Messy Church to launch in Stantonbury Partnership

Stantonbury Ecumenical Partnership is launching its first venture into the popular Messy Church project in September.

A Messy Church on a harvest theme will be staged at Cross and Stable Church, Downs Barn, on Saturday September 30 from 3.30-5pm.

The aim of Messy Church is to attract those who would not normally attend a traditional church service with gatherings in less formal surroundings. They are particularly suited to families and those from all round the Partnership will be welcome.

The meetings tend to focus on games and crafts but also include a time of worship. In many parts of the country they have met with great success over the past few years, forming part of outreach programmes.

Although Cross and Stable is the venue for the initial Messy Church it would be great to have other churches in the Partnership involved in welcoming people and running crafts and games.

Ahead of the September 30 date a planning meeting will be held on Monday September 4 at 7.30pm at Cross and Stable Church in the vestry – entering by the door at the side of the church which is in Saddlers Place.

If can’t make the meeting but can be present on the day, no problem. However it would be helpful to let the team know by September if you can be part of the team.

For more information or to volunteer, contact Chena Nuttall on 01908 804913 or email: or Andy Jowitt on 01908 320850, email

Hope for creation at Tree Cathedral service

Hope for creation is the theme of this year’s annual Tree Cathedral service to be held at Newlands near Willen Lake on Sunday August 20 at 6pm.

The service entitled ‘In Him all things hold together’ is being led by members of Cross and Stable Church, Downs Barn.

All are welcome to the service which, it is promised, will go ahead come rain or shine. All are welcome – those attending are advised to bring their own chair, rug and umbrella.

Parking is available in the public car park off Livingstone Drive, Newlands off the V10 Brickhill Street near Gullivers Land – cost is 80p an hour.

How Fred and Fran turned tragedy into good with a Harley Davidson motorcycle

Most people when facing up to losing a murdered teenaged son would probably be filled with hatred for the attackers. But that was not the case for Fred and Fran Gill who forgave the three youths who were convicted of killing Robert who was 17 years old.

At Room’N’Ate’s latest meeting – a barbecue held at St James’ Church, New Bradwell, Fred and Fran, from Bedford, recalled how their adopted son was missing for a nearly a week before his body was found in the River Ouse in the town at Christmas 2007. On the night of the attack Robert had been to a nightclub and was drunk.

Both committed Christians – and bikers – Fred said the idea of customising a motorcycle in Robert’s memory came to him some time afterwards. A Harley Davidson Softail special was purchased and painstakingly decorated with artwork and relevant words.

The motorcycle is now taken to events far and wide to illustrate how it is possible to forgive in such difficult circumstances. It was on show at Room’N’Ate – Stantonbury Men’s Group.

One of the inscriptions reads: “Do not be afraid, for I will be with you, when you go through the waters I will be there”. This sentence from Isaiah 43 v 1 and 2 came to Fran when Robert was missing. Little did she realise the significance of it and its connection to where Robert would be found.

They discovered that this is the verse from the Bible that Christian, the pilgrim in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress remembers. Robert was thrown into the river a short way from where Bunyan was baptised.

Fran said: “We knew we had to forgive and not allow ourselves to be overcome by hatred for his attackers. God gave us the strength to do that.”

And as a result of Robert’s murder Fran and Fred were instrumental in the setting up of Bedford Street Angels who are on call outside the town’s nightclubs to try to ensure that no other youngsters come to any harm after an evening out.