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publication produced by St David's and St John's Methodist
Churches, Llandudno. Minister, Rev Bev Ramsden.
Written at the
start of Advent...
good to have Christmas traditions that we continue
year after year. But this year in our churches we've
added in a few new ways of doing things. I hope they
will prove to be lovely changes.
our Live Nativity, which this year is coming from
Queen's Road Park in Craig y Don. I have been
inviting almost every person I meet, especially if
they have children - my brother, my hairdresser,
even a family for whom I'm doing funeral. It is such
a lovely opportunity to invite people to take part
in something so simple and yet so profound. And
clearly, some people really get it. I got over
excited and spontaneously invited the Mayor and
Deputy Mayor to be wise men...and they said yes.
Indeed, the Deputy Mayor suggested I invite the
Immediate Past Mayor as well, so we've ended
with two wise men and a wise woman! And several
children from the neighbourhood want to take part
too. Truly, a community event.
Mayor's Chaplain, I get to do the Christmas message
at the town parade. I have decided to talk about
angels - how they are messengers from God, and how
the Christmas story is jam-packed with angels
bringing messages of hope, peace, joy and love. It
gives me an excuse to wear my wings and halo of
course, but the main reason I want to mention angels
is because of our soon to be revealed secret plan -
to "yarn bomb" the town with knitted
following the services on 10th December. Many of our
church folk have been knitting
weeks. I know there will be hundreds, possibly
thousands, of angels, taking flight across the town,
each with a Christmas message to the person who
finds them. As I will be saying at the town parade,
I wonder - are you looking out for angels this
Christmas? Are you ready to listen to the message
they bring? That's what you need to do this
Christmas, this Christmas in particular. Keep your
eyes peeled and your ears open as you go round town.
Who knows, somewhere right here in Llandudno you may
come across an angel with a message especially for
final thing I want to share with you - a challenge.
We may be looking forward to a happy Christmas with
plenty of food and fun to go around, but there are
many people, yes, even in our town, who will be
struggling to make ends meet. Have a look inside
this magazine for an article by Graham Morgan and
see if you can respond to the challenge there. For
the tiny sum of £1 a week, you can support our local
Food Bank as they seek to help those in need this
Christmas and beyond. £1 a week to bring a message
of hope to those who are struggling. Can you be an
angel of hope this Christmas?
Blessed is the person who sees the need,
recognises the responsibility, and actively
becomes the answer. William Arthur Ward.
AT ST. DAVID’S CHURCH.
continues to thrive with over 25 young JMA
collectors aged from two to twenty two!! We are
always supported and encouraged by so many lovely
members of our church family who either give to
individual collectors or give directly to JMA.
year Bev once again kindly presented our JMA
certificates and medals plus our special JMA prayer
cards and all our collectors and friends of JMA took
smartie boxes away to fill with 20 pence pieces-
AFTER eating the Smarties of course!
the service a group of our collectors took part in a
presentation entitled “DID YOU KNOW?” when with help
of younger members holding large cards they helped
us to understand just how AMAZING the work of JMA
DID YOU KNOW?
Did you know that last year JMA collectors
raised £73,150 pounds?
did you know that our JMA collectors here at St.
David’s church raised £1,132 pounds of that total?
you know that our JMA money goes to partners in
Europe, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia,
the Pacific and also to projects in the UK?
you know that JMA has helped in HAITI after a bad
hurricane to rebuild Methodist schools?
you know that in MEXICO there is a tall fence
to stop people getting into the United States? Well,
the EL FARRO church is run by Methodists from both
sides of the fence and brings together children and
families from both sides?
you know that in SICILY JMA helps in CASA
BELLA CULTURA where
Refugees arriving in small unsafe boats can be
welcomed and loved and where they can stay until
they can go to a new home?
you know that in KENYA with the help of JMA
100 women from MERU have started a fish farm, built
greenhouses and now sell fruit and fish and tomatoes
so they can pay for their children to go to school?
did you know that in GHANA JMA sent money to
the ANKAASE hospital to decorate the children’s
ward. To buy toys and games and to set up a room
where mothers learn about the right food to cook for
did you know that in addition to all of these
projects we in JMA here also support the Chicken
project in Mafinga in Tanzania?
Before we received our awards and presentations all
our JMA collectors joined in with all our friends in
the church family at St. David’s in renewing our JMA
promise to learn, pray and serve with the worldwide
family of Jesus Christ.
What a joy and privilege it is to serve as members
of this world wide family!
Caris Williams. JMA Secretary.
Christmas I was given a box of twelve Belgian Fairtrade
Truffles (yum, yum) produced by The Meaningful Chocolate
Company, supposedly one for each of the Twelve Days of
Christmas. Also in the box was a booklet ‘A Guide to the
Festival of Christmas’.
included an explanation of the carol, ‘The Twelve Days of
Christmas’ which lists a gift for each day of the Festival
from Christmas Day to January 5th.
It is thought
that each gift had a hidden meaning which helped children
learn aspects of their faith. I wonder how many people know
of the hidden meaning of each gift?
partridge in a pear tree, Jesus Christ.
turtle doves, the Old and New Testaments.
French hens stood for faith, hope and love.
calling birds, the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and
gold rings, the first five books of the Old Testament.
geese a-laying, the six days of Creation.
7. Seven swans
a-swimming, the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit -
traditionally thought to be wisdom, knowledge, counsel,
fortitude, piety, wonder and understanding.
8. Eight maids
a-milking, the eight Beatitudes, or blessings from The
Sermon on the Mount. (The Eighth Day is New Year’s Day, when
people make New Year’s resolutions which originally had a
spiritual dimension as people resolved to be a better
person, many would be inspired by Jesus’ Beatitudes).
ladies dancing, represented the Nine Fruits of the Holy
lords a-leaping, the Ten Commandments.
pipers piping, the eleven faithful Disciples.
drummers drumming, the twelve points of faith in the
Covenant Service at St John’s
Sunday 07 January 2018 at 11 a.m.
Covenant Service at St David’s
Sunday 14 January 2018 at 10 a.m.
St John’s Newcomer’s Lunch
Sunday 21 January after 11 a.m. service
St David’s Newcomer’s Lunch
Sunday 28 January after 10 a.m.
18 to 25 January 2018
WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY 18 to
25 January 2018
WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY
SPARK THAT LIT THE REFORMATION
dawn of the sixteenth century the time was ripe for
a reformation of the church. It was a young lecturer
named Martin Luther from an obscure German
university who lit the vital ignition spark on
October 31st 1517.
would be wrong to think that there was only one
Reformation spark. The young Martin Luther was just
one of many particularly in Germany and Switzerland
who resented a wealthy church getting richer at the
common people’s expense. So what fired up Martin and
propelled him to nail a sheet of paper to a church
answer this we can use a story which Luther himself
told about when he was riding home and was caught in
a severe thunderstorm. Suddenly a lightning bolt
struck the ground near him, terrifying his horse so
he was thrown off. Panic-stricken, Luther called out
“Saint Anne, help me! I will become a monk!” In
those days it was believed that fiends and devils
lurked in woods and dark places ready to pounce on
travellers. Protection could be gained through
certain special Christians who were designated by
the church as saints and these had special access to
God (this contradicts what the Apostle Paul taught
that all Christians are saints – sanctified by the
kept his word and on July 17, 1505 at the tender age
of 21, Luther became an Augustinian monk and stayed
for 7 years. All this time he believed fervently
that salvation was earned. The motto was “God will
not deny grace to those who do their best.” Luther
worked so hard at this - almost fanatically – that
his superior at the monastery, concerned about
Luther’s mental health, advised him to take up the
study of theology. He read about great early
Christians such as Augustine of Hippo who taught
that salvation was the free gift of God. He studied
Paul’s letter to the Romans and the powerful message
of chapters 5 to 8 gripped his soul: “Therefore,
since we have been justified by faith, we have peace
with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…There is
therefore no condemnation for those who are in
Christ Jesus…and those whom He predestined He also
called, and those whom He called He also justified,
and those whom He justified He also glorified…Who
shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is
God who justifies!” This contradicted what Luther
had been taught and discontent with the church’s
at the heart of his discontent with the church was
the practice of selling indulgences. These payments
were supposed to ensure a fast track through
purgatory – the interim state of the dead where
sinners suffered extended horrors of purification
before being allowed into heaven. As one slogan put
it, “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the
soul from purgatory springs.” The money raised by
playing on the fears of ordinary folk who were
denied access to the Bible (written in Latin which
they could not understand) often went back to Rome
for funding cathedrals, supporting church armies,
underpinning political intrigues, and paying for the
extravagant lifestyles of the church hierarchy.
was appalled by this practice. Forgiveness was meant
to be the free gift of God! The last straw took the
shape of Johann Tetzel. He came to Wittenburg to
sell indulgences partly to cover the huge cost of
rebuilding St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Robbing
poor Germans to pay for a palatial church in far off
Rome – it was just too much to bear! So about midday
on 31st October 1517 the young lecturer Martin
Luther, aged just 33, nailed a piece of paper to the
main north door of the castle church in Wittenburg.
It was just an invitation to debate the issue of
indulgences. But this was no mere academic topic.
The sale of indulgences – giving the church the
authority to allow or deny access to heaven based on
money – seemed to deny the very Gospel itself.
Luther now understood that the Gospel meant that God
freely justified sinners on the basis of the
sacrifice of Christ on the cross, received by faith,
not by any good works on our part. Either the church
was right or the Bible was right. What was at stake
was Luther’s newly rediscovered doctrine –
justification by God, through Christ, by faith
alone. The Reformation was born! From a freak
thunderstorm, to an Augustinian monastery, to
theological studies, to Romans…to the enlightenment
and empowerment by the Holy Spirit. God’s plan can
be seen in Luther’s life. Can you see it in yours?
the next few years, Luther’s reforms, set out in his
Ninety-five Theses, acted as a catalyst for
like-minded reforming individuals and congregations
across Europe. The main reforms were
Bible is the ultimate foundation of all Christian
belief and practice. But at this time the Bible was
in Latin, readable only by a highly educated elite.
So Luther spent his first years translating the
Bible into German. Once the general population could
read the Bible, they would be able to discover the
truth and question practices within the church.
Salvation is a free, unmerited gift of God, received
by personal faith. For Luther, the great question in
life was simple: how can I find a gracious God? So,
sometime in 1516, while an Augustinian monk, Luther
rediscovered the doctrine of salvation by faith.
Nothing can compare with this stunning, humbling,
overwhelming truth. We cannot earn our way to
heaven. Instead it comes as a direct result of
having a direct living relationship with God through
the risen glorified Christ. There is no need for
intermediaries – so-called saints and priests.
is no difference in status between clergy and laity
– all believers are priests. They can understand and
apply the truth of the Bible for themselves. As part
of Christ’s royal priesthood they could appoint
their own leaders, ministers, teachers, pastors.
This doctrine of the “priesthood of all believers”
was the greatest threat to the church. If ordinary
Christians were priests, then the power of the
ordained priesthood was broken, as was the monopoly
of the church in deciding who could enter heaven.
Did the church welcome these reforms with open arms?
Hardly! The danger to power and status was all too
obvious. Luther was summoned to appear before the
Diet of Worms (nothing whatsoever to do with an odd
eating habit) in 1521.
refused to retract his reforms and his words
resounded throughout the emerging reforming
“Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason
– I do not accept the authority of popes and
councils, for they have contradicted each other - my
conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot
and I will not recant anything, for to go against
conscience is neither right nor safe.
stand; I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen.”
500 years later, we find all too many examples of
churches and whole denominations which have slid
back into pre-Reformation error. In the Roman
Catholic Church and the Anglican Church, those
entering the full-time ministry are still ordained
as priests. The congregation is still referred to as
laity. Worse by far, we find many Christians still
believing that God will accept them because they do
good – attend church, give money, devote time to
helping others and so on. How has this reversal come
about? Is it not because so many Christians today do
not read their Bibles regularly (after fellow
Christians have laboured for thousands of hours to
translate it into our language) and discuss it? Is
it not because the very word “doctrine” is viewed
with dislike, so the study and discussion of the
great doctrines of Christianity is lacking?
truth is that in many churches and denominations
across the UK – and this is the reason for their
decline and often closure - Luther’s final words
would come out as: “Here we do not know where to
stand; we can do otherwise but are too lazy. God
help us! Amen.” Neil McKenzie.
DANGER AND A DELIGHT IN CAROL SINGING !!
the 1950s and I was a teenager attending a Methodist
church in Ardwick, within a couple of miles of
Manchester city centre. On Christmas Eve we held a
Communion Service at 11.30 p.m. (as we do here in
Llandudno) but we then enjoyed tea/coffee and mince
pies together before going out carol singing. I have
to admit that one of the attractions to us younger
teenagers was that, starting carol singing about
12.30 a.m. we didn’t finish until about 7.00 a.m.
before having breakfast together. Wow ! Carol
singing around the streets of Manchester right
through the night was a great adventure to us!
did this come about? One year the church took the
decision to have a go at broadcasting the good news
of Christmas throughout the night and see how it
went. The theory was that if we sang outside the
homes of church members their neighbours would also
hear the carols. A walking route was well planned so
that folk knew at what time (approximately) we would
arrive outside their house (wake them up?) so they
could join us in the singing and this planning the
route carefully also meant they could advise (warn?)
their neighbours accordingly. But why so long? Well,
while most of us teenagers lived within walking
distance of the church a lot of the older folk lived
4/5 miles out so we covered a few miles (no cars
allowed – they were parked at our last stop to take
us home after breakfast) and it was amazing how
quickly the time went. Mind you, we were helped
along by an arranged stop at one house, about 3.30
a.m. for tea/coffee and - guess what - yes, mince
was it received by the neighbours? They loved it
(can you imagine that being the case today?) and we
did it for some years, varying our route somewhat
but always refreshing (at Burnage) and breakfasting
(at Didsbury) at the same homes.
where does DANGER come into it? Well, I was a young
teenager and you know what they’re like! We were
coming to the end of a long night, just approaching
our breakfast stop and, to keep our spirits up, we
were larking about a bit and one of them (I won’t
say who !!!!!) suddenly turned round and collided
with a lamp post. No apparent mishap and we carried
on and soon started singing outside the house. The
next thing I knew I was lying on a bed in a strange
bedroom - I had fainted while singing! No real harm
done – I was probably just tired and cold - I didn’t
miss breakfast and still made it to church for the
10.30 a.m. Christmas Day service. Don’t let this put
you off carol singing this year - the danger was the
high jinks not the carol singing. I did repeat the
carol singing (and probably the high jinks) but not
is not a one-off like the danger quoted above but
increasing each year. Now, Jack, be honest - with
your voice the singing is not a delight, at least
not for others - it’s the message the carols bring
which is the delight. I like most carols even though
some seem to be part truth and part fantasy (e.g. is
the snow artistic licence and did the baby Jesus
really not cry?) but I particularly like the
following lines - guess which carols they are from!
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing
God with man is now residing
Lo within a manger lies he who built the starry
He came down to earth from heaven, who is God and
Lord of all
Our God contracted to a span, incomprehensively made
Alright, I’m cheating a bit here because the last
one is not really a carol but more a hymn but it’s
worth looking up all its verses - it’s one of
Charles Wesley’s! - 109 in Hymns & Psalms!
my favourite bit of the Christmas story is found in
Matthew 1 v 23 where it says : “… and they shall
call his name Immanuel which, being interpreted is,
God with us”. I suppose one could say this could -
like carol singing - be dangerous but in my
experience anyway it is certainly a continuing
DAVID’S SAVINGS CLUB
may be some of you who are unaware that a savings
Club operates at St. David’s・
has been running for many years, originating in the
1950’s, as the Sunday School Savings Club, and was
paid out just prior to the annual “Sale of work",
but is now supported by many members and friends of
functions from January to mid November and
individuals “pay in” to me on a weekly or monthly
basis, as little or as much as they wish and when I
“pay out” they get back exactly what they paid in!
interest earned on the savings account is to the
benefit of the Church. You can see that this
benefits both the individual as a form of saving up
before Christmas and also the Church as an extra
form of revenue to be able to contribute towards any
would be interested in joining the “Savings Club”
for 2018 or if you have any queries about the system
or would like more information then please speak to
me after morning worship or call me on 01492 876492.
WEEK OF PRAYER:- FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY
2018 the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity runs
from 18th to 25th January.
theme of the week comes from the churches of the
Caribbean, and addresses some of the problems which
affect the people there, but also worldwide.
Therefore, as abuses of human rights are found
across the region, the week will challenge us to
consider our manner of welcoming the stranger into
trafficking and modern-day slavery continue to be
Addiction to pornography and drugs continue to be
serious challenges to all societies.
debt crisis has a negative impact upon the nations
and upon individuals – the economies of the nations
and people have become precarious.
life continues to be challenged by the economic
restrictions which lead to migration, domestic abuse
What are Christians to do, in the face of such vast
Caribbean Churches work together to heal the wounds
in people’s live, but also know that reconciliation
demands repentance, reparation and the healing of
whole Church is called to be both a sign and an
active agent of this reconciliation.
All May Be Free
right hand, O LORD, glorious in power (Ex 15:6)
opportunity to explore and experience worshipping
God with our whole being “Body, Mind and Spirit”
and I belong to Art Serve, an ecumenical group,
which grew out of the Methodist Music Society, and
now encourages the use of all art forms in worship.
This year was our 5th conference, and, as always, it
gave us the chance to use our gifts and talents (and
take the risk of trying some new things) in a safe
and non judgemental environment.
workshops this year were all led by members of Art
Serve and included music, singing, painting, poetry,
movement, labyrinths, and prayer walks.
choices were Labyrinths - which I knew little about.
Here, we thought about how labyrinths can be helpful
in our spiritual lives and then had the opportunity
to make a finger labyrinth out of beads or clay.
and pray - my risk taking activity! This was a
silent workshop. We were asked to contemplate where
God was in our lives and then picture where we were.
There was a variety of different size canvasses and
paints, and as quiet music was played, we were
invited to interpret our thoughts and prayers on the
canvas. I think I was the only one in our group who
was not a painter, but I filled my canvass with the
light of God and my hands reaching up. It will never
be hung in the Tate, but it was my prayer and it was
celebrated as such.
Movement in worship - which I love. The first half
of this session was spent practising for the Sunday
worship, when we interpreted John Rutter’s “For the
beauty of the earth” in movement. The second half
proved just how powerful movement can be. Our
leader, Jo Richards, who has danced all her life,
shared her grief when her third child died at the
age of 6 weeks. She could not come to terms with the
loss, but then found herself one day dancing in her
lounge and through her movement was able to
her baby over to God’s safe keeping. It was not the
end of her sadness, but it was the beginning of
invited those of us who wanted to participate to
think of people or areas of our world who needed
God’s touch. With the sombre sound of a single oboe,
we let our bodies move with our thoughts and give
those prayers to God. As the music changed to
“Cavalleria Rusticano” we were invited to take a
lighted candle from the foot of the cross and walk
slowly round the room. As we met people, we made eye
contact and touched fingers in encouragement. At the
end of the music, we naturally made a circle around
the cross, linking fingers and raising our hands
towards the cross.
weekend didn’t just involve workshops - at meal
times, we enjoyed lots of good food, the opportunity
to get to know people and to chat about using
different art forms in worship. We were also
privileged to listen to a variety of speakers who
are involved in the arts.
Middleton spoke to us about the Methodist Modern Art
Collection, which visited St. John’s last year. On
the Saturday evening, we were treated to a
performance of “Chosen” a one woman show written and
performed by Susannah Hallcroft. This hour long
performance followed the life of Jesus from birth to
crucifixion, but told through the eyes of Mary. The
stage was filled with a variety of props, which
helped to set the different scenes and change
Susannah into the various characters. It was amazing
to see how a length of fabric could one moment be a
shawl and then be transformed into the shape of the
weekend culminated with communion and the
opportunity to share what we had learned and
experienced during the weekend within a time of
worship. A really great weekend - we already have
next year’s weekend in our diaries!
I NEEDED A NEIGHBOUR
good neighbours and challenging injustice may be
said to be at the heart of Christian discipleship.
The challenge to take on board the implications of
this was made clear in a public meeting at St Johns
back in March 2016. Rev Phil Jump from the Joint
Public Issues Team outlined the need to get involved
in community practical action so that together we
face truth and seek justice. Following this meeting
the Reach Out for Justice Group was formed
consisting of many from different churches and other
organisations who were present at the public
then, though the Group has a long mailing list of
interested people, about a dozen folk have met
regularly to discuss issues of injustice and follow
up any decisions with practical action where
possible. Technically the Group is open to anyone in
support of the biblical basis of justice and the
aims and objectives we have set up.
‘Reaching out’ is the important thing but the hard
work of ‘prayerful discussion’ has to come first. We
endeavour to face the facts of an issue before we
decide what we as a group can and should do. Often
there is an emotional response first of all as
individuals express concern, anger(!) and disgust
maybe, at what has happened. There does come a point
in discussion where reason prevails over emotion and
a conclusion is reached which satisfies members.
Here is an example of an entry from Minutes going
back to Autumn 2016.
meeting expressed their disgust regarding the
sealing off of the Great Orme caves and the
confiscation of tents and sleeping bags by the
police causing further hardship to the local
local homeless have had a prominent place on meeting
agendas. We have sought to get at the facts by
inviting Brenda Fogg from local Charity ‘Hope
Restored’ to share about her ministry. We have been
in conversation with Conwy Council Housing Officers
and written letters to Council and local press. We
have had a presentation from Green Pastures Housing
Charity and Chair of Llandudno Cytun, Rev Mike
Harrison, continues to monitor the situation for us.
have tried to keep up with local Government’s
response to the refugee crisis. Two of us were
present at a meeting in Porters Colwyn Bay in August
2016. Representatives from C Council, CVSC and other
community groups and churches were encouraged to get
involved in supporting the Council’s participation
in the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement
Programme (SVRP) The issues of matching recipients
to local authorities and finding appropriate housing
solutions were highlighted. To date six persons only
have been resettled within the County. This is a
disappointing number considering Government’s
commitment to accept up to 20,000 Syrian refugees by
the end of the current parliament, by 2020. ( Wales
as a whole has taken in about 400 refugees under
this scheme so far)
Clearly if the above figures represent the kind of
welcome the people of Wales and the people of Conwy
County give to refugees something is drastically
wrong. However, figures do not tell the whole story.
When two of us met up with MP Guto Bebb recently we
discovered that he was serving on a Wales -level
Group managing the overall picture. We felt we were
in the right place to make our views known and we
did! We spoke to him about Government commitment and
also about unaccompanied asylum- seeking children
and young people. Government is under pressure from
organisations including Unicef, Citizens UK and a
group of bishops to take at least 300 children in on
top of an existing promise to relocate 3000 from
North Africa over the next few years. We are in
touch with our MP who has promised to keep us
informed of progress. We shall keep up the pressure!
article is rather like an iceberg! You only see 10%
of what is really going on! There are injustices all
around us and we are challenged by each one of them.
The challenge is “What am I doing about it ? Maybe
your starting point will be coming to the next ROJ
meeting? Why not get a taster? Everyone’s
contribution is valuable. As one of our members put
it “we must be pro-active about injustice” We owe
this to our God, our community and ourselves as
followers of Christ.
the Sydney Carter song puts it,
When I need a neighbour were you there?
I was hungry and thirsty were you there
I was cold I was naked were you there
when I needed a healer were you there
wherever you travel I’ll be there
and the creed and the colour and the name won’t
I’ll be there
Matthews (Chair ROJ Group)
www.methodist.org.uk (social justice).
‘Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than
all we ask or imagine, according to His power that
is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church
and in Christ Jesus’ (Ephesians 3:20,21).
January is traditionally the time when people join a
gym to improve their fitness! Faith is also like a
muscle, whose strength depends on how much we
exercise it. As we start a new series entitled ‘God
is able’, how can we experience God’s power in our
lives ‘to do immeasurably more than all we can ask
Know God’s power by praying: Prayer and power go
together. Paul prays that we ‘may have power,
together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp
how wide and long and high and deep is the love of
Christ’ (18). When we can grasp how much we are
loved by God, this becomes the basis on which we are
empowered to fulfil His will.
Know God’s power by risking: God’s ability to do
‘immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine’
enables us to be ready to take risks for Him. When
we are prepared to step out in obedience to what God
says, despite the cost involved, He promises His
‘super-abundant’ (i.e. immeasurable) power to flow
into our lives.
Know God’s power by trusting: Paul also prays that
the Spirit would strengthen our trust in God, that
‘He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit
in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in
your hearts through faith.’ (16,17). If our faith is
to grow, it needs testing. God will enable us to
keep following Him, despite the difficulties,
delays, despair and discouragement.
things from God; attempt great things for God’
By Rev Paul
Hardingham, from The Parish Pump editorial.
can add to Christmas? The perfect motive is that God
so loved the world. The perfect gift is that He gave
His only Son. The only requirement is to believe in
Him. The reward of faith is that you shall have
everlasting life. Corrie Ten Boom
when they had seen it, they made known abroad
the saying which was told them concerning this
child. And all they that heard it wondered at those
things which were told them by the shepherds. But
Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her
heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and
praising God for all the things that they had heard
and seen, as it was told unto them
ARTICLES FOR THE NEXT EDITION
Our next edition will be for Easter. Please can you
get any contributions for this edition to me by
Sunday 18 March 2018.
My email address is
Telephone: 01492 460702 Thanks very much. Maria
YOURSELF, WHICH ONE ARE YOU?
Mary & Joseph , who gave their lives to God putting
all their faith in him.
The innkeeper, who did his best to help those in
need with what he had to give.
The shepherds, who wholly believed and rejoiced in
the news of the Christ child.
The Magi, who sought him and fully embraced the one
who is the keeper of eternal wisdom by protecting
The angels, who could not contain their joy and
shared it with everyone.
Aren't we all a bit of each of these?
The best gift of Christmas is to share the gift of
hope that this story gives with others throughout
the coming year.
Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a
son is given; and the government shall be upon his
shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful
Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince
CONWY FOOD BANK
interview by Graham Morgan with Arwel Jones
coordinator for Arc Communities who run Conwy Food
1. You are administrator for ARC Communities that
run Conwy Food Bank?
Yes, I work part-time, 20
hours a week for ARC Communities.
2. Can I ask you some basics about Conwy food bank?
Can anyone get food parcels?
In essence, yes, as long
as you can show that you are struggling financially
a crisis situation. You
also have to be referred by an outside agency, such
housing benefit, social
services, Citizens Advice Bureau, or others.
3. So once you are referred you can get a parcel
every week and are sorted?
No – we aim to provide
food for the crisis situation you are in, whilst the
agencies work with you to
deal with the reasons why you have found yourself in
4. How significant are the donations we collect here
in St John's and St David's Methodist churches?
We rely on a number of
churches, throughout Conwy, to provide the bulk of
food we give to those in
need. From a single tin of beans, to a van full of
everything is needed and
makes a difference. Nothing is wasted.
5. Are there other ways to help ...like giving
Yes, we do have a small
amount of overheads to cover. These are mostly
related to travel and
mileage costs, and also the smaller cost of heating
and the telephone.
If you would like to help us financially, you can
give just £1 a week to help us. Please don’t stop
giving us food donations – they’re essential! But if
everyone gave just £1 a week, that would make a huge
difference to us. Find out more on
6. Do you have paid staff or volunteers?
We rely on the hard work
of many volunteers, but due to the scale of the
we need a paid
co-ordinator. Tony (seen at the end, on the left)
paid through a grant, but
this ran out in July 2017, and we rely on donations
keep him employed. A
number of churches have helped, but there is still a
shortfall of several
You can help through a
CrowdFunding campaign on
7. Do you do other things? I have heard you also
operate in Rhyl and Penmaenmawr?
Yes, indeed! ARC
Communities run a drop-in centre in Colwyn Bay and
last month alone we
provided 545 hot meals. We also have a house in
Penmaenmawr for those
finding themselves living in chaos and crisis.
8. Has the roll out of Universal Credit helped or
We are only just
beginning to see the effects of Universal Credit (UC)
– it is due
to be rolled out fully in
this area at the beginning of 2018. Other food banks
have reported a 30%
increase in demand as UC comes into play. We have
capacity to cover this.
9. I understand Government grants are already cut
and are being further reduced. How will you sustain
your effort to help our poor?
As austerity measures
have an increasing effect on our community –
the need for our services
– government grants are also being cut. We are
looking at ways of
becoming self-sustaining, and have a charity shop,
an outside catering
10. Are you a Christian? Does it help power your
ARC is a Christian based
organisation. It is the reason why we do what we do-
Matthew 25 challenges us
all to “feed the hungry.” Undoubtedly, due to the
power of the church
coming together – collecting food and giving to us
regular basis, we are
able to continue to feed the hungry in our
4:32 says “the believers were united … so they
shared everything they had.” It is no co-incidence
that giving £1 a month to Conwy Food Bank works out
at £4.32 a month! United as Christians in this way
undoubtedly helps power our work. Thank You to you
CHILDHOOD CHRISTMAS PRESENT
your best-remembered childhood Christmas present? I
must have been around 6 or 7 years old when I spent
one Christmas Night at my Nana and Grandad’s. The
stocking was duly placed at the foot of the bed and
Father Christmas was expected to call during his
rounds that night.
Grandad owned a fish shop (‘Robinson’s High Class
Fish and Poultry’ said the shop sign) in Grange
Road, Birkenhead’s main shopping street. It was next
to Timpson’s shoe shop and directly opposite
Woolworth’s; for a child in the post-war years of
the late 40’s this was an emporium of fascination
with its enormous range of goods - including those
enticing coupon-commodity sweets!
and Grandad lived over the shop. My bedroom had just
a single bed and little else. There was a painted
iron bedstead and I snuggled down to wait for the
excitement of what would lie at the foot of the bed
on Christmas morning.
not disappointed. He’d been! There lay my stocking,
filled as usual with a small orange in the toe, and
2 or 3 other surprises (no bounty of ‘stocking
fillers’ in those days!) and, delight of delight, a
Mabel Lucie Attwell book to unwrap. I was an avid
reader from an early age and the pictures in this
famous illustrator’s books were enchanting. I’ve
never forgotten the joy on seeing that present from
Nana and Grandad.
often wonder what Mary and Joseph would have made of
the gifts of the three wise men. Astonishment must
have been their initial reaction. After all, foreign
sages bearing expensive presents weren’t regular
callers at homes in their small off-the-road
hillside village. First there’d been God’s message
via the angel Gabriel about a special baby, then
angel songs and visiting shepherds at his Bethlehem
birth, and now the unexpected visit of these Eastern
wise men. It must have dawned afresh on Mary and
Joseph just how special and significant was this
young child entrusted to their care.
wonder if there might have been a smidgen of fear -
why would there be a need for such gifts when Joseph
had a settled and valued trade as a carpenter? Such
valuable items were standard gifts to honour a king
or deity in the ancient world: gold as a precious
metal, frankincense as perfume or incense, and myrrh
as anointing oil. Ensuing events - God’s urgent
warning and King Herod’s jealous fury - found the
family fleeing at night to the safety of Egypt. Gold
would fund their needs during this testing refugee
time; frankincense and myrrh would help to keep them
celebrate once again the coming of God’s best-ever
gift of Jesus, ‘God-with-us’, let’s share with joy
his gifts of peace, goodwill and reconciliation with
everyone we spend time with this Christmas season.
whose Word has come among us in the Holy Child of
may the light of faith illumine our hearts and shine
in our words and deeds;
through him who is Christ the Lord. Amen.
(Christmas Day collect: Common Worship)
Lord of all, Creator of all,
Please shine your light into this dark world.
Reveal yourself afresh we pray.
Bring new sight and understanding to eyes blinded
by commercialism, materialism, self-seeking and
the start of this New Year, Lord, soften hearts and
give wisdom, so that many will search and find you,
just as the wise men searched and found you.
for we who already know and love you, Lord, shine on
us that we might reflect your light and make a
difference, day by day. In Jesus’ name.
Methodist Church, Mostyn Street, Llandudno, LL30 2NN
Church Council Secretary
David’s Methodist Church, Mostyn Avenue, Craig y
Don, LL30 1YY
Joint Senior Stewards
Church Council Secretary
St John’s and St
David’s Churches are part of the Conwy &
Prestatyn Circuit of the Methodist Church. They
share a minister, Rev Beverley Ramsden.
A leaflet is
available at the back of both churches with
further details about Methodism, its beliefs and
Our minister is
available to discuss any matter of concern,
The baptism of
children and adults;
the Christian faith;
preparation and ceremonies;
If you would like
to talk to Rev Bev about these or any other
matters, she can be contacted on 01492-877799 or