Category Archives: News

Love under apartheid

It was an African union that wasn’t allowed, says the lead story in the spring edition of Roof ‘n’ Roots.

Mannie and Lynn (pictured) came from different communities in apartheid-governed South Africa.

ENJOY PEACE

Interracial marriages were not allowed those days. So the couple went to England and were married there. Mannie became a Methodist minister.

Now the two of them make their home with us. Mannie and Lynn enjoy peace at their MMHS property in south-west England, where they moved in 2015.

On the edge of a country estate, the house is where they also entertain their two children and two grandchildren. ‘Even though we don’t own the house, it feels like ours,’ said Mannie. ‘It is the family home.’

You can read the rest of their story in the spring edition of Roof ‘n’ Roots, which has just been published and distributed to all our residents. And that’s not all. There’s more!

Read how high praise has come from one of our residents who’s overjoyed with her recent kitchen refurbishment. Margaret Parkes from the West Midlands told us she has been ‘well and truly blessed’ by everyone involved in the project.

Also featured is the story of an ‘astonishing transformation’ that’s brought a 100-year-old Berkshire home into the 21st century. The Society has been improving the two-bedroom semi-detached property over the years. And more recently, we’ve refurbished the bathroom and downstairs cloakroom.

PRESERVING MEMORY

Residents Revd Trevor Allen and wife Ann responded with overwhelmingly positive feedback about their new bathroom. ‘This lovely old property now has a modern feel,’ they said, ‘and we’re very grateful.’

Other items include a profile on actor Jeff Daniels and a reflective piece on the power of photography in preserving memory. For the first time we also have a graphic of our performance record in repairs. Some great spring reading for you! (Photo: Clive Price)

Power to people with chronic illness

Knowledge is power. That’s the message from a new resource for people with chronic illness.

The 48-page guide Living Well With Long Term Health Conditions by Independent Age points out that anyone can have a chronic illness – but as we get older they become more common.

LIVE WELL

However, the publication looks at how to live well, how to help yourself, where to look for support, and how to get the most out of medical appointments. The charity spoke to older people about their experiences, and included some of their quotes.

‘All the information is there if you want to find it,’ said one interviewee. ‘It’s online, or it’s in a leaflet, or it’s at your doctor’s. It’s there. You just need to be trained to find it.’

However, the guide warns there are so many possible sources of information, it can be overwhelming trying to find what you need, in the right format, at the right time. If in doubt about any details, Independent Age encourage people to check with their healthcare professionals.

The charity also offers online help for finding reliable information on the internet. In addition, the NHS website has a Health A-Z and Medicines A-Z of information, and lets you find and compare NHS services. There are established charities for a number of health conditions.

FEEL ALIVE

‘I think it’s really important to ask charities what help they can give you,’ said Dorothy, who suffers from diabetes and glaucoma. ‘I have a volunteer visitor from Independent Age who is lovely company. I’m usually on my own so it’s nice to have someone to chat with. It makes me feel alive!’

The booklet highlights the importance of talking to someone. ‘Living well with a long-term condition is about finding ways to manage conditions rather than cure them,’ said the guide.

Home in on independence

What help do you need to stay independent at home? Do you need to adapt your house or flat to make it more suitable? Do you simply need a hand with the garden?

These important aspects of wellbeing are part of the Society’s work in caring for our residents. We also keep you informed about other useful sources for further help.

FREE GUIDE

Independent Age have published a free guide called Getting Help At Home. This 40-page publication (cover image pictured) offers advice on a range of issues, such as:

  • getting help with household chores;
  • equipment and adaptations;
  • gadgets to make you feel safer;
  • staying connected at home;
  • extra money if you need help to look after yourself;
  • home from hospital help.

 

Everyone needs different types of help, the book advises. To prove it, a number of people share their experiences through the pages. ‘Housework and going to the laundrette were really taking it out of me because of my angina,’ said one contributor. ‘Now a friendly woman comes four hours a week and finishes jobs that took me three days! My flat is clean as a new pin and even my shirts get ironed.’

Another contributor said, ‘I get dizzy if I stand for too long and it made me anxious about taking a shower. The social services sent an occupational therapist to see me. She was lovely. She arranged for a grab rail to be fitted on the wall of my shower cubicle, and a folding shower seat to the side’.

SMALL CHANGES

There’s a range of services, gadgets and equipment from which you might benefit. According to Independent Age, even small changes can make life easier, and you might qualify for some help to pay for what you need.

The guide can be downloaded here. Advice applies to England only. Independent Age have a few suggestions if you are looking for advice specific to other parts of the UK.

 

New number for gas repairs

A new phone number for all your gas repairs has been issued by British Gas.

0333 202 9797 replaces the existing one for gas call-outs that has featured on our website and in the Tenants’ Handbook. And it remains a 24-hour line.

We have a contract with British Gas to carry out such essential tasks as safety checks and boiler servicing. It is also an unlimited calls contract, so please report any problems directly to British Gas on 0333 202 9797 and they will send an engineer.

According to Ofcom, calls to 03 numbers cost no more than calls to geographic numbers (01 or 02) and must be included in inclusive minutes and discount schemes in the same way. Calls from landlines and mobiles are included in free call packages. (Photo: British Gas)

‘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.