PASTORAL LETTER MARCH – APRIL
Whilst waiting for ideas to write this Pastoral Letter, I received my daily e-mail from Synod containing the day’s Lent reflection. These have been written by a group of people from the Northern and North Western Synods. Similar collections of devotions have been produced recently for Advent and Christmas. Unfortunately notification for this series did not arrive until after the last Newsletter had been published. Two or three members are receiving these e-mails daily during Lent . Please see page 19 or ask to receive copies.
On this particular day , the devotion was prepared by Rev’d Carole Marsden, the URC minister serving in Sedbergh, who is well known to those of us who have attended the “Come & Sing” Courses at the Windermere Centre and other Synod musical events. Her reflection was based on Psalm 27
1The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?
2When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.
3Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.
4One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.
5For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me upon a rock.
6Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.
7Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me.
8My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek.
9Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me God my Saviour
10 Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.
11 Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.
12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes for false witnesses rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations.
13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Her reflection was based on waiting, which not surprisingly struck a chord as on Palm Sunday we will have been in Ministerial Vacancy for three years. The reflection contrasts the pace of life in the time of the psalmist with that in today’s world – a world of instant everything – just “add hot water” and it will be ready- “live now, pay later” and concludes that waiting seems to be going out of fashion today.
Reflecting on the experiences of his life, the psalmist has developed a deep confidence in God’s faithfulness as his enemies were confronted and fell. As we wait for Easter, we do well to spend time in Lent to reflect on those experiences in our life journeys which give us our confidence in His faithfulness and to share those stories with others.
Two of our members were able to accept the invitation from the new North Western Synod Moderator Rev’d Andrew Mills to meet with him the other afternoon at Penwortham URC . Along with representatives from the other three churches in the Central Lancashire Pastorate, we spent time introducing ourselves to Andrew, followed by a Bible Study together. The Moderator has been invited to lead worship at our next Joint Pastorate Service at Penwortham URC at 2.00pm on Sunday 13th March and we spent time our together discussing at the four lectionary readings for that Sunday, taken from a variety of Bible translations, and sharing those parts of the readings that spoke to us. I would urge all members to make every effort to attend this service and meet our new NW Moderator.
With Easter Blessings to all
PS As I carry out a final check of the draft Newsletter, today’s Lent e-mail is written by Margaret Edwards, our friend and former member and now an Elder at Wilbraham St Ninian’s, Chorlton, S.Manchester!!
LECTIONARY READINGS FOR MARCH & APRIL 2016
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
20th Palm Sunday: St Luke 19: 28 – 40; Psalm 118: 1 – 2, 19 – 29
Passion: Isaiah 50: 4 – 9a; Psalm 31: 9 – 16; Philippians 2: 5 – 11; St Luke 22: 14 – 23: 56 or St Luke 23: 1 – 49
21st Monday in Holy Week: Isaiah 42: 1 – 9; Psalm 36: 5 – 11; Hebrews 9: 11 – 15; St John 12: 1 – 11
22nd Tuesday in Holy Week: Isaiah 49: 1 – 7; Psalm 71: 1 – 14; 1 Corinthians 1: 18 – 31; St John 12: 20 – 36
23rd Wednesday in Holy Week: Isaiah 50: 4 – 9a; Psalm 70; Hebrews 12: 1 – 3; St John 13: 21 – 32
24th Thursday in Holy Week: Exodus 12: 1 – 14; Psalm 116: 1 – 2, 12 – 19; 1 Corinthians 11: 23 – 26; St John 13: 1 – 17, 31b – 35
25th Good Friday: Isaiah 52: 13 – 53: 12; Psalm 22; Hebrews 10: 16 – 25 or Hebrews 4: 14 – 16; 5: 7 – 9; St John 18: 1 – 19: 42
26th Saturday: Job 14: 1 – 14 or Lamentations 3: 1 – 9, 19 – 24; Psalm 31: 1 – 4, 15 – 16; 1 Peter 4: 1 – 8; St Matthew 27: 57 – 66 or St John 19: 38 – 42
27th Easter Day: Acts 10: 34 – 43 or Isaiah 65: 17 – 25; Psalm 118: 1 – 2, 14 – 24; 1 Corinthians 15: 19 – 26 or Acts 10: 34 – 43; St John 20: 1 – 18 or St Luke 24: 1 – 12
Easter Evening: Isaiah 25: 6 – 9; Psalm 114; 1 Corinthians 5: 6b – 8; St Luke 24: 13 – 49
3rd Acts 5: 27 – 32; Psalm 118: 14 – 29 or Psalm 150 or 2 Kings 7: 1 – 16; Psalm 2; Revelation 1: 4 – 8; St John 20: 19 – 31
10th Acts 9: 1 – 6 (7 – 20); Psalm 30 or Isaiah 61: 1 – 3; Psalm 90: 13 – 17; Revelation 5: 11 – 14; St John 21: 1 – 19
17th Acts 9: 36 – 43; Psalm 23 or Isaiah 53: 1 – 6; Psalm 114; Revelation 7: 9 – 17; St John 10: 22 – 30
24th Acts 11: 1 – 18; Psalm 148 or Leviticus 19: 9 – 18; Psalm 24: 1 – 6; Revelation 21: 1 – 6; St John 13: 31 – 35
1st Acts 11: 1 – 18; Psalm 148 or Leviticus 19: 9 – 18; Psalm 24: 1 – 6; Revelation 21: 1 – 6; St John 13: 31 – 35
5th Ascension Day Acts 1: 1 – 11; Psalm 47 or 93 or Daniel 7: 9 – 14; Psalm 113; Ephesians 1: 15 – 23; St Luke 24: 44 – 53
8th Acts 16: 16 – 34; Psalm 97 or 2 Kings 2: 1 – 15; Psalm 2; Revelation 22: 12 – 14, 16 – 17, 20 – 21; St John 17: 20 – 26
CONGRATULATIONS TO CYNTHIA
The NW Moderator, Rev’d Andrew Mills had great pleasure when leading worship at Cleveleys URC recently, to be able to present a certificate for long service to one of their members. Cynthia Longden is an Assembly Accredited Lay Preacher and was presented with flowers and a decorated cake after the service. We thought Cynthia had been a lay preacher for 60 years. In fact it turns out to be 64 years! We expressed our gratefulness to Cynthia for responding to God’s call in her life to preach and for her faithfulness in serving God in this way through those 64 years. We wish Cynthia every blessing as she continues to walk closely with her Lord.
(Cynthia is next due at Fulwood URC on 8th May 2016)
We are asked to pray
– for all who are called to serve in leading worship and preaching
– for us as a Synod as we look to support those called to this form of ministry & as we explore ways of encouraging a new generation of those called to lead worship
– for the work across our 135 churches in the Synod with children and young people, for their leaders, and for the sharing of the Christian faith with them through our Church communities.
Thanks to NW Synod Newsletter 24 Feb 2016
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.
OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD
Because I paid for my shoeboxes on line, I have received the following e-mail :
“Thank you for sending a shoebox gift with Operation Christmas Child. Because of you, a child in Albania received a gift to remember. Your gift was one of 29,511 shoeboxes sent to Albania from the UK and 11.2 million packed globally.
Once more children in need, all over the globe, experienced the joy of a simple shoebox gift and the hope that comes with knowing they are loved and not forgotten. Children like 10 year old Sophia, “My mother died four years ago. I am living with my grandmother who doesn’t see and hear well. This year I underwent two serious surgeries of my legs so I can walk but I still have pain and I am still using a wheel chair. I was invited to go to the children’s party to receive a shoebox present. The weather was fine and my granny took me – it took us about an hour because the place was a bit distant. If I could jump because of the joy I felt when I received my present, I would have! There were so many beautiful things inside: bracelets, necklaces, pencils, sweets and many other things. I am thankful for this wonderful present to the people who sent it to me.”
A pebble catches my eye.
I pick it up, hold it in my hand, feel its hardness, its crevices.
Small it may be, but when studying it, I find blemishes, lines crisscrossing, tiny holes and so many different colours within one seaside stone. It has been worn away, many of its rough edges smoothed, yet not all.
I have taken time to look closely at this pebble.
But how often do I look at my life in the same way?
A life that has had many years, but still struggles with rough edges.
There are many holes in my life that will never be filled. Experiences have crisscrossed throughout this life of mine.
There have been many different colours, some bright and full of happiness, while others are dark and full of shadows.
But this pebble is unique, because of all that it has gone through.
Just as my life.
I can be no other person, only me.
I am who I am, and I am glad.
It has made me a very special person.
give us patience when it is needed so that we can seek your path in life;
give us initiative when it is needed so that we can live life for you;
give us urgency when it is needed so that we respond in love;
give us time, in these days of ‘instant’ to have confidence in your constant love, justice and hope.
Thanks to Rev’d Carole Marsden
CHURCHES TOGETHER IN FULWOOD & BROUGHTON
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.
MINISTRY OF FLOWERS
6th March Lindsay Heaton
13th March Frances Fraser
20th March James Lunn
27th March Joyce Foster
3rd April ~
10th April Frances Fraser
17th April ~
24th April Camille McCullough
1st May ~
CHURCH FLOWER MINISTRY
As many of you know, week by week church is enhanced by flowers which are donated by members and friends. Some use their donation to remember loved ones, or celebrate birthdays or anniversaries. The flowers are then delivered to people who are unwell or are unable to attend church, or a have something good to celebrate and with whom we would like to extend the love and friendship of Fulwood United Reformed Church.
We now have a number of dates free on the rota and it would be good to fill them, making sure that we can continue this part of our church ministry. If you do not feel able to buy and arrange the flowers yourself, we would be happy to do this for you. Please contact me Jean Dunsmore.
Three years after the Russian Revolution of 1917, a great anti-God rally was arranged in Kiev. The powerful orator Bukharin was sent from Moscow, and for an hour he demolished the Christian faith with argument, abuse and ridicule. At the end there was silence.
Then a man rose and asked to speak. He was a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church. He went and stood next to Bukharin. Facing the people, he raised his arms and spoke just three triumphant words: “Christ is risen!”
At once the entire assembly rose to their feet and gave the joyful response, “He is risen indeed! It was a devastating moment for an atheist politician, who had no answer to give to this ancient Easter liturgy. He had not realised he was simply too late: how can you convince people who have already experienced God, that He does not exist?
Thanks to “The Wesley News”, Stourport-on-Severn
REFLECTION FOR OUR TIMES
Money can buy medicine, but it cannot buy health,
It can buy a house but not a home,
It can buy companionship but not friendship,
It can buy entertainment but not happiness,
It can buy food but not appetite,
It can buy a bed but not sleep,
It can buy a cross but not a Saviour,
It can buy a good life but not eternal life. `
ANOTHER LETTER FROM THE RECTORY
St James the Least
My dear Nephew Darren,
I suppose it had to come, but combining parishes is now firmly on the agenda for our villages. I had always wondered what the first Earl of Stowe was trying to prove, building a church here in 1347 to accommodate 800 people when the total population has never exceeded 250. In the short term – which in this village is measured in centuries – it seems to have been to house the tombs of his 13 successors. I now realise it was to make uniting with adjoining parishes in the twenty-first century more difficult. Clearly the first Earl had formidable foresight. None of our neighbouring churches seem to keen to share their reserves to help maintain our cathedral-sized building.
The threat of the closure of St Herve the Bard has, inevitably, caused outrage – not so much from its regular congregation of three, but from all those in the village who would never think of attending. People do so like to have a church not to go to.
St Bregowine, built by a wealthy parishioner in the 19th century because she did not like the high church practices of the parish church of St Iwig, is refusing to re-unite, even though the two churches stand only 100 yards apart, in a village with a diameter of 300 yards. If only they could get over the trauma of seeing the incumbent putting water in the wine on Easter Day in 1894. Although it must be conceded that the Bregowinians were equally affronted that when the daughter church opened in 1895, they found that the Iwigers had provided no brass troughs at the end of the pews for umbrellas. That they have subsequently refused to install them has only compounded the offence.
Meanwhile St Plegmund is in discussions with the Church of South India as a way of avoiding uniting with anyone. Should it happen, I will be interested to see what travelling expenses the new incumbent claims. It will be difficult to tell when the present incumbent resigns, as he has not been seen at a clerical meeting for the last 30 years. Some of my colleagues suspect that he is mythical, that a bloodless coup took place in the 1980s and that the church is now entirely run by the Mothers Union.
The church of St Maximus of Constantinople in our nearest town has rather grandly offered to take all of our churches under its wing, but as a parishioner has pointed out; how could we possibly consider joining with a parish that fought on the other side at the Battle of Bosworth.
In the meantime, we will serenely carry on, as we seem to have done for the past six centuries; parish mergers and reductions in numbers of clergy seem to be of less interest than debating the suggestion that we change the brand of coffee served after Services.
Your loving uncle,
With thanks to ‘New Life’, the magazine of the Parish of Dalton-in-Furness, Newton, and Ireleth with Askham.
A set of Easter devotions written by people from all over the URC has been compiled by Andy Braunston, our Synod Clerk. These are emailed out to all those who sign up for them at 7am each morning and start on Easter Sunday. You can sign up by going to this link. When it asks you to confirm simply click on the link that is sent to you in your email. http://eepurl.com/bPLqev
Thanks to NW Synod Newsletter 23 Mar 2016
ROTAS FOR MARCH – APRIL 2016
|6th Mar||Norman Croll
|Mavis Orrell &
|13th Mar||Viv Manners
|20th Mar||Frances Fraser
|27th Mar||Brian Fazackerley
|Mavis Orrell &
|3rd Apr||Margery Pitcher
|Jean Dunsmore &
|10th Apr||Jean Dunsmore
|Mavis Orrell &
|17th Apr||Viv Manners
|24th Apr||Mavis Orrell
|1st May||Norman Croll
|Jean Dunsmore &
|8th May||Brian Fazackerley
Tea, coffee, biscuits etc are supplied by the Church
If you are unable to attend when you are on duty,
please arrange a swap with someone and notify
Mac Dunsmore or Margery Pitcher.
* * * CAN YOU HELP? * * *
Could you help with some of the duties on Sunday mornings? Our team of people willing to help prepare & serve the refreshments and wash up afterwards is dwindling – please consider if you could help occasionally. The more people we have on the rota the lessoften each team would need to be on duty. Please see Margery if you feel able to help. Thank you.