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Minister News Prayers

14 June 2020

It is now almost three months since we were able to meet together in our church buildings and whilst various activities are opening up, the advice from the United Reformed Church is to be in no rush to open. Our style of church believes that private prayer happens in the home, or street or park, we only need buildings to gather together or reach out from. Even if the government advice is that we can gather in the building, we are still going to be cautious. The Elders believe that too many of our normal congregation will still need to be shielded and that the precautions we would need to put in place would make our already small congregation even smaller.

So far, we have encouraged you to use the material on the reverse of this page, along with television, radio and internet resources in order to worship on a Sunday morning. We have produced some podcasts and have gathered online for a bible study. Elsewhere, I have learnt how to use a conference facility called Zoom. It can be accessed by computers or telephones and allows us to see and hear those who use computers, whilst those on the telephone can hear and talk. I have hosted services for Chapel of Unity, sat in on a service with North Warwickshire Group, as well as sitting in lots of meetings from the comfort of my own chair.

At both Elders’ meeting this week it was felt that the time had come to use zoom to create a space where we could be with one another on a Sunday morning and so from this Sunday we are going to offer an online service each week. I will continue to send you a weekly outline for those who do not wish to join with us or find the technology too difficult. But I would also say that many people have been surprised at how easy it is to use – so please give it a go.

To join by phone dial one of the following numbers

0131 460 1196

0203 051 2874

0203 481 5237

0203 481 5240

If you have problems try another number. When asked to enter your Meeting ID key in 831 4268 9496#-  if asked for a Participant key just dial #. If asked for a password it is 512001 

To join by computer,  click on this link  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83142689496

and say yes to the various questions. (It gets easier the second time). 

Meeting ID: 831 4268 9496       Password: 512001

Please come and join us, we will all be learning as we go.

On other matters. The work on the church building has begun. I know some of you have been past for a peek. There have been a couple of surprises once the builders were able to uncover previous work and that has caused a bit of adjustment, but I hope we have found the right solutions. If you are able to support the work financially then that would be helpful. The budget is tight and the more leeway we have the better. So far the grant applications have not been successful. If you can, please send your contributions to Caroline, preferable by a direct payment into our Barclays account Sort Code 202355 Account No 60995746. We also need to meet ongoing costs. We believe we can do that as we have a reasonable reserve but of course all contributions help to sustain that confidence. 

Sorry to end with the begging bit – keep going and I hope you find something much more nourishing.

 

Prayer Powerful God, you strengthen us, no matter what storms we face in this life. We give you the glory!

United Church of Christ, Daily Devotional 10 June 2020

Hymn

Here in this place, new light is streaming 

now is the darkness vanished away, 

see, in this space, our fears and our dreamings, 

brought here to you in the light of this day. 

Gather us in the lost and forsaken 

gather us in the blind and the lame; 

call to us now, and we shall awaken 

we shall arise at the sound of our name. 

Bible Genesis 18:1-15

Reflection Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.”

Is this a God-incidence? Kirsty is in the process of finalising the details of renting a shop on Ball Hill so that we can start the work there that some of us have been talking about for many years. And I asked, what are we going to call it? What name do we put above the door? As is my want, I then began throwing out suggestions. Amongst the things I played with, was the current address – 185 Walsgrave Road – what if we called it 1/85 or 18:5? I began looking at bible passages that fitted, there are lots of them for 18:5 – and one is the verse above. It comes in the midst of this passage about creating hospitality. God’s self as three strangers is welcomed into the camp. This is what we want to do at our [Unnamed] shop – welcome, refresh, pass on, serve. 

Having dashed something off to Kirsty, I turned to thinking about this Sunday and looked up the lectionary readings. Here we were again, Genesis 18:5. Abraham knowing he has to welcome these strangers – however in the next verse he is mansplaining to Sarah, how to make cakes (Whoops) and then rushing off to instruct servants on picking out some meat to serve. Eventually, he settles down and he has time to hear the message, “Sarah will have a son.” Sadly, Sarah hears this by listening from the tent, but her mocking laughter is noted and her son Issac (He laughs) will be named for that moment.  

For some of us, this has been a busy time. Sometimes it’s been difficult to take time to sit down and listen to God. And yet when I do it is all about the future and some plans seem ridiculous enough to create mocking laughter. Next week Kirsty and I will be at online Ministers Summer School, instead of meeting at Swanwick. There is no planned content in the afternoons and we are being encouraged to rest and reflect. Makes you laugh!

Prayer God, you disrupt our calm. Continue to be our peace. Amen.                                         United Church of Christ, Daily Devotional 8 June 2020

Hymn

Not in the dark of buildings confining 

not in some heaven, light years away 

but here in this place, the new light is shining 

now is the kingdom, now is the day. 

Gather us in and hold us forever 

gather us in and make us your own 

gather us in all peoples together 

fire of love in our flesh and our bone.

Marty Haughen © Gregorian Institute of America

Categories
Minister Prayers Walking the Way

7 June 2020

I wrote last week about beginning a series of Prayer walks, so I thought I would share something from those. Monday was Ansty Road, beginning outside the church where I could inspect the early work on the redevelopment, trenches a dug for the footings, there is a big hole where the steps used to be and all the muck from broken drains has been cleared out. Inside some of the walls have been removed. Already a different view into the building is emerging. That, for me, is the purpose of a prayer walk, not just to pray but to have a new view emerge.

Ansty Road is shorter than I thought, I had to consciously slow myself down. I noticed various building projects in progress, the closed pubs/club and the taste of pollution beginning again as the roads become busier. We wondered if the climate might get an extended break, but it seems not. There were various other people walking as well, most looked as if they were exercising, most keen to nod hello, whilst maintaining distance but each engagement remembering the joy of being amongst people. 

Around St. Columba’s, it’s quieter. Drapers Field isn’t being used to park for the City Centre and there is very little movement. Along the canal, the ducks were negotiating a collection of lilies, cans and bottles. There is still no rest for our environment. Along Widdrington Road and Aldbourne Road cars are parked tightly, seemingly with nowhere to go. I’m reminded that I wanted to focus on environmental concerns through this period, but have been distracted, The climate crisis will not go away and will not do so if we return to business as usual.    

On Monday of this week  we will pray on Hocking Road, Farren Road, Oldham Ave, Hyde Rd, Edyth Rd, Belgrave Road, Arch Road.

On Tuesday, St. Columba’s Close, St. Nicholas Street, Ellys Road, Sandy Lane, Somerset Road, Dorset Road, Kingfield Road, Pridmore Road, Foleshill Road.

Please join in however you can.

Some of you have been kind enough to ask after my parents. They have both been ill with Covid-19, as have many others in their care home. They have both recovered from it, but are a bit weaker and a bit more confused than they were before. Thank you for the prayers and messages of support, it has been particularly difficult when we have been unable to visit and wonder what news each phone call will bring.

Sunday 7 June   Trinity Sunday

Prayer In the name of God we come to worship

As followers of Jesus we come to worship

Welcomed by the Spirit we come to worship

Hymn Eternal God, your loves tremendous glory

cascades through life in overflowing grace,

to tell creation’s meaning in the story

of love evolving love from time and space.

Bible 2 Corinthians 13:5-14

Reflection I watch the news from the United States with a heavy heart. The ease and arrogance with which a Police Officer killed a man whilst the public watched. The threat to violence from the President enacted with ruthless efficiency and then protesters being cleared from the White House with tear gas so that the President can strut across the road and hold a bible up outside a church. And then sometimes I’m heartened by peoples humanity -, the images of many peaceful demonstrations and the voices of speakers such as William Barber II (https://www.facebook.com/anewppc/videos/268796894477061/)  and Traci Blackmon (https://youtu.be/QwpjH2ZkdSI)  But mostly I’m appalled.

And I’m worried. We might sit here and say, “Look at them over there” but I know that many of our communities feel similarly marginalised and discriminated against, and you wonder what spark might set off similar scenes and whether a government that likes it’s militaristic language, may respond with similar aggression. It seems so far away, and yet so close.

On Trinity Sunday we focus on the oneness of God, whether presented as Creator, Son or Spirit. We remember that relationships are complex and many faceted and yet we are called to be one body. Whenever Paul writes to the Corinthians he knows that divisions are not far from the surface and so he challenges them, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith” and then he encourages them, “Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.” None of those strike me as passive responses. If we care about the things we see on the news, then we need to be active in examining ourselves, listening to others, finding agreement, creating peace, dwelling with love, greeting with a kiss.

Prayer

We seek blessing upon your church

that we may be one as you are one

that we may follow the path you lead 

that we reveal your glory

May your Spirit rest upon each one. 

Hymn

Love’s trinity, self-perfect, self-sustaining;

love which commands, enables and obeys:

you give yourself, in boundless joy, creating 

one vast increasing harmony of praise. 

Alan Gaunt Rejoice & Sing 33

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