Like the natural world, where we have the seasons of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, our church year is made up of seasons. We begin with Advent, followed by Christmas, leading into Epiphany, Lent, Easter and so on.
The Season of Creation is marked by many different churches in September. Theologian, Diana Butler-Bass writes “God is not a far-off Weaver of the Web, like God once depicted as the Watchmaker who assembled creation and left it to run on its own. No, God is part of the web, entangled right here with us.”
This year as we approach the Season of Creation, in the midst of heatwaves, wild fires and droughts, we have been made acutely aware of how essential it is for us to take appropriate steps to acknowledge and respond to the climate crisis. There are two interconnected ways. Firstly, we can recognise and celebrate the beautiful diversity of our world. Secondly, we can explore ways to challenge apathy and destructiveness.
The theme for the Season of Creation 2023 is Let Justice and Peace Flow. The prophet Isaiah proclaims: “Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even put a road in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43: 19)
So, I wonder of during this Season of Creation, we can embark on a wee challenge. Can we take time each day over September to ‘do a new thing’? Perhaps, it could be noticing the beauty of our world in a flower or birdsong and giving thanks to God. Maybe, it’s trying to reduce, reuse and recycle more widely? Or even, writing to our MP to put the climate crisis on their agenda for the election?
And what better way for our church to ‘do a new thing’ but through hosting our first ever pet service on Saturday 23rd September?
A wee prayer
where there is waste, let us bring recycling;
where there is recycling, let us bring reuse;
where there is reuse, let us bring sustainability;
where there is sustainability, ley us bring justice;
where there is justice, let us bring love.
|Morning Worship led by Rev Phil Chilvers
|Morning Worship at Headingley Methodist Church
|Concert by Leeds Male Voice Choir in aid of Wheatfields Hospice
|Morning Worship with presentation of books to Junior Church, led by Rev Phil Chilvers
|Church Family Barbecue
|Pet Blessing Service
|Harvest Festival including the Sacrament of Holy Communion led by our minister, Revd Dr Nicola Robinson. Café Style Worship.
|Morning Worship led by Rev Phil Chilvers. We shall be joined by our friends from Headingley Methodist Church.
CONCERT FOR WHEATFIELDS
A reminder that we are hosting a concert by LEEDS MALE VOICE CHOIR on the afternoon of Sunday 10th September at 2.30pm. We have done our best to publicize the event to local churches and centres but please encourage your friends to come to support not only this respected choir, but also Wheatfields Hospice. The choir have helpfully listed the repertoire from which they will sing on the back of the posters and flyers – see below – and it is varied and interesting – something for everyone. Do come! There are no tickets for the concert and no charge for entry but generous donations for Wheatfields will be welcome with Gift Aid forms available.
Following our break in August, we shall be back with the Guild Lunch on Tuesday, 12th September. We shall meet as usual at about 12.30pm with lunch served at 1 o’clock. A reminder the cost is now £4. This month we are pleased to be able to give Vuli Mkandla a donation toward the work of his family church in Zimbabwe. We have collected £200 in small amounts each month – not a huge sum but we hope it will help.
BOOK SUNDAY BBQ
Yippee the kitchen is finished and the BBQ is back! Please make a date in your diary for Sunday 17th September when we shall hopefully have sunny weather and be able to enjoy social interaction and a barbecue together. Please add your name to the list in the large hall to help with catering.
Kate Greig, Charlotte’s daughter, forwarded the eulogy given at her funeral service to be edited for use in the newsletter. I am sure many of you were saddened at not being able to attend the funeral of such a loyal church member and much loved friend and, on reading the words of Kate and Judy, I was equally sure you, too, would wish to have the opportunity to read it in full. And from Kate’s email : ’Judy and I send love and best wishes to the entire church family. Everyone has been so kind and helpful, thank you so much.’
In Memoriam: Charlotte Greig
Charlotte Hutchison Greig, Gargs, never Lottie, Chat to my dad and Dr Greig to the nurses at the hospice – our mum. She was born on 24th May 1932 in the cathedral city of Brechin, Angus, Scotland. Mum was the oldest of three siblings – her brother Sandy still living in highland Scotland and her youngest brother Bryden, tragically killed whilst cycling home from medical school to tell his family he had passed his exams. He was only 24. Charlotte was, in her youth, what she remained for the rest of her life; beautiful, intelligent, sharp, generous, good humored and highly diligent. She decided at a young age that she wanted to become a doctor and, despite it being very rare for the daughter of a working class family to go to medical school in those days, mum as you know, achieved her ambition. Mum always talked about ‘setting your mind’ to something and in that way nothing is impossible – something she has instilled into her children and her grandchildren.
She was a girl of many talents. She excelled in all her subjects at school, was a member of the netball team, sang solos in Brechin cathedral and was often asked to read in church – a job she hated but did to make her family proud. One of mum’s most embarrassing moments but one that shows her wicked sense of fun was when she had to read a few verses from the Bible that included the words ‘paps’ and ‘sucked’. Well, mum, reading to a packed cathedral, got the fit of the giggles and could not stop. The more the congregation glowered the funnier she found it. It was just one of the occasions mum got told off as a child for being a ‘cheeky bisum’.
Charlotte was very popular with the boys at school. She was a beauty with thick dark hair and was sassy and clever. Many a young man would offer to carry mum’s books home from school, the courting ritual of the 1940’s. But there was only one boy that mum had her eye on, the shy boy from Fettercairn, Denis Greig. Dad was, believe it or not, a shy young man, interested in football rather than girls but he often gave mum a shy glance during their lessons together. Mum knew that if anything were to ever happen she would have to make the first move so she approached him. ‘Denis, you are going to have to buck up and carry my books home this evening or we are never going to get anywhere’. Dad did as he was told and the rest, as they say, is history.
Mum worked really hard at everything she did. She said that school work was not always easy for her, unlike dad who sailed through everything without opening a book. Mum never did things by half and told us frequently that ‘you always have to give your very best’. The boy who lived next door to mum in Brechin was also studying to become a doctor so mum made sure that whilst there was still smoke coming out of his chimney and his lights were on she would study in her room – a tactic that worked because she was, at the age of 18, offered a place to study medicine at Aberdeen university. How proud her family was and still are – our mum breaking through the barriers of class and gender entering the world of medicine and achieving her goal.
Charlotte was brave and courageous, always, throughout her life and right up until the end. She was not fearless however and did have self-doubts and nerves for big occasions in her life. She was nervous about the move to Aberdeen made even more scary as she had to find somewhere to stay. She often told us the story of going with her mother to Aberdeen and knocking on the doors of homes who had rooms to let. Most of the homes wanted men, groups of men who could be together but mum was on her own. She eventually secured a room at the infamous Mrs. Brocks’ It was very tough time of her life. She slept in the parlour and had to put her clothes in a chest and tidy her bed away every morning, encouraged not to come back until supper time so Mrs Brock did not have to light the fire and strictly no friends allowed. The room was freezing and when we were young and complained about the cold she would remind us that we did not ever have to live in a room where it was so cold that the snow on your boots did not defrost all night. She was terribly lonely and terribly homesick but did she ever give up – of course not? Mum in her pragmatic and strong way accepted her lot, worked really hard and made the best of the situation knowing that however hard things can get they will always, always get better.
Mum and dad were not together at University, dad had gone to Dundee but mum told Denis one holiday about the brilliant student show they put on at Aberdeen university and whether it was that or mum herself that lured dad to Aberdeen – well he went to do his PhD and they were never apart again.
Mum and dad lived a few miles apart and would visit each other on their bicycles. Mum complained that dad was sometimes difficult to track down – ‘he spends too much time on the football field!’ One day mum cycled over to see Denis who had said he had been out picking raspberries the day before. She arrived and knocked on the door – no answer – so she did what anyone else would do in that situation – she waited patiently for him to return? NO! Mum got a hair grip and broke open the window and climbed in. She filled her bag with raspberries and ate the mousse from the fridge – just leaving a note saying ‘delicious’!
Charlotte excelled at University and was awarded a prize of a 6 month residential practice in Copenhagen. It was the first time that this prize had been awarded to a female student. She also was offered a period of time to work in Paris and she loved her time there, zipping round the Arc de Triomphe on her scooter. Judy and I knew that it was that experience that accounted for her less than perfect, or patient, driving!
After their marriage dad was awarded a research scholarship to work in Canada and mum went with him. It was during that time that mum bravely worked in a TB sanatorium. Her mother was one of 5 sisters and 3 of them had died of TB so it was with heavy hearts that my grandparents heard what mum was doing but mum said it was the right thing to do and during her time there she had a massive impact on the lives of dangerously ill patients.
It was her friend Margaret Brown who suggested to mum that she went into the medical practice of family planning after their return to Leeds. It was a relatively new branch of medicine and the hours would fit around the bringing up of children. So, our mum became, yet again, a pioneer. She was one of the first medical professionals in the world to specialise in family planning and she was hugely successful. Mum, as we all know, boasted about dad and his career and the success and triumphs of her children and grandchildren. I am not sure how many of you know that when mum retired at the age of 70 she was the lead family planning consultant in Leeds and West Yorkshire. She wanted to make a difference and she often carried out domiciliary visits where she visited people’s homes to talk about family planning and healthy practice. It was often in the poorest parts of Leeds, mum had to go in to the houses through the backdoor as many people in the community were opposed to her work; twice mum was savagely bitten by dangerous dogs but this did not stop or deter her in any way. Her medical skill and her ability to deal with people from all walks of life and with a whole host of different backgrounds allowed her to enjoy a hugely successful career.
Mum had many, many friends from all walks of life and never wanted anyone to be lonely. We had a few Christmas gatherings with overseas students in attendance and mum was in contact with people scattered around the world. She spent a lot of time taking her ‘elderlies’ for coffee and to Marks and Spencer – she called them that but they were all younger than her. And age was never an issue for mum. One of her best friends or the ‘son she never had’ was Jamie whom, she met in Waitrose who became very much part of our family and was a massive support to mum in difficult times.
Charlotte was always practical and pragmatic – ‘you take what life throws at you and get on with it’. When she was leaving Leeds I asked her if she wanted a last walk around the garden. ‘No’ she said, ‘I have absolutely loved it all but that part of my life is over now, it is time to move on’. And so she began the last chapter of her life, in Shropshire. It was not easy, moving away from Leeds and knowing that Denis was only going to deteriorate but mum knew it was the right thing to do and it was completely amazing that within a very short amount of time she had more friends than ever! Judy and I are so grateful for the friendship, love and support you all gave to mum. She truly loved all the people she met here and maybe the old adage is true, ‘what goes around comes around’. I know you all loved her chat and her stories, she was always great company and there was always plenty to say.
Mum loved her family and her friends and was very proud of us all here today. She was exceptionally loyal and although she might criticize any of us to our faces she would never ever hear a bad word about anybody she really liked. There is massive heartache from us all at her sudden departure but she died as she would have wanted, peacefully, painlessly, surrounded by friends and with dignity and independence. For Judy and I it was a rare and special privilege, to be able to share her last days with her. Charlotte was a remarkable woman, brave, courageous, witty, sharp, passionate, interested, kind and generous. She embraced everything and everybody who came her way. Charlotte was physically a small woman but boy she had a massive spirit and a huge heart. We will all miss her dreadfully but we know that she would never be apart from Denis for long. Some of her last words were,’ typical Denis, up there in heaven enjoying himself whilst all this is going on’. Mum, you were amazing. Judy and I have been so lucky – Charlotte and Denis were the best parents we could ever have hoped for and gave us so many wonderful memories so the stories will live on. We love you both and thank you, both of you, for everything.
For more information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A SONNET for St. MATTHEW
First of the four, saint Matthew is the Man;
A gospel that begins with generation,
Family lines entwine around the Son
Born in Judea, born for every nation
Born under Law that all the Law of Moses
Might be fulfilled and flower into Grace
As every word and deed in time discloses
Eternal love within a human face.
This is the gospel of the great reversal
A wayside weed is Solomon in glory
The smallest sparrow’s fall is universal
And Christ the heart of every human story
‘I will be with you, though you may not see
And all you do,
Malcolm Guite is happy for his poems to be reproduced, copyright free, with attribution.
The Feast Day of St. Matthew falls on 21st September. We all remember the story of the calling of the tax-collector by Christ; the unlikely choice of a man who was roundly disliked by all, not only for working for Herod but probably profiting personally from his position. As always, there is uncertainty about who Matthew was – whether the apostle named Matthew was the former tax-collector or if he wrote the first Gospel – most probably not. But what we have in St Matthew’s Gospel – as described by Malcolm Guite -are some of the most beautiful and enduring visions of how each life is precious to God. And the words of Christ that have empowered so many Christians over the centuries to bring justice and equality and love to the world – “ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’ “
This year will shall be thinking of the needs of those in developing nations who often have little to celebrate at Harvest time when everyday life may be challenged by political unrest and harvests by climate change. We shall be dividing our gifts between two charities working in Africa. Zimbabwe Educational Trust, which our own friend and member, Vuli Mkandla, founded to support young people firstly to obtain Birth Registration to access support and education and then to advance their education. ‘Our goal was to help the new generation of Zimbabweans to gain the knowledge and skills needed to drive forward the nation’s development.’
The charity is now involved not only in Children’s rights, but also supporting girls and young women, the refurbishment and reuse of computer equipment and education in health, nutrition and conservation farming.
For some years Liz Lyle has supported and worked for the Charity ‘Jacob’s Well’. Based in Beverley, her own interest was sparked by the charity’s medical background – it began in the early 80’s supplying much needed medical equipment to Poland but its work spread through Eastern Europe and then to anywhere they saw a need which they could help – including Afghanistan, Syria, Kenya, Pakistan and the Ukraine where they are currently raising money for their fifth ambulance. Liz, as you probably know, is supporting one of their long-term projects in Ghana – training staff to construct chairs and supports for children with cerebral palsy and she visits Ghana several times a year to do so. With this in mind, we have decided to support the work of Jacob’s Well in Ghana. Gift Aid forms are available for both charities and Aleck has sent out details of the appeal by email.