A Life of Faith

This page is a space to learn about what life as a Christian is or could be, particularly in the context of Queens Road Baptist Church, Coventry.

It will contain biblical reflections, information about activities and the thoughts of people doing them, photographs of the world around us, comment on events in the wider world and probably more things as we learn how best to use it. We invite contributions from those who have something to say. We cannot guarantee to publish everything we are sent but please contact us here to discuss any ideas that you might have to offer.

Guidance for contributors

 

27th May 2022

Rev Dr John Matipano is Chaplain and Bereavement Service Officer, Faith Centre, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire  NHS Trust and the guest speaker in our service on 29th May. He has provided this article for us.

Is Chaplaincy part of the Mission of the Church?

Interesting question! Does the Church even know its purpose, I wonder? One of the questions that I am often asked by patients is; do you like your job? I wonder if people ever ask, Priests, Ministers, Pastors, or Vicars if they like their jobs. The answer that I am often tempted to give them is, which one? Because I don’t think that is a very polite answer, I have not had the courage to ask it and will probably remain filed.

For me, there are two ways of looking at chaplaincy, 1) As a job and 2) as ministry. I am of the persuasion that chaplaincy is not a job such as being an Accountant for example. I believe that Chaplaincy is ministry and is 100% an extension of the mandate of the church. As far as I am concerned the mandate of the church is to fulfil the Great Commission (Go ye therefore and preach … Matthew 28:18-20). As a chaplain I feel that my primary role is to be with people that are in need at the time of their greatest need, be they patients, staff, relatives or carers. Even if I don’t mention Christ or God in my conversations with these groups of people and my presence speaks to them about what I believe and who I believe, then my work of ministry is done. I like a verse in Psalms 23 that says, “He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake”. For me the Purpose of ministry is the Glorification of God.

Therefore if I am in the Hospital or Hospice or the community to do the work of God, I am not doing a job but doing ministry. I feel privileged that I am paid for doing the work of ministry in as much as I feel honoured to be a Pastor of a church and no one pays me for that. I feel that in both my roles as a Chaplain and a Pastor, it is not a job but an answer to a call. Do I enjoy what I do, Is it a hard, yet it is. Is it rewarding, of course it is rewarding, not only in this life but most importantly in the life to come. I am sure there is a crown for the stuff I do. What was the question again? 

24th May 2022

On Sunday 22nd May we were blessed by having Chris Edwards*, Chief Operating Officer, of HOPE Coventry to preach in our service. We asked HOPE to provide a summary of their work.

“They provided support and hope to my mother when she needed it most.”
“I cannot put into words my relief that my life has been averted from poverty and possible homelessness. They saved me from utter desolation and despair.”

For eight years, HOPE Coventry has enabled the city’s churches to work together, transforming the lives of the disadvantaged and those in need with the love and power of Jesus. Today, we run five key projects:
Good Neighbours Coventry is a volunteer-led service for those older people who are suffering from isolation and loneliness that could result in mental health and well-being concerns.
Christians Against Poverty (CAP) Coventry exists to help individuals and families live a life free from debt, providing debt management support, drop-in clinics and run
ning money courses.
The Coventry House of Prayer provides Christians with a place to pray in the heart of our city, helping the church intercede for revival and transformation in Coventry and nationally.
Healing on the Streets lets us reach the lost and hurting on the streets of Coventry, offering prayer for healing or anything else - God does the rest!
Through family events and a Sunday open-air service, HOPE@MotoFest provides the church with a key opportunity to serve our city and bring worship to the heart of one of Coventry’s biggest events of the year.
And that’s not all, we also partner with other projects such as Open Heaven (a project the prayer-walk every street in the city), City Praise and Together For Change. Connecting leaders is also an important part of our work, running regular gatherings for church and community leaders.
We would be nothing without our amazing volunteers who do everything from befriending isolated older people, to helping in the office. We are always looking for more volunteers, more people to pray for us and more people who want to give financially to support our work.
Visit our new website for more information: www.hopecoventry.org.uk or email me at anya@hopecoventry.org.uk - we look forward to hearing from you.
Anya
(HOPE Administrator and Fundraiser)

* Chris joined Hope Coventry as its first COO in January 2018, following a successful career in education and has overseen HOPE Coventry’s expansion leading to a team of 14 employees working within the city. Chris grew up in Coventry and his parents Jerry and Rita Edwards were active members at QRBC for many years. Chris was baptised at QRBC in 1976 and now attends and is a trustee at Jubilee Church Coventry.

 

28th April 2022

Rev Alan Betteridge writes:-

On 10th May 1922 our four stained glass windows were unveiled at Queens Road; they were a memorial for those from the church and congregation who had been killed in the enormous carnage of the First World War, when sometimes tens of thousands were killed on one day, often to little military advantage.

One name on the windows is Arnold Brown, a student assistant minister at Queens Road who left after three months feeling duty bound to sign up in November 1915. He was killed at the Somme in October 1916. (The number of people killed in the Second World war are on later plaques below the windows).

The church chose these windows rather than a stone cross outside visible from Queens Road, or an endowment for a mission hospital bed overseas (out of sight but relieving suffering elsewhere in the world).

The windows show four scenes from John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress”, written in gaol in Bedford at a time of persecution. It was one of the best loved and most read books after the bible in our sort of church 100 years ago.

On the left facing the front is the pilgrim, Christian running away with a burden of guilt and shame on his back, but Evangelist meets him and points him to Christ’s cross. Next, Christian at the cross leaps for joy as his burden rolls away.

On the right side facing the front, Christian is being equipped with the armour of God (Ephesians 6:10-17) not for physical battle but for spiritual warfare. Finally, Christian is helped through the river of death to reach the lasting glorious realm where God vanquishes all that is evil.

Do they reflect your spiritual journey and hopes?

 

20th April 2022

Introducing the Church Library                                                                                          by the Able Assistant

“Will I Be Fat in Heaven? And Other Curious Questions”…J. John’s latest contribution to the Christian dialogue.  A book to savour, as it answers many questions, in quite a serious fashion, I may add, despite the amusing title.  Questions we may not like to own to having publicly….. but we can sneak around to the bookshelves and update our knowledge

This is an example of the books we are adding to our Church’s Library…you know…the smart bookshelves opposite the entrance to the Large Hall, where we’ve had coffee lately some Sunday mornings.

Lockdown has been a great time to get lost in a fiction book by Christian authors.  And it’s jolly useful that the Library has a simple ‘Read and Return’ policy…no severe librarians breathing down your neck about overdue library books.  Francine Rivers is popular with her fictional stories that retell Bible Stories in the modern style.  Or how about Karen Kingsley with her totally fiction but gripping stories that point to God’s way forward in the trials we all encounter.  And our thanks to a friend who gave us all her copies recently!

It’s great too to attend a Bible Study or Small Group and be extra clued up about the topic under discussion, having dipped into the Study Guides or concordances.  (Whoops, gave my secret away there).   If you lead a Small Group and are looking for new materials, this is a chance to browse through materials found useful by other groups.

This is an opportunity to thank all of you who have donated books, both used but still smart, and spanking new.  Mysterious packages left anonymously by the Bookshelves set the adrenalin running.  One of my concerns is that we haven’t room for all your ‘gifts’..hence the ‘Book Sale’ happening occasionally.  It fascinates me that many visitors to our Church have found this a useful resource in the past.  A chance to see what this Christianity is all about.

Our largest section is all about Real Life Situations, and advice on how to cope: parenting, singleness, relationships, for example.  Following that, I like to browse in the biography section, learning from the experiences of others. 

If you have any suggestions, recommendations or would like to help, do contact us…Sarah White is our Chief Librarian, and Mary Morris the Able Assistant: good with a duster and eager to help.

 

15th April 2022

Rev Neil Martin writes

On Easter Sunday this classic refrain is given and heard all around the world:

Christ is risen, He is risen indeed! or Cristo ha resucitado, ¡En verdad ha resucitado! as some say. Maybe you might say Christus is opgestaan, Ja, hij is waarlijk opgestaan!, or even Taw creest ereen! Taw shay ereen guhdyne! Maybe you could say Le Christ est ressuscité, En verité, Il est réssucité. Lastly, you might even say Atgyfododd Crist, Atgyfododd Yn wir. That is, if you can dislocate your tongue.

(If you want to guess the languages the answers are at the bottom, also all inaccuracies are the responsibility of the internet)

Yet, however it is said, this phrase is said all around the world, by numbers beyond counting each Easter Sunday. It is said by the free and the oppressed, by the prisoner and the guard, by the rich and the poor, and the powerful and powerless. By those who are ill, and by those who are well; by those who are young and by those who are old. It is said this day by people of all colour tones and tongues. It is said by me, and I hope it is said by you.

Though it is said by numbers beyond counting, in circumstances beyond measure, every voice is heard, and every story known. As you lift your voice on Easter Sunday, as one voice among many, remember this simple truth from Matthew 10:30: Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Yes, you are one among billions, but you are a very special one, and you were heard together and as one. So join in with me again: Christ is risen, He is risen indeed!  

 

1) Spanish 2) Dutch 3) Irish Gaelic 4) French 5) Welsh

https://www.oca.org/orthodoxy/paschal-greetings

 

24th March 2022

The Ordination of Liz Martin…

“The Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.”

Acts 13:2-3 (NIV)

This weekend (25th March) is a very special time for Liz Martin, and in the life and witness of Queens Road Baptist Church, as we ordain her and set her apart for the work to which the Holy Spirit has called her. We refer to this as Ordination, but what does it entail?

Soon after arriving at QRBC, Liz met with me to talk and pray through her sense of call to Baptist ministry. Through a time of listening and prayerful reflection, I too experienced a strong sense of her call and set about testing that call in the usual way. Liz had undertaken her theological studies with Moorlands College, and two of her tutors (Ian and Ruth Coffey) had already spoken with her about chaplaincy. Graham Banks was happy to confirm her calling and the Members of Crondall Baptist Church (where Liz had most recently been in membership) formally commended her for Accredited Baptist Ministry.

Liz was interviewed by HEBA’s Ministerial Recognition Committee, who were unanimous in commending her to the BU Ministerial Selection Conference. This interview resulted in her being enrolled as a Newly Accredited Minister. As such she is required to serve three years of probationary practise in a qualifying office, in her case as Chaplain with the Coventry YMCA, along with undertaking a learning contract with Spurgeon’s College. During this time, she meets regularly with her HEBA Mentor. This will lead to Liz becoming a Fully Accredited Minister in 2024.

But where does Ordination come into this process? While the BU can prepare and commend someone for ministry in one of its member churches, it is you the local church who set her apart for the work to which God has called her. Her appointment as Chaplain at the YMCA has triggered this, and this weekend you have the joy and privilege of ordaining her to wider Baptist ministry and commissioning her as a chaplain.

Rev. Elizabeth Martin, we gladly set you apart for ministry, and commit to pray for you and support your service of the Lord.

With love in Christ,

Rev. Neil Le Tissier

HEBA Regional Minister

 

11th March 2022

We want to talk about prayer and specifically Prayer Triplets.  Matthew 18:20 Jesus says “Where 2 or 3 meet in my name, I am there with them”

“What are Prayer Triplets? In the 1980’s churches in England worked together to support an evangelistic crusade called Mission England. Billy Graham led meetings in football stadiums and many people became Christians as a result. Prior to this Christians formed prayer triplets asking God to show them who to invite. Prayer triplets appear in the Bible in both the Old and New Testament and have flourished in schools, Universities, workplaces, prisons and even parliament.

Miranda, Anna, Sandra and Angie

How will it work? Now our fellowship is meeting in person again and following input from the congregation this seems a good time to reignite prayer triplets again. Praying in a large group can feel daunting for many of us and therefore praying with two others regularly often overcomes these anxieties. Praying together can result in spiritual refreshment for yourself and our fellowship, deepen relationships within the church, involve us all in the pastoral care of others and be a way of supporting and welcoming new people into our fellowship.

How can I try a prayer triplet? A prayer triplet is 3 people ( or 2 couples) meeting regularly to pray together. Prayer is the 3 (or 4) of you having a conversation, listening and speaking with God. As we may be hesitant about adding another commitment to our week we want to enable people to try a Prayer Triplet for 3 months and then we would review it together to see how the scheme is working. That will give the opportunity to decide if it is working for you and you want to continue or maybe try praying with two others instead.

What we recommend.  Each triplet decides together how often and when they want to meet either in person or via the Internet. That triplets are same sex or consist of 2 couples. Meeting for an hour only and ensuring each member has equal time to share and have their requests prayed for.
You may already have an idea of who to ask to form a prayer triplet with you, but if not or you are open to praying with someone new then we hope to facilitate this.
During March if would like to try joining a prayer triplet there will be the opportunity to sign up either on line or on a Sunday morning and we will prayerfully try to match you with 2 others. Or if you have formed a triplet yourselves please let us know. If hesitant or have any questions do come and talk to us.


Anna Grimshaw, Miranda Shieh, Angie Liley and Sandra Hobley

4thh March 2022

Rev Neil Martin writes

On Sunday (6th March) we have the privilege of celebrating the baptism of both Simeon and Hannah Colville. While they have both grown up here at Queens Road, it’s fair to say that neither of them are massive seekers of attention. So for those who don’t know them well, let me tell you a little bit about them both. 

 

Hannah is 15 and in year 10 at Bluecoat school, and she a voracious reader. If you ever wonder why she is always carrying a bag, it’s simple: it contains something essential, a book. She runs German film club at school, and has 2 Guinea pigs, about whom she can talk very enthusiastically, if given the chance. She has been coming along to our Thursday night group since she started year 8, a few months after the youth group started. (Simeon’s been there since the start, but we don’t talk about that to her!) She’s also somewhat competitive, and is pleased that she is first in the introduction! If you look for Hannah, she’s nearly always at the front left usually helping run the stream for the people who call in to hear the service on ther phone.

Simeon is 18, and a student at Chester University, where he is studying psychology, so if he looks thoughtfully at you, watch out, you might be being analysed. Though as Simeon is also a very thoughtful person, it’s also possible he’s mulling any number of profound or mundane things in his mind. You’ll never know which! Simeon is an F1 nut, who can talk encyclopaedically about F1, and is often found doing so with Nathan Simonds. He is also famous for ‘Simeonisms’, such as “red is the colour of dreams”, which emerge at random points of conversation. In context, they work very well; out of context they sound a little odd! Simeon’s faith and service has grown at University, he will be joining the CU committee in charge of small groups.

Both are avid Wasps fans, and they are appreciated by all who know them. Please do pray for them.  

21st February 2022

Eddy Liley writes

Please can I encourage you to use the church library, there are many brilliant books there.

I have just finished reading this amazing book of an inspiring Chinese Pastor, Brother Yun. As a teenager his family became Christians when his father was healed of cancer when Jesus was their only option after spending all their money on failed medical treatments. He was arrested by the Chinese Communist authorities and escaped them many times so the next time he was caught his legs were severely broken that he became a cripple incarcerated in Chinas most secure prison as one of their most wanted men. God helped escape miraculously healing his broken legs and facilitating prison doors to be left open at just the right time and walking past prison officers blinded to the reality that a prisoner was walking out of their jail.

Brother Yun was part of the Chinese House Church movement that has 100s of thousands of members and has seen the number of Christians grow from barely a few in 1980 to between 40 and 60 million people.

 

21st February 2022

 

Some spoken thoughts on Proverbs 3:19-24 from Graham Carpmail are here.

17th February 2022

Rev Neil Martin writes

Welcome to another special service at Queens Road Baptist Church; it is a special service for us here this Sunday because we’re baptising Carmela Chabala. Carmela is the daughter of Collins and Sue, their 5th child, and the second youngest. Collins is one of our deacons, and Carmela has grown up here at QRBC. Collins likes to tell the story of how Grenville, one of the former ministers, when he first saw Carmela in hospital, could fit her in the palm of his hand! So she has literally grown up among us.

For myself and Liz, we first got to know Carmela at Thursday night youth group when she was one of the first people to come, bringing along with her 2 friends, Laura and Kianna. It’s fair to say she made a quietly loud impact. If you don’t know what I mean by that, spend some time with Carmela, and you’ll understand. Carmela is a quiet girl with a big personality, always willing to patiently explain where culture is at, to those of us who are out of touch!

We also take it as a real privilege to have Carmela not only in our youth group, but also joining in the worship group as well, where Carmela can be found singing and leading us in our worship. Recently, through a series of unforeseen incidents, Carmela found herself required to sing on her own. Not only did she need to lead the singing on her own, with the band, but she also had the challenging job of singing a song she had never even heard before. It is a testimony to her character that she didn’t panic, complain, or throw a fit, nor did she email the Minister, who’d chosen the songs, to complain. Instead, she composed herself, prayed, and sang as best she could to honour Jesus. This example of growing trust and spiritual maturity is just one of several reasons why we are so glad to see Carmela take this step of faith this morning. Please join with us this Sunday as we give thanks for this step of faith that Camela is taking (and, if by time you read this you have missed it, you can still watch it on YouTube here

     

25th January 2022

Graham Carpmail brings us a new Reflection based on Hebrews 12:18-24. You can listen to it here.

 

21st January 2022

Our Minister, Rev Neil Martin, writes

On Sunday (23rd January) we have a special event to celebrate here at Queens Road Baptist Church. That special event is the baptism of James Liley. If you’re new at Church and you haven’t met James, the way you can spot him is pretty simple: look for someone playing sport, annoyingly better than you, or a tall young man helping someone else. Or you can just find him at the front this morning getting baptised!

The first time I actually saw James, I was walking in to church, and I remember seeing him helping set something up. I can think of no higher recommendation of his character than this: he helps and serves. If someone is doing something and needs helps, he just does it, he helps.

The person in the Bible that James most reminds me of is the disciple Andrew. Now Andrew doesn’t draw a lot of fuss in the bible, he doesn’t make a lot of noise, or demand attention. In fact, he’s usually in the background, but when you see him in the Bible, he’s always with people. And he’s not just spending time with them, he’s usually drawing them closer to Jesus. It’s Andrew who brings the boy with 5 loaves and 2 fish to meet Jesus (John 6:8). It’s Andrew who introduces Peter to Jesus (John 1:41). Andrew is a quiet, people person who brings people together and helps them find Jesus. These are qualities that I, and others, would also associate with James.

Now, in case you think James sounds a bit too perfect, just give him some bubblegum and ask him to blow you a bubble and enjoy watching the struggle. Although, this being James, he’s probably been practising at home, and mastered the skill!

 

18th January 2022

Sarah White is a member of the church and also Deputy Director of Coventry City Mission. One of her recent projects has been the annual "Giving Tree" appeal and following distribution of toys. Here is Sarah's report and note of thanks to those who supported the appeal.

"Yet again the Giving Tree project didn’t go as we expected with the covid regulations changing throughout the planning and delivery of the project.  To be honest this 2021 project was the hardest since I have been running it. That feels odd as you would have thought 2017 - the first year I did it, would have been hardest, or 2019 - the year that I was struggling with a fractured pelvis, or 2020 the first covid year where Darren and I ran it alone as no-one else was allowed to help. But no, 2021 was harder than all of those, mainly because we had to continue to change our plans continually depending on what was allowed, and although we were able to have some people in to help us, this was on a much more limited basis than usual, we didn’t know whether we would be able to host parties when we gave the gifts out and our planning was delayed as we held off making decisions for as long as possible.

Just a few of our many gift donations

We did apply for funding as usual as we knew that whatever happened we would give gifts to the children of Coventry who otherwise wouldn’t receive them.  We were so grateful for the grants that we received as well as all of the physical donations, online gifts and volunteer support this year.

We were hopeful that we could provide a party but that proved a step too far however we did provide party bags for all under 11 who came to collect from us at CCM.

We worked with 3 other churches across the city this year, Limbrick Wood Baptist Church in Tile Hill, Foleshill Baptist Church in Foleshill and for the first time we had a presence in Willenhall with St John the Divine Church.  We ended up helping a record number of families (475) with gifts which included 1125 children.

We are hopeful that next year will be easier and are already thinking of ways to better engage with the families who don't collect their gifts from us too.

However, despite the difficulties there are so many things to be grateful for – we had an additional member of staff helping us throughout the project, people supplying wrapping paper when we had none left, gift vouchers being bought for us when we ran out, additional toy donations arriving just when we were going to drive to Argos, and there were many more instances of God helping us through all of you.

I also received a number of text messages and emails of thanks after the gifts were given out, from both clients and agencies, and one family sent a card saying ‘thank you so much for your continued support’.  

Thank you for your help with this project, we couldn't do it without people like you giving time, money, prayer and gifts. We are hopeful that we will be able to run much more normally in 2022 but we wait to find out.  We also hope that you will want to be involved again, and will be in touch in the autumn  to let you know how you can do this.

Thank you again for your support.

Sarah White
Deputy Director

Coventry City Mission"

 

5th January 2022

For a few years now, the church has had a "Verse for the Year". For 2022 this is 

'And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.' 

2 Corinthians 9:8 (NIVUK).

It is, at the same time, a great statement of assurance for us and a great challenge to accept God's blessing and to bless others. Our first service of the year was led by the Officers and Deacons and included three short talks about the verse that are well worth listening to if you have not heard them (and worth listening to again if you have). 

Miranda Shieh Listen here
Jon White

Listen here

(All Age)

Anna Grimshaw Listen here

 

 

22nd December 2021

Barbra Depledge writes

“Such love”

When we sing a new song at Queens Road, I (being a Grumpy Old Woman) will sometimes mutter to David “well, that’s not a keeper” or alternatively “that could be a keeper”.  By a “keeper”, I mean, of course, a song which will continue to be part of our repertoire over the months or even years, to come. 

How do I judge what is (or should, in my highly subjective opinion, be!) a keeper?  These would be some of my criteria:

  • Is it consistent with Biblical truth as I know and understand it?  I love to be controversial within these “columns” but sadly time and energy preclude me from starting on a list of those song lines I find hard to relate to any piece of Scripture.
  • Does it contain helpful spiritual challenge and encouragement?
  • Does it have a tune that is sing-able by a congregation – as opposed to a soloist or choir?
  • Do the feelings expressed in the lyrics represent an adequate conjunction with how I actually do feel?  For example, “and I feel like dancing”[i].  Do I?  How does that impact the person in the next pew who is silently weeping?  Yes, I know, many lines are meant to be aspirational and designed to help us base how we feel on spiritual truth.  But we surely need to be real in God’s presence and also honour those for whom, for a whole variety of reasons, that is just a bridge too far.

All of that is just the ramblings of the aforementioned G.O.W.!  As a non-musical person and one who embraces all sorts of Christian traditions that may not sit well with mainstream Queens Road thinking, I am hardly the person to make any judgements.  It all came to mind because the song which God brought to my attention this morning does not seem to have been a “keeper”.

Nonetheless, amidst the pressures and sometimes crippling uncertainties of these days and amidst, for some, the crushing disappointment of cancelled plans, and for others, the gnawing pain of loss or hurt, I commend these lines to you – perhaps most especially the second verse.  As we try to focus on the “love (that) came down at Christmas”[ii] as God sent his only Son who live among us, to feel our pain, to be Emmanuel, they seem very poignant :

Such love, pure as the whitest snow;

Such love, weeps for the shame I know;

Such love, paying the debt I owe;

O Jesus, such love

  Such love, stilling my restlessness;

  Such love, filling my emptiness;

  Such love, showing me holiness;

  O Jesus, such love.

Such love, springs from eternity;

Such love streaming through history;

Such love, fountain of life to me;

O Jesus, such love[iii]

 

 

[i] “God is good” by Graham Kendrick (1985) Kingsway’s Thankyou Music

[ii] “Love came down at Christmas” by Christina Rosetti (1830-94)

[iii] “Such love” by Graham Kendrick (1988) Make Way Music

 

19th December 2021

Christmas is coming - it is time for a party. (Health and Safety team look away now.) The Herbert Gallery and Museum look after some of the church archives and this week put this photo on their Facebook page saying that it was at QRBC in 1900. But something is wrong - either the date or the location. The Large Hall, which is the only place on the Queens Road site that it could be, was not built and opened until October 1912. So if the date is correct then it was probably taken at Cow Lane, the church's previous location which stayed open for childrens activities after the move to Queens Road. (Thanks to Mark Carpmail, Judith Brazier and others for their comments on Facebook about this). If you have any comments please email us.

 

17th December 2021

Barbra Depledge writes

“Oh, hush the noise”

Most of us love singing carols.  Sometimes we are aware of some rather fanciful and unbiblical content.  But there are also some timeless and challenging truths within many.

This year I have been particularly impacted by some lines in the carol, “It came upon a midnight clear” written by Edmund H. Sears (1810-1876).  The number and wording of the verses varies from source to source, but in the third verse of the old green Baptist Hymn Book version we sing: “Oh hush the noise, ye men of strife and hear the angels sing”. 

 

The earlier lines of the verse speak of “the woes of sin and strife”, “2,000 years of wrong” and “man at war with man” – all lines that resonate strongly as we look back over 2021.  Strife around our world is unabated – sometimes disregarding the global pandemic situation, sometimes worsened by it.  Some of it may touch us powerfully, some passes us by.  If we need a reminder, the thought of people so afraid, so traumatized and so hopeless over events in their homelands that they will flee across thousands of miles and commit themselves and their children to the icy, choppy waters of the Channel in a tiny boat in an attempt to reach our shores must move us.

But the second verse reminds us too that the “O’er all the weary world; above its sad and lowly plains … and ever o’er its Babel sounds, the blessed angels sing”.  How often have we felt weary and sad this year as the pandemic has ground on and then stepped up a gear again – on top of the pains of loss, concern and burdens of care for loved ones and friends?  How much we need to hear the angel song: “Peace on the earth, goodwill to men.  From heaven’s all-gracious King”.

I am constantly making up new words to familiar hymns and worship songs.  I offer you a few here:

“Oh, hush the noise, you fears and doubts, and hear the angels sing”

“Oh, hush the noise, you pain and hurt, and hear the angels sing”

“Oh, hush the noise, you undone tasks, and hear the angels sing”

I invite you to make up your own!  Hearing the angel song can still our whirling brains and help us centre on the reality of Emmanuel – God with us – which should be the core of experience, now as ever.

It won’t of course bring about instant peace and harmony around us but the carol goes on to remind us that “the days are hastening on … when comes around the age of gold; when peace shall over all the earth its ancient splendours fling and all the world send back the song which now the angels sing” – a reminder that we always have hope that Jesus will return and bring in a “new heaven and a new earth”[i] in which God’s values will reign and there will be “no more death or mourning, no more crying or pain”[ii].

[i] Revelation 21.1

[ii] Revelation 21.4

 

16th December 2021

Jacquie Kettell writes

Girls Brigade, in case you don’t know is a Christian uniformed youth organisation, we are the 1st Coventry group and meet each Friday 6.15-7.45pm term times only.

What do we do? With a mixture of games, craft, bible stories and discussions we help young people aged 4-18 years to navigate life with a Christian ethos that we hope will support them into adult life.

For us like many the last 18 months has been very different, the lock down meant a sudden closure to all we were doing, keeping in touch with our families through phone calls, emails and post meant that a link was still there for those who wanted it and eventually we joined the many people using zoom. Girls brigade nationally created GB @ home where families could access badgework from the website if they wanted which was a great help, as well as creating flexible badges that could be worked via zoom and face to face for the times when lock down eased, this has meant we have been able to continue and send out certificates and badges to recognise the work done.

In September this year we came back to face to face and although our numbers have dropped- we acknowledge that life has changed and moved on for many- we still have a group which is wonderful.

On our return we went back to the beginning and took part in a creative badge, looking at the Creation story and created a lovely picture for our GB board, the picture may not be historically accurate but we had great fun creating. We also made mobiles for them to take home.

The older girls; N:spire group are helping with the younger group as part of their Duke of Edinburgh volunteering as well as their badgework and they created two postcards to give out linked into the theme.

If you would like to find out more about what we do please get in touch via the church office.

 

15th December 2021

A reflection for December from Graham Carpmail is here

10th December 2021

Hello everyone, my name is Sue Cunningham, Sue C for short. I will be retiring from working for Queens Road Baptist Church on December 18th. My official title is Centre Support Worker, which is another way of saying housekeeper/cleaner. I started working at QRBC in 2007 when Pat Clarke was the Centre Manager. There have followed a number of Centre Managers ( I wont try to list them as I might miss someone out!). The management work ended in January 2021 with Barry Peak’s retirement. The job of Centre Support Worker has been challenging at times, but with many laughs—and cream cakes! At this present time many of you will not have seen me around as the Centre has been closed, but I will be at Sunday services from time to time. So may I say bye for now and may you all have a blessed Christmas. Love and prayer to you all from Sue C.

 

6th December 2021

As a Baptist church, we believe that baptism is one of the most significant events in the life of a Christian. It is a once, or occasionally twice, in a lifetime event should you wish to renew an infant baptism as an adult believer. It is an occasion where we come to affirm and declare our faith to a watching world. It’s a great opportunity to celebrate together as a congregation, and often to welcome new members into our fellowship.

Yesterday, we celebrated the baptism of Dan, who is more properly known as Praneeth Daniel. Dan, and his wife Pari, have been coming along to our fellowship for around 6 months. Dan is the son of Mr Prem Kumar Isaac, who served as an elder in Church of Christ, Hyderabad. They both originally come from the Hyderabad region of India, which is in the southern part of the country.

Dan currently works in Currys in Business Sales and Pari has just finished an MSc in Project Management, getting a very impressive Distinction, and is looking for a more permanent job. So, please do pray for that. Pari has started helping out in the crèche, while Dan has joined the worship team, and we very much look forward to him helping to lead our sung worship on a Sunday morning. If you’ve not already met Dan and Pari, do take the opportunity to say hello and get to know them a little.

 

1st December 2021

The team which runs our Foodbank operation have been co-operating with another Charity this week to help the homeless. Winter Streets Project is a small charity set up in 2016 and provides survival kits for people living off the streets during the winter months. In these kits are essential items such as thermal clothing, toiletries, food, first aid item, writing material, rain macs and much more. The kits are hand delivered to individuals over the months of November and December in several towns and cities, this year including Coventry which, of course, is where our Foodbank team come in. 

Thanks to everybody involved in this extra effort.

24th November 2021

Graham Carpmail has recorded another devotional piece, this time called "We love because He first loved us". You can here it here

 

20th November 2021

Chris Headon writes

During the first Covid lockdown in early 2020, I spent a lot of time walking in some very beautiful places near my flat. I've always enjoyed being in woodland and photographing nature as it changes through the seasons. From the photos I took, I was encouraged to publish them. With technical help from my niece, during 2020, we were able to produce 2 photo books. The proceeds from these were shared between Global Care and Coventry City Mission and, thanks to the generosity of many people, amounted to over £1700 in total.

 

During 2021, I have discovered a young photographer in our midst, in Lottie White. She has a keen eye and has developed a specific interest in photographing nature. I am really excited to see such young talent and it's been lovely to be able to include many of her pictures in this year's book. 

With my niece back to work after maternity leave, we also needed a new technician to work on the book layout... enter Benj White (with some support from Anita) and the new book was created. 

We have tried to celebrate the beauty of our city in this year as UK City of Culture. 

We hope you like it!

 

Books will be available after the service this morning or contact Helen Jones in the QR office, or myself. We are asking people to give a donation for each book. We suggest £5, but please feel free to donate as much as you can. The money, as before, will be shared between Global Care and Coventry City Mission. 

Donations can be in cash (Sue Senior will collect cash donations), but we would prefer them to be made electronically to QR (details on the website) if possible. All donations should be marked clearly for the book. Thank you.

 

 

9th November 2021

Sarah White writes

Hopefully, by now, many of you have seen the new banner which we have outside the church.  It was particularly fitting for us that the first time I saw it was on the 31st October, the day of our Light Party where we were celebrating the light when many others were celebrating darkness.

For those of you able to be at the Morning Service in person on 31st you may have seen the chaos caused by the flooding in the prayer lounge corridor, and the subsequent inroads into the servery.  Buckets had been placed under these leaks previously, but the huge downpours meant the buckets were all overflowing.  I was so impressed at the way that people worked together immediately with mops, buckets, using chairs to cordon off the affected areas and make it safe.  Whilst others took on additional sound desk set up or video desk responsibilities to ensure that the service would still be ready on time too, Iain prayed before the service and asked God to stop the rain and pretty much instantly it did!  The sense of God and community in this place was wonderful to see and out of a difficult morning there were a number of positives.  Although continued prayer surrounding the protection of the building and quick fixes by a roofer would be appreciated!

In the aftedrnoon following this service was the Light Party – I was particularly grateful that there were no leaks in areas that were needed!  I knew this year that God wanted the Light Party to go ahead.  In September I had told the deacons that I would run a light party IF I received enough volunteers to help (as I didn’t have as much time this year), following an appeal to the church so many people came forward to help I knew that God wanted this event to go ahead.  It really was miraculous.  Usually, I have to ask so many people if they can help, this year they came to me and offered!  This was so helpful.  Many people helped in advance to put the craft packs together and do the food shopping and other things for me, meaning that the extra covid restrictions were less onerous than they could have been and meaning people could still help even if they felt unable to attend.  There were also so many people who came to help on the day in many different roles, as well as others who put together the wonderful informal service we had in the small hall at the end of the event.  The whole thing was very well attended with many people giving positive feedback and a number staying to enjoy the service too – both church and non-church families.  There were many many positives which I don’t have space for here but I wanted to share the wonderful day when God’s love was evident and his provision was clear. 

However, despite all of the help I received and the amazing event that we held, I did feel the burden of organising the Light Party this year, I found it particularly hard to think of new ideas and to be motivated to organise and put it together.  I feel that now that my role has increased at CCM I do have even less ‘headspace’ and time for other events.  I therefore think that God is telling me to step down from organising this event.  I do still believe it is really important for us to offer an alternative to Halloween (if we don’t, who will?), but after at least 6 years of pulling it all together I think that change is needed and it’s time for someone else to take the helm, or even a team to take it on.  Hopefully, next year there will be less need for covid restrictions and therefore a new individual or team will have a blank slate to consider how best to share Jesus with our city.  Maybe take some time to pray and see if this is something you could do?

Thank you

Sarah

21st October 2021

Our regular contributor Graham Carpmail has provided an audio devotional item based on Ecclesiastes 4 1-8. Listen to it here
 

20th October 2021

Have you ever wondered what the children get up to when they disappear in the middle of the Sunday service? Babies to pre-school children are cared for in creche and groups run for primary school children (JaM) and secondary age (FSG)   

This week we look more at JaM:

JaM stands for Jesus and Me as we aim to help the children develop a personal relationship with Jesus.

We meet in the Regent room from approximately 11am until 12pm. We currently have 7 leaders (Ange, Anita, Heather, Jane, Josh, Kirsty and Nikki) who take it in turns to organise the sessions for around 10 children each week. We use Urban Saints material - called Energize – to help us plan an interesting programme with a variety of activities including games, crafts, story time, discussions and prayers.  Over recent months, we have looked at some of the great Bible Characters and we’re currently working through a series on the parables. Our aim is to make the Bible fresh, exciting and as engaging as possible, so the children are keen to learn more about Jesus. 

Lockdown was a challenge for us all but we did our best to keep in touch with the children. We met via Zoom after the morning service, sharing bible stories, playing games and generally making sure everyone was OK. We had a regular group who came and it was lovely to be able to chat and pray with the children. We also tried to demonstrate God’s love by sending them little gift packages at Easter and Christmas.

We would really value your prayers for JaM.

Please pray for energy and enthusiasm for the leaders planning and delivering sessions. For God to speak clearly through us and that we might meet the needs of each child.

Pray that the children will all feel happy and settled in JaM.  Praise God that most of the children have been able to join us again in person since September but please pray for those who have not yet returned. Many of the children are finding being back at school tricky, with lots expected of them as they missed such a lot in lockdown. Please pray that we can support them through the challenges they face and enable them to develop their relationships with Jesus.

 

17th October 2021

Jon White, Church Treasurer, writes

Throughout the Bible, we are called to give back to God from the riches he provides to us, and to do so not begrudgingly, but generously, gratefully and cheerfully, in order to provide for His work through the local church (see especially 2 Corinthians 9). As a church we are grateful for the committed and faithful giving of so many, which has continued throughout the pandemic. One of the many changes that has been forced on us through lockdown has been the inability to continue with the regular offering plate, initially because of closing the chapel completely, but latterly as a “covid-secure” measure. Given that the overwhelming majority of giving was already through direct bank transfers, for many this was not a big change, but we recognise that for some it was a real issue. We are really pleased that so many people who previously gave by cash were able to convert to direct giving, as this is significantly easier and cheaper for us a church to deal with, meaning more of your gift is used for the work it was intended rather than paying administration fees. However, we do now feel the time is right to offer an alternative means to give, via cash or cheque for those who find direct giving a problem. From this Sunday (17th October) a box will be available as you leave the chapel to put cash or cheque offerings into – this will then be secured unopened until the cash can be counted and banked, allowing anyone who prefers to give this way to do so. This facility will be available at every service, and Neil will be including a prayer giving thanks for the offerings made this way and via direct bank transfers in some services going forward. If you are giving for something specific (eg Graham’s retirement gift or the harvest appeal) these gifts can also be placed in this box, but please ensure they are clearly marked. We really appreciate everyone’s giving, both in response to our everyday needs and to the additional, special appeals that we make – thank you for your generosity and commitment. 

8th October 2021

Graham Carpmail writes

10 years ago Queen’s Road became one of the founding churches for foodbank in Coventry.

Over the years there have been many changes to the way in which we operate, however the objective of  offering a listening ear, prayer if requested, supporting and sharing God’s love in a practical way to local people and confidentially to people connected to our fellowship has continued.

We want to take this opportunity of thanking the many people who have supported our foodbank centre over this time. We have been and are currently blessed with a team of volunteers who operate our foodbank each week.

We are thankful for the many gifts of tinned food, personal hygiene items, soft toys and finance enabling us to function effectively and follow the teaching of scripture to proclaim “good news to the poor”.

As one of the 12 Foodbank Centres currently operating in the City, we provide people struggling with debt, loneliness, health and unemployment problems with a generous food parcel which also includes frozen food, personal hygiene, cleaning items and a soft toy for younger children. Over the recent months, thanks to the generosity of the Earlsdon and Beechwood Allotment Association we have been able to include a bag of fresh fruit and vegetables.

 Coventry Foodbank has recently joined with the Feed the Hungry Charity, a Christian Charity which is committed to fighting hunger and dealing with the root causes of poverty. We are re-developing our 25,000 square foot warehouse in Binley “The Halo Centre”, as well as being a distribution centre, next Spring we begin a project to send shipping containers of dried food packs around the world to feed hundreds of thousands of children living in poverty.

Thanks to a very generous donation we are in the process of developing a Kitchen Training Centre that will be opened in the New Year in memory of Ted and Sibyl Smith, former members of Queen’s Road Baptist Church. We have embarked upon a series of programmes designed to deal with the root causes of poverty, with this fantastic new kitchen and training centre we will be able to upskill people for the job market and provide prepared food packs for our Foodbank Centres in the city.

Please continue to pray for the work of our Foodbank Centre providing our fellowship with the opportunity of sharing Gods love in a practical way.

 

23rd September 2021

Nicky and John Pither write:-

What do you want me to do for you?

Mark 10:51

As we reflect back to when we were working our answer to this question would have focussed on work issues. Having both recently retired our answer now has a different response.

We face the challenges of transition from work to retirement including moving from our home in Coventry to our new home in Brixham (we still believe!). This has been a bit of a rollercoaster over the last few months. The focus at times has shifted to solicitors, estate agents and others getting their jobs done.

Yet today reflecting a bit deeper our real focus should not have changed. It should be on seeing Jesus and how beautiful he is. Praising Him for the small day to day blessings.  Retiring has given us both more time to reflect this in our day to day lives; spending time together with Him more as part of our day.

The old chorus goes “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His Glory and Grace.”

He has done so much for us – paid such a sacrificial cost just to show how much he loves us.

We believe God has a plan for this next stage of our lives together and therefore our hope and trust is in Him because “He is able”. Therefore, we continue to wait expectantly even though life takes slower pace.

 

 

16th September 2021

Ange Liley writes:-

‘I have been asked to introduce myself as one of your newly elected deacons but, as I’ve been part of the Queen’s Road family since I was born, I’m sure most of you know me already!

For those who don’t, I’m the daughter of Sue Senior and Mum of Josh (19) & James (16) In any spare time I like to watch TV, read, do puzzles or meet friends for cake!

Over the years, I have served in the church in various capacities. As a teaching assistant in a primary school, I have been most comfortable in the roles which involve working with children (helping in groups on a Sunday morning, in GB and running Tiddlywinks etc.)

I had never considered becoming a deacon so when I was approached to think about standing, my initial response was ‘No – I can’t do that!’  I didn’t think I was good enough for such an important role; I didn’t read my Bible enough or pray enough and I had no idea what skills I could offer!

However, I prayed about it and God spoke clearly to me. The notes in my ‘UCB Word for today’ told me to “Use what God has given you” and to “be of courage and do it – this matter is your responsibility.”

I believe God has called me to this position and I am trusting Him to guide me, but it is certainly a steep learning curve! I have come to understand that we can only grow when we step out of our comfort zones and I believe this is a message for me personally, but also for us as a church going forwards.  Recently, I read (again in ‘Word for Today’) that “Once you get into a rut, it’s hard to get out, especially if it’s comfortable. But you will never become what God wants you to be, or all that you could be, as long as you resist change and insist on staying as you are.”

Being part of the diaconate is challenging, scary and exciting – much like returning to church will be for many of you. My prayer is that, as we seek God’s guidance for our future at Queen’s Road, we can embrace any changes as opportunities to grow and that we will support each other as we journey together.

 

12th September 2021

This is my first venture into the website blog ‘A Life of Faith’, following up the study of Nehemiah chapter 2 on Sunday 12th September. There wasn’t time to develop the section on effective leadership and so here are some more thoughts. If you missed the service you can watch and listen here  https://youtu.be/RLLMOj3ai0k

Rev Ian Macnair

LESSONS IN EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP FROM NEHEMIAH CHAPTER 2

#1 Make prayer a priority. [Then I prayed to the God of heaven ] Talk to God before you talk to anyone else.

#2 Look after yourself, your health, your family [after staying there three days I set out].

#3 Be prepared to take the initiative [what my God had put in my heart to do]. If God calls you to be a leader then lead.

#4 Be ready for the long haul [Come, let us rebuild].

#5 Be accountable to people you can trust [I set out during the night with a few others].

#6 Be careful to maintain confidentiality [I had not told anyone … as yet I had said nothing].

#7 Be transparent in all your dealings [Then I said to … the Jews, the priests, nobles, officials and any others who would be doing the work].

#8 Work with a team [Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace].

#9 Major on encouragement [I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me].

#10 Expect opposition [Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem … mocked and ridiculed us].

#11 Be discerning about who not to involve [but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it].

#12 Have faith in God [The God of heaven will give us success].

THE THREE CIRCLES

There is the innermost circle: yourself and God, also your family.

The second circle is a slightly wider group of people to whom you are accountable.

The third circle is a much broader group, your team, with whom and for whom you will be doing the work.

Outside these circles there will be those who oppose the work, using mockery, threats, deceit and even violence (as subsequent chapters of Nehemiah will reveal). There will also be some who are in sympathy, perhaps surprisingly (like the Persian king, Artaxerxes).

Nehemiah may not have been as analytical as this but he recognised these circles and the appropriate response to each.

BALANCING DIFFERENT PRIORITIES

Three of the priorities of an effective leader are accountability, confidentiality and transparency. It takes wisdom to keep all three in balance. Sadly, according to the recent report from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, religious leaders discouraged reporting abuse to protect reputations, blamed victims for their abuse, and relied on religious dogma when responding to allegations.

Discernment and good ground rules are needed to ensure that neither confidentiality nor transparency are abused and accountability is maintained.

 

 

10th September 2021

35 years ago this month The Light House started offering Christian counselling in Coventry. It was set up, at God’s calling, by three QRBC members, Barbra and David Depledge and Lynne Kirby. None of the founders are still directly involved in the work but it has been passed on to others and continues to provide a valuable service to the city. Here one of the present team tells her story of moving from client to counsellor:-

“My name is Caroline and I have been involved with the Light House in different capacities for over 30 years. My first encounter was about 30 years ago as a client. We had a young family so paying for counselling was outside our reach. Light House provided a place to resolve issues from the past which has enabled me to live in greater freedom. 

Many years later I did a placement at Sycamore Counselling service in Nuneaton (which David Depledge helped to set up and where Mary Morris worked for some time) whilst I was doing my counselling training. Again, what I valued was the unique opportunity to offer counselling at little or no cost to people who would not have been able to afford it. It also enabled me to work with clients from 18-80 with a huge range of presenting issues and see many of them leave the service lighter and more able to live in life well. I also really appreciated the time and energy Sycamore put into me as a student, growing my skills and confidence in what was a warm and supportive environment. 

After my placement I got a job for another organisation offering counselling for young people, children, couples and families, which proved interesting and exciting work. I have had the great privilege of doing further training and increasing my knowledge and skills. 

 For the last 15 years or so I have been supervising a team of counsellors for another organisation. About 8 years ago I chose to do my counselling practice as an associate counsellor for the Light House. For me it is a great way of giving back both to the Light House the investment they made in me as a client and student. But perhaps even greater than that, is it fits my passion that everyone should be able to access counselling, whoever they are and whatever their resources.

 After many, many years of working therapeutically with people I have seen the power and the transformation counselling can bring the lives of people, enabling them to live in life with greater joy and peace. Although we don't explicitly mention God to our clients, unless they do, I have seen God at work in lives of people who have no faith or only a hazy view of God. God, in his gracious delight to bring healing and wholeness to all people, has showed up and brought redemption, healing, forgiveness and peace. Many have left the counselling room knowing they have encountered something beyond themselves…. And I pray that it is the beginning of journey to discover our God, who is good, incredibly kind and gentle and desires to give the best to all peoples.”

Sharon Gardner

 

8th September 2021

Chris Headon writes:    

‘I have recently had the privilege of being elected to the diaconate at QR and have been asked to tell you a little about myself....I was brought up in a Christian family and came to a personal faith quite early in my life. As I grew up, I became more involved in church life, along with my brother and sister, who are now both married with children and grandchildren. 

I trained as a teacher and taught in primary schools around Kent, where I lived at the time. 

I became involved in Scripture Union beach missions and residential camps.

After 23 years of teaching, I took a 'gap year' to work at a Christian Camp in New Zealand, where I learnt many new skills. 

When I returned to the UK, I worked as a supply teacher in SE London and was involved in the work of Perry Rise Baptist Church, where I worshipped. Along with a close friend, I ran Children's holiday clubs and planned for a series of all age services every summer. 

Having now retired to Coventry, I am discovering that my plans for retirement were very dull compared with what God has in store!

I am involved in the team of people doing all age talks in church and have loved learning new skills as part of the tech team streaming services. 

I walk every day and, with the help of my niece, produced two photo books and the QR calendar during 2020, having so much of God's beautiful creation around here. With your invaluable prayer support, I am really looking forward to seeing what God has in store in the next phase of my life as I take on a slightly daunting role as a deacon at Queen’s Road.

5th September 2021

Graham Carpmail prefers to make his contributions by speaking them rather than writing them so his first contribution to our Life of Faith page is here for you to listen to.

3rd September 2021

Changing times

To me the beginning of the pandemic seems to have been almost a life time away. So much has happened, things have changed so much in ways we might have thought impossible, that it is hard to remember what "normal life" was like. And now things are changing again to a "new normal", although having experienced what we have experienced in the last 18 month, perhaps we are not entirely sure there will not be some bumps on the way.

My role has been and is to keep channels of communication open through all the restrictions that have hit us and, just as we changed the website from its original form to achieve that, it is now time to make some more changes to reflect the present situation - hence this new page in place of "Word for the Day" and "Our Stories". Word for the Day has been a fantastic effort by the fellowship with nearly 50 people providing over 450 devotional pieces, all written specially for us. Thanks to all of those who contributed. But now, with things changing we feel the time is over for "Word for the Day" (although not for daily devotional times!). "Our Stories" is similar with lots of really inspiring and thought provoking contributions and a gallery of lovely photographs and we would very much like those to continue whilst at the same time open up to articles about the excellent work that is happening in the church and beyond. 

To help you make your contributions there are some guidance notes here.

So, let us see if we can do this together and continue the journey towards what God wants us to be at a church now.

David Depledge