In the last edition of the Newsletter we included the letter from the NW Moderator regarding Future Patterns of Ministry and the current difficulties in provision of ministry. I received a further letter at the beginning of August, following the 8 Roadshows around the 4 Synod Areas, which over 500 Elders and ministers attended. The possible release of some stipendiary ministry in the short term to be used in other churches/ pastorates without stipendiary ministry is being considered by the Area Pastorate Committees.
At our Central Lancashire Group Joint Elders’ meeting at the end of July, which we hosted at Fulwood, the main discussion topic was feedback from the Fulwood Roadshow which most Elders attended. I chaired a very full and frank discussion of the concerns and issues as regards our four churches. The time available for discussion both at the March NW Synod and at the Roadshow had been very limited and we agreed to pass on the Area Pastoral Committee a comprehensive list of the items we discussed. The Synod Steering Group and Synod Pastoral Committee and others will be considering the feedback with the aim of drafting proposals for the NW Synod in October.
The next Joint Elders’ Meeting is Kirkham URC on 3rd October and I understand that the NW Moderator Rev’d Andrew Mills has invited to attend, as has our Interim Moderator Rev’d Michele Jarmany.
Lawrence Moore is well known to those of our members who have attended courses at the URC Windermere Centre over the last decade or so, when Lawrence has been the Director at the Centre. He will have become familiar to our readers through his regular articles, which, for some time, he has kindly allowed us to include in our Newsletter. You may recall reading in the May –June edition that Lawrence was on Sabbatical and was spending time in his native South Africa. Since returning, he has tendered his resignation as Director and is seeking to explore ordination to non-stipendiary ministry and free-lance work within URC to encourage members and churches in missional discipleship. We will remember Lawrence in our prayers as he follows his convictions and take his leap of faith into as yet undetermined areas of service and witness.
We are also asked for our continued prayers for the important work across the Synod and for “wisdom and the sustaining power of the Holy Spirit as we strive to offer patterns of ministry which will bring blessing to our communities and the Gospel to be proclaimed within each location.”
Mac Dunsmore, Church Secretary
ISRAEL AND THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY
(Our chosen Commitment for Life Partner)
What is life like for Abed in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian territory?
Can you imagine a single event in Britain in which more than half the population participated? That is what the olive harvest is to Palestinians. There are an estimated 10 million olive trees in the occupied Palestinian territory. Olive picking is manual and labour-intensive. Whole extended families get involved every autumn. Not only is the olive harvest an important part of the Palestinian economy, it holds a central place in Palestinian culture and identity – and has done for centuries.
Palestinian farmer Abed Rabin’s description of his orchard is evocative: ‘I grow everything – olive and plum trees, lots of different vegetables. In summer you can smell the mint and the thyme and the sage in the air. I love my land; I’m 49 years old, but when I’m on my land I feel 16.’
But like many farmers, Abed faces increasing difficulty in accessing his land due to movement restrictions imposed by Israel, which has occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 1967. ‘It’s so hard to get there now because of the checkpoints and the wall’. Israeli restrictions impair access to fields, processing centres and markets, damaging the olive industry and the income of more than 100,000 families who depend upon it. In addition, more than half a million olive trees have been destroyed since 2001, by the Israeli military to make way for illegal Israeli settlements and the separation barrier, or by extremist Israeli settlers, who sometimes also attack the farmers as they till their fields and orchards.
Christian Aid partners the YMCA and YWCA are working to support the farmers and their trees. Their Olive Tree Campaign seeks to replant olive trees in areas where they have been uprooted and destroyed, or in areas where the fields are threatened to be confiscated by the Israeli military or by settlers. They also bring international volunteers to help with the olive planting in the spring, and the picking in the autumn – joining in this ancient tradition, and providing protection by presence.
Abed explains the support this has been to him: ‘The YMCA was and still is the spirit to my body. They gave me olive trees and helped me to plant. They provided resources to build a well on my land. Many people from around the world have come to help me – from the USA, Britain, Austria, Holland, Canada, Japan.. There are also Israeli peace activists who come.’
‘When I receive such help, I feel that the world is good, and that there are people in the world who believe in justice and peace’.
Thanks to Commitment for Life Website
Lectionary Readings September & October 2016
4th Jeremiah 18: 1 – 11; Psalm 139: 1 – 6, 13 – 18 or Deuteronomy 30: 15 – 20; Psalm 1; Philemon 1 – 21; St Luke 14: 25 – 33
11th Jeremiah 4: 11 – 12, 22 – 28; Psalm 14 or Exodus 32: 7 – 14; Psalm 51: 1 – 10; 1 Timothy 1: 12 – 17; St Luke 15: 1 – 10
18th Jeremiah 8: 18 – 9: 1; Psalm 79: 1 – 9 or Amos 8: 4 – 7; Psalm 113; 1 Timothy 2: 1 – 7; St Luke 16: 1 – 13
25th Jeremiah 32: 1 – 3a, 6 – 15; Psalm 91: 1 – 6, 14 – 16 or Amos 6: 1a, 4 – 7; Psalm 146; 1 Timothy 6: 6 – 19; St Luke 16: 19 – 31
2nd Lamentations 1: 1 – 6; Lamentations 3: 19 – 26 (or Psalm 137) or Habakkuk 1: 1 – 4; 2: 1 – 4; Psalm 37: 1 – 9; 2 Timothy 1: 1 – 14; St Luke 17: 5 – 10
9th Jeremiah 29: 1, 4 – 7; Psalm 66: 1 – 12 or 2 Kings 5: 1 – 3, 7 – 15c; Psalm 111; 2 Timothy 2: 8 – 15; St Luke 17: 11 – 19
16th Jeremiah 31: 27 – 34; Psalm 119: 97 – 104 or Genesis 32: 22 – 31; Psalm 121; 2 Timothy 3: 14 – 4: 5; St Luke 18: 1 – 8
23rd Joel 2: 23 – 32; Psalm 65 or Jeremiah 14: 7 – 10, 19 – 22;Psalm 84: 1 – 7; 2 Timothy 4: 6 – 8, 16 – 18; St Luke 18: 9 – 14
30th Habakkuk 1: 1 – 4; 2: 1 – 4; Psalm 119: 137 – 144 or Isaiah 1: 10 – 18; Psalm 32: 1 – 7; 2 Thessalonians 1: 1 – 4, 11 – 12; St Luke 19: 1 – 10
6th Haggai 1: 15b – 2: 9; Psalm 145: 1 – 5, 17 – 21 or Psalm 98 or Job 19: 23 – 27a; Psalm 17: 1 – 9; 2 Thessalonians 2: 1 – 5, 13 – 17; St Luke 20: 27 – 38
13th Isaiah 65: 17 – 25; Isaiah 12 or Malachi 4: 1 – 2a; Psalm 98; 2 Thessalonians 3: 6 – 13;St Luke 21: 5 – 19
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”
ROVING REPORTER MEETS FAMILIAR FACES
Your Roving Reporter has been out and about again but not on holiday this time…
At the beginning of July I spent a few days in Southport helping promote the Windermere Centre at General Assembly. I was able to join the congregation for the Opening Worship on Friday afternoon in the Floral Hall and to watch the induction of the new Moderators of General Assembly. There were approximately 250 delegates at Assembly and it was nice to see that I had met quite a few of them previously at the Windermere Centre as well as the ones I meet when attending Synod. I also had a chat with Helen Higgin-Botham and Ruth Dillon, who were both there as delegates for Southern Synod, and with Ann Woodhurst from Thames North Synod. Ann was one of the founder Leaders of our Brownie Pack in the 1970’s along with Elizabeth Croll & Isobel Crainer. We were on duty in the foyer of the Floral Hall from soon after 9am until after the business sessions finished at 7pm so I didn’t see much of Southport or go for a paddle (I didn’t think I could walk that far on crutches across the beach!)
The following week, my friend & I had a day out in Southport on the recommendation of Paul Pells as he had told me about the Knitted Bible on display at Birkdale URC. This consists of over 30 scenes of Bible stories made up of knitted figures. It was made by members & friends of Hartlepool URC and goes on tour round various churches. It is well worth a visit if you are ever near one of the venues.
A few days later I was up at the Windermere Centre acting as Host for a meeting of representatives from the Northerly Synods (North Western, Northern, Yorkshire, Mersey & Synod of Scotland). When I was checking people in there were several that I had met before including David Spence. As the duties of the Host at the Centre includes things like chatting to the guests and serving morning & afternoon tea or coffee, or staffing the bar before evening meal, I managed to have a couple of chats with David who, despite being semi-retired, is keeping busy.
You never know who you might meet when you go to a wider church event!
Sabbaticals are dangerous things – or maybe it’s having time to pray, reflect and explore “What’s next?” that’s the danger. Either way, I have returned from my sabbatical and submitted my resignation as Director of the Windermere Centre, with effect from 4 Sept after 14 years in post, I am on my way.
So what is next for me? Two convictions have prompted the resignation: the first is to explore ordination to non-stipendiary ministry, and the second is to offer myself within the URC and more widely on a freelance basis as a resource and enabler to encourage members and churches in missional discipleship.
Those of you who have followed developments here at the Windermere Centre will immediately recognise the extent to which this is a direct outflow of the focus on “What’s the point of church?” I don’t think there’s a more important question to ask if we are going to invest the resources of time, energy, personnel, money and organisation that being a church demands.
Neither do I think that the answer is as obvious as it might initially seem: it is very easy to frame our anxieties about the future of the church in the face of decline and apathy in terms of mission, when what is actually driving us is how to maintain as much of our current setup as possible for as long as possible.
There is only one good reason for the existence of the church, and that is to make a Jesus-shaped difference to the life of the world – and when I talk about “Jesus-shaped”, I mean “Easter-shaped”. Jesus is defined by the Way of the Cross – dying and rising.
I am convinced that what we need to discover most urgently as individuals, local churches and a denomination is what need to die in order for us to be resurrected to the New Life that God has for us in Jesus through the Spirit. We need to find ways collectively of discerning what the key choices are that we need to make, and the risks that we need to take. That is how we will become faithful and effective – which may or may not prove to be the same thing as having a long-term future. But it is the same thing as discovering Life and being part of the Good News we proclaim.
Moving on from here is thus the next step for me on the road I’ve been traveling here at the Windermere Centre. Geographically, it means moving away; in terms of priorities and direction, it is about being on the same journey as the Centre. I hope the Windermere Centre will continue to call on me as part of its own mission of “resourcing the church through hospitality and theological adventure”. I will certainly be bringing people to the Centre – and, vitally, operating Pay What You Can as the means of being paid for my future work for the church.
There’s a very big “Gulp!” involved. Leaving the Centre and staff and Carver Church after 14 years is going to be a huge wrench – it will be like leaving home and family. I will miss the interactions with people and churches that I’ve built up over that time. And then there’s the fear and apprehension (as well as the excitement) of changing radically the pattern of daily life, and of all the unknowns of where this stretch of the road will take me.
What will sustain me is the conviction that this is what God is calling me to, just as that same conviction has sustained me through all the wonderful and appalling times of the past 14 years. On a daily basis, though, it is the nourishment I have derived from sharing your own journeys of discipleship, and being allowed into your lives that has held and encouraged me. That has been an immense privilege. “Companion” literally means “bread-sharer”: thank you for your companionship and friendship of the past years.
May the God who has brought us all to the place where we are be with us and bless us as we navigate the next bend in the road – wherever that may lead.
MACMILLAN COFFEE EVENING
We will be having a MacMillan Coffee evening and Bring & Buy Sale on Thursday 15th September from 7:30pm. Come along for the three C’s – Cuppa, Cake and Chat to support this good cause.
QUIZ FOR CHRISTIAN AID
Our annual Quiz for Christian Aid will be on Friday 7th October starting at 7:00pm. As usual it is a fun quiz for a serious cause for teams of up to four people – definitely not Mastermind. Donations for Christian Aid. There will also be a Fair Trade stall.
Our Autumn Fair will be held on Saturday 11th November, opening at 2:30pm. We are hoping for the usual mix of stalls and we would be grateful for any offers of help or goods for the stalls. Full details will be available soon and look out for the Quiz forms (why not take a few and sell them to your family, friends & neighbours).
CHURCHES TOGETHER IN FULWOOD & BROUGHTON
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.
MINISTRY OF FLOWERS
4th Sept Dorothy Sumner
11th Sept Ellie Russell
18th Sept ——
25th Sept ——
2nd Oct ——
9th Oct ——
16th Oct Jean Fazackerley
23rd Oct Jean Dunsmore
30th Oct Camille McCullough
6th Nov Frances Fraser
Heavenly Father, we remember before you all our members, adherents and friends. We pray for those who are lonely, for those who are anxious, for those with health-related concerns. We pray for those who have lost loved ones and those who mourn. Assure them all of your unfailing love and grace. Enable each one of us to see how we can be Your hands and feet to bring your comfort and help to those for whom we pray. In Jesus’ name, Amen
FROM ANOTHER ROVING REPORTER
While on holiday near Durham, we went walking along the River Tees near Darlington to High Coniscliffe. In the village there was a church dedicated to St Edwin. This is apparently the only church in England dedicated to Edwin, King of Northumbria.
It is predominately 13th Century and is remarkably well preserved with a 101 foot stone spire. Unfortunately the many trees around the graveyard made it a bit of a problem for photography.
I feel like my body has got totally out of shape, so I got my doctor’s permission to join a gym and start exercising.
I decided to take an aerobics class for seniors. I bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down, and perspired for an hour. But, by the time I got my leotard on, the class was over.
Thanks to Lytham URC magazine
THANKS TO CHURCH NEWSLETTERS!!
The following have all appeared in church magazines so let us give thanks to God for church people with word processors…
Next weekend’s Fasting & Prayer Conference in Whitby includes all meals.
Sunday morning sermon: ‘Jesus Walks on the Water’ Sunday evening sermon: ‘Searching for Jesus.’
Ladies, don’t forget the jumble sale, it’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community.
Don’t let worry kill you off – let the Church help.
For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
Next Thursday there will be auditions for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
John Benson and Elizabeth Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be ‘What Is Hell?’ Come early and listen to our choir practice
Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.
The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility
The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.
Weight Watchers will meet at 7 pm at the United Reformed Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.
With thanks to all concerned
ST AIDAN –The Celtic Monk with Good Manners
Aidan – monk of Iona, first Bishop and Abbot of Lindisfarne. It all began in 635, when Oswald regained the throne of Northumbria from Mercian invaders. Oswald had become a Christian during his exile at Iona, and now turned back to the monks for help in converting his own people.
But the Saxons of those days were not the most socially polished and urbane of folk.
The first monk who came across to convert them found them so “uncivilised and unteachable” that he stormed back to Iona in disgust. So Aidan was sent instead: he had a reputation for discretion and prudence.
Oswald gave him the island of Lindisfarne, which was close to the royal palace of Bamburgh. It was well suited for evangelising the kingdom of Bernicia (Oswald’s power-base in northern Northumbria). It was the beginning of a great friendship between the king and monk. Oswald even helped out by interpreting Aidan’s early sermons to the common people.
Later, Aidan founded churches and monasteries, liberated Anglo-Saxon slave boys and educated them for the Church. He also encouraged monastic practices among the laity, such as fasting and meditating on the Scriptures. Aidan himself lived in poverty and detachment, a lifestyle that gave him the ‘street cred’ needed to reprove the wealthy and powerful when they needed it.
Oswald died in 642, and the new king, Oswin, also became firm friends with Aidan. Once Oswin gave Aidan a fine horse, but Aidan soon gave it away to a poor man.
During Lent, Aidan would retire to the Inner Farne Island for prayer and penance; from there in 651 he grieved to see Bamburgh being burnt by Penda, the militant king of Mercia. Aidan died in 651 and was buried at Lindisfarne.
Bede wrote more warmly of Aidan than of any other saint. He praised his love of prayer, study, peace, purity, and humility, as well as his care of the sick and the poor. The parish church of Bamburgh is the only ancient English church dedicated to him.
You may remember Rev’d Paul Pells telling a version of this one at a service some time ago….
“On a sunny morning, David’s mother came into her son’s room and said, “David, it’s Sunday. Time to get up! Time to get up and go to church! Get up!” From under the covers came mumbles, “I don’t want to go!”
“What do you mean?” she said, “That’s silly! Now get up and get dressed and go to church!”
“No!” he shot back, “I’ll give you two reasons. I don’t like them and they don’t like me.”
“Nonsense,” she told him. “I’ll give YOU two reasons to go. First, you are 52 years old, and second, you are the MINISTER!”
ROTAS FOR SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER 2016
|Norman & Elizabeth Croll
|Mavis Orrell & Greta Temperley
|Norman & Elizabeth Croll
|Jean & Brian Fazackerley
|Jean Dunsmore & Margery Pitcher
|9th Oct||Norman Croll
|Mavis Orrell & Greta Temperley
|Richard & Frances Fraser
|Norman & Elizabeth Croll
|Mavis Orrell & Greta Temperley
|Jean Dunsmore & Margery Pitcher
|Norman & Elizabeth Croll
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 less often each team would need to be on duty.
Please see Margery if you feel able to help. Thank you.