Hello everyone! Ken Dransfield and his team led our worship. His team comprised his faithful and loyal helper Daniel Sudrun, who has been helping him for 15 years, since he was a teenager and a young musician and a visiting singer and 3 church members who sang together. I knew it would be a celebration of music in varied forms. The service began with a hymn of praise, a favourite of my late father, ‘Let all the world in every corner sing’. Ken told us that Laura would be playing her clarinet and Pam would sing, together with the 3 young women from our chapel. Daniel led the opening prayers.
Suzannah, Rachel and Anna then sang a beautiful song which rejoiced in singing.
Ken then did a children’s address accompanied by Paddington Bear, who had decided to come with him in his bag. He described how Paddington Bear had come from Peru but he was an orphan so his Aunt Lucy looked after him, until she was too old and had to go into an old bear’s home. Paddington now on his own wondered what to do, as he could not stay with her there. He had been a good listener and he had learnt to speak English by listening to the conversations of people staying in Peru. He decided he would like to travel but was not sure where to go, so he went to the coast and slipped unseen onto a boat and hid under the tarpaulin of a lifeboat. He lived on marmalade and when they arrived in a port he slipped out and onto a train until he arrived at the station in London. He did not know he was in London but he waited for someone to talk to him. The first person to speak to him offered him a cigarette, but he remembered that his Aunt Lucy had told him it was bad for him so he refused it. Then a rather tipsy man offered him some alcohol but he remembered his aunt would not approve so refused. Then another man came and offered him a pill to eat, but he did not trust the man. At that moment a Mr and Mrs Brown saw the bear. Mrs Brown went up to him and asked him if she could help him and Mr Brown took him for a cream cake and a drink in the station café, whilst Mrs Brown went to collect her children. They all went back home and the housekeeper wondered if the little bear was just there to be cleaned up from all the cream or whether he was to stay. The children insisted he stay with them!
Ken dismissed the children and the teachers to their Sunday school classes. After they have left we sang the children’s hymn, ‘Jesus friend of little children’ and he realised he had dismissed them too soon!! Daniel read the reading from 2 Kings 5v1-14 about Elisha’s healing of Naaman the Syrian. Laura played ‘Amazing Grace’ on her clarinet, which was lovely. Daniel then read Matthew 26v6-13 when the woman anointed Jesus with perfume.
Pam then sang unaccompanied the lovely song: ‘If I can help somebody’ which showed us how easy it is for any of us to do something to help another person even if it is just a smile.
Ken took as his text Matthew 26v10b ‘It is a fine and beautiful thing she has done for me.’ When the woman came in crying and poured perfume on his head to anoint him, the disciples criticised her for waste, as it could have been sold and the money spent on the poor. This took place at Bethany, and some people think the woman was Martha’s sister but whoever she was, it took them all by surprise when she came in unannounced, especially as Ken reminded us she had little status as a woman at that time. Only Jesus appreciated what she had done. The meal would have been in a courtyard. Simon had invited Jesus as the chief guest and there would have been the disciples there, curious people, who want to see what Jesus is like and those watching Jesus’ every move, ready to criticise him.
Ken says that he has been encouraged by the way secret millionaires help people in need. His son who is a soldier in Afghanistan has been part of teams building schools, roads and hospitals for the people. Apparently 2 members of our chapel funded the building of a school for girls in Afghanistan. Ken says that we could say that the Sunday school teachers do a fine and beautiful thing in teaching the children. Those, who are carers for the disabled, chronically ill, elderly or dying do a fine and beautiful thing too.
Ken reminded us of how of our ancestors in the last 150 years of our chapel have done mundane and simple acts of service; caring for others does not need to be shining as a leader but simply being there for others. Ken thought back to 26 years ago when Philip Blackburn, the then minister, worked together with members of the Wesley congregation to begin the service of ‘Forward Together’ which grew from providing sandwiches for up to 80 people to now the provision of a 3 course lunch and a cup of coffee for those on their own. This was followed by talks or activities; dependent on the volunteers who worked and still work in the kitchen providing the food week after week. Ken regretted that more people did not come to listen to the talks and wished that more people would participate. He felt it would be even better if more people became involved with those people who came for the meals, so that they could get to know them better. Ken remembered the talks given by members such as Mary Harris on embroidery; others talked about or demonstrated music or even gave lessons about how to prepare meals. Those talks were better attended in the past, which is why he wants more people to come and join to get to know the people. I explained I was sorry that I could not help on Thursdays as I work each Thursday, but I do see the point of what he is saying. Gordon Lister had seen ‘Forward Together’ as the flagship of Wesley’s outreach, so it is important for it to be supported by more of our congregation, not just those regular workers.
The other hymns we sang were ‘Jesus calls us o’er the tumult’, calling us to follow our Lord; ‘Forth in thy name, O Lord, I go’ and our final hymn was ‘Stay, Master, stay upon the heavenly hill,’ concluding with the instruction for us to go out in service of our Lord: ‘Here we sought God, that we might know his will;
There we must do it, serve him, seek him still. Only in those ways can we grow nearer to our Lord and learn to serve others as Jesus did in whatever way we can.