Category Archives: News

‘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.

Residents’ Survey

Your response to this questionnaire will provide us with vital information as we plan for 2018/19 and beyond.

We are committed to supporting your wellbeing, as much as we can, and we are particularly interested in your mobility and continued independence. We are also interested in your use of computers. There is an important link between both, for example, our ability for us to ‘signpost’ you to useful information and services. We would like to explore this link further.

Please visit the survey page here.

 

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!’

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)

Our friend Alan, greatly missed…

Our much loved and respected Board member Revd Alan Ashton died just before Christmas 2017.

CONSTANT ADVICE

Father of three grown-up children, Alan had been an MMHS resident since 2007, and joined the Board in 2010.

As well as his engagement with Board matters, he often popped in to MMHS’s  office to say ‘hello’.

Alan was a walking encyclopaedia of Methodism, and a constant source of information and advice for us all. To say he will be greatly missed is an understatement.

ABIDING MEMORY

Alan used to be in the construction industry before becoming a Methodist minister in 1978. He loved ballet and opera, and was always ready to share his love of music.

An abiding memory is of his impromptu practical demonstration of Swan Lake at our fringe event at the Methodist Conference in 2017! Alan’s heart was full of fun and faith.

‘Alan was our friend as well as our colleague,’ said CEO Mairi Johnstone. ‘Personally, I shall miss his humour, wisdom and commitment.’

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.

A new service for your wellbeing

Handy hints, practical tips and expert guidance on mobility and independence are offered in our brand new service on wellbeing.

FREE RESOURCES

A wide range of subjects are explored in this innovative section – here on the MMHS website. There you can get access to resources on a wide range of issues concerning mobility and independence. And many of those resources are free:

– a guide on how to choose the right mobility scooter;
– advice from Which? on how to arrange respite care;
– NHS guidance on keeping warm in the winter;
– an online map to find your local community transport provider;
– a free service for wheelchair users;
– a guide on keeping safe and driving for as long as possible.

USEFUL HANDOUTS

The ‘wellbeing’ section is growing all the time, as we are constantly researching and adding useful handouts and weblinks to the list. We are in contact with a range of other agencies who supply us with news on the latest developments in the area of wellbeing.

Keep visiting our website for wellbeing guidance, regular news, residents’ stories and the online versions of Roof ‘n’ Roots.

Share your story of caring

How do you – or a carer you know – support someone living with dementia? The organisers of National Dementia Carers’ Day – which took place on 10th September – want people to share such stories.

GREAT SUCCESS

NDCD was ‘a great success’ on social media, the organisers told us. A number of guest bloggers submitted content. Unfortunately, individual stories were small in number. However, NDCD are still interested to hear people’s stories and share them.

As many of us have experienced, caring for a loved one with dementia poses many challenges. Perhaps you can share what it means to be a carer. National Dementia Carers’ Day (NDCD) say all submissions will be read and may be shared as part of their work.

The day is an annual event, and the hope is that NDCD 2018 will be bigger than ever. The initiative is founded by a coalition of partners – SweetTree Home Care Services, Dementia UK and Alzheimer’s Society.

GOD MEMORIES

Quite separately from NDCD, over recent years a number of resources have been produced by various organisations, looking at dementia from a faith perspective. These include:

Dementia: Living In The Memories Of God by John Swinton (William B Eerdmans, 2012);
Where Memories Go: Why Dementia Changes Everything by Sally Magnusson (Two Roads, 2014);
First Steps To Living With Dementia by Simon Atkins (Lion, 2013);
Creating Church At Home: For Older People Living With Dementia by Patrick Coghlan (Kevin Mayhew, 2016);
Dementia: Pathways To Hope by Louise Morse (Monarch Books, 2015);
Prayers For Dementia by Fay Sampson (Darton, Longman and Todd, 2017).

‘When you’re caring for a loved one with dementia the world can be a very lonely place sometimes,’ said Nicki Bones from SweetTree Home Care Services. ‘Raising awareness is vital if we’re to build dementia-friendly communities.’ For more information and to share your story about living with dementia, visit here.

Make your gnome with us

A president, a dean and a superintendent walked into a room. No, this isn’t the start of a joke. They were among winners of our fun competition that urged people to ‘make your gnome with us’ at the Methodist Conference in Birmingham.

LIGHT RELIEF

Youth President Elect Michael Pryke, Superintendent of Wolverhampton Circuit Revd David Lavender and Assistant Dean of Nazarene College Revd Louise Kenyon each won a ‘paint your own gnome’ kit at the MMHS stand, which was designed to look like a garden.

The competition title was a play on the Society’s slogan, ‘Make your home with us’. Other winners were Revd Gill Baalham of the North Bedfordshire Circuit and George Dixon-Gough, ONE Programme Development Officer at Cliff College. George brought his team of interns to our stand for his prizegiving (pictured).

The aim was to offer representatives light relief between Conference sessions. Entrants had to use their creativity to ‘gname the gnome’ at the Society’s stand, which was a bright feature in the exhibition hall. But people engaged with our team for more than just a humorous competition.

SHARED STORIES

Other visitors to our stand included – ministers who wanted to discuss their retirement options, Society residents who enquired about repairs and alterations on their existing homes, church members who were keen to offer financial support to MMHS, and others who simply wished to encourage us in our ministry with positive feedback and comment.

One visitor said he had just helped one of our residents move into their new home. The place had been renovated so well, the tenant didn’t recognise it. ‘Well done,’ his friend told us. We also held a fringe event where Society staff and board members shared stories about their work with MMHS and talked about music which had inspired them in their lives.

Scupper the scammers

Scammers who try to swindle pensioners across the UK have started to target Methodist ministers and widowed spouses.

An 86-year-old widow recently reported one such fraudster to the Methodist Ministers’ Pension Scheme. A caller had phoned her, claiming to be from the Methodist Church.

SUSPICIOUS CALL

They knew she was receiving a pension, and also offered to help her with her computer. But their target was not an easy one. ‘The call was suspicious,’ she said, ‘and my guard went up straightaway.’

The widow hung up and promptly reported the incident to the pensions team at Methodist Church House. She shared the phone number from where the call originated.

Her quick thinking alerted the pensions team. They responded by checking the number on the web. They found numerous other people had been targets of this scammer.

‘Be aware of and disregard scam calls claiming to be The Methodist Ministers’ Pension Scheme,’ said MMPS Pensions Administrator Tony Pritchard. ‘We wouldn’t ask for any bank account details over the phone.’

SIMPLE GUIDELINES

There is plenty of advice on the internet on how to deal with scam calls. MMPS and the housing society suggest the following simple guidelines:

– beware of any unexpected or ‘cold’ calls about your pension;

– disbelieve cold calls about transferring any or all of your pension;

– if pensions advice sounds too good to be true, it usually is;

– never give your bank details or personal information to a cold caller;

– should you become suspicious about any such call, hang up and check with the pensions team or housing society at Methodist Church House.

The Pensions Regulator has issued important advice on this issue. Read all about it here. (This article is the full version of a story that appears in the spring 2017 edition of Roof ‘n’ Roots.)