I guess that you don’t need reminding that the run-up to the general election is well and truly underway, and the count-down to 7th May has begun in earnest. Each of the political parties has prepared their manifestos, laying out their particular stance, and now it is up to the electorate to make their choice through the ballot box.
In the midst of all the debate, I came across an interesting article entitled ‘Would Jesus have voted?’ which is an interesting question and one that certainly got me thinking. One of today’s theologians, N.T. Wright, suggested that ‘the question of whether Jesus would have voted is rather like asking whether the referee is allowed to score a goal in a football match.’ In this country, we are fortunate that we have a democracy and freedom of speech which was certainly not the case in Jesus’ day. As Christians, of course, we are ultimately accountable to God, so in that sense we live in a theocracy. This point is not lost in the words taken from our own URC Basis of Union which states quite clearly: ‘Christ gives his Church a government distinct from the government of the state. In the things that affect obedience to God the Church is not subordinate to the state, but must serve the Lord Jesus Christ, its only Ruler and Head.’(Rejoice & Sing 761) It stands to reason therefore that it is important that we do vote, and we need to vote wisely and from an informed position. How we vote is a balance between our responsibility as citizens on earth and our care for one another, and our accountability to God.
Whilst we cannot answer the question as to whether Jesus would or would not have voted, we know from reading the scriptures that Jesus did get involved in the politics of his day, particularly when it involved the poor, the weak and those who were on the margins of his society. We recall one encounter when Jesus was questioned over the issues of whether it was right to pay taxes to Caesar or not. Jesus didn’t dodge this issue but he used those powerful words: Render unto the Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are Gods. Jesus was seeking fairness for all – with no-one exploiting the other.
As May 7th approaches, we must vote according to our conscience: the words of the prophet immediately spring to mind: ‘What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.’ (Micah 6 verse 8). As you ponder your decision you might like to reflect upon those words as a kind of benchmark to gauge how close the various parties come to achieving those goals.
Jesus came into our world that we might have life; life in all its fullness. That life was made possible through another kind of ‘X’. As we consider who deserves our ‘X’ at the ballot box, or indeed what our wider level of interaction with the political parties could be, rather than ask ‘would Jesus vote?’ we would be better placed to use our faith as a foundation to ask an even more challenging question ‘ How can I play my part?’
Your friend and Minister,
|DATES FOR YOUR DIARY|
|2nd May||11am||Coffee Morning||Albion|
|6th May||7.30pm||Fellowship||Hurst Nook|
|9th May||11am||Coffee Morning||Charlestown|
|9th May||10-12||Plant Sale||Albion|
|12th May||7.30pm||Committee Meeting||Hurst Nook|
|13th May||11am||Mid-Week Service||Albion|
|14th May||7.30pm||Elders Meeting||Charlestown|
|16th / 17th May||11 -3pm||Craft Fair||Albion|
|17th May||4pm||Christian Aid Service||Albion|
|19th May||7.45pm||Bible Study||Manse|
|28th May||2.30pm||Women’s Guild||Charlestown|
|6th June||3pm||Mission Outreach|
|18th July||10-4pm||Big Day Out||Southport|
The next Full Elders meeting is at Charlestown on 14th May at 7.30pm.
CHRISTIAN AID SERVICE
An ecumenical service to mark Christian Aid week will be held at Albion on Sunday 17th May at 4pm followed by refreshments. The service will be led by Helen Howe who is the Regional Co-ordinator for Christian Aid Manchester, and our friends from the Anglican and Methodist Churches will be joining us for this occasion.
200 YEARS OF ALBION FELLOWSHIP
Can you design a logo to use on our advertising and publications? Use up to five different colours – include the words Albion Fellowship and the number 200. Entries to Gillian by Sunday 14th June please.
There will be a Strawberry Afternoon Tea on Saturday 6th June at Charlestown from 3pm-5pm. Tickets are £4 and all proceeds will be donated to The Air Ambulance
The Bible study group will meet at the Manse on Tuesday 19th May at 7.45pm all welcome. (Please note: no study on 5th May)
Irene M sends her thanks and best wishes for all the cards and visits she has received while she has been incapacitated following her fall. These include birthday cards, get-well soon cards and Easter cards, all of which have been gratefully received and cheered her up during this trying period.
MIDWEEK SERVICE AT ALBION
The next mid-week Communion Service is on Wednesday13th May at 11am in the Choir Vestry.
This will take place on 9th May in the Memorial Chapel from 10am – 12 Noon. Bacon butties will be available. Order forms required prior and are available from Colin B, Brian P and Edward B. Order forms and must be handed in by 26th April.
Conducted by the Revd A Wickens and the Revd B Plenderleith
At Albion & Dukinfield Crematorium
Eric BUCKLEY (94 years)
Albion URC, Stamford Street East, Ashton-under-Lyne
Charlestown URC, Alexandra Rd., Ashton-under-Lyne
Hurst Nook URC, Nook Lane, Ashton-under-Lyne
Albion Website: www.albionurc.org.uk
Christine and Geoff H
Philip and Christine H
Edward B and family
Judith, Phil and family
With very special memories of a much loved Mum and Dad
Vera and Harry H
In grateful memory of parents and all the family
Birthday memories of Ruth and Wedding Anniversary (1949)
In loving memory of Roger
Many thanks for the gifts of flowers from our friends. We need more people to help with the cost of flowers and if you would like to donate flowers in memory of loved ones please contact Edward.
SAINSBURYS ACTIVE KIDS VOUCHERS
They will be issued in store until 5th May. Please search your pockets / bags etc. and forward any vouchers you have to Gillian by the 31st May. Many thanks to all who collect the vouchers – we have had lots of really useful sports and cooking equipment over the years.
CHRISTIAN AID COFFEE MORNING
Will take place on Saturday 2nd May from 11AM – 1PM at Albion. Bacon butties and soup …. All proceeds to Christian Aid – in lieu of the “house to house” collections.
ALBION CRAFT FAIR
Will take place on 16th May from 11am – 3pm and 17th May from 12 noon – 3pm. There will be lots of high quality homemade crafts on sale. Lunches and snacks will be available. Please display a poster and advertise this event. Help is needed during the weekend. Please contact Pat J for more details or to book a table.
ASHTON CHURCHES CHRISTIAN AID SERVICE
This will be held at 4pm Albion followed by light refreshments.
ALBION TOTS GROUP
Albion Tots group will meet at Albion Church on Friday 9.30am till 11.00am
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR:
Mary B, Hilda F, Val & Martin B, Alan C, Jean K, Olive B, Eileen G, Irene M, Margaret and Ron T, Jean W and anyone who needs our prayers at this time.
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
21st June Walk of witness – the service is in the grounds of Ashton Parish Church
CHRISTMAS TREE FESTIVAL AND FAIR 11TH – 13TH DECEMBER 2015.
The theme is 200 Christmases … it starts the celebration of 200 years of Albion Fellowship. Decorate trees to depict the different eras.
For Albion news please send information to Gillian L or e-mail Gillian_L_Lewis@hotmail.com
Carole and Roy W
Memory of mum and dad
Memory of mum and dad
Memories of a devoted husband
HURST NOOK FELLOWSHIP
This will take place on Wednesday 6th May at 7.30 pm. The speaker will be Rev. Barbara P.
The Committee meeting will take place on Tuesday 12th May at 7.30pm. Irene will be in the chair.
CHRISTIAN AID LUNCH
This will take place following our service on May17th. Please see Joyce for further information.
Voting will take place at Hurst Nook on the 7th May. Mums and Tots will take place as usual.
Thank you to everyone who helped or contributed in any way. £530 was raised. Well done everybody
BIRTHDAY GREETINGS FROM HURST NOOK TO:
Marion T. Sarah. J. Kathleen. L. Brenda C. Georgie G
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR:
Eva H who is in hospital, Flo J, Mavis D, Florence F, Jack S, Oliver, Kathleen after a fall and everyone who need our special prayers at this time. May God bless them all SHALOM!
Glenys and Phillip
Ruth Colin Adam and all Jan’s Family
Lesley and John
Loving Memories of Barbara a very dear Wife, Mother and Grandmother
Loving Memories of Mum and Dad
Loving memories of Jan a Precious Friend, Sister, Mum, Daughter and Nanna
Remembering Dad, Jack with Love
MONTHLY COFFEE MORNING
There will be a coffee morning from 11am – 1pm on Saturday 9th May organised by Christine W who will be raising money for church repairs. Food will be served at reasonable prices. All are welcome.
The ladies will meet on Thursday 28 May at 2.30pm, when the speaker will be our Minister, the Revd. Alan Wickens.
Any ladies who might like to come along would be most welcome.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Nancy H who has not been well and we continue to pray for those who need our prayers at this time. We think of all our young people studying at school, college and university as they approach their Exams.