The NW Synod Retreat Group held a meeting in the Garrett Room in late April. Rev’d Helen and Mac attended. The Revd Helen Marshall gave a most interesting talk entitled ‘Deepening our Spiritual Journey’. Helen is an Anglican priest who has always tried in her ministry to make a priority of encouraging people to deepen their prayer life and has led retreats and prayer days.
Helen emphasised the riches of the Christian tradition on prayer and meditation going back through the centuries. Churches today, while busy with many activities, contained only a small minority of people prepared to give time to prayer and meditation. Helen mentioned various ways to help with silence, prayer and meditation. In particular the practice of Lectio Divina – spiritual reading – with its stages of reading, meditation or reflection, prayer (response) and contemplation (resting in God’s presence). Our own minister spoke about this at our Church’s recent Away Day at the Rufford Centre and also about Imaginative Meditation, often associated with Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, where we seek to enter into a passage of scripture ourselves, imagining we are one of the characters in a gospel story.
The NW Moderator Rev’d Richard Church attended this meeting of the Retreat Group and is keen to encourage prayer fellowship. He has recently circulated the following letter, which we are pleased to include for your consideration:
There are many ways of analysing the Church’s greatest need at the moment. However, the dimension which I think is essential is that of prayer. Many of our congregations have deep instincts towards activism. Yet with ageing congregations and so many having loyally served in a variety of ways there is a weariness in relation to the many initiatives which are being promoted within our denomination.
I have been thinking for some years now of a way in which the roots of our congregational life might be refreshed so that as we face fresh challenges we do so as people who have been inwardly inspired and renewed. Of course this work of God is going on all the time but can we further it in anyway? Often prayer groups in churches are a struggling minority within the church. Sometimes prayer remains a dutiful burden rather than an encounter through which we might be changed. In addition, prayer can be inwardly focussed rather than a time which causes us to look out on our society with fresh eyes.
So I have come to believe that what I am calling a Missional Prayer Fellowship may be helpful to us. In essence it would enable us to be drawn together from across the Synod agreeing to pray for one another each week by name. We would gather residentially once a year and in our localities once every three or four months. Prayer is not a static thing so we need to learn from God through one another how this largely hidden practice helps us. The Vision4Life prayer year has offered fresh resources, I hope that this might carry that forward to resource us as we go forward.
Soon I will be suggesting a first meeting by which we may test the way forward and develop these ideas. In the meantime I would welcome your suggestions as well as your prayers.
(see further down)
God gave everyone patience. Wise people use it.
Man’s way leads to a hopeless end! God’s way leads to endless hope!
THE SHEKINAH CHRISTIAN CENTRE, NEWCHURCH-IN- PENDLE Nr BURNLEY
At the Churches Together in Lancashire Forum held in our church last May, one of the examples of vision and of working together across boundaries of denomination presented was a report on the development of the Shekinah Christian Centre. It is the story of the transformation of a working farm into a beautiful retreat centre for Christians to meet.
Shekinah is the English spelling of a Hebrew word that means the glory or radiance of God, or God resting in his house amongst his people.
Shekinah located at Newchurch-in-Pendle is set in a beautiful hidden valley nestling in the foothills of Pendle Hill. The centre is set in peaceful grounds with 8 acres of woodland and a patio garden overlooking the valley.
The story began in 1989 when the Lord began to reveal the vision of Shekinah as a house of prayer and retreat. Whilst Margaret, the farmer’s wife, was working in the fields, she saw the large barn changed from a cowshed into a beautiful place for Christians to meet. Margaret heard the Lord saying that it would be a place where the wounded warriors of Christ could come to seek the face of the Lord and find rest, healing and renewal in his everlasting arms of love. Building permission was granted in 1994. Today, Peter and Margaret Capstick and their many supporters rejoice that the day facilities are completed and the Shekinah Christian Centre is now a beautiful and safe haven for Christians of any denomination to come to pray together, find a place of quiet retreat and refreshment and meet with God in peaceful surroundings in an environment where unity can grow between Christians.
It is not possible to portray the beauty and tranquillity of Shekinah – the best way is to visit it. Hopefully, we may be able to hold a future Church Away Day there and benefit from the Centre and its setting.
THE MODERATOR’S WHEEL MISSION IN LANCASHIRE
The NW Moderator, Rev’d Richard Church’s Wheel Mission, which he has chosen to form part of his sabbatical period, began at Macclesfield URC 0n 19th July. Daily reports have appeared to the North Western Synod web site and have been posted on the Notice Board. A booklet of all Richard’s daily reports is being produced for those without internet access and copy will be available shortly on request.
Richard’s entry into the Lancashire Area was on Monday 2nd August when he and his bicycle arrived at Whalley by train. There he was met by Lynn, from the Pendlebury Community Church who cycled with him over the fairly steep climb to the Shekinah Centre (see previous article).
Rev’d Helen, who had been responsible for coordinating Richards’s journey through the Lancashire Area, was there to welcome him along with Rev Liz Jewitt the minister at Nelson & Burnley URC churches and a crowd of nearly thirty people from Nelson, Burnley and Fulwood URCs (Mac and Margery). In the conference room pictures of each day’s report from Wheel Mission had been put around the room. Richard explained some of the thinking behind the Cycle Mission and his idea of using a cycle as the easiest way of meeting people. He recounted some of his experiences to date – being particularly impressed with the wide variety of ways in which URC congregations which he had met to date were serving their local communities.
On Thursday 5th August Richard arrived at Preston and took part in an ecumenical service and barbeque at Penwortham URC. Rev’d David Coaker led an environmental based service where we explored the role oil plays in all our lives and Richard again spoke about his experiences of mission in the churches he had so far visited. After an overnight stay with Helen and Colin, and Friday prayers at Longridge, Richard was then off to prison (escorted by Rev’d Hilary Collinson to Kirkham Prison)!
OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF………..
Moses led the Hebrews to the Red Sea, where they made unleavened bread which is bread without any ingredients.
The first commandment was when Eve told Adam to eat the apple.
Samson killed the Philistines with the axe of the Apostles.
The Epistles were the wives of the Apostles
Thanks to Anstey Methodist Church
CHURCHES TOGETHER IN FULWOOD & BROUGHTON
Saturday 16th October
CTFB Day of Reflection:
“What on Earth are we Doing?” – a morning exploring mission possibilities in Fulwood & Broughton
To be held at the newly-refurbished Fulwood Methodist Church from 10:00 to 13:00 hours. Reflection to be led by Rev Nick Moxon (Methodist Evangelism Office and Rev Debbie Peatman (Churches Together in Lancashire)
BIBLE QUIZ (Not too serious!)
1 What is one of the first things that Adam & Eve did after they were kicked out of the garden?
2 What excuse did Adam give to his children as to why he no longer lived in Eden?
3 What was the last thing Noah said before he entered the Ark?
4 The ark was built in 3 stories and the top story had a window to let light in, but how did they get light to the bottom 2 stories? (Answers further down)
EVERYBODY, SOMEBODY, ANYBODY AND NOBODY
This is a little story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.
There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.
Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.
Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job.
Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.
It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done
The Craft Group have renewed their attempts with tea-bag folding and some have progressed to more advanced folds which gave a two tone effect. During our next session we will be moulding candles and decorating votive candle holders amongst other things.
Our next meetings are:
Monday 13th September – 7:30pm
Tuesday 28th September – 2;00pm
Monday 11th October– 7:30pm
Tuesday 26th October – 7:30pm
Please note we now have a good selection of birthday cards and cards for special occasions on sale in the sale in the church foyer. If you would like a card making for a special occasion please see Margery and we will try to accommodate you.
TRADE AND THE G20
Commentators seem to agree that not much was achieved at the G20 summit in Toronto on the 26th and 27th June. Little was done to address any of the structural problems that caused the financial and economic crises of the past three years and serious concerns have been raised that the austerity policies being espoused stand to inflict the most pain on the poorest, who bear the least responsibility, whilst allowing the rich to get back to business as usual. The final communiqué contains no agreement on a tax on banks or financial transactions yet instructs governments to cut deficits in half by 2013.
On trade, there has been no change in the free-market rhetoric. Market opening is said to have been at the heart of the ‘recovery’ and there is yet further commitment to concluding the WTO Doha round (which the G20 persist in calling a ‘development round’). They therefore commit to continue pursuing policies to keep barriers to trade low, avoid restrictions on exports and comply with WTO measures – an empty commitment, given the continued lack of US action on its anti-WTO cotton subsidies.
With little evidence of a change in the ideology, domestic policies – for example to protect jobs, must play second fiddle to strengthening global trade and investment. We can assume that the commitment to “a green recovery and to sustainable global growth” will also only be fulfilled so long as trade-as-usual is not affected. The G20 have asked for a “report on the benefits of trade liberalisation for employment and growth” at their next summit – the statement itself implies they have already written the conclusions.
The G20 holds its next summit in Seoul on the 11th and 12th November this year. The full text of the final declaration can be read here:
CHRISTIAN AID SUPPORTER DAY 20 OCT 10
Iconic US civil rights leader, the Rev Jesse Jackson, will give his public backing to Christian Aid this autumn. Jackson, who was famously with Martin Luther King when he was assassinated and has been an outspoken campaigner for social justice, will be the keynote speaker at Christian Aid’s Supporter Day on Wednesday, 20 October 2010 in London. To find out more and to register your attendance www.christian-aid.org
Some 1,690 downloaded and printed out Christian Aid’s postcard, asking Tesco to keep stocking Divine Fairtrade chocolate and you helped make them take notice.
Latest figures from Divine now show that Tesco is again stocking the choc – including a brand new 85% cocoa bar for those who like their chocolate extra dark!
So now there are three Divine reasons for checking out the sweet aisle in Tesco. And here are the vital statistics: 3
Dark Divine 70% is in 771 stores Milk Divine is in 628 stores
Dark Divine 85% is in 480 stores.
Divine has been in contact with Christian Aid to thank their wonderful network of supporters for their continued help and support. Having their chocolate available at Tesco means millions of people have the opportunity to choose Divine, which in turn means more Fairtrade income, and more profits for the Kuapa Kokoo farmers in Ghana.
BIBLE QUIZ ANSWERS
- They really raised Cain
- Your mother ate us out of house and home
- So long fellas!
- They used floodlights.
WHAT IS THE UNITED REFORMED CHURCH?
The following article, which I hope will be of interest to our readers, is a Profile of the United Reformed Church, written by a former Moderator of General Assembly, the Rev’d Dr Stephen Orchard, for the BBC website.
Across England, Scotland and Wales, the United Reformed Church has nearly 100,000 members and regular worshippers, in 1600 local congregations.
The United Reformed Church shares the Trinitarian tradition and creeds of all the major Christian denominations. The Bible is taken to be the supreme authority for the Church, together with certain historic statements of the United Reformed Church.
Respect for individual belief and a conviction that majorities are not always right mean that the Church is not dogmatic and embraces a wide variety of opinions.
The United Reformed Church takes the name ‘Reformed’ because it has its roots in the Reformation of the 17th Century, but also because it seeks to be continually reforming, to equip itself to be a Church for today. It is part of the worldwide family of Reformed Churches, which has a total membership of around 70 million people.
It has a strong commitment to church union and the ecumenical movement. Its local churches are often partnerships with other denominations, and in some parts of England, local United Reformed and Methodist churches work together in what is termed a United Area.
The United Reformed Church was first formed in 1972 by a union of the Presbyterian Church of England and the majority of churches in the Congregational Church in England and Wales. It was joined later by the Re-formed Association of the Churches of Christ in 1981 and the Congregational Union of Scotland in 2000.
The oldest churches have a history going back to the 17th century. Churches were opened in new housing areas in the late twentieth century, but many of these were joint ventures with the Church of England, the Methodist Church and the Baptist Union.
The Church sets a high value on individual conscience and the ability of its members to reach common understanding. Local congregations hold meetings to govern their affairs, with a group of elected elders having day-to-day responsibility.
There are thirteen synods: the national synods of Scotland and Wales and eleven regional synods for England, in which all local churches are represented.
A General Assembly, representative of members, meets biannually (annually until 2008) and makes policy decisions after consultation and debate. All these meetings are held in the belief that the Holy Spirit guides members of the Church in their decision-making.
The formal leadership of the General Assembly is provided by two moderators who serve together for two years, in an honorary capacity. They are elected by members of the Assembly. One moderator is a lay person and the other a minister.
A permanent staff, led by the General Secretary, services the Assembly and its committees. The thirteen synods have their own synod moderators and staff to support the work of local churches.
These are usually grouped together under the pastoral care of a paid minister, a man or woman, although the Church also ordains unpaid ministers.
All churches contribute to a central fund from which ministers are paid a stipend to cover their living costs.
We congratulate Lawrence Moore, known to several of our members in his capacity as Director of the Windermere Centre, on his recent election as Moderator of the General Assembly for 2012-2014 together with Rev’d Michael Jagessar
Our Harvest Thanksgiving Service will be conducted by our Minister and be held on Sunday 26th September. As usual, a plate for donations towards the decoration of the Church will be on the table at the back of Church throughout September. Any surplus will be donated to Water Aid.
Andrew and Elizabeth wish to say thank you for the many cards and good wishes, sent by friends from our Church, to mark their marriage on Saturday 14th August. The cards were incorporated into the special decorations at the reception, and were very much appreciated.
STRAWBERRY TEA 31st JULY
A splendid afternoon was enjoyed by all those who supported our Strawberry Tea and Bring and Buy sale to raise funds towards purchasing produce for our Autumn Fair. As well as the delicious strawberry and cream scones, the good fellowship, the well-stocked stalls and the colourful balloon- decorations in church, the Minister’s new uniform was a great attraction – although a little disconcerting at first to some of our younger visitors!! The sum of £120 was raised. Thanks to those who had the idea, those who made all the preparations and all who supported the event.
DATE TO REMEMBER
AUTUMN FAIR 20th NOVEMBER at 2.30pm
Proceeds to St Catherine’s and Derien House Hospices
JOINT PASTORATE GROUP
The Fulwood URC/ Christ Church, Longridge Joint Pastorate Group held a useful Review Meeting with Rev’d Helen. We agreed that whilst joint services were difficult without leaving one of the churches without Sunday worship, both churches will try to publicise each others activities much further in advance and we will endeavour to work closely together on specific projects.
We will arrange the annual manse inspection early this autumn and a further meeting to discuss funding of any resulting repairs. We agreed as far as possible Helen’s preaching plan for 2011 and as Helen’s formal EM Training is now completed and regular contact with other ministers may reduce, we invited her to consider forming a small support group from members of both churches with whom she can consult.
PASTORAL VISITORS / ELDERS’ MEETING
The Pastoral Visitors and Elders also met with Rev’d Helen in July for their annual review of pastoral care within the congregation. Each pastoral visitor and elder shared the joys and concerns for their members and adherents and the meeting brought these before God in prayer.
Those of our members who have attended the Fulwood Methodist evening services in our Church over the last eighteen months have greatly enjoyed those services conducted by Rev’d David Wood and by Rev’d Gillian Houghton. We wish them every blessing in the new pastures to which they have now moved under the Methodist rotational system.
Following the summer break the Church Fellowship meetings resume on the second Thursdays of each month starting at 7.30pm
9th September when two friends from Fulwood Methodist Church, Barry and Muriel Crossley will present a selection of slides, which we know will be excellent, entitled “All Kinds of Everything”.
On 14th October we will hold another Table Top Games evening and this time include a Hot Pot supper. Please note that the meal will start at 6:30pm
Rev’d Lena Talbot will give her talk entitled “Serendipity” at our meeting on 11th November. We are not sure what it is about but we are told on the very good authority that it is well worth hearing!
A treat awaits us at our meeting on 9th December, when the ever-popular Pat Ascroft will speak to us about one of her adventures. We are not sure which one as Pat’s planned visit to Namibia on behalf of MENCAP.has had to be cancelled
We will take a collection on behalf of each speaker’s chosen charity
THE MODERATOR INVITES YOU TO JOIN HIM at THE TABOR RETREAT HOUSE (169 Sharoe Green Lane Fulwood Preston PR2 8HE)
Monday 20th September 2010 10am – 3.30pm
You are invited to join the Moderator to develop ideas and test the way forward for a Missional Prayer Fellowship. See Mac for further details.
FOR PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS RECOVERING FROM THE SUMMER HOLIDAYS
GOD’ S CHILDREN (AND GRAND CHILDREN)
Whenever your children are out of control, you can take comfort from the thought that even God’s omnipotence did not extend to His own children.
After creating heaven and earth, God created Adam and Eve.
And the first thing he said was – ‘DON’T!’
‘Don’t what?’ Adam replied.
‘Don’t eat the forbidden fruit.’ God said.
‘Forbidden fruit? We have forbidden fruit?
Hey, Eve…we have forbidden fruit!’
‘Do NOT eat the fruit!’ said God.
‘Because I am your Father and I said so!’
God replied, wondering why He hadn’t stopped creation after making the elephants.
A few minutes later, God saw His children having an apple break and He was ticked!
‘Didn’t I tell you not to eat the fruit?’ God asked.
‘Uh huh,’ Adam replied.
‘Then why did you?’ said the Father.
‘I don’t know,’ said Eve.
‘She started it!’ Adam said.
Having had it with the two of them, God’s punishment was that Adam and Eve should have children of their own
Thus the pattern was set and it has never changed.
HOW WONDERFUL IT WOULD HE TO BECOME WISE – GENESIS 3.6.
Thanks to Hyde URC
Three boys are in the schoolyard bragging about their fathers.
The first boy says, “My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a poem, they give him £50”. The second boy says, “That’s nothing. My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a song and they give him £100”.
The third boy says, “I got you both beat. My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a sermon and it takes eight people to collect all the money!”