JMCC digest week ending 1 February 2015

1. Journey MC Church Future Events

2. Weekly Worship

3. Asylum and Refugee group

4. Journey Film Club

5. Other Events

6. Green Suggestions

7. Cyber Sermon

1. IMPORTANT FUTURE EVENTS AT JOURNEY MCC

At Journey we are a community where the people own and have responsibility for the Church. At the AGM we determined that the congregational meetings are to have more say in the running of our group and the Board will meet less often to deal with more administrative matters. We have an increasing membership but a less money, there we have to cut back on the pastor’s time and other financial matters. Therefore I have organised three meeting to start this year and it is imperative that these meetings are well supported and we make the best decisions re our future

A. The Basics: where are we going at the moment from a position of being grounded in the reality of where we are now?
25/1/15 agreed notes on who Journey is. Do let me have any comments please
A friendly welcoming safe space
A church to belong to and feel accepted
We learn and grow through encountering others diverse views and experiences
Journey is a place where we are often challenged and set free to think and act in different ways and doubt is respected
We are a playful and creative church
We draw on the Christian tradition but emphasise values over dogma
We create Journey together and everyone’s contribution is needed
We recognise we belong to a wider community and strive to be active in it
We are on a spiritual journey of change and transformation

B. Resources: what talents, money and willingness do we have to achieve our dreams: Green, Worship, Film, Asylum, Line Dancing, and Outreach…? 15 February

C. Roles: what are our responsibilities? Those of the pastor with his reduced hours and UFMCC etc.? 15 March.

These will be after the morning worship with a shared lunch and we will start the meetings at 1pm and finish by 3pm at the latest. All are welcome

2. WEEKLY WORSHIP

11 -12:15 am Emmaus Road with an interactive sermon, prayer space, Communion and songs @ St Paul’s Church, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham B3 1QZ.

This is a Christian service with hymns and readings from the Bible. It has an interesting interactive sermon where we discuss the theme introduced and allowing us all to have our say from whatever theological position we come from and wherever we are on our spiritual journeys. This is postmodern and stimulates an inclusive community and helps us more from faith to action in the world around us. www.facebook.com/JourneyMcc?fref=ts

5 -7 pm Illuminate @ BLGBT Centre 38/40 Holloway Circus B1 1EQ

Illuminate is a worship service and discussion for those who like Spirituality but not religion. This includes live acoustic music, readings, meditation and friendship, All welcome at Birmingham LGBT centre (next door to bar Jester). Tea and coffee follows as well as a discussion devised by one of the group

3. ASYLUM AND REFUGEE GROUP

Friday 16th January 1- 3 pm @ BLGBT Centre 38/40 Holloway Circus B1 1EQ

There is a great need to support LGBT people attempting to find a safe place to live. They come with the facts of their abuse and torture, rejection by families and friends from all over the world especially Africa and the Middle East. They are not well support by the Home Office often taken to detention centres and isolated from the support the need here in the UK. We provide a lunch, drinks, bus fares curtesy of Birmingham Pride and we give gifts from the church. So please bring winter clothes, toiletries etc. Come and just listen and be caring.

This meets every third Friday of the month.

4. OTHER EVENTS

LINE DANCING is every Thursday @BLGBT Centre 7-9pm its fun and for all levels

EVENTS QUEER QUIZ

Pink Sou’westers are delighted to invite you to our sixth annual ‘Queer Quiz’ on Wednesday 4th February, 7.30pm to get LGBT History month off to a great start. It will again be at the luxurious Penthouse Suite, above the Loft Lounge, on Bromsgrove Street, B5 6RG. Doors open from about 7.10pm. Explore, expand or show off your knowledge of all things LGBT from the past right up to the present in this original LGBT themed quiz. As ever, there will be something for everyone, so whether you’re into popular culture and entertainment, music, art, sport, politics or the local gay scene, there will be questions you can answer, and if you can’t, your team mates might. Some questions will be easy-peasy and some will need you to delve into the recesses of your memory, but what I can promise is you’ll have an entertaining and informative night.

LGCM HERITAGE Gems in the attic: 25 years

Saturday 21 February from 2-6pm at Oxford House, Derbyshire Street, London E2

To mark LGBT History Month, come and join us for an afternoon looking at some of the ‘gems from the attic’ which have been uncovered as part of our ongoing heritage project, Christian Voices Coming Out. Much of the material has been deposited at the LSE and Bishopsgate Institute archives, but we have some copies of the gay press going back to the 70s as well as LGCM’s newsletters over almost 40 years and our earliest membership registers, for people to browse and reminisce over a cup of tea and a cake.

EVENTS QUEER QUIZ

Pink Sou’westers are delighted to invite you to our sixth annual ‘Queer Quiz’ on Wednesday 4th February, 7.30pm to get LGBT History month off to a great start. It will again be at the luxurious Penthouse Suite, above the Loft Lounge, on Bromsgrove Street, B5 6RG. Doors open from about 7.10pm. Explore, expand or show off your knowledge of all things LGBT from the past right up to the present in this original LGBT themed quiz. As ever, there will be something for everyone, so whether you’re into popular culture and entertainment, music, art, sport, politics or the local gay scene, there will be questions you can answer, and if you can’t, your team mates might. Some questions will be easy-peasy and some will need you to delve into the recesses of your memory, but what I can promise is you’ll have an entertaining and informative night.

LGCM HERITAGE Gems in the attic: 25 years

Saturday 21 February from 2-6pm at Oxford House, Derbyshire Street, London E2

To mark LGBT History Month, come and join us for an afternoon looking at some of the ‘gems from the attic’ which have been uncovered as part of our ongoing heritage project, Christian Voices Coming Out. Much of the material has been deposited at the LSE and Bishopsgate Institute archives, but we have some copies of the gay press going back to the 70s as well as LGCM’s newsletters over almost 40 years and our earliest membership registers, for people to browse and reminisce over a cup of tea and a cake.

EDWARD CARPENTER IS A GAY MENS ORGANISATION

Rainbow Spirit meets every first Friday @ Birmingham LGBT centre. Our next meeting will be on Friday February 6 at 7.00 in the centre. We will be talking about the situation of gay people in a number of countries, using film material and personal accounts. – Promises to be a very interesting evening, and a reminder that we are very fortunate in this country.

LONG WEEKEND OF DANCE, MUSIC AND SONG FOR GAY MEN

When? Friday to Monday (bank holiday) May 1 to 4, 2015

Cost: From Dinner on Friday to Lunch on Monday £160-£190 all-inclusive BUT for those on low incomes there are great reductions or even a few free places

Where? Whaley Hall, Whaley Bridge, High Peak, nr Manchester SK 23 7BL

Workshops

· Circle dance, folk dance, ballroom dance etc.

· Singing – rounds, simple harmony, chants

· Ceilidh (Sat evening) – dress up or dress down

· Soiree (Sun evening) – bring your favourite music / poem etc. to share, or join the audience

· Possible walks or cream teas (or both!) in the Peak District and Buxton

The Venue Whaley Hall welcomes a large range of groups for conferences, workshops and celebrations. The aim of the centre is to provide ‘a warm, peaceful and non-institutional atmosphere’ where guests ‘can be supported and refreshed’

Accommodation is mainly in twin bedded rooms; meals will be vegetarian, and will be served by members of the resident community. There are a number of rooms for workshops as well as comfortable lounges for relaxation

Further Information about the event contact Jon on 07974 477206 jonghomer

Information about the venue – please visit the website

LONG WEEKEND OF MUSIC AND DANCE FOR GAY MEN

May 1 – 4, 2015 Whaley Hall, Whaley Bridge, nr Manchester

I would like to book a place on this event.

Name ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Address …………………………………………………………………………………………………………

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Telephone…………………………………… Email ………………………………………………

I enclose a deposit / payment of £………………..

I will pay a total of £ ………….. (between £160 and £190 please, if possible before Easter)

My bank details – J G Homer Lloyds Bank 30 92 33 / 03683937; if you decide to pay by internet, please send me an email to let me know – Thanks

Any special requests – diet / quiet space, etc.

Do you want to bring an instrument? If so, what instrument?

Signed: Date

Please return the completed form to

Jon Homer, 212 Sovereign Road, Earlsdon, Coventry CV5 6LU email: jonghomer Tel (for enquiries) 07974 477206

5. GREEN SUGGESTIONS TRAID CRAFT INITIATIVE

Please share in our excitement! This month marks the launch of our Fair Necessities Appeal. We are aiming to raise £500,000 to help smallholder farmers around the world to grow more, earn more and eat more.

What makes this news really exciting, is that up to 3rd April 2015 the UK government will match all donations from individuals pound for pound. That means that with your help we have the opportunity to make all donations add up to £1 million.That would be fantastic news for thousands of smallholder famers and their families, like Zena, who you can read about in the article below.

Please consider giving a donation to be doubled now. You can do it online here www.traidcraft.org.uk/double or you can text DOUBLE to 70500 to donate £5*.

How your support makes a difference Zena Ali, a smallholder farmer in Tanzania, struggled to provide for her children after her husband died. The small income her fruit business brings in is not enough to pay for necessities like healthcare and education.

Zena has joined a Traidcraft beekeepers group, bringing farmers together to share knowledge and skills. Beekeeping training was provided for group members and encouraged them to set up group and individual beehives to provide honey and beeswax as an alternative source of income.

Zena’s group have seven hives and have high hopes for their future. Zena says, “I plan to have a good house and be paying school fees for the rest of the children who have not started school.”

£25 could help to start a local beekeeping group, supporting farmers to work together and share skills, knowledge and vital equipment like protective suits. Best of all, every penny you donate to the Fair Necessities appeal will be doubled, meaning £25 is worth £50!

With your support, we can help even more smallholder farmers like Zena and her family work their own way out of poverty.

6. CYBER SERMON

Reluctant Evangelists January 25, 2015 WE AS JOURNEY ARE CALLED TO….?

Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Mark 1:14-20

Reflection by Rev Stephen Bentley & Rev Kathryn Matthews (Huey)

Je suis Charlie… no that was last week’s sermon. This week is I am Journey. We are all Journey, the church is made up of its congregation who receive the benefits but also need to support it for it to function and continue. What words summarise Journey to you. We used this as a basis of the congregational meeting to find out who Journey us now so that we can tell others this is who we are so come and join us if that appeals to you. For some it is not the right place to be and so they are better knowing that before the come. Many will be attracted and excited about what we are doing.

Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh. He ran away and the whale brought him back. He said that if he preached God would condemn the city they would repent, turnaround and follow God. God would then act as He always is, in a loving and forgiving capacity and change His mind. Jonah knew this would happen and did not want to look a fool. So does God inspire faith? Does God change our minds?

Ted Smith captures the urgency well: "Mark," he writes, "begins like an alarm clock, persistently declaring the time and demanding some response”. The Gospel takes off, without the beautiful infancy narratives, no manger, no shepherds, no elderly prophets singing praise to God in the temple as they hold the promised One, a baby, in their arms. Instead, Mark sets the scene with compact accounts of John the Baptist preaching, and Jesus being baptized and then driven into the wilderness (Mark gives the wilderness temptations two verses, while Matthew uses fourteen). At a clipped pace, the Gospel writer simply refers to John’s arrest so he can get on to his main point, the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. Even at the end of today’s reading, we’re not even halfway through chapter 1!

Time, then, and urgency are at the heart of this passage. In that first chapter, William Abraham writes, "Jesus sweeps through Galilee and takes it by storm….the underlying sense is that God is on the march in the ministry of Jesus”. The time is now, Jesus announces: his very first words of proclamation are "The time is fulfilled" (v.15). Eugene Peterson even translates it as "Time’s up!" (The Message). This isn’t the kind of time we keep track of in our calendars and journals: days, weeks, months and years. It’s another kind of time, found in the New Testament but sometimes experienced today, too: Kairos, as Fred Craddock describes it, "a time in which the constellation of factors creates an unusually significant moment”.

It’s the kind of time we long for, especially as communities, and the people of Israel had been waiting for just such a moment, when the heel of this oppressor or that one (there had been so many, from Egypt through Assyria and Babylon to Rome) would be removed from their throats. They trusted in the promises of God even when everything around them contradicted and even violated the vision of justice and peace, of shalom, that was at the heart of those promises. The prophets spoke and sang of this hope, and how could the people of God not hold onto it, long for it, watch for it? And yet, how does one prepare for such a time? And how does one respond to it when it finally comes?

Much has been written about the response of the disciples who dropped everything to follow Jesus. Why did they do something so drastic, and how could they up-end their lives so dramatically, and would that really be a good thing for us to do, that is, if we could "manage" it? ("Up-ending" and "managing" hardly go together.) We can’t help putting ourselves in that boat, or on that shore, doing our everyday work, casting our nets and minding our own business, fulfilling our commitments and dealing with the reality of having to work just to survive. Could we measure up to the standard of those disciples, and drop everything, too? We might wonder why and how those first four disciples could do such a thing, without even a stirring sermon from Jesus, or maybe a dramatic miracle, or better yet, the sky opening up and a voice announcing that this was God’s own beloved, and that they should listen to him. (We assume they weren’t around when Jesus was baptized, just a few verses earlier.) Such an incident would have provided some clear explanation for their abandonment of everything to follow Jesus. And it’s perplexing that men of such insight and response would then prove to be those same clueless disciples through much of Mark’s Gospel. What did they know, on that seashore that we don’t know?

Barbara Brown Taylor suggests that we’re missing the point if we linger on such questions. This is a story about God, not the disciples or us, she claims in her sermon, "Miracle on the Beach." To focus on what the disciples gave up (and whether we could do the same), is "to put the accent on the wrong syllable." This "miracle story," as she calls it, is really about "the power of God – to walk right up to a quartet of fishermen and work a miracle, creating faith where there was no faith, creating disciples where there were none just a moment before." Now this way of approaching the story may, oddly, make us uncomfortable, especially in a culture that emphasizes our choices and independence, our ability to shape our lives and determine our destinies. We can do whatever needs to be done; it’s within our power; we can fix and improve everything; we can take hold of the future and make it what we want it to be. In fact, we have to do it, in order to please God and get to heaven. The better we are, the more saintly and sacrificing we are, and the more likely we are to earn our salvation. Taylor rightly calls this "works-righteousness": "What we may have lost along the way is a full sense of the power of God – to recruit people who have made terrible choices; to invade the most hapless lives and fill them with light; to sneak up on people who are thinking about lunch, not God, and smack them upside the head with glory" (Home by Another Way). Whether we’re ready or not, God acts.

And yet we do have the freedom to respond to God’s grace and God’s call (or not!). Those are words we say often, but what does that response look and feel like? Ted Smith helpfully suggests that Jesus doesn’t ask the fishermen "to add one more task to their busy lives. He calls them into new ways of being." So he doesn’t give them a new list of things to do but "a new identity….a whole new life" (Feasting on the Word Year B, Vol. 1). On the other hand, Elton W. Brown acknowledges that our whole new life has a lot of work in it, including the work we do for the sake of the kingdom: maybe the fun part is throwing the nets out and bringing in the haul, although "there are also the preparations, the mending of nets, repairing the tools that are bound to be damaged and worn….You can’t always be fishing, even if that’s your favorite part". We are caught (so to speak) once again in that tension between works-righteousness and a conversion experience of grace that really changes the way we behave. Barbara Brown Taylor suggests that, like the disciples who turned in a new direction, we also turn our lives "in the same direction as God’s life," and that means, perhaps, doing the same things but doing them "in a new way, or for new reasons." What’s important is that "our wills spill into the will of God," and then, "time is fulfilled – immediately! – and the kingdom is at hand" (Home by Another Way).

What about "the will of God"? What about the need and longing of the world, and the hope, and expectation, of the people? And what is this "kingdom" that Jesus proclaims has drawn near? William Abraham hears political content in Jesus’ message, and he offers us some hard words about it: our response shouldn’t just focus on self-examination, on "what we have done wrong, or where we need comfort and consolation and then turning to God to take care of our list of particulars." We may want to concentrate on our own personal "piety," but "kingdom discourse," he says, turns our attention, and our energies, toward "current public and political issues".

Engaging, then, in "kingdom discourse," we might consider the significance not only of "when" in this passage, but "where" it happens: on a seashore. In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus doesn’t begin his ministry by walking into the temple, the center of the religious life of his people, or even into the city of Jerusalem, and announcing who he is and what he is about. He starts out on the edges, even when he comes out of the wilderness, preaching in places like Galilee, and gathering his little band of disciples not from the religious leaders and scholars but from fishermen, here and there, along the seashore, the prosperous ones like James and John (with their boat and their hired men), and the poorer ones like Simon and Andrew, who have to cast their nets from the shore. We might be tempted to jump to the conclusion that Jesus is a good example of someone who is "spiritual but not religious," but that wouldn’t really be consistent with where the Gospel story unfolds, would it? We remember from our Nativity and childhood stories of Jesus, like the Presentation in the Temple, which Jesus was an observant Jew, raised by observant Jews, and he spoke from within his tradition. I just finished a thought-provoking new book by James Carroll, Christ Actually, which left me with the feeling that his emphasis on, and exploration of, the important fact of the Jewishness of Jesus and the early church, could profoundly influence, for many of us, our approach to preaching.

For example, William Abraham writes that Jesus began his ministry out there, away from "the great centers of power" because "the ground has to be further prepared before he can speak directly to the powers that be" (The Lectionary Commentary: The Gospels). Carroll is instructive about who those "powers that be" actually were – not "the Jews," leaders or otherwise, but the Romans who were so brutally oppressing Jesus’ own people. (His ninth chapter of Christ Actually, “Imitation of Christ,” is particularly powerful as it draws his ideas together and then challenges us to examine more deeply what it means to be disciples of Jesus, to throw down our nets, so to speak, and follow him.)

This week, we observed a holiday that reminds us of the great struggle of a people whose faith in God sustained (and sustains) them through a long and hard experience of oppression. The personal response of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and of countless other individuals, expresses faith in what God has done and continues to do and promises to do, and Jesus embodies that promise and that "kingdom," that new and decisive way to live according to the will of God. In the United States, we have collectively recommitted, in a moment in our own history of both challenge and hope, to seek new occasions and new ways to walk in the ways of justice, healing, and peace. Dr. King drew together that public/political nature of the kingdom with our own call from God, away from old ways of being, to claim our identity as the children of God, and to live lives faithful to such a calling: "Now," he said, "Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter–but beautiful–struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the [children] of God, and our brothers [and sisters] wait eagerly for our response" (A Time to Break Silence).

And so, whether we leave our nets for good, or return to them and catch fish in a new way, with a new identity and a whole new life, we are responding to Jesus, and to what God is doing in Jesus. This is not just a moment of decision, but a lifelong commitment, and we have something of immeasurable value to sustain us along the way, the promise, as Henri Nouwen says, that "the same Lord who binds us together in love will also reveal himself to us and others as we walk together on the road." Christians are called to ministry, and "the mystery of ministry is that we have been chosen to make our own limited and very conditional love the gateway for the unlimited and unconditional love of God" (In the Name of Jesus). This love permeates our lives, both public and personal, and reveals God’s own hand at work in our lives.

So at Journey we are called to repent! May be for you it is…

  • To move from doubt to faith
  • From indifference to social concern and action
  • From religion and dogma to spirituality and freedom
  • From hate to unconditional love
  • From follow our own way to the Kingdom of God

Richard Rohr, 21st Century (In Falling Upward)

“True Religion Is Always A Deep Intuition That We Are Already Participating In Something Very Good, In Spite Of Our Best Efforts To Deny It Or Avoid It. In Fact, The Best Of Modern Theology Is Revealing A Strong ‘Turn Toward Participation,’ As Opposed To Religion As Mere Observation, Affirmation, Moralism, Or Group Belonging. There Is Nothing To Join, Only Something To Recognize, Suffer, And Enjoy As A Participant. You Are Already In The Eternal Flow That Christians Would Call The Divine Life Of The Trinity.”

Diehard De Chardin, 20th Century

“I Think That The World Will Not Be Converted To The Heavenly Hope Of Christianity If First Christianity Does Not Convert Itself To The Hope Of The World.”

Booker T. Washington, 20th Century

“Lay Hold Of Something That Will Help You, And Then Use It To Help Somebody Else.”

Anne Lamott, 21st Century “I Think Joy And Sweetness And Affection Are A Spiritual Path. We’re Here To Know God, To Love And Serve God, And To Be Blown Away By The Beauty And Miracle Of Nature. You Just Have To Get Rid Of So Much Baggage To Be Light Enough To Dance, To Sing, To Play. You Don’t Have Time To Carry Grudges; You Don’t Have Time To Cling To The Need To Be Right.”

Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar Of Inspiration, 21st Century

“Most Of Us Have Nicknames—Annoying, Endearing, Embarrassing. But What About Your True Name? It Is Not Necessarily Your Given Name. But It Is The One To Which You Are Most Eager To Respond When Called. Ever Wonder Why? Your True Name Has The Secret Power To Call You.”________________________________________

Peace and joy

Stephe

Minister: Rev Stephen Bentley

Mobile number: 07734 155664

St Paul’s Church

Jewellery Quarter

Birmingham B3 1QZ

Email: stephen.bentley

Web: www.journeymcc.wordpress.com

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