LENT BIBLE STUDIES: The six Lent Bible Studies which we have now completed, were both thought-provoking and challenging. The Rev Helen’s choice of another Philip Yancey’s book – Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? was certainly appropriate It was good to share the course with friends from both Christ Church Longridge and Fulwood Methodists and to have the option of the same course led in the afternoons by Rev’d Peter Sheasby. There was a great deal of material in each of the six sessions. It was both beneficial and fascinating to be able on occasions to attend the same session twice led by different ministers. Thanks to both Rev’ds Helen and Peter
MORNING BIBLE STUDIES Start date of next series to be arranged
A HAPPY TRANSLATION
Some linguists were translating the Bible into a local African language. They had difficulty in finding a pure word for joy. The tribal words used had connotations which were not acceptable.
As they were debating what would be a suitable word, a dog belonging to one of the missionaries came into the room, wagging its tail vigorously.
“What would be the word you would use for the joy that dog has, having found his master?” the missionaries asked. They were offered a word, and the final text was translated:
“There will be tail-wagging in heaven over one sinner that repents.”
Thanks to Beaconsfield URC
WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT PRAYER
“Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing” Martin Luther King Jr.
“Pray and let God worry” ~ Martin Luther
“Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays. ~ Søren Kierkegaard
“God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer.” ~ Mother Teresa
“God does nothing except in response to believing prayer.” ~ John Wesley
“Our prayer must not be self-centred. It must arise not only because we feel our own need as a burden we must lay upon God, but also because we are so bound up in love for our fellow men that we feel their need as acutely as our own. To make intercession for men is the most powerful and practical way in which we can express our love for them.” ~ John Calvin
“Prayer invites us to rest in the fact that God is in control, and that the world’s problems are ultimately God’s, not ours. If I spend enough time with God, I will inevitably begin to look at the world with a point of view that more resembles God’s own” ~ Philip Yancey (Prayer p210.)
“More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.”
Alfred Lord Tennyson
2nd Acts 11: 1-18; Psalm 148 or Leviticus 19: 8-18; Psalm 24: 1-6; Revelation 21: 1-6; St John 13: 31-35
9th Acts 16: 9-15; Psalm 67 or Deuteronomy 34: 1-12; Psalm 109: 21-31; Revelation 21: 10, 22-22: 5; St John 14: 23-29 or St John 5: 1-9
16th Acts 16: 16-34; Psalm 97 or 2 Kings 1-15; Psalm 2; Revelation 22: 12-14, 16-17, 20-21; St John 17: 20-26
23rd Pentecost Acts 2: 1-21 or Genesis 11: 1-9; Psalm 104: 24-34, 35b; Romans 8: 14-17 or Acts 2: 1-21; St John 14: 8-17, (25-27)
30th Trinity Sunday Proverbs 8: 1-4, 22-31; Psalm 8; Romans 5: 1-5; St John 16: 12-15
6th 1 Kings17: 8-16, (17-24); Psalm 146 or 17: 17-24; Psalm 30; Galatians 1: 11-24; St Luke 7: 11-17
13th 1 Kings 21: 1-10, (11-14), 15-21a; Psalm 5: 1-8 or 2 Samuel 11: 26-12: 10, 13-15; Psalm 32; Galatians 2: 15-21; St Luke 7: 36- 8: 3
20th 1 Kings 19: 1-4, (5-7), 8-15a; Psalm 42 and 43 or Isaiah 65: 19-28; Psalm 22: 19-28; Galatians 3: 23-29; St Luke 8: 26-39
27th 2 Kings 2: 1-2, (6-14); Psalm 77: 1-2, 11-20 or 1Kings 19: 15-16, 19-21; Psalm 16; Galatians 5: 1, 13-25; St Luke 9: 51-61
4th 2 Kings 5: 1-14; Psalm 30 or Isaiah 66: 10-14; Psalm 66: 1-9; Galatians 6: (1-6), 7-16; St Luke 10: 1-11, 16-20
THE BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
The following passage was reputedly written in the nineteenth century by Thomas Pumphrey, headmaster of Ackfield School, a well-known Quaker school in Yorkshire It was written to help his scholars with the daunting and difficult task of learning by heart all the books of the Bible and their contents.
“ In Genesis the world was made by God’s creative hand,
In Exodus the Hebrews marched to gain the promised land,
Leviticus contains the laws. All holy, just and good,
Numbers recalls the tribes enrolled, all sons of Abraham’s blood.
Moses in Deuteronomy recounts God’s mighty deeds,
Brave Joshua into Canaan’s land the hosts of Israel leads.
But Ruth describes the faith of one well-pleasing in His sight.
In first and second Samuel, of Saul and David read,
Ten tribes in first and second Kings revolted from their seed.
The first and second Chronicles see Judah captive made.
But Ezra leads a remnant back through princely Cyrus’s aid.
The walls around Jerusalem Nehemiah builds again,
While Esther saves her people from the wiles of wicked men.
In Job we read how faith will live beneath affliction’s rod,
And David’s Psalms are precious songs to every child of God.
The Proverbs like a goodly string of wondrous pearls appear,
Ecclestiastes teaches men how vain are all things here.
The mystic Song of Solomon exalts sweet Sharon’s rose,
While Christ the Saviour and the King the rapt Isaiah shows.
The first and second Chronicles see Judah captive made.
But Ezra leads a remnant back through princely Cyrus’s aid
The mourning Jeremiah apostate Israel scorns,
His plaintive Lamentations their coming downfall mourns;
Ezekiel tells in gracious words of dazzling mysteries,
While kings and empires yet to come Daniel in vision sees.
Of judgement and mercy Hosea loves to tell,
Joel describes the blessed days when God with men shall dwell.
Among Tekoa’s herdsmen Amos receives his call,
While Obadiah prophesies of Edom’s final fall.
Jonah displays a wondrous type of Christ, our risen Lords,
Micah pronounces Judah lost, then once again restored,
And Nahum tells on Nineveh just judgement shall be poured.
A view of Chaldea’s coming doom Habakkuk’s visions give,
Next Zephaniah warns the Jews to turn, repent and live.
Haggai writes to those who saw the temple built again,
And Zechariah prophesies of Christ’s triumphant reign.
Malachi is the last to sing the high prophetic chord,
His closing notes sublimely tell the coming of the Lord.“
COMMITMENT FOR LIFE
PAINTING FOR PRIDE
Arab citizens in Israel face serious discrimination, but one organisation is helping to build civic pride and awareness of basic human rights.
When we think of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, we think of Israelis in Israel, and Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. In fact, about 20 per cent of the population of Israel is made up of Arabs who did not become refugees in 1948-49, and have since been given Israeli citizenship.
These Arab citizens experience discrimination in many aspects of life in Israel, including widespread employment discrimination. But the biggest problems come from unequal distribution of state funding between the Arab and Jewish populations; for example, three times more money is invested in the education of Jewish children than in Arab children.
As a result, many young people feel angry and disillusioned. But others are working hard to make a difference.
The youth volunteers with Nazareth-based Christian Aid partner the Arab Human Rights Association (HRA) undertake a huge array of activities aimed at building relationships, cohesion and a sense of civic pride in the community. These include running workshops in schools and play-schemes for disabled children, visiting old people at home or in hospital, litter collection, and putting on fun events such as face-painting.
Eighteen year old Haytham Abu Ahmed explains how he got involved: ‘HRA volunteers came and ran a workshop about citizenship at my school. They seemed so educated and interesting. I decided I wanted to be a part of this.’
And it works. Many of the people working with the HRA have come from difficult and poor backgrounds. Many have turned around disruptive behaviour patterns, and are now running community schemes, helping others.
Volunteer Haytham Abu Ahmedruns a face-painting session As Haytham says: ‘It’s not enough to live, to eat and drink. We want to be treated equally. Only by knowing your rights can you demand them from the state and society.’
THE APRIL FINANCE & PROPERTY COMMITTEE MEETING
A little known fact is that the Chair of the Finance and Property Committee is a keen amateur astronomer. On the date of the last meeting of this committee, 15th April 2010, a rare astronomical event was expected at 2115 BST. Venus and Mercury (a planet rarely seen by most people) were to appear next to a very New Moon. Ian had been tracking the lead up to this event, for three evenings in beautiful clear skies. He was determined to see the actual phenomenon and on opening the Committee meeting announced that it must finish before 2100 otherwise someone else would be closing it! Awestruck, the meeting complied and all business was duly completed by 2050 BST.
Ian rushed home but the sky was covered by volcanic ash from Iceland and chose, perversely to clear at 2130. Ian only saw Venus (the planet, he emphasises) and so all was in vain, but ‘A Big Thank You to all the Members of Finance & Property’.
Of course, the sky was completely clear the next night.
PS Ian and his family went to Cornwall in 1999 to see the Total Eclipse of the sun. Yes everywhere did go as dark as night, BUT the sky was covered by cloud in all directions. Ah well, that is (Ian’s) life..
OUT AND ABOUT – OR WHAT SOME ELDERS GET UP TO
One Saturday in late March, Margery, Vivien and Mac accepted an Area invitation to a “ Quiet Day “ in the tiny URC church at Newton-in-Bowland in the rural heart of the Trough of Bowland. A place of non-conformist worship since 1696. “ A Time to Pray” began with a short service of worship led by the minister Revd Michele Jarmany followed by two separate hours of quietness (about two dozen of us in church in near silence except for the crowing cock in an adjacent farmyard) either side of lunch. The silent prayer times were helped by various pictures, prayers and objects spread out in the four corners of the church to help focus on the times of the day – morning, afternoon, evening and night. It was a surprising, novel and most fascinating experience, well worth repeating and the silence was less of a problem than anticipated (especially for one or two!)
Every year, we receive an invitation from Forton URC to attend their afternoon Good Friday Service. Forton Chapel is another of our historic churches and the Good Friday Service can be traced back for something like 300 years when it originally it would attract worshippers from long distances as the centre of non-conformist worship in the area. It was then the practice to serve refreshments to the worshippers after the service before their long return journeys and this tradition still continues. A couple of years ago Revd Helen was invited to lead this Good Friday Service. This year the service was conducted by the NW Moderator Revd Richard Church and Mac was pleased to be able to attend for the first time (and partake of refreshment before the long drive back to Fulwood!!)
During the last weekend in April, Vivien, Margery and Mac attended the NW Synod Elders’ Weekend at the URC Windermere Centre. The event was advertised as an opportunity for elders from across the NW Synod to meet and swap thoughts and ideas, to provide a sense of ‘the bigger picture’ – that each local church is part of the much wider URC and as a refresher for ‘long-term’ elders. The weekend provided all of this and much, much more. It was good to be reminded of the duties and the responsibilities of Eldership; of how the URC works through its various councils and of how we try to discern the guidance of the Holy Spirit in all our decisions. It was invigorating to meet other enthusiastic elders from all over the Synod in a friendly, fun-filled atmosphere, to share experiences and learn of others’ innovative ideas. As usual the Director Lawrence Moore provided clarity and instilled enthusiasm and Revd Lis Mullen led inspirational morning and evening prayers and a memorable communion service on the Saturday evening. We were pleased to be able to stay to the end of the course and to share with the other elders as part of the congregation at Revd Lis Mullen’s morning service in the beautiful Carver Memorial Church
DO YOU HAVE A JOB IN CHURCH?
Some Elders in the south of England attended a Consultation Day organised by their Synod Moderator to consider future ministry in the URC. The following passage which they discussed is worthy of consideration by all members:
“ If you’re doing it because no-one else will, it’s a job. If you’re doing it to serve the Lord, it’s a ministry.
If you’re doing it just well enough to get by, it’s a job. If you’re doing it to the best of your ability, it’s a ministry.
If you’re doing it so long as it doesn’t interfere with other activities, it’s a job.
If you’re committed to staying with it even it means letting go of other things, it’s a ministry.
If you’re doing it because someone said it needed doing, it’s a job.
If you do it because you are convinced it needs to be done, it’s a ministry.
It’s hard to get excited about a job. It’s impossible not to get excited about a ministry.
People may say: ‘Well done’ when you do a job. The Lord will say: ‘Well done’ when you complete your ministry.
The average church is filled with people doing jobs. A great church is filled with people involved in ministry. If God calls you to do a ministry, for Heaven’s sake (literally) don’t treat it like a job. If you have a job in the church, give it up and find a ministry. God doesn’t want us feeling stuck in a job, but excited, fulfilled and faithful in a specific ministry.”
Something to think about:
The resurrection of Jesus was the worst public relations event in history. It was probably (Christians would say ‘certainly’) the most decisive act in the history of our world, yet no one saw it. And that is how it had to be. It is always a matter of faith before it is a matter of fact.
CHURCHES TOGETHER IN FULWOOD & BROUGHTON
PILGRIMAGE TO LIVERPOOL
Saturday 18th September
Free time in Liverpool
Evensong in Anglican Cathedral Tour and Meal in Refectory
Cost £20 Please book early – Forms available
THE CRAFT GROUP
Our Craft Group continues to meet, usually twice monthly, to try their hand at something different. We have tried two variations of Spirelli and made Easter cards based on palm crosses. At our first session in April we tried decorating ceramic tiles to make coasters but the artistic juices weren’t flowing very well – it was entertaining but not very productive and the coffee break was longer than usual.
In future sessions we will be trying glass painting, Lacé, iris folding & encaustic art amongst other things. If you don’t know what they are, why not come along and have a go? You don’t need to be an expert, just willing to have a go and all materials (and tea or coffee) are provided. Good value for 50p!
The February Church Meeting decided to recommence our Church Fellowship at the new date of the second Thursday of the month at the usual time of 7.30pm. Our first such meeting was held on 8th April as a Table-Top Games evening. This was well supported and enjoyed by all. Thanks to Margery for arranging the games and not making them too difficult.
At the next meeting on 13th May we will be addressed by a well-known friend, Ray Armstrong of Fulwood Methodists – some may remember his most interesting talk some time ago about his collection of ties. For this talk he hopes to be accompanied by Nigel Francis, the Manager of the Fox Street Centre and we will hear about the new direction the Centre is taking and the specific work Ray does in helping to obtain work experience for some of the residents.
On 10th June Rev’d Helen will tell us about her experiences as a member of the Operations Christmas Child Distribution team to Belarus in January and how the Shoe Boxes were received. The photograph comes from Helen’s article on the NW Synod website which makes excellent reading but far better to come along to the Fellowship and hear the story first hand from Helen!
For the July meeting we have arranged a Fellowship Lunch at Ferraris Restaurant in Longridge. Please book now on the booking form is in the Church Foyer. The date is Thursday 8th July – 12.00 for 12.30 hours
Our meetings resume on 9th September when two more friends from Fulwood Methodist, Barry and Muriel Crossley will present a selection of slides, which we know will be excellent, entitled “ All Kinds of Everthing”.
At our meeting on 14th October we will hold another Table Top Games evening and this time include a Hot Pot supper
Rev’d Lena Talbot will give her talk entitled “Serendipity” at our meeting on 11th November. Not sure what it is about but we are told on the very good authority that it is well worth hearing !
A treat awaits us at our meeting on 9th December, when the ever-popular Pat Ascroft will speak to us – about her most recent adventures in September on behalf of MENCAP. (Hopefully no political problems will occur)
We will take a collection on behalf of each speaker’s chosen charity
Christian Aid Week unites 22,000 churches to take action against poverty. Last year, each Christian Aid Week collectors raised an average of £30 each. Money was spent as follows: Long term development projects, emergencies, campaigning, advocacy and education – £75.3m (80%), fundraising and governance – £18.9m.
So I am, again, asking for help to deliver and collect envelopes in the church local area during the week from Sunday 9th May to Saturday 15th May. I will have the envelopes for distribution on Sunday 9th May.
Our Fellowship Lunch of soup and cheese will be held on Sunday 9th May following Morning Service. Donations for this meal go to Commitment for Life which works with Christian Aid. There will also be a Traidcraft stall before the lunch for purchase of fairly traded items. Viv Manners
A cellist was auditioning for the Halle orchestra in England. After his audition he was talking to the conductor. “ What do you think about Brahms? “ asked the conductor. “ Ah” the cellist replied, “ Brahms is a great guy ! Real talented musician. In fact he and I were playing some duets together last week !”
The conductor was impressed. “ And what do you think of Mozart ? “ he asked him. “ Oh, he’s just swell ! I had dinner with him last week !” replied the cellist. Then the cellist looked at his watch and said he had to leave to catch the 1.30pm train to London.
Afterwards, the conductor was discussing him with the board members. He said he felt very uneasy about hiring this cellist because there seemed to be a serious credibility gap. The conductor knew for certain that there was no 1.30pm train to London. Thanks to Margery Pitcher
PRESTON GUILD 2012
Preston Guild 2012 may still seem a long time away, but meetings have already started and Churches Together in Fulwood and Broughton have been taking an active part.
Please make a note that:
Guild Week will be held from Sunday 2nd September to Sunday 9th September 2012.
The Ecumenical Service of Celebration will be on Sunday 2nd September
The Procession of Christian Witness will be on Monday 3rd September starting in the morning and involving all the Christian Churches in a single procession. The theme will be The Living Christ.
WHY WE LOVE CHILDREN… AT TIMES!!
A woman was trying hard to get the ketchup out of the bottle….
During her struggle the phone rang so she asked her 4-year-old daughter to answer the phone:
‘Mommy can’t come to the phone to talk to you right now. She’s hitting the bottle….’
It was the end of the day when I parked my police van in front of the station.
As I gathered my equipment, my Police Dog, Jake, was barking…
I saw a little boy staring in at me. ‘Is that a dog you got back there?’ he asked.
‘It sure is,’ I replied. Puzzled, the boy looked at me and then towards the back of the van. Finally he said with awe, ‘What did he do?’
A little girl had just finished her first week of school. ‘I’m just wasting my time,’ she said to her mother. ‘I can’t read, I can’t write, and they won’t let me talk!’
Thanks to Ian Ferguson