JUDITH C.H.N. (Judith Hannah Meredith)
Sister Judith died on 16th February 2015, aged 94. She was professed in the Community of the Holy Name on 31st August 1950 (the feast of St Aidan – and a love for the North East remained with her all her life). In those early days, when sisters often ‘gave up’ their baptismal name along with everything else, she was known ‘in religion’ - for some obscure reason – as Gillian (pronounced with a hard G). She had worked in the civil service during the war years and came with many gifts and qualities.
Her 64+ years of prayer and ministry took her to many places – our branch houses in Birmingham, Brighton, Wellingborough, Chester, Torquay, Cardiff, West Malvern, Newcastle, Nottingham, Peterborough, Keswick and Oakham – to Newcastle University as chaplain and briefly to Lesotho. She was involved in many parish missions over the years.
There were other times when Judith was based at the Convent initially in Malvern and later in Derby - serving the community as housekeeper, choir-mistress, infirmarian, assistant superior and bursar – brilliantly overseeing our move from Malvern to Oakwood (1988-90). Finally, aged 87, she became pastoral sister to the frail and elderly members of the community, many younger than she was!
Judith was indeed multi-skilled and multi-talented; she had energy, strong opinions and political clout (some of us thought she should have been a politician!) and a true sense of fairness and justice. She was loyal and totally committed to the job in hand. Her wisdom and integrity, kindness, gentleness and ongoing encouragement endeared her to us – and we will miss her immensely.
May she rest in peace and rise in glory.
Can you remember what you were doing 50 years before 20il March 2015 – the day of the eclipse?
Sister Charity can – for it was the day on which she made her Profession (took her vows) in the Community of the Holy Name.
We celebrate her faithfulness to those vows and give thanks for her mission work in many different places during those 50 years.
The Spikes at Selfridges
Sister Diana CHN writes about a planned protest in Manchester City Centre
There had been press reports about spikes installed by Selfridges in Manchester on a ledge at the side of their store in Manchester (only a few yards away from the Cathedral) to prevent the homeless – and anyone else for that matter – sitting down there. A lot of people had said how outraged they felt about it. An on-line petition was launched, attracted thousands of signatures and received coverage on national television.
A group of clergy and others wished to make our opposition to this known in a clear but peaceful non-confrontational way. So a letter was sent to Selfridges expressing our concerns and a Sit Down was organised for Thursday 26 Feb at 1.15 pm.
As Sr Jean and I made our way to the rendez-vous point outside the Cathedral we stopped to talk to Chris (Big Issue seller) and bought his last-but-one copy. He was very excited – not only was he selling the Big Issue but he also featured in it – complaining about the spikes and about how badly he is treated by Selfridges, even though his appointed pitch is outside their store. ! But the chief cause of his excitement was that the spikes had been removed.
So, instead of Sitting Down, we went into Selfridges to deliver a letter thanking the management for acting so quickly and removing the spikes. We then went to Sit Down in triumph in ProperTea (Cathedral Café) for a cup of tea!
(Click here for the Manchester Evening News report on this)
Revised Cottage Deposits
At the suggestion of several guests, and with the approval of the Trustee Body, from 1st April 2015 all deposits on bookings for the guest cottage, whether for a group or an individual, will be equalised at £15 per person. Thank you.
Sister Judith RIP
It was a glorious sunny spring day - a gift on which to celebrate the life of our Sister Judith CHN and pray that she may rest in peace and that we, her sisters, family and friends, may be comforted as we mourn her death.
We all have our individual memories of Judith and the impact she had on our lives. In some ways she was a formidable woman with so many gifts and talents that she could turn her hand to everything that was asked of her. She was a matural leader and had much wisdom, knowledge, understanding and experience with a good dose of practical common sense thrown in for good measure. She was reliable, caring, kind and gentle and although she was a person of strong opinions, these were tempered by her sense of justice and fairness.
Above all and underpinning all Judith did was her deep love and faithfulness to her Lord. This love and care she poured out on all she met and she vslued and cherished each one. She will be greatly missed. RIP.
Into A Growing Fellowship
It was a great delight to admit Mrs Jane Wibberley into the Fellowship of the Holy Name during the lunchtime Eucharist on Tuesday 3rd March.
She has been attending one of the Julian Groups which meet at the Convent. She now joins her sister in the Fellowship.
She is pictured here with Sr Pauline Margaret in the convent chapel. She has committed herself to a Rule of Life and received an FHN cross to remind her of the promises she has made.
am F February was a day of celebrations for the Community. Sisters Marjorie Jean and Barbara gave thanks to God for his faithfulness to them, as they reached the 60il anniversary of their Professions. Sister Marjorie Jean worked in Liberia as a young sister and was one of the pioneer sisters of the Community’s work in Lesotho, travelling around the country to find sales outlets for the woven goods of the Leribe Craft Centre which worked with disabled young women.
Sister Barbara has spent much of her time on missions in various parts of the country and, over the years, has lived in many of the mission and branch houses, as well as spending time with our Zululand sisters.
They both received a special blessing at the lunchtime Eucharist and rejoiced in God’s continuing call to them as we sang, “I, the Lord of sea and sky.”
Later we celebrated God’s faithfulness to another member of the Community, Sister Joy, as we received her body into chapel, in preparation for her funeral the following day. Sister Joy was a good, kind person with a wealth of life experience, always the same, very supportive to each one. A dependable being, always ready with a listening ear and a wicked sense of humour which she kept right up until the end: telling the anaesthetist that if she died she would not come back to haunt him and singing “O Mr Porter” while waiting to go down to the operating theatre. She leaves a big hole in our lives.
A Generous Afternoon in Peterborough
Friday afternoon I turned out as usual wrapped up to the eyes in order to spend a cold afternoon in the City centre talking and praying with the people of Peterborough. The team, who come from all different churches and backgrounds met as usual in St John’s Church for a short time of prayer and a working out of what exactly we were going to do. Often we give something to people – a stone, sometimes painted sometimes not; some chocolate or sweets, a card with a bible verse on it, but this day we had nothing to give. Chris the team leader explained that we had gone over budget that month so we would have to make do, so the decision was made to split into two teams with one team staying on the square offering free hugs. This is a surprisingly popular enterprise – so many people want a hug! The other team would set off on a ‘prayer walk’ around the city. We would rotate at the midpoint so we all kept moving to keep us warm!
Three of us set off to the local high rise car park where there had been a number of suicides in recent months. We had prayed here before Christmas and since then no one – praise God – had succumbed. We thought we might go and ‘refresh’ the prayer. It was very cold up there – a bright but very cold windy day and we stood together and prayer for around ten minutes and all three of us were glad to have done it – prayer is a powerful thing and we hope that God will protect any who go up there.
We swapped over with the team on the square and began to hand out hugs! Not long after we had started we were approached by the man who sells flowers and plants on the square regularly – he had some roses over; did we want them to give away? Yes, we’d be glad to, thinking it would be a handful. Chris went off to his stall and he gave us a huge box full of red roses, at least 50. We were so grateful for his generosity; we were convinced that God had been aware of our lack of resource! We had a fine time handing out the roses to people, talking with them when they asked why we were giving roses away and sending them away with a smile on their faces.
A young woman approached us and asked if we were the ones who had been handing out keys a couple of months before. We had been using the keys to illustrate that Christ is the key to the door of heaven. She told us with tears in her eyes that the key and what it stood for had made such a difference to her life that it had been a turning point for her and she still carried the key around with her.
In St John’s at the end of the afternoon the whole team had been energised by our work that day. God’s grace had been poured out. The prayer on the car park, the generosity of the flower man, the grace given to the young woman (we so often pray with people and have no idea of outcomes). Every so often a day comes along where God seems more present than usual and his work more obvious. Friday was such a day, when we all were blessed to work for God and for God to work through us. May we be blessed with many more!
Sister Catherine CHN
A special commemorative edition of CHN's regular magazine has been published this year - running to 40 pages, it gives an abbreviated history of CHN's life and witness and is liberally illustrated with photographs from the Community's archives. It includes sections on:
- the early history and life out in the parishes
- the Community's houses and homes
- the move to Malvern
- the move to Derby
- different callings
- CHN abroad
Sister Pauline Margaret, the Provincial Superior, says in her introduction, 'the constant in this brochure is 'Christ the same, yesterday, today and for ever.' The present is about the presence of Jesus in our daily lives, through thick and thin, clarity and fog, confidence and confusion, joy and pain. Reflecting on the past can help us to hold on to that reality."
Much of the text of the magazine is extracted from the original manuscript of 'Portrait of a Community' written by Sister Constance CHN (RIP) and published in 1972. This manuscript was heavily edited at that time and the Comunity hopes to publish a revised and updated version of the complete manuscript later this year under the title, 'What's in a Name?'
Copies of the Commemorative Magazine may be collected from the Convent of the Holy Name, Morley Road, Oakwood, Derby DE21 4QZ at a cost of £3 or ordered from www.chnderby.org, by ringing 01332 671716 (option 1) or by post. Postage & packing costs £1.20 per copy.
This year on 30th June it will be 150 years since the first Sister was professed in St Peter’s Church Vauxhall, and the Community of the Holy Name came into being.
In 2015 it will be 25 years since the Community moved to Derby, from its previous home in Malvern Link.
Several celebrations are planned to take place during the course of the year
- Saturday 9th May 2 – 5 pm - Open Garden at the Convent. Teas, stalls, bouncy castle etc. an event for local families.
- 28th June CHN Sisters join St Peter’s Vauxhall for their patronal festival - celebrant and preacher Sisters CHN.
- Friday 7th August (Holy Name Day)Thanksgiving Eucharist in Derby Cathedral at 11.30 - celebrant and preacher Dr Rowan Williams.
The year got off to a good start with a New Year’s Coffee and log fire to which our neighbours were invited.
A magazine outlining the history and work of the Community has been published – cost £3.
Available from the Convent or by post.
A revised and updated version of the complete history under the title ‘What’s in a Name?’ will be published during the course of the year.
It was good to receive a fax from our Sisters in CHN's Zululand Province, outlining some of their recent activities.
- 31st October - Service and Fellowship with the committee of the Associates of CHN Zululand.
- Visit of the retired Rt. Revd. N.F.Mbhele and his wife.
- 22nd November - one of the Isaia Project's children held a Thanksgiving Service at her Home (The Isaia Project helps children orphaned by AIDS). She completed a teaching degree last year and is currently teaching physics in one of the schools at Empangeni. She donated a huge washing machine to the Community. Her cousin, Ntobeko Njoko (also an Isaia orphan) donated a sewing machine.
- 1st December - Mother Jabu, Sr. Thandazile and Bishop Dino and his wife all went to visit St Paul's Community, Mozambique, and met the Bishop of Lebombo, Rt. Revd.Carlos.
- Sr.Patricia was awarded two trophies and a laptop for being the Facilitator of the Year in the Soul Buddyz Programme. This year they built a beautiful 6-bedroomed house in Nongoma for orphans and their grandmother. They were sponsored by Soul City and Transnet Foundation.
We pray for them as they celebrate their main Feast of the Holy Name on 1st January, as they enjoy midsummer weather, and in their discussions and Chapter in the following few days, and pray too for the esotho Province of CHN as they meet together.
JUSTICE AND PEACE JOTTINGS from CHN Manchester
September – December 2014
Over the past 3 - 4 months we have been involved in the following –
We both went to the opening service (in St Anne’s church, Manchester city centre) for the Labour Party Conference - which happened to be happening in Manchester so we were ‘in situ’. The speaker was Ruth Valerio from A Rocha. At the end of the service we had possibly 3 minutes in the presence of an up-beat (at that point) Ed Milliband and we then got caught up in the Global People’s Climate March and were photographed holding Anti-Fracking banners. Jean attended a fringe event at the local Quakers’ meeting house the following day which focussed on the question – Does Politics need the support of faith groups (Muslims, Hindus, Christians)? Not sure what conclusion they reached.
We are both members of the St Chrysostom’s Justice and Peace Group, which meets monthly. Recent discussions have included
- the Israel /Palestine situation
- mental health issues and how the church can best respond
- TTIP (proposed new Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) which could have serious repercussions for the UK as it aims to increase privatisation and allow business corporations to sue governments should they legislate in the interests of the public or the environment in a way that damages their profits. Jean also spent a morning outside Aldi raising awareness of this through leafleting.
Jean Mary continues her involvement with Amnesty International. She is the is local co-ordinator for the Burma Campaign and is involved in other group actions, including the Stop Torture Campaign (Amnesty’s main campaign for 2014), work for Afghan Women’s Rights and Write for Rights (letter writing campaign which has superseded the former Christmas Greetings campaign).
Diana (and Barbara) attended a meeting convened by Bishop Alastair in Derby Church House during which he expressed concerns about Human Trafficking and people who are ending up on the streets of Derby as a result. Bp A cited the work of RC communities in this area, particularly in London and was planting seeds for the implementation of some project/ support group in the Derby diocese. There is to be a follow-up meeting at the Convent in December.
The Medaille Trust has a hostel for people who have been trafficked - near St Chrysostom’s church here in Manchester. Occasionally residents appear in church and Diana has spent time at their house with a group of 3 very diverse women (from Latvia, Sierra Leone and Ghana) at an art group - and we have plans to visit with Mary, Joseph and Puzzle the donkey in Advent.
We both took part in a Holocaust Study Day at the Menorah Synagogue in Altrincham, arranged by the council of Christians and Jews – lots of input and a good contribution to inter-faith relations.
Diana attended a day conference Faith in Health, organised by Faith in Action and concerned with issues of health and community. There was an opening address by Daniel Singleton, CEO of Faith Action (which is a partner of the Dept of Health) who focussed on the role of churches/religious groups in social action – food banks, counselling etc. – as most faith groups have a duty to the poor, the widow and orphan. Workshops included
- info about the local TLC project at St Luke’s church, Longsight (emphasis on holistic range of services, part funded by the Arts Council). Many service users have mental health issues.
- Exploring dementia
- End of life care
- Optional Laughter Workshop in the lunch break!
We both took part Manchester Cathedral’s one day event ‘Energy to Invest?’ – which was to celebrate a ‘greener cathedral’ after the installation of under-floor heating (and very efficient it is too) – and to renew the call for care for all in creation.
- The main speaker was Canon Giles Goddard who began by asking if we are fit managers of our planet – obviously we are not. He said that climate change is an issue the Church has to face up to – it needs to recognise the damage being done to the planet through the burning of fossil fuels and then take action by redirecting its investments. The Church has through its ongoing Shrinking the Footprint campaign been actively encouraging member churches to make care for the environment a priority and do what they can to make their buildings as green as possible. He pointed out the moral case from a Christian point of view: Care for the Earth, as a gift of the Creator, is in many ways foundational for the Gospel. We have the responsibility, expressed for example in the Genesis story and in the covenant with Noah, to care for God's creation. Climate Change is a moral issue because the rich world has disproportionately contributed to it and the poor world is disproportionately suffering. Despite scientists continually warning about the damage being done by climate change, the Church and wider society do little to mitigate or adapt to it. He suggested that Christians should ‘Pray and fast for the Climate’ in preparation for the next Climate Change Summit in Paris in December 2015
- Eco congregations – local examples were given – others are needed and we can all do our bit!
- Solar Schools – a community based charity – shares in local co-operatives to buy and fit solar panels etc and benefit the community.
- There was a morning session (‘That children may be heard on the earth’) with presentations from church schools and children’s activities from Oxfam and Christian Aid...........
- ...................and an evening session ‘That Community may sing of the earth’ with poetry, stories and community choirs.
- We were left unfurling banners which asked
Are we hospice workers to a dying planet.................
Midwives to birth a new creation???
We have both signed various on-line petitions and lobbied our MP, who happens to be Gerald Kauffman and is usually in line with our thinking!
We also try to take note of ecological concerns which are aired in the press and other media, the latest being
- Advice to use old-fashioned soap rather than anti-bacterial hand-washing liquid and shower gel containing triclosan (a pollutant linked to cancer)
- Palm oil is contained in over half the products we consume – used widely in cosmetics and food industry as well as biofuel. Tropical forests are being cleared to grow the palms – destroying wild life, displacing communities and polluting watercourses. 98% of Indonesia’s forests could be destroyed by 2022.
We regularly buy the Big Issue and engage with the vendor(s) whenever possible.
You are Invited
To coffee on 1st January 2015 from 10 am to 11.30 am at the Convent of the Holy Name, Morley Road, Oakwood, Derby.
2015 is a special year for us as it marks the 150th Anniversary of the founding of our Community and this is the beginning of our celebrations.
There will be a Sung Eucharist at 12 noon to which you are welcome.
Going, going, gone!
After re-cycling as much of the furnishings and contents of our house on Tredegar Drive this week, (see last week’s news), there still remained those items which were beyond recycling: broken bits and pieces and obsolete light fittings etc, kept for years in the rafters of the garage, in case they came in – of course they never did!!
A skip arrived, was filled (in the rain, naturally!) and departed quickly.
Now we are ready to welcome the retired couple who will be renting the property. Sisters have enjoyed use of the house for holidays and retreats, alongsiders have welcomed the chance to live with the Community and have a bolt-hole here and the house has also been used for guests.
Accommodation is still available at the Convent Guest Cottage – ideal for individuals or small groups (see leaflet on home page for details of facilities).
It's a Gift
CHN has recently taken the decision to let out the house behind the Guest Cottage and so this has been a month of packing up and disposing of its contents. Our rule states that Community houses should be simply furnished and in the spirit of our vow of poverty we try not to accumulate possessions. Therefore, having taken what will be used in the convent, we have had the opportunity to give things away.
Local charity shops have received smaller items and the majority of the furniture ie. that which meets current fire safety standards has been given to Salcare, a project in Heanor which supplies help for those in need in that area, including a furniture warehouse selling items at low cost, advice sessions and other services.
Stored in the garage were four bikes and these have gone to Bikeback – a project in prison where the inmates strip down and rebuild the bikes and sell them cheaply at places like universities, thus reducing landfill and encouraging more people to cycle. This also enables the men to gain a City and Guilds in Bicycle Maintenance.
It was a great joy to celebrate with Sisters Lisbeth and Vivienne Joy last Thursday on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of making their Profession under vows in CHN.
Sister Vivienne Joy had been able to spend a few days with her brother at the Convent the previous week and sister Lisbeth’s sister and brother-in-law came from Sweden for a short holiday encompassing the anniversary day itself.
The two golden girls received a special blessing at the end of the Thursday midday Eucharist and we sang the hymn ‘O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder’, which has a tune sung in Sweden.
How great thou art, how great thou art!!
No to Fracking
Sisters Jean Mary and Diana from the Community's Longsight house last Sunday attended the Service of Prayer for the Beginning of the Labour Party Conference held at St Ann's Church in Manchester City Centre.
As they approached Piccadilly Square after the service they came across a peaceful, but busy protest and were asked whether they agreed with fracking. On replying in the negative they were asked to carry this banner and were soon the focus of the camera's attention.
Fellowship Day September 2014
This annual gathering of those members of the Fellowship who were fit enough to travel was held on 6th September at the Convent.
This year our speaker spoke of her experience as a prison chaplain, and of working with those on the margins of society in a variety of circumstances. Her passionate message that we are all one in Christ - all with our part to play in building up the body of Christ, was challenging and led to further discussion over the lunch which followed.
The Fellowship Meeting after lunch enabled up-to-date news of the Community to be shared, as well as a report of the current activities of the Fellowship and a chance to share news of members who had not been able to attend this year.
A short period of quiet reflection preceded the celebration of the Eucharist, during which Sisters and FHN members were able to re-dedicate themslves to the service of God, in the power of the spirit, to the glory of the Holy Name of Jesus.
This year's magazine is still available to download.