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Dear Friends,

Autumn has begun. The leaves are beginning to turn, the central heating begins to be required and a storm or two remind us that we move toward the winter. If we have warm homes, enough to eat then the idea of colder weather can be comforting, but for those whose home is the street and there is no security or friendship, then autumn is a chilly prelude to the even worse weather of winter.

Those in the Caribbean, recovering from several devastating hurricanes which have destroyed everything in their wake, and in Mexico after the earthquakes, face life with very little. Many survivors from Grenfell Tower tragedy are still in temporary accommodation.

The harvest season is very much a time of mixed thoughts and emotions. There is a real sense of thanksgiving for food to eat, homes to live in, income to spend, life to enjoy. We add to that a sense of gratitude for those who produce our food, those work for the well being of society in health, education, local authorities etc.

There is also the awareness that there is not a good harvest for everyone. Natural disasters and other tragedies force their way into our complacency and remind us of our sisters and brothers who struggle to survive. And so harvest reminds us of our belonging and responsibility for others and to create just and fair ways to share the resources for all.

Nowadays, harvest is all year round, as is the need to share, to challenge injustice and to seek radical ways to make a difference.

Our harvest theme this year is 'Chirping for Joy', which will tell stories about how chickens can transform lives, bringing food, income, education and well being to communities. A reminder that simple things and make a huge impact for many people so that the harvest can be shared. 




Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.  —  Robert Louis Stevenson

Services during October

Sunday 1st

Rev. Tim Crome
Harvest and Parade



Rev. David Markay








Sunday 8th

Mr Brian Speed




Mrs Vivian Thomas



Holy Communion


Sunday 15th

Mr John Wilkins





Rev. Tim Crome
Holy Communion




Sunday 22nd


Rev. Tim Crome
Holy Communion




Mr David Green




Sunday 29th

Rev. Tim Crome
Café Worship


Rev. Sandra Marshall


Christmas Fair

this year is 25th November. Anyone able to help please see Peggy Etchells or Pat Dickinson.

Church Family News


We think of, and pray for:

Duncan Storey, and Jane and family, now a few weeks into his treatment. Let's pray against side effects.

Others struggling with health problems just now, Norma Johnson, Steve and Alison Russell.

Congratulations to

Roger and Jackie who are each celebrating significant birthdays.

Sean and Amelia Ashton for their recent coast to coast cycle! Amazing.

The Tomlinsons for a lot of recent efforts in fundraising, including the Scout Walk to raise money for a minibus. Adam Benson also did this walk.

Emma Tomlinson who is settling at Lincoln University to study Psychology.

Jonathan and Alison Brailey (Alan and Gillian's son) who had a baby girl on 12th September, Erin Rose. Just in time to celebrate her Grandad's (Alan's) 70th birthday the following day.


Thank you

A big 'thank you' to everyone for their prayers and good wishes for Duncan as he underwent his brain tumour operation and embarks on the next round of treatment at Weston Park.

Jane and Duncan Storey


Palestine – food for thought


On the 18th September, the Christian Network “Kairos” from Sheffield gave an evening presentation at our Banner Cross Church on the subject of Palestine, its food, its history, and the present situation of the everyday life of the Palestinians who have a precarious existence under Israeli administration.

The presentation attracted over 50 interested people and the evening commenced with a “taster” meal of a good variety of Palestinian food, from hummus to falafel, coconut and semolina cake, and delicious salads. A cookery demonstration of Za’atar bread making and of hummus preparation was given using traditional methods and ingredients.

A slide show and films showed both the development of the Israeli influence in Palestine and the diminishing area available to the Palestinian people to conduct their lives, grow their crops, and live in peace.

Discussion on the Christian approach to the injustices suffered by the Palestinians in their own country followed and proved quite lively. These injustices were noted as quite a contrast to life in Palestine in the years before British rulings and partitions enforced from 1917 onwards; before that year, Christians, Muslims, and Jews had lived together in the same neighbourhoods without any religious tensions.

The Kairos Group indicated that they would be happy to remain in touch with anyone interested in their continued concern and action for justice and peace in Palestine. Their e-mail address is “sheffieldpsc.org.uk” if you wish to contact the Group.

Phil Brown


Sheffield Lunch Clubs

A Summary of 2016-17

There are around 90 lunch clubs operating across the city.

Sheffield City Council currently funds 52 lunch clubs that run 59 sessions per week

  • Total membership at 31 March 2017 was 1,581 people.
  • 937 members (59%) were aged over 80.
  • 423 (27%) members were men.
  • 1,158 (73%) members were women.
  • 2,439 lunch club sessions were held during the year.
  • 55,904 hot meals were served during the year.
  • 601 volunteers contributed a total of 58,115 hours to keep lunch clubs running.

    If volunteers had been paid the national minimum wage of £7.20 per hour it would have cost the city over £400,000.

    Ian McCollough and Steve Woodcock


    My Favourite Hymn

    chosen by Kate Woodcock


    Choosing a favourite hymn is not easy as I have many favourites. There are so many wonderful hymns with beautiful music and meaningful words. So I have chosen a theme and you can guess what it is at the end.

    I'll start with a childhood favourite entitled, "Treasure", written by Jan Struther.

                        Daisies are our silver

                        Buttercups are gold,

                        These are all the treasures

                        We can have or hold.

This lovely little hymn has several more verses and it is a reminder that in the world of nature we have possessions more valuable than material items.

"O Lord My God" is a hymn based on a Swedish melody and a poem by Carl Gustav Boberg.

The English version was written by Stuart K.Hine, a missionary, in the early 1920's. It is a powerful and uplifting hymn and when you sing it you can really feel the presence of God. It is also known as "How Great Thou Art".

A hymn with many different musical arrangements which I have sung from early years is "For the Beauty of the Earth", words by English author Folliat Sandford Pierpoint. However the version set to music by composer John Rutter is inspiring with lovely haunting musical phrases, rising and falling in perfect harmony. Listening to this beautiful hymn being sung is wonderful but when you sing it you are filled with such joy and therefore this is my no.1 favourite.


Knowledge of thyself will preserve thee from vanity.

Welcome to My World

Brian Speed


Can you briefly tell us a little about yourself?

I was a teacher of mathematics for 28 years, employed as education consultant for Pearson PLC for 15 years and am now retired from full time work. I’ve been married twice, have six children including my two step children and have eight grandchildren altogether and I’m not yet 68!

What role, or roles, do you/did you have in our Church?

Been a local preacher for 45 years, taught in the Junior Church for 45 years, been a steward and been Pantomime Producer for nearly 20 years. Currently a worship coordinator, produce material for the screen on many Sundays as well as coordinate the various rotas for the smooth running of worship.

Who were the main influences in your early life?

Youth workers at Carter Knowle Church, mainly Kay and Michael Gilbert along with Howard Baxter.

How did you become a Christian?

While on holiday in Pembrokeshire, aged nineteen, I was challenged by a youth leader, Douglas Burton, as to when and if I had accepted Christ into my life, I realised I hadn’t and at that point made a commitment. However, since then my faith has continued to grow and evolve into something far deeper and meaningful.

What changes have you seen in the life of Banner Cross Methodist Church since you joined?

Much reduced membership, a lack of young people in the church but much freer worship and a more relaxed atmosphere within general worship. Also the loss of a viable team to produce pantomimes.

What are your views of those changes?

Saddened by the lack of young people but heartened that we now have a much freer and relaxed atmosphere for our worship.

Do you have a favourite hymn/worship song?

Yes, two in particular: “As the Deer Pants for the Water” and, my favourite, “The Lord’s My Shepherd” ….. the setting in H&P 481 with the chorus “And I will trust in you alone”.

What hobbies or interests fill any ‘spare’ time?

I’m lucky enough to be able to enjoy many wonderful holidays with Kathy, my wife.  We enjoy cruises and holidaying abroad.

I play bridge as regularly as I can with the BX bridge group. I go to the theatre as much as I can, and of course go to Hillsborough with Kathy to watch Sheffield Wednesday as season ticket holders.

I also write; I have written the best-selling Maths GCSE textbook (still selling) and continue to write maths books. I have now embarked on publishing a novel I’ve written, illustrating some of the missing years of Jesus’ life, due to be published at the end of this October!!

I also manage to find time to spend with children and grandchildren.

Do you have a favourite author?

I’ve enjoyed reading spiritual books written by Geza Vermes, a fascinating man who has been involved in a variety of ministries.  He has greatly influenced my current spiritual thinking.

Please give us one fact about yourself that we might find surprising

I have seen shows in every single theatre in London’s West End, all 53 of them, seeing over 70 shows altogether. This kept me occupied while often away down in London running training courses. My favourite one will be no surprise ….. ‘Les Misérables’.  However, the funniest one I’ve seen might surprise you …. ‘The Book of Mormon’.

If you had one prayer request for moving forward the life of Banner Cross Methodist Church in any way, what would it be?

To see an influx of young people in Banner Cross, a viable number to support each other.




The Communications Group was formed in May 2017 and has met four times. At the last meeting in September, those present discussed ways of improving how we at Banner Cross Church communicate, both internally, and with our user groups and the wider community. It was agreed we could be more forward-thinking, by planning ahead and using accepted methods of good practice. In that way, more people would get to know more about the various aspects of our church’s life.  

Improving Internal Communications

Notes from Meetings: it was agreed that all notetakers at group or committee meetings should provide a short report of each meeting in bullet-points form which should be placed on a noticeboard to be read by anyone interested in issues discussed at the various meetings. Notetakers should first of all send their report to the Leadership Team for approval before putting it on the board.  A report can also be sent to the Editorial Team for Banner Headlines once it has been approved by the Leadership Team.

Publicising Events: it was agreed that the Weekly Diary and Banner Headlines could be more relevant if events were publicised as far in advance as possible. This might not always be possible in the case of Banner Headlines, but it was agreed that notices should be included in the Weekly Diary (to be submitted to Sean Ashton) at least two weeks before the event (and earlier, if possible) and should be repeated until the actual date of the event. Internal notices should be brief because part of the diary’s purpose is to be outward-facing and to include information from the Circuit and beyond.

Regarding Banner Headlines, articles should be sent to one or more members of the Editorial Team: Terry Kirkwood, Alison Russell, Pat Dickinson and Christine Rowe, by the deadline of the 15th of the preceding month so that Terry has enough time to prepare and print each issue. Anyone who has a good idea for improving, or a question about, an aspect of the life of this church, is encouraged to contact the relevant group or committee; or to write a short article for inclusion in our newsletter. 

Reviews of ‘special’ services or events in the church, local community or the wider world, are also welcome for inclusion in Banner Headlines, and should be submitted as soon as possible after the event. If authors would also like to submit a photo, they should contact Terry to ascertain whether or not it can be printed with the text. 

Both the Weekly Diary and Banner Headlines need accurate and up-to-date information in order to be most effective so we need to check that lists, for example of weekly activities, and relevant people to contact for further information, are correct. 


It was agreed that young people, their parents, and the young-at-heart already search websites for information rather than picking up a magazine or newsletter.  Therefore, in the coming months, we shall be using Tim Wilson’s expertise in making best use of our church’s website.  

Another suggestion raised was to make use of a group contacts list of church members’ e.mail addresses to send updates quickly and easily of forthcoming events or cancellations to all those online. It is established good practice to use the ‘bcc’ facility when preparing E-correspondence so that everyone’s email address is not made public. 

Communicating to Those Who Are Not Members of Banner Cross Church

Hundreds of people from 0-100 enter our premises every week where they engage in activities and events. It would be a good idea to encourage the various groups to use our building to publicise their activities. There could be a noticeboard especially for notices from our user groups and other external organisations. Posters which are brightly-coloured and ‘attention-grabbing’ would also be useful to promote our own events. A member of the Leadership Team would need to be responsible for checking the relevance of each item and removing any as soon as the event has taken place. To make room for more notices, leaflets and so on, the bookshelves at the back of the Coffee Lounge could be removed and the books put onto the bookshelf in Room 5 which would then need to be open more often.

All are welcome to come along to the meetings of the Communications Group. The next one will be on Monday 23rd October.

Alison Russell

for the Communications Group

Bullet points from the recent Communications Meeting.
  • Church Notice Boards internal and external reviewed. Both to be kept up to date also look at how external board could be improved.
  • Idea to have footprints on the path leading to the front entrance.
  • Paper Communications:- notices for the weekly diary should be
  • in at least two weeks before and remain in until the event.
  • The different Meetings to discuss the life of the Church should be printed as Bullet points in Banner Headlines and displayed on a designated notice board.
  • Looking at having a logo for Banner Cross Church.
  • In hand-trees pruned at the front of the Church. Front doors painted
  • The next Communication Meeting is on the 23rd October, Room 5 at 7 30.

    All are welcome to attend.

    Please send items for the Agenda to Pat Dickinson.


    Our Coast-to-Coast Adventure


Me and my dad had set off on a challenge that neither of us knew what it would entail; a 140-mile bike ride from one side of the country to the other! Neither of us had done anything like this before, and we had both only cycled around 20 miles at the most. My dad suggested we do this bike ride one day, though I never thought it would be so soon after coming up with the idea! After booking our accommodation and trains, over the coming weeks we attempted some training. All went well, when just 2 weeks before the start of the bike ride, I came off my bike during a training session in the peak district; a pesky sheep ran out in front of me and I braked hard, throwing me off my bike. Luckily, I came off well with just grazes and bruises. A few days later my dad felt some twinging in his knee! At this point we were both getting nervous, and wondering whether these injuries were a sign of worse to come…

We set off for Whitehaven a day early, so we could get there and have a good night’s sleep, and in the morning, have a good breakfast before setting off around 8.30am. We were understandably nervous and it wasn’t until that morning when we set off that I started to feel excited about the challenge that lay ahead of us. Everything was well, and after around 30 miles we arrived in Keswick for lunch. We were both feeling good and pleased to have cycled so far! After lunch, we set off again. A closed down bridge took us on a 5-mile detour and a large hill, however we made it to our first stop of the challenge, Penrith, and thus, completed the first day; we had cycled a grand total of 60 miles! Surprisingly, I felt good and my legs were not too sore, nothing a hot shower, good food and beer couldn’t cure.

The second day of the challenge was the one that made us the most nervous, because it was the hilliest. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and after reading about the hills online, I was preparing for some tough ones, and that I may even need to get off on some of them. However, many of the hills were long and steady, like the ride out of Hathersage, but longer! At the top of one such hill, there was a café, where we obviously stopped for some hot food and a cup of tea. We then carried on, where the hills were steeper, but they were shorter. These were the hard ones, and they really took your breath away. It was a great feeling of accomplishment once you had cycled up a tough steep hill. The last 5 miles of the second day was downhill, into a little village called Rookhope. Here, we stayed in a youth hostel with some other friendly cyclists, and had a delicious meal in the local pub.

By the third day, we were well over half way through our challenge, and neither of us could believe we had made it so far. This day was the easiest, as it was all downhill or flat; just what we needed after yesterday! We set off excited that we were so close to finishing the challenge. The course on the third day took us along an old railway track across some moors, with some fantastic views. It was mostly off road, and we cycled on paths through woodlands. Although it was flat, it did take away some of the breath-taking scenery you get when you have cycled up and over a valley. Finally, we arrived in Sunderland, and the sea was in sight! By this point, we had slightly misjudged how much time we had, so we cycled as fast as we could to the finish and got some photos and my dad got a fresh piece of fish from the fish and chip shop! We had made it! We then got the train home, after a mad dash from Sunderland to Newcastle in the back of a taxi, where we had a well-earned pizza for tea.  Many thanks to all our sponsors for helping us raise over £750 for the church charity, South Yorkshire Refugee Law & Justice.

Amelia Ashton

Don’t roll down the grass bank!


I’m looking at the grass outside Church and remembering.

So many memories of good times spent on there. The hilly bit was steeper then – lost count of the times we were told not to roll down it!

As a small child having lessons and games and sometimes singing on there with Junior Church – many led by the Dunns, Speeds and Whites.

As a Queen’s attendant, dressed in my white dress, with Rachel Gilbert and Sally Emerson at my side. This was definitely NOT a day for rolling down the grass!

As a Brownie and then a Guide, with Lesley Martin and Lorraine Kirkwood and so many others,  playing games, singing songs and taking part in ceremonies, many led by Kathryn Warren, Gillian Speed, Mrs (Jean) Shelley and ‘’Arnie’’, and of gathering there after Parade Service.

Of helping at so many outdoor events and enjoying a lot of cake, scones, tea and coffee like a good Methodist!

As a bride (there’s a fantastic photo of me holding a laburnum tree up!) with Jonathan at my side, and my happy parents, family and friends.

Later, doing a lot of this all over again with my own children, having their Christening photos taken, playing with them and their friends.

Looking after my own Junior Church classes, and dear Rainbows, and spending happy times with the lovely friends we have now.

Of two different Church Family Photos being taken, and lots of laughs as we prepared.

Yes, time moves on and so does the circle of life. So many happy memories of ‘’that grass’’.

Chris Rowe


Money cannot buy peace of mind. It cannot heal ruptured relationships, or build meaning into a life that has none.

Richard M. DeVos

Banner Cross WI


On Tuesday, 12th September, Banner Cross WI celebrated their 20th year with a birthday tea. We were formed in April 1997, when a number of church members and friends decided to form another WI after the Young Wives Group had finished. Our numbers since then have gone up and down, mainly because we are an afternoon group.

Over the years we have had many interesting speakers covering a wide variety of subjects.

We have also been on many different trips, sometimes under our own steam, ie members driving or on Walter Martins coach day trips. Our visits have ranged from cheesemaking at Hawes to lunch at Hassop Hall. Next month, for instance we are visiting the Bee/honey centre at Troway.

We currently have 19/21 members who regularly attend on the second Tuesday of the month at 2.30pm in Room 3.

It would be lovely if we could have more people to join us, you would be made very welcome.

Dora Kirkwood


Samaritans Purse

are sending shoe boxes round the world once again this Christmas. We cannot begin to imagine the joy these shoe boxes bring to the children who receive them.  Not all children in any one village or school will receive a box as there are never enough to go round.
Covered shoe boxes will be available soon in the Church entrance, please take one and return it to Church before November 20th.

Thank you 



May I apologise to the person who contributed the ‘fruit and veg’ jokes but room this month is particularly tight, for a change.

Harvest Festivals


It’s one of the oldest and most traditional British festivals taking place at the time of the Harvest Moon, but other than gathering up tinned goods and taking them to church, what is harvest festival all about?

In the UK the harvest festival, also known as the harvest home, is traditionally celebrated on the Sunday nearest the harvest moon. This is the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox (22 or 23 September). Normally falling towards the end of September, or early October, the harvest festival is the closest thing we have to a day of thanksgiving. Although today we can plan a fixed day for this celebration, in the past the harvest festival differed, based on when all the crops had been brought in. The whole community, including children, needed to help right up until the end, as lives depended on the success of the harvest. 

Celebrating the harvest was once a pagan affair. Today’s church celebrations only began in earnest in Victorian times, when the Reverend Robert Stephen Hawker invited his parishioners to a special harvest thanksgiving service at the church in Morwenstow, Cornwall in 1843.

In centuries past, farmers would lay on a harvest feast and a corn dolly might be given place of honour and hung up in hope of a good harvest the following year. Long ago Anglo Saxon farmers believed the last sheaf of corn contained its spirit, and it would be sacrificed along with a hare usually found hiding in the field. A model of the hare was then made up using corn – and evolved to the dolly, said to represent the goddess or spirit of the grain.

The old West Country tradition of “Crying the Neck” was revived in Cornwall in the early Twenties. Dating back from times when crops would be hand harvested, a reaper would hold the last bundle of corn – sometimes known as the “neck” – aloft and cry out to the other harvesters. The corn was tied and kept in the parish church until the following spring.

Some harvesters felt it was bad luck to cut the last corn standing and farms would race to finish first and shout when they’d done it. Sometimes reapers would throw their sickles at the last corn until it was cut. Or they’d take turns to be blindfolded and sweep a scythe to and fro to finish.

Early English settlers took the idea of harvest thanksgiving to North America. “First Thanksgiving” was celebrated by the religious refugees from England known as the “Pilgrims” in 1621. They invited native Americans to a harvest feast at the Plymouth Plantation to celebrate a successful crop. Turkey wasn’t on the menu initially – instead the feast included goose, lobster, fish and deer.

Britain also celebrates the bounty of the sea as well as the land.

The word harvest normally makes us think of agriculture, but many harvest celebrations exist around the country that celebrate another type of reaping. There are about 24 festivals that give thanks for the fishing seasons. In October, in Billingsgate, London, there’s the Harvest of the Sea Thanksgiving, where fish and netting decorate the church. These festivals arose in many fishing towns and villages, where the locals depend largely on fishing for a living. A tradition in North Shields, during the Blessing of the Salmon Fishery, is to give the first salmon catch to the vicar.

Whitstable holds ceremonies to bless the seas during the town’s annual July oyster festival. Dozens of fish festivals are held around the UK’s coastal towns and villages, from Anglesey to Dorset to Rye Bay in East Sussex, where local scallops are on offer.

Michaelmas Day – also known as the feast of Saint Michael – celebrates the end of the harvest on 29 September.

From the first harvest celebration, to the last – St Michael’s Mass, on the 29th September, celebrates the end of the productive season. Also known as Michaelmas, it signifies a time when all the harvest should have been brought in. Historians say its beginnings can be traced to the 5th century when the cult of St Michael spread to Western Christianity. During the Middle Ages it was celebrated as a huge religious feast, and the harvest traditions grew from there. Fairs with market stalls and games, and churches decorated autumnal and gold, sprung up around this festive time. People also ate geese on this day, said to bring financial protection for the next year.  

Lammas day or Lughnasadh is the day to celebrate bread! On the 1st August locals were encouraged to take a loaf to the service to celebrate the first reaping of the crops. It’s the first wheat harvest festival of the year and celebrates the continuing summer, along with the beginnings of the first crop. It originated as a pagan festival, and the Celts celebrated the God of Lugh on this day. It was only later it became a festival for the harvest, and although it’s no longer very well known, some Christian and pagan communities still celebrate it.

Harvest festivals are held around the world from Australia to Sweden to India. In China the mid autumn festival is also known as the Moon festival. This custom is thought to hark back to ancient times when Chinese offered a sacrifice to the moon, a symbol of harmony and abundance. Families gather to eat traditional moon cakes and many folk tales centre around a moon maiden.



Items for the November edition of the Headlines

                                 can be sent via e-mail to

 terrykirkwood@virginmedia.com or by using the good old-fashioned methods of either popping it into the pigeonhole at church, through my front door or even by phoning me on 255 3771 but whatever method you use, can I have it no later than 15th October, please.

Thank you, 



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