Keep Calm Have a Good Sing



Really unsure what the title for this post should be?

The days are shorter, the evenings longer. In side church it’s getting a little chilly now but St Giles Singers are so keen that nothing deters them from Wednesday Evening Singing Practice.

Forget that old cliche, “They need all the practice they can get”

They actually sound great, confidence is building and they are a credit to our Church Music Director Agata Beaman. Agata (she’, front left, 2nd pic) is longing to form a young people’s choir, and we are sure that her dream will be realised, but meantime, as these pictures show, her Senior Choir are loving her gentle, patient coaching and are thrilled by the results as she leads them on; already they have found themselves doing things vocally, they thought impossible just a few months ago.

It maybe, that like me, you find music and singing, calming. A little sing whilst doing housework I find therapeutic; it brings out the rainbow on a cloudy day. It is a mood changer

Messy Church Activity 1st November 2015

Messy Church was launched in Rowley Church Hall last month, yesterday afternoon’s session helped us to think about that tricky, mood anger. Somehow Christians find it difficult to own up to ‘anger’ – it is a taboo subject, something which we feel the bible condemns and yet, when we read of Jesus, upsetting the money changers’ tables and driving them out of the temple, we have to think again. The wife of a former Vicar was often heard to say,
“Don’t let anger use you. Use it!” Janet was good at this. She campaigned vigorously for Christian Aid, Age concern and any cause where she felt ‘fairness’ needed to be fought for. Somehow, I think that the Lord would have approved. If we want a fair world we have to make it so.

The picture shows the ingredients, vinegar, food colouring and bicarbonate of soda laid out with the sudden explosive, fizzy result – a picture of the sudden boiling out of raw anger.

By the Rivers of Babylon

The scripture we shared together was Psalm 137: 1-8. A psalm which Christians find hard to deal with, yet it does express, eloquently in vivid terms how human beings feel, when uprooted and forced from their homelands, when the memories of atrocities are fresh, when the vinegar bitterness won’t let them forget… What do they, what do we do with anger like that?

Jane, our Messy Church Co-ordinator suggested,

“We give it to God!”

Which is precisely what the writer of Psalm 137 is doing in these bitter, tearful words … Giving it to God and as Jesus taught God is just. We can trust the Him to convert our angry energy into the transforming energy of which works to bring good as His Heavenly wisdom, and Holy Spirit direct it.



Autumn Skies

St Giles men’s Group are having a meeting tomorrow night, Tuesday 13th October in the Woolvin Room. My curiosity is aroused because the poster shows a radio telescope array and a talk is promised by Mr Ken Hadley. No ladies of course. (Though Rosy Mouse might squeeze under the door)

When younger, oh so much younger than today, my littler sister and I would wait for the darkening skies of Autumn eagerly, we weren’t allowed to stay up late, and were learning to find our way around the constellations, dark skies before bedtime – we needed them. It’s true to say that Rosemarie caught the star-gazing virus from myself, I went on to own two telescopes and to pass exams, but where did I get my inspiration from.

There is a short answer.

From the Bible.

He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations if the south. He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.’ (job 9: 9.10 N.I.V)


‘The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
Their words to the ends of the world.’ (Psalm 19: 1-4)


The glorious Pleiades, (image Wikipedia Commons).

Now I am older, Autumn Skies find me increasingly wondering about,

What no eye has seen,
What no ear has heard,
And what no human mind has conceived,
The things which God has prepared for those who love him’
(1 Corinthians 2:9)


We celebrated Harvest Festival today.

Harvest Festivals in the 21st Century are not like those the Church Mouse talks about in his poem,
Click here to listen to poem: Diary of a Church Mouse

produce arrives in tins, packets, bottles and jars: at St Giles we donate those to Loaves ‘N Fishes, a local Food Bank. The vegetables come from supermarket shelves, all carefully graded in size; gone are the days when the gardeners competed with each other to bring along the biggest onions, cauliflowers, and the longest, straightest carrots.

Gone to are the days of growing glorious Chrysanthemums in glowing golds and bronzes, I recall a well loved uncle spending weeks and weeks carefully nurturing and pinching out all the side shoots leaving just one flower bud right on the top. to create a ‘bloomer’ which would then disappear beneath a brown paper bag, protected from insects, and soiling until the day of its unveiling. In those days, working class people had no conservatory, or glass houses, such things were beyond their dreams. In those days your dreams were small ones, limited to the size of a man’s wage.

But, small as dreams and wages were, hearts were large and generous and only the best was good enough for Harvest Festival.

Here is a true tale about real, true Black Country folk.

Doris was a flower arranger, and Doris liked to arrange the flowers by the altar for the Harvest Festival. Every year she would peek from her bedroom window, watching the paper bags in Mr B’s garden. Every year she would ask in advance for some of the precious blooms. Which were duly cut for her as required.

“I always pay for them,” she told another neighbour.

“She always takes my best ‘bloomers’ – I’d like to keep some for the Churchyard,” Mr B, confided to the same neighbour, ” But what can’t say no. I don’t grow them to sell, but for ….”

“Love,” the neighbour replied, understanding that Mr B’s devotion and care for the chrysanthemums matched his love and devotion to his late wife.

“Look Mr B. Do you know what Doris wants them for?”

She went on to explain the pride of place the treasured blooms would occupy.

“‘Er ay never tow’d me that, me luvver. Well ‘er ay ever gooin to pay agen. An next year I’m gooin to grow twice as meny. I dey know that. That’s an ‘onner, that is.”

Apologies to scholars of the Black Country Dialect. I have probably done a great injustice to the spelling…. But not, I hope to Yesteryear Black Country folk who had little in material goods, but were rich in generosity. And would have shared over garden walls, and back fences the things they grew with needy neighbours, and in days before Food Banks, whatever today’s dinner was…

Times change. Love never changes.



Photos taken around St Giles Church, the amazing St Giles Flower Girls have been at work again.

A Sparrow’s view of a wonderful day.

Sunday 13th September, 2015
St Giles Church Rowley Regis

The distinguished guests have moved on.

The organ is silent, the trumpet and singers, the happy crowd has moved on to lay down in memory the record of a grand occasion. A Civic Service with The Worshipful Mayor of Sandwell, Councillor Barbara Price, who looked radiant, and in this her year of Office will, we are sure fulfil every engagement and duty perfectly.

Since her election as councillor in June 2004, Councillor Price has served the people of Rowley well, the restored War Memorial, outside in the Churchyard owes much to her thoughtful care, and determination that the names of the Village fallen in WW1 should shine out once more.

And, now the Parish Church of St Giles, welcomed her as Mayor of the Borough, the Rowley Regis Mace preceded her with due ceremonial, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands, Mr Stewart Towe C.B.E. representing the Queen, the High Sheriff, visiting Mayors, Deputy Mayors, Chief Executive of SMBC, Aldermen, Councillors, consorts, British Legion Standard Bearers, 1st Rowley Scouts all present and standing to mark and witness Barbara’s Act of Dedication.

Now, a sparrow had no camera at hand to record history in the making, and a sparrow’s song could not compare with Misericordias Domini in aeternum the splendid, happy Anthem sung by St Giles Singers, but a sparrow hiding in her nest was very happy, to be there and secretly to play her part, watching as the new Mayor was presented with a bouquet by a young person representing St Michael’s School, a sparrow. silently offered up a prayer, that Rowley’s new Mayor, and all present may be blessed.


Now church is empty, just me, a church sparrow sitting in my nest reflecting on the events of a wonderful day. A church you know, is never empty, and the silence it knows is awesome. It is the silence of eternity, and in eternity an angel choir is singing.

“I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever”

As Time Goes By

The Clock engineers called yesterday to give Rowley’s Church Clock its annual service. The Tower steps are extremely steep, so I only went part way up, this time, Behind the clock face, is a quite different view to the one which passers by get, and that is a perspective on all our experiences of time, I suppose. We view things differently according to where we are in the present moment.

The Church Clock, St Giles, Rowley RegisSt Giles Church

We see yesterdays and yesteryear differently according to where we are now in our present, and both past and present events colour our view of the future, which as yet remains unknown (although we like to schedule events in our diary). For instance without the foresight of booking in an appointment how else would the clock men have been able to do their job yesterday? Somethings we can plan for, others we can’t.

The Church Clock was built in 1858 for Rowley’s 2nd Church Building, was safely removed when that building was taken down, reinstalled in the 3rd building which was destroyed by fire in 1913, so it’s a survivor. It’s makers J. B. Joyce and Co. Of Derby, are still around today, their engineers serviced it yesterday.

The last visit by one of them had been in 2008. The church clock stopped ticking that year, and every passer by whether on foot or in a car noticed and many were the telephone calls. The problem, was a worn and broken part to the pendulum, recasting a new one was expensive and beyond the church’s budget at that time. An appeal was launched and the response to it totally beyond our expectations. Gifts came from far beyond our doorstep and lovely little letters from families now far removed from their Rowley Roots. Every year now, J.B.Joyce call to book in a time to call, and give Rowley’s Clock a check up. There is only one other clock movement like it in the U.K. and that keeps good time too. Our big brother is Big Ben in London.

“It’s good for another 100 years” was the expert verdict yesterday.

I can’t imagine what changes the next 100 years will bring, but do recall, Mr Bird, a much loved member of our church family, repeatedly reminding his Sunday School Class,

It is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.” (Hosea 10:12 N.I.V.)

A reminder that our human faithfulness or faithlessness will in time be rewarded. The church clock may indeed be good for another hundred years, but the goodness and love of God are eternal.

As we say in Rowley, “You can set your clock by him”

Friendship and Hard Teaching/Things

Friday: I was grocery shopping, very tentatively the elderly gentleman approached from a shop door; a clean, tidy man, very much the image of a kindly grandfather – it took courage for him to proffer a slip of green paper.

“What a wonderful friend Jesus is.” He said. Getting ready to run for it.

“Yes,” I replied we’ve been friends for some time.”

He gave a relieved, shy smile and was gone. Mission accomplished.

Sunday: Waking up, I was aware of my friend saying “Good morning” in the way many of his friends know, but have difficulty in talking about, it’s no secret, our friend’s way of speaking – just a hard thing to talk about. He made his presence known by filling me up to the brim with his deep, deep peace, making me aware that he was holding me, just a little while, in his love. After all this is what friends do-they find a way to make their feelings known. Now Sunday bought problems and concerns but the warmth, calm of that early morning stayed, evening came. all problems resolved.

Tuesday: Jill MacDonald, Lay Reader from St James’ Church, Rounds Green visited the Ladies’ Class. She came in and quietly began to make an outline of something on the hall floor. Our normal chatty exchange of greetings ceased the moment we made out the design on the floor, the cross, it’s outline drawn with softly, glowing tea lights and small, black, polished stones. All made way, for the King of Kings – he had only to whisper now, and we would have heard.

Jill read two passages from St Mark Chapter 6 (the events surrounding the Feeding of the Five Thousand) and drew our attention to the little word ran in verses 32 and 55 reminding us how crowds ran to listen to him. Ran to carry to him all who needed his healing touch. Speaking quietly she reminded us of how many of those crowds who ran to Jesus ran from him when his teaching became too difficult.

“This is a hard teaching who can accept it!” (John 6:66)

“Following Jesus,” Jill said, was never easy. Accepting many of the things he taught and asks of us hard, difficult.. We were invited to bring away a candle and a stone with us to remind us that Jesus is the Light if the World, a light for our path and of the hard, difficult things we all wrestle with as Christians and human beings.

Looking back to Friday’s encounter whilst shopping, I acknowledge with respect the dignity and courage of what that gentleman was seeking to do for his Saviour and friend. He was seeking to follow in the footsteps of the apostles and witness to him. Many of us never find the courage to do that. It is a hard teaching and we run from it. Many of us no doubt would even avoid that stretch of pavement had we known he was there. Yes, even churchgoing folk like us find it a hard, difficult thing to acknowledge that we have faith, and a friend in Jesus, yet Jesus requires that we should do this.


I’ve known my friend, Jesus a long time, before I think I knew my ABC. Now that was a hard thing, wasn’t it learning our ABC. Learning to recognise the shape of the letters, then putting them together to spell a word, then to read and write a whole sentence – but with patience, perseverance and help from Teacher, we got there, I believe this is how it is with the teaching of Christ, with perseverance and his help we will get there.

As far as my own personal mastery of the heavenly ABC is concerned, I think I can manage to write:


That was the unspoken message written in the form of a candlelight cross outline on the church hall floor a message which we could all read, and whilst reading experience together the embrace of a friend.

Our closing prayer, every week.

May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Love of God, and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all

Museful Monday

Monday, the start of a new week.

What will this new week bring?

I’m not too sure about that. We are in the holiday season and things are slowing down, but there is always the unexpected and the unexpected happens to us all.

The first of our two New Testament Readings yesterday, was taken from St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, (Paul praying on paper:)

I pray ( to the Father) that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.” (Ephesians 3:14 to 21)

To be strong when things go wrong, to be patient when everything is happening right this minute ~ now that’s a prayer to say Amen to.


Wishing you all a good week, with many blessings, sunshine, happy times shared with those you love, but should the unexpected cloud darken your horizon be a wise owl and hold on to the words above.

Pat Comfort, our previous Parish Administrator had a favourite saying when going through dark times,

“And it came to pass”

Pat and the bible have it right…. All things come to pass.

Balm For My Soul


“For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations”
We often forget that, and there is nothing sadder than a church which must be locked up tight against thieves and vandals most of the time. All the same, an empty church is not an empty church even when it’s just a volunteer cleaner with aching feet.

I loved dropping down into an empty seat alongside this window. Enid Hadley made the floral arrangement to help us call to mind St Luke, the good doctor and writer of the 2nd Gospel and Acts of the Apostles. I came to this quiet corner like a desert traveller to an oasis of calm.

I found rest for body and spirit, reflecting on just a few of the things in Doctor Luke’s book.

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man (Luke 2:52)

To grow in wisdom, to leave behind our childish ways, to grow intellectually, spiritually and socially to keep in step with God and other people ~ even people of my three score and nearly ten, need to “grow up” in Christ, sometimes … To be in step with God and humanity … Now that’s a dance worth learning.

To learn this dance we need the Holy Spirit as dance instructor and Jesus encouragess us to ask for the Holy Spirit:

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him” (Luke 11:13)

So how many times should we ask, for the Holy Spirit, for wisdom, guidance, or any other thing for that matter?

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up, and in Luke 18: 1-8  we read the story of the persistent widow wearing out the unjust judge with her persistent petitioning. If, she could do it, Jesus tells his disciples so could they – our heavenly Father has an open ear.

it is doctor Luke in chapter 14: 12-14 who tells us that God’s love is for everyone, and in order to dance his dance, so should ours be. We too are to invite to our banquets and fellowship those who cannot repay our kindness.

Simply believing in Jesus isn’t enough we need the firm foundations of his truth in our lives, so Luke makes sure we get to know the story of The House in the Rock (chapter 6: 46-49).  If, we build our lives around the words of Jesus, then we are building a permanent, heavenly home on the Rock.

What a wonderful companion the apostle Paul had in doctor Luke, and what wonderful, precious insights Doctor Luke has in describing the miracle healings of Jesus, almost we can see Jesus reaching down to touch  almost we hear his voice speaking to lame and blind, and the sick in soul, and why did Luke write his Gospel:-

….”So that you may know the certainty of those things you have been taught.” (Luke 1:4)

….“So that I might know, the certainty of those things I have been taught.”

Suddenly, my aching feet are dancing!




To Make An Omelette Crack Eggs

Everything worthwhile takes time and effort.

I am very proud of my friends at Rowley who devote endless time, endless effort to reach out and touch their star. To do those things which they have never done before.

Tonight’s concert is one such thing. It has been so very many years since Rowley had a robed choir, traditional ways, especially those which require disciplines and time seem to have lost their appeal to younger people. St Giles Singers are not, it is true exactly teenagers but they do have pluck, enthusiasm and it is their intention to entertain.

Despite, many setbacks, the kinds that would make a good novel, they are waiting on tiptoes to Celebrate Summer


The cast:
St Giles Singers
Agata Beaman – Musical Director, Piano, Organ
Brian Williams – Tenor
Diana Shelton – Alto, Recorder
Carole Annetts – Soprano, Tambourine
Peter James – Guitar
John Langford – Tenor solo

Musical items are varied, from “Imagine” to “Scarborough Fair” to the “Moonlight Sonata” .

My favourite, well that might just be “Rivers of Babylon”


St Giles Singers taking a break, after singing practice.

Getting ready to serve a 5***** Omelette.

Parish Outing: St Giles, Rowley Regis visits St Andrew in Wells

God smiled, yesterday, the sun shone and a party of intrepid explorers set out at 9:00am (N.A.S.A. couldn’t have timed a launch any better) on a journey of 107.2 miles via the M5 to the smallest City in England.

Wells, may be small, but it is charming, full of character and history. The Wells which gave the city its name have made it a sacred site from at least Roman Times probably earlier and still run through open channels helping to keep the streets clean and sweet. Arriving at noon, meant plenty of time for folk to do whatever they wished, Carole, wonderfully organised, as ever, furnished us all with comprehensive guides and suggestions for itineraries, so some went this way and some went that – but all met together for tea at 4pm; scones, jam and cream shared together in the Cathedral Cafe were a delicious way to end our day.

The Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew is well worth a visit, mainly built between c1180-1239 and mainly from limestone from Doulting, eight miles away it is noted for its pointed arches and ribbed vaulting. I find Cathedrals are a bit like time-machines, providing a path back through time, but they also provide a path into the future and eternity, if we will just sit still long enough to look ‘up the road’ and find it. Home church, St Giles was founded around 1199, but our first church was ‘Norman’ style not Gothic like Well Cathedral, and a lot, lot smaller.

For more please follow the link to discover more.
Wells Cathedral

These are some of the many photographs taken.

(This one taken by Jane Proud, thank you Jane)




And, because, I love the ‘architectural’ lines of swans, cygnets, and ducks, blue skies, sunlight dappled waters there is this one, taken from the moat wall surrounding the Bishops Palace.


May your days be sunny and blessed, especially if they are holidays.
Travel safely.
Go with God.