I find that some years it can feel as though our Christmas celebrations have barely finished and already we are journeying into the season of Lent. It is as if our ‘balloon has burst’, and after all the joy and celebration we are now to face pain and sadness. That is the reality of living in the ‘real world.’ It is the reality for us and it was certainly the reality for Jesus, entering our world as a tiny, vulnerable baby. He was welcomed with great joy by shepherds and given precious gifts by kings. But it wasn’t long before those tears of joy turned to tears of sorrow at the hands of King Herod who, in jealous anger, decreed all baby boys under 2 years old should be put to death. Right from the outset, Jesus was plunged into the darkness of this cruel world. In a very poignant way though, coming so soon after his birth, Lent challenges us to acknowledge just how closely inter-connected are the manger and the Cross.
This year, because it’s a ‘late’ Easter, we have a few weeks breathing space – an opportunity to pause and reflect. The season of Epiphany which began on 6th January extends throughout February until Ash Wednesday on 5th March. The word Epiphany comes from a Greek word meaning “manifestation” or “striking appearance”. But another definition I came across described it as an “experience of sudden and striking realization.” That seems to describe what we might feel during this transition period between Christmas and Lent.
For some, it can be a sudden and striking realization that the ‘new born King’ is different and that he is found in unexpected places: he is lying in a manger at Bethlehem and he is nailed to a Cross at Calvary.
Epiphany provides a space for us to discover for ourselves who Jesus really is: he is the radiant light of God that pierces through the darkness. And through the Epiphany lectionary readings week by week, we learn something of the mission and ministry of Jesus. We learn how to watch for God, as we see Christ at work in the world. It is a journey of discovery. And, just as the Wise Men were led on their journey by the light of a star, so we are led by the light of Christ to fullness as disciples. In his gospel St. John writes “…What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” In spite of the dark things that may happen in the world, the light of Christ will never be extinguished.
May we know that light of Christ upon us, our Church and our world, to guide and protect us, as we continue to follow where he may lead us. May we be ready and willing to share that light with friends and family and people we meet.
Christ be our light, Shine in our hearts
Shine through the darkness.
Christ be our light!
Shine in your Church, gathered today.
Your friend and Minister,
MIDWEEK SERVICE AT ALBION
The next mid-week Communion Service is on Wednesday 12th February at 11am in the Choir Vestry and will be led by Irene Whitehead.
BIBLE STUDY GROUP
The Bible study group will not meet during February – the next meeting will be the Lent Study group which will commence on 11th March and will be using the Churches Together resource ‘Parables and Possessions.’
Further details to follow.
In January Albert Cooke held our interest with his film on the slate quarries in Wales. On February 10th we welcome Donald with an exhibition of his excellent photography. Everyone is welcome to join us at 8pm.
On 15th February we are holding a coffee morning at Hurst Nook from 11am – 1pm, admission 50p. Snacks and light lunches will be served and there will be a variety of stalls including Home Baked.
Once again we will be serving soup lunches at Charlestown during lent every Wednesday from 5th March for 5 weeks 11am – 1pm. All proceeds to Christian Aid.
Conducted by the Revd. Alan Wickens
At Albion & Dukinfield Crematorium
William Charles YATES (57 years)
At Charlestown & Dukinfield Crematorium
Rosetta Maud SMITH (80 years)
Conducted by the Revd Alan Wickens
Olivia Paige Smith, 24/06/3 daughter of Mark Smith and Clare Blackburn, 66 Moorgate Rd Carrbrook, Stalybridge. SK15 3NJ
Clare Louise Blackburn, 08/09/78 (Mother of Olivia above)
Leah May Griffiths, 04/09/09, daughter of Richard and Karla Griffiths, 41 Markham St, Newton Hyde SK14 4BN
Lilli-An Wolstenholme, 09/08/11, and Laila-Mae Wolstenholme, 28/01/13, daughters of David Wolstenholme and Leanne Linacre, 60 Kenworthy Ave, Ashton-under-Lyne OL6 9HA
COMMITMENT FOR LIFE PRAYER PARTNERS
We pray for:
- All Christian Aid partners in the region who are facing a challenging time – but especially Silveria House which works with communities to help build small enterprise schemes including plumbing, carpentry, sewing and juice making. We pray that these schemes allow people to financially support their families and give something back to their local community.
- Those who have been part of the six week plumbing training scheme run by Silveria House and who are now able to support their families and dependants.
- Silveria House’s educational work on HIV/AIDS, book keeping and reconciliation skills
SECRETARY’S REPORT FOR ALBION CHURCH FELLOWSHIP ANNUAL CHURCH MEETING 18 JANUARY 2014 AT 10.00AM AT CHARLESTOWN URC
The start of the New Year is often a time of reflection and as I carefully packed away my Christmas decorations the other week, my mantelpiece was freed up to display an object which I had equally carefully stored away over Christmas.
Monetary value wise, when compared to the cost of a meal out, or watching a football match etc, the object itself is not particularly valuable or unique. However, as I took it out of the bubble wrap to put it back in its pride of place, I studied the object and asked myself what value did I put on it and why?
I have brought it along and in case it’s not clear what it is I’ll describe it. It is black and depicts people eating round a table. Any guesses what it might be? It is a representation of the Last Supper made from slate based on the painting by Leonardo da Vinci. The object belonged to my Auntie Betty so it is an object that has sentimental value as it reminds me of her and how much I loved her and why. On another level the object is valuable to me because of my faith, as it depicts the scene which has become symbolic to the Christian faith and the sacrifice Jesus made.
What we value is subjective. My car of 11 years is valuable to me because of its reliability but it wouldn’t necessarily win a prize on Top Gear for looks.
We surround ourselves with all sorts of things to make our lives more comfortable and enjoyable. However, when something comes along to challenge us, we realise these things don’t matter so much unless we have the good health to enjoy or experience and a value cannot be put on this.
Early in the New Year I attended the annual covenant service at Hurst Methodist church for the first time. The Covenant Service goes back to John Wesley’s time. He wanted a form of worship which would help people open themselves to God more fully. In 1755 Wesley created such a service, and over succeeding generations the Methodist Church has made changes to the service so that it continues to be relevant to congregations using it.
Both the Covenant Prayer and Service are regarded as jewels of Methodism and one of the most distinctive contributions of Methodism to the liturgy of the Church in general. Other churches are now discovering it and making use of it in their worshipping life.
Many Methodist churches choose to have this service at the start of the calendar year, instead of September, the start of the Methodist Year. The New Year seems appropriate when thoughts turn to resolutions.
What God offers through the Covenant is a loving relationship. It is not a business contract set up between God and humanity for the provision of certain goods and services. Rather, it is the means of grace by which we accept the relationship God offers and then seek to sustain it.
The service celebrates all that God has done for us, and affirms that we give our lives and choices to God.
Most people find it tough to say the prayer and really mean it because it asks much of us. But as difficult and humbling as it might be to say it, it is precious in its meaning and valuable to us as we journey in faith together.
This year is no different than any other in that the fellowship has had its joys and sorrows and we all felt loss or disruption to a greater or lesser degree across the Fellowship.
We have mourned the loss of some loyal and dear friends and were shocked by the news of Alan’s diagnosis. The accident which caused Charlestown to close temporarily was disruptive and unsettling and Hurst Nook for a time thought they would be ejected from their building by bailiffs.
These challenges which take us out of our comfort zones have shown how people rally during adversity and help comes from unexpected places to ease the discomfort. It might not seem like it at the time, but often these periods of change can be times of growth and reflection and an opportunity to re-evaluate our priorities.
This year we have had the injection of new faces to our Eldership and we thank God for the people for their willingness to serve in this way.
Alan celebrated 10 years of ministry with us in July shortly before we were aware of his diagnosis. People often comment ‘if only we’d known what was around the corner’. The Christian faith isn’t about a comfortable, easy life but surrendering to God in faith that his purpose will be worked out through us.
There have been many opportunities to support each other at many events and share our talents and friendship at the various concerts, social events, fairs and the coming together in worship that have taken place through the year across the Fellowship. As we travel through 2014 let us celebrate our unity and strength as a fellowship and look for ways to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the people coming together in this fellowship, so we remain strong to meet the needs of people we serve in the community in the years to come. The covenant prayer;
I am no longer my own but yours
Your will, not mine, be done in all things
Wherever you may place me, in all that I do and in all that I may endure
When there is work for me and when there is none
When I am troubled and when I am at peace
Your will be done when I am valued and when I am disregarded
When I find fulfilment and when it is lacking
When I have all things, and when I have nothing.
I willingly offer all I have and am to serve you, as and where you choose.
Glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are mine and I am yours. May it be so for ever.
Let this covenant now made on earth be fulfilled in heaven.
Einstein said – A New Year is a blank canvas which is waiting to be filled learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.
Pauline Taylor Albion Church Fellowship Secretary 18 January 2014
Albion URC, Stamford Street East, Ashton-under-Lyne Tel. 0161-343 7054
Charlestown URC, Alexandra Rd., Ashton-under-Lyne
Hurst Nook URC, Nook Lane, Ashton-under-Lyne
Albion Website: www.albionurc.org.uk
Hilda Enid and family
In loving memory of Leslie
In loving memory of a dear father
In memory of Jim Potter
Birthday memories of a dear father
Our thanks to these donors for reminding many of us of those we knew and loved.
Wednesday night is girls night at Albion.
Rainbows/Brownies/Guides meet for fun and friendship. This year the Brownies will celebrate nationally their 100th Birthday. Were you a Brownie? Are your daughters/granddaughters Brownies?
Rainbow/Brownie/Guide/Helper & Leader places are currently available at this unit and many others across the whole of Manchester – come and join the fun!
To find out more information or to join go to www.Girlguiding.org.uk/joinus
New Directions is the name for Ashton’s new Trefoil group based at Albion Church. Their static meetings are the 1st Tuesday of every month in the Choir vestry. They also have a social group which arrange their meetings within their Facebook group. New Directions is open to anyone over the age of 18 willing to follow the Trefoil Guild aims and beliefs.
More information about these can be found at www.trefoilguild.co.uk
Any queries about New Directions contact via text/phone Lyndsey
ALBION ARTS AND CRAFT FAIR
The Albion Arts and Crafts Fair in May will be on Saturday the 3rd and Sunday the 4th May.
Times are Saturday 11.00 am to 3.00 pm
Sunday after morning worship 12.00 noon to 3.00 pm
As usual we shall have many craft stalls plus some guide stalls.
This year is a Big Brownie Birthday of 100 years let’s make it a good day for them.
ALBION TOTS GROUP
Albion Tots group will meet at Albion Church on Friday 9.30am till 11.30am
I would like to say a huge thank you for the kind thoughts and lovely flowers sent to me when I had another TIA on Christmas day. I am pleased to say I was allowed home in the evening.
Hurst Nook FellowshiP
Frank and Jackie Wardley
Memories of Elitho a loving sister
Memories of a lovely Mum and Dad
Memories of past members
Memories of loved ones
Memories of Mum and Dad
Loving memories of Dear Tom
HURST NOOK FELLOWSHIP
The fellowship meeting will take place on Wednesday at 5th February at 7.30pm. Barbara Robinson will be speaking.
HURST NOOK TOTS
Every Thursday 10am -11.30am during term time, £1.00 per family.
BIRTHDAY GREETINGS FROM HURST NOOK To:
Roy Whitney, Carole Whitney, Pat Bolt. Congratulations Arthur on your 99th birthday. May God be with you all.
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR:
Mavis Defley, Flo Jones, Eva Hague, Rita Kershaw, Oliver, Callum and anyone who needs our special thoughts at this time.
We are well into the New Year now and we all need to pull together. If there is anything you can help with in church no matter how small you will be welcome. Many hands make light work.
May God look after us all.
Hurst Nook Report to Albion AGM Saturday 18th January 2014
In September we discussed our future at Hurst Nook rather than just looking backwards at reports of events over the past year. Some thought we should live our lives as an example to others, encouraging people we meet in our activities, helping those who are lonely or need our support – as Christians we must put our faith into action and our actions should speak for us. We should be friendly, we should enjoy coming to church, have peace of mind and encourage others. But, we have to consider the fact that the world is a different place now than 40/50 years ago with lots more distractions and we need to come up with new ideas to work alongside other people both bringing them in amongst us and going out to them.
In November we applied for a grant from our Synod to help us purchase two new boilers and reposition them in the kitchen. As part of this I submitted a graph to show our people and their ages to support our need for an improved environment that was also more economical. The graph shows that over 50% of Hurst Nook people are over 60 years of age, whilst 20% are under 10 years old. Three out of four of our over 90 year olds attend weekly and our under 10 year olds include two foster children and one child with special needs. Our Rainbows and Brownies operate a full and varied programme weekly; our Tots group is very successful and is nearing the end of its 9th. year having registered over 460 children to date and is run by two of our elders; several members actively support “Carpenter’s Arms”; we support Operation Christmas Child and collect shoe boxes every November – we have sent over 1,000 in the last teens of years.
Our Treasurer tells me that we will just manage to balance our books this year but we need to increase our fundraising next year and try to improve our leasing’s which have decreased in recent months. Our next Quinquennial survey is due in 2014 and we need to maintain our programme of routine exterior painting also this year. Following on from Charlestown’s 150th Anniversary recently, our 150th is on the horizon in 2021 and although a few years away we need to keep this in mind.
I end by thanking everyone who has helped at Hurst Nook and has helped to support Alan, our Minister during his illness. We wish him a speedy recovery. We have had a positive year in many ways – our Christmas Fair was very well attended with all people pulling together and raising a record amount. We managed to support Oliver and raise funds to pay about £1,800 for his special bed with a great summer event which we hope to repeat in a similar fashion in the summer.
We need to keep positive, looking forward in an active way, supporting each other and praying for guidance to keep us on the right track.
Marilyn Piper, Hurst Nook Secretary
Christine and Tom
Marjorie and Keith
Helen and Dave
Barbara and Roger
For loved Ones
For Matthew’s Birthday
Loving memories of a very much loved Dad, Granddad and Great Granddad
For Rosie’s Birthday
Birthday memories of Sally – as she said “As Always”
Love to Matthew on his Birthday.
“YOU CAN’T STOP THE BEAT” – CABARET EVENING
Rosie Mellor, Pilots and friends have been working towards a cabaret type evening, filled with hits from the musicals, refreshments and a raffle, taking place on Saturday 1st March 2014! The evening will be fun for all and money raised from the night will go straight to The Cystic Fibrosis Trust. Please support the young people of our Church community by buying tickets for this special evening.
Adults £4 Under 14’s £2.
Ashton Rangers is a Girl guiding group based at Charlestown Church every Thursday evening. Members within the group are aged between 14 and 25, most Rangers also voluntary help at other Girl guiding groups as young leaders but this is not compulsory. Last year as well as helping out within the local community, Ashton Rangers spent a week in Berlin, they have and create fun in many different ways. Ashton Rangers have places available for new members and leaders.
For more information contact Gillian
or go to www.girlguiding.org.uk/joinus
All ladies are welcome to join us on Thursday 20th February at 2.30pm.
Vincent and family wish to express a grateful thanks to all the church fellowship who attended the celebration of Rosetta’s life. Special thanks to Alan for a beautiful service and to Doris for the arrangement of flowers in Church. Best wishes to all from Vincent.
I would like to say a huge thank you for the kind thoughts and lovely flowers sent to me when I had another TIA on Christmas day. I am pleased to say I was allowed home in the evening.
Thanks also to Glenys for bringing them
Our thoughts and prayers continue at this time for all who are unwell and going through a difficult time and in particular our Minister Rev Alan Wickens following his recent surgery, Cyril Robinson and Barbara, Keith Culpan, Hannah and Ronnie Clare.
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