Author Archives: Clive Price

The Book Of Mary

An MMHS resident has published her life story – and she’s giving profits from her book sales to us!

One More Step Along The Golden Thread is Revd Mary Randle’s home-grown, humble and heart-warming account of growing up with a disabled parent, working in prisons and social services and becoming a Methodist minister. Sales have already raised more than £100 for the Society.

SHOTGUN BLAST

Mary’s captivating story opens with a shotgun blast that changed her father’s life forever – when he was just a teenager. The gun went off by accident. Mary’s father Jack survived, but his sight didn’t. Yet that didn’t stop him from visualising a future for himself.

He set up his own basket making business. One day, a young woman, Elsie, saw him trying to cross the street. She offered her hand to help Jack avoid the traffic. The two stepped onto a road of romance. They married in 1937.

They started a family, and daughter Mary was dedicated as a baby at a Baptist church. But their nearest Sunday school was at Whittleford Methodist Church. So she went there.

‘Someone said, “What are you going to do?”,’ Mary recalled. ‘Deep down I wanted to do something to care. The idea of working with prisoners came to me. I didn’t even know where the nearest prison was!’

In 1961 she started working at Strangeways, Manchester. ‘People said I wouldn’t last five minutes,’ Mary remembered, ‘but I did!’ She spent seven years in the prison service.

GOD’S INITIATIVE

Mary met Eric, who was working for British Leyland. They married in 1968 (the couple are pictured). Sadly, Eric died recently, just as we were putting together the Spring 2018 edition of Roof ‘n’ Roots.

How did the title of her book come about? ‘That came at my interview to go into the ministry,’ Mary recalled. ‘I felt like it was God’s initiative and he’d been leading me along this golden thread.’

Copies of One More Step Along The Golden Thread cost £4.50 each. For the full story, see Roof ‘n’ Roots.

‘Amazing ministry’ marks 70 years

We look back on ‘an amazing ministry’ that’s been running since 1948. With those words, our CEO Mairi Johnstone launched an eight-page edition of our newsletter Roof ‘n’ Roots.

This special summer issue is part of our 70th anniversary celebrations, and was proudly displayed – alongside some delicious cupcakes – on our exhibition stand at the Methodist Conference at Nottingham University (pictured).

PINK FLOYD

Roof ‘n’ Roots is packed with a whole host of features – from a photostory about ‘RoboCrop’ our automated lawn mower – to an interview with the new Chair of our board Alex Campbell, who’s been described as leading the ‘Pink Floyd’ of brass bands.

There is also a focus on one of our residents Revd William Farrell of Gloucestershire, who is celebrating his 100th birthday during our own anniversary year. Another resident, Revd Barrie Tabraham, reviews the Revised New Jerusalem Bible for us.

Roof ‘n’ Roots also highlights the free resources given to residents and supporters during our birthday year – The Home Blessing Prayer Book and a new suite of worship materials.

We’ve given every MMHS resident a copy of The Home Blessing Prayer Book – the first in a series of prayer books written and illustrated by Mary and Mark Fleeson. Other friends and supporters had the opportunity to take copies from our stand at the Methodist Conference.

SERVICE IDEAS

The worship materials have been published online and can be downloaded for free from the MMHS website. A limited number of hard copies were available at the Methodist Conference, where they were given to ministers and ordinands searching for service ideas.

While compiling this publication, we discovered there are other organisations celebrating 70th anniversaries just like MMHS – from the NHS to Land Rover. As our CEO pointed out, 1948 was a significant year. You can download Roof ‘n’ Roots direct from our website. Please let us know if you would like printed copies for your church.

SUMMER 2018

Summer came with a vengeance! We hope you’ve been enjoying the warm weather in safety and comfort. Meanwhile, we’ve been celebrating our 70th anniversary in wild and wonderful ways – including a bumper eight-page edition of Roof ‘n’ Roots!

Here’s a look at some of the content:

  • an MMHS resident celebrating his 100th birthday in our 70th year;
  • meet the new Chair of our board, who led the ‘Pink Floyd’ of brass bands;
  • how ‘Robo-Crop’ has changed the lives of two of our residents;
  • bless your home with a special edition of a popular prayer book;
  • how to make the most of our free worship resources for you and your church.

Bake your home with us

‘Bake your home with us’ became our alternative slogan as we celebrated our 70th anniversary – with a huge cake in the shape of a house!

The Society’s usual slogan is ‘Make your home with us’. But to make a home on this occasion, the usual bricks and mortar were replaced with 30 eggs, 1.6kg of flour, 1.6kg of sugar, 1.6kg of butter – and a whole bottle of vanilla essence!

ENGINEERING FEAT

Our CEO Mairi Johnstone recently led staff and board members in a cake-cutting ceremony as part of the Society’s annual general meeting. The cake was shared with colleagues in the Methodist Church at Methodist Church House, Marylebone.

London baker Jola Odegbaro had made the cake, using dowel rods to support the structure and a board to keep the roof up. She took careful measurements using rulers and set squares in what became an engineering feat.

The experience had added meaning for Jola, who runs a bakery business called The CakeWay. The day before baking the MMHS cake, she heard of the death of an uncle who was a Methodist minister – Sir Adeola Olufon, a lay reader and leader of the Wesley Guild at Wesley Cathedral Olowogbowo, Lagos, Nigeria. ‘It was my little tribute to him,’ said Jola.

AMAZING MINISTRY

After cutting the cake, Mairi said, ‘We look back on an amazing ministry that’s been running since 1948. As well as being thankful for our history, we’ve spent much time looking to the future and thinking strategically. No organisation worth its salt can stand still – and we want to be fully responsive to the changing needs of retired ministers of the Methodist Church.

‘Our vision is Acts 4:34 – “There was not a single person in need among them”. That will keep us busy for quite some time to come!’

SPRING 2018

After what seems like the longest winter in living memory, we hope spring has finally sprung. But one thing is for certain – the latest edition of Roof ‘n’ Roots is out!

We hope our newsletter arrives like a ray of sunshine, offering comfort and inspiration to our residents. Here are just some of the contents:

  • Society resident Revd Mary Randle publishes her story and helps MMHS;
  • why gas safety checks are vital and how to help make them happen;
  • our most recent Board Chair Ros Peedle shares her story;
  • how to make sure your gutters are great;
  • special extract from a past sermon by the late Revd Alan Ashton.

 

 

 

 

Churches can aid people with dementia

CEO SPECIAL REPORT: My role as MMHS’s Chief Exec takes me on interesting explorations from time to time. Recently I had the pleasure of learning about the life-enhancing interplay between music and dementia.

COMPLETE PRIVILEGE

Having attended the main hearing of the House of Lords Commission on Dementia and Music chaired by Baroness Sally Greengross, I was invited to the subsequent celebration of the launch of the Report in the House. What a complete privilege it was to hear experts talk on the subject – and at the celebration, listen to a wonderful choir of people with dementia singing their socks off led by Dame Lesley Garrett!

The Utley Foundation have been pioneers in championing the benefits of music-based interventions for people with dementia. In 2017, ILC-UK (a think-tank which seeks to impact on policy to do with longevity, ageing and population change) was asked on behalf of the Foundation to set up the world’s first Commission on Dementia and Music.

What did I learn?

At present, not enough people in the UK benefit from interventions. For example, educated estimates suggest that high quality arts and music provision may currently only be available in just five per cent of care homes. Music brings dementia sufferers to life. It allows many to relax and communicate with their carers and families for the first time in years.

The commission has identified that interventions can take place in the home, theatres, town halls, specialist units and care homes. It was a pleasure for me to learn that MHA employ music therapists as part of their specialist dementia care across the UK.

PERFECTLY PLACED

I would add churches to the above list of places. Churches are perfectly placed to be part of the change that is needed. What can you – I – do in our church? I shall end with a quote from a freelance opera singer, Demelza Stafford, who for more than ten years has sung therapeutic concerts in hospitals and care homes:

‘As we perform, we see reactions from visitors and carers too, often completely overwhelmed at seeing loved ones interact in ways they haven’t for months, years even. Carers are often moved to tears when residents who can’t usually engage or speak, manage to sing every word, tap a toe or even find their way to their feet to dance.’

MMHS resident boosts new Wesley book

MMHS resident Lord Griffiths of Burry Port has written the foreword for a new collection of writings by John Wesley.

Leslie Griffiths – a member of the House of Lords since 2004 – has officially endorsed Through The Year With John Wesley, a selection edited by Stephen Poxon.

RAW ENERGY

Published by Monarch, the book offers 365 daily readings from John Wesley. Leslie admitted he picked up the book with ‘some hesitation’ at first.

‘It’s a brave man who would take on the challenge of releasing the raw energy, tapping back into the mind-boggling and heart-warming ideas, which gave Wesley such a unique place in the gallery of great Christian thinkers and preachers of the past,’ he said.

‘But I need not have worried,’ Leslie added in his foreword. ‘Page after page brings illumination, inspiration, intellectual stimulation even to diehards like me. The generosity of spirit of John Wesley, “the friend of all and the enemy of none” is here displayed again and again.’

Through The Year With John Wesley refreshes and presents some of the theological and reflective writings of ‘The father of Methodism’, linked to Scripture verses and daily prayers.

LITTLE GEM

Each reading is from John Wesley’s prolific output as an intelligent and passionate writer. ‘This is a little gem of a book,’ said Leslie. ‘Day after day for an entire year, it will lift the spirits of 21st century men and women and equip them to face the challenges of today’s world.’

An MMHS resident since summer 2017, Lord Griffiths is Shadow Spokesperson for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Shadow Spokesperson for Wales, and Opposition Whip in the House of Lords. (Photo of Lord Griffiths by John Lubbock, Communications Co-ordinator, Wikimedia UK)

What’s age got to do with it?

Meet the lay preacher who wrote a book at 100 years of age because he couldn’t stand long enough to preach, and the 95-year-old who organised local church support for his care home.

They and others feature in Louise Morse’s book What’s Age Got to Do with It?, which offers a scriptural view of old age. Published by Monarch, the book challenges the thinking that being old is about retreating to a rocking chair and easy lifestyle.

CHANGING MINDS

Media and Communications Manager for Pilgrim Homes, Louise explains how God set in motion times, seasons and the ageing process. But many see themselves as ‘useless’ and are afraid of being a burden. Ageism has destroyed their self-image and expectations.

The author shows how to live the way God intended. Among her evidence, Louise cites social psychologist Ellen Langer who dared to ask the question, ‘Could we change our physical health by changing our minds?’ Dr Langer and her team devised ‘the Counterclockwise Study’. They took groups of eight men in their 80s on a week-long retreat in a house that had been retrofitted and taken back to 1959. They were to go back in time, to live in that year, not discussing anything after 1959.

ARTHRITIS DIMINISHED

People came out of the experience with their hearing and their memory – even the strength of their grip – significantly improved. Fingers lengthened as arthritis diminished and they had greater manual dexterity. There were improvements in height, weight, gait, posture, and scores in intelligence tests. ‘I’ve come to believe less and less that biology is destiny,’ said Dr Langer. ‘It’s not primarily our physical selves that limit us, but rather our mindsets about our physical limits…We must ask ourselves if any of the limits we perceive as real do exist.’

Be wise through winter

Winter brings extra challenges for us all. And it’s not just severe weather that causes problems. Even average winter temperatures can affect our health.

A new updated guide Winter Wise from Independent Age offers advice on staying healthy, safe and warm – as well as information about help with higher winter fuel costs. Many of the tips will seem like common sense. However, it’s a good idea to think about them, to make sure we have everything we need as the cold weather continues.

Winter Wise is aimed at the wider population in England, so there are one or two points that don’t apply directly to MMHS residents. For instance, the guide reminds people to get their boiler serviced. The Society is responsible for ensuring all gas heating and hot water systems are serviced annually for our residents. We monitor this closely to ensure contractors comply with this requirement. Section 4 of the Tenants’ Handbook gives clear guidance on work to be included when a service is carried out – together with contact details in the event of a breakdown.

Click here for a free download of Independent Age’s Winter Wise. Print copies are available from Independent Age. Alternatively, contact Independent Age by post or phone – Independent Age, 18 Avonmore Road, London W14 8RR, tel 020 7605 4200.

Roof ‘n’ Roots brings it all home

The importance of feeling ‘at home’ comes across loud and clear in the latest edition of our regular newsletter Roof ‘n’ Roots.

Our lead story in the winter issue focuses on author and Society resident Revd Barrie Tabraham. He had a rocky road to retirement – but has now found a place of peace in his MMHS property. ‘I’ve never lived anywhere as nice as this,’ is how he described his Surrey home. MMHS are delighted to help Barrie and his wife Joan.

HANDY HINTS

There is also the announcement of our new service for your wellbeing. This is a special section of the MMHS website offering handy hints, practical tips and expert guidance on mobility and independence – with a growing range of downloadable resources.

Society resident Revd Dr Neil Richardson writes in Roof ‘n’ Roots about the idea of making God feel ‘at home’ and what that means in our day-to-day lives. ‘God is always more than willing to take up residence in both our hearts and our homes,’ says Neil, who is a past President of the Methodist Conference.

FIRE SAFETY

In addition, the newsletter offers updates on water hygiene tests, fire safety issues and customer satisfaction with repairs and gas servicing.

Roof ‘n’ Roots is sent out to all MMHS residents. But family and friends – along with supporting churches – are most welcome to receive a copy, too.

Please contact the Society and let us know if you’d like to enjoy this publication on a regular basis. We’d be very happy to send you our newsletter, as we share the stories of just some of our remarkable residents.