Friday 7 March – 7.30pm
Circle Café, Northampton Jesus Centre
Next date on 11 April
We have been reading Martin Luther King by Godfrey Hodgson. Martin Luther King left an indelible mark on twentieth-century American history through his leadership of the non-violent civil rights campaigns of the 1950s and 1960s. The election of Barack Obama as America’s first black president in November 2008 has spawned a renewed interest in King’s role as an agent and prophet of political change in the United States. This book gives a fascinating insight into a remarkable man.
Our next book will be Cranford by Elizabeth Gatskell. Cranford depicts the lives and preoccupations of the inhabitants of a small village with the Industrial Revolution approaching. It is an exquisitely observed tragicomedy of human nature, told with great delicacy and affection.
If you would like to borrow a copy of either book to read, contact Tony Sanderson on 07740 853105.
For more details ask at the Info Desk, call 0845 166 8202 or go to facebook.com/CircleCafeBookClub.
YouTube even has its own symphony orchestra conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas. We look at some of their work and the way in which artists of different genres use it to promote their work.
These include the dubstep violinist Lindsay Stirling, the singer Sandi Thom, the pianists, Alice Sara Ott, Yuja Wang, Valentina Lisista, the violinist Daniel Hope and the cellist Sol Gabetta. Lisista rose from being a complete unknown and through her uploads on YouTube is now a sell-out in concerts round the world.
Friday 6 December 7.30pm – 10.00pm in the Circle Café, Northampton Jesus Centre (refreshments available)
To keep up to date with future events check out Music From The Heart on Facebook.
Recent glowing acclaim for Music From The Heart in the June 2013 edition of the Ralph Vaughan Williams Society Journal:
…The next unexpected encounter was at the Jesus Centre in Northampton. Each Jesus Centre has a drop-in, aimed primarily at supporting the disadvantaged and homeless or vulnerable. Jesus Centres offer mentoring to mums and tots, from maths to money-management, from healing groups to haircuts. The day centre supports people who are homeless or marginalised and offers showers, laundry, clothing, cheap food, and fortnightly drop-in sessions for ex-offenders. And it was here that I stumbled upon ‘Music from the Heart’. This is n relaxed gathering of friendly people, of all ages, who get together to celebrate musical themes on DVD. My visit to Northampton coincided with their tribute to Vaughan Williams, and a showing of job conducted by Sir Adrian Boult, What an absolute delight to see this greatest of conductors again. In his latter years one can only say his style epitomised “less is more”, with that long baton tweaked from the wrist, rather like an extension of his arm, his left hand caressing the orchestra, his feet planted firmly on the ground. He rarely looked at the score.
And the players rarely looked at Adrian, as if they were well drilled, confident and trusting. Those musicians with their mutton chops, the top pocket handkerchiefs… it was all as l remember the seventies. If filming techniques have moved on, so what?
Located around a tea bar, tables and chairs and good company made this group a remarkable find, and I will be returning to join them again to see a documentary on Anne~Sophie Mutter, and to see music from the ghettos of Kinshasa and a performance of Beethoven’s Choral Symphony by the symphony orchestra of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Such is the variety of their programme! At one point a client of the centre came around and blessed us one by one before settling down for a kip, but it was all very good natured. They are developing a website for non-regulars.
There are all kinds of grand musical societies, but I doubt if shall ever find a more friendly and down to earth group than this.
AS ADVERTISED ON BBC RADIO NORTHAMPTON
Write out your special memories of the savoy / abc together with your name and put it in the box at the centre’s info desk.
Six winners will each receive four tickets for the deco to see a show of their choice.
The draw is to happen on Sunday 15th September at 3pm in the circle café.
Terms and conditions apply: only one entry per person. Jesus centre staff, volunteers and affiliates (JFC) are exempt from this competition. The judge’s decision is final.
A performance directed by William Christie of Handel’s Belshazzar from the Aix Festival is being shown. His experienced team brought Handel’s not-so-high drama and philosophic tragedy to almost operatic dramatic standards as the Persian prince, Cyrus, overran the dissolute Babylonians and freed the captive Jews.
Belshazzar, written in 1744, was among the first English oratorios that Handel composed after he had abandoned the Italian opera form and so still retains a strong dramatic element.
Friday 15 Feb 7.30pm – 10.00pm
Circle Café, Northampton Jesus Centre (Refreshments available)
Jayne Elliott, NJC volunteer coordinator and team leader writes this week for the NJC blog
Nothing communicates value more than personal contact
Most people under 20 years old probably spend more time communicating regularly with people they don’t see face to face than the people they live with. It is most likely that when I’m chatting to my friends’ teenage daughter online giving her my undivided attention, she is simultaneously engaged with conversations with 6 other people and attempting to do her homework! Social networking has opened up the possibility of having thousands of ‘friends’ but somehow no one has managed to create the intimacy and ‘feel good’ factor that a face to face meeting with a friend who has taken time out for coffee and a chat, creates.
Everyone needs to know that they matter to someone.
So many people who come to us, especially to the drop in, have lost a sense of their personal worth. Here at the Jesus Centre we don’t just want to post the strap line “Jesus Centres are a place where everyone is valued” on our website or in our vision statement but to also communicate it through the way we value everyone who comes through the door including our staff and volunteers. We place great emphasis on connecting with each of our visitors face to face, whether in the Café, drop in, English conversation course, or art group. That is because so many visitors who come to us are experiencing deep loneliness from a lack of personal contact and real friends.
If someone comes in to the Centre who has a problem with finding accommodation we will make sure someone spends time with them one-to-one, listening to their situation and signposting them on if necessary. We try as much as possible to ensure we have enough volunteers on duty to release someone to spend time listening one-to-one to a visitor. Ask any GP and they will probably tell you that they have several incurable patients who don’t come because they are physically ill but because they have no one else to talk to about their worries. Here at the Jesus Centre we offer a free Listening service where people can find a confidential, listening ear.
Back to the article I was reading; people’s motivation improves if they feel that they and what they are doing matters. This is why we give visitors an opportunity to become helpers, providing an essential support role behind the scenes. It improves someone’s self worth tremendously if they are able to become a contributor and not just a recipient of help.
Some years ago I asked an older guy who had been a long-term rough sleeper why he came and had lunch with us on a Sunday rather than with the local homeless provision; I’ll always remember what he said:
Because everywhere else they serve a meal to us, here you sit down and eat the meal with us.
Maybe if we all used the time we spent ‘friending’ people over the internet on spending time, real face-to-face time, with someone we know who needs a listening ear, we’d all feel much more valued and connected to each other.
I was hungry, and you formed a committee and discussed my hunger.
I was naked, and in your mind you debated the morality of my appearance.
I was sick, and you knelt and thanked God for your own health.
I was homeless, and you preached to me of the spiritual shelter of the love of God.
I was lonely, and you left me alone to pray for me.
This unsettling quote is pinned to the noticeboard of the Jesus Centre office I’m typing in now. It’s provoked me.
I often momentarily pass many people in the corridors- café customers, Jesus Centre group members, skills class students, homeless drop-in visitors, volunteers, art-deco architecture admirers, admin staff, room hirers, event riggers, you name it. All of us have a part to play, in some varying measure, in the work of the Jesus Centre – meeting need, building capacity and supporting the work of the Jesus Army.
However, when working in the back office I sometimes feel a mile away from the ‘sharp end’ of the work, out of contact with some of the people we’re here to serve- the less fortunate of society, the hungry and the homeless. The quote above seems too close for comfort. On the other hand, I know how the ‘sharp end’ volunteers can get bogged down when they feel all they’re doing is trying to deal with a never-ending flood of ‘people problems’.
In a charitable organisation like us there’s always a risk that volunteers at any position in the team can lose a sense of purpose in what they do, we can become disillusioned or tired. The minutiae of tilling the ground eclipses the fruit of our labours as vocation loses vision and becomes weary work. I’ve seen it happen.
So what’s the solution?
Don’t lose heart.
It was John Wesley who said:
Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can
I can do what others can’t, they can do what I can’t. The fundraiser needs completely different skills to the centre manager, and the guy who runs the alcoholics support group shouldn’t have to worry about the bills. We must all do very different things to fulfil the one vision. The key is to remember why we do what we do and to appreciate one another.
So yes, form a committee if you must. But also feed the hungry.
Furthermore, don’t just feed the hungry, but work against the causes of poverty.
Yes, help people into financial security but also enrich their lives with the good news of God’s just society, His family, His community.
And going full circle- tell the homeless of God’s love but don’t send them away with empty bellies. Maybe to a hungry belly the gospel tastes like a warm meal.
An occasional special post from Steve Jones, the Northampton Jesus Centre manager.
I found this piece in a charity magazine recently:
If you think 2011 was a bad year, brace yourself for worse. 2012 will probably go down as the first year the UK felt the full force of long-term austerity. .. In the next decade the UK will become a poorer, less equal, and potentially less harmonious place.
The article went on to say that charities are going to have to serve this increasingly needy nation with fewer resources to work with.
Unduly pessimistic? Maybe, but it made me very grateful for our team of willing volunteers at the Jesus Centre who work without pay. It also stirred me to ask myself how responsible is my stewardship of our resources, whether financial, material, or human!
Economic turmoil and social upheaval can either make us complain or shake us into gratitude for what we do have. Let’s choose the latter.
Personally I am looking forward to seeing more and more people visiting us here at the Jesus Centre and finding something of the power of Christ which changes lives at every level.