Darlington Town Mission
As Christmas approaches people are busy Christmas shopping , the television is showing families getting together , friends celebrating , enjoying Christmas dinner together, but for those living on their own it can make them feel more isolated and lonely . At DTM we try to include our Friends in as many events as we can and during December we have a few events which our Missioner has mentioned in her update below which our Friends will be invited to attend .
If you will be spending Christmas Day on your own there are a few organisations who are opening their doors and are inviting people on their own to join them for a free Christmas dinner . However the available places are limited so you would need to contact them to book a place as soon as possible, the details are as follows :
Salvation Army Citadel, Thompson Street East, Darlington DL1 3DW telephone 07432597425
Elderwood Care Home , Westmoreland Street, Darlington DL3 0FB . If you, or someone you know, would like to join Elderwood residents on Christmas Day then call manager Ann Dale on 0800-0854168.
Springfield Care Home, Wylam Avenue, Darlington DL1 2QA. send your details for the attention of Gail Carter email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that DTM hold various policies a copy of the DATA Protection Policy is shown on our website www.darlingtontownmission.org.uk and we are also covered by an Insurance Policy which is renewed annually .
Message from our Chairman
- Challenge and adventure in passing years.
We’re in the season when the world as a whole is focused on one of two things: new year partying, and/or the Christmas story. I see it, therefore, as not inappropriate to draw on one particular story from Christmas that we love; but also – if we go a bit deeper – has a challenge for the many of us who are in the stage of life when opportunities for adventure are diminishing – where doors seem to be closing firmly around us
On 6th January the church celebrates the Feast of Epiphany when we recall the story of the wise men from the east who risked a long, arduous journey to pursue a summons perceived from the stars. Of all the crazy things to do – we say today – how can the stars tell us anything about our insignificant planet circling one very ordinary star? Well, this story has intrigued and warmed hearts right through the centuries; and even today as a story
Who might these wise men have been ? Surely they would have been of advancing years: wisdom implies experience of living, and alongside experience is judgement as to what is good in life against what brings harm. Our story has wise men from the east: this is a formula for men whose days were spent studying the stars – astrologers – because for them it was a science that had bearing on events that were happening in our world. The movement of the heavens (planets and stars) they found to be utterly predictable; so they could study the sequence of the movements over time, and expect the patterns observed to remain constant – no surprises! Just how their understanding of the heavenly bodies tied in with places and events on earth is beyond most people’s understanding – only ‘wise men’ held such knowledge! As revered ‘professionals’ of their day people turned to them for guidance and their wisdom. Perhaps in our culture one equivalent would be famous people who write (biography, or on current affairs – even novels) which we read with great interest as we draw on what minds full of today’s wisdom are expressing.
Our story kicks off with a group of wise men (a fraternity) hurrying excitedly to meet together because of a new, unaccountable star suddenly appearing. What could this be; what could it mean? We can imagine their conversation, the gripping, intense fascination as they slowly deduce meaning from something they have never witnessed before – which directs them to an event on earth! No doubt it’s far past their bed time when they finally complete their detective work: they can go home amazed; and too excited to sleep!
Next day they meet up again, this time to make a star-led plan of action. The plan involves a journey - to the star’s presumed destination: the land of the Jews. More particularly, they must find a palace – where a king would be born. He is not just any king: this one is unique, he is predicted in the stars – he is God’s choice!
Here is a birth announcement that God has made by a heavenly choir of journalists for these wise of our planet to read – and to take appropriate action in consequence. There is an awesome silence that possesses the room as these men of advancing years digest what the announcement has for each one of them. Each asks himself, “Am I the one to go – to make this journey across the desert, months away from home and family? Can I cope with the rigours of travelling on camel’s back – the heat by day, the cold by night? Do I sense this increasingly frail body of mine is up to such an adventure?” One or two were immediately ready to sign up. “I can’t miss such a moment of history – I’m already on my camel!”. Another was more cautious, “I really do want to take the plunge; but I mustn’t without talking it through – seeking advice.” And yet others (the majority?) were saying, “If only I was at least 10 years younger! As it is I can only go in my dreams!”
What a journey it turned out to be - its unexpected surprises; first, its length. How could they have known it would take them so long? And on arriving in Judea and presenting themselves at the court of King Herod: how extraordinary that no one there knew of the birth – a new-born king-to-be; yet not a soul in the royal residence knew anything about what the foreign travellers claimed to be so certain of! Very strange!
But there were sane heads present that could look into the sacred writings and find the prophecy telling of such a birth – and the place where it would take place. So, finally, the travellers were released from the king’s detention, and glad once more to be on the road. They made their way the short distance to the town immortalized in the prophecy: “O little town of Bethlehem!”
Once on the road darkness fell; and Oh, what wonder! They looked at the heavens and there, once again, they saw the star – the self-same star they had seen two years back! Did they rejoice! If camels could dance these would all be lolloping along, heads up, tails swishing and gurgling as they ran! The star directed the wise men to the very door of a humble house – nothing regal, nothing pretentious. They dismount and announce their arrival; then enter the room where they find a small family: a young mother, a protective father, and an infant – awed at their presence, and even more amazed at the gifts they place before him! Not that he could play with any of them as toys! But the gold glowed most wonderfully; the frankincense promised a sweet aroma as smoke swirled upwards; and as for myrrh – well, what could a child make of a burial odour?
But the wise men are engaged otherwise, not curiously gazing around, not excitedly as they rejoice in journey’s end: no, they are in wrapt attention – their eyes locked on the child before them; and he returns their gaze with open face, even a smile! Here is the One their quest is all for. To see this promised King of all kings, child though he is, is enough. To kneel before him and offer their gifts is the most precious moment of life for each one. Never before, and never again will they be granted to kneel and adore – as they do now. God be praised – God be glorified! What a gift the world has received!
So goes the story: and we can enjoy it once again in this Christmas season. But there’s more in it for us: the story beckons each of us to stand alongside the wise men; not just those who made the journey, but equally those who felt unable; nevertheless they shared in spirit and in their dreams the quest of seeking for, and finding, the child born to be king. This was their life’s quest – so it turned out. I ask myself, ‘And what is my life’s quest? With the years I have remaining (only God knows how many) what am I seeking?’ My answer is, ‘I want to travel with the wise men – to find the child born King of this world (and the universe) and to enter his house to gaze in awe on him. This child is one of us, born for us – lived and died for us – so that we may live with him, today and tomorrow – for eternity
We are the wise men of today; we continue to search for him, despite any hardships along the way.
May God bless you and all our Darlington Town Mission Friends and Volunteers in this joyous Christmas tide , and I offer you my warmest good wishes for your continuing journey as we look to 2019 together.
As Christmas and the end of 2018 approaches I am so mindful of the many reasons we serve our friends and community through Darlington Town Mission - to relieve loneliness and social isolation, to create opportunities for social company and interaction through visits, outings and care home services , to help in practical ways and to be a listening friend .
This can be a difficult time of year particularly for those coping with life changes , but it’s wonderful to have the privilege to make a small difference and spend time with you all ! We’ve had a busy few months and we are very appreciative of our wonderful volunteers who so willingly and faithfully drive , support and visit for us .
We have had quite a few outings since our last newsletter , and are thankful that we have been able to provide extra outings as a result of Greggs and Coop grants to us .
We have had wonderful outings with lots of sunshine !
Wynard Gardens and cream tea, Polam Sunshine Party, our day to Marske and Saltburn, theatre trips to Summer Holiday and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, small outings to Raby Castle and Ulnaby Farm cafe , Eggleston Hall and Gardens , Park Place musical afternoon, All Saints Songs of Praise Service with afternoon tea , and a great outing to Stockton Garden Centre !
We have a busy December ahead too -
Polam Jack Frost Party - December 12th - 2.30pm
DTM Christmas Carol Service and tea , Haughton Methodist Church - 2pm
Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College Christmas Party - December 17th 11-2pm
We have a visit planned to Rockliffe Hall on 23rd January for cream tea , which has been organised with me by the current Ms Darlington, Rebecca Everson, who is keen to support our charity . There are those friends unable to come on outings now , but they enjoy visits and a good chat . We have had a lot of new friends join us over the last few months , either for visits or to join us on outings and we welcome them to DTM. Friends know to ring me should they need my support . Looking forward to good times ahead for us all !
If I am unable to answer the phone please leave your name and contact number and I will get back to you.
Thanks to the dedication of the Fund Raising Team and wonderful support from so many others, we continue to host successful events for our charity. The Fund Raising Team really appreciate all the generosity involved.
Main Fund Raising Events from August to November
Quiz £ 636
Flower demonstration £ 210
Darlington Football Club bucket collection £ 503
Our latest fundraising event was on Thursday 13th December 2018 which was Carol Singing at Sainsbury’s Victoria Road, Darlington . Students from the QE2 6th Form were also helping us over the lunch time.
Give as you live is a free and easy way to raise money for your favourite charity , just by shopping online. Once you have signed up at www.giveasyoulive.com you can browse their website for the store you want to shop with - there are hundreds of leading retailers including Marks and Spencer, Debenhams, House of Fraser, Next, John Lewis and many more.If you nominate DTM we will receive between 1% - 10% of what you spend!
All Darlington Town Mission’s services to our Friends are free of charge . DTM is self funded, so we rely on fundraising events and donations . If you would like to make a donation to DTM you can make a donation by going to our website www.darlingtontownmission.org.uk home page and click on the ‘Just Giving ‘ button or going onto the Support Us page and donate through ‘Give as you Live ’ . Alternatively you can send a donation to DTM address c/o 2 Davison Road, Darlington DL1 3DR .
The DTM Fundraising team is made up of a group of on;y five volunteers, so they are always grateful for any offers of help, whether it is an hour occasionally or helping regularly. Your support at the events and an offer of an extra pair of hands would be most welcome.
If you would like more information please ring DTM 07943251357 .
Christmas fun quiz
1 What do you get when you cross a bird with a turtle
2 What did Adam say on the day before Christmas?
3 What’s the kind of toe that should not belong on your foot?
4 Where does Santa put his suit after Christmas?
5 What happens if you eat the Christmas decorations?
6 Which one of Santa's reindeer can be seen on Valentines day?
7 What do you call a person who is afraid of Santa Claus?
8 What do you have in December that you don't have in any other month?
9 What's so special about the Christmas alphabet?
10 When does Christmas come before Thanksgiving?
A Message from Our Vice-Chair
Hello all you wonderful people that read this Newsletter. It’s thanks to our Secretary, Sue Case that this excellent publication is printed regularly throughout the year.
Our chair, Andrew Wigram has expressed the sentiment that the Wise Men in the nativity story were courageous and followed their star , despite so many hardships. I’m sure that Darlington Town Mission has faced many set backs and hardships since 1838, yet it continues to serve some of the people of Darlington with a cheery smile and fantastic , caring support.
Our volunteer drivers and visitors may wear a name badge , but they deserve a medal for their dedication to help Darlington Town Mission . We also need to remember that, whilst we are a Christian based charity , we seek to help those living with loneliness and isolation, no matter what faith or none they subscribe to . This underlying principle is in the small print of our constitution! Many of our volunteers wear other hats i.e. they support other charities and causes. It’s always great to see that Darlington Town Mission is constantly set as one of their priorities when so many larger charities are pulling at our heart strings and our purses to help them as well.
May I add my thanks to you all and wish you a joyful Christmas and a Peaceful New Year in 2019.
DTM Trustee and Vice-Chair
The Darlington Sugarcraft Guild who have supported DTM for many years are looking for new members, you are invited to go and join them at their next meeting on 19th January 2019 for a social afternoon when there is a different demonstration covering all aspects of sugarcraft at Wlkington House , Trinity Road at 2pm.
Answers to the quiz
1 A turtle dove
2 It's Christmas, Eve!
4 In the CLAUS-et
5 You get tinsel-itus
8 The letter 'D'.
9 There's No-el.
10 In the dictionary