Each year, September 16th marks the start of a very special countdown.
The summer months fade into a distant memory and as the air gets colder and the evenings get darker, the reality is it’s only 100 days until Christmas.
The cash conscious adult masks the excited child in us, and the “to buy” list seems to grow as the days tick by…
But don’t panic, we’ve got you covered. Christmas may drain your energy but it doesn’t have to drain your bank account.
We have put together some top tips to make January a little more manageable, whilst still achieving the magic of Christmas.
1. D.I.Y – Everyone knows the Christmas bill would be much smaller if everything were handmade.
However, in reality – we aren’t all Christmas elves and our everyday jobs aren’t put on hold just for the festive period.
We suggest batch making presents, and then personalising them slightly for friends and relatives.
Some popular ideas are festive chutneys and biscuits – this way the gift will be truly appreciated and a quarter of the price!
2. Christmas cupboard – Allocate a storage space in your home and collect festive treats and goodies.
Grabbing one or two items from each weekly shop leading up to December will dramatically reduce the size of your last-minute Christmas Eve shopping list.
3. Don’t rely on the December income – Work out in advance what you can afford to put aside in September, October and November, then add this to your December fund and your Christmas budget will stretch much further.
Don’t forget you’ll still have bills to pay in January.
4. Book in advance – If you’re planning on travelling for Christmas, whether it’s coming home from University or a getaway to visit relatives, booking ahead is the key to the getting the best price.
Train tickets, flights and accommodation will rocket in costs around the festive period, so do your research now and steal the deals.
5. Don’t buy things that don’t get eaten – Resist the temptation as you stroll the supermarket aisles to pick up everything that is mildly related to Christmas.
Things like Christmas cake may be traditional but they aren’t everyone’s favourite. If they’re likely to end up in the bin, don’t waste your money!
6. Don’t procrastinate! – It’s tempting to ignore the fact that Christmas exists until it’s staring you in the face, get ahead of the game now and start your prep early.
Team up with family members and plan in advance, you could group your funds together to buy a big present for a member of the family that you wouldn’t be able to buy alone.
Living with unmanageable debt can be crippling and our centre based at Fulwood Free Methodist Church is here to help you. You can email the Centre Manager, Lisa Bell at email@example.com for further information on our CAP Money Course, and getting Debt Help.
For more information about CAP’ s services, or to find a CAP Money Course or CAP Debt Centre near you, check out capuk.org or free phone 0800 328 0006.
LIVING THE TRANSFORMED LIFE
In Spring, as part of our year of Digging Deeper, we took an in-depth look at the first part of the letter to the Ephesians.
We begin our Autumn Sunday mornings by looking at chapters 4 to 6 over 3 Sundays to find out how we can practically live out the TRANSFORMED LIFE we learned about in chapter 1 to 3.
THE LORD’S PRAYER PATTERN | “Lord, teach us to pray.”
Our year of Digging Deeper in 2016 has taken us into God’s word in a new way through TRANSFORMED LIFE and the letter to the Ephesians. In Summer, we dug deeper into God the Holy Spirit as we have learned who He is and how He works in our lives. Our third key to Digging Deeper is prayer.
We continue our Sunday mornings in the Autumn by learning all we can from the LORD’S PRAYER PATTERN and find out that prayer is a beautiful blessing and a privilege which brings us into a deeper friendship with God than we could ever imagine.
LIVING FOR PURE PLEASURE
One of the most significant cultural shifts of the last 30 to 40 years has been a move towards a pleasure based, leisure based society. Life fulfilment is about adventures, not careers, getting not giving, defining who I am by what I enjoy, not in how I can serve.
We believe God has made us for PURE PLEASURE! But what does this look like from a Christian, Biblical perspective?
Our Autumn evening services will tackle some of the big issues our society readily embraces so we can enjoy life as God intended!
John 10:10 “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” The Message
This Sunday we launch into the new term with four opportunities to gather.
As it’s no longer August we will be returning to two Morning Gatherings at 9:15am and 11:00am when Andrew Gardner will be our speaker. Energize and Ignite return and hopefully there will be some sausage butties on offer. We’ll also be sharing in Communion together.
At 3:00pm it’s the monthly Afternoon Gathering when it will be Malcolm Handforth speaking.
Then at 6:30pm it’s Ian Clarkson’s turn to speak.
We’d love to see you there.
Last year, James and Sarah Kewley took on the role of ‘Inclusion Co-ordinators’ at Fulwood Free Methodist Church. James was a primary school teacher, but most recently works as an advisory teacher supporting schools to include children with additional needs. Sarah has worked in special schools and now works as a support worker for adults with learning disabilities within their own homes. They say:
“It is vital that children and adults with disabilities feel not only included, but valued and equal within the church environment. We recognise that people with autism and other additional needs might struggle to cope in this lively place so our aim is to offer a safe haven for those seeking a quiet, more structured zone. Within the church, we are raising awareness towards those with additional needs; this means supporting the leaders of different church activities such as, Toddlers, Energize, Impact, and Sunday Services, to promote inclusion. We set up a core team of people, each with a real heart and desire to enable every person with a disability to be included in church life and activities.”
Many of the adults who lead children’s and youth work have completed training with us. This raised awareness of different additional needs. We gave ‘top tip’ strategies to support inclusion, including awareness of the needs of carers, parents and siblings of the child. Our resources for ‘Energize’ (Junior Church) include a sensory tent and a visual timetable which are currently being successfully used to support children with additional needs.
We value your opinion as our team moves carefully forward. If you have any questions or ideas as to how FFMC could support you, your family or friends with disabilities then please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Roller continues his Whole Earth Stories looking at events recorded in Luke 18:
It’s a short little door, the door into heaven. Big puffed-up people won’t fit. Seems to be some connection here between the children and the sincerity of the tax collector. 3 minutes of deep thoughts.
Pan de Vida (Bread of Life) is a charity which exists to serve the poor of Quito in Ecuador.
In a ‘normal’ week the Pan de Vida house sees over 400 men, women and children who come for physical and spiritual nourishment. On 16th April 2016 a severe earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, struck the Pacific coastal region of Ecuador. As a result:
- 660 people lost their lives.
- 73,000 people were displaced of whom 33,000 remain homeless.
- 7,000 buildings were destroyed and 560 schools have been damaged.
The earthquake caused massive destruction to the coastal areas and several strong aftershocks. Many hundreds of people now live outdoors in makeshift tents with no protection against mosquitoes or the heat. They have no running water or sanitation and very little food.
Pan de Vida immediately called for emergency supplies and food from their supporters and contacts. Two loads of food, water and other essentials were dispatched during May to the earthquake zone. The costs were met by specific donations. The aid was distributed through Pan de Vida’s contacts with local churches in the area. 692 families have received help and 1319 ’emergency kits’ (food, water, nappies and other baby items) were distributed.
The VISA team from Fulwood will help to distribute another shipment when they visit the area in August. They will join a group of teenagers from Quito with whom they will run a short children’s programme for displaced youngsters.