Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas from the Derbyshire family!

Merry Christmas from our family! Hope you are having a wonderful holiday. Christmas is a much needed rest for us – it is great to take a break from our busy schedules. I just want to give you this opportunity to catch you on what we’ve been doing this year.

Nettes is continuing to do agency work as a support worker in City College with adults with additional needs/learning difficulties as well as running a crèche for an ESOL group one morning a week for Karis Neighbour Scheme, a charity that has links with our church. Nettes is still also leading our church’s Sunday school. After a recent recruitment drive we have a few more workers. This is good as some children have come up from crèche and we are now running three groups rather than two. But that’s not all she does. After getting a Grade 2 in last year’s module she now has only one more year to go on her Open University Degree in Psychology.

I am still teaching Psychology. This year the merger of Matthew Boulton College and Sutton Coldfield College to form Birmingham Metropolitan College was finally made official in September. As well as teaching some time in the sixth form I still have my evening class although because of funding issues it is not certain that this will continue next academic year. We both continue to visit our church’s drop in centre that grew out of the work with the homeless. Over the summer I went on a trip with them to Stratford. And this year I have taken over some responsibility for the church’s website.

Our little daughter Callie is now in Year 2 and is getting some glowing reports from school. This year she has enrolled in Rainbows. On her birthday she enjoyed a visit to Blakesley Hall with friends, and has had fun sleeping over with her friends on occasions. In the summer holidays she went to Stratford with Nettes and one of her college classes. They all had fun brass rubbing. Callie has just got back from Cadbury World which was a very special treat!

This year as a family we went to Spring Harvest at Easter, which we all enjoyed very much. Nettes and Callie then went on from there to visit Callie’s friend Holly at Ashford in Kent. Over the summer we were very involved in our local community fun day, where Nettes ran a bric-a-brac stall. And then we went to the celebration event for our network of churches that was held in Swansea.

We regularly visit my mum Joyce who is in a residential care home in Birmingham. She is continuing to slowly decline in health. She is now in bed all the time being turned every hour and it doesn’t help having a broken leg that refuses to heal.

Anyway, Merry Christmas! Have a great one! God's richest blessings on you this season!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Recession hits Wesley Owen

One of the latest victims of the recession is Wesley Owen - Britain’s largest chain of Christian Bookshops.

Across the country many of their shops look like they will be closing shortly unless more buyers step in. Some have been taken over by CLC and some – including the one in Birmingham - by Australian Christian bookshop chain Koorong who have also taken over the related publishing business of Authentic Books. Authentic Music has been taken over by Kingsway.

Not long ago we saw the collapse of SPCK and possibly this is partly due to a knock-on effect. I also suspect that a lot of people now buy books through Amazon rather than making the trek to their local bookshop. If you consider that a lot of Christian bookshops rely on volunteers then you will realise that situation is even worse than you might have thought.

This means that a lot of the Christian bookshops in the UK are now either closed, for sale or broke. Is this the end of Christian bookshops in the UK? Some like St Andrews still appear to be going strong. But generally the future of Christian bookshops doesn't look promising.

Lord we pray for those affected who might be worrying about their jobs over Christmas. Give them your peace.

HT: Church Times on Wesley Owen

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Candle Lit Carols with Wisemen Video

We've just got back from our church's candle lit carol service.

It was great that there were so many candles and that there were a few creative contributions. Andy read my advent poem and Nettes did a monologue as Mary with a few slides I'd prepared.

I really enjoyed singing carols such as 'O Holy Night' and 'Little Town of Bethlehem'. (As a family tonight we just put our little daughter to bed and sung 'Away in a Manger'.)

I was out preparing the mulled wine, being careful not to confuse the alcoholic with the non-alcoholic versions, so I missed Joe and Ellie's video. But I just got an email telling me that it's on YouTube. So enjoy...

Sunday, December 06, 2009