Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Supporters Evening Special ENews

Hi folks

I’m delighted to announce that we are to hold our ANNUAL SUPPORTERS EVENING tomorrow night (Thursday 21st) at 8.15pm, and YOU are invited!  It will include:

  • A review the past year
  • Plans for the future – we really need  your prayers for this!
  • I share something of the vision that I believe the Lord has laid upon my heart 
  • A new song, written during the “lockdown”, that we pray will bring comfort and hope
The supporters evening will take the form of a youtube premiere beginning at 8:15pm at this link. We will all watch together from our various different homes and there will be opportunities to comment and share thoughts, prayers, etc.  We really hope you can join us! 


Here’s a reminder of ongoing CMM offers and activities:

  • Peter Lawrence’s classic book: BIBLICAL SNAKES, BIBLICAL LADDERS. Buy the book online for £5 and we'll send it to you with free postage.
  • Order anything else from the CMM SHOP and we'll include Peter's book as a gift (I'll even sign things if you ask!).
  • SPECIAL OFFER - a Music Book & CD any of my MUSICALS at a special price of £15 (plus postage)
  • HEART & SOUL, continues each Wednesday at 6-8pm on www.brumsideradio.com (repeated each Thursday 11am-1pm). Each Sunday morning at 11am we join Rev Simon Gudger at Catshill Baptist Church.
  • See our CMM Diary – we don’t know how things will work out, but the Lord does!

We really could not do all this without you.  You are so special and important to us, so please do keep in touch!

Glorify the Lord with me: let us exalt his name together. (Psalm 34:3)

 

Bless you!

Roger

Friday, 15 May 2020

Life is like a Zoom Call

A blog post today by our wonderful Amy, CMM associate and Roger's PA:

By now, many of you will be used to doing life electronically, having meetings on zoom or skype and seeing loved ones through a variety of video calls, picture messages and cards and because of this digital world we have been thrust into, life for me seems busier than ever – and that’s before I throw my very active 20 month old into the equation! But as I reflect on things now, I’ve realised that our lives have not only changed, but altered in such a way that God can come and use the ‘slower pace’ of life to show us many things.

Life before 'lockdown' was often busy and full of many problems and challenges but there was a joy in the freedom we had. Outside of the vast array of activities we could do, it was also our choice as to who our friends and our neighbours were, who we confided in and who we chose to be in close relation with. And for me, this brought great comfort as I knew who I could share my joys as well as my sorrows with and knew that if I was having a particularly hard day, I could look forward to seeing those I love or chatting through things over a nice drink in a café somewhere.

And in many ways I would say that ‘lockdown’ has taken all of that away. I feel perhaps more distant than ever to my friends, even my family. People are struggling under the weight of looking after children, juggling work, home and even church commitments. Pain, loneliness, resentment, frustration and grief are all given the opportunity to grow and take root because the world has slowed down enough to allow them in, and lets face it, no amount of video calling can ever replace the human need for physical company, comfort and touch. 

But in this period of difficulty and at times, great hardship, God has showed me that this season can also be like a ‘zoom’ or video call. Where we would once meet with someone and see only that which they allowed you to see, now with God’s help, we are able to see more than just the person. When we video call someone, we of course see them, but we also see the physical place that they are in. For me this is usually the sofa or in our bedroom when I'm needing some peace and quiet. But in this period of change and slowing of pace for the world, we are challenged to follow suit, allowing God to dwell within in us and allow us to be able to spend time not only looking at the person, but to consider their surroundings as well; their hopes and fears, their greatest joys or their deepest longings. In the book of Acts it says to "pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God which He obtained with His blood (Acts 20:28)."

If I am ever upset, my husband always seems to ask me if I am OK. Of course I am not OK as I would not be crying otherwise, and the fact that he asks this question only seems to make me more upset. Whilst his question is his way of coming close and trying to help, it often feels like he is just not looking or paying attention. Thankfully, my husband is amazing and now knows to come and see what I need, whether that be a hug, some space or even a cup of tea. But in this 'lockdown' period, which is full of many ups and downs, God continues to call us to ‘pay careful attention’ not only to ourselves, but to each other; to look not only at the person we are communicating with, but to consider all that can be seen. And though we may not have full insight or a way of helping them, we know that the Lord will never leave them nor forsake them and thankfully, does not need to apply social distancing either! He can meet us all right here, right now.

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Some thoughts and news from Roger

Hi folks

As a child I remember, when on holiday with my parents, how things changed when away from home and in different surroundings. On our walks we greeted passers-by as friends, even though we didn’t actually know them, and we took time to appreciate things otherwise taken for granted. We’d take time to look at the animals in the fields, my architect dad would point out interesting things about buildings, including the guttering and the drains!

Maybe some of us have had occasion for a longer look at things that really matter. As ‘lockdown’ has continued we will all have had times of challenge, sadness, and just maybe, some joys in discovering new abilities, unearthing gifts long since abandoned, inventing strategies, and coping with the enormous change to our daily, weekly and now, monthly lives.

Like most organisations, we’ve been hit hard. Our own events have been cancelled, as have presentations of musicals and use of our products by others. But we are keeping going. Amy, Annie, Helen and Tim are working from home, maintaining activities and developing new ideas. Mary and I are now dealing ourselves with new orders, although they are reduced in volume, reminding us of how things started, way back in the late 1970’s. (‘Jerusalem Joy’ is now 47 years old!).

We are also able to continue HEART & SOUL, with me, Debra Mayo, Graeme Russell, Dave Stansbie broadcasting each Wednesday at 6-8pm on www.brumsideradio.com (repeated each Thursday 11am-1pm). We are also delighted to broadcast, each Sunday morning, a service from Catshill Baptist Church lead by Rev Simon Gudger. Catch up with the back catalogue here.

A lot of new things are emerging:
  • A new-look CMM website is on its way
  • Musicals, books and vocal arrangements increasingly available as downloads, on international sites like “Kindle”, “Sheet Music Plus” and “JW Pepper”
  • New music – I’m in an incredibly creative stage, with new songs and new projects on the go.
We plan to make further announcements later this month.

Thursday 14 May should have been our Annual Supporters Evening, but we are delaying it one week and going “live” online somehow on the evening of Thursday 21 May - further details in due course!

But CMM sales has significantly declined, alongside ministry gifts from events, affecting our ability to develop and maintain the ministry. So, how can you help?
  • Pray for us – this is always the greatest priority
  • Tell others about us – you are our best ambassadors
  • Buy from us – our online shop has every one of my 23 musicals, collections, books, etc, and so much more!
Mary and I were doing some sorting, and we discovered some BIBLICAL SNAKES, BIBLICAL LADDERS books in good condition. This book was written back in the 90s by my dear friend and vicar Peter Lawrence to explain much of the Bible teaching that went into the musical 'Snakes and Ladders'. I must say, it is a really great book. "A cheerful introduction to God, his people and the Bible - from Genesis to Revelation."

We would like to make two very special offers:
  • Buy the book online for £5 and we'll send it to you post-free
  • Order anything at all from the CMM SHOP and we'll include Peter's book as a gift (I'll even sign things if you ask!).
I guess all this shows we really want to keep in touch, and we’re excited about the future. As Christians we have a living hope, and it is that which matters most!

May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in your faith, that by the power of the Holy Spirit, your whole life and outlook may be radiant with hope. (Rom 15:13 – JB Phillips)

Bless you all,

Roger



Friday, 17 April 2020

Thoughts for this time from Roger

I must admit that on entering the corona virus lockdown I was very apprehensive.  I became extremely aware, even anxious, of how much buzz and inspiration I get from relating to people and occasions, and how much I miss being with friends and family.  I’ve never been an 'ivory tower' composer who writes for the sake of writing, I’ve always had an end-user in mind.  I started writing for my own school choir, with their gifts, abilities, and an eventual performance in my sights.  This continued into full-time music ministry with our area choirs, soloists, etc, all of whom I envisaged when creating.  Like composing a sermon, you do it with the main aim of connecting with and involving your listeners.

So, how am I coping with isolation? Honestly, there are times when it seemed quite hard, especially at the beginning, but other outlets have appeared, and I am so grateful for technology that allows us to 'Zoom' and 'Skype' around the world!  In this way we’ve spent good times with our loved ones, really appreciating the communication, and especially being able to see them.  In some ways I’m quite enjoying it, although I know there are many others who don’t have such outlets and connections.

Domestically, the lawn is looking better than ever, jobs around the house are getting done, and Mary and I enjoy our daily walk to the park.  Poppy is delighted!  A dear squirrel has eaten its way into my garden shed, set up a nest and caused the shed to lean awkwardly.  I don’t yet know how I’m going to deal with that!

It’s been thrilling to see the explosion of Christian worship, services and events filling the social media. Huge creativity has been released as Christians begin to occupy the internet.  The church is far from being in lockdown, almost too much to take in.  But that’s how I feel each year at SPRING HARVEST - you just take in what you can – but just don’t waste the opportunity!  (I do recommend the YouTube sessions – especially Bishop Jill Duff’s opening address, which sums up all that CMM is about!)

HEART & SOUL continues every Wednesday at 6-8pm on www.brumsideradio.com, each show created remotely.  I volunteered the station a “Thought for the Day” during Holy Week (8 Talks!) and what a tall order that was – every day having to write out my thoughts before recording!  But that got me into creative mode which has included prose and music.  It’s been a long time since I spent so much time writing.  I don’t think I’m expecting a musical to appear, although I am in the process of writing four songs: two for Easter, a healing song and a Christmas carol, so we’ll see where all that leads!

Annie Routley recorded a specially edited version of our musical MARY MAGDALENE that was broadcast this week.  You can catch-up on https://www.mixcloud.com/BrumsideRadio/heart-soul-15-april-2020/.  We’ve made a special offer of this musical:  Music Book & CD for £15 (+ p&p).  Oh, and Mary and I are fulfilling orders ourselves, another extra job!  (Amy, Annie, Helen and Tim are working from home - when they can!)

Life is precious, our relationships are precious, and it’s all so very fragile - each conversation and interaction something to cherish.  I’m sure we all know of someone who has died during this time, some close to us, and that really brings it home.  But amidst all the sadness and disruption, we have that something extra, something that makes the biggest difference in life: we do know where it is all going to conclude.  Read the end of the New Testament - it’s so exciting!  All will be well!  Meanwhile we have this marvellous hope:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 8:38-39)

Keep in touch, we love to hear from you.  Keep safe, and most of all, keep close to him!
Roger

Friday, 3 April 2020

Man of Sorrows - an email from CMM

Hi Folks

This April eNews comes out at the start of Holy Week, and as Christians we know there is great hope and a life beyond all things happening around us. With Jesus we have a story to share and a presence to know.

None of us are unaffected by the present crisis, though some much more seriously than others. We must not underestimate the pain and devastation that so many are experiencing, and things may well be harder over the next weeks. Be assured of our love and prayers, and please do keep in touch!

At CMM we are all self-isolating - I myself am finding the absence of person-to-person contact particularly difficult. I miss you all! However, we maintain a “window” with the world.

  • Amy, Annie, Helen and Tim are working from home, but use phone calls, social media and shared drives to keep in touch as much as we can.
  • Mary and I, (helped by Poppy!) have CMM and the house to ourselves but do our best to co-ordinate things and fulfil the occasional mail-order. Sales are significantly reduced.
  • I’ve written three songs so far, so am getting into creative mode! I just don’t know where it will lead!
  • Despite many postponements, the CMM Diary is starting to grow into 2021.

CMM PRODUCTS – musicals, recordings, collections, etc

Why not increase your repertoire with more of our songs and albums? Many have Easter themes e.g. Jerusalem Joy, Saints Alive, Mary Magdalene, Pharisee, Snakes & Ladders, Two Sisters, Rock etc
  • Order from us (we’ll get them to you asap)
  • Listen on Spotify etc
  • Download recordings from iTunes, Amazon - books from Kindle, etc
  • Much of our sheet music is available from Sheet Music Plus
  • NB. Every digital order helps – listening to CMM material online brings a small revenue!

HEART & SOUL

We are running the show remotely
  • Every Wednesday 6-8pm (repeated Thu 11am-1pm) www.brumsideradio.com
  • Each Sunday at 11am we cover the morning service from Catshill Baptist, with Rev Simon Gudger
  • I’ll be doing a “Thought for the Day”, based on a “Jerusalem Joy” song each day from this Sat 04 April right through to Easter Day.  This will be broadcast on the radio, but I hope to also publish a text version on our Facebook page.
  • You can catch up of most past shows of Heart & Soul - there is a catalogue here on the CMM Blog

FINANCIAL SITUATION

Like so many organisations, we are being tightly squeezed. We have recently released a new information leaflet showing how you can support and be part of the CMM ministry.

So, in whatever your situation, problems and opportunities, I pray the blessing of the Lord himself:

The Lord bless you, and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. (Num 6:23-25)

Here’s one of our best-loved tracks: Man of sorrows


Dear friends, be blessed, be safe, and stay close to him. Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

Roger Jones

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Worship - connecting us to the river of life

On Saturday Roger, Helen and a team from CMM led a Worship Works day at Lickey Parish Church.  This will have been our last event for a while in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, so we thought it would be good to share with you the text of Helen's opening talk.

This week I spotted an article on the BBC called ‘Routine Hacks from successful people’. It features ‘high-achieving people’ and what their daily routine looks like. There was Cathryn Lavery, co-founder of 'BestSelf' - a personal development company to make your life more productive and successful. Her daily schedule is to wake at 06:30, meditate for 10 minutes, read for 20, exercise and drink a glass of water before sitting down to plan how she will “win the day”. And there was tech entrepreneur Bryan Johnson. For him it is all about the sleep and focused meals. Breakfast is between 07:00 and 08:00, dinner at noon, followed by no more meals – roughly a 19 hour fast and bed at 19:45 in a blacked-out room with carefully moderated temperature. 

So the question is not whether any of these ideas are good or bad, but why did I click on that article at all? Why did the BBC think this was something people would be interested in? 

Modern life can be dry and barren. As Bilbo Baggins puts it, we feel like "butter spread over too much bread."  The culture around us is to strive to produce more, and to make things as efficient as possible. But when we save time by making things more efficient, we fill the time we have saved with yet more productivity. We expect our primary school age children to do hours of homework rather than to play. And all the time our phones and televisions scream for our attention – our greater connectivity to the world around us, or even the world-not-around-us through the internet brings anxiety, stress and emotional fatigue. 

We feel busier than ever, and we rush from one thing to the next without caring about the assault on our hearts and souls. In my life, I sometimes go from a phone call with a struggling friend to a surreal conversation with our toddler, to making work decisions without pausing for breath or to allow for transitions. Peace eludes us. 

The things that we enjoy, that bring us life, seem to be permanently off the menu; things like music, enjoying a good book, spending time in the garden other than to mow the lawn because the grass is up to your elbows. Or when did you last spend time enjoying cooking a special meal, then lingering over that meal with loved ones? This is something we have to diarise nowadays – it has become a special event! Instead of these healthy things God has given that bring life, we seek short-term comfort in other places. Binge-watching television, comfort-eating chocolate, takeaways, or scrolling endlessly and blindly through social media on our phones. 

Right now it is a brutal time to be a human being, and even more to be a Christian. We are hard-pressed on every side. The world we live in is rapidly becoming a desert, a wilderness. The nature of modern technology means we are more easily distracted, and our concentration spans are shorter – making prayer and intimacy with God a struggle. Our perceived busyness makes us withdraw from friends and family who can bring us life. We are too busy, anxious or depressed to care for our hearts properly. And the battle with the enemy is tougher than ever – many churches don’t teach at all on spiritual warfare, leaving us ill-equipped. The free-for-all of social media, even if you do not regularly use it, has had a huge impact on society. Everyone is able to share and say whatever they want. There is much good, but there is also a massive amount of hatred and unhelpful opinions, readily-available lies that ‘say what our itching ears want to hear’ and creep their way into our hearts.  And in the midst of it all, God is calling to us: seek my face. God is looking for sons and daughters who are actively seeking him; people who are thirsty for the water of life. 

Jesus lived life at a slower pace than us. In the passage we’re going to focus on this morning from John 4, he is on his way to Galilee from Jerusalem. On foot. At least three days of walking, thinking, talking with his disciples. Evenings round the campfire. The journey involved a decision – to travel the road past Jericho that involved a long detour, a physical wilderness and potential bandits, or to walk through the spiritual wilderness which was Samaria. The people who lived there were distant relatives of the Jews, possibly from the northern kingdom of Israel that broke away after Solomon’s rule, or at least the people that came to live in the land when its inhabitants were exiled. They had come up with their own way of worshipping God, and the Jews did not like them at all – they were unclean impostors. But it is here that Jesus has one of the most illuminating and fascinating conversations in all of scripture, and not just with a Samaritan, but shockingly, a Samaritan woman. 

Reading – John 4:1-26 

Living Water 

The first thing I want to pick out is the conversation about water – about living water. Jesus tells the woman that if she were to drink the water he provides, she would never thirst again. The water would become like a spring of water welling up to eternal life. Why is Jesus saying this? He is a rabbi, and knows the scriptures inside out. And the river, particularly the river of life is a hugely important recurring theme. 

There are many I could pull out, but here’s just a few. 

In Psalm 1 we are told that in order to be blessed we need to meditate on the law of the Lord. If we do this, we will be like a tree planted beside the river. Not just a wild tree that grew wherever the seed fell, but a tree deliberately planted by the water. If we don’t, we become like chaff that is blown away by the wind. 

Then the book of Isaiah is filled with references to water. It begins with the water being removed from Israel and them becoming like a garden with no water, but then later on when Isaiah is speaking directly into the exile-wilderness years of the people, there are many references to water returning to the land: 

Isaiah 44 – I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. 

Isaiah 55 – [later quoted by Jesus] Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; 

Ezekiel 47 – I think this is the passage Jesus had in the front of his mind. From the very heart of the temple, the Most Holy Place – the place of worship and intimacy with God – from there flows a river.  And this river, getting ever deeper, supports life. It makes the salt water of the Dead Sea fresh, and there are trees planted by the river whose leaves bring healing to the nations. 

This same theme is echoed in Revelation 22 where the river flows from the very throne of God and the Lamb, also supporting trees that bear fruit and leaves for the healing of the nations. 

So here we have Jesus with the Samaritan woman, telling her that this water – this living water from the throne of God himself, can well up inside to eternal life. Paul was later to say (1 Corinthians 6) that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and if the water flows from the place of intimacy in the temple, then the living water Jesus speaks of can indeed flow from the place of intimacy with God in our own hearts. And when you think about this some more, it becomes so exciting, as the river of life supports trees that bear leaves for the healing of the nations. If the river of life flows through our being we can find healing, and bring healing to others. 

Do you want this water? Do you want to be planted by the river of life? Even better, do you want the river to be flowing through you and impacting those around you? I do. I’m desperate for it. Life has made me so thirsty that I need this connection in order to function at all. 

God has been challenging me in recent months with a steady stream of events for which I needed to be close to him. I have needed to take deliberate steps to make sure my life is full of things that bring me closer to God, rather than things that numb me or create a foggy haze. I needed to be able to hear his voice and move in the gifts of the Spirit. To be able to survive I have had to cut the distractions and the false comforts, and make sure I include in my day things that bring me life. I have needed to actively choose to spend time with my journal, or to make music, or to spend time with life-giving friends. 

But of all of these things, the biggest life-giver for me has been worship. Sometimes in the past I have sung worship songs and played piano or guitar, but it has been a musical exercise – practice, if you like. But recently God has been teaching me to drink deeply from his life-giving stream, to move it from a mind exercise to a heart activity. 

Interestingly, Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman turns to worship. At first glance, it seems as if this turn is unconnected. But I would like to put to you that worship is the means by which we reach the water – and particularly worship that is filled with the Spirit and steeped in the truth of Scripture. If the living water flowing in our hearts flows from a place of intimacy, from the Holy of Holies, from the throne of God and the Lamb itself, then this river of life is all about encounter with God himself. 

How, then, does worship open us up to the living water, and overcome the modern desert we find ourselves in? 


It changes our perspective 

Very near here is a special tree. It isn’t by a river though, unless you mean a river of mud, which is partly why I haven’t visited it recently. This time last year I applied for a job as worship pastor at a church, to sit alongside my work here at CMM. I loved the church, and really felt that the gifts I had to offer fitted in perfectly with the vision of the people and leadership. The interview went really well, and I was invited to lead worship one Sunday morning as the final stage of the discernment process. As far as I knew, it went well. But then I heard nothing. It was weird, because I was 99% certain I was the only candidate left. But then on the Friday morning after the Sunday I had a call from the curate. While I had been waiting, the church had been thrown into confusion and turmoil by the sudden announcement of the departure of the vicar, so they were now not able to employ anyone. I was bitterly disappointed and angry – the vicar knew it was coming but still made me go through with the interview process. 

I remember parking the car and walking in the woods to clear my head and wrestle it out with God a bit. And then I came to it – the tree. It was enormous, far bigger than any of the others around it, yet was tucked away on the edge of the wood near the road and in some way was kind of unassuming. I remember, in my grief, standing at the bottom of the tree and staring into its branches. And as I looked in amazement at its size and shape, I sensed the Holy Spirit whispering to me. This tree just is.  All it does is grow. And through it, God is glorified. My heart rose in worship, and my perspective was changed. Yes, something I hoped for had been taken away, but God is always faithful. All I need to do is drink deeply from him, and grow. 


It brings about personal transformation 

I love these famous words from Romans 12: 

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” 

In these verses I love how worship is both cerebral and physical. All is done ‘in view of God’s mercy’ – we remind ourselves of his mercy, and that’s where music in worship is so good. It’s far easier to memorise words when they are accompanied by music than just words on the page. And we can sing of all he has done for us, to remind ourselves of God’s mercy. And then worship is physical. Singing and playing is physical. Kneeling is physical. Partaking in bread and wine is physical. Giving is physical. Flower-arranging is physical. Dancing is physical. 

You know, I’m not someone who dances really. I was part of a dance group when I was growing up at one of the churches my dad was minister at. I get the impression I wasn’t very good. But there have been a couple of occasions in my life where I felt God wanted me to express my worship to him through dance. I had to go and find somewhere where no one I knew could see me, but there was something special about making movements with my whole body to declare and adore that profoundly affected me. And there was also something important about obeying that nudge from God. It brought about a kind of freedom – a sort of giving over responsibility to him. Choosing to worship, rather than just carrying on with what the world sees as life, is initially a sacrifice. But with it comes the renewing of your mind. He reveals his mercies to us, and we respond in worship. And as we respond he reveals yet more; as we drink the living water he comes, increasing our understanding, our peace, our security in him, our love, our life. We are transformed. 

And on the theme of dancing, while we were praying for today, I was reminded of an old song – when the Spirit of the Lord is within my heart I will dance as David danced. I feel the Lord wants to bring new freedom in worship to some people today – to dance, sing and clap as he leads. 


Praise overcomes strongholds 

We live in a world at war. From out and out horror and violence, to insidious lies, Satan and his demons rampage their way across the world. And we are called to stand firm. There’s loads more on this is Spirit works, and chapter 14 of worship works. 

Worship, as seen in Psalm 8:2 can establish a stronghold for us: “Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger” – by speaking out truth about God even children and infants can claim the ground for him in the face of the enemy onslaught. 

But we can also tear down enemy strongholds. In 2 Corinthians 10:4, Paul says that “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish stongholds.” And then in Ephesians 6 there is one weapon listed among the armour – “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Spirit and Truth. And true worshippers worship the Father in Spirit and in truth. 

I’ve been to a number of conferences where lots of time is given to sung worship. And to my shame, in the past it has sometimes taken me a couple of days to get ‘into it’. But as I sing out truth and gradually become saturated with the praises of God, the strongholds of pride or selfishness that had been developing in my heart are gradually broken down. 

And I remember once when we were touring with the musical Wildfire, we had a wonderful prayer warrior with us, Viv. Her job was to pray around the theatres before we went on stage, and in one place she was really struggling with the evil that was present in that place that she gathered our whole team, and we worshipped together. As we worshipped the feeling in the place changed, and Viv said she saw flames of fire dancing around the room. 


It ushers us into the presence of God 

This is last on the list, but most important. 

One of the Hebrew words that is translated as praise is ‘Tehillah’. There is a sense to this word of God inhabiting, or dwelling in our praises. One translation of Psalm 22:3 is “You are enthroned on the praises of Israel.” Of course, God is always present, but there is something about worship that makes it tangible to us, that opens our eyes to it, that brings us before his throne. I’ve sometimes felt as though the Spirit was dancing during our worship, or had a sense of the glory of God filling a place. 

At CMM we have recently reissued the musical ‘Torn Curtain’, and been specifically thinking about how worship – thanksgiving, praise, and then the blood of Jesus enables us to come into the Holy of Holies itself – into an encounter with God. And in that encounter we meet the one who wants to bring healing and life, to bring light in the darkness, to calm our fears and comfort our sorrows. 

And this is why worship, and being a worshipper is so important. 


One final thought to finish with. Here there are a mixture of people. Some stand at the front each Sunday, and others sit in the congregation. But regardless of where we sit or stand, we are all worship leaders. How do we make a person hungry? We eat in front of them. How do we make a person thirsty for the living water? We drink in front of them. 

Let’s be thirsty for him, and let’s come to him, the source, so that our hearts can well up to eternal life.

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Roger's March 2020 eNews

Hi Folks,

A nice early email this month, because we have so much going on!  Back in February we had a wonderful day with the New Life Together Choir in Kidderminster performing TORN CURTAIN to a packed out church.  Sadly I wasn't well enough to be there, but our wonderful CMM team (including all the CMM office staff - Annie, Helen, Amy and Tim) and some amazing associates helped the day go really well.

We also had a blessed evening leading worship for a healing service at Harnhill Healing Centre in Gloucestershire.  It was so good to spend time worshipping in the Most Holy Place, allowing the Holy Spirit to minister to people.

Right at the end of February Helen and a team travelled to Cheltenham for a ROCK-in-a-day event with a wonderful large choir. It was an incredible day. We praise and bless God for the continuing opportunities to share the Gospel with this musical.

HEART & SOUL
After a month's break as South Birmingham Radio went offline, our internet radio show, Heart & Soul is due to return, but this time on a new station called 'Brumside Radio'. We're really thrilled to be back up and running again, and our interview feature is to be Gordon Lee (soloist in From Pharaoh to Freedom and Mary Magdalene before setting up his own ministry) from 6-7pm followed by the full gang of Roger, Debs, Dave and Graeme live in the studio from 7-8pm on Wednesday evening. You can access the show at brumsideradio.com and via mytuner or ukradio online radio apps on your smartphones.  Listen again on Thursday mornings at 11am.

WORSHIP WORKS
14th March - Holy Trinity Lickey, Birmingham
This month sees our first WORSHIP WORKS event back in the West Midlands since the launch. Holy Trinity Lickey is Roger and Mary's home church, and so we have decided to open wide the doors and encourage people from far and wide to come along.  We are planning to include some fresh material, so if you've been to a Worship Works before it is still worth coming along.
Download a booking form here
Book online here

28th March - Burbage Methodist Church, Leicestershire
If you aren't able to make it to Lickey, Roger and a team will be at Burbage on Saturday 28th March.  The organiser for this on is Rachel Cobb - do get in touch with her on repooclehcar@hotmail.com for more details or to book.

CHRISTIAN RESOURCES EXHIBITION
Once again, Roger is thrilled to have been invited by his friend Chris Bowater to take part in the Christian Resources Exhibition - and this time it's at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire.  So do come along if you're in the area.  We'll be taking part in Worship Thursday on 5th March.  To book, follow this link.

CMM CHOIR
The CMM Choir are starting their rehearsals again this week, working towards a series of special 25th anniversary concerts.  The choir rehearses on Monday nights at Harborne Baptist Church, and on Tuesday nights at Christ Church Ward End.  Both rehearsals are preceeded by refreshments, and then singing begins at 7.45pm.  New singers most welcome! 
The run of performances in the summer will include a special day on Saturday 11th July at Christ Church Ward End, where all past members of the choir are invited back for afternoon tea followed by the performance.  If you are a past member, do get in touch (events@cmm.org.uk) and we'll send an invite to you!

OTHER EVENTS COMING UP
07-08 March - MARY MAGDALENE in Pulborough
04 April - JERUSALEM JOY in Cricklade
04 April - JERUSALEM JOY in Port Talbot
25 April - JERUSALEM JOY in Warrington
01-03 May - Helen leading worship at the YPray Conference, Northampton
09-10 May - SNAKES AND LADDERS in Basingstoke
14 May - ANNUAL CMM SUPPORTERS' EVENING, Catshill
For details on any of these events contact Helen on events@cmm.org.uk

As always, thanks for your prayers and support, and we hope to see you soon!

God bless,

Roger

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Roger's February 2020 eNews

Hi Folks!

Welcome to our bumper eNews for February 2020.  It is amazing that more than a whole month has passed already.  Sadly I experienced a little bit of sickness last weekend and was unable to spend Saturday with the New Life Together Choir in Kidderminster performing TORN CURTAIN.  Huge thanks to my team (including the entire CMM office staff) for stepping into the breach and leading a wonderful day, complete with an audience bursting at the seams!  Please be praying for TORN CURTAIN, because we are becoming aware that it is a musical that will be greatly used by the Lord, and as a result there may be some spiritual attack against it.

WORSHIP WORKS
We are so excited that on Saturday 14th March we are hosting a special WORSHIP WORKS day at Holy Trinity, Lickey, on the southwest corner of Birmingham.  Do come and join us for the day as we will be presenting some new material.  The day is suitable for all congregation members, although there will be some parts of it aimed specifically for those who lead or chose worship music in church, but still good for everyone to hear!
To book online click here
To download a booking form to share at your church click here

If you are unable to make Saturday 14th March, we are holding another WORSHIP WORKS day in Burbage Methodist Church on Saturday 28th March in Leicestershire.  This day isn't specifically organised by us, but we know they would welcome anyone who wishes to come along.  Do get in touch with Rachel Cobb on repooclehcar@hotmail.com

SPIRIT WORKS
We are thrilled to be leading a week at Lee Abbey based on our other 'works' book, SPIRIT WORKS from Monday 22nd June to Friday 26th June.  We can't think of a better place to spend time in worship, prayer and Bible study, allowing the Spirit to move and speak than in the beautiful surroundings of Lee Abbey.  If you are interested in coming, book here.

CMM CHOIR
The CMM Choir came to the end of their run of SIMEON productions last night with a wonderful performance in Marston Green.  They are always on the lookout for new members, and their next run of rehearsals begin the first week of March.  Rehearsals led by Helen are on Monday evenings at Harborne Baptist Church, or rehearsals led by Annie are on Tuesday evenings at Christ Church Ward End.  Arrive from 7.15pm ish for refreshments, to start singing at 7.45pm.

This year the CMM Choir are celebrating their 25th anniversary, and to do so are performing a selection of their best and most meaningful pieces.  If you used to be part of the CMM Choir, you are invited to a special anniversary celebration afternoon tea and evening performance on Saturday 11th July at Christ Church, Burney Lane, Ward End.  If you would like to go, do get in touch with Annie - annieroutley@btinternet.com.

HEART & SOUL
Some of you may be aware that South Birmingham Radio, the home of our HEART & SOUL radio show, has ceased broadcasting.  A number of former presenters and volunteers have come together to form a new station 'Brumside Radio' (really not our choice of name!), and so we hope to begin broadcasting again in March.  In the meantime we still have our back catalogue available on mixcloud through the CMM Blog, and Roger has put together a special tribute show to Nigel Swinford, who died earlier this year.  The interview with Nigel really was thrilling, so do listen if you are able - click here.

CHRISTIAN RESOURCES EXHIBITION, STONELEIGH
After a long break, CRE is at last returning to the West Midlands. Roger has been asked to participate in WORSHIP THURSDAY alongside Chris Bowater, Lou Fellingham and Sandra Godley, so if you are in the West Midlands, why not come along to the exhibition?  CMM's special slot will be at 12pm on Thursday 5th March in the Inflatable Theatre (whatever that means!).  For more details and to book, click here.

Finally, don't miss our newsletter - there's details of our diary in here, as well as all of our music weeks and how to book.

Upcoming events:
12/02 Worship evening, Harnhill Centre, Cirencester
29/02 ROCK-in-a-day, Pavilion Church Centre, Cheltenham
07-08/03 MARY MAGDALENE, Pulborough, Sussex
14/03 WORSHIP WORKS, Holy Trinity Lickey, Birmingham
28/03 WORSHIP WORKS, Hinckley Methodist Church, Leicestershire
04/04 JERUSALEM JOY-in-a-day, Cricklade
04/04 JERUSALEM JOY-in-a-day, Sandfields Methodist Church, Port Talbot
Contact events@cmm.org.uk for details on any of these.

Blessings!

Roger

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Roger's January 2020 eNews

Hi Folks

Our first mailing of 2020 is here!  We hope you enjoyed reading all of our Christmas news. The New Year at CMM began in a special way with our annual retreat seeking the Lord for the future direction of the ministry.  Please be praying for us all and for our EBRG Housegroup as we seek to follow where the Spirit leads.

WORSHIP WORKS News:
We are excited to announce that for the first time since the book launch in November 2013, we are going to be holding a Worship Works day in the West Midlands, and you are all invited!  The day, led by myself and my colleague Helen Pollard, will be at my home church in Lickey on Saturday 14th March.  If you have been to a Worship Works day before, we plan to introduce some new content, so it is well worth coming again.  Download a booking form here, or book online here.


TORN CURTAIN News:
The first full CMM performance of Torn Curtain since the premiere is coming up at Trinity Methodist Church in Kidderminster on Saturday 8th February at 7.30pm.  The performance will feature CMM soloists and instrumentalists, as well as our friends the New Life Together Choir.  Tickets are £6 available on the door or in advance from Sue on 01562 752798.

CMM Choir:
The CMM Choir are about to start performing Simeon again after their Christmas break:

  • 26/01 Longbridge Retirement Village, 1800
  • 02/02 Chasetown Methodist Church, 1800
  • 09/02 Baptist Free Church, Marston Green, 1830

The choir will then begin rehearsals in early March for their 25th Anniversary Concerts this summer.  If you have ever been part of the CMM Choir, we would love to invite you to a special afternoon tea at Christ Church, Burney Lane, Ward End, B8 2AS on Saturday 11th July.  Do get in touch with events@cmm.org.uk for more details.

Other CMM Events coming up:

  • 29/02 ROCK in a day, Cheltenham
  • 08/03 MARY MAGDALENE, Pulborough
  • 28/03 WORSHIP WORKS, Hinckley
  • 04/04 JERUSALEM JOY, Cricklade
  • 04/04 JERUSALEM JOY, Port Talbot

For further details on any of these events, do get in touch with the CMM Office.

We are very sorry to announce that due to the very sudden death of a close friend of the ministry, we have had to cancel our musical in a day in Nantwich in April. This means that Saturday 25th April is now available in Annie's diary for a musical in a day event, with CMM soloists already booked.  If you are interested in hosting this day, do get in touch with the CMM office on 01527 576 440 or office@cmm.org.uk

Heart & Soul News

The Heart & Soul team are taking a short winter break and look forward to broadcasting again soon - watch this space for details of where to find them, as sadly it is likely they will no longer be associated with South Birmingham Radio. You can still find most of the past recordings on this page of our blog site.

Every blessing!

Roger


Tuesday, 17 December 2019

CMM Christmas News

Here it is, the email you've been waiting 12 months for!  We have at last finished our annual Christmas newsletters.

Poppy's pages:
"The Christmas lights are going on all around Bromsgrove and we are almost the first in our road..."
Poppy's pages also includes news from the rest of the Jones family - Tim & Emma, Andrew & Gemma and Sally & Karl.  Click here for more!



Annie's news:
"This year has been filled creatively for me with Roger's Torn Curtain..."
As well as all she has been working on at CMM, Annie's news includes something for all past and present CMM Choir members, as well as ballet and the People's Orchestra. Click here to enjoy all Annie has to share.




Christmas news from Helen:
"Thanks for all your love and support in 2019.  Work at CMM has continued to be very busy and fruitful..."
There's a couple of cute pictures of Michael in this one.  Don't miss it!




Amy's Christmas news:
"This is my first Christmas newsletter here at CMM so I thought I would use it to introduce myself..."
If you want to know a bit more about Roger's new PA and long-term CMM Associate Amy (as well as seeing a picture of her beautiful daughter), then click here.




CMM Christmas news and events:
Our latest colour mailing complete with important events coming up in 2020.

As you'll see, our 2020 DIARY shows shows a full and exciting time ahead for us all, and more events will be added as the year unfolds.  We do so value and need your support.  We couldn’t do this without you folk!

Have a wonderful Christmas and a Jesus-filled New year!

Roger




Friday, 29 November 2019

Roger's December 2019 eNews

Hi Folks,

There's just time to send our news before the rush of Christmas cards and newsletters (do keep your eye out for ours in the next few weeks!).  November 2019 really has been an exciting month for us, seeing God move in incredible ways.

Our main news is the success of our visit to the United Arab Emirates.  Mary and I, along with a wonderful CMM team of Ann Steer, Bill Carpenter, Devon Brown, Mick and Lorraine Green, Paul Edwards and Yvette Roberts flew out to Abu Dhabi on Tuesday 12th October. Then followed a whirlwind two weeks including three performances of Rock, Two Spirit Works evenings, three opportunities to preach and numerous other meetings and rehearsals.  The performances in Al Ain, Dubai and Abu Dhabi all were absolutely wonderful, and the latter included a choir of 200 and was live-streamed on YouTube.  You can watch again here, although the actual performance of Rock doesn't start until 30 minutes in! I have written a fuller report of the visit, which you can read on our blog here.

We are also absolutely delighted to be able to announce that the video of the premiere of Torn Curtain is also available to watch on YouTube.  This was our special performance with a scratch choir of approaching 200 and a live orchestra of over 40 players.  If you are unsure, this musical of Torn Curtain is 11 songs exploring how we are welcomed into the presence of Jesus through the curtain to worship and find intimacy with God.  This is separate from the Torn Curtain communion setting, and there will be more information on this in a future mailing.

CMM Choir have just begun their tour of Simeon performances, with two brilliant first productions at Harborne Baptist Church and St Thomas' Aldridge.  If you'd like to see them in action there's still plenty of time:
Saturday 30th November, 7pm, St John's Church, Walsall Wood
Sunday 8th December, 6pm, Holy Trinity Church, Lickey
Sunday 26th January, 6pm, Longbridge Retirement Village
Sunday 2nd February, 6pm, Chasetown Methodist Church
Sunday 9th February, 6.30pm, Marston Green Baptist Free Church

Finally, if you're stuck for any Christmas present ideas, don't forget about all we have to offer!
For presents on a Christmassy theme, why not try Alison Fuggle's wonderful Christmas poetry book, 'With all the trimmings', or our CD 'Songs of Christmas'?
Or for those looking to grow in their relationship with Jesus we have our 'Spirit Works' and 'Worship Works' books.
For the book lovers among you there's Alison Fuggle's novel 'Encourager' or Graham Allan's biography of Roger, 'Musical Man'
Finally, we have lots of excellent CDs of course!  We particularly recommend our new releases - Tim's new jazzy instrumental CD 'Jones got rhythm' or our brand new musical 'Torn Curtain'.

God bless you all, and watch this space for our Christmas newsletters!
Roger

CMM in the United Arab Emirates

St Andrew's Abu Dhabi
For two weeks in November, Roger and Mary led a musical tour in the United Arab Emirates, together with seven other CMM team members, Ann Steer, Yvette Roberts, Paul Edwards, Devon Brown, and Mick and Lorraine Green.  They were joined by local soloist Sarah Sorrell.  The tour was based in Abu Dhabi, with visits and performances also in Al Ain and Dubai.



There were:

  • Three performances of ROCK (the musical about Simon Peter), which also involved several rehearsals and planning meetings.
  • Three opportunities for preaching and leading music and worship in Anglican churches in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.
  • Two SPIRIT WORKS seminars, involving teaching and practical activities based upon the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit. 

Roger writes,
This has been one of our most exciting and spectacular opportunities ever, and it has been amazing how God has opened the door for us in this exciting and welcoming Muslim country in their “Year of Tolerance”.  Much of our freedom to perform and minister was been due to the ongoing diplomacy of the Rector of St Andrew’s, Rev Andy Thompson, although the initial idea, invitation and project management was due to his colleague Rev Gill Nisbet, who first encountered CMM whilst on the community at Lee Abbey!  Gill’s vision really came to pass! 
In each performance of ROCK, in Al Ain, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the enthusiasm and hospitality of the Christians in the local churches was exceptional.   Over 20 different denominations were involved in the choirs, and the dancers, led by Sharon Craggs and Lily Brito, provided a spectacular dimension, so that each ROCK production was more than just a performance - it was a multi-media act of worship! 
In the SPIRIT WORKS sessions it was obvious that there was a thirst and openness to the work for the living Jesus and many were encountered by his Spirit.  One memorable instance was when a mother was prayed for her by her two young children, and she told us afterwards that she had really received the Spirit for the first time in her life!  
The final performance was not in a church, but in the Theatre of the Zayed University and introduced and welcomed by Her Excellency Noura Al Kaabi, UEA Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development.  It was much greater than we could have anticipated!  We had 200 in the all-age choir, with at times over 18 dancers on the stage, almost 800 in the audience, and over 1300 watching on the live stream!   Two film crews also appeared on the day!  The link for you to see this performance is: https://youtu.be/D7XL4fjeCDk
(NB. The actual performance of ROCK starts 30 mins in!) 
Please do keep remembering the church in the UAE in their prayers, especially that the seed sown of his word will continue to strengthen and bear fruit in the years to come.  Many aspects of the trip were memorable and exhilarating, but perhaps this comment from a member of the choir expresses it best:  
“This was the highlight of my 8 year stay in Abu Dhabi.  God speaks again to me during this performance.  I will remember this to the end of my days.  Thanks again, Roger and team.”
To God be the glory, great things he has done!  











Thursday, 31 October 2019

Roger's November 2019 eNews

Hi Folks,

My November news is slightly early but you’ll just how much the Lord still has for us to do!

Last month began with Annie leading a special JAIRUS’ DAUGHTER in a day event in Weston-super-Mare, while Mary, Helen, Devon and myself attended the wedding of one of our trustees, Mick Green.  Congratulations to Mick and Lorraine, and may God bless you both richly!

Then on Saturday 12 October we launched the new TORN CURTAIN musical at the Coton Centre in Tamworth with an orchestra of 40 and a choir of over 150.  Huge thanks to my colleagues Helen, Annie, Tim and Amy for all their hard work leading and organising on the day and all of those who assisted in so many ways.  A special mention must go to Annie, who has worked long hours trying to orchestrate the musical, and Saturday was a testimony to her diligence and immense skill.  This date was also a gift day for the CMM Trust, and we are so blessed by the response.  Thank you letters and emails will shortly be sent, but for those who gave anonymously or in cash on the day, please know that we really appreciate your love and support.

Since the launch we held a wonderful ROCK event in Trowbridge with the team travelling to Abu Dhabi next month (see below for more info!) and then have had a wonderful Spirit-filled WILDFIRE music week at Brunel Manor in South Devon.  Helen has also taken TORN CURTAIN on the road to a Methodist Women in Britain event in Lincolnshire and all were delighted with how well the musical worked as a short day event.

The sad news here at CMM is that we have to report the death of the chair of the CMM Trust, Geoff Rudge after an illness lasting approximately a year.  Geoff has been one of my closest friends since 6th Form, and we are devastated by his loss, but know he is with the Lord in glory.  Do read the tribute on our blog post here.  Our prayers are with his wife Mary, and all of the family.  Geoff’s funeral, on Tue 29 Oct was a sad yet joyous occasion.  It was a privilege to lead the music at church and crematorium, and both events were filled with praise, testimony and God’s word – just as Geoff would have loved it!

We fly to Abu Dhabi on 12 November for an incredible, yet very busy tour, mostly with ROCK,  the story of Simon Peter.  Nine of us are going, including soloists Ann Steer, Yvette Roberts, Devon Brown, Bill Carpenter and Paul Edwards, plus Mary and myself, together with Mick and Lorraine.  Over in the UAE we will be supported by Sarah Sorrell (soloist) and local choirs in various towns and cities.  The itinerary (12-25 Nov) will include:

  • Several productions of ROCK, including in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Al Ain
  • At least two SPIRIT WORKS seminars
  • Preaching/leading services in Al Ain and Abu Dhabi

We are excited and somewhat nervous about this wonderful but challenging opportunity.  To say we welcome your prayers is an under-statement!

The CMM Choir have the first few dates for their SIMEON productions:

  • 17 Nov - Harborne Baptist 1830 
  • 24 Nov - St Thomas’ Aldridge 1830
  • 30 Nov - St John’s Walsall Wood 1900
  • 08 Dec - Holy Trinity Lickey 1800


We are excited about our all-age, all-abilities TORN CURTAIN music weeks next year:

  • 23-30 MAY Sat-Sat           - Rydal Hall, Cumbria
  • 02-08 AUG Sun-Sat         - Willersley Castle, Derbys
  • 15-22 AUG Sat-Sat           - Scargill House, N Yorks                                
  • 25-31 OCT Sun- Sat          - Sidholme, Sidmouth

Do come if you can.  You book directly with the centres themselves.

Finally, next year Mary and I are leading a party to OBERAMMERGAU & SALZBURG (13-19 Sep), including the Passion Play, some touring and a special Mozart concert!  We’ve heard that there are just two twin/double rooms left.  Click here for a booking form.

God bless,

Roger

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Jesus, friend of little children

We recently received an amazing email:

Dear Roger,
 
I am hoping that you will remember me from the early 1990s. I was Jairus' Daughter in the Girls' Brigade production and tour, and made the recording with you in 1992. I was 12 when we were touring and I turn 40 next year...! I have been meaning to get in touch for a while having found CMM on social media a year or so ago. I'm so pleased that CMM's work goes from strength to strength, and that you are continuing to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
 
I now live in London with my husband and our three beautiful children. I studied Theology at Cambridge, and have spent my professional life working in the charity sector in fundraising and volunteer management.
 
Jen as 'Jairus' Daughter'
I particularly wanted to get in touch to let you know that I have just been approved to train for ordination. It comes after four years in the discernment process with Southwark Diocese and I will be starting training next September. As part of the process, I have, of course, spent considerable time reflecting on the experiences God has given me over my life. It has been wonderful to think back to my time working with you and the team on Jairus' Daughter: being introduced to extempore prayer, worship songs and the transformative power of the Holy Spirit aged 12, which was quite a change from the Church we attended each week as a family. The experiences I had as part of Jairus' Daughter affected me deeply and, I believe, helped to lay the foundations for my future ministry.
 
I loved Theology as an academic subject and studied it avidly at school and university, but the study made me really question my faith and I didn't get confirmed as a teenager as I wasn't sure I really believed. I returned to Church properly in my 30s - wanting to give my children the same experience I had had - and started attending my local CofE Church in 2012. I gradually became more involved in Church life (leading children's groups, PCC Secretary etc.) and then started preaching regularly after I began to feel called to something more.
 
I wrote to you, when I was 12, saying that Jairus' Daughter had helped me to realise that I would like to be a vicar when I was older (the letter was in fact written before the first women priests were ordained in the Church of England!). My Mum found a copy of this long-forgotten letter and ambition at exactly the time that I started to feel called to further ministry four years ago - God's perfect timing!
 

Roger with Jen at CRE earlier this month
So thank you for everything you did to nurture my faith and lay the foundations of all that was to come for me - and all that is still to come. I am so grateful to you and the Jairus' Daughter cast for the rich and deep faith that you all shared so completely with a young girl. I was very sad to learn of Mike Stanley's death - a truly wonderful man who lived out his faith in all he did.
 
Sending my thanks, love and very best wishes to you,
 
Jen x

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Geoff Rudge - a tribute


We are heartbroken to announce that Geoff Rudge, chair of the Christian Music Ministries Trust, died yesterday morning, 2nd October 2019. Geoff had been ill for approximately a year. All our love and prayers are with Mary, his wife, and the whole family.

Geoff has been so important to us in more ways than we can express here. Roger met Geoff on his first day at Saltley Grammar School, and they grew together both in life and as followers of Jesus. In Chapter 11 of Roger’s biography, ‘Musical Man’, Graham Allan reflects on some of the people who have been important to Roger’s ministry. Geoff is the first person to be mentioned.

It was Geoff who encouraged Roger to attend Christian Endeavour with him at Grenfell Baptist Church in 1964. At this group, Roger first saw what living for Jesus really looks like, and it was instrumental in his giving his life to Jesus in 1966. Roger says, “The morning after I became a Christian, I sat with Geoff in a classroom at Saltley Grammar School. I said to him, ‘Geoff, I became a Christian last night.’ And he replied, ‘Right. We’ll have a prayer meeting then.’”

Even though Geoff wasn’t a great singer, he was a worshipper, and he truly appreciated the power of music to touch many. For many years he was Roger’s right-hand-man when it came to organising choral house parties to Israel, and he was one of the EBRG house group who first encouraged Roger to leave teaching and go full-time in ministry.

In the book ‘Musical Man’, Roger made a few comments about Geoff. This is what he said:

  • God gives me the idea and Geoff gets on with it! This particularly relates to Israel. There have been eight choral house parties travelling to Israel with Geoff, but he has been several times more, planning and establishing links and contacts.
  • We raced each other around Ward End Park once. Geoff won by 1 yard!
  • We stood on the terraces at Birmingham City together and Geoff subbed for me when I was vacuum cleaner at the Odeon Cinema.
  • In September 2014 Geoff and I celebrated the 50th anniversary of our friendship with our respective wives, both called Mary.
  • Geoff was a Barnabas to me. And he continues to encourage me.
Geoff was incredibly practical and straightforward. He did not mince his words or water things down; he knew the power of the Gospel and shared it with grace and strength. He was never afraid to confront issues or face challenges – he chaired the CMM Trust with much wisdom and love.

We will miss him greatly.

In the time of our dying we’ll see the saviour’s face
Beyond struggling and crying we know his power and grace
In the loving without ending know the truth we are defending
And we’ll see Christ face to face: knowing Him!


(from Wildfire by Roger Jones, lyrics by Alison Fuggle)



Friday, 27 September 2019

The miracle continues!


36 years ago, my vicar Peter Lawrence asked a life-changing question at a meeting of our support group, EBRG. He asked, ‘Do you think God may be calling Roger and Mary to give up teaching and go into full time Christian Music Ministry?’

After a period of prayer and consideration, consulting many friends and associates, we met together once more to see where we thought the Lord was leading. Peter posed the question again, and one by one each member of the group said ‘Yes.’

Peter turned to me with a twinkle in his eye and said, ‘There you are, if it all goes wrong you know who to blame!’ A year later, I gave up teaching and 35 years later, by God’s grace I am still in ministry. I still remember in the early days a £5 note arrived through my door every month in an unmarked envelope – it was a wonderful reminder of God’s constant care and attention.

But 2019 isn’t just my 35th anniversary in full-time ministry with CMM. As I write this letter my wonderful colleague Annie is celebrating 25 years at CMM, having originally only had a 2-year contract! Helen, too, has now been with us 14 years.

Looking back to that night in 1983, with Sally just a babe in arms, we would never have thought that the ministry might still be going in this way in 2019.

The Lord has provided through you – through your prayers, your participation and your financial donations.

But now it is time to look ahead to where God is leading in the future. For a number of years my musical ‘The Torn Curtain’ has been out of print for various reasons, and we feel that now is the time to refresh it and bring it right up to date. We published the setting of Holy Communion separately, and have added three songs to the first eight songs of the original musical to make it more complete. I am so thrilled by the finished product – we were even blessed to have my good friend Jonathan Veira singing solo on two of the tracks on the album.

To buy a new vocal score and CD click here

We are launching Torn Curtain on October 12th at the Coton Centre in Tamworth. You are all invited! We will be learning the musical in a day with a scratch choir and orchestra, as well as our wonderful CMM soloists. Arrive from 10.30am to sing or play, or for the performance at 5pm to watch.

To book click here.

We have also, on the advice of the Trustees, decided to make the launch a Gift Day for the ministry. It will be a celebration, praising Him for all that is past, and trusting for all that is to come (I might have just set that old hymn to a new tune!). I have slowed down my workload a little, but have no plans to retire. I still have lots of energy and enthusiasm to keep going, and as the Lord still seems to be presenting me with plenty of doors to open, I intend to follow wherever he leads. Please be praying that the Lord leads people to continue to give generously so that the ministry can continue.

If you aren’t able to be present on the day, please prayerfully consider whether the Lord is calling you to contribute to the Gift Day from wherever you are:

Click here to find out more and donate


CMM hopes for 2019-20:

  • Using ‘Torn Curtain’ to minister to choirs and audiences through performances and music weeks. This is a musical that is very clear with the Gospel, but is also a wonderful discipleship tool, encouraging people to come closer to the Lord in worship.
  • Introducing the ‘Torn Curtain Communion Setting’ to groups and churches.
  • Adding Torn Curtain and Angel Voices to our house-group notes series, and bringing out small group leaders’ notes and sermon series ideas for Worship Works.
  • Using the numerous invitations for musicals we have in the diary to share the gospel and bring a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit – we currently have 7 musical-in-a-day invitations, 4 other musical invitations, as well as a Rock musical tour in Abu Dhabi!
  • Continuing to lead Worship Works and Spirit Works events – we are particularly excited by the Spirit Works week at Lee Abbey in June.
  • Continuing with the wonderful ministry that is the ‘Heart & Soul’ radio show. This is a terrific opportunity to share the gospel and make contacts with others in ministry across the country (and beyond!).
  • We don’t currently have any ‘Musical Man’ events in the diary, but we are open to invitations. These evenings are an opportunity for me to share some songs, and a little of my testimony.
  • Helen and Tim are working at making sure the musicals are available into the future by establishing our presence on various sheet music websites – this is an important work that will take time to complete.
I would like to thank you, for myself as well as on behalf of the trustees, for partnering with us in ministry, some of you for so many years. We really appreciate your continued support and look forward to seeing where the Lord leads us in the future.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

The Intern's Tale part 10 - June and July 2019

Hello folks,

Apologies for not writing my blog in June, it has been a rather busy and testing couple of months.
During the course of June I managed to fit quite a lot in.  Firstly finishing off a promotional video for Pharisee (watch this space).  It has taken me a while to get this done as I have been trying to get it all to fit in time with the music that I’ve created which means changing the length of how long the pictures are shown individually - this takes loads of time!

I have slowly been arranging ‘God is our Shelter and Strength’ and getting the piano part done. The vocals are finished and so I have now just got to fit the piano part around it and then it will all be finished.

Throughout June and July, we had 5 of our CMM Choir Concerts, all of them went very well! The soloists were brilliant, they worked hard, and we had some great audiences. I played for 3 of the 5 concerts as I was then struggling to play with my shoulder.

For the Torn Curtain recording, the CMM Choir and others met up at Christ Church for a SATB recording for the CD. The recording was strange as once we had learnt the little snippets, we recorded them, but only Helen, Roger or Annie could be able to hear the backing track. It went very well, and it was good to be involved in the recording. We even got a little certificate that says we have been involved in the recording haha... I had a good time doing it and I do have some pictures on my camera which will eventually make its way to the CMM page haha.

On the 26th June I finally had my shoulder surgery. I had a subacromial decompression of the shoulder joint, so basically, they shaved off some of the bone of my shoulder so that eventually I will be able to lift my arm again and play my instruments comfortably. It has been a difficult few weeks as the physio exercises have been tough but they are getting easier. I now have more movement than before the surgery which is great! It is still very painful to move around but with the exercises, I’m making slow progress.

Since having the surgery, I was signed off work for 3 weeks to rest and recuperate after the operation. Most who know me know that the word ‘rest’ does not really exist in my vocabulary haha... I have had to have so much patience with it as I struggled to do the simplest tasks... dressing myself, opening things, and eating. The day after the op, I met up with CMM office to go out for a meal for Helen's birthday which was good. It was good to get out and the restaurant were brilliant as they cut my food up for me XD. It was brilliant to be out with everyone and have a good laugh. And then on the Friday I went up to the recording studio with Roger to go and see how things were being done for the recording of Torn Curtain, it was interesting to see all the equipment being used and hearing the soloists recording their bits.

In these 3 weeks off I was forced to rest as I picked-up gastroenteritis from somewhere and was very poorly the week after my op for two weeks. Also, during that time, I had to pack up and move to a new house which went a lot smoother than I thought it would have. Alison and Clive were brilliant helping me move as I’m still not allowed to lift anything with my right arm. As well as that Clive and myself went to meet my dad in Manchester to collect stuff for moving which was brill. Meeting in the middle meant my dad could get back quicker to get to bed after doing a night shift haha. I am now settled in, unpacked and getting used to the area.
Singing with the Bishop!

Due to moving I am now very far away from train stations, but Alison kindly donated her bike to me so I can get around a bit easier. So, for about a week I have been cycling everywhere!  It is making my shoulder slightly sore but it’s a lot easier and cheaper to get around now. On Sunday I cycled all the way the church which took about an hour, then back to the city to choir and then on to Birmingham Cathedral for a service ‘To Celebrate Reader Ministry on the 50th Anniversary of Women being Admitted as Readers’ with Roger and CMM which was a really good service! It was interesting to hear about it all and be a part of the choir that were singing for the service 😊.

I am in the process of sorting all my paperwork and maths skills test out for starting University PGCE in September. I had my interview in June and got offered a place at Birmingham City University to study for my PGCE with SEN (Special Educational Needs) as my specialism! I am so excited to start teaching! It’s going to be a tough year, but I have got an amazing crowd of friends and support system here in Birmingham. They’re all amazing people and I don’t know what I’d do without them!
This week has officially been my last week in work. It feels so surreal to have finished! This year has gone so quickly! I have absolutely loved being with the CMM office staff, they have helped me in more ways than I can say!

This year has helped me grow so much in confidence, mental strength, self-worth and I’m physically better as well. All the different events this year have been challenging but good for me as I have been able to test myself. I have done many things this year that I didn’t think I’d be able to do but everyone here has been so encouraging, helpful and given me so much strength and confidence to do anything I am challenged with.

Also, God Bless you all - you’ve had to put up with my essay long blogs all year! I’m sure I will see people around the country at various gigs throughout the years to come. It has been a great year and I am looking forward to what the future has to offer.

CMM has always and will continue to have a very special place in my heart.
They are my family <3 xxx