You may have read in the media that some fair trade producers have not been receiving their proper dues.
Whereas this may be the case in some less well regulated parts of the market, it is certainly not true of the Traidcraft network. As a Christian organisation, Traidcraft maintains very close links with its suppliers and ensures they receive a fair price for what they produce. There are inspections to ensure quality; occasionally producers are brought over to the UK to promote their products; Traidcraft runs ‘Meet the People’ tours that anyone can join to see the work first-hand for themselves.
You can also see profiles of some of the producers in the Traidcraft catalogue. So when you buy from Traidcraft, you can really be sure that you are making a difference to the lives of the producers and their communities.
By the way, have you tried the new household cleaning range, Clean and Clear, which contains the world’s first fairly-traded palm oil? Or the new Divine milk chocolate caramel bar - delicious!
The entry in Debrett’s Peerage which styles her “ The Rt Hon the Rev’d Baroness Richardson of Calow OBE gives perhaps, a snapshot of Baroness Richardson’s illustrious career.
One of Baroness Richardson’s recent Questions to the House of Lords (Schools: Admission Policies – Question 22nd July 2013):
“Is the Minister aware that not all schools of religious character select on faith grounds? The Methodist Church has 65 primary schools that are state funded and 17 independent schools, none of which select according to the faith of the parents, although all are organised on Christian principles, but they are offered to society for the good of society as a whole,’’ indicates that education and inter-faith relations are among Baroness Richardson’s focal interests.
Kathleen Margaret Fountain was born on 24th February 1938. She attended Calow Primary School in Derbyshire and then went to St. Helena School, Chesterfield. She gained her Teacher’s Certificate at Stockwell College and went on to study Theology at Wesley House College, Cambridge.
In 1964 she married Ian D. G. Richardson and they have three daughters, Kathryn, Claire and Anne. Kathleen Richardson began her career as a teacher in 1958 at Hollingwood Secondary School, Chesterfield . From 1961 to 1977 she worked within the Methodist Church as a Deaconess and Lay Worker before being ordained into the Methodist ministry in 1980 and thereafter working as a Methodist minister in Denby Dale and Clayton West Circuit. In 1987 she became Chairman of the West Yorkshire District of the Methodist Church.
The Reverend Kathleen Richardson achieved two ‘firsts’ for a woman;
1992 she was President of The Methodist Conference
1995 she was Moderator of the Free Church Federal Council and President of Churches Together in England
Subsequent appointments include chairing the London Ecumenical Aids Trust, serving as Vice President of the Council for Christians and Jews, being a panel member on the Robert Hamill Inquiry into the murder of a Northern Ireland Catholic man and between 2000 and 2006 Moderator of the Churches’ Commission for Inter- faith Relations.
In 1996 Reverend Richardson was honoured with an OBE for services to the ecumenical movement and then in 1998 was created a life peer in the Queen’s Birthday Honours lists and became Baroness Richardson of Calow (cross bencher). At this point Baroness Richardson was granted early retirement from the Methodist Church in order to spend more time in the House.
Baroness Richardson has visited the Holy Land on numerous occasions, one of which was as part of a delegation from the British Council of Churches to look at the effects of the first Intifada. In addition to her responsibilities as a peer, she is Chair of the Churches’ Information for Mission.
In 2010 Baroness Richardson re-visited her Primary School in Calow. She talked with pupils and was questioned by the pupils’ School Council about her work in the House of Lords. Baroness Richardson’s portrait by Don McCullin (2006) hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in London.
* Debrett’s states that for recreation, Baroness Richardson enjoys reading and needlework. (However does she find the time!)
Palm Oil – Clean and Fair
Palm oil is one of the most widely used commodities – hundreds of products in our supermarkets contain it, although it is often hidden by being called ‘vegetable oil’.
So what, you might say?
The problem is, in many parts of the world, under the influence of multi-national companies, vast swathes of natural rainforest are being cleared to make room for palm oil plantations – to the detriment of local village life and the wider global environment.
Traidcraft is trying to reverse this trend by sourcing palm oil from small-scale farmers in Ghana, where palm oil grows naturally. They are working with nature rather than destroying it – and, even better, the growers benefit from the Fairtrade premium.
The palm oil which Traidcraft sources is used, along with fair trade coconut oil, to produce a new range of cleaning products, Clean and Fair – the first ever such products to carry the Fairtrade mark. The handwash, washing-up liquid, laundry liquid and multi-surface cleaner all clean well, and are environmentally friendly, with no ‘nasties’ in them.
So why not try one of these products from the Traidcraft stall at Frodsham Methodist Church, or at the Wellspring coffee morning on Thursdays at Main Street Community Church?
As our thoughts turn to Summer and holidays, I praise God for the opportunities to get out and enjoy the warmer weather. Over the next few months we have some Messy walks planned. A themed Seaside morning at Toddlers to celebrate Summer and the children leaving us to attend Primary School in September. Plus the children from the Manor will be celebrating another Infant Wedding. Messy Mice will be two years old at the beginning of June.
Lots of celebrations, and this reminds me of the excitement children bring into our lives and their energy for life. Jesus said,” Suffer the children to come unto me”, and that we cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven unless we become like a child. Mark 10 v 13-16. Let us not forget that God can touch everyone regardless of age, perhaps just stop and think for a moment about what Jesus meant about being like a child. Children trust, are faithful and loyal, loving, full of life. Are we like that with God?
As a Church, we are beginning to look at God’s plan for us for the following year. If you have any comments, good or bad, about my role and work here, please pass them to me. You never know - your ideas may be the spark needed for a new direction.
Young Families Worker
Well, what do you think? Does it matter? We’re friendly and welcoming. Is that good enough? Would you notice if someone’s behaviour changed? If they became forgetful, distracted and not engaging with friends in the way they had previously? Would you do anything about it? Perhaps you’d just wish them “Good Morning” and quickly pass by on the other side.
Research shows that in coming years 1 in 4 people over 65 will experience dementia and 1 in 3 people over the age of 80. So if you’re sitting in church with someone on your right and someone on your left which of the 3 of you will it be? That is simplistic but whilst we have children and young families connected with our church in Frodsham many churches are predominantly made up of older people. This is an issue we would be foolish to ignore.
Patricia and I attended a conference on growing dementia-friendly church, the title of the day was “The Lord is STILL my Shepherd”. The day was informative, interesting and thought-provoking. We heard some rather funny stories, such as the Bishop who told us about the day he found his father on the doorstep wearing his coat, his wellingtons and a tea cosy on his head. The Bishop was embarrassed to discover that his father had been down the street for a pint of milk. But, after a moment or two, he concluded that it probably didn’t matter, no harm done. Then the desperately sad story of a man in his 50’s who was diagnosed with dementia. How were his family going to cope with the steady decline as he lost his mind?
We heard from a couple called Bob and Sylvia. They rehearsed a dialogue for us about their life since her diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease. She made lots of mistakes, which her husband lovingly corrected, as she smiled or laughed. She was still very aware and alert and wanting to make a difference for others while she still had the ability. They described the blurring of reality being like looking through raindrops on a windowpane.
So how can we, as Christians help? It is a common commandment in the Bible to remember.
“Make certain that you do not forget, as long as you live, what you have seen with your own eyes. Tell your children and grandchildren about the day you stood in the presence of the Lord your God….” Deuteronomy 4:9
“….and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me." 1 Corinthians 11:24
The message of the conference was that losing your mind does not mean losing your soul.
We were encouraged to think about people living well with dementia rather than suffering with dementia. To focus on the person as he or she is and not their deficiencies. It’s helpful not to ask questions, even apparently simple ones such as, “Do you want tea or coffee?” Don’t contradict because it’s not important that the person you’re caring for thinks it’s Tuesday when in fact it’s Saturday. Familiar liturgy, the Lord’s Prayer or the Twenty Third Psalm may possibly be remembered. Music and hymns can still be enjoyed by many people with dementia. Holy Communion and the ministry of touch become ways to make a connection.
We heard from a lady who has set up a carers’ support group in her community to offer fellowship and practical support. It is likely that people affected by dementia will look towards sources of support within the local community. Prepared, equipped for the challenge, the church can be one such source of support. People who are “dementia-aware” will take time to listen to the story, offer support as individuals continue their journey and help them look to the future with hope.
This anonymous, poignant poem gives us a little understanding of the needs of people living with dementia:
To my Carers, Family and Friends:
I need you not to ask me to remember,
Do not try to make me understand;
Let me rest and know you are with me,
Kiss my cheek and hold my hand.
I’m confused beyond your concept, I am sad and I am lost,
All I know is that I need you to be with me at all cost.
Do not lose your patience with me, do not scold or curse or cry,
I can’t help the way I’m acting, can’t be different, tho’ I try.”
Perhaps one of the most important messages of the day was that we need to learn to be at peace with ourselves whilst we are able.
Finally that just leaves the question we started with, “Is our church Dementia friendly?”
Ros Caldwell and Patricia Barnard
As I write this letter, we have been enjoying lovely sunny and warm weather - which I think lightens the spirit and helps us to value God's creation around us as our gardens grow and develop (not so good for those who take great care in the garden - lots of extra work!).
We are growing and developing at Frodsham Methodist Church - numbers are increasing at our 10.45am morning service, and even more so at our 4all service on the first Sunday morning, where the whole range of ages within the church family come together and find a way to worship God and to grow in faith together.
But we need your help... We have four strands to each service - Finding our creativity, Finding sanctuary, Finding our voice, Finding inspiration. For three of the four sessions (the one not led by a preacher) we would really like to expand our team - if we have enough people we are hoping that people will only need to offer two or three Sundays a year, but if we don't get offers of help then the same few people will end up doing lots of Sundays and not be able to experience the full range of 4all for themselves. So please could you prayerfully consider this - could you lead something creative - drama, art work, music, craft, woodwork, poetry, creative writing etc. Could you lead a discussion group? Could you prepare something reflective to help people find sanctuary - a prayer station on the given theme, taking people for a brief walk to reflect on God outdoors, some interactive activities to help people to be still and calm, writing prayers or reflections for others to use? And other things for all the above that the Leadership Team might not even have thought about... We want to hear from you if you can help us. Please, please, please talk to me if you can offer something, or fill your name in on the sheet in the hall, as we will be delighted to help you use your God given gifts in the church.
In the last five months I have found it increasingly difficult to keep up with my workload in ministry, not feeling very energetic or very well, and having quite a confused and foggy brain. I am very sorry if this has affected my ministry amongst you during this time - having a brain scan and waiting to discover if there was a brain tumour present has been pretty stressful. After lots of tests and an MRI scan I have been found to have megaloblastic anaemia - something that can be treated with regular injections, and once the B12 levels are back to normal in my body I will have much more energy to do things. But not feeling well has made me reassess how much things use up the limited energy I have had, and whether they are things that are worth doing and have value.
I am under the care of the Doctor for the next few months, on a reduced workload with reduced hours until I am fit and well again, and this has made me look at my diary, and look at the important things I feel I do in my ministry. There are things that will remain undone - and I have to accept that for the next few months. But I also want to ensure that the things that I can do, still get done. But I also have to accept more readily that the ministry I am called to in Frodsham is a shared ministry with you all. Only a few weeks ago we were desperate to appoint new Church Stewards, and we only received one person who was willing to serve, meaning some who have served for over 6 or 7 years still are continuing in their role, to serve the church (that's me and you) so that lots of unseen and seen things are done every week. It is a gift the Stewards offer to the Church, but it is often not without some considerable personal cost to the individuals and their families - I want to offer my heartfelt thanks to each of them, and the many other office holders in the church, for their faithful hard work.
We are the largest church in the circuit - but still the same small core of people do the majority of the jobs that need doing. It won't be long before we have worn out those faithful people, and then what do we do and where do we go for help? Please friends - we need the help of each of you to enable our church to be the beacon of light in the community that God has called us to be. So when you see in the Link or in the Newsletter appeals for help with things, or hear it from the pulpit, please don't presume someone else will come forward and volunteer - they haven't and they don't. We need you - the Leadership needs you, I need you, the church needs you - to use your energy for the good of the Gospel and the future of the fellowship at Frodsham Methodist Church. I know we all have limited time and energy (just acknowledging and accepting that for me has been hard recently) - but we all have a responsibility for sharing in the work of the Lord. So will you consider helping when asked, will you join with us in helping run 4all, will you give some of the energy God has given to you to serve the Lord at Frodsham Methodist Church?
Thank you for your support and love - thank you too in advance for your offers of help and your energy...
God bless you,
Blog posts written by the Minister and Members of Frodsham Methodist Church.