We apologize that there is no report of the Watford Congregation’s Service on 1st September, as those who report were at the Luton Ladies Day.  Here is a report of the Luton Ladies Day:

Luton Ladies Day for 2018 was held as usual at the Methodist Church at Farley Hill near Luton, on Saturday 1 September.  We began with tea and coffee while ladies were arriving and getting registered and putting on their name tags. There were around  35 ladies present. Daria Fowler welcomed everyone, gave the Opening Prayer and brought announcements, including NEXT LUTON LADIES DAY WILL BE 14 SEPTEMBER 2019!
Gill (Mudford) Goode led us in two hymns–This Is The Day and Bread of Heaven.  Bread of Heaven was particularly appropriate, as Daria then introduced our first speaker, Mr. David Francis to speak about “Good Bread Has God In It”!

David Francis has worked in a Bakery and has taught classes on making bread, with a speciality on Sourdough.  He showed how good bread has God in it by using a number of analogies:
Milling the wheat brings to mind the scripture about Jesus being bruised for our iniquities–sourdough is so tolerant–it can take different temperatures, timings, shaking, thumping and punching!;
And another scripture speaks about ‘by the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread’. He invited volunteers up to the front to have a go with his hand mill, which took perseverance, patience and strength. Shirley McLean and Faith Brown both milled some flour, which David then used to make some dough.
He talked while he was mixing the flour (Christ is the Bread of Life), salt (a type of eternal Life) and water (a type of the Holy Spirit). The leaven is everywhere—in the air, on our hands, on the wheat and is a powerhouse of change which transforms the ingredients, just as we are transformed through Christ in us. David showed us a cross section of a grain of wheat—what is inside is changed through the process of transformation from ingredients to a loaf of life.
The wetter, the better is his motto. The natural yeast is very different from modern years and he thinks that the modern yeast is partly to blame for the increase in people who are wheat intolerant. He told us how to make the sourdough started and brought out an analogy of Christ being 3 days and 3 nights in the grave before he ROSE!
Starts with one grain, bruised for our iniquities, 3 days and 3 nights then rose, then disciples that were mixing with Christ, then church, then to the whole world. As God mixes into our lives, we begin to grow, to change and to transform as our lives are hid in Christ. Jesus Christ is the bread of life, feed on him, cast your bread on the waters and share your bread with the hungry!

We had another hymn-How Great Thou Art before Daisy Dublin asked a blessing on the meal. Lunch was a buffet provided by a team of ladies. As usual, there is no charge for the Ladies Day or for the lunch, but a donation box is provided to help with the costs.

After lunch and another prayer by shirley McLean, Portia Brathwaite led us in two more hymns: The Power Of Your Love and Thy Word.

Our next speaker was Helen Francis who spoke on The Power Of Love. She read in 1 Corinthians 13 and told some stories to illustrate love:
>Love motivated a lady to life a car up off the ground long enough for people to get a jack under and release her son who was under it.
>Love motivated a man in Alaska with his children when shipwrecked, to survive in the cold and wild. Love hopes all things and endures all things
>Helen’s father showed unconditional love towards her mother, loving through adversity. This was a particularly moving personal story shared by Helen

Special Music was a Ladies Choir singing Pray For Love, led by Shirley McLean, who also played her saxophone during all of the hymns. Next, Daria Fowler read a piece called ‘Her Name Was Rose’ This was a lovely story of an elderly lady who went to University and the impact she had on the students there. She said such things as ‘We grow old because we stop playing’, ‘When you lose your dreams, you die’, ‘People often regret what they didn’t do more than what they did’, ‘Never too late to be all that you can be’, and ‘Growing old is mandatory but growing up is optional’!

Our final speaker was Linda Halford, speaking on ‘Reading Matters’. She spoke about how to excell at readings, whether in Church or any other setting. 1 Timothy 4:13 says devote yourself to public reading of scripture, and in Luke 4 even Jesus gave a reading! There is power in the word! When we listen we engage with the text differently that when we read it. Lectio Divina is about sacred readings and has four steps—read, meditate, pray and contemplate. This promotes communion with God and understanding of God’s word and can be likened to feasting on the word where we take a bit, chew, savour and digest. Food for thought has different textures, flavours and colours, and is very different to studying. Everyone who hears, hears the same words but perceives them and reacts differently.
Linda gave out example scriptures and asked the ladies to talk about them among themselves. She then asked for feedback from the groups. This showed that words have connotation like light through a prism that separates and magnifies—for example describing daffodils as ‘golden’ not just ‘yellow’.
In reading aloud, Linda encouraged us to be aware of word choice, word order and punctuation, to look up words for meaning, to vary pace, pitch and emphasis, to use pauses for effect as well as being alert for alliteration, repetition, to circle and underline before you read to help with flow and rhythm. She gave other tips and concluded that above all, pray—you are speaking sacred text, God’s words which is a responsibility, a joy and a privilege.

We ended the day with a hymn, Lord Of all Hopefulness before Gill closed with prayer.

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