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Church Magazine

Compass is the name of St.Mary's Parish magazine. It is published at the beginning of every month and is distributed throughout the Parish by a band of volunteers.

If you would like to receive a copy of the magazine nearly every month (there is a combined December/ January edition), it is available for an Annual Subscription of £5.00

If you live outside the Parish and would still like to receive a copy, arrangements can be made to post it for an additional charge
For more information about the magazine, please contact either:

Editors                          Robert Pearson
                                     Mary Norris 
                                     Ed Sands    
Distribution Manager    Vacant

Articles from our December 2019 / January 2020 Magazine

Michael Allen writes


We human beings have great capacity to remember and Remembrance Day is special. At Remembrance Parade I was amongst children and some like me who remembered great fun playing games in an air- raid shelter, at night, as a 5-year-old. I had to grow up to be more aware in my 20ies, the average age of those listed for Arnold as killed in 2 World Wars. I’ve since realized the sacrifices also of their mothers and fathers, a wife of a bomber pilot 2 months married, children with no father or mother killed in the blitz. All reminding us of our calling, as the prayer goes ‘to serve our fellow human being, in the cause of peace, for the relief of want and suffering. And we remember the Last Supper before Jesus crucifixion.

But there are some memories we need to try to put right or to let go of or to change our habitual ways. All of us are addicted to our own ways of thinking. This story was told us by a 14 year old grandchild:

‘An elderly couple were sent to an old folks Specialist at Hospital to see if she could help them not keep forgetting what they were doing. After listening she said only one thing will help: ‘write down what you plan to do.’ Arriving home mid
afternoon he, a modern man, asks his wife ‘Do you want tea, scone, jam, cream. ‘Yes. But write it down’ He ‘None of that silly nonsense’ 15 minutes later he places a tray before her with Egg, Bacon, Mushrooms, beans and steaming cup of
Coffee. (Wait for it) She says ‘Where’s the toast!’

Habits of memory may prevent us changing and letting go. The glorious remembrance time of Christmas may include for some family discord even to not meeting up, as in an extended part of our family. I’m sure The Queen and her husband wanted their children to have Happy Ever After marriages and must now remember a different outcome, but still take pleasure in their lives. We had the National Anthem sometimes at school and we’d always say ‘hope she gets her
Victorias (plums). Remembering things that don’t work out brilliantly so as to please others is Victorious even for a Queen. To release or change a memory is hard because it is ingrained in us but it is another way of serving others.

Jesus in Mark 8.34 teaches us about our soul, our innermost being, saying ‘whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and the Gospel will save it.’ Remembrance is about honouring those who serve but also about
losing what can be begrudging or too full of self righteousness.

Remember well and let go well.

Be blessed and be a blessing

Michael Allen  

Why the world was ready for Christmas

Ever wonder why Jesus was born when He was? The Bible tells us that “when the time had fully come, God sent forth His Son…” The Jewish people had been
waiting for their Messiah for centuries. Why did God send Him precisely when He did?

Many biblical scholars believe that the ‘time had fully come’ for Jesus because of the politics of the time. The Roman Empire’s sheer size and dominance had
achieved something unique in world history: the opportunity for travel from Bethlehem to Berwick on Tweed without ever crossing into ‘enemy territory’ or
needing a ‘passport’.

For the first time ever, it was possible for ‘common’ people to travel wide and far, and quickly spread news and ideas. And all you needed were two languages -
Greek to the east of Rome, and Latin to the west and north. You could set sail from Joppa (Tel Aviv) and head for any port on the Med. And the Roman roads ran straight and true throughout the empire.

So, the Roman Empire achieved something it never intended: it helped spread news of Christianity far and wide for 400 years. After that, the Empire crumbled,
and the borders shut down. Not until the 19th century would people again roam so freely. The time for Jesus to be born, and for news of Him to be able to travel, had indeed ‘fully come’.  

Joseph: The man who married Mary

The traditional Nativity scene on our Christmas cards has Mary with the Holy Babe. Around her are the shepherds and Magi. We may also see stable animals, angels and a star! While Joseph is often included, his presence seems to be of minor importance. After all, we praise God for Jesus with our familiar Christmas carols, mentioning angels, shepherds, Wise Men and Mary but the name of Joseph is absent! Why is Joseph given a low profile? For he is a man to be remembered.

Joseph was a resident of Nazareth. He worked as a carpenter and his skills would have included making furniture, repairing buildings and crafting agricultural tools. Although Joseph had an honourable profession, he would not have been a man of great wealth. The gospel writers Matthew and Luke give Joseph a few brief mentions. After the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary go to the temple in Jerusalem to dedicate the Baby to God. Afterwards, they flee into Egypt to escape the wrath of Herod and much later return to Nazareth. 12 years later, Mary and Joseph go with Jesus to Jerusalem for the Passover feast. Here they lose Jesus, only to find Him in the Temple talking with religious leaders!

Apart from these verses, the New Testament is silent about the rest of Joseph’s life. However, we do know that Joseph was father to other children by Mary. His our sons are named, and they had at least two daughters. (See Matthew 13:55) And we also know that Joseph was someone who quietly and humbly took on the awesome role in caring for the early life of the Son of God. Joseph would have taught Jesus many things – not just the skills of a labourer, but the lore of the countryside which was evident in our Lord’s teaching. Jesus grew up within a loving family and described God as ‘Father’, knowing also the good fatherly qualities of Joseph.

In the Christmas story, Joseph is placed into a situation that brought him misunderstanding and suspicion. But Joseph remained faithful in the knowledge
that as long as God had spoken, the opinion of others mattered little. Before Jesus began His ministry, it is believed that Joseph died. It is likely Jesus took on many of His father’s responsibilities before He left home. In the eyes of the world, Joseph was a nobody. He was not a man of valour, fame and fortune. But he was the one who had parental responsibility for the greatest person who has ever lived!

It is sad that we often equate ordinariness with ineffectiveness. Down the ages, God has used many ordinary people to accomplish great things. God continues to use ordinary people. Like Joseph, we need to know that doing God’s will is the most important thing in life. May we, this Christmas, respond to God’s call to us and please Him in all that we do.  

Arnold Feed Bank

We are all thrilled that Sainsbury is now supporting us. As part of their 150 years celebration the staff raised and donated a magnificent amount of £1,000 with which they bought food (weighing in at 648 kgs). This helped to ensure ur stocks were at a good level for the start of the summer holidays. Calverton Sainsbury's are starting a front of house collection point and
we are hoping some of the other local stores will also provide this soon.

We are also very grateful to Asda, local Labour Councillors and The King's Church for cash donations, which has ensured we can improve the warehouse and kitchen areas at the Foodbank at Daybrook Baptist Church. The work on this has started
already with the light and electrical improvements and new shelving.

In August Asda held a 'Fight Hunger and Create Change' Day. Mari Fulcher, Asda Community Champion and Foodbank volunteer, invited volunteers to spend the day talking to shoppers and asking for food donations. We were joined, during the
day, by the Mayor of Gedling and local MP Vernon Coaker.

We also won the most ‘Green Tokens’ in the scheme held at Asda in August and September receiving the top £500 award! …. Needless to say, it has been spent on food to restock the shelves at the foodbank.

In October, Arthur, our treasurer, organised a Barn Dance at Kings Church which raised £800.

If you contributed to any of these activities, we are most grateful. This month we are promoting a Reverse Advent Calendar and we are asking for individuals, schools and businesses to help us by donating during December.

People often ask us what we need most. This can vary from week to week but our main regular “Top Six” low stock items are:

UHT Milk
Tinned Meat or Fish
Tinned Fruit
Coffee (small jars)
(even a bit of chocolate would be great)

The Beatitudes: ‘Blessed are the peacemakers’

‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.’ (Matthew 5:9).
H.G. Wells wrote of Mr Polly, ‘he was not so much a human being as a civil war.’ A lack of peace in our lives reflects the lack of peace in our families, community and nation.

In this beatitude, Jesus calls us to be peacemakers by overcoming conflict and bringing unity to relationships. This is very different from being a peacelover! It calls for hard work, patience and a willingness to understand the disagreement. We also risk misunderstanding and rejection by those we’re trying to help. This brings a much-needed perspective to the current Brexit debate!

What perspective does a follower of Jesus bring to peacemaking? Jesus says we will ‘be called children of God’, because we demonstrate the family likeness of the ultimate peacemaker. On the cross Jesus has enabled us to have peace with God (Romans 5:1) and broken down the walls of hostility between people (Ephesians 2:14). To be a peacemaker starts by recognising that God ‘has reconciled us to Himself through Christ’ (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Our mission is to implore people to ‘be reconciled to God.’ (2 Corinthians 5:20). This is the only true path to inner peace, as it is rooted in the reality of peace with God.

We are also called to bring peace between people, especially in the local church. It’s easy to avoid doing anything because we want a peaceful life! It means confronting situations where relationships have broken down and bringing people together in unity of heart and mind. The role of peacemaking is never easy; it cost Jesus His life and will undoubtedly change us: ‘reconciliation takes place when two opposing forces clash and somebody gets crushed in between.’

How Armistice Day began, 100 years ago

It was 100 years ago, on 11th November 1919, that the first Armistice Day (now Remembrance Day) was marked in the UK.  King George V had issued a proclamation calling for a two-minute silence at 11:00am to remember the members of the armed forces who lost their lives in the line of duty.

The two-minute silence was in fact adopted from a South African idea that had spread from Cape Town through the Commonwealth in 1919. The first minute was dedicated to those who died in the war, and the second to those left behind – families affected by bereavement and other effects of the conflict.

The Cenotaph was erected temporarily in Whitehall for a peace parade for Armistice Day in 1920. After a tremendous nationwide response, it became a permanent structure, and in the following years war memorials were created in other British towns and cities.

In 1939, the two-minute silence of Armistice Day was moved to the nearest Sunday to 11th November, so that it would not conflict with wartime production. This tradition continued after World War II – Remembrance Sunday is still marked with a national service, and by special services in most churches throughout the country and beyond. Americans mark Veterans Day instead.

‘Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ (Matthew 5:10).

Somebody once described a Christian as one who is ‘completely fearless, continually cheerful and constantly in trouble.’ Living the life that Jesus presents in the Beatitudes will not necessarily make us universally popular. We must be prepared for opposition, insults and ridicule or even worse. Of course, persecution is the daily experience for Christians in many parts of our world today.

Jesus didn’t tell us to seek persecution, but He did say that when it comes, we should regard it as a blessing:
Firstly, because we are identifying with Jesus: If we identify as fully as we can with Jesus, then we will experience suffering like Him. It is ‘because of me’ (v11) we are opposed or criticised.

Secondly, it shows our faith is genuine: To suffer for our faith is typical of God people, ‘for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.’ (v12).

Thirdly, because of our reward in heaven: we will not lose out in the future, as Jesus reminds us that ‘great is your reward in heaven’ (v12).
To what extent do we suffer for being a Christian at work, with our friends or family? Although we don’t seek it, Jesus describes suffering as authentic Christian experience.

We might like to ask these questions as we reflect on this:

How many people with whom we have contact know that we are a Christian?
How far are we helping to give them a true picture of what Christianity is about?
How far do we demonstrate the presence of Jesus in our daily lives?
If we were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict us?

Medicine for the heart

Over 80 years ago I sat next to my mother at a pantomime – ‘Cinderella’, I think. It was alright, if a bit too full of dancing for my taste.  But suddenly we were in a kitchen where the royal supper was being prepared. And wonderfully and gloriously, everything went wrong. Food took to the air, custard pies ended up on heads and faces. Apparently, I laughed so much that I fell off my seat. I had encountered the magic of comedy; the sheer joy of laughter. What we call a ‘sense of humour’ is a priceless and unique gift of our creator to the human race.

The Bible tells us to ‘weep with those who weep’, true – but also to laugh with those who laugh. In modern times that has often meant an experience shared with millions of others on radio or TV.

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the first broadcast of Monty Python’s ‘Flying Circus’ which was a landmark event in broadcasting comedy. It wasn’t situation comedy like ‘Dad’s Army’ or ‘Are You Being Served.’ Monty Python was a true child of the 1960s, a confident, cheeky reflection of contemporary society. No, it wasn’t ‘Dad’s Army’ but it was just as funny in its own way.
Some of our favourite lines from Monty Python:

“He’s not the Messiah – he’s a very naughty boy.”

“Alright, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?”

“What did he say?”
“I think it was, ‘blessed are the cheesemakers’.”

“This parrot is no more! It has ceased to be! It’s expired and gone to meet its maker! This is a late parrot! It’s a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed it to the perch, it would be pushing up the daisies! It’s run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible! This is an ex-parrot!”

“Have you got anything without spam?”
“Well, spam, egg, sausage, and spam – that’s not got much spam in it.”

Black Knight: “Tis but a scratch.”
King Arthur: “A scratch? Your arm’s off!”

Maybe you also have some favourites!

Like all of God’s gifts, a sense of humour can be misused. Satire can be cruel and negative. Just as the laughter of seven-year-olds in the playground teasing a boy they claim has got, say, big ears.

Humour should be about or with, but never at people.

Last altered on 31 October 2019
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