FACT Mission Statement

We are :
From various churches
Assisting and serving our communities
Christians working together
To make a difference

Friday, 4 December 2009

Expecting the Unexpected- FACT Advent Worship 2010

Sunday 6.15pm @ Wesley Methodist Church

An important part of our work together is worshipping together. We do it at least 6 times a year ( which is unusual for many Churches Together Groups ) and it allows us to explore our relationship with each other in a different way to when we are working together on social action etc.

This year's Advent worship has been put together by Rev Angela Steele of Frome URC and Rev Jill Warren of Wesley. They have worked out a great piece of liturgy centred around the Advent Wreath with the theme of Expecting the Unexpected. Like last year different church leaders will be leading different reflections and there will be a joint FACT choir. A lot of hard work has gone into this service and it would be a shame if there wasn't a full chapel on Sunday evening. If you haven't experienced joint worship before then this is a perfect one for you to come to.

Nunney Christmas Tree Festival

Nunney Anglican Church is hosting a Christmas Tree Festival from this Sunday for a full week. It is open from 10am each day to 4pm.

FACT have tree which reflects our Unity with Diversity motto. Its also a way of publicising all the Christmas Services in our various churches.

Do go along and support the event

Carol Singing starts on Saturday

Our annual ( well its gone that way after last year ) carol singing to the people of Frome, to bring them the message of Christmas begins tomorrow at 12.30pm at Sainsburys foyer. Please turn out in big numbers. Carol sheets provided and despite what some of you claim EVERYBODY CAN SING !!!! It really is important that we get out in good numbers for all the carol singing events and make an impact. Its' no use complaining that people have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas and then not doing anything to help them remember.

We are not collecting at any of the venues. This is a conscious decision on the part of the Exec so that why we are doing the carol singing is absolutely clear to the general public.

See you there

The other venues are :

Wednesday 9th December Westway Precinct 10,30am

Saturday 12th December Frome Rugby Club 1.30pm

Wednesday 16th December Frome Market Restaurant Standerwick 11.30am

Saturday 19th December Kingsway Precinct outside MandS 11am

Tuesday 22nd December Homebase 2pm

Wednesday 23rd December Cheese and Grain Farmers’ Market 6pm

The Specatular !!!

Thanks to all you turned out in terrible weather last Sunday. We certainly made an impact because we hadn't stayed at home and stayed dry. We had the courage of our convictions and 100 or so Christians marching together certainly got home the message of what Christmas is all about. It was interesting that one or two of the passengers of passing cars felt the need to heckle. As was pointed out to me though, we were warned by Our Lord that we would suffer such things, and thats light compared to what some people have to suffer for their faith. I overheard someone saying how good it was that our light is used to light the fireworks at the end, making the message and link even clearer. Well done to you all and to Sue and her team from the Town Council, who have been so supportive of the idea of our greater involvement. Make a date in your diary now the next one is Advent Sunday 2010 and its minuted as such as now being the date for this event, i.e not by date but by title !

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

St George's Anglican Church, Beckington

The Tower of St George's is Norman in origin while the much of the rest of the church is 15th Century in origin. Inside the church has an impressive array of memorials on the walls and some brasses in the floor ( although those that can be seen are in fact copies of the originals ) In the south aisle are stone Royal Arms dated 1574 and in the other aisle is a monument to the poet Samuel Danyel d.1619, its inscription states that it was erected by the Countess Dowager Lady Pembroke (Ann Clifford) to whom Danyel was a tutor “in her youth” and died 1619. There are also some effigy tombs dating from the 1300s. There are a significant number of different wall memorials in a variety of styles.
The font is 13th Century while the pulpit is 19th Century in date.
There are several notable architectural details in the church interior ( as well as some nice ones on the outside ) including a pair of lion corbels.

© Photographs Copyright Trish Steel and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Hugh O'Flarhety and Jim Elliot

Hugh O'Flaherty - Roman Catholic - Priest (28 February, 1898 – 30 October, 1963)

Hugh O'Flaherty was born in Lisrobin, Kiskeam, County Cork, Ireland and studied theology at the Killarney seminary. He was posted to Rome in 1922 to finish his studies and was ordained on 20 December, 1925. He stayed to work for the Holy See, serving as a Vatican diplomat in Egypt, Haiti, Santo Domingo and Czechoslovakia. In 1934, O'Flaherty received the title of Monsignor. In addition to his priestly duties, he was an amateur golfing champion. He was also a champion boxer and a good handball player and hurler.
In the early years of World War II, O'Flaherty toured prisoner of war camps in Italy and tried to find out about prisoners who had been reported missing in action. If he found them alive, he tried to reassure their families through Vatican Radio. When Italy changed sides in 1943, thousands of British POWs were released. Some of them, remembering visits by O'Flaherty, reached Rome and asked him for help. Others went to the Irish legation, the only English-speaking one to remain open in Rome during the war. Delia Murphy, who was the wife of the ambassador and in her day a well-known ballad singer, was one of those who helped O'Flaherty. O'Flaherty did not wait for permission from his superiors. He recruited the help of other priests, two agents working for Free French and even Communists and a Swiss count. One of his aides was British Colonel Sam Derry. He also kept contact with Sir D'Arcy Osborne, British Ambassador to the Vatican. O'Flaherty and his allies concealed 4000 escapees - Allied soldiers and Jews - in flats, farms and convents. One of the hideouts was beside the local SS headquarters. O'Flaherty coordinated all this and when he was visiting outside the Vatican, he wore various disguises. The German occupiers of Rome tried to stop him and eventually they found out that the leader of the network was a priest. SS attempts to assassinate him failed. They found out his identity, but could not arrest him inside the Vatican. When the German ambassador revealed this to O'Flaherty, he began to meet his contacts on the stairs of the St. Peter's Basilica. Several others, including priests, nuns and lay people, worked in secret with Msgr. O'Flaherty, and even hid refugees in their own private homes around Rome. Among these were Augustinian Maltese Fathers, Egidio Galea, Aurelio Borg, Ugolino Gatt and Brother Robert. Another person who contributed significantly to this operation was the Malta-born widow Chetta Chevalier, who hid some refugees in her house with her children, and was lucky to escape detection. Jewish religious services were conducted in the Basilica di San Clemente under a painting of Tobias - the Basilica was under Irish diplomatic protection. When the Allies arrived in Rome in June 1944, 3925 of the escapees were still alive. O'Flaherty demanded that German prisoners be treated properly as well. He took a plane to South Africa to meet Italian POWs and to Jerusalem to visit Jewish refugees. Of the 9,700 Jews in Rome, 1,007 had been shipped to Auschwitz. The rest were hidden, 5,000 of them by the official Church - 3,000 in Castel Gandolfo, 200 or 400 (estimates vary) as "members" of the Palatine Guard and some 1,500 in monasteries, convents and colleges. The remaining 3,700 were hidden in private homes.
After the war, O'Flaherty received a number of awards, including the CBE and the US Medal of Freedom with Silver Palm. He refused to use the lifetime pension Italy gave him. He visited his old nemesis, the once SS chief of Rome, Colonel Herbert Kappler, in prison, month after month (he was said to have been his only visitor). In 1959, Kappler converted to Catholicism.

Jim Elliot - Baptist - Layman and Missionary (October 8, 1927 – January 8, 1956)

Jim Elliot was born in Oregon to parents Fred and Clara Elliot - known as the "dynamic duo". Fred was of Scottish heritage; his grandparents were the first of his family to settle in North America. Clara's parents moved near the turn of the 20th century from Switzerland to eastern Washington, where they operated a large and successful ranch. They met in Portland, where Clara was studying to be a chiropractor and Fred, having devoted himself to Christian ministry, was working as a traveling preacher in a small Baptist church. After two years of correspondence, they were married in 1918. Robert, their first child, was born in 1921 while they were living in Seattle, and he was followed by Herbert, Jim, and Jane, all three of whom were born after the family moved to Portland.[1] Jim Elliot's parents firmly subscribed to Christian beliefs, and they raised their children accordingly, taking them to church and reading the Bible regularly. Elliot professed faith in Jesus at the age of six and grew up in a home where obedience and honesty were strictly enforced. The Elliot parents encouraged their children to be adventurous.

In Autumn of 1945, Elliot entered Wheaton College, a private Christian college in Illinois, believing that God had led him there. He saw his time there as an opportunity to grow spiritually, develop discipline, and prepare for future missions work.

Elliot  arrived in Ecuador on February 21, 1952, with the purpose of evangelizing Ecuador's Aucas Indians. They first stayed in Quito studying Spanish, and then moved to the jungle. They took up permanent residence at the Shandia mission station. On October 8, 1953, he married fellow Wheaton alumna and missionary Elisabeth Howard. The wedding was a simple civil ceremony held in Quito. Ed and Marilou McCully were the witnesses. The couple then took a brief honeymoon to Panama and Costa Rica, then returned to Ecuador. Their only child, Valerie, was born February 27, 1955. While working with the Quichua Indians, Elliot began preparing to reach the violent Huaorani Indian tribe which were known at the time as the Aucas.

He and four other missionaries, Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, Pete Fleming, and their pilot, Nate Saint, made contact from their airplane with the Huaorani Indians using a loudspeaker and a basket to pass down gifts. After several months, the men decided to build a base a short distance from the Indian village, along the Curaray River. There they were approached one time by a small group of Huaorani Indians and even gave an airplane ride to one curious Huaorani whom they called "George" (his real name was Naenkiwi). Encouraged by these friendly encounters, they began plans to visit the Huaorani, without knowing that George had lied to the others about the missionaries' intentions. Their plans were preempted by the arrival of a larger group of 10 Huaorani warriors, who killed Elliot and his four companions in a sudden and brutal attack on January 8, 1956. Elliot's mutilated body was found downstream, along with those of the other men, except that of Ed McCully

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Is anyone reading the blog????

Just wondered if anyone is reading the blog and whether people find it useful. Would be good if you could leave a comment and tell me if you are reading it and if you're a FACT person or someone who has picked it up on the WWW
Just a thought !!!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

St Mary Magdelan's Anglican Church, Great Elm

The church at Great Elm originates from the 12th Century with some later additions. It has an unusual tower with a sloping roof which matches those of the nave and chancel. There is an Elizabeathan gallery and some box pews of Jacobean origin. The stained glass is also worth noting in this church. Next to the rather hight pulpit is a little depicted story from Acts "The raising of Tabitha". Those of you who know me will know why that caught my attention !
©Exterior Photograph Copyright Phil Williams and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Frome Spectacular and FACT

For many years, FACT has led the carol singing at the Spectacular Shopping Evening. Starting last year this moved from the last Friday night in November to the last Sunday afternoon. I know that this caused people some concern when it was first announced, for there is always going to be the dillema of whether we as Churches should be being involved with Sunday trading. I've got to say though, that actually this is another time when we have got to say "if they are not in church, we've got to go to where they are " Last year at this time we were preparing for the Advent Light Relay and decided to launch it at the Spectacular with a procession to the carols. It worked wonderfully and the sight of 250 Christians marching with the Light of Christ down our town main street and across the bridge into the Market Yard, really did make and impact.

We have been asked to repeat this act this year. Here are the arrangements -

5pm Service of Light at St John's

5.15pm Move off in procession ( Advent Light at head ) Carol singing down footpaths to Westway precinct and then acroos bridge to Market Yard

5.30pm Muster in front of the main stage to sing with the Town Youth Band

PLEASE PLEASE join us, the more people who do, the bigger the impression and the more clearly the message of Christmas is got across. Lets try for 300 this year and a procession which stretches from the Wheatsheaf to WHSmiths.

If you are coming please carry a lantern, glowstick or light so that it is a real procession of light.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Exec Papers emailed

For the first time this month, all exec papers have been sent by email ( by that I mean that we now have an email address for every exec member or at least a way of getting papers to them by email e.g via someone else )

Please check that you have received them ( there should be 1 x 20 page report which includes all the reports you need to read beforehand and the previous minutes, 1x agenda for the meeting on 23rd and 2 x reports from me whose formatting wouldn't allow them to be included in the main report )

Anything missing or anyone not receiving them please let me know.

Please pray for your Exec team as they read and consider the items they need to discuss.

St Katharine's Anglican, East Woodlands

St Katherine's is a separate parish, although it shares a vicar with St John's Frome. It's church was orignially built in 1714 ( by Lord Bath of the nearby Longleat estate, as many of his workers were villlagers ) and was conscreated nearly a hundred years later in 1811. In 1872 it became a separate parish, rather than a chapel of ease for St John's Frome. It was about this time that it underwent restoration under architect John Loughborough Pearson, who also designed Truro Cathedral. Despite its rural location, the church's links with St John's means that it has a closer link with the town of Frome
The church's tile pavement includes an enlarged version of the Bishop Ken monogram tile usually found as a single four-inch or six-inch tile, but here designed for multiple tile settings.
The church has some fine stained glass and metalwork, aswell as choir stalls and an organ in their traditional place in the Chancel.
Photos © Copyright Trish Steel and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence.

Bible Reading Marathon Update

About £1700 has come in so far for the Archbishop's Fund for Zimbabwe. With Gift Aid that should top the £2000 which is double what we set out to raise !!!!

Well done everyone. Any outstanding monies to Geoff Jackson as soon as possible please.
USPG are most grateful and have said they are going to include some pictures in their next magazine.
By the way another local Churches Together group has been inspired to take up the challenge and are going to have a go next year. A rep from them came to see me to discuss it earlier in the month.

Apologies for the interruption!

It's been two weeks since I got chance to blog. Work has been coming thick and fast ( thankfully ! ) and any spare time has been put into getting the paperwork sorted for the next FACT Exec on 23rd. As well as sorting carol singing, Lent courses and of course doing stuff at St Catharine's such as starting the process of organising our First Holy Communion programme. Hopefully I can use some time today to get some more posts ready for regular updates, but keep checking daily to see what is going on in our town and surrounding area.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

John Mason Neale and Elizabeth Fry

John Mason Neale - Anglican - Priest 24th January 1818 -6th August 1866
John Mason Neale was born in London in 1818, studied at Cambridge, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1842. He was offered a parish, but chronic ill health, which was to continue throughout his life, prevented him from taking it. In 1846 he was made warden of Sackville College, a position he held for the rest of his life. Sackville College was not an educational institution, but an almshouse, a charitable residence for the poor.

In 1854 Neale co-founded the Sisterhood of St. Margaret, an order of women in the Anglican Church dedicated to nursing the sick. Many Anglicans in his day, however, were very suspicious of anything suggestive of Roman Catholicism. Only nine years earlier, John H. Newman had encouraged Romish practices in the Anglican Church, and had ended up joining the Romanists himself. This encouraged the suspicion that anyone like Neale was an agent of the Vatican, assigned to destroy the Anglican Church by subverting it from within. Once Neale was attacked and mauled at a funeral of one of the Sisters. From time to time unruly crowds threatened to stone him or to burn his house. He received no honor or preferment in England, and his doctorate was bestowed by an American college (Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut). However, his basic goodness eventually won the confidence of many who had fiercely opposed him, and the Sisterhood of St. Margaret survived and prospered.

Neale translated the Eastern liturgies into English, and wrote a mystical and devotional commentary on the Psalms. However, he is best known as a hymn writer and translator, having enriched English hymnody with many ancient and mediaeval hymns translated from Latin and Greek

Elizabeth Fry - Quaker - Laywoman 21 May 1780 – 12 October 1845
Elizabeth Gurney was born in Gurney Court, off Magdalen Street, Norwich, Norfolk, England to a Quaker family. Her family home as a child was Earlham Hall, which is now part of the University of East Anglia.Her father, John Gurney, was a partner in Gurney's bank. Her mother, Catherine, was a part of the Barclay family, who were among the founders of Barclays Bank. Her mother died when Elizabeth was only twelve years old. As one of the oldest girls in the family, Elizabeth was partly responsible for the care and training of the younger children, including her brother Joseph John Gurney.

Prompted by a family friend, Stephen Grellet, Fry visited Newgate prison. The conditions she saw there horrified her. The women's section was overcrowded with women and children, some of whom had not even received a trial. They did their own cooking and washing in the small cells in which they slept.

She returned the following day with food and clothes for some of the prisoners. She was unable to further her work for nearly 4 years because of difficulties within the Fry family, including financial difficulties in the Fry bank. Fry returned in 1816 and was eventually able to found a prison school for the children who were imprisoned with their parents. She began a system of supervision and required the women to sew and to read the Bible. In 1817 she helped found the Association for the Reformation of the Female Prisoners in Newgate. This led to the eventual creation of the British Ladies' Society for Promoting the Reformation of Female Prisoners, widely described by biographers and historians as constituting the first "nationwide" women's organization in Britain.

Thomas Fowell Buxton, Fry's brother-in-law, was elected to Parliament for Weymouth and began to promote her work among his fellow MPs. In 1818 Fry gave evidence to a House of Commons committee on the conditions prevalent in British prisons, becoming the first woman to present evidence in Parliament.

Fry and her brother, Joseph John Gurney, took up the cause of abolishing capital punishment. At that time, people in England could be executed for over 200 crimes. Early appeals to the Home Secretary were all rejected, until Sir Robert Peel became the Home Secretary, when they finally got a receptive audience. They persuaded Peel to introduce a series of prison reforms that included the Gaols Act 1823. Fry and Gurney went on a tour of the prisons in Great Britain. They published their findings of inhumane conditions in a book entitled Prisons in Scotland and the North of England.

Fry also helped the homeless, establishing a "nightly shelter" in London after seeing the body of a young boy in the winter of 1819/1820. In 1824, during a visit to Brighton, she instituted the Brighton District Visiting Society. The society arranged for volunteers to visit the homes of the poor and provide help and comfort to them. The plan was successful and was duplicated in other districts and towns across Britain.

After her husband went bankrupt in 1828, Fry's brother became her business manager and benefactor. Thanks to him her work went on and expanded.

In 1840 Fry opened a training school for nurses. Her programme inspired Florence Nightingale, who took a team of Fry's nurses to assist wounded soldiers in the Crimean War

Saturday, 31 October 2009

All Hallows Eve

The idea of celebrating a vigil on the eve of an important feast goes right back to the start of Christianity. Each Saturday night, the whole Christian community met together to pray and read scriptures and share fellowship together through the night in preparation for celebrating the day of Resurrection, which they did each and every Sunday. Today these vigils are confined to just the most important feasts ( Christmas, Easter and Pentecost ) but over time they have been associated with most important feasts and today, the 31st October was the one in preparation for the feast of All Hallows, or as we know it now All Saints.
So we are right to celebrate it as Christians, what we need to do make sure that the original idea of it being a vigil celebration of the Light of Christ overcoming the darkness of evil, and of light to guide spirits of the faithful to their true home in Heaven, in preparation for the feast of all who reside there, is what is celebrated.

Eric Liddell and Corrie Ten Boom

Eric Liddel Minister Scottish Presbyterian Church 16 January 1902 – 21 February 1945
Eric Liddell, often called the "Flying Scotsman", was born in Tianjin (formerly transliterated as Tientsin)  in North China, second son of the Rev & Mrs James Dunlop Liddell who were Scottish missionaries with the London Missionary Society. Liddell was born in 1902 and went to school in China until the age of five. At the age of six, he and his brother Rob, eight years old, were enrolled in Eltham College, Mottingham, a boarding school in England for the sons of missionaries. Their parents and sister Jenny returned to China. During the boys' time at Eltham their parents, sister and new brother Ernest came home on furlough two or three times and were able to be together as a family - mainly living in Edinburgh.

At Eltham, Liddell was an outstanding sportsman, being awarded the Blackheath Cup as the best athlete of his year, playing for the First XI and the First XV by the age of 15, later becoming captain of both the cricket and rugby union teams. His headmaster described him as being 'entirely without vanity'.[citation needed]

Eric Liddell became well-known for being the fastest runner in Scotland while at Eltham College. Newspapers carried the stories of his successful track meets. Many articles stated that he was a potential Olympic winner, and no one from their country had ever won a gold medal before.

During the summer of 1924, the Olympics were hosted by the city of Paris. Liddell was a committed Christian and refused to run on Sunday (the Christian Sabbath), with the consequence that he was forced to withdraw from the 100 metres race, his best event. The schedule had been published several months earlier, and his decision was made well before the Games began. Liddell spent the intervening months training for the 400 metres, an event in which he had previously excelled. Even so, his success in the 400m was largely unexpected. The day of 400 metres race came, and as Liddell went to the starting blocks, an American masseur slipped a piece of paper into Liddell's hand with a quotation from 1 Samuel 2:30, "Those who honour me I will honour." Liddell ran with that piece of paper in his hand. He not only won the race, but broke the existing world record with a time of 47.6 seconds. A few days earlier Liddell had competed in the 200 metre finals, for which he received the bronze medal behind Americans Jackson Scholz and Charles Paddock, beating Harold Abrahams, who finished in sixth place. (This was the second and last race in which these two runners met.)

His performance in the 400 metres in Paris remained a world record for four years, and a European record for 12 years, until it was beaten by another British athlete, Godfrey Brown, at the Berlin Olympics.

Liddell returned to Northern China where he served as a missionary, like his parents, from 1925 to 1943 - first in Tianjin and later in the town of Xiaozhang (Simplified Chinese 肖张镇)[2], Zaoqiang County, Hengshui, Hebei province. During this time he continued to compete sporadically, including wins over members of the 1928 French and Japanese Olympic teams in the 200 and 400 metres at the South Manchurian Railway celebrations in China in 1928 and a victory at the 1930 North China championship.

Liddell's first job as a missionary was as a teacher at an Anglo-Chinese College (grades 1-12) for wealthy Chinese students. It was believed that by teaching the children of the wealthy that they themselves would later become influential figures in China and promote Christian values. He used his athletic experience to train the boys in a number of different sports. One of his many responsibilities was that of superintendent of the Sunday school at Union Church where his father was pastor. Liddell lived at 38 Chongqing Dao (formerly known as Cambridge Road) in Tianjin and a plaque still stands today to commemorate his former residence. He also helped build the Minyuan Stadium in Tianjin. He suggested that it be copied exactly from Chelsea's football ground as he had run there previously, and this was said to be his favourite running venue.

During his first furlough in 1932, he was ordained as a minister of religion. On his return to China he married Florence Mackenzie of Canadian missionary parentage in Tianjin in 1934. Liddell courted his future wife by taking her for lunch to the famous Kiesling restaurant which is still open in Tianjin. They had three daughters, Patricia, Heather and Maureen, the last of whom he would not live to see. The school Eric taught at is still used as a school today. One of Liddell's daughters visited Tianjin in 1991 and presented the headmaster of the school with one of the medals that Eric had won for athletics.[citation needed]

In 1941 life in China was becoming so dangerous that the British Government advised British nationals to leave. Florence and the children left for Canada to stay with her family when Liddell accepted a new position at a rural mission station in Shaochang, which gave service to the poor. He joined his brother, Rob, who was a doctor there. The station was severely short of help and the missionaries who served there were exhausted. There was a constant stream of local people who came at all hours to get medical treatment. Liddell arrived at the station in time to relieve his brother who was ill, needing to go on furlough. Liddell suffered many hardships himself at this mission station

Meanwhile, the Chinese and the Japanese were at war. When the fighting reached Shaochang the Japanese took over the mission station. In 1943, Liddell was interned at the Weihsien (now known as Weifang) Internment Camp with the members of the China Inland Mission Chefoo (now known as Yantai) School. Liddell became a leader at the camp and helped get it organized. Food, medicines, and other supplies ran short at the camp. There were many cliques in the camp and when some rich businessmen managed to smuggle in some eggs to the camp, Liddell shamed them into sharing them with the rest of the camp. Fellow missionaries were forming cliques, moralising, and acting selfishly. Eric kept himself busy by helping the elderly, teaching at the camp school Bible classes, arranging games and also by teaching the children scienceIn his last letter to his wife, written on the day he died, he talks about suffering a nervous breakdown in the camp due to overwork, but in actuality he was suffering from an inoperable brain tumour, to which being overworked and malnourished probably hastened his demise. He died on 21 February 1945, five months before liberation. He was greatly mourned not only at the Weihsien internment Camp but also in Scotland as well. A fellow internee, Langdon Gilkey, was later to write, "The entire camp, especially its youth, was stunned for days, so great was the vacuum that Eric's death had left."

It was recently revealed by the Chinese authorities that Liddell had given up an opportunity to leave the camp and instead gave his place to a pregnant woman. Apparently, the Japanese did a deal with the British,with Churchill's approval, for prisoner exchange. Therefore, because Eric was a famous athlete he was one of the chosen as part of the prisoner exchange. However, he gave his place to another. This information was released near the time of the Beijing Olympics by the Chinese government and apparently news of this great act of sacrifice came as a surprise even to his family members.

Corrrie Ten Boom  laywoman Dutch Reformed Church April 15 1892 – April 15 1983

Corrie ten Boom was born on 15 April, 1892 around Haarlem, as the youngest of four children. Her mother died of a stroke at the age of 63. Her father Casper ten Boom was a well-liked watch repairman, and often referred to as "Haarlem's Grand Old Man". Her older sister, Elisabeth (Betsie), was born with pernicious anemia. They had two siblings- a sister, Nollie, and a brother, Willem. They lived with three of her mother's sisters: Aunt, or Tante, Jans (pronounced 'yunss'), Anna, and Bep. Willem graduated from a theology school and warned the Dutch that unless they took action, they would fall to the Nazis. He wrote a dissertation on racial anti-Semitism at theological college in 1927 in preparation for his ordination. He married a woman named Tine and together had four children. Nollie, a school teacher, married a Flip, a fellow teacher and they had six children one of which was named Peter. Corrie and Betsie never married.

Corrie began training as a watchmaker in 1920 and in 1922 became the first female watchmaker licensed in the Netherlands. In 1923, she helped organize girls' clubs, and in the 1930s these clubs grew to become the very large Triangle club

In 1940, the Nazis invaded the Netherlands and banned Corrie Ten Boom's club. In 1942, she and her family had become very active in the Dutch underground, hiding refugees. They rescued many Jews from certain death at the hands of the Nazi SS. They helped Jews because of their veneration for God's Chosen People (though the Ten Boom family was known for their gracious character towards all, especially the handicapped), and even provided kosher food and honored the Jewish Sabbath. Corrie's family were devout Christians. She and her family resided at Barteljorisstraat 19, Haarlem, Holland. The Jews hid in a room that the ten Boom family had built in Corrie's bedroom for them by an architect belonging to the Dutch Resistance. The room was the size of a medium wardrobe, 75 cm (30") deep, with an air vent on the outside wall.The Nazis never found this room because the only entrance was a small hatch which slid open to let the Jews in and out.

Corrie knew many in Haarlem, thanks to her charitable work, and remembered a couple who had a developmentally disabled daughter. For about twenty years, Corrie ten Boom had run a special church service program for such children, and knew the family. The father was a civil servant who was by then in charge of the local ration-card office. She went to his house unannounced one evening, and he seemed to know why. When he asked how many ration cards she needed, "I opened my mouth to say, 'Five,'" Ten Boom wrote in The Hiding Place. "But the number that unexpectedly and astonishingly came out instead was. 'One hundred.'"

The Germans arrested the entire Ten Boom family on February 28, 1944 at around 12:30 with the help of a Dutch informant. They were sent first to Scheveningen prison (where her father died ten days after his capture). Corrie's sister Nollie, brother Willem, and nephew Peter were all released. Later, Corrie and Betsie were sent to the Vught political concentration camp (both in the Netherlands), and finally to the notorious Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany on December 16, 1944, where Corrie's sister Betsie died. Before she died she told Corrie, "There is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still." Corrie was released on New Year's Eve of December 1944.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Cards for Good Causes

Each year, St John's Church hosts a Christmas card shop with a difference. Here you can get cards for a variety of charities. Although many of us are cutting down on the number of cards which we send locally ( I personally don't send to people I will see to wish a Merry Christmas in person ) and a lot of churches have a collective card for everyone to sign up to and give the money to charity, this is a good opportunity to buy cards which will help others. There are a wide variety of cards available from different charities ( and the charity is clearly marked so if you want to support a particular charity, or indeed if your conscience on issues such as stem cell research mean you want to avoid certain organisations you have the option ) including the RNLI, RNIB, Children's Society, Cancer Research etc.
This is an ecumenical project and I am sure that Colin and Janet etc will welcome offers of helpers with open arms when the card shop is open until the beginning of December. Its also one of those opportunities for the Church to make contact with the un-churched, as many of the customers will not have any religious affiliation.
By the way there is also the opportunity to buy St John's Christmas cards which help with the restoration fund of our "mother" church in Frome.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

St Philip and St James' Anglican Church, Norton St Philip

It shouldn't be a surprise that Norton St Philip's parish church is dedicated to St Philip the Apostle, nor should it surprise us that it is a joint dedication with St James, as these two are so often associated with each other. It is 13th Century in origin and was altered in the 19th Century by guess who ... yes Sir George Gilbert Scott.

Another very nice tower dominates the church, and it contains a ring of bells, which were complimented by Samuel Pepys when he visited the village. Under the tower is a small chamber with stone heads of a King, a bishop, a lady and a monk, possibly representing the different states of life in the Church. Also in this chamber are the "two fair maids heads of Foscott" who were it seems co-joined twins.

The oldest part of the church is what is now the south porch, south aisle and the south-east chapel which was the original sanctuary. The North aisle is the major piece of nineteenth century work in the church, and in some of the window traceries can be found some 14th century glass. There is also an oak churchwarden's chest of some note.

Perhaps of most note is the work which has gone on in the church in the early part of this century. A modern set of stairs leads to "The Hub", a meeting and event room on an upper level which is part of the church's attempts to make their building the centre of village life once more. There is also a kitchen under the stairs ( and a modern vestry space ) which is easily concealed when worship is taking place. These improvements won the Country Life village church for village life award in 2008, the judges included Sir Roy Strong.

Address : St Philip and St James' Church, Norton St Philip, BA2 7LT

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Sunday Extra - Bible Sunday

Today is Bible Sunday in most churches ( typically we in the RC church celebrate the Bible on 2nd Sunday of Advent ! O well... )

The Bible has been in the forefront of our minds as FACT in recent weeks for obvious reasons. One of the fruits of the marathon was the number of people who said "I must read more of that story" or " I realised I don't know as much of the Bible as I thought" We should all be encouraged to read the Bible more. Here are some pictures of the Marathon to remind us of what an effort it was and how worthwhile it was. They also show some of the diversity of people who took part and the different venues where the Marathon took place as the days went by. What you can't see are the numbers of translations being used. I counted at least 9 and that's a real example of Unity with Diversity.

Sunady Spotlight -25th October 2009

Bible Sunday

Roman Catholic/Methodist/URC - 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

AnglicanNineteeth Sunday After Pentecost, Proper 25

Today's liturgy of the Word is about healing and faith. It is clearly Bartimeaus' faith which leads to his healing. For us as FACT healing and issues surrounding it have very much been at the forefront of our minds for about 9 months as we wrestled with the Healing on the Streets proposal. For many people the idea of healing coming direct from God is what it is all about, without any human intervention, For others it is the intercession of the person praying for healing that is important. Reconciling these two views and dealing with other associated problems with the idea of healing has been one of the hardest things which we have had to face as an ecumenical instrument.What was clear was that people do believe that Jesus' healing is not just confinded to the Gospel accounts but the fact that it is not always visible and that it does not always come is a source of great distress and needs to be treated with sensitivity. Maybe today we should ask what would the blind man's attitude have been had he not been healed?

What today's Gospel tells us is that however we view healing, it is Christ who is healing and that there needs to be faith on the part of the person seeking healing. Despite what his friends are telling him, Bartimeaus still goes for healing and is rewarded. We and those who seek the ministry of the Healing on the Streets team, need to realise that sometimes healing will not take place. As the leper in another story says to Our Lord,  "if it is your will you can heal me ", if we are aware that no matter how strong our faith sometimes the Lord wills that we are not healed then we will not be disspointed, and will be able to see this as part of our faith journey. That doesn't mean that it won't be hard for those people to hear of the miracles of healing that have taken place.

Our role as Christians is to help those who may try and get healing and not receive it either immediately or in the long term, see that it is no reflection on them or indeed on the Lord. We need to encourage their faith and encourage them to do what Batimeaus does and follow Christ, no matter what the healing result is.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Mary Slessor and John Bosco

Mary Slessor - Presbyterian- Lay woman and Missionary ( 2nd December 1848- 13th January 1915)

Mary was born in Aberdeen and moved to Dundee at the age of 11 when her family was looking for work. Her father was an alcoholic who had to stop his work as a shoemaker and eventually became a mill labourer. Mary's mother ensured that she attended church and made her a half time worker at a jute mill, working for half the day and attending the mill school for the other half.

She developed a strong interest in religion and joined a local mission teaching the poor. One famous story from this time is that of the Red Headed Lady: Mary dared a gang of boys that she would not flinch as they swung a metal weight closer and closer to her face; she successfully stayed still, and the boys had to attend her Sunday School as forfeit.

Mary Slessor went to live among the efik people in Calabar in present day Nigeria. There she successfully fought against the killing of twins at infancy. she died there in 1915 and was given a state burial

John Bosco - Roman Catholic - Priest and Founder ( 16th August 1815 -January 31st 1888 )

John Bosco was born in Becchi, Piedmont. His father died two years later and Giovanni, together with his two brothers Antonio and Giuseppe, was brought up by his mother. She was to support him in his work until her death in 1856.

When he was young, he would put on shows of his skills as a juggler, magician and acrobat.The price of admission to these shows was a prayer that was never enforced, but always asked.

Early in his childhood he had a vision or dream in which he learned what his life would be dedicated to and in the dream he heard a voice which said, "Not with blows, but with charity and gentleness must you draw these friends to the path of virtue."It was this statement which was instilled in oratory and preventive system he was yet to found.

Don Bosco began as the chaplain of the Rifugio ("Refuge"), a girls' boarding school founded in Turin by the Marchioness Giulia di Barolo, but he had many ministries on the side such as visiting prisoners, teaching catechism and helping out at country parishes.

A growing group of boys would come to the Rifugio on Sundays and feast days to play and learn their catechism. They were too old to join the younger children in regular catechism classes in the parishes, which mostly chased them away. This was the beginning of the "Oratory of St. Francis de Sales." Don Bosco and his oratory wandered around town for a few years and were turned out of several places in succession. Finally, he was able to rent a shed from a Mr. Pinardi. His mother moved in with him. The oratory had a home, then, in 1846, in the new Valdocco neighborhood on the north end of town. The next year, he and "Mamma Margherita" began taking in orphans.

Don Bosco's capability to attract numerous boys and adult helpers was connected to his "Preventive System of Education." He believed education to be a "matter of the heart" and said that the boys must not only be loved, but know that they are loved. He also pointed to three components of the Preventive System: reason, religion and kindness. Music and games also went into the mix.

Don Bosco gained a reputation early on of being a saint and miracle worker. For this reason, Rua, Buzzetti, Cagliero and several others began to keep chronicles of his sayings and doings. Don Bosco was obsessed by the needs of the poor in his own Turin and the missions ( including sending young priests to England at the request of the Duke of Norfolk ) and he worked tirelessly for his whole life for the poor, especially the young. His work is carried on by the Salesians of Don Bosco who he founded. He died on January 31st 1888.  He was canonized in 1943

Friday, 23 October 2009

Shoe Box Appeals

Many of our churches and schools are involved in the Christmas Shoe Box appeals to bring presents to children in poorer countries. If your church isn't involved you might consider making up a gift shoebox and taking it along to one of churches which is.

Two that I know are collecting are Wesley ( contact Jean Fraser ) and St John's ( contact Janet Caudwell )

There are rules on what can and can't be included and they do vary from appeal to appeal so best check.

It is worthwhile, and all the more needed in our current economic climate when charities are being pushed to the limit and general donations are down.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

True Halloween Party

For many years, FACT through the Holiday Bible Club has held "An Alternative to Halloween" party for children. At a recent exec meeting it was decided that the word alternative was wrong. After all Halloween is from All Hallows Eve and is therefore a Christian Festival ( albeit with links to earlier druidical ones ), so using the word alternative is belittling a Christian festival which has been hijacked. Before the witches and goblins and gore became what it was all about ( and I even saw a poster at our Leisure Centre today saying "Celebrate Halloween with a £1 Gym membership ) the festival was and still is, a celebration of the Light of Christ overcoming the darkness of evil. The pumpkin lantern with its light drives away the evil spirits its doesn't need the gruesome face.

So we are now calling it a True Halloween Party, where children will be exposed to the Light of Christ and His message rather than to the darkness portrayed and encouraged by the shops ! And as a sign of how well things are going for us as Churches at the moment in Frome and how our co-operation knows now boundaries, It will be held on two consecutive nights !

Friday 30th 5-7pm at Holy Trinity Hall - Party
Saturday 31st 5-7pm at St Catharine's Hall - Puppet making workshop

Do encourage all children ( not just church families ) to attend, these are for ALL children from 5-10years of age.

Lets pray for our hard working Holiday Bible Club team as they ( and indeed us ) attempt to get the true meaning of Halloween across.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

St Catharine's Roman Catholic Church, Frome

Today we look at the newest of our Church buildings. Built in 1968 to replace the 1928 church which now serves as the church hall. It is hexangonal in shape ( as were all ancient churches named after martyrs ) with a conical roof. This roof was originally see through ( and there were no other windows ) but it leaked terribly and had to be made solid. Further extention work was done in 1991, allowing for more seating and the much needed addition of windows for natural light. The present church seats around 200 and is made of breeze block, which is neither rendered on the outside or plastered on the inside.  It needs to be remembered that historically this church was one of the first to be built following the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council and its architecture reflects this.

The altar has two crosses carved into the pillars. One is smooth and one is rough, and they represent the good and bad thieves crucified either side of Christ. The Stations of the Cross are unique. Created by a Trowbridge artist they are Oriental in style. The motif of the Rising Sun is visible in each other apart from the last two, when of course the "Sun" has gone out.

The Blessed Sacrament chapel is built in memorial to Monsgnieur Ronald Knox, who completed his famous translation of the Bible while resident in the parish.

There are three almost life-sized statues, one of Our Lady of Lourdes, one of the Sacred Heart and one of St Therese of Liseux.
Address : 4 Park Road, Frome BA11 1EU

A Quiet Time

After a hectic 6 weeks in FACT's life, the last couple have been relatively quiet with not much going on. Of course that's not true, FACT is like a swan, our joint public events are just the top part above the water, underneath are many sets of legs paddling away like mad. Plans are already in hand for events as far ahead as Lent 2010 ( and my particular brain is thinking about Pentecost 2010 and formulating an idea. You have been warned ! ) This quiet time allows us to reflect on what we've done before ( remember written reports needed for next exec on 23rd November ) and to get the ground work done for our next projects before we get so bogged down in actually doing them.
Keep a look out for opportunities to volunteer, and get involved in a variety of ways. Over the next few days I will flag up some of the things which are happening between now and the end of the year. Please pray for all those who are hard at work behind the scenes planning and organising.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Frome's Very Own Christian Heroes

Each Saturday this blog brings you the lives of Christian Heroes from around the world. Today I want to celebrate 166 of Frome's own heroes - those who read in the Bible Reading Marathon : -

Ann Burgess Christ Church CE

David Brinn St Catharine’s RC

Neil Maxted Christ Church CE

Ross Frooms Christ Church CE

Mandy Hulme St Katherine’s CE

Alan Hawker Beckington CE

Peter Price Bishop of Taunton

Paul Stoddart St Catharine’s RC

Sally White Christ Church CE

Derek Gill Christ Church CE

Jean Gill Christ Church CE

John Eyles Christ Church CE

Beryl Eyles Christ Church CE

Colin Alysbury St John’s CE

Marian Alysbury St John’s CE

Ronal Jarret Holy Trinity CE

Patsy Stephenson Christ Church CE

Gwyneth Philips Wesley Methodist

Ward Jones Bristol Methodist District Chairman

David Clarke Holy Trinity CE

Richard Loveless Holy Trinity CE

Frances Loveless Holy Trinity CE

Cynthia Smith Christ Church CE

Tony Sermon St Catharine’s RC

Teresa Sermon St Catharine’s RC

Colm Hand St Catharine’s RC

Shelia Hand St Catharine’s RC

David Hannant Christ Church

Maggie Hannant Christ Church

Joan Pippet St Catharine’s RC

Elizabeth Feltoe St Catharine’s RC

Christina Philimore Beckington CE

Edmund Philimore Beckington CE

Jo Perkins St Catharine’s RC

Diane Ellis St Mary’s CE

Adrian West Holy Trinity CE

Sarah Baker Holy Trinity CE

Liz Neame St Catharine’s RC

Nina Paulin St Catharine’s RC

Jeff Day St Catharine’s RC

Leanne Edwards St Catharine’s RC

John Scott St Catharine’s RC

Sarah Jocelyn St Dominic’s RC

Simon McKie Beckington CE

Mike Mori Holy Trinity CE

Pat Siderfin St Katherine’s CE

Stephen Siderfin St Katherine’s CE

Dorothy-Ann Bryant Holy Trinity CE

Anna Vickers-Barber St Catharine’s RC

Janet Caudwell St John’s

David Barge St Mary’s CE

Anne Steele Frome URC

Ashley Elliot Frome URC

Damon Hooton Mayor of Frome

Catherine Jones St Catharine’s RC

Gary Lee Holy Trinity CE

Chris Kowalik St Catharine’s RC

Alicia Kowalik St Catharine’s RC

Peter Baker St Catharine’s RC

Patricia Baker St Catharine’s RC

Joe Parkmanis St Mary’s CE

Hilary Parkmanis St Mary’s CE

Alan Burgess St John’s CE

Di Burroughs Frome URC

Martin King St Catharine’s RC

Barbara Robbins St Mary’s CE

Jill Warren Wesley Methodist

Richard Philips Wesley Methodist

Jean Fraser Wesley Methodist

Christine Milne Wesley Methodist

Christine Milns Wesley Methodist

Margaret Abel Wesley Methodist

Molly Butler Wesley Methodist

Veronica Price St Catharine’s RC

Richard Pinnock Christ Church CE

Ann Febrey St Catharine’s RC

Brendan Balhatchet St Catharine’s RC

Gudula Balhatchet St Catharine’s RC

Carol Ellis St John’s CE

Lyn Vranch St John’s CE

Patrick Williamson St Catharine’s RC

Lisa Gauntlett St Catharine’s RC

David Revell Holy Trinity CE

Val Baker Portway Methodist

Val Payne St John’s CE

G Massey St John’s CE

Tim Samler Beckington CE

Ann Samler Beckington CE

Rosemary McCormick St John’s CE

Vera Crossman St John’s CE

Valerie Wheeler St John’s CE

Mary Heritage St John’s CE

George Pritchard Postlebury CE

Margaret Pritchard Postlebury CE

Tallulah St John’s First

Joe St John’s First

James St John’s First

Evie St John’s First

Emily St John’s First

Oliver St John’s First

Harry St John’s First

Lottie St John’s First

Henry St John’s First

Pam Dukes St John’s First

Ryan St John’s First

Kaitlin St John’s First

Lily St John’s First

Michael Bellman St John’s CE

Margaret Shelton St John’s CE

Win Webber St John’s CE

Morag Smitherman St John’s CE

John Henderson St John’s CE

Marian Webb Postlebury CE

Iris Fletcher St John’s CE

Carey Barlow St John’s CE

Judith Millican St Catharine’s CE

Monica Sandy Wesley Methodist

John Winterbourne St John’s CE

Simon Cox St Mary’s CE

E Gilbert St John’s CE

Debbie Godwin St Catharine’s RC

Paul Godwin St Catharine’s RC

Teresa Reynolds St Catharine’s RC

Claire Ibbotson St Catharine’s RC

Terry Bushell St John’s CE

Lois Bushell St John’s CE

Jen Culliford St John’s CE

Jim Culliford St John’s CE

Gerry James St Catharine’s RC

Geraldine James St Catharine’s RC

Isaac Rhodes St Catharine’s RC

Kay Rhodes St Catharine’s RC

Jacinta Rhodes St Catharine’s RC

Patricia Netley St Catharine’s RC

Maggie Lawton St Catharine’s RC

Chris Lawton St Catharine’s RC

Deborah Littlewood St Catharine’s RC

Natasha Littlewood St Catharine’s RC

Sarah James Wesley Methodist

Shirley Smith Wesley Methodist

Neil McCormick St John’s CE

Diana McDonald St Catharine’s RC

Coral Jones-Williams St Mary’s CE

Isobel George Beckington CE

Martin Weymont Mells CE

Molly Haydon Holy Trinity CE

Maggie Hancocks Holy Trinity CE

Graham Owen Holy Trinity CE

Alan Somerville Holy Trinity CE

Elizabeth Langdon St Catharine’s RC

Freda Davies Postlebury CE

Joe Krige St Catharine’s RC

Frances Krige St Catharine’s RC

Clare Krige St Catharine’s RC

Seph Krige St Catharine’s RC

Lesley Owen Holy Trinity CE

David Groesch-Miller Moderator URC SW

Sam Brinn St Catharine’s RC

David Wakefield Holy Trinity CE

Elizabeth Wakefield Holy Trinity CE

Clare Asquith St Dominic’s RC

David Heath MP for Somerton and Frome

John Chappell Holy Trinity CE

Nick Cooper Frome Baptist

Benjamin Taylor Frome Christian Fellowship

Gina Parsons Rook Lane Congregational

Yvonne Ellis Wesley Methodist

Each is a hero beacuse together they acheived something remarkable last week.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

St Andrews Anglican Church, Mells

St Andrew's Mells has many things to recommend it to anyone interested in art and architecture. Dating from the late 15th Century with mid 19th century restoration, its tower is mid 16th Century. The tower ( 104ft high) contains a 17th Century clock and a peal of 8 bells. The earliest of these bells is from 1717 and they can be heard chiming out familiar hymn tunes.

The church owes a lot of the art etc inside to its connections with the manor house, which is next door. Originally owned by the Horner family, and later the Asquiths ( Kathrine Horner married Raymond Asquith, the son of the Prime Minister ) their connections with members of the arts and crafts movement and their successors meant that there are many beautiful features in the church.

There is a most unusual equestrian memorial to Edward Horner, killed like his brother in law Raymond in the First World War. Created by Alfred Mullings ( noted for his horse paintings, this being a rare sculpture ) and sitting on a base reminiscent of the Cenotaph. This shouldn't be a surprise because both were created by Edwin Lutyens.

Other notable works in the church include items a tapestry and peacock memorial plaque designed by Burne-Jones.

The church seats 230 but perhaps of the most interest to many visitors to the church is the churchyard. This is because of the graves there, which include members of the Horner and Asquith families ( they continue to be buried there, though they are now Roman Catholics, ) war poet Siegfried Sassoon and Catholic scholar and writer Mgr Ronald Knox.

Address : Church Street, Mells, BA11 3PW

Sunday, 11 October 2009

And they said it couldn't be done !

At 10.35am this morning the 165th individual reader got to the end of Rev 21, leaving only Rev 22 for Ann Burgess to read at our United Worship. We did it !!!!! In nearly 300 slots of 15 we covered the whole Bible and we delayed the start of the news on BBC Radio Somerset so that they could cover the start of it all live on Thursday.

A huge thank you to everyone. The great things for me were 1 ) The sheer number of people who said how much they enjoyed it and how much they got out of it 2 ) The people who said they met Christians from churches they hadn't met before 3 ) The way people turned up ! Only one person didn't do their slot in the end, with people swapping and shuffling etc  4 ) The fact that people turned up to see if they could get a slot, having heard what fun it was proving 5 ) The sense of teamwork which pervaded it all 6 ) The fact that many of those who were involved weren't the usual suspects who do FACT stuff and certainly weren't those who their ministers would expect to read in church.

It might have been rushed at times to fit it in but we proved it could be done.

One thing which stuck in my mind last night. I heard all 4 Passion narratives within the space of a couple of hours and quite unrehearsed and without hearing the others, each reader left a poignant pause at the words "and breathed his last " or "gave up his Spirit". Now that's the Holy Spirit working in us.

Sunday Spotlight - 11th October 2009

Roman Catholic/Methodist/URC - 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Anglican - Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost, Proper 23

Job 23:1-9, 16-17 or Amos 5:6-7, 10-15 * Psalm 22:1-15 or Psalm 90:12-17 * Hebrews 4:12-16 * Mark 10:17-31

Today's readings put into focus our views on personal possessions self sacrifice. There's nothing wrong with personal wealth, it's what we do with it that is important. For some people following Christ will involve the sacrifices that Peter points out that he has made, leaving everything and going where the Lord wants. For others it will be less dramatic but no less worthy. There are many examples in the past of rich people doing good with their wealth without ever leaving home. We are reminded that there will always be persecutions even when we make great sacrifices. Some people might not be keen on what we do as Christians in pusuit of spreading the Gospel, but that should not stop us. If it takes every penny we have we should carry on regardless, at the end of the day the message is much more important than money, and we can't take it with us !!!!

This weekend so many of the Christians of Frome have done exactly what today's Gospel asks for by making personal sacrifice for the good of the Gospel. They have given up their time to read in the Bible Marathon and in doing so have not only made a difference to the lives of the people of Zimbabwe but also to getting the Gospel message across in our town. With only a few hours to go, we are tired ( especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice and did without sleep ! ) but bouyed up that we did it and what was another of David's crazy ideas has come off !

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Donald Soper and William and Catherine Booth

Donald Soper - Methodist - Minister (31 January 1903 – 22 December 1998)
Donald Soper, the son of a marine claims adjuster and a schoolmistress, was born in Streatham on 31st January, 1903. His father, a devout Methodist was a Liberal and an active member of the Temperance Society. Donald's mother also held radical political ideas and was a supporter of the Women's Social & Political Union. Donald was brought up in a home that strongly disapproved of alcohol, gambling and blood sports and he was to share these views all his life. Soper became a probationer minister in the South London Mission. As the congregation was small, he began preaching in the open air. In 1926 he started regular soap-box sessions on Sunday at Hyde Park Corner and at Tower Hill on a Wednesday. Soper drew large crowds and soon became one of the best-known churchmen in Britain. The poverty that Soper witnessed in Derby and London converted him to socialism. In 1929 Soper moved to Islington and remained there until he became superintendent of the West London Mission at Kingway Hall. Appointed in 1936, for the next forty-two years he developed homes and hostels in London for the homeless, unmarried mothers and alcoholics. Until the early 1960s over 400 people would hear him preach on Sunday morning at Kingway Hall and attendance at evening meetings sometimes reached a 1,000. He was created a life peer for his work.

Willam and Catherine Booth - Salvationists - Officers(10 April 1829 – 20 August 1912) and (17 January 1829 – 4 October 1890)

William Booth was a British Methodist preacher who founded The Salvation Army and became its first General (1878-1912). Catherine was born in Kent in 1829 and they were married in 1855. Together they worked in ministry with Catherine working with young people and children. They went onto found The Christian movement, with a quasi-military structure and government - but with no physical weaponry - in 1865, in London and this went on to become the Salvation Army. Their ministry was always to the poor of society.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Cheese and Grain United Worship on Sunday

Just a reminder that this Sunday 11th October is our annual morning United Worship. Many churches have made this their only worship for the day, and we are developing an understanding of why for some of us this is impossible ( its all part of the unity with diversity process)

It all starts at 11am by which time we should be ready for the last bit of the Bible Marathon. We are going to ask the whole congregation to round off the Marathon by saying the last word together ( Ann Burgess whose idea it all was and who read the first chapters of Genesis on Thursday, will read the last verses of Revelation ) If you don't know what the last word of the Bible is look it up so you can join in !

Ann Taylor will be organising children's activities in the foyer, and its scheduled to be a maximum of 1 hour 15mins !

See you there

Thursday, 8 October 2009

In the Beginning...

Those words have just got us off to a flying start. The Bible Marathon has started !

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Bible Marathon - Less than a day to go.

There have been times when I felt we would never get there, but despite some last minute hitches and drop outs ( and some new recruits ! ) we are there. Its still not to late to sign up and if you're flexible then we should be able to get you a slot !

Do come along and be there to listen if you can, you never know what you will hear and which parts of the Bible you might discover !
If you can come and help steward and help with the admin of the days even for a short while then it will be most appreciated- especially by your harassed chair !

If you haven't had chance to sponsor a reader there will be collecting buckets there for you to drop something in for the people of Zimbabwe.

Please pray for the success of this event.

If you want to listen live to the start of the Marathon then it will be on BBC Radio Somerset at just before 8am in the morning !!!!


Apologies that the aim of daily posts hasn't been kept up lately. Organising the Bible Marathon and other work has kept me from posting. It would be interesting to know how many people are regularly reading the blog and whether they find it useful as a tool for our ecumenical work.

The normal order of posts has been distrupted but hopefully we will be back on course once this weekend is over.

St Mary's the virgin Anglican Church, Innox Hill, Frome

The first thing that you notice about St Mary's is the way the Church Hall links the church and the vicarage. Having been built as a unit, they are a handsome set together.

The octagonal sancutary is beautifully and highly decorated and rounds this smallish church off well.

It is outside that the distinctives style can be seen. Unusually there are two bells towers. Just above the sanctuary is a short spire containing a single bell ( presumably a consecration bell ) while at the West end is a carrilion with three bells and some rather fine finials.

Built originally as a chapel of ease for St Johns in 1863/4 in conjunction with the rebuilding/reordering work on St Johns, its interior is unplastered.

Photo : © Brendan Balhetchet LRPS