The Baptism of Elsie Chimfumnaya Onochie

The newest member of the Body of Christ here in St. Andrew’s, Kyrenia, Elsie Chimfumnaya Onochie, daughter of Kenechi and Nneka, was welcomed in the Sacrament of Baptism on All Saints’ Sunday, 4th November 2018.

On a wonderfully happy day in St. Andrew’s, once again a packed church enjoyed a thought-provoking sermon from Fr. Edward Jervis as he stressed the importance of all the saints, all those who profess to be Christian, not just those specially chosen by the Church over the ages. And that included all present who professed Jesus’ name, including the newest member, baby Elsie.

Below are some photographs of the joyous day.

Elsie’s family and friends with Director of Music Earl Moffit looking proudly on

The congregation listen intently to Fr Edward’s sermon!

Revd Michael baptises Elsie

Elsie sleeping like a baby!

The proud celebrant

Elsie is welcomed by the congregation

Elsie is handed safely back to granny

A kiss for the newest member of the congregation

Elsie, Granny and Revd Michael

Elsie, mum Nneka, dad Kenechi and Revd Michael

Elsie’s family and friends

St. Andrew’s Kurban Bayram collection

The Kurban Bayram collection made by St. Andrew’s finally closed on 31st October. A total of £500 was raised and sincere thanks go to all who donated so generously.

Sandy Oram and the Revd Mike visited the Special Needs Centre in Karakum and were graciously received by the Principal, Ms Layla Usta. Layla was humbled and delighted with the offer of funding and, when asked if there was any specific project to which the funds could contribute, showed us a partition wall in the Hall of the centre which was in a dangerous condition. There was a real fear that glass in the partition could be broken due to rotten woodwork and that this could potentially cause serious injury. She had recently received a quotation for the work from a local builder who had himself generously offered to do the work for half-price, but following the recent economic problems in the TRNC the balance was unavailable. The St. Andrew’s collection will allow this work to be completed and make the area safe for the young people who use the centre.

More information and photographs will be made available as the work progresses.

All Souls’ Day at St. Andrew’s

All Souls’ Day was observed in St. Andrew’s on Friday 2nd November 2018.

At the quiet, moving ceremony some 40 names of those whom we have loved and lost were read out. As each name was read a candle was lit on the altar in their memory.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
and let light perpetual shine upon them.

Seafarers’ Christmas Boxes

Mission to Seafarers

As so many of us know living here in Cyprus being away from your family during the holidays is never easy. But seafarers around the world often have no choice as to whether they go back home to be with their loved ones at this time of year.

Once again this year the Mission to Seafarers in Limassol is asking for our support for their participation in a campaign to bring a little Christmas cheer to seafarers who may be in the port over the holiday period.

Shoeboxes for Seafarers aims to provide a suitably decorated shoe box with goodies that seafarers may welcome at Christmas when they are so far from home.  The contents may contain things like toiletries, notebooks, socks, tissues, soap, chocolates, sweets etc.  The Mission puts a woolly hat and  mug into each box so donors are asked to please leave room for them.  A Christmas card would be a nice touch but no address and certainly please NO MONEY.

Boxes may be given to the Church Wardens or Chaplain but please be sure to hand in any contributions before 1st December so that they can be transported to Limassol in good time.

If you need further clarification please ask one of the Churchwardens.

 

Seafarer's Christmas Shoebox

Baptism and Confirmations in St. Andrew’s

The packed church listens to the scripture readings

Sunday 21st October 2018 saw St. Andrew’s Church full once again for a very special day in the life of the Chaplaincy.

Bishop Michael celebrated the Eucharist and also the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation.

During his sermon, drawing from the Gospel reading of the day, Mark 10: 35-45, the Bishop told us that the story of James and John (and, in the version of the story in Matthew’s Gospel, their mother, Mrs. Zebedee) asking who would sit at Jesus’ right and left in Jesus’ glory, was showing us that being best is not the point. Being good disciples is. We are not just spectators; we are not just churchgoers. Rather we are disciples, learners, followers of Jesus in his way. Even though we fail, the point of being church goers is to be disciples and followers.

When Jesus went on and asked James and John, “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” he was not talking not about water baptism such as we would see this morning. Rather he was asking can you take rough with the smooth if you’re my disciple. As Christians you will suffer as well as have a good time. Power isn’t the point: service is. Servants are often laughed at, but those who want to be great must serve. Even Jesus himself.

Bishop Michael then addressed the Old Testament reading from Isaiah 53. There we read about servanthood: the Suffering Servant. He will be King and great but not as we know it. A man of sorrows, despised and rejected. But he will serve the world in giving up his life for it.

If we own up to be followers of Christ then we should calibrate our life according to how Jesus lived. We must first of all learn from the scriptures. It begins with calling, such as the calling for the candidates for baptism and confirmation this morning. We shan’t “get it” all at once, but we have to stay on the way, which is best done in church, not alone. Scripture says where two or three gather together Jesus will be among them. We will “get it” by following Jesus on the road until we finally “get it” fully when we meet him face to face.

So what did Jesus do? He associated with people who were ignored by others. He included people in when others said leave them out. This is the mystery of Jesus’ way which keeps us exploring. We must stay with Christ as we re-read and rehear his Word.

Bishop Michael preaches

Bishop Michael then baptised Kimberley Sharawakanda followed by the Confirmation of Kimberley, Sharon Gechure and Lynda Hillard. All the candidates were warmly welcomed by the packed church and not a few tears were shed for our friends on this very special day for them.

The baptism of Kimberley

Confirmation of Lynda, Kimberley and Sharon

The newly confirmed led the congregation in receiving Communion.

Receiving Communion

Following the service a magnificent “finger food” buffet was held in the Hall which, as usual, would have fed the five thousand! Sincere thanks were expressed for all who had helped to make today so special. As one visitor remarked after the service, “Well we certainly didn’t expect that today, but it was a wonderful service and thank you for the warm welcome we received!”

Kimberley, Sharon, Bishop Michael and Lynda

Lynda, Revd Mike, Kimberley and Sharon

Enjoying fellowship after the service

Enjoying the fruits of much hard work by so many people

So much to choose from!

Harvest Thanksgiving at St. Andrew’s

St. Andrew’s, in common with many churches in the Anglican Communion, traditionally celebrates a Service of Thanksgiving for the Harvest.

This took place this year on Sunday 7th October 2018.

The guest preacher for the service was the Revd Steve Ward, a Methodist Minister and former Army Chaplain now living in the Republic of Cyprus, who joined us with his wife Louise and many other visitors and guests. Steve preached a wonderful uplifting sermon to a full church using texts from the readings of the day. From Psalm 126 Steve looked to us to be filled with joy at all the blessings which we receive from God, and reminded us that though we may sow in tears yet we shall reap with joy.

Steve also introduced some of the congregation to Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs”, eliciting a groan from the Revd Mike who remembers studying this during management training in a previous existence of his! Although Maslow identified basic human needs such as food and shelter as the basis of his “hierarchy”, Steve added to this the need for us to be founded first and foremost on God, who provides for all. He then reminded us of our need to care for those whose needs are greater than ours in this world where so many suffer from privation.

Among our visitors we were delighted to find Joanne, an accomplished organist from Liverpool, who led our worship without the need for the organ sequencer!

Following the service all were invited to join us in the front of the church for the traditional “bunfight”. In previous years this would have taken the form of a “bring and share” lunch in the grounds of the Hermitage, but sadly, due to circumstances beyond the control of the parish, these are currently not available to us.

Instead the suggestion was made and approved by the Church Council that we would offer a buffet lunch in the grounds of St. Andrew’s to those who wished to join us. This proved to be a great success and was a wonderful witness to many passers by who wondered what was going on. Two ladies even joined us, and shared in the lunch!

A model may have been set for future Harvest Thanksgivings: indeed what better evidence could we have that the Revd Steve’s words from Psalm 126: “those who sow in tears [because of the situation we find ourselves in vis-à-vis the Hermitage] shall reap in joy” are so very true for us here in St. Andrew’s at this time!

Below are some photographs of the joyful day:

Coffee Morning in aid of Ras Morbat Clinic, Aden

 

The Coffee Morning for the Ras Morbat Clinic held in the home of Pat Etherington on Saturday 13th October raised £335

Pat offers her sincere thanks to all who attended and contributed.

Yemen is one of the world’s least developed countries and remains the poorest and most rural country in the Middle East. The political unrest over recent months has made the situation worse for the population with diminishing food and fuel supplies. There is also inadequate health provision for the people of Yemen.

Although there are Government hospitals , these often have a reputation for being dirty and patients are charged for all services beyond the absolute basics. There are also private clinics but these are prohibitively expensive for the average Yemeni.

Ras Morbat Clinic addresses these issues through the work of its two departments, the general department and the eye department.

Since its beginning in 1996 the General Department has provided primary healthcare to the poorest people in the local community. For a nominal registration fee ($1 per person) a patient can see a doctor as often as required, and is given necessary drugs free of charge by the on-site pharmacy. There is also a small laboratory on site where a variety of tests can be conducted, leading to rapid diagnosis and treatment of conditions. There were over 10,000 appointments in the general department in 2010.

The Eye Department welcomes patients from all over Yemen, and offers visual acuity, refraction, examination by ophthalmologists and laser or surgical treatment as required. The Eye Department also runs camps, for example an annual trip to Mocha, to treat patients in regions where there are no eye clinics. There were over 5,000 appointments in the eye department in 2010, and over 450 operations were performed. The Eye Department is also an Implementing Partner of UNHCR and provides eye care to the Somali refugee population living in the Aden area.

In addition to providing health care, Ras Morbat Clinic seeks to employ and train local staff, thus increasing the skills within the local community. It’s role as a training institution has been recognised by the Medical Faculty of the University of Aden, and the clinic has been assigned responsibility to share in the regular training of post graduate students.

Despite the recent unrest in Yemen the clinic has continued to open its doors to patients.

 

 

The Tongue – sermon preached on 16th September 2018

A reflection on the letter of James, Chapter 3 verses 1 to 12

by

The Revd Michael Graham

[1] Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

There, straight away, is a thing which makes me very nervous! I admit quite openly that I am no teacher, and I admire greatly those of you who are teachers.

But isn’t the truth of it that we are all, in one way or another, teachers? Either formally because that is or was our job, or in the home, in the workplace, or even in our daily lives? We who claim the name Christian are, in fact, teachers of others by our words and our actions. They look to us to see how we proclaim and, perhaps more importantly, how we live our faith.

Remember those words – We who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

[2] For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle.

I wonder if any of us could claim to make no mistakes when speaking?

[3] If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies.

[4] Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.

Isn’t that so true? I’ll admit to being a bit frightened of horses – to me they’re so huge and yet with just a small bridle in their mouths these powerful beasts can be directed – by somebody else. As regards the rudder on a ship – imagine one of those huge super tankers yet such a relatively small thing can guide it safely through the seas.

[5] So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire!

[6] And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell.

Here’s the nub – just as the small rudder can guide the whole tanker, so the small tongue – that relatively tiny muscle in our mouths – can guide our whole being, can set us on fire – either with love or with the poisonous venom which can come from our lips. Anyone who has seen or been near to a forest fire can see how it rages out of control – and James tells us the tongue can do the same to us.

And here we have to update James’s words to include that bane of our modern society – so-called social media, though  what on earth is social about it I do not know. Personally I wouldn’t go near any of them with the proverbial ten-foot barge pole, yet there are those whose lives revolve around such things as Facebook or Twitter. And the words that we heard this morning relating to the tongue relate ten-fold to the published word, especially published on the Internet, because those words will never go away.

And, sadly, we here in St. Andrew’s know all about the use of, for example, Facebook to run down and denigrate not only individuals but also the church, be it parish, diocese or the wider church.

So bearing this in mind let’s continue with our exposition of these verses from James’s letter:

[7] For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species,

[8] but no one can tame the tongue–a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

Even the wildest beast can be tamed, but not that small muscle in our mouths.

“A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction. Pleasant words are a honeycomb sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” the book Proverbs says in Chapter 16:verses 23-24

But Proverbs also tells us in Chapter 11 and verse 9: “With his mouth the godless destroys his neighbour

[9] With [the tongue] we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God.

[10] From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.

That’s so true, isn’t it? With the same tongues that we use for prayer, that we use here this morning as we come together in this Thanksgiving to God, that we use to praise and uplift and bless – with that same tongue we spitefully drag down, we swear, we lie and we curse. And we do this to those who, like us, are made in the very image of God – the image which his Son Jesus took upon himself in the incarnation.

Verse 10 continues:

My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so.

[11] Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water?

[12] Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.

And that at the end of the day is the awful reality. For how can this tongue really mean those words of praise and blessing when it has been defiled with words of hate and anger, not only verbally but also, as I said, on the likes of Facebook? No – the spring cannot give both fresh and brackish water – the fresh water will always be tainted as it comes out.

Listen to the words of Paul in his letter to the Colossians, Chapter 3, verses 8 and 9:

“But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”

And finally, from Ephesians chapter 4 and verse 29:

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths [or from your fingertips and keyboard], but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen [or read them].”

And so:

“Let the words of our mouths and the meditation of all our hearts be acceptable to you, O Lord, our rock and our redeemer.” Amen

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