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Currently our minister is Rev Anne Smith. If you want to contact Anne her telephone number is 01527-570437 or you can email her at email@example.com
It is a new beginning for us as we come to the Bromsgrove and Redditch Circuit and particularly to Catshill and Bournheath so I thought I would write a little about us. Although born in a Birmingham hospital I regard myself as a Black Country girl as I was brought up in Netherton, Dudley. I attended Dudley Girls’ High School before going off to Southlands Training College. It was on teaching practise that I met my first husband, Paul.?>
We married in 1975 and settled in Leatherhead, Surrey and I taught in Epsom and later Leatherhead. We had two boys, John, now working in the theatre and married to Gemma, and David resident in Grimsby with his wife Inga and son Paul born in January 2013.
It was in my mid thirties that the call to presbyteral ministry became acute and I candidated. We all went off to Wesley College, Bristol for 2 years after which we were sent to the Elland and Greetland Circuit in West Yorkshire. It was there that Paul died of a heart complaint just before I was ordained. My mother spent much time with us in Elland thus enabling me to continue my ministry.
I went to Worcester in 2000 and the friendship between Jim and I developed. We had known each other for many years as we were brought up in the same Methodist church. We married in April 2004. He is a great blessing to me, not just personally but in my role as minister. He is a Local Preacher looks forward to getting to know the churches in a new Circuit. Jim is retired having worked for Lucas in research into batteries and fuel cells for the automotive and aerospace industries. Not only did I gain a husband but another son, Richard, who now lives in Halesowen and works for the Probation Service.
I believe it is a great privilege to serve in ministry in the Methodist Church. As to hobbies we both enjoy music, reading, films and for myself I would add cooking and knitting. I’m hoping to get back to swimming regularly, which I have failed to do in recent years.
I also dabble with writing, from dialogues to be used in drama (with my son John then casting his dramatic eye over them), to the occasional hymn, to imaginary thoughts of Bible characters. Maybe one day I’ll gather some of them together.
We do look forward to our new Circuit. I hope that we can grow together, learn from one another and share our strengths in order that we may better serve the Kingdom.
As some of you know, this last week I have been away on the District Retreat. 27 ministers from the District were at Purley Chase Centre from Monday until Thursday. The theme was “Mindfulness” and we were led by Revd Nick Jones who is one of the Superintendents of the Birmingham Circuit but also has worked as Chaplain within a Mental health Trust.
Like me before I went on the Retreat, you may not be aware of what Mindfulness is. Mindfulness is about “being in the present” or “returning to the present moment”. Our minds are often darting about from one thing to the next, either looking backwards or looking forwards, remembering or anticipating, and so often our minds are not in the present. So, to enable us to be fully present in the moment, we have to practise – so each session included space to practise. We always started with the breathing out and breathing in – something we do all the time but seldom notice. After that we did various exercises, including eating one of our meals in silence – that was quite an experience – noticing the different textures and flavours in a new way, as well as the noise of eating, the crunchiness of the lettuce and the click and scrape of cutlery on the plate.
Then two of us went on a walk – there is some woodland next to the Centre - and we walked through this after it had snowed the night before. The sun was shining and melting the ice and snow which was then falling through the laurel leaves and onto the ground. The sounds were sensational. We stopped and listened for a while before we sang a verse and chorus of “How great thou art”.
And I suppose that leads me on to share with you what I gained from this experience. My concern about “Mindfulness” is its roots in Buddhism. The modern movement of Mindfulness was begun in 1979 by a Buddhist scientist – how does a Christian react to this? For me it has led me during this week to realise again that too often we jump into prayer without preparing ourselves, like jumping into the swimming pool without changing into a swimming costume and being weighed down by our clothes.
The prayers can then become just a string of words, especially if they are read out loud. However, by taking a moment or two to anchor ourselves to the present moment, then our prayers can become more meaningful.
I should also say that the Bible has various passages that invite us to stillness and prayer: “Be still and know that I am God”
As he led us, Nick did say that Mindfulness was not for everyone, but I think everyone was blessed by the Retreat in one way or another. I don’t think I shall be buying loads of books on the subject but I hope I will take the time to enter into a prayer time more ‘mindfully’.
May God bless you .