March-April 2017 Newsletter

PASTORAL LETTER, MARCH – APRIL 2017

The Rev’d David Coaker has kindly offered us the frontispiece from the Leyland and Penwortham URC Newsletters for our Edition.

CERTAIN?
The theme humanity has chosen for 2017 seems to be uncertainty. The decision made last June has developed from Leave, to Brexit means Brexit, and now its word count has expanded enough to be a speech. But it still seems to me as though the debate will continue as to what actually was decided then, and we will wait to see what decision it will lead us to in a couple of years’ time. Our nation’s overall uncertainty is tinged by elections in Northern Island and a possible referendum in Scotland. Then our own collective uncertainty is then also affected with what may happen in the USA and around the world. There’s plenty of uncertainty going around.

There is not much we can directly do to remove uncertainty. We can make our voices heard in debate and by voting, but if there was a switch to flick then we’d never suffer from uncertainty. We’d be certain of everything, and everything would be much more straightforward. More straightforward, but certainly a lot less interesting. Uncertainty, whilst frustrating, also creates spaces for change to happen. Uncertainty encourages questions to be asked, ideas to be shared, and sometimes that can lead us into positive areas. If we’re uncertain, that cracks open the expected, the usual, and our customs and traditions. Uncertainty may lead us to hold ever closer to them, or it may lead us to reinvent them for the future.

In all of our lifetimes things have dramatically changed. How we relate to each other, our family lives, the communities we live in, employment, use of technology, these are all very different from how they were ten, twenty, or forty years ago; and the pace of change is ever faster. Uncertainty seems to be an established part of life, and when it starts to grow that growth feels exponential.

But what doesn’t change, what remains certain? What answer are you expecting? Faith? Maybe, within faith there is some certainty but it is grounded in relationship. Relationships change, grow and deepen, and are never 100% certain. We learn from each other, have times of closeness and separation, and our faith relationship is mediated through our spirituality, scripture, tradition, and people. In faith, we trust in God and we can be certain that God trusts us.

With every blessing, Rev’d David R. Coaker

 

FAVOURITE HYMNS SERVICE
Thank you to those who suggested hymns or readings for our Favourite Hymns service in February.  Mac & I keep a record of which hymns sung each Sunday and, in case we didn’t get enough suggestions, I looked at which hymns from Rejoice & Sing we have sung most often since we started using the book in June 1992.  As we had enough hymns suggested to fill the service we didn’t need any more but you may be interested to see our Top Ten up to 19th February 2017.

  1. 603 – Lord for the years (61 times
  2. 558 – Will you come and follow me (59 times)
  3. 497 – Give to me, Lord, a thankful heart (57 times)
  4. 96 – Great is Thy faithfulness (54 times)
  5. 474 – Brother, Sister, let me serve you (52 times)
  6. 492 – Dear Lord and Father of mankind (50 times)
  7. 95 – God is love: let heaven adore him (47 times)
  8. 629 – Make me a channel of your peace (46 times)
  9. 371 – Take my life, and let it be (44 times)
  10. 355 – Jesus calls us! O’er the tumult (42 times)
    489 – Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart (42 times)

Margery Pitcher

 

VACANCY
We have now been without a minister for almost four years. The vacancy for the Central Lancashire Pastorate was declared in June 2014. Apart from one interest, which didn’t progress, we have had no enquiries.  At the March 2016 Synod the NW Moderator presented a Report on the Future Patterns of Ministry in the NW Synod. Mainly because of retirements, the URC as a whole is facing a reduction in the number of serving stipendiary ministers. In the NW Synod this is happening even more quickly than it is generally.  By the end of 2017, it is anticipated that we will have reduced to about 30 serving stipendiary ministers. Carrying on as in the past, we will have about 30 pastorates with stipendiary ministers and 18 pastorates without.

The NW Synod Pastorate Committee decided to temporarily put all existing declared vacancies on hold and to refrain from declaring any new vacancies.     Synod Roadshows were arranged across the Synod in June and July to discuss how we should respond to the situation in the longer term. One Roadshow was held at Fulwood and was attended by most of our Elders.

At a Minister’s Day in May 2016, a suggestion was made that the churches with stipendiary ministers could agree to release up to 25-30% of their minister’s time to support churches in vacancy for a limited period. I understand the three churches in the Lancashire Area agreed to do this, but Fulwood URC was not selected for such help.

At the Central Lancashire Group Joint Elders’ Meeting in January 2017 the Joint Pastorate was advised that “There has been no answer about another minister but the vacancy will probably not be reinstated as it was. The possibility of declaring any vacancies will be part of a wider conversation with other congregations, possibly after Easter.”

We expect to get a clearer picture of likely developments at the NW Synod meeting at Bamford Chapel on 25th March and we continue to hope and pray for those trying hard to resolve this difficult problem, trusting that God show the way forward.

Mac Dunsmore

 

LECTIONARY READINGS FOR MARCH & APRIL

March

1st       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

5th      Genesis2:15-17;3: 1–7; Psalm 32;Romans 5:12- 9;St Matthew 4:1-11

12th   Genesis 12: 1 – 4a; Psalm 121; Romans 4: 1 – 5, 13 – 17; St John 3: 1 – 17

19th    Exodus 17: 1 – 7; Psalm 95; Romans 5: 1 – 11; St John 4: 5 – 42

26th    1 Samuel 16:1 –13; Psalm 23; Ephesians 5:8 – 14;St John 9:1 – 41

April

2nd     Ezekiel 37:1 – 14; Psalm 130; Romans 8:6 – 11; St John 11: 1 – 45

9th      Palm Sunday, Entry into Jerusalem – St Matthew 21: 1 – 11; Psalm 118: 1 – 2, 19 – 29

           Passion – Isaiah 50: 4 – 9a; Psalm 31: 9 – 16; Philippians 2: 5 – 11; St Matthew 26: 14 – 27: 66 or St Matthew 27: 11 – 54

10th    Monday in Holy Week – Isaiah 42: 1 – 9; Psalm 36: 5 – 11; Hebrews 9: 11 – 15; St John 12: 1 – 11

11th    Tuesday in Holy Week – Isaiah 49: 1 – 7; Psalm 71: 1 – 14; 1 Corinthians 1: 18 – 31; St John 12: 20 – 36

12th    Wednesday in Holy Week – Isaiah 50: 4 – 9a; Psalm 70; Hebrews 12: 1 – 3; St John 13: 21 – 32

13th    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

14th    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

15th    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

16th    Easter Day – Acts 10: 34 – 43 or Jeremiah 31: 1 – 6; Psalm 118: 1 – 2, 14 – 24; Colossians 3: 1 – 4 or Acts 10: 34 – 43; St John 20: 1 – 18 or St Matthew 28: 1 – 10

23rd    Acts 2: 14a, 22 – 32; Psalm 16 or Exodus 15: 1 – 11; Psalm 111; 1 Peter 1: 3 – 9; St John 20: 19 – 31

30th    Acts 2: 14a, 36 – 41; Psalm 116: 1 – 4, 12 – 19 or Isaiah 51: 1 – 6; Psalm 34: 1 – 10; 1 Peter 1: 17 – 23; St Luke 24: 13 – 35

May

7th        Acts 2: 42 – 47; Psalm 23 or Ezekiel 34: 7 – 15; Psalm 100; 1 Peter 2: 19 – 25; St John 10: 1 – 14

 

 

THE UNITED REFORMED CHURCH VISION STATEMENT

Called to be God’s people, transformed by the Gospel,

making a difference in the world for Christ’s sake”

 

LENT CONVERSATIONS AT PENWORTHAM URC

Returning Home: Christian Faith in Encounter with Other Faiths – Wednesdays 7.30pm – 9.00pm

            1st March – Temptation

            8th March – Remembrance of God’s name

            22nd March – Fasting

            29th March – Greed, Suffering and Attachment

            5th April – The Crucified Jew

The Churches Together in Britain and Ireland 2017 Lent resource explores how Christian faith has been deepened and enriched by encounters with people of different religions. This is not a resource that necessarily emphases common ground or that is about dialogue but how Christian faith has burned brightly following an encounter with the religious other.

You will find familiar Lenten themes in this material but with, what we hope, is a different approach.

The theologian John Cobb described his deep encounter with Buddhism in terms of a journey to another land and culture: the newness, sometimes strangeness of the other, can be an enriching experience. However when we return to the familiar, home is viewed with different eyes and a deeper, perhaps more profound, appreciation. This is why we have called this resource “Returning Home”.

Christians who have lived alongside, and worked with, people of other faiths, often express their surprise and appreciation that their own Christian faith has been enriched by these encounters. How is this the case? Sometimes a practice such as fasting by Muslims in Ramadan has led Christians to think again about the ancient Christian practice of fasting, or the understanding of a concept such as suffering in an Indic faith has prompted Christians to interrogate Christian understanding of redemptive suffering.

CTBI is grateful to the Methodist-United Reformed Church Inter Faith Reference Group for taking responsibility in producing this year’s Lenten material and in particular Julian Bond, Revd Peter Colwell, Dr Elizabeth Harris and Revd Dr John Parry who are the writers for specific week’s material.

 

HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW ABOUT COMMITMENT FOR LIFE – THE U R C’s CHOSEN CHARITY?
At the September 2016 Lancashire Area Meeting held at Fulwood URC, the main speaker was Ruth Platt (Christian Aid Regional Co-ordinator for Lancashire). Ruth is a regular visitor to Fulwood URC as she often attends the Preston Christian Aid Committee Meetings.  She included a quiz with questions about Commitment for Life, which we support with six Communion Retiring Collections each year

Here are some of the questions

  1. Why was Commitment for Life set up ?
    1. To enable churches to learn more about countries where their money is going.
    2. As a response to God’s love for us.
    3. As a scheme to enable congregations to put their faith into action.
  1. When did Commitment for Life, in its present format, come into being?
    1. 1985  
    2. 1992
    3. 2000
  1. What did Commitment for Life grow out of?
    1. The Four Marks of Mission
    2. Vision 2020
    3. The 1% appeal
  1. Who does it work with?
    1. Christian Aid and Global Justice Now
    2. Christian Aid and Tearfund
    3. Global Justice Now and CAFOD
  1. What happens to the money?
    1. 75% to CA, 5% to Global Justice Now and 20% in administration and resources
    2. 80% to CA, 10% to Global Justice Now and 10% in administration and resources
    3. 70% to CA, 15% to Global Justice Now and 15% in administration and resources
  1. 6) How many focus regions/countries does it have?
    1. 3
    2. 5
    3. 4
  1. What is its strapline?
    1. Justice in Action
    2. Love in action
    3. Faith and justice in action
  1. How many Lancashire URC churches are part of Commitment for Life?    
    1. 32%
    2. 42%
    3. 49%    

Answers at end  

Mac Dunsmore

 

PASTORATE JOINT SERVICE

The next Pastorate Joint Service will be held at Kirkham URC on Sunday 12th March and will be led by Mr Derek Estill.  Derek is a member of Westbury Gardens URC in Blackburn and is one of the Moderators Elect of the URC.  The service starts at 2:00pm but tea & coffee will be available from 12:30pm if you would like to take a packed lunch.  Everyone is welcome.

 

GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE

We have no service in our church on Good Friday but Rev Nigel Lemon is leading the service at Christ Church, Longridge at 10:45am.  At 12:00noon Churches Together in Longridge & District have a short service of prayers round the cross at Townley Gardens, Berry Lane.

 

THE COMPANY OF THE PREACHERS

It was a pleasure to welcome Ernest Wrennall back to our pulpit on Sunday 19th February after his sudden visit to Blackpool Victoria Hospital, his operation and recuperation. Ernest taken advantage of his time out of circulation to complete a 47 page “memoir” of his lay preaching life.: “The Company of the Preachers” A personal reflection on being a Lay Preacher 1957 – 2016. Book includes memories of visits virtually every church, including Grimshaw Street, Garstang Rd and Fulwood URC.   Copies are available for a donation to cover the £2.25 cost a production with any ‘profits’ going to church funds.  Let me know if you would like a copy.   

Mac Dunsmore

 

WHEN SERMONS CLASH WITH THE MUSIC

There was a feud between the minister and the choirmaster of a church. It seems the first ‘hint of trouble came when the minister preached on ‘Dedicating ‘yourselves to service’ and the choir master chose to sing ‘I shall not be moved’.

Trying to believe it was a coincidence, the minister put the incident behind him. The next Sunday he preached on Giving’. Afterwards, the choir squirmed as the choirmaster led them in the hymn: ‘Jesus paid it all’,

By this time, the minister was losing his temper. Sunday morning attendance swelled as the tension between the two built. A large crowd showed up the next week to hear his sermon on ‘The sin of gossiping’. Would you believe the choirmaster selected the song: ‘I love to tell the story’?

By now, there was no turning back. The following Sunday the minister told the congregation that unless something changed, he was considering resignation. The entire church gasped when the choir master led them in: ‘Why not tonight’?

Truthfully, no one was surprised when the minister resigned a week later, explaining that Jesus had led him there and Jesus was leading him away. The choirmaster could not resist: ‘What a friend we have in Jesus’

Thanks to St Annes URC

 

ON THE HARDBACK SHELF

Historians have related the heart-warming story of Abdul Kassem Ismael, the scholarly grand-vizier of Persia in the tenth century, and his library of 117,000 volumes.  On his many travels as a warrior and statesman, he never parted with his beloved books.  They were carried around by 400 camels trained to walk in alphabetical order.  His camel driver librarians could put their hands instantly on any book their master asked for.

(from Isaac Asimov’s Book of Facts)

 

DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE?

I would like to share an experience with you all about drinking and driving.

Some of us know people who have had brushes with the authorities on their way home from a night out.  Well, I for one have done something about it.

The other night I was out for dinner and a few drinks with some friends.  After having far too much wine, I did something I’ve never done before.  I took a bus home.  I arrived home safely and without incident, which was a real surprise as I have never driven a bus before…

Thanks to ‘A fifth little book of Smiles’, Guisborough Parish Church

 

THANKFUL

A minister said to a precocious 6 year old boy, “So your mother says a prayer over you each night!  That’s very commendable.  What does she say?”

The little boy replied, “Thank God he’s in bed!”

With thanks to ‘New Life’, the magazine of the Parish of Dalton-in-Furness, Newton, and Ireleth with Askham

 

AUTUMN FAIR

Many thanks to the Heather Fitchett Dancers who organised their own special event in support of our Autumn Fair as at that time they were heavily involved in preparations for the Pantomime at the Charter Theatre.   Further cheques of £ 100.00 have been sent  to both St Catherine’s and Derian House Hospices to supplement the cheques of £ 345.60 previously sent.

 

A FEW THOUGHTS TO DWELL ON                                                    

+ The task ahead of us is never as great as the Power behind us. 

+ God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.     

+ Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous.        

+ When you get to your wit’s end, you’ll find God lives there.

 

MINISTRY OF FLOWERS                  

                  5th Mar      Lindsay Heaton            

                12th Mar      Frances Fraser   

                19th Mar      James Lunn

                26th Mar      Joyce Foster

                  2nd Apr      Mavis Orrell

                  9th Apr      Frances Fraser

                16th Apr      Gill Gilmer

                23rd Apr      Camille McCullough

                30th Apr      ~

                 7th May      Elizabeth Croll

 

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, we remember before you in prayer all the members and friends of our Church fellowship. We ask you to be especially near to those who are in ill-health, those who are anxious or worried, those awaiting hospital results or preparing for hospital treatment, those who are missing their loved ones.  Bless those who live alone and those no longer able to come to Church and assure them of your love and nearness.

Help all of us to me more aware of the needs of our friends and neighbours and to do whatever we can to show your love and care to all whom we meet.

In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

CHURCHES TOGETHER IN FULWOOD & BROUGHTON
ROYAL PRESTON HOSPITAL INFORMATION DESK

More volunteers are still 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 and speak to Vivien, Jean, or Mavis to learn more.

 

THANK YOU

Claire Hobson
Community Centre Co-Ordinator

Tel: 01772 555425
info.sapreston:gmail.com

Date: 6th January 2017
Ref:  Christmas Appeal 2016

Dear Friends,

We would like to say an extremely big Thank You for your help and support this year with our Annual Christmas Appeal.

This year we helped 399 families with food hampers, families ranging from 1 to 9 members.  1196 bags of food were given out in total.

We provided toys for 320 0-10 year olds, and gifts for 122 10-16 year olds.  A total of 442 children were given toys/gifts.  On average each child was given about 6 items making the total around 2664 toys/gifts that were given out.

We got quite worried at one point of our appeal as our tables were bare!  But the donations then flooded in and we were able to provide all families referred to us with food or gifts, and we have had a wonderful start to January’s food bank (another very busy month for us!)

Without all the wonderful donations we received we would have been unable to help as many families as we did.

Thank you all once again, and may we wish you all a very Happy New Year!

Kind regards,

Claire Hobson
Community Centre Co-Ordinator

 

ROTAS FOR MARCH AND APRIL

  Welcoming

 

Reading

 

Refreshments

 

5th Mar

 

 

Mavis Orrell 

Jean Dunsmore

 

Craig Millar 

Jean Fazackerley

 

Jean &  Brian Fazackerley

 

 

12th Mar

 

 

Viv Manners 

Brian Fazackerley

 

Mac Dunsmore 

Margery Pitcher

 

Norman &  Elizabeth Croll

 

 

19th Mar

 

 

Ben Millar 

Viv Manners

 

Craig Millar

Jean Dunsmore

 

Mavis Orrell &

Greta Temperley

 

26th Mar

 

 

Jean Dunsmore

Mavis Orrell

 

Greta Temperley

Viv Manners

 

Norman & Elizabeth Croll

 

 

2nd Apr

 

 

Frances Fraser

Craig Millar

 

Richard Fraser

Ben Millar

 

Richard & Frances Fraser

 

 

9th Apr

 

 

Norman Croll

Jean Dunsmore

 

James Millar

Brian Fazackerley

 

Jean & Brian Fazackerley

 

 

16th Apr

 

 

Brian Fazackerley

Ben Millar

 

Mac Dunsmore

Craig Millar

 

Mavis Orrell &

Greta Temperley

 

23rd Apr

 

 

Viv Manners

Norman Croll

 

Jean Dunsmore

Jean Fazackerley

 

Jean Dunsmore &

Margery Pitcher

 

30th Apr

 

 

Mavis Orrell

Brian Fazackerley

 

Ben Mllar

Greta Temperley

 

Norman & Elizabeth Croll

 

 

7th May

 

 

Craig Millar

Viv Manners

 

Jean Fazackerley

James Millar

 

Jean & Brian Fazackerley

 

 

14th May

 

Norman Croll 

Ben Millar

Viv Manners

Mac Dunsmore

Mavis Orrell &

Greta Temperley

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.

 

COMMITMENT FOR LIFE QUIZ ANSWERS

  • All three
  • B
  • 1% appeal
  • Christian Aid and Global Justice Now
  • A
  • 4 (Central America, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Israel & Occupied Palestine Territory (Our chosen Partner))
  • Faith and justice in action
  • 49 % (86% are involved with Christian Aid)

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