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Weekly update for MCC Brighton
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Greetings Philip, welcome to this week's newsletter!

Winter is coming!

The first flurries of snow have been witnessed in Brighton. 

I love snow. As a kid I used to enjoy playing in the snow, making snowballs, making snowmen, all the usual good fun stuff kids do. I also threw snowballs at cars or houses on occasion, the things that slightly less than good kids did back then (and probably still do). 

Snow was just good fun, we never thought of it as other than a nice break in the otherwise dull greyness of winter.

Now of course i see it somewhat differently.

Yes I still see it as fun, as a beautiful sight on the hills, a clean white cover over the world, joyful.

But I also see it as a nuisance, making it difficult to get the car off the drive, having to scrape the windscreen, needing to run the heater before driving.

Finally, i see it as a danger, a potential killer of vulnerable people, a beautiful silent killer that steals away your breath and leaves you cold. Covering those without shelter in an icy shroud.

Wow, that sounds gloomy and I don't want to spoil the wonder of snowfall for anyone so in finishing let me just say that I also see it as a great humaniser. When the snow falls, many more people see it the way I do these days, as a danger, a risk to those on our streets, and so they get going, leaping into action, collecting coats, buying thermal items to give to the homeless, banding together in groups to feed and keep rough sleepers warm. As the winter bites more and more people step up, go out and support the street community.

So, as we drift (pardon the pun) into the Xmas season, lets enjoy the snow, enjoy the Santas we see starting to appear in shopping centres, the lights being switched on, the decorations but also think of those less fortunate and also spare a few moments or even items to help those who are getting out there continue to save lives.

Winter can be fun but let's not forget that as temperatures drop, risks rise and need increases. Let's be mindful of those around us and help to meet the need we see.

Have a blessed, spirit-filled and joyful week.

Andrew Ramage

Live Your Own Dreams

This Sunday we started our Christmas study of Luke's Gospel. The sermon on the theme of 'Breaking The Silence' was written by SJ Ramage and given by Philip Davis. We heard about the challenge of not placing our own expectations onto other people. To hear more, click here!

We talked on Sunday about gender roles, and gender expectations; putting pressure on other people for them to behave in the way we think they should, based on their apparent gender. We also looked at the way parents can channel their child's growth in directions they want, which aren't necessarily the way the child wants to go.

This brought up memories of my own childhood and education. During my teen years I spent a lot of time working with a tailor in Guildford, near my school. As I approached 16 I was offered an apprenticeship, in Carlisle. This would have meant leaving school after finishing my GCSEs.

My mother though had other ideas! She wanted me to finish my A-Levels before going on to any less formal education, and persuaded me to turn down the apprenticeship. Now, I don't imagine my mother had anything but the best in mind for me, but I was a little...disgruntled, shall we say?!

I returned to school in the September following my 16th birthday, and began my A-Levels. They were on subjects I was interested in, including Maths(!), but I didn't do well. I didn't put in the effort that I needed to, the time that was necessary in order to succeed, and my results 2 years later were disappointing.

Now, those results were nobody's responsibility but my own, however a significant factor in the outcome of my studies was the fact that I did not want to be there. I wanted to be cutting suits! I don't know how things might have turned out, but perhaps I should have spoken out more when discussions about my education were happening.

All parents want the best for their children, but as they mature their opinions should be listened to, their voices heard, so that they have the opportunity to live their own dreams, not necessarily those of their parents.

Blessings and love,
Philip

Loving God, we know that silence is not golden when it ought not to exist. To deny praise or to withhold good wishes. To keep back from contradicting someone spreading malicious lies. To step away when injustice or cruelty is occurring. All this creates silence that destroys. Open our lips to speak out when the time is right.

Lord, the Serenity Prayer comes to mind, help us to have the courage to change those things that we have to power to change. Show us how we can serve your children, making your love practical and righteous in all that we do.

All this we pray through your mighty name.
Amen

THIS WEEK

THURSDAY 22nd
Board Meeting-
Alcampo Lounge, London Road, 5pm. This is an open meeting and all are welcome to observe.

FRIDAY 23rd
Street Church Hastings Launch Party
- as part of our MCC Brighton In Hastings outreach we are launching Street Church Hastings. The launch party will run from 2 until 5, and will be attended by the Mayor of Hastings, Councillor Nigel Sinden. All are welcome to attend.

SUNDAY 25th
Brighton & Hove's InterFaith Contact Group Annual Service- 3pm at St Peter's Church, Aldrington, Portland Road, Hove.
Evening Worship- Brighthelm Gardens, Brighthelm Centre, North Road, 6pm. We will be continuing our 6 week look into Luke's gospel, entitled 'Oh, Come Let Us Adore Him!' Reverend Debs Davies will be preaching to us on 'Mary's Christmas'.Click here for the flyer. Reverend Debs is a teacher, and member of MCC North London.

MONDAY 26th
Pastoral Availability-
Pastor Andrew is not available on Mondays until further notice.

WEDNESDAY 28th
The Hub- Salvation Army Congress Hall, Park Crescent (by the Level), 8.30am until 1.
An advice & support chaplaincy for the homeless & vulnerably housed. Volunteers always needed.
Street Church- Old Steine Gardens. 4pm until 5.30.
Informal worship & communion for everyone. Help with setup from 3.30 always appreciated.

THURSDAY 29th
Community Office Hours-  Alcampo Lounge, London Road. 
Pastor Andrew is available from 12-6 for advice, chat, and prayer. Please contact him first as he does get busy!
Bible Cafe- Alcampo Lounge, 7-8.30pm.
Do join us for our informal & friendly Bible study. All are welcome.

FRIDAY 30th
Street Church Hastings- Wellington Place, Hastings, 3.30pm until 5.30.
Informal worship & communion for everyone. Help with setup from 3 always appreciated.

SATURDAY 1st
World AIDS Day-
This is dedicated internationally to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection, and mourning those who have died of the disease.

Eastbourne Pride have organised a remembrance walk from Eastbourne Town Hall to the BourneOut LGBT Cafe, starting at 4pm. Donations will be taken for the Terrance Higgins Trust. Click here for Eastbourne Pride's FaceBook page.

In Brighton there will be a candle-lit vigil held in the New Steine Gardens, starting at 6pm. Click here for World AIDS Day In Brighton's FaceBook page.

SUNDAY 2nd
Evening Worship- Brighthelm Gardens, Brighthelm Centre, North Road, 6pm. We will be continuing our 6 week look into Luke's gospel, entitled 'Oh, Come Let Us Adore Him!' Andrew will be speaking to us about 'The Other Christmas Baby'.Click here for the flyer. 
We will also be commemorating World AIDS Day.


IMPORTANT FUTURE DATES

MONDAY 24th December-
Christmas Eve Street Church-
Join us for our 3rd annual Christmas Eve service at the Clock Tower. We will be playing  lively music and serving hot drinks to the homeless and vulnerably housed. We will also have small gift bags to give away.

SUNDAY 30th December-
Community Lunch-
Dorset Gardens Methodist Church, Dorset Gardens. Every Sunday a drop-in meal for the homeless & vulnerably housed is hosted by one of the churches in Brighton & Hove; we are part of the group that is based at DG who provide meals on the 5th Sunday of the month. Volunteers are always welcome, and particularly so this month, due to the Christmas holidays. Pastor Andrew is unable to attend this month but please contact him for more details.
Pre-New Year's Eve Service- There will not be a service at Brighthelm but we will be holding an informal service at the Old Steine Gardens, similar to our weekly Street Church services. Do join us!

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