Sunday, 22 November 2015

Secret Church

We had our first ever Secret Church at MRBC on 22nd November 2015.   Even though it wasn't well advertised, about 40 people came and experienced the limitations that churches in some part of the world experience - without the sense of fear and danger.  Improvisation was the order of the day, even down to the pitta bread and olive oil that substituted for communion!

We also watched this great film from Brother Andrew about Syria which is very challenging.  

For more information about Open Doors and Secret Church services, try their website.  Please pray for persecuted Christians around the world and support organisations that help the persecuted church like Open Doors.

But also remember that even in our own divided society, we can be ministers of reconciliation, and as Brother Andrew puts in, to love our enemies and make them our friends, which is far more powerful than the hate and violence that come from so many people and groups in the world today.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

EA/MAF Advent Prayer Guide

This is the Evangelical Alliance and MAF Advent prayer guide designed to be used from 29th November (Advent Sunday - Day 1)  to 25th December(Christmas Day - Day 27).   It can be printed off here.  It's going to be daily on MRBC's Twitter account from Sunday 29th November.  If you want to receive it on your computer, tablet or smartphone, go on to Twitter and follow @MRBCFelixstowe.  It will also be on the MRBC Facebook page daily from 29th November as well.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Everlasting Light

Andy Rayner introduces Everlasting Light: a schools charity music project for Christmas 2016.  This video introduces it.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Win Walden: My Story

Win Walden died on the 13th October, just two months short of her hundredth birthday.  As part of her Thanksgiving Service, her sister Doreen read out a testimony that Win wrote in 2007.

Life for me began in a small cottage at Daventry in Northamptonshire during the dark days of the First World War.  Soon afterwards my father was conscripted into the Army and was away for six years.   My parents were both from Christian homes and so it was natural for me to be brought up in the Christian faith.  Daventry was a small country town, serving many small villages.    We had an Anglican Church, Methodist, Catholic and a Congregational or Independent to which we belonged.  Every Sunday morning, afternoon and evening were spent there.   I graduated from scholar to Sunday School pianist and teacher and made a church member at 17.

Our day school had been founded by the Nonconformists before my father went to school and the Governors were chapel people. The teachers  too were expected to be Christians and every morning the day began with  a religious assembly.  I can still remember passages of Scripture that we learned in those assemblies..

The Sunday School Union yearly exams also helped ground us in the faith.   If you didn't pass the 11 Plus, you left school at the age of 14.  The only place to unless you were fortunate enough to work in a shop, was Stead & Simpson's shoe factory, and I began in the Closing Room in 1930.   I didn't like it , but you had to put up with it.

We enjoyed  our leisure time at the Youth Club.   For a while I went to evening classes; and I also enjoyed playing tennis.   Public transport was scarce so we walked in the countryside a lot.

Eventually my husband and I paired off and we were married in April 1939.  Happiness did not last long as war was declared in September, with the daily dread of conscription papers arriving.   Early in 1940 they came, and except for the odd leave here and there, we were apart for six years.

The war years were not all doom and gloom however.   I was invited to work in a grocery shop, a job I loved, and was there until the men came back from the war, after which I was promoted to the office.

I made friends with a Land Army girl from Manchester and strangers from London who belonged to the Brethren.   It was from these friends that I found a deeper faith in my Christian life.  
It was difficult to settle down after the war, but gradually life resumed a normal pattern.In 1960 I felt a strong desire to be baptised - but where?   The nearest Baptist Church was 5 miles away - with no public transport.  Eventually I went to Rugby which was 11 miles away, and the Lord went before me and opened up the way for me to experience the wonder of baptism.

About this time my husband was beginning to feel he would like to change his job.  A friend came forward with news of a Congregational Church in Solihull that needed a Caretaker.   We applied and were accepted, staying there for 5 years.   An advert in the Baptist Times for a Caretaker at Teddington Baptist Church made us restless.   We went for an interview and the removal van was soon at the door again.

Our new home was a cottage next door to the church.  We spent 5 happy years there, enjoying the lovely historic area, joining in all the church activities, serving the Lord in every way we could.

Then the blow fell; my husband was told by the doctor that he was very ill - what now!   The cottage was tied to the church.   We contacted the Baptist Men's Housing Association to see if they had anything.   All they could offer was a flat in Bristol!  Here again the Lord went before us, and we were duly installed in June 1976.   We were quite happy with the church and the flat, but were on the outskirts of Bristol, and after the busyness of life in London, with its wonderful bus service, we felt a bit flat.

Eleven months passed and out of the blue came an offer of a flat in Twickenham, next door to Teddington.  My husband was gradually getting worse, so good Christian friends fetched him in their car and arranged for us to stay with them while I got the flat straight (I rode in the furniture van).   Sad to say we had only been with our friends a few days when my husband died; he never did go into the flat.

My friends belonged to Twickenham Green Baptist Church and as it was nearer to me than Teddington, I joined too.

I became a Teacher and a Deacon, helped with the Women's Fellowship and with anything else I could do.  I was there form 1972 to 1999 and they were wonderful 22 years of Christian fellowship - with marvellous Christians who gave of themselves in the service of the Lord.  The church has lost members by retirement and death, but they still go forward in faith.

In March 1999 I moved nearer to my sister in Suffolk.  A place was found for me at Reeeve Lodge, and in November of the same year, through God;s grace I was able to move to Trimley St Martin.  I find it difficult to believe I have been here 8 years.  Where to next?  Only God knows that.   He holds the key and I am glad.

Win Walden (1915-2015)

Win was an active member at MRBC until her mid nineties, her last service being the pianist at the Women's Fellowship.   She remained at Reeve Lodge until 2013 when failing health necessitated a move, first to St Mary's Residential Home and finally to Merryfields.  It was always a joy to visit her.   No-one could have been more prepared for the Lord's presence than Win and we praise God for her life and witness.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Churches Together in Felixstowe AGM Reports

Here are the AGM reports for the Churches Together meeting on Wednesday 4th November.  They make encouraging reading about what God is doing through many of our local Christian organisations.  The Town Pastors report is in their Newsletter which is also on this blog.

Walton Parish Nursing
Walton Parish Nursing has continued to grow and develop and now has over 60 regular clients and 16 trained volunteers.
We have continued to run the chair based exercise class once a week and visit many clients in their homes. Furthermore, WPN gave a talk during the churches unity week and were blessed by more volunteers and a donation to buy equipment, and other talks have been given to the Catholic women’s league and at the University Campus Suffolk to group of training district nurses.
After finishing running the baby weighing session at The Oaks children’s centre, WPN commenced a health drop in at the Laydens community cafĂ© in Langley Avenue. This is a huge success; we are able to offer health advice, weight management and blood pressure checks to all ages.
Moreover, our second healthy hearts course in March was well attended and also in March we were able to meet the Methodist president of the conference, Rev Howcroft, during his visit to Felixstowe.
In April, the East of England Co-op adopted us as one of three charities for their ‘green token scheme’ and we have since received a cheque for £500 - half the possible amount.
In addition, we have received training in dementia, mental health, diabetes, bereavement and loss.
In August, WPN was delighted to welcome Wendy Hubbard, who is an occupational therapist to the team. This appointment means that Wendy and Lorna now cover Monday to Thursday each week in serving the community of Walton.
Also in August, Lorna was interviewed by Jon Wright on Suffolk Radio during his health slot.
What is more, links have been built with St Elizabeth Hospice, the social work team based at Queens Road and the dementia Felixstowe action alliance.
WPN is continuing to build links with the community, as we reach out to all ages to support people with their health - physical, emotional, social and spiritual. 
 Lorna Bellamy, Parish Nurse


Thank you to all those who have championed our work over recent months.

We have successfully completed our first year of Academy Chaplaincy at Felixstowe Academy, showing what can be achieved by creatively linking schools and churches.

Ofsted, after taking a good look at every aspect of our provision towards the end of the summer term, rated our chaplaincy provision as providing ‘excellent support’ (June 2015) for which we are extremely pleased. In education it is one of the biggest endorsements we could have hoped for.

With a new principal, and a year of experience under our belt, we are looking forward to another year of opportunities and challenges at Felixstowe Academy and beyond. The number of other schools enquiring about wanting this type of provision is overwhelming!

Josh has started a part-time PhD exploring the role of chaplains in state-funded academies in the UK. This is a 5 year project which Felixstowe Academy are supporting and this shows our commitment to Academy Chaplaincy, this local partnership, and our future work too.
We do need greater financial support to keep this work running day-to-day and to develop it further. We have narrowed our costs down to one salary (no building, no rent, no equipment), and our trustees are very proud that this is one of the best value ministries in the UK

We would ask individuals to consider supporting this project by giving £10 per month to help support the 1,300 students, and the staff too, at our local academy.

For further updates do take a look at our new website,, where you can sign up to our regular newsletters.

The Hope Trust

It’s been a busy few months since we lasted reported to CTiF in May.
Our new cookery classes are underway and it is wonderful to hear people share how they have tried out the new recipes they have learnt here, in their own kitchens – a welcome change to ready meals, or so we’re told! Referrals from the local Physio team, Community team and Adult Social Workers have also allowed us to reach out to people who suddenly find themselves needing what hope trust can offer – a chance to make new social connections, to get out of the house for a few hours and meet new people, possibly even making new friends along the way. It is so encouraging to hear a group of older people sharing the story of their life both in the past and in the present; as they share stories of how they spend their time, we watch happily as they extend an invitation to people they have known for a long time, or just met that morning, to join them – it’s great to see new connections being made so naturally.

The work in the residential homes also continues with the busy run-up to Christmas being planned. In addition to all the services being taken into the homes, each residential home will be asked if they still have the hope trust Christmas DVD that they can make use of at any point during the holiday season.

The charity has successfully become a new Charitable Incorporated Organisation, and whilst none of our clients would have noticed any changes, for the charity itself there has been a lot of work taking place behind the scenes including updating headed paper and all advertising to show our new charity number.

The support of so many local churches, and individuals, means that hope trust can continue to offer most of what it does free of charge; our sincere thanks to all who make this possible.

Please keep on under-pinning our work with prayer – we know it makes such a difference!

Paul and Sheila Taylor 01394 272592

As we approach the end of our fourth year, we are all too aware and very grateful for the many ways in which God has blessed our work. In the four years we have been able to provide a safe and caring place for people who are experiencing life difficulties to share their story in confidence and explore their way ahead. However, we are also aware that there are a great many more people out there in the community who would benefit from meeting, one-to-one, with one of our trained listeners or counsellors and we continue to invite the local churches to work in partnership with us by telling people the support which we can offer.

We are delighted that we now have ten local churches represented on our volunteer team. Our Christian faith is what motivates us and sustains us in what can sometimes be stressful, although always very fulfilling work. We are always very pleased to talk to church groups and congregations about FLS. As part of Inspire Counselling & Training, we can also help to arrange training in pastoral care, listening skills and a range of subjects related to mental health wellbeing.

Our main challenges for our fifth year are to ensure a more secure financial foundation for our work, which currently is very reliant on fundraising, and to work towards having our own premises. We would be very interested to hear from any other Christian group which could be interesting in sharing premises.

Margaret Bale
FLS Team Leader
Tel. 07896 326459