News from St Stephen's
July 2012


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South African Evening

We recently enjoyed a South African evening led by Rev Edwin and Sue.  We sampled cuisine and Edwin told us of their lives in South Africa, before their move to England, and showed us family pictures and some of the beautiful and not so beautiful sites of this country.  South Africa has eleven official languages. Almost all official communication such as road signs and media are in English.   Afrikaans and Zulu are also widely spoken.  Thanks to them for a very enjoyable evening and for all the work involved and to all the helpers.

Flag of South Africa



Biltong & Droewors


Biltong is a kind of cured meat that originated in South Africa. Many different types of meat are used to produce it, ranging from beef through game meats to fillets of ostrich from commercial farms. It is typically made from raw fillets of meat cut into strips following the grain of the muscle, or flat pieces sliced across the grain.

Droëwors - (Afrikaans for “dry sausage”) a popular South African snack food, based on the traditional, coriander-seed spiced borewors sausage..


Main Meal

Bobotie & Rice

served with banana,

lettuce & tomato


Bobotie (buh-boor-tee)  - a South African dish consisting of spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based topping.



Koeksisters served

With ice-cream

Koeksister - a South African syrup-coated doughnut in a twisted or braided shape (like a plait). It is prepared by deep-frying dough in oil, then dipping the fried dough into cold sugar syrup. Koeksisters are very sticky and sweet and taste like honey. 




Teddy Club Jubilee Party


Children and parents enjoying the Jubilee Party St Stephen's Teddy Club Team



Teddy Club Jubilee cake



St Stephen's Gospel Choir

Another really enjoyable and uplifting evening was held recently as the Gospel Choir presented Summer Praise.  Strawberries, scones and cream were served in the interval and nearly £500 was raised for British Heart Foundation.  There will be a Christmas Praise evening on 8 December.



 Church Organ

A big thanks to Eric and the team who have spent many hours finding the right organ for our church.  On Sunday 27 May during the morning service the organ was dedicated.   A plaque is attached in memory of Alan Williams, the organist at St Stephens for many years before his death, and to Mabel Wilson whose legacy to the church enabled us to have this beautiful organ.

St Stephen’s Church has just installed a new Makin “Westmoreland” Custom, Three manual, 51 speaking stop organ, in  an oak drawstop console with wood based keys and illuminated pistons. 

The instrument sits on a movable platform which enables it to  be played from its normal Sunday position at the rear of the church via a multi-pin socket connected to the thirteen channel speaker system which is situated at the top of the old organ chamber also at the rear of the church and sounding  through a grill as did the pipes.  Or it can be moved and played from any other chosen position when connected to a second speaker socket at the front of the church.

...................The new..................

This new digital instrument replaces an old Binns, Fittonn & Haley organ that was in terminal decline and required close on £100,000 spending on it.  As it was never a particularly good organ, having been cut down from a three to a two manual and shoe-horned in to a far too small chamber, it was decided to replace it with a state of the art digital instrument at massively less cost. 

After many months of research we settled on the Makin custom instrument.  The team at Makin were friendly, helpful, professional, and delivered all that they promised.  Their installation team worked most efficiently and no one has even noticed the speaker cables so discretely placed as to be invisible. 

Our thanks go to all the organists and churches around the Midlands who helped us in our search for the beat instrument for St. Stephen’s, by opening up their churches and letting us listen to and play their organs.

The old  pipe organ, or at least some parts of it, will live on as we have donated some of the good pipes to help renovate Methodist church organs in Walsall and Short Heath.  Other still useful parts have been sold to organ builders who will in time use these to restore organs in other places.  The remains have been sold for scrap and the money put towards the new instrument. 

..............and the old................



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