Category Archives: News

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)

We’re recruiting!

Use your skills and experience to help shape our future. That’s the call issued by our CEO and Board (pictured) as they launch a search for new members.

SKILLS AND INSIGHT

‘We’re looking for up to three new Board members who will join our motivated and collaborative Board of Governance and broaden its skills and insight,’ said our CEO Mairi Johnstone.

Our mission is meeting the housing and housing related needs of retired Methodist ministers of limited means, their spouses, and their widows and widowers, and offering support for their wellbeing in the key areas of mobility and independence.

We have an ambitious strategic plan for 2017-2022, and successful candidates will enjoy being a member of a Board that is ‘working through innovation and change’ – as Mairi put it.

We would welcome applications from candidates with expertise in one or more of the following areas:

• Information and communications technology
• Finance
• Property

HOW TO APPLY

The posts are unremunerated, but reasonable expenses may be claimed. Our recruitment pack provides information on how to apply for these positions.

Those interested are encouraged to complete the application form and submit it by 5pm on Friday, 2nd November 2018 to: Sharon Green, Executive Assistant, Methodist Ministers’ Housing Society, Methodist Church House, 25 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5JR. Alternatively, they can send their documents by email. Applicants should also enclose a copy of their CV and a brief covering letter.

‘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.