All posts by Matt

March Squeeze – Spring into New Life

Spring may have been a little late this year, but for us at the Free Church it fell on Sunday 1st March, right on time for the Squeeze Breakfast Club. Daffodils and hyacinths in abundance, as many as you could make with crumpled tissue paper, and flocks of fluffy lambs, produced from tufts of cotton wool stuck onto cardboard cutouts.

Flowers and lambs together, mounted on a suitable background, made a collage for the theme for the day, “Spring into New Life.” Others did Tea-Bag Cutting, not the real soggy ones but paper squares about the same size, pre-printed in a variety of designs. Folded into kite-shapes, they could then be arranged in any chosen pattern on a baseboard.

Breakfast is available from 10am. As well as make-your-own toast, we now have pour-your-own tea; it gets more like home every time and allows the tea-ladies to join in the fun.

Our Pastor Jim Beveridge took up the theme with the statement of Jesus that He had come into the world in order to bring Life to the Full to those who put their trust in Him. Jim drew a parallel with the natural world where Spring is Full of New Life.

Squeeze Breakfast Club is held on the first Sunday in each month in the Village Hall from 10am. until 12.00. Everyone of any age is welcome, whole families and those who are alone, and there is no charge.

Love Is In The Air – February Squeeze

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Love was in the air at the February SQUEEZE Breakfast Club. With St. Valentine’s Day only two weeks away, hearts were all over the place. Heart-shaped cinnamon biscuits were being decorated with
Squeezy tubes of sugar paste in a variety of colours, and packaged in heart-shaped envelopes woven from two colours of paper and tied with a ribbon. On the next table, more heart shapes in shades of pink and purple were put in place on Valentine cards for the unsuspecting.

A goodly number of young people were drawn to these activities; Canadian students from the Castle mingled with members of our Youth Club, and several not-so-youngs were busy making love tokens for their partners.

Laurence Keeley brought along the cardboard box in which he had spent the previous night, with a certificate to show that he and more than 100 others had spent a very cold night sleeping rough to draw attention to the plight of the homeless, and to raise money for Churches in Worthing who are active in this field.

David was in his usual form: this month’s gleanings included the man returning from a fancy-dress party to find a burglar in his home. “As soon as he saw me his eyes went wide with terror, and he dived out of a window to escape,” said the homeowner, who was dressed as Thor, the Norse God of Thunder! With horned helmet and spear presumably.

Our Pastor Jim Beveridge took the love theme to a higher level, the “most excellent way” of the First Epistle to the Corinthians. God’s Love Letters, he declared, lifting the Bible high, then reading appropriate Scriptures, mostly from chapter 13,; “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps not record of wrongs.” There is a lot more: read it for yourself.

Next SQUEEZE is on Sunday 1st March.
Breakfast is served from 10 am and now we have a battery of toasters! Everyone of all ages is very welcome.

Five weeks with the Mara People (Part 1)

By Nigel Lindsay

As a child and young person in the Methodist Church I followed the lead of my parents and was constantly involved in jumble sales for good causes, or visiting homes for the elderly, and so developed the habit , when I saw a need, of Getting On and Doing Something about it. When I started work in the hotel industry, I was very concerned for the children I saw outside public houses waiting for their parents.

I was already a Scout leader at that time and the general thrust of scouting, the badge work and the daily good deed, encouraged an outward-looking, do-something attitude. So I began a career in social work, mostly with children and families, but in my own time set up the Open Door youth counselling service in Eastbourne, and helped to run a fortnightly disco in Hampden Park Community Hall.

Later, as a community development worker, I showed residents how to Get On and Do Something for themselves, to achieve perhaps a skate park or other project. Involvement in the process gives a sense of ownership and the facility is used more responsibly. I took this approach to Nigeria in 2001 where I spent two years helping to arrange more basic needs for villages, such as a year-round food supply or clean water. This was a life-changing experience; and since then my faith in Jesus as my Saviour has grown.

In September 2007 I started a two-year course as a very mature student at Moorlands Bible College. The impact of the study of the Bible on my life has given me a clearer understanding of who God is and how He wants to use my life to impact others.

The other side of Bible College life is to Get On and Do Something. Last year I spent several weeks working with the Salvation Army in Hackney, the area of London where I was born. At the beginning of this year I spent five weeks in Mizoram, a remote part of India.

Flying to Kalkuta was exciting and the overcharging of the man at the prepay taxi desk at the air port and the con of the driver getting more money out of me was all part of going to somewhere new and not Knowing the ropes. You can become hardened to everyone and start to distrust all. Staying at the Baptist Society Guest house not far from where Mother Teresa had done her work was good and the taxi journey to and from the airport gave me good chance to see the streets of Kalkuta and take a few photos without being afraid my camera would be taken. I wandered the streets both on route to Maraland and on my return journey. My feet got dirty and small children asked me for food, I gave one lad and orange I had just bought and before long I had given all I had brought away. You become hard and say no as they follow up the street. Uncle, Uncle, you walk faster, Uncle, Uncle. People at the Guest house where working with the street families pick up Children giving them food, baths, education and then returning them to their parents on the street. One Woman and her daughter works as a teacher the School Liz and Jacob went to and Robin now works in, she is out there for five week teaching. Small world!

But this was not where I was to be for my five week placement. Back to the airport and a long wait and then plane to Aizawl the main city of Mizoram State North East India. I was met at the airport by Lachhua Lapi a senior pastor in the Congregational Church of India. He was to be my supervisor, Translator and roommate for the next five weeks. You have to get special permission to go to Mizoram and so I had some official paperwork to do before a journey of about 15 hours in truck to the city of Siaha. The scenery was brilliant, and the road near the edge, up or down and never straight for more than about 50 metres. We did stop to sleep on the way, leaving about 5am in the morning before the heat of the sun, not that that made much difference as we did not reach till about 5pm.

I stayed in Lachhua House, mostly all built on stilts and on the side of mountains, but in the city many of concrete stilts in the villages they are wood and sometime bamboo. I sort of checked under me before I went in. I am comparatively heavy and tall compared with many Mara People. Many came to great me; the main subject of conversation was my lack of a wife, which they felt they could sort out. I had plans to do some training of Youth work, Children’s work and some leadership training, but none of that happened. I did however have the chance to preach 20 times in about 9 different congregational Churches out of their remaining 18.

In the service they use a big drum to beat the tune and usually a young woman will call out the words in advance for those who do not have book with the hymn. The pulpit is central and the on a platform where all the elders sit. I got used to having to sit in the pulpit or on the platform, but I resisted and occasionally managed to sit with the normal people. Lachhua would introduce me and I never knew what he said, but as the weeks went on he said more. I would then bring greetings from you in England and apologise for anything I may do that was not normal for them. I would start my preach in the pulpit, but then escape down on to the platform and do the teaching in an interactive way with people involved and have visual demonstration of my points. For most they found this useful and so asked for more.

I spent 5 days in a village where I was said to be the first white man, they built me a toilet, but I can tell more next time. I had the privilege of staying at the house built by the original missionaries in 1913 and spending 10 days with the granddaughter and her family. (She is now 72)We got stuck on a road as they blasted it to make it wider and I did a tribal dance, but more about all that next time.

My thanks’ for your prayers whilst I was away. I ask that you pray for the unity of the Mara Church.

Squeeze Advert (February)

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It’s all change at the Village Hall on the first Sunday morning of each month. After about 100 “Sunday Supplements” spanning the almost nine years that the Hall has been open, the Free Church has broadened the programme to appeal to all ages. From the first Sunday in December 2008, the entire family – parents, children, grandparents and those with no family, are invited to

“Squeeze new life into Sunday.”

Starting at 10 am. with breakfast (of course), the SQUEEZE Breakfast Club will include several crafts. Grandad can show the kids how steady his hand is at painting on glass,(December) and Dad can show them how he used to make his own Valentine card. (February). Or maybe the children will be making sweets, while Mum reads the Sunday papers we provide in a quiet corner with a cup of coffee and a cake.

Everyone can listen to Jim’s Topical Talk, and enjoy David’s Downloadings from the world’s news sources. The range of crafts changes every month. The morning finishes at 12 noon, unless you have to leave earlier, and there is no charge. The next SQUEEZE Breakfast Clubs are on Sunday 1st February and Sunday 1st March 2009.

A Glimpse of Heaven

“It’s beautiful – so beautiful.” Doris McConnell’s last words on this earth, and taken by many to be a glimpse of Heaven before she passed over from death to Life, were imprinted boldly on her service sheet under a smiling photograph of her in a sunny spot by the water’s edge in North Wales.

Our Pastor, Jim Beveridge, likened her passing to the ‘modern parable’ of the recent aeroplane crash into the Hudson river. One of the passengers thanked the pilot for saving him and the reply was ‘you’re welcome ‘ In 1942, Doris had chosen the Lord Jesus Christ as her Pilot through life, and , as He does to all the whose who say “Thank You for all that You have done for me,” Jesus replies, “You are welcome,. Welcome to My Father’s House.”

He had certainly kept her safe though wartime perils; her home in Rye was bombed, her RAF base at Fareham was bombed, and when posted to Lea Green, South London, a Doodlebug (V1 flying bomb) fell on the shelter she was in and she was buried. Miraculously she came out with minor injuries. Meanwhile, Jim was also on the move and the two met in Gosport in 1945, where he was in the Royal Navy. Their first date was a bicycle ride to Lee-on-Solent; they were engaged in May 1947, and married in Battle on 21st February 1948. Last year they celebrated their Diamond Wedding anniversary.

Some fifty family members, friends and neighbours gathered in the Chapel on Friday 23rd January to bid farewell to Doris. The hymns reflected her Christian life and witness – How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believer’s ear; The Lord’s my shepherd, and Father hear the prayer we offer. Later we sang And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Saviour’s blood, died He for me who caused His pain,…?

The wind and the rain of the morning had turned to winter sunshine as we laid Doris to rest in the churchyard. May our prayers be for her husband Jim as he reflects on their sixty years spent serving the Lord together.

Accounts of the wartime experiences of both Jim and Doris are included in the book ‘Community Reminiscence Project on World War Two’ which is on sale at the Village Information Centre, Gardner Street, Herstmonceux.