PASTORAL LETTER, JANUARY – FEBRUARY 2016
A happy and peaceful New Year to all our readers!
At the beginning of a New Year we look forward in prayerful hope that the vacancy in the Central Lancashire Joint Pastorate will be filled as soon as possible.
We also look forward to the next joint service of the Central Lancashire Joint Pastorate to be held Sunday 13th March at 2.00pm at Penwortham URC, which will be led by the new North Western Synod Moderator, the Rev’d Andrew Mills. This is an opportunity for members to meet the new Moderator. He has also asked to meet three or four members from each congregation at a Bible Study to be held at Penwortham URC at 2.00pm on Wednesday 17th February.
Others have also been looking forward. During 2015, the staff and volunteers at the URC Windermere Training Centre have been looking forward and carrying out a radical review of how they can best serve the whole Church in the facilities, courses and material they provide. This has included a revolutionary experiment of allowing those attending their in-house courses to decide what they pay towards the cost of the attendance.
Out of this process has come a new logo for the Windermere Centre The Director, Lawrence Moore, who has previously kindly allowed us to include many of his newsletter articles in our Newsletter, has produced a series of longer articles explaining the derivation of the elements of this new logo.
The first icon is clearly The Bible, and is the first in the series of articles. Lawrence explores in depth the significance of the Bible in the relationship between the church and the communicative God.
During the Christmas period most of us will have attended a Service of Lessons and Carols either at our own or other churches or have watched on television the traditional service from Kings College and will have heard yet again the magnificent prologue to John’s Gospel which is usually read as the final lesson. I find Lawrence’s articles most interesting and his passage on the prologue both enlightening and helpful and very much hope that you will also.
For our first service of the year, we look forward to welcoming back Mrs Anne Oakden of Chorley after the short break in her regular visits to the Fulwood pulpit.
As we enter 2016, we pray God’s Blessing on our fellowship.
Macmillan Coffee Evening
Thanks to all who contributed to the collection taken in lieu of the planned coffee evening. This raised £35 which has been passed on to Macmillan Cancer Care. Thank you.
Christmas Tree Service
Thank you to all who brought gifts to the Christmas Tree service – these filled the boot of my car when I took them to the Salvation Army who were very grateful for the contribution to their Christmas Appeal.
Advance Notice – Pastorate Joint Service
The next Pastorate joint Service will be held on Sunday 13th March at Leyland URC led by Rev Andrew Mills, Moderator of NW Synod. The service will begin at 2:00pm, but as usual tea & coffee will be available beforehand for those wishing to take a packed lunch. Please make every effort to support this service.
LECTIONARY READINGS FOR JAN – FEB 2016
1st The Naming of Jesus: Numbers 6: 22 – 27; Psalm 8; Galatians 4: 4 – 7 or Philippians 2: 5 – 11; St Luke 2: 15 – 21
New Year’s Day: Ecclesiastes 3: 1 – 13; Psalm 8; Revelation 21: 1 – 6a; St Matthew 25: 31 – 46
3rd 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
10th Baptism of the Lord: Isaiah 43: 1 – 7; Psalm 29; Acts 8: 14 – 17; St Luke 3: 15 – 17, 21 – 22
17th Isaiah 62: 1 – 5; Psalm 36: 5 – 10; 1 Corinthians 12: 1 – 11; St John 2: 1 – 11
24th Nehemiah 8: 1 – 3, 5 – 6, 8 – 10; Psalm 19; 1 Corinthians 12: 12 – 31a; St Luke 4: 14 – 21
31st Jeremiah 1: 4 – 10; Psalm 71: 1 – 6; 1 Corinthians 13: 1 – 13; St Luke 4: 21 – 30
7th Transfiguration of the Lord: Exodus 34: 29 – 35; Psalm 99; 2 Corinthians 3: 12 – 4: 2; St Luke 9: 28 – 36, (37 – 43)
10th Ash Wednesday: Joel 2: 1 – 2, 12 – 17 or Isaiah 58: 1 – 12; Psalm 51: 1 – 17; 2 Corinthians 5: 20b – 6: 10; St Matthew 6: 1 – 6, 16 – 21
14th Deuteronomy 26: 1 – 11; Psalm 91: 1 – 2, 9 – 16; Romans 10: 8b – 13; St Luke 4: 1 – 13
21st Genesis 15: 1 – 12, 17 – 18; Psalm 27; Philippians 3: 17 – 4: 1; St Luke 13: 31 – 35
28h Isaiah 55: 1 – 9; Psalm 63: 1 – 8; 1 Corinthians 10: 1 – 13; St Luke 13: 1 – 9
6th Joshua 5: 9 – 12; Psalm 32; 2 Corinthians 5: 16 – 21; St Luke 15: 1 – 3, 11b – 32
13th Isaiah 43: 16 – 21; Psalm 126; Philippians 3: 4b – 14; St John 12: 1 – 8
CHURCHES TOGETHER IN FULWOOD & BROUGHTON
The services to celebrate The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity are as follows:
Monday 18th January, 7:30pm @ St Clares. Rev’d Anton Muller, the Churches Together in Lancashire Ecumenical Facilitator
Tuesday 19th January, 7:30pm @ O L S E.
Wednesday 20th January, 10:30am @ Fulwood Methodist.
Thursday 21st January, 10:30am @ Christ Church.
Friday 22nd January, 12:00 noon @ Fulwood URC. Led by Rev’d Brian McConkey, Vicar of Christ Church.
Saturday 23rd January, 10:30am @ St John Baptist.
Sunday 24th January, 3:00pm @ Central Methodist. Ecumenical Homelessness Service
Monday 25th January, 7.30pm @ St Cuthberts.
More volunteers are urgently needed to staff the Information Desk at the Hospital as, for various reasons, a number of existing volunteers have been lost. Please consider and pray about the possibility of helping.
SOME WORDS OF THANKS
Gill Gilmer sends her thanks for the cards, get well messages and flowers she has received over recent weeks.
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Dear All, What a send off you all gave our Dad!! Thank you so very much. Margery, your skill and oratory are exceptional, Jean F, I so much appreciated the music and Jean D, you were a constant in my Father’s life for many years, how can I tell you how much I valued all your love and care. There are numerous members of the Church who also gave me Peter and Kathryn their time and love over the weekend to ensure all went well and many others who gave my Father support and attention when he came to church, I thank you, everyone. I have attached his Eulogy which you may wish to use in some form. I have many personal happy memories of Church and I hope to continue my association in the future. Once again, thank you. Best Wishes Pam Leaver.
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Dear Margery, I wanted to write and thank you for how you supported us all through the committal and memorial service. Your own personal connection with Dad really came through and gave meaning to all that was said. Also, please pass on my thanks to all those church members who were friends with Dad and provided an important supportive friendship for him. He often spoke on the phone about attending church and the pleasure it gave him. The services enabled us to celebrate Dad’s life and recognise his great qualities. Thank you, Kathryn Hath (from Tasmania)
On 6 January we celebrate Epiphany – the visit of the wise men to the baby Jesus. But who were these wise men? No one knows for sure. Matthew calls them ‘Magi’, and that was the name of an ancient caste of a priestly kind from Persia. It wasn’t until the third century that they were they called kings – by a church father, Tertullian.
Another church father, Origin, assumed there were three – to correspond with the gifts given. Later Christian interpretation came to understand gold as a symbol of wisdom and wealth, incense as a symbol of worship and sacrifice, and myrrh as a symbol of healing – and even embalming.
Certainly Jesus challenged and set aright the way in which the world handled all three of these things. Since the eighth century, the magi have had the names Balthasar, Caspar and Melchior.
A COLD WINTER’S DAY
On a cold day winter’s day, some years ago, a little boy, about 10-years-old, was standing before a shoe shop on the roadway, barefooted, peering through the window, and shivering with cold. A lady approached him and said, ‘My, but you’re in such deep thought staring in that window!’
‘I was asking God to give me a pair of shoes,’ was the boy’s reply.
The lady took him by the hand, went into the shop, and asked the shop keeper to get half a dozen pairs of socks for the boy. She then asked if he could give her a basin of water and a towel. He quickly brought them to her. She took the little fellow to the back part of the store and, removing her gloves, knelt down, washed his little feet, and dried them with the towel.
By this time, the shop keeper had returned with the socks. Placing a pair upon the boy’s feet, she bought him a pair of shoes. She tied up the remaining pairs of socks and gave them to him. She patted him on the head and said, ‘No doubt, you will be more comfortable now.’
As she turned to go, the astonished child caught her by the hand, and looking up into her face, with tears in his eyes, asked her: ‘Are you God’s wife?’
“I asked God for strength, that I might achieve,
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey…
I asked for health, that I might do greater things,
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things…
I asked for riches, that I might be happy,
I was given poverty, that I might be wise…
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men,
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God…
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life,
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things…
I got nothing that I asked for but everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered
An Unknown Confederate Soldier