I wonder, why not?

Dear Friends,

I am often encouraged by Church leaders who see the urgent need for change, but continue to be disappointed when it doesn’t seem to happen. I wonder, why not?

Some will argue that church leaders — whether they be ministers, vicars, pastors or some other title — are frustrated by church members who want everything to remain as it has always been. Others will point to the hypocrisy of our leaders who say one thing and do another. There are also those who will say that we’ve got what God has given us and only God can change that! Children don’t always do as their Father tells them so are we stubbornly going our own way, doing our thing rather than God’s will? Lots of questions!

Yes, I am encouraged by Church leaders who see an urgent need for change, but do I need to be more patient and know that MY disappointment is not shared by God. In fact, God is delighted to see congregations declining because he never intended people to be so committed to religion and wants to live in people’s hearts not a church building? As for all these new songs with the music  from drums, guitars and keyboards: who on earth inspired younger people to make such a noise? It can’t have come from heaven, can it?

Forget the harp and the lyre of the Psalms and David’s dance to the music because God created the organ to produce a more joyful sound with good old hymns to replace those first sung by the first disciples. God inspired the prayer books, hymn books and books of great traditional liturgies and it’s not for us to mess with history, or scripture, because WE think there is a need for change. Did the people, angels and saints of history get it all right and our traditions are written into stone because of it? Are the prophets, visionaries and dreamers of today deluded by demons who want to distract us from the Kingdom of God? All questions and, perhaps, there is more than one right answer. God could have even wanted people to create different denominations so that we could learn how to knock down dividing walls!

I am most encouraged by church leaders who have such a good relationship with each other that they will seek ways to overcome any differences to find ways of working together to serve a community. It’s encouraging, isn’t it, that we have such relationships of trust in Broadway with church leaders who are willing to share together on Zoom tonight (Friday) and I hope as many of you as can will join us on the usual link to explore some of the questions….

As myself and Virginia prepare to move in September and Israel leaves the Methodist Church it is good to look forward to new arrivals, including that of a new Outreach Worker who has been appointed and is expected to start by the end of August. Revd Chris Collins will also be arriving as the new Methodist Minister.

Monday is being hailed as Freedom Day because we will be able to choose what we do rather than being told what we must do. We are being given the responsibility to behave sensibly and love our neighbours as we want them to love us. Umm! I am not convinced that everyone has followed such a principle in the past and it only takes a few to mess it up for all of us, doesn’t it?

As a Church we will act responsibly and our Activities will be resumed gradually. Our Thursday morning sessions will continue with the policies adopted and it is hoped the afternoon sessions might resume in September if there is an interest. If you, or someone you know, would like someone who is being ‘cared for’ to have an activity to attend for some social inter-action please let us know if you are interested.

COVID POLICY

We will never please everyone, but we hope you will respect our efforts to help as many people as possible feel comfortable as Covid restrictions are lifted. We look forward to being able to sing at Sunday services, but ask everyone to continue wearing masks and follow social distancing guidelines.

So, the recommendation for Sunday morning is:

Please use hand gell on arrival

Continue social distancing — so leave two seats between you and the next person (unless in a family bubble).

Wear a mask/visor while in the building.

Remove the mask to sing, but remain seated and replace mask after hymn.

On Sunday July 25th we will hold the first Church Meeting “in person’ since Covid in Church Hall where we will make sure all doors and windows are open for maximum ventilation.

You are invited to find a seat at a table and wait for refreshments to be brought to you. Please, don’t go to the serving hatch.

Sunday’s service from the Daily Devotions team of the United Reformed Church is led by The Revd. Sarah Moore. Sarah is currently serving in the National Synod of Scotland as Transition Champion, also serving as Assistant Clerk to the General Assembly. Though regularly, now worshipping in our own homes, today’s service is looking at building a home for the Lord. Hymns include Marty Haugen’s Let us build a house, Praise to the Lord, The Almighty, John Newton’s Amazing Grace and Sydney Carter’s One more step along the world I go.

Bruce and Pat would like to thank everyone for the beautiful flowers they received for their golden wedding anniversary last Sunday.

Broken nation?

What have the events following England losing the Euro2020 final shown us about our nation? Has our faith anything to say on the matter? What does following Jesus entail in their light? Revd Philip Brooks will lead a service that confronts some of the brokenness in our society. Fittingly, we will celebrate Communion – the brokenness that Jesus endures for the healing of the world. Please bring bread and wine (or their equivalents) at 6-30 for the YourChurch service with communion on Sunday.

Next weekend Kathryn will be leading our service followed by Communion on August 1st with me.

Other dates are as follows: August 8th Revd. Brian Clarke; August 15th Eco Church and Church in Society groups; August 22nd Michael Payne; August 29th Songs of Praise; September 5th Richard and on September 12th I will share a service with the new Methodist Minister Revd Chris Collins with communion. My last service will be on September 19th and the Worship Group will lead a Harvest Celebration  on September 26th.

Remember the Table Top Sale on Saturday September 4th followed by a Garden Concert from Gospel Bell. When you are dividing or potting up plants during the summer don’t forget we will need some for the plant stall.

PANDEMIC PRAYER

Loving God,
The struggle is real, but so are You:
as new variants of COVID fuel more infections;
as fewer people of colour receive the vaccine;
as ignorance and stubbornness abound; 
as more of Your creation meet and grieve untimely deaths, 
Give to all Your children good sense, patience, attitudes of empathy and community, 
and a sacramental spirit that affirms the extraordinary habits of a pandemic era 
as sacred acts that save lives. 
Ase and Amen.

By the Revd William Young, Pastor Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ, Washington DC

A number of people are in need of prayer at this time, but don’t wish to be mentioned. Please pray for members of our Church family who have health concerns and for those worried for children and other relatives.

Continue to pray for Peter Nuttall in South Africa and for the country and for Patrick Murunga in Kenya who launches his new ministry tomorrow morning.

Pam Peters continues to need prayer and Alex John and Jean Michael Eden Susan Nuttall John and June Wiln Vicki

Pray for Israel, the Methodist Minister, who has his farewell service at Evesham Methodist Church on Sunday evening.

God Bless, Richard