Our Sponsored Children – Panchu

In the last magazine I wrote about Mercy in Uganda. I hope you’ve seen her photo and school report on the piano. In this magazine I bring Panchu to you. He is 15 years of age now and struggles with his studies and asks for prayers as you will see in his letter.

Dear Aunty Hartwell,


How are you? I think you and your family all are good. But my sister has a cough and cold. Aunty you know from 16th Feb my exam has started and I am doing well in few of my papers. Please pray for me so that every day I will do hard labour and do good to be promoted to class VII. I took part in Christmas program and enjoyed very much. The play was so nice and all children performed very well. Thank you for your gift that you had given me a Christmas card. It is very nice. In Scripture class we are taught about Jesus. I also learnt many stories and memory verses. I write a verse for you.


Mark 10:14 Jesus told don’t stop the children to come to me. For the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them.


With love,



Harvest Thanksgiving

When they had all had enough to eat Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.’  (John 6 v12)

And from Proverbs 22 v9: A generous man will himself be blessed

Dear Friends,

This is Harvestime, a time of thanksgiving for the food that we have and that we have plenty of. However, there are still people who struggle to feed their families, which is why there are food banks. We may think that in this day and age and in this country we should not need the food banks but that is making a judgement about something we don’t necessarily understand. Jesus said, “Let nothing be wasted” and yet it is common knowledge that some of our best known food stores throw huge amounts of food away daily, and it is also true that statistics show that many of us waste food.

We have been supplying the Southam Food Bank ever since the Leamington Christian Mission finished, but it has been noticeable that the food we collect comes from just a few people. This year again all the imperishable food items brought to the Harvest Thanksgiving will be given to the Southam Food Bank, which at times gets desperate for certain items. I am therefore asking you all to give as much as you can to make this a bumper Harvest for the hungry. We will also have our usual traditional Harvest display of vegetables, fruit and flowers, which will be sold and the proceeds will be donated to Christian Aid, again to help those who have little.

In the Lord’s service,


Ascension Day

Jesus said to His disciples, “I am going to send you what my Father has promised but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24 v.49)

Dear Friends,

Two special dates of the Christian calendar are linked together by Jesus. He had been with them at times during the forty days after His resurrection, helping them to believe what was soon to happen. He would leave them and then ten days later the Holy Spirit would come upon them. According to Luke, the latter part of His time on earth was spent in Bethany, the home town of His dear friends, Mary, Martha and Lazarus.

It was not a time of sadness as we might have expected but a time of understanding and joy. So that when the moment came for the disciples to see Him go they did not weep, they worshipped Him and with great joy they went to Jerusalem to wait, for as the saying goes ‘the best was yet to come.’

We must share in that worship and joy, even though we don’t have a service on Thursday May 14th – Ascension Day – as we herald the coming of the Holy Spirit to give us power at Pentecost just as He gave power to the disciples.

He showed them how to spread the Gospel and how to live the life of true believers in Jesus Christ. Acts 2 v.42 says: “They devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching, to fellowship, to breaking of bread and to prayer,” and that must be the basis of our lives before others will believe as we do.

May the Lord bless us all as we carry out, in the power of the Holy Spirit, the commission He gave us (Matthew 28 v.18-20)


Man Cannot Live By Bread Alone

Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6 v35)

Dear Friends,

We all seem to enjoy the hymn “Seek ye first the kingdom of God” especially when we sing it in two parts.

Quite recently, in different services, we have been reminded of the words of the second verse where Jesus declares, “Man cannot live by bread alone.” This was after the feeding of the 5000 people and the time when Jesus walked across the water to reach the boat carrying the disciples.

Once again Jesus spoke in parables which the people found hard to understand. Quite simply, He was telling them that they needed the right relationship with Him through belief in Him and His Father God. This has never changed through the years since He said it. People who give their lives to Jesus find that true relationship. It means that they simply follow Him because they know that He has the truth and His way is the way to live.

When we spend our lives thinking about ourselves and how our experiences in life have been unfair, we are hungry and thirsty in our spirits. Once we think about Jesus and about life through Him, that hunger and thirst goes and we see life in a different way. The experiences we’ve had will not have changed but we will. Jesus and others will come before us constantly reliving our own failures and bad experiences.

Seek ye first Jesus and note the wonderful change He makes, and look at those who have found the right relationship with Jesus and note how they deal with their difficulties, their sorrows and their losses. Follow Jesus and His way and discover how life can be fulfilled through Him.

May He bless us all,



Love Life, Live Lent

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. (Matthew 4 v 1-2)

Dear Friends,

When you’ve eaten your pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, will that be the beginning or the end of your Lenten activities?

Last year I acquired a booklet called LOVE LIFE, LIVE LENT. It gave ideas throughout Lent based on that title, and it was not about giving something up, except perhaps giving up our time to use it for something better than what we usually do with it.

Lent is linked to the time Jesus was in the desert and was tempted. He went through suffering to give him the strength and resolve to tell the Good News about the love of God to the people he would meet.

So what might we do to show God’s love? I had to think long and hard about this question and I eventually came up with de-cluttering. Having already decided to pass on my collection of books, lovingly gathered over many years before God took over my life so much, to Chris Mellers, I decided that I had other treasured possessions I could part with that if sold, would help to spread the love of Jesus to others in need.

You might think that it would not be a sacrifice, but actually it would be because I have emotional attachment to many of the treasured possessions.

I’ll let you know in the next magazine whether I was able to carry the decision through.

One way you might recognise the time of Lent is by making time to come to the Bible Study on Thursday mornings. See the Diary of Events.

Love Life, Live Lent.

Every blessing,


Be Still and Know that I Am God

Be Still and know that I am God (Psalm 46 v 10)

Dear Friends,

be still and know that I am GodHaving spent much of the last six months using the Bumble Bee to teach the Ten Commandments to children in a way they understand, I was surprised and pleased to see a page in my ‘Grace’ magazine with the title ‘BEE NICE’.

A quote of Albert Einstein says “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left.”

This was not another of those wild statements that the world would end on a certain day, but a request for us to play our part in turning round the decline of the honey bee and bumble bee. Perhaps there should be an eleventh commandment, “Bee nice to God’s Creation.”

I am very grateful for the Lord’s help in using the Bee to teach such things as thankfulness, truthfulness, faithfulness, calmness, and the latest subject, respect, so I felt that the children and I should see how we could repay the bumble and honey bee. With Roger’s help and expertise we will plant special flowers and shrubs as a Bumble Bee treat for next year.

Why did I begin with the verse from Psalm 46?

It might surprise you to know that eighteen lively children can “BEE STILL”! In our weekly prayer time they can and do, and yet so often we, the adults, find it hard to ‘be still’ and know that we are with God. Too often our anxieties or our busyness take away our peace and stillness as we pray.

Remember that Jesus said, “You  must become like little children”. Why? Because sometimes they can teach us to know Him better.

Love and peace to you all,


Child Friendly Church

At the recent National Assembly of the Congregational Federation, Long Itchington Congregational Church, known locally as the Chapel, was presented with The Child Friendly Church Award.

Many of you reading this will wonder what the Award entails…

Anyone who brings their child to a Church Club will first of all want to be sure that it is a safe place. Each Church must have a Child protection policy and any person over the age of sixteen who is involved with children in the church must complete a self disclosure form and then apply for a CRB Certificate from the Criminal Records Bureau.

The Church is visited by a Children’s Officer of the Congregational Federation who checks that the building is a safe place for children and issues a Child Safety Poster.

After completing the Child Friendly Church questionnaire and getting the agreement of the Church meeting, the church receives another visit when all the criteria for a safe, welcoming and child involving church is discussed.

The Children’s Officer then reports to the Ministries Committee where, after consideration about whether the church has reached all the criteria, the decision is made to make the award.

To us, at the Chapel, which is one of the smaller Churches of the Congregational Federation, it is firstly an honour to have received the award but also a responsibility to continue to be a welcoming, safe and happy place for children of all abilities to learn about the love of Jesus.

The Child Friendly Church Award first began in the Liverpool Diocese of the Anglican Church and has since been taken up by other denominations. The Congregational Church took up the scheme last year and to date only five churches out of the 282 affiliated churches have received the award.

Our main Children’s work is our Pilots Club for children from 4years of age which meets each Wednesday in term time from 6-15pm to 7-30pm.

Telephone Marion on 07812 804 924 for further information.