Songs of Praise on Sunday 24th June
Songs of Praise is featuring the Daily Devotions on Sunday. Various football matches are being screened on BBC1 which means the Songs of Praise episode will be shown on BBC2 – times vary but it seems to be starting between 1pm and 2pm – check the schedule for your TV region!
The programme looks at the Power of Prayer and features the Devotions as an example of how technology is helping people develop a discipline of daily prayer. It features the Rev’d Dr Susan Durber who both uses and writes for the Devotions and Rev’d Andy Braunston who started them up and organises the writers .
Paddington on Pilgrimage
Paddington Bear’s pilgrimage around Wessex Synod has brought him to Worplesdon this week
Lunch club New Year Party
A delicious lunch including roast lamb followed by a trio of fruity deserts was enjoyed in our customary sophisticated way. The right side of the table were definitely the champions when it came to bubble blowing. The other picture is a warning to those of you who wear what you find in your cracker…
It was a good occasion to say a special “Thank You” to Maria and Irene for all their hard work in the kitchen serving and washing up, as well as helping with transport; and to Elaine who plans the menus, sources ingredients and cooks as well as also giving lifts each week throughout the year. Those who come also generously pitch in with help laying tables, serving, transport, clearing up and laundry week by week. We are blessed to have such a happy group.
If you would like to come and join lunch club then please get in touch with Elaine Kelly – her phone number is on the contact page.
Walking the Way: Living the life of Jesus today
You may have already heard of ‘Walking the Way: Living the life of Jesus today’. It’s the umbrella term for the United Reformed Church’s focus on lifelong Christian discipleship and mission.
Put simply, Walking the Way seeks to deepen our understanding of what being a Christian disciple truly means – how we can live as disciples when we are in church and, perhaps more importantly, when we are not.
The Greek word for ‘disciple’ is mathetes; Andrew Roberts, author of Holy Habits,1 says, ‘It is often said to mean either a follower or a learner. The literal meaning is
“one who learns as they follow”’.
The people of God have walked, stumbled and sometimes skipped this path throughout the centuries. The way we’re walking may be familiar, but the landscape has changed dramatically in recent years. Advances in technology, evolving work patterns and rapidly changing politics have all had an impact on our life and communities.
Walking the Way explores what it means to actively follow and learn from – and to be eventually transformed by – Christ. It’s for everyone at any stage of the Christian journey – whoever you are, whatever your existing relationship with Jesus Christ and the Church is, whatever your personal circumstances. It’s for you whether you have been following Jesus for five days or five decades.
We are called to proclaim and embody God’s Kingdom, yet sometimes it seems as if the Church has been side-tracked; over-concerned about maintaining our buildings and institutions, or organising the coffee rota, rather than focusing on the teachings of Jesus and working out what they mean for each of us as we try to live the Jesus way of extravagant love, scandalous grace and radical actions.
A prayer for Walking the Way
God of all,
as Jesus walked this earth sharing love, grace and mercy,
he fed the hungry with the bread of life
and brought healing and hope to those he met.
Renew us through the gift of the Holy Spirit
so that we may do likewise.
As we step out on this exciting, yet daunting, journey of discipleship,
we pray that we will place our footsteps in yours and walk where you lead
as we live out your life in our daily living
for Jesus’ sake.
For more information visit www.urc.org.uk/wtw
We are supporting Amnesty International’s WRITE FOR RIGHTS campaign again this December.
This is how Amnesty describe it themselves:-
“Your words have power
Sometimes a letter can change someone’s life. That’s the premise of Write for Rights, Amnesty’s global letter-writing campaign. We’ve been doing it for 15 years and today, it’s the world’s biggest human rights event.
Every December, Amnesty supporters across the globe will write millions of letters for those whose basic human rights are being attacked. They are people like you, continuing a long tradition of writing letters to right some of the world’s biggest wrongs.
And it’s not just letters – it could be petitions, emails, Tweets, Facebook posts, photos, postcards. Your words really can change lives. Join us.”
Briefing booklets and materials for sending letters and postcards will be available in church from 17th December and should be posted by 31st December.
See the webpage listed above to send online messages.
Advent theme – Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, Love All
Worship Fully―because Christmas begins and ends with Jesus! Spend Less―and free your resources for things that truly matter. Give More―of your presence: your hands, your words, your time, your heart. Love All―the poor, the forgotten, the marginalized, and the sick in ways that make a difference. In this way Christmas becomes a celebration worth remembering and can still change the world
Simple Christmas Crafting Workshop
Following on from the activities we ran at ‘Holiday at Home’ in August, many enjoyed our “Simple Christmas Crafting” workshop on 23rd November. We made stained glass style candle decorations, woven Danish hearts, gift tags and Christmas cards, and woodblock printed tea towels. Some also decorated cards for using in this year’s Amnesty International ‘Write for Rights” campaign.
at the end of October we commemorated 500 years since Luther nailed his theses to the door of the church in Wittenburg. Luther wasn’t the first or the only reformer but it is his action 500 years ago that has been chosen as an opportunity for the church today to remember the reformation. Of course when I say ‘the reformation’ that’s shorthand for what’s more usually called the protestant reformation – which in the 2000 year history of the church is just one reformation among others, the Christian Church in all its diversity is constantly re-forming. You can see it happening from the very beginning within the New Testament.
We remember the reformers because of what they brought to the life of the church, in this United Reformed Church we might say our reformed character is expressed by
- The importance we place on the bible – signified by its prominent place in our worship space. The reformation was the time when the bible was translated from ancient Hebrew and greek or Latin into the local languages of the people so they could hear it or read it for themselves and find out what it said in relation to their own lives in their own time and place
- Recognising that the church is the church of Jesus and involves the whole people of God who all have gifts and a part to play which is embodied in our conciliar structure – which is to say this congregation is guided by church meeting which feed into the wider councils of synod and general assembly. To call Jesus head of the church is to declare there is only one church – although our current state of many denominations contradicts that – and so we are committed to seeking greater unity.
- Our commitment to continuously reforming ourselves in response to Gods call. We say we are ‘reformed and ever reforming’.
- Recognising that God loves all God’s creation and comes above all human institutions – each person, each creature, all earth and beyond have a value in the eyes of God and are to be cherished. So we have a role to help shape the structures of society and nations in just and peaceful ways so that there is mutual opportunity to flourish in sustainable ways.
Our Books & Coffee in October included our mini Harvest Festival produce show once more – exhibits included cakes, chutney, marmalade, photographs, artwork, handmade cards, jewellery, clothing and soft furnishings. Everyone participated in the judging – putting stickers by the items they liked and everything was well stickered. We do like to encourage one another.
Holiday at Home
Another successful ‘Holiday at Home’ day was run in August in collaboration with our friends at Worplesdon Parish Church. One talk included the opportunity to get close to beautiful live bugs and beasts this year. Other activities included flower arranging (always very popular), wood block printing on tote bags, a quiz, a bit of a sing, boccia, decorating pots with mosaic, seated yoga, lots of chat and a delicious lunch.
Pentecost and a new elder
A special celebration on Pentecost Sunday because Hazel Davies was ordained an elder of the United Reformed Church and joins our elders meeting.
It was lovely to share our Christmas Eve Carol Service. Winifred tolled the old Perry Hill School bell to welcome neighbours, returning neighbours and friends. Our minister, Alison, reminded us of the Christmas story and the gift of Jesus to us. Our organist, Anne, was in fine form and created a great atmosphere by candlelight. After, in the David Kelly Hall, we enjoyed fellowship, mulled wine and mince pies.
On Saturday, 10 September, we baptised Sam Marko Morley. Our little chapel became a Lutheran church for a couple of hours. The service was introduced by our minister, Revd Alison Toplas and conducted in Finnish and English by Revd Marjaana Härkönen of the Finnish Church in London.