November / December Newsletter

ST MARYS JACOBITE SYRIAN CHURCH

On the second Saturday in October we were able to welcome to the use of our premises, St Mary’s Jacobite Syrian Church. Following an approach to Fulwood Methodist Church about the use of a church in the Preston Area for a gathered congregation in the north of England and the Methodist church being deemed to be too large for their purposes, we were contacted about the use of Fulwood URC on the second Saturday of each month. Following approval by the Church Meeting and the signing of an agreement, the first service has now taken place.

We hope to include more about this denomination in future editions but include a taster from the Internet …

“Few Christian denominations can claim the antiquity of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, whose foundations can be traced back to the very dawn of Christianity. The Church justifiably prides itself as being one of the earliest established apostolic churches. It was in Antioch, after all, that the followers of Jesus were called Christians as we are told in the New Testament, “The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” (Acts 11:26)”.

We extend them a warm welcome to Fulwood URC.

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Lectionary Readings November & December 2010

November

1st    All Saints Day Daniel 7: 1-3, 15-18; Psalm 149; Ephesians111-23; St Luke 6: 20-31

7th Haggai 1: 15b – 2: 9; Psalm 145: 1-5, 17-21 or Psalm 98 or Job 19: 23-27a; Psalm 17: 1-9; 2 Thessalonians 2: 1-5, 13-17; St Luke 20: 27-38

14th      Isaiah 65: 17 – 25; Isaiah 12 or Malachi 4: 1 – 2a; Psalm 98; 2 Thessalonians 3: 6 – 13;St Luke 21: 5 – 19

21st      Jeremiah 23: 1 – 6; Luke 1: 68 – 79 or Jeremiah 23: 1 – 6; Psalm 46; Colossians 1: 11 – 20; St Luke 23: 33 – 43

28th      1st Sunday of Advent Isaiah 2: 1 – 5; Psalm 122; Romans 13: 11 – 14; St Matthew 24: 36 – 44

December

5th    2nd Sunday of Advent Isaiah 11: 1 – 10; Psalm 72: 1 – 7, 18 – 9; Romans 15: 4 – 13; St Matthew 3: 1 -12

12th  3rd Sunday of Advent Isaiah 35: 1 – 10; Psalm 146: 5 – 10 or St Luke 1: 47 – 55; James 5: 7 – 10; St Matthew 11: 2 – 11

19th  4th Sunday of Advent Isaiah 7: 10 – 16; Psalm 80: 1 – 7, 17 – 19; Romans 1: 1 – 7; St Matthew 1: 18 – 25

25th  Christmas Day Isaiah 52: 7 – 10; Psalm 98; Hebrews 1: 1 – 4, (5 – 12); St John 1: 1 – 14

26th      Isaiah 63: 7 – 9; Psalm 148; Hebrews 2: 10 – 18; St Matthew 2: 13 – 23

January

1st   New Year’s Day Ecclesiastes 3: 1 – 13; Psalm 8; Revelation 21: 1 – 6a; St Matthew 25: 31 – 46

2nd       Jeremiah 31: 7 – 14; Psalm 147: 12 – 20; Ephesians 1: 3 – 14; St John 1: (1 – 9), 10 – 18

6th  Epiphany of the Lord Isaiah 60: 1 – 6; Psalm 72: 1 – 7, 10 – 14; Ephesians 3: 1 – 12; St Matthew 2: 1 – 12

We present you with this Book, the most valuable thing this world affords. Here is wisdom. This is the Royal Law. These are the lively oracles of God.”

…. spoken by the Moderator of the Church of Scotland as the Bible   was presented to Queen Elizabeth II at her Coronation.


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REFLECTION ON JOB 28
Where were you at Earth’s creation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off the globe’s dimensions?
Were you there when it was planned?
Have you ever called the morning?
Or shown the dawn its rightful place?
Did you set ablaze the sunlight?
Or blow clouds across the face?
Can you bind the seven sisters?
Can you loose Orion’s cords?
Will you bring forth stars and seasons?
Can you do this with your words?
I’m your God, the Lord Almighty
The beginning and the end.
Can you test me, without knowledge?
My own laws, can you defend?
Do not strive, just let Me help you
Do not try to understand
Let Me lead you through life’s pathways
Let Me take you by the hand.
Do not struggle, rage and question
Leave it all for Me to do,
You cannot begin to fathom
The great depth of My love for you.  (Anon)

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Street Pastors

Our Church Meeting report includes the news that Colin Higgin-Botham is undertaking training to serve as a Street Pastor in the Preston area. Along with Rev’d Helen, I attended a lively service at Preston Minster on 14th October when the work of the Preston Street Pastors was celebrated and twelve new volunteers, including Colin were commissioned. It was good to hear again from Rev Chris Drury, who has spoken to both our URC Area Meeting and to Churches Together in Fulwood and Broughton in the recent past, how the Street Pastors project in Preston began just over two years ago after discussions with the police and how the vision of having fifty street pastors in the Preston area is now almost achieved. Street Pastors is an inter-denominational Church response to urban problems, engaging with people on the streets to care, listen and begin a dialogue. I was impressed to hear from the Street Pastors who spoke during the Service that they go out on the streets of Preston on Friday evenings, not as members of a particular denomination, but as representative of the Church – and that the twelve new Street Pastors represented eight different churches in the area!

I am sure we will learn a lot more about the work from Colin as he begins to serve on the streets in the near future.  The Street Pastors would welcome your prayer support for the continued safety & protection of their volunteers on the streets; for the development of the project into the city centre and South Ribble areas; for continued good relationships with the other agencies working in the area and for the people they come into contact with, that they would offer them real hope

Mac Dunsmore

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General Assembly 2010 News in brief

HISTORIC INDUCTION OF JOINT CHURCH MODERATORS. The Rev’d Dr Kirsty Thorpe and Mrs Val Morrison have become the first joint national leaders of the United Reformed Church following their induction as co-moderators of the URC General Assembly

MINISTERS’ WORKING WEEK. Assembly passed a resolution recommending that URC ministers work no fewer than 160 hours and no more than 192 hours within a four-week period. After lively debate over this resolution it was passed by a majority vote.

WESTMINSTER REDEVELOPMENT. Assembly pledged to contribute £1m of the £7m needed for the redevelopment of Westminster College, Cambridge – one of the URC’s resource centres for learning.  The refurbishment aim is to equip the college in providing better services and facilities. The £1m will be raised through a combination of asset sales, legacy funds, bridging loans and other measures. Building work could begin in July 2012.

SUPPORT FOR THE OLYMPICS. General Assembly adopted a resolution encouraging churches to use the events surrounding the Olympic and Paralympic Games and Queen’s Jubilee – as opportunities for witness and service.

CONDUCT GUIDELINES. After heated debate, assembly authorised and adopted guidelines for the conduct and behaviour of ministers, CRCWs and elders of the United Reformed Church. The guidelines aim to assist ministers in fulfilling their promise to ‘live a holy life’ and define their duties, as well as those activities that may be damaging to the URC.

Thanks to REFORM September 2010

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DATES TO REMEMBER

AUTUMN FAIR – 20th NOVEMBER at 2.30pm

Proceeds to St Catherine’s and Derian House Hospices


LANCASHIRE SINGS CHRISTMAS

INTERACTIVE CAROL SERVICE 21st DECEMBER

Carol Singing in local Residential Homes at 7.00pm

For further details see http://lancashiresingschristmas.co.uk


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Commitment for Life update

ISRAEL/OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY

Support for a better future in Bethlehem

Muin Altrich never imagined that he would have to get used to life in a wheelchair. But six years ago, while he was studying at university in Bethlehem, the town in the West Bank in which he grew up, Israeli soldiers started shooting into the crowd at a rally he was attending.

Muin was shot in the back and neck and the doctors told him that he would never walk again. ‘When the injury happened, I was in a very bad state; he says. ‘It was very serious for me – [I didn’t know] how to deal with others, with myself, with my family, how to return to the community.’

Muin was struggling to adjust and imagine a future for himself when a field worker from the YMCA got in touch and told him how the organisation could help. TheYMCA, a long-term Christian Aid partner, receives support from Commitment for Life.

Muin decided to follow the YMCA’s rehabilitation programme for people disabled in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He was assigned a counsellor, Houssein, and for several months lived in and out of the YMCA’s rehabilitation centre. ‘All my conversations with Houssein were very useful and enjoyable. Without our conversations, I would not be here now, says Muin.

At the end of his counselling, Muin enrolled on a training programme with the YMCA, where he learned to make nativity scenes out of olive wood to sell to Bethlehem’s tourists. After he had completed his training, the YMCA gave Muin a loan to set up a workshop. Now he runs his own business and employs two members of staff – both of whom are also disabled. Muin says, ‘I never dreamed, even when I could walk, that I would reach this point. What I have achieved makes me never regret or feel negative about what happened. I have to thank the YMCA for all of this’

A gift of £43 pays for crutches for someone disabled in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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CHRISTIAN AID CAMPAIGN UPDATE

Join Christian Aid’s tax campaign

Did you know that poor countries could be losing as much as US$160m a year through tax dodging by unscrupulous companies working internationally?

International actors, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, estimate that this is likely to be more than the entire international aid budget.

That’s why Christian Aid is asking Commitment for Life supporters to join a campaign aimed at achieving greater financial transparency. It seeks to persuade multinational companies to report on the profits made and taxes paid in every country where they operate – so-called country-by-country reporting.

Eliana Graqa, from Christian Aid’s Brazilian partner INESC, says this about the campaign: ‘It’s a question of justice. If a company is in a country and uses its human and natural resources, it’s only fair that part of the fruit of that labour should stay in that country – that the company should give something back:

The campaign is focusing on four FTSE-listed companies – Unilever, Vodafone, TUI Travel (which owns Thomson Holidays and First Choice) and Intercontinental Hotels Group (which owns Holiday Inn) – asking them to set an example by supporting the campaign for country-by-country reporting and to encourage others in their industry to do so.

To join the campaign, Commitment for Life supporters can obtain a comprehensive Trace the Tax action pack, which includes local action ideas, a poster and a DVD. Special postcards designed to be mailed to the four companies asking them to support Christian Aid’s call for a new international accounting standard are also available. Both items can be ordered by calling 0870 0787 788 or emailing orders@christian-aid.org

For more information, email campaigns@christian-aid.org or visit: www.christianaid.org.uk/ActNow/trace-the-tax

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CHURCHES TOGETHER IN FULWOOD & BROUGHTON

WHAT ON EARTH ARE WE DOING?

This year the Churches Together in Fulwood & Broughton Day of Reflection was held on Saturday morning 16th October and for some this was the first opportunity to visit the newly refurbished Fulwood Methodist Church. The event coincided with exchange visit of Methodists from Preston’s twin city of Recklinghausen, Germany who were guests of Fulwood Methodist church for the week-end. It was therefore an ecumenical occasion both locally and internationally.

We were proportionately well represented , most of us had met Rev’d Nick Moxon (the Methodist District Evangelism Enabler Officer) at our Church day a couple of years ago, and some of us had met Rev’d Debbie Peatman (the Lancashire County Ecumenical Officer), who were the two leaders.

In addressing the Day’s challenge “What on Earth are we Doing?” groups were asked to scan through newspapers and identify issues that were currently of general interest and concern. We looked at in what ways the Church was involved in any of the issues, and ways in which the churches could better achieve their Mission by working together. Plenty of food for thought for future CTFB meetings.

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BIBLE STUDY

We have received a kind invitation to attend Bible Basics, a short course for everyone, how the Bible came to be and how we can read it today. The sessions will be held at 2:00pm at Fulwood URC and repeated at 7.30pm at Fulwood Methodist.

3rd Nov    Session 1: What is it? What’s in it? How did it get there?

10th Nov Session 2: The Story of Biblical Times.

17th Nov Session 3: One Book, Many Voices?

24th Nov   Session 4: ‘The Word of the Lord’?

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CHURCH FELLOWSHIP

Following the most excellent slide presentation by Muriel Crossley truly “All Kinds of Everything” at the September meeting and the hugely enjoyable Hot Pot and Table Top Games evening in October the Church Fellowship Meeting continue  on the second Thursdays of each month starting at 7.30pm.

Rev’d Lena Talbot will give her talk entitled “Serendipity” at our meeting on 11th November. We are 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 one of her adventures.  We are not sure which one as Pat’s planned visit to Namibia on behalf of MENCAP has had to be cancelled

We will take a collection on behalf of each speaker’s chosen charity

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ON THE LIGHTER SIDE

A Rabbi’s son had just passed his driving test and approached his father about the use of the family car.

His father said, “I’ll make a deal with you. You improve your grades, study the Talmud a little better, get your hair cut, and then we’ll talk about it.”

After a month, the son came back and again asked his father about the use of the car

The Rabbi said, “Son, I am very proud of you. You have improved your grades, you’ve studied the Talmud diligently, but you still didn’t get your hair cut”

The young man replied, “You know Dad, I’ve been thinking about that to. You know Samson had long hair. Moses had long hair, and even Jesus had long hair.”

The Rabbi said, “Yes, son, and everywhere they went, they walked.”

Thanks to Brian Fazackerley

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LETTER FROM THE RECTORY

The Rectory

St James the Least

My dear Nephew Darren

It was good of you to take Evensong here last Sunday while I was at my old college re-union – but I would prefer you used the pulpit in future for preaching. How could Colonel Brockle complete “The Times” crossword and Miss Balmer her knitting with you constantly walking up and down in front of them? They found it was most disconcerting, as out of politeness, they were obliged to listen to you. It was a unique experience they do not wish to repeat.

Those few who deny Anglican tradition and sit at the front of the church were also placed in the dilemma of trying to decide whether they should keep turning in their pews as you paraded down the nave and then rotating back to the front as you re-emerged up the side aisle. It did Lady Plumptree’s vertigo no good at all. It also allowed people to see that you were wearing suede shoes. For many of our worshippers, the most appalling of heresies are as nothing when compared to brown shoes under a cassock.

I appreciate you made heroic efforts and got your sermon down to 30 minutes, but that is still 20 minutes longer than they anticipated and 20 minutes longer than their attention span. That is why the noise you thought was the Sidesman counting the morning’s collection while you preached was in fact the organist jangling his keys in an attempt to remind you that his oven timer had long since switched off and his casserole was getting cold.

No, use the pulpit in future; that is the reason why stonemasons 600 years ago put twenty tons of marble in our church in the first place and it would be a shame to disappoint them. It also means that from a distance of 100 yards and a height of 20 feet, no one can tell that the glass of water I use liberally while preaching is in fact gin and tonic.

I concede that our pulpit has its dangers. I have known several bishops come to grief as their robes wrap themselves around the newel post as they ascended the step s. One, unable to untangle himself, was obliged to preach while half way up the steps and with his back to the congregation, while our verger was dispatched to find a pair of scissors.

Perhaps, before your next visit, we may install a mechanical floor in the pulpit, so that after 10 minutes, it slowly lowers you into the crypt while the congregation can get on with singing the last hymn before getting home in decent time

Your loving uncle,         Eustace

Thanks to Chipping St Bartholomew / Whitewell St Michael Parish Magazine

August and September 2010

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PARISH PRIESTS

The following is a summary of the comments made about the parish priest in a ‘typical’ parish.

If his sermon is longer than usual — ‘He sends us to sleep.’
If the sermon is short – ‘He has not bothered.’
If he raises his voice — ‘He is shouting.’
If he speaks normally — ‘You can’t hear a thing!’
If he is at home — ‘He never goes visiting.’
If he is out visiting — ‘You can never find him at home!’
If he talks about parish finances – ‘He’s too fond of money.”
If he does not mention money — The parish is dead.’
If he takes his time with people — ‘He wears everybody out.’
If he is brief — ‘He never listens.’
If he starts the service on time — ‘His watch must be fast.’
If he starts a minute late — ‘He holds everybody up!’
If he is young — ‘He lacks experience.’
If he is old — ‘He ought to retire.’
And if he dies — ‘No-one could ever take his place!’

Extract from Good News’: Additional Curates Society

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OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD 2010

Many thanks to all from the Church and from the surrounding neighbourhood who supported Operation Christmas Child 2010. At the moment, well over 50 shoe boxes have been collected.


CHRISTMAS EVE

A star shines huge and bright in a dark sky,
A jewelled sky, as shepherds watch their sheep
on Galilean hills. The night is clear,
cold as death. Still far away, the wise men keep
their eyes upon the face of heaven.
Guards salute the Roman captains as they rest
from census-taking, and a watch fire burns.
The inns are full: an outhouse, at the best,
is what is offered.
Meanwhile, midnight comes and a sad donkey
droops beneath the load of woman great with child.
Joseph is tense,
His face lined with fatigue, tired by a road
that seemed unending, yet expectant, too.
The world around him waits with bated breath
As Herod sleeps uneasily and turns,
troubled by nightmares and strange thoughts of death.
God’s hand rests powerfully upon the earth.
Angelic legions mass within the skies
As Mary sinks down in the straw and beasts
watch, undisturbed, with large and wondering eyes.
A heavenly choir alerts the world to some
great mystery at the dawning of the day.
The long tread of the camels nears its goal;
A star shines huge and bright to show the way.

(Anon)

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