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
9th Isaiah 42: 1 – 9; Psalm 29; Acts 10: 34 – 43; St Matthew 3: 13 – 17
16th Isaiah 49: 1 – 7; Psalm 40: 1 – 11; 1 Corinthians 1: 1 – 9; St John 1: 29 – 42
23rd Isaiah 9: 1 – 4; Psalm 27: 1, 4 – 9; 1 Corinthians 1: 10 – 18; St Matthew 4: 12 – 23
30th Micah 6: 1 – 8; Psalm 15; 1 Corinthians 1: 18 – 31; St Matthew 5: 1 – 12
6th Isaiah 58: 1 – 9a (9b – 12); Psalm 112: 1 – 9, (10); 1 Corinthians 2: 1 – 12, (13 – 16); St Matthew 5: 13 – 20
13th Deuteronomy 30: 15 – 20; Psalm 119: 1 – 8; 1 Corinthians 3: 1 – 9; St Matthew 5: 21 – 37
20th Leviticus 19: 1 – 2, 9 – 18; Psalm 119: 33 – 40; 1 Corinthians 3: 10 – 11, 16 – 23; St Matthew 5: 38 – 48
27th Isaiah 49: 8 – 16a; Psalm 131; 1 Corinthians 4: 1 – 5; St Matthew 6: 24 – 34
6th Exodus 24: 12 – 18; Psalm 2 or 99; 2 Peter 1: 16 – 21; St Matthew 17: 1 – 9
The recent Bibles Basic Course arranged by Rev’d Peter Sheasby was well-supported and much enjoyed by our members who attended (to the great surprise of some who attended for the first time!) at both the afternoon and evening sessions. We thank Peter for his invitation and his hard work in preparing and presenting . A similar course is being planned for Lent 2011.
A OLD GAELIC BLESSING
May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face, the rains fall soft upon your fields, and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.
Our website has a new look!
The Windermere Centre advertised another website course to update people on a new template for how the site looks. Unfortunately there weren’t enough people interested so the course was cancelled but Lawrence was kind enough to offer me a personalised course. We started off by updating to the new template and then moved on to the technical bits how to use ‘ftp’ (file transfer protocol) and adding new articles by using the widgets! We worked from 11am to 9pm with breaks for lunch & tea so I just hope I can remember how to do everything as I didn’t have time to make notes.
A fun thing we tried was adding a video clip to the website but we couldn’t find anything on Youtube relating to Fulwood or Preston. Just as an example Lawrence suggested searching for a clip related to Handel’s Messiah as it was approaching Christmas and came across the Silent Monk’s version of the Hallelujah Chorus.
The statistics show that our site is visited regularly with 5 days this year reaching over 300 pages viewed. In total there have been 13,085 visits to the site, including 7,334 from the UK and 3,944 from the Netherlands and the rest scattered around the world so information about what our church is doing is being read far and wide.
It is now only 12 months to Preston Guild Year and planning has already started. Originally it was planned to have a year of celebration but the city events will now be focussed mainly around the first two weeks in September. There have been several meetings with representatives from various churches around Preston to discuss events throughout the year with the aim of having an event each month.
Churches Together in Fulwood & Broughton have also been meeting to plan our section of the Faith procession which is to be held on Monday 3rd September 2012. The ecumenical procession will include churches from all over Preston and the immediately surrounding area and will have the overall theme of “The living Christ”. The theme for CTFB will be the “I am…” sayings of Christ from John’s gospel with 2 or more churches working on each saying and there was a suggestion that we might show things in the past, present and future. We are paired with St Clare’s to depict “I am the Bread of Life”. Our representatives will be having a meeting with St Clare’s in January to discuss what we can do so if you have any ideas please pass them on to one of our representatives before 26th January. Our representatives are Jean Dunsmore, Duncan Farquhar, Kerry Whittall & Margery Pitcher.
The following prayer has been written for the Guild.
Father God, we thank you for the opportunity to unite in our work together as Christians for Preston Guild. We ask the Holy Spirit to inspire us with vision, creativity and fellowship.
May we be people of genuine celebration, bringing joy and harmony to our teamwork. We dedicate our work together for your praise and glory.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
You can find more information about Preston Guild in general on the website www.prestonguild2012.com
OUT AND ABOUT
LANCASHIRE SINGS CHRISTMAS
On the evening of 21st December, the first “Lancashire Sings Christmas” event coordinated by Churches Together in Lancashire in conjunction with BBC Radio Lancashire took place. Hopefully some of you may have heard the broadcast. The principle of the programme was to have a central carol service broadcast on the radio with church groups going out into the community singing carols along with others in pubs, clubs, shopping centres, care homes, village squares, as opposed to expecting people to come into the churches to celebrate in the more traditional way.
Thousands of people in Lancashire came together this Christmas for the county’s first such carol concert. Singers and musicians performed live in the BBC Radio Lancashire’s Radio Theatre for the unique carol service. People gathered at pubs, community centres, supermarkets, and even a funeral parlour to listen and join in the festive sing song. The music was provided by Blackburn Salvation Army Band.
More than 70 events all tuned in to Lancashire Sings Christmas– including the Farmer’s Arms in Whitestake; a housing estate in Colne; platform four of Preston Railway Station; Churches Together in Penwortham along with many others were at Penwortham Golf Club; at the village of Scorton, at Grange Park in Blackpool, at the Boot and Shoe at Scotforth and many, many more locations .The size of crowds were staggering with the Bishop of Lancaster, the Right Reverend Geoff Pearson (Chair of Churches Together in Lancashire), describing it as ‘fantastic!’
We joined together with friends from Fulwood Methodist church who were singing at Sherwood Lodge, Brooklands, Derby Lodge and Oxford House Residential Homes. Five of our members went to Oxford House, joining the residents in a really good sing of favourite carols interspersed with readings and stories from the radio programme. The residents joined in enthusiastically as they were able, especially our own Jean Robb who was delighted as well as surprised by the visit. The residents cheered loudly when Joe Wilson mentioned on air that mince pies had just been served at Oxford House (thanks to a quick text by Margery).
The event seems to have been universally deemed a success and worthy of repetition in the future and our thanks are due to Rev Debbie Peatman, the Ecumenical Development Officer for Churches Together in Lancashire, Rev. Nick Moxon, Mission Enabler for the Methodist Church in Lancashire, and Joe Wilson on behalf of BBC Radio Lancashire, the three main organisers and to Blackburn Salvation Army Band.
THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
As we had no service on Boxing Day, it was good to take the opportunity to worship at Penwortham URC. One of the carols we sang (after some explanation) was a bit of a surprise!
I guess you’re all familiar with the Christmas song “The Twelve Days of Christmas “To most it is a delightful nonsense rhyme set to music, but we were reminded that it had a quite serious purpose when it was written. It is a good deal more than just a pretentious melody with pretty phrases and a list of strange gifts. Catholics in England during the period 1558 to 1829, when Parliament finally emancipated Catholics in England, were prohibited from any practice of their faith by law – private or public.
“The Twelve Days of Christmas” was written in England as one of the “catechism songs” to help young Catholics learn the tenets of their faith – a memory aid, when to be caught with anything in writing indicating adherence to the Catholic faith could not only get you imprisoned, it might get you executed
The song gifts are hidden in the meanings to the teachings of the faith. The “true love” mentioned in the song doesn’t refer to an earthly suitor, it refers to God Himself. The “me” who receives the presents refers to every baptized person. The Partridge in the Pear Tree is Jesus Christ, Son of God. In the song Christ is symbolically in a pear tree as a mother partridge who feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, much in memory of the expression of Christ’s sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: “Jerusalem! Jerusalem!… How many times have I wanted to put my arms round all your people, just as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not let me!” (Matthew 23:27)
The other symbols have the following meanings:
Two Turtle Doves: The Old and New Testaments
Three French Hens: Faith, Hope and Charity, the theological virtues,
Four Calling Birds: The Four Gospels
Five Gold Rings: The first Five Books of the Old Testament, ththe “Pentateuch” giving the history of man’s fall from grace.
Six Geese A-laying: The six days of Creation.
Seven Swans A-swimming: Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit,
Eight Maids A-milking: the eight Beatitudes
Nine Ladies Dancing: the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
Ten Lords A-leaping: the ten commandments
Eleven Pipers Piping: the eleven faithful apostles
Twelve Drummers Drumming: the twelve points of the Apostles Creed.
Thanks to Penwortham URC
UNRAVELLING THE OLD TESTAMENT
Along with about thirty other local church people, Rev’d Helen and I spent a fascinating time on the morning of Autumn Fair day at the Central URC Church in Darwen. The Rev’d Dr Janet Tollington, Helen’s tutor in Old Testament studies at West- minister College, Cambridge was presenting a study session “Unravelling the Old Testament“.
For two and half hours (continuous at our own choice) we took part in a most interesting inter-active session moving around the church as individuals or in groups to represent the significant events in the Old Testament. Starting with Abraham in Ur – Helen was chosen to be Abraham (presumably as she was well known to the speaker) – and by collectively answering a whole range of questions we traced his journey to Haran, reminding ourselves of current names of the countries involved, and eventually to Egypt. Other individuals played a succession of OT characters including Jacob and Joseph, Moses, Saul and David and groups of us represented the tribes of Israel and Judah. By learning about locations, contemporaneous events, and background reasons from someone who clearly new the Old Testament inside-out, it was amazing how this interactive overview brought the Old Testament to life.
ST CATHERINE’S HOSPICE
St Catherine’s Hospice has now been providing high quality palliative care to people in the Preston area for 25 years.
To mark the occasion, the chaplaincy team at the Hospice has arranged invites to a number of sessions “An Introduction to St Catherine’s hospice.” Both Rev’d Helen and I received invitations and have attended separate sessions.
You will be aware that we have supported St Catherine’s Hospice for many years with 50% of the proceeds of our Autumn Fair – you will have read elsewhere that we sent £460 this year (actually, the final amount was £467.50). I was good to meet the Chaplain Ian Dewar and some of the staff and to learn more about the Hospice, in particular how much the hospice relies on the voluntary giving of the public.
I have a copy of the Booklet celebrating the 25 years of St Catherine’s hospice care, which anyone interested is welcome to borrow.
TEN WAYS TO READ THE BIBLE
How well do you know your Bible? If you would like to know it better but find it daunting, here are some tips to get you started:
- Study with others – find a friend or two and agree to read the same section of the bible each week. Make notes, and when you meet for coffee, be that weekly or whatever, chat about what you have read. Try it!
- Fall in love – See the Bible for what it really is: a love letter from God to you. Start with the gospels or the psalms and make your reading a dialogue with him. When you read a verse that touches you, tell him. Worship him as you go along. If you can’t understand something, stop and tell him. And so on.
- Write your own bible – Read a passage and then try saying the same thing in your own words.
- Use a system – There are some excellent daily Bible reading notes around – sample a few and see how you get on. Any Christian bookshop will stock them.
- Verse on the move – When you read, be on the lookout for a verse or verses that mean something special to you in your situation. Copy them out onto a card, and carry them about with you. Memorise them. Let them sink into your soul
- Respond in your own way – If a passage moves you, draw a picture of it or write a poem about it, or create a dance inspired by it.
- Create a sense of place – Sometimes having a set place in which you can meet God can help us. A certain chair, a kitchen table, whatever. You can enhance this with a icon or candles – anything to help focus you down to the spiritual side of things
- Vive la difference – Vary the way in which you read the Bible. Sometimes, read a whole book through at one. Other times, follow a character like David or Peter. Or, with the help of a concordance, work on a biblical theme such as gentleness, grace, prayer or whatever.
- Be honest about yourself – When are you most alert? Give that time of the day to God. Don’t give God the part of the day when you are at your most sleepiest.
- Listen – You can listen to the Bible – ask for tapes or CDs at your Christian bookshop.
Thanks Court Hey Methodist Church, Huyton
URC MINISTER INSTALLED AS HONORY CANON
The Revd Rachel Poolman, president of the Cumbria area of the United Reformed Church,(who in last year’s January Edition was telling us about the floods in Cumbria) was recently installed as an honorary ecumenical canon of Carlisle Cathedral. The same honour was also given to the Revd Richard Teal, chair of the Cumbria Methodist district.
The Anglican Bishop of Carlisle, The Rt Revd James Newcome, greeted both appointments as another sign of the commitment of the three denominations to work together to make Cumbria an ecumenical county.
Ms Poolman said: “It is a delight to accept this honour, which reflects the cordial relationships enjoyed by church leaders in Cumbria, as we work together in mission.”
LETTER FROM A FRIEND
I just had to write to tell you how much I love you and care for you. Yesterday, I saw you walking and laughing with your friends; I hoped that you’d soon want Me to walk along with you, too. So, I painted you a sunset to close your day and whispered a cool breeze to refresh you. I waited – you never called – I just kept on loving you.
As I watched you fall asleep last night, I wanted so much to touch you. I spilled moonlight onto your face – trickling down your cheeks as so many tears have. You didn’t even think of Me, I wanted so much to comfort you.
The next day I exploded a brilliant sunrise into glorious morning for you. But you woke up late and rushed off to work – you didn’t even notice. My sky became cloudy and My tears were the rain.
I love you. Oh, if only you’d listen. I really love you. I try to say it in the quiet of the green meadow and in the blue sky. The wind whispers My love throughout the treetops and spills it into the vibrant colours of all the flowers. I shout it to you in the thunder of the great waterfalls and compose love songs for birds to sing for you. I warm you with the clothing of My sunshine and perfume the air with nature’s sweet scent. My love for you is deeper than any ocean and greater than any need in your heart. If you’d only realise how I care.
My Father sends His love. I want you to meet Him – He cares, too. Fathers are just that way. So, please call on Me soon. No matter how long it takes, I’ll wait – because I love you.
Your Friend, Jesus.
Our December meeting was almost a full house and we were enthralled by Pat Ascroft with a talk about her adventures from her holiday cottage in Tighnabruaich in Wild Argyll. In her inimitable style Pat kept us highly entertained without any visual aids except one or two well-chosen props. A collection for Pat’s chosen charity realised £65 and it was good to welcome three friends from the Methodist Church.
Our meetings are held at 7.30pm on the second Thursday of the month in the Goodwin Lounge. Visitors will be most welcome!
Our 2011 season begins on Thursday 13th January when
Rev’d Helen will be speaking about “The Waldensian Church”
from her experiences of the Minister’s Summer School in Italy last year
On 13th February Dorothy Sumner (Margery’s sister) will be speaking about “SSAFA” and the Garden Party at the Palace.
We will take a collection on behalf of each speaker’s chosen charity
Heavenly Father, at the beginning of a New Year, we bring before you in prayer all the members and friends of our Church family. Be close to those who are alone, those who are house-bound; those who are anxious; those who mourn the loss of loved ones; those who are unwell or awaiting hospital treatment. Make us all more aware of the needs of others and more willing to help in whatever way we can. We ask that you will awaken our senses to recognise your presence wherever we go during the coming year and help us to be convinced that, because you love us, you are with us.
In Jesus’ Name. Amen
BE AT PEACE
Do not look forward to what might happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today, will take care of you tomorrow and every day.
Either he will shield you from suffering or he will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace, then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings.
Francis de Sales
No one believes oldies… everyone thinks they are senile 😆
An elderly couple were celebrating their sixtieth wedding anniversary. The couple has married as childhood sweethearts and had moved back to their old neighbourhood after they retired.
Holding hands they walked back to their old school.
It was not locked, so they entered and found the old desk they had shared, where Andy had carved “I love you, Sally. “
On their way back home, a bag of money fell out of an armoured car, practically landing at their feet. Sally quickly picked it up, but not sure what to do with it, they took it home. There she counted the money – fifty thousand dollars.
Andy said, “We’ve got to give it back!”
Sally said, “Finders keepers!” She put the money back in the bag and hid it in their attic.
The next day, two FBI men were searching the neighbourhood looking for the money, and knocked on the door.
“Pardon me, but did either of you find that bag of money that fell out of an armoured car yesterday?”
The agents turned to Andy and began to question him.
One said: “Tell us the story from the beginning.”
Andy said, “Well, when Sally and I were walking home from school yesterday…”
The first FBI guy turned to his partner and said “We’re outta here!”
Thanks to Ian Ferguson
Received from relatives in New Zealand
I ASKED GOD
I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn to obey.
I asked God for health, that I might do great things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked God for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have approval.
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need for 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 hoped for.
I am, among all people, most richly blessed.
We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Romans 8: 28
Let us pray that strength and courage abundant be given to all who work for a world of reason and understanding;
That the good that lies in every man’s heart may day by day be magnified;
That men will come to see more clearly not that which divides then, but that which unites them;
That each hour may bring us closer to a final victory, not of nation over nation, but of men over his own errors and weaknesses;
That the true spirit of mankind – its joy, its beauty, its hope, may live among us;
That the blessings of peace be ours – the peace to build and grow, to live in harmony and sympathy with others, and to plan for the future with confidence.
In each of the following, the names of two familiar Bible people have been run together. The letters are always in the correct order. Can you separate them?