PASTORAL LETTER – MAY/JUNE 2014
On the day this edition of the Newsletter will be published, 4th May 2014, we will be holding a Special Church Meeting, solely to consider the resolution agreed and commended to the Church Meetings of Fulwood, Kirkham, Leyland and Penwortham URCs by the Pastoral Working Party representing our four churches:
“The Pastorate Working Party commends the Constitution and Memorandum of Understanding to the churches and invites each Church Meeting to resolve as follows:
- to become part of the Central Lancashire Group of the United Reformed Church,
- to adopt the Constitution presented to this meeting,
- to take note of the associated Memorandum of Understanding,
- to authorise the Church Secretary in due course to sign the Constitution on behalf of Fulwood United Reformed Church.’
The Resolution and the proposed Constitution and Memorandum of Understanding have been copied to all members and adherents with a request for prayerful consideration.
If agreement is reached at all four Church Meetings, the matter can then be taken forward to the Area Pastoral Committee meeting on 12th May 2014 and this will enable them to consider the declaration of a vacancy for the Central Lancashire Team Ministry.
At this and the further stages involved in the calling of a new minister, the Church Meetings of each of the four churches will make the final decision.
It is, perhaps, worth reminding ourselves of the almost unique privilege of membership of the United Reformed Church: that those members present at a Church Meeting have the final authority on any matters affecting their Church, in the belief that the Holy Spirit guides members of the Church in their decision-making.
I encourage all members to consider the issues prayerfully and to make every effort to attend any Church Meetings involved in the process bringing our ministerial vacancy to a timely end.
THINGS I LOVE ABOUT THE UNITED REFORMED CHURCH
Some time ago the Rev’d Roberta Rominger, the General Secretary of the United Reformed Church, included the following article in the URC Reform magazine. I think it is, perhaps, appropriate to include it here:
Openness to change, arising from a strong commitment to following where the Spirit leads
We are theologically diverse. It is a gift though not an easy one.
We are free to craft worship as we feel led. Across the theological spectrum, our worship is regularly uplifting and challenging.
Our little church has produced a wealth of fantastic hymn-writers.
I love our particular mix of dignity and informality.
We are committed to conciliar decision-making. It’s about the Spirit and the people, not hierarchical leadership.
You don’t have to leave your brain at the door – the URC welcomes intellectual enquiry and wants faith to be intellectually vigorous.
We believe in the ministry of the whole people of God.
Ministers are called to churches. Very different from being appointed.
TLS Training for Learning and Serving is the best.
We’ve been ordaining women for 95 years now.
Church Related community workers, a URC invention, combine professional community work skills with theological insight.
We offer ecumenical leadership locally out of all proportion to our size.
We exist thanks to brave decisions. We are still willing to take them.
What are the things that you consider most important?
Lectionary Readings May & June 2014
4th Acts 2: 14a, 36-41; Psalm 116: 1-4, 12-19; 1 Peter 1: 17-23; Luke 24: 13-35
11th Acts 2: 42 – 47; Psalm 23 or Ezekiel 34: 7 – 15; Psalm 100; 1 Peter 2: 19 – 25; St John 10: 1 – 10
18th Acts 7: 55 – 60; Psalm 31: 1 – 5, 15 – 16 or Proverbs 4: 10 – 18; Psalm 119: 9 – 32; 1 Peter 2: 2 – 10; St John 14: 1 – 14
25th Acts 17: 22 – 31; Psalm 66: 8 – 20 or Ezekiel 43: 1 – 7a; Psalm 115; 1 Peter 3: 13 – 22; St John 14: 15 – 21
1st Acts 1: 6 – 14; Psalm 68: 1 – 10, 32 – 35 or Isaiah 45: 1 – 7; Psalm 21: 1 – 7; 1 Peter 4: 12 – 14: 5: 6 – 11; St John 17: 1 – 11
8th Acts 2: 1 – 21 or Numbers 11: 24 – 30; Psalm 104: 24 – 34, 35b; 1 Corinthians 12: 3b – 13 or Acts 2: 1 – 21; St John 20: 19 – 23 or St John 7: 37 – 39
15th Genesis 1: 1 – 2: 4a; Psalm 8; 2 Corinthians 13: 11 – 13; St Matthew 28: 16 – 20
22nd Genesis 21: 8 – 21; Psalm 86: 1 – 10, 16 – 17 or Jeremiah 20: 7 – 13; Psalm 69: 7 – 10 (11 – 15), 16 – 18; Romans 6: 1b – 11; St Matthew 10: 24 – 39
29th Genesis 22: 1 – 14; Psalm 13 or Jeremiah 28: 5 – 9; Psalm 89: 1 – 4, 15 – 18; Romans 6: 12 – 23; St Matthew 10: 40 – 42
6th Genesis 24: 34 – 38, 42 – 49, 58 – 67; Psalm 45: 10 – 17 or Song of Songs 2: 8 – 13 or Zechariah 9: 9 – 12; Psalm 145: 8 – 14; Romans 6: 12 -23; St Matthew 11: 16 – 19, 25 – 30
ELDERS ORDINATION / INDUCTION
Under our Rotational System for the election of our serving Elders, Norman Croll, Vivien Manners, Margery Pitcher and Jean & Brian Fazackerley are due to retire in 2014.
Nomination forms (which require the nominee’s consent) are now available. Please pray about and consider nominations (which can include those retiring) and let the Church Secretary have nominations by 6th July 2014.
Our Interim Moderator Rev’d Paul Pells will conduct the Re-election/ Induction of Elders at the morning Communion Service on 13th July 2014.
On Easter Day we were pleased to display a banner in church proclaiming “REJOICE HE IS RISEN”. This was originally made for the Grimshaw St Church by Jeanette Hall & Elsie Hunt and was given to Fulwood URC by Mavis after Jeanette passed away. Look out for others later in the year.
STRENGTH IN WEAKNESS
There was a gardener who loved growing roses. One day, as he was inspecting his rose-trees, he noticed one rose was diseased and in need of care. The gardener carefully pruned the tree and added some fertilizer
Every day, the gardener looked as his rose-tree, checking to see how it was growing. He then decided to tie a stick to the weak stem.
That night there was a terrible storm and the wind and the rain lashed at all the roses in the garden. In the morning, after the storm had passed, the gardener inspected his roses. Many were damaged. But the rose-tree which had been tied to the stick was unharmed. The weak rose-tree had survived.
Somehow, this weak plant had found strength despite the bad weather. The gardener, knowing its weakness, had given the rose the care and support it needed.
How many times do we find ourselves weak and in need of care, just like that rose? Our God is like that gardener who knows our weaknesses. He provides the strength we need in times of adversity. On our own we cannot survive on our own resources and must depend on God. He will support us in the storms of life.
In our times of weakness, we can find a source of inner strength, only when we rely completely on God He says
“My Grace is all you need, for My power is strongest when you are weak.”
(2 Corinthians 12: 9)
WE ARE PLEASED TO WELCOME BACK TO
FULWOOD UNITED REFORMED CHURCH
OUR NORTH WEST MODERATOR
REV’D RICHARD CHURCH
10.30 am SUNDAY 15th JUNE
PLEASE BE THERE TO WELCOME HIM
COMMITMENT FOR LIFE: ISRAEL AND THE OCCUPIED TERRITORY
When you first hear that a group of farmers have an income generating scheme involving sticks you would be forgiven for thinking of a small enterprise cutting up sticks that support growing plants, but you would be wrong. Working with PARC, supported by Christian Aid, the farmers’ co-operative in Kufrallabad (old Arabic word meaning village) has set up a very successful business making wooden planks which are used to hang the plastic over the metal frames of their greenhouses. This is the only place in the West Bank where these planks are made and the business is growing. Using one of their greenhouses as a work area, the co-operative take delivery of whole trees and cut them up into planks about 6cms square. They have purchased a large electrical saw which makes the work easier. The sticks are put into bundles of 50 and sold for 50 NIS. The ones they used to buy from Israel were 60 NIS a pack and of an inferior quality.
Although the farmers in this co-operative are well organised with irrigation, rainwater collection and organic farming, the need to diversify was crucial. Markets for their perishable produce are limited because of the restrictions of movement across the Security Fence. These restrictions significantly impact the daily lives of Palestinians through trade, employment and healthcare.
From small beginnings this business now has a yearly turnover of 150,000 shekels. This has meant that they can help each other with loans and are looking to extend this facility to other farmers in the area. Indeed this is a positive story of good business acumen succeeding in a region where positive stories are often in short supply.
WHOSE FAULT IS IT, ANYWAY?
In a small town a businessman applied for planning permission to build a nightclub not far from the local Church. The members started a vigorous campaign to block if from opening. They launched a petition and held prayers in public. Work progressed, however, right up until the week before opening. Then one night a bolt of lightning hit the nightclub and burned it to the ground.
The church members were rather smug after that, until the nightclub owner sued them all on the grounds that they were responsible for the fire. Loudly protesting their total non-involvement and innocence, the Church members were taken to court.
As the case began, the judge looked over the paperwork and observed “I don’t know how I’m going to decide this. It appears that we have a nightclub owner who believes in the power of prayer, and an entire Church congregation that doesn’t!”
LANCASHIRE AREA OPEN MEETINGS
These are held at Penwortham URC as open gatherings for fellowship, discussion and exploration. They commence at 7.00am with bring and share refreshments on the first Wednesdays of each month.
7th May: The Church in an Ecumenical setting
Seeking to understand the role of Elder and the Eldership in the URC and in the context of ecumenical settings and examining their own attitudes to the role.
4th June: Working as a Team
Considering the corporate nature of the Eldership and its responsibility to offer effective leadership.
Music in the Afternoon
SUNDAY 11th MAY @ CHRIST CHURCH, LONGRIDGE AT 2.30pm
The welcome return of “SOUTH PENNINE SINGERS”
(Co-directors Geoff Balson & Sue Temperley)
TICKETS £5 (inc.refreshments)
Proceeds to Christian Aid
SUNDAY 18th MAY – FELLOWSHIP LUNCH
A Fellowship Lunch of soup, bread & cheese has been arranged to follow the morning service on 18th May. A collection will be made at the lunch for Christian Aid but if you cannot attend any donations will be gratefully received.
CHURCHES TOGETHER IN FULWOOD & BROUGHTON
Thank you to those who distributed the Easter leaflets in the area around our Church. This is the last time volunteers will be required, because CTFB have decided to publish the times of all Christmas (and future Easter services) in our churches in the Fulwood Focus Magazine which they deliver in a wider area than we have covered.
On behalf of the “Good Neighbours” Committee, Jean would like to thank all of our members who for many years have delivered leaflets in our church neighbourhood.
PS The CTFB Pilgrimage this year will to Chester and to Chester Cathedral on Saturday 20th September. Booking Forms are available from Jean Dunsmore.
CHURCHES TOGETHER IN LANCASHIRE
We reported in the March-April Newsletter about the Commissioning Service at St Anthony of Padua of Revd Anton Muller as Ecumenical Facilitator and Ms Helen Boothroyd as Social Justice/ Inter Faith Development Officer for Churches Together in Lancashire. At our NW Synod at Bramhall URC in March, both Anton and Helen were invited to introduce themselves in short presentations.
Churches Together in Lancashire have now introduced a Newsletter which includes a photograph of the participants and the Church representatives at the Commissioning.
Richard Church reports that in the next few months, he looks forward to meeting with the Denominational Ecumenical Group and is delighted to learn of the appointment of Fr Chris Loughran (St Clare’s, Fulwood) as the Roman Catholic representative.
Lord, my life may be hectic and demanding, or time may hang heavily in my hands.
Help me, in whatever circumstances I find myself, to make time to remember your life and passion and to deepen my faith in you.
WHAT IS THE POINT OF BIBLE TRANSLATION?
People are often surprised to hear about Wycliffe Bible Translators. Why does an organization like this exist? Doesn’t everyone have the Bible?
If you speak English, German or Japanese as your first language, you speak one of the 500 languages that do have a complete Bible translation. That’s a lot of languages, but there are nearly 7000 living languages spoken around the world. All the rest have less: just a New Testament, or just a few books, or a few chapters, or no Scripture at all.
But why translate? It would be a big waste of time and money to translate the Bible if it wasn’t so important. But it is important! The Bible is God’s revelation to us: we can know this about God from people and nature, and we can pray without a Bible, but God has chosen to speak most clearly in His word. And it contains the most important of all messages.
Can’t they read the Bible in another language? Most people in the world know more than one language, but it doesn’t mean that it’s the easiest or best way to get into the Bible. A second language is great at the market place, useful at school, but when people share emotions, they use their mother tongue. When God chooses to communicate with us, He is talking love, and He says it in our own language, (have a look at Acts 2 for a miraculous example!)
Second languages just don’t communicate as clearly. As an example, let me introduce you to a group of Church-goers in Nigeria. The Church they attended for decades uses Hausa, a trade language, a language they use every day. But the first time they saw a Scripture film about Jesus in their own language they were shocked: “Do you mean that Jesus died for our sins?” they said.“For our sins? We always thought He died for His own sins”. Not until they heard it in their own language did the message finally click.
For a while we have been having problems with the sound system in church as the equipment was over 15 years old (the original amplifier, microphones and speakers were re-installed following the alterations to the building in 1999). We hope that everyone will benefit from the upgrade but during the installation we were advised that most Loop systems which can help people who use hearing aids can have ‘dead zones’ immediately adjacent to the loop cable. In our church the loop was fixed under the floor approximately 1 metre from the walls. If you have any problems using the loop system, why not try it from a different position in church to avoid the ‘dead zone’. If the problem persists, please tell your Elder as those of us who don’t yet need a hearing aid can’t check this.
During the minister’s prayer one Sunday, there was a loud whistle from one of the back pews. Tommy’s mother was horrified. She pinched him into silence and after church, asked, “Tommy, whatever made you do such a thing?” Tommy answered soberly, “I’ve been asking God to teach me to whistle, and suddenly He did!!
At the Evening Fellowship meeting in April, the week before Holy Week, Margery showed us the D.V.D of the BBC Preston Passion first shown on the Good Friday of Guild Year 2012. I think we all found it an interesting and challenging experience. Those of us who took part in the production on the day probably didn’t see as much as those watching either at the bus station or on television. The more times I see the replay, the more I appreciate that clever ways in which the Passion is linked to the City of Preston both in times past and in the present day. Our thanks are to Margery for organising.
For our next Meeting on 8th May we welcome back again the not-to-be-missed Pat Ascroft who will be speaking about her latest travel adventure. Her talk is entitled “Gibraltar Ahoy” . Please support this event and bring a friend!
We are still asking for ideas for future meetings and/or offers to help in arranging a meeting. A coffee evening has been suggested for the June meeting and a lunch at Ferraris for the July meeting. If you think you could help in this way please have a word with Margery.
OUT OF THE MOUTHS…
A woman invited some people from church to dinner. At the table, she turned to her six-year-old daughter and said, “Would you like to say the blessing?”
“I wouldn’t know what to say,” the girl replied.
“Just say what you’ve heard mummy say before,” was the reply.
The daughter bowed her head and said, “Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?”