhelm is the saint for you if you are intelligent but unconventional.


Aldhelm was born in 640, into a family closely related to Ine, the King of Wessex. Educated at the monastic community in Malmesbury in Wiltshire, he went for further study in Canterbury. He proved a brilliant student and was sent back to Malmesbury as Abbot.


So far, so good. Aldhelm even demonstrated a great talent for administration, and helped with the reforms of Archbishop Theodore, who was trying to sort out the considerable confusion that the church had fallen into.


But Aldhelm also had his ‘funny ways’.  Towards other men of education, he wrote scholarly letters that were so full of similes and metaphors as to be incomprehensible. He also wrote highly complex riddles on biblical themes.


Aldhelm went to the other extreme when trying to communicate with the poor and illiterate. He wrote hymns and sang them to the people while strumming on a harp. He would begin preaching a sermon, and then break off to clown around and sing bits of songs to the people.  Today we might say that he sensed the need to grab an audience’s attention. Aldhelm said simply that he wanted to “win men’s ears, and then their souls.”


His good intentions must also have won the goodwill of the archbishop, because in 705 Aldhelm was appointed first Bishop of Sherborne.


May Diary Page

 Saturday 4th

  9.30am            Church/Churchyard tidy


Sunday 5th


  9.00am           Holy Communion

10.00am           Parish Communion

  6.30pm           Compline     


Tuesday 7th

10.00am             Holy Communion


Wednesday 8th

10 -11.30am      Coffee Morning

                        All proceeds to Christian Aid


Thursday 9th


7.00pm             Service of Holy Communion


Sunday 12th


  9.00am            Holy Communion (BCP)

10.00am           Parish Communion

  6.30pm            Evensong


Monday 13th

  7.00pm           Bible Study via Zoom


Tuesday 14th

10.00am            Holy Communion

 7.00pm            Prayer meeting


Sunday 19th


9.00am              Holy Communion

10.00am            Parish Communion

  6.30pm            Evensong


Monday 20th  

 7.00pm            Bible Study via Zoom  


Tuesday 21st  

10.00am           Holy Communion


Sunday 26th


  9.00am            Holy Communion (BCP)

10.00am            Parish Communion

  6.30pm           Evensong


Monday 27th

7.00pm             Bible Study via Zoom


Tuesday 28th

10.00am            Holy Communion


Christian Aid Week – 12th – 18th May


Christian Aid is urging its supporters to ‘push back against poverty this Christian Aid Week’ by bearing in mind the coming General Election.


The charity says that people hoping to represent us in the next UK Parliament will soon be on our doorsteps, vying for our vote.


Christian Aid says that these would-be MPs will: “be in listening mode, keen to hear what makes the voters in their community tick.”  And so, urges the charity, Christians can use this opportunity to “show them that your church cares about poverty, and tell them that you expect them to act on poverty too, if they are elected.”


This year the charity has launched the ‘70K Challenge for May’, encouraging its supporters to do a sponsored “Move 70km during May. Walk, run, cycle, however you move is up to you.”  Details at:  External link opens in new tab or window


If you are not up to ‘moving 70K during May’  you can instead help Christian Aid by coming  along to the Coffee Morning which takes place on Wednesday 8th May 10am – 11.30am.


£1.50 for unlimited tea/coffee and biscuits. Raffle, Cake and Preserves, Books and Handmade cards on sale.  All proceeds will go to Christian Aid.





There is a definite air of style about the garments connected with biking.  I don’t just mean the black leather jacket decked out with skulls and menacing logos beloved of those who, in reality, wouldn’t say boo to a goose.  Bikes are associated with sleek lines and all in one suits to look aerodynamically designed for smooth speed.  There is another way, the utilitarian.  This involves (a) what protects against road surface (b) what protects against wind and rain and (c) what you’ve worn for the last 40 years and you see no reason to change it now. In our house the practical involves what I think of as the Big Green Coat.


On one of his forays into the side roads of estates which hide factory outlets and exotic workshops, the Engineer purchased a coat which actually fits him, announces his arrival to any motorist with his eyes open and is wonderfully waterproof.  I know this because on the rare occasion we get caught in the rain I see droplets coursing merrily down his back to land damply in my lap.  In these days when we are aware of the need to be seen on the road, day-glo lime green fits the bill.  Fine by me if that’s what he wants.


I had not bargained, however, for the day he returned from foraging in some backwoods  of industrial denizens, when with a huge smile he announced, “I’ve got you something!” and proudly presented me with a Big Green Coat.  Men’s (Medium). O joyI


One does not wish to appear ungrateful for such a demonstration of care for my welfare, however I was a little crestfallen to find that not only was I viewed simply as “the weight on the back” but my female individuality was to further disappear into just an extension of a lurid green blob on a bike.  I kept up the brave smile when I tried it on.


I am five foot two.  Medium men are not. My hands were invisible.  The jacket reached my knees.


Not only that but the generous padding meant my arms couldn’t actually touch my sides. Very cosy, mind.  It’s so long that the padding lies between me and the pillion seat, and believe me, any extra upholstery providing comfort for my own personal upholstery is very welcome.


A further discovery, there are big deep pockets both inside and out, removing the need for a handbag.  It’s amazing how many things I can now secrete about my person so I don’t get any of those, ”Will this go in your bag?” requests.  I can carry the pen, paper, bit of string for the TYMC banner, blu-tack for sticking entry number to headlight, small scissors, highlighter, change for bacon butty, plaggy bag etc etc.  There’s an extra inside pocket for the phone, totally redundant that one, though.  Imagine removing gloves, unzipping coat and jamming the phone to your helmet at 50 mph.  Another drawback is that if you are at an event, people assume you have some sort of authority if you are clad in hi-viz which can be embarrassing when you don’t know where to buy a programme or where parking is forbidden.


I do look like a luminous blob (medium)  with boots sticking out the bottom and topped with a helmet, but you know what?  I no longer care; I like my Big Green Coat.


Edna Reddy


 A Recipe for May


KEDGEREE  with salmon and prawns. 


This is an Anglo-Indian version of a rice-and-lentil dish from Gujarat in north-western India, to which I have added a few variations of my own.



1 tablespoon oil                                    1 teaspoon curry powder

1 clove garlic, chopped                       1 onion, sliced

250g / ½lb rice                                      130ml / ¼ pint stock or water

250g / ½lb. fresh salmon, filleted     50g / 2 oz. frozen peas da pizoj

2 eggs, boiled                                       Lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste


For the sauce:

1 tablespoon oil                                1 tablespoon flour

250ml / ½ pint milk                           100g / 4 oz. prawns, cooked 

Salt and pepper to taste                 



1. Boil rice and put aside.

2. Remove skin from salmon and cut into cubes.

3. Heat oil in a large pan with a lid. Fry curry powder briefly. Add onions and garlic

     and fry until lightly browned.

4. Add stock or water and simmer for a few minutes.

5. Add salmon and peas, bring back to boil and simmer for 10 minutes with the lid


6. Stir rice until fluffy, then add to the pan. Stir gently; don’t break up the salmon


    Replace lid and keep warm while you make the sauce.



7. Heat oil in a small pan. Add flour, salt and pepper and stir. Add milk bit by bit,

    stirring continuously, until the sauce thickens.

8. Stir in the prawns and cook for 1 minute more.


Garnish the salmon and rice with sliced hard-boiled eggs and serve with the sauce and a green side salad.


Serves 3 - 4


Peter Warren


In the aftermath of our Annual Church Meetings, David Pickup, a solicitor, considers church wardens…


Time to pray for your church wardens


O Eternal God… enlighten with Thy Grace the Wardens of this church, and so rule their minds and guide their counsels, that in all things they may seek Thy Holy Will… Amen.


O Lord, …we beseech Thee to bless all who, …give themselves to the service of their fellow worshipers. Endue them with wisdom, patience and courage to strengthen the weak and raise up those who fall… that they may worthily minister in Thy Name to the suffering, the friendless and the needy… Amen 

                                                                                                               (Prayers  from the C of E)


Churchwardens have a vital and historical role in the life of the church. They are elected by the parish, not just the members of the church. Anyone in the parish can vote for them, not just people on the church’s electoral roll.  So, if you want to be a churchwarden, just invite your neighbours on the day of the parish meetings in church!


Wardens used to have a significant role in the wider life of the parish with responsibilities for charity, poor relief and even bridges and roads.


Their church duties today include:


Maintaining order and decency in the church and churchyard, especially during the time of divine service


Being entrusted with the property of the church


Having a duty to cooperate with the vicar


Encouraging parishioners in practice of “true religion”


Quite a job! These are their legal duties, but I also like the prayer above as it reminds us to pray for them to seek God’s will, not theirs or ours, but God’s, and to strengthen the weak and encourage the fallen.


They may feel most of the time that they are weak and have fallen, but they are equipped with our support and prayers to look after other people who need strength or support – which is probably most of us at times!



The Rekindle Research group

got involved with

Middlesbrough stories.


Down at St Hilda’s, (Over the Border), there are sites connected to the very first development of industrial Middlesbrough. You can see the old town hall and marketplace on the only bit of land raised slightly above the marshes and the streets North, South, East and West leading out from it.


What stories around here!  The Custom House where the hidden room was discovered, the station where a locomotive blew up, the story of the Russian wolves, what happened to Lowry’s discarded sketches and so forth.  But the more you read, the more you realise you are just reading about the men.  What about the women’s lives there? A few of us researched Florence Bell’s book “At the Works” and were really shocked by what she wrote.


We have recorded modern voices regaling us with what it was like: the daily grind, the struggle with sick children and the constant fear of the breadwinner being ill or injured. It’s a grim picture and we had difficulty finding anything brighter to hear.  We looked at photographs taken in 1910 in those very streets.  You can see these and hear the recordings in the garden of the Custom House (My Place) on North Street if you use a code reader on a mobile phone. Click on the QR codes and it’s all there.  


After finding out about these unsung heroines we looked for the famous females in Middlesbrough’s history. Many of these were from more privileged backgrounds and used their time and influence to improve the living conditions in St Hilda’s. Some familiar names are Dr Minnie Levick, Dr Grace Dundas, Edith Carter Owen, Lady Sarah Calvert. All these worked to ensure nursing and child welfare facilities. Sister Elizabeth Anne Purvis hugely raised the status of nursing.


Others took the political route like Alice Schofield Coates and Marion Coates-Hanson becoming the first female councillors. A hundred years ago “Red Ellen” Wilkinson became Middlesbrough East’s Labour M.P. declaring “What a town to have the privilege of fighting for”. Later she led the Jarrow march and was the first female Minister for Education.


And the arts? Florence Easton the “Slaggy Island Songbird” sang with Caruso and was a world-famous opera singer, teaching at Juilliard School of Music.  Naomi Jacob taught at Snowdon Road school and her experience there influenced her political activism as well as her novels. Winnie McKenna played international football during and after the first World War and was so good the Newcastle Evening Chronicle declared in 1918 “See Winnie McKenna at centre, she is as good as any man.”(!)




The Rekindle Research Group is a group of current and former participants of Middlesbrough Council’s Rekindle Inclusion Service. They work with the Rekindle team to co-design digital solutions to improve life outcomes for Middlesbrough residents. The group is made up of largely retired people who are finding a new way to make a valuable contribution to society. In doing so, they are learning new skills, which in many cases are creative and innovative. For more information call External link opens in new tab or window07518 292109


With thanks to Edna Reddy, who is a member of this group, for passing on the above information.  If you wish to learn more about the group, Edna would be pleased to speak to you.


Paul Hardingham continues his new series.

What’s the Big Idea? An Introduction to the Books of the Old Testament: Judges

Following Joshua’s death, a generation grew up who didn’t know God (Judges 2:11) and ‘every man did what was right in his own eyes’ (17:6, 21:25). The book of Judges is a study in God’s response to a permissive society.


The book takes its name from the deliverers that God raised up during this time. God empowered both men and women with His Spirit to rule and deliver the people. They included Ehud, Deborah, Gideon and his son Abimelech, Jephthah and Samson. The judges operated in the 350 years (from 1050 BC) between Joshua’s death and the monarchy.


We see a recurring cycle of apostasy, oppression, penitence and deliverance played out. When the people fell into sin, God sent an enemy nation to oppress them. As a result, they cried to God for help, and He responded by raising up a deliverer to free them.


The saddest words in Judges are those applied to Samson, ‘He did not know that the LORD had left him’(16:20). Rejecting God in our lives can begin with tolerating those things that are not in harmony with His will for our lives. The people’s toleration of the beliefs of their pagan neighbours led to a conformity in life and worship with them. Yet God waited for His people to return to Him, when He responded with grace to deliver them.


Gideon stands out as somebody who was unwilling to compromise with the surrounding culture. Despite his weaknesses, God used him to deliver Israel from the Midianite invaders. We read: ‘the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon’, lit: ‘the Spirit clothed Himself with Gideon’ (6:34). God’s grace and faithfulness is at work in those who are prepared to trust Him.


May Crossword




1  One who owes money, goods or services (Isaiah 24) (6)

4  ‘Pressed down, — together and running over’ (Luke 6) (6)

7  Continuous dull pain (Proverbs 14) (4)

8  This bread contains yeast (Amos 4) (8)

9  ‘But take heart! I have — the world’ (John 16) (8)

13 And the rest (abbrev.) (3)

16 What Paul was accused of by Tertullus,  (Acts 24) (13)

17 Rap (anag.) (3)

19 Founder of the Jesuits in 1534 (8)

24 ‘For where your — is,’ (Luke 12) (8)

25 The first word written on the wall  (Daniel 5) (4)

26 ‘We all, like sheep, have gone — ’ (Isaiah 53) (6)

27 One was given in honour of Jesus in Bethany (John 12) (6)



1  ‘The — hear’ (Luke 7) (4)

2  Conduct (Colossians 1) (9)

3  In the Catholic and Orthodox traditions, the body of a saint or his belongings, venerated as holy (5)

4  ‘Like a — of locusts men pounce on it’ (Isaiah 33) (5)

5  Very old (Genesis 44:20) (4)

6  In Calvinist theology, one who is predestined by God to receive salvation (5)

10 How Nicodemus addressed Jesus  (John 3) (5)

11 Sea (Psalm 148) (5)

12 ‘I will — you, my God the King; ’ (Psalm 145) (5)

13 One of the groups of philosophers that Paul met in Athens (Acts 17) (9)

14 Barred enclosure (Ezekiel 19) (4)

15 ‘Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in — with the Spirit’ (Galatians 5) (4)

18 Cares (anag.) (5)

20 Garish (Ezekiel 16) (5)

21 ‘So God said to Noah, “I am going to put — — to all people”’ (Genesis 6) (2,3)

22 Just (2 Corinthians 6) (4)

23 ‘The — of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge’ (Proverbs 1) (4)

Answers to April Crossword

 ACROSS: 8, Transgressors. 9, Out. 10, Ephesians. 11, Throb. 13, Ramadan. 16, Nearest. 19, Neath. 22, Childless. 24, Ant. 25, Excommunicate.


DOWN: 1, Utmost. 2, Easter. 3, Assemble. 4, Archer. 5, Isis. 6, To hand. 7, As a son. 12, Hoe. 14, Monastic. 15, Apt. 16, Nuclei. 17, A piece. 18, Tied up. 20, Ararat. 21, Hatred. 23, Dome.

Winner    Peter Warren.

Crosswords reproduced by kind permission of BRF and John Capon, originally published in Three Down, Nine Across, by John Capon (£6.99 BRF)


 May Anagrams


Rearrange these letters to form the names of 11 castles in Yorkshire and north-east England. Each answer consists of one word only. 


 1.         HIMN CORD    2.         CARGO BRUSHO    3.         MAD HEMDIL    4.         BONICHOS RUG    5.         WALCKIN    6.         CLAN DUKA


7.         SELF IN DRAIN    8.         MICHING HALL    9.         HUG BURNT SAND    10.       PATEN CROFT    11.       MYE SHELL



Next month’s Anagrams will be GEOMETRICAL SHAPES…  If that’s your area of expertise why not have a go?


Compiled by Peter Warren


April  Anagram Answers    



1.      MAGNESIUM    2.      CHLORINE    3.      PLATINUM    4.      HYDROGEN    5.      POTASSIUM    6.      MERCURY    7.      NITROGEN


8.      ANTIMONY    9.      PHOSPHORUS    10.    TITANIUM


Winner   Wyn Hirst


May Soduko Puzzle

April Sodoku Solution



The Revd Dr Jo White continues her series on the meanings on Church Buildings.

 Reflecting Faith: the Church as a building.

Today’s church buildings are rich and varied in their designs, sizes, materials, plans and groupings; from large cruciform churches to simple single room designs; from red brick to stone, and so on.


I wanted to look up some information about the fact that today’s church buildings, although they may be ‘modern’, are usually built upon or very close to a previous church building.  In other words, they stand quite literally in a long succession of church buildings.


However, on entering ‘church building footprint’ into the computer search engine, it responded in a related but unexpected, to me, way: ‘The Energy Footprint Tool is a great way of monitoring your church building’s carbon usage and energy efficiency.’


A very real issue for today’s world! –  and one we are very conscious about when we enter the building on a Sunday morning to find, even with the heating turned on for a number of hours, that it is considerably cooler than our own centrally heated homes.


Whilst it is theologically wonderful to have high ceilings, we can see how future remodelling might well lower the ceilings, bring in the walls, and shrink the glassed areas.


And so it has been through the ages – church buildings have constantly been amended.


When you look carefully at a church that is more than a few hundred years old, in any part of the world, you can trace the development of its use by its architecture.  Perhaps you’ll see a door or window bricked up or a new one opened. The widening of the nave by the addition of arches and one or more aisles.  Change in stone or building materials as later technology was available or even a change in design as new techniques came into safe use.


This month:


Have a look at a couple of local churches and spot the changes in their buildings over the years.  Why do you think they took place?  What changes would you make and why?


The Story behind the Hymn – ‘Praise my Soul the King of Heaven’


Praise my soul the King of heaven,

To His feet thy tribute bring;
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Evermore his praises sing.
Alleluia!  Alleluia! Praise the everlasting King.


Praise Him for His grace and favour

To our fathers in distress;
Praise Him, still the same as ever,
Slow to chide and swift to bless.
Alleluia!  Alleluia! Glorious in His faithfulness.


Fatherlike, He tends and spares us;

Well our feeble frame He knows;
In His hands He gently bears us,
Rescues us from all our foes.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Widely yet His mercy flows.


By Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847)


This stately poetic paraphrase of Psalm 103 has been included in probably more solemn ceremonies than any other hymn in the English language.  It was even chosen by Queen Elizabeth for her wedding to the Duke of Edinburgh in 1947.


Henry Lyte had been a brilliant theological student at university in Dublin, with a gift for versifying. After graduation he moved to a tiny and remote parish in County Wexford to serve his curacy. It was here, when he was about 25, that Henry had a religious experience which would transform his life.


A close friend of his, another clergyman, had fallen ill, and was clearly dying. Henry went to visit him. The friend was not as distressed as Henry had imagined he would be.  Instead, the friend confessed that he had been re-reading the New Testament, with an eye on eternity, and had made a great discovery. There was no need to rely on religious duties and formalities and good deeds to gain peace with God. Instead, we can trust completely in the mercy of Christ and His saving power


Henry was sophisticated and had been very formal in his ministry. But this encounter with his friend’s faith at death’s very door, made him reconsider his faith. He wrote later that his dear friend ‘who died happy in the thought that there was One who would atone for his delinquencies’ made him ‘study my Bible and preach in another manner than I had previously done’. And soon after this hymn appeared, in 1834.


Lyte rejoices in the majesty and wonder of the living God, who in turn loves us. He captures the measure of the Psalm in enduring lyrics, which combine time, eternity, God and man all swept up into one embrace. Its last verse summons all the created order to join in a great act of joyous praise – surely a preview of eternity!


26th May is Trinity Sunday. Many people, when they think about it all, struggle to understand the concept of a God that is Three in One.

So, the following article by the Revd Michael Harding may help…



Why your television is like the Trinity


Here is a trick question: How many colours does your television set use?


Answer: Just three: red, green and blue. And in that order, just like a rainbow (where reds are at one side, blues at the opposite side, green in the middle). This is known as “RGB”.


These are TV’s three primary colours which, when their luminescence is fired at your eyes, give all the colours of the visible spectrum. These are all ‘additive’ colours.  In fact, mix these three together in different proportions, and your screen can offer you 16 million colours.


You thought the sequence was red/yellow/blue? No, that’s for painted or printed colours. A TV set positively gives out light in three different colours, whereas paint daubed on paper absorbs and removes some colours, to reflect back merely a small part of the light falling on it the colour that you see.


You’ll soon call out the repair man if your television loses one of its three colours and all the presenters look as though they came from Mars. But change the intensity of any one colour (red, green or blue) even slightly and you change the overall colour.

Switch them all off, and you are left with black. Let all three of them shine at full brightness, at the same point – and then as if by magic you have a totally different colour: WHITE!


It’s a parable which illustrates the Holy Trinity. Three completely distinct persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), just as your TV set has three quite separate colours: red, green, blue.


Take away any One member of the Trinity, and you slip into theological error; take away any one of the three colours, and you call out the TV repair engineer!


So –


It DOES matter that God is our Creator and Father – otherwise our whole life is merely a meaningless illusion.

It DOES matter that Jesus is God the Son, for otherwise His death is simply a human tragedy, with no promise of salvation or eternal life.


It DOES matter that the Holy Spirit is with us here and now, otherwise we are disconnected from God.


Yes it really does matter!  Just as it is essential that a TV set can produce white by the equal intensity of all of its three colours.   In fact, the more you think about it, the more it seems that the doctrine of the Trinity is far from being a complicated bit of theological nonsense, but is a sort of theological test-card, to make sure that we’ve got the right picture of God, without distortion.


David Pickup, a solicitor, considers the potential pitfalls of helping others…


Supporting people in trouble


Brothers and sisters, …Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. (Galatians 6 1-3)


I am always interfering, in situations where I should not. Sorry, but I do. It is probably because of the job I do, that I want to fix things. Christians naturally want to help others. Churches are loving communities, and we want to do the best for each other.

Sometimes supporting others can be difficult. Some people are easy to help. They know what the problem is and what help they need.


Others are very demanding and always need help. They go from person to person asking for support and do not always follow advice. Then there are those who would never ask for help. They battle on and get exhausted and struggle on their own.


Probably the best helper is the person who can listen and not judge and guide the burdened to find their own answers. Often the person who is best at helping others is the one who has experienced life’s ups and downs themselves. We can support others by:


Listening and keeping confidences.


Looking out for someone to make sure they are ok.


Respecting their choices even if we do not agree.


And, best of all, praying to know what to say and when to be quiet.


St Paul reminds us that we should bear each other’s burdens, and no-one is expected to carry some things by themselves. The law of Christ that Paul was referring to was the New Commandment Jesus gave… that we love one another.


So, I will carry on trying and sometimes failing to fix things. You never know, I might make things better one day!


13th-20th May – Mental Health Awareness week


As this month we observe Mental Health Awareness Week, it would be well worth especially praying for our young people.


The Children’s Commissioner for England has recently warned that our nation’s children are still facing a mental health crisis, following the isolation and loneliness of the pandemic.


And now, Dame Rachel de Souza warns that too many of these children are being kept waiting “far too long” for professional support. She found that, of the 949,200 children and young people referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in 2022-23, more than 270,000 children and young people are still waiting to be seen.


Dame Rachel says: “This generation of children has experienced uniquely uncertain and challenging times. Some have spent some of their most formative years isolated and indoors, fearful they or their loved ones may catch a deadly virus.


“They have felt the squeeze of a cost-of-living crisis, and they are keenly aware of the pressure their parents are under. They are constantly bombarded by negative news, of wars and climate catastrophe. And an increasing number are exposed to the harmful impact of social media, cyber bullying, and online exploitation.”


She continued: “Against this backdrop, it is not surprising that we continue to see the number of children experiencing poor mental health at persistently high levels.”



In appreciation of our nurses


The work of nurses is celebrated around the world on 12th May. That day was chosen to be International Nurses Day because it is the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth.


Here are some current stats on nurses in the UK:


There are currently 731,058 nurses on the permanent NMC register. With midwives and nursing associates added, this figure rises to be 788,638.


There are more female nurses than male nurses. 89% of registered nurses identify as female, and 11% identify as male.


We need more nurses! Currently there are about 46,800 vacancies. Could this be a job for you?


by Tim Lenton 


Rock Around the Clock


Seventy years ago, on 20th May 1954, Bill Haley & His Comets released the song Rock Around the Clock. It brought rock and roll into the mainstream and is regarded as one of the most important records in music history.


The American rock and roll band had been founded in 1952 and continued to perform under slight name changes and with different personnel until Haley’s death in 1981. Haley had originally played country music but adapted quickly to rock and roll, and led the trend until the advent of such stars as Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and Little Richard. His popularity in Europe lasted for many years.


Rock Around the Clock became a huge hit almost by accident. It was recorded at the last moment as the B-side of a forgettable song called Thirteen Women (and Only One Man in Town), selected by the band’s record label, Decca. The sound level on Rock Around the Clock was wrong, making Haley almost inaudible; so they recorded it again without backing, and an inspired engineer spliced the two takes together using old technology.


The record sales were “underwhelming” until Peter Ford, the ten-year-old son of Glenn Ford, happened to play the B-side, loved it, and his father was persuaded to suggest it – together with memorable guitar solo – for the opening credits song of the classic film Blackboard Jungle, in which he starred. After that, it sold a million copies in a month.


by Tim Lenton


The man who created Father Brown

The British writer G K Chesterton was born 150 years ago, on 29th May 1874, in Kensington, West London. A novelist, short story writer, philosopher and critic, he was best known for his Father Brown stories, popular now through their adaptation for television.


He thought of himself as a journalist with good reason, composing 30 years of weekly columns for the Illustrated London News and more elsewhere, but he was a prolific writer in many areas, writing 100 books and contributing to 200 others, as well as composing short stories, essays and poems and creating Father Brown.


He was a tall man who weighed in at over 20 stone, and he was notoriously absent-minded – once contacting his wife, Frances, to say: “Am at Market Harborough. Where ought I to be?” Unsurprisingly, he did a great deal of writing while waiting at stations.


He was a deep thinker, usually getting the better of the many prominent men he argued against, but almost invariably retaining their goodwill, since he was a genial and witty opponent.


An “orthodox Christian” who espoused Roman Catholicism (moving from High Anglicanism) because he felt it was the best resistance to fads of the age, he was against both socialism and capitalism, materialism, determinism and “spineless agnosticism”. He fought for freedom and justice.


Chesterton never went to college but did attend art school. Extremely quotable and read now by too few people, he composed some near-perfect lines, concluding for example that “the Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried”.


Don’t just sit there, whatever you do!


The average adult in the UK sits for nine hours a day. Office workers probably clock up even more time in a chair.


But it is not good for you.  Research has found that too much sitting increases your risk of weight gain, Type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, anxiety, stress, cancer, and even early death.


“Excessive sedentary time is associated with a plethora of physical and mental health complications,” says Prof Lee Smith, an expert in physical activity and sedentary behaviour at Anglia Ruskin University.


And James Betts, professor of metabolic physiology at the University of Bath, says that sitting too much may also lead to weaker and less flexible muscles. “Using your muscles and loading your bones can definitely strengthen them – or conversely, disuse can rapidly make them weaker,” he says.


The good thing is that too much sitting can be easily dealt with. Simply interrupt your sitting with activity breaks. Get up and walk around during every TV advert break. Walk around during phone calls. Go for a walk after dinner. Use the stairs whenever you can.


The good news is that other studies have found that if you make time for even short bursts of exercise during your day, it will help to offset the harm of too much sitting.


Fewer babies coming


For the first time since the Black Death killed about 50 million people in the mid-1300s, the world’s population is going to decline.


According to experts, global fertility rates have hit an historic tipping point, and seem unlikely to recover. Millions of women are simply having less children.


The global population currently stands at just over eight billion. But in the coming decades, as the older people die and fewer babies are born, this figure will fall.


Women need to have an average of 2.1 children each, for the population growth to remain static. Worldwide, in 1950 it was at 4.84. By 2021 it was at 2.23. It is predicted to fall to 1.83 by 2050. The UK, like other high-income countries, has a lower-than-average fertility rate, at just 1.49 in 2021. It is expected to fall to 1.38 by 2050.


This will mean that our population of about 67 million will become increasingly old. And this will have a huge impact on our national finances, as the old will put pressure on the health services, while there will be fewer young people in work, keeping the economy going.


 By the Revd Peter Crumpler, a Church of England priest in St Albans, Herts, and a former communications director for the C of E.


Lone working ‘is making millions of people ill’


The rise in lone working and the insecurity of increasing numbers of jobs are “making millions of us poorer and ill,” says a new report from Christian-based think tank, Theos


In ‘The Ties That Bind’ Theos looks at how better work can be created “by paying attention to the social dynamics – the love, even – in our workplaces.”


The report, written by ethical entrepreneur Tim Thorlby, looks at evidence around the social and health impacts of the rise in lone working and the growth of insecure work. It argues that a loss of ‘mutuality’ between the employed and their employers is making millions of people poorer and ill.


Theos estimate that before the pandemic, 27 per cent of workers worked alone for a substantial proportion of the time. Now, 59 per cent of the workforce works alone for at least some of the week.


While admitting that “lone working can provide real benefits to workers who enjoy a flexibility premium,” the Theos report points out that it carries risks. “These risks are highest where little attention is paid to the quality and dignity of working relationships, and where employees are treated as ‘out of sight, out of mind’.”


The report calls for action to prevent the loss of connection between workers and protect the health of those working in these environments.


The UK has one of the most flexible labour markets in the developed world, explains the report, and this can deliver benefits, both to individual workers and to the wider economy.


But there are downsides. In the UK today, the Living Wage Foundation estimate that nearly one in five workers – 6.1 million people (19 per cent of all workers) – are in insecure work. Within this, they calculate that more than half (3.4 million, 11 per cent of all workers) are in work that is both insecure and low paid.


Theos calls for fair hourly pay at or above a real living wage; predictable hours and income which are changed only with fair notice; connection for workers, who should be well managed and supported and feel ‘part of the team’; and healthy work, where working supports good physical and mental health.


                                                            Good dog!


Recent scientific research has found evidence that having a dog is good for you.


“Science is finally catching up with what humans have intuitively known for thousands of years.” So says Professor Emeritus Aubrey Fine of Cal Poly University, a paediatric clinical psychologist.


A recent study at Konkuk University in Korea found that participants’ alpha-band brain waves increased while playing and walking with dogs, while their beta-band brain waves increased while grooming, massaging, or playing with dogs.  All participants were left feeling “less fatigued, depressed and stressed”.


In one American academic journal, Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, a study found that, overall, dog owners have a 24 per cent decreased risk of all-cause mortality, and that that percentage rises to 31 per cent for cardiovascular-related issues.


According to Tommy Wood, assistant professor of paediatrics and neuroscience at the University of Washington School of Medicine, dogs “support our health and wellbeing in many ways.


Roads at ‘breaking point’ despite pothole repairs

reaching an eight-year high


Have you hit a pothole and damaged your car yet? If not, it is probably only a matter of time.


Despite TWO MILLION potholes being filled over the past year (the highest number since 2015) the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) is now warning that our roads are crumbling to ‘breaking point’.


According to the AIA’s annual survey, only just under half the roads in England and Wales which are maintained by local councils are in good condition. 36 per cent are adequate and 17 per cent are poor.


Last October the Government said it would provide £8.3billion of extra funding over the next 11 years, just to fix potholes. But the sum needed to fix the backlog is now at £16.3 billion.


Meanwhile, Simon Williams, the RAC’s head of policy, warns that the extra £8.3 billion is “only sufficient to resurface around 5,000 miles of road, which is sadly just three per cent of all council-managed roads in England.” Yet there are an estimated 107,000 miles of roads which are fast reaching the end of their lives. “The scale of the problem now facing councils is truly gargantuan.”


The Rectory

St James the Least of All

My dear Nephew Darren

It never fails to amaze me how, in church life, an issue can suddenly become an Issue. In the last month, we have acquired an Issue: a proposal to convert a space at the back of church into a kitchen. Inevitably, battle lines have been drawn and trenches dug. Attendance at church council meetings has soared and unofficial sub-committees meet in the car park after Services. It’s obvious that feelings are running high, because people have become remarkably polite to one another.

Some who are wildly in favour see it as an opportunity of being able to leave the pews ten minutes early, in order to get ready for the rush for weak coffee and damp biscuits. I can already hear in my mind the final hymn being drowned by kettles being filled, biscuit tins opened, cups thunderingly placed on saucers, while the volunteers discuss the dress sense of others in the congregation in deafening whispers.

I was a little surprised to hear that Colonel Wainwright was all in favour – until I realised that it would give him a place to totter into to read his newspaper once he got bored with my sermon, which usually seems to happen in the first minute. Naturally, smaller turf wars have broken out alongside the major battle. There is conflict about whether we should get new crockery, what colour carpeting tiles would look right – and most importantly of all, who will take charge of the coffee rota.

Others are totally against the project: the treasurer dreads the thought of signing yet more cheques, the churchwardens worry about removing pews which have quietly hidden the dry rot, and the theologically angst-ridden agonise about the fact that St Paul never mentioned coffee after Sabbath worship.

Naturally, I encourage all sides, especially if it will bring any possibility of progress to a halt. I proposed bringing in flasks of coffee, thus stopping anyone being able to escape before the end of the Service; I suggested drinks being brought to people in the pews, thus ruining the Colonel’s hopes of finding a safe haven; I organised a group to study High Priestly attitudes to refreshments in the Temple in Jerusalem in Leviticus.

I am sure that by the time all these groups have come up with their conclusions, we will have safely moved on to fight the next Issue.

Your loving uncle, Eustace


by Tim Lenton


                              Remembering Beethoven’s greatest symphony


Two hundred years ago, on 7th May 1824, the first performance of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No 9 took place in Vienna. It is regarded as Beethoven’s greatest work and is one of the most-performed symphonies in the world.


This last of his symphonies is known for its revolutionary structure and majestic emotion, and it is all the more remarkable because it was completed when the composer had gone profoundly deaf. Indeed, although Beethoven stood as conductor for the first performance, the musicians and singers were in fact guided by a separate musical director.


At the close Beethoven did not even hear the hugely enthusiastic response of the audience and had to be turned round by the young contralto so that he could witness it.


The complex ninth symphony, completed over many years with multiple changes, is in fact part symphony and part oratorio – a device that mystified some of the less adventurous critics of the time, who regarded his iconoclastic style as a little too rock-and-roll.


The key final movement is a magnificent setting of Friedrich Schiller’s famous poem, An die Freude (Ode to Joy), which celebrates brotherhood and freedom and has been used to mark many notable occasions. The most striking of these was perhaps the concert on Christmas Day 1989 in Berlin, shortly after the Berlin Wall came down. It was led by American conductor Leonard Bernstein, using musicians from East and West Berlin. For this one occasion the word Freude (joy) was replaced by Freiheit (freedom).


Beethoven’s music to An die Freude is used as the European Union Anthem – but without the words.



All in the month of May

It was:

200 years ago, on 7th May 1824 that the first performance of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 took place in Vienna. It is regarded as Beethoven’s greatest work and is one of the most-performed symphonies in the world.

150 years ago, on 9th May 1874 that Howard Carter, British archaeologist and Egyptologist, was born. He discovered the tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun in 1922.

Also 150 years ago, on 29th May 1874 that the British writer G. K. Chesterton was born. A novelist, short story writer, philosopher and critic, he was best known for his Father Brown stories.

100 years ago, on 4th May 1924 that the British children’s writer E. Nesbit (Edith Nesbit) died. Best known for The Railway Children.

90 years ago, on 25th May 1934 that the British composer, Gustav Holst, died. Best known for The Planets.

Also 90 years ago, on 28th May 1934 that the first Glyndebourne opera festival was held, in East Sussex.

75 years ago, on 12th May 1949 that the Soviet Union lifted its blockade of Berlin. The blockade had led to the Berlin Airlift, in which British and American planes had delivered millions of tons of food, coal and medical supplies to the isolated people of West Berlin.

70 years ago, on 6th May 1954 that Roger Bannister became the first person to run a mile in under four minutes (3 minutes, 59.4 seconds), in Oxford.

Also 70 years ago, on 20th May 1954 that Bill Haley & His Comets released the song Rock Around the Clock. It brought rock and roll into the mainstream and is regarded as one of the most important records in music history.

Also 70 years ago, on 29th May 1954 that Diane Leather became the first woman to run a mile in under five minutes (4 minutes, 59.6 seconds), in Birmingham.

60 years ago, on 2nd May 1964 that Nancy Astor, American-born British politician died.  She was the first female Member of Parliament (MP) to take her seat in the House of Commons.

50 years ago, on 24th May 1974 that Duke Ellington, American jazz pianist, composer, and big-band leader, died. Regarded as the greatest jazz composer of the 20th century.

40 years ago, on 17th May 1984 that Prince Charles described a proposed extension to the National Gallery in London as a ‘monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend’.  (The design was scrapped, but his comment sparked controversy over the Royal Family’s role.).

Also 40 years ago, on 19th May 1984 that John Betjeman, British poet, writer, and broadcaster died. He was Poet Laureate 1972-1984.

30 years ago, on 6th May 1994 that the Channel Tunnel linking England and France was officially opened.

Also 30 years ago, on 10th May 1994 that Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa’s first black president, after more than 300 years of white rule.

25 years ago, on 1st May 1999 that the body of mountaineer George Mallory was found on Mount Everest. He had been missing since 1924.

Also 25 years ago, on 6th May 1999, that the first general elections for the Scottish Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales, took place. Donald Dewar became First Minister for Scotland and Alun Michael became First Secretary for Wales.

20 years ago, on 19th May 2004 that the world’s first stem cell bank opened at the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control in Potter’s Bar, Hertfordshire


Smile Lines

Children’s exam papers

The following real-life answers to various exam papers explain why teachers need long holidays…

What is a nitrate?  – Cheaper than a day rate.

What was Sir Walter Raleigh famous for? – He is a noted figure in history because he invented cigarettes and started a craze for bicycles.

What did Mahatma Gandhi and Genghis Khan have in common? – Unusual names.

Name one of the early Romans’ greatest achievements. – Learning to speak Latin.

Name six animals which live specifically in the Artic.  – Two polar bears. Four seals.

Assess Fashion House plc’s choice to locate its factory near Birmingham.  Is Birmingham the right location for this type of business?  – No. People from Birmingham aren’t very fashionable.

How does Romeo’s character develop throughout the play? – It doesn’t, it’s just self, self, self, all the way through.

Name the wife of Orpheus, whom he attempted to save from the underworld. – Mrs Orpheus.

Where was the American Declaration of Independence signed?  – At the bottom.

What happens during puberty to a boy?  – He says goodbye to his childhood and enters adultery.

State three drawbacks of hedgerow removal. – All the cows will escape.  The cars drive into the fields.  There is nowhere to hide.

What is the meaning of the word varicose? – Close by.

What is a fibula? – A little lie.

Why would living close to a mobile phone mast cause ill health? – You might walk into it.

What is a vibration? – There are good vibrations and bad vibrations.  Good vibrations were discovered in the 1960s.

Where was Hadrian’s Wall built? – Around Hadrian’s garden.

The race of people known as Malays come from which country? – Malaria.


Taking Jesus

A Sunday School teacher asked her class why Joseph and Mary took the boy Jesus with them to Jerusalem.

A small child replied: “They couldn’t get a babysitter.”


Revival families

After the local mission outreach had concluded, the three ministers were discussing the results with one another.

The Methodist minister said, “The mission worked out great for us! We gained four new families.”

The Baptist preacher said, “We did better than that! We gained six new families.”

The Anglican priest said, “Well, we did even better than that! We got rid of our 10 biggest troublemakers!”


Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve had an ideal marriage. He didn’t have to hear about all the men she could have married,

and she didn’t have to hear about the way his mother cooked.


Barbershop evangelism

There was a barber who felt he should share his faith with his customers more.  So, the next morning he decided: “Today I am going to witness to the first man that walks through my door.”

Soon after he opened his shop the first man came in for a shave. The barber sat him down and then fled to the back of the shop to pray. “God, please give me the wisdom to know just the right thing to say. Amen.” Then the barber approached the man with his razor knife in hand. “Right then, sir… I wonder, are you ready to die?”



There are only two things a child will share willingly – a communicable disease and his mother’s age.



Never miss an opportunity to make others happy, even if you have to leave them alone in order to do it.


Old person

I hate it when I see an old person, and then realise we went to school together.


Several years ago, on the gates of the Winnipeg Anglican Cathedral in Canada, which is situated in a cemetery, two notices were seen beside each other:




And finally – one of our Parish Pump editors, Nicola Stephenson, has sent this in from her very own church magazine!

Lots of seats

Seen in a church magazine:

The church hall is available for hire for groups and parties. There is a well-equipped kitchen and disabled toilet facilities, with the capacity to seat up to 80 people.