At last! Our Pentecost Whitsunday Celebration Service was held in the refurbished sanctuary after over four months of worshipping in the church hall. We gathered in the hall for one last time and walked in procession behind the Bible, with the children waving streamers of ribbon ahead of Tim, Cristina and the colourfully-dressed congregation - up the ramp and into our new, bright, welcoming entrance foyer leading to the glass doors to the sanctuary. A colourful service featured the baptisms of Claire, Gabriella and Jonathan, holy communion, gospel readings in six languages (Babel or Pentecost?) and hymn singing accompanied by the organ and piano. It was good to see so many people in church again with over 90 adults and children present. Praise the Lord.
Our Pentecost Whitsunday Celebration Service is at 10:00 am on Sunday, 20th May, when we shall be moving into our refurbished worship space! A festive worship service is planned with baptisms and communion as we celebrate the outpouring of The Holy Spirit. The Bible reading Acts, chapter 2, verses 1 - 21 tells the story.
The service will begin in the church hall, then the whole congregation who can walk, or ride on wheels, will then walk and enter the church main doors in procession. Everyone is welcome to attend and wear something colourful - red, orange, yellow, blue, purple - in celebration.
Today is the start of Christian Aid Week when Allerton joins with the churches all over the UK to collect door to door from as many households in the country as it is possible to reach. Please offer your prayers for those who are collecting or supporting in any way, that they may give our neighbours the opportunity to donate in support of the many poor, hungry and homeless all over the world.
This week we look forward to RADS' play What Price for Justice?, by Ruth Barnett., the moving story of the author's family, torn apart by Hitler's racist policies in Germany. A complete divergence from RADS' usual fare, this will be a challenging work to see and hear. Performances are from Wednesday to Saturday at 7:30pm and on Sunday at 2:30pm only, when Ruth will be present and will give a short Q&A session. Admission £7 Adults; £6 concessions and £3 Children (over 11 only).
Cristina's service was all about the concepts of love - from the Greek words agape to eros and Jesus's 'command' (or was it?) that we "Love one another". A thought-provoking service ended fittingly with the Beatles' "All You Need is Love".
Last Sunday's service was conducted by an old friend of Allerton, David Burton. His message to us all included references to Darth Vader, Chewbacca, gaffer tape and "The Force". More conventionally, he then returned to cornerstones, shepherds and sheep before reverting to the more unusual in giving us a graphic talk on the safety of helicopters and Igor Sikorsky who invented what is now known all over the aviation world as the "Jesus bolt". Go on, Google it. Who knew? Bind us together, Lord.
What a weekend we had at Allerton. On Saturday, 21st we were treated to a wonderful evening of Italian food inspired and instigated by Cristina. We had a whole selection of antipasti meats, eggs and cheeses followed by delicious pizzas (the dough made from scratch in the afternoon), rounded off by tiramisu and a several pavlovas, all accompanied by wine. We had a fun Italian translation exercise that was far from 'noioso' and an Italian singalong. Cristina was ambushed at the end and presented with a surprise birthday cake (made by Sue) and then was further delighted to be presented with a fine, bespoke preaching scarf from the congregation.
Our Easter weekend began on Maundy Thursday with an evening supper which followed the rituals and customs which have been observed at Passover throughout the ages. Around thirty members and friends enjoyed the food and wine lovingly provided and served by Jan and her team of helpers.
Our Good Friday service this year was held at Wavertree Congregational church, where friends from Stoneycroft and St Stephen's URCs joined with us in worship, led by Cristina, aided by Tim and a selection of readers from each church. We gathered for hot cross buns and a cuppa afterwards.
Our own Easter Sunday communion service, in our hall, was led by Tim. We were left with a question arising from the abrupt end to the Easter story, as told in Mark's Gospel. Where would we be without the evidence of the Resurrection? Friends, where would we be?
Our service on Palm Sunday, led by Dr Robert Pettigrew, was a lively affair with full congregation participation. We had our version of palm leaves strewn on the ground, the shouting, cheering and waving crowds and even the clip-clop of the colt's hooves as Jesus entered Jerusalem. We were left with the message "Be Jesus".
Our usual very busy weekend at Allerton. Friday night was Cubs and Scouts, Saturday morning the Kumon Maths tuition group then, after a frantic 90 minutes of set-up time, we opened our Spring Fair at 2 pm to queues waiting outside in the bitter cold. What a successful afternoon we had - packed with adults and lots of children enjoying the many stalls, the refreshments and ... the craft activities, face painting, animal petting room and outdoor bouncy castle. Well done and a big thank you to all who organised, publicised, helped and attended. (See our Photos page for a few pics of our adult helpers)
Our Sunday service was a Parade service for our uniformed organisations, their leaders and families. We all sat, cafe-style, around tables in the hall and Tim led the service using his bulldog 'Winnie' (Winifred) to teach us lessons in patience and forgiveness. We all joined in written prayers and many stayed behind to enjoy tea, coffee, cake and much chat.
TOMORROW, Saturday 17th March is our annual SPRING FAIR at 2.00pm until 4.00pm. All the usual stalls that Allerton is famous for, but this time we have a bouncy castle and a petting corner for animals. Come along, enjoy yourself and bring the children.
Our weekend at Allerton was even busier than usual with one of our Elders, and long-standing member, Nick celebrating a 'big' birthday with a buffet in the church hall on Saturday. Around 100 family, friends and work colleagues joined Nick, Sue and Mac in a joyous occasion, the centrepiece being Sue's magnificent cake.
Our Mothering Sunday service was led by Tim and Cristina and many stayed behind afterwards for our usual tea, coffee, biscuits and cake.
The news was announced to the congregation that, regrettably, the planned re-opening of the sanctuary on Easter Sunday has had to be postponed due to technical reasons. We are now looking forward to celebrating Easter in the hall and being back in the sanctuary for Pentecost.
We are delighted to announce that our Student Minister, Cristina Cipriani, has accepted a call to be the Minister at the Church at Carr's Lane and Digbeth-in-the-Field United Reformed Church. They are modern churches in the Yardley area of Birmingham and have good congregations, including university students. Cristina goes with our blessing and we are sure that she will make a great success of her ministry there.
Our last two Sunday services were led by our Moderator Jackie and our Minister, Tim, respectively. Jackie preached on God's incredible covenant with Abraham and Sarah and challenged us to read Mark's gospel "in one go" at some time during Lent. Tim gave an impassioned message about Jesus' anger at the traders in the Temple and how the needy were being excluded from the love of God. The service ended with a church meeting to consider the future of the pulpit, the overwhelming majority voting to leave it intact.
Last Friday, we celebrated the life and lamented the passing of another of our long-standing members, Judith, with her funeral service in the church hall.
The church sanctuary redecoration is now moving along apace. We have now completed the floor treatment, repairing and sanding the wood block flooring. There is more work to be finished on the heating and floor covering before our planned re-opening at Easter. Please bear with us a little longer.