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Dear friends,

In the run to Christmas, are you one of those people who has it all under control?  The sort of person who buys next year’s cards in the New Year sales, who has everything bought, wrapped, labelled and ready to be given out at the beginning of December. Or, are you someone who runs around in circles like Corporal Jones, in Dad’s Army, shouting ‘Don’t panic, don’t panic’? 

The truth is that most of us are somewhere in-between the two extremes.

Whether it be the Christmas festivities, the challenge of Brexit, or the General election, our response to such events reflects who we are and some of our deepest felt thoughts and emotions. Do we want to embrace the opportunities and challenges, or run away and hide until it is all over? We may find ourselves oscillating between the twos.

Dare we imagine God’s attitude and approach to the world before the first Christmas? Was there a willingness to embrace, get involved, to be immersed in the human experience? Or was there a judgemental separation, a giving up and a limiting of how love is shown and shared to the world?

From the start of time, the story of God’s approach to the world is one of involvement, openness and countless expressions of patient, passionate love towards all people; and the clearest expression of this is in the person of Jesus.

In the birth story of Jesus and throughout his life, not everything is neat, sorted and under control.  An unplanned pregnancy, a birth in a faraway place at the whim of the political powers of the day, the presence of soldiers on every street corner to keep order, the need to flee the infanticide and the life of the refugee for the young family, is enough to make anyone feel out of their depth.  Certainly it was far from an ordered, secure start to life. But one which sadly reflects everyday living for many in the world then and now.

In his life and ministry, Jesus had to be alert to the threats of those in authority as he challenged injustices and the established ways of thinking about God, which ultimately led to the cross. A far from ordered and organised life, but also a far from panicked one.  Rather a life of trust in the ways of God, a life waiting on God’s leading in prayer and silence, a life of active love and engagement especially among those on the margins.

So, whether you are organised, or feel anxious about all that needs doing, the Jesus way is one of embracing what life throws at us, in the context of God’s embrace of love, in which we learn to trust, to share and to hope in the mystery of the transforming kingdom let loose in the world.




Church Family News


Those who need our prayers at the moment:

Brian Payne, unfortunately is still in hospital at the time of writing.

While Shirley and Bryan Coates are struggling at home.

and Steve and Alison are always in our thoughts.

As are Hazel’s sister Joy and family.

Joan Rowe is stable at present and continuing chemotherapy for now, she has two further cycles (of three sessions) Our family are so appreciative of all your prayers and support. Thank you x

Caroline Levins is coming out of the darkness a bit now, and is appreciative of everyone's prayers and thoughts.

Happy News!

Chris Barker is getting baptized on Sunday 5th January, and he’ll be happy to see all his friends there.



Xmas !!

Xmas is a common abbreviation for the word Christmas.

In Greek the word Christ begins with the letter X or chi.

The ‘mass’ part is from the Latin word for Mass.

Services during December


Sunday 1st






Rev. Tim Crome

Holy Communion






Local Arrangement – Gathering


Sunday 8th





Mr Brian Speed

Gift Service Cafe Worship





Rev. Tim Crome

Holy Communion


Sunday 15th





Dr Keith Austin






Local Arrangement – Gathering


Sunday 22nd




Rev. Tim Crome

Carol Service





No Service at Banner Cross

Carol Service at Bents Green


Sunday 29th




Mr Chris Bishop





No Service

Services during January


Sunday 5th






Rev. Tim Crome

Holy Communion






Local Arrangement – Gathering


Sunday 12th





Mr David Green






Local Arrangement – Gathering


Sunday 19th




Mr Nick Waterfield

Parson Cross Initiative,

Food Poverty





Rev. Tim Crome

Carol Service


Sunday 26th




Rev. Michael Brown






Local Arrangement – Gathering


Angel rightOther Christmas Services

Saturday 21st

7.30pm; The Longest Night. A time for prayer, reflection or being silent.

Tuesday 24th

5.30pm; Christingle Service led by Rev Tim Crome.

Sunday Evening Worship


In late spring, the form of our Sunday Evening Worship changed.  As Jackie publicised at that time, the change was endorsed by the Worship Group and the Leadership Team, and attendees were consulted.  The changes came about because of the shortage of Local Preachers and also because of smaller congregations in the evening. 

A core group meets almost every Sunday evening from 6.30pm in Room 2 for no more than an hour.  The worship appears on the Preaching Plan as “Local Arrangement” (LA) but is also known as a “Gathering”.  The exception is a monthly Holy Communion which Rev Tim Crome leads. 

We would love it if more people could join us.  You should not be put off and assume you will be asked to lead a time of worship.  Come along anyway to enjoy worship and fellowship.  We always start with beverages and biscuits and sometimes, even cake!

The LAs/Gatherings take various forms:

  • there are some ‘ready-made’ services that can be used by anyone who would like to (ask Jackie for sight of these);
  • one person, a pair, or a small group can plan a time of worship;
  • there may be no-one to lead, but we still meet and all feel free to bring a topic, meditation or thought; something that we have read or which concerns us;
  • some of the Holy Habits resource booklets have very helpful suggestions for planning worship.  All the booklets suggest: songs, prayers and Bible readings for ‘their’ Holy Habit. 

Occasionally, there has not been any ‘worship’ in the formal sense.  Two films have been shown as part of the Holy Habits Programme. Stewart McIntosh was invited and spoke, very movingly, about the local charity he supports, ‘Friends of the Rowan School’. Other ideas for the future are: using a service prepared by representatives of ‘Action for Children’; an evening of favourite carols or songs; a discussion around one of the suggestions found in a Holy Habits resource booklet. There are many ideas suitable for Class Groups. Maybe a Class Group or other group would like to come to join in worship one Sunday evening, either to lead it, or to participate in an informal Gathering?

There will still be lists of dates pinned onto the noticeboards with a column for people to sign-up to lead, but to reiterate, don’t feel under pressure to lead the evening worship, come along anyway to give it a try.  As Jackie wrote in May, this is a very exciting time as we take responsibility for our evening LA/Gathering, in whatever form, to worship God and to share together.

Alison Russell


Advent Course 2019


This year we will follow the theme ‘The Messiah in Isaiah’.  The series has been put together by Rev Geoff Hayes from Great Harwood Methodist Circuit.

The sessions will start at 10.30am on Saturday mornings in Room 6.  They will be led by different people from the church.

All are welcome to all or some of the sessions (and you don’t have to have attended the first one on 23rd November).

The December sessions are as follows:

December 7th             The Great Light

December 14th           The Arising

December 21st           Get Ready


Read the Bible in a Year

 (or at least some of it)

From 1st January we are continuing our Holy Habit of 'Biblical Teaching' by encouraging you to read the Bible in a structured way.  We have a daily plan for the New, Old or both Testaments.  It works on five days a week, so either you get two days off, or have some catch-up time. We will also have short monthly meetings after Sunday morning worship for people to share how they are getting on to encourage one another.

Leaflets are in the foyer.


The magic of Christmas is not in the presents but in His presence.

Services, Events and Meetings at Banner Cross in December and January


The Holy Habit for December and January is

‘Eating Together’

Sunday 1st December

10.45am; Advent Sunday. Holy Communion Service led by Rev Tim Crome.

6.30pm; Local Arrangement – Gathering.

Monday 2nd December

7.30pm; Communications Group Meeting in Room 5.

Wednesday 4th December

7.30pm; Ladies Christmas Meal at the Toby Carvery in Dronfield.

Saturday 7th December

10.30am; Advent Course session 2 ‘The Great Light’ in Room 6.

Sunday 8th December

10.45am; Gift Service. Café Worship led by Mr Brian Speed.

6.30pm; Holy Communion led by Rev Tim Crome.

Saturday 14th December

10.30am; Advent Course session 3 ‘The Arising King’ in Room 6.

Sunday 15th December

10.45am; Morning Worship led by Dr Keith Austin. There will be Lunch after the service – further details to follow.

6.30pm; Local Arrangement – Gathering.

Saturday 21st December

10.30am; Advent Course final session ‘Get Ready’ in Room 6.

7.30pm; The Longest Night. A time for prayer, reflection or being silent.

Sunday 22nd December

10.45am; Carol Service.

Carol Singing at The Banner Cross pub, 971 Ecclesall Road – time to be decided.

Tuesday 24th December

5.30pm; Christingle Service led by Rev Tim Crome.

Wednesday 25th December

10.30am; Christmas Morning Service at Bents Green Methodist Church led by Rev Tim Crome.

Saturday 28th December

4pm; Afternoon Tea followed by the Christmas Family film Nativity in Worship Room 1.

Sunday 29th December

10.45am; Morning Worship, led by Mr Chris Bishop. No evening worship.

Wednesday 1st January

10.30am; New Year’s Day, Church Walk from the Rowe Family’s home. A round walk of approx. five miles, then back for soups and festive snacks. Further details in this magazine from Chris Rowe.

Sunday 5th January

10.45am Holy Communion with Baptism led by Rev Tim Crome. 

6.30pm; Local Arrangement – Gathering.

Wednesday 8th January

7.30pm Worship Group Meeting in Room 5 – all are welcome.

Sunday 12th January

10.45am; Morning Worship led by Mr David Green.

6.30pm; Local Arrangement – Gathering.

Thursday 16th January

7.30pm; Holy Habits Planning Group Meeting in Room 5 – all are welcome.

Sunday 19th January

10.45am; Morning Worship when we welcome Mr Nick Waterfield from the Parson Cross Initiative.

Lunch after the service - further details to follow.

6.30pm; Holy Communion Service led by Rev Tim Crome.

Sunday 26th January

10.45am; Morning Worship led by Rev Michael Brown.

6.30pm; Local Arrangement – Gathering.

Wednesday 29th January

An evening event for the Holy Habit of ‘Biblical Teaching’.  Rev Tim Crome leads a gathering to talk more about: ‘The 7 Models of Biblical Authority’; and also, the book, ‘The Great Spiritual Migration’. Start-time to be advised.

Information correct as at 18th November 2019. Some events are subject to change. 

There is also a Calendar on the noticeboards in the foyer and in the coffee lounge which is updated approx. every two weeks.


New Year's Day 2020

Walk and Lunch

This New Year's Day our Church Walk will be from our house on Psalter Croft, please meet us at the end of our drive (first left over Psalter Lane/ corner of Hunter House) at 1030 am. We'll be going on a round walk, down to and through Endcliffe Park and Whitely Woods to Forge Dam, up to Ringinglow and back to ours (approx. 5 miles) for soups and festive snackettes. I'll put a sign-up sheet in the porch because numbers would be helpful please.

Chris and Jono x


A Place to Call Home

‘’Sing for Shelter’’


At the beginning of this year all choirs in the UK were invited to take part in singing and recording (and uploading) a song called ‘’A Place to Call Home’’ which was written by a 24 year old young man (already with loads of credits to his name!) called Alex Woolf.

One of our choir leaders in our Gospel Choir, Majesty, Michelle, arranged for us to do just that and finally her husband Rob recorded our version on 20th May.

At the same time, again this was a national invitation, if you wanted to, you could go to London in October to the Coliseum Theatre to “record it properly’’ with singers from all over the UK.

At first I wasn’t even that bothered and almost didn’t go. (Indeed none of the other Banner Cross members were able to go, for various reasons). However the choir funds were able to pay for our train fares, which was really helpful, and six of us went down to represent Majesty.

To say the day exceeded our expectations was an understatement. We knew we’d have a good laugh/time together etc, we’ve all been friends for years, but recording the song was truly one of my favourite days ever.

The Coliseum Theatre was beautiful, the soloists were Bryn Terfel, Lesley Garret and Alice who is the lead alto at the theatre, we got to meet Alex Woolf and talk with him at the end, the theatre is home to the English National Orchestra and the EN Opera and both were phenomenal. We did twenty-five takes, which was exhausting for everyone.

We had a meal together and were happy, but very tired bunnies, on the train home.

The song will be released on Friday 6th December and I urge you to please download or buy it. It could then be a Christmas Number One, and if it is, all the proceeds will directly help homeless people. And do look out for all the publicity that week too.

Chris Rowe


It will soon be the holiday season, so here is a …….

Christmas Food Quiz

  1. What is a female turkey called?
  2. Which spirit is traditionally added to butter and served with Christmas Pudding?
  3. What is Stir-Up Sunday?
  4. Stollen is the traditional fruit cake of which country?
  5. What is the name of the skin that hangs from a turkey’s neck?
  6. What is the name given to small sausages wrapped in bacon?
  7. In which direction should you stir mincemeat for luck?
  8. Who made famous the song ‘Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire’?
  9. Mince pies might have been introduced by European crusaders returning from the Middle East in which century?
  10. The Scots eat ‘neeps’ on Burns Night, but what is it?

Answers on page 20

Final Session from

Autumn’s Methodist Synod

Last month Janet and I wrote about three of the ‘’speed’’ sessions we attended at the Methodist synod in Doncaster in September.

There was one more, which I went to and which I was really interested in. This was a Celebration of Building Users, basically, a Service to celebrate and give thanksgiving for all the groups who use the church during the week.

Leaders and representatives from each were invited, the “experts’’ in this case were from the Victoria Hall. If the leaders wanted to speak about their group they could do. If they didn’t want to talk then Minister spoke about each organisation, with their favourite songs being used appropriately.

It was an enjoyable morning with a full church, and refreshments offered afterwards.

Please give some feedback to Janet and I about the four sessions, we are willing to take them forward if there is enough enthusiasm. To remind you, Janet loved the sessions about the Chair Exercise and Afternoon Tea and another about Board Games, and my other one was The Men’s Breakfast.

Chris Rowe



On a rainy morning at 7am, the week of the last floods some of us went to Thursford to see a Christmas Extravaganza and we were very excited despite the early start and the horrible weather.

Our coach started at Knowle lane and went to Chesterfield to pick up some other folk from Derbyshire.

The two feeder coaches were stuck in floods and were over an hour late so we started to get rather fed up but at last we were on our merry way travelling towards Sleaford going through gigantic puddles in the roads and under bridges. The water got so deep as we splashed on, the coach broke down and we were stranded!

Apparently the water had gone into the electrics and there was nothing to be done but wait to be rescued, and it wasn't too long before a local coach company showed up and we made the show in the nick of time.

It was all worth it because the show was spectacular and it gave us something to talk about for a few days and it won't put us off going again.

from Jemima Puddleduck


Ellesmere Show March 2020

We’ve had such a lovely evening out at this show for several years now. If you haven’t been before do join us.

Ellesmere is the Theatre Group which Linda is involved with (backstage) and Jane Jefferson-Blythe from our Little Fish team normally takes a lead role.

This year the show is 42nd Street and it’s on Wednesday 11th to Saturday 14th (we traditionally go on the Thursday, so 12th.) at the Montgomery Theatre. We often go to the Crucible Corner for tea beforehand.

The reason I want to collect names soon is that we can take advantage of the Early Bird offer of £13 if we’re all sorted by the New Year.

Please let me know if you would like to come.

Chris Rowe


Film Shows

We're very fortunate that some folk are willing to give up their precious time to put these films on for us on Saturday afternoons and it would be appreciated if more people attended this friendly gathering.  We know by now it's a form of discipleship banding together and enjoying one another's company.

The film "Chocolat" from the book of the same title by Joanna Harris was brilliant and in the interval Rachel had put bowls of chocolate for us to taste. Yes we were forced to eat lots and lots of chocolate trying SO hard to decide which one's we preferred. It was such a difficult task we had to keep going back for more.!

All in all it was a chocoholics dream and an enjoyable afternoon but sadly not very well attended. Such a shame so please try to make these occasions work.

From "a film buff"


Wildlife Garden

December update

As I was walking up the drive to church recently, I noticed that one of the two Holly trees we have in the garden was covered in berries. The other had none. Mentioning this fact to a couple of members I had to explain why. The reason is that the trees are dioecious. Dioecious species have the male and female reproductive structures on separate plants. This is quite a rare phenomenon and there are less than fifty native British species. Some of the commoner ones are Ash, Mistletoe, Sea Buckthorn, Common Thistle, Butterbur, Red Campion, White Campion, Crowberry, Black Bryony and White Bryony. The Latin name for Common Nettle is Urtica dioica. Dioica denoting dioecious.

At our last Eco Meeting we discussed improving the garden at the side of the drive. It was decided to remove some of the Ivy, which had over-run this garden bed, so that there was somewhere to plant the Remembrance crosses. It is also planned to remove the rest of the Ivy in the bed, so that it can be replanted with flowers.

I have looked round the garden and found the following herbs :- Bay, Sage Chives, Rosemary, Lemon Balm, and Lavender. If any wishes to pick them for personal use, please help youselves. If anyone can supply roots of Mint and Marjoram they will add to our plant stock, and would also attract bees and other insects.

Andrew Watchorn

Leadership Team

Report for AGM – November 2019


We meet approximately every six weeks.  We always begin our meetings with some devotions and prayers, some of them for individual pastoral needs. There are always concerns to address brought back from other meetings which we have to act on – such as circuit news and other church meetings – we break things down and/or work out ways of presenting them in interesting and understandable ways to the wider church family.

A lot of our time is spent focussing on social events, the preparation of food and eating together, including how best to advertise these.  Recently, of course, much of this centres around the Holy Habits. 

This year has seen the purchase of our new sound and vision system and we are soon to arrange further training for its use. 

Recently much of our attention has been given to minor refurbishments and making our building more user-friendly and welcoming.  Examples are planning to order some new chairs and the recent redecorating of the vestry, with other plans in the making. 

We discuss all the special services and celebrations and often have actions from the Worship Group to address.

And, of course, everyone’s favourite subject – rotas!  Rachel has some great ideas for the way forward here, which should help with the general lack of staffing. 

This is just a snapshot of some of what we do in LT. 

We appreciate everyone’s help, support and prayers.  We couldn’t do any of this if it weren’t for the hard work, often behind the scenes, of so many of our wonderful church family.

Chris Rowe

for the Leadership Team


The magic of Christmas never ends and its greatest of gifts are family and friends.

Merry be your Christmas. Peaceful be your home. Joyful be your family, blessed be each one.

Communications Group

Report for AGM November 2019


The Communications Group, chaired by the Minister, is open to everyone. We discuss how we can improve the ways in which we communicate as Banner Cross Methodist Church, both internally; with our user groups and partners; and externally with our local community, and indeed the wider world.  

Over the past year, the group has considered the following issues:

Making the Church Look Open and Welcoming

Shoeprints A template has been chosen and paint (for use on roads) ordered. In the first instance, shoeprints will be painted leading to the back entrance to the church. This will be done on a fine Sunday afternoon when there are no cars in the car park. It has been suggested that the white lines marking out car park spaces should also be re-painted.


Welcome Audit Report Paula Jones’s report, written after the Weekend in Castleton about Fellowship, was discussed in July, and it has been agreed that the Leadership Team should discuss it too, so that suggested action points are met where possible. 

External Communications

The posters on the ‘Wayside Pulpit’ large board at the front of the church are changed regularly so that the public are aware of what is going on in our church. Janet and Paula will go to “Fastsigns” to find out if they can produce and also erect a two-sided noticeboard in the front corner so that information is visible from both Glenalmond Road and Ecclesall Road South. The existing board on Blair Athol Road needs replacing. It has also been suggested that there should be a board at the back, above the window of Room 5 saying ‘Entrance’ and pointing to it. 

Tim Wilson is researching setting up a new website and he is also maintaining the current one.  The main aim is for the new website to be clear and precise, with more pictures and fewer words.

Banner Headlines We hope that articles reflect what is going on within our Church, our outreach work, and aspects of individuals’ lives. The Editorial Team are always keen to receive contributions and for any volunteer to join them. Future services and events are publicised in each issue so as many people as possible are aware of what is being planned. There are 10 issues a year and 148 copies are printed per issue. Copies of the magazine are distributed to neighbouring churches and we shall be revisiting the distribution list in the near future to ensure it is as up-to-date as possible.

Internal Communications

New, larger noticeboards are in place in the Coffee Lounge and Porch and are well used. It has been suggested that new internal signage would be useful and stressed that the Property Committee would need costings before any are produced. The group strives to ensure that only current and relevant notices, flyers and leaflets are placed in our church. Meeting-notes from most groups are pinned onto the ‘Minutes’ noticeboard in the coffee lounge. There is also a board advertising the activities of our user-groups. A comprehensive list of the contents of all our noticeboards has been publicised in Weekly Diaries and in Banner Headlines. Readers have also been made aware of the location of Christian books, children’s books, and there is a small bookcase in the coffee lounge where books recommended by the editors of the Holy Habits resource booklets are placed. Our events and activities relating to the Holy Habits Programme are pinned onto a display board in Worship Room 1. 

Daniel Tomlinson produces the Weekly Diary.  Notices should be sent to him no later than Thursday evening. 

The date of the next meeting is Monday 2nd December, 7.30 pm in Room 5. At present, the group is only small.  It is open to all and it would be very helpful if more people could come along to join the discussions. 

Alison Russell

for the Communications Group


Christmas Acrostic

C is for the child born that night to be our light.

H is for holy is His name.

R is for rejoice with gladness and joy.

I is for Immanuel, God with us.

S is for the star that led the wise men to Him.

T is for the truth and grace that was sent our way.

M is for Mary laying Him in swaddling clothes in a manger.

A is for Angels singing songs of joy.

S is for salvation.

Escafeld Chorale

Registered charity No. 1110334


Conductor: Nigel Russell-Sewell

Organ: Joshua Stephens          Soprano: Sarah Leffler

Baritone: Johanny Day


Christmas Fantasia


Seasonal music and words

Presented in association with the South Yorkshire

Motor Neurone Disease Association


St Andrew’s Psalter Lane

Tuesday 10th December 2019 at 7.30pm


Tickets (including seasonal refreshments) £10

(concessions £8; students £4; accompanied under 16s free)

Available via the website, on the door, from choir members,

or telephone 07383 007 429



Myth-busting Christmas facts

  • The abbreviation Xmas isn’t irreligious. The letter X is a Greek abbreviation for Christ.
  • For a christmas to be officially classified as “white” a single snow flake needs to be observed falling in the 24 hours of 25th December on the rooftop of the Met Office HQ in London.
  • During the 20th century there were only seven official white Christmases in the United Kingdom. The chances of a White Christmas in London this year? 6%.
  • Ebenezer Scrooge’s famous line “Bah Humbug” almost never existed. Charles Dickens’ initial choice was “Bah Christmas”. Glad he changed it.
  • On Christmas Eve in 2001, the Bethlehem Hotel had 208 of its 210 rooms free.
  • The Star of Bethlehem - the one the wise men followed to find the little baby Jesus - was probably a comet, or the planet Uranus

Christmas facts from around the world

  • Santa Claus has different names around the world - Kriss Kringle in Germany, Le Befana in Italy, Pere Noel in France and Deushka Moroz (Grandfather Frost) in Russia.
  • Japanese people traditionally eat at KFC for Christmas dinner, thanks to a successful marketing campaign 40 years ago. KFC is so popular that customers must place their Christmas orders 2 months in advance.
  • During the Christmas of 2010, the Colombian government covered jungle trees with lights. When FARC guerrillas (terrorists) walked by, the trees lit up and banners asking them to lay down their arms became visible. 331 guerrillas re-entered society and the campaign won an award for strategic marketing excellence.
  • There is a village in Peru where people settle the previous year’s grudges by fist fighting. They then start the new year off on a clean slate.
  • A large part of Sweden’s population watches Donald Duck cartoons every Christmas Eve – a tradition that started in 1960.


A Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to everyone.

Answers to Christmas Food Quiz

  1. A hen
  2. Brandy
  3. Stir-Up Sunday is the last Sunday before Advent when cooks spend the day stirring up their Christmas Pudding
  4. Germany
  5. A wattle
  6. Pigs in blankets
  7. Clockwise
  8. Nat King Col
  9. The 13th Century
  10. A dish of mashed swede


Items for the December and January editions 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 January please. Thank you,


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Page last updated: 6th December 2019 8:08 PM