Church News – July and August 2023

Dear Brothers and Sisters

July has arrived and we are now officially classified as being in an interregnum, which means we have no minister until the Board appoints someone to take over.  I am sure this publication will not be the same without Peter’s “From the Sanctuary” articles which I for one have enjoyed over the past 10 years.  However, I hope that I will be able to find reading matter that will interest you and if any of you would like to include something, then that would be wonderful.  Just make sure I have it before the third Sunday of the month.

Peter has written a book entitled “From The Sanctuary”.  In it will be some articles that we have read before, but new ones too.  The book is available from the Book Room.  If you would like a copy, they are £15 each plus £5 postage, but the good news is that ALL the money raised will be going to the Sikonge Hospital (*See below for information on Sikonge Hospital).  Peter has promised to bring some copies with us on 9th July, so that will save you the £5 postage charge.   

Please make a note in your diaries for the Summer Fayre on the 22nd July.  We are asking for good quality bric-a-brac, tombola prizes, bottles for the bottle stall and cakes to sell.  If you can help with any of this, we would be very grateful. We are pleased to announce that the Mayor of Tameside will be present to open the occasion.


The Sikonge Mission Hospital

This is a faith-based hospital owned by the Moravian Church in Western Tanzania and was started in 1923 by the British missionary, Dr Arthur Kievel. This year, therefore, it is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The hospital covers an area of nearly 28,000 square kilometres with approx. 210,000 persons living in the area.

Sikonge Mission Hospital never rejects a person with a need for urgent treatment or medicine, even if they cannot pay. The hospital’s motto is “Patient First”; many patients are therefore treated without ever being able to pay; they are exempt from payment.

Through the assessment procedure, the Hospital ensures that the programme “catches” the poorest of the poor. With our help the Hospital hopes to be able to ensure that no one with a pressing need for treatment or medicine will be left without help due to poverty.

The Young People’s Missionary Association is making the Sikonge Hospital a main project for the year. If you would like to donate, please contact:

  • Your YPMA Representative (Sue Selby at Dukinfield)
  • Send payment to BMB, C/o Lindsey Newens at Church House. Cheques payable to Moravian Union marked SIKONGE 100

or: Contact:

Mary Magdalene

Six Marys are mentioned in the New Testament, and here we are looking at Mary Magdalene.  What can learn from Mary’s story?:

We don’t have to be defined by our past:

When Jesus encountered Mary, He cast seven demons out of her (Luke 8:2). As a result, her life was transformed and she became a follower of Jesus. Her life as a disciple was no longer defined by the person she had been before. Like Mary, we don’t have to let our past without Christ dictate how we see ourselves today.

Put Jesus at the centre of our world:

Along with some of the women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases (Luke 8:1-3), Mary followed Jesus and His disciples and supported them in ministry. She was there at the cross (Matthew 27:55-56) and one of the first to the tomb on the Sunday (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1 and John 20:1-18). Like Mary, we are called to serve Jesus as dedicated disciples.

Jesus uses the weakest in the world:

Mary is a great example of Paul’s words: ‘But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.’ (1 Corinthians 1:27). At a time when women were regarded as second-class citizens with no real autonomy, Jesus had a special compassion and care for women. Alongside Mary, the women’s witness to the resurrection was taken seriously.

We should be careful not to dismiss the things that don’t follow our expectations, because Jesus doesn’t always do what we expect! He delights in working out His plans through unlikely people and in surprising ways. He did this through Mary, and if we let Him, He can do it through us!

The sweet smell of rain

Have you ever noticed the sweet, fresh smell after a downpour of rain? That ‘smell of rain’ is called petrichor, and it fascinates scientists.

It was back in 1965 that scientists first named it. Petrichor comes from the Greek for stone, ‘petra’, and the golden fluid flowing through the veins of the immortals, ‘ichor’.

Petrichor is produced when raindrops form air pockets on the rocks and soil, and softly force the release of aromatic chemicals trapped there. The petrichor-scented compounds drift upwards into the atmosphere as a gas, like a glass of champagne. 

The odour itself comes mainly from a chemical called geosmin, which is made by bacteria in soil.   Geosmin is made by soil microbes, to fend off hungry worms.  Geosmin is highly pungent, and even just five parts per trillion can be picked up by the human nose. 

A prayer for July

Loving Father,  July brings long days and summer pleasures, for many, but not for all. Lord, we pray for those who are finding life to be a struggle; for families with no hope of a holiday this year; for parents who don’t know how they will feed their children during the upcoming long school break; for those who are lonely, or discouraged, or isolated, or afraid.

Lord, we pray for justice and compassion from those in positions of power and responsibility.

And please Lord, show us how to help, how to be part of the solution. May we, as your children, reflect your loving kindness wherever we can. May your Kingdom come on earth, through us.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen                                  

By Daphne Kitching