Church Blog

Sun

14

May

2017

Heritage gathers steam!

Our first open morning as part of the Heritage at the Heart project attracted around 80 visitors on 5th May.  As a result we now have some 35 people expressing an interest in becoming heritage stewards in our new scheme.  There were many visiting from the wider community seeing the church interior for the first time since its re-furb, and the "Wow" factor was still there!
We have also appointed our artists to work with community groups and schools to gather views on visitor resources, and are now finalising the specification for the IT work to develop our website to act as an archive and interactive information point for real and virtual visitors.

 

If you are interested in the stewarding scheme or would like any further information, please email:  heritage@htsc.org.uk 
Stella Thebridge
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Sat

13

May

2017

City of Lichfield Concert Band

On Saturday we gathered again to spend a very enjoyable evening in the company of 44 members of the City of Lichfield Concert Band.  They were led by their very entertaining conductor, Mark Vause.

The band played a varied and exciting programme - including Grieg's March of the Trolls, Cornets-a-Go-Go and a selection from Les Miserables. The high point of the evening for some was the audience participation during The Beatles' Ticket to Ride!

It was great to see the church so full, and so many people having a lovely evening of music right here in the centre of Sutton Coldfield.

 

If you weren't able to join us this time please do come along to one or both of the remaining concerts this season.

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Thu

27

Apr

2017

Summer term ...

As I write the new school term has just begun, and this summer term is a ‘funny’ one.  We are getting towards the end of the academic year and the long summer holidays are in sight but for many young people there is a large blot on the landscape which goes by the name of exams.  For them there will be lots of hard work and stress ahead until towards the end of June.

 

It doesn’t make planning for the youth clubs very easy as numbers will fluctuate wildly according to who has what exam when.   And although the younger age groups of JCYG aren’t so affected themselves so numbers may remain steadier, we are very reliant on a group of older young people who come and help each Friday and they will be caught up in exam fever.

 

We really need a bigger pool of helpers but so far the Lord has not sent anybody.  I think people are a bit scared of the youngsters and think they are going to feel out of their depth but it is really a lot gentler than that, with roles to suit all talents, and they really are a lovely lot whom we are privileged to have contact with.  I think if people came and had a no obligation visit they might actually like what they see.   I can but hope and pray.

 

Susie Walker

Youth Work Coordinator

Wed

12

Apr

2017

Despair ... and joy

The most important weekend of the church year is fast approaching.

 

On Good Friday, the church will do the same thing it has done for nearly 2000 years.  We will stand on the sidelines and watch the first part of a story unfold.  A man will be tried – his crime being to put God’s love for all people above the establishment’s self-interest – and found guilty.  Then he will be executed on a cross, a painful, shameful death. 

 

We will quietly leave church, our heads hung low, and wait.  And we will spend the next day or so waiting – and do nothing.  We will wait and experience, for just a few brief hours, what it feels like to despair, to be without hope, without God’s presence and love.

 

But on Easter Sunday we will gather together, again doing what the church has done for nearly two millennia.  We will watch the story’s second half.  God will raise Christ, witnessing to the truth: that God’s love cannot be contained by human failings, that God’s life can conquer death and despair.  And we will celebrate and rejoice. 

 

On Good Friday and Easter Sunday we will travel first to the depths of despair, and then to the heights of joy.  This season is the key moment of Christian faith.  It shows us that through God’s love despair gives way to joy and hope, old life gives way to new.  And the best news is … it happens, in ways great and small, every single day.

  

John

 

Wed

29

Mar

2017

A warden's life

The last time I wrote was just before Christmas; and here we are already in the run-up to Easter.

 

The last three months have been particularly busy. We have settled down in our re-ordered Church and are exploring new ways of using the space. Recently the Diocese held a conference here, and the building was very well received.

 

A lot of effort needs to go in to moving chairs and tables into place, and there is the ‘techy’ stuff to see to. All this is worthwhile to have the Church used by the community for events during the week.

 

The period of Lent is a busy time, extra services, study times and preparations for Easter, all of which need planning. But it is also a time for reflection – to think about where we are on our journey of faith. To think about our role in Church Life, whether there is something different/ extra to do.

 

The role of Warden is certainly a busy one, challenging at times but rewarding in many ways!

 

Ros

Sun

14

May

2017

Heritage gathers steam!

Our first open morning as part of the Heritage at the Heart project attracted around 80 visitors on 5th May.  As a result we now have some 35 people expressing an interest in becoming heritage stewards in our new scheme.  There were many visiting from the wider community seeing the church interior for the first time since its re-furb, and the "Wow" factor was still there!
We have also appointed our artists to work with community groups and schools to gather views on visitor resources, and are now finalising the specification for the IT work to develop our website to act as an archive and interactive information point for real and virtual visitors.

 

If you are interested in the stewarding scheme or would like any further information, please email:  heritage@htsc.org.uk 
Stella Thebridge

Thu

27

Apr

2017

Summer term ...

As I write the new school term has just begun, and this summer term is a ‘funny’ one.  We are getting towards the end of the academic year and the long summer holidays are in sight but for many young people there is a large blot on the landscape which goes by the name of exams.  For them there will be lots of hard work and stress ahead until towards the end of June.

 

It doesn’t make planning for the youth clubs very easy as numbers will fluctuate wildly according to who has what exam when.   And although the younger age groups of JCYG aren’t so affected themselves so numbers may remain steadier, we are very reliant on a group of older young people who come and help each Friday and they will be caught up in exam fever.

 

We really need a bigger pool of helpers but so far the Lord has not sent anybody.  I think people are a bit scared of the youngsters and think they are going to feel out of their depth but it is really a lot gentler than that, with roles to suit all talents, and they really are a lovely lot whom we are privileged to have contact with.  I think if people came and had a no obligation visit they might actually like what they see.   I can but hope and pray.

 

Susie Walker

Youth Work Coordinator

Wed

12

Apr

2017

Despair ... and joy

The most important weekend of the church year is fast approaching.

 

On Good Friday, the church will do the same thing it has done for nearly 2000 years.  We will stand on the sidelines and watch the first part of a story unfold.  A man will be tried – his crime being to put God’s love for all people above the establishment’s self-interest – and found guilty.  Then he will be executed on a cross, a painful, shameful death. 

 

We will quietly leave church, our heads hung low, and wait.  And we will spend the next day or so waiting – and do nothing.  We will wait and experience, for just a few brief hours, what it feels like to despair, to be without hope, without God’s presence and love.

 

But on Easter Sunday we will gather together, again doing what the church has done for nearly two millennia.  We will watch the story’s second half.  God will raise Christ, witnessing to the truth: that God’s love cannot be contained by human failings, that God’s life can conquer death and despair.  And we will celebrate and rejoice. 

 

On Good Friday and Easter Sunday we will travel first to the depths of despair, and then to the heights of joy.  This season is the key moment of Christian faith.  It shows us that through God’s love despair gives way to joy and hope, old life gives way to new.  And the best news is … it happens, in ways great and small, every single day.

  

John

 

Wed

29

Mar

2017

A warden's life

The last time I wrote was just before Christmas; and here we are already in the run-up to Easter.

 

The last three months have been particularly busy. We have settled down in our re-ordered Church and are exploring new ways of using the space. Recently the Diocese held a conference here, and the building was very well received.

 

A lot of effort needs to go in to moving chairs and tables into place, and there is the ‘techy’ stuff to see to. All this is worthwhile to have the Church used by the community for events during the week.

 

The period of Lent is a busy time, extra services, study times and preparations for Easter, all of which need planning. But it is also a time for reflection – to think about where we are on our journey of faith. To think about our role in Church Life, whether there is something different/ extra to do.

 

The role of Warden is certainly a busy one, challenging at times but rewarding in many ways!

 

Ros

Tue

14

Mar

2017

Folk returns to Holy Trinity

As I write this, the Friends of Holy Trinity committee is busy preparing for their next concert with Gilmore & Roberts on the 25th March.

 

That concert marks a return to Folk after the stunning success of Will Pound & Eddy Jay's 2016 concert.

 

Like Will & Eddy, Gilmore & Roberts are no strangers to global success and will be heading to Sutton Coldfield following some sell-out shows in the United States and Germany.  Gilmore & Roberts have been nominated three times for the prestigious Radio 2 Awards.

 

Katriona Gilmore (fiddle, mandolin) and Jamie Roberts (guitar) met whilst studying at Leeds College of Music.  Since then, they have been regulars on the global folk circuit, combining the best of folk, acoustic and indie music with their trademark vocal harmonies.

 

The evening will be supplemented by a selection of real ales and ciders. Tickets are on sale securely on this very website.

 

The committee have already started to consider options for our 5th season during which we very much hope to hit the £50,000 mark raised since the Friends were established in 2013.

 

However, the 2016/7 season is not over yet.  Put a note in your diaries now for City of Lichfield Concert Band on the 13th May and our season finale - Canoldir Male Voice Choir - on Saturday 1st July.

 

We look forward to welcoming you. 

 

Nick Revell

Wed

22

Feb

2017

Lent

On Wednesday 1st March we will mark the beginning of Lent with a Service during which we will be marked on the forehead with a cross of ashes.  It's a symbol of penitence and mortality.

 

The Service marks the beginning of the forty days of Lent.  During the Service we will hear these words “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” As I say, it's a reminder of our mortality. Lent is for Christians a time of prayer and reflection. Forty days of prayer and reflection, an opportunity for us to deepen our understanding of Jesus, his life, death and resurrection.    

 

Our Christian faith is centred on the reality of the empty Tomb on the first Easter Day and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It is strange, isn't it, that Jesus at the end of his earthly life could have been called a failure?  His life ended in pain and disgrace on the Cross.  He had recruited a very unlikely group of disciples who had run away, frightened and demoralised by his death on the Cross.

 

Yet from this terrible end to an apparently failed ministry has emerged Christianity; a religion that has followers in every country and every continent; a truly miraculous victory of life over death.  It is the reality of the empty tomb and of the resurrection of Jesus that changed his followers, changed history and changed human life for ever.

 

The forty days of Lent give us an opportunity to reflect on our human mortality, and enable us to look forward with hope to the reality of the Resurrection and the promise of eternal life that it gives us all.    

 

Paul

Thu

16

Feb

2017

Social Life at Church

Well what have the Social Committee been up to lately?  We supported the Friends' concerts with the refreshments, working in the new refreshment space we have in church.  Refreshments for the All Souls Service and Candlelit Carol Service.  We held a 'Big Breakfast' event in November which turned out to be very popular.  We have had a trip to the Lichfield Garrick Theatre to see the Sleeping Beauty Pantomime.  

 

We are going to see the 2017 Gang Show on the 25th February, it is usually very good and well worth seeing, the uniformed organisations put so much effort and hard work into the content and performance, adults and kids.

 

We thought it was about time we had a party, we have been waiting till the church reordering project was over and now was the time. We thought we were a little too late to organize things for Christmas and Burns Night, and St George’s Day was a little too distant … so we settled on St Patrick's Day.  Well to be more precise the day after the official day, but a good excuse either way.

 

As with all social events we just aim to break even, if we mismanage and make a small profit it will go to Holy Trinity's nominated charity, which for this year is split between Acacia Family Support - which offers Pre- and Post-natal depression support services to families across Birmingham - and Emma Sykes project in Malawi.  Tickets are available from the Trinity Centre office.

 

What else will be coming up in the future?  We will be making posies for the Mothering Sunday service, help is always appreciated especially from children and dads.  Hot cross buns and refreshments on Good Friday; there are the Friends' concerts coming up in March, May and July.  We haven't discussed it yet but we will probably be holding a quiz evening in the coming months and another 'Big Breakfast'.  Any other ideas are always welcome, just let Sue or Colin know and they will be considered.

 

 

Sue and Colin Ingley

Sun

08

Jan

2017

A new year - all change?

Well, that is it: Christmas is done and dusted for another year and we are now into early 2017.  I wonder what the year will hold for each of us.

 

To be sure Holy Trinity and I are both into a new era.  Church has been reordered and there will be lots of experiments happening on how to best make use of the new layout.  It is exciting!  And then for me, my post as Group Youth Worker has come to an end and I am now employed solely by Holy Trinity for 10 hours per week. 

 

The next few months for me will also be fairly experimental as we see what is do able with reduced hours.  We want to keep the well-established youth groups going and are grateful that people from the other churches in the Group who have helped in the past are happily willing to carry on.  We hope more people will become involved.  We will also continue to operate an open door policy at the youth groups: they are for anyone who comes our way.  Time will tell over what else is possible and we will be listening closely to God to hear his call and leading.

 

In a way, as with the church building, nothing has changed.  We still are a worshipping body of people and I am still a youth worker.  But also, everything has changed.  Somehow it is all different even though it feels familiar.  What happens, where we go, who knows?

 

When Jesus was born I guess in many ways it seemed that nothing had changed.   But, even so, quietly and mostly unobserved, Jesus being born made everything different.  And so we walk the same path.

 

Susie Walker

Youth Work Coordinator

 

Tue

20

Dec

2016

It's Christmas!!!

The Season of Advent is over, the waiting has finished and on Christmas Day we will celebrate the birth of Jesus, a baby born in a manger.

 

During Advent we have been given time to think about our faith, in particular about our discipleship.  To think about how we can show the world that we are the people who glory in the gifts brought by the Christ Child.  The child who brings to us the gifts of hope, peace, love, joy and light.

 

In a very remarkable way we at Holy Trinity have been given a wonderful opportunity to explore our discipleship and to think about how we use the gifts of the Christ Child.  During the last year we have been reordering our Church; trying to make our Church a truly holy and welcoming place.  A place from which we can reach out to the community.  Finally the builders have gone (well almost) and they have transformed the Church.  The pews have been replaced by comfortable chairs and there are now meeting rooms within the Church.  Incredibly the Church feels much bigger and pure light streams in through the brilliant stained glass windows.  It as if the Church building has been given a new life.

 

As a community of Christians we are exploring ways in which we can use our reordered building, how we can use it to give renewed life to the gifts of hope, peace, love, joy and light.  Be with us this Christmas, come and welcome the Christ Child in a Church that is full of light and expectation for the future.        

 

Paul Duckers

 

Thu

08

Dec

2016

Preparing for Christmas

I don’t know about you, but I really do not want to think about Christmas until December arrives!

 

I get asked the usual questions.  Have you written your cards/done all your shopping.  Where will you spend Christmas and who with?  Have you made your cake/puddings/mince pies?  What would you like for Christmas?

 

So here we are almost half way through the month, the town will be packed with shoppers, parties will be in full swing and everyone will be preparing for Christmas Day. 

 

It’s the same here in church.  This weekend our preparation continues with our annual toy service when congregation members bring presents to give to children less fortunate than ourselves.  It’s just a small way to show our love and care for others less fortunate.

 

Somewhere in all the busy-ness, we should take time to remember the true meaning of Christmas!  Jesus was born as a gift from God to the world, to be among us as a baby and later in his life to show us the way to live as God wants us to.

 

Enjoy your Christmas preparations, and the giving and receiving of gifts.  And remember why we do it.

 

Ros Dyke, Warden

Fri

25

Nov

2016

It's Christmas ... well, nearly

I don’t quite know how I’ve managed it, but we’ve reached the start of Advent and I haven’t yet heard Noddy Holder yelling ‘It’s Christmas!!!’  Wonders will never cease. 

 

Still, Noddy Holder or not, it’s time to prepare for Christmas, and our celebration of God’s gift to all of us of Jesus Christ.  On the home front the annual scratching of heads over what presents to buy for the family has started.  On the church front, I’ve been preparing service sheets that will see us through to Christmas Day and beyond. 

 

So what have we got planned at Holy Trinity.  Well there’s something special happening on every Sunday in Advent ...

·      On 27th November, at 6.30pm there is a service of Advent Carols, when we’re joined by people from some of the other churches in the town;

·      On 4th December, at 4.00pm we have our Christingle Service, at which children and adults make Christingles and support the work of the Children’s Society;

·      On 11th December, at 10am there is our Toy Service, when everyone donates a new toy which we then distribute to children who will otherwise receive very little at Christmas;

·      And on 18th December, at 6.30pm we have our Candlelit Carol Service, when the choir lead us in carols and we hear the Christmas story told in a series of nine readings from scriptures.

All that before we even get to Christmas! 

 

So please, come and join us to make your spiritual preparations for Christmas.  You’ll be made very welcome. 

 

John

Wed

09

Nov

2016

Remembrance

We're in the month of November. The clocks have gone back, the darker evenings have come and the mood of life has become more sombre. Gone are the sun filled days of summer, and in the darker days of November we remember those who have died in war. We will gather in Churches and by War Memorials to remember the fallen.

 

Two lines from a poem “Anthem for Doomed Youth” by Wilfred Owen, one of the greatest of the First World War Poets, seem to capture the essence of remembrance.

 

The first of the lines is: “And bugles calling for them from sad shires.” On Remembrance Sunday the buglers will play and we will bow our heads in sorrow and remember the war dead. The second of the lines is: “And each slow dusk a drawing down of blinds.” These words remind us of our respect for the sacrifice for those who died in war and the emptiness of life without them. 

 

We remember the dead, and then what happens, how do we respond to the sacrifices made by so many millions of people? Some words from Sir Winston Churchill may well focus our thoughts. In the darkest days of the Second World War he expressed the desire for peace after war in these words that “The life of the world may move forward into broad sunlit uplands.”

 

How close are we to living in those sunlit uplands of peace?  Remembering those who died in war should mean that we take on a responsibility to work tirelessly for peace. What more fitting memorial can there be that future generations should live in the broad sunlit uplands of peace because of our dedication to walking the paths of peace in memory of the fallen?

  

Paul

Tue

25

Oct

2016

Settling back into church

The last few weeks have seen us using our new church building in a number of different scenarios.  It's an ongoing learning experience for us all.  But it will be better once we get the building completed and handed back over to us properly.


Having now had a number of services - including our special Re-Opening service with Bishop David, two weddings, a baptism, the Bishop Vesey Founder's Day service with 400 students and staff, and most recently the Gala concert organised by the Friends Group - we have already shown our versatility!


All this has been done whilst part of a building site, having to clean, set up and put away each week-end so that the builders could make further progress (and more dust so we could practice our cleaning skills each time!) during the week.


This couldn't have happened without the tremendous efforts of a band of dedicated and hardworking volunteers.  They have put in sterling efforts so far, with more to come over the forthcoming weeks, in order to try and present our church building in its best light whilst it is undergoing its transformation.


Now we have all our ordered chairs, sanctuary furniture and crèche equipment.  We should be able to experiment more with the layout of all this once the contractors are offsite - from early November this year.

 

Please see this as an opportunity to consider positive changes.  I am sure that we will not please everyone, so your cooperation and constructive feedback would be welcomed to help us to move forward with our re-newed Holy Trinity!

Hopefully we will have time to relax and enjoy the church building more over the coming Christmas period. We should have settled in properly by then!

Mike

Fri

14

Oct

2016

Social news

The Social Committee have had a fairly quiet time recently, with the church closed for our reordering project.

 

The film club on the first Monday of the month is continuing to be a popular event, the members vote on the choice of film for next time, the terms of the licence prevent us from publishing it on the website but it is included in the Newsletter each week. Last week We saw 'Eye in the Sky' starring Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman, a brilliant film.

 

We have continued to support the 'Friends' events, with refreshments, The Royal Town Gala Concert on the 22nd October is the next one and the first in the church for nearly a year. The concert after is Di Xiao on 3rd November.

Last weekend we held a Bring 'n' Share lunch to celebrate harvest festival, with 49 people attending. There was more food than could be eaten, although I tried! We also held a competition for the children. We asked them to make a collage face out of cut out vegetable pictures, in the style of Guiseppe Arcimbaldo or draw a picture in the same style, there were some excellent entries.

 

We are holding a 'Big Breakfast' event on Sunday 27th November before the 10am service, with the proceeds going to our nominated charity for the year, the British Heart Foundation (probably a contradiction, but definitely needed after).

 

We will also be doing the refreshments after the All Souls Service on the evening of Sunday 30th October and the mince pies and mulled wine after the Candlelit Carol Service on Sunday 18th December.

 

There's nothing like food and drink to bring everyone together, that's what the social committee is all about.

 

Colin Ingley

Sun

25

Sep

2016

The long wait is over

It seems like a long time since we moved out of church and handed the keys over to building contractors.  In fact it’s been just nine months, a tiny portion of the 750 or more years for which Holy Trinity has stood bearing witness to the parish around it.  Those nine months are now over.  On Sunday 2nd October we will return to the church building, with a re-opening service led by Bishop David.

 

The work won’t be finished - there will still be a few things to do over the next couple of weeks.  The most obvious things missing will be the under gallery meeting rooms, the inner glass doors of the new entrance, and the stone won’t yet have been cleaned.  But it will be a perfectly usable worship space, and we will be able to get a real feel for the building, and the potential it offers us.   

 

Much as I have enjoyed our services in the Trinity Centre, I’m very much looking forward to moving back to our real ‘home’.  And I’m sure the building is keen to have us back!  It will be a time of celebration, and I hope that everyone from our church family and the parish community will be able to join us.  You are certainly all welcome.

 

John

 

Tue

13

Sep

2016

3 Years and counting for Friends

On 1st September, we formally announced our Friends concerts and events line-up for 2016/7 - our 4th season. 

Thanks to concert-goers, membership subscribers and sponsors, we have raised over £30,000 so far towards the building and fabric of Holy Trinity.  As always, our mission is to showcase the best talent from the Midlands and beyond, raise funds for the church but - more importantly - make Holy Trinity an accessible and engaging heart of Sutton Coldfield. 

As you will read elsewhere on this site, Holy Trinity itself is about to emerge gloriously from a 9-month long, £1.6 million re-ordering project, making it an even more wonderful venue for worship and the community.  

On the 22nd October, the Friends will present the 4th annual Royal Town Gala Concert with the wonderful Enigma Brass Ensemble and renowned organist - Paul Carr.  Not only will this be an occasion to celebrate the re-opened church, it also marks another milestone - the first Royal Town Gala Concert since Sutton's new Town Council has been established. 

Acclaimed Chinese concert pianist Di Xiao presents a magical performance on the 3rd December.  Alison Neil's one-woman show "The Just William Lady" celebrates William's creator - Richmal Crompton - in a lively and entertaining portrayal on the 11th February 2017.  Contemporary Folk and Acoustic duo - Gilmore & Roberts demonstrate why Q Magazine said they "take English folk and scuff it up with indie rock drama" on the 25th March 2017.  On the 13th May, City of Lichfield Concert Band show why they are so warmly appreciated.  Followed by Canoldir Male Voice Choir providing a captivating finale to the season on the 1st July 2017 - we're sure Pimms will be in full flood that night! 

For a limited period (up to the 21st October only), Season Tickets are available which effectively offer 6 events for the price of 5. For details of the events and how to buy securely online for all the above mentioned events, everything is on this website or please call 0121 321 1144. 

This season of events would not have been possible without the generous support of our two Sutton-based corporate supporters - Dignity plc and CM2000. We're extremely grateful to them for their enthusiasm and commitment. 

We're always seeking new ideas from the church community and beyond so please think about joining the Friends (details on this website too), coming to a concert, or taking a more active role as a committee member.

Nick Revell, Chair of Friends

 

 

Wed

31

Aug

2016

A Godly mess?

Phew, I have just finished ‘fumigating’ the youth room all ready for the new term.  Cleanliness may be next to Godliness but the room only seems to get properly cleaned once a year.  The betting can now begin on how long the room will remain looking as clean and tidy as it now is: my guess is around half an hour after the first club restarts.  Others may not be as optimistic!

 

So after a summer of cleaning and planning for the autumn and Christmas we are getting ready to open our doors to the young people again.  Actually, don’t tell the rector, but even at this late date I am still pondering exactly how we and when we run our clubs.  Should we change what we offer and to whom we offer it?  Should we restart in the same way as before and see who comes and if we need to change?  Should we do more, or less?   Plenty to ponder but rest assured, we will be trying to provide good clubs that meet a need and show something of the love of God.

 

I am looking forward to seeing again the young people with whom we have continuing contact.  Several of them have had important exams and many are changing schools.  I am looking forward to hearing all their news and finding out what they have all been up to over the summer.

 

Two things are for sure: one is that we will be definitely there to welcome young people no matter what situation they find themselves in, sticking with them through thick and thin.  The other dead certainty is that the youth room will be back in a mess very quickly!

  

Susie Walker

Tue

16

Aug

2016

Listening

 

How good are you at listening?  As we commemorate the First World War one of the familiar stories is the transformation of a message as it went through the various lines of communication.  “Send reinforcements, we are going to advance” became “send three and four pence we are going to a dance.” 

 

Listening well and effectively is difficult.  It is very definitely a skill, an action that requires the listener’s alertness and dedication.   However, the pace of modern life seems to prevent us from being good listeners; we are forced to spend most of our time on doing and talking, not listening.   There is never enough time for reflection about our actions and for listening to others.  The result is a world of mixed and confused messages decisions, leading to misunderstanding and social disharmony. 

 

Do Christians as a community of faith have a responsibility to do anything about the lack of listening skills?  As we read the Gospels Jesus is revealed as someone who always listens.  With Jesus as our example we should work to improve our listening skills.

 

We are very fortunate that in the Diocese of Birmingham we are given that opportunity.  There is a Training Course called Offering Pastoral Care and Community Skills: its aim is to develop the pastoral gifts of the lay people in every Parish.  Significantly, the two compulsory modules at the beginning of the Course are concerned with listening. “Learning to Listen” and “Listening to Communities.”

 

The skill of listening is at the heart of pastoral care; without it we are less effective; with it we can make a difference to those in pastoral need.   

 

Paul Duckers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fri

22

Jul

2016

A sneak preview

 

Last Tuesday afternoon (19th July) we were able to invite people to look at progress on the re-ordering scheme.  It was good to see so many people – congregation members, donors and a few other interested folk.

 

The work wasn’t quite far enough advanced that people could get inside the building and walk around.  But the contractors had turned the step inside the south porch into a viewing platform, and from there we could see quite a lot. 

 

We saw that the under-floor heating pipes have been laid and a screed is currently being poured over them ready for the stone floor to be laid.  We saw that the new entrance and toilet suite is well under way, with the concrete slab now laid, and a roof over the entrance taking shape.  We saw that the dais is well on its way to being formed. 

 

I was able to point out where things like the under-gallery rooms and kitchenette would go, where the altar and font will be positioned, where the crèche and the choir, organ console and piano are likely to be.  The comments people made were overwhelmingly positive. 

 

There’s a lot still to be done, but once the contractors start laying floors things will move at an amazing speed.  I was asked several times and my answer was and is ... we will be finished on time!   

 

So after our sneak preview we’re all now looking forward to moving back in late September, with Bishop David joining us for the formal re-opening service on 2nd October.  We hope to see you there!

John

 

Fri

24

Jun

2016

That was a surprise!

 

That was a surprise.  Not so much the result as the change of heart overnight.  I went to bed with the media forecasting a win for ‘Remain’.  I woke to the media forecasting a win for ‘Leave’.  Did something weird happen whilst I was asleep?  On second thoughts, maybe it shouldn’t have been a surprise – the pollsters don’t have the best of records in recent times!

 

Anyway, we now know the outcome.  The simple bit – the vote – is over.  Now comes the difficult bit - the real work.  Now comes the slow extraction of Britain from the European Union.  Now comes a period of turmoil in the financial markets and probably in the real economy too.   

 

Now come calls for further referenda – for independence in Scotland and Northern Ireland where the vote was to Remain.  

 

And now comes the urgent need to reunify our community.  Because it’s clear that it’s deeply fractured.  Roughly half wanted to Leave, roughly half wanted to Remain.  The EU referendum didn't cause the fracture – the division was always there.  But it certainly made it worse.  For there’s no room left for shades of grey in a referendum.  Leave or Remain?  It’s all about making a black and white choice – about choosing a tribe. 

 

We will move on from this somehow, though the path isn’t yet clear.  We’ll come out on the other side of a period of economic turmoil with a new political settlement.  And we’ll rebuild a sense of unified community. 

 

And the church has a role in all of this: to proclaim the good news – that hope conquers despair, love conquers hate, and new life conquers death. 

 

To proclaim a kingdom better than either option offered in that referendum. 

John

 

Fri

03

Jun

2016

Friendship in difference

We live in a time of tension.  Events in the news have raised our awareness of immigration – legal and illegal – and of terrorism committed by some who claim to follow Islam.  We are becoming fearful and suspicious of people who appear to be different from us. 

 

Leaders of the churches and of the Muslim community in Sutton Coldfield have been in conversation with each other for some time now.  We find we like each other as people.  We find that our faiths our different, but worthy of mutual respect.  We are committed to living alongside each other as friends. 

 

So earlier this week, on Bank Holiday Monday, an event took place to underline that in a public way.  Members of churches and the Islamic Centre joined together for a ‘Peace and Friendship Walk’.  Two groups started out – one from the Town Gate, the other from the United Reformed Church at the Gracechurch Centre.  We merged at the Town Hall and carried on to the Islamic Centre.  

 

At the end of the walk we were all made very welcome by our Muslim hosts, not least by the offer of food!  We had a great time – we knew that we were in some ways different, but that was no barrier to living in friendship and community. 

 

Here in Sutton Coldfield we are fortunate.  On the whole, we have a community where people of every race, faith and nationality live alongside each other in relative harmony.  I pray that will never change! 

 

John 

Fri

20

May

2016

God's love in action

The Church of England is divided into parishes so that each church can relate to a particular geographical area.  We draw our congregations from that area, try to serve the needs of everyone living in that area. 

 

But we also look beyond our parish boundaries to the wider world, and its people.  We pray for the world, of course.  And we support charities – often church charities – who are trying to improve the lives of people in the world’s poorest places.  One of those Charities is Christian Aid. 

 

Christian Aid exists to help the poorest people of the world.  Their work is about spreading God’s love through improving people’s lives.  They support projects in ‘the third world’ which develop things like agriculture, schooling, healthcare, sanitation, women’s rights, and so on.  

Such work costs money.  Once a year they have a huge fundraising effort – Christian Aid Week.  In every parish n the country church members go from door to door asking the whole parish population to support the charity’s work.  As I write, Christian Aid Week is in full flow - my thanks to all who have been collecting, and all who have given. 

Of course, Christian Aid would appreciate our support for the other 51 weeks of the year as well.  If you would like to give to them more regularly it’s easy ... just follow this link:  http://www.christianaid.org.uk/give/

John

Wed

11

May

2016

Social life at Holy Trinity

 

The Social Committee try to organise events for friends and family of the congregation to join in and have fun. The aim is basically to cover our costs, but if there is any money left over it goes to the nominated charity for the year, chosen by the PCC. This year it is the British Heart Foundation.

 

What have the Social Committee been doing? Well, we have organised a cake and cookie sale and a raffle after the morning service for Valentines day. The theme being hearts and flowers in light of the BHF charity, although I don't suppose the charity would have approved of the cakes and cookies!! We have also been supporting the 'Friends of Holy Trinity' concerts with the refreshments.

Another fun event we organised was a Quiz with a fish and chip supper, it was on St Georges Day (which was also the 400th anniversary of Shakespeares death). To prevent the Rector winning again, his wife Kristina wrote the questions and John kept score. We had a good turnout, the fish and chips were supplied by a local chip shop and we also raised £120 for the British Heart Foundation.

 

We will be organising refreshments for the forthcoming Friends events, Drawing Room Opera on Saturday 14th May and Intimate Theatre on Saturday 2nd July.

 

We will be supporting the CYG Film Premiere on Sunday 22nd May. Selling ice creams during the intermission.

 

We are planning an event to celebrate the Queens 90th birthday on Sunday 12th June. We thought about a Bring and Share lunch, we thought about a Picnic, then we thought about combining them and we decided to hold a Traditional Street Party, in the car park! So if you want to join us, put your name on the list in the Trinity Centre (so we know how many are coming), it will be after the 10am service.

 

On Sunday 2nd October we have the Right Reverend David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham, coming to the 10am service, to mark the reopening of the church, after the re-ordering project is completed. We will be serving canapés and drinks from the new refreshment area.

 

We will be doing something for Harvest and are also planning a Big Breakfast watch this space!

Colin & Sue

Wed

20

Apr

2016

Countdown to summer

This is a very long term:  a very, very long term, so lots of youth group meetings to organise.   It is, however, easier having a long term in the summer than in the winter as the nights are shorter and, hopefully, the sun shines a little bit.  Everything feels a bit easier in daylight.

 

It is a funny time of year.  It is the last term of the academic year and the long summer holidays are in sight.  The Year 6s are especially demob happy as they are about to leave primary school for the big shift to secondary education.  Big fish at the moment but soon to become small fish again, at least pro tem.

 

At the other end of the scale the Year 11s and up are facing serious exams.  Gosh, they are put under a lot of pressure these days.  I am sure it was much more relaxed back in my day.  So there are heavy times ahead for them, followed by the relief of completion and extra long holidays.

 

So the younger ones will need extra containing as they are getting as high as kites.  The older ones need much more gentle and fun activities at youth group to counterbalance the stress of school.  Next on our list of things to do is to play giant monopoly, custom made to include all the roads the youngsters live on.  It gets very competitive and the leaders are the worst!!

 

And then on 22 May we have the world premiere of the film we have been making which now has a name:  God Squad Resurrected (aka That Wretched Film).  Come and join us at 6.45pm if you would like to see out older youth group in action.  It will be fun!

 

We walk with the young in our midst and try to be sensitive to where they are at. It’s an exciting journey and there are always surprises along the way.   Who knows what will happen in this long term.

 

Susie Walker

Group Youth Worker

 

Wed

06

Apr

2016

Reordering - again!

We are now 3 months into the works for the Reordering project and things are progressing.  There have been a few obstacles to get round!  No floors and no toilets are minor problems, as the workers have removed at least 30 skips worth of debris, and unearthed a number of hidden objects in their digging. 

 

We intend an open evening in July to enable the congregation to view the progress; and by that time there will be a new stone floor with heating underneath, although at that time of year we won't need it switched on!  Meanwhile there are some photos of work so far on the Church Buildings part of our website. 

 

New chairs and other furniture are  being planned in time for our return to church in September, hopefully without too many hitches!  Just in time for the grand Reopening by Bishop David on Sunday 2nd October. 

 

But what then? 

 

By that time we will have had an 'away morning' on Saturday 16th July to look at our patterns and styles of worship, so who knows - there may be new developments to come there too.  

 

With a newly reordered, more flexible and welcoming church building then we have a great new opportunity to move forward in our vision for the future of Holy Trinity.  Let's hope we are all ready to take that challenge and together respond accordingly. 

 

Mike

 

Tue

22

Mar

2016

The Hope of Easter

This Sunday we celebrate Easter, the day when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, the day that gives us the hope of eternal life after death.  A wonderful day, full of joy and the promise of new life.  At Easter Christians celebrate the reality of the Empty Tomb and the Resurrection of Jesus. 

 

On Good Friday just two days ago we were in mourning remembering that Jesus had died on the Cross and his body placed in a tomb.  His first disciples had fled, their hopes and dreams shattered.  But the events of that first Easter Day turned defeat into victory.  The reality of the empty tomb and the Resurrection of Jesus changed history. 

 

Going to the Tomb some of the followers of Jesus discovered that the stone at the entrance to the tomb had been rolled away and that the tomb was empty.  Jesus was alive and met and spoke to his disciples; Jesus had been resurrected to a new life; he had defeated death. 

 

We are two thousand years from the events of the first Easter Day, and the resurrection is such a singular experience, and so removed from our normal lives, that it may seem unreal.  But, for a moment, reflect on the reactions of the first disciples.  

 

On Good Friday they were beaten, demoralised, and in hiding from the authorities.  On Easter Day they were changed people, confident, empowered by the reality of the resurrection of Jesus.  With confidence in the resurrection and faith in the power of Jesus they took the words of Jesus to the world.  Those first disciples lived the rest of their lives with purpose, faith and hope.  We pray that we too may follow their example.

 

Paul Duckers

Wed

09

Mar

2016

Half way through season three with three great concerts still to go

 

Since being established in Summer 2013, the Friends of Holy Trinity Parish Church has become an intrinsic part of our parish activities.  We hope we have also become a key Sutton Coldfield organisation with longevity. 

 

In presenting a programme of inspiring concerts and events,  the Friends’ purpose is to provide an accessible way for people to experience the hospitality of our welcoming church community, as well as a regular source of income for the building and fabric of our church.  This allows the church’s council (the PCC) to focus on its core objectives of worship, mission, and outreach rather than worrying about our 700 year old building’s bricks and mortar!

  

With the generosity from over 90 member subscriptions, 14 concerts, 2 Christmas Tree Festivals, 2 corporate sponsors (Dignity plc & CM2000), over £25,000 has been raised to date. 

 

We always aim to provide a massive variety of events. These have ranged from Harp, Male Voice Choirs, String Quartets, Pianists, Mediaeval music, Cathedral Choirs, Musical Theatre companies, Brass Bands, Gospel Choirs through to Poetry & Jazz.

  

We’re always open to exploring new areas and are very excited to be showcasing three-time Radio 2 Folk Musician of the Year nominee Will Pound & Eddy Jay on Saturday 12th March at 7.30pm – an evening complete with real ale and Morris dancers! 

 

On the 14th May, we’ll be welcoming Drawing Room Opera.  And then in early July – for the first time – Intimate Theatre present “The Heiress” which is a great story about rich, naïve girl Catherine and her penniless suitor Morris. 

 

Intrigued? We hope so! Looking forward to seeing you at one of our events or welcoming you as a member soon. 

 

MORE INFORMATION IN THE “FRIENDS OF HOLY TRINITY PARISH CHURCH” SECTION ON THIS WEBSITE.

 

Tue

09

Feb

2016

The Forty Days of Lent

For Christians the forty days of Lent are an opportunity to reflect

upon their journey of faith.  Lent recalls the time that Jesus spent in the wilderness, praying and reflecting on his ministry.  The forty days allow us to reflect on our discipleship, and to prepare ourselves for the events of Easter Week which culminate in the glorious resurrection of Jesus.

 

Tradition tells us that Lent can also be a time of fasting.  Is that what Lent should mean to us? Fasting is certainly part of the Lenten experience; we are told that Jesus fasted in the wilderness. However, we may ask ourselves whether just denying ourselves food is really meaningful. Would it be more appropriate if for example we were to donate that which we have given up, or even more, to a local food bank?

 

Or maybe we should we engage in acts of kindness for the communities we live in.  Some of us may remember Archbishop Sentamu, when he was Bishop of Birmingham, encouraging us during Lent to carry out practical acts of kindness for the community. Litter picking in Sutton Park was one we may remember.

 

Whatever we do during Lent, whether it is fasting or acts of kindness, let’s always remember the essential nature of Christianity that Saint Paul wrote about in his First Letter to the Corinthians; faith, hope and love.  In Lent we have an opportunity to remember the faith we have in Jesus, the hope we have of eternal life, and the love that we bear one another and all humanity. 

 

Paul Duckers

Sat

30

Jan

2016

How's it going?

 

 

A month has passed since we moved out of church to allow the contractors to get on with the re-ordering work.  So how’s it going?

 

We’ve emptied the ground floor of the church, and put everything into storage.  We’ve found homes for the choir/chancel organ and almost all the pews.  The contractors have moved in.  They’ve set up their site, removed the timber floors and ... well, they are hard at work and getting on with it.

 

Meanwhile ... we’ve moved into the Trinity Centre and are holding all our services there.  The atmosphere feels different – but good.  We’re slowly working out how best to use the space for worship.  And maybe we’re learning lessons as to how we might do things when we return to the church.

 

A month has passed.  There are fewer than eight months to go.  So how’s it going?  It’s going very well!

 

John

 

 

Wed

30

Dec

2015

At last, the wait is over!

 

For over 10 years, the congregation, and PCC of Holy Trinity have been working towards re-ordering the church building.  It’s been a long haul, but at last the moment has arrived – the re-ordering work is about to start. 

Last Sunday (27th December) we held our last service in church for the time being.   The contractors will arrive on site on Monday 4th January.  But even though the church building will be closed for the next 9 months, whilst the work is being done, the church will go on.   All our services will be held as usual – but they’ll be taking place in the Trinity Centre.   It will be a little different to what we’re used to – but it will be still be church.  

We’ve spent the last week preparing.  The church has been cleared.  Things we won’t need for the duration of the work have been stored; things we will need have been moved to accessible places in the Centre; a few things have been disposed of.   And with that week of hard work from a number of us, we’re pretty much ready!

So, at last, the wait is over.  Plans are finally to be put into action.  These are exciting times! 

John

Thu

17

Dec

2015

The Christmas Journey

 

What does Christmas Day mean to you?  

 

For many people it must seem like the end of a long journey.  After weeks of intensive shopping, presents have been bought and wrapped, pantries and freezers stocked with food.  A tremendous amount of time and effort will have been spent on the journey of preparation for the Christmas Day celebration.  And after the end of that journey?  Hopefully there’s the opportunity for the rewards of peace and quiet – if only for a short space of time.   

 

It is not quite like that for Christians.  Christmas Day is seen not as the end of a journey but as the beginning of one.  Christians have been preparing for the start of that journey in the four weeks before Christmas, the time we call Advent. We have been thinking about the great gifts of Christian life, of hope, peace, love, joy and light; and the opportunities and responsibilities that those gifts present us with.     

 

On Christmas Day we will welcome the gift from God of the Christ child, give thanks for him, and then start our journey.  The Christian journey is one of demonstrating to the world that the gifts of Christianity, hope, peace, love, joy and light are essential to all humanity.  Each Christmas Day we start our journey anew, each Christmas Day is a reminder of our responsibility to share those gifts with all people.

 

Be with us on Christmas Day, join us on our journey of faith, come and welcome Jesus Christ the light and hope of the world.

 

Paul Duckers

 

Fri

04

Dec

2015

All change

2016 is going to be ‘interesting’ for the people of Holy Trinity – it will be a time of transition and change. 

PCC has made the final decision on whether to go ahead with re-ordering the church building.  We don't quite have the funds to do everything we plan, but can do most of it.  So the work  starts at the beginning of January, and it will continue till the middle of August.  At the end of December we will vacate the church, and for 8 months we will hold our services in the Trinity Centre.

Any funerals (and one wedding) during the closure will be transferred to neighbouring churches.  But otherwise church services will carry on as usual – the only difference will be which building they happen in!

It won’t be easy trying to fit the needs of the church congregation in with the needs of those who hire the Trinity Centre for their meetings, and all with temporarily reduced car parking space.  I’m sure that from time to time things won’t run as smoothly as we’d like and tempers will fray.  We all need to show patience, understanding, forbearance, acceptance, forgiveness – in short, grace.  We all need to show to each other that we are genuinely part of one body in Christ.

By September we should be returning to a renewed church building.  It will have better access, better light and heat, better toilets, a new refreshment area and small rooms.  And the altar will be moved forward to a position where we can sense that God truly is in the midst of us as we meet together.

The crowning moment will be at the start of October, when we will welcome Bishop David to a service of celebration as we formally re-open the church.

So 2016 will be an ‘interesting’ year.  A year of change - for the church  building and those who use it. 

John

Wed

18

Nov

2015

Christmas Preparations

This weekend we reach the last Sunday before Advent.  These days we call it the Feast of Christ the King.  But in past days it was known as ‘Stir-up Sunday’.  This name originated in the Church of England and there is a special prayer for the day which goes like this.

'Stir up, O Lord, the wills of your faithful people that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may by you be plenteously rewarded.’

On Stir-up Sunday families would start their preparations for Christmas celebrations; making the Christmas pudding, Christmas cake, mincemeat and other good things to eat.  I must say that I always try to make all of that much earlier than this – they improve so much with a few months of keeping, especially if you feed them with Brandy, Rum or Whisky!

As we enter Advent we’ll be preparing for Christmas celebrations in other ways.  We’ll be readying ourselves for the birth of Jesus and thinking about what that means for our lives today.   Amidst all the shopping, partying and general busy-ness, let’s not forget what Christmas is really all about.

Ros, Warden

Thu

05

Nov

2015

Remembering war

At the end of the Second World War, many of those who returned from the battlefield found they could no longer believe in the God talked about in church pulpits.  Many of the relatives of those who didn’t return also struggled to believe.  Either God isn’t there or God doesn’t care, they said.  Why should we bother with God? 


Yet the truth is that the Second World War and every other war before or since is not God’s fault – it’s ours.  Wars are the result of our failure – our failure to live up to what it means to be real human beings.  When we blame God for allowing our own shortcomings to bring us to this, we’re like children looking for someone else to blame, looking for the adult who should have intervened on our behalf.

If God is to blame for our wars, it’s because he treats us as mature adults, allows us to make our own way through the world.  The truth is that God is not responsible for our pains – rather God is present with us, endures our pains with us.  God is at the heart of the cry for justice in midst of oppression, the cry for mercy in the midst of violence, the cry for peace in the midst of the storm of war. 


As we remember the horrors of war this Sunday, don’t blame God.  Rather blame ourselves and our failings.  And acknowledge that there is a better way to be – know that God wills something better for us, better than war, better than the flawed and fragile peace in which we currently live. 

 

John


Sat

24

Oct

2015

A busy time

The Social Committee have been very busy!  We organised a Big Breakfast in the summer, and an event in September to celebrate the 50th anniversary of ' The Sound of Music'.  


Holy Trinity's charity for the year is the Cancer Support Centre, who support victims of cancer and their families through this difficult time.  One of the activities they do is a choir.  So for the Sound of Music event the choir came and sang for us, the first half of the evening  was a celebration of musicals in general and the second half was songs from 'The Sound of Music'.  In the interval we had a jacket potato supper, followed by apple strudel with ice cream, held a raffle and the event overall raised £500 for Cancer Support Centre.  Fancy dress was worn by a some of those attending it was generally a lot of ‘nunsense’.


Mon

05

Oct

2015

Harvest - October 2015

As a small boy the countryside was my natural playground. Memory tells me that school holidays were spent with friends exploring the fields and woods, from early morning to early evening, and no one seemed to worry where we were or what we did.


One of our summer holiday activities was helping with harvesting the crops at one of the local farms. Well perhaps not helping very much but certainly enjoying ourselves, as we tried to stack the corn sheaves onto a horse drawn wagon. How different to the harvesting of today, as great combine harvesters make their noisy way across enormous fields, hedgerows long since torn down.

 

A very different world and yet the tradition of Harvest Festivals in our Churches to celebrate the harvest continues. On Sunday 10th October we shall gather in Holy Trinity to give thanks for the harvest and offer gifts of food which will distributed later in the week throughout the Parish. 


The Harvest Festival reminds us of the natural world, a world full of resources for humanity. But increasingly it is a world in which we seem to use those resources unwisely. Global warming may be a contentious issue, but there are ominous signs of mankind’s activities being the cause.


Our Harvest Festival prayers will be for the blessing of the harvest and for all that been provided for us by our creator God. We will remind ourselves of our responsibility to the world and our responsible use of its resources.   


Paul Duckers


Wed

09

Sep

2015

Happy Anniversary

Just two years ago, we launched the Friends of Holy Trinity Parish Church. Since then, we've signed up over 90 members and presented 12 concerts and 2 Christmas Tree Festivals, raising over a £20,000 surplus in the process.

Our mission has remained constant - to deliver an inspiration programme of events to ensure that Holy Trinity remains at the very heart of Sutton Coldfield and to raise funds for the building and fabric of Holy Trinity. It's been heartening to receive kind offers of sponsorship for publicity and concerts not only from our 2 corporate supporters - Dignity plc and CM2000 - but also from a number of individuals keen to show their support.

It's been energising to see so many of our church community engaged with the Friends as committee members, concert stewards, refreshment providers, stage hands, website developers, Tweeters, bankers ... and many many more.

As usual, the 3rd season of Friends events sees us offering a superb and diverse line-up of events ranging from CBSO's The Little Big Time Band (our kick-off Royal Town Gala Concert on the 10th October 2015), Radio 2 Folk Awards nominee Will Pound, through to our first theatrical performance by Lichfield Festival's Intimate Theatre. More information and online booking is available now on this very website.​

 ​As far as fund raising goes, a significant sum has already been passed to Holy Trinity's PCC to enable the restoration of the chancel ceiling. The funds raised by the Friends really really make a difference to Holy Trinity over the coming years so that other monies can be freed up to focus on mission and outreach.

Please do think about purchasing a Friends subscription (£15 for an Adult, £10 for a Child, £30 for a Family). This will keep you up -to-date with all of our activities and get you a complimentary programme at all events.

We look forward to welcoming you at a concert or event in the near future!​

Nick Revell, Chair of Friends

Thu

20

Aug

2015

Summer's end

It’s that time of year again when we are nearly at the end of the school summer holidays and thoughts are turning to the new academic school year.  For most youngsters it will be a time of transition: some will be starting nursery or school for the first time; some will be changing schools and will go from being the oldest and biggest to being the youngest and smallest.  Some older young people will be venturing away from home for the first time to attend University.  What changes they face! 

I guess that for each child and young person a new year can be quite scary as they enter unfamiliar situations and maybe for us professionals who are at the other end of the process; offering clubs, lessons, etc in a continuing and stable way, the experience is a little different.  It isn’t US who have to deal with the changes, just to manage the change for others.

A few weeks ago I went walking in the Malvern Hills with some good friends.  Normally, one does not look at a hill and walk straight up the side to the top.  Normally one zigzags one’s way up; back and forth, back and forth, getting a bit higher each time.  Whilst we climbed one hill, I took a photo each time we went up a level.  It was interesting looking at the same view from a slightly higher place each time.  It was the same but different. 

And so it is with how we engage with the younger members of our church family, especially at this time of year:  it is always the same but at the same time it is always different.  It is always another ‘beginning’ and we thank God for that as we plan for the new term.

Susie

Wed

05

Aug

2015

Pastoral Visiting - and Training

A Christian life is very often described as a journey and our milestones are to begin with Baptism and Confirmation. As we continue to travel on our journey of faith we begin to appreciate the joys and responsibilities of our faith. We begin to know the love that Jesus has for us and become eager to share that love with others.

 

At Holy Trinity one of the ways we share that love of Jesus is in visiting the sick and housebound, those who can no longer join in our regular Sunday worship at Church. On the surface pastoral visiting seems to be deceptively simple, a phone call, a visit, some conversation and much listening; all very much part of being human.

However, to use popular jargon, “best practice” demands that we make our visitors aware of the possible problems arising from visiting people in their own homes or Care Homes. 


The Diocese of Birmingham currently offer training sessions for all those who exercise a pastoral ministry and earlier this year some of our Visitors attended a “Safeguarding Adults” course. The aim of the course was to give greater awareness of what constitutes good and bad practice in visiting; it was greatly welcomed by all who attended.

 

We will continue our training this year with a focus on Dementia awareness. The training will be under the auspices of the Alzheimer’s Society and will give a better understanding about how we can make a difference to the lives of those living with dementia.

 

Our Pastoral Visitors will continue to visit and to train, please pray for them as they continue their work.


Paul Duckers


Wed

22

Jul

2015

The Coastal Path

Most people reading this will know that I have recently returned from a Sabbatical break.  A major part of it was spent in Cornwall, walking on the coastal path.  It was a great time, and I’m very grateful to have been able to do it – I thought I should tell you how it went.

Well, most importantly, I survived without twisting an ankle or falling off a cliff.  And as I stayed with family – Kristina’s sister and her husband – I was lucky enough to be able to do my walking in a civilised way.  There wasn’t a tent or campfire stove in sight.  Instead I drove back to the house each evening for a hot meal and a comfortable bed! 

I was away in Cornwall for four weeks altogether, and in that time I covered quite a bit of the path between Helston and St Ives – but far from every mile!  I took in lots of the Lizard.  And quite a bit of the far west – the area around  Land’s End and Cape Cornwall.

The coastal path was beautiful: it runs for miles along cliffs – sometimes topped with open moors, other times with dense growth.  Usually I’d see rugged landscape on one side and waves washing against rocks on the other.  And then there were the coves which the path dipped down to – Porth Chapel might be a contender for ‘heaven on earth’; I spent half an hour there with not another soul in sight.

I saw seals by the dozen – a lizard, a slowworm and, for the first time in my life, a wild adder.  Bird watchers would have loved it – larches, martins, and guillemots amongst the more appealing.  And lest I forget, I shared lunch with what must be the tamest robin in England. 

I returned to Holy Trinity a couple of weeks ago, relaxed and refreshed - and happy to be back.  Hopefully the experience and benefit of my time in Cornwall will stay with me as I settle back into daily life!

John

Thu

09

Jul

2015

Mobile phones

Mobile Phones!    Love them or hate them they are certainly around in abundance and me thinks they are here to stay.   I can hardly remember life without them now and I know they have a lot of good uses but there are lots of things I don’t ‘get’ about them. 

Things like how someone could possibly want to send 1000 texts a month; or why there seem to be no boundaries on what it is acceptable to film; or how people can be present to an event if they are watching it through a camera lens; or how it has become a priority to many people who don’t earn much to have an expensive phone in an expensive contract - how does that work?

Brendan O’Carroll was on Room 101 a few months ago and he put ‘people who don’t know how to use their mobile phones’ into Room 101.   I hate to admit it but  I might be one of those people as my phone does a lot more than I know about but I want to qualify what he said and add ‘people who don’t know how to use their mobile phones wisely.’ 

Phones have been a bit of an issue in the younger youth group this term.  Some of them have them and some of them are sensible with them, but some of them are being really silly with them.  But how do you learn unless you have a phone entrusted to you to learn with?  Who teaches you?  Some people would like me to ban them but I personally feel that the youth group is a good place for them to learn how to be wise with their phones even though allowing their use is a harder option for us. 

It is too easy these days to get yourself in deep water with mobile phones and especially social media sites.  I would like to feel that our club plays a small part in helping youngsters to learn how to be wise.   But think of us as we leaders try to find a good way through as it ain’t easy!


Susie W

Tue

07

Jul

2015

John's back!

John is now back at Holy Trinity after his three month sabbatical (walking some of the Cornish coastal path as well as doing some thinking and writing). A huge and sincere thank you to all those who’ve helped cover his absence and made this break possible.
 
Watch out for future sermons containing stories about seagulls, waves, seals, rocky paths and the joys of a hard-earned ice cream.
 
If there’s something you need to contact him about, and it can safely wait a few days until the pile of emails has been dealt with, John would be most grateful!

Wed

17

Jun

2015

Midsummer Music

Church choirs are known to be particularly busy in the run-up both to Christmas and to Easter, but you may be surprised to know this doesn't make our task any lighter over the summer.  At a church like Holy Trinity there are a fair number of weddings and we are often asked to lead the singing for these.  It is quite a privilege and each service is always surprisingly different.  We actually get 'the best seats in the house' as we are facing the couple as they make their vows.

 

This year our annual Civic Service was deferred from May to July, partly because of the General Election, but also because John Routh, our Rector, was on Sabbatical leave, so this will be his first service back with us on 12th July.  There will be an anthem from the choir by John Rutter which has also been requested for a wedding in September (For the beauty of the earth).

 

Although we will have a few weeks break from practices during the summer months we are also starting to think about some of our autumn commitments.  We hope to join the Royal School of Church Music's area festival in October in St Chad's Cathedral in Birmingham where we will sing Vespers using a specially written service commemorating themes of justice arising from Magna Carta in its 800th anniversary year.

 

We may also join in one of the concerts scheduled for next year's Friends' season - watch this space!

 

If you read this before Saturday 20th June don't forget to attend the Midsummer Muse concert of poetry and gentle jazz in church at 7.30pm, a perfect end to our season and a chance to enjoy the summer weather outside during the interval (we hope!)


Stella

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Thu

04

Jun

2015

Wardens Blog

The start of another year of service!


Ros and I have just returned from the Archdeacon’s visitation this week.. This is the time when we get admitted to our roles as Churchwardens. It was good to also feel the support on the night of 2 veteran ex-Wardens Colin and Carole as well as all our 4 other halves! 


The new Archdeacon of Aston Simon Heathfield gave a very passionate and uplifting address, which encouraged us all in our continuing journey of faith and in particular highlighted the important ministry role not only of Churchwardens but of all those performing roles within the church. He stressed that all ministries were important.


The office of Archdeacon is ancient and became regularised in England around 1066, so a lot older than Ros and me. Around one thousand years later -in 2015- their visitations to the parish are to support and encourage the mission and ministry of God’ church. So as part of that we, as Churchwardens, have to answer questions on our stewardship, which can range from subjects such as regular attendances to the church drains, or in our case Reordering!


So rest assured, along with other Churchwardens for other churches in the Sutton Coldfield Deanery,  Ros and I were both admitted for Holy Trinity and given our staves- apparently useful as we have to keep order and decency in the church, especially during services!!


We all gave thanks for our shared ministry together! And with our Archdeacon’s support we felt encouraged and left with a renewed spirit for another year of service!


Mike


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Thu

21

May

2015

Approaching £20,000

As I write this, the Friends of Holy Trinity has just presented its 11th event since being founded in September 2013. On Saturday 16th May, we welcomed Birmingham Icknield Male Voice Choir for a rousing concert. The Friends is committed to showcasing a wide variety of engaging events and this concert followed the acclaimed Lichfield Gospel Choir, and – earlier in the year – a candlelit concert with the ancient sounds of medieval music courtesy of The Night Watch.


What separates the Friends from our major re-ordering transformation project is that we are committed to raising money for the long term aim of preserving and enhancing the existing heritage and fabric of our 700 year old parish church. On that score, we are rapidly approaching a £20,000 surplus since we started fundraising almost 2 years ago. To make sure we meet our target, the next event – Midsummer Muse – needs to be a success … and we’re confident it will be a fitting finale to our 2014/15 season! At 7.30pm on the 20th June, this will be a dreamy evening of poetry and jazz in church presented by some of the region’s most talented musicians. Let’s hope the weather stays fair as we hope to spill out into the sunshine for some Pimms during the interval! Tickets for this event are already on sale on this website and concert sponsorship opportunities are available by e-mailing friends@htsc.org.uk. 


The Friends committee are busy preparing for their 3rd season and are determined to keep the loyalty of our regulars and push the variety of events into unchartered waters. Events being considered include a touring drama company, a harp ensemble and a fantastic opera group. Following on from the success of the first 2, we hope to present a flagship Royal Town Gala Concert at the start of the season in Autumn. Practically, the season will be split between the church which will close for redevelopment at the end of 2015 and the neighbouring Trinity Centre. The TC enables new possibilities and more intimate entertainment.


We hope you’ll stay with us on the journey into our 3rd year and are very appreciative of both our annual subscribers and the generosity of our Lifetime members. Of course, the wider aim of the Friends is to make the church building - and the congregation within it - to be a more prominent and accessible part of the Royal Sutton Coldfield community. Maybe, just maybe, some of those attending our events might just think that Holy Trinity’s not a bad place to spend a Sunday morning.


Sat

02

May

2015

Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

I'm taking this opportunity to congratulate the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and send our very best wishes on the birth of a royal princess, at the time of writing, as yet unnamed.


What's been going on with the social Committee? Well, we did the refreshments for the Carols by Candlelight Service; support for the various Friends of Holy Trinity events with the refreshments; organised a leaving do for Zoe our re-ordering campaign manager when she left. It was a cheese and wine evening, with a talk by Roger Lea on the history of Holy Trinity. It was a very interesting and enjoyable evening, it ended with an update on the reordering project (over £900,000 towards our £1,600,00 target so far) and a light hearted look to the future of the church by Mike Somers.


We continue to support the Friends of Holy Trinity event for the Birmingham Icknield Male Voice Choir are on Saturday 16th May . Back to the Royal birth, we are planning to hold a 'Bring & Share' lunch to celebrate the occasion.  We are proposing to hold it on Pentecost, Sunday 24th May, so a double celebration, but that may change because it is also the start of the spring bank holiday week so a number of the congregation will be away. 


 We will also do a 'Big Breakfast' event and a Quiz later on, along with some other events, watch this space.


The social committee is very social’ and if anyone would like to join it, new members would be welcome, along with any ideas. 

Colin Ingley

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Sun

19

Apr

2015

The whole picture

The other day I bought a jigsaw from a charity shop.  Lovely picture of St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall and I was half pondering whether I might even mount and frame it after I had done it.  However, when I opened the box to start doing it I made the unwelcome discovery that there were no outside edge pieces in the box at all.  Obviously the previous owner had done what a number of people do; put all the outside edges in a separate bag and forgotten to put the bag in the box.  Such a pity.  I did ask at the charity shop, just in case they had them but they don’t so the puzzle will just have to go in the bin.


The members of one of our youth groups are currently making a film.  It is such good fun and we are having lots of laughs making it but it is a bit like doing a jigsaw without any outside pieces, or indeed, without much of a picture either.  We don’t have a clear idea of what the end result will look like, or where the boundaries might be.  We just have lots of ideas and energy and, dare I say it, talent.   We are feeling our way forward week by week, take by take and seeing where it takes us.  If you are lucky, you MIGHT just get the opportunity to see the finished result at some point but I shouldn’t hold your breath:  we have been working on this project for a few months now and so far, the only nearly-edited-and-fit-to-use content totals 54 seconds!  Watch this space!


Susie Walker

Group Youth Worker

2 Comments

Wed

01

Apr

2015

Caterpillars and  butterflies

We all need symbols to help us understand what things mean.  Easter is all about the celebration of Christ’s resurrection – new life conquering death.  And it was originally associated with eggs because eggs too are about new life.

 

But if we’re honest, the symbolism of the Easter egg has been lost in the marketing plans of the chocolate industry.  It’s become the Easter equivalent of Father Christmas.  So just for a few minutes think about a different symbol: caterpillars and butterflies. 

One Easter, in the parish where I was a curate, we decorated the church with huge caterpillars & butterflies which the children had made.  It looked lovely, colourful, but people didn’t understand why we’d done it.  So I explained.

 

A caterpillar lives its life for one purpose only: to become a butterfly. There’s only one way to get there.  To become that beautiful butterfly, the form of the caterpillar must die.  From the death of one form, another more glorious form arises. 

 

I find that an almost perfect description of what we’re meant to be celebrating on Easter Sunday.  Jesus died on the cross, and was raised by God.  From his death sprang new, more glorious life.

 

John


(photograph courtesy of bbc.co.uk)

Wed

25

Mar

2015

Joy and despair

Have you ever experienced great joy believing that your greatest wish was about to come true; and have you ever experienced deepest despair when your greatest wish was not been fulfilled? In services on Palm Sunday, this coming weekend, Christians will experience both those extremes of joy and despair.   

 

On Palm Sunday we will listen to a dramatised reading from the Gospel of Saint Mark.  Jesus will be described as riding into Jerusalem and being acclaimed by cheering crowds waving palm leaves.  It is a glorious welcome and one only given to a King.  The crowds that welcome Jesus were confident that he was the Messiah, the saviour that would restore the power of Israel.

However, as the dramatised reading goes on we will hear of the arrest of Jesus, his trial and torture, and of his agonising death on the Cross.  We move from the joy of welcoming a King to despair when we hear of his death.  We experience the extremes of joy and despair.    

 

As Christians we are asked by Jesus to place spiritual values above material ones.  Jesus the King does not value power and wealth.  Instead he comes as a King of peace whose watchwords are love and forgiveness.  Jesus has come into our lives and turned our human values upside down.

 

In a few days time on Maundy Thursday we shall hear the account of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples.  Jesus who was welcomed into Jerusalem as an all conquering King will be shown to be the Servant King, and it is in serving others that we shall find the true and everlasting Kingdom.

 

Paul Duckers

Fri

13

Mar

2015

Re-ordering: we're so close now!

We are now in the closing stages of our 12 month campaign to raise the funds for our re-ordering scheme.  The job isn’t yet done - we need to keep pushing to ensure that we can get our re-ordering work done.  But it’s gone extremely well so far. 

We’ve done well enough that we are now able to start the process of offering the contract for the re-ordering work for tender.  Later this year PCC will consider the tenders we receive and then look to move on to the actual re-ordering, which is planned for early 2016. 

Looking back, it seems an age ago when we started to discuss the fundraising – my involvement in this preparation began in 2012.  So it’s been a 3 year process, and I and many others have put a tremendous amount of work and effort into this.  But not as much as John, our Rector – he’s been working on re-ordering in some way or other during the whole period of his (so far) 9 years at Holy Trinity.  

In fact the plans for re-ordering go back even further than that.  It was part of the original idea when the Trinity Centre was created.  It’s over 20 years ago that we in the church started this!  I’m sure that we are all delighted that after so long we can now see our goal in sight!

But we can’t reach our goal without spending money. Indeed we’ve already spent a lot with the Architects – drawing up the re-ordering design & obtaining the necessary approvals (not an easy task I assure you) – and also on Compton’s help with the fundraising campaign.

As I said earlier, we have secured a tremendous amount so far, and that’s wonderful.  But we aren’t there yet – we still need further funds to make this vision a reality by 2016.  Please remember that every little helps!

If I was an optimist I would be planning the celebratory opening of the re-ordered church building now!  If I was a pessimist then I would throw the towel in now and blame everyone else.  But I am a realist, and that means I understand that we can do this – but that it will take our continued effort and determination to succeed for the remainder of this year, together with prayer of course!

Will you join me in this?

Mike Somers, Campaign Coordinator

Thu

26

Feb

2015

Marriage

“Love is patient, love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful.”  


They are words from Saint Paul’s letter to the Church at Corinth and are probably familiar to anyone who has ever been to a wedding in church. They are words that are now understood by many of those who are to be married as talking about an ideal of married love.   

Clergy always look forward to talking to wedding couples as they plan their wedding; and rejoice that they are with them on part of their life’s journey together as they work towards an ideal married life.  

 

However, for those getting married the planning of a wedding can be very stressful, and may make it very difficult for them to focus on the married life beyond.  In recent years we have held a Marriage Preparation Day for those getting married.  It is a day designed to help them think about their life together, it is definitely not a day to talk about flowers, wedding dresses and Orders of Service.  Instead they are led through a series of talks, questions and thoughts about relationships.  Not just relationships between the couples but also between them and their families and friends.   

 

The feedback from the wedding couples afterwards have always been very encouraging; they found that topics had been discussed that are normally never thought about and relationships were better understood.  A Marriage Preparation Day is a vital step towards understanding Marriage.  We pray for all those who are to attend this year.     


Paul Duckers, Curate


Fri

13

Feb

2015

Getting ready

This week sees the beginning of Lent.  What is it?  What’s it for?


The story goes that before Jesus accepts the call to follow God’s will for his life, he spends a period of 40 days wrestling with his decision.  He is tempted to follow other paths – paths leading to wealth, to power, to fame.  But after the 40 day struggle is over he rejects them, and sets off to do God’s will.


Lent is a sort of re-enactment of that.  For 40 days Christians are meant to examine themselves, their lives; perform a sort of self-audit.  We’re supposed to get ready to rededicate ourselves to following God’s will in our lives.


These days, that comes down to people taking up an activity for Lent –attending a study course, supporting a charity.  Or they choose to go without something – chocolate, alcohol, coffee.  It’s meant as a discipline, to aid that process of self-examination.


Lent culminates in Holy Week, with Jesus being arrested, tried, crucified and dying.  It’s the darkest moment in the Christian story.  And for us it’s reflected in the accumulation of all that self-examination: after 40 days we’re ready to accept just how flawed we are – as individuals and as a society.


But deep as that darkness may be, it’s followed quickly by Easter morning, when God raises Christ to new life.  Light conquers darkness, hope conquers despair, life conquers death.  And lifted up by that renewed understanding of our faith, we recommit ourselves to follow God’s way, a way not marked by flaws.


I like Lent.  I like that it forces me to think about myself, about the world I live in.  I like that it forces me to face up to all that is wrong and in need of change.  I think I, like most people, benefit from a piece of serious self-audit.


John

Fri

30

Jan

2015

A love story

This week I have had a focus on an American lady and a love story!  Not a film I went to see, but a visit to our church.  Last Saturday I opened up the church for Melanie, a nice lady from USA and over here on business.  She was tracking down details of her relatives and wanted to see the memorials here in Holy Trinity.  

 

To my surprise and pleasure these were the Wilson and Pudsey memorials and what a wonderful story that is.  For those who are not acquainted with this then Jane Pudsey was married to Henry Pudsey and when Henry died she engaged a local stonemason William Wilson to design and create a tomb.  As a wealthy and well connected family in the area, this is a very prominent tomb in the Vesey Chapel.


Jane fell in love with William who had then become an Architect, helped him get a knighthood and they got married and lived in Moat House, a lovely house which he designed and had built on Lichfield Road and is at the front of the Sutton Coldfield campus of Birmingham Metropolitan College, who now own it.  But when Jane subsequently died and was buried in Pudsey tomb, her daughters from first marriage would not allow Sir William to be also buried there.  So he arranged to be buried in a grave which was outside the church but the other side of the wall from the Pudsey tomb. He said that as a stonemason it would not be a problem for him to get through the wall to get together again with his old bedfellow!

 

Subsequently the church was again extended, and the north aisle and clergy vestry added over 150 years later.  Therefore his grave became inside the church and a memorial to him features prominently on the wall in the vestry at the other side of wall to the Pudsey tomb.  So Jane and William are reunited in all senses!

 

Returning to Melanie, although she is related to William Wilson II who left to go to America, there is unfortunately no record of Sir William and Jane having any children legitimate or otherwise, and indeed his memorial indicates he left no issue!  A true mystery!  Was it another William Wilson?  The matter is still not closed, but unless any more light can be shed on this it looks like a disappointment for Melanie and her family.  It was also a disappointment for me as this is a fabulous human story from the wide ranging history of our splendid church ... and my favourite!  

 

Mike, Churchwarden


Thu

15

Jan

2015

Changing weather

There is a card in the shops that depicts two nuns in full habit.  One is asking the other “What are YOU going to wear tomorrow?” 


As an ex nun I can tell you it really isn’t as simple as that as most extra clothes are worn UNDER the habit and aren’t, therefore, easy to take on and off should the temperature change.  So nuns must be having a hard time at the moment as our weather is veering between being very mild and very cold on almost a daily basis and sometimes within a couple of hours. 


Sometimes our work with children and young people feels a little bit like that ...


One day it seems clear what we should be doing, with whom and where we are going and then something happens and we have to think again!  It certainly keeps me on my toes and it can be a bit scary:  anything that is consistent definitely makes for an easier life. 


Changing situations can be unsettling but there is also a positive side:  change can be exciting and bring growth and benefits that are unexpected and which could not have happened in a stable and safe environment.  So although a quiet life sometimes seems desirable, as long as we can see God’s hand in all the ups and downs then all is well. 


When it seems our way forward is blocked then the film ‘The Sound of Music’ has a line in it, spoken by Maria, who was from a Convent:  “When the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window.”  So whether it is hot or cold, bumpy or smooth, we will journey on with God and see where he leads.


Susie Walker

Group Youth Worker


Sun

04

Jan

2015

Gifts from afar

On January 6th the Christian Church celebrates  the Festival of the Epiphany - the time when Wise Men or Magi from the lands to the east of Judea followed a star, and finding the Christ Child in Bethlehem presented gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

 

The story of the three Wise Men is a familiar one, but what does it signify for Christians? The word Epiphany is defined as an intuitive perception or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something. In the Festival of the Epiphany we remember the moment when the reality of whom Jesus really was dawned upon the first followers of Jesus.


The first Christians came to understand Jesus as the creator God who came to earth in human form - not as someone who came to rule as an earthly King, but as a servant to die for them on the Cross. They came to understand Jesus as God coming on earth to dispel the darkness of sin and to shed light on the Christian journey, to bring humanity forgiveness and the promise of eternal life. They came to understand that Jesus was the greatest gift humanity could have; that he is the visible expression of God’s love for humanity.

 

How do we as Christians in the 21st Century respond to the gift of Jesus to us? Epiphany can mean the moment when we reflect on the way in which we can give practical expression to the love that Jesus represents. As we reflect on the state of our world and its need for peace and justice, we may well come to understand the need for an epiphany in the way we treat one another.

 

Paul Duckers


Fri

19

Dec

2014

A Christmas Message

As the clocks strike midnight to herald the start of Christmas Day, I will be in church leading our Midnight Communion Service.  And I guess I will, as usual, take the opportunity to be the first person to say to the people gathered there ... Merry Christmas.  But even as I utter the words I know it won’t be merry for all of us.  Even here in Sutton Coldfield.

Some will spend their Christmas grieving - fighting back tears as they think of family members who aren’t with them.  Some will spend their Christmas able to afford to give to their loved ones only the most meagre of gifts.  Some will spend their Christmas in cold rooms, eating not a roast dinner, but the warmed-up contents of a couple of tins given by a food bank. 


It seems to me that Christmas has a particular message for people such as these.  For the story goes that Jesus spent his first days not in a warm well-stocked home, but in the only place of shelter his parents could find, a lowly stable.  The message is clear: I, God, am amongst you – especially those of you who are struggling to get by.


And remember – part of the way God makes his presence a reality to those who are struggling is through our behaviour, our actions.  Do you have a neighbour who is lonely, bereaved?  Be their friend!  Have you met a person who cannot properly provide for themselves?  Be their friend. 


So to everyone here in Sutton Coldfield, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas.  And for those of you who will find the day of celebration a particular struggle, please remember: God is with you – hopefully in the caring actions of those you meet.

 

John


[Also published in the Royal Sutton Coldfield Observer,

19th Dec 2014 edition]


Fri

05

Dec

2014

Keeping busy

What have the Social Committee been up to?  Well, we have enjoyed supporting the Friends of Holy Trinity with the refreshments at the concerts.  And when the re-ordering campaign was launched to the business community by Andrew Mitchell MP and The Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands, Mr Paul Sabapathy CBE, we were called on to do the refreshments and light lunch.

 

We organised a Quiz with Fish & Chip supper for Harvest, with the Routh family setting the questions, successfully raising £150 for 'Cherished'.  We cooked hot dogs for Messy church - that went down very well with adults as well as the children.


One thing hasn’t happened for the saddest of reasons.  Toby Norris, who has featured in some of our Christmas productions, approached us and told us he believed the lights would be going out on 15th January.  He asked if we would like him to do a talk for the church on Nuclear power.  We thought it was an excellent idea so we arranged date for a cheese and wine evening with Toby giving his talk.  Tragically he was diagnosed with cancer and passed away within a few weeks - he will be sadly missed.  

 

Going forward, we're arranging a trip to see Cinderella at the Lichfield Garrick Theatre.  And as the current season of Friends concerts unfolds, we’ll be there in the background - supporting with refreshments!

 

Fri

21

Nov

2014

Waiting for Christmas

Christmas as a child.  I remember it so well ... the anticipation which built up through December as Christmas Day drew nearer.  Writing cards, school concerts, putting up the tree, wrapping presents, and then ... finally ... the day arrives!  At Holy Trinity we wait for the coming of Christmas in much the same way.  And it retains its excitement for all of us whether children or adults. 

 

First, from 5th to 7th Dec, comes the Christmas Tree Festival ... groups from church and from the wider community decorate the church with their trees; and in the midst there is a concert at 7.30pm on Saturday and our Christingle Service at 4.00pm on Sunday.

At 10am on Sun 14th Dec we have the Toy Service.  The church is filled with adults and children, bringing a gift to be passed on to a child less fortunate than they ... so that they might have some enjoyment from Christmas too.

 

At 6.30pm on Sun 21st Dec we have our annual Carol Service, as we gather and hear the Christmas Story by candlelight ... not to mention mince pies and mulled wine afterwards!


Finally we reach Christmas Eve.  The church is filled with families for the Crib Service at 3.30pm - always a joyful time.  And then we're back again for the (slightly misnamed!) Midnight Communion Service at 11.30pm. 


One last push takes us to our Communion Service at 10am on Christmas Day.  And then its finally here.  The build up is over, the moment has arrived ... we all head home for Christmas, presents and food! 


The anticipation and excitement is still here for me, even though I'm an adult.  Whether you're a child or, like me a little older but still child at heart, there is plenty at Holy Trinity to help you feel the same.  Please come and join us - maybe to make a Christingle, donate a toy, sing some carols, or just remember what Christmas is really about.  You would be very welcome!

Mon

17

Nov

2014

Royal Town Gala Concert

Sutton's reconfirmed Royal status was celebrated at our Royal Town Gala Concert on Saturday 17 November. Local dignitaries came together at the first Friends event of our second season to see internationally acclaimed acts perform. 

 

Birmingham radio legend Les Ross MBE hosted the event, with the accomplished BMOS Musical Theatre Company performing show tunes from musicals including South Pacific and Carousel. Classical pianist and Director of the BCU International Piano Academy Di Xiao presented a demanding programme that included Debussy and Schubert and Birmingham-based strings ensemble Enigma similarly delighted us with a varied range of pieces. 


Dignitaries present at the event included Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands, Paul Sabapathy CBE, Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor John Lines, the Lord Bishop of Birmingham the Right Reverend David Urquhart, Sutton MP Andrew Mitchell and Observer editor Gary Phelps.

 

We were also pleased to welcome Peter Longman, the chief executive of Sutton-based care management firm CM2000, which is one of our key sponsors. The event itself was kindly sponsored by Dignity Plc, to whom we are very grateful for their continued support.

 

Andrew Mitchell MP said the concert had been a great success, in the 'perfect setting'. As with all Friends events the proceeds raised will help us to preserve and maintain our beautiful church building.

Press coverage

You can see press coverage of the Royal Town Gala Concert by Sutton Observer here

Thu

06

Nov

2014

One hundred years

It is chastening to think that there is no-one living who fought in the 'Great War'.  There may be a few still with us who were alive when war broke out, but there are none left who served. 


It's left for us, their descendants, to remember.  So we remember those who served, and those they left behind to struggle on without them - parents, partners, children.

It was supposed to be the war to end all wars.  Sadly, with the passing of time we have learnt that it wasn't the end of all war.  But in remembering the loss, the sacrifice made by so many people, the horrors they experienced, we are reminded of how much we wish it was so.


These, our forebears, suffered and endured so that a better world might rise from the spilling of their blood.  But wars have come and gone many times in these last 100 years.  Thus far we have failed to make that better world, a world free from strife, a reality.  


But this weekend our Act of Remembrance calls us back to that noble aspiration.  We remember the sacrifice of our forebears, but also the better world they hoped for - the more just and peaceful world we are called to build on their behalf, and pass on to those who follow after us.


John

Tue

28

Oct

2014

Welcome to our Friends

I can hardly believe it's been a year since the Friends burst into life with our congregation launch and the 2-page spread in the Sutton Coldfield Observer.

 

In that time, we've grown to over 90 members. 5 Concerts have been successfully staged and attended by over 800 people. The church hosted its very first Christmas Tree Festival with the church filled with beautifully decorated trees and nativity scenes, which is set to be repeated this year.


Over £9500 has been raised to help the upkeep and improvement of our 700 year old parish church. The Friends were delighted that the PCC of Holy Trinity chose to spend this on a deep clean of the beautifully painted chancel ceiling and the associated new lighting scheme.

 

Our key aims were to maximise more people into the church and make them feel that it's their church, to put on an inspiring and engaging programme of events, and to raise monies for the building and fabric of the church. I'd like to think that we have achieved all three but I know that there is more to be achieved in this and following years.

 

So what have we got to look forward to in 2014 and 2015? Once again, the Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP has kindly agreed to be Patron for another year. We're aiming to go one better this season with 6 concerts this year as well as the Christmas Tree Festival which includes a "Christmas Cracker" concert with Newhall Brass Band.

 

Once again, we'll be kick-starting the season with the Royal Town Gala Concert. In view of the recent confirmation of Sutton's Royal Town status, it's set to have even more significance and will be attended by many local dignitaries. This time, it's hosted by Midlands radio legend - Les Ross - with a superb line-up of the award-winning BMOS Musical Theatre Company, internationally-acclaimed pianist Di Xiao, and strings ensemble - Enigma. Don't miss it!!

 

Tickets for all events and the special offer season ticket can be bought securely online by clicking the link below. Alternatively, please call 0121 321 1144 for more info ...

 

http://www.htsc.org.uk/friends-of-holy-trinity/concerts-and-events/


Fri

10

Oct

2014

Sharing the Harvest

 

This Sunday we have our Harvest Thanksgiving Service.  We will be thanking God for everything that is given to us in creation, all that sustains our life. 

 

I remember, a few years ago, someone phoned me up to complain after I’d written something like that in our magazine.  Basically he said that God didn’t give him anything – all he had was the product of his own hard work.  Well, I said, I’m sorry but that isn’t how I see things at all.  Our work would be of no value whatsoever if it weren’t for the raw materials given by God.  

 

And God didn’t provide those raw materials for the use of any individual person or group – God gave them for all of us to use.  Throughout the bible we are reminded that we should be caring for the poor amongst us; that we should be sharing the gifts of creation generously, not gathering them up and keeping them to ourselves.

 

We live in difficult economic times.  Even here in relatively well-off Sutton Coldfield there are people who are struggling, in the face of government spending cuts.  Those who are coping in these times are called on by God to help those who are not.

 

On Sunday people will bring gifts of food to the service to say their own personal ‘thank you’ to God.  As we have done for the last few years, we will pass those gifts to the food bank run by our friends at Sutton Coldfield Baptist Church – and they will ensure the gifts go to those who need them.

 

God’s creation, and the Harvest we gather from it, is meant to be enjoyed and shared by us all; haves and have-nots alike.

 

John

 

Fri

26

Sep

2014

Pastoral care - what is it?

 

On re-reading my blog of July this year I realised that I may have made an unfortunate mistake in assuming that everyone would know what Pastoral Care was. Let me put that right: Alastair V Campbell, author of several books on Pastoral Care, says “Pastoral care is, in essence, surprisingly simple. It has one fundamental aim: to help people know love, both as something to be received and as something to give.”

 

 

It is a wonderfully broad definition, because it is totally inclusive; Pastoral Care is not the preserve of a particular group of people or organisation. Indeed it is something that everyone does without realising. Anyone who listens to a friend or neighbour airing a problem or responds to someone in trouble is exercising pastoral care.

 

Of course Christians would argue that they are responding through pastoral care because of the example of Jesus Christ. Others will argue that pastoral care is something that would seem to be a part of our human nature. However we understand stand and practice pastoral care it is clear that it is an essential way of building relationships, it is the very fabric of society.

 

When we came to review our Pastoral care at Holy Trinity we found a myriad of informal relationships; the congregation were already supporting those who were unwell or had particular problems. We have built on firm foundations; we have learnt that the love expressed through pastoral care is to be received and given freely. 

 

Paul Duckers

 

Tue

16

Sep

2014

A book to remember

It's fairly unusual for a theologian to be widely admired across a number of Christian denominations. Occasionally, though, someone comes along who breaks the mould and offers some profound insights into the Christian faith that speak to most, if not all, Christian traditions. Rowan Williams is one of these theologians.

His work is often complex and difficult, but every so often he manages to distil the essence of his theology into a readable and easily accessible book. His latest book, "Being Christian", is a fine example of this kind of approach.

 

Taking four elements that Williams argues sit at the root of any Christian community - Baptism, Bible, Eucharist and Prayer - he sets out his understanding of what it means to be a Christian in today's world.

 

The book gently but persuasively holds up a mirror to our understanding of what it means to be Christian, and asks us to look again to see if we have missed anything vital. This is not always a comfortable process, but as Williams points out in the chapter on Baptism, if we are to grow as Christians we sometimes need to step out of our comfort zones onto the exhilarating path that God wants us to travel.   

 

The great thing about this book is that Williams presents this challenge in a kindly and pastoral tone without diluting the importance of it.

 

One criticism that has been made is that Williams' choice of Baptism, Bible, Eucharist and Prayer as the necessary activities of a Christian community mean that any such community is essentially a club - you are either in or you are out. Yet throughout the book is an underlying sense that all these activities are part of God's invitation for us to participate in the love and joy that God has for all people.  

 

I particularly like Williams' statement that the Eucharist is there to remind us that we are guests of Jesus, that he wants us to sit and eat with him as friends, whoever we are. If that makes Christianity a club then it's one that anyone can join!

Phil Morton

 

PS from John: You may be interested to know that we have decided to study this book in our Autumn House Groups.  Watch out for information on times and places!

 

Fri

29

Aug

2014

Summer's end

They say that time flies when you are enjoying yourself but I can report that this summer is flying by even though I, as the Youth Worker, do not (contrary to popular belief) get the school holidays off and therefore have been working. 

 

Not that work isn’t  enjoyable most of the time of course, but it is alarming how little time there is left before clubs restart and how much more planning I wish I had got done but haven’t.  

 

This is the time of year when young people find out their exam results and see whether their dreams for the future can be realised or not.  They have lots of choices to make and lots of new things to face. Several in CYG, our youth group for secondary school young people, will be leaving us for University.

 

Another group of kids that have a lot of new things to face are the ones starting secondary school.  It is so funny to see them in Year 6, the oldest in the school and confident of their status and then to see them in Year 7, the youngest and smallest in the school with oversized uniforms and shyness abounding. 

 

It doesn’t last though!  Soon they will find their feet and shoot up to be teenagers.  We will journey with a lot of these young people through JCYG, our Friday night youth club, and watch, with interest, where their lives take them. 

 

In the meantime, I must get back to my planning or there won’t be any clubs at all!

 

 

Susie Walker

 

Sun

17

Aug

2014

Holy Trinity Matters

 

Life is just a series of ups and downs these days!

 

The fundraising campaign is well underway and there are quite a number of people involved. And they have busy lives too! Nowadays the summer holidays seem to stretch from the end of May to the beginning of October. No - not my own holiday - although we certainly did get a month’s break which was great.

 

One minute we have a bit of disappointment and the next a bit of good news. The challenges continue but our team is focussed on doing our best to turn these into positive success. For the achievement of our vision and the benefit of us all!

 

As I write I have just finished drafting our monthly congregation newsletter - “Holy Trinity Matters” – this is the 5th edition where John and I have provided further details on a particular aspect of the Reordering and also given a monthly update on our fundraising efforts. The totals have been gradually growing and we have now reached a significant milestone!

 

With our internal Congregation and Electoral Roll phase we have reached over £209k – wonderful so far. That’s the good news; but the disappointment is that we need to get to £300k and there is little time left if we are to avoid delay to our other phases. So keep praying that the responses will now come in as soon as possible.

 

Meanwhile on a totally different subject - I wonder when Christmas starts as I see the first shop has opened its Xmas section!!

 

Mike Somers, Campaign Co-ordinator

 

Sun

03

Aug

2014

Who was that?

 

Who was that?

“Oh, he’s the gardener.” Thus said the young brother accompanying his sister on the way to Rainbows at St Chads, spying me weeding the flower bed outside the church hall where the Rainbows were to plant flowers as part of their activities that afternoon.  So lightly was I explained and dismissed.  And then it struck me that I hadn’t been the first person mistaken for a gardener, that these words had been spoken before.

 

Spoken on a distant morning full of sorrow and dashed hopes when a woman had come to mourn and tend the body of one whom she loved only to be faced by the bewilderment of a missing body and words too wonderful to contemplate or too amazing to accept.

 

Spoken in the midst of her confusion and tumbling thoughts, to take the figure standing nearby for one no more than the caretaker of that space.  Spoken, only to find the very one she sought.  Spoken to the living risen Christ on the resurrection day whom she had last seen taken lifeless from a cruel execution and hastily laid in a tomb without all the proper attention that she and her comrades had wished to lavish upon him in love and gratitude.

How often do we fail to recognise one whom we should know well?  How easily do we put people in a convenient place in our minds and then fail to recognise or comprehend them when we meet them in settings that to us seem unexpected?  How many times does God meet us and yet we only realise after the event that the stranger, the unassuming figure passed by, the chance companion upon the road, all embodied the living Spirit.  The living Spirit who loves to encounter us, to enrich us, to encourage us, to enlighten us upon our way.

So, who is that whom you meet today?

Tim Dawe

 

Sun

20

Jul

2014

Pastoral Visiting

A Bishop once wrote about his experiences of pastoral visiting. As a young Curate in his first Parish he had organised a visiting scheme to ensure that the sick and housebound people in the Parish were regularly visited. All apparently went well. However, some years later he revisited the Parish to see an elderly parishioner. Naturally he asked how she was; all was fine, her only problem was the number of Church people who rang her up and wanted to visit her. They were a nuisance! Such can be the perils of pastoral visiting.

As that young Curate realised, to visit the sick and housebound is an essential part of Christian ministry; to be with people in their times of need. As that now much wiser Bishop came to understand pastoral visiting has to be done with extreme sensitivity. Each person visited will have different needs and expectations of a visit and of the visitor. Visitors come to understand that visiting allows them to use one of our greatest God given gifts, that of listening.

 

Here at Holy Trinity we have been taking Holy Communion after our main Sunday Service to the housebound members of our congregation for some years. Recently we have begun to visit the sick and housebound during the week. As we engage in this work we are learning more and more about ourselves; learning to care, learning to listen. The young Curate who became a wise Bishop has much to teach us.

 

Paul Duckers

 

 

Sat

12

Jul

2014

Summer - children's groups

 

 

Over the school summer holidays our Sunday morning groups for children continue, but we join the groups together - so children aged from 3 to 16 can be working together on a series of collages to be displayed in church.

 

Over the last few summers our themes have included animals in the Bible, parables and creation. This year we’ve chosen a slightly different theme ...

Jesus, as recorded in John’s Gospel, made seven statements beginning ‘I am’, so we’ve chosen to illustrate these. They range from those that can be easily interpreted in artwork such as ‘I am the Good Shepherd’ and ‘I am the True Vine’, to ideas that are a little bit harder to display in collage form such as ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life’. I am sure that our children and leaders will, as always, come up with some fantastic ideas on how to turn these statements into art. We use the choir vestry at the back of church as our meeting room.

 

Any children, whether regulars or visitors, are very welcome to join us for these groups, which run from 20th July to 31st August. The groups meet in the choir vestry. On the 10th August the services includes a baptism - the children will still go to the group but they will come back into church for the actual baptism so won’t miss a thing - in fact they get the best view as they usually watch this part from the top of the steps right by the font!

 

Congregation members not quite young enough to qualify for the children’s groups should look out for these collages which will be displayed around church after the services.

 

Liz Petley

 

 

 

 

Mon

07

Jul

2014

My Ordination

 

Yesterday I was ordained Deacon at Birmingham Cathedral. It was a beautiful service, a sunny day with lots of people from Holy Trinity joining me to celebrate.

My journey to ordination has felt like a long one.  It has been both challenging and fulfilling, with many adventures along the way. After going through a 2 year selection process, then spending two years at Queen's Foundation Birmingham, the final part of the journey was to spend a 4 day retreat with other ordinands in Holland House. It was such a huge privilege to spend these days with many wonderful and inspiring people. Bishop Andrew led the retreat, encouraging us to be leaders by modelling the leadership of Jesus.

The retreat was mostly in silence, which was quite a challenge... However, Holland House is set in such beautiful surroundings so it was quite easy to while away hour after hour contemplating, beside the river or in the gardens. I even got to see a kingfisher dive down into the water.

Yesterday morning we woke early for Morning Prayer and after breakfast we set off, in our collars, to Birmingham Cathedral. I was so excited to see my husband and children after having been away from them for such a long time. (I even got to have a cuddle before the service).

The service was perfect! We sang one of my favourite songs, "In the Lord I'll be Ever Thankful" and the choir sounded beautiful. At the moment when we had to kneel in front of the bishop I was simply humbled... & later exhilarated.

 

There was a point in the service where the newly ordained deacons turned around to face the congregation. It was then that I saw just how many people had come along to support me! I have been hugely supported throughout this journey. Indeed, the whole of Holy Trinity have shown me more love than I ever dared to hope for. I can never thank you all enough!

After the service I got more hugs than I've ever had before! My 2 children were delighted as they got to hold Bishop David's staff for photographs.

So now, I have to leave Holy Trinity! I am officially the curate at St Peter and St Paul, Coleshill and St Michael and All Angels, Maxstoke. A new adventure lies ahead...


Rev'd Becky Stephens

 

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Sun

15

Jun

2014

Trinity Lights

 

Trinity Lights is a fellowship group aimed at anyone in their 20s, 30s & 40s. I have to admit however that there is more than a little flexibility in that statement!

We started Trinity Lights a number of years ago with an aim to form a group who could share together as we grew in faith. We've had social meetings as well as discussion sessions and Bible study. Most of all though, Trinity Lights has been a place where friendships have grown; a place where trust has developed. Our hope now is to grow further.

In order to grow, with the help of our Group Curate Phil, we have reached out to the other churches in the Sutton Coldfield Group: St Peter's and St Chad's. We're excited to say that we have had quite a bit of interest so our next step is to reform and work out what might be the best way forward.

 

We began our reformation last weekend when we were all invited to Louise and Chris' house for a BBQ. As 22 of us gathered in their back garden the weather was kind to us with only a few spots of rain, when we gathered under the gazebo. The adults chatted whilst the children played football and swing ball.

Our next meeting may be more study focused but that certainly doesn't mean less enjoyable. Our meetings are always very relaxed, and no knowledge is ever assumed. If you feel a group such as this could be for you then we'd love to hear from you!

 

 

 Becky Stephens

 

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Tue

03

Jun

2014

A Weekend Away

Last weekend approximately 30 members of the congregation enjoyed a weekend with Brian and Mary Dixon and family at their farm set in the Olchon Valley underneath the Black Mountains near the Welsh boarder. We were all warmly welcomed and made to feel very much at home. Unfortunately the weather did not want to cooperate and although we were all wet and muddy it did not dampen our spirits or our enthusiasm!

 

Activities on the Saturday included a mill wheel demonstration (there was certainly plenty of water to drive the wheel!) and some of the younger members of the congregation enjoyed packaging up the freshly milled wholemeal flour. We also walked (or drove) to the nearby Angora Goat Company, where the owners gave us a short talk about how the yarns are produced. The goats live as a family group (including two very cute kids) but the farmer explained how they all have very distinct personalities.

A group of us then undertook a visit to Longtown Castle, where Brian had arranged for a local historian to come and give us a talk. The castle has one of the finest round stone keeps in England, although the muddy puddles proved more of an attraction for one of the youngest visitors! Back at the farm there was supper and an enjoyable evening of games, including a quiz which was won by the Petley family.

 

The next morning the intrepid campers and those staying at the local pub were reunited at the morning service at Llanveynoe Church. We very much boosted the numbers of the local congregation who were very welcoming. As the weather had improved we enjoyed a walk down to the river and through to the field for Quad biking and buggies.

 

We are all very grateful to the Dixon family for organising such a lovely weekend and their warm hospitality – we look forward to the next one.

 

Louise Chubb

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Sun

25

May

2014

Bats in Creation

Now that spring has finally arrived and we're able to enjoy a few sunny days, it's been interesting to keep track of animals beginning to come out of hibernation. Bumblebees and honey bees are starting to look for places to set up their hives and we've already noticed quite a few in our back garden. Bees are one of the most important creatures in the pollination cycle, and our crops often depend on them to grow properly. We in the cities can do our bit by growing bee - friendly plants in our gardens or window boxes. There are helpful tips on what to grow on the bumblebee conservation website bumblebeeconservation.org

Of course, it's not just bees that are useful creatures to have around the place. One of the things I'm personally very interested in is bat conservation. Bats are what are known as biodiversity indicators. This means that if local bat populations are doing well, then other local wildlife is usually flourishing too. The Bat Conservation Trust is in the process of mapping bat populations across the country in a project called the Batlas. I'm hoping to help out with one of the local surveys being conducted by the Birmingham & Black Country Wildlife Trust. 

Far from being the horrid little blood-suckers of popular imagination, bats are crucial to a good eco-system and help to keep insect populations at a manageable level. They also very often roost in churches, which is where my interest began. None of the churches in the Sutton Group have resident bats (and I can hear the vicars breathing a sigh of relief!) but actually they are fairly low-maintenance tenants. Those churches that are home to a roost can find expert advice on how to live amicably with bats from the Bat Conservation Trust website www.bats.org.uk

It can be a fine relationship, with churches providing the ideal home to many species of bat, and the local habitat flourishing as a result. It's just another way of caring for God's world. 

 

Philip Morton

Sutton Coldfield Group Curate

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Sun

18

May

2014

Youth News

Easter fell late this year.  On reflection, I like it better when Easter falls early because then the hopefulness and life of spring and summer seem longer.

This is a funny school term for youth work.   We are on a countdown to the long summer holidays but the youngsters are all in different places.   The Year 6s have just done their SATs and are on the verge of leaving primary school and heading to secondary education.  So they are on a real high and full of energy.  JCYG on a Friday night has a lot of Year 6s so we will have a lot of exuberant behaviour to channel.

At the other end of the scale, many of CYG, the older youth group will be sitting major exams, so for them, it is a stressful, demanding time.  A few of them will be leaving the group at the end of the term as they head of to uni (and one for a career in the army).  A new chapter of their lives will be opening; exciting but not a little daunting.   So CYG for this term is kept light and fun as an antidote to the heavy brain work. 

 

Last week I was accompanied by several volunteer leaders to a youth work conference.  It was an amazing conference, full of ideas and resources but the best bit, for me, was the keynote speaker; Mark Yaconelli (it’s worth Googling him!).  He was inspiring to listen to and had us laughing one minute and moved to tears the next with his youth work stories.  The one thing he said over and over again is that, as youth workers, our job is to do whatever the young people need to help them be alive:  alive in the world, to themselves and, of course, to God. 

 

And as we journey with the young people whose lives touch ours, that is our goal.

 

Susie Walker

Youth Worker for Sutton Coldfield Group

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Sat

10

May

2014

Newhall Band

On Saturday 10th May we were very pleased to welcome Newhall Band to the church for an evening concert of great brass band music.

 

Under the leadership of Kevin Holdgate (former principal trombone, Grimethorpe Colliery Band) the band has recently won prizes in various local contests, and is rapidly forming a reputation as one of the most entertaining concert bands in the Midlands.

 

The Derbyshire based band entertained us with a medley of well known tunes, culminating in a 'Last Night of the Proms' style finale - complete with flag waving from the audience!

Press coverage

You can see press coverage of the Newhall Band concert by Sutton Observer here.

Sun

27

Apr

2014

Easter Bridges

New bridges are a common theme in Sutton Coldfield at the moment.  The highway authority is rebuilding the Plants Brook bridge beneath Lower Queen Street.  Network Rail are rebuilding the bridge carrying the Sutton Park line over Rectory Road.

 

A key moment in the rebuilding of the Rectory Road bridge came on Easter Sunday morning, a hefty mobile crane lifted the new structure into position.  That morning the team of workers witnessed the Easter sunrise along with those who participated in the Son Rise worship at Wheatmoor Farm - but for rather different reasons.

With all this renewing of bridges coming at Easter time, I am reminded of the ultimate bridge-builder, God, and the bridge he built on the first Easter morning.  Throughout history God had willed what was best for humanity; but humanity had proved itself incapable of following that will, of fulfilling its potential. 

Humanity simply was not up to the task.  Humanity required God's grace to bridge the gap between God's will and human action.  And so God sent Jesus to show us the way - crucified by human sin, but raised by God's grace.

Bridges are designed for the loads they need to carry – as an engineer, understanding the loads, the strength of materials and the design of the structure to enable the one to bear the other is my trade.  The good news about the bridge is that God's grace is able to bear all our loads.

Come unto me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” Jesus proclaimed.  No-one is excluded from this relief; no burden is too heavy, too dark, too awful for the bridge of God's grace to withstand.

As Christians –whether or not the country about us is Christian – let us live out the truth and freedom of those words of Jesus, and in doing so proclaim it to the communities in which we live.  Christ is risen: Christ is risen indeed, alleluia!

Tim, St. Chad's

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Sat

19

Apr

2014

This weekend is it.

This weekend is it.  There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that comes close to it in the Christian faith. 

 

On Good Friday we witness the depths of despair.  Jesus is deserted by his friends; he is tried and executed; he experiences what it is to feel the absence of God.  We hear the story, feel guilt, and share in the despair ourselves.

Jesus is taken down from the cross, and laid in a tomb.  And on Saturday all is quiet, all is still .  The world around us moves on like nothing has happened, but we stop; we wait.  For something ... anything.

 

And then it is Easter Sunday, and we wake to joy.  Something new has happened.  Life conquers death, love conquers hatred, joy conquers despair.  Christ has been raised.  God is with us after all, (s)he has been all along. 

 

As I say, this weekend is it.  This is what our faith is founded on, this sequence of events.  Please come along and join us in the celebration.

 

John

 

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Sun

13

Apr

2014

Holy Week Reflection

Our Christian life is sometimes described as a journey; a journey on which we are supported by our hope of life eternal and our faith in Jesus Christ. Holy Week is perhaps understood as a journey in itself. We begin Holy Week with the sounds and sights of a victorious Jesus Christ riding into Jerusalem, but end with him dying on the cross and being placed in the tomb. Victory has turned into despair, hope into death.

 

During Holy Week we have an opportunity to reflect on the life and death of Jesus Christ as we read or listen to the Gospel story. In services on Maundy Thursday we are reminded that Jesus Christ came to earth as a servant and not as an all powerful King. The Gospel tells us that Jesus washed the feet of his Disciples as a sign of his servant status; we are reminded that Christians are to be the servants of others. It is in service that we find our God.

 

On Good Friday the congregations of the churches in central Sutton Coldfield will meet together, and walk in silent witness through the streets. We walk to testify to the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made because of the love of God for humanity. And then we wait, we wait in hope of the resurrection and in its promise of eternal life. We wait in the knowledge that we are loved by Jesus. We wait for the glory of Easter Day.

 

Paul Duckers

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Mon

31

Mar

2014

Ordinand's Blog

We have now broken up from college for the Easter holidays… However, I’m not sure how much of a break I’ll get – I have piles of books staring at me ready to write my final assignments. The one I’m tackling now is how feminist theology has helped to inform women about their calling to priesthood. It was particularly poignant therefore to hear John speaking of God as Mother in yesterday’s sermon. I have to admit to being completely won over by feminist theologians since I began training. It will be an exciting challenge to weave my newly formed theology into my ministry.

 

After Easter we have a 4 week block called ‘Bridging into Ministry’. During these weeks we will learn the practicalities of being an ordained member of clergy. The hardest sessions will certainly be those in which we learn how to conduct a funeral. I’m sure however that this part of my ministry will bring the most blessings. If I’m honest, I don’t think I’ve fully got my head around how I will stop myself crying along with those who mourn! I will have to rely on God to guide me.

Although it’s exciting to have the end of training in my sights it also means it’s nearly time to go. My curacy will be in the parish of Coleshill. I already have a bit of a head start since I did my 3 month placement there last summer. It’s going to be tough to leave Holy Trinity; it’s been my spiritual home for almost 11 years! However, in that time I’ve made many, many wonderful friends - they won’t be able to get rid of me that easily.

 

So, it’s getting closer… My ordination stole arrived on Thursday, I’m collecting my robes & clerical shirts on Saturday and I’ve received all the information for my pre-ordination retreat (at which I apparently have to remain silent!)

 

Being an Ordinand is an exciting, challenging, roller-coaster of a journey, but I wouldn’t have missed a moment!

 

Becky 

Mon

24

Mar

2014

Lichfield Cathedral Choir

We were delighted to welcome Lichfield Cathedral Choir to the church on Tuesday 18 March for an evening of beautiful choral music. The choir was led by the Cathedral's Director of Music Ben Lamb and accompanied by Martyn Rawles, Organist, who also performed two solo organ recitals. 

 

Press coverage

You can see the coverage of the Lichfield Cathedral Choir by the Sutton Observer here.

Sun

09

Mar

2014

The Warden's Blog

Another busy week! It’s a busy world and most people live a busy life. But let’s not lose sight of how we can make it better by giving more of our time and talents!

 

I’ve never been one to give up something for Lent but do try and give something extra for Lent. How about we all give up some of our spare time for Lent? Our church is clearly the sum of all the parts and we can grow stronger if people echo that approach. People help in different ways and if we are able to incorporate the wide range of people’s time and talents available then how much better our church would become.

We have the dedication of our clergy and those on the PCC, and those who have volunteered to do lots of different roles to keep the church, its groups and the Trinity Centre running. Our many thanks to all those volunteers who have given of their time and talents for the wider good.

 

I never cease to be amazed by the contributions and efforts made by a wide range of people but Pareto would say that 80% of the effort is done by only 20% of people. Think about our success if we can get more out of the other 80%! Perhaps for Lent we can all give up that bit of apathy, lethargy and complacency. If only everyone did just one extra thing. If only we had more volunteers things would be a lot easier all round. There’s plenty needs doing so make a choice that suits you!

 

So think not what you can give up for Lent, but what can you give extra for Lent…. and beyond- hopefully!

 

Now back to those Rotas!

 

Mike Somers

 

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Sun

02

Mar

2014

Time to Reflect

Christmas, the celebration of Jesus' birth, is now a fading memory. The next big events in the church calendar are Good Friday and Easter, the festivals which recall the events at the centre of the Christian faith, the death and resurrection of Jesus. But before we get to them, first we must pass through Lent.

 

Lent is when we prepare ourselves for Good Friday and Easter. It's a time we spend in reflection. We recognise that God willed Jesus to live a life focused on self-giving and grace, and that he paid a heavy price for it. We recognise that God wills us to live that same way, and that we fail. We look to find ways in which we become better people, better disciples.

To reinforce that self examination we often give up something - not a luxury we can easily manage without, but something basic to our lives. For me that might be coffee. And sometimes we take something up - perhaps we attend a study course, offer our services to something. Whatever we do it is about reflection and discipline - about making ourselves focus on and live more in accordance with God's will.

 

It sounds hard doesn't it ... and it can be! But it's worth it. It's far better to live a life of self-giving and grace, even in a small way, than to simply follow the crowd. So what will give up, or take up, this Lent ... and will you see it through?

 

John

 

 

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Sun

23

Feb

2014

Lent Course

Once again we will be running a Lent Course within the Sutton Coldfield Group this year. In previous years the York Courses have proved to be popular, and they have released a new course for 2014 called Build on the Rock: Faith, Doubt – and Jesus. There are 5 sessions in all, and once again they offer reflections, Bible readings and discussion points to help Christians at all stages of their faith journey to delve a little deeper into our relationship with Christ.

 

You may well be familiar with some of the contributors who appear on the course CD. This year we will hear from Bishop Richard Chartres, Rev’d Joel Edwards and Birmingham’s very own resident Theologian, Dr Paula Gooder. No doubt they will have some valuable insights to share with us, and leave us with plenty to discuss in the break-out groups after hearing the CD.

The course will be run at the Trinity Centre, and in keeping with previous years we will be meeting on different nights of the week so that other activities that people regularly participate in will not be too affected. We will meet at 7:30pm until 9:00pm. There will also be a day-time group that will meet each week for those who cannot make the evenings. Listen out for further details on this in the next couple of weeks.

 

The nights in question are:

Thursday 13th March

Thursday 20th March

Friday 28th March

Tuesday 1st April

Wednesday 9th April

 

In the past this course has been well-attended and many people have commented on how useful it has been, not only by exploring the themes of the course each week, but also in helping people from each church in the Group to get to know one another better.

 

If you are interested in participating in the course, please use the sign-up sheet at the back of church. Materials for the course are provided, but if you are able to make a small contribution to the costs it would be very gratefully received.

 

I look forward to seeing you there.

 

Phil Morton

 

0 Comments

Tue

18

Feb

2014

Social News

The social committee has been busy doing the refreshments for the extra services over Christmas like the Christingle and Carols by Candlelight. They have also been supporting the 'Friends of Holy Trinity' events by serving the wine at the concerts and coffee and cake at the Christmas tree festival. We did arrange our now customary visit to the pantomime at the Lichfield Garrick Theatre (Snow White this year) enjoyed by all who went.

 

On Sunday 2nd March we will be supporting the Messy Church service at 4.00pm by cooking pancakes. If last year is anything to go on we will be tossing over fifty pancakes for everyone who wants one.

With all the 'Friends' events we have not had much of an opportunity to arrange many social events. Well, on Mothering Sunday, 30th March we are going to hold a ‘Big Breakfast’ to treat the mums and also to raise funds towards Holy Trinity's chosen charity for the year 'Cherished'. So if you fancy a full English breakfast, tickets are available from the Trinity Centre now, priced £5 for adults and £3 for children. We are also aiming to go on a walk to Middleton bluebell wood, weather and conditions permitting. No particular Sunday, but we will announce it one Sunday and go the next.

 

We are going to arrange a meal out in the summer, a treasure hunt / car rally and probably a quiz. As well as supporting the rest of the 'Friends' events this year.

 

Colin Ingley

0 Comments

Sun

09

Feb

2014

Ordinand's Blog

I've just worked out that I have only 9 weeks left at college and only 13 weeks of training! Time has flown by; it feels like just a few short weeks ago when John announced in church that I had been accepted for training. It was actually over 2 years ago.

 

Yesterday was quite a milestone in my training when I went to a clerical clothing event at Queen’s and tried on my first collar. I was surprised at how anxious I felt about putting one on but once I’d plucked up the courage, I looked in the mirror and it wasn’t nearly as weird as I had thought it might be.

The event turned out to be a really enjoyable experience which I got to share with the friends I have made whilst training at Queen’s. We all started off feeling a little self-conscious but by the end we were trying on all kinds of shirts, t-shirts and even hoodies. (I have to admit, I didn’t order a hoodie!)

 

Our tutors have asked of us regularly over the past few weeks, “What will be different about you after ordination?” Yes, I be wearing a collar and dress slightly differently during a church service but I will still be Becky – wife, mum, daughter, sister and friend.

 

Through ordination I will have the honour of serving people in the name of Jesus Christ and of sharing in the highlights and hardest times of people’s lives. Being a Priest isn’t just about the clothes we wear; it is about being present.

 

Becky Stephens

 

0 Comments

Sat

08

Feb

2014

Canoldir Male Voice Choir

On Saturday 8th February we were treated to a rousing performance by the Canoldir Male Voice Choir, together with talented guest violinist, Sutton Coldfield's Jody Smith.

 

More than 200 people enjoyed the concert, and over £1800 was raised - much needed funds for the building and fabric of this historic church.

Press coverage

See press coverage of the Canoldir Male Voice Choir concert by Sutton Observer here.

Sun

26

Jan

2014

Open House

I’m often asked, “What is Open House and what happens there?” Well, Open House is Holy Trinity’s baby and toddler group, and as its name suggests welcomes all pre-school children and their parents and carers. We meet on a Wednesday morning during term time, downstairs in the Trinity Centre. We are ready to welcome people from 9.30am.

 

The first part of the morning is very informal – the children play with toys and the grown-ups drink tea and coffee and chat. After about an hour or so we put the toys away and the children sit down with a drink and a biscuit.

About 30 odd years ago Holy Trinity started a ‘Pram Service’ in the church which over the years has developed into Open House. To keep the connection with this we always have a prayer, a bible story and a song following the drink and biscuit. We have a variety of story tellers, including the clergy, and we have various percussion instruments for the children to play while the grown-ups sing the song to a CD.

 

The last session of the morning involves singing nursery rhymes – with the actions of course! Finally, after a quiet time of blowing bubbles everyone goes home at about 11.30am or so.

 

Margaret Le Brocq

 

 

0 Comments

Sun

19

Jan

2014

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Christianity has as its heart the two Great Commandments that Jesus Christ gave us: to worship God, and to love one another. I believe that if those two Commandments were truly followed then selfishness and greed would be defeated; famine, oppression and warfare would disappear. The precepts of Christianity have the power to change our world; indeed there are around the world about 2 billion Christians about one third of the world’s population. However, tragically we are a divided community, being split into many traditions; principally Roman Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox.

Unity is an ideal for which Christians long for. One of the Prayers in our Anglican Daily Prayer Cycle asks “That the Church may discover again that unity which is the Father’s will.” Working and praying for Christian unity was initially started over a century ago to try to draw together the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches. Since then it has come to include all branches of the Christian faith across the world. During the coming week Christians of all denominations will join together in acts of prayer and worship, praying that the way to unity under Jesus Christ will be found.

 

Here in Sutton Coldfield there will be a Service for Christian Unity at Duke Street Church on Sunday 19th January at 6.30pm where members of all the Sutton Central Churches will gather; please pray with us or for us as we continue travel on our road to unity.

 

Paul Duckers

0 Comments

Sun

14

May

2017

Heritage gathers steam!

Our first open morning as part of the Heritage at the Heart project attracted around 80 visitors on 5th May.  As a result we now have some 35 people expressing an interest in becoming heritage stewards in our new scheme.  There were many visiting from the wider community seeing the church interior for the first time since its re-furb, and the "Wow" factor was still there!
We have also appointed our artists to work with community groups and schools to gather views on visitor resources, and are now finalising the specification for the IT work to develop our website to act as an archive and interactive information point for real and virtual visitors.

 

If you are interested in the stewarding scheme or would like any further information, please email:  heritage@htsc.org.uk 
Stella Thebridge
Read More

Sat

13

May

2017

City of Lichfield Concert Band

On Saturday we gathered again to spend a very enjoyable evening in the company of 44 members of the City of Lichfield Concert Band.  They were led by their very entertaining conductor, Mark Vause.

The band played a varied and exciting programme - including Grieg's March of the Trolls, Cornets-a-Go-Go and a selection from Les Miserables. The high point of the evening for some was the audience participation during The Beatles' Ticket to Ride!

It was great to see the church so full, and so many people having a lovely evening of music right here in the centre of Sutton Coldfield.

 

If you weren't able to join us this time please do come along to one or both of the remaining concerts this season.

Read More

Thu

27

Apr

2017

Summer term ...

As I write the new school term has just begun, and this summer term is a ‘funny’ one.  We are getting towards the end of the academic year and the long summer holidays are in sight but for many young people there is a large blot on the landscape which goes by the name of exams.  For them there will be lots of hard work and stress ahead until towards the end of June.

 

It doesn’t make planning for the youth clubs very easy as numbers will fluctuate wildly according to who has what exam when.   And although the younger age groups of JCYG aren’t so affected themselves so numbers may remain steadier, we are very reliant on a group of older young people who come and help each Friday and they will be caught up in exam fever.

 

We really need a bigger pool of helpers but so far the Lord has not sent anybody.  I think people are a bit scared of the youngsters and think they are going to feel out of their depth but it is really a lot gentler than that, with roles to suit all talents, and they really are a lovely lot whom we are privileged to have contact with.  I think if people came and had a no obligation visit they might actually like what they see.   I can but hope and pray.

 

Susie Walker

Youth Work Coordinator

Wed

12

Apr

2017

Despair ... and joy

The most important weekend of the church year is fast approaching.

 

On Good Friday, the church will do the same thing it has done for nearly 2000 years.  We will stand on the sidelines and watch the first part of a story unfold.  A man will be tried – his crime being to put God’s love for all people above the establishment’s self-interest – and found guilty.  Then he will be executed on a cross, a painful, shameful death. 

 

We will quietly leave church, our heads hung low, and wait.  And we will spend the next day or so waiting – and do nothing.  We will wait and experience, for just a few brief hours, what it feels like to despair, to be without hope, without God’s presence and love.

 

But on Easter Sunday we will gather together, again doing what the church has done for nearly two millennia.  We will watch the story’s second half.  God will raise Christ, witnessing to the truth: that God’s love cannot be contained by human failings, that God’s life can conquer death and despair.  And we will celebrate and rejoice. 

 

On Good Friday and Easter Sunday we will travel first to the depths of despair, and then to the heights of joy.  This season is the key moment of Christian faith.  It shows us that through God’s love despair gives way to joy and hope, old life gives way to new.  And the best news is … it happens, in ways great and small, every single day.

  

John

 

Wed

29

Mar

2017

A warden's life

The last time I wrote was just before Christmas; and here we are already in the run-up to Easter.

 

The last three months have been particularly busy. We have settled down in our re-ordered Church and are exploring new ways of using the space. Recently the Diocese held a conference here, and the building was very well received.

 

A lot of effort needs to go in to moving chairs and tables into place, and there is the ‘techy’ stuff to see to. All this is worthwhile to have the Church used by the community for events during the week.

 

The period of Lent is a busy time, extra services, study times and preparations for Easter, all of which need planning. But it is also a time for reflection – to think about where we are on our journey of faith. To think about our role in Church Life, whether there is something different/ extra to do.

 

The role of Warden is certainly a busy one, challenging at times but rewarding in many ways!

 

Ros

Sun

14

May

2017

Heritage gathers steam!

Our first open morning as part of the Heritage at the Heart project attracted around 80 visitors on 5th May.  As a result we now have some 35 people expressing an interest in becoming heritage stewards in our new scheme.  There were many visiting from the wider community seeing the church interior for the first time since its re-furb, and the "Wow" factor was still there!
We have also appointed our artists to work with community groups and schools to gather views on visitor resources, and are now finalising the specification for the IT work to develop our website to act as an archive and interactive information point for real and virtual visitors.

 

If you are interested in the stewarding scheme or would like any further information, please email:  heritage@htsc.org.uk 
Stella Thebridge
Read More

Sat

13

May

2017

City of Lichfield Concert Band

On Saturday we gathered again to spend a very enjoyable evening in the company of 44 members of the City of Lichfield Concert Band.  They were led by their very entertaining conductor, Mark Vause.

The band played a varied and exciting programme - including Grieg's March of the Trolls, Cornets-a-Go-Go and a selection from Les Miserables. The high point of the evening for some was the audience participation during The Beatles' Ticket to Ride!

It was great to see the church so full, and so many people having a lovely evening of music right here in the centre of Sutton Coldfield.

 

If you weren't able to join us this time please do come along to one or both of the remaining concerts this season.

Read More

Thu

27

Apr

2017

Summer term ...

As I write the new school term has just begun, and this summer term is a ‘funny’ one.  We are getting towards the end of the academic year and the long summer holidays are in sight but for many young people there is a large blot on the landscape which goes by the name of exams.  For them there will be lots of hard work and stress ahead until towards the end of June.

 

It doesn’t make planning for the youth clubs very easy as numbers will fluctuate wildly according to who has what exam when.   And although the younger age groups of JCYG aren’t so affected themselves so numbers may remain steadier, we are very reliant on a group of older young people who come and help each Friday and they will be caught up in exam fever.

 

We really need a bigger pool of helpers but so far the Lord has not sent anybody.  I think people are a bit scared of the youngsters and think they are going to feel out of their depth but it is really a lot gentler than that, with roles to suit all talents, and they really are a lovely lot whom we are privileged to have contact with.  I think if people came and had a no obligation visit they might actually like what they see.   I can but hope and pray.

 

Susie Walker

Youth Work Coordinator

Wed

12

Apr

2017

Despair ... and joy

The most important weekend of the church year is fast approaching.

 

On Good Friday, the church will do the same thing it has done for nearly 2000 years.  We will stand on the sidelines and watch the first part of a story unfold.  A man will be tried – his crime being to put God’s love for all people above the establishment’s self-interest – and found guilty.  Then he will be executed on a cross, a painful, shameful death. 

 

We will quietly leave church, our heads hung low, and wait.  And we will spend the next day or so waiting – and do nothing.  We will wait and experience, for just a few brief hours, what it feels like to despair, to be without hope, without God’s presence and love.

 

But on Easter Sunday we will gather together, again doing what the church has done for nearly two millennia.  We will watch the story’s second half.  God will raise Christ, witnessing to the truth: that God’s love cannot be contained by human failings, that God’s life can conquer death and despair.  And we will celebrate and rejoice. 

 

On Good Friday and Easter Sunday we will travel first to the depths of despair, and then to the heights of joy.  This season is the key moment of Christian faith.  It shows us that through God’s love despair gives way to joy and hope, old life gives way to new.  And the best news is … it happens, in ways great and small, every single day.

  

John

 

Wed

29

Mar

2017

A warden's life

The last time I wrote was just before Christmas; and here we are already in the run-up to Easter.

 

The last three months have been particularly busy. We have settled down in our re-ordered Church and are exploring new ways of using the space. Recently the Diocese held a conference here, and the building was very well received.

 

A lot of effort needs to go in to moving chairs and tables into place, and there is the ‘techy’ stuff to see to. All this is worthwhile to have the Church used by the community for events during the week.

 

The period of Lent is a busy time, extra services, study times and preparations for Easter, all of which need planning. But it is also a time for reflection – to think about where we are on our journey of faith. To think about our role in Church Life, whether there is something different/ extra to do.

 

The role of Warden is certainly a busy one, challenging at times but rewarding in many ways!

 

Ros

Sun

14

May

2017

Heritage gathers steam!

Our first open morning as part of the Heritage at the Heart project attracted around 80 visitors on 5th May.  As a result we now have some 35 people expressing an interest in becoming heritage stewards in our new scheme.  There were many visiting from the wider community seeing the church interior for the first time since its re-furb, and the "Wow" factor was still there!
We have also appointed our artists to work with community groups and schools to gather views on visitor resources, and are now finalising the specification for the IT work to develop our website to act as an archive and interactive information point for real and virtual visitors.

 

If you are interested in the stewarding scheme or would like any further information, please email:  heritage@htsc.org.uk 
Stella Thebridge

Thu

27

Apr

2017

Summer term ...

As I write the new school term has just begun, and this summer term is a ‘funny’ one.  We are getting towards the end of the academic year and the long summer holidays are in sight but for many young people there is a large blot on the landscape which goes by the name of exams.  For them there will be lots of hard work and stress ahead until towards the end of June.

 

It doesn’t make planning for the youth clubs very easy as numbers will fluctuate wildly according to who has what exam when.   And although the younger age groups of JCYG aren’t so affected themselves so numbers may remain steadier, we are very reliant on a group of older young people who come and help each Friday and they will be caught up in exam fever.

 

We really need a bigger pool of helpers but so far the Lord has not sent anybody.  I think people are a bit scared of the youngsters and think they are going to feel out of their depth but it is really a lot gentler than that, with roles to suit all talents, and they really are a lovely lot whom we are privileged to have contact with.  I think if people came and had a no obligation visit they might actually like what they see.   I can but hope and pray.

 

Susie Walker

Youth Work Coordinator

Wed

12

Apr

2017

Despair ... and joy

The most important weekend of the church year is fast approaching.

 

On Good Friday, the church will do the same thing it has done for nearly 2000 years.  We will stand on the sidelines and watch the first part of a story unfold.  A man will be tried – his crime being to put God’s love for all people above the establishment’s self-interest – and found guilty.  Then he will be executed on a cross, a painful, shameful death. 

 

We will quietly leave church, our heads hung low, and wait.  And we will spend the next day or so waiting – and do nothing.  We will wait and experience, for just a few brief hours, what it feels like to despair, to be without hope, without God’s presence and love.

 

But on Easter Sunday we will gather together, again doing what the church has done for nearly two millennia.  We will watch the story’s second half.  God will raise Christ, witnessing to the truth: that God’s love cannot be contained by human failings, that God’s life can conquer death and despair.  And we will celebrate and rejoice. 

 

On Good Friday and Easter Sunday we will travel first to the depths of despair, and then to the heights of joy.  This season is the key moment of Christian faith.  It shows us that through God’s love despair gives way to joy and hope, old life gives way to new.  And the best news is … it happens, in ways great and small, every single day.

  

John

 

Wed

29

Mar

2017

A warden's life

The last time I wrote was just before Christmas; and here we are already in the run-up to Easter.

 

The last three months have been particularly busy. We have settled down in our re-ordered Church and are exploring new ways of using the space. Recently the Diocese held a conference here, and the building was very well received.

 

A lot of effort needs to go in to moving chairs and tables into place, and there is the ‘techy’ stuff to see to. All this is worthwhile to have the Church used by the community for events during the week.

 

The period of Lent is a busy time, extra services, study times and preparations for Easter, all of which need planning. But it is also a time for reflection – to think about where we are on our journey of faith. To think about our role in Church Life, whether there is something different/ extra to do.

 

The role of Warden is certainly a busy one, challenging at times but rewarding in many ways!

 

Ros

Tue

14

Mar

2017

Folk returns to Holy Trinity

As I write this, the Friends of Holy Trinity committee is busy preparing for their next concert with Gilmore & Roberts on the 25th March.

 

That concert marks a return to Folk after the stunning success of Will Pound & Eddy Jay's 2016 concert.

 

Like Will & Eddy, Gilmore & Roberts are no strangers to global success and will be heading to Sutton Coldfield following some sell-out shows in the United States and Germany.  Gilmore & Roberts have been nominated three times for the prestigious Radio 2 Awards.

 

Katriona Gilmore (fiddle, mandolin) and Jamie Roberts (guitar) met whilst studying at Leeds College of Music.  Since then, they have been regulars on the global folk circuit, combining the best of folk, acoustic and indie music with their trademark vocal harmonies.

 

The evening will be supplemented by a selection of real ales and ciders. Tickets are on sale securely on this very website.

 

The committee have already started to consider options for our 5th season during which we very much hope to hit the £50,000 mark raised since the Friends were established in 2013.

 

However, the 2016/7 season is not over yet.  Put a note in your diaries now for City of Lichfield Concert Band on the 13th May and our season finale - Canoldir Male Voice Choir - on Saturday 1st July.

 

We look forward to welcoming you. 

 

Nick Revell

Wed

22

Feb

2017

Lent

On Wednesday 1st March we will mark the beginning of Lent with a Service during which we will be marked on the forehead with a cross of ashes.  It's a symbol of penitence and mortality.

 

The Service marks the beginning of the forty days of Lent.  During the Service we will hear these words “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” As I say, it's a reminder of our mortality. Lent is for Christians a time of prayer and reflection. Forty days of prayer and reflection, an opportunity for us to deepen our understanding of Jesus, his life, death and resurrection.    

 

Our Christian faith is centred on the reality of the empty Tomb on the first Easter Day and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It is strange, isn't it, that Jesus at the end of his earthly life could have been called a failure?  His life ended in pain and disgrace on the Cross.  He had recruited a very unlikely group of disciples who had run away, frightened and demoralised by his death on the Cross.

 

Yet from this terrible end to an apparently failed ministry has emerged Christianity; a religion that has followers in every country and every continent; a truly miraculous victory of life over death.  It is the reality of the empty tomb and of the resurrection of Jesus that changed his followers, changed history and changed human life for ever.

 

The forty days of Lent give us an opportunity to reflect on our human mortality, and enable us to look forward with hope to the reality of the Resurrection and the promise of eternal life that it gives us all.    

 

Paul

Thu

16

Feb

2017

Social Life at Church

Well what have the Social Committee been up to lately?  We supported the Friends' concerts with the refreshments, working in the new refreshment space we have in church.  Refreshments for the All Souls Service and Candlelit Carol Service.  We held a 'Big Breakfast' event in November which turned out to be very popular.  We have had a trip to the Lichfield Garrick Theatre to see the Sleeping Beauty Pantomime.  

 

We are going to see the 2017 Gang Show on the 25th February, it is usually very good and well worth seeing, the uniformed organisations put so much effort and hard work into the content and performance, adults and kids.

 

We thought it was about time we had a party, we have been waiting till the church reordering project was over and now was the time. We thought we were a little too late to organize things for Christmas and Burns Night, and St George’s Day was a little too distant … so we settled on St Patrick's Day.  Well to be more precise the day after the official day, but a good excuse either way.

 

As with all social events we just aim to break even, if we mismanage and make a small profit it will go to Holy Trinity's nominated charity, which for this year is split between Acacia Family Support - which offers Pre- and Post-natal depression support services to families across Birmingham - and Emma Sykes project in Malawi.  Tickets are available from the Trinity Centre office.

 

What else will be coming up in the future?  We will be making posies for the Mothering Sunday service, help is always appreciated especially from children and dads.  Hot cross buns and refreshments on Good Friday; there are the Friends' concerts coming up in March, May and July.  We haven't discussed it yet but we will probably be holding a quiz evening in the coming months and another 'Big Breakfast'.  Any other ideas are always welcome, just let Sue or Colin know and they will be considered.

 

 

Sue and Colin Ingley

Sun

08

Jan

2017

A new year - all change?

Well, that is it: Christmas is done and dusted for another year and we are now into early 2017.  I wonder what the year will hold for each of us.

 

To be sure Holy Trinity and I are both into a new era.  Church has been reordered and there will be lots of experiments happening on how to best make use of the new layout.  It is exciting!  And then for me, my post as Group Youth Worker has come to an end and I am now employed solely by Holy Trinity for 10 hours per week. 

 

The next few months for me will also be fairly experimental as we see what is do able with reduced hours.  We want to keep the well-established youth groups going and are grateful that people from the other churches in the Group who have helped in the past are happily willing to carry on.  We hope more people will become involved.  We will also continue to operate an open door policy at the youth groups: they are for anyone who comes our way.  Time will tell over what else is possible and we will be listening closely to God to hear his call and leading.

 

In a way, as with the church building, nothing has changed.  We still are a worshipping body of people and I am still a youth worker.  But also, everything has changed.  Somehow it is all different even though it feels familiar.  What happens, where we go, who knows?

 

When Jesus was born I guess in many ways it seemed that nothing had changed.   But, even so, quietly and mostly unobserved, Jesus being born made everything different.  And so we walk the same path.

 

Susie Walker

Youth Work Coordinator

 

Tue

20

Dec

2016

It's Christmas!!!

The Season of Advent is over, the waiting has finished and on Christmas Day we will celebrate the birth of Jesus, a baby born in a manger.

 

During Advent we have been given time to think about our faith, in particular about our discipleship.  To think about how we can show the world that we are the people who glory in the gifts brought by the Christ Child.  The child who brings to us the gifts of hope, peace, love, joy and light.

 

In a very remarkable way we at Holy Trinity have been given a wonderful opportunity to explore our discipleship and to think about how we use the gifts of the Christ Child.  During the last year we have been reordering our Church; trying to make our Church a truly holy and welcoming place.  A place from which we can reach out to the community.  Finally the builders have gone (well almost) and they have transformed the Church.  The pews have been replaced by comfortable chairs and there are now meeting rooms within the Church.  Incredibly the Church feels much bigger and pure light streams in through the brilliant stained glass windows.  It as if the Church building has been given a new life.

 

As a community of Christians we are exploring ways in which we can use our reordered building, how we can use it to give renewed life to the gifts of hope, peace, love, joy and light.  Be with us this Christmas, come and welcome the Christ Child in a Church that is full of light and expectation for the future.        

 

Paul Duckers

 

Thu

08

Dec

2016

Preparing for Christmas

I don’t know about you, but I really do not want to think about Christmas until December arrives!

 

I get asked the usual questions.  Have you written your cards/done all your shopping.  Where will you spend Christmas and who with?  Have you made your cake/puddings/mince pies?  What would you like for Christmas?

 

So here we are almost half way through the month, the town will be packed with shoppers, parties will be in full swing and everyone will be preparing for Christmas Day. 

 

It’s the same here in church.  This weekend our preparation continues with our annual toy service when congregation members bring presents to give to children less fortunate than ourselves.  It’s just a small way to show our love and care for others less fortunate.

 

Somewhere in all the busy-ness, we should take time to remember the true meaning of Christmas!  Jesus was born as a gift from God to the world, to be among us as a baby and later in his life to show us the way to live as God wants us to.

 

Enjoy your Christmas preparations, and the giving and receiving of gifts.  And remember why we do it.

 

Ros Dyke, Warden

Fri

25

Nov

2016

It's Christmas ... well, nearly

I don’t quite know how I’ve managed it, but we’ve reached the start of Advent and I haven’t yet heard Noddy Holder yelling ‘It’s Christmas!!!’  Wonders will never cease. 

 

Still, Noddy Holder or not, it’s time to prepare for Christmas, and our celebration of God’s gift to all of us of Jesus Christ.  On the home front the annual scratching of heads over what presents to buy for the family has started.  On the church front, I’ve been preparing service sheets that will see us through to Christmas Day and beyond. 

 

So what have we got planned at Holy Trinity.  Well there’s something special happening on every Sunday in Advent ...

·      On 27th November, at 6.30pm there is a service of Advent Carols, when we’re joined by people from some of the other churches in the town;

·      On 4th December, at 4.00pm we have our Christingle Service, at which children and adults make Christingles and support the work of the Children’s Society;

·      On 11th December, at 10am there is our Toy Service, when everyone donates a new toy which we then distribute to children who will otherwise receive very little at Christmas;

·      And on 18th December, at 6.30pm we have our Candlelit Carol Service, when the choir lead us in carols and we hear the Christmas story told in a series of nine readings from scriptures.

All that before we even get to Christmas! 

 

So please, come and join us to make your spiritual preparations for Christmas.  You’ll be made very welcome. 

 

John

Wed

09

Nov

2016

Remembrance

We're in the month of November. The clocks have gone back, the darker evenings have come and the mood of life has become more sombre. Gone are the sun filled days of summer, and in the darker days of November we remember those who have died in war. We will gather in Churches and by War Memorials to remember the fallen.

 

Two lines from a poem “Anthem for Doomed Youth” by Wilfred Owen, one of the greatest of the First World War Poets, seem to capture the essence of remembrance.

 

The first of the lines is: “And bugles calling for them from sad shires.” On Remembrance Sunday the buglers will play and we will bow our heads in sorrow and remember the war dead. The second of the lines is: “And each slow dusk a drawing down of blinds.” These words remind us of our respect for the sacrifice for those who died in war and the emptiness of life without them. 

 

We remember the dead, and then what happens, how do we respond to the sacrifices made by so many millions of people? Some words from Sir Winston Churchill may well focus our thoughts. In the darkest days of the Second World War he expressed the desire for peace after war in these words that “The life of the world may move forward into broad sunlit uplands.”

 

How close are we to living in those sunlit uplands of peace?  Remembering those who died in war should mean that we take on a responsibility to work tirelessly for peace. What more fitting memorial can there be that future generations should live in the broad sunlit uplands of peace because of our dedication to walking the paths of peace in memory of the fallen?

  

Paul

Tue

25

Oct

2016

Settling back into church

The last few weeks have seen us using our new church building in a number of different scenarios.  It's an ongoing learning experience for us all.  But it will be better once we get the building completed and handed back over to us properly.


Having now had a number of services - including our special Re-Opening service with Bishop David, two weddings, a baptism, the Bishop Vesey Founder's Day service with 400 students and staff, and most recently the Gala concert organised by the Friends Group - we have already shown our versatility!


All this has been done whilst part of a building site, having to clean, set up and put away each week-end so that the builders could make further progress (and more dust so we could practice our cleaning skills each time!) during the week.


This couldn't have happened without the tremendous efforts of a band of dedicated and hardworking volunteers.  They have put in sterling efforts so far, with more to come over the forthcoming weeks, in order to try and present our church building in its best light whilst it is undergoing its transformation.


Now we have all our ordered chairs, sanctuary furniture and crèche equipment.  We should be able to experiment more with the layout of all this once the contractors are offsite - from early November this year.

 

Please see this as an opportunity to consider positive changes.  I am sure that we will not please everyone, so your cooperation and constructive feedback would be welcomed to help us to move forward with our re-newed Holy Trinity!

Hopefully we will have time to relax and enjoy the church building more over the coming Christmas period. We should have settled in properly by then!

Mike

Fri

14

Oct

2016

Social news

The Social Committee have had a fairly quiet time recently, with the church closed for our reordering project.

 

The film club on the first Monday of the month is continuing to be a popular event, the members vote on the choice of film for next time, the terms of the licence prevent us from publishing it on the website but it is included in the Newsletter each week. Last week We saw 'Eye in the Sky' starring Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman, a brilliant film.

 

We have continued to support the 'Friends' events, with refreshments, The Royal Town Gala Concert on the 22nd October is the next one and the first in the church for nearly a year. The concert after is Di Xiao on 3rd November.

Last weekend we held a Bring 'n' Share lunch to celebrate harvest festival, with 49 people attending. There was more food than could be eaten, although I tried! We also held a competition for the children. We asked them to make a collage face out of cut out vegetable pictures, in the style of Guiseppe Arcimbaldo or draw a picture in the same style, there were some excellent entries.

 

We are holding a 'Big Breakfast' event on Sunday 27th November before the 10am service, with the proceeds going to our nominated charity for the year, the British Heart Foundation (probably a contradiction, but definitely needed after).

 

We will also be doing the refreshments after the All Souls Service on the evening of Sunday 30th October and the mince pies and mulled wine after the Candlelit Carol Service on Sunday 18th December.

 

There's nothing like food and drink to bring everyone together, that's what the social committee is all about.

 

Colin Ingley

Sun

25

Sep

2016

The long wait is over

It seems like a long time since we moved out of church and handed the keys over to building contractors.  In fact it’s been just nine months, a tiny portion of the 750 or more years for which Holy Trinity has stood bearing witness to the parish around it.  Those nine months are now over.  On Sunday 2nd October we will return to the church building, with a re-opening service led by Bishop David.

 

The work won’t be finished - there will still be a few things to do over the next couple of weeks.  The most obvious things missing will be the under gallery meeting rooms, the inner glass doors of the new entrance, and the stone won’t yet have been cleaned.  But it will be a perfectly usable worship space, and we will be able to get a real feel for the building, and the potential it offers us.   

 

Much as I have enjoyed our services in the Trinity Centre, I’m very much looking forward to moving back to our real ‘home’.  And I’m sure the building is keen to have us back!  It will be a time of celebration, and I hope that everyone from our church family and the parish community will be able to join us.  You are certainly all welcome.

 

John

 

Tue

13

Sep

2016

3 Years and counting for Friends

On 1st September, we formally announced our Friends concerts and events line-up for 2016/7 - our 4th season. 

Thanks to concert-goers, membership subscribers and sponsors, we have raised over £30,000 so far towards the building and fabric of Holy Trinity.  As always, our mission is to showcase the best talent from the Midlands and beyond, raise funds for the church but - more importantly - make Holy Trinity an accessible and engaging heart of Sutton Coldfield. 

As you will read elsewhere on this site, Holy Trinity itself is about to emerge gloriously from a 9-month long, £1.6 million re-ordering project, making it an even more wonderful venue for worship and the community.  

On the 22nd October, the Friends will present the 4th annual Royal Town Gala Concert with the wonderful Enigma Brass Ensemble and renowned organist - Paul Carr.  Not only will this be an occasion to celebrate the re-opened church, it also marks another milestone - the first Royal Town Gala Concert since Sutton's new Town Council has been established. 

Acclaimed Chinese concert pianist Di Xiao presents a magical performance on the 3rd December.  Alison Neil's one-woman show "The Just William Lady" celebrates William's creator - Richmal Crompton - in a lively and entertaining portrayal on the 11th February 2017.  Contemporary Folk and Acoustic duo - Gilmore & Roberts demonstrate why Q Magazine said they "take English folk and scuff it up with indie rock drama" on the 25th March 2017.  On the 13th May, City of Lichfield Concert Band show why they are so warmly appreciated.  Followed by Canoldir Male Voice Choir providing a captivating finale to the season on the 1st July 2017 - we're sure Pimms will be in full flood that night! 

For a limited period (up to the 21st October only), Season Tickets are available which effectively offer 6 events for the price of 5. For details of the events and how to buy securely online for all the above mentioned events, everything is on this website or please call 0121 321 1144. 

This season of events would not have been possible without the generous support of our two Sutton-based corporate supporters - Dignity plc and CM2000. We're extremely grateful to them for their enthusiasm and commitment. 

We're always seeking new ideas from the church community and beyond so please think about joining the Friends (details on this website too), coming to a concert, or taking a more active role as a committee member.

Nick Revell, Chair of Friends

 

 

Wed

31

Aug

2016

A Godly mess?

Phew, I have just finished ‘fumigating’ the youth room all ready for the new term.  Cleanliness may be next to Godliness but the room only seems to get properly cleaned once a year.  The betting can now begin on how long the room will remain looking as clean and tidy as it now is: my guess is around half an hour after the first club restarts.  Others may not be as optimistic!

 

So after a summer of cleaning and planning for the autumn and Christmas we are getting ready to open our doors to the young people again.  Actually, don’t tell the rector, but even at this late date I am still pondering exactly how we and when we run our clubs.  Should we change what we offer and to whom we offer it?  Should we restart in the same way as before and see who comes and if we need to change?  Should we do more, or less?   Plenty to ponder but rest assured, we will be trying to provide good clubs that meet a need and show something of the love of God.

 

I am looking forward to seeing again the young people with whom we have continuing contact.  Several of them have had important exams and many are changing schools.  I am looking forward to hearing all their news and finding out what they have all been up to over the summer.

 

Two things are for sure: one is that we will be definitely there to welcome young people no matter what situation they find themselves in, sticking with them through thick and thin.  The other dead certainty is that the youth room will be back in a mess very quickly!

  

Susie Walker

Tue

16

Aug

2016

Listening

 

How good are you at listening?  As we commemorate the First World War one of the familiar stories is the transformation of a message as it went through the various lines of communication.  “Send reinforcements, we are going to advance” became “send three and four pence we are going to a dance.” 

 

Listening well and effectively is difficult.  It is very definitely a skill, an action that requires the listener’s alertness and dedication.   However, the pace of modern life seems to prevent us from being good listeners; we are forced to spend most of our time on doing and talking, not listening.   There is never enough time for reflection about our actions and for listening to others.  The result is a world of mixed and confused messages decisions, leading to misunderstanding and social disharmony. 

 

Do Christians as a community of faith have a responsibility to do anything about the lack of listening skills?  As we read the Gospels Jesus is revealed as someone who always listens.  With Jesus as our example we should work to improve our listening skills.

 

We are very fortunate that in the Diocese of Birmingham we are given that opportunity.  There is a Training Course called Offering Pastoral Care and Community Skills: its aim is to develop the pastoral gifts of the lay people in every Parish.  Significantly, the two compulsory modules at the beginning of the Course are concerned with listening. “Learning to Listen” and “Listening to Communities.”

 

The skill of listening is at the heart of pastoral care; without it we are less effective; with it we can make a difference to those in pastoral need.   

 

Paul Duckers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fri

22

Jul

2016

A sneak preview

 

Last Tuesday afternoon (19th July) we were able to invite people to look at progress on the re-ordering scheme.  It was good to see so many people – congregation members, donors and a few other interested folk.

 

The work wasn’t quite far enough advanced that people could get inside the building and walk around.  But the contractors had turned the step inside the south porch into a viewing platform, and from there we could see quite a lot. 

 

We saw that the under-floor heating pipes have been laid and a screed is currently being poured over them ready for the stone floor to be laid.  We saw that the new entrance and toilet suite is well under way, with the concrete slab now laid, and a roof over the entrance taking shape.  We saw that the dais is well on its way to being formed. 

 

I was able to point out where things like the under-gallery rooms and kitchenette would go, where the altar and font will be positioned, where the crèche and the choir, organ console and piano are likely to be.  The comments people made were overwhelmingly positive. 

 

There’s a lot still to be done, but once the contractors start laying floors things will move at an amazing speed.  I was asked several times and my answer was and is ... we will be finished on time!   

 

So after our sneak preview we’re all now looking forward to moving back in late September, with Bishop David joining us for the formal re-opening service on 2nd October.  We hope to see you there!

John

 

Fri

24

Jun

2016

That was a surprise!

 

That was a surprise.  Not so much the result as the change of heart overnight.  I went to bed with the media forecasting a win for ‘Remain’.  I woke to the media forecasting a win for ‘Leave’.  Did something weird happen whilst I was asleep?  On second thoughts, maybe it shouldn’t have been a surprise – the pollsters don’t have the best of records in recent times!

 

Anyway, we now know the outcome.  The simple bit – the vote – is over.  Now comes the difficult bit - the real work.  Now comes the slow extraction of Britain from the European Union.  Now comes a period of turmoil in the financial markets and probably in the real economy too.   

 

Now come calls for further referenda – for independence in Scotland and Northern Ireland where the vote was to Remain.  

 

And now comes the urgent need to reunify our community.  Because it’s clear that it’s deeply fractured.  Roughly half wanted to Leave, roughly half wanted to Remain.  The EU referendum didn't cause the fracture – the division was always there.  But it certainly made it worse.  For there’s no room left for shades of grey in a referendum.  Leave or Remain?  It’s all about making a black and white choice – about choosing a tribe. 

 

We will move on from this somehow, though the path isn’t yet clear.  We’ll come out on the other side of a period of economic turmoil with a new political settlement.  And we’ll rebuild a sense of unified community. 

 

And the church has a role in all of this: to proclaim the good news – that hope conquers despair, love conquers hate, and new life conquers death. 

 

To proclaim a kingdom better than either option offered in that referendum. 

John

 

Fri

03

Jun

2016

Friendship in difference

We live in a time of tension.  Events in the news have raised our awareness of immigration – legal and illegal – and of terrorism committed by some who claim to follow Islam.  We are becoming fearful and suspicious of people who appear to be different from us. 

 

Leaders of the churches and of the Muslim community in Sutton Coldfield have been in conversation with each other for some time now.  We find we like each other as people.  We find that our faiths our different, but worthy of mutual respect.  We are committed to living alongside each other as friends. 

 

So earlier this week, on Bank Holiday Monday, an event took place to underline that in a public way.  Members of churches and the Islamic Centre joined together for a ‘Peace and Friendship Walk’.  Two groups started out – one from the Town Gate, the other from the United Reformed Church at the Gracechurch Centre.  We merged at the Town Hall and carried on to the Islamic Centre.  

 

At the end of the walk we were all made very welcome by our Muslim hosts, not least by the offer of food!  We had a great time – we knew that we were in some ways different, but that was no barrier to living in friendship and community. 

 

Here in Sutton Coldfield we are fortunate.  On the whole, we have a community where people of every race, faith and nationality live alongside each other in relative harmony.  I pray that will never change! 

 

John 

Fri

20

May

2016

God's love in action

The Church of England is divided into parishes so that each church can relate to a particular geographical area.  We draw our congregations from that area, try to serve the needs of everyone living in that area. 

 

But we also look beyond our parish boundaries to the wider world, and its people.  We pray for the world, of course.  And we support charities – often church charities – who are trying to improve the lives of people in the world’s poorest places.  One of those Charities is Christian Aid. 

 

Christian Aid exists to help the poorest people of the world.  Their work is about spreading God’s love through improving people’s lives.  They support projects in ‘the third world’ which develop things like agriculture, schooling, healthcare, sanitation, women’s rights, and so on.  

Such work costs money.  Once a year they have a huge fundraising effort – Christian Aid Week.  In every parish n the country church members go from door to door asking the whole parish population to support the charity’s work.  As I write, Christian Aid Week is in full flow - my thanks to all who have been collecting, and all who have given. 

Of course, Christian Aid would appreciate our support for the other 51 weeks of the year as well.  If you would like to give to them more regularly it’s easy ... just follow this link:  http://www.christianaid.org.uk/give/

John

Wed

11

May

2016

Social life at Holy Trinity

 

The Social Committee try to organise events for friends and family of the congregation to join in and have fun. The aim is basically to cover our costs, but if there is any money left over it goes to the nominated charity for the year, chosen by the PCC. This year it is the British Heart Foundation.

 

What have the Social Committee been doing? Well, we have organised a cake and cookie sale and a raffle after the morning service for Valentines day. The theme being hearts and flowers in light of the BHF charity, although I don't suppose the charity would have approved of the cakes and cookies!! We have also been supporting the 'Friends of Holy Trinity' concerts with the refreshments.

Another fun event we organised was a Quiz with a fish and chip supper, it was on St Georges Day (which was also the 400th anniversary of Shakespeares death). To prevent the Rector winning again, his wife Kristina wrote the questions and John kept score. We had a good turnout, the fish and chips were supplied by a local chip shop and we also raised £120 for the British Heart Foundation.

 

We will be organising refreshments for the forthcoming Friends events, Drawing Room Opera on Saturday 14th May and Intimate Theatre on Saturday 2nd July.

 

We will be supporting the CYG Film Premiere on Sunday 22nd May. Selling ice creams during the intermission.

 

We are planning an event to celebrate the Queens 90th birthday on Sunday 12th June. We thought about a Bring and Share lunch, we thought about a Picnic, then we thought about combining them and we decided to hold a Traditional Street Party, in the car park! So if you want to join us, put your name on the list in the Trinity Centre (so we know how many are coming), it will be after the 10am service.

 

On Sunday 2nd October we have the Right Reverend David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham, coming to the 10am service, to mark the reopening of the church, after the re-ordering project is completed. We will be serving canapés and drinks from the new refreshment area.

 

We will be doing something for Harvest and are also planning a Big Breakfast watch this space!

Colin & Sue

Wed

20

Apr

2016

Countdown to summer

This is a very long term:  a very, very long term, so lots of youth group meetings to organise.   It is, however, easier having a long term in the summer than in the winter as the nights are shorter and, hopefully, the sun shines a little bit.  Everything feels a bit easier in daylight.

 

It is a funny time of year.  It is the last term of the academic year and the long summer holidays are in sight.  The Year 6s are especially demob happy as they are about to leave primary school for the big shift to secondary education.  Big fish at the moment but soon to become small fish again, at least pro tem.

 

At the other end of the scale the Year 11s and up are facing serious exams.  Gosh, they are put under a lot of pressure these days.  I am sure it was much more relaxed back in my day.  So there are heavy times ahead for them, followed by the relief of completion and extra long holidays.

 

So the younger ones will need extra containing as they are getting as high as kites.  The older ones need much more gentle and fun activities at youth group to counterbalance the stress of school.  Next on our list of things to do is to play giant monopoly, custom made to include all the roads the youngsters live on.  It gets very competitive and the leaders are the worst!!

 

And then on 22 May we have the world premiere of the film we have been making which now has a name:  God Squad Resurrected (aka That Wretched Film).  Come and join us at 6.45pm if you would like to see out older youth group in action.  It will be fun!

 

We walk with the young in our midst and try to be sensitive to where they are at. It’s an exciting journey and there are always surprises along the way.   Who knows what will happen in this long term.

 

Susie Walker

Group Youth Worker

 

Wed

06

Apr

2016

Reordering - again!

We are now 3 months into the works for the Reordering project and things are progressing.  There have been a few obstacles to get round!  No floors and no toilets are minor problems, as the workers have removed at least 30 skips worth of debris, and unearthed a number of hidden objects in their digging. 

 

We intend an open evening in July to enable the congregation to view the progress; and by that time there will be a new stone floor with heating underneath, although at that time of year we won't need it switched on!  Meanwhile there are some photos of work so far on the Church Buildings part of our website. 

 

New chairs and other furniture are  being planned in time for our return to church in September, hopefully without too many hitches!  Just in time for the grand Reopening by Bishop David on Sunday 2nd October. 

 

But what then? 

 

By that time we will have had an 'away morning' on Saturday 16th July to look at our patterns and styles of worship, so who knows - there may be new developments to come there too.  

 

With a newly reordered, more flexible and welcoming church building then we have a great new opportunity to move forward in our vision for the future of Holy Trinity.  Let's hope we are all ready to take that challenge and together respond accordingly. 

 

Mike

 

Tue

22

Mar

2016

The Hope of Easter

This Sunday we celebrate Easter, the day when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, the day that gives us the hope of eternal life after death.  A wonderful day, full of joy and the promise of new life.  At Easter Christians celebrate the reality of the Empty Tomb and the Resurrection of Jesus. 

 

On Good Friday just two days ago we were in mourning remembering that Jesus had died on the Cross and his body placed in a tomb.  His first disciples had fled, their hopes and dreams shattered.  But the events of that first Easter Day turned defeat into victory.  The reality of the empty tomb and the Resurrection of Jesus changed history. 

 

Going to the Tomb some of the followers of Jesus discovered that the stone at the entrance to the tomb had been rolled away and that the tomb was empty.  Jesus was alive and met and spoke to his disciples; Jesus had been resurrected to a new life; he had defeated death. 

 

We are two thousand years from the events of the first Easter Day, and the resurrection is such a singular experience, and so removed from our normal lives, that it may seem unreal.  But, for a moment, reflect on the reactions of the first disciples.  

 

On Good Friday they were beaten, demoralised, and in hiding from the authorities.  On Easter Day they were changed people, confident, empowered by the reality of the resurrection of Jesus.  With confidence in the resurrection and faith in the power of Jesus they took the words of Jesus to the world.  Those first disciples lived the rest of their lives with purpose, faith and hope.  We pray that we too may follow their example.

 

Paul Duckers

Wed

09

Mar

2016

Half way through season three with three great concerts still to go

 

Since being established in Summer 2013, the Friends of Holy Trinity Parish Church has become an intrinsic part of our parish activities.  We hope we have also become a key Sutton Coldfield organisation with longevity. 

 

In presenting a programme of inspiring concerts and events,  the Friends’ purpose is to provide an accessible way for people to experience the hospitality of our welcoming church community, as well as a regular source of income for the building and fabric of our church.  This allows the church’s council (the PCC) to focus on its core objectives of worship, mission, and outreach rather than worrying about our 700 year old building’s bricks and mortar!

  

With the generosity from over 90 member subscriptions, 14 concerts, 2 Christmas Tree Festivals, 2 corporate sponsors (Dignity plc & CM2000), over £25,000 has been raised to date. 

 

We always aim to provide a massive variety of events. These have ranged from Harp, Male Voice Choirs, String Quartets, Pianists, Mediaeval music, Cathedral Choirs, Musical Theatre companies, Brass Bands, Gospel Choirs through to Poetry & Jazz.

  

We’re always open to exploring new areas and are very excited to be showcasing three-time Radio 2 Folk Musician of the Year nominee Will Pound & Eddy Jay on Saturday 12th March at 7.30pm – an evening complete with real ale and Morris dancers! 

 

On the 14th May, we’ll be welcoming Drawing Room Opera.  And then in early July – for the first time – Intimate Theatre present “The Heiress” which is a great story about rich, naïve girl Catherine and her penniless suitor Morris. 

 

Intrigued? We hope so! Looking forward to seeing you at one of our events or welcoming you as a member soon. 

 

MORE INFORMATION IN THE “FRIENDS OF HOLY TRINITY PARISH CHURCH” SECTION ON THIS WEBSITE.

 

Tue

09

Feb

2016

The Forty Days of Lent

For Christians the forty days of Lent are an opportunity to reflect

upon their journey of faith.  Lent recalls the time that Jesus spent in the wilderness, praying and reflecting on his ministry.  The forty days allow us to reflect on our discipleship, and to prepare ourselves for the events of Easter Week which culminate in the glorious resurrection of Jesus.

 

Tradition tells us that Lent can also be a time of fasting.  Is that what Lent should mean to us? Fasting is certainly part of the Lenten experience; we are told that Jesus fasted in the wilderness. However, we may ask ourselves whether just denying ourselves food is really meaningful. Would it be more appropriate if for example we were to donate that which we have given up, or even more, to a local food bank?

 

Or maybe we should we engage in acts of kindness for the communities we live in.  Some of us may remember Archbishop Sentamu, when he was Bishop of Birmingham, encouraging us during Lent to carry out practical acts of kindness for the community. Litter picking in Sutton Park was one we may remember.

 

Whatever we do during Lent, whether it is fasting or acts of kindness, let’s always remember the essential nature of Christianity that Saint Paul wrote about in his First Letter to the Corinthians; faith, hope and love.  In Lent we have an opportunity to remember the faith we have in Jesus, the hope we have of eternal life, and the love that we bear one another and all humanity. 

 

Paul Duckers

Sat

30

Jan

2016

How's it going?

 

 

A month has passed since we moved out of church to allow the contractors to get on with the re-ordering work.  So how’s it going?

 

We’ve emptied the ground floor of the church, and put everything into storage.  We’ve found homes for the choir/chancel organ and almost all the pews.  The contractors have moved in.  They’ve set up their site, removed the timber floors and ... well, they are hard at work and getting on with it.

 

Meanwhile ... we’ve moved into the Trinity Centre and are holding all our services there.  The atmosphere feels different – but good.  We’re slowly working out how best to use the space for worship.  And maybe we’re learning lessons as to how we might do things when we return to the church.

 

A month has passed.  There are fewer than eight months to go.  So how’s it going?  It’s going very well!

 

John

 

 

Wed

30

Dec

2015

At last, the wait is over!

 

For over 10 years, the congregation, and PCC of Holy Trinity have been working towards re-ordering the church building.  It’s been a long haul, but at last the moment has arrived – the re-ordering work is about to start. 

Last Sunday (27th December) we held our last service in church for the time being.   The contractors will arrive on site on Monday 4th January.  But even though the church building will be closed for the next 9 months, whilst the work is being done, the church will go on.   All our services will be held as usual – but they’ll be taking place in the Trinity Centre.   It will be a little different to what we’re used to – but it will be still be church.  

We’ve spent the last week preparing.  The church has been cleared.  Things we won’t need for the duration of the work have been stored; things we will need have been moved to accessible places in the Centre; a few things have been disposed of.   And with that week of hard work from a number of us, we’re pretty much ready!

So, at last, the wait is over.  Plans are finally to be put into action.  These are exciting times! 

John

Thu

17

Dec

2015

The Christmas Journey

 

What does Christmas Day mean to you?  

 

For many people it must seem like the end of a long journey.  After weeks of intensive shopping, presents have been bought and wrapped, pantries and freezers stocked with food.  A tremendous amount of time and effort will have been spent on the journey of preparation for the Christmas Day celebration.  And after the end of that journey?  Hopefully there’s the opportunity for the rewards of peace and quiet – if only for a short space of time.   

 

It is not quite like that for Christians.  Christmas Day is seen not as the end of a journey but as the beginning of one.  Christians have been preparing for the start of that journey in the four weeks before Christmas, the time we call Advent. We have been thinking about the great gifts of Christian life, of hope, peace, love, joy and light; and the opportunities and responsibilities that those gifts present us with.     

 

On Christmas Day we will welcome the gift from God of the Christ child, give thanks for him, and then start our journey.  The Christian journey is one of demonstrating to the world that the gifts of Christianity, hope, peace, love, joy and light are essential to all humanity.  Each Christmas Day we start our journey anew, each Christmas Day is a reminder of our responsibility to share those gifts with all people.

 

Be with us on Christmas Day, join us on our journey of faith, come and welcome Jesus Christ the light and hope of the world.

 

Paul Duckers

 

Fri

04

Dec

2015

All change

2016 is going to be ‘interesting’ for the people of Holy Trinity – it will be a time of transition and change. 

PCC has made the final decision on whether to go ahead with re-ordering the church building.  We don't quite have the funds to do everything we plan, but can do most of it.  So the work  starts at the beginning of January, and it will continue till the middle of August.  At the end of December we will vacate the church, and for 8 months we will hold our services in the Trinity Centre.

Any funerals (and one wedding) during the closure will be transferred to neighbouring churches.  But otherwise church services will carry on as usual – the only difference will be which building they happen in!

It won’t be easy trying to fit the needs of the church congregation in with the needs of those who hire the Trinity Centre for their meetings, and all with temporarily reduced car parking space.  I’m sure that from time to time things won’t run as smoothly as we’d like and tempers will fray.  We all need to show patience, understanding, forbearance, acceptance, forgiveness – in short, grace.  We all need to show to each other that we are genuinely part of one body in Christ.

By September we should be returning to a renewed church building.  It will have better access, better light and heat, better toilets, a new refreshment area and small rooms.  And the altar will be moved forward to a position where we can sense that God truly is in the midst of us as we meet together.

The crowning moment will be at the start of October, when we will welcome Bishop David to a service of celebration as we formally re-open the church.

So 2016 will be an ‘interesting’ year.  A year of change - for the church  building and those who use it. 

John

Wed

18

Nov

2015

Christmas Preparations

This weekend we reach the last Sunday before Advent.  These days we call it the Feast of Christ the King.  But in past days it was known as ‘Stir-up Sunday’.  This name originated in the Church of England and there is a special prayer for the day which goes like this.

'Stir up, O Lord, the wills of your faithful people that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may by you be plenteously rewarded.’

On Stir-up Sunday families would start their preparations for Christmas celebrations; making the Christmas pudding, Christmas cake, mincemeat and other good things to eat.  I must say that I always try to make all of that much earlier than this – they improve so much with a few months of keeping, especially if you feed them with Brandy, Rum or Whisky!

As we enter Advent we’ll be preparing for Christmas celebrations in other ways.  We’ll be readying ourselves for the birth of Jesus and thinking about what that means for our lives today.   Amidst all the shopping, partying and general busy-ness, let’s not forget what Christmas is really all about.

Ros, Warden

Thu

05

Nov

2015

Remembering war

At the end of the Second World War, many of those who returned from the battlefield found they could no longer believe in the God talked about in church pulpits.  Many of the relatives of those who didn’t return also struggled to believe.  Either God isn’t there or God doesn’t care, they said.  Why should we bother with God? 


Yet the truth is that the Second World War and every other war before or since is not God’s fault – it’s ours.  Wars are the result of our failure – our failure to live up to what it means to be real human beings.  When we blame God for allowing our own shortcomings to bring us to this, we’re like children looking for someone else to blame, looking for the adult who should have intervened on our behalf.

If God is to blame for our wars, it’s because he treats us as mature adults, allows us to make our own way through the world.  The truth is that God is not responsible for our pains – rather God is present with us, endures our pains with us.  God is at the heart of the cry for justice in midst of oppression, the cry for mercy in the midst of violence, the cry for peace in the midst of the storm of war. 


As we remember the horrors of war this Sunday, don’t blame God.  Rather blame ourselves and our failings.  And acknowledge that there is a better way to be – know that God wills something better for us, better than war, better than the flawed and fragile peace in which we currently live. 

 

John


Sat

24

Oct

2015

A busy time

The Social Committee have been very busy!  We organised a Big Breakfast in the summer, and an event in September to celebrate the 50th anniversary of ' The Sound of Music'.  


Holy Trinity's charity for the year is the Cancer Support Centre, who support victims of cancer and their families through this difficult time.  One of the activities they do is a choir.  So for the Sound of Music event the choir came and sang for us, the first half of the evening  was a celebration of musicals in general and the second half was songs from 'The Sound of Music'.  In the interval we had a jacket potato supper, followed by apple strudel with ice cream, held a raffle and the event overall raised £500 for Cancer Support Centre.  Fancy dress was worn by a some of those attending it was generally a lot of ‘nunsense’.


Mon

05

Oct

2015

Harvest - October 2015

As a small boy the countryside was my natural playground. Memory tells me that school holidays were spent with friends exploring the fields and woods, from early morning to early evening, and no one seemed to worry where we were or what we did.


One of our summer holiday activities was helping with harvesting the crops at one of the local farms. Well perhaps not helping very much but certainly enjoying ourselves, as we tried to stack the corn sheaves onto a horse drawn wagon. How different to the harvesting of today, as great combine harvesters make their noisy way across enormous fields, hedgerows long since torn down.

 

A very different world and yet the tradition of Harvest Festivals in our Churches to celebrate the harvest continues. On Sunday 10th October we shall gather in Holy Trinity to give thanks for the harvest and offer gifts of food which will distributed later in the week throughout the Parish. 


The Harvest Festival reminds us of the natural world, a world full of resources for humanity. But increasingly it is a world in which we seem to use those resources unwisely. Global warming may be a contentious issue, but there are ominous signs of mankind’s activities being the cause.


Our Harvest Festival prayers will be for the blessing of the harvest and for all that been provided for us by our creator God. We will remind ourselves of our responsibility to the world and our responsible use of its resources.   


Paul Duckers


Wed

09

Sep

2015

Happy Anniversary

Just two years ago, we launched the Friends of Holy Trinity Parish Church. Since then, we've signed up over 90 members and presented 12 concerts and 2 Christmas Tree Festivals, raising over a £20,000 surplus in the process.

Our mission has remained constant - to deliver an inspiration programme of events to ensure that Holy Trinity remains at the very heart of Sutton Coldfield and to raise funds for the building and fabric of Holy Trinity. It's been heartening to receive kind offers of sponsorship for publicity and concerts not only from our 2 corporate supporters - Dignity plc and CM2000 - but also from a number of individuals keen to show their support.

It's been energising to see so many of our church community engaged with the Friends as committee members, concert stewards, refreshment providers, stage hands, website developers, Tweeters, bankers ... and many many more.

As usual, the 3rd season of Friends events sees us offering a superb and diverse line-up of events ranging from CBSO's The Little Big Time Band (our kick-off Royal Town Gala Concert on the 10th October 2015), Radio 2 Folk Awards nominee Will Pound, through to our first theatrical performance by Lichfield Festival's Intimate Theatre. More information and online booking is available now on this very website.​

 ​As far as fund raising goes, a significant sum has already been passed to Holy Trinity's PCC to enable the restoration of the chancel ceiling. The funds raised by the Friends really really make a difference to Holy Trinity over the coming years so that other monies can be freed up to focus on mission and outreach.

Please do think about purchasing a Friends subscription (£15 for an Adult, £10 for a Child, £30 for a Family). This will keep you up -to-date with all of our activities and get you a complimentary programme at all events.

We look forward to welcoming you at a concert or event in the near future!​

Nick Revell, Chair of Friends

Thu

20

Aug

2015

Summer's end

It’s that time of year again when we are nearly at the end of the school summer holidays and thoughts are turning to the new academic school year.  For most youngsters it will be a time of transition: some will be starting nursery or school for the first time; some will be changing schools and will go from being the oldest and biggest to being the youngest and smallest.  Some older young people will be venturing away from home for the first time to attend University.  What changes they face! 

I guess that for each child and young person a new year can be quite scary as they enter unfamiliar situations and maybe for us professionals who are at the other end of the process; offering clubs, lessons, etc in a continuing and stable way, the experience is a little different.  It isn’t US who have to deal with the changes, just to manage the change for others.

A few weeks ago I went walking in the Malvern Hills with some good friends.  Normally, one does not look at a hill and walk straight up the side to the top.  Normally one zigzags one’s way up; back and forth, back and forth, getting a bit higher each time.  Whilst we climbed one hill, I took a photo each time we went up a level.  It was interesting looking at the same view from a slightly higher place each time.  It was the same but different. 

And so it is with how we engage with the younger members of our church family, especially at this time of year:  it is always the same but at the same time it is always different.  It is always another ‘beginning’ and we thank God for that as we plan for the new term.

Susie

Wed

05

Aug

2015

Pastoral Visiting - and Training

A Christian life is very often described as a journey and our milestones are to begin with Baptism and Confirmation. As we continue to travel on our journey of faith we begin to appreciate the joys and responsibilities of our faith. We begin to know the love that Jesus has for us and become eager to share that love with others.

 

At Holy Trinity one of the ways we share that love of Jesus is in visiting the sick and housebound, those who can no longer join in our regular Sunday worship at Church. On the surface pastoral visiting seems to be deceptively simple, a phone call, a visit, some conversation and much listening; all very much part of being human.

However, to use popular jargon, “best practice” demands that we make our visitors aware of the possible problems arising from visiting people in their own homes or Care Homes. 


The Diocese of Birmingham currently offer training sessions for all those who exercise a pastoral ministry and earlier this year some of our Visitors attended a “Safeguarding Adults” course. The aim of the course was to give greater awareness of what constitutes good and bad practice in visiting; it was greatly welcomed by all who attended.

 

We will continue our training this year with a focus on Dementia awareness. The training will be under the auspices of the Alzheimer’s Society and will give a better understanding about how we can make a difference to the lives of those living with dementia.

 

Our Pastoral Visitors will continue to visit and to train, please pray for them as they continue their work.


Paul Duckers


Wed

22

Jul

2015

The Coastal Path

Most people reading this will know that I have recently returned from a Sabbatical break.  A major part of it was spent in Cornwall, walking on the coastal path.  It was a great time, and I’m very grateful to have been able to do it – I thought I should tell you how it went.

Well, most importantly, I survived without twisting an ankle or falling off a cliff.  And as I stayed with family – Kristina’s sister and her husband – I was lucky enough to be able to do my walking in a civilised way.  There wasn’t a tent or campfire stove in sight.  Instead I drove back to the house each evening for a hot meal and a comfortable bed! 

I was away in Cornwall for four weeks altogether, and in that time I covered quite a bit of the path between Helston and St Ives – but far from every mile!  I took in lots of the Lizard.  And quite a bit of the far west – the area around  Land’s End and Cape Cornwall.

The coastal path was beautiful: it runs for miles along cliffs – sometimes topped with open moors, other times with dense growth.  Usually I’d see rugged landscape on one side and waves washing against rocks on the other.  And then there were the coves which the path dipped down to – Porth Chapel might be a contender for ‘heaven on earth’; I spent half an hour there with not another soul in sight.

I saw seals by the dozen – a lizard, a slowworm and, for the first time in my life, a wild adder.  Bird watchers would have loved it – larches, martins, and guillemots amongst the more appealing.  And lest I forget, I shared lunch with what must be the tamest robin in England. 

I returned to Holy Trinity a couple of weeks ago, relaxed and refreshed - and happy to be back.  Hopefully the experience and benefit of my time in Cornwall will stay with me as I settle back into daily life!

John

Thu

09

Jul

2015

Mobile phones

Mobile Phones!    Love them or hate them they are certainly around in abundance and me thinks they are here to stay.   I can hardly remember life without them now and I know they have a lot of good uses but there are lots of things I don’t ‘get’ about them. 

Things like how someone could possibly want to send 1000 texts a month; or why there seem to be no boundaries on what it is acceptable to film; or how people can be present to an event if they are watching it through a camera lens; or how it has become a priority to many people who don’t earn much to have an expensive phone in an expensive contract - how does that work?

Brendan O’Carroll was on Room 101 a few months ago and he put ‘people who don’t know how to use their mobile phones’ into Room 101.   I hate to admit it but  I might be one of those people as my phone does a lot more than I know about but I want to qualify what he said and add ‘people who don’t know how to use their mobile phones wisely.’ 

Phones have been a bit of an issue in the younger youth group this term.  Some of them have them and some of them are sensible with them, but some of them are being really silly with them.  But how do you learn unless you have a phone entrusted to you to learn with?  Who teaches you?  Some people would like me to ban them but I personally feel that the youth group is a good place for them to learn how to be wise with their phones even though allowing their use is a harder option for us. 

It is too easy these days to get yourself in deep water with mobile phones and especially social media sites.  I would like to feel that our club plays a small part in helping youngsters to learn how to be wise.   But think of us as we leaders try to find a good way through as it ain’t easy!


Susie W

Tue

07

Jul

2015

John's back!

John is now back at Holy Trinity after his three month sabbatical (walking some of the Cornish coastal path as well as doing some thinking and writing). A huge and sincere thank you to all those who’ve helped cover his absence and made this break possible.
 
Watch out for future sermons containing stories about seagulls, waves, seals, rocky paths and the joys of a hard-earned ice cream.
 
If there’s something you need to contact him about, and it can safely wait a few days until the pile of emails has been dealt with, John would be most grateful!

Wed

17

Jun

2015

Midsummer Music

Church choirs are known to be particularly busy in the run-up both to Christmas and to Easter, but you may be surprised to know this doesn't make our task any lighter over the summer.  At a church like Holy Trinity there are a fair number of weddings and we are often asked to lead the singing for these.  It is quite a privilege and each service is always surprisingly different.  We actually get 'the best seats in the house' as we are facing the couple as they make their vows.

 

This year our annual Civic Service was deferred from May to July, partly because of the General Election, but also because John Routh, our Rector, was on Sabbatical leave, so this will be his first service back with us on 12th July.  There will be an anthem from the choir by John Rutter which has also been requested for a wedding in September (For the beauty of the earth).

 

Although we will have a few weeks break from practices during the summer months we are also starting to think about some of our autumn commitments.  We hope to join the Royal School of Church Music's area festival in October in St Chad's Cathedral in Birmingham where we will sing Vespers using a specially written service commemorating themes of justice arising from Magna Carta in its 800th anniversary year.

 

We may also join in one of the concerts scheduled for next year's Friends' season - watch this space!

 

If you read this before Saturday 20th June don't forget to attend the Midsummer Muse concert of poetry and gentle jazz in church at 7.30pm, a perfect end to our season and a chance to enjoy the summer weather outside during the interval (we hope!)


Stella

0 Comments

Thu

04

Jun

2015

Wardens Blog

The start of another year of service!


Ros and I have just returned from the Archdeacon’s visitation this week.. This is the time when we get admitted to our roles as Churchwardens. It was good to also feel the support on the night of 2 veteran ex-Wardens Colin and Carole as well as all our 4 other halves! 


The new Archdeacon of Aston Simon Heathfield gave a very passionate and uplifting address, which encouraged us all in our continuing journey of faith and in particular highlighted the important ministry role not only of Churchwardens but of all those performing roles within the church. He stressed that all ministries were important.


The office of Archdeacon is ancient and became regularised in England around 1066, so a lot older than Ros and me. Around one thousand years later -in 2015- their visitations to the parish are to support and encourage the mission and ministry of God’ church. So as part of that we, as Churchwardens, have to answer questions on our stewardship, which can range from subjects such as regular attendances to the church drains, or in our case Reordering!


So rest assured, along with other Churchwardens for other churches in the Sutton Coldfield Deanery,  Ros and I were both admitted for Holy Trinity and given our staves- apparently useful as we have to keep order and decency in the church, especially during services!!


We all gave thanks for our shared ministry together! And with our Archdeacon’s support we felt encouraged and left with a renewed spirit for another year of service!


Mike


0 Comments

Thu

21

May

2015

Approaching £20,000

As I write this, the Friends of Holy Trinity has just presented its 11th event since being founded in September 2013. On Saturday 16th May, we welcomed Birmingham Icknield Male Voice Choir for a rousing concert. The Friends is committed to showcasing a wide variety of engaging events and this concert followed the acclaimed Lichfield Gospel Choir, and – earlier in the year – a candlelit concert with the ancient sounds of medieval music courtesy of The Night Watch.


What separates the Friends from our major re-ordering transformation project is that we are committed to raising money for the long term aim of preserving and enhancing the existing heritage and fabric of our 700 year old parish church. On that score, we are rapidly approaching a £20,000 surplus since we started fundraising almost 2 years ago. To make sure we meet our target, the next event – Midsummer Muse – needs to be a success … and we’re confident it will be a fitting finale to our 2014/15 season! At 7.30pm on the 20th June, this will be a dreamy evening of poetry and jazz in church presented by some of the region’s most talented musicians. Let’s hope the weather stays fair as we hope to spill out into the sunshine for some Pimms during the interval! Tickets for this event are already on sale on this website and concert sponsorship opportunities are available by e-mailing friends@htsc.org.uk. 


The Friends committee are busy preparing for their 3rd season and are determined to keep the loyalty of our regulars and push the variety of events into unchartered waters. Events being considered include a touring drama company, a harp ensemble and a fantastic opera group. Following on from the success of the first 2, we hope to present a flagship Royal Town Gala Concert at the start of the season in Autumn. Practically, the season will be split between the church which will close for redevelopment at the end of 2015 and the neighbouring Trinity Centre. The TC enables new possibilities and more intimate entertainment.


We hope you’ll stay with us on the journey into our 3rd year and are very appreciative of both our annual subscribers and the generosity of our Lifetime members. Of course, the wider aim of the Friends is to make the church building - and the congregation within it - to be a more prominent and accessible part of the Royal Sutton Coldfield community. Maybe, just maybe, some of those attending our events might just think that Holy Trinity’s not a bad place to spend a Sunday morning.


Sat

02

May

2015

Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

I'm taking this opportunity to congratulate the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and send our very best wishes on the birth of a royal princess, at the time of writing, as yet unnamed.


What's been going on with the social Committee? Well, we did the refreshments for the Carols by Candlelight Service; support for the various Friends of Holy Trinity events with the refreshments; organised a leaving do for Zoe our re-ordering campaign manager when she left. It was a cheese and wine evening, with a talk by Roger Lea on the history of Holy Trinity. It was a very interesting and enjoyable evening, it ended with an update on the reordering project (over £900,000 towards our £1,600,00 target so far) and a light hearted look to the future of the church by Mike Somers.


We continue to support the Friends of Holy Trinity event for the Birmingham Icknield Male Voice Choir are on Saturday 16th May . Back to the Royal birth, we are planning to hold a 'Bring & Share' lunch to celebrate the occasion.  We are proposing to hold it on Pentecost, Sunday 24th May, so a double celebration, but that may change because it is also the start of the spring bank holiday week so a number of the congregation will be away. 


 We will also do a 'Big Breakfast' event and a Quiz later on, along with some other events, watch this space.


The social committee is very social’ and if anyone would like to join it, new members would be welcome, along with any ideas. 

Colin Ingley

5 Comments

Sun

19

Apr

2015

The whole picture

The other day I bought a jigsaw from a charity shop.  Lovely picture of St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall and I was half pondering whether I might even mount and frame it after I had done it.  However, when I opened the box to start doing it I made the unwelcome discovery that there were no outside edge pieces in the box at all.  Obviously the previous owner had done what a number of people do; put all the outside edges in a separate bag and forgotten to put the bag in the box.  Such a pity.  I did ask at the charity shop, just in case they had them but they don’t so the puzzle will just have to go in the bin.


The members of one of our youth groups are currently making a film.  It is such good fun and we are having lots of laughs making it but it is a bit like doing a jigsaw without any outside pieces, or indeed, without much of a picture either.  We don’t have a clear idea of what the end result will look like, or where the boundaries might be.  We just have lots of ideas and energy and, dare I say it, talent.   We are feeling our way forward week by week, take by take and seeing where it takes us.  If you are lucky, you MIGHT just get the opportunity to see the finished result at some point but I shouldn’t hold your breath:  we have been working on this project for a few months now and so far, the only nearly-edited-and-fit-to-use content totals 54 seconds!  Watch this space!


Susie Walker

Group Youth Worker

2 Comments

Wed

01

Apr

2015

Caterpillars and  butterflies

We all need symbols to help us understand what things mean.  Easter is all about the celebration of Christ’s resurrection – new life conquering death.  And it was originally associated with eggs because eggs too are about new life.

 

But if we’re honest, the symbolism of the Easter egg has been lost in the marketing plans of the chocolate industry.  It’s become the Easter equivalent of Father Christmas.  So just for a few minutes think about a different symbol: caterpillars and butterflies. 

One Easter, in the parish where I was a curate, we decorated the church with huge caterpillars & butterflies which the children had made.  It looked lovely, colourful, but people didn’t understand why we’d done it.  So I explained.

 

A caterpillar lives its life for one purpose only: to become a butterfly. There’s only one way to get there.  To become that beautiful butterfly, the form of the caterpillar must die.  From the death of one form, another more glorious form arises. 

 

I find that an almost perfect description of what we’re meant to be celebrating on Easter Sunday.  Jesus died on the cross, and was raised by God.  From his death sprang new, more glorious life.

 

John


(photograph courtesy of bbc.co.uk)

Wed

25

Mar

2015

Joy and despair

Have you ever experienced great joy believing that your greatest wish was about to come true; and have you ever experienced deepest despair when your greatest wish was not been fulfilled? In services on Palm Sunday, this coming weekend, Christians will experience both those extremes of joy and despair.   

 

On Palm Sunday we will listen to a dramatised reading from the Gospel of Saint Mark.  Jesus will be described as riding into Jerusalem and being acclaimed by cheering crowds waving palm leaves.  It is a glorious welcome and one only given to a King.  The crowds that welcome Jesus were confident that he was the Messiah, the saviour that would restore the power of Israel.

However, as the dramatised reading goes on we will hear of the arrest of Jesus, his trial and torture, and of his agonising death on the Cross.  We move from the joy of welcoming a King to despair when we hear of his death.  We experience the extremes of joy and despair.    

 

As Christians we are asked by Jesus to place spiritual values above material ones.  Jesus the King does not value power and wealth.  Instead he comes as a King of peace whose watchwords are love and forgiveness.  Jesus has come into our lives and turned our human values upside down.

 

In a few days time on Maundy Thursday we shall hear the account of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples.  Jesus who was welcomed into Jerusalem as an all conquering King will be shown to be the Servant King, and it is in serving others that we shall find the true and everlasting Kingdom.

 

Paul Duckers

Fri

13

Mar

2015

Re-ordering: we're so close now!

We are now in the closing stages of our 12 month campaign to raise the funds for our re-ordering scheme.  The job isn’t yet done - we need to keep pushing to ensure that we can get our re-ordering work done.  But it’s gone extremely well so far. 

We’ve done well enough that we are now able to start the process of offering the contract for the re-ordering work for tender.  Later this year PCC will consider the tenders we receive and then look to move on to the actual re-ordering, which is planned for early 2016. 

Looking back, it seems an age ago when we started to discuss the fundraising – my involvement in this preparation began in 2012.  So it’s been a 3 year process, and I and many others have put a tremendous amount of work and effort into this.  But not as much as John, our Rector – he’s been working on re-ordering in some way or other during the whole period of his (so far) 9 years at Holy Trinity.  

In fact the plans for re-ordering go back even further than that.  It was part of the original idea when the Trinity Centre was created.  It’s over 20 years ago that we in the church started this!  I’m sure that we are all delighted that after so long we can now see our goal in sight!

But we can’t reach our goal without spending money. Indeed we’ve already spent a lot with the Architects – drawing up the re-ordering design & obtaining the necessary approvals (not an easy task I assure you) – and also on Compton’s help with the fundraising campaign.

As I said earlier, we have secured a tremendous amount so far, and that’s wonderful.  But we aren’t there yet – we still need further funds to make this vision a reality by 2016.  Please remember that every little helps!

If I was an optimist I would be planning the celebratory opening of the re-ordered church building now!  If I was a pessimist then I would throw the towel in now and blame everyone else.  But I am a realist, and that means I understand that we can do this – but that it will take our continued effort and determination to succeed for the remainder of this year, together with prayer of course!

Will you join me in this?

Mike Somers, Campaign Coordinator

Thu

26

Feb

2015

Marriage

“Love is patient, love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful.”  


They are words from Saint Paul’s letter to the Church at Corinth and are probably familiar to anyone who has ever been to a wedding in church. They are words that are now understood by many of those who are to be married as talking about an ideal of married love.   

Clergy always look forward to talking to wedding couples as they plan their wedding; and rejoice that they are with them on part of their life’s journey together as they work towards an ideal married life.  

 

However, for those getting married the planning of a wedding can be very stressful, and may make it very difficult for them to focus on the married life beyond.  In recent years we have held a Marriage Preparation Day for those getting married.  It is a day designed to help them think about their life together, it is definitely not a day to talk about flowers, wedding dresses and Orders of Service.  Instead they are led through a series of talks, questions and thoughts about relationships.  Not just relationships between the couples but also between them and their families and friends.   

 

The feedback from the wedding couples afterwards have always been very encouraging; they found that topics had been discussed that are normally never thought about and relationships were better understood.  A Marriage Preparation Day is a vital step towards understanding Marriage.  We pray for all those who are to attend this year.     


Paul Duckers, Curate


Fri

13

Feb

2015

Getting ready

This week sees the beginning of Lent.  What is it?  What’s it for?


The story goes that before Jesus accepts the call to follow God’s will for his life, he spends a period of 40 days wrestling with his decision.  He is tempted to follow other paths – paths leading to wealth, to power, to fame.  But after the 40 day struggle is over he rejects them, and sets off to do God’s will.


Lent is a sort of re-enactment of that.  For 40 days Christians are meant to examine themselves, their lives; perform a sort of self-audit.  We’re supposed to get ready to rededicate ourselves to following God’s will in our lives.


These days, that comes down to people taking up an activity for Lent –attending a study course, supporting a charity.  Or they choose to go without something – chocolate, alcohol, coffee.  It’s meant as a discipline, to aid that process of self-examination.


Lent culminates in Holy Week, with Jesus being arrested, tried, crucified and dying.  It’s the darkest moment in the Christian story.  And for us it’s reflected in the accumulation of all that self-examination: after 40 days we’re ready to accept just how flawed we are – as individuals and as a society.


But deep as that darkness may be, it’s followed quickly by Easter morning, when God raises Christ to new life.  Light conquers darkness, hope conquers despair, life conquers death.  And lifted up by that renewed understanding of our faith, we recommit ourselves to follow God’s way, a way not marked by flaws.


I like Lent.  I like that it forces me to think about myself, about the world I live in.  I like that it forces me to face up to all that is wrong and in need of change.  I think I, like most people, benefit from a piece of serious self-audit.


John

Fri

30

Jan

2015

A love story

This week I have had a focus on an American lady and a love story!  Not a film I went to see, but a visit to our church.  Last Saturday I opened up the church for Melanie, a nice lady from USA and over here on business.  She was tracking down details of her relatives and wanted to see the memorials here in Holy Trinity.  

 

To my surprise and pleasure these were the Wilson and Pudsey memorials and what a wonderful story that is.  For those who are not acquainted with this then Jane Pudsey was married to Henry Pudsey and when Henry died she engaged a local stonemason William Wilson to design and create a tomb.  As a wealthy and well connected family in the area, this is a very prominent tomb in the Vesey Chapel.


Jane fell in love with William who had then become an Architect, helped him get a knighthood and they got married and lived in Moat House, a lovely house which he designed and had built on Lichfield Road and is at the front of the Sutton Coldfield campus of Birmingham Metropolitan College, who now own it.  But when Jane subsequently died and was buried in Pudsey tomb, her daughters from first marriage would not allow Sir William to be also buried there.  So he arranged to be buried in a grave which was outside the church but the other side of the wall from the Pudsey tomb. He said that as a stonemason it would not be a problem for him to get through the wall to get together again with his old bedfellow!

 

Subsequently the church was again extended, and the north aisle and clergy vestry added over 150 years later.  Therefore his grave became inside the church and a memorial to him features prominently on the wall in the vestry at the other side of wall to the Pudsey tomb.  So Jane and William are reunited in all senses!

 

Returning to Melanie, although she is related to William Wilson II who left to go to America, there is unfortunately no record of Sir William and Jane having any children legitimate or otherwise, and indeed his memorial indicates he left no issue!  A true mystery!  Was it another William Wilson?  The matter is still not closed, but unless any more light can be shed on this it looks like a disappointment for Melanie and her family.  It was also a disappointment for me as this is a fabulous human story from the wide ranging history of our splendid church ... and my favourite!  

 

Mike, Churchwarden


Thu

15

Jan

2015

Changing weather

There is a card in the shops that depicts two nuns in full habit.  One is asking the other “What are YOU going to wear tomorrow?” 


As an ex nun I can tell you it really isn’t as simple as that as most extra clothes are worn UNDER the habit and aren’t, therefore, easy to take on and off should the temperature change.  So nuns must be having a hard time at the moment as our weather is veering between being very mild and very cold on almost a daily basis and sometimes within a couple of hours. 


Sometimes our work with children and young people feels a little bit like that ...


One day it seems clear what we should be doing, with whom and where we are going and then something happens and we have to think again!  It certainly keeps me on my toes and it can be a bit scary:  anything that is consistent definitely makes for an easier life. 


Changing situations can be unsettling but there is also a positive side:  change can be exciting and bring growth and benefits that are unexpected and which could not have happened in a stable and safe environment.  So although a quiet life sometimes seems desirable, as long as we can see God’s hand in all the ups and downs then all is well. 


When it seems our way forward is blocked then the film ‘The Sound of Music’ has a line in it, spoken by Maria, who was from a Convent:  “When the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window.”  So whether it is hot or cold, bumpy or smooth, we will journey on with God and see where he leads.


Susie Walker

Group Youth Worker


Sun

04

Jan

2015

Gifts from afar

On January 6th the Christian Church celebrates  the Festival of the Epiphany - the time when Wise Men or Magi from the lands to the east of Judea followed a star, and finding the Christ Child in Bethlehem presented gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

 

The story of the three Wise Men is a familiar one, but what does it signify for Christians? The word Epiphany is defined as an intuitive perception or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something. In the Festival of the Epiphany we remember the moment when the reality of whom Jesus really was dawned upon the first followers of Jesus.


The first Christians came to understand Jesus as the creator God who came to earth in human form - not as someone who came to rule as an earthly King, but as a servant to die for them on the Cross. They came to understand Jesus as God coming on earth to dispel the darkness of sin and to shed light on the Christian journey, to bring humanity forgiveness and the promise of eternal life. They came to understand that Jesus was the greatest gift humanity could have; that he is the visible expression of God’s love for humanity.

 

How do we as Christians in the 21st Century respond to the gift of Jesus to us? Epiphany can mean the moment when we reflect on the way in which we can give practical expression to the love that Jesus represents. As we reflect on the state of our world and its need for peace and justice, we may well come to understand the need for an epiphany in the way we treat one another.

 

Paul Duckers


Fri

19

Dec

2014

A Christmas Message

As the clocks strike midnight to herald the start of Christmas Day, I will be in church leading our Midnight Communion Service.  And I guess I will, as usual, take the opportunity to be the first person to say to the people gathered there ... Merry Christmas.  But even as I utter the words I know it won’t be merry for all of us.  Even here in Sutton Coldfield.

Some will spend their Christmas grieving - fighting back tears as they think of family members who aren’t with them.  Some will spend their Christmas able to afford to give to their loved ones only the most meagre of gifts.  Some will spend their Christmas in cold rooms, eating not a roast dinner, but the warmed-up contents of a couple of tins given by a food bank. 


It seems to me that Christmas has a particular message for people such as these.  For the story goes that Jesus spent his first days not in a warm well-stocked home, but in the only place of shelter his parents could find, a lowly stable.  The message is clear: I, God, am amongst you – especially those of you who are struggling to get by.


And remember – part of the way God makes his presence a reality to those who are struggling is through our behaviour, our actions.  Do you have a neighbour who is lonely, bereaved?  Be their friend!  Have you met a person who cannot properly provide for themselves?  Be their friend. 


So to everyone here in Sutton Coldfield, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas.  And for those of you who will find the day of celebration a particular struggle, please remember: God is with you – hopefully in the caring actions of those you meet.

 

John


[Also published in the Royal Sutton Coldfield Observer,

19th Dec 2014 edition]


Fri

05

Dec

2014

Keeping busy

What have the Social Committee been up to?  Well, we have enjoyed supporting the Friends of Holy Trinity with the refreshments at the concerts.  And when the re-ordering campaign was launched to the business community by Andrew Mitchell MP and The Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands, Mr Paul Sabapathy CBE, we were called on to do the refreshments and light lunch.

 

We organised a Quiz with Fish & Chip supper for Harvest, with the Routh family setting the questions, successfully raising £150 for 'Cherished'.  We cooked hot dogs for Messy church - that went down very well with adults as well as the children.


One thing hasn’t happened for the saddest of reasons.  Toby Norris, who has featured in some of our Christmas productions, approached us and told us he believed the lights would be going out on 15th January.  He asked if we would like him to do a talk for the church on Nuclear power.  We thought it was an excellent idea so we arranged date for a cheese and wine evening with Toby giving his talk.  Tragically he was diagnosed with cancer and passed away within a few weeks - he will be sadly missed.  

 

Going forward, we're arranging a trip to see Cinderella at the Lichfield Garrick Theatre.  And as the current season of Friends concerts unfolds, we’ll be there in the background - supporting with refreshments!

 

Fri

21

Nov

2014

Waiting for Christmas

Christmas as a child.  I remember it so well ... the anticipation which built up through December as Christmas Day drew nearer.  Writing cards, school concerts, putting up the tree, wrapping presents, and then ... finally ... the day arrives!  At Holy Trinity we wait for the coming of Christmas in much the same way.  And it retains its excitement for all of us whether children or adults. 

 

First, from 5th to 7th Dec, comes the Christmas Tree Festival ... groups from church and from the wider community decorate the church with their trees; and in the midst there is a concert at 7.30pm on Saturday and our Christingle Service at 4.00pm on Sunday.

At 10am on Sun 14th Dec we have the Toy Service.  The church is filled with adults and children, bringing a gift to be passed on to a child less fortunate than they ... so that they might have some enjoyment from Christmas too.

 

At 6.30pm on Sun 21st Dec we have our annual Carol Service, as we gather and hear the Christmas Story by candlelight ... not to mention mince pies and mulled wine afterwards!


Finally we reach Christmas Eve.  The church is filled with families for the Crib Service at 3.30pm - always a joyful time.  And then we're back again for the (slightly misnamed!) Midnight Communion Service at 11.30pm. 


One last push takes us to our Communion Service at 10am on Christmas Day.  And then its finally here.  The build up is over, the moment has arrived ... we all head home for Christmas, presents and food! 


The anticipation and excitement is still here for me, even though I'm an adult.  Whether you're a child or, like me a little older but still child at heart, there is plenty at Holy Trinity to help you feel the same.  Please come and join us - maybe to make a Christingle, donate a toy, sing some carols, or just remember what Christmas is really about.  You would be very welcome!

Mon

17

Nov

2014

Royal Town Gala Concert

Sutton's reconfirmed Royal status was celebrated at our Royal Town Gala Concert on Saturday 17 November. Local dignitaries came together at the first Friends event of our second season to see internationally acclaimed acts perform. 

 

Birmingham radio legend Les Ross MBE hosted the event, with the accomplished BMOS Musical Theatre Company performing show tunes from musicals including South Pacific and Carousel. Classical pianist and Director of the BCU International Piano Academy Di Xiao presented a demanding programme that included Debussy and Schubert and Birmingham-based strings ensemble Enigma similarly delighted us with a varied range of pieces. 


Dignitaries present at the event included Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands, Paul Sabapathy CBE, Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor John Lines, the Lord Bishop of Birmingham the Right Reverend David Urquhart, Sutton MP Andrew Mitchell and Observer editor Gary Phelps.

 

We were also pleased to welcome Peter Longman, the chief executive of Sutton-based care management firm CM2000, which is one of our key sponsors. The event itself was kindly sponsored by Dignity Plc, to whom we are very grateful for their continued support.

 

Andrew Mitchell MP said the concert had been a great success, in the 'perfect setting'. As with all Friends events the proceeds raised will help us to preserve and maintain our beautiful church building.

Press coverage

You can see press coverage of the Royal Town Gala Concert by Sutton Observer here

Thu

06

Nov

2014

One hundred years

It is chastening to think that there is no-one living who fought in the 'Great War'.  There may be a few still with us who were alive when war broke out, but there are none left who served. 


It's left for us, their descendants, to remember.  So we remember those who served, and those they left behind to struggle on without them - parents, partners, children.

It was supposed to be the war to end all wars.  Sadly, with the passing of time we have learnt that it wasn't the end of all war.  But in remembering the loss, the sacrifice made by so many people, the horrors they experienced, we are reminded of how much we wish it was so.


These, our forebears, suffered and endured so that a better world might rise from the spilling of their blood.  But wars have come and gone many times in these last 100 years.  Thus far we have failed to make that better world, a world free from strife, a reality.  


But this weekend our Act of Remembrance calls us back to that noble aspiration.  We remember the sacrifice of our forebears, but also the better world they hoped for - the more just and peaceful world we are called to build on their behalf, and pass on to those who follow after us.


John

Tue

28

Oct

2014

Welcome to our Friends

I can hardly believe it's been a year since the Friends burst into life with our congregation launch and the 2-page spread in the Sutton Coldfield Observer.

 

In that time, we've grown to over 90 members. 5 Concerts have been successfully staged and attended by over 800 people. The church hosted its very first Christmas Tree Festival with the church filled with beautifully decorated trees and nativity scenes, which is set to be repeated this year.


Over £9500 has been raised to help the upkeep and improvement of our 700 year old parish church. The Friends were delighted that the PCC of Holy Trinity chose to spend this on a deep clean of the beautifully painted chancel ceiling and the associated new lighting scheme.

 

Our key aims were to maximise more people into the church and make them feel that it's their church, to put on an inspiring and engaging programme of events, and to raise monies for the building and fabric of the church. I'd like to think that we have achieved all three but I know that there is more to be achieved in this and following years.

 

So what have we got to look forward to in 2014 and 2015? Once again, the Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP has kindly agreed to be Patron for another year. We're aiming to go one better this season with 6 concerts this year as well as the Christmas Tree Festival which includes a "Christmas Cracker" concert with Newhall Brass Band.

 

Once again, we'll be kick-starting the season with the Royal Town Gala Concert. In view of the recent confirmation of Sutton's Royal Town status, it's set to have even more significance and will be attended by many local dignitaries. This time, it's hosted by Midlands radio legend - Les Ross - with a superb line-up of the award-winning BMOS Musical Theatre Company, internationally-acclaimed pianist Di Xiao, and strings ensemble - Enigma. Don't miss it!!

 

Tickets for all events and the special offer season ticket can be bought securely online by clicking the link below. Alternatively, please call 0121 321 1144 for more info ...

 

http://www.htsc.org.uk/friends-of-holy-trinity/concerts-and-events/


Fri

10

Oct

2014

Sharing the Harvest

 

This Sunday we have our Harvest Thanksgiving Service.  We will be thanking God for everything that is given to us in creation, all that sustains our life. 

 

I remember, a few years ago, someone phoned me up to complain after I’d written something like that in our magazine.  Basically he said that God didn’t give him anything – all he had was the product of his own hard work.  Well, I said, I’m sorry but that isn’t how I see things at all.  Our work would be of no value whatsoever if it weren’t for the raw materials given by God.  

 

And God didn’t provide those raw materials for the use of any individual person or group – God gave them for all of us to use.  Throughout the bible we are reminded that we should be caring for the poor amongst us; that we should be sharing the gifts of creation generously, not gathering them up and keeping them to ourselves.

 

We live in difficult economic times.  Even here in relatively well-off Sutton Coldfield there are people who are struggling, in the face of government spending cuts.  Those who are coping in these times are called on by God to help those who are not.

 

On Sunday people will bring gifts of food to the service to say their own personal ‘thank you’ to God.  As we have done for the last few years, we will pass those gifts to the food bank run by our friends at Sutton Coldfield Baptist Church – and they will ensure the gifts go to those who need them.

 

God’s creation, and the Harvest we gather from it, is meant to be enjoyed and shared by us all; haves and have-nots alike.

 

John

 

Fri

26

Sep

2014

Pastoral care - what is it?

 

On re-reading my blog of July this year I realised that I may have made an unfortunate mistake in assuming that everyone would know what Pastoral Care was. Let me put that right: Alastair V Campbell, author of several books on Pastoral Care, says “Pastoral care is, in essence, surprisingly simple. It has one fundamental aim: to help people know love, both as something to be received and as something to give.”

 

 

It is a wonderfully broad definition, because it is totally inclusive; Pastoral Care is not the preserve of a particular group of people or organisation. Indeed it is something that everyone does without realising. Anyone who listens to a friend or neighbour airing a problem or responds to someone in trouble is exercising pastoral care.

 

Of course Christians would argue that they are responding through pastoral care because of the example of Jesus Christ. Others will argue that pastoral care is something that would seem to be a part of our human nature. However we understand stand and practice pastoral care it is clear that it is an essential way of building relationships, it is the very fabric of society.

 

When we came to review our Pastoral care at Holy Trinity we found a myriad of informal relationships; the congregation were already supporting those who were unwell or had particular problems. We have built on firm foundations; we have learnt that the love expressed through pastoral care is to be received and given freely. 

 

Paul Duckers

 

Tue

16

Sep

2014

A book to remember

It's fairly unusual for a theologian to be widely admired across a number of Christian denominations. Occasionally, though, someone comes along who breaks the mould and offers some profound insights into the Christian faith that speak to most, if not all, Christian traditions. Rowan Williams is one of these theologians.

His work is often complex and difficult, but every so often he manages to distil the essence of his theology into a readable and easily accessible book. His latest book, "Being Christian", is a fine example of this kind of approach.

 

Taking four elements that Williams argues sit at the root of any Christian community - Baptism, Bible, Eucharist and Prayer - he sets out his understanding of what it means to be a Christian in today's world.

 

The book gently but persuasively holds up a mirror to our understanding of what it means to be Christian, and asks us to look again to see if we have missed anything vital. This is not always a comfortable process, but as Williams points out in the chapter on Baptism, if we are to grow as Christians we sometimes need to step out of our comfort zones onto the exhilarating path that God wants us to travel.   

 

The great thing about this book is that Williams presents this challenge in a kindly and pastoral tone without diluting the importance of it.

 

One criticism that has been made is that Williams' choice of Baptism, Bible, Eucharist and Prayer as the necessary activities of a Christian community mean that any such community is essentially a club - you are either in or you are out. Yet throughout the book is an underlying sense that all these activities are part of God's invitation for us to participate in the love and joy that God has for all people.  

 

I particularly like Williams' statement that the Eucharist is there to remind us that we are guests of Jesus, that he wants us to sit and eat with him as friends, whoever we are. If that makes Christianity a club then it's one that anyone can join!

Phil Morton

 

PS from John: You may be interested to know that we have decided to study this book in our Autumn House Groups.  Watch out for information on times and places!

 

Fri

29

Aug

2014

Summer's end

They say that time flies when you are enjoying yourself but I can report that this summer is flying by even though I, as the Youth Worker, do not (contrary to popular belief) get the school holidays off and therefore have been working. 

 

Not that work isn’t  enjoyable most of the time of course, but it is alarming how little time there is left before clubs restart and how much more planning I wish I had got done but haven’t.  

 

This is the time of year when young people find out their exam results and see whether their dreams for the future can be realised or not.  They have lots of choices to make and lots of new things to face. Several in CYG, our youth group for secondary school young people, will be leaving us for University.

 

Another group of kids that have a lot of new things to face are the ones starting secondary school.  It is so funny to see them in Year 6, the oldest in the school and confident of their status and then to see them in Year 7, the youngest and smallest in the school with oversized uniforms and shyness abounding. 

 

It doesn’t last though!  Soon they will find their feet and shoot up to be teenagers.  We will journey with a lot of these young people through JCYG, our Friday night youth club, and watch, with interest, where their lives take them. 

 

In the meantime, I must get back to my planning or there won’t be any clubs at all!

 

 

Susie Walker

 

Sun

17

Aug

2014

Holy Trinity Matters

 

Life is just a series of ups and downs these days!

 

The fundraising campaign is well underway and there are quite a number of people involved. And they have busy lives too! Nowadays the summer holidays seem to stretch from the end of May to the beginning of October. No - not my own holiday - although we certainly did get a month’s break which was great.

 

One minute we have a bit of disappointment and the next a bit of good news. The challenges continue but our team is focussed on doing our best to turn these into positive success. For the achievement of our vision and the benefit of us all!

 

As I write I have just finished drafting our monthly congregation newsletter - “Holy Trinity Matters” – this is the 5th edition where John and I have provided further details on a particular aspect of the Reordering and also given a monthly update on our fundraising efforts. The totals have been gradually growing and we have now reached a significant milestone!

 

With our internal Congregation and Electoral Roll phase we have reached over £209k – wonderful so far. That’s the good news; but the disappointment is that we need to get to £300k and there is little time left if we are to avoid delay to our other phases. So keep praying that the responses will now come in as soon as possible.

 

Meanwhile on a totally different subject - I wonder when Christmas starts as I see the first shop has opened its Xmas section!!

 

Mike Somers, Campaign Co-ordinator

 

Sun

03

Aug

2014

Who was that?

 

Who was that?

“Oh, he’s the gardener.” Thus said the young brother accompanying his sister on the way to Rainbows at St Chads, spying me weeding the flower bed outside the church hall where the Rainbows were to plant flowers as part of their activities that afternoon.  So lightly was I explained and dismissed.  And then it struck me that I hadn’t been the first person mistaken for a gardener, that these words had been spoken before.

 

Spoken on a distant morning full of sorrow and dashed hopes when a woman had come to mourn and tend the body of one whom she loved only to be faced by the bewilderment of a missing body and words too wonderful to contemplate or too amazing to accept.

 

Spoken in the midst of her confusion and tumbling thoughts, to take the figure standing nearby for one no more than the caretaker of that space.  Spoken, only to find the very one she sought.  Spoken to the living risen Christ on the resurrection day whom she had last seen taken lifeless from a cruel execution and hastily laid in a tomb without all the proper attention that she and her comrades had wished to lavish upon him in love and gratitude.

How often do we fail to recognise one whom we should know well?  How easily do we put people in a convenient place in our minds and then fail to recognise or comprehend them when we meet them in settings that to us seem unexpected?  How many times does God meet us and yet we only realise after the event that the stranger, the unassuming figure passed by, the chance companion upon the road, all embodied the living Spirit.  The living Spirit who loves to encounter us, to enrich us, to encourage us, to enlighten us upon our way.

So, who is that whom you meet today?

Tim Dawe

 

Sun

20

Jul

2014

Pastoral Visiting

A Bishop once wrote about his experiences of pastoral visiting. As a young Curate in his first Parish he had organised a visiting scheme to ensure that the sick and housebound people in the Parish were regularly visited. All apparently went well. However, some years later he revisited the Parish to see an elderly parishioner. Naturally he asked how she was; all was fine, her only problem was the number of Church people who rang her up and wanted to visit her. They were a nuisance! Such can be the perils of pastoral visiting.

As that young Curate realised, to visit the sick and housebound is an essential part of Christian ministry; to be with people in their times of need. As that now much wiser Bishop came to understand pastoral visiting has to be done with extreme sensitivity. Each person visited will have different needs and expectations of a visit and of the visitor. Visitors come to understand that visiting allows them to use one of our greatest God given gifts, that of listening.

 

Here at Holy Trinity we have been taking Holy Communion after our main Sunday Service to the housebound members of our congregation for some years. Recently we have begun to visit the sick and housebound during the week. As we engage in this work we are learning more and more about ourselves; learning to care, learning to listen. The young Curate who became a wise Bishop has much to teach us.

 

Paul Duckers

 

 

Sat

12

Jul

2014

Summer - children's groups

 

 

Over the school summer holidays our Sunday morning groups for children continue, but we join the groups together - so children aged from 3 to 16 can be working together on a series of collages to be displayed in church.

 

Over the last few summers our themes have included animals in the Bible, parables and creation. This year we’ve chosen a slightly different theme ...

Jesus, as recorded in John’s Gospel, made seven statements beginning ‘I am’, so we’ve chosen to illustrate these. They range from those that can be easily interpreted in artwork such as ‘I am the Good Shepherd’ and ‘I am the True Vine’, to ideas that are a little bit harder to display in collage form such as ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life’. I am sure that our children and leaders will, as always, come up with some fantastic ideas on how to turn these statements into art. We use the choir vestry at the back of church as our meeting room.

 

Any children, whether regulars or visitors, are very welcome to join us for these groups, which run from 20th July to 31st August. The groups meet in the choir vestry. On the 10th August the services includes a baptism - the children will still go to the group but they will come back into church for the actual baptism so won’t miss a thing - in fact they get the best view as they usually watch this part from the top of the steps right by the font!

 

Congregation members not quite young enough to qualify for the children’s groups should look out for these collages which will be displayed around church after the services.

 

Liz Petley

 

 

 

 

Mon

07

Jul

2014

My Ordination

 

Yesterday I was ordained Deacon at Birmingham Cathedral. It was a beautiful service, a sunny day with lots of people from Holy Trinity joining me to celebrate.

My journey to ordination has felt like a long one.  It has been both challenging and fulfilling, with many adventures along the way. After going through a 2 year selection process, then spending two years at Queen's Foundation Birmingham, the final part of the journey was to spend a 4 day retreat with other ordinands in Holland House. It was such a huge privilege to spend these days with many wonderful and inspiring people. Bishop Andrew led the retreat, encouraging us to be leaders by modelling the leadership of Jesus.

The retreat was mostly in silence, which was quite a challenge... However, Holland House is set in such beautiful surroundings so it was quite easy to while away hour after hour contemplating, beside the river or in the gardens. I even got to see a kingfisher dive down into the water.

Yesterday morning we woke early for Morning Prayer and after breakfast we set off, in our collars, to Birmingham Cathedral. I was so excited to see my husband and children after having been away from them for such a long time. (I even got to have a cuddle before the service).

The service was perfect! We sang one of my favourite songs, "In the Lord I'll be Ever Thankful" and the choir sounded beautiful. At the moment when we had to kneel in front of the bishop I was simply humbled... & later exhilarated.

 

There was a point in the service where the newly ordained deacons turned around to face the congregation. It was then that I saw just how many people had come along to support me! I have been hugely supported throughout this journey. Indeed, the whole of Holy Trinity have shown me more love than I ever dared to hope for. I can never thank you all enough!

After the service I got more hugs than I've ever had before! My 2 children were delighted as they got to hold Bishop David's staff for photographs.

So now, I have to leave Holy Trinity! I am officially the curate at St Peter and St Paul, Coleshill and St Michael and All Angels, Maxstoke. A new adventure lies ahead...


Rev'd Becky Stephens

 

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Sun

15

Jun

2014

Trinity Lights

 

Trinity Lights is a fellowship group aimed at anyone in their 20s, 30s & 40s. I have to admit however that there is more than a little flexibility in that statement!

We started Trinity Lights a number of years ago with an aim to form a group who could share together as we grew in faith. We've had social meetings as well as discussion sessions and Bible study. Most of all though, Trinity Lights has been a place where friendships have grown; a place where trust has developed. Our hope now is to grow further.

In order to grow, with the help of our Group Curate Phil, we have reached out to the other churches in the Sutton Coldfield Group: St Peter's and St Chad's. We're excited to say that we have had quite a bit of interest so our next step is to reform and work out what might be the best way forward.

 

We began our reformation last weekend when we were all invited to Louise and Chris' house for a BBQ. As 22 of us gathered in their back garden the weather was kind to us with only a few spots of rain, when we gathered under the gazebo. The adults chatted whilst the children played football and swing ball.

Our next meeting may be more study focused but that certainly doesn't mean less enjoyable. Our meetings are always very relaxed, and no knowledge is ever assumed. If you feel a group such as this could be for you then we'd love to hear from you!

 

 

 Becky Stephens

 

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Tue

03

Jun

2014

A Weekend Away

Last weekend approximately 30 members of the congregation enjoyed a weekend with Brian and Mary Dixon and family at their farm set in the Olchon Valley underneath the Black Mountains near the Welsh boarder. We were all warmly welcomed and made to feel very much at home. Unfortunately the weather did not want to cooperate and although we were all wet and muddy it did not dampen our spirits or our enthusiasm!

 

Activities on the Saturday included a mill wheel demonstration (there was certainly plenty of water to drive the wheel!) and some of the younger members of the congregation enjoyed packaging up the freshly milled wholemeal flour. We also walked (or drove) to the nearby Angora Goat Company, where the owners gave us a short talk about how the yarns are produced. The goats live as a family group (including two very cute kids) but the farmer explained how they all have very distinct personalities.

A group of us then undertook a visit to Longtown Castle, where Brian had arranged for a local historian to come and give us a talk. The castle has one of the finest round stone keeps in England, although the muddy puddles proved more of an attraction for one of the youngest visitors! Back at the farm there was supper and an enjoyable evening of games, including a quiz which was won by the Petley family.

 

The next morning the intrepid campers and those staying at the local pub were reunited at the morning service at Llanveynoe Church. We very much boosted the numbers of the local congregation who were very welcoming. As the weather had improved we enjoyed a walk down to the river and through to the field for Quad biking and buggies.

 

We are all very grateful to the Dixon family for organising such a lovely weekend and their warm hospitality – we look forward to the next one.

 

Louise Chubb

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Sun

25

May

2014

Bats in Creation

Now that spring has finally arrived and we're able to enjoy a few sunny days, it's been interesting to keep track of animals beginning to come out of hibernation. Bumblebees and honey bees are starting to look for places to set up their hives and we've already noticed quite a few in our back garden. Bees are one of the most important creatures in the pollination cycle, and our crops often depend on them to grow properly. We in the cities can do our bit by growing bee - friendly plants in our gardens or window boxes. There are helpful tips on what to grow on the bumblebee conservation website bumblebeeconservation.org

Of course, it's not just bees that are useful creatures to have around the place. One of the things I'm personally very interested in is bat conservation. Bats are what are known as biodiversity indicators. This means that if local bat populations are doing well, then other local wildlife is usually flourishing too. The Bat Conservation Trust is in the process of mapping bat populations across the country in a project called the Batlas. I'm hoping to help out with one of the local surveys being conducted by the Birmingham & Black Country Wildlife Trust. 

Far from being the horrid little blood-suckers of popular imagination, bats are crucial to a good eco-system and help to keep insect populations at a manageable level. They also very often roost in churches, which is where my interest began. None of the churches in the Sutton Group have resident bats (and I can hear the vicars breathing a sigh of relief!) but actually they are fairly low-maintenance tenants. Those churches that are home to a roost can find expert advice on how to live amicably with bats from the Bat Conservation Trust website www.bats.org.uk

It can be a fine relationship, with churches providing the ideal home to many species of bat, and the local habitat flourishing as a result. It's just another way of caring for God's world. 

 

Philip Morton

Sutton Coldfield Group Curate

0 Comments

Sun

18

May

2014

Youth News

Easter fell late this year.  On reflection, I like it better when Easter falls early because then the hopefulness and life of spring and summer seem longer.

This is a funny school term for youth work.   We are on a countdown to the long summer holidays but the youngsters are all in different places.   The Year 6s have just done their SATs and are on the verge of leaving primary school and heading to secondary education.  So they are on a real high and full of energy.  JCYG on a Friday night has a lot of Year 6s so we will have a lot of exuberant behaviour to channel.

At the other end of the scale, many of CYG, the older youth group will be sitting major exams, so for them, it is a stressful, demanding time.  A few of them will be leaving the group at the end of the term as they head of to uni (and one for a career in the army).  A new chapter of their lives will be opening; exciting but not a little daunting.   So CYG for this term is kept light and fun as an antidote to the heavy brain work. 

 

Last week I was accompanied by several volunteer leaders to a youth work conference.  It was an amazing conference, full of ideas and resources but the best bit, for me, was the keynote speaker; Mark Yaconelli (it’s worth Googling him!).  He was inspiring to listen to and had us laughing one minute and moved to tears the next with his youth work stories.  The one thing he said over and over again is that, as youth workers, our job is to do whatever the young people need to help them be alive:  alive in the world, to themselves and, of course, to God. 

 

And as we journey with the young people whose lives touch ours, that is our goal.

 

Susie Walker

Youth Worker for Sutton Coldfield Group

0 Comments

Sat

10

May

2014

Newhall Band

On Saturday 10th May we were very pleased to welcome Newhall Band to the church for an evening concert of great brass band music.

 

Under the leadership of Kevin Holdgate (former principal trombone, Grimethorpe Colliery Band) the band has recently won prizes in various local contests, and is rapidly forming a reputation as one of the most entertaining concert bands in the Midlands.

 

The Derbyshire based band entertained us with a medley of well known tunes, culminating in a 'Last Night of the Proms' style finale - complete with flag waving from the audience!

Press coverage

You can see press coverage of the Newhall Band concert by Sutton Observer here.

Sun

27

Apr

2014

Easter Bridges

New bridges are a common theme in Sutton Coldfield at the moment.  The highway authority is rebuilding the Plants Brook bridge beneath Lower Queen Street.  Network Rail are rebuilding the bridge carrying the Sutton Park line over Rectory Road.

 

A key moment in the rebuilding of the Rectory Road bridge came on Easter Sunday morning, a hefty mobile crane lifted the new structure into position.  That morning the team of workers witnessed the Easter sunrise along with those who participated in the Son Rise worship at Wheatmoor Farm - but for rather different reasons.

With all this renewing of bridges coming at Easter time, I am reminded of the ultimate bridge-builder, God, and the bridge he built on the first Easter morning.  Throughout history God had willed what was best for humanity; but humanity had proved itself incapable of following that will, of fulfilling its potential. 

Humanity simply was not up to the task.  Humanity required God's grace to bridge the gap between God's will and human action.  And so God sent Jesus to show us the way - crucified by human sin, but raised by God's grace.

Bridges are designed for the loads they need to carry – as an engineer, understanding the loads, the strength of materials and the design of the structure to enable the one to bear the other is my trade.  The good news about the bridge is that God's grace is able to bear all our loads.

Come unto me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” Jesus proclaimed.  No-one is excluded from this relief; no burden is too heavy, too dark, too awful for the bridge of God's grace to withstand.

As Christians –whether or not the country about us is Christian – let us live out the truth and freedom of those words of Jesus, and in doing so proclaim it to the communities in which we live.  Christ is risen: Christ is risen indeed, alleluia!

Tim, St. Chad's

1 Comments

Sat

19

Apr

2014

This weekend is it.

This weekend is it.  There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that comes close to it in the Christian faith. 

 

On Good Friday we witness the depths of despair.  Jesus is deserted by his friends; he is tried and executed; he experiences what it is to feel the absence of God.  We hear the story, feel guilt, and share in the despair ourselves.

Jesus is taken down from the cross, and laid in a tomb.  And on Saturday all is quiet, all is still .  The world around us moves on like nothing has happened, but we stop; we wait.  For something ... anything.

 

And then it is Easter Sunday, and we wake to joy.  Something new has happened.  Life conquers death, love conquers hatred, joy conquers despair.  Christ has been raised.  God is with us after all, (s)he has been all along. 

 

As I say, this weekend is it.  This is what our faith is founded on, this sequence of events.  Please come along and join us in the celebration.

 

John

 

0 Comments

Sun

13

Apr

2014

Holy Week Reflection

Our Christian life is sometimes described as a journey; a journey on which we are supported by our hope of life eternal and our faith in Jesus Christ. Holy Week is perhaps understood as a journey in itself. We begin Holy Week with the sounds and sights of a victorious Jesus Christ riding into Jerusalem, but end with him dying on the cross and being placed in the tomb. Victory has turned into despair, hope into death.

 

During Holy Week we have an opportunity to reflect on the life and death of Jesus Christ as we read or listen to the Gospel story. In services on Maundy Thursday we are reminded that Jesus Christ came to earth as a servant and not as an all powerful King. The Gospel tells us that Jesus washed the feet of his Disciples as a sign of his servant status; we are reminded that Christians are to be the servants of others. It is in service that we find our God.

 

On Good Friday the congregations of the churches in central Sutton Coldfield will meet together, and walk in silent witness through the streets. We walk to testify to the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made because of the love of God for humanity. And then we wait, we wait in hope of the resurrection and in its promise of eternal life. We wait in the knowledge that we are loved by Jesus. We wait for the glory of Easter Day.

 

Paul Duckers

0 Comments

Mon

31

Mar

2014

Ordinand's Blog

We have now broken up from college for the Easter holidays… However, I’m not sure how much of a break I’ll get – I have piles of books staring at me ready to write my final assignments. The one I’m tackling now is how feminist theology has helped to inform women about their calling to priesthood. It was particularly poignant therefore to hear John speaking of God as Mother in yesterday’s sermon. I have to admit to being completely won over by feminist theologians since I began training. It will be an exciting challenge to weave my newly formed theology into my ministry.

 

After Easter we have a 4 week block called ‘Bridging into Ministry’. During these weeks we will learn the practicalities of being an ordained member of clergy. The hardest sessions will certainly be those in which we learn how to conduct a funeral. I’m sure however that this part of my ministry will bring the most blessings. If I’m honest, I don’t think I’ve fully got my head around how I will stop myself crying along with those who mourn! I will have to rely on God to guide me.

Although it’s exciting to have the end of training in my sights it also means it’s nearly time to go. My curacy will be in the parish of Coleshill. I already have a bit of a head start since I did my 3 month placement there last summer. It’s going to be tough to leave Holy Trinity; it’s been my spiritual home for almost 11 years! However, in that time I’ve made many, many wonderful friends - they won’t be able to get rid of me that easily.

 

So, it’s getting closer… My ordination stole arrived on Thursday, I’m collecting my robes & clerical shirts on Saturday and I’ve received all the information for my pre-ordination retreat (at which I apparently have to remain silent!)

 

Being an Ordinand is an exciting, challenging, roller-coaster of a journey, but I wouldn’t have missed a moment!

 

Becky 

Mon

24

Mar

2014

Lichfield Cathedral Choir

We were delighted to welcome Lichfield Cathedral Choir to the church on Tuesday 18 March for an evening of beautiful choral music. The choir was led by the Cathedral's Director of Music Ben Lamb and accompanied by Martyn Rawles, Organist, who also performed two solo organ recitals. 

 

Press coverage

You can see the coverage of the Lichfield Cathedral Choir by the Sutton Observer here.

Sun

09

Mar

2014

The Warden's Blog

Another busy week! It’s a busy world and most people live a busy life. But let’s not lose sight of how we can make it better by giving more of our time and talents!

 

I’ve never been one to give up something for Lent but do try and give something extra for Lent. How about we all give up some of our spare time for Lent? Our church is clearly the sum of all the parts and we can grow stronger if people echo that approach. People help in different ways and if we are able to incorporate the wide range of people’s time and talents available then how much better our church would become.

We have the dedication of our clergy and those on the PCC, and those who have volunteered to do lots of different roles to keep the church, its groups and the Trinity Centre running. Our many thanks to all those volunteers who have given of their time and talents for the wider good.

 

I never cease to be amazed by the contributions and efforts made by a wide range of people but Pareto would say that 80% of the effort is done by only 20% of people. Think about our success if we can get more out of the other 80%! Perhaps for Lent we can all give up that bit of apathy, lethargy and complacency. If only everyone did just one extra thing. If only we had more volunteers things would be a lot easier all round. There’s plenty needs doing so make a choice that suits you!

 

So think not what you can give up for Lent, but what can you give extra for Lent…. and beyond- hopefully!

 

Now back to those Rotas!

 

Mike Somers

 

0 Comments

Sun

02

Mar

2014

Time to Reflect

Christmas, the celebration of Jesus' birth, is now a fading memory. The next big events in the church calendar are Good Friday and Easter, the festivals which recall the events at the centre of the Christian faith, the death and resurrection of Jesus. But before we get to them, first we must pass through Lent.

 

Lent is when we prepare ourselves for Good Friday and Easter. It's a time we spend in reflection. We recognise that God willed Jesus to live a life focused on self-giving and grace, and that he paid a heavy price for it. We recognise that God wills us to live that same way, and that we fail. We look to find ways in which we become better people, better disciples.

To reinforce that self examination we often give up something - not a luxury we can easily manage without, but something basic to our lives. For me that might be coffee. And sometimes we take something up - perhaps we attend a study course, offer our services to something. Whatever we do it is about reflection and discipline - about making ourselves focus on and live more in accordance with God's will.

 

It sounds hard doesn't it ... and it can be! But it's worth it. It's far better to live a life of self-giving and grace, even in a small way, than to simply follow the crowd. So what will give up, or take up, this Lent ... and will you see it through?

 

John

 

 

0 Comments

Sun

23

Feb

2014

Lent Course

Once again we will be running a Lent Course within the Sutton Coldfield Group this year. In previous years the York Courses have proved to be popular, and they have released a new course for 2014 called Build on the Rock: Faith, Doubt – and Jesus. There are 5 sessions in all, and once again they offer reflections, Bible readings and discussion points to help Christians at all stages of their faith journey to delve a little deeper into our relationship with Christ.

 

You may well be familiar with some of the contributors who appear on the course CD. This year we will hear from Bishop Richard Chartres, Rev’d Joel Edwards and Birmingham’s very own resident Theologian, Dr Paula Gooder. No doubt they will have some valuable insights to share with us, and leave us with plenty to discuss in the break-out groups after hearing the CD.

The course will be run at the Trinity Centre, and in keeping with previous years we will be meeting on different nights of the week so that other activities that people regularly participate in will not be too affected. We will meet at 7:30pm until 9:00pm. There will also be a day-time group that will meet each week for those who cannot make the evenings. Listen out for further details on this in the next couple of weeks.

 

The nights in question are:

Thursday 13th March

Thursday 20th March

Friday 28th March

Tuesday 1st April

Wednesday 9th April

 

In the past this course has been well-attended and many people have commented on how useful it has been, not only by exploring the themes of the course each week, but also in helping people from each church in the Group to get to know one another better.

 

If you are interested in participating in the course, please use the sign-up sheet at the back of church. Materials for the course are provided, but if you are able to make a small contribution to the costs it would be very gratefully received.

 

I look forward to seeing you there.

 

Phil Morton

 

0 Comments

Tue

18

Feb

2014

Social News

The social committee has been busy doing the refreshments for the extra services over Christmas like the Christingle and Carols by Candlelight. They have also been supporting the 'Friends of Holy Trinity' events by serving the wine at the concerts and coffee and cake at the Christmas tree festival. We did arrange our now customary visit to the pantomime at the Lichfield Garrick Theatre (Snow White this year) enjoyed by all who went.

 

On Sunday 2nd March we will be supporting the Messy Church service at 4.00pm by cooking pancakes. If last year is anything to go on we will be tossing over fifty pancakes for everyone who wants one.

With all the 'Friends' events we have not had much of an opportunity to arrange many social events. Well, on Mothering Sunday, 30th March we are going to hold a ‘Big Breakfast’ to treat the mums and also to raise funds towards Holy Trinity's chosen charity for the year 'Cherished'. So if you fancy a full English breakfast, tickets are available from the Trinity Centre now, priced £5 for adults and £3 for children. We are also aiming to go on a walk to Middleton bluebell wood, weather and conditions permitting. No particular Sunday, but we will announce it one Sunday and go the next.

 

We are going to arrange a meal out in the summer, a treasure hunt / car rally and probably a quiz. As well as supporting the rest of the 'Friends' events this year.

 

Colin Ingley

0 Comments

Sun

09

Feb

2014

Ordinand's Blog

I've just worked out that I have only 9 weeks left at college and only 13 weeks of training! Time has flown by; it feels like just a few short weeks ago when John announced in church that I had been accepted for training. It was actually over 2 years ago.

 

Yesterday was quite a milestone in my training when I went to a clerical clothing event at Queen’s and tried on my first collar. I was surprised at how anxious I felt about putting one on but once I’d plucked up the courage, I looked in the mirror and it wasn’t nearly as weird as I had thought it might be.

The event turned out to be a really enjoyable experience which I got to share with the friends I have made whilst training at Queen’s. We all started off feeling a little self-conscious but by the end we were trying on all kinds of shirts, t-shirts and even hoodies. (I have to admit, I didn’t order a hoodie!)

 

Our tutors have asked of us regularly over the past few weeks, “What will be different about you after ordination?” Yes, I be wearing a collar and dress slightly differently during a church service but I will still be Becky – wife, mum, daughter, sister and friend.

 

Through ordination I will have the honour of serving people in the name of Jesus Christ and of sharing in the highlights and hardest times of people’s lives. Being a Priest isn’t just about the clothes we wear; it is about being present.

 

Becky Stephens

 

0 Comments

Sat

08

Feb

2014

Canoldir Male Voice Choir

On Saturday 8th February we were treated to a rousing performance by the Canoldir Male Voice Choir, together with talented guest violinist, Sutton Coldfield's Jody Smith.

 

More than 200 people enjoyed the concert, and over £1800 was raised - much needed funds for the building and fabric of this historic church.

Press coverage

See press coverage of the Canoldir Male Voice Choir concert by Sutton Observer here.

Sun

26

Jan

2014

Open House

I’m often asked, “What is Open House and what happens there?” Well, Open House is Holy Trinity’s baby and toddler group, and as its name suggests welcomes all pre-school children and their parents and carers. We meet on a Wednesday morning during term time, downstairs in the Trinity Centre. We are ready to welcome people from 9.30am.

 

The first part of the morning is very informal – the children play with toys and the grown-ups drink tea and coffee and chat. After about an hour or so we put the toys away and the children sit down with a drink and a biscuit.

About 30 odd years ago Holy Trinity started a ‘Pram Service’ in the church which over the years has developed into Open House. To keep the connection with this we always have a prayer, a bible story and a song following the drink and biscuit. We have a variety of story tellers, including the clergy, and we have various percussion instruments for the children to play while the grown-ups sing the song to a CD.

 

The last session of the morning involves singing nursery rhymes – with the actions of course! Finally, after a quiet time of blowing bubbles everyone goes home at about 11.30am or so.

 

Margaret Le Brocq

 

 

0 Comments

Sun

19

Jan

2014

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Christianity has as its heart the two Great Commandments that Jesus Christ gave us: to worship God, and to love one another. I believe that if those two Commandments were truly followed then selfishness and greed would be defeated; famine, oppression and warfare would disappear. The precepts of Christianity have the power to change our world; indeed there are around the world about 2 billion Christians about one third of the world’s population. However, tragically we are a divided community, being split into many traditions; principally Roman Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox.

Unity is an ideal for which Christians long for. One of the Prayers in our Anglican Daily Prayer Cycle asks “That the Church may discover again that unity which is the Father’s will.” Working and praying for Christian unity was initially started over a century ago to try to draw together the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches. Since then it has come to include all branches of the Christian faith across the world. During the coming week Christians of all denominations will join together in acts of prayer and worship, praying that the way to unity under Jesus Christ will be found.

 

Here in Sutton Coldfield there will be a Service for Christian Unity at Duke Street Church on Sunday 19th January at 6.30pm where members of all the Sutton Central Churches will gather; please pray with us or for us as we continue travel on our road to unity.

 

Paul Duckers

0 Comments

Sun

14

May

2017

Heritage gathers steam!

Our first open morning as part of the Heritage at the Heart project attracted around 80 visitors on 5th May.  As a result we now have some 35 people expressing an interest in becoming heritage stewards in our new scheme.  There were many visiting from the wider community seeing the church interior for the first time since its re-furb, and the "Wow" factor was still there!
We have also appointed our artists to work with community groups and schools to gather views on visitor resources, and are now finalising the specification for the IT work to develop our website to act as an archive and interactive information point for real and virtual visitors.

 

If you are interested in the stewarding scheme or would like any further information, please email:  heritage@htsc.org.uk 
Stella Thebridge
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Sat

13

May

2017

City of Lichfield Concert Band

On Saturday we gathered again to spend a very enjoyable evening in the company of 44 members of the City of Lichfield Concert Band.  They were led by their very entertaining conductor, Mark Vause.

The band played a varied and exciting programme - including Grieg's March of the Trolls, Cornets-a-Go-Go and a selection from Les Miserables. The high point of the evening for some was the audience participation during The Beatles' Ticket to Ride!

It was great to see the church so full, and so many people having a lovely evening of music right here in the centre of Sutton Coldfield.

 

If you weren't able to join us this time please do come along to one or both of the remaining concerts this season.

Read More

Thu

27

Apr

2017

Summer term ...

As I write the new school term has just begun, and this summer term is a ‘funny’ one.  We are getting towards the end of the academic year and the long summer holidays are in sight but for many young people there is a large blot on the landscape which goes by the name of exams.  For them there will be lots of hard work and stress ahead until towards the end of June.

 

It doesn’t make planning for the youth clubs very easy as numbers will fluctuate wildly according to who has what exam when.   And although the younger age groups of JCYG aren’t so affected themselves so numbers may remain steadier, we are very reliant on a group of older young people who come and help each Friday and they will be caught up in exam fever.

 

We really need a bigger pool of helpers but so far the Lord has not sent anybody.  I think people are a bit scared of the youngsters and think they are going to feel out of their depth but it is really a lot gentler than that, with roles to suit all talents, and they really are a lovely lot whom we are privileged to have contact with.  I think if people came and had a no obligation visit they might actually like what they see.   I can but hope and pray.

 

Susie Walker

Youth Work Coordinator

Wed

12

Apr

2017

Despair ... and joy

The most important weekend of the church year is fast approaching.

 

On Good Friday, the church will do the same thing it has done for nearly 2000 years.  We will stand on the sidelines and watch the first part of a story unfold.  A man will be tried – his crime being to put God’s love for all people above the establishment’s self-interest – and found guilty.  Then he will be executed on a cross, a painful, shameful death. 

 

We will quietly leave church, our heads hung low, and wait.  And we will spend the next day or so waiting – and do nothing.  We will wait and experience, for just a few brief hours, what it feels like to despair, to be without hope, without God’s presence and love.

 

But on Easter Sunday we will gather together, again doing what the church has done for nearly two millennia.  We will watch the story’s second half.  God will raise Christ, witnessing to the truth: that God’s love cannot be contained by human failings, that God’s life can conquer death and despair.  And we will celebrate and rejoice. 

 

On Good Friday and Easter Sunday we will travel first to the depths of despair, and then to the heights of joy.  This season is the key moment of Christian faith.  It shows us that through God’s love despair gives way to joy and hope, old life gives way to new.  And the best news is … it happens, in ways great and small, every single day.

  

John

 

Wed

29

Mar

2017

A warden's life

The last time I wrote was just before Christmas; and here we are already in the run-up to Easter.

 

The last three months have been particularly busy. We have settled down in our re-ordered Church and are exploring new ways of using the space. Recently the Diocese held a conference here, and the building was very well received.

 

A lot of effort needs to go in to moving chairs and tables into place, and there is the ‘techy’ stuff to see to. All this is worthwhile to have the Church used by the community for events during the week.

 

The period of Lent is a busy time, extra services, study times and preparations for Easter, all of which need planning. But it is also a time for reflection – to think about where we are on our journey of faith. To think about our role in Church Life, whether there is something different/ extra to do.

 

The role of Warden is certainly a busy one, challenging at times but rewarding in many ways!

 

Ros

Sun

14

May

2017

Heritage gathers steam!

Our first open morning as part of the Heritage at the Heart project attracted around 80 visitors on 5th May.  As a result we now have some 35 people expressing an interest in becoming heritage stewards in our new scheme.  There were many visiting from the wider community seeing the church interior for the first time since its re-furb, and the "Wow" factor was still there!
We have also appointed our artists to work with community groups and schools to gather views on visitor resources, and are now finalising the specification for the IT work to develop our website to act as an archive and interactive information point for real and virtual visitors.

 

If you are interested in the stewarding scheme or would like any further information, please email:  heritage@htsc.org.uk 
Stella Thebridge

Sat

13

May

2017

City of Lichfield Concert Band

On Saturday we gathered again to spend a very enjoyable evening in the company of 44 members of the City of Lichfield Concert Band.  They were led by their very entertaining conductor, Mark Vause.

The band played a varied and exciting programme - including Grieg's March of the Trolls, Cornets-a-Go-Go and a selection from Les Miserables. The high point of the evening for some was the audience participation during The Beatles' Ticket to Ride!

It was great to see the church so full, and so many people having a lovely evening of music right here in the centre of Sutton Coldfield.

 

If you weren't able to join us this time please do come along to one or both of the remaining concerts this season.

Thu

27

Apr

2017

Summer term ...

As I write the new school term has just begun, and this summer term is a ‘funny’ one.  We are getting towards the end of the academic year and the long summer holidays are in sight but for many young people there is a large blot on the landscape which goes by the name of exams.  For them there will be lots of hard work and stress ahead until towards the end of June.

 

It doesn’t make planning for the youth clubs very easy as numbers will fluctuate wildly according to who has what exam when.   And although the younger age groups of JCYG aren’t so affected themselves so numbers may remain steadier, we are very reliant on a group of older young people who come and help each Friday and they will be caught up in exam fever.

 

We really need a bigger pool of helpers but so far the Lord has not sent anybody.  I think people are a bit scared of the youngsters and think they are going to feel out of their depth but it is really a lot gentler than that, with roles to suit all talents, and they really are a lovely lot whom we are privileged to have contact with.  I think if people came and had a no obligation visit they might actually like what they see.   I can but hope and pray.

 

Susie Walker

Youth Work Coordinator

Wed

12

Apr

2017

Despair ... and joy

The most important weekend of the church year is fast approaching.

 

On Good Friday, the church will do the same thing it has done for nearly 2000 years.  We will stand on the sidelines and watch the first part of a story unfold.  A man will be tried – his crime being to put God’s love for all people above the establishment’s self-interest – and found guilty.  Then he will be executed on a cross, a painful, shameful death. 

 

We will quietly leave church, our heads hung low, and wait.  And we will spend the next day or so waiting – and do nothing.  We will wait and experience, for just a few brief hours, what it feels like to despair, to be without hope, without God’s presence and love.

 

But on Easter Sunday we will gather together, again doing what the church has done for nearly two millennia.  We will watch the story’s second half.  God will raise Christ, witnessing to the truth: that God’s love cannot be contained by human failings, that God’s life can conquer death and despair.  And we will celebrate and rejoice. 

 

On Good Friday and Easter Sunday we will travel first to the depths of despair, and then to the heights of joy.  This season is the key moment of Christian faith.  It shows us that through God’s love despair gives way to joy and hope, old life gives way to new.  And the best news is … it happens, in ways great and small, every single day.

  

John

 

Wed

29

Mar

2017

A warden's life

The last time I wrote was just before Christmas; and here we are already in the run-up to Easter.

 

The last three months have been particularly busy. We have settled down in our re-ordered Church and are exploring new ways of using the space. Recently the Diocese held a conference here, and the building was very well received.

 

A lot of effort needs to go in to moving chairs and tables into place, and there is the ‘techy’ stuff to see to. All this is worthwhile to have the Church used by the community for events during the week.

 

The period of Lent is a busy time, extra services, study times and preparations for Easter, all of which need planning. But it is also a time for reflection – to think about where we are on our journey of faith. To think about our role in Church Life, whether there is something different/ extra to do.

 

The role of Warden is certainly a busy one, challenging at times but rewarding in many ways!

 

Ros